InstaReview: My Lady Jane

[Caption] ✨Take history🇬🇧, magic and just a bit of comedy, and you’ve got the formula for My Lady Jane. Written by three authors – Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows – the story is told from three different perspective – King Edward, Lady Jane and Lord Gifford (call him G🐎). There are shapeshifters (Eðians), a dastardly plot, a jealous older sister, a lot of blueberries, a trip to France🇫🇷, quite a few misunderstandings, a tad too much of Edward’s perspective, but at its core, a love story.

It sounds like a lot, and it is a rather long book, but it went by surprisingly fast. In addition to the layer of fantasy, it takes a lot of liberties with the actual storyline of Lady Jane Grey and of King Edward. 👑

On a whole, it’s highly comical. The most endearing part of the story is the relationship between Lady Jane and G, I wish I knew who wrote their perspectives because I’d go out and buy their novels right away – especially G’s!

✨Take history🇬🇧, magic and just a bit of comedy, and you've got the formula for My Lady Jane. Written by three authors – Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows – the story is told from three different perspective – King Edward, Lady Jane and Lord Gifford (call him G🐎). There are shapeshifters (Eðians), a dastardly plot, a jealous older sister, a lot of blueberries, a trip to France🇫🇷, quite a few misunderstandings, a tad too much of Edward's perspective, but at its core, a love story. It sounds like a lot, and it is a rather long book, but it went by surprisingly fast. In addition to the layer of fantasy, it takes a lot of liberties with the actual storyline of Lady Jane Grey and of King Edward. 👑 On a whole, it's highly comical. The most endearing part of the story is the relationship between Lady Jane and G, I wish I knew who wrote their perspectives because I'd go out and buy their novels right away – especially G's! #bookstagram #books #bookish #booksofinstagram #instabook #booklover #bookworm #igreads #ilovebooks #bookaholic #readingaddict #bibliophile #instaread #reader #reading #read #readingaddict #bookphotography #bookphoto #instareview #bookreview #bookrecommendation #amreading #myladyjane #CynthiaHand #BrodiAshton #JodMeadows #youngadult #historicalfiction #ladyjanegrey #fantasy

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InstaReview: The Sun is Also a Star

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!

✨ 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 traveling 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. ⭐⭐⭐⭐ . . . #bookstagram #books #bookish #booksofinstagram #instabook #booklover #bookworm #igreads #ilovebooks #bookaholic #readingaddict #bibliophile #instaread #reader #reading #read #amreading #review #igreviews #bookreview #nicolayoon #thesunisalsoastar #immigration #romance #weneeddiversebooks #diversecity #jamaican #korean #manhattan #botm

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[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. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

~*~

InstaReview: By Your Side & On The Fence

[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”. ⭐⭐⭐⭐ .

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". ⭐⭐⭐⭐ . . #bookstagram #books #bookish #booksofinstagram #instabook #booklover #bookworm #igreads #ilovebooks #bookphotography #bookaholic #readingaddict #bibliophile #instaread #reader #reading #read #bookphoto #readingaddict #kasiewest #onthefence #byyourside #youngadult #ireadya #romance #contemporary #addictedtoreading #instareview

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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!

 

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

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[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. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 

~*~

 

InstaReview: Poison Study

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

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[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. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

~*~

Let Justice Roll Down by John Perkins

I’m on vacation!!! So, while I’m away, I’m going to be posting some things that I wrote in the past. Below is a review of the John Perkins book, Let Justice Roll Down, originally posted on my book blog. A great book about justice and what true justice in Christ looks like. If you have a chance, you should read it! 


“They were like savages – like some horror out of the night. And I can’t forget their faces, so twisted with hate. It was like looking at white-faced demons. Hate did that to them.
But you know, I couldn’t hate back. When I saw what hate had done to them, I couldn’t hate back. I could only pity them. I didn’t ever want hate to do to me what it has already done to those men.”

If anyone had a reason to hold on to hate, it’s John Perkins. In this biographical book, he outlines some of the major incidences where he witnessed and was faced with injustice. The way he handled these situations were surprising and thought provoking.

The beginning opens with the story of how his brother was killed. He continues by explaining the state of the church and his life (as well as his spirtual views), he shares his beliefs and how his experiences shaped his faith and ultimately his reaction to those around him. While standing up for the blacks in his community, he was wrongfully jailed and beaten, almost to death, yet he kept on living a faith-filled life.

