Review: The Mad Wolf’s Daughter by Diane Magras

5 stars (It was amazing!).

The Mad Wolf's Daughter cover (link to Goodreads)

I have to admit, I judged this one by its cover. I heard multiple times that it was amazing, but I wondered if maybe the people talking about it were friends with the author or something. I got it as an ebook from the library at one point and started reading it, but I struggle with ebooks, and I never got more than a few pages in.

When the audiobook finally became available at my library, I decided to try it again, and I’m SO glad I did! I don’t usually read historical fiction, but I immediately got sucked in. This is one book that I highly recommend the audiobook for. The Scottish accents help to immerse you in the world.

I loved Drest’s voice and her relationships with her brothers and father, but most of all the complicated realizations she comes to along her quest that make her question the world and her place in it. It’s a simultaneously simple but sophisticated tale, and it as moments of sadness, fear, humor, and triumph.

The basic plot is this: Drest is the youngest daughter of a Scottish war lord, but when her entire family is arrested, she teams up with an injured member of the party that took them to rescue her family before they are all hanged.

It’s short, and it’s wonderful. Give it a try.

Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan

3 stars (I liked it).

Echo cover (link to Goodreads)

This book had a very interesting format. There are really four stories in this book: the framing “fairy tale” story and then three stories with three different main characters in three different historical settings, one in Nazi Germany, one in an orphanage in Pennsylvania, and one in California during Japanese internment. All are tied together with one magical harmonica and with musical themes.

I loved the musical aspect, and there were some really beautiful thoughts expressed, but I didn’t really find that each individual story caught me as much as I wanted it to. Some parts seemed far-fetched or confusing. I kind of hated how each story ended, and the very end of the book fell flat for me.

That said, the book kept my attention all the way through, and the last section (the one about a girl whose Japanese neighbors are taken away by the government) was my favorite. I loved the brave heroine.

Overall I liked it. You probably will too.

Review: Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough

4 stars

Blood Water Paint cover (link to Goodreads)

This is a novel told in verse based on the true story of painter Artemesia Gentileschi. It’s beautifully written and raw and harrowing. While Artemesia was a teenaged painter of no small skill (you can look up her paintings, but be warned that some of them are rather gory), she was raped by her tutor. The story that follows is almost unbelievable. Artemesia is a courageous heroine, and her story is well worth reading.

Not 5 stars only because this isn’t my favorite genre in general and because the message was a little overt for my tastes. I would also only recommend it for older teens who can handle the heavy subject matter.

Review: Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee

4 stars.

Outrun the Moon cover (link to Goodreads)

I read this one because of a very high recommendation on Twitter, even though historical fiction isn’t something I gravitate toward. It follows a Chinese American teenage girl living in San Francisco. She is determined to become a business woman and manages to get herself admitted to a very exclusive (and white) girls’ boarding school. She’s living there when the earthquake of 1906 hits, and she helps her classmates and others survive during the aftermath. I enjoyed it.