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My Lady Jane Book Review + Free Printable

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows 

4.5/5 stars

491 pages

HarperTeen (June 7, 2016)

The Lady Janies (Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand, and Jodi Meadows) set out to tell the entirely (but not really) true story of Lady Jane Grey.

Before we get into The Lady Janies tale, let’s review what the history books tell us about Lady Jane.

At the age of sixteen, Jane is married off by her cousin King Edward VI to Lord Guildford Dudley, son of John Dudley, the Duke of Northumberland. Upon the king’s untimely death, Jane becomes Queen of England, due to Edward’s wishes in his will. Her reign is short lived, however. We’re taking nine days short! When Edward’s half-sister Mary, a.k.a Bloody Mary, overthrows Jane and crowns herself as queen, Lady Jane and her husband are locked away in The Tower of London and are later both beheaded.

Much of history remains the same in this new tale, expect for several significant details. Let’s focus on three main ones- without giving away any spoilers, of course.

1. The Edians

In the middle of the sixteenth century, people were blessed or cursed (depending on how you look at it) with the ability to transform between human and animal form. We’re talking full fledge animorphs. As you might imagine, some people found this ability to be rather magnificent while others were utterly appalled. Because the latter camp was largely in charge, the Edians were persecuted and hunted. That was until King Henry VIII discovered he could transform into a lion and decreed that Edians weren’t all that bad after all.

2. Gifford (call me G)

Jane’s betrothed Gifford is a horse. Every day at dawn he becomes a noble chestnut steed, but transforms at dusk back into his human form. The two must learn how to navigate being newly weds who can only spend half the day together as humans. You would think having to adjust to an arranged marriage would be challenging enough without the husband turning into a horse during the day aspect.

3. King Edward wants his first kiss

The King wants nothing more than to experience his first kiss. He is only fifteen after all and girls are so much more interesting than ruling and making decrees.

My Lady Jane is the first novel I can remember reading with more than one author. I was concerned if the writing styles of each author wouldn’t flow well together or if it would be obvious which author wrote which part. Totally not the case! The story is so fun and enjoyable, and extremely well written! The humor is fabulous. Too often I found myself laughing out loud! A dash of Princess Bride, a pinch of Monty Python, and a sprinkle of Shakespeare are all the ingredients in this comical retelling of Lady Jane Grey.

My favorite part of the novel is all things Jane. During her lifetime Jane was considered the most educated and well read lady of her time. It comes as no surprise the Lady Jane in our tale spends her days with her nose buried in books. She’s a true book lover through and through. Her #bookstagram feed would be royally sought after. The banter between Jane and G is not like the typical YA love drama. It was fun to see their relationship grow and change.

If you enjoy comical and fantastical tales with a bit of romance, or enjoy a good retelling of history then I recommend you check out My Lady Jane.

Long live The Lady Janies! May their pens continue to retell history as we only wish it could be!

This print is supplied from Whispering Words Design and is available for your personal use. You may not use this download for professional or commercial use. 

This print is supplied from Whispering Words Design and is available for your personal use. You may not use this download for professional or commercial use. 

Red Queen Review and Design Reveal

I have to tell you guys that I have some of the best friends out there. This summer I told my girlfriends that I wanted to start a book club and they instantly all agreed to join the club. If you are a lover of books and aren’t a member of a book club, I highly recommend you go out and join one as soon as possible. Trust me, you’ll love it!

For the month of August we read and discussed Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. What a great first book to select!  It’s a real winner!

Here’s a quick synopsis of the book

Mare Barrow's world is divided by blood--those with common, Red blood serve the Silver- blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.

To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard--a growing Red rebellion--even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal (source).

My Top 4 Reason Why I Choose to Recommend this Book as Our First Read

  1. I’m a sucker for young adult books, especially sci-fi dystopian books.
  2. Every book blog I read was recommending I read this book. I trust the opinions of the bloggers I read so I had to give it a shot.
  3. I locked myself out of the house one day this summer and, instead of waiting for my husband to get home and let me in, I walked down to the library to check out Red Queen. I spent the next several hours sitting under the tree on our front lawn waiting for Justin to get home. The tree trunk provided a great back support and the gentle breeze made for a relaxing summer afternoon. I was instantly drawn into Mare Barrow’s world and knew I wanted to share it with others.
  4. The book left me wanting to know more. What will be the fate of the Silvers? What will be the fate of the Reds? What will be the fate of Mare? I wanted to discuss possible outcomes and theories about what would happen next.

