Title: My Plain Jane
Author: Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton & Jodi Meadows
“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.
Title: The Lantern’s Ember
Author: Colleen Houck
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.
Title: When Life Gives You Demons
Author: Jennifer Honeybourn
ARC provided by the publisher.
I would like to thank the awesome ladies at the Swoon Reads booth at BookCon for recommending this book; they had me sold at humorous contemporary + paranormal. I knew from the first page that I was going to be seriously entertained while reading this. When Life Gives You Demons was the perfect fun summer read!
In addition to trying to pass her classes and studying with her cute math tutor, Shelby spends her time outside of high school training to be an exorcist with her great-uncle, a Catholic priest. I think my favorite part of reading When Life Gives You Demons is how much it reminded of The Mediator series, which remains of my favorite series ever (seriously, if you don’t know what I’m talking about go check out those books). I love the premise of a high schooler that, in addition to worrying about exams and crushes, also has to find time to expel the ghosts / demons lurking around. I do wish the book had been a bit longer; the ending definitely felt rushed and I think it could have benefited from a few more chapters. When Life Gives You Demons was extremely fun and light-hearted and I really hope to see more books featuring plots similar to this in the future!