4 star, YA

Review: Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee

San Francisco, 1906: Fifteen-year-old Mercy Wong is determined to break from the poverty in Chinatown, and an education at St. Clare’s School for Girls is her best hope. Although St. Clare’s is off-limits to all but the wealthiest white girls, Mercy gains admittance through a mix of cunning and a little bribery, only to discover that getting in was the easiest part. Not to be undone by a bunch of spoiled heiresses, Mercy stands strong—until disaster strikes.

On April 18, a historic earthquake rocks San Francisco, destroying Mercy’s home and school. With martial law in effect, she is forced to wait with her classmates for their families in a temporary park encampment. Though fires might rage, and the city may be in shambles, Mercy can’t sit by while they wait for the army to bring help—she still has the “bossy” cheeks that mark her as someone who gets things done. But what can one teenage girl do to heal so many suffering in her broken city?

I’ve been trying to support some more Chinese authors, or at least getting to know some of their works a bit better. I came across this one in the library and decided to pick it up. With my recent interest in historical fiction, I figured this one would be right up in my alley. I think I wasn’t 100% correct on this, but overall I’m still glad I picked it up!

Outrun the Moon is an emotional tale that takes place in 1906 San Francisco. Our protagonist, Mercy, makes a series of seemingly crazy deals to get herself into a prestigious school, deceiving all her classmates. Things seem to be fairly under control until an earthquake hits, devastating the city. How will Mercy be able to use her wits and bravery to overcome this mess? Or will it prove too much for her to handle? This is the story of her journey.

The historical elements of this book were great. I really enjoyed the old Chinatown setting and the attitudes of the people at the time were really well represented here in this book. I really felt like I was transported back to that time, watching from the outside in. As such, the characters that were in this book were also well-crafted, and I enjoyed having all their different perspectives, even if it was definitely aggravating to endure the “ancient” discriminating mindsets.

I also enjoyed the Chinese elements that were sprinkled into this story. It was well incorporated, without overtaking the story. Through the eyes of Mercy, a young Chinese girl in the early twentieth century, we are able to experience with her the discrimination and social status of a person in her position, as well as the effects of such status on her family and neighbours. This was definitely a huge element that hit home, and I felt that it was well done.

Throughout the story we really got to watch Mercy grow and face adversities. She may be a strong-willed character who loves to fight and not back down, but in her moments of weakness her humanity and stumbles also make her so relatable. With her morals and her upbringing, she truly made an interesting main character, and I couldn’t help but root for her from the side through the ups and downs. I may have disagreed with some of her decisions in the book, but her strength to follow through and her own emotional journey was something that I could still respect.

Overall, this was a really touching story in a well-researched backdrop and is definitely worth a read if you are into historical fictions.

Overall Recommendations

Outrun the Moon follows a young female protagonist, Mercy, in her hometown of San Francisco Chinatown in 1906. Not wanting to be stuck in the slums, she devices a clever plan to get into a prestigious girls school. Though she makes it in, the plan isn’t as easy to execute as she thought. When an earthquake literally turns her world upside down, will she be able to find the strength to continue? Find out in this exciting historical journey!

4 star, YA

ARC Review: Sense and Second-Degree Murder

Series: Jane Austen Murder Mystery #2

Three of Jane Austen’s classic novels receive a murder mystery makeover in this romantic and thrilling three-book series that’s perfect for fans of The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy and Stalking Jack the Ripper. In Sense and Second-Degree Murder, aspiring scientist Elinor Dashwood and her sister Marianne, a budding detective, work together to solve the mystery of their father’s murder.

When eighteen-year-old aspiring scientist Elinor Dashwood discovers her beloved father slumped over the desk of his office study, she knows his death means dire straits for the Dashwood women. To make matters worse, an outdated will entails his estate—including Norland & Company, the private investigation firm where her younger sister Marianne worked as her father’s partner and protégé—to their half-brother and his haughty wife, who waste no time in forcing the Dashwoods out of their home and into a cramped apartment on London’s Barton Street.

But before they go, the Dashwood sisters make a startling discovery that points to foul play, and the killer might be family.

Obviously, the girls must investigate. It could be dangerous; it could ruin their reputations; and most importantly, it won’t bring back their father. But if the Dashwood sisters can combine their talents and bring their father’s murderer to justice, it may bring them all some comfort—and it might even lead to love.

**Sense and Second-Degree Murder comes out April 5, 2022**

Thank you Edelweiss and the publisher for this copy in exchange for an honest review.

Tirzah Price continues to amaze me with her ability to take on a familiar Jane Austen book and add a mystery twist. Sense and Second-Degree Murder took all the beloved characters of Sense and Sensibility and really drove home a few key things: the sisterly bond, romance in its different forms, and science.

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3.5 star, Uncategorized

Review: A Game of Fear by Charles Todd

Inspector Ian Rutledge #24

In this newest installment of the acclaimed New York Times bestselling series, Scotland Yard’s Ian Rutledge is faced with his most perplexing case yet: a murder with no body, and a killer who can only be a ghost.

Spring, 1921. Scotland Yard sends Inspector Ian Rutledge to the sea-battered village of Walmer on the coast of Essex, where amongst the salt flats and a military airfield lies Benton Abbey, a grand manor with a storied past. The lady of the house may prove his most bewildering witness yet. She claims she saw a violent murder—but there is no body, no blood. She also insists she recognized the killer: Captain Nelson. Only it could not have been Nelson because he died during the war.

Everyone in the village believes that Lady Benton’s losses have turned her mind—she is, after all, a grieving widow and mother—but the woman Rutledge interviews is rational and self-possessed. And then there is Captain Nelson: what really happened to him in the war? The more Rutledge delves into this baffling case, the more suspicious tragedies he uncovers. The Abbey and the airfield hold their secrets tightly. Until Rutledge arrives, and a new trail of death follows… 

This was my first time (randomly) picking a book from this series to read. I actually didn’t realize it was part of a series, but like many other long series, they can be read as standalones too (I think). I think I said I would pick less books up randomly, but luckily this one did not come back to bite me.

A Game of Fear revolves around our protagonist Inspector, Ian Rutledge, who investigates an interesting murder… a murder with no body. Or really any evidence at all, for that matter. Set in 1921 in the small village of Walmer, we get a historical into the look of what happened to the town during and after war, and how that all may be culminating into the current mystery. Is there really a ghost in Walmer?

Continue reading “Review: A Game of Fear by Charles Todd”