We had such a fun time discussing this book together. We literally talked about books for three hours that night. While enjoyed for delicious snacks and drinks, but mostly it was all about books. I think book club nights are quickly becoming my favorite night of the month.

After all the girls left, I searched the Internet to see if there was any information about an official Scarlet Guard logo. My efforts left me emptied handed, so last week I sent out a call to all you Red Queen fans to choose a design for the Scarlet Guard. I was elated and surprised to get a comment from Victoria Aveyard informing me that there is an official logo in the book! It turns out that the canon on the torn flag in the end papers of the book is actually the SG logo.

But you probably want to know which logo won, right? It was an extremely close race between Design 1 and Design 2, but Design 2 turned out to be the winner! Thank you to all that voted and shared the post with your friends.


I just listed a new Red Queen inspired design in the shop today. Right now you can get Free Worldwide Shipping till September 13. Don’t miss out!

Don't forget to follow along with Whispering Words and be the first to hear all about new bookish designs and book reviews. 

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Noggin Book Review

“Listen- I was alive once and then I wasn’t. Simple as that. Now I’m alive again. The in-between part is still a little fuzzy, but I can tell you that, at some point or another, my head got chopped off and shoved into a freezer in Denver, Colorado.” These are the opening sentences to John Corey Whaley’s book Noggin. This book was next on my list from the ALA 2015 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults. 

The premise of this book was very intriguing.  The main character, Travis Coates, agrees to have his head severed and cryogenically frozen. Every part of Travis’s body, except his head, was sick with cancer. No amount of chemo, radiation, or blood marrow transplants could save his life. The only hope he has is sometime in the way distant future science will evolve so that his head can be reattached to a healthy body and give him another chance at life. It took a bit of convincing, but in the end, both Travis and parents agree to procedure.

Few people believed it would be possible, Travis being one of them. When he awakes to find his head attached to Jeremy Pratt’s body, it feels like no time has passed. In reality, it’s been five years since his friends and family said good-bye to him. Everyone and everything around him has changed. His best friend Kyle is now in college, and his girlfriend Cate is engaged. Travis must navigate through this new life of being alive in the present while still being stuck in the past.

Often times when tragedy strikes we are stuck with how to navigate uncharted waters. We want life to be the way it’s always been and struggle with how to live under new circumstances. It’s easier to fall back on what’s known to us than to venture out into the scary unknown. We have a hard time letting go of the past. While Travis’s situation is quite a bit different than any tragedy we might face, the struggle of being stuck living in the present while wanting the past is all to familiar.

Overall I found Noggin to be an interesting concept. We’re talking about head transplants! The idea about being frozen in time and waking up like no time has past at all kind of blows my mind. It’s like a modern day Frankenstein’s monster type of thing, but without the electricity and a bit more humanoid. I had a difficult time staying forced with this read. It didn’t truly grab my attention until I was a little over halfway through. It wasn’t until things got a bit more action-packed that I started to appreciate what was happening in the story. I couldn’t really feel sorry for him because he chose to do the experiment. He has to live with the consequences of his decision.  The end will tug at your heart and cause you to shed a few tears, though.

I did enjoy the way the chapters were named. The last few words from the previous chapter then become the chapter title for the next one. Chapter thirty-three ends with “I don’t know. We’re just meandering.” And chapter thirty-four is, “Just Me and a Ring.” I found it to be rather creative of the author.

The book was okay. I don’t see myself ever reading it again, but I appreciate the way Whaley explores the concept of letting go of the past and finding a way to still hold on to the things we love after they change. 


Would you ever choose to have your head cryogenically frozen if it meant that you might be able to live longer?  


The Diviners Book Review and Artwork

With a name that sounds like library one can't help but fall in love with Libba Bray's writing. I first fell in love with Bray when she published her Gemma Doyle series. For my teen years, A Great and Terrible Beauty ranked highly on my favorite book list. You should really consider adding A Great and Terrible Beauty to your TBR list if you haven't checked it out yet. While you're at it, go ahead and add The Diviners to the list as well. You will pos-i-tute-ly love it! 

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Set in the Roaring Twenties in New York City, The Diviners tells the story of a group of gifted young people investigating a series of gruesome murders. A mystical evil is sweeping its way across New York City trying to bring about the apocalypse. People are dying in the night. The disturbing murder scenes reveal missing body parts and notes that indicate the murderer is trying to complete a dark and dangerous ritual started many years ago.  When Evie O'Neill arrives in New York City, after being exiled from her hometown in Ohio, she is more than willing to assist her Uncle Will, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult," catch the killer-if he doesn't catch her first.

