REVIEW: My Lady Jane

Book Review: My Lady Jane
book cover Book title My Lady Jane
Series/standalone The Lady Janies #1
Author Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows
Pages 512
Year published 2016
Category | Genre Young Adult | Historical | Fantasy
Rating 3.5 stars

Official Summary

The comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey. In My Lady Jane, coauthors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows have created a one-of-a-kind fantasy in the tradition of The Princess Bride, featuring a reluctant king, an even more reluctant queen, a noble steed, and only a passing resemblance to actual history—because sometimes history needs a little help.

At sixteen, Lady Jane Grey is about to be married off to a stranger and caught up in a conspiracy to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But those trifling problems aren’t for Jane to worry about. Jane is about to become the Queen of England.


In A Nutshell

A fun (and probably inaccurate) retelling of the life of Lady Jane Grey.


  • The best thing about My Lady Jane is that it didn’t take itself seriously. The absurdity of the story, the crazy scenario, the ridiculousness of the situation that made readers go “whaat?” were all combined into one novel. The result is a book that’s light-hearted and entertaining. You can just tell that the three authors (who called themselves The Lady Janies) were having so much fun writing this book and it clearly shows.
  • The premise. I really liked the idea the authors bring to My Lady Jane. What if there were people who can turn into animals? This concept in itself is not new, there were many examples of it. We have seen JK Rowling in Harry Potter explored the concept as “magical gift” in form of animagus. KA Applegate’s Animorphs series spins it as a superhero ability. And those were just two out of hundreds ways to utilize it. In My Lady Jane, however, the authors use it as a tool to show something else. The Eðians – people who can turn into animals – and Verities – those who cannot – were representations of social castes and through them the authors explore racism, discrimination, and injustice.

Things I Wish Were Different

  • The characters. I am sorry friends, but I really don’t get all the fuss about Jane. Sure, she loves books, and yes, that gives her instant 10 extra points from me. Apart from that, Jane and G and Edward and pretty much everyone else in the cast just didn’t get me invested enough in their story. I read the book because it was fun and it was a page-turner. I don’t really care about the characters and it probably has something to do with the second point.
  • At no point, did I feel the characters were in actual danger – which was weird because according to the story there was so much at stake. The problem is the stake didn’t feel real. I think that the authors sacrificed too much to make the story as fun as possible, but as a result the story felt inconsequential. Turned out, having too much fun could be bad for you.

Final Score

3.5 stars
3.5 stars (out of 5 stars)


I read My Lady Jane on Kindle so I didn’t know how many pages it actually have in physical version until I looked it up on Amazon. The number that I found surprised me. 512. Believe me, it didn’t feel even half that long. This book is the very definition of light reading and page-turner, and many readers will find it entertaining. For some, however, the characters and the lack of actual stake could impact their enjoyment of reading.

Quarterly Recap and Mini-reviews

Hello everyone!

It’s definitely been a while since the last time I’ve done this kind of post. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, say.. 2 years, you might remember that I used to do monthly recaps. However, time flies – including my free time 😛 – and I no longer read or blog as much as I used to. I do still want to do a recap to talk about stuff I enjoy and books I read that haven’t been covered in my review posts… just not monthly. Hence, I decided to do quarterly recap instead! So, let’s get to it before I bore you with my intro.

Reviews posted

These Shallow Graves | LINK
The Weeping Books of Blinney Lane | LINK
Dreadnought | LINK
Every Heart A Doorway | LINK
Unearthly Things | LINK
The Love Interest | LINK
The Evaporation of Sofi Snow | LINK
Flame in the Mist | LINK

Other books I read

Dreamer (Brandon Sanderson) 

I got this short story from a charity book bundle alongside his other short works and an audiobook. Dreamer has typical Sanderson world-building but not characters. It might, however, surprise you, especially if you’ve been reading a lot of his other works.

