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Book Review: My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows (4/5)

28 Nov

I decided to read this book to help me fulfill a time period in my When Are You Reading? Challenge. I’d seen it on other people’s blogs through the years but never been too tempted by it before. It looked fun, but how much could there be to say about a woman who ruled for nine days. Well, a lot. And with some magic and a tons and tons of sarcasm. This book ended up being a really fun read that I enjoyed a lot.

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Cover image via Amazon

My Lady Jane (The Lady Janies #1) by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

Summary from Amazon:

At 16, 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 gets to be queen of England.

Like that could go wrong.

I immediately loved the 3rd wall breaking and the sarcastic comments and the very honest internal dialogue. This book was fun from the beginning. While Jane meets the almost required ‘modern girl in a historical setting’ trope that all good YA historical novels seem to have, I still liked her. I wasn’t ready for the magical elements to this plot but they did make things fun. I would have liked a better explanation of the curse, but it’s something I can live without and I wonder if it’s better explained in the next book.

The characters were a little too comical to be credible. There were things they did and said that seemed genuine, but then there were moments that were too over-the-top and I could really believe. It helped the tone of the book and made it fun to read as I was being entertained. You don’t expect a comedy to be filled with the most realistic people.

I was always cheering for Gifford. I wanted good things for him. I felt like he got a bad deal, being the second son, but his father and brother did all they could to make his life even harder. The way he cared for and protected Jane were very sweet and I was glad the way things ended up for the two of them.

Edward was raised to be king and was always told he was a great king. I thought it was really relatable when he started to question that, and wondered how much he wanted to be king. I’ve been thinking a lot about what we teach our children and what we encourage them to chase and how much that’s in their best interest so this struck home with me. I was glad when Edward thought about things for himself and realized his sister would make a strong ruler. (I’m not calling this a spoiler because it’s basic history. Sorry if you didn’t know.)

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Cynthia Hand Image via Goodreads

There isn’t a single part of this story I would say I liked more than others. It was well paced with highlight moments coming at fairly regular intervals that kept me interested and excited for what would come next. I loved how Jane would become a thesaurus when she was angry, listing synonyms. I thought it was very sweet and it was consistently employed through the book.

Gracie’s character seemed unnecessary to me. I’m hoping she comes up in a later book, or else what was the point of her? Edward’s attraction to her didn’t motivate him much and her tie to the Pack could have been skipped. I have to assume she’ll play a larger role later in the series or I would think she’d have been cut.

The audiobook was narrated by Katherine Kellgren. Oh. My. Gosh. She was incredible. Her narration made this book for me. I’m sure I would have liked it if I’d read the text, but her sarcasm, her dramatics, and her variety of voices were incredible. I couldn’t wait to start this again and have Kellgren read to me. I would pick out other books she’s narrated in a heartbeat.

The Ethian/Verities opinions are a softened version of the Catholic/Protestant differences that dominated this period of history. The distaste for Ethians by Verities or the tolerance of them defined the reigns of King Henry VIII, Kind Edward, Lady Jane, Queen Mary, and Queen Elizabeth I much in the same way their changing opinions of Catholics and Protestants defined the time period. I liked this way of talking about it without the story being about religion.

Writer’s Takeaway: The sarcastic style and internal dialogue of the characters was great for a YA audience. I’m not sure it would go over as well for a younger or older audience, but it seemed perfect for this spot in between. It felt realistic and I’m sure I’m not the only one who was full of sass in my teen years. Some of the things these characters thought or said were things I would be embarrassed to admit I thought or said, but that made it more fun to read.

Overall, a fun read that I enjoyed. Four out of Five Stars.

This book fulfilled the 1500-1699 time period of the When Are You Reading? Challenge 2022.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Related Posts:
My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows | The Book Corps
My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodie Meadows | Leaf’s Reviews
Book Review – ‘My Lady Jane’ by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows | Casey Carlisle
My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows | The Mermaid Behind the Books

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WWW Wednesday, 23-November-2022

23 Nov

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


Currently reading: So I realized I need to finish Soldiers’ Pay by William Faulkner for my reading challenge this year. I think it’s giving me some good motivation to pick it up more often, even if it’s just for a page or two. I’ll keep pushing forward, but it’s still not gripping me.
I’m SO close to finishing My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand. I’m having a lot of fun with this one and I find myself picking it up a lot so progress has been good. I’m optimistic it’s over soon!
I finally met the titular Sophie in Sophie’s Choice by William Styron. I’m hoping the pace picks up a bit more now. I realized I don’t need this for a reading challenge like I thought, so I’m tempted to put it down or maybe just keep going at a relaxed pace. I’m still not sure. I’ll hold on to it for now as I decide.

