Book Review: Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell

 

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description

For as long as she can remember, Gwendolyn Allister has never had a place to call home—all because her mother believes that monsters are hunting them. Now these delusions have brought them to London, far from the life Gwen had finally started to build for herself. The only saving grace is her best friend, Olivia, who’s coming with them for the summer.

But when Gwen and Olivia are kidnapped by shadowy creatures and taken to a world of flesh-eating sea hags and dangerous Fey, Gwen realizes her mom might have been sane all along.

The world Gwen finds herself in is called Neverland, yet it’s nothing like the stories. Here, good and evil lose their meaning and memories slip like water through her fingers. As Gwen struggles to remember where she came from and find a way home, she must choose between trusting the charming fairy-tale hero who says all the right things and the roguish young pirate who promises to keep her safe.

With time running out and her enemies closing in, Gwen is forced to face the truths she’s been hiding from all along. But will she be able to save Neverland without losing herself?

review

Let me get this out first: Peter Pan is one of my all time favorite fairy tales and definitely one of my favorite Disney movies. So of course I had to buy “Unhooked” when I found out it was a darker retelling of Peter Pan, unfortunately it fell pretty short for me and I was ultimately disappointed with it. Sure there were a few interesting parts but they weren’t good enough to distract me from this book’s flaws.

This got really confusing by the end of the book and therefore my thoughts are also quite confused, I apologize in advance if some of my points get a little tangled. It’s hard not to rant about my issues with this book!

PLOT

 It starts off pretty solid and interesting we get a little background on Gwen and we find out her and her mom have been on the run their whole lives from “monsters” right before Gwen and her friend Olivia are kidnapped and smuggled off to Neverland. So there’s some little tidbits here and there that piqued my curiosity and kept me reading such as: why was Gwen’s mom always running from these monsters? Who was Gwen’s dad and where did he go? etc. That kind of stuff. Gwen then lands herself on Captain Hook’s ship and the story goes from there.

However, as the story proceeds the plot gets messier and more confusing with many, many things not getting answered. The only thing this book has in common with the Peter Pan story are the names of Captain Hook and Peter Pan himself and that it’s set in Neverland. That’s about it. I know that retellings take elements of the originals and then twist it and such but I wanted MORE with this book. Really the entire book is a romance between Gwen and “Captain Hook” with other plot elements being used to make the book seem like it’s about other things when it actually isn’t. It’s all about that romance.

The world building of this twisted version of Neverland was extremely lacking as were any explanations about events that took place in it. I was asking myself, “Yeah…but why?” way more than I should have.

The thing that pissed me off about this book the most was the ending. It was waaaaaay too rushed, confusing, and messy. When I say rushed I mean rushed, it was like Maxwell was told to end this entire story with one page out of nowhere. If you’re going to write a standalone then don’t wait until the last 10 pages to suddenly bring an unsatisfying conclusion to your story. Maybe if there was less time spent building a slow burn romance then we would have had an actual ending that made sense.

However, the number one reason I thought the ending to “Unhooked” was a disaster was because the romance took precedence over the friendship. Gwen got kidnapped with her best (and only) friend Olivia remember? What does she do the whole time she’s there? Look for her best friend, right? Kind of, when Gwen isn’t too busy making goo-goo eyes at Hook. Since I don’t want to actually spoil the ending though, I can’t say the whys or hows. Just know that in this book friendship gets trumped and that’s not something I enjoy in my books.

Also when you want to market your book as a “dark” retelling you need to add a little more than a few monsters. When you say dark I want dark, evil, and downright twisted.

So what did I actually like about the book? I enjoyed some of the darker twists to Neverland and the inclusion of Dark and Light Fae, also this book was very fast-paced which is one of the few reasons I could read through it. Short of all that though I wasn’t too happy.

characters

Gwen was just….okay. Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily. Is it a good thing? Not really. I want MORE from my characters than just okay-ness. Gwen was a pretty passive character and wasn’t as complex as I would have liked she sort of just let things happen and never really took charge herself. Gwen was one of those characters you yell at through the entire book telling her to do stuff or quit doing certain things, you know the drill. One of the few things I liked about her was her loyalty to her friend Olivia, however that really wanes by the end of the book. Overall she was sort of just a dull main character that I didn’t relate to at all.