The Hate U Give (Angie Thomas) 

THUG – the book everyone told you to read – and well, please just read it. This is probably my favorite read so far this year. It’s an important book, for sure, with it being born with the background of Black Lives Matter movement, but if you worry about the writing, then don’t. Angie is a gifted writer and the story flows effortlessly with great characters, especially the leading lady. I actually outlined a review for this book a while ago, but never get around to post it what with the changes happening in dip-into-books. Maybe, I’ll break my own rules and post it anyway. :p

The Black Prism (Brent Weeks) 3.5 stars

Slow and solid world-building, okay character arc, but it reads like your usual epic fantasy. Honestly, I’ve heard so many great things about this series that I had high expectation coming to this book. That’s probably why it sort of fell short of my expectation.

The Trespasser (Tana French) 

The trespasser is French’s return to form after the rather poorly executed The Secret Place. Antoinette Conway, whom we met in the 5th book – The Secret Place – is the narrator of this book, and my – how I liked her spunk. French writing is atmospheric as always and the story offers enough surprise and twist to keep me on my toe.

White Sand (Brandon Sanderson) 

The White Sand I mentioned here is the unpolished draft and not the graphic novel version. Brandon being Brandon, he sent this manuscript as a free download to everyone who subscribed to his newsletter despite it’s currently being adapted into graphic novels. In fact, I’ve reviewed the first volume of the graphic novel so I’ll edit that post and put my thought in that post instead of here. For now, all I’m going to say is that the graphic novel doesn’t do Khrissalla justice.

Binti (Nnedi Okorafor) 3.5 stars

This is the case of it’s not you, it’s me. Binti is a unique science fiction novella with original idea and a Himba protagonist. I liked Binti a lot, but I couldn’t get into the story. However, a lot of people seem to enjoy it, including the critics. Just look at the 4+ star average rating on Goodreads and the fact that it won a Nebula.

Stuff I Enjoy

Mobile gaming. I don’t have much time to play game, but I am still a gamer at heart. The solution? Mobile games, of course! I’ve been playing some clicker games for the past month, notably Politicats and Magikarp Jump (because who doesn’t like Magikarp?!). I liked clicker game because they’re just so addictive and don’t require too much time investment. On the opposite side, I’ve been playing Mobius Final Fantasy – a game known as being very grindy – since September. Oh well, you need balance in everything, right? I don’t play Mobius FF as much lately, but I emerge once in a while to compete in tower and to play multiplayer.

Bullet Journal. I might have mention bu-jo in passing a couple of months ago, and I am glad to report that this habit is still going strong. I switched planners about a half dozen times during the past 2 years, but with bullet journal, I think I finally found one that works. Its simplicity and flexibility makes bullet journal a huge help to increase my productivity.

And that’s it for now! Let me know if you’ve been reading the same book or play the same game as me. I’d also like to remind you that dip-into-books now has calendar containing release date of books I plan to get as well as my upcoming review schedule. The July looks rather empty right now because I haven’t started on my reading… BUT I’ll get to it SOON.

REVIEW: Every Heart A Doorway

Book Review: Every Heart A Doorway (Seanan McGuire)
 book cover Book title Every Heart A Doorway
Series/standalone Wayward Children #1
Author Seanan McGuire
Pages 173
Year published 2016
Category | Genre Young Adult | Fantasy | Novella

Official Summary

Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children
No Solicitations
No Visitors
No Quests

Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere… else.

But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.

Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced… they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.

But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.

No matter the cost.


In A Nutshell

Atmospheric, beautifully written novella about identity and belonging.


  • What will happen to Alice if she got kicked out of Wonderland and have to live among us? 

    What if there’s a magical land out there, far from perfect, yet fits you perfectly?

    What if you found a way to that magical land?What if they kicked you out and you are again stranded in the world where you’ll never fit in?

    Such a perfect premise.

