Monthly Archives:: July 2015

Friday, July 31, 2015

Review: A Whole New World by Liz Braswell

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Review: A Whole New World by Liz Braswell
A Whole New World
Liz Braswell
Series: A Twisted Tale #1
Genre: Fantasy, Retellings, YA
Publication date: September 1, 2015
by Disney Hyperion

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Welcome to a new YA series that reimagines 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 ofAladdin 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 copy was provided by Disney Book Group for review-

What a disappointment this book turned out to be.

You know, when I requested for this book, I did it because I was really, really expecting a Disney movie retelling (wait, is that even allowed? Isn’t there supposed to be some copyright thingy about modifying a well-known commercial masterpiece into something else? Can some lawyer clarify this for me, please?!) that would literally bring me a whole new world. You see, there is something that books can do better than movies – one of them is characterization. With a book, you can get into the deepest psyche of the characters and really get to know them in a more personal and intimate level; we’ll be able to know more why they feel a certain why or how their feeling or other external factors weigh in their actions and decisions.

Unfortunately, there was none of that here. The book relied on the fact we already knew Aladdin and Jasmine and Rafah and Jafar and then left it as that, portraying them instead as very one-dimensional characters with no substantial character development. Believe that the others say – 25% of this book is a cut-and-paste of the original movie, 75% is fanfic material. If you’re into that sort of thing, then this would be right up your alley. This book asked the question, “What if it was Jafar who got the lamp and the genie and the wishes?” Interesting question – I could come up with a thousand scenarios stemming from that, but the book just had to go towards the predictable, cliché route, with cardboard, uninspiring characters, to boot.

Like seriously, we don’t even really get to know Jafar’s story, or why he wished the things he wished, or why he was the way he was. This is about what if it were Jafar who got the lamp, and yet, there were no dedicated chapters about him? What the bloody heck?! We already know what Aladdin would have done if he got the lamp; since it’s going to be Jafar this time, why not give him more of the spotlight? Why do we have to have a rehash of this romance between Aladdin and Jasmine, which we have already witnessed in the fricking original movie, which we all have watched a million times already?! WHERE IS THE BLOODY FUN IN THAT?! I just don’t get it – here’s the chance to get to know Jafar and all the spotlight is on Aladdin and Jasmine. What we get then was a boring-ass antagonist who was evil because he was evil. And when it was the time to give us a reason why he was doing the things he did, it wasn’t from his perspective or anything, it was from the main characters themselves, talking amongst themselves why they thought he did what he did.

“Because that’s what he wants,” she explained. “More than anything, Jafar seems to want to be loved and admired – that’s why he has those parades, and gives all the coins out, and make those speeches from the balcony. He wants everyone, including me, to love him.”

What the heck?! Are you guys Dr. Phil now?!

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I just found it incredibly lazy. It didn’t show us this development or these info, it simply told us just like that. And not from the POV of the antagonist, to boot! Uuugh…

Even then, let us do say that it was never intended to show a more complex side of Jafar. It was all meant to be for Aladdin and Jasmine and how they went their way to start a rebellion to take back the Sultanate of Agrabah. I’d still say it was disappointing as hell because like I previously mentioned, there was absolutely zero character development. Aladdin sees Jasmine for the first time and he falls in love. I know he kinda does the same in the movie, but I kind of expected more from this book, that it would at least try to give us a more meaningful and fulfilling romance. Sure, it had ample action, but without the emotional connection to the characters, how would I ever feel the tension and the urgency? Not to mention, the twists were so, so uninspiring that it felt anti-climactic. Like, wow, the great plan was to do BIG ACTION A in order to disguise STEALTHY ACTION B?! Hah, I so didn’t see THAT coming.

All in all, it was a disappointing book. As Emily May stated in her review, it feels like a fanfic, and I have to agree with her. You’re better off with watching the movie instead, at least it has songs.

1 Stars
1 Cold Espresso

Review: The Marvels by Brian Selznick

Review: The Marvels by Brian Selznick

Posted by on 07/30/2015 • 4 Comments

Wow, this book was so cool!! The first 400 pages or so are all just drawings. Gorgeous artwork. It seems odd that it’s just picture after picture, but surprisingly, it tells an amazing story. I have never read 400 pages of a book so quick!! The first part of the book is set in a totally different time period than the second part. The second part of the book is set in 1990 I believe. This one is written, not told in pictures. It is not a seemingly different story as the synopsis explains. In fact, it is pretty easy to see how the two are related, but in a really interesting way. I loved discovering how the second story all fit with the first one and was drawn in….