Recently finished: Nada. Zilch. Nothing. I think I’ll have one here next week so I’m not sweating it, but finishing my reading challenge is looking like a big hill to climb!

Reading next: I might go ahead and check out The Birth of Venus by Sarah Durant because I’ll start it really soon and I don’t want to lose it to someone else! Looking forward to some more good historical fiction to wrap up the year.

Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

WWW Wednesday, 16-November-2022

16 Nov

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


Currently reading: I tried to think about reading Soldiers’ Pay by William Faulkner but I’m not sure it helped. This isn’t one I’m enjoying much, but I’m starting to see more of a cohesive plot now so it is becoming more enjoyable. I’ll keep trying to make time for it and see where I end up. Slow going, but going.
I made some great leaps forward in My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand due to some extensive driving around. I was able to go on a short vacation with some friends this weekend so the time getting out of town was enjoyed with this audiobook. The narrator is fantastic.
My start on Sophie’s Choice by William Styron has been slow. It’s not the fastest start to a story and the book seems formidably long so I’m a bit intimidated at this point. My library hold was renewed, so I’ve got a good chunk of time on this one.

Recently finished: Nothing new finished but I posted my review of Powering Up by Anne Doyle on Monday. I gave it Three out of Five stars and enjoyed the message. I think it came at a time when I needed it.

Reading next: I think I’ll need an audiobook next and I’m going to keep pushing to finish my reading challenge. Next up on that list will be The Birth of Venus by Sarah Durant. I’m keeping my fingers crossed it remains available at the library until I’m ready to pick it up.

Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Book Review: Powering Up by Anne Doyle (3/5)

14 Nov

When I was in grad school, I went to a woman’s networking conference and heard Anne Doyle speak. All attendees got a copy of her book and I’m a bit embarrassed it took me so long to get to it. (The days of me being years behind on my TBR are almost behind me!) I think this was a good time in my life for me to read this, so maybe it’s fate intervening.

Powering Up Book Cover

Powering Up! How America’s Women Achievers Become Leaders by Anne Doyle

Summary from Goodreads:

Powering Up: How America’s Women Achievers Become Leaders is a call to leadership heeding women to step up, realize their full potential, and become the leaders they are meant to be. Individual leadership, however, isn’t enough. Every woman for herself is losing strategy. A few lone women, no matter how exceptional they are, have little impact on the conversation of a nearly all-male group, let alone its decisions. It takes critical mass to shift group dynamic. Powering Up will require women to get beyond their differences and recognize how interdependent they are.

I think this was the right time in my life for me to read this book. I’m at a point that Doyle addresses where I have a young family and I have to decide if I want to stay on the fast track, heading upward in my career, or switch to the ‘Mommy Track’ where my career stays steady for a few years while I give my family more attention. That idea seems so sexist and antiquated the more I think about it. What about my partner? Why am I incapable of doing both? I think this book was a good kick in the pants that helped me see a bit more of myself and I’m very thankful for that. I know it’s working because I stood up for myself when a man tried to steal my lane at the pool, rather than just grumbling and dealing with it. Not bad for an introvert!

Doyle uses her own experiences a lot in the book. While it was helpful, it did feel a little odd to be learning so much about someone in a book empowering women to leadership. She used interviews with other women as well and it felt like a lot of them were focused in the Metro Detroit area, where Doyle and I both live. I’m not sure how much impact some of these interviews might have for readers from other parts of the country. 

I thought it was brave of Doyle to share some of the things she did about herself and her journey. She admits to struggles she had with her marriage, her family, and her career. It’s refreshing to see someone who has served in high-power positions share their low points. It can help you see to the other end of your own low points.