  • Ace protagonist. I feel like we haven’t gotten a decent amount of asexual representation in Young Adult, and to have one as a lead is definitely a welcome change. Another thing I appreciate is that McGuire put it in the narrative that Nancy (the protagonist) is asexual and even pointed out the difference between being asexual and aromantic.
  • It also tackled the issue of identity, specifically but not limited to gender identity. The teenagers in this novella were kids who didn’t fit in at first place, and now after they were back from magical world, they found it even harder to blend in. Even within this group of outcast, there were hierarchy and cliques; bullying was mentioned and witnessed, as each of the character struggle to find their place or keep trying to go back to their magical world.
  • It was dark, mysterious, and haunting, yet I didn’t find it too violent or gory. As a matter of fact, I think McGuire nailed those darker scenes as they were some of my favorite passages.
  • Well-written characters. It’s like high school, but where all of the students were misfits. As I mentioned before, there were cliques among the teenagers: the queen bee, the new kid, and the outcast. Just like your regular high school. Only weirder and with more magic and charm. All the main characters were unique and well thought out. I won’t get to details here as it’s better if you meet them yourself.
  • It’s thought-provoking. I’m honestly surprise that a book this short could challenge my opinion and thought. Should you a) kill people’s hope to force them to live in the now when you know the chance of their wish will ever get fulfilled is next to nothing? Or b) nurture the hope and let these children keep hoping even though you know it might hurt them in the long run? I am choosing b) right now, but we’ll see.
  • The length. It’s perfect as novella. Too short and we’ll get less character development, too long and it’ll get too convoluted. It’s short, simple, and beautiful. McGuire said what needs to be said and ended it before it got too complicated.
    Speaking of…
  • The ending. It sorts of open-end, but by no means a cliffhanger. It lets readers decide for themselves and made their own conclusion based on their perspective.

Things I Wish Were Different

  • Couldn’t honestly think of one.

Final Score

4.5 stars (out of 5 stars)


Highly recommended for both contemporary and speculative fiction readers as it has enough of both and leave many things to readers’ imagination/interpretation. Asexual protagonist and transgender main character accompanied by strong diverse cast of characters were another highlight of the novella. In short, it is well worth your time.

Favorite Books I First Read Because of Recommendations

Hello everyone! I am back with another Top Ten Tuesday post, a fun weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is all about recommendations, so I decided to share a list of 10 of my favorite books that I first read because of recommendation. For fun, I also listed the person who recommended the book and how they ‘sold’ it to me. Not gonna lie, this list is quite easy to make because I am so easily swayed. LOL.

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Review: Front Lines (Michael Grant)

Book Review: Front Lines (Michael Grant)
book cover Book title Front Lines
Series/standalone Soldier Girl #1
Author Michael Grant
Pages 480
Year published 2016
Category | Genre Young Adult | Historical Fiction
Rating 4 star

Official Summary

1942. World War II. The most terrible war in human history. Millions are dead; millions more are still to die. The Nazis rampage across Europe and eye far-off America.

The green, untested American army is going up against the greatest fighting force ever assembled—the armed forces of Nazi Germany.

But something has changed. A court decision makes females subject to the draft and eligible for service. So in this World War II, women and girls fight, too.

As the fate of the world hangs in the balance, three girls sign up to fight. Rio Richlin, Frangie Marr, and Rainy Schulterman are average girls, girls with dreams and aspirations, at the start of their lives, at the start of their loves. Each has her own reasons for volunteering. Not one expects to see actual combat. Not one expects to be on the front lines.

Rio, Frangie, and Rainy will play their parts in the war to defeat evil and save the human race. They will fear and they will rage; they will suffer and they will inflict suffering; they will hate and they will love. They will fight the greatest war the world has ever known.

New York Times bestselling author Michael Grant has created a masterful alternate history of World War II in Front Lines, the first volume in a groundbreaking series.


She is going on a date.
And also, going to war.

I have a complicated history with Michael Grant books. Some I was obsessed with, others I didn’t enjoy as much. This is why I approach Front Lines with dread, hoping that this will be more like Gone than Messenger of Fear. I’m glad to report my expectation came true.

