Monday, August 31, 2015

Legacy of Kings (Blood of Gods and Royals #1) by Eleanor Herman ARC Review


Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman
paperback ARC, 461 pages
Published by Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: August 25, 2015
Buy it: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository |
Rating: 2.5/5 Stars

Synopsis: Imagine a time when the gods turn a blind eye to the agony of men, when the last of the hellions roam the plains and evil stirs beyond the edges of the map. A time when cities burn, and in their ashes, empires rise.

Alexander, Macedonia’s sixteen-year-old heir, is on the brink of discovering his fated role in conquering the known world but finds himself drawn to newcomer Katerina, who must navigate the dark secrets of court life while hiding her own mission: kill the Queen. But Kat’s first love, Jacob, will go to unthinkable lengths to win her, even if it means competing for her heart with Hephaestion, a murderer sheltered by the prince. And far across the sea, Zofia, a Persian princess and Alexander’s unmet fiancĂ©e, wants to alter her destiny by seeking the famed and deadly Spirit Eaters.

Weaving fantasy with the salacious and fascinating details of real history, New York Times bestselling author Eleanor Herman reimagines the greatest emperor the world has ever known: Alexander the Great, in the first book of the Blood of Gods and Royals series. 

I had such high expectations for Legacy of Kings and despite other bloggers telling me that they DNFed this book, I went into it undaunted. Though I was warned about the multiple POVs, I wasn't overwhelmed by the amount of characters' perspectives but after a while, their voices did start to blend together. Legacy of Kings has a lot of realism, sparse dialogue, and little character development. It's very well researched and after reading it, I watched a few documentaries about Alexander the Great and I'm happy to report that Herman used a lot of actual historical facts in her story. While that's a big plus, it also ends up being a weaknesses in the novel because it reads more like a textbook--though a really good textbook.  Before this series, Herman was known for her nonfiction work so this isn't surprising. There are fantasy elements in the story that give it more of a fiction feel but it wasn't enough to pull me into the plot. In addition, Herman's writing style lacks emotion, and with her telling instead of showing style of weaving her characters' plots together, I felt very detached from their stories. I am curious about what Herman has in store for this series in the future, but I could just as easily pass it over. 

Strengths/Likes:

1) Legacy of Kings is well researched. This isn't surprising considering that Herman is a well-known nonfiction writer. After reading this novel, I went and watched a two-hour documentary on Alexander the Great and was happy to find that Herman was on point with her facts.

2) Herman does a great job of balancing multiple storylines and weaving them all together. It is reminiscent of George R. R. Martin's A Song of Fire and Ice series.

Weaknesses/Dislikes:

1) There was a great lack in dialogue, which always makes a book lose major points with me, because dialogue is key in the development of characters and their relationships.

2) When reading a historical fiction book, it is necessary for an author to use actual historical facts and figures. However, Herman stayed too close to the actual history of Alexander the Great. She did add in some fantasy elements, but they are so close to what actually happened in history that it didn't feel magical. For example, Olympias (Alexander's mother) in Legacy of Kings has a mysterious magic involving sleeping with snakes and participating in occult rituals. Historically, Olympias did participate in occult rituals and was caught sleeping with a python (who thought to be the embodiment of Zeus) in her bed. Consequently, I felt like I was reading a very interesting text book on Alexander the Great and those who knew him--which is fine if that's what I was looking for, but it wasn't.

3) The writing lacks emotion. I knew what I should be feeling as I was reading but I didn't actually feel anything from it. Instead of being immersed into the characters' feelings and struggles, I felt like an objective spectator.

4) The characters all sound the same. At the beginning of each POV, I had trouble figuring out whose perspective I was reading from. Although they all have different personalities, it was hard to distinguish their voices and thoughts.

Favorite Quotes:

1) "You have quite an effect on my friend," Alex says, as the crowd parts before them.

"I hope it's the effect of a sharp knife on a blown-up pig bladder."

2) Theopompus leans forward in his chair, his turquoise eyes bright. "You all know I stand for negotiation, conciliation, and friendship among nations," he says, his white teeth flashing in a way that makes him look wolf-like. "But when so-called friends and allies plan an unprovoked attack, I say we crush them so thoroughly no ally of ours will ever consider such betrayal again."

