Review of My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows

MyLadyJaneMy Lady Jane
By: Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows
Release Date: June 7th 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

A copy of this book was provided to me in consideration of an honest review.

My Rating:
star

Summary:
For fans of The Princess Bride comes the comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey.

Lady Jane Grey, sixteen, is about to be married to a total stranger—and caught up in an insidious plot to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But that’s the least of Jane’s problems. She’s about to become Queen of England. Like that could go wrong.

My Thoughts:
Oh man. This book. I saw SO many 5 star reviews and so much praise I was thrilled when a copy landed on my door. I hadn’t originally planned to read it only because I wasn’t overly thrilled with the author’s previous work nor did the idea of a comedy intrigue me. As my husband so happily reminds me, I have a very limited sense of humor. It is very rare for things to get me to laugh. After hearing how amazing this book was and that comparison to The Princess Bride I thought- I’ll have to love this.

Sadly, this was not the case. I could see what the authors were going for and I respect the effort. I easily saw where things were supposed to cause the reader to laugh but it all fell rather flat for me. I felt the pacing was uneven and sections really dragged. I fully felt the girth of this novel and multiple times I considered DNFing but I kept hoping I’d start to love it. There were moments I thought I’d be able to really connect to the characters and story but it never happened.

I think the writing style was to blame for my complete disconnect. I always felt at arms length. I never really cared about the character’s outcome nor did I ever like Edward. I really wanted to but nope. I also never shipped the romances. Man, this review is seeming so harsh. The thing is I didn’t hate it at all it just wasn’t something I would read again or own. I do appreciate the creativity of doing something different and approaching history with what could/should have been.

I could easily see the attempt to add that Princess Bride feel and I think the book succeeded in that for the most part but it lacked heart for me personally. I did find the addition of humans turning to animals a fun twist though I couldn’t help but compare the divide with the historical religious divide between Catholic and Protestant.

I was impressed with how well the authors work all flowed together and I wasn’t able to see where one work ended and the other began. I couldn’t tell you if they all wrote each character or if they each took one. Their styles and work were seamless.

Final Thoughts:
I am so sad that this book didn’t work for me. The humor, characters and pacing all were a miss for me though I appreciate the idea behind the book and a comical approach to historical fiction.

 

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Stacking the Shelves

Whew, it’s been AGES (a month) since I’ve done one of these. I’m not going to gather up all the books I’ve gotten over the month though (too lazy) so this will be just this week’s worth.

Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga’s Reviews is a weekly meme where you show what books you’ve purchased, gotten from the library, received from giveaway, as gifts or for review.

The Books

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Eeee. So excited about this haul! 9 of them are unsolicited but I’m intrigued so I’ll give them a go. I am really excited about Dreamers Often Lie. Anyone read it yet? I think I’ll read And I Darken first. I’ve not had the best luck with White but I’m really, really hopeful I’ll love it. So many thanks to Random House, Tor, Scholastic, and Harper.

How have you been? Read any of the books I got this past week? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Coloring Book Review- Christmas to Color

ChristmastoColorCoverChristmas to Color
By: Mary Tanana (Illustrations)
Release Date: October 27th 2015 
Publisher: HarperCollins
A copy of this was sent to me in exchange for an honest review.

Step into a wintry wonderland with illustrator Mary Tanana’s intricate, gorgeous illustrations of Christmas magic, lovingly represented in this delicately rendered coloring book. From snowflakes to stockings, reindeer to wreaths, every aspect of the holidays is waiting to be brought to life through your creativity. With nearly one hundred pages of pen-and-ink drawings, the wintry coloring book fun will last you well into the new year!

My Thoughts:
I was so excited to receive this coloring book in the mail. I haven’t really gotten into the adult coloring trend just because I’ve not had that much time. Immediately when I got this book I grabbed my prisma colors and went to town. It was highly enjoyable though a bit meticulous (as is the point).

