Ironskin (#1) by Tina Connolly

Ironskin (#1) by Tina Connolly

Ironskin (Ironskin, #1)

Goodreads Summary: Jane Eliot wears an iron mask.
It’s the only way to contain the fey curse that scars her cheek. The Great War is five years gone, but its scattered victims remain—the ironskin.
When a carefully worded listing appears for a governess to assist with a “delicate situation”—a child born during the Great War—Jane is certain the child is fey-cursed, and that she can help.
Teaching the unruly Dorie to suppress her curse is hard enough; she certainly didn’t expect to fall for the girl’s father, the enigmatic artist Edward Rochart. But her blossoming crush is stifled by her own scars, and by his parade of women. Ugly women, who enter his closed studio…and come out as beautiful as the fey.
Jane knows Rochart cannot love her, just as she knows that she must wear iron for the rest of her life. But what if neither of these things is true? Step by step Jane unlocks the secrets of her new life—and discovers just how far she will go to become whole again.

My review: I read this book for class, yes I know, we read a lot of books. Anyway, I wasn’t sure what to think about it and I still honestly don’t know if I liked it or not. It was definitely an interesting twist on Jane Eyre, one of my favorite books of all time, and I was kind of nervous to read about Jane Eyre in a magical world. It was ehh. It was a quick read, quicker than the original Jane Eyre that’s for sure, but the only thing new about it was that there are fey in this world and magic which is awesome, but I don’t think it needed to be a Jane Eyre transformation.

The characters were basically the same, some had different names. Jane Elliot in this book is Jane Eyre (Jane Eyre goes by Jane Elliot when she runs away so that was fun to pick up on), Edward Rochart is Edward Rochester, and the similarities keep coming. The only odd thing was that Connolly decided to keep Helen alive as Jane’s sister which was an interesting choice. The little girl Jane is a governess for was also really important in this book, like the entire book revolved around her for the most part which was kind of entertaining even though the plot wasn’t very developed.

The plot was somehow extremely similar to Jane Eyre (even though it is a fantasy), meaning there wasn’t much to it. Jane is a governess, she watches a little girl, she might be falling in love with Edward so she leaves for awhile, she comes back and something bad happens and then Jane and Edward are in love and there is a happy ending (even though this book is the first in a trilogy I feel like it could have ended with this book). There is never romantic development, it’s like “I’ve talked to him three times but BAM I love him” and I know that’s how the original Jane Eyre was but I feel like this book could have explored that more. There was also so much room for a plot line, the author could have done so much with this but she stuck to the Jane Eyre plot which was kind of disappointing.

This book was okay, but definitely did not live up to Jane Eyre in my mind. Maybe I’m biased, you can give this book a try. It was fun and adorable and a quick read but I don’t think I’ll be picking up the next books in the trilogy anytime soon.

You can buy Ironskin here.

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The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King

The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King

The Beekeeper's Apprentice (Mary Russell, #1)

Goodreads Summary: Long retired, Sherlock Holmes quietly pursues his study of honeybee behavior on the Sussex Downs. He never imagines he would encounter anyone whose intellect matched his own, much less an audacious teenage girl with a penchant for detection. Miss Mary Russell becomes Holmes’ pupil and quickly hones her talent for deduction, disguises and danger. But when an elusive villain enters the picture, their partnership is put to a real test.

My Review: I read this book for a class and it could not have come at a more perfect time because it’s a spinoff of Sherlock Holmes and I have recently become obsessed with Sherlock Holmes, especially the show Sherlock by BBC. This post may be full of Sherlock GIFs because 1-I love Sherlock and it just makes sense in this review and 2-because I finally learned how to use GIFs!

I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect with this book because there are so many books/shows/movies that have taken the original Sherlock Holmes and made modern stories but this book was actually pretty good. It started off a bit slow for me but eventually picked up. The way this book was structured was intro (characters developed, initial plot developed, etc.) which lasted a bit too long for my taste because nothing happened for awhile. Then one plot started which was basically the first mystery and it was about stolen ham and possible treason which is not exciting in my opinion. I have read a few mystery books including an original Holmes book by Doyle and I enjoy reading murder mysteries, not theft. This plot made me hesitant to read the rest of the book because I was afraid it was going to turn into a Nancy Drew type novel but the book picked up soon after the first plot. New mysteries were introduced, including a murder and the book was much faster from there on out.

