Review of My Plain Jane

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Title:
 My Plain Jane
Author: Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows
Publisher:
HarperTeen
Release Date: June 26, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Retelling, Historical, Fantasy

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Synopsis:

You may think you know the story. After a miserable childhood, penniless orphan Jane Eyre embarks on a new life as a governess at Thornfield Hall. There, she meets one dark, brooding Mr. Rochester. Despite their significant age gap (!) and his uneven temper (!!), they fall in love—and, Reader, she marries him. (!!!)

Or does she?

Prepare for an adventure of Gothic proportions, in which all is not as it seems, a certain gentleman is hiding more than skeletons in his closets, and one orphan Jane Eyre, aspiring author Charlotte Brontë, and supernatural investigator Alexander Blackwood are about to be drawn together on the most epic ghost hunt this side of Wuthering Heights.


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My Plain Jane is a unique story that combines a quirky retelling of Jane Eyre with a hint of ghost-hunting shenanigans. The book does have some funny moments, but I think the supernatural and ghost-busting were my favorite elements of the novel. I also thought it was clever that the authors took a Victorian classic and used the plot to subtly hint at a lot of our current political and cultural events/people.  

As some of you might know, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë is my all-time favorite book. As a Victorian fanatic and anglophile, I love Jane Eyre for so many reasons. I love Jane’s proto-feminist attitude. My favorite scene of the novel takes place among the foggy moors. I love that the original novel incorporates the supernatural and some creepy laughing in Thornfield Hall. But I also like the brooding Mr. Rochester and the chaos that haunts his life. My Plain Jane incorporates a lot of the characters and events found in the original classic, and by focusing on the Gothic elements of the original novel, the authors of My Plain Jane add their own twists and fates to the characters. 

All of the characters are unique with their own set of flaws, and even though My Plain Jane is a “supernatural” story, the characters made the story seem realistic. If I had to pick a favorite character, I would go with Charlotte Brontë. Her character is determined, bold, and smart. I love that she is not afraid to show her witty side and her epic “can-do” attitude. I also characterized her as the “Veronica Mars” throughout the story, because she is so good at sleuthing. 

Overall, I found the My Plain Jane to be a fun and quick read. If you’re in the mood for a Jane Eyre retelling, some sleuthing, and a band of ghost-busting misfits, give My Plain Jane a read. It definitely has a Jane Eyre meets Scooby-Doo feel.   

3 star rating

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Note:   I was not provided a copy of this book by the author or the publisher in exchange for a review. I bought this book with my own funds, and I reviewed the book at my own discretion.  All statements and opinions in this review are mine. 
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Waiting on Wednesday: Circle of Shadows by Evelyn Skye

waiting on wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme that highlights pre-publication/upcoming releases that readers cannot wait to get their hands on. It is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

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Title: Circle of Shadows
Author: Evelyn Skye
Publication date: January 22, 2019
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

Synopsis

Sora can move as silently as a ghost and hurl throwing stars with lethal accuracy. Her gemina, Daemon, can win any physical fight blindfolded and with an arm tied behind his back. They are apprentice warriors of the Society of Taigas—marked by the gods to be trained in magic and the fighting arts to protect the kingdom of Kichona.

As their graduation approaches, Sora and Daemon look forward to proving themselves worthy of belonging to the elite group—but in a kingdom free of violence since the Blood Rift Rebellion many years ago, it’s been difficult to make their mark. So when Sora and Daemon encounter a strange camp of mysterious soldiers while on a standard scouting mission, they decide the only thing to do to help their kingdom is to infiltrate the group.Taking this risk will change Sora’s life forever—and lead her on a mission of deception that may fool everyone she’s ever loved.

Love, spies, and adventure abound as Sora and Daemon unravel a complex web of magic and secrets that might tear them—and the entire kingdom—apart.