Let me draw you a parallel. If you’ve ever read Gone, either the book, the whole series, or just the synopsis, you might remember the premise. It was about a world without adults. What will happen if all the adults in your world suddenly disappear while you and the other kids are trapped with limited resources. In Front Lines, Grant trying to explore another question. What if we let females to be drafted and to enlist to fight on the front lines during WW2? Through 480 pages, Grant showed us his alternate version of WW2 while otherwise trying to stay true to history. The question he’s trying to explore was not only “will females make a difference in the outcome of WW2 has they were let to fight on front lines?” but also “what will happen to the dynamics and what issues will arise if said things happened?”

Before I begin the review, I have to point out that there are in fact tenth of thousands of females enlisted in US military during WW2. They did not fight on the front lines, but their contribution is certainly not to be dismissed. I just feel I need to say it because when I had just finished the book, I thought there wasn’t any women in the US military during WW2. Perhaps it’s because I am not familiar with US history, but either way I don’t want other readers to jump to the same conclusion as me. I hope they won’t, but I do wish that Grant pointed this out in a prologue or thank you page or something. Erasure could be hurtful, even though it’s accidental or unintentional.

With that, let’s begin the review.

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Books on My Fall TBR

Hi everyone, welcome to another Top Ten Tuesday post, a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is “Books on your fall TBR.” We don’t have fall season where I live, but I always enjoy making this TBR post so I’d do it anyway. 🙂
There are so many books I promised myself to read, but haven’t had time to do it. Here are books I plan to read.

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REVIEW: Saint Anything (Sarah Dessen)

Book Review: Saint Anything (Sarah Dessen)
book cover Book title Saint Anything
Series/standalone Stand-alone
Author Sarah Dessen
Pages 417
Year published 2015
Category | Genre Young Adult | Contemporary
Rating 3.5 star

Official Summary

Peyton, Sydney’s charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion’s share of their parents’ attention and—lately—concern. When Peyton’s increasingly reckless behavior culminates in an accident, a drunk driving conviction, and a jail sentence, Sydney is cast adrift, searching for her place in the family and the world. When everyone else is so worried about Peyton, is she the only one concerned about the victim of the accident?

Enter the Chathams, a warm, chaotic family who run a pizza parlor, play bluegrass on weekends, and pitch in to care for their mother, who has multiple sclerosis. Here Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance. And here she meets Mac, gentle, watchful, and protective, who makes Sydney feel seen, really seen, for the first time.

The uber-popular Sarah Dessen explores her signature themes of family, self-discovery, and change in her twelfth novel, sure to delight her legions of fans.

Saint Anything was one of my pick for ReadThemAllThon. I failed the read-a-thon as expected, but I decided to read the book anyway. I have read most of Dessen books in the past, opted to binge-read them because they were so easy to read. Looking back, however, I regret my binge-reading decision because after 3 books I started to mix them all together. I cannot tell you who is the MC in The Truth About Forever or the plot of What Happened to Goodbye. So when Sarah released The Moon and More and Saint Anything, I didn’t rush to read the books. Now seems a good time to catch up on my Sarah Dessen reading, started with Saint Anything.

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Review: The Wrath & the Dawn (Renee Ahdieh)

Book Review: The Wrath & the Dawn (Renee Ahdieh)
book cover Book title The Wrath & the Dawn
Series/standalone The Wrath & the Dawn #1
Author Renee Ahdieh
Pages 388
Year published 2015
Category | Genre Young Adult | Fantasy, Retelling
Rating 3.5 star

Official Summary

One Life to One Dawn.

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

Inspired by A Thousand and One Nights, The Wrath and the Dawn is a sumptuous and enthralling read from beginning to end.


First and foremost, we got Shahrzad, a brave and headstrong young girl volunteered to marry a murderer to avenge her best friend. Then there’s Khalid, the murderous boy-king. Shazi is a strong heroine, one that could gain sympathies from readers… once they got over their disbelief of her impulsively rushing to meet her end. There, that’s my biggest gripe with The Wrath & the Dawn, that this brave and smart girl who was supposedly cunning enough that she believed she could kill her husband, the king, would rush wildly toward death without any concrete planning. The only signs Ahdieh shows us of Shazi’s plan to kill her husband were when she showed off her archery skill and that one time she thought to kill him but couldn’t make up her mind.