There were some things about Doyle’s story that resonated with me. She talked a lot about her job in the auto industry, which is where I work (bet you never guessed this living in Detroit). Despite the time difference between Doyle’s tenure and my own, it’s still a male-dominated industry and a lot of the communication styles can be aggressive and not very welcoming for a young woman who wants to get into the field. It’s something my company and many in the industry are working to combat but it’s not an overnight change. This book got me thinking more about what I can do to help women feel more welcome at my company and what I can ask my company to do so women feel a sense of belonging and want to stay.

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Anne Doyle Image via the author’s website

One thing Doyle addressed that resonated with me was how different generations of women often come to resent one another in professional settings. The women who blazed trails and made big impacts in the 50s and 60s can be resentful of women my age who never had to push back against sexist policies and take for granted that we won’t lose out on the job to a man who ‘needs to support his family.’ I thought it was really insightful, especially since I’ve become a mother and I see the parent/not a parent divide amongst women. I’ve found myself talking more to those who have children and understand the balance we’re trying to straddle. Before my child was born, I didn’t really understand the balances of childcare and hungry toddlers and I think I was less sympathetic than I should have been.

There wasn’t a part of this book that I particularly disliked in any way. However, there wasn’t a part that grabbed me in and pushed me to read more and more. It was steady, but never overly exciting for me. I had no trouble putting it down, but I didn’t hesitate to pick it up. I find this more often with non-fiction so I think it’s part of my preference for fiction.

Women are slowly getting more and more equal footing with men in professional settings. Doyle’s book was published in 2011 and since then we’ve seen a woman get a presidential nomination and a woman vice president. I know if Doyle had published this later, she would have talked at length about Mary Barra being named CEO of General Motors. To this day, I think that’s one of the biggest achievements for women in the auto industry and Barra is well respected. I’ve heard before that it’s about time for women to step into positions of power and Doyle lays out well how to do that and what obstacles a woman will face. 

Writer’s Takeaway: I can’t see myself ever writing a non-fiction book. If I did, I’d want to be very aware of how much of myself I was pouring into the book. I think there’s a balance before you start bleeding into memoir and Doyle was playing a game with that line here. I think it might have been helpful to put all of her personal anecdotes into a section by itself which would have read as more of a memoir. Without knowing her, I found her stories a bit confusing because I didn’t understand the timeline of when in her career they happened to her.

An enjoyable and empowering read. Three out of Five Stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

WWW Wednesday, 9-November-2022

9 Nov

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


Currently reading: I was so optimistic about Soldiers’ Pay by William Faulkner after last week, but I didn’t make any progress this week. I don’t want to hope for doctor’s appointments, but they do seem to be a good time for me to get some reading done.
I’ve made fair progress on My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand despite being slow with everything else. It’s a longer book, though, so I’m not close to being done still. I really like the narrator and it’s fun to pick this up whenever I get a few spare minutes!
I finally started on Sophie’s Choice by William Styron! I’m hoping I can renew my hold at the library because I started so much later than planned. Fingers crossed! I’m also looking forward to a good movie adaptation. I haven’t watched one of those in a while.

Recently finished: I wrapped up Powering Up by Anne Doyle on Saturday! I’ve got some mixed feelings on it, so I’m not quite ready to give it a rating yet, but I’m thinking of Three Stars. I’m planning to have a review up next week so I’ll iron it out by then.

Reading next: Nothing solid planned at this time. I’ll keep pushing to finish my reading challenge, but it will depend on what book I finish next where I’ll head. I am enjoying a good amount of historical fiction right now!

Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

WWW Wednesday, 2-November-2022

2 Nov

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


Currently reading: I finished a chapter in Soldiers’ Pay by William Faulkner! I had a doctor’s appointment and told myself I was going to read instead of checking social media while I waited and it worked! Maybe I’ll make it through this one after all.
I’m getting really close to finishing Powering Up by Anne Doyle and I’m pushing myself to pick it up each night so I can make progress. I’m really hoping this will be on the ‘finished’ list next week!
I gone through a good bit of My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand with a speaking engagement I had last week. It was almost an hour drive each way so I made a big jump and I found a lot of time to listen to it while doing some work around the house. I’m feeling good about this one. I’m enjoying it and I think I’ll make my way through it quickly.