The main character, Mary Russell was fun to read about. I haven’t read too many stories with a girl who is this smart and a detective so it was something new for me and I liked that. Sherlock Holmes, always a joy to read about, was not my favorite character in this book. King was going for a feminist approach with this book which is fine, I try not to pay attention to that, but it was so obvious that it took away from Sherlock! In order to make Mary Russell, the main girl seem smarter, she made Sherlock miss clues and to make girls seem needed or powerful–I don’t know–she made Sherlock love. I cannot explain how wrong this is. If you have never read or seen anything Sherlock related, you should broaden your horizons, but really, Sherlock is a sociopath who does not care for anyone except John Watson arguably, and the fact that he has so much feeling for Mary Russell is disappointing because I love his lack of depth when it comes to people. I don’t really think Sherlock was a necessary part of this story and it may have been better without him.

This book isn’t normally something I would have chosen for myself because there is no magic or romance or any qualities that I normally look for when I choose a new book to read but I enjoyed it after the pace picked itself up. If you like Sherlock and feel like you need a new mystery then I would recommend this for you. If you are like me and love fantasy or anything like that, you may get bored of this book pretty quickly. Even though I liked it, I will probably not read the next 11 books in the series, yes, 11.

You can buy The Beekeeper’s Apprentice here.

Four: A Divergent Story Collection by Veronica Roth

Four: A Divergent Story Collection by Veronica Roth

Four: A Divergent Story Collection (Divergent, #0.1 - 0.4)

Goodreads Summary: Two years before Beatrice Prior made her choice, the sixteen-year-old son of Abnegation’s faction leader did the same. Tobias’s transfer to Dauntless is a chance to begin again. Here, he will not be called the name his parents gave him. Here, he will not let fear turn him into a cowering child.
Newly christened “Four,” he discovers during initiation that he will succeed in Dauntless. Initiation is only the beginning, though; Four must claim his place in the Dauntless hierarchy. His decisions will affect future initiates as well as uncover secrets that could threaten his own future—and the future of the entire faction system.
Two years later, Four is poised to take action, but the course is still unclear. The first new initiate who jumps into the net might change all that. With her, the way to righting their world might become clear. With her, it might become possible to be Tobias once again.

My Review: I have had this book on hold since the end of July and I finally got it and I was so excited to finally get to read it. Basically it had four short stories (ha ha four) and I was kind of afraid it was just going to be sections of the divergent series from Four’s point of view which I wouldn’t really want to read to be honest because it would have probably depressed me–if you have read the entire series then you understand what I’m talking about and if you haven’t, well get on it. Anyway, this book was almost entirely before Four met Tris and I really enjoyed *was obsessed with* this book.

The short stories really developed Tobias and made me fall in love with him even more than I already am which is impressive so go Roth! I never really understood his past, I knew what he came from but this book dove into his life and I love that Roth decided to do this even after the Divergent series concluded. I also love how in the very last short story, Tris was in half of it because I may have been upset if she never was since she was such a huge part of Tobias’s life.

This book exceeded all of my expectations and I am so glad I finally got to read it and it made me want to re read her entire Divergent series because it was just that good. If you liked Divergent I definitely recommend this book!

You can buy Four here. You can also buy each short story separately on Amazon.

The Pandora Chronicles #1 by Ryan Attard

The Pandora Chronicles #1 by Ryan Attard

The Pandora Chronicles (The Pandora Chronicles, #1)

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads Summary: A nomadic alien species found itself trapped on a new-born Earth billions of years ago. And they were here just long enough to leave a legacy behind – buried in our DNA.
1713 – Captain Jack Finnegan’s remarkable success as a pirate and privateer turns out to be something much deeper. He’ll need all of his wits, and a bit more, to survive his quest for the powerful relic left behind by the gods.
2012 – The famous archaeologist Nick Solomon never could pass up a good adventure, especially not the search for a mysterious artifact. He’d just prefer not being stuck between a crime lord, a secret government agency, and the past he’s tried so hard to forget.

