Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Review of The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

Title/Author: The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury
Publisher/Date published: Razorbill, February 23rd 2016
How I got this book: bought a shiny copy
Goodreads summary: 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?

I'm always up for a good fairytale retelling and Aladdin is one of my childhood crushes, so obviously I needed to read this!

And I'm very happy to say that I totally loved it! I was a tiny bit hesitant cause another Aladdin retelling I read earlier this year left me with less than giddy feelings and I was definitely not looking for a repeat of that experience, but I didn't have to worry, because Jessica Khoury took parts of the tale I loved and then added SO MUCH GOODNESS and it was just amazing!

I loved Zahra, she's a 4000 year old being and obviously she's seen a LOT and has experienced major heartbreak, but it hasn't gotten her down yet. She hasn't become this bitter person, but instead is still willing to fight for the people she cares about and I liked that. I also loved discovering her backstory and hearing her talk to 'Habiba' in her mind, sort of narrating the story to her. Though I did guess at one point who exactly she'd been before she was the jinni of the lamp, it was still more complicated than I'd imagined and I loved it!

Obviously Aladdin was wonderful. I mean, he's a thief with a heart of gold and it really shows. He's just this amazing boy who has set himself on a path and Zahra pushes him along on it, but I love that he realises what exactly the important things are along the way. There's some definite character growth going on here and I always like that! And he's kinda dreamy, so I was totally shipping it!

I really liked how Jessica Khoury added to the fairytale of Aladdin with the system of the jinni and how it affects the world that Aladdin lives in. There's so much more to it than simply a boy from the streets trying to make his way in the world and a genie who grants wishes and of course has a desire to be free of the lamp. Even though I totally love the original tale as well. But I like when an author takes a beloved tale like this and than adds his or her own twist to it without it detracting from the orginal. And I feel that with The Forbidden Wish, Jessica Khoury has done exactly that!

So basically, I'm saying you should read this and I'll be on the lookout for more from Jessica Khoury as well as kicking myself for not having read anything by her before!

My rating: 5 stars

Monday, August 22, 2016

Mini-Reviews (17): Diplomatic Immunity, My Fair Princess, The Best Friend Bargain

So sometimes I fail at writing reviews for the books I've read, and 2016 has me failing spectacularly (as did 2015). And because it's been AGES since I read these, I'm just gonna do mini-reviews of them, so as to clear my need-review shelf (cause it's humungous, it's not even funny).

Title/Author: Diplomatic Immunity by Brodi Ashton
Publisher/Date published: Balzer + Bray, September 6th 2016
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley

I'm just gonna come out and say it: this book was a huge disappointment. It sounded like something that I would just LOVE, but instead it had me going 'meh' and having serious issues with several things happening in the novel. I wasn't feeling the main character, who was a bit of a hypocrite and just annoying and the love interest was just... Not interesting. I felt zero sparks and the whole system was messed up and it didn't feel like this was happening to teenagers.

I did like the relationships between Piper and her brother and Rafael and his brother, but all in all, it just wasn't enough to make me like the novel. I felt like it was trying a little too hard, which is a shame, because I remember very much loving Brodi Ashton's writing before.

My rating: 1,5 stars

Title/Author: My Fair Princess (The Improper Princesses #1) by Vanessa Kelly
Publisher/Date published: Zebra, August 30th 2016
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

So I liked My Fair Princess, it wasn't earthshattering or majorly shippy, but it was cute and I liked Charles, who was lovely and proper, but willing to let go of it for Gillian. I also liked Gillian, but she had a teensy bit of too stupid to live going on with all her diving headfirst into danger that you could see coming from MILES away. I mean MILES. But the two of them had nice chemistry and there was definitely some tension, which was wonderful. And I also really liked Charles' sister, who loved messing with him a bit, which is what sisters are supposed to do in my opinion.