Besides Gwen the only other important characters were Hook and Pan. I actually really liked Hook’s character in this book because he’s clever, calculating, and a bit snarky. The twist with his character is that he isn’t as bad as our original Hook.This Hook is actually quite compassionate and it’s very endearing, he really loves the boys that are under is care. Thus making him by far my favorite character in this book.

As far as Pan’s character though, I didn’t like him and that was very disappointing since of course my favorite Peter Pan character is Peter Pan. He was just a really flat character for me and of course since this is a twisted retelling Pan isn’t exactly our original hero, however, I didn’t buy it. He wasn’t bad and he wasn’t good, he was boring. This Pan just doesn’t do the original any justice even for a twisted version.

There were some very minuscule secondary characters and as with the main ones, weren’t all that interesting. There’s a few named “lost boys” and some other Fae but honestly if they were all cut from the story I don’t think it would change too much. Even Olivia, the main BFF, isn’t as important as one might think. She’s easily forgotten in the tangle of the romantic plot line.

romance

Want to know another big reason I picked this book up? The hint of a love triangle between Gwen and Hook and Pan. I’m not gonna lie, I got very excited by the thought of that since I’ve always loved the story of Peter Pan and having a YA version with a cute Hook and Pan with a love triangle was a dream come true. I usually hate love triangles but come on this sounded great! Unfortunately this was not the case at all…..

The romance is pretty much strictly between Gwen and Hook, color me disappointed. It’s a pretty slow-burn romance which I liked but I just didn’t feel a lot of chemistry and I didn’t like how it continued after certain plot points at the end of the story, I can’t really elaborate without spoilers so I just won’t. The entire story had to change and evolve to make the romance work and that’s something I don’t like in my books, there should be a good, solid story that shouldn’t revolve completely around the romance.

As I mentioned early too, the romance trumps the friendship. Not my style.

in conclusion

Ultimately this book was disappointing and it was disappointing that it was disappointing. That all adds up to a lot of general disappointment, right?

The plot was a complete mess and terribly confusing, the romance outdid the friendship factor, and none of the reasons I love the original Peter Pan story were apparent here even for a darker retelling, the main character was bland and passive.

Overall, this is not the Peter Pan retelling you’re looking for.

RECOMMEND

Nope, especially if you’re a big Peter Pan fan and definitely not if you’re looking for a good love triangle with a hot Hook and Pan. You will find none of that here and if you’re looking for a dark, twisted Neverland you could look in better places than in “Unhooked”. For example I’ve heard GREAT things about “The Child Thief” by Brom, that’s supposedly a very dark version of Peter Pan and has nothing but great reviews. I have yet to read it but I think it’s safe to recommend that in place of this.

Links: Goodreads / Amazon

The Sassy

Most Anticipated Fall Releases 2016

Top Ten Tuesday(1)

Hey guys! I know there’s always tons of upcoming release posts but I’m going to throw another one in anyways because I’m just so excited for some of these books this year and waiting just about kills me. I’m not the world’s most patient person….

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Vicarious by Paula Stokes

Release Date: August 16th, 2016

Winter Kim and her sister, Rose, have always been inseparable. Together, the two of them survived growing up in a Korean orphanage and being trafficked into the United States.

Now they work as digital stunt girls for Rose’s ex-boyfriend, Gideon, engaging in dangerous and enticing activities while recording their neural impulses for his Vicarious Sensory Experiences, or ViSEs. Whether it’s bungee jumping, shark diving, or grinding up against celebrities at the city’s hottest dance clubs, Gideon can make it happen for you, for a price.

When Rose disappears and a ViSE recording of her murder is delivered to Gideon, Winter won’t rest until she finds her sister’s killer. But when the clues she uncovers conflict with the neural recordings her sister made, Winter isn’t sure what to believe. To find out what happened to Rose, she’ll have to untangle what’s real from what only seems real, risking her life in the process.

Why I’m Excited

Doesn’t this just sound cool? I mean ViSE recordings, those sound awesome! Then her sister goes missing with a recording of the murder? Even better, I know that sounds a little morbid but I love a good thriller! I just think the whole blurb for this sounds action-packed and I can’t wait to get my hands on it!


Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Release Date: September 27th, 2016

Strange the Dreamer is the story of:

the aftermath of a war between gods and men
a mysterious city stripped of its name
a mythic hero with blood on his hands
a young librarian with a singular dream
a girl every bit as perilous as she is imperiled
alchemy and blood candy, nightmares and godspawn, moths and monsters, friendship and treachery, love and carnage.

Welcome to Weep.

Why I’m Excited
It’s Laini Taylor people. I’d read her grocery list. Her books are seriously amazing and I cannot wait for this book to come out! Her mythology in her stories is always insanely good and I think it’s safe to say this one will be no exception.

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

Release Date: August 9th, 2016
In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.

Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge?

Why I’m Excited
I’m SUPER excited to say I just got an email today saying I have an ARC of this book on the way! I literally cannot wait for it!
Okay first off, it’s Jay Kristoff. Secondly I heard he described it as a female-lead Harry Potter. Thirdly just read that description and tell me it doesn’t sound badass. I love assassin stories and I think the world-building will be great!

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

Release Date: September 20th, 2016

Every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins. The last queen standing gets the crown.

If only it was that simple. Katharine is unable to tolerate the weakest poison, and Arsinoe, no matter how hard she tries, can’t make even a weed grow. The two queens have been shamefully faking their powers, taking care to keep each other, the island, and their powerful sister Mirabella none the wiser. But with alliances being formed, betrayals taking shape, and ruthless revenge haunting the queens’ every move, one thing is certain: the last queen standing might not be the strongest…but she may be the darkest.

Why I’m Excited
I love Kendare Blake and this new fantasy series of hers sounds amazing. 3 sisters fighting to the death for the crown and they have powers? Sign me up. Also that cover is gorgeous!

And The Trees Crept In by Dawn Kurtgich
Release Date: September 6th, 2016

When Silla and Nori arrive at their aunt’s home, it’s immediately clear that the “blood manor” is cursed. The creaking of the house and the stillness of the woods surrounding them would be enough of a sign, but there are secrets too–the questions that Silla can’t ignore: Who is the beautiful boy that’s appeared from the woods? Who is the man that her little sister sees, but no one else? And why does it seem that, ever since they arrived, the trees have been creeping closer?

Filled with just as many twists and turns as The Dead House, and with achingly beautiful, chilling language that delivers haunting scenes, AND THE TREES CREPT IN is the perfect follow-up novel for master horror writer Dawn Kurtagich.

Why I’m Excited
Okay so I really did enjoy Kurtagich’s first novel “The Dead House” and this book sounds like it may be better yet. I love a good creepy book and I’m hoping this one will deliver. Plus look at that gorgeous cover, seriously.

The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid

Release Date: November 1st, 2016

Red Queen meets The Hunger Games in this epic novel about what happens when the galaxy’s most deadly weapon masquerades as a senator’s daughter and a hostage of the galactic court.

A Diabolic is ruthless. A Diabolic is powerful. A Diabolic has a single task: Kill in order to protect the person you’ve been created for.

Nemesis is a Diabolic, a humanoid teenager created to protect a galactic senator’s daughter, Sidonia. The two have grown up side by side, but are in no way sisters. Nemesis is expected to give her life for Sidonia, and she would do so gladly. She would also take as many lives as necessary to keep Sidonia safe.

When the power-mad Emperor learns Sidonia’s father is participating in a rebellion, he summons Sidonia to the Galactic court. She is to serve as a hostage. Now, there is only one way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia. She must become her. Nemesis travels to the court disguised as Sidonia—a killing machine masquerading in a world of corrupt politicians and two-faced senators’ children. It’s a nest of vipers with threats on every side, but Nemesis must keep her true abilities a secret or risk everything.

As the Empire begins to fracture and rebellion looms closer, Nemesis learns there is something more to her than just deadly force. She finds a humanity truer than what she encounters from most humans. Amidst all the danger, action, and intrigue, her humanity just might be the thing that saves her life—and the empire.

Why I’m Excited
I usually don’t go in for other books being compared to new books, like Red Queen meets The Hunger Games? No thanks. However, the rest of the description sounds awesome. Also the sci-fi setting has me pretty excited because I really want to read more great YA sci-fi books.

Gemina by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman
Release Date: October 18th, 2016

  Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminae continues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.

Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.

Why I’m Excited
Have you read “Illuminae”? You totally should because it is literally awesome and one of my all time favorites and I cannot wait for its sequel to come out. If it’s even close to how good the first one was I have no worries!

