The Last Letter from Your Lover by Jojo Moyes

The Last Letter from Your Lover by Jojo Moyes

Expected publication: July 7th 2011 by Penguin Group (USA), first published July 8th 2010

Synposis from cover: It is 1960. When Jennifer Stirling wakes up in the hospital, she can remember nothing-not the tragic car accident that put her there, not her husband, not even who she is. She feels like a stranger in her own life until she stumbles upon an impassioned letter, signed simply "B," asking her for forgiveness.

Years later, in 2003, a journalist named Ellie discovers the same enigmatic letter, also signed "B," in a forgotten file in her newspaper's archives. In this one, the writer asks his beloved to meet him on Platform 4, Paddington- to leave her husband and run away together. Ellie becomes obsessed by the story and hopeful that it can resurrect her faltering career. Perhaps if these lovers had a happy ending she will find one to her own complicated love life, too. Ellie's search will rewrite history and help her see the truth about her own modern romance.

I'm so very much in love with this book. I knew I would be. I've been waiting for it for over a year ever since I saw it in an IMM post at Bookalicous Ramblings. It's previously been published in the UK but the US publication is finally coming this July and a book fairy was kind enough to send a copy my way.

And oh oh oh. What a beautiful book.

Jennifer Stirling is the ideal wife for a well-to-do business man in the 1960s. She's beautiful, charming, unassuming and docile, the perfect little trophy to accent her husband Larry's picture perfect life. Only she doesn't remember any of it since the car accident. She knows who she's suppose to be, and the role she's suppose to play in her life but she can't remember what it felt like to belong in it. Maybe it's because she never did. As she recovers and steps back into a life she can't even recollect, she begins to search for some shred of evidence that she was once a part of it.

Jennifer finds a letter folded between the pages of a book that hints of a secret life and a passion that clearly doesn't exist inside her marriage. The letter, signed only "B" was the first of several she finds hidden amongst her things. Each fervent, ardent proclamation of love finds Jennifer recapturing the sense of self that she hasn't been able to find inside her cookie cutter life, because it was never there. Who she really is exists only in her wildly romantic affair with the mysterious "B".

This book will make you crazy. In a good way. The story, which spans forty-three years has the torturous element of switching to a past or future moment just when...just when you finally think something wonderful is about to happen. Moyes makes you live each day with Jennifer, both past and future before she gives you the happy ending that by this point, you simply must have to find peace and fulfillment in your own life. You want this story to turn out perfect. I can imagine that it would even be difficult for a non-romantic to not feel the amazing pull this story has on the heart. It's that powerful. And if you're lacking a little faith in love at the moment, it can heal you. Books can = medicine. (This is not an endorsement to stop taking your crazy pills and live solely on book-love, you nut. :) Merely suggested as an adjunct.)

My adoration of the main character built slowly. From the start, which for her was when she woke up from the accident, she was unaccepting of her place in life. She knew it didn't fit; that she wasn't so two dimensional. Her unwavering belief that she simply could not be the person her life expected her to be earned my respect. In her social class and situation, at that time, one did not simply leave a secure home, family and friends to run off with a lover. The fact that she did it anyway, despite the ostracism it earned her made me cheer for her. I couldn't have been a "kept" wife, smiled, be well-coiffed and never have an opinion on anything. There's one instance in the book where Jenny and Larry are at a dinner party and Jenny attempts to join in a conversation concerning French politics and her husband basically tells her to shut up and not talk about things she knows nothing about. I would have smacked him- but well before that I would have already been branded a loud, wild, shameless hussy.

In the very middle of our story, just to make you squirm, Moyes jumps to 2003, where a struggling journalist named Ellie finds B's letters. She herself is involved, rather unsuccessfully, with a married man and Jenny's story sheds some new light on her own. She learns that while frantically trying to hold on to a deteriorating love, she's denying herself the opportunity to feel a bit of what Jenny felt for B. Sometimes it's not too late to fix the stupid in our lives.

I'm telling you about this book over a month early so that you can have time to long for it, as I did. You want this and you want this book. Put it on your to-read list. Wait for it. Think about it often. When it finally arrives, give it a big hug hello because you're going to be the very best of friends.

I'll leave you with the first of "B's" letters that Jennifer torture you:

     I couldn't make you listen, when you left in such a hurry, but I was not rejecting you. You were so far from the truth I can hardly bear it.
     Here is the truth: you are not the first married woman I have made love to. You know my personal circumstances, and to be frank, these relationships, such as they are, have suited me. I did not want to be close to anyone. When we first met, I chose to think you would be no different.
     But when you arrived at my room on Saturday, you looked so wonderful in your dress. And then you asked me to unfasten that button at your neck. And as my fingers met your skin I realized in that moment that to make love to you would be a disaster for both of us. You, dearest girl, have no idea of how you would feel to be so duplicitous. You are an honest, delightful creature. Even if you do not feel it now, there is pleasure to be had from being a decent person. I do not want to be the man responsible for making you someone less than that.
     And me? I knew in the moment you looked up at me that if we did this I would be lost. I would not be able to put you aside, as I had with the others. I would not be able to nod agreeably to Laurence as we passed each other in some restaurant. I would never be satisfied with just a part of you. I had been fooling myself to think otherwise. It was for that reason, darling girl, that I redid that wretched button at your neck. And for that reason I have lain awake for the last two nights, hating myself for the one decent thing I have ever done.
Forgive me,


*Hint: If you just can't bare the wait you can always order the UK edition, but I like this cover.

