Tuesday, 23 February 2016

ARC Review: The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury


Author: Jessica Khoury
Expected Release Date: February 23, 2016
Publisher: Razorbill
Received from: publisher
Status: standalone

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
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.

I received this book from the publisher as a “bonus” book alongside with other copies that I requested. Initially, I didn’t want to read the book, because I wasn’t really interested in reading an Aladdin re-make (the Disney version will always be my one and only). However, after seeing reviews from other book bloggers, I decided to give it a go.

What makes this retelling of Aladdin was the fact that it wasn’t entirely about him- it was about Zahra’s journey and her relationship with him. It wasn’t entirely fast nor slow paced, but it was a slow burn for me. The story grew on me as we got to know more about Zahra; Aladdin himself was very mischievous and charming, but more mature than his Disney counterpart.

Zahra’s story was really unique, and a hypnotic tale as well. I highly recommend this novel.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

ARC Review: Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell


Author: Lisa Maxwell
Expected Release Date: February 2nd, 2016
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Received from: publisher
Status: standalone

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
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?

As the second Peter Pan retelling I’ve read this year, I’ve been really impressed with both Unhooked and Never, Never by Brianna Shrum (review to come!).

In this retelling, our main characters are Gwen, who is looking for best friend Olivia, after they’re both captured and taken to Neverland. But the Neverland we know from our childhoods is not the one that Gwen finds herself in.

I will admit, this story did start off a bit slow, and I did find myself taking awhile the get through the story (because I actually read Never, Never before this one). After a couple chapters, I was able to get into it, and was thrown a bit off in the beginning when I finally met some familiar faces.

Captain Hook and Peter Pan (Tinker Bell and the Lost Boys as well) were not the same loveable characters we knew. Admittedly, Captain Hook wasn’t some old man that was out for Peter Pan- he was actually a young guy, a couple years older than Gwen (like what’s with all these retellings making Captain Hook young?). He was pretty swoon worthy (not gunna lie), but he was a brooding type of character; if I had to compare his harden attitude, it would be similar to the Darkling’s from Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone trilogy. However, he and Gwen did have their moments (which confused me, and brought out my inner fangirl). Peter Pan, on the other hand, wasn’t a good guy (I found him manipulative and annoying at times), but still had this charm to him that really annoyed me, because at one point, I thought there was going to be a love triangle (thankfully there isn’t!).

The reason behind Gwen and Olivia’s kidnapping is pretty confusing to even Gwen, but she finds Olivia, things quickly fall apart. The climax of the book was very intense, and the book itself was an easy read because it was well written; Lisa Maxwell’s interpretation brought out an adventurous and darker side of Neverland I never expected.

It was a wonderful novel, and I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a Peter Pan retelling! 



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