Frost by M.P. Kozlowsky
Release Date: October 11th, 2016

Cinder meets The Walking Dead in a chilling futuristic fairy tale that will reboot everything you thought about family, love, and what it means to be human.

Sixteen-year-old Frost understands why she’s spent her entire life in an abandoned apartment building. The ruined streets below are hunting grounds for rogue robots and Eaters.

She understands why she’s never met a human besides her father. She even understands why he forbids her to look for medicine for her dying pet. But the thing is, it’s not her real father giving the orders . . .

It’s his memories.

Before he died, Frost’s father uploaded his consciousness into their robot servant. But the technology malfunctioned, and now her father fades in and out. So when Frost learns that there might be medicine on the other side of the ravaged city, she embarks on a dangerous journey to save the only living creature she loves.

With only a robot as a companion, Frost must face terrors of all sorts, from outrunning the vicious Eaters . . . to talking to the first boy she’s ever set eyes on. But can a girl who’s only seen the world through books and dusty windows survive on her own?

Why I’m Excited
So we basically have a dystopian book with androids/robots and zombies, I’m a sucker for a good zombie book and hopefully this one excels on the zombie parts. That part about the dying pet though? No, she better save that pet or I’m going to be so upset!

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So those are all of my most anticipated release for this fall, for now because I’m discovering more all the time!

Are you excited for any of these books?

What new releases are you excited for this fall?

Have you received an ARC of any of these?

Did you add any to your TBR now?

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Picked Up On A Whim

Top Ten Tuesday(9)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.

This week’s theme is books we picked up on a whim whether it was because of the cover or the description, whatever! I know we all probably have a few of these I know I do because I’m a sucker for pretty covers.

You can click each of the titles for my review of the book (if I have one). I’ll also link each book cover to its Goodreads page if you want to read the descriptions and check them out!

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10.) The Martian by Andy Weir

So I pretty much just bought this book because the movie was coming out at the time and EVERYBODY was talking about it! Was it worth it? Yes it was.

9.) The Killing Jar by Jennifer Bosworth

I got an ARC of this book via Netgalley simply because I thought the cover was pretty intense (I have a terrible phobia of butterflies and moths FYI) and the description sounded….interesting. It’s definitely a very odd book but overall enjoyable.

8.) Blood, Ink, & Fire by Ashley Mansour

Once again an ARC I received via Netgalley and one I got solely based on a pretty cover and an interesting description. It’s about a world without books, how does that not sound cool? Unfortunately, this book was a mess and I didn’t enjoy any of it.

7.) Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

I found this in the bargain section of a bookstore and it was only $2.00, how can I pass that up? It had a very enticing description so I picked it up and it was a pretty amazing book I read the entire trilogy shortly after! I unfortunately read this a loooong time ago and never reviewed it but it’s worth checking out.

6.) I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

Okay a book titled “I Hunt Killers”? That earned it the chance to at least be picked up and have its description read and then that’s all it took to hook me. The entire series is exhilarating and fast paced, I highly recommend checking it out since it was such fun to read through.

5.) The Girl From The Well by Rin Chupeco

So I did vaguely hear of this book before picking it up and saw a couple negative reviews for it. However, when I saw it sitting on a shelf with “creepy books for Halloween” at Barnes & Noble I couldn’t resist buying it. I loooove creepy books and YA horror books are kind of rare. I really enjoyed having the crap scared out of me with this one!

4.) Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell

Four words for you on this one: Peter Pan, Captain Hook. Done. That is me being sold, I loooove Peter Pan so getting my hands on retellings is my number one priority. Well not really but I want you to understand how much I love Peter Pan retellings. That’s all it took to sell me on this book but unfortunately it didn’t blow me away, hopefully I’ll get a review up soon!

3.) Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry

I bought and read this a looooong time ago, well I shouldn’t say I bought it since my grandmother bought it for me when I was younger. Yep browsing through Borders during there going out of business sale (still mad about that) and I could pick ONE book and this is the one a picked. Because of zombies. I like zombies. You should have seen the look on my grandma’s face when I brought this up for her to pay for. Priceless.

2.) The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich

I loved the creepy cover and I’m a sucker for any kind of YA horror so of course I got this on a whim at the bookstore after taking one look at it. It is creepy and a pretty decent book.