*Quote taking from an ARC of the book and may differ in the finished copy.

Monday Mini (7): Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien

It's Monday morning, the alarm clock just went off and everything is rush rush rush to get ready for the work week. Unfortunately there's limited time for book talk, and even less for blogging, but we still MUST share some book thoughts before we dive into the day. A Monday Mini is a quick little review typed with one hand, while coffee is made, makeup is applied and car keys are found with the other. Have a great Monday morning!

Birthmarked by Caragh O'Brien

Published March 30th 2010 by Roaring Brook Press

From Goodreads: After climate change, on the north shore of Unlake Superior, a dystopian world is divided between those who live inside the wall, and those, like sixteen-year-old midwife Gaia Stone, who live outside. It’s Gaia’s job to “advance” a quota of infants from poverty into the walled Enclave, until the night one agonized mother objects, and Gaia’s parents are arrested.
Badly scarred since childhood, Gaia is a strong, resourceful loner who begins to question her society. As Gaia’s efforts to save her parents take her within the wall, she herself is arrested and imprisoned.
Fraught with difficult moral choices and rich with intricate layers of codes, Birthmarked explores a colorful, cruel, eerily familiar world where one girl can make all the difference, and a real hero makes her own moral code.

Another great dystopian world in which women are merely breeders trying to save the human race. If I didn't absolutely LOVE this kind of story, I'd be highly offended. Or flattered- since apparently only women will be able to save mankind in the future. Go us.

The people inside the Enclave are dying. Diseases they thought long gone have begun to claim the lives of their children. Years of inbreeding have rendered their offspring nearly nonviable and the need for babies from outside the wall is growing at an alarming rate. Gaia must "advance" the first three infants she delivers every month. To "advance" an infant is to take it immediately from its mother after its birth and turn it over to the orphanage inside the Enclave where it will live in safety and luxury, free of want for the rest of its life. Or at least that is what the people forced to live outside the walls, in poverty, are made to believe. To them, the Enclave is a paradise that they will never be fortunate enough to enter. The Enclave controls everything. The limited food and water left after the world's climate changed resides within its walls and the commoners outside are given rations. When a child is advanced, the mother is given extra food and water for her troubles. Oh boy. They take your baby and give you lab created fungus curd and rain water. SIGN ME UP.

Gaia is a great, strong female lead who fears absolutely nothing and will stop at nothing to get what she wants. Her single minded determination to save her parents who are being held inside the Enclave was most admirable. Then I got to thinking about it. If your job was to take a newborn out of the arms of its protesting mother and turn it over to an organization that would let all your people die if it weren't for their offspring- you'd have to be pretty tough.

Didn't like the love interest. He was a wishy-washy sap. No use for him.

Another fabulous, harsh, gritty Dystopian read where one person is able to hold on to a tiny spark of hope in a world that no longer has any. Love love love the world O'Brien has created and looking forward to the sequel this fall.

Newness and Nonsense

I'm prepared for the zombie apocalypse. Bring it.


In My Mailbox (30)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren in which we share the books we received for the week.

The Last Letter from Your Lover by Jojo Moyes
From Goodreads:
A sophisticated, page-turning double love story spanning forty years-an unforgettable Brief Encounter for our times.

It is 1960. When Jennifer Stirling wakes up in the hospital, she can remember nothing-not the tragic car accident that put her there, not her husband, not even who she is. She feels like a stranger in her own life until she stumbles upon an impassioned letter, signed simply "B", asking her to leave her husband.

Years later, in 2003, a journalist named Ellie discovers the same enigmatic letter in a forgotten file in her newspaper's archives. She becomes obsessed by the story and hopeful that it can resurrect her faltering career. Perhaps if these lovers had a happy ending she will find one to her own complicated love life, too. Ellie's search will rewrite history and help her see the truth about her own modern romance.

I have been waiting for this book for OVER A YEAR. I've been waiting for the US publication which is set for July 7th. I devoured it and it's everything I hoped it would be. Review to come. It's WONDERFUL.

Stay by Deb Caletti
From Goodreads:
Clara's relationship with Christian is intense from the start, and like nothing she’s ever experienced before. But what starts as devotion quickly becomes obsession, and it's almost too late before Clara realizes how far gone Christian is—and what he's willing to do to make her stay.

Now Clara has left the city—and Christian—behind. No one back home has any idea where she is, but she still struggles to shake off her fear. She knows Christian won't let her go that easily, and that no matter how far she runs, it may not be far enough....

Another one that showed up this week and was read immediately. I'm still stuck in it. Are all of Miz Caletti's books this intense??

The Exiled Queen by Cinda Willimas Chima
From Goodreads:
You can't always run from danger...

