4 Stars · book review · review · Suspense/Thriller

Review: MY SISTER, THE SERIAL KILLER by Oyinkan Braithwaite

MY SISTER, THE SERIAL KILLER by Oyinkan Braithwaite
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller
Publication:November 20th 2018 by Doubleday Books
Series: None. Standalone.
Length: 240 pages
Format: Paperback ARC
Rating: ★★★★

“Femi makes three, you know. Three and they label you a serial killer.”

This book was amazing! Like, really, go ahead and preorder this one. Especially if you’re interested in a tense modern noir full of murder and sisters and deadpan wit. It is such an impressive debut that will have you flipping pages as fast as you can. You won’t regret it.

My Sister, the Serial Killer, while on the shorter side, has SO MANY LAYERS to it. It’s a sharp as nails and a darkly funny novel about a family going through some stuff, to say the least. The eldest sister is Korede, a hardworking nurse who takes out her frustrations by cleaning everything in sight, and the younger sister, Ayoola, is beautiful, carefree, and has a tendency to… kill her boyfriends. While Korede, on the other hand, has a tendency to protect her sister and clean up her messes, bitter and resigned while doing so. When the doctor that Korede has a crush on shows interest in Ayoola, things get complicated quickly. What will Korede do? Who will she protect?

The most interesting narrative throughout is the question most readers would have after reading the synopsis: why is Ayoola killing these men? And why does Korede keep helping her sister after it happens? Throughout the story, you learn their history together and come to understand some fundamental things about them individually and as a unit of codependent sisters. It’s really a fun ride. You can absolutely feel the tension between the characters and it’s fantastic.

I was on the edge of my seat the whole way through the book and read it in nearly one sitting. I found it incredibly engaging and intriguing to the point where you just can’t stop reading until you find out what’s going to happen next. And the ending stuck the landing. I loved it. My ONLY complaint is that I wish there was more. I was struck when it was over–I wasn’t ready even if I loved how it ended.

These sisters are something else, and I won’t forget them! Part of me wishes I could read another book about them. *crosses fingers* I LOVE MURDERESS STORIES.

Oyinkan Braithwaite is a phenomenal writer. Her humor is outrageous in the best way. Her characterization and tone and atmospheric writing are dazzling. I truly admire this edgy, fun and deliciously dark book. I cannot wait to see this novel flourish. I’m already looking forward to her next project.

Thank you to Doubleday Books for providing me with an ARC!

Uncategorized

REVIEW: FRESHWATER by Akwaeke Emezi

FRESHWATER by Akwaeke Emezi
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary
Publication: February 13th 2018 by Grove Press
Series: Standalone
Length: 229 pages
Format: Hardcover, Audiobook
Rating: ★★★★★

“The first madness was that we were born, that they stuffed a god into a bag of skin.”

Oh. My. Good. Grief. This book is AMAZING. It deserves all the praise.

Freshwater is a semi-autobiographical work that begins with narration from the Ogbanjes, which are godlike Igbo spirits. The spirits have been born into the body of Ada, a girl from Nigeria, through prayers to the serpentine god Ala from her mother and father. Because of this, Ada has fractured selves inside of her, which is a worry to everyone around her. Ada attempts to present a unified front where she and the spirits within her are one. However, with abuse and trauma, she becomes more and more fractured and these spirits within her exert their influence in different and surprising ways. Told through alternating perspectives of Ada and her fractured selves, this is a mythical novel that explores identity, family, adolescence, and spirituality.

The first word that pops into my mind when I think about this stunning work of art is captivating. I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the sharp prose filled with heaps of raw emotions, strength, and truth. Every single page has this all-consuming poetic quality to it. It’s dark, lyrical, sensual, and spiritual in a way I’ve never experienced in a book. It combines Igbo folklore and the real world in such unique ways. The way that Emezi examines mental health, the fractured self, trauma of embodiment, and dysphoria, and how in this story it’s rooted in spirits and gods is brilliant.

“Think of brief insanities that are in you, not just the ones that blossomed as you grew into taller, more sinful versions of yourself, but the ones you were born with, tucked behind your liver. Take us, for instance.”

