Review: Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne

Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne35721194

Published: May 1, 2018

Rating: 4/5


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.

Would I have enjoyed this book as much as I did if I didn’t absolutely adore Jane Eyre? Probably not. If you aren’t a fan of Jane Eyre, or aren’t familiar with the story, this book may seem a little out there. The writing does feel a bit juvenile, especially in the very beginning – I’d say probably for a younger YA audience.

There were a few plot twists that require a bit of a suspense of belief, and I can understand how people may get hung up on them: i.e. how did a 14 year old become  a captain of a ship? How were rats allowed to run around the ship? (Some things made my science-degree wielding self cringe).

When it comes down to it, I absolutely love anything Jane Eyre, and this wasn’t a bad retelling. Hugo and Stella’s relationship gave me ALL THE FEELS, and more than made up for any questionable plot points that arose. The author is currently writing a new book set it the same world that is a retelling of Persuasion (my absolute favorite classic) so you can imagine how excited I am!

Do you enjoy classic retellings?

Review: Wolf-Speaker

Wolf-Speaker by Tamora Pierce7123950

Series: Immortals #2

Published: January 1, 1993

Rating:★★★★ (4 Stars)


When Daine is summoned by the wolf pack that saved her life a year earlier, she knows she has to go. She and Numair travel to Dunlath Valley to answer the call. But when they arrive, Daine realizes with a shock that it’s not just the animals whose lives are threatened; people are in danger too. Dunlath’s rulers have discovered black opals in their valley and are dead set on mining the magic these stones embody. Daine learns that Dunlath’s lord and lady plan to use this power to overthrow King Jonathan — even if it means irreversibly damaging the land and killing their workers.

On a mission to save both her animal friends and her human ones, Daine has to master her wild magic in order to fight for the kingdom and triumph over the would-be usurpers.

I didn’t enjoy Book 2 in the Immortals series as much as I enjoyed Book 1, although in general Pierce’s writing is un-put-downable. There was a lot less action in Wolf-Speaker than in Wild Magic (review HERE), with more of the focus being on family structure and Daine discovering more about her powers.

I missed having Numair around interacting with Daine; however, his absence meant there was more focus on Daine’s personal growth. She was able to learn more about her animal control powers as well as shape shifting, which are things her mentor likely couldn’t have taught her much about anyway. These powers open up so much opportunity for what she can do in the future!

Wolves are some of my favorite animals, so exploring the pack structure from a “wolf’s” point of view was intriguing. With the level of detail, it was obvious that Pierce did her research on the topic. Even though Daine entering the minds of different animals was interesting, I’m excited for her to return to human civilization and use her powers to influence Tortallan history! I’ll definitely be picking up Book 3, The Emperor Mage, very soon.

Eliza and Her Monsters Review


Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

Published: May 30, 2017

Rating: 5/5


Her story is a phenomenon. Her life is a disaster.

In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, she’s LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of the wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves the online one, and she has no desire to try.

Then Wallace Warland, Monstrous Sea’s biggest fanfiction writer, transfers to her school. Wallace thinks Eliza is just another fan, and as he draws her out of her shell, she begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile.

But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart.

I picked up this book originally because it was all over instagram (before release) due to it being the Owlcrate monthly pick. I am sooo glad I took the time to preorder it because of all the awesome goodies the author gave out, because it is wonderful!

Eliza is a character I felt I related to, much like Cath in Fangirl (even though I am a perpetual reader, not a borderline-famous web writer). The struggles Eliza goes through with her family and her friends are ones that any young adult can relate to.

The romance is an interesting one because both parties are scarred or damaged in their own ways. The ability of Eliza and Wallace to simultaneously heal each other was a lovely thing to watch (or rather, read about).

The pictures of the web comic Eliza writes throughout the book (as well as snippets of the novel based on them) provides an intriguing background into the characters’ lives, and made me want to read the story! In fact, Zappia has made a teaser of it on Watt Pad in the hopes if enough viewers see it a publisher will pick it up (see it HERE)! It was also really cool that Eliza’s favorite book, Children of Hypnos, is actually a book that Zappia wrote and has on Watt Pad (see it HERE). I will definitely be checking that out soon.

If you’ve ever struggled with anxiety, or just like cute summer reads, go pickup this book!

Thank you for reading!

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