***

“Heart-stopping action and breath-stealing twists kept me up late into the night, but the fierce camaraderie between the characters is what cemented my love for Circle of Shadows. Work hard, mischief harder—and read this book as soon as you can!” (Sara Raasch, New York Times bestselling author of the Snow Like Ashes series and These Rebel Waves)

“I was captivated by this lush and beautifully written story of courage, treachery, and deceit.” (Jennifer A. Nielsen, New York Times bestselling author of The False Prince series and The Traitor’s Game)

“Epic in scale, immersive and imaginative, Circle of Shadows will reel you in and refuse to let you go. Evelyn Skye weaves extraordinary worlds, with a magic any taiga would envy–I never wanted to leave Kichona.” (Amie Kaufman, New York Times bestselling co-author of the Illuminae series)

 

Goodreads Amazon | Barnes and Noble

 

Cover Reveal: CIRCLE OF SHADOWS by Evelyn Skye

COVER REVEAL OF CIRCLE OF SHADOWS 

Today I have joined with Evelyn Skye to reveal the cover for Circle of Shadows, which releases January 22, 2019! Circle of Shadows is a new series written by Evelyn Skye, New York Times Bestselling author of The Crown’s Game and The Crown’s Fate 


Check out the gorgeous cover!

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EEEKKKK…. I LOVE IT! WHAT DO YOU ALL THINK?

Title: Circle of Shadows
Author: Evelyn Skye
Pub. Date: January 22, 2019
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Find it: AmazonB&N,  Goodreads

Synopsis:

Sora can move as silently as a ghost and hurl throwing stars with lethal accuracy. Her gemina, Daemon, can win any physical fight blindfolded and with an arm tied behind his back. They are apprentice warriors of the Society of Taigas—marked by the gods to be trained in magic and the fighting arts to protect the kingdom of Kichona.

As their graduation approaches, Sora and Daemon look forward to proving themselves worthy of belonging to the elite group—but in a kingdom free of violence since the Blood Rift Rebellion many years ago, it’s been difficult to make their mark. So when Sora and Daemon encounter a strange camp of mysterious soldiers while on a standard scouting mission, they decide the only thing to do to help their kingdom is to infiltrate the group.Taking this risk will change Sora’s life forever—and lead her on a mission of deception that may fool everyone she’s ever loved.

Love, spies, and adventure abound as Sora and Daemon unravel a complex web of magic and secrets that might tear them—and the entire kingdom—apart.

***

“Heart-stopping action and breath-stealing twists kept me up late into the night, but the fierce camaraderie between the characters is what cemented my love for Circle of Shadows. Work hard, mischief harder—and read this book as soon as you can!” (Sara Raasch, New York Times bestselling author of the Snow Like Ashes series and These Rebel Waves)

“I was captivated by this lush and beautifully written story of courage, treachery, and deceit.” (Jennifer A. Nielsen, New York Times bestselling author of The False Prince series and The Traitor’s Game)

“Epic in scale, immersive and imaginative, Circle of Shadows will reel you in and refuse to let you go. Evelyn Skye weaves extraordinary worlds, with a magic any taiga would envy–I never wanted to leave Kichona.” (Amie Kaufman, New York Times bestselling co-author of the Illuminae series)

 

About Evelyn Skye:

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Evelyn Skye is the NEW YORK TIMES Bestselling author of THE CROWN’S GAME and its sequel, THE CROWN’S FATE. New series–CIRCLE OF SHADOWS–coming Winter 2019. 

Evelyn was once offered a job by the C.I.A., she not-so-secretly wishes she was on “So You Think You Can Dance,” and if you challenge her to a pizza-eating contest, she guarantees she will win. When she isn’t writing, Evelyn can be found chasing her daughter on the playground or sitting on the couch, immersed in a good book and eating way too many cookies. She can be found online at www.evelynskye.com and on Twitter @EvelynSkyeYA.

 

A huge thank you to Evelyn Skye for inviting me to be part of this amazing cover reveal! 
 

Review of Beyond a Darkened Shore

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Title:
 Beyond A Darkened Shore
Author: Jessica Leake
Publisher:
HarperTeen
Release Date: April 10, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Mythology

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Synopsis:

The ancient land of Éirinn is mired in war. Ciara, Princess of Mide, has never known a time when Éirinn’s kingdoms were not battling for power, or Northmen were not plundering their shores. 

The people of Mide have thankfully always been safe because of Ciara’s unearthly ability to control her enemies’ minds and actions. But lately, a mysterious crow has been appearing to Ciara, whispering warnings of an even darker threat. Although her clansmen dismiss her visions as pagan nonsense, Ciara fears this coming evil will destroy not just Éirinn, but the entire world. 

Then the crow leads Ciara to Leif, a young Northman leader. Leif should be Ciara’s enemy, but when Ciara discovers that he, too, shares her prophetic visions, she knows he’s something more. Leif is mounting an impressive army, and with Ciara’s strength in battle the two might have a chance to save their world. 