Freshwater shows that a person is not their illness and it’s powerful. It demands that you put down everything you believe (or have been taught) about mental health and instructs you to actively listen and challenge your assumptions. I’m still reeling from finishing this and I know it will stick with me. It’s the kind of haunting that’s not easily forgotten. What a stunning debut.

This is by and far one of the best novels I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever read. I am in awe of its ferocity and depth. I highly, highly recommend it! 5/5 stars for Freshwater. I will read anything Akwaeke Emezi writes!

TW for self-harm, rape

Uncategorized

REVIEW: Final Girls by Riley Sager

IMG_7888.JPG

There is a term given to three women who share separate but similar stories: they have each been the last ones standing in brutal horror-story level massacres. Lisa lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout’s knife. Sam went up against the Sack Man during a late shift at the Nightlight Inn. And then there’s Quincy, who escaped the woods from Pine Cottage from the man she can only refer to as Him. Five friends went into the cottage and only Quincy made it out alive.

They were the lone survivors. They’re dubbed the Final Girls.

10 years after that terrible night at the cottage, Quincy Carpenter, despite everything, is trying to live a normal life. And she’s succeeding. Then, suddenly, Quincy finds out that Lisa is dead and it’s ruled an apparent suicide. This prompts Sam to suddenly appear at Quincy’s door, hellbent on figuring out Quincy’s past and current life, because Quincy’s memories of that fateful night have been blacked out since it happened. It’s something she used to be content with. All of this causes Quincy to question if she’s truly moved on. Each of the girls has secrets and Quincy is now trying to separate the truths from the lies from those around her. The story unravels from here. Secrets are exposed, intentions are revealed, and the reader is given glimpses into what really happened on that nightmare of a night so many years ago.

IMG_7879.JPG

Ever since I was a little girl, I loved horror movies–and mysteries and thrillers, as well. I was practically raised on them. I knew very well what I was getting myself into with Final Girls and couldn’t wait to be taken on this journey. I love rooting on “final girls” in films. Ellen Ripley, Sarah Carter, Laurie Strode… to name a few. They’re proof that women can prevail. There’s something empowering about there being a final girl. And you know what else I adore? When stories decide to slip tropes on their head. That’s what happened here because the story begins AFTER the horrible events that lead these women to be the final girls. And, more than that, our protagonist, Quincy, is rejecting the title, whereas Sam and Lisa embrace it. I was so excited by the premise and I wasn’t disappointed by it in the slightest.

This story has been compared to a rollercoaster ride and I think that’s truly accurate. It takes you on this WILD ride that grips you until the *very* end. Riley Sager is a fantastic writer. The pacing is fast and the intensity builds and builds, which is exactly what you want with this kind of story. You HAVE to know what happens next. I think the most exciting bits of the story happens when you read segments from the past and begin slowly piecing everything together. Or attempt to, at least. The twists and turns will leave you feeling woozy in the best way. I was blown away by this book. By the intriguing plot, the well-thought out characters, the REVEALS, the ominous tone, the layers of storytelling–everything!

This is one of those books that once you pick up, you find yourself not being able to put down until you know everything. The last 30% was utterly exhilarating. And the end of the novel has me sitting here reeling. I’m so impressed by this debut work. You should all go ahead and add this to your TBRs, pre-order it, all of that, because this book is going to be huge. Especially if you love thrillers, slasher films, and mysteries. I really enjoyed reading it. This book is certainly worth 5 stars. I look forward to reading more from Riley Rager in the future!

I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks so much to the the publisher, Dutton, Penguin Random House, and to the author, Riley Sager, for giving me this opportunity.

FINAL GIRLS will be available in stores on July 11, 2017!!

interview · review

Interview with Steen Jones, author of THE DOOR KEEPER

img_0435

screen-shot-2016-11-18-at-3-04-45-pm.png

 

The Door Keeper by Steen Jones
Publisher: Royal James Publishing
Release date: February 20th, 2017
Format: eARC
Pages: 283
Goodreads ♡ Amazon

Blurb:

Adventure. Love. Destiny.