1.) The Merciless by Danielle Vega

This is my ultimate book picked on a whim. I was browsing Barnes & Noble and saw out of the corner of my eye this hot pink hardcover with a pentagram on it, so of course I went and picked it up. Teenage girls performing an exorcism? Yep I went and bought the shit out of this book. I loved how gory and horrific it was, it had a very slasher-style to it.

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Have you read any of these books?

Did you add or have any on your TBR already?

What books did you pick up on a whim?

Also feel free to leave a link to your TTT!

The Sassy

ARC Review: The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

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description

To earn a secret so profound, I would need to tell momentous lies, and make as many people as possible believe them…

Faith Sunderly leads a double life. To most people, she is modest and well mannered—a proper young lady who knows her place. But inside, Faith is burning with questions and curiosity. She keeps sharp watch of her surroundings and, therefore, knows secrets no one suspects her of knowing—like the real reason her family fled Kent to the close-knit island of Vane. And that her father’s death was no accident.

In pursuit of revenge and justice for the father she idolizes, Faith hunts through his possessions, where she discovers a strange tree. A tree that only bears fruit when she whispers a lie to it. The fruit, in turn, delivers a hidden truth. The tree might hold the key to her father’s murder. Or, it might lure the murderer directly to Faith herself, for lies—like fires, wild and crackling—quickly take on a life of their own.

review

**** Thank you to Amulet Books and Netgalley for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review****

Overall this is a decent read but not anything that really impressed me. I don’t normally read a lot of historical fiction but I still enjoyed “The Lie Tree” enough to give it 3 stars. I also enjoyed Hardinge’s style and will probably read more of her work.

PLOT

My biggest problem with the story was how slow it was and how long it took to set itself up. It has a very, very slow start and we spend a lot of time learning about Faith (our MC), her family, and the mystery surrounding their sudden move to the island of Vane. I found my attention and interest floundering a few times but I pushed on simply for the answers to the murder mystery and the appearance of The Lie Tree itself. Which I will let you know now doesn’t show up until about halfway through the book and let’s be honest the tree’s a big lure.

Hardinge does a fantastic job setting the atmosphere for this book, it’s eerie and intriguing which couples well with the mystery theme. Her writing style also flows very well and was easy to read through.

Overall the book is one giant mystery because it’s a few mysteries all tangled into one, we have the mystery of the family’s move, the mystery of Faith’s father’s death, and the general mystery of the “lie tree”.  All of these things definitely pique interest and Hardinge does a great job of keeping you guessing. However, the mysteries are slow and subtle; this is not a thriller.

Really though my craving for answers was one of the only things that kept me reading since a lot of the time the story dragged.

characters

They’re all very complex and…gray; no black and white, good and bad characters here. I liked Faith and her brother Howard but every other person on the island including Faith’s family? Not so much. I don’t think there was a single kind-hearted person there, everyone is kind of out for themselves which I liked because it made things interesting and realistic but at the same time they made me very mad. Which was probably the point.

Faith is very headstrong and clever she wants to be a natural scientist and since it’s set in the 1800’s, it isn’t exactly a woman’s profession. She’s faced with ridicule by men through out the duration of the book and she isn’t taken seriously. I loved how she didn’t take any of that shit from anyone and was determined to go out and prove them all wrong. Girl power. Although at times being inside her head-space could get tedious just because she spent a lot of time…monologuing.

None of the other characters were particularity memorable and while I appreciated some of their complexity (and moral gray areas) I didn’t enjoy the characters much themselves. Faith’s parents are pretty selfish and wrapped up in protecting themselves versus their children and that’s something I couldn’t really look past.

in conclusion

As I said earlier it’s a decent read, I liked the mysteries that are all tangled up in the story and the “lie tree” is quite interesting. Faith’s character was enjoyable and the other characters are very developed. However, I thought the story dragged a lot at times and got slow to the point of boredom. So mixed feelings overall and I’m in the minority on this book since a lot of other people loved it and gave it 4-5 star reviews. I just don’t think this book was for me in the end.