Sunday, August 30, 2015

SBPT 2015: Wrap-Up Post



We have reached the end of the Summer Blogger Tour hosted by The Book Bratz. It was a lot of hard work and I met some great bloggers. If you missed any of the posts from this tour, click here and see all the bloggers I've hosted. 

The Good: One piece of advice I always give to other bloggers is to talk and collaborate with each other. The Summer Blogger Promo Tour was the perfect opportunity to do that. You are grouped with bloggers who all want to talk to other bookish people and make collaborated posts to showcase your love of books. I recommend joining this tour in the future if you are a new blogger and want to become more involved in the book blogging community. 

I've made some great friends during SBPT15 and not all of them are even in my group. Even though the tour is over now, I know that we will stay in contact and continue our wonderful book discussions!

Meet my new book buddies:









The Bad: I had one main problem on this tour with the same people that seemed to happen (and not just to me) repeatedly. Everyone has experienced being involved in group projects in school. Sometimes there are people who are very diligent and responsible, and then you have the slackers who don't contribute, even though you remind them over and over again. Then at the very last minute (after weeks of trying to get in contact with them), you'll finally their work and it's sloppy, but nothing can be done to fix it because it's too late so you just have to roll with it. This happened to me on several occasions. I will never understand why people like this join these type of projects if they aren't going to put all of their effort into it. I think that it would have been better if there were deadlines for when a post had to be turned in, and maybe that would have helped. 

The Overall: That being said, I'm glad that I took part in this tour. I got to meet some great people and come up with some fun posts. Some of my favorites were Bookish Pet Peeves and Annoying Things Non-Readers Say. I met some great people and that's what makes all of this work worth it. 

Now it's time to say goodbye. Thank you Amber and Jessica of The Book Bratz for creating and hosting this! Guys, be sure to check out all of the fun posts from this tour. You can find them on Twitter by searching the hashtag #SBPT15. To check out specifically mine, click here



Saturday, August 29, 2015

3rd Annual ARC August Final Update

ARC August was created by Octavia at Read. Sleep. Repeat. The point of this tag is for us readers and bloggers to get through that stack of ARCs that has been building up. 




So... the ARCs I read this week...


*sigh* Nope. Nothing this week. I even failed in posting my reviews of Legacy of Kings and Illuminae this week. 

How do I feel about this?


Why, you ask? Because, I STARTED READING THE THRONE OF GLASS SERIES!



I just finished The Assassin's Blade, you have no idea how much the above gif represents how I feel. My heart is somehow broken and soaring at the same time. In fact, I'll be spending the rest of the weekend binge reading this series. Who's with me?!

Here are the ARCs I did read for ARC August:

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Rating: 5/5 Stars
Review to come as soon as I can find the words 
to describe this book O_O

Rating: 1.5/5 Stars

Rating: 2.5/5 Stars
Just need to edit this review and then it will be posted within the next couple of days.

ARC August was so much fun, and I'm so glad I did it. I didn't tackle as many ARCs as I wanted to but oh well! It was great getting to know a lot of the people who participated in this as well. I would definitely do this again. 

How did you guys fare this month?


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Never Never by Brianna R. Shrum ARC Review


4.5/5 Stars
Details of the Book
Paperback ARC, 356 pages
Published by Spencer Hill Press
Publication Date: September 22nd, 2015
 Buy It: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository |

Synopsis: James Hook is a child who only wants to grow up.

When he meets Peter Pan, a boy who loves to pretend and is intent on never becoming a man, James decides he could try being a child—at least briefly. James joins Peter Pan on a holiday to Neverland, a place of adventure created by children’s dreams, but Neverland is not for the faint of heart. Soon James finds himself longing for home, determined that he is destined to be a man. But Peter refuses to take him back, leaving James trapped in a world just beyond the one he loves. A world where children are to never grow up.

But grow up he does.

And thus begins the epic adventure of a Lost Boy and a Pirate.

This story isn’t about Peter Pan; it’s about the boy whose life he stole. It’s about a man in a world that hates men. It’s about the feared Captain James Hook and his passionate quest to kill the Pan, an impossible feat in a magical land where everyone loves Peter Pan.

Except one.

