Book Review: Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Jane Steele by Lyndsay FayeJane Steele by Lyndsay Faye
Published by Headline Review on March 22nd 2016
Genres: Gothic, Historical, Mystery, Retelling, Young Adult
Pages: 432
Goodreads
four-stars


Reader, I murdered him.

A Gothic retelling of Jane Eyre.
Like the heroine of the novel she adores, Jane Steele suffers cruelly at the hands of her aunt and schoolmaster. And like Jane Eyre, they call her wicked - but in her case, she fears the accusation is true. When she flees, she leaves behind the corpses of her tormentors.
A fugitive navigating London's underbelly, Jane rights wrongs on behalf of the have-nots whilst avoiding the noose. Until an advertisement catches her eye. Her aunt has died and the new master at Highgate House, Mr Thornfield, seeks a governess. Anxious to know if she is Highgate's true heir, Jane takes the position and is soon caught up in the household's strange spell. When she falls in love with the mysterious Charles Thornfield, she faces a terrible dilemma: can she possess him - body, soul and secrets - and what if he discovers her murderous past?

Usually, I am not a fan of retellings of classic literature but something about Jane Steele captured my attention. Maybe it might have something to do with the fact that there are no zombies or sea-creatures mixed in with the classic tale instead, it is the dark yet entertaining memoir of a young lady named Jane Steele who suffers and experiences similar events as to that of the “fictional” Jane Eyre with a slight twist.

Jane Steele is an orphan and is left in the care of her cruel and disapproving aunt. She is eventually sent off to a wretched boarding school that is even worse than the one Ms. Eyre had to endure. The boarding school is truly an awful place, empty of joy and full of despair. This place made me angry and I was on Team Jane the entire time, even as her time there ended up bloody and messy. I loved that the author took enough time here to develop the relationship between the orphans and how they became like sisters to one another, even if not all were completely loyal.

I like that Jane Steele is not afraid to get her hands dirty, and that she is fighting the good fight. She kills with reason or at least, that is how the author makes Jane come off to me. I know she is a serial killer, but she is not devoid of emotion and she is capable of love. She kills in order to protect the ones she loves, and herself. Jane Steele is written as a strong-willed, cheeky and clever character. She is a protector to the weak, resourceful, and a very brave girl. She has all the makings of a great role model minus the serial killer part.

Once Jane moves on to become a governess for Mr. Thornfield (so very much in line with Jane Eyre) the story does lose a little of the momentum for me. I feel like the blood thirst is quenched a bit and taken over by the romance that is introduced. Thankfully it’s not instalove, and the relationship between Jane and Mr. Thornfield does develop gradually. I am glad to see that Jane does find a life with him, even if the ending was a bit expected.

Jane Steele was an unexpected delight and sassy read. It also had a good dash of humor in it, even with all the murder, sexual and child abuse. The author wrote a story that captivates the reader and takes them into the world of old Victorian England filled with the fog and grit of London. Instead of giving us a boring traditional Victorian prim and proper heroine, you get a feisty, vengeful yet still likable Jane Steele. And reader…it was awesome.

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Happy Easter! My Bunny-Themed Book Recommendations

 

I love children’s picture books. They are always charming and full of possibilities. I don’t believe that you have to be a child in order to like picture books. I think these books are for anyone who can enjoy their stories, appreciate the art of the illustrations within their pages and  whoever they bring a smile to. In honor of the Easter and the upcoming Spring season, I wanted to share with you some of my favorite “bunny-themed” books. Maybe some of them are already in your collection, or maybe they might inspire you to read them or to share them with some little bunny you love.

 

Dear Bunny by Katie Cotton & Illustrated by Blanca Gomez

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A lovely book with a beautiful message about showing gratefulness for the things we have, especially our loved ones.

 

The Easter Egg Written and Illustrated by Jan Brett

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I love how wonderfully illustrated all of Jan Brett’s books are, but this one is really special and vibrant.

 

Bunnies for Tea by Kate Stone

Bunny tea

In honor of my fellow Marauders Nicole at Nicole’s Novel Reads and Elizabeth at BookYabber I had to include this very special book about bunnies having teain honor of our last adventure. This is such a charming little board book and it’s shaped just like a teacup.

 

 Bunnie Roo, I love you by Melissa Marr & Illustrated by Teagan White

bunny roo

This book is just so sweet and beautifully illustrated. I love it so much and can’t wait to give it to my own little bunny someday.