RECOMMEND

Not really, unfortunately. However if you’re a big fan of historical fiction and the old fashioned sort of murder mystery you may enjoy this book. Plenty of other people loved this book a lot more than I did so you may be one of them!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon

The Sassy

Discussion Post: DNF Reviews

Top Ten Tuesday

I have quite a few thoughts on DNF reviews and I’ve seen a lot of other people’s opinions on them as well so I figured “Hey let’s see what everyone else thinks of DNF reviews!” So here we are. This is going to be a little short for a discussion post (I apologize!) but I really want to hear some opinions on it!

Most of you might already know but for those of you who don’t here’s a little explanation. A DNF Review is a review for a book that you Did Not Finish, pretty simple.

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So what’s the positive side to writing a DNF Review?

 When a reviewer can’t finish a book they should be able to DNF it and write a quick review explaining why they did so. I feel that an opinion on why someone couldn’t finish the book is just as valid as their opinion of the book if they had finished.

If a book is that bad a reviewer should have every right to stop reading it, what’s the point of pushing onward and tormenting yourself right?

So on the positive side: some people find DNF reviews to be just as informative as normal book reviews.

So what’s the down side to writing a DNF Review?

Some people feel that you shouldn’t write DNF reviews because you didn’t actually finish the book and it feels unfair for you to rate it without reading the entire thing. I understand this side as well because it’s true with a DNF review that you didn’t finish the book and who’s to say it doesn’t get better at the end? Why judge a book by it’s first few chapters?

However, is it really fair to be mad at someone for writing a review for a book they didn’t finish because they weren’t enjoying it?

So on the negative side: some people don’t think DNF reviews are fair since you aren’t sharing an opinion on the entirety of the book.

My Opinion

I actually really like DNF reviews and I enjoy them just the same as normal book reviews. I personally don’t DNF many books (and I try not to) therefore I don’t write many DNF reviews. When I do though I feel that it’s perfectly acceptable to write a review for a DNF’d book and explain why I wasn’t enjoying it.

So say the book gets better at the end, I don’t really care. If it was so hard to push through half the book then honestly the ending wouldn’t be worth it for me.

I also really appreciate anyone who does write a DNF review because you’re taking the time to review a book you didn’t finish to tell us why you didn’t like it. People don’t have to write a review for reading half (or less) of a book, but they still do and I (as a reader and blogger) really do appreciate it!

So in my opinion, don’t force your way through a book if you don’t want to! DNF reviews are perfectly acceptable!

My DNF Reviews

“Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

The only reason I wanted to read this was because I wanted to go see the movie but honestly you couldn’t pay me to read through this. I have zero interest in reading the original “Pride and Prejudice” and this book was what I imagine the original was like with very little zombie action. All I wanted was all the badass zombie killing I was shown in the movie trailer!

“Once Upon A Dream” by Liz Braswell

Everything about this was….bad. The writing, the narrative style, the characters, and the plot were all unfathomably boring. There was nothing redeemable about this book.

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Come Join The Discussion!

What is your opinion on DNF Reviews?

Do you believe in DNF-ing books?

Do you think it’s unfair to write a review for a book you didn’t finish?

Do you think it’s okay to write a review explaining why you couldn’t finish the book?

Do you appreciate bloggers who write DNF reviews?

Do you find DNF reviews just as informative as normal book reviews?

The Sassy

Book Review: The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

a title here(4)

description

She is the most powerful Jinni of all. He is a boy from the streets. Their love will shake the world…

When Aladdin discovers Zahra’s jinni lamp, Zahra is thrust back into a world she hasn’t seen in hundreds of years—a world where magic is forbidden and Zahra’s very existence is illegal. She must disguise herself to stay alive, using ancient shape-shifting magic, until her new master has selected his three wishes.

But when the King of the Jinn offers Zahra a chance to be free of her lamp forever, she seizes the opportunity—only to discover she is falling in love with Aladdin. When saving herself means betraying him, Zahra must decide once and for all: is winning her freedom worth losing her heart?

As time unravels and her enemies close in, Zahra finds herself suspended between danger and desire in this dazzling retelling of Aladdin from acclaimed author Jessica Khoury.

review

At first I had my doubts about this book, I’m usually not a fan of YA romances, but with all of the glowing reviews it was receiving I had to check it out. Plus look at that gorgeous cover! I’m so glad I took a chance on “The Forbidden Wish” because everything about it was utter perfection I don’t have a single complaint about this book. It’s not your typical YA romance or retelling, it really breaks the mold and it’s quite simply…magical.