Haunted by the loss of his mother and sister, Han Alister journeys south to begin his schooling at Mystwerk House in Oden’s Ford. But leaving the Fells doesn’t mean danger isn’t far behind. Han is hunted every step of the way by the Bayars, a powerful wizarding family set on reclaiming the amulet Han stole from them. And Mystwerk House has dangers of its own. There, Han meets Crow, a mysterious wizard who agrees to tutor Han in the darker parts of sorcery—but the bargain they make is one Han may regret.

Meanwhile, Princess Raisa ana’Marianna runs from a forced marriage in the Fells, accompanied by her friend Amon and his triple of cadets. Now, the safest place for Raisa is Wein House, the military academy at Oden's Ford. If Raisa can pass as a regular student, Wein House will offer both sanctuary and the education Raisa needs to succeed as the next Gray Wolf queen.

The Exiled Queen is an epic tale of uncertain friendships, cut-throat politics, and the irresistible power of attraction.

I so want to dive right into this one. The first book, The Demon King was amazing but the third one doesn't come out until the fall. I'm afraid if I read this one I'll be miserable with book longing.

What goodies did you get this week?

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare: A Bad Book Break-up

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

Published April 5th 2011 by Margaret K. McElderry

From Goodreads: City of Fallen Angels takes place two months after the events of City of Glass. In it, a mysterious someone’s killing the Shadowhunters who used to be in Valentine’s Circle and displaying their bodies around New York City in a manner designed to provoke hostility between Downworlders and Shadowhunters, leaving tensions running high in the city and disrupting Clary’s plan to lead as normal a life as she can — training to be a Shadowhunter, and pursuing her relationship with Jace. As Jace and Clary delve into the issue of the murdered Shadowhunters, they discover a mystery that has deeply personal consequences for them — consequences that may strengthen their relationship, or rip it apart forever.

Meanwhile, internecine warfare among vampires is tearing the Downworld community apart, and only Simon — the Daylighter who everyone wants on their side — can decide the outcome; too bad he wants nothing to do with Downworld politics. Love, blood, betrayal and revenge: the stakes are higher than ever in City of Fallen Angels.

Dear City of Fallen Angels,
     The old adage "This is going to hurt me far more than it's going to hurt you," doesn't really apply here and if the truth imparted in the following letter brings you any discomfort, know that you have only yourself to blame. The only fault that I will admit to being entirely my own, is the fact that when I first met The Mortal Instruments, I was on the rebound and in rehab for my Twilight addiction and I perhaps fought for our relationship to be of stronger stuff than it would have been if left to run its natural course. The initial book lust and longing I felt for you has faded now. Where I was (at first) glamored and in awe of you, I now find I can't stand to stomach your presence any longer. That's harsh, I know, but I realize now that our entire relationship has been based on lies and deceit and yeah, I feel a bit cheated.
     When a helpful B&N employee and a Goodreads list (a friend that I have always trusted) suggested that City of Bones and I get together, I agreed because I was lonely and I was looking to get over a previously failed book relationship. So I agreed to a book date. We went out. We read. Things got hot and heavy and one thing lead to another and I bought your sequel. Things were great. They even got quasi-serious and I jumped head first into the entire series. I let you move in. I gave you your own shelf and a bookmark. You were so good looking, as a trilogy, with your shiny, flashy covers.
     Not that we didn't have some tough times. There was the whole possible incest thing- that was tough but we worked through it. Then there was that time when you were going through some sort of mid-series crisis and thought you were the you from a past life, a prequel of sorts. Even that was tolerable as it at least kept things interesting.
     I was hooked, hung up on you like a love sick teenager- which I know now was your goal. You planned it. It was all part of your marketing. But I would have continued to buy it. I would have stayed sold on you if you hadn't done something so horrible I don't even like to think about it.
     You changed. You're not the wonderful, thrill ride fantasy that I knew back in 2009. You've become this shallow, boring, vapid vessel and I don't even recognize you. What's worse, is that you are so emphatic about your new "greatness" that I've begun to realize that you must have been acting all along. You never really cared. You never were the wonderful series that I thought you were, else could you do this to me? To us?
     The whole thing sickens me. I stayed until the end, I gave you as much of an opportunity as I could to redeem yourself and in the end, you didn't deserve it and you don't deserve me.
     So this is goodbye. I'd like to think that my leaving you would affect you, but you're so caught up in your own hype that I truthfully don't think you'd even notice, which makes this just that much easier. I'm deleting your sequels from my TBR and I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't try to call or text.
     And oh yeah, that part were I said you were one of the best YA series I'd ever read and no other book affected me the way you did? I was faking it.

It's not me, it's you,


I haven't been horrible to a book in a VERY long time so you're not allowed to yell at me. I'm entitled to a breakdown and a bout of bad blogger behavior every now and then. I realize it's taboo to criticize this book right now, but I couldn't find one single thing I liked about it. Not one. And I really, really did try. The writing was atrocious, rushed and repetitive. Not a page went by where someone wasn't describing the current color/state of someone else's eyes. With absolutely NO segue, two main characters have suddenly broken up. I mean together and happy, turn the page and we get unexplained despair. Jace was turned into the biggest PUSS ever, making it hard to believe he was ever once considered the hero. I couldn't even enjoy Magnus and Alec's relationship (I had adored Magnus and the idea of the two of them together) since the author found it amusing to suddenly portray Alec as a raging drag show bitch queen. The hastily thrown together demon/vampire mix of a plot line totally shit on the world and lore I felt was carefully crafted in the previous books and Clary just whined and whined, OH DEAR GOD HOW SHE WHINED.

