InstaReview: Jackaby & The Distance Between us

Starting the year with a good read really sets the tone for the rest of the year. So, I was very pleased that this year started with two very good reads in two completely different genres!

 

View this post on Instagram

Started the year with two great reads! . . First, The Distance Between Us by @kasiewest. 💏 This is my second read from Kasie West after reading P.S. I Like You. I was nervous. I rather YA fantasy novels, so when I read contemporary I'm always a little cautious going into it. Luckily, The Distance Between Us did not let me down. It was adorable and, even though it had its angsty moments where I wanted to kindly ask Caymen to please speak to her mom, it was overall believable and quite enjoyable.⭐⭐⭐⭐ . . Then there was Jackaby by William Ritter. ✨🤔 🕵️‍♀️ If you took today's BBC Sherlock, changed the setting to America, changed the time back to the time of the original Sherlock Holmes. Keep the cleverness and repartee, but add just the right amount of fantastic creatures, then you've got Jackaby. It was enthralling from beginning to end. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ . . . #bookstagram #books #bookish #booksofinstagram #instabook #booklover #bookworm #igreads #ilovebooks #bookaholic #readingaddict #bibliophile #instaread #reader #reading #read #amreading #thedistancebetweenus #jackaby #williamritter #kasiewest #review #igreview #bookreview #ebook #kindlereads #kindle #reading #sherlock

A post shared by Shanella (@ishanella) on

[Caption] Started the year with two great reads!First, The Distance Between Us by

First, The Distance Between Us by @kasiewest. 💏 This is my second read from Kasie West after reading P.S. I Like You. I was nervous. I rather YA fantasy novels, so when I read contemporary I’m always a little cautious going into it. Luckily, The Distance Between Us did not let me down. It was adorable and, even though it had its angsty moments where I wanted to kindly ask Caymen to please speak to her mom, it was overall believable and quite enjoyable.⭐⭐⭐⭐  

Then there was Jackaby by William Ritter. ✨🤔 🕵️‍♀️ If you took today’s BBC Sherlock, changed the setting to America, changed the time back to the time of the original Sherlock Holmes. Keep the cleverness and repartee, but add just the right amount of fantastic creatures, then you’ve got Jackaby. It was enthralling from beginning to end. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 

~*~

 

Advertisements

… written by Libba Bray

 

5795564720_98a2bc4e19_z

Libba Bray @ The Scholastic Store in SoHo

 

After reading the Gemma Doyle trilogy, I was absolutely enthralled with Libba Bray‘s storytelling style. It was imaginative, it was magical, it sucked me in and made me struggle to take my time to savour the tale because I wanted, so badly, to devour it.

Later, I picked up her Going Bovine standalone and was both impressed and perplexed. Perplexed with the surrealness of the story itself (what’s real/what’s in his head), and impressed by her ability to string the absolutely absurd together in such a way that makes you want to keep on reading.

Then, Beauty Queens was released by Scholastic and I was privileged to attend a signing done at the Scholastic Store (pictured above). Beauty Queens was satire and wit. There are a lot of characters, but they never felt flat. It’s definitely absurd, but that absurdity helps to expose the reader to a thoughtful narrative on popular culture, and modern society.

From this point, I pretty much vowed to buy everything Libba released, so when The Diviners came out, I was ready for anything. The Diviners had a lot of things I loved; the roaring 20s, mystery and a touch of the supernatural. Ok, a lot of the supernatural, so much so that I stopped reading this book before I went to bed because it was hard to turn off my imaginings. The main protagonist (Evie) was self-centered, and while I am not a fan of books with main characters like that, she didn’t annoy me as much as I thought she would (though she tried to really hard in the end).

So, after reading an 1800s fantasy series set in England, a surreal dark comedy set in NOLA, an absurd satire, and a 1920s paranormal/historical series set in New York, I think it’s safe to say that Libba Bray is a versatile author; and I’m probably still going to read everything she publishes.

~*~

InstaReview: Poison Study

View this post on Instagram

Poison Study, by Maria V. Snyder, was a thrilling fantasy novel. It's got mystery, a brilliant assassin and a protagonist who is witty, loyal and just trying to stay alive. While it was long, it was never boring. Yelena was a strong female lead, capable of looking after herself. Valek, a complex and brilliant partner to Yelena. He was ruthless until the end and completely loyal to his Captain and cause. Absolutely no insta-love, no love triangle, no hyper-focus on romance while Yelena is fighting (often times, literally) to survive. Which left ample room for character development and world-building. My only complaint is General Brazell. As an antagonist he was cartoonish, and I'm still puzzled why he bothered educating his orphans, especially after we see how he got away with a few other incidences that I cannot get into because, spoilers! I have my theories, but I'd be curious what other readers think. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ . . #bookstagram #books #bookish #booksofinstagram #instabook #booklover #bookworm #igreads #ilovebooks #bookaholic #readingaddict #bibliophile #instaread #reader #reading #read #readingaddict #amreading #bookaddict #review #bookreview #poisonstudy #mariavsnyder #fantasy #strongheroine #leadingfemale #needmorefantasylikethis #thankgoodnessnoinstalove #absolutelynolovetriangles #seriouslygoodread

A post shared by Shanella (@ishanella) on

[Caption] Poison Study, by Maria V. Snyder, was a thrilling fantasy novel. It’s got mystery, a brilliant assassin and a protagonist who is witty, loyal and just trying to stay alive. While it was long, it was never boring.

