My Plain Jane ★★★★☆

myplainjane.jpgMove over, Charlotte Brontë. The authors of My Lady Jane are back with a fantastic, romantic, hilarious reimagining of Jane Eyre.

Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows’s My Lady Jane was a New York Times bestseller, “an utter delight” (ALA Booklist, starred review), and “an uproarious historical fantasy that’s not to be missed” (Publishers Weekly, starred review). Now they’re back with another irreverent tale of mischief, mayhem, and romance—perfect for fans of The Princess Bride or A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue.

You may think you know the story. After a miserable childhood, penniless orphan Jane Eyre begins 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 as one orphan Jane Eyre, aspiring author Charlotte Brontë, and supernatural investigator Alexander Blackwood embark on the most epic ghost hunt this side of Wuthering Heights.

I’m not a huge fan of the classics, but Jane Eyre has always held a special place in my heart. It’s got “ghosts,” it’s got mystery, it’s got a crazy lady in the attic burnin’ the whole place down, and a super creepy romance between a teenager and a man in his forties. But hey-love.

I enjoyed most of My Plain Jane, in ways that I certainly did not enjoy My Lady Jane. This was funnier, well written, and did a wonderful job tying in the source material while commenting on the original story in a modern way (mostly that Rochester is old enough to be Jane’s grandfather-gross)

Perhaps where it lost points for me was its attempts to draw in other elements of pop-culture like Lord of the RingsThe Princess Bride, and others. I would rather the authors relied on their own humor which was vastly more successful than the lines they stole from others.

Amazon . Barnes&Noble . BooksAMillion

Pub Date: June 26th, 2018

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Jessica’ March TBR

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For Review

34728667Title: Children of Blood and Bone
Author(s): Tomi Adeyemi
Pub Date: March 6, 2018
Publisher: Henry Holt Books for Young Readers
Buy Links: Amazon . B&N

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now, Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers—and her growing feelings for the enemy.

Before She Ignites ★★☆☆☆½

9780062469403_24007It sounded like it would be a great read. Fantasy. Anxiety. Dragons. But Before She Ignites fell short for me and I ended up putting it down about 75% of the way through.

Before

Mira Minkoba is the Hopebearer. Since the day she was born, she’s been told she’s special. Important. Perfect. She’s known across the Fallen Isles not just for her beauty, but for the Mira Treaty named after her, a peace agreement which united the seven islands against their enemies on the mainland.

But Mira has never felt as perfect as everyone says. She counts compulsively. She struggles with crippling anxiety. And she’s far too interested in dragons for a girl of her station.

After

Then Mira discovers an explosive secret that challenges everything she and the Treaty stand for. Betrayed by the very people she spent her life serving, Mira is sentenced to the Pit–the deadliest prison in the Fallen Isles. There, a cruel guard would do anything to discover the secret she would die to protect.

No longer beholden to those who betrayed her, Mira must learn to survive on her own and unearth the dark truths about the Fallen Isles–and herself–before her very world begins to collapse.

At first, the out of order narrative was intriguing. We bounced back and forth learning just what got Mira thrown in prison in the first place. The first few shifts in time worked like flashbacks and added to the story in place. But as the book went on and I learned more about Mira, and her personality, the more these shifts worked against the book.

You might assume that being thrown in prison by those you trusted would sparked a certain amount of forced maturity on a person. It might be a wake up call to an absurdly naive and privileged character, like Mira. But the flashes just showed me the same character.

Mira before and Mira after, aren’t significantly changed. I would assume getting thrown in prison and being starved and taken from a world of comforts would change a person. I don’t see strength in Mira, I see naivete.

She gets warnings at every turn: you don’t know who you can trust in the Pit. And her first actions are to trust the people in her cell block. Her excuse is that the friendliness is a custom on her island, but that’s just not strong enough for me. The friendliness should from Mira before, and be something to work back to for Mira after.

Her lack of change comes through strongly in the out of order narrative and it’s where the book lost a lot of stars for me.

 

But it wasn’t all bad. The anxiety, the part of the story which really intrigued me, was really well done. Although Mira has panic attacks for legitimate things and I really wanted to see her have one for no reason at all to really drive home to readers who don’t suffer from them just how obnoxious and intrusive they can be, her coping mechanisms were spot on. Her reactions and frustration with losing control of her of her body were accurate and I really enjoyed them.

But the one thing which annoyed me to know end was how the dragons were referred to. Always by full Latin-esque names: drakontos quintus, drakantos mons, drakontos aquis, drakontos raptus, drakontos titanus, drakontos mimikus, drakontosrex, drakontos maior, drakontos sol, drakontos ignitus, and drakontos milus. I understand that Meadows is trying to create a species and keep us thinking is sizes and colors, but the jargon for her world was tiring and it made the descriptions sound unnatural.

People say, “I have dogs” not “I have a black Labrador, St. Bernard mixed breed canine.” I think this could have been a lot better if the academic classification of the dragons had been less integrated into Mira’s narration.

WoW: Before She Ignites

Before She Ignites
Jodi Meadows
Publication Date: September 26th 2017
Buy it here!

28524058.jpgBefore

Mira Minkoba is the Hopebearer. Since the day she was born, she’s been told she’s special. Important. Perfect. She’s known across the Fallen Isles not just for her beauty, but for the Mira Treaty named after her, a peace agreement which united the seven islands against their enemies on the mainland.

But Mira has never felt as perfect as everyone says. She counts compulsively. She struggles with crippling anxiety. And she’s far too interested in dragons for a girl of her station.

After

Then Mira discovers an explosive secret that challenges everything she and the Treaty stand for. Betrayed by the very people she spent her life serving, Mira is sentenced to the Pit–the deadliest prison in the Fallen Isles. There, a cruel guard would do anything to discover the secret she would die to protect.

No longer beholden to those who betrayed her, Mira must learn to survive on her own and unearth the dark truths about the Fallen Isles–and herself–before her very world begins to collapse.

I’m actually reading this for review and I’m super excited. I love the cover, I think it’s GORGEOUS. As for the book, it’s a little slow up front, but I’m really enjoying where it’s at right now. Review to come closer to release date!

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?

This tag is hosted by Kathryn @ Book Date.

What did you start/finish last week?

I finished reading one of my ARCs last week: Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows. My review won’t go up until September but I did not enjoy it. The character doesn’t grow, the story is slow, and the narrative jumps back and forth through time. I wasn’t overly thrilled to say the least.

What are you getting into this week?

This week I’m starting Gallery of Unfinished Girls by Lauren Karcz. I started it this weekend and I’m hoping to really dig into it tomorrow on the holiday. Burger in one hand, book in the other. So far I’m about 5% of the way through it and I’m in love with the MC’s voice. Karcz really establishes her. It’s a good feeling after Before She Ignites.