So yeah.

Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart by Sarah MacLean

     Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart by
     Sarah MacLean

     Published April 26th 2011 by Avon

     More at:

     First Line: In retrospect, there were four actions Miss
     Juliana Fiori should have reconsidered that evening.

**This is an adult romance novel and contains those naughty-bits we talked about yesterday**

     Respectable, well brought-up English ladies are not to call attention to themselves. They should be composed, presentable, restrained and modest at all times. There should never be a situation they can’t handle with a cool, calm head and above all, they should never display an abundance of emotion or feeling. They are expected to always be on their best behavior.
     Miss Juliana Fiori is NOT a well brought-up English lady- and you’ll please refrain from insulting her by calling her one, thank you very much! She would rather die than be considered amongst those stuck-up, cold, unfeeling, bores and she doesn’t need their approval. As the daughter of an Italian merchant and a wayward, fallen English ex-marchioness, Juliana’s parentage already has the ton’s collective noses turned up when Juliana’s brother, the Marquess of Ralston turns her loose on the unsuspecting English peerage. With a titled brother, a duchess for a sister-in-law and other assorted connections to members of the nobility, the ton can’t really afford to shut her out, but they don’t have to play fair. To her credit, neither does Juliana.
     Simon, Lord of Leighton, is an English gentleman. More over, he’s a Duke and expected to exemplify the ideal English aristocrat. With an ancestry and family name unblemished and well respected, he is always on his best behavior. He will behave properly, marry the proper girl, produce proper children and live a very proper, if somewhat boring, life. What he will NOT do, is take part in any of the ridiculous schemes that a certain feisty Italian seems hell bent on dragging him in to. They once, briefly, found themselves in a nearly compromising situation that left them on none to friendly terms. Now, with his future so cleanly laid out before him, the little devil has tried to convince him that his life lacks color, lacks passion and she’s somehow managed to trick him into agreeing to a little wager that could cost him not only his reputation, but his heart.

It’s no secret that I am a crazy Sarah MacLean fan girl. I absolutely adore her novels. At first this inadvertently shocked the hell out of me because they are romance novels and I’ve always equated them with being silly fluff, but now I’d like to go back and smack the past Me that thought that. Her books are fantastic. The writing is phenomenal, her characters so well crafted, the dialogue hysterically funny in parts and the whole shebang so very, very romantic. Eleven Scandals… is the third book in her Love by Numbers series, and it’s rumored to be the last. I’ve loved loved loved all three of them and I just don’t want to imagine a world in which the series comes to an end. You still have some stories to tell Miz MacLean! A certain brother hasn’t found love yet and you OWE him! But anyway, the series features a remarkably loveable cast of characters that will each endear his/herself to you almost as soon as you meet.

Juliana is another one of the series unconventional characters as each of her leading ladies tends to engage in activities that are not considered common place or really even sanctioned at the time. Callie from Nine Rules was determined to be admitted into the inner world of men that was denied to women at the time, Isabel from Ten Ways… runs a home for wayward women who find themselves in less than ideal situations and Juliana in this book flat out REFUSES to conform to the expected norms of society. Not the stereotypical, “wild, untameable” heroines you would generally think of in a romance novel, but gutsy, pig-headed rebels who just simply refuse to listen to reason. I’ve instantly rooted for each of them as they’ve squared off against their shared opponent- expectation.

Simon is a considerable challenge. He is so uptight and arrogant that I wanted to smack him from the moment he came on page. He was particularly man-stupid when he thought that he had a right to try to govern Juliana’s behavior and I’m glad she had the guts to continuously remind him of it. Although that isn’t a stretch for Juliana because I couldn’t imagine anything that she wouldn’t have the guts to do. Of all the series' leading ladies, if I were going to do something scandalous and get in trouble, I’d want Juliana as my partner in crime- Callie to plan it and Isabel to turn to when I get in over my head.

I’ve very much enjoyed my new found friendship with these three remarkable ladies and I’m going to hold out hope that a Twelve… will pop up one day in the future. If you haven’t started this series yet, even after the pages of posts I’ve devoted to singing Sarah MacLean’s praises, please do so now. You can email me a thank you card when you’re through.

On reviewing smut on what is a mostly YA book blog.

Thanks to the inimitable Miz Sarah MacLean and her creation Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake, I have become a bit of a romance novel junkie. While this isn't something that I'm overly proud of, I figured I'd better come to terms with it and move on. I just recently accepted the fact that my blog features a majority of Young Adult books and if I can admit to myself and others that I mostly read, what are for me at my old age, children's books, than I should be able to suck it up and say "Why yes. Yes, I do read Victorian/Regency Porn." And I suppose Victorian/Regency porn isn't such a far cry from vampire porn and I READ that without a hiccup. Victorian porn isn't really all that different from Vampire Porn- people still get bitten, just politely.

