REVIEW: My Plain Jane – Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton & Jodi Meadows

36301023Title: My Plain Jane
Author: Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton & Jodi Meadows
Rating: ★★★½

“It became clear from the moment she arrived; something was amiss at Thornfield Hall.”

Reader, I thought I would love this. Jane Eyre is one of my favorite classic novels, so I was expecting to absolutely adore this retelling. The book started out strong, but it kept loosing stars as I read on. Despite that, My Plain Jane was a witty, light-hearted, entertaining read from start until finish.

“He was everything she’d ever dreamed about. Tall. Dark. Brooding. But he also had a penchant for lying, and making Jane think she was crazy, and not telling her the full story.”

The humor and quips were along the same vein as My Lady Jane, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Even though Jane Eyre is one of my favorite classics, I appreciated all the jokes and small ways the author poked fun at the original text. My Plain Jane is one of those books where it remains best not to take it too seriously. Helen’s observations and comments while Jane was at Thornfield Hall were spot on, and she becomes the voice of reason that our love-struck heroine ignores. I also really loved having Charlotte Brontë as a secondary character and Jane’s best friend. It was fun following her along as she comes up with inspirations for her novel based on the story’s events. 

My biggest issue lies with the last quarter of the book, especially in regards to the romance. I understand why the authors went in the direction they did, but it still irked me. The plot also began to move a bit too fast towards the end, compared to the rest of the book which was even paced. Overall, I enjoyed the silliness and humor of My Plain Jane, but I didn’t end up liking it as much as I thought I would for a Jane Eyre retelling. 

 

REVIEW: Star-Touched Stories – Roshani Chokshi

36396341Title: Star-Touched Stories (The Star-Touched Queen #2.5)
Author: Roshani Chokshi 
Rating: ★★★★★

ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

Roshani Chokshi has quickly become one of my favorites authors. Her writing is incredibly beautiful and her storytelling is always mesmerizing. I didn’t realize how much I wanted/needed these short stories from the world of The Star-Touched Queen until I started reading this, and now I want a hundred more. All three stories were magical and the perfect compliments to The Star-Touched Queen and A Crown of Wishes.

Death and Night    ☆☆☆☆☆

“Whatever form she took, I would recognize her. Because it was not me that knew her, it was my soul. And it could never forget her.”

In Death and Night, we are told the backstory and history behind Maya and Amar from The Star-Touched Queen, which I now desperately need to reread. I loved this story way more than I had been expecting; it was so splendid and the writing and imagery was breathtaking.


Poison and Gold    ☆☆☆☆

“She wanted, now, what any human wanted. A place among people. A home in someone’s heart. She wanted to be a person. A true person.”

The focus of this story is Aasha, one of the characters I adored from A Crown of Wishes, as she attempts to find her place in the human world. I really enjoyed reading about her training as the Spy Mistress and her growth as a character. Gauri and Vikram are also present in this story and it gave me all the feels.


Rose and Sword
    ☆☆☆☆☆

“The bravery to hold loss in your heart and love anyway. The bravery to let go at the end. And she knew, even as she reached for the flame of his last breath, that loving him would be the bravest thing she had ever done.”

I loved the format of Rose and Sword; we have an older woman telling a story to her young granddaughter, and it was absolute perfection. The brief interruptions by the little girl reminded me of the movie version of The Princess Bride, and it was so whimsical and wonderful. I also loved how it tied together really well with Death and Night. I don’t want post spoilers or give anything away so all I will say is that I FEEL SO BLESSED BY THE CHARACTERS FEATURED. This story was everything I could have asked for and more.

REVIEW: Sadie – Courtney Summers (ARC)

34810320Title: Sadie
Author: Courtney Summers
Rating: ★★★★★

ARC provided by the publisher. 

But She’s dead is the reason I’m still alive. She’s dead is the reason I’m going to kill a man.

This book was damned good. Sadie is a brilliant, gripping YA thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat the entire time you’re reading.

Sadie is told in two separate parts: the story alternates between Sadie’s POV following the murder of her sister and in the form of podcast episodes as the host attempts to find Sadie, who has since gone missing. I really liked the format. I think it worked well for the story being told and that Courtney Summers executed it perfectly. The ending feels like a sucker punch: it’s completely ambiguous and yet it fit the tone of the novel exquisitely. 

Sadie pulled me in from the first chapter and I couldn’t seem to stop turning the pages. I highly recommend this book, especially those who enjoy listening to podcasts like Up and Vanished or Serial. 

REVIEW: The Lantern’s Ember – Colleen Houck (ARC)

38188583Title: The Lantern’s Ember
Author: Colleen Houck
Rating: ★★

ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

Disappointed would the be the best word to describe my reading experience. I wanted to love The Lantern’s Ember so much. Not only is that cover is absolutely stunning, but the synopsis was intriguing and promised all sorts of paranormal goodness. Sadly, the story and characters were lacking.

I went into The Lantern’s Ember expecting a cool, spooky story similar to urban legends like Sleepy Hallow, full of paranormal creatures and magic. Instead, I got a strange steampunk version of Halloweentown. I actually would have been okay with that, but the writing was mediocre and the story seemed a bit juvenile for my tastes. Ember was the super special heroine that acted naively and never bothered to follow common sense, much less warnings given to her by other people. And yet despite her shortcomings, all three of the male characters happen to be in love with her. None of the characters felt fleshed out or had any kind of character growth as the story went on. The book is written in third person omniscient, which I think heavily contributed to the fact that the characters didn’t have much depth. The plot itself didn’t have much substance to it either; it was predictable, boring at times, and many of the conflicts were resolved a little too conveniently. 

I really wish I had enjoyed The Lantern’s Ember so much more than I had. The first couple of chapters had me falsely excited for an eerie story full of supernatural creatures. The combination of the characters, writing, and plot ultimately caused the story to fall flat for me. 

REVIEW: Seafire – Natalie C. Parker (ARC)

37822534Title: Seafire (Seafire #1)
Author: Natalie C. Parker
Rating: ★★★★½

ARC provided by the publisher.

This year, we are blessed with so many female seafaring books, and this might have been one of my favorites. A crew of fierce, loyal women determined to take down a dangerous warlord? Uh, YES PLEASE. Seafire was everything I could have hoped for, and more.

One of the things that appealed to be about this book was the inclusion of more modern technology and weaponry. It really made Seafire stand out more from all the other high-seas fantasies I’ve read. The book is very fast-paced and plot-driven, and this emphasis on the story’s action and the sisterhood of the crew pays out creates a book full of fantastic storytelling. There was also almost no romance at all, and what little there was could probably only fill a page or two of the book. The love interest actually was totally unexpected (by me at least), but I found myself pleasantly surprised by the development!

She shouted, “In a storm of Bullets, who do we trust?”
Their voices spiraled together, rising up like the early morning sun. “Our sisters!”
With a grin, she finished the call. “We fight together!”
And they responded, “Or not at all!

The book’s strength comes in the form of its characters and their relationships with each other. In addition to our bold captain, Caledonia, there are so many other characters to root for: lovely Hime, relentless Redtooth, dependable Amina, and the always fearless Pisces. The unbreakable bonds and unwavering respect that is present between each member of the Mors Navis crew was such a delight to read. Seafire was an enthralling  story full of adventure, courage, vengeance, and found families. You can bet I’ll be eagerly awaiting the next installment.