This book was quite the emotional journey. It sheds light on the injustices of the not so distant past, a very important reminder for me and a way for me to better deal with the present. Let Justice Roll Down is a stark reminder of how we can hurt one another, even under the disguse of religion and truth. The quote above resonated deeply within me, and seemed to me to be a large theme running through the entire book. Hate turns a person into a savage. It’s easy to hate, to lash out and try to destroy those who hurt you, but how do you love them? And how does justice – the idea of fairness – fit into this?

His story leaves the reader with a lot to reflect on. I can’t stress how much I recommend that everyone read this book. It places you in an uncomfortable place, but I think that’s its worth.

Stuff I’m Liking

As Blog Every Day in April comes to an end – I can’t believe I actually did it – I wanted to wrap things up with a post about the things I’ve found myself liking during the month of April.

Stuff I’m Liking — BEDA Edition

Steampunk Jewelry. In particular, my new Golden Snitch with working clock necklace. I don’t know what it is about this sort of jewelry that appeals to me. Perhaps it’s because it looks delicate, while still being tough. Perhaps it’s that antique vibe that it gives off. I don’t know, I just like them.

I’ve also found out that one of my favourite jewelry makers has opened a new website with jewelry based on Holly Black’s Curse Breakers trilogy! I loved Vivian Hebel‘s Mortal Instruments shop, now I’m loving her Curse Breakers shop. I’m especially liking her White Cat pendant, I might be getting it in the near future. Though the Curse Breakers shop isn’t steampunk, I’m still loving her designs.


Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you might not know that I have a new phone and that I LOVE IT! My HTC Thunderbolt is by far my favourite gadget this month! I have been finding new ways to make it work for me, from reading books to counting calories, this phone almost does it all.

I love the camera, it takes some really great shots! I also love the different Google apps that integrate seamlessly with the phone. If you’ve been living at the top of a mountain all alone, you might not know that I do almost everything with Google, so having a phone like this is a major advantage for me. My new favourite Google app? Why, that would have to be the Google Goggles. It’s a lot of fun to play with, I can’t wait to use it some more!


Twice. That’s the number of times I’ve been to Alice’s Tea Cup. Thrice. That’s the number of times I’ve had tea this month. Scones, tea, sandwiches and sweets. Those are a few of my favourite things all rolled up into the Tea Time Meal, how could I not like it!? I even got myself a bag of loose leaf so that I could make my own tea at home and yes, I do own one of those tea balls


Some great things happened at my book review blog this month. First I decided to do a Maureen Johnson themed week, since I follow her obsessively on twitter, and I was looking forward to the release of her Last Little Blue Envelope book. Also, she’s the creator of BEDA, so, I suppose that pretty much means that I think she’s cool.

Themed week was a great success! First, I was able to see Maureen’s craziness in person when I attended the Zombies vs. Unicorns debate and so I posted that video to the blog and Maureen retweeted it! Also, I created a map showing all the places Ginny went during 13 Little Blue Envelopes which she loved and retweeted as well. So with the help of Maureen, my little book blog had 1,035 unique visitors during that week! That might not seem like a lot to all the popular bloggers out there, but to an obscure blog that’s just a pet project for a year, it’s golden.


As a person not quite into fashion, I still found this site to be so much fun that once I stumbled on to it I signed up!

Polyvore allows you to create layouts with different fashion styles as though you were doing a magazine spreads. It’s really fun just to play around in and think of different outfits and pieces that go together. You can even try to search for things you’ve recently purchased and find accessories for them. Definitely a time waster for me, but a fun one nonetheless.


Did you watch the Royal Wedding? Were you up at 4a.m. to do so? Well, hats off to you, I preferred to sleep in a bit and look at pictures/video clips later. It was a cute wedding, but for some reason, even though it was a public affair, I didn’t feel fascinated by it. They don’t care about me, just the revenue I give to them by supporting the wedding. It wasn’t amazing in any way, just a normal ceremony and service steeped in tradition. I suppose my mind wasn’t blown by anything that went on there, and I think the biggest reason for that was that it wasn’t a wedding for someone I know and love. People get married every day, so what’s the big deal here?

There is one aspect of the Royal Wedding that I did find interesting and that was the parade of hats! I’ve always loved hats. I wish they were back in style, I’d wear them everyday! But in lieu of hats, I love the fascinator! The one pictured there is from Dillards.com. I hope this is one style that begins to trend again.


So it’s been a long month, I’ve posted a total of 38 posts, at least one post every day so I deem this a success. I have successfully completed BEDA.

There were days where I struggled to figure out what write about and would browse my RSS feed for some inspiration. There were days where I had so much that I wanted to write but not enough time to do so. I doubt I’ll be able to keep this every day momentum up. However, it’s been fun. April has been better for it. So much so that I finally got the domain shanella.com! Woot!

Fare thee well and have a lovely May.