Recently finished: Nothing new this week. I was able to post my review of Mississippi Trial, 1955 by Chris Crowe on Monday so please check that out when you have time!

Reading next: I’m just waiting to start Sophie’s Choice by William Styron and hoping it will be soon! I can almost taste finishing my challenge soon and I can’t wait to cross more books off the list.

Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Book Review: Mississippi Trial, 1955 by Chris Crowe (3/5)

31 Oct

This is another book I got a free audiobook of from my library’s summer program. I moved it up my TBR a bit because it fit a time period I needed to wrap up my When Are You Reading? Challenge. I’ve still got my fingers crossed I finish that.

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Cover image via Amazon.

Mississippi Trial, 1955 by Chris Crowe

Summary from Amazon:

At first Hiram is excited to visit his hometown in Mississippi. But soon after he arrives, he crosses paths with Emmett Till, a black teenager from Chicago who is also visiting for the summer. Hiram sees firsthand how the local whites mistreat blacks who refuse to “know their place.” When Emmett’s tortured dead body is found floating in a river, Hiram is determined to find out who could do such a thing. But what will it cost him to know?

I’m glad I didn’t read the summary of this one. I knew what was coming the second I heard Emmett’s name. His case is so infamous that it immediately told me what was happening in the rest of the story. At least without the summary I had a bit of time with some unknown. What bothered me most is that it felt like this wasn’t a story that should have come from a white narrator. It felt wrong to me that Hiram was telling the story and not one of Emmett’s family members. We meet his cousins and find out that Ruth Anne is somehow related, but it’s still Hiram telling the story. Toward the end we find out more about his connection to the case, but I think it still seemed off.

I think it’s worth noting that this story is coming to movie theatres soon. And told from his mother’s perspective.

Hiram seemed just slightly unbelievable to me. It seemed odd to me that he wasn’t aware of how racist his grandfather was after living with him for so long. We had to suspend disbelief that he would have picked that up. What really got me was that his father would never had said anything about it to Hiram, especially before he went back to spend the summer with his grandfather. The feud between his father and grandfather was that his father disliked how his grandfather treated black people. I’d have to assume Hiram would have picked up on the ideas of one of these men and had the other challenge him before his late teenage years. Children seem to parrot ideas they hear so easily. How could this strongly held belief not be parroted from either man?

I wanted to like Naomi but she fell flat for me at the end. She was a victim of circumstances and did the best she could with a drunk father and an angry brother. The fact that she was still sweet is a miracle. We hear her desires to go to school and make something of herself, but Hiram doesn’t seem to believe she’ll really do it and I was confused why. What is it about her that’s given him this impression? The narrator doubting her made me doubt her. I was hoping there would be a bit more resolution with their relationship, too.

I’ve had moments in my life where I realized someone I loved or respected held ideas that I could not align with, much like Hiram and his grandfather. It’s jarring. It makes you rethink things about your relationship. I understood when Hiram had to shift his opinion of his grandfather and how it continued to happen as time went on. I think it makes you appreciate those who did shape your mind a lot more.

I like Hiram’s relationship with Naomi until the end. I thought it was a very sweet and genuine thing and I was hoping it would turn into something more than it did. Other than that, there wasn’t that stood out to me about this book. It fell really flat.

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Chris Crowe. Image via Goodreads

R.C. really bothered me as a character. I understand he embodied the ideas that many Southern whites held at the time but I think this would have been more powerful if seen through Hiram’s grandfather. He seemed like an unnecessary add just to address white poverty, which wasn’t relevant to the story.

The audiobook was narrated by Victor Bevine. I liked how he read the story and felt he gave weight to the things that needed it. I think he was a good choice for this book as it would have been odd to have someone without a Southern drawl read the story.

Emmett Till’s lynching is a well known catalyst in the Civil Rights movement. I think it’s important that its talked about and shared. I think we should challenge the assumptions and prejudices of older generations as we continue to advance our culture to be more inclusive of those with diverse backgrounds. It’s good that this story is being told, even if I don’t agree this was the best way to tell it.