Single mom Eden Saunders has learned that tragedy is simply a part of life. Her mother died during childbirth, and her husband was killed just three years after they married. On a journey to discover where she comes from, Eden inherits the key to unlocking new worlds from her deceased mother—including the world that should have been her home. The only thing stopping her from exploring them is the fear of leaving her daughter behind. Caught up in the circle of legacy, Eden discovers the mother-daughter bond that even death cannot break.

img_0453

I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of The Door Keeper by Steen Jones from Royal James Publishing and read the book within two days! It’s a very unique Fantasy book that is all about navigating your destiny, the unbreakable bond between mothers and daughters, family, love, grief, loss, and courage in the face of adversity and the unknown. Not to mention a cast of characters that you will certainly root for the entirety of the book. I have not read many (or any?!) Fantasy books with a single mom as the protagonist and it was genuinely refreshing to read about. The story pulls you in from the beginning, and once you get to the meaning behind the title of the book, the story becomes even more enjoyable, fun, and incredibly intriguing. And the traveling between worlds is always a big ‘ole plus in my book! 😉 Steen is an enchanting, creative, and compelling writer and I will definitely check out the next book in this series. And I am delighted to say that I conducted an interview with Steen below that dives into her life and more about this debut novel! Check it out!

Interview:

steenportrait


Hi, Steen! Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Hi, Rachel! Well, I’m a southern girl who has lived in Georgia my entire life, yet for some reason sometimes ask questions with a British accent. I’ve been married for over 15 years to my amazing husband and a mom to two incredible kids. I completely love Jesus, but sometimes get frustrated with the institution of religion. Within the last three years, I’ve become an avid dog lover, adding 2 pups to our family. I love to read, watch movies, paint, and sit in the sunshine any chance I get.

How do you spend your time when you’re not writing?

In the winter, you’ll find me cuddled on the couch with the dogs and my husband drinking wine and binge watching shows on Netflix. That’s about it for winter, I tend to go into hibernation. But in the summer, I’ll be outside at the pool soaking up the sun and relaxing by our pool. I love to garden, growing vegetables, and colorful flowers. I’ve recently taken to cooking and baking, sometimes getting lost in the kitchen for hours. (Too bad I don’t have a house elf to clean up after me, though.)

Where did you get the idea for this novel?

That’s actually an interesting story! About 7 or 8 years ago, I noticed a door on the edge of a field close to where I lived at the time. It was a freestanding door that lead seemingly nowhere, but of course, with my imagination, I immediately decided it went to Narnia. Every time I drove by it, I’d add a little something to the story in my mind, then would forget about it again. Finally, I jotted some notes in my phone and over the next few years, the story developed into a different version than what it is today. Finally, almost exactly 2 years ago, bored one day, I wrote an outline. After that, I simply couldn’t stop. FYI, the door is no longer where it originally was, because it now is in my backyard! (Great story for another time.)

Tell us about the cover for The Door Keeper and how it came about.

The book cover was very important to me. As an artist, the visual picture is almost as critical for me as the words of the story itself. I wanted the cover to feel a bit vintage, something that reminded the reader of older, more simpler time. For me, this story is like a grown up version of The Chronicles of Narnia, so I wanted to cover to reflect that. I have a friend, (the most talented Meg Brim,) who created the logo for my business many years ago, and I knew if anyone could capture my vision for the book, she could. And boy did she. I am so incredibly happy with the cover and the beautiful introduction it gives my readers to this story.

Give us insight into your protagonist, Eden. What makes her unique?

I think what makes Eden unique is the tension she wrestles with. I’m not sure I have read a fantasy book yet where the protagonist is a mother and feels torn between what lies ahead and what lies behind. She has so many responsibilities in this world, it makes it difficult for her to pursue her destiny in others. She can’t just jump in feet first, she has to hesitate, question, and attempt to balance the increasing complexities of her existence. I think this tension is unique in the fantasy book world, but not in the real world of working mothers. I feel this tension resonates with many of us moms that want to make our mark on the world.

Was there a real-life inspiration behind your characters?