With evil rising around them, they’ll do what it takes to defend the land they love…even if it means making the greatest sacrifice of all.


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This year has been the year for Viking books, and I was so excited to finally sit down and read Beyond A Darkened Shore. I love the cover because I am a sucker for anything with birds on it, and the synopsis kept screaming, “Cassie, you need to read this!” Sadly, after struggling and forcing myself to finish, I did not end up loving the book. Beyond A Darkened Shore had some good twists, turns, and “whoa” moments, but in the end, the story and the characters did not win me over. 

Ciara, the main character, is a fierce warrior and holds a lot of responsibility on her shoulders. Throughout Beyond A Darkened Shore, she has to be physically and mentally strong for her little sisters. But as she starts learning more and more about her past and the people that she believed to be her “enemy,” she starts opening her eyes to a new world and embracing her magic that is frowned upon by her community. However, throughout the book, I always felt like Ciara was holding herself back. In many chapters, Ciara seemed to be pulling herself away from moving in a positive direction in many aspects of her life. Her hindrance and actions often left the story stagnant, which left me debating on if I should actually finish the book.

One of my favorite parts of Beyond A Darkened was the high potential of a enemies-to-lovers relationship (one of my favorite tropes to read). I did enjoy reading the scenes where Ciara interacts with her nemesis, Leif. Their friendship and relationship is great to watch blossom throughout the chapters, but they also have this playful banter that’s hard to ignore. However, even though I was a fan of the potential romantic aspects of the Beyond A Darkened Shore, the book fell short for me. Beyond A Darkened Shore didn’t blow me away, but the unraveled truths and twists at the end of the book did make me hopeful that if there was ever a second book, Ciara’s character will be developed more, and we can get more Leif and Ciara scenes. 

1-star-rating

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Note:   I was not provided a copy of this book by the author or the publisher in exchange for a review. I bought this book with my own funds, and I reviewed the book at my own discretion.  All statements and opinions in this review are mine. 

Book Review: Everless by Sara Holland

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Title: 
Everless
Author: Sara Holland
Published by: HarperTeen
Publication date: January 2, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy 

Synopsis:

In the land of Sempera, time is extracted from blood and used as payment. Jules Ember and her father were once servants at Everless, the wealthy Gerling family’s estate, but were cast out after of a fateful accident a decade ago. Now, Jules’s father is reaching his last hour, and she will do anything to save him. Desperate to earn time, she arrives at the palace as it prepares for a royal wedding, ready to begin her search into childhood secrets that she once believed to be no more than myths. As she uncovers lost truths, Jules spirals deeper into a past she hardly recognizes, and faces an ancient and dangerous foe who threatens her future and the future of time itself.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble  /  Book Depository


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Everless is a fantasy read that focuses on a unique concept of time being used as currency. I love that not only is family important in the book, but the main character also values friendships, old and new. This book contains a lot of layers, and through each chapter something new, and oftentimes surprising, is unveiled. 

Jules, the protagonist, is very kindhearted, selfless, and giving. I had a hard time connecting with Jules, because sometimes I found her to be a bit childish and very naive. She focuses a lot on her past (which is foggy at times); I kept hoping she would open her eyes and mind up to her surroundings, but she is very straight and narrow. Luckily her eyes open more toward the end of the book and she becomes more open-minded and acknowledges that not everything is black and white.  

Although there are several great twists in Everless, I found the storyline and the main character quite predictable. But overall I loved the fantasy elements that were sprinkled in with some alchemist concepts. Of course, I loved that romance was not the highlight of the book, but it was still there and I can definitely see my favorite trope of hate-to-love relationship blooming. The last 50 pages are action-packed with unraveling twists and secrets. I cannot wait to see what happens in the next book and I look forward to learning more about Liam, Jules “enemy,” and his role in Jules’ future. 

3 star rating

NOTE:  I was not provided a copy of this book by the author or the publisher in an exchange for a review. I won the advanced reader’s copy from a Twitter giveaway sponsored by Glasstown Entertainment, and I reviewed the book at my own discretion.  All statements and opinions in this review are mine. A huge thank you to Glasstown Entertainment for the ARC. 