James has always wanted to grow up and become a man like his father. That is, until he meets Peter Pan, a magical boy who loves childhood and never wants to grow up. James finally decides to enjoy being young by taking a holiday to Neverland. This fantastical island is full of mermaids, fairies, pirates, and everything a child could ever want. However, when he starts missing his home and family, Peter refuses to bring him back to London, leaving him trapped. In Neverland, growing up is strictly forbidden, but James can’t seem to stop himself from doing it. Thus begins James’ long adventure of becoming a pirate, and his quest to kill Peter Pan.

Never Never is a beautifully written re-telling of Peter Pan, a story from Captain Hook’s perspective. From the moment I heard about a book written from the perspective of the cruel pirate, I was on board.  It really made me look at the fairy tale differently. I felt very connected to James, the pirates, and the lost boys who were kind to him when Peter wasn’t. Even though there was a lot of unnecessary violence, each death mattered and made a difference in the plot. I especially loved Tiger Lily, because she was clever and sarcastic. I would definitely recommend this book, especially for anyone who loves Peter Pan, Disney movies, or pirates.

Strengths/Likes:

1) I really enjoyed Brianna Shrum’s smooth writing style, which made this book a quick read. I totally wasn't expecting that because it's not a small book by any means.

2) All of the characters had well-rounded and distinct personalities, especially Tiger Lily, who was funny and spunky.

3) I loved the unique spin on the original story. Reading this really changed the way that I'll view the Peter Pan Disney movie, because the added depth and backstory for Hook has made me see the storyline from a different perspective. Overall, this book is what all re-tellings should strive to be!

Weaknesses/Dislikes:

1) This is more of a personal preference, but I felt like there was some unnecessary violence in this book. Otherwise, even while trying to nitpick, I couldn't come up with anything negative to say!

Favorite Quotes/Moments:

1) “I say”, said James. “Is that a clock?”

It was as though he’d just asked, “Is that a bomb?” or, “Is that a soul-eating crypt keeper coming our way?” For all the boys were in a flurry and panicking.

James frowned. “I did say ‘clock’, didn’t I?”

2) “Is there a time you’re not going to assault me upon meeting me?” She yelled.

James’s mouth fell open. Perhaps it was time he stop assuming that everyone in the vicinity was looking to murder him.”


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

I'm a Super Villain & Giveaway of an ARC of The Rose Society


I was invited by Penguin to turn myself into a villain to promote Marie Lu's The Young Elites and The Rose Society. This post was so much fun to make, I hope you guys enjoy it. Also, be sure to check out the giveaway at the bottom of this post =P

My Villain Identity: I am Supernova.


Credit to Victor de Schwanberg/Science Photo Library for the original image 
I used to make this badge. See the full size image here

My superpowers: I have powers that control gravitational pull—I can pull anything (and I mean anything) to me or push it away from me. I can slip through time and space into different dimensions. I am able to use energy to vaporize anyone and everything in my path. Also, if anyone is successful at killing me, I turn into a black holesucking everything around me into nothingness. So, better find another way to deal with me . . . good luck.

(Side note: I did take astronomy in college so I'm aware of how a supernova works. The idea here is that I am a supernatural villain and I wanted to include some realism behind my fantastical powers. Also, astronomy is cool)


My fictional Villain Squad


Adelina Amouteru


Maybe this seems kind of obvious but I need one of the most complex characters on my team. Her skills with illusions will be very useful for my takeover.

Aleksander a.k.a. The Darkling


One of the most beloved villain in the YA universe needs to be on my team. Powerful, cunning, and he's sexy. 

Bellatrix Lestrange


She is one of the scariest villains of my childhood, and any woman that can still give me chills belongs in this squad.


Magneto


I was never quite sure if Magneto was fully a villain but that doesn't change that fact that I want him on my side. 


Sauron


How can I build a squad without Sauron and his army of Orcs? This guy didn't even have a body and still managed to cause a world of destruction.

To add to my villain squad, I'm calling out to:




Stefani Sloma @ Caught Read Handed



a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you haven't yet, be sure to check out my reviews of The Young Elites & The Rose Society

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Authors On My Syllabus If I Taught World Building 101


I've seen this meme on a lot of blogs and decided to join in. This meme was created by The Broke and Bookish. Every Tuesday there is a new topic that involves a list of ten books. 