Um…heck yes. They say write what you know, and I definitely did that. I think that is why I’m so nervous about this book coming out. Yes, it’s a fantasy book about magical places, but the characters and relationships are all very personal. Almost every character started based on people in my life, but I will say most morphed into their own beings. The people who know me and my family personally will recognize everyone immediately. What can I say? The people around me are fascinating and interesting characters.

What drew you to the Fantasy genre?

I love fantasy because of the grand, epic story lines. I adore all things magic and the escape that fantasy provides. There is nothing I enjoy more than getting lost in another world and my imagination being stimulated. There are no rules in fantasy unless you want there to be. My entire life, I’ve daydreamed, and this gave me an opportunity to actually call it work.

What did you enjoy most about writing The Door Keeper?

I loved the research aspect of writing this book. My imagination would take me somewhere, then I would have to allow my brain to catch up so I could do it justice with words. Some of my most favorite days were days I spent Googling things and researching. I also loved the moments when I solved a plot problem or that moment that a new world was born. Those sparks of inspirations that immediately clicked into place with the story.

What was your favorite part of the story to write and why?

I think my favorite part was writing Eden’s first entrance into her home world. I’d been waiting and looking forward to writing it for months. I love all things sunny and hot, so of course, her homeland encompassed those things. I remember the day I wrote it was freezing and there was snow on the ground. I woke up so excited because I knew that day was the day, and there was nothing more I wanted to do that day than pretend to be warm and toasty in Caelum.

Is there a certain type of scene that is harder to write than others?

I would say that for me, the hardest scenes to write are the set ups. The times I need to catch the reader up without being able to use dialogue. I like writing actions and conversations, but sometimes you just have to get some info to the reader without those things. Those are the most difficult for me, and I’m still trying to figure out how to do them well.

Did you have a favorite world in The Door Keeper and are you planning on revealing more worlds in the sequels?

Of course I’m planning new worlds for the sequels! I’m extremely excited for 2 new worlds in the sequel specifically. Terra Arborum will always hold a special place in my heart for being the first world I created, but Caelum is my favorite. If I’m being honest, if I were actually from a different world, I think it would be Caelum. Maybe that’s why I created it for Eden.

What research went into writing this book? Did you travel for any research?

I wish I could say that I did. Positano is the one place on this Earth I want to be more than anywhere. I had already planned my dream vacation there before I started the book, so I already knew it relatively well. Of course, I spent days and days researching restaurants, villas, and blogs of travels there so I could do it justice. Villa Le Sirene is an actual place you can rent to stay. I reached out to the owners, letting them know I was using their place in my book. One day, I will hand deliver them a copy.

Did you plan to write The Door Keeper as a trilogy from the beginning?

Yes, I did. I knew there was a ton of story to tell. Honestly, I see it being sets of trilogies. The first revolving around Eden and her family. Because of the different worlds I’ve created and the time table established, I can see there being other trilogies featuring other Door Keepers, perhaps in other times or based in different worlds. We will see how this one goes.

Is there a message in this book that you hope readers will grasp?

Great question. I hope that people read The Door Keeper and walk away with a reminder that fear can twist you and your decisions if you let it. Fear is manipulative, and it can rob you of adventure, love, and your destiny. I have a necklace I love that says, “fear keeps life small.” For me, that is a huge take away from the book.

Is there anything you can tell us about the next book or something to look forward to?

Besides new worlds, and interesting new characters, you will finally see why Eden’s mother put her on the path she did, and the fulfillment of Eden and her family’s destiny. There will be a lot more action and adventure in the sequel, now that the characters and worlds have been established. I seriously can’t wait!

Everyone give a round of applause to Steen because those were some awesome answers that give us some more insight into her brain, life, and the world(s!) of The Door Keeper. Make sure you pre-order and read it when it comes out on February 20th! Thanks again to Royal James Publishing and Steen Jones!

Pre-order information:
Click here to pre-order your copy on Amazon today!
OR
Click here to pre-order your copy on Smashwords!
Also, don’t forget to check it out on Goodreads. Paperback available February 20, 2017.
Release date: February 20, 2017.