 

So Many Bunnies– by Rick Walton & Illustrated by Paige Miglioso many bunnies

There are bunnies all over the pages of this book. It’s bright and colorful and such a treat.

 

Bunny Dreams Written and Illustrated by Peter McCarty

bunny dreams

This is probably one of the cutest books I have ever seen. Full of bunnies and dreams and gorgeous illustrations.

 

Wolfie by Ame Dyckman and Illustrated by Zachariah OHora

Wolfie

The cover of this book makes me think of Ralph in the movie The Christmas Story, and that made me laugh.  There is some mischief in it and I love it.

 

The Complete Adventures of Peter Rabbit

Written and Illustrated by Beatrix Potter

peter rab

One of my absolute favorite children’s books. I love the illustrations and all the mischief and adventures Peter and his little friends get into.

 Do you have any Easter or Spring reading plans? What are some of your favorite Children’s/picture books? 

What are some of your favorite Children’s/picture books? 

I would love to know all about them. Leave me a message and let’s chat. 

Happy Spring! 

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Madames Scales, Pooka and Embers Are Proud To Present: The Marauders

TheMarauders

Welcome to The Marauders a new monthly feature hosted by three best friends: Scales aka Elizabeth from BookYABBER, Pooka aka Marci at The Plot Bunny and Embers aka Nicole from Nicole’s Novel Reads. We seek to share with you, our unique outings, bookish exploits,  and favorite haunts. Together we aspire to always live by our motto:  “Mischief Managed”.

Outing of the Month: Book Hunting & Afternoon Tea

About to leave for a fun filled day of books and tea. Photo Credit: Elizabeth
About to leave for a fun filled day of books and tea. Photo Credit: Elizabeth

1st stop: Park Street Books in Medfield, Massachusetts

Known as the largest children’s bookstore in New England with a minimal of 200,000 books on premises and even more in storage, Park Street Books was definitely a top spot on our list of interesting places we needed to visit ASAP.
Before we even entered the magical realm of books held within the walls of the two-story brick building, we did a little exploring outside to admire the quirky decorations surrounding the store. There was a large gleeful frog statue reading a book, a signpost guiding us in various directions to our favorite far off places such as Hogwarts, Narnia, Wonderland and the 100-acre wood, and by the entrance, a creepy yet lovable panda sitting up high blowing bubbles into the breeze welcomed us inside. As we entered the shop we were greeted by a bright and cheerful array of toys, books and curious little fishes looking out from their aquarium home. The first-floor area houses new books for children, YA readers, and also a variety of board games, stuffed animals, and other small toys. The walls were lined with bookcases that stretched from the floor to ceiling, and there were plenty of kids streaming in and out of the store. Our real exploration didn’t really begin though until we headed up the stairs and past the colorful “under the sea” themed mural. Here on the second floor,  we were beckoned by rooms and rooms filled with books (one even had a fireplace). Each room offered plenty of light, enticing “nooks and crannies” to read in and relaxing couches and cushy chairs just begging to be sat upon and lingered in. The shelves upon shelves of books held lightly used books, as well as some special editions, all priced for just a few bucks. There was even a room set apart that housed adult fiction, memoirs and other miscellaneous books .  The organization is a bit topsy turvy (which I loved) but if you aren’t in a rush and are willing to look around there are no limits to the treasures you might discover.

After peeking around and each finding a few special books to purchase, we headed back downstairs and explored the pottery studio attached to the store. Nicole, Elizabeth and I definitely agree that we will have come back again and paint some cute statues.

The Treasures We Found (all lightly used unless noted):

Nicole– 2 Canadian edition paperbacks of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets of which one was the Magic edition. She also got a UK edition paperback of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

ElizabethRise of the Rebels (Star Wars Rebels Chapter Book #1) by Michael Kogge, The Phantom Menace (Episode 1 novelization) by Terry Brooks and Yellow Submarine by The Beatles and Christopher Gardner.

MyselfThe Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo (new), Spotty (Curious George) by H.A. Rey and Margret Rey, and a lightly used 1st American edition hardcover of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

We probably could have purchased many more books, but we had an afternoon tea reservation at Fancy That! to get to and we also tried really hard to have some self-control. Since their stock changes often and gets updated regularly we intend to return many more times in the near future. If you want to check them out and pay them a visit please follow this link for more information: http://www.parkstreetbooks.com

*****

2nd Stop: Afternoon Tea @ Fancy That Tea Salon

We booked our tea reservation weeks ago and we could hardly wait for the actual day to arrive.