This Week's Topic: Top Ten Books That Would Be On Your Syllabus If You Taught X 101

I'm teaching World Building 101

1) J.K. Rowling


2) Leigh Bardugo



3) Marie Lu




4) Victoria Aveyard



5) Veronica Rossi



6) George R. R. Martin




7) J. R. R. Tolkien




8) Suzanne Collins


9) Christopher Paolini


10) Sarah J. Maas



Which authors would you add to this list?

Monday, August 24, 2015

Blog Tour: Interview with Kate Elliott, Author of Court of Fives



After Mariam (Flying Through Fiction) and I finished buddy reading Court of Fives by Kate Elliott, we decided to be brave and ask Elliott if she would be willing to do a two-part interview. Lucky for us, she agreed. Thank you, Kate for joining us on our blogs today! This really means a lot to us and we greatly appreciate it<3

On this post, you will see half of the interview and to see the other half you will have to visit Mariam's blog =)


Everyone, meet Kate Elliott!



Kate Elliott has been writing stories since she was nine years old, which has led her to believe that writing, like breathing, keeps her alive. She is the author of over twenty science fiction and fantasy novels, including the Spiritwalker Trilogy (Cold Magic), the Crossroads Trilogy (Spirit Gate), the seven volume epic fantasy Crown of Stars (King’s Dragon), the Novels of the Jaran, and her short fiction collection, The Very Best of Kate Elliott. Her YA debut Court of Fives will be published in August, and a new epic fantasy novel, Black Wolves, arrives in October. She lives in Hawaii with her archaeologist spouse, paddles outrigger canoes for fun, and nurses along an aging schnauzer.

Find Kate: Goodreads | Twitter | Website | Facebook | Tumblr |

Q) I often ask authors this question but I think it’s an important one to ask. How do you deal with outside factors affecting your writing time? For example, a friend/family member wants you to go out or to do something and says, “Well, you can write later.”

A) Writing is literally my job, and it can be hard for people to understand that because it seems as if we writers have a totally flexible schedule and just write when inspiration strikes. I have trained myself to be ruthless about not allowing outside factors to cut into my work time. Well, mostly ruthless. Well, sometimes ruthless.

When my children were young I wrote while they were in school, and when they were home if we weren’t having family time or other house/family related doings, I told them, “Do not interrupt me unless there is fire or blood.” Honestly, they accepted this better than some adults do, and on the whole preferred to have their own uninterrupted playtime anyway. I admit I am a big proponent of letting children learn to entertain themselves. It’s what I did as a child (my parents never entertained me) and one of the things I did for entertainment was to draw maps and write stories, so being left alone to play is one of the avenues by which I eventually became a writer.

With adults I treat my work day as if I was in an office and I let people know that I’m not available during “office hours.” Sometimes that results in conversations like this:

Me (to my mother): Mom, I’m glad you called but I am working. Would you call (my older sister, a professor) while she was teaching and expect her to leave class to talk to you?

Mom (after a pause): Well, I would if I could!

We both laughed, and after that she was more careful about when she called.

I think women get hit more with the expectation that we should drop everything to accommodate others. There are a lot of reasons to write, all of them important. Even if you aren’t writing to contracts and deadlines (as I am) creative work is also an important part of emotional health, and it isn’t a luxury but rather a necessity for many. It’s okay to set boundaries.

Q) What are the the most enjoyable and least enjoyable types of scenes for you to write?

A) I loved writing all the scenes where Jes is practicing or running the Fives. In general, I enjoy writing action if the action also has an emotional component and something that’s really at stake. I also really enjoy writing scenes where two people argue, bicker, flirt, or engage in any kind of intense discussion that reveals any kind of new insight into their characters.

The least enjoyable scenes for me to write are transition scenes where a character has to get from Point A to Point B and I don’t feel I can just skip all aspects of the journey. In every case in Court of Fives where Jes walks or travels from Point A to Point B (whether a long or short trip), the original version of the scene was way way way too long and had to be ruthlessly cut back. For some reason, one I can’t explain, writing transitions effectively has always been difficult for me, going all the way back to the beginning of my career.

Q) What, if anything, can you tell us about the sequel of Court of Fives?

A) That isn’t a spoiler? How about this: You will see the big metal spiders in action.


Once again, thank you Kate for joining us on our blogs today! 

As for the rest of you, be sure to go check out the other half of this interview on Flying Through Fiction as well as my review of Court of Fives.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

3rd Annual ARC August Week #3 Update


ARC August was created by Octavia at Read. Sleep. Repeat. The point of this tag is for us readers and bloggers to get through that stack of ARCs that has been building up. 

