02 April 2018

Review: Jane Eyre (Manga Classics)

Title: Jane Eyre
Author: Charlotte Brontë
Publication Date (Manga Edition): Nov. 15, 2016
Find: Amazon | Goodreads

As an orphaned child, Jane Eyre is first cruelly abused by her aunt, then cast out and sent to a charity school. Though she meets with further abuse, she receives an education, and eventually takes a job as a governess at the estate of Edward Rochester. Jane and Rochester begin to bond, but his dark moods trouble her. When Jane uncovers the terrible secret Rochester has been hiding, she flees and finds temporary refuge at the home of St. John Rivers.

Charlotte Brontë was a British novelist, the eldest out of the three famous Brontë sisters whose novels have become standards of English literature. See also Emily Brontë and Anne Brontë.

Charlotte Brontë was born in Thornton, Yorkshire, England, the third of six children, to Patrick Brontë (formerly "Patrick Brunty"), an Irish Anglican clergyman, and his wife, Maria Branwell. In April 1820 the family moved a few miles to Haworth, a remote town on the Yorkshire moors, where Patrick had been appointed Perpetual Curate. This is where the Brontë children would spend most of their lives. Maria Branwell Brontë died from what was thought to be cancer on 15 September 1821, leaving five daughters and a son to the care of her spinster sister Elizabeth Branwell, who moved to Yorkshire to help the family.

In August 1824 Charlotte, along with her sisters Emily, Maria, and Elizabeth, was sent to the Clergy Daughters' School at Cowan Bridge in Lancashire, a new school for the daughters of poor clergyman (which she would describe as Lowood School in Jane Eyre). The school was a horrific experience for the girls and conditions were appalling. They were regularly deprived of food, beaten by teachers and humiliated for the slightest error. The school was unheated and the pupils slept two to a bed for warmth. Seven pupils died in a typhus epidemic that swept the school and all four of the Brontë girls became very ill - Maria and Elizabeth dying of tuberculosis in 1825. Her experiences at the school deeply affected Brontë - her health never recovered and she immortalised the cruel and brutal treatment in her novel, Jane Eyre. Following the tragedy, their father withdrew his daughters from the school.

At home in Haworth Parsonage, Charlotte and the other surviving children — Branwell, Emily, and Anne — continued their ad-hoc education. In 1826 her father returned home with a box of toy soldiers for Branwell. They would prove the catalyst for the sisters' extraordinary creative development as they immediately set to creating lives and characters for the soldiers, inventing a world for them which the siblings called 'Angria'. The siblings became addicted to writing, creating stories, poetry and plays. Brontë later said that the reason for this burst of creativity was that:

'We were wholly dependent on ourselves and each other, on books and study, for the enjoyments and occupations of life. The highest stimulus, as well as the liveliest pleasure we had known from childhood upwards, lay in attempts at literary composition.'

After her father began to suffer from a lung disorder, Charlotte was again sent to school to complete her education at Roe Head school in Mirfield from 1831 to 1832, where she met her lifelong friends and correspondents, Ellen Nussey and Mary Taylor. During this period (1833), she wrote her novella The Green Dwarf under the name of Wellesley. The school was extremely small with only ten pupils meaning the top floor was completely unused and believed to be supposedly haunted by the ghost of a young lady dressed in silk. This story fascinated Brontë and inspired the figure of Mrs Rochester in Jane Eyre.

Brontë left the school after a few years, however she swiftly returned in 1835 to take up a position as a teacher, and used her wages to pay for Emily and Anne to be taught at the school. However, teaching did not appeal to Brontë and in 1838 she left Roe Head to become a governess to the Sidgewick family - this was partly from a sense of adventure and a desire to see the world, and partly from financial necessity.

Charlotte became pregnant soon after her wedding, but her health declined rapidly and, according to Gaskell, she was attacked by "sensations of perpetual nausea and ever-recurring faintness." She died, with her unborn child, on 31 March 1855, aged 38. .

As Jane Eyre is one of my all-time favorite books EVER, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to read this version when I saw it on NetGalley. I mean, Jane Eyre with pictures?!

This is my first ever Manga Classics read and I have to say, they did an amazing job! The story isn't in it's entirety, but the writers managed to keep the integrity of the original story and include all of the most important elements.

Whether you have never read Jane Eyre and would like to start with this version, or if you're like me and have read it several times--I suggest grabbing a copy of this amazing read!

20 March 2018

Cosplay Tour & Giveaway: Tiger's Dream by Colleen Houck

Title: Tiger's Dream (Tiger Saga #5)
Author: Colleen Houck
Publication Date: Mar. 20, 2018
Find: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Goodreads
A tiger left behind.

A goddess in need of an ally.