If It’s Not A Rant, It’s A Rave: Review of Love, Life, and the List by Kasie West

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Title: 
Love, Life, and the List
Author: Kasie West 

Publication Date: December 26, 2017
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genres: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary

Synopsis:

Everyone knows Abby Turner is in love with her best friend, Cooper Wells. Including Cooper Wells. But despite what people tell her, it doesn’t affect their friendship. And she’s practically over it, anyway. What she really can’t get over is when her boss at the local museum tells her that her paintings lack heart. 

Art is Abby’s passion and she hopes her future as well. She is determined to change his mind and earn her way into the upcoming exhibit at the gallery. So along with her family’s help, she compiles “The Heart List,” a series of soulstretching experiences that are sure to make her a deeper person and better artist in six weeks or less. When Cooper decides to complete the list along with her, she realizes this list is expanding her heart in more ways than one. Maybe she needs to start another project.

Love, Life, and the List is about a girl who, in an effort to bring more emotional depth to her art, compiles a list of soul-stretching experiences to complete with her best friend—a boy she also happens to be in love with. 

This is the first in a set of three standalone books with crossover characters.

LINKS:   Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble |  The Book Depository


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You guys, Kasie West has done it again. I think Love, Life, and the List might be one of my top three favorites out of all her bajillion books. This book is such a quick, funny, and sweet read. I laughed, swooned, and smiled so much while reading it, that now my cheeks hurt, hahaha. 

I adored the main character Abby. She does not come off angsty. Instead she is sarcastic as hell (AHHH…WHICH I LOVED), she’s persistent regarding her future and perfecting her craft, and most of all, I liked that she creates lists to help her reach her goals. She is basically Rory Gilmore without all the drama and making stupid choices. 

One of my favorite aspects of this novel that I would like to highlight is Abby’s family. Her mom has a hard time being in public or around people and her grandpa is the sarcasm king. And even though her dad is deployed, Abby’s family is really close knit and they are always communicating. YES, I love that they are always talking and never leaving someone out of the loop, even when it comes to Abby’s love life or lack thereof. 

Overall, Love, Life, and the List is one of those cute and swoony books that I can see myself rereading when I am in a reading slump. Banter and witty sarcasm always make me smile, and the repartee that occurs in this book is worth the deepest belly laughs. If you love a main character filled with passion and a good heart, and a cute boy best friend that never fails to make you smile, definitely treat yo shelf and self to this book. 

4 star rating

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Epic Reads Book Tag

Epic Reads Book Tag

I saw someone post this tag and I thought it would be something fun to complete. So here we go!

1. If you could invite one author and one of their fictional characters for tea who would you invite and what would you serve?

I would invite Charlotte Brontë and her character Jane Eyre. I would serve Earl Grey  tea, sandwiches (including cucumber sandwiches), and macarons. I might sneak some Indian food in there as well; I think they would enjoy the spices. 

2. What would you love a prequel for and what would be the main storyline?25442488

I would want a prequel to Uprooted by Naomi Novik. I would want it to be all about the Dragon, his past, and maybe even a little sneak peak into his thoughts on Agnieszka while she is living with him.

 

 

 

 

3. Which two characters not from the same book would make a great book couple?

Hermione from the Harry Potter series and Clark from Morgan Matson’s The Unexpected Everything.


4. If you ran into your favorite author on the subway and could only say one sentence to them, what would you say?

I don’t even think I could get one sentence out. Hmm…I might say, “my life, my world, my thoughts, my opinions, all changed due to your words.”

5. What book made you a reader and why?

My mom, who was an avid reader herself, gifted me two books when I was in my tweens: Jane Eyre and Little Women. After reading those books, I became obsessed with reading, because I love escapism, and more importantly I loved the depiction of female empowerment that was ingrained in the female characters of both books.

6. If your bookshelf caught on fire which book would you save?

I would probably save one of my books from my The Winner’s Curse trilogy. Who am I kidding?! I would save this entire collection.the winner's trilogy haul

7. Which dystopian world would you want to live in?

Ummm…none. Are you crazy?!

 

 

 

 


8. What is your most epic read of all time?

Although, I love Jane Eyre, my most epic read is currently tied between The Night Circus and Uprooted. I am a sucker for stories that encompass magic, enchantment, strong/witty female characters, compassion, and a passionate couple.

 

 

 

 

Thanks for joining me! 

I tag anyone who would love to complete this tag. And if you do this tag, please feel free to comment below with your link. I would love to check out your answers and pictures/.gifs that you add.