About the Author:

Steen Jones:

WEBSITE/FACEBOOK/TWITTER/INSTAGRAM

Steen was born and raised in Woodstock, Georgia. While she has only recently discovered her passion for writing, she has always been an artist and a storyteller. A couple of years ago, a story idea gripped her and wouldn’t let go until she wrote it all down. The Door Keeper is her debut novel and she can’t wait to pursue all of the other stories that have built up in her over the last three and a half decades.

When she isn’t writing, reading, painting, or baking, Steen enjoys spending time Netflixing with her husband and playing in the pool with her two children at their North Georgia home. To read more about Steen, you can visit her on her website.

img_0493

Giveaway:

We are going to have two giveaways in celebration of the release of,  The Door Keeper by Steen Jones. One hosted by Royal James Publishing and one by the author Steen Jones.

The first giveaway, hosted by Royal James Publishing, will run from now until the release of the novel.

Click here or visit Royal James Publishing’s Facebook page to enter to win a signed copy of, The Door Keeper by Steen Jones and a $20 Amazon gift card.

The second giveaway will start on the release date, more details about this giveaway to be released soon.

cover reveal

COVER REVEAL: 27 Hours by Tristina Wright

I am so thrilled to be sharing one of my most anticipated reads of 2017: 27 Hours by Tristina Wright. Check out the book and pre-order your copy today!!

27hours

Title: 27 Hours (The Nightside Saga. #1)

Author: Tristina Wright

Release Date: October 3, 2017
Book Description:

Rumor Mora fears two things: hellhounds too strong for him to kill, and failure. Jude Welton has two dreams: for humans to stop killing monsters, and for his strange abilities to vanish.
But in no reality should a boy raised to love monsters fall for a boy raised to kill them.
Nyx Llorca keeps two secrets: the moon speaks to her, and she’s in love with Dahlia, her best friend. Braeden Tennant wants two things: to get out from his mother’s shadow, and to unlearn Epsilon’s darkest secret.
They’ll both have to commit treason to find the truth.
During one twenty-seven-hour night, if they can’t stop the war between the colonies and the monsters from becoming a war of extinction, the things they wish for will never come true, and the things they fear will be all that’s left.

Sounds AMAZING, right??

Where to pre-order:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/27-Hours-Tristina-Wright/dp/1633758206/

B&N:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/27-hours-tristina-wright/1125323416?ean=9781633758209

Amazon.ca: https://www.amazon.ca/27-Hours-Tristina-Wright/dp/1633758206/

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/27-Hours-Tristina-Wright/dp/1633758206

And make sure you also mark this book as “want to read” on Goodreads here!

Author Bio:

Tristina Wright is a blue-haired bisexual with anxiety and opinions. She’s also possibly a mermaid, but no one can get confirmation. She fell in love with science fiction and fantasy at a young age and frequently got caught writing in class instead of paying attention. She enjoys worlds with monsters and kissing and monsters kissing. She married a nerd who can build computers and make the sun shine with his smile. Most days, she can be found drinking coffee from her favorite chipped mug and making up more stories for her wombfruit, who keep life exciting and unpredictable.
Still trying to figure out the mermaid thing.

Website: http://tristinawright.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tristinawright/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TristinaMWright

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TristinaWright

Tumblr: http://authorwrightnow.tumblr.com/

Snapchat: @tristinawright

5 stars · book review · five stars

REVIEW: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Publisher: Crown
Release date:July 26th 2016
Format: Hardback
Source: Purchased
Pages: 342
Goodreads ♡ Book Depository

Synopsis pulled from Goodreads:

“Are you happy with your life?”

Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.

Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits.

Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”

In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.

Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.

From the author of the bestselling Wayward Pines trilogy, Dark Matter is a brilliantly plotted tale that is at once sweeping and intimate, mind-bendingly strange and profoundly human—a relentlessly surprising science-fiction thriller about choices, paths not taken, and how far we’ll go to claim the lives we dream of.

“I suppose we’re both just trying to come to terms with how horrifying infinity really is.”