Evie is a great character, a real troublemaker who does as she pleases. Unpredictable, bold, and quick-witted, she is bit more than her Uncle bargained for when he agreed to watch over her. To Uncle Will's chagrin, Evie doesn't like follow rules. She won't back down from what she wants even when it lands her into dangerous situations. Evie is a diviner, a person with supernatural ability. Her ability has only brought her trouble so far, but she's willing to test her luck when she realizes it can help catch the murderer.

You bet-ski Evie is not the only gifted character is this novel. There is Theta Knight, a Zeigreld girl; Memphis Campbell, the Harlem Healer; Henry Dubois IV and Ling Chain, the Dream walkers; Sam Llyod, the Invisible Thief; and Jericho Jones, the Automotive Hybrid. Bray does an excellent job with developing each of these characters. A great deal of time is devoted to understanding their background and personal history. Their lives begin to intertwine as their powers become more prevalent as the occult killer gains momentum. 

Time and time again goose bumps crawled up my spine as I read farther and farther into Evie's tale, but I couldn't put it down. The tension builds and builds and builds, and I needed to get to the end to find out the fate of my favorite characters. You might just want to keep an extra light on while you read late into the night. 

The precise attention to detail creates a realistic Roaring 20s atmosphere. It's like you walked right off the train with Evie and stepped into the bustling streets of New York covered in long pearls, a flapper dress, and T-strapped heels. I applaud Bray for the countless hours of research she devoted to create this historical story. 

The Diviners was on my TBR shelf for far too long. I'm a bit upset that I didn't pick up this novel sooner! I'm a big fan of Libba Bray. Her ability to mix mystery, monsters, magic, and the unexplained and make it all seem so real is quite a talent. This book is another one of her masterpieces. In honor of the long awaited sequel, Lair of Dreams, being released yesterday, I added a new design to the Whispering Words shop. I foresee several more Diviners designs coming soon! 


What Diviners inspired designs would you like to see? Let me know in the comment section below. 

 

The Carnival at Bray Book Review

Each year the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), reads through hundreds of YA novels to formulate a list of the Best Fiction for Young Adults (BFYA) of the year. The committee spends countless hours reading a wide selection of genres and topics pertinent to teens. Out of the 113 books officially nominated for this year's list only 58 books made the cut. The 58 titles were further classified into a list of the 2015 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults

I made it a personal goal at the beginning of summer to read the Top 10 titles before September 8, the start date for the new school year. I believe the BFYA committee does a much better job than Times and NPR at creating YA best book lists. I find that the BFYA lists capture the diversity of both authors and topics represented in young adult literature. The committee selects well-written and interesting books that are sure to leave an impact on the reader. I appreciate the time and effort these individuals spend each year to read, review, and select some of the best YA books out there. 

Over the next few weeks I will share my thoughts on each of the books from the Top Ten list. Feel free to read along with me and discover some great pieces of YA literature. The first book on the list is The Carnival at Bray by Jessie Ann Foley.  

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Set in 1993, this is a story of Maggie Lynch, a sixteen-year-old uprooted from her big-city Chicago life to the small-town life in Bray, Ireland to live with her new stepfather. Faced with the difficulties of navigating a new culture, her broken relationship with her mother, and family tragedy, Maggie makes it her goal to see Nirvana perform in Rome. 

As if moving across the world wasn’t tough enough, Maggie must navigate the rocky shores of this new life without the assistance of modern social media that many of us are accustomed to. She has to make friends the old fashioned way through face-to-face interactions. I really appreciated this aspect of the novel. It brought me back to the days when I would communicate with my friends through hand written letters and calls from a landline.    

Foley’s writing is brilliant. She is a master of poise and character development. Each word, each sentence, each paragraph was precisely chosen to tell the story.  You will find your self hanging on every word. Don't be surprised if you slow your pace to reread sections of the novel because of how profound they speak to you.

“Everything that ever happens to you only happens once, so you better never stop paying attention
— Jessie Ann Foley
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Besides making the AIA 2015 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults, The Carnival at Bray also has received the following awards and honors: 

  • Chicago Weekly Best Books of 2014
  • A Michael L. Printz Honor Award Winner
  • Winner, 2014 Helen Sheehan YA Book Prize
  • Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2014
  • Finalist, William C. Morris Award

Foley's debut novel is an honest coming of age story filled with first love, tragic loss, and the power of music. Teens and adults alike will fall in love with this novel. The Carnival at Bray is a must read! I'm looking forward to reading what Foley writes next.


Don't forget to follow along with Whispering Words and be the first to hear what else is in store! 

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