Fancy That! is located on Main Street in Walpole on the border of the beautiful and scenic town of Medfield. Fancy That! is an afternoon tea salon hosted by the dynamic and adorable husband and wife team known as Brad and Sarah. The salon is beautifully decorated with gilded mirrors and pastel colors. It features antique furnishings, delicate teacups, fine tableware, glittering chandeliers and gorgeous linens. Soothing music can be heard playing, probably coming from a vintage victrola somewhere within the premises.

The shop consists of a large sunny main room with lace-curtained windows containing a retail area with various teacups, tea, and tea related items for sale, as well as some seating for tea service.

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Photo on Left Credit: Nicole
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Photo Credit: Elizabeth

Off this central room, there are two smaller private tea rooms – The Pink Room & The Yellow Room (this is where we were seated). Towards the back of the main entry, there is also a large tea room along with another smaller retail area with various house made cake loafs and delectable treats. Everywhere you look there is something to catch your attention and admiration. If you love the bygone eras of Downtown Abbey, Titanic or Jane Austen…you will LOVE this place.

teatime
Tea Time! Photo Credit : Elizabeth

A cozy table perfectly dressed with the cutest mix matched tea cups, plates and silverware awaited us as we entered the Yellow room.  A sparkling pink chandelier bathed us in its rosy glow as we looked over the extensive and whimsical tea menu that had names like “Enchanted Forest”, “Love Affair”, “Royal Wedding”, and “Dragon Jasmine Pearl”.

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Bottom Right Photo Credit: Elizabeth

Once we placed out tea order (it was so HARD to choose) a pretty three tiered tea stand with charming mix matched chinaware filled with fanciful treats (ex: pistachio macaroon, scone with dried tart cherries, lemon poppyseed cake) and tempting sandwiches was delivered to our table by the charismatic “The Tea Guy” – Brad, who soon returned with three pink floral teapots each holding different brews of delicious tea concoctions. Both Sarah and Brad were delightful hosts and made sure we absolutely felt welcomed and taken cared off.

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We mentioned to Sarah we were curious about their “pink” hot chocolate and if we could purchase a pot to share, and she graciously brought over a pot once we were close to finishing up for us to share. It was yummy, sweet coconutty and very pink.

Upon finishing up our sandwiches and sweets, we got to take a look around the shop to look at all the lovely things they had for purchase. Since we were the last ones still there, we were able to take a peek inside the other private rooms and got a chance to chat with Brad about how Fancy That! started. Brad’s wife Sarah is a huge collector of teacups and other such items, because her collection grew so large they eventually started a vintage china rental service (which they still offer) and are on their 14th year of business. The full afternoon tea service did not commence until about 4 years ago. We are glad that this marvelous place exists, and we hope to return again soon and often. It was a fantastic way to top off our day of book hunting and to spend some quality time with dear friends.

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Sitting pretty in the Pink Room

What did you think of our feature? Would you like to see more in the future? Have you ever been to afternoon tea? Do you have a favorite bookstore? Is there a special place you would like to recommend for us to visit?

Leave us your comments below, and let’s chat. Remember to also hop over to Elizabeth’s blog and Nicole’s blog to check out their posts.

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Feature & Follow: Short Stories (as companions to a series): Love or Hate?

feature and follow

Feature and Follow is a blog hop hosted by Rachel of Parajunkee and Alison of Alison Can Read. The main goal of this blog hop is to allow bloggers meet, discover new blogs/bloggers and spark up some bookish friendship/conversation. Each Friday there is a post prompt picked by a fellow blogger to be featured. This week’s featured blog/blogger is Katiria from Kati Bookaholic Rambling Reviews

Today we are discussing:  Short stories (as companions to a series and what we love or hate about them.

Personally, I love the idea of short stories or novellas as companion “side” stories to a series. I always find myself wanting to know more about a specific character or desiring to know what happened next or before the events in certain books. To me, there is no such thing as too much information, especially if it is going to expand on a book I LOVE.