The drawings are wonderfully executed and I like that the details aren’t so tiny that it’s impossible to color. I didn’t find any difficulty using prisma colors or markers to color. Some images are more detailed than others and this gives a bit of variety to your coloring experience. I enjoyed the paper quality (my marker didn’t seep through) and the crisp lines. I’m not a fan of coloring books with grey tone shadowing and this one did not have that.

My biggest issue was trying to decide what color to make things. I have such a problem trying to stick to realistic colors so I found myself googling flower types to try and match how they’d look. Ha! I think someone with less desire for it to appear lifelike would enjoy the coloring experience more in general.

ChristmastoColor ChristmastoColor2

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Final Thoughts:
I would recommend Christmas to Color to anyone with the desire to color during the holidays. Go into this book expecting many wreaths, happy phrases, snowflake imagery and florals (with some deer here and there)

Review- Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson

WoEaSWalk on Earth a Stranger
By: Rae Carson
Release Date: September 22nd 2015
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:
star

Summary:
Lee Westfall has a secret. She can sense the presence of gold in the world around her. Veins deep beneath the earth, pebbles in the river, nuggets dug up from the forest floor. The buzz of gold means warmth and life and home—until everything is ripped away by a man who wants to control her. Left with nothing, Lee disguises herself as a boy and takes to the trail across the country. Gold was discovered in California, and where else could such a magical girl find herself, find safety?

The Story:
I really didn’t know what to expect from this book when I requested it. I admit, I saw that it was by Rae Carson and requested it without reading the summary. I was so impressed with the research, captivating story telling and characters in this novel.

The pacing was very slow and though the characters travel a great distance it didn’t seem that a lot happened. We follow the story through Lee’s point of view on her journey to California. The story begins in Georgia and we really get a feel for the setting and time period. I found myself intrigued by Leah (she changes the spelling when she pretends to be a boy to Lee). Her ability to sense gold seemed like such a hindrance to me. I loved that Carson approached practical elements…such as if you can sense gold you still can’t cash it all in because that would cause suspicion.

Once Leah dressed as a boy and hit the trail I was so reminded of the old 80’s game my generation played in school, The Oregon Trail. This game was IMPOSSIBLE and I died of dysentery every time I attempted to play.

oregon_trail
Carson represented the hardships of traveling by wagon over miles of land so beautifully. I was so impressed with how she handled the small aspects of life (our main characters gets her period!) I loved seeing how things were handled and I felt that Carson did one of the best jobs I’ve read representing a girl character hiding as a boy.

As I said the pacing was slow and the action sequences scarce but I felt completely captivated and I read this book in a short number of days. Where the story left the reader also has me really ready for the next book…not a cliffhanger all that much but it’s the type of ending where you flip the page expecting the next chapter and not the end of the book.

The Characters:
Wow, Carson did such an excellent job creating a cast of characters that were unique, well rounded and so realistic. I loved Leah/Lee and felt she was incredibly easy to root for and connect to. I wanted for her to succeed and I was worried for her multiple times throughout the story. Her best friend, Jefferson, was so likeable though I could use a bit more focus on him in the next novel.

I became attached to the people Lee traveled with on the trail to California and I was as engaged with their stories as I was with Lee’s. I was very impressed with the depth Carson gave the secondary cast of characters.

You might be wondering if there was a romance? Not really though there will most likely be one as the series progresses. I was very much behind a couple though and I’m hoping my ship will sail (or there will be tears).

Final Thoughts:
I was very impressed with how beautiful and captivating Walk on Earth a Stranger was. Although the pacing was slow the story was easily able to keep my interest and I’m incredibly eager for the next book. I must know what happens next in Lee’s life!

Review of The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

The MiniaturistThe Miniaturist
By: Jessie Burton
Release Date: August 26th 2014
Publisher: Harper
Format: ARC/FC
Source: Publisher

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

This is an adult book so does contain some mature content. Also, be prepared for one instance of animal violence.

My Rating:
star

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