Stranded in a time and place he never wished for, Kishan Rajaram must carry out his destiny of assisting the beautiful yet extremely irritable goddess Durga. This daunting task is not made easy by the fact that he must also face the truth about the girl he loves and the brother who stole her away.

When the wily shaman Phet appears and tells Kishan that Kelsey needs him, he jumps at the chance to see her again. In his efforts to save her, Kishan discovers that the curse he thought was over is just beginning. As time unravels around him, Kishan realizes that the fates of all those he holds dear lie in hands.

The goddess’s power hangs in the balance. Kishan has no choice but to sacrifice the unthinkable to fight the dark forces swirling around the woman he’s charged to protect. As he does, he discovers that love and loyalty create their own magic and accepts that he must decide his destiny once and for all.

Tiger’s Dream is the conclusion to the epic Tiger’s Curse fantasy romance series that left you breathless.

New York Times Bestselling author Colleen Houck is a lifelong reader whose literary interests include action, adventure, paranormal, science fiction, and romance. When she’s not busy writing, she likes to spend time chatting on the phone with one of her six siblings, watching plays, and shopping online. Colleen has lived in Arizona, Idaho, Utah, California, and North Carolina and is now permanently settled in Salem, Oregon with her husband and a huge assortment of plush tigers.

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

I need to warn you ahead of time, if you haven't read the any of the preceding books in the Tiger Saga, I wouldn't read this review--unless you don't mind spoilers, of course. I won't spoil any of the surprises from Tiger's Dream, but I will be referencing the other books in the series... You've been warned.

To say that I've been waiting for the whole Tiger Saga to be published for awhile, would be an understatement. I fell in love with these books not long after Colleen Houck self-published Tiger's Curse. I actually, proudly, own signed copies of the first two with the old covers that I won in a contest. Not bragging or anything. It's actually really funny. I entered several of Ms. Houck's first Twitter contests years ago and kept winning because I had notifications sent to my phone every time she would post. Finally, to make things fair, Colleen asked me how I kept winning so that she could share it with other fans. I will never forget how excited I was to talk to my FAVORITE AUTHOR!!!

When I realized that I would be able to read Dream before it was released, I can't even express my excitement!

Here's the thing... All of us that love the series know that Ren and Kelsey were just meant-to-be from the very beginning. We all know that Kishan, however, was just as amazing and wonderful as Ren... He just needed a different girl. Kelsey was never meant to be his. Poor Kishan.

Dream picks up right after Tiger's Destiny, which ends with Ren and Kelsey happily-ever-after and poor Kishan stuck in the past as the goddess, Durga's, tiger. Or, Anamika's tiger. Seeing as how they are one and the same. You get a sense from the beginning that if Kishan could just let go of his romantic love for Kelsey and move on, Ana would be the perfect match for him. But, you know, these things are never that simple, are they?

I made sure to reread the whole Tiger Saga before I started on Dream. I wanted to make sure it was all fresh for me. Amazingly, even though I've read them all quite a few times already, I still needed the refresher as I would've missed some things from Dream that I had forgotten about.

Ms. Houck has been promising that Dream would be the book to answer all of our questions from the whole of the series. Honestly, though--Dream answers questions that I didn't realize I should've been asking. There are so. many. intricate. details. Things that happen in the rest of the series, that seen from Kishan's point-of-view will change the way I read these books forever. It's like a veil has been lifted. Behind that veil? The genius that is Colleen Houck.

I'm not just saying this to blow smoke. It's true, people. Ms. Houck had all these little things planned from the very beginning and I don't have a clue as to how. How everything just falls into place and makes SO MUCH SENSE now. I felt so good after reading Destiny. Like, I can die happy now because Ren + Kelsey = 4ever and all of that sappiness. Buuuuut, please. Anyone who doesn't also read Dream would be shortchanging themselves. If you're worried it won't be like the others because there's no Ren and Kelsey... Or any of the other characters, rest assured. They are there. Not in the same capacity, of course, as this is Kishan's story--but there were some great moments with some of our favorite characters.

So, do yourself a favor, read Tiger's Dream (after you've read all the others, of course), and then bask in the fact that that is how one writes a book series.

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09 March 2018

Review: Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

Title: Wintersong (Wintersong #1)
Author: S. Jae-Jones
Publication Date: Feb. 7, 2017
Find: Amazon | Goodreads
Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell.

All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.

But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.

Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.

28 February 2018

Review: A Darker Shade of Magic

Title: A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1)
Author: V.E. Schwab
Publication Date: Feb. 24, 2015
Find: Amazon | Goodreads
Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.

Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they'll never see. It's a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they'll first need to stay alive.

23 February 2018

Hunted: Review

Title: Hunted
Author: Meagan Spooner
Publication Date: Mar. 14, 2017
Find: Amazon | Goodreads
Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them.

So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance.

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?