There was a part of me that assumed I couldn’t travel on my own, and it was that part of me that I wanted to challenge. Travelling with friends is fun – as long as you and the friends are compatible travelling companions, and I’m lucky to have some good friends that are great travel buddies. Still, I wondered what it would be like to set my own pace, to wake up at 11 am and spend three hours wandering a museum or sitting in a park reading a newly purchased book from the local bookstore, simply because I fancied doing so at the time. So, when I was started feeling a deep desire to spend time alone, I took a random weekend trip to Philadelphia.
I had to set goals, I wanted to see two places of interest, the Liberty Bell and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and I wanted to visit at least one local bookstore – if I purchase something, that would be a plus!
After arriving by Amtrak on Friday afternoon, making my way to my Airbnb for the weekend (in the heart of the city!) and finding some cheesesteak at Reading Terminal Market, I decided to map out my weekend. The next day I’d try to visit the Liberty Bell and take a walk across town to the museum, then the following day it would be bookstores and shops. Continue reading
You’ve got your dragons, sassy heroine and dashing hero; but layer that on top of Pride and Prejudice and set it in an alternative historical time and you’ve got quite a fantastic novel.
[Caption] If you like good retellings, Pride and Prejudice, and dragons, then you’ll enjoy Heartstone by Elle Katharine White.
Overlaying the well-known plot is a story of Riders and their dragons🐲 (or wyverns🐉, or other mythical creatures) who defend the country from Tekari (mythical creatures who don’t care much for humans). There is a lot of history there, and while I do love a good retelling, I did wonder what would have happened if the story veered just a little, and expanded outside the scope of the P&P plot. The politics could have been intriguing, and the dragon training and bonding could have made for an exciting read.
However, keeping to the limits of P&P I’m pleased with the direction the book takes. Aliza is as witty and intelligent as Elizabeth, and Daired just as caring under a snooty exterior as Darcy. The addition of the dragons did add another dynamic to the story and Akarra turned out to be my favourite characters. 🐲
I would have loved to see a bit more regarding the change in character of Daired – we definitely saw a good deal in Aliza, more than we did in the original P&P books. I’d like to know more about the hobgoblins in the garden of a certain stately house and the mysterious Pan. About Carlyle and what happened to him. And how Mari could know certain things about these creatures, but the fighters didn’t. I suppose White could have gone on building the world and expanding, but that might have made for a much longer book, so perhaps that was a good choice to keep it concise. However, I hope there are more stories set in this world. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Every since I read the NTY article on it, I have been intrigued with the 36 questions that gave you an intimate look into anyone’s life – even strangers. Just the idea of it was really intriguing, so, after reading rave reviews about The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon, and the fact that she integrated this study in her story, I had to add it to my TBR pile. Then, after seeing that it was one of the BOTM picks, I had to get it!
[Caption] ✨ The Sun is Also a Star, ☀️ by Nicola Yoon is part humour, part tear-jerker and overall brilliant. It’s told from the perspectives of Natasha 🇯🇲 and Daniel 🇰🇷🇺🇸, with a smattering of stories from the people who shifted their paths during the day they first met.
There were times where I found myself wondering about the seemingly endless day of travelling around Manhattan – no “train traffic up ahead”? – and a few times where I had to go back to see who was telling the story; but after getting into the rhythm of the storytelling, I found myself engrossed, until the last tearful sentence. Seriously, read the last few chapters at home.
This book is more than just a romantic tale (cheers on the great use of the 36 Questions to Fall in Love article). The characters are diverse and their interactions felt real, and that’s what makes me love it so much. It could be the story of someone I know. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
[Caption – formatted] A look at two @kasiewest novels that I read recently – By Your Side & On the Fence. 💏
In By Your Side, Autumn, who has protective parents, managed to gain their approvals to go away with her friends for the long weekend. Unfortunately, she’s stuck in the library 📚 with no phone 📵, and Dax – the anti-social assumed violent guy 💪 from her school.
It was EXTREMELY difficult to believe that one could be stuck in a public place like this. Won’t doors open from the inside? Regardless, the story was engaging and the situation allowed them both to be vulnerable with each other. Of all the Kasie West novels I’ve read, this one saw a lot more character growth – them having to reveal parts of themselves to each other that no one else sees, and in Autumn’s case, to her friends
On the Fence was a “girl/guy next door” read. Growing up without a mother and in a house filled with a cop father and brothers, Charlotte (call her Charlie 🏀) was accustomed to being one of the guys. 🏈 Even with Braden – their next door neighbour. But, things change when they start having late night chats by the fence.
This particular plot was perpetually moving, never a slow/dull moment. Some of the characters from previous Kasie West novels made an appearance. There was that trademark banter that I’ve come to enjoy from Kasie West’s novels, but I also loved the family dynamics in this one
Overall, I’d call both of these “adorable beach reads”. ⭐⭐⭐⭐ .
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!
[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. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