The first thing I’ve heard multiple people say that have read Dark Matter by Black Crouch has been, “it changed my life,” or “that changed how I think,” or something along those lines. It’s completely, totally valid. Hours after finishing it, I’m still mulling it over in my jumbled up brain. This is a piece of work that messes with you. And I mean that as a compliment. I like my books to mess me up 😛 It’s thrilling, intense, and makes you put yourself in the shoes of these people. While the characters ask themselves morally ambiguous questions, you’re asking yourself the same questions along with them. Questions that you’re not entirely sure you’ll ever have the answers to. It makes you think about your life in “what if’s.” By the end of the book, it makes you kind of thankful for your inability to wrap your mind around infinity.

“We’re all just wandering through the tundra of our existence, assigning value to worthlessness, when all that we love and hate, all we believe in and fight for and kill for and die for us ad meaningless as images projected on to a Plexiglas.”

Dark Matter navigates infinity in a very compelling way. It’s all about quantum mechanics and the routes that you can go because of the big and little decisions that you make daily. And don’t be put off by the science-y things that the book revolves around because Blake Crouch describes what is happening in a way that everyone can understand. Even me and my right-minded, artsy brain. This book discusses the universe in a very vast scope. The multiverse, to be exact. THIS is the best way to describe what goes on in this story, in one little paragraph from the book:

“Imagine you’re a fish, swimming in a pond. You can move forward and back, side to side, but never up out of the water. If someone were standing beside the pond, watching you, you’d have no idea they were there. To you, that little pond is an entire universe. Now imagine that someone reaches down and lifts you out of the pond. You see that what you thought was the entire world is only a small pool. You see other ponds. Trees. The sky above. You realize you’re a part of a much larger and more mysterious reality than you had ever dreamed of.”

So, the basis of this book is the Schrödinger equation. We’re described the scenario of Schrödinger’s cat to grasp what is happening on a level that is understandable to us humans who haven’t a clue about quantum physics. Because infinity is kind of hard to comprehend. Kind of is an understatement. I don’t want to go more into that because there are reveals in this book that I want you to experience on your own (the plot twists are GRAND). When everything comes together and you realize the gravity of the situation, your head will want to explode. I’m lucky that my husband read this before me because I kept texting him, “OH. MY. GODDDDDD.” every so often. It’s just that kind of book. You’ll want other people to read it so they, too, can be mind-blown.

On a different level, it’s truly beautiful and makes you think in a way that you’ve never thought before. I really mean that. It made me contemplative but very appreciative of my life.

“I’ve always known, on a purely intellectual level, that our separateness and isolation are an illusion. We’re all made of the same thing—the blown-out pieces of matter formed in the fires of dead stars.”

And under all of this, this is a touching love story between a man and his wife. It is a story of a man who would do anything to get back to the love of his life and their child. It’s deeply moving because it means Jason has to do the seemingly impossible to get back to them. To get back to the life that they build together over the years. You root for him the entire time and find yourself wanting to clap him on the back for his cleverness. This book gets down to the ROOT of what infinity means. It’s a captivating journey that will have you reeling in the end. It’s emotionally engaging and incredibly thought-provoking. I highly recommend it to ANYONE AND EVERYONE. I absolutely loved it. Thanks for rattlin’ my brain, Blake Crouch.

“I can’t help thinking that we’re more than the sum total of our choices, that all the paths we might have taken factor somehow into the math of our identity.”

★★★★★

5/5 stars

5 stars · book review · five stars

REVIEW: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

“Jane, be still; don’t struggle so like a wild, frantic bird, that is rending its own plumage in its desperation.”
“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being, with an independent will; which I now exert to leave you.”

Reader, this is a 6-star read and a forever favorite of mine. I first read this in high school and I loved it then, but I can definitely say that I love it much more now. Here are some of the reasons why I love love love this book:

1) Jane Eyre herself. Jane is one of the best heroines in literature. She is such a strong-willed, independent, compassionate, fierce, intelligent, virtuous, and kind woman. I could go on and on because I just adore her. She is an actual force of nature (something you are reminded of when the weather is described–it always reflects her feelings). At times during the story, Jane lives under horrible circumstances and suffers and feels very alone, but still gives love freely to others. She forms deep friendships throughout the novel and finds her own happiness despite her hardships. She stands by her opinions and principles and whether or not you agree with them, you just respect the crap out of Jane. And, not to mention, she is described as “plain” several times in the novel and it’s just such a great example of having beauty anyway. Bronte never tries to change Jane. She is beautiful inside and out despite being “plain.” She struggles, like everyone, but she is wonderful the way she is.