Ok, we're getting off the point. THE POINT IS, I'm a YA book blogger whose current taste in ahem, literature, ahem, tends to lean a bit to the bawdy side and while that's all well and good, my blog followers are for the most part, young adults. As I have every intention of continuing to read and review YA books, I would just like to point out that I have no intention of censoring my reviews of romance novels in regards to my readers. I know, that sounds so snobbish and mean and that's NOT AT ALL HOW I MEAN IT. I just mean that, well, Life After Jane will frequently have posts about books with naughty bits and I don't want any nasty emails from enraged mothers.

So let's talk about mothers now, shall we?

I have always been a very big reader, thanks mostly to my mother. I really can't ever remember a time when books didn't feature prominently in my life. I learned early on that it's against the law for a mother to refuse to buy her child a book, (it really is, YOU CANNOT TELL AN EAGER YOUNG MIND THAT IT CAN NOT HAVE A BOOK. You just CAN'T!) so I exploited that to the best of my abilities. I've read so very many books thanks to my mum and truthfully I don't think she would have cared if I was reading about devil worship or worse- books that featured a leading lady wearing white after labor day, so long as I was reading. Even though she wouldn't have cared, I still could never have imagined letting my mother know I was reading romance novels. Thankfully, I wasn't, until recently, so there wasn't much to hide. Well.....except that one time....

The summer I turned sixteen, my mother packed me up, put me on a plane and sent me to Orlando to stay with my Aunt Jacquie. You might think that sounds like an awfully boring waste of a summer, but it wasn't, as my Aunt Jacquie is one of the coolest people on the face of the earth. It was a fabulous summer. We spent the majority of it tracking down new age stores and buying witchy things. She took me to Cassadaga where I got my fortune told. We went to open mic poetry nights at a coffee bar and smoked clove cigarettes. She helped me steal a Tori Amos concert poster off a bulletin board. It was awesome.

Aunt Jacquie is also a reader and she and my mother frequently butt heads about what constitutes a good book and she's the one that told me to never trust Mum when she says a book is great. Mom likes stuffy, long winded lit for the most part and my aunt's taste tended to be somewhat less stodgy. Aunt Jacquie had books on a little shelf in the guest room where I was staying and I needed something to read. So I picked up a perfectly harmless looking little paperback entitled The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty by one A.N. Roquelaure. And I read it. Then, once I was over the initial shock of what my young, innocent brain was taking in, I read the sequel Beauty's Punishment and it's sequel Beauty's Release. And I remember my aunt telling me "DO NOT TELL YOUR MOTHER I LET YOU READ THOSE."

This Sleeping Beauty series is an erotic fantasy trilogy written under a pseudonym of Miz Anne Rice- you know, the vampire lady and it contains many, many naughty bits. Well actually, it contains MOSTLY naughty bits with just a dash of plot. They were horribly written, tacky and debauched and I loved them. I still, to this day, like to gift the first book to unsuspecting friends just to be evil. But back then I NEVER would have told my mum...who's reading this now and thinking I'm stupid because she wouldn't have given a shit. But I knew then what I know now which is, DO NOT PISS OFF YOUR MOTHER (this is a general rule that will and should stay with you throughout your life. You can and will, do many many things in your life but so long as you adhere to this one simple rule, you'll never be able to do anything too untoward). So the sixteen year old me would NEVER have told my mother that I spent the summer smoking and reading porn. But I could of :)

That being said. I will try to mark book thoughts on romance novels as having naughty bits so that my young readers can make an informed decision about whether or not they would feel comfortable if their mother caught them reading a review of a book that has a half exposed breast on the cover. I'm not telling you to read them. I'm not telling you not to. And perhaps in the spirit of reverse psychology this will ultimately turn someone more towards reading books with naughty bits than if I hadn't said anything at all but this way I at least made a policy out of it.

Not all book thoughts here at Life After Jane are on Young Adult Books. If you chose to read further when a review is marked as having "naughty bits" be advised that you may PISS OFF YOUR MOTHER.

Isn't this fun?

Monday Mini (6): Wake Unto Me by Lisa Cach

It's Monday morning, the alarm clock just went off and everything is rush rush rush to get ready for the work week. Unfortunately there's limited time for book talk, and even less for blogging, but we still MUST share some book thoughts before we dive into the day. A Monday Mini is a quick little review typed with one hand, while coffee is made, makeup is applied and car keys are found with the other. Have a great Monday morning!

Wake Unto Me by Lisa Cach

Published March 31st 2011 by Speak

From Goodreads: A haunted castle, a handsome young man dead for four hundred years, one heck of a scary portrait of a witch, and a treasure hunt -- not to mention a princess for a roommate! -- all await 15 year old American girl Caitlyn Monahan when she earns a scholarship to a French boarding school.

There are secrets behind the stone walls of Chateau de la Fortune, buried for centuries along with the mystery of who killed Raphael, the charming ghost who visits Caitlyn at night. But as Caitlyn unearths the history of the castle, nothing scares her as badly as the secret she learns about herself, and the reason she was chosen to come to the Fortune School.

And nothing breaks her heart as badly as falling in love with a dead guy.

This was just the sweetest little book. I've been reading Lynn Kurland's paranormal romances and I'm a sucker for a ghostly love story. I loved all the magic throughout this book! Witchcraft and time travel and so much mystery. The research and history that went into this little work was above and beyond. The author didn't skimp one bit on her world building and background, taking bits and pieces from historical truths and embellishing them to fit her story.