Here is my week #3 Update:

Read:

Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman
I was a little disappointed with this one. It is well-researched and uses a lot of actual historical facts in its plot, yet it lacked the emotional tug that would have pulled me into the story. My full review of it will be up this week. 




Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Fantastically amazing, I had no idea what I was in for when I started this book but it was phenomenal. From it's physical appearance to the plot—I'm going to have such a hard time putting my love for this book into a coherent review, which will be up this coming week.


Next on Deck:



This week, I'm aiming to read Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson and The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow. Of course, whenever I make a goal, something interrupts and changes it but basically I want to read at least two ARCs this week, even if it doesn't end up being these two. 




SBPT 2015: Confessions of Carlisa

Hey everyone, this is the last stop on the Summer Blogger Promo Tour hosted by The Book Bratz. This week I'm hosting Carlisa from Confessions of Carlisa!

Today, Carlisa will be sharing her bookish pet peeves with all of you. You can check out mine on her blog here

You're on, Carlisa =)

I love books. There's no question about that statement. But with that love comes some things that I don't necessarily like, some bookish pet peeves, you may say. So let's just get to it quickly:

Borrowing a book...and then losing it.
Seriously, this is just the worst. My sister once borrowed a book from my shelf back home without asking...which wouldn't really be a problem. Until she lost it. She even moved to a new house and didn't find it while packing. So so sad.

Dog-ear folding
I must admit that I used to do this. I used to see no problem in it...but now I shudder at the bent page. It ruins each page that you do it and that is sad, sad, sad, sad, sad.

Insta-love
This is becoming more and more prominent in YA novels. "Insta-love" is when two people see each other and are immediately in love with each other. Most of the time, it's just unrealistic. Insta-attraction is something completely different, by the way. Being attracted to someone you just met and being in love with someone you just met are two different things.

About Carlisa
Hi! I’m Carlisa from Confessions of Carlisa! I’m a 20-year-old student studying the thing I love most: words. Aka English. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always had my nose in a book and my blog gives me a place to freak out or rant about or fangirl over bookish things with people who feel the same way about books that I do. And that’s wonderful. I’m a Parks and Rec enthusiast, a lover of the written word, and an unashamed nerd. So, yeah, that’s me!

Next week, we are ending our tour with a wrap up post. Look out for that next Sunday =)

Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Crystal Kingdom (The Kanin Chronicles #3) by Amanda Hocking


2.5/5 Stars
Details of the Book
paperback ARC, 432 pages
Published by St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: August 3, 2015

Synopsis: Cast out by her kingdom and far from home, she's the Kanin people's only hope.

Bryn Aven - unjustly charged with murder and treason - is on the run. The one person who can help is her greatest enemy, the enigmatic Konstantin Black. Konstantin is her only ally against those who have taken over her kingdom and threaten to destroy everything she holds dear. But can she trust him?

As Bryn fights to clear her name, the Kanin rulers’ darkest secrets are coming to light… and now the entire troll world is on the brink of war. Will it tear Bryn from Ridley Dresden, the only guy she’s ever loved? And can she join forces with Finn Holmes and the Trylle kingdom? One thing is certain: an epic battle is underway—and when it’s complete, nothing will ever be the same…

The Crystal Kingdom carries pretty much all of the problems I had with the Frostfire and Ice Kissed. Except, I finally get the answers I've been looking for since book one. I was disappointed by some, in particular the details about what Konstantin had been doing throughout this trilogy and his reasons why. That being said, I did enjoy this book. There is a lot more action and drama that I think these books needed. At the end of the day, these books weren't for me but this one made me not regret reading them. 


Strengths/Likes:

1) The purpose of everything that Bryn has been trying to accomplish finally comes to fruition. In the first two books I was found myself asking what the point of all of this was, and I got my answers in this book. 

2) The higher stakes really makes a difference. I enjoyed the action and suspenseful scenes. It made me feel like the characters weren't actually being overdramatic, a feeling I had through Frostfire and Ice Kissed

3) I enjoyed all of the angst. As I said already, in Frostfire and in Ice Kissed I felt that the characters were being overdramatic and blew certain things out of proportion, the angst here was real and upsetting. 