PLOT

The story this book tells is wonderful it’s filled with magic, jinn, and one heck of a romance. The romance is pretty heavy in this book but it isn’t the sole focus, there’s actually a plot outside of the romance which is why I ended up liking the romance in the end. Because it wasn’t the only thing going on in the book. So while this book is very much a romance, for you un-romantics (like me) please don’t let that deter you because this book has so much more to offer!

There’s a solid amount of world-building and mythology, we get information on the different types of jinn as well as their home world and why humans don’t get along well with them. I really appreciated the attention to such details because Khoury could have just thrown a jinni into the book and not have any sort of back story or mythology to go along with it. While “The Forbidden Wish” is very much a romance I really liked that it maintained YA fantasy elements as well,  I’m a stickler for world building in fantasy settings and this one didn’t disappoint.

Another thing I really enjoyed was the way Zahra narrates the story, she addresses “Habiba” throughout the tale and slowly reveals who she was and what she meant to Zahra as the plot unfolds. Of course as we learn about “Habiba” we also learn about Zahra’s past as well, this added so much more to the plot and I loved how it blended the past and present together and it really made for a more interesting reading experience.

The writing in “The Forbidden Wish” is really one of the most stunning things about it. I know I talk a lot about pretty writing but Khoury’s is exceptional! There’s so much detail in her descriptions that you could picture everything vividly and you could practically feel the magic in her words. I could honestly reread this book over and over again just for the writing.

characters

I’ve got two words to describe the characters in “The Forbidden Wish”: Girl Power. Sure there’s Aladdin and few other male characters but they really pale in comparison to the women in this book.

Zahra is an all-powerful, badass, feisty, and clever jinni. However, at the same time she’s imperfect and lonely and all she wants is to be free to do as she pleases with her life. Romance isn’t the first and foremost thought in her head, she desires freedom. I actually really liked how selfish Zahra was because as I said she was an imperfect character, Zahra wants her freedom no matter the cost and she loves the people she cares about fiercely no matter the cost. I loved the depth to her character, Zahra is a fantastic heroine.

Then we have Princess Caspida and her Watchmaidens, remember how I said Zahra was badass? Well these girls are even more badass. Honestly I wish the book would have spent some more time on these ladies because they were a little more interesting than Zahra and Aladdin. Caspida wants what is best for her people and actually does something about it, she fights and does everything in her power to undermine her uncle’s (he’s our Jafar) hold on the city. They’re the embodiment of Girl Power, seriously.

I’m a little undecided about my feelings on Aladdin, I think I like Disney Aladdin a little more but he’s not a terrible character. He just didn’t feel as developed as the women, or maybe in all of the kickass, awesome light of Zahra, Caspida, and the Watchmaidens he just couldn’t compete. Honestly, he’s more of a secondary character because the women in “The Forbidden Wish” take more of the central role. Although I will say he was reckless in the adorable way that Disney Aladdin was.

There are also some secondary characters that have a sliver of development but are mostly devices used to set certain plot points into motion. We have Caspida’s father, the Sultan, as well as her uncle, the vizier, (our Jafar, if you will) and his son who is betrothed to Caspida (our Iago). I think you’ll have more fun making comparisons between these characters and the Disney ones than you will reading about them, however they are important to the story. We also have some jinni that make a few appearances such as Nardukha, King of the Jinn, and his son, the prince. All make quite formidable villains as well, even if they aren’t quite as developed as our main characters.

romance

This book is all about that romance and I was won over by it and trust me when I tell you that’s no easy feat. It takes quite a lot impress me with a YA romance since they’re usually so riddled with tropes such as insta-love and love triangles. Neither of these are present in this book and it’s such a breath of fresh air. No insta-love.

Aladdin and Zahra’s romance is “forbidden” because he is human and she is jinn, which results in a very slow burn romance because Zahra knows she can’t be with him or they’ll both end up paying the price. She tries to keep her distance in order to spare Aladdin but she slowly falls for him and honestly I shipped them so much by the end of the book. I really enjoyed their romance.