Caitlyn literally finds Raphael, the man of her dreams, in her dreams. Each night she falls asleep hoping that tonight he'll return to her and together they can solve the mystery surrounding the castle and Raphael's untimely death.

It's one of those great YA boarding school novels (you know you love boarding school novels) that you just can't help but get lost in, complete with awkward new friendships and adversaries. This was a charming little love story.

Lisa Cach is apparently a romance novelist. We should talk.

Real Durn Hot and Done Woke Up- Books 7 & 8 of the House of Night series

OK boys and girls. You know the spiel. This series is awful, horribly written, tacky, unoriginal to the point of rip off, a bad representation of teenagers, overly promiscuous, pointless, offensive to just about every culture, religion, minority and lifestyle, and would probably make a great MTV mini series AND I FREAKIN' LOVE IT. So let's just dive right in.

If you aren't this far in the series, skip this because it contains spoilers. Oh and it's incredibly offensive.

When we last left off, Zoey Lady-of-the-Night-is-another-name-for-whore Redbird and her trope of vampires, humans, prophets, warriors, undead and the merry men were living it up in Italy, the home of the Vampire Council. Stevie Rae was contemplating bestiality. Aphrodite became unvampired. Zoey broke up with one guy, got with another, dumped him and went back to Heath, and some nuns had stuck it to Nefret and Kalona because in a book about a teenage vampire boarding school, you just gotta have the influence of the Catholic church thrown in there somewhere. OK so now you are up to speed.

I absolutely love this series, in the same way that I love drinking straight from the ice tea jug, turning over couch cushions to hide questionable stains, cheering when something big gets sucked up in the vacuum cleaner and other things that I don't want people to see me doing. It's a guilty pleasure, one I'm almost ashamed to indulge in. I swear, every time I finish a HoN novel, my IQ drops. As I am now 8 books in, I'm to the point of "I know everything there is to know about the shrimpin' business" and I plan on seeing the series all the way through to the end. Not that it ever will. I'll be reading HoN when I'm eighty because when you can mass produce crap like this and make a ton, WHY IN THE WORLD WOULD YOU STOP?

See, you're thinking that all these terrible things I'm saying means that I don't like the series. Please note, the above isn't sarcasm. I truly, to the deep, down, murky, muck filled depths of my black bookish heart, LOVE THIS SERIES.

But that doesn't make my opinion on the content any less true.

Let's move on. You distracted me with your disbelief and it threw me off.


Nefret is now the epitome of evil. Having allied herself to Darkness, she has managed to fool people into believing that she is the Goddess Nyx incarnate and that Kalona is none other than Erebus, her consort. Poor Kalona, he only wants Zoey, who is the reincarnation of Aya, the Cherokee maiden who loved and enslaved him centuries ago. Blinded by his single-minded desire for Zoey, and angered by his growing subservience to Nefret, Kalona lashes out and kills someone very dear to Zoey and the loss of her love, shatters her soul. (You're eating this up. Don't deny it.)
With their High Priestess rapidly approaching death, the House of Night fledglings must draw upon forces older and more powerful than they have ever encountered. Aided by an ancient vampire queen, secluded on a Scottish island rich in magic, Stark, now Zoey's sworn warrior and Guardian, embarks on a quest that will allow his soul to follow Zoey's into the Otherworld. It is his hope that once there, he will be able to protect Zoey until her soul can heal from her loss. But Stark isn't the only one who's love can drive him to cross into the world of the dead. Tied to Zoey through death and rebirth, Kalona can't lose the opportunity to find Zoey when she is at her most vulnerable, nor can he ignore Nefret's command to see that she never returns to the realm of the living.

*cue ominous sounding music and smoke machine*

I wasn't expecting to get as broken up as I did over ____'s death. I never really got his relationship with Zoey to begin with and I always thought he was a bit of a goober but I slobbered and snotted all over the place as I read their encounter in the Otherworld, when he finally let her go.

Stark's journey to Scotland and the Sgiach's island was a plot line reaching with the very tip of it's extended pole but it was still different. I'm team Stark all the way so anything that could possibly bring him and Zoey closer is alright with me and boy had to go through hell to get to her. Girl better recognize. Sorry, I slipped into HoNese for a second there. My apologies.


Yeah everybody gets out of bed (and into it) in this book. Zoey wakes up. Stark wakes up. Kalona wakes up. The whole band gets back together and moseys on back to Tulsa, Oklahoma.

I can't hear the word "Oklahoma" without thinking of this scene from the movie Dirty Rotten Scoundrels:

So we get back home and SOME ONE ELSE DIES. And it's really sad. And everybody cries. Including me. A lot of really cliche dialogue happens, sprinkled with the various slangs of each HoN member. Nefret resumes her place as High Priestess of the House of Night after having convinced everyone that Kalona made her do all those evil things and that she's all better now. Stevie Rae's imprint with the Raven Mocker Rephaim threatens to come to light, which would make her look as if she's sided with Darkness and thus an enemy of the HoN. All of this was working really well for me but it wasn't until the ending, where Nefret makes a pact with Darkness that would result in a vessel of evil being created that would obey her every command, that I reaffirmed my undying love for this series. The Goddess Nyx seizes an opportunity to help dampen some of the effects that this new puppet of Nefret's will have on the world by placing in it a soul of her own choosing, someone who wants desperately to return to Zoey.