Weaknesses/Dislikes:

1) I expected more out of the story with Konstantin. I was pretty disappointed with his reasons behind all of his actions that we see in Frostfire and Ice Kissed. He went from being mysterious and interesting, to cliche and obvious. In FrostFire the reader is lead to believe that he has some divine purpose leading him through all of his actions, and yet it wasn't anything like that. I especially didn't like how his story ends. It was too easy for me. 




2) I think Ridley needed to be more present. He was barely around in Ice Kissed and I think that his relationship with Bryn needed more time and space. Due to his lack of presence it didn't seem that there was much between him and Bryn anymore. 

3) Once again, I have found that I could skip through pages of descriptions and not have missed out anything plot wise. I understand that Hocking wants to paint a clear picture in her readers' minds but there is something to be said about leaving some stuff to imagine ourselves.

4) The trolls have a few magical abilities that were not mentioned in the first two books. They made me blindsided and had me wondering why these abilities were not used or mentioned before. 

Favorite Quotes/Moments:

1) "I kept the phone to my ear long after it had gone silent, as if I'd be able to hear him after he'd ended the call. Talking to Ridley had somehow left me feeling more heartbroken and yet rejuvenated all at once. I missed him so much, and I hated it that I couldn't be there with him and that I didn't know what he was going through."

2) "In the morning, I awoke to a little boy standing next to the bed, staring right at me. When I opened my eyes, there he was, and I almost screamed. Funny that after everything I'd seen lately, it was a two-year old boy that nearly gave me a heart attack."

Friday, August 21, 2015

Ice Kissed (The Kanin Chronicles #2) by Amanda Hocking Review

2/5 Stars
Details of the Book
ebook, 320 pages
Published by St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: May 5, 2015

Synopsis: Bryn Aven is still struggling with her burgeoning relationship with Ridley. She's also set on completing her mission to find the missing Skojare Queen. But when they do finally discover what happened, Bryn finds out that things are much more complicated than she'd originally thought.
And as she gets closer to the truth, Bryn is framed for the murder of the Kanin King himself. She ends up on the run, as home holds too few answers and no solutions.

Ice Kissed is an improvement upon to its first installment, Frostfire, but I can't say that I'm hooked. I wanted to know how Konstantin is tied into this whole mess. I wanted to know what the big secret is behind all of the suspicious aspects. Instead I got a lot of details about all of the characters relationships with one another. This wouldn't be a bad thing but Hocking goes into so much detail of each of her characters' personalities, backgrounds, and feelings that the core of the plot gets muddled out. I just kept waiting for something to happen. 


At times the plot seemed like it was building up to something big but then nothing would come from it. No resolutions, no clues about what these events mean, nothing. By the next page, the event had already passed and Bryn would briefly explain what had happened. For the scenes that the reader is actually able to read as the event is happening the details are rushed and the scene is over in a blink of an eye. This made it seem like those details were never important to begin with. The lack of specifics in these crucial scenes makes it almost impossible to connect the characters and their motivations together. 



What kept me going through the book is I kept waiting for Ridley and Bryn to clean up their act and admit their love for one another already. 


Unfortunately, they both keep coming up with different reasons as to why they can't work. None of which made any sense to me. 

I have so many questions but it seems like they are destined to go unanswered. With its unique plot, likable characters, The Kanin Chronicles have a lot of potential that's being wasted. I want to jump right into these books but because I have to wade through a lot of extra details to get to what is supposed to be important, it doesn't seem worth it. I hope the next book gives me the answers I'm looking for. 

Strengths/Likes:

1) When Ridley and Bryn aren't coming up with stupid reasons to be apart, they're pretty cute. 

2) I understand Bryn a lot better now. Her character went through a lot of development allowing me to understand her desires and motivations better. 

3) I really enjoyed learning about Skojare people and their kingdom. Even though their government seems to be in shambles, I like the characters and the descriptions of the setting. 


Weaknesses/Dislikes:

1) Overall, I found this book pretty predictable. I could spot the deaths and twists from a mile away. 

2) There are a lot of extra details that are inconsequential to the plot. I had this same problem with Frostfire. The reader is given a lot of detail about the characters backgrounds and relationships mostly through telling and not showing. When it comes to the very core of the plot, the details are rushed and sparse. What the villains are up to seems insignificant in comparison to all of the side-characters occupations and relationships. 