Writer’s Takeaway: One of the faults I find in historical fiction is often that the characters seem terribly modern for the time period they’re living in. This suffered from that to me. Hiram was easier to relate to because his ideas were very modern and his approach to people of diverse ethnicities was in line with a lot of us today. That doesn’t make him realistic for his time. I would have liked better if his father talked about a reason he opposed his father or an event that showed him the error of his father’s thinking. Maybe fighting side-by-side with a Black man in the war, or an encounter in Greenwood that challenged what his father had taught him. I think the story suffered without this.

Overall a good story but not the one I wanted. Three out of Five Stars.

This book fulfills the 1940-1959 time period of the When Are You Reading? Challenge.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

WWW Wednesday, 26-October-2022

26 Oct

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


Currently reading: I read a few pages of Soldiers’ Pay by William Faulkner, but nothing to brag about. I’m still trying to figure out where in my day this fits so please let me know if you have any suggestions!
I’m still moving well through Powering Up by Anne Doyle. I’d hoped it would be finished this week, but I’ll push it out one more week. Staying positive here!
I started a new audiobook! I’m still determined to wrap up my reading challenge before the end of the year, so I jumped into My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand. I’m hoping it’s a quick listen for me! I don’t have any long trips coming up that will take a chunk out of it so it might be a while.

Recently finished: I took a drive to se some friends over the weekend and that allowed me to take a massive chunk out of Mississippi Trial, 1955 by Chris Crowe. I finished it up earlier this week. I feel a little iffy about this one, but I liked it overall. I’m going to have a lot to say about it in a review so keep an eye out for that one.

I posted my review of Easy Prey by Catherine Lo on Monday. This one took a turn at the very end that I didn’t care for and it knocked it down a lot in my mind. I ended up giving it Two out of Five Stars.

Reading next: I put a hold on Sophie’s Choice by William Styron and it came in! It’s sitting next to my bed now and I’ll pick it up as soon as I finish Doyle. I’m excited to jump in and probably see the movie after!

Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Book Review: Easy Pray by Catherine Lo (2/5)

24 Oct

I’m continuing through the audiobooks I got through my library’s Summer Listening program, finally catching up from a few summers ago. While a few of these have been fun, I haven’t been won over with a lot of them and this is no exception. I wanted to like this book, but the ending just ruined what was probably a Three or Four Star read for me, bringing it down significantly.

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Cover image via Amazon

Easy Prey by Catherine Lo

Summary from Amazon:

Only three students had access to a teacher’s racy photos before they went viral. There’s Mouse, a brainy overachiever so desperate to escape his father and go to MIT that he would do almost anything, legal or not. Then there’s Drew, the star athlete who can get any girl’s number – and private photos – with his charm but has a history of passing those photos around. And finally, there’s Jenna, a good-girl-turned-rebel after her own shocking photos made the rounds at school last year, who is still waiting for justice.

All three deny leaking the photos, but someone has to take the fall. This edgy whodunit tackles hot-button issues of sexting and gossip, and will have listeners eagerly awaiting the final reveal.

I liked this story for the majority of the plot. The only thing I didn’t enjoy was how Ms. Bailey was portrayed. She’s around the same age as me and it was implied she’s angry and short with students because she’s single and lonely. I don’t know a single peer of mine who has that mindset and I thought it was an instance of the writer wanting to make adults seem very ‘othered’ and it bugged me. But other than that, it was a good plot. Drew and Mouse were good characters, I liked Jenna’s arc, there were a lot of good things going here. I’ll talk more about the ending later on but it was a big crash for me.

Lo has a great ability to write teenagers. I knew people like Drew and Jenna. Drew was the jock everyone hated and loved. Jenna is an explosive ball of teenage angst that I know I felt while I was that age. Mouse was believable, even if I couldn’t relate to him as much. I admired his drive and I understood his desperation. These main three were great even if I wasn’t a fan of Ms. Bailey.

Until the end, I would have said Jenna was my favorite character. I’m not sure if I still feel the same way. Ultimately, I think Mouse was my favorite through the book. He was complicated and his motivations stretched his moral character in a way I found believable and compelling. I’m not saying I like what he did or how he did it, but I could see why he was pushed in the ways he was.