Was the death in this book unnecessary? Yes. Was it someone who really mattered? No. So take heart, dear reader, no one important dies. But it's very sad all the same. One thing I wasn't too keen on in this book was Kalona's becoming an absolute pansy. He's been a pretty scary dude up until this point and now he's doing nothing but whining. I hope to see him make a comeback as the good bad guy in the next book.

Destined, the ninth book in the series is set to come out in November of this year. I can't wait. I've got my beer guzzler helmet and my Nascar t-shirt on and I'm ready for it. Bring it.

In the meantime, here is a lovely picture of DESTIN(ed), FL:

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

Published February 1st 2010 by Harlequin Teen

From Goodreads: Meghan Chase has a secret destiny—one she could never have imagined…

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school…or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change.

But she could never have guessed the truth—that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face…and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

It's not everyday that a teenager from Louisiana has to travel into the world of the Fae to rescue her little brother. Lots of strange things do happen in Louisiana (If you've ever been to the French Quarter, you know this) but faery abductions are rare. Notice I did not deny the possibility that there are faery abductions since that would be a reckless thing to say on my part, as they might be listening and they might decide to prove a point.

Let's stop a moment and all collectively clap our hands just to be on the safe side.

Meghan has to brave the terrors of the wyldwood, the vicious, ungoverned territory in the world of the fae that separates the Seelie and Unseelie courts. Here she begins to understand the dark, deceptive nature of the Fae and that even the slightest bit of help, comes with a price. An unexpected separation from Puck, her friend and faery guide, leaves Meghan with no choice but to solicit the aid of Grimalkin, a cat like creature with hidden designs who is all to eager to exact a debt from the daughter of the Seelie King. Her arrival in the Summer Court, home of King Oberon, reveals a side of Meghan's life that she would never dream existed. Here she is only a pawn for the fae, both Seelie and Unseelie, to use in their endless wars amongst themselves. With creatures from every side vying for control of Oberon's daughter, they have little concern with her quest to free her brother. But they forget, as a powerful faery princess, Meghan can decide her own fate.

This book is so much fun! There's a great adventure taking place and Kagawa's world sucks you in until you're running for your life along side a faery princess! Not a bad turn of events for someone who had just resigned herself to nonchalantly read the story from the safety and familiarity of her hammock. I really wasn't expecting to enjoy this story as much as I did. The concept seemed rather silly and maybe a bit juvenile until I remembered that THERE IS NOTHING NICE ABOUT FAERIES.

**clap clap**

I loved Meghan for not being an incompetent whiner. This girl holds her own in this strange, exotic world- even if she does lack the sense to NOT fall in love with a guy who has vowed to kill her. Ah, youth. I'm not going to dwell on the fact that the whole falling-in-love-with-the-bad-guy thing is a bit played out, because it's the running gag in romance right now so I can let it slide. And hey, we've been there. That swarthy, overly tattooed bartender with the eyebrow ring? So not a good idea. But for future reference, authors, it's bad form to love your potential murderer. Just FYI.

I read this book cover to cover in about a second and a half because I was unable to put it down. I was be-spelled, entranced, and ensorcelated (that word copyright 2011 by Life After Jane, not to be used with out express permission of the owner).

"Excuse me, sir!" I gasped as the policeman turned to me. "Could you help me? There's a gang chasing-"
I stumbled back in horror. The officer regarded me blankly, his jaw hanging slack, his eyes empty of reason. He lunged and grabbed my arm, and I yelped, kicking him in the shin. It didn't faze him, and he grabbed my other wrist.

Plus 10 points for having zombies.

I loved that Meghan lived in Louisiana, and fought faeries just over the pond (i.e. The MS River) from me since it only involved me further in the story. I've got the sequel, The Iron Daughter set to go as my next read. And now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to run off into the backyard and look for fairies. I’ll let you know what I find, and if we don’t speak again, you’ll know that they, found me.

*Thanks to Donna @ Bites for the enthusiastic review that prompted me to pick this book up.

In the Merry Merry Month of May

Here are the lovelies that I'm looking forward to this month!

Tuesday May 3, 2011

  • Divergent By Veronica Roth - Goodreads
  • Read a FABULOUS review @ The Mountains of Instead
  • One Magic Moment by Lynn Kurland- Goodreads
  • I have been reading these silly little romances novels for years and I love them! Knights and ladies and ghosts and daring rescues and smooching!
  • Moonglass by Jessi Kirby- Goodreads
  • This is Miz Kirby's first novel. Gorgeous cover! Visit her website and show some love- Jessi Kirby
  • The Magnolia League by Katie Crouch- Goodreads
  • Southern girls and magic. That's enough for me

Tuesday May 10, 2011

  • Die for Me by Amy Plum - Goodreads
  • How very creepy this sounds!
  • Siren by Tricia Rayburn- Goodreads
  • Now I know this is not a new release. But on the 10th it comes out in paperback, I haven't read it and LOOK AT THAT COVER. Here's a review at I Swim for Oceans my newest book blog haunt.