3) The mystery around Konstantin Black is still a huge mystery. It doesn't seem like he's important at all with out little he's mentioned. There are little snippets here or there about him but it was so little that I found it difficult to care about him. He makes his real entrance on the very last page which I believe is supposed to make the reader do this:




but this is what I did:



4) There are pages of details that I have found that I could skip and not miss anything important. This is because Hocking describes every detail of each room and what each of the characters are wearing. When new characters are introduced the reader is given almost a full history on him or her. These details are important but they go past the point of necessary. 

Favorite Quotes/Moments:

1) "It was so much simpler than I expected. Taking a life seemed like it should be a much greater challenge, but my sword had gone through him just like it would through anything else. And then he was dead."

2) "I closed my eyes, listening to the comforting baritone of Ridley's voice. When he was reading from the book, he spoke like he normally did--no hint of anger or unease. My chest ached with regret and longing. He was so close to me. Our arms brushed up against each other on the armrest. But he was still so far away. 

If I looked up at him, I would see an icy wall in his mahogany eyes where once there had only been warmth.

All I wanted was to take back everything that had happened--not telling him about Viktor right away and even kissing him. I just wanted things to go back the way they used to be between us, but I didn't have the words to erase what had happened. So I just closed my eyes and listened to him read."

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A Whole New World (Twisted Tales #1) by Liz Braswell ARC Review


2/5 Stars
Details of the Book
Paperback ARC, 332 pages
Published by Disney Press,
an imprint of Disney Book group
Publication Date: September 1st, 2015

Synopsis: Welcome to a new YA series that re-imagines classic Disney stories in surprising new ways. Each book asks the question: What if one key moment from a familiar Disney film was changed? This dark and daring version of Aladdin twists the original story with the question: What if Jafar was the first one to summon the Genie?

When Jafar steals the Genie’s lamp, he uses his first two wishes to become sultan and the most powerful sorcerer in the world. Agrabah lives in fear, waiting for his third and final wish.To stop the power-mad ruler, Aladdin and the deposed Princess Jasmine must unite the people of Agrabah in rebellion. But soon their fight for freedom threatens to tear the kingdom apart in a costly civil war. What happens next? A Street Rat becomes a leader. A princess becomes a revolutionary. And readers will never look at the story of Aladdin in the same way again.

A Whole New World is a re-telling of the classic Disney movie Aladdin, but with a twist. This book explores what would have happened if Jafar was the first to get his hands on the magic lamp. The people of Agrabah must band together to overthrow their new, cruel sultan. Readers follow the Street Rats on their adventure as they fight in a dangerous battle and venture into parts of Agrabah they never knew existed.

Starting off with high expectations, I found myself sorely disappointed. The first fourth was an exact replica of the movie, and although it was a re-telling, I wish there was at least slight deviation from the original plot. While the writing was decent, the characters and relationships were missing. Unlike a movie, a book has a lot more space for development and expansion, neither of which were included. It adds an element of darkness, but I felt like it was unnecessary and added nothing to the plot. Overall, this story had a lot of potential, and I feel like it was wasted.

Strengths/Likes:

1) Liz Braswell has a smooth writing style, and I would read other books written by her (other than retellings).


2) I still enjoyed re-visiting the world of Agrabah and some of my favorite moments from the movie.

Weaknesses/Dislikes:

1) The first fourth of this book is an exact replica of the movie, down to copying dialogue like, “All this for a loaf of bread?” Despite it being a retelling, there is no point to reading something that is a line-by-line copy of something you can easily watch.

2) The characters were very underdeveloped. None of them have much of a personality, and I feel as though they were hollow without any motivation or individuality. Although I often prefer books which are fast-paced, with a re-telling I wanted more of a chance to get into the character’s heads and understand them better.


3) I feel as though this book was poorly executed and a wasted opportunity, despite it having a lot of potential.

Favorite Quotes/Moments:

1) “She thinks the monkey is the Sultan,” Aladdin whispered loudly into the merchant’s ear. Loudly enough for the crowd—and the girl—to hear.

“Uh, oh, wise, great Sultan,” the girl began uncertainly, taking his cue.

2) Aladdin blinked at her.

“Just possessing it lets you kill with your mind and raise armies of the undead,” Jasmine re-explained, rolling her eyes.

“Ahhh. I get it now. Bad stuff.”