For example, I would love to know what happened to Bailey and Poppet from The Night Circus, as well as what really became of Marco and Celia. I would be ecstatically happy if Erin Morgenstern released this information in a short story or novella form one day…or any other stories about the other whimsical members of The Night Circus. As a Harry Potter fan, I jumped for joy when I found out that the play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was being published in book form. It would be wonderful if J.K. Rowling also decided to possibly put out a short story with more details about The Marauders, or further details on the lives of the professors (when they were students and such). I sure wouldn’t mind knowing a little bit more about death eater Bellatrix LeStrange (yes…I know she’s one of the bad guys…but it would still be interesting to see her as an angst-filled teen at Hogwarts) or getting a glimpse of Dumbledore as a teen either.

How do you feel about companion stories to a series? Do you love or hate it? What are some of the stories and characters you would love to read and get to know more about? Leave me your comments below, and remember to add your links so I can come over to your blog and say hello.   

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I love but haven’t talked about lately

Top Ten Tuesday

 

Top Ten Tuesday is a book blog meme created by the girls at The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is about the Top Ten Books I Love but haven’t talked about lately or enough about.

 

Anne of Green Gables – L.M. Montgomery

anneg

I LOVE this series. I read them over and over again when I was a kid, and I have done at least three re-reads of the entire series within the last 5 years. I wanted Anne to be real so we could be bosom friends and get into all sorts of scrapes.

 

 

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

shadow

There are not enough words to describe the beauty that is this book and the love I have for it. The writing is stunning and completely captivates you. I love that it’s a book about a book, a mysterious place called the Cemetary of Forgotten books, and how they change the life of a young boy named Daniel.

 

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

grave

I am always talking about how much I love Neil Gaiman’s books, but I haven’t really talked about this one. It’s about a boy (Bod…short for Nobody) who is raised by ghosts in a graveyard after his family gets murdered. It’s dark, but also magical and you can’t help but fall in love with this story. It’s original and fresh and 100% Gaiman.

 

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

something

This was the first Ray Bradbury book I ever read, and thank goodness for it. It’s about a sinister traveling carnival, and the 2 boys that discover the dark secrets lurking under the tents. This was my first real introduction into horror and fantasy written in such a way I wanted more and for that I will always treasure this book in my heart. Plus, I have always felt there was something really strange/eerie about the atmosphere surrounding a  traveling carnival, and this book just implanted the idea into my mind even more.

 

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

24hr

This book was a fun and quirky read, and I love the idea of a 24-hour bookstore. Then you add the secret book society and of course, I got hooked. Plus, it’s another book about books and I love that concept.

 

 

The Princess Bride by William Goldman

prince

After seeing the movie, I had to read the book and as I expected it was even better. It’s a book about everything from princesses, and princes to sword fights, giants, pirates and happy endings. What’s not to love?

 

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

thief

This book touched my soul. It made me cry like I never cried before over a book or the characters within its pages. I loved every single one of them, even Death (he was actually quite funny, in a macabre sort of way). It is both lovely and sad, and it’s a story that once read it will linger with you for a long time to come.

 

The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan

painted

I have always loved Degas’s paintings of the Ballerinas and I have seen the bronze cast of the “Little Dancer” at the MFA here in Boston, so I was really excited to hear that this book was a historical fiction based on the life of Degas’s actual model Marie van Goethem. The book was wonderfully written, and I felt like I was there in Paris watching the rehearsals and feeling the strain and struggle of little Marie.

 

A Jane Austen Education by William Deresiewicz

jane

I’m not quite sure how I even came upon this book, but I was glad I did. It was so refreshing to hear about the experience and lessons learned by a man  from reading the masterworks of Jane Austen. This memoir was funny, and such a joy to read. It also thought me things about Jane Austen’s novels that I too had failed to notice which set me off on a re-reading Austen binge.

 

Mistress of My Fate by Hallie Rubenhold

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Sometimes all a reader really wants is a good guilty pleasure and this book is great for those that love historical fiction with a side of drama, a dash of steamy romances and a hint of scandal. The writing was well done and I am very excited that 2nd book in this trilogy will finally be published April 2016. I can’t wait to see what other adventures the heroine Henrietta will find herself taking part in.

 

What are some of the books you love and haven’t talked about lately? Do you also participate in Top Ten Tuesday? Do we share love for any of the same books? Share with me your thoughts and your links in the comments below. 

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