Tuesday May 17, 2011

  • Graveminder by Melissa Marr - Goodreads
  • This is Miz Marr's adult debut. We all want this.

Tuesday May 24, 2011

  • Beauty Queens by Libba Bray - Goodreads
  • I haven't read anything by this author, but I've heard good things. This book sounds like a hilarously fun read.

Tuesday May 31, 2011

  • Just Like Heaven by Julia Quinn - Goodreads
  • Oh....a romance novel....sigh.... and Sarah MacLean has marked it as to-read so....I just have to. Brainwashed.

Monday Mini (5) - The Summer of Skinny Dipping by Amanda Howells

It's Monday morning, the alarm clock just went off and everything is rush rush rush to get ready for the work week. Unfortunately there's limited time for book talk, and even less for blogging, but we still MUST share some book thoughts before we dive into the day. A Monday Mini is a quick little review typed with one hand, while coffee is made, makeup is applied and car keys are found with the other. Have a great Monday morning!

The Summer of Skinny Dipping by Amanda Howells
Published:Published June 1st 2010 by Sourcebooks Fire

From Goodreads:
Sometimes I still wake up shivering in the early hours of the morning, drowning in dreams of being out there in the ocean that summer, of looking up at the moon and feeling as invisible and free as a fish. But I'm jumping ahead, and to tell the story right I have to go back to the very beginning. To a place called Indigo Beach. To a boy with pale skin that glowed against the dark waves. To the start of something neither of us could have predicted, and which would mark us forever, making everything that came after and before seem like it belonged to another life.

My name is Mia Gordon: I was sixteen years old, and I remember everything.

This little gem was an unexpected surprise. At first, the story itself threatened to be rather unremarkable. Girl goes to stay with her cousins for the summer in the Hamptons. Cousins are rich elitist snobs, girl is average run-of-the-mill teenager who is overly self-conscious and eager to fit in. So I went into it not really expecting a whole lot. What I didn't expect is to get hit with a tidal wave of self-discovery and emotion. I did a disservice to you, little book, by prejudging you and I am sorry.

At first, I didn't like the main character, Mia. She always professed to being a person of more substance than she was and yet I never really saw any examples. All talk and no action so to speak. Mia spends a few weeks at the end of a rapidly fading (and disappointing) summer vacation, with the boy next door. Simon is the opposite of everything her cousins feel is "in." He is carefree, unique, artistic and refreshing. No love at first sight, no crush on the wrong guy complex going on, just a nice simple friendship with the hint of the possibility of more. Through her relationship with Simon, Mia learns to let go of her need for acceptance from those who really aren't worth the trouble to begin with.

A nice little summer read, complete with the beach and all.

(I want more contemporary beach YA. Suggestions??)

I have way too much free time on my hands

So I've been thinking about a blog redesign. I'm not just talking template, but name, feel, theme, niche, everything. While I love my darling Jane, my blog has absolutely nothing to do with Jane Austen (although EVERYTHING HAS EVERYTHING TO DO WITH JANE AUSTEN) and I've been contemplating moving towards something a bit edgier. What are your thoughts on drastic blog makeovers? Have you done this? How did it affect your readers and your blogging in general?

I have to keep reminding myself of my extreme Gemini nature and the fact that I might just forget all of this if I get distracted by something shiny, but it is something I sort of want to do.


In My Mailbox (29)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren in which we share the books we received for the week.

The Iron Daughter Julie Kagawa
From Goodreads:
Half Summer faery princess, half human, Meghan has never fit in anywhere. Deserted by the Winter prince she thought loved her, she is prisoner to the Winter faery queen. As war looms between Summer and Winter, Meghan knows that the real danger comes from the Iron fey—ironbound faeries that only she and her absent prince have seen. But no one believes her.
Worse, Meghan's own fey powers have been cut off. She's stuck in Faery with only her wits for help. Trusting anyone would be foolish. Trusting a seeming traitor could be deadly. But even as she grows a backbone of iron, Meghan can't help but hear the whispers of longing in her all-too-human heart.

Ordinary Beauty by Laura Wiess
From Goodreads:
A young woman struggles to escape the shadow of her mother's addiction and neglect in this story from the author of Such a Pretty Girl.

Wake Unto Me by Lisa Cach
From Goodreads:
A haunted castle, a handsome young man dead for four hundred years, one heck of a scary portrait of a witch, and a treasure hunt -- not to mention a princess for a roommate! -- all await 15 year old American girl Caitlyn Monahan when she earns a scholarship to a French boarding school.

There are secrets behind the stone walls of Chateau de la Fortune, buried for centuries along with the mystery of who killed Raphael, the charming ghost who visits Caitlyn at night. But as Caitlyn unearths the history of the castle, nothing scares her as badly as the secret she learns about herself, and the reason she was chosen to come to the Fortune School.

And nothing breaks her heart as badly as falling in love with a dead guy.

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Laura @ A Jane of All Reads
I read excessively and hoard books like a greedy dragon. Theoretically, I also plan to use them to barricade myself against the forthcoming zombie apocalypse.

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