“He was the first to recognise me, and to love what he saw.”

2) Edward Fairfax Rochester. What a man. His banter with Jane gives me so much joy. His quirky humor delighted me. Rochester and Jane are kindred spirits and understand each other fully. He is not perfect by any means but that makes him even better. Rochester is not supposed to be a handsome man but he makes your heart flutter. It’s his character. He’s GREAT. He embodies what I enjoy from my heroes: he’s enigmatic, mysterious, dark, etc! But he is so sweet to Jane and because of her, he becomes a much better man.

3) Speaking of Jane and Rochester: THE ROMANCE. It’s a romance of heart, mind, and soul which is SOOOO REFRESHING. It has nothing to do with their looks (WUT?!)!!! Their conversations provide so much passion and yearning. And practically every conversation they have is incredibly important to progressing their relationship. Upon meeting, they immediately have an unspoken and incredibly strong bond that leads to romantic love. They go through so much throughout the story. By the end of the novel, they are truly where they’re meant to be. Annnnd can I just say now how much I love chapter 23? SO GOOD.

“Do you think I am an automaton? — a machine without feelings? and can bear to have my morsel of bread snatched from my lips, and my drop of living water dashed from my cup? Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong! — I have as much soul as you — and full as much heart! And if God had gifted me with some beauty and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you. I am not talking to you now through the medium of custom, conventionalities, nor even of mortal flesh: it is my spirit that addresses your spirit; just as if both had passed through the grave, and we stood at God’s feet, equal — as we are!”

4) The take on religion. There are several examples of hypocrites who use the name of God to get what they want (i.e. St. John and Mrs. Reed). Then there is Jane who shows that she is a religious person but acknowledges that she is human, makes mistakes, and is simply doing the best she can and staying true to herself. And, I think on a deeper level, it shows how you have perseverance and faith in the face of privation.

5) It’s empowering for women. This book was written during a time when women were considered second-class citizens so for Charlotte Bronte to put this out gives me liiiiife.

“Women … feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts, as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a restraint, to absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer; and it is narrow-minded in their more privileged fellow-creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing on the piano and embroidering bags. It is thoughtless to condemn them, or laugh at them, if they seek to do more or learn more than custom has pronounced necessary for their sex.”

AMAZING. I mean, I wouldn’t go around calling this a feminist novel per se, but there are themes of it present. I smiled every time we got a glimpse of the strong opinion for women’s equality.

6) The gothic elements!!! Enough said.

7) Basically everything else because I have zero complaints. I love the pacing, the plot, the characters, the themes, the tones, the utter vulnerability and honesty and courageousness of truly FEELING:

“Crying does not indicate that you are weak. Since birth, it has always been a sign that you are alive.”

This story itself seems simple but it contains so much depth. It’s much more than a romance. This novel is all about the human experience and the challenges we face and the decisions we make. It’s mostly character-driven. It’s all about Jane becoming an adult and who she wants to be. I think one of the things this book taught me is that while it is important to take care of others, it’s most important to take care of yourself first. Jane went through a lot to come to that conclusion. She shows us that you can have so many odds stacked against you and still control your destiny. It’s powerful.

This book is immensely compelling even though it came out over 160 years ago! Isn’t that amazing? Charlotte Bronte has written a book that is a true classic because it discusses women and gender roles, class and societal order, religion and piety, and for giving readers characters who you truly root for, among so many other things. The characters are so REAL and the themes are timeless. I’ll reread it until the end of time. Thank you, Charlotte Bronte, for creating something with so much meaning–something you can go back to and pick up something new every time you read it. I highly, highly suggest you to read this if you have not! It definitely has something for everybody.

I’ll probably come back to this review and write/revise some more things because goshdarnit I HAVE FEELINGS. All the feelings. But I have all the love for this story and for my dear Jane.

★★★★★

5/5 stars