Book Review, Space, ya retelling

Book Review | BRIGHTLY BURNING, by Alexa Donne

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Brightly Burningby Alexa Donne

Publish Date: May 1, 2018
Published by: HMH Books for Young Readers
Pages: 391
Genre: YA Sci-Fi/Retelling
My Rating: ★★★★☆ (4 out of 5 stars)

**I received an egalley of this from the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest review.**


Seventeen-year-old Stella Ainsley wants just one thing: to go somewhere—anywhere—else. Her home is a floundering spaceship that offers few prospects, having been orbiting an ice-encased Earth for two hundred years. When a private ship hires her as a governess, Stella jumps at the chance. The captain of the Rochester, nineteen-year-old Hugo Fairfax, is notorious throughout the fleet for being a moody recluse and a drunk. But with Stella he’s kind.

But the Rochester harbors secrets: Stella is certain someone is trying to kill Hugo, and the more she discovers, the more questions she has about his role in a conspiracy threatening the fleet.

My Review:

I’ll be honest, I was not entirely sure I was going to be interested enough in this to actually request it, but something about the idea of Jane Eyre in space had me intrigued and kept me thinking about it. Going into the retelling, I had only a vague remembrance of what happened in the original novel (having read it about 12 years ago…wow has it really been that long?) so I didn’t sit there and worry about comparing things to the original, which was sort of nice. From the start this book definitely pulled me in quickly and had me unable to put it down the whole time I was reading it. Continue reading “Book Review | BRIGHTLY BURNING, by Alexa Donne”

Book Review, classics

Book Review | OLIVER TWIST, by Charles Dickens

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Oliver Twistby Charles Dickens

Publish Date: 1838
Published by: Open Road Media (Kindle Edition), Richard Bentley (original)
Pages: 446
Genre: Classic
My Rating: ★★☆☆☆ (2 out of 5 stars)

Synopsis (taken from the Barnes & Noble edition):

One of Dickens’s most popular novels, Oliver Twist is the story of a young orphan who dares to say, “Please, sir, I want some more.” After escaping from the dark and dismal workhouse where he was born, Oliver finds himself on the mean streets of Victorian-era London and is unwittingly recruited into a scabrous gang of scheming urchins. In this band of petty thieves Oliver encounters the extraordinary and vibrant characters who have captured readers’ imaginations for more than 150 years: the loathsome Fagin, the beautiful and tragic Nancy, the crafty Artful Dodger, and perhaps one of the greatest villains of all time—the terrifying Bill Sikes.

Rife with Dickens’s disturbing descriptions of street life, the novel is buoyed by the purity of the orphan Oliver. Though he is treated with cruelty and surrounded by coarseness for most of his life, his pious innocence leads him at last to salvation—and the shocking discovery of his true identity. 

My Review:

I know the Dickens is known for being tedious with words, but this book took forever for me to read. I loved A Tale of Two Cities when I read it in school, but maybe because there was some actual intrigue and plot that one was just more interesting to me. Continue reading “Book Review | OLIVER TWIST, by Charles Dickens”

Book Review, ya fantasy

Book Review | ACE OF SHADES, by Amanda Foody

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Ace of Shades (The Shadow Game #1)by Amanda Foody

Publish Date: April 10, 2018
Published by: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 416
Genre: YA Fantasy
My Rating: ★★★★★ (4.5 out of 5 stars)

**I received an egalley of this from the publisher through Edelweiss and NetGalley in return for an honest review.**


Welcome to the City of Sin, where casino families reign, gangs infest the streets…
and secrets hide in every shadow.

Enne Salta was raised as a proper young lady, and no lady would willingly visit New Reynes, the so-called City of Sin. But when her mother goes missing, Enne must leave her finishing school—and her reputation—behind to follow her mother’s trail to the city where no one survives uncorrupted.

Frightened and alone, her only lead is a name: Levi Glaisyer. Unfortunately, Levi is not the gentleman she expected—he’s a street lord and a con man. Levi is also only one payment away from cleaning up a rapidly unraveling investment scam, so he doesn’t have time to investigate a woman leading a dangerous double life. Enne’s offer of compensation, however, could be the solution to all his problems.

Their search for clues leads them through glamorous casinos, illicit cabarets and into the clutches of a ruthless mafia donna. As Enne unearths an impossible secret about her past, Levi’s enemies catch up to them, ensnaring him in a vicious execution game where the players always lose. To save him, Enne will need to surrender herself to the city…

And she’ll need to play.

My Review:

I knew as soon as I read the description of this book that it was going to be a must-read for me. And I knew as soon as I started it that I was going to love it. The atmosphere, the fantasy setting that mixes a 1920’s vibe with a very unique magic system, and of course the characters all pulled me into this enticing world and kept my attention throughout. Continue reading “Book Review | ACE OF SHADES, by Amanda Foody”

Book Review, Time Travel

Book Review | LIES, DAMNED LIES, AND HISTORY, by Jodi Taylor

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Lies, Damned Lies, and History (The Chronicles of St. Mary’s #7), by Jodi Taylor

Publish Date: May 19, 2016
Published by: Night Shade Books
Pages: 333
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
My Rating: ★★★★☆ (4 out of 5 stars)


Behind the seemingly innocuous facade of St. Mary’s Institute of Historical Research, a different kind of academic work is taking place. Just don’t call it “time travel”—these historians “investigate major historical events in contemporary time.” And they aren’t your harmless eccentrics either; a more accurate description, as they ricochet around history, might be unintentional disaster-magnets.

The Chronicles of St. Mary’s tells the chaotic adventures of Madeleine Maxwell and her compatriots—Director Bairstow, Leon “Chief” Farrell, Mr. Markham, and many more—as they travel through time, saving St. Mary’s (too often by the very seat of their pants) and thwarting time-travelling terrorists, all the while leaving plenty of time for tea.

“I’ve done some stupid things in my time. I’ve been reckless. I’ve broken a few rules. But never before have I ruined so many lives or left such a trail of destruction behind me.”

As Max would be the first to admit, she’s never been one for rules. But in Lies, Damned Lies, and History, she’s gone too far and now everyone is paying the price. Grounded until the end of time, how can she ever put things right?

My Review: Continue reading “Book Review | LIES, DAMNED LIES, AND HISTORY, by Jodi Taylor”

Book Review, ya historical fantasy

Book Review | DREAD NATION, by Justina Ireland

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Dread Nation (Dread Nation #1)by Justina Ireland

Publish Date: April 3, 2018
Published by: Balzer + Bray
Pages: 464
Genre: YA Fantasy/Historical Fiction
My Rating: ★★★★★ (5 out of 5 stars)

**I received an egalley of this from the publisher through Edelweiss in return for an honest review.**


Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville—derailing the War Between the States and changing America forever. In this new nation, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.

But that’s not a life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn’t pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose. But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies. And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems.

My Review:

This is one of those books that hooks you from the start and holds on tight throughout the story. I almost skipped reading it because I was falling behind on the egalleys I needed to read, but I am so glad I read the prologue “just to see how it was.” The writing was so immediately engrossing and spectacular that I knew I needed to continue. Justina Ireland has a voice that is distinct and radiant, and has created a unique story that is both thrilling and eye-opening. Continue reading “Book Review | DREAD NATION, by Justina Ireland”