I received this book over a month ago via email and I am so sorry it took me so long to read it, I hardly ever have time to read anything that isn’t for school.

My review: This book seemed to me something that I would not normally read because pirates? and the time period of the 18th century but I decided to give it a read anyway.

This book wasn’t quite for me. The story line was definitely unique and I’m glad that there are still authors who can create an entirely new plot and I liked that the story kept me wondering how everything was going to connect together. However, I now know that I am not a huge fan of reading about pirates in general, even if there are aliens involved. There were also sections of the book that were just hard to get through because the sentences were worded so awkwardly. Luckily, the story made up for that so it was easy to just push through those few sections.

The 1700s characters were easier to connect to for some reason. I felt myself rooting for the romance even though it was a bit awkwardly described…I’ll leave that sentence open to interpretation. I worried more about what was going to happen to the characters even though I wasn’t a huge fan of the pirate thing, but that was not the author’s fault, I just don’t like pirates I guess.

The more modern portion of the book was okay. There were so many sexual jokes that I didn’t care for because it had nothing to do with the plot and it made me dislike the main character. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t supposed to dislike the Professor but I found myself not liking him throughout the story and even so as his character developed. He was a 30 year old man who acted like a college freshman and even though he was kind of the hero, I didn’t understand if he was helping the government or the other group of people.

The whole alien God thing was cool and definitely an interesting aspect of the book.

This book was okay, I wouldn’t want to read another book like it but if you are a person who likes pirates mixed with scifi and aliens then this book is totally for you because it is super unique and pretty well developed. Heads up: this is definitely not a childrens book.

You can buy book one of the Pandora Chronicles here.

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

The Goose Girl (The Books of Bayern, #1)

Goodreads Summary: Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, Crown Princess of Kildenree, spends the first years of her life under her aunt’s guidance learning to communicate with animals. As she grows up Ani develops the skills of animal speech, but is never comfortable speaking with people, so when her silver-tongued lady-in-waiting leads a mutiny during Ani’s journey to be married in a foreign land, Ani is helpless and cannot persuade anyone to assist her.
Becoming a goose girl for the king, Ani eventually uses her own special, nearly magical powers to find her way to her true destiny. Shannon Hale has woven an incredible, original and magical tale of a girl who must find her own unusual talents before she can become queen of the people she has made her own.

My Review: I got super excited when I found out I was reading this book for a class I am taking because Shannon Hale wrote Princess Academy which is one of my favorite books of all time and I could not wait to start this book. As soon as I started reading, I was entranced! I’m not sure if  reading the original Goose Girl by the brothers Grimm had anything to do with how much I loved it. It definitely made me excited when small things would come up like the handkerchief with three drops of blood or the names of Falada and Conrad, but I think I would love any of Shannon Hale’s books just because of how amazing she is at writing and creating magical worlds.

The plot line was similar to the original Grimm version but there were so many subplots that I really enjoyed about this book. The two lands fighting and possibly going to war, the servants chasing to kill Ani (Isi), the way that Ani is able to speak with animals and the wind, and the romance. I was not expecting romance in this book just because that isn’t really what Fairy Tales are about. Yes, the boy and girl always end up together but there isn’t really that romantic development like there was in this book and I really enjoyed it. There wasn’t much but there was enough to make me happy, and a plot twist at the end to do with romance that made me smile like a swooning girl which is exactly what I am I guess.

I don’t know why the plot had me so addicted to this book. I knew exactly what was going to happen and how it was going to happen because it was a really good adaptation of the original Goose Girl, but I was addicted anyway. There were new characters such as Enna and Finn, who I loved, and even a small romance between them! The story was magical and in a way similar to princess academy. In Princess Academy there is quarry speech which is really similar to how Ani speaks to the wind in the Goose Girl, Enna acts and speaks similarly to Britta from Princess Academy, and there is that innocent romance that Hale loves.

I really enjoyed this book and it is a series of four so I plan on eventually getting to the second one, but the plots of each book following this one are about minor characters so I’m a bit hesitant and they are not on the top of my TBR list for now. You can buy The Goose Girl here.