Yelena was a strong female lead, capable of looking after herself. Valek, a complex and brilliant partner to Yelena. He was ruthless until the end and completely loyal to his Captain and cause. Absolutely no insta-love, no love triangle, no hyper-focus on romance while Yelena is fighting (often times, literally) to survive. Which left ample room for character development and world-building.

My only complaint is General Brazell. As an antagonist he was cartoonish, and I’m still puzzled why he bothered educating his orphans, especially after we see how he got away with a few other incidences that I cannot get into because, spoilers! I have my theories, but I’d be curious what other readers think. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

~*~

InstaReview: Emmy and Oliver

I’ve started a new thing on my Instagram where I write short reviews about books to which I would give 4 or 5 stars. I started this mostly because I didn’t want to write long reviews (read, I’m lazy), but I also wanted to share the books I really enjoyed reading with as many people as possible, and for me, Instagram is one of those social platforms that I use the most, publicly.

View this post on Instagram

Emmy & Oliver 👫 is a story about family, friendship and how a town is affected by a shocking crime. Emmy and Oliver were neighbours and best friends when Oliver was kidnapped by his dad. Ten years after the incident, Oliver is found in New York and brought back home, but things cannot go back to the way they were because in ten years a lot has changed. Robin Benway did a fantastic job showing the way the main characters were affected by the incident. Emmy's family became overprotective, Oliver's mom hysterical, and Oliver himself had a completely different perspective on the incident. I was pleased with the friendships (outside of Emmy and Oliver) but, I wished we saw more. When Oliver reappeared it was as though Emmy's other friends took a backseat. After reading this book I did listen to a few more Beatles songs. (Hello, Goodbye anyone?) It's a quick and sweet read, but grab some tissues, just in case. ⭐⭐⭐⭐ . . #bookstagram #books #bookish #booksofinstagram #instabook #booklover #bookworm #igreads #ilovebooks #bookaholic #readingaddict #bibliophile #instaread #reader #reading #read #readingaddict #amreading #bookaddict #emmyandoliver #robinbenway #review #bookreview

A post shared by Shanella (@ishanella) on

[Caption] Emmy & Oliver 👫  is a story about family, friendship and how a town is affected by a shocking crime.

Emmy and Oliver were neighbours and best friends when Oliver was kidnapped by his dad. Ten years after the incident, Oliver is found in New York and brought back home, but things cannot go back to the way they were because in ten years a lot has changed.

Robin Benway did a fantastic job showing the way the main characters were affected by the incident. Emmy’s family became overprotective, Oliver’s mom hysterical, and Oliver himself had a completely different perspective on the incident. I was pleased with the friendships (outside of Emmy and Oliver) but, I wished we saw more. When Oliver reappeared it was as though Emmy’s other friends took a backseat.

After reading this book I did listen to a few more Beatles songs. (Hello, Goodbye anyone?) It’s a quick and sweet read but grab some tissues, just in case. ⭐⭐⭐⭐ .

~*~

It’s all about Time

Ruby Red trilogy by Kerstin Gier

rubyred

One of my favourite series – that incorporates time-travel – hails from Germany. In the Ruby Red (or Precious Stone) trilogy the travellers have a gene that caused them to travel back in time. All her life, Gwyneth thought her cousin Charlotte had this gene, until (of course) they realise that Gwen is the one who carries the gene.

The trilogy is well paced, has a good mystery that keeps you engaged the entire way through the story, and of course, a little bit of romance. This trilogy is one of my favourites for a few reasons:  Continue reading

…written by Jessica Warman

I discovered Jessica Warman’s books during my very first BEA. When I read YA, I tend to lean towards the Fantasy stories, and there are very few authors whose books attract me from that section. Jessica Warman’s Between was one of those books.

It’s set in the afterlife, where a girl is trying to figure out how she died and perhaps find some peace, at first I was skeptical about Between – especially since the protagonist wasn’t a likeable character. However, I was blown away, and when I had the opportunity to read Beautiful Lies, I practically jumped at it! Once more she did not disappoint.

In Beautiful Lies, two sisters – twins – go to the amusement park and only one comes home. The search for the missing sister commences and a mystery unravels.

While I still read mostly fantasy YA novels, Jessica Warman is one of the few authors I’ll deviate for.

… written by Diana Peterfreund

One of the most underrated writers I’ve read has to be Diana Peterfreund. I’ve read a few of her works and I LOVED them! But you don’t hear a whole lot of hype around her books.

In her Rampant series, she imagined a world where unicorns are not cute and cuddly, but highly dangerous, and only a certain group of girls can keep the beasts in check.

In her Stars series, she imagined world ruined by unchecked advanced technology, where society tries to strike a balance between what is what is good and what is dangerous while dealing with the descendants of those who were negatively affected by the bad technology. Does that make your head ache? Well, she does this while using two fantastic stories for her base plot, Jane Austen’s Persuasion and Baroness Orczy’s The Scarlet Pimpernel, and she executes it well.

Her first book in this series, For Darkness Shows the Stars, is one of my absolute favourites! I go back to different passages in that book from time to time – it does help that Persuasion is one of my favourite Jane Austen books.

I also appreciate that she doesn’t give you a lot of info-dumps while trying to get you to understand her worlds. I enjoy the fact that her stories are so vastly different and her worlds enchanting.