Review: What We Knew by Barbara Stewart

Review: What We Knew by Barbara Stewart

Posted by on 07/27/2015 • 2 Comments

Going into this I was hoping it would be a great horror/mystery, but it didn’t wow me. Yes, it had its creepy parts and a bit of mystery to it, but most of the story just wasn’t keeping my interest. It does cover some pretty awful topics such as rape and sexual abuse. I thought that part of it was good. (Not good in that I enjoyed it, but in the way it covered those things so well.) There is also cheating, which I really can’t stand. I know that it happens in real life, so I get that it is in books too. I just don’t care to read about it. It makes me really hate the characters. I did like the mystery behind Banana Man or whatever he…

Review: The Novice by Taran Matharu

Review: The Novice by Taran Matharu

Posted by on 07/24/2015 • 11 Comments

Definitely one of the most underwhelming fantasies I’ve read this year.

I was really excited for this after knowing it was originally a WattPad story. I always get excited when a book becomes published through unconventional means, because it means people like me who just writes stories for fun for others online can be discovered for the very reason our stories are simply good enough. And knowing it was a fantasy? Heck yeah, my favorite genre of the year, represeeent!

However, reading this book was like eating unseasoned, hard meat… it didn’t taste anything. It was bland and forgettable. I kept on chewing and chewing and chewing in hopes it would suddenly turn into a gourmet dish, but in the end, I swallowed it feeling. It didn’t bring anything new to the plate, nor…

Review: George by Alex Gino

Review: George by Alex Gino

Posted by on 07/23/2015 • 2 Comments

What a wonderful book!! This is a MG book about a transgender girl and I can not give enough love to this. So many younger kids may know that they are not in fact the gender they are born, and this is the first book I have read that is targeted toward younger kids. George is 10 years old and she is a girl. She knows she is, but no one else does. I know from discussing with people that this may be a book that rubs some people the wrong way due to the targeted age, but I think it’s perfect. For people to say that it’s too young and that kids that age don’t know, I think that is ignorant. No one can tell someone what they feel…

Giveaway: Forever for a Year by B.T. Gottfred

Giveaway: Forever for a Year by B.T. Gottfred

Posted by on 07/22/2015 • 3 Comments

Thanks to the lovely people at Macmillan, I’ve got a copy of Forever for a Year up for giveaway today! FOREVER FOR A YEAR is the debut novel from playwright & filmmaker B.T. Gottfred. The novel is an up-close-and-personal, first-love story told in alternating perspectives.

Don’t forget to: Learn more on B.T. Gottfred’s Tumblr Follow the author on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram #ForeverforaYear

Giveaway!

SUMMER LOVE prize pack Enjoy a romantic summer read this summer! One (1) winner receives: · A copy of Forever for a Year; · plus a beach tote and sunglasses.

 

Open to US and Canadian addresses only Giveaway ends August 3rd, 2015 Full contest terms and conditions found on Rafflecopter

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Review: Weightless by Sarah Bannan

Review: Weightless by Sarah Bannan

Posted by on 07/21/2015 • 5 Comments

There are plenty of books out there about suicide, bullying, and mental illness. I am drawn to them and love reading them. I think they are important. I think that it’s great to have books on topics like these for people who may be going through similar situations, know someone who is, or just because you like to be able to spread awareness about it. What makes this one different from a lot of the others that I have read is that it isn’t told from the victims POV. It’s not told through the bully’s POV. It isn’t even told by someone outside of the situations POV. It is told by someone who isn’t quite one of the direct bullies, but also isn’t just a random person. In fact, she…

Behind the Scenes with Adi Alsaid + Giveaway!

Behind the Scenes with Adi Alsaid + Giveaway!

Posted by on 07/20/2015 • 14 Comments

I’m happy to be a part of the Never Always Sometimes tour today! I’ve got Adi here to take us behind the scenes on his writing, and you can also enter to win before you go! First, let’s see what this book is all about:

Guest post by Adi Alsaid

Behind the Scenes- My Writing Office(s)

As I sit down to write this, I’m at a restaurant patio in Siem Reap, Cambodia in the midst of a 5-week backpacking trip throughout Southeast Asia. I’m a bit sweaty, but it’s early evening and the heat is past its peak. My feet are up on the red cushion of the large lounging chair I’ve camped out in while I wait for my friends to finish their yoga…