Then there’s the fact that the Khalid married her without any background check. Like… wouldn’t someone find out that Shazi has a best friend who was murdered right there in the palace. But noo, they all rushed in to get the two to wed.

But I digress. Let’s go back to Khalid. For a murderous boy-king, he is not at all a monster – as one would already find out by reading the synopsis. I like Khalid. He was a tortured soul trying to do what’s best for his people while sacrificing himself a bit at a time. As a matter of fact, I like them both. Khalid and Shahrzad were both characters with their own agenda and for once I actually liked the romance in the book. It was not cheesy, you could totally see they’re both trying to stay true to their course, trying not to fall in love, and I cannot help but rooting for them.

On the other hand, there was the jealous boyfriend, who for me was just unnecessary. Not to mention his relationship with Shazi were not shown on-screen making it hard for me to sympathize with his cause. Similar thing could be said of Shiva’s friendship with Shazi. Of course, the best friend is dead by the time the story started, but if only I was given more than a glimpse of how close the two girls were I could probably understand Shazi’s impulsive behavior.

Okay, enough with the negativity. Let’s get to the good stuff. As I mentioned before, the romance is well-balance and complement the story nicely. Shazi’s anger was balanced by her feelings and compassion for other human beings, and so did Khalid’s despair with his feeling for Shazi. Despina was another character worth mentioning. Her interaction with Shazi showed us another side of the latter, and I adored their friendship.

The writing was another highlight of the book. I’m trying to be objective here, so bear with me. Ahdieh’s writing was beautiful, but at times she’s getting way close to flowery prose. For some people, this might be the book undoing. For me, though, it’s exactly what the book needs. It made the book atmospheric, and Ahdieh’s writing was vivid enough to transport the readers to Khorasan. The magic, one of the thing I expected to find in the book was non-existent for the large portion of the book, but that’s okay as there’ll be time for that in the second book. I hope.


The Wrath & the Dawn made me feel conflicted, but it certainly worth reading for the diverse cast, the well-balance romance, the atmospheric setting, and the great writing.

Final Score

3.5 stars (out of 5 stars)

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Top Ten Tuesday: All Time Favorite YA Contemporary Books

top ten tuesday

Hello friends, it’s been a while >_> I’m sorry for taking a sudden hiatus without telling anyone, but HEY I’M BACK NOW. Hopefully for good.

As I’m adjusting back to my blogging habit, I realize that it’s Tuesday which means it’s time for Top Ten Tuesday! I certainly haven’t done this for a while, but I totally recommend this weekly fun feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish to all book bloggers. It’s fun (have I mentioned that? :p) and it’s a good way to get in touch with other book bloggers.

Anyway, let’s get on to business. This week’s topic is Top Ten ALL TIME Favorite Books Of X Genre. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’d probably know that SFF is my go-to genre. Which means it’ll be so hard for me to pick Top 10 for that genre (also, it might turn into Top Ten Brandon Sanderson Books and … well … I’ve accidentally done that so many times. LOL). I decided to go with YA contemporary instead. Truthfully, I haven’t read that many contemporary books so if anyone wants to give me recommendation based on these top 10, I’d appreciate it very much! Here they are in no particular order.

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Review: And I Darken

Book Review: And I Darken (Kiersten White)
book cover Book title And I Darken
Series/standalone The Conquerors Saga #1
Author Kiersten White
Pages 475
Year published 2016
Category | Genre Young Adult | Historical Fiction
Rating 4.5 star

Official Summary

No one expects a princess to be brutal. And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.

Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion.

But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point.

This was the first book I finished while taking part in ReadThemAllThon. I chose And I Darken to obtain my Thunder Badge because it was one of book that got overwhelmingly positive hype during release weeks. Does it deserve all those hypes? Let’s see.

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