Jenna resonated with me. We had a lot in common. I worked at a FoYo place, I wore a lot of black, I tried to act like I didn’t care what people though. So I felt like I understood her and her story in some ways. There were things I couldn’t relate to at all, like her photo leak, but I could empathize with how embarrassing that would be and how angry she would be. However, her decisions at the end really bothered me.

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Catherine Lo Image via Twitter

I liked the structure of the book. Starting with the ‘day of reckoning’ and working backwards to how it happened and watching the puzzle pieces fall into place was awesome. I like a non-linear structure if done well and I thought this was great. Lo crafted a lot of suspense into the novel in a way that kept me reading and engaged, trying to see how we got to that day and see the motivations that get every character there as well.

OK, I’m going to talk about the end of the book so skip to the next paragraph to avoid spoilers. I thought the book wrapped up way too quickly and neatly for how messy of a situation they were in. There are so many ways Jenna could get caught in the end, so thinking she got away without a scratch is nearly impossible. I can understand her anger at Mouse to an extent, but I don’t think it warranted him suffering so much legal action and ruining his chances of MIT. She took things into her own hands when it seems like she had the evidence she needed to get them pined for their original crimes instead of taking them down in a mess she created. It was way too ‘perfect’ in the end for something that was far from it. I left the book frustrated and angry.

There were three narrators for this book: Nick Mondelli, Elizabeth Cottle, and Jack Meloche. I thought it was appropriate to have multiple narrators because of the multiple first person points of view in the book. It would have been odd to have a male voice reading Jenna’s sections. I thought all narrators did well and I liked that Drew and Mouse got their own voices. Cottle did well at conveying Jenna’s angst and anger. I’m not sure which person did Drew, but I really liked the smugness that was in his voice and how it came across. All three did really great.

Internet privacy is a tricky thing. If something exists digitally, it can be around forever and it’s hard to remove it. What happened to Jenna is horrible but so hard to prosecute. How can we protect ourselves and children in this digital age? I think Lo did a good job of exploring this topic, but I think Jenna’s answer came up short. The laws in these areas need to be reconsidered and revamped As a parent, I’ve considered that I’ll need to be more aware of these in a few years so I’m trying not to live under a rock. There’s only so much we can teach our children and have to trust they’ll believe us and listen to us and do the right thing. And even if they do, those around them might not. So let’s do what we can to create a system that helps protect children.

Writer’s Takeaway: It’s hard to end a book. I think this is an example of one that didn’t do it for me and fell flat. I wanted a lot more from this than I got in the end. There was some good intention, but it didn’t feel like everything was thought through. I wanted more. I wanted another chapter that either confirmed that things went the way it was implied or that things blew up. The ending was cut too short and seemed too clean for such a messy situation.

Overall, a disappointing end brought this one down. Two out of Five Stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

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Book Review: Easy Prey- Catherine Lo | The Bibliophile Chronicles

WWW Wednesday, 19-October-2022

19 Oct

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


Currently reading: Yet again, nothing with Soldiers’ Pay by William Faulkner. I’m trying to think when I can dedicate some time to this one. I try not to use screens before bed and that’s some of my best reading time. Any thoughts?
I have been making good progress in Powering Up by Anne Doyle. I use it to wind down for a few minutes after work, give my eyes a break from screens for a bit. I’m hoping I’ll have this one finished in a week or two.
I took a massive chunk out of Mississippi Trial, 1955 by Chris Crowe the first day I started it. I was driving all over and had it running, getting through a quarter of it! It’s not what I expected from the cover (I didn’t read much of the description) but I think it will be an interesting read.

Recently finished: I wrapped up Easy Prey by Catherine Lo on Saturday morning. I’ll be honest, the ending ruined it for me. I was into the story and trying to figure out the twist and I kind of called it, but I hated how it wrapped up. I think it was unrealistic and sent a really bad message. I haven’t written my review yet so this is subject to change, but I’m giving it Two out of Five stars so far.

Reading next: I’m going to keep executing my plan for finishing When Are You Reading? Challenge this year. Next physical book is going to be Sophie’s Choice by William Styron. I hear a lot about this book but don’t have much of an idea of the plot so I’m excited to read it!

Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.