Although at a point during the story Aladdin tries to win over Caspida to further his own agenda and I kind of would have liked to see a romance between these two. She is after all our badass “Princess Jasmine”, I don’t know it’s just something I personally would have liked to happen. Don’t get me wrong I loved Aladdin with Zahra but it would have been interesting to have it play out the other way as well.

in conclusion

Overall I LOVED this book and honestly found nothing wrong with it at all. It has excellent world-building, characters, and even I was won over by the romance. My only problem with it is that it’s a stand alone! I would love to read more of Zahra and Aladdin’s adventures! “The Forbidden Wish” is definitely one of my new favorites.

RECOMMEND

I highly recommend reading this book especially if you love retellings and even if you don’t like books heavy on the romance I think you should give it a try anyways, I mean after all I loved it and I am not a romance reader.

Honestly I just recommend this for everyone, if I could buy you all copies so you’d read it I would!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon

The Sassy

The Bohemian Rhapsody Book Tag

Top Ten Tuesday (2)

I was tagged by the always wonderful Michelle over at Book Adventures where she hosts a weekly feature called Book Tag Thursdays (which this tag was a part of) so be sure to head on over and check that out. Book Tag Thursdays is tons of fun so I hope you decide to participate! This tag was originally created by Emma at The Bookish Underdog.

Also I’m just going to say who doesn’t love this song? I mean just hearing the words “Bohemian Rhapsody” instantly gets it stuck in my head and I love it.

I’ll link up each book I choose with my reviews if I have them as well! Also there will be excessive use of gifs!

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Mama,  Just Killed A Man: A fictional character’s death that really upset you.

****Spoilers for The Knife of Never Letting Go!!!!!****

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I’m following suit with Michelle and saying Manchee from “The Knife of Never Letting Go” because honestly I felt like a shallow husk of my former self after reading through that. I mean he’s a sweet, loyal, talking dog! Who does that?! Patrick Ness apparently.


Carry On, Carry On: Pick a book that was hard to keep reading, but was worth it in the end.

I don’t really have many of these and I didn’t want to pick the same book as Michelle again (because “Gone Girl” is the perfect answer) so I’m going with “The Winner’s Curse”.  This wasn’t anything excruciating to read through but the beginning was pretty slow and uneventful, however pushing through to the end was very worth it. All of the action and politics picked right up and makes you scramble for the sequel!


Sends Shivers Down My Spine: Pick a book with a beautiful cover/spine.

“Vengeance Road” even though this book wasn’t my favorite I still think the cover is absolutely gorgeous, so much detail!


Goodbye Everybody, I’ve Got To Go: A book that you couldn’t finish.

“Once Upon A Dream”, a twisted retelling of Disney’s Sleeping Beauty. Sounds awesome right? Wrong. It is not awesome. The writing and characters and story were all bland, bland, bland. I couldn’t even finish half of the book let alone the whole thing.


Thunderbolt and Lightning, Very, Very Frightening: Which book did you find very, very frightening. 

“The Girl From The Well” because I’m a big baby, some people didn’t find this book scary at all but I was terrified. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I watched “The Grudge” when I was in the 4th grade and I was so scared I couldn’t sleep alone for a week. So if you want to scare me…..Asian girls with long dark hair in their faces.

Don’t get me wrong though this was the FUN kind of scared, if that makes sense.


Bismillah, No! We Will Not Let You Go: Which book/series do you wish there had been more of.

Percy Jackson & The Olympians (but really who wouldn’t say Harry Potter for this? I figured everyone would say that though). I zipped right through this entire series and I KNOW Rick Riordan has other series based in the same setting but I loved Percy okay?


Mamma Mia, Mamma Mia: Which book/series should be made into a musical?

 Okay, okay picture this “A Song of Ice and Fire: The Musical”. Can you imagine the Red Wedding with song and dance? I can and it’s glorious. I apologize for not really taking this question seriously….


The Head Banging Bit: Which book made you face-palm?

“Blackhearts” because I wanted actual pirates and not this whole insta-love-fest that I actually got….. with zero pirates.

And to this book I say:


Oh Baby, Can’t Do This To Me, Baby: Pick a moment from a book where you felt the author was being mean to you.

“Nimona” because it ended and there wasn’t more.


Nothing Really Matters To Me: Which characters did you not care about?

Pretty much everyone from “City of Bones” I was not a fan of this book at all and I could have cared less about any of the characters.

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I’m not going to tag anybody this time around but PLEASE feel free to do this tag if you want to! You’re tagged! Spread the “Bohemian Rhapsody” love!!

The Sassy