My rating: 3,5 stars

Title/Author: The Best Friend Bargain (Kisses in the Sand #3) by Robin Bielman
Publisher/Date published: Entangled Publishing LLC, August 8th 2016
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

I like a good friends-to-lovers story and this was really sweet. I thought Olivia and Danny were kinda perfect together, but there was a definite lack of communication going on at one point ant that was just hurtful! I mean, wow. Also, I kinda had to laugh a bit at the way Olivia sorta just told someone that she and Danny were getting married and starting a family when she hadn't even told him that she was pregnant, it was all just a little crazy. I could sorta understand where Danny was coming from with his issues, but I was also a bit annoyed by it, because he was just throwing away so many things for himself and for Olivia (and for the women who came before him), that I just wanted to shake him.
Also, the ending threw me off a bit, I mean, that's REALLY quick for another baby (which to be honest doesn't seem all that healthy to me aside from being really quick). But it was a nice story and I liked it.

My rating: 3 stars

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Review of If I Only Had a Duke by Lenora Bell

Title/Author: If I Only Had a Duke (The Disgraceful Dukes #2) by Lenora Bell
Publisher/Date published: Avon, August 30th 2016
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley

Goodreads summary: After four failed seasons and a disastrous jilting, Lady Dorothea Beaumont has had more than enough of her family’s scheming. She won’t domesticate a duke, entangle an earl, or vie for a viscount. She will quietly exit to her aunt’s Irish estate for a life of blissful freedom. Until an arrogant, sinfully handsome duke singles her out for a waltz, making Thea the most popular belle of the season.

The duke ruined her plans and he’ll just have to fix them.

Dalton, Duke of Osborne, is far too heartless for debutantes or marriage—he uses dalliances and public spectacle to distract from his real purpose: finding the man who destroyed his family. When his search leads to Ireland, the last thing he needs is the determined, achingly innocent Thea, who arrives in the dead of night demanding he escort her to her aunt. His foolish agreement may prove his undoing. The road to the Emerald Isle is fraught with unforeseen dangers, but the greatest peril of all might just be discovering that he has a heart...and he’s losing it to Thea.

So I really enjoyed the first book in this series that features the basically identical looking half-sister of the heroine of this one, so I was excited to start this. And I liked it, just not as much as the first.

I liked the sassy correspondence between Thea and Dalton that starts of this story, it was witty and flirty and just lots of fun. And at first, the dialogue between the two is exactly that when they meet in real life. They challenge each other and have very nice chemistry and I was just really feeling it. But then the adoration started overflowing and it just sort of fizzled down a bit and I did still find myself hoping they'd find a way to be together, but it wasn't making me smile as much anymore as it did at the start.

I did very much enjoy Thea's antics, pretending to be an Italian opera singer and just getting up to all sorts of mischief. And the duke mainly just staring and dealing with it, while being a bit of a brooding hero with a not-so-servant-like man-servant. I did like the two of them together, they brought out a side of each other that was fun to watch.

The thing is, I was having a bit of trouble with the way that Thea thinks she 'knows him better than anyone' after having slept with him. I mean, seriously? You've known the man for what, two weeks, and because you've been intimate you know him better than ANYONE else? I can't help but roll my eyes when I read something like this, I mean, if you've actually known someone their whole lives and have deep conversations, then maybe you can say something like this, but having sex once or twice doesn't really do the trick. It's not a magic mind-reading experience.
But I could have gotten past this with just an eye roll or two, if I hadn't been disappointed by the way things concluded, which was a bit anticlimactic. ***SPOILER LIGHT UP TO READ*** Dalton walks away cause he's 'heartless' and then his brother ends up wanting a relationship with him and his brother and all of a sudden he's like YES I LOVE THEA and I'm like WHAT THE WHAT??? You left her like 5 minutes ago, I mean, SERIOUSLY??? What if his brother hadn't turn back around, then they would have been apart forever? And his mother magically learns to get over her fear of going outside that's kept her inside for 20 years because of said brother returning? I was seriously not into the ending at all. *** END OF SPOILER***

Aside from these issues, mainly with the ending, If I Only Had a Duke was an enjoyable read, it's just a shame that the ending left me not so much heaving a happy sigh at yet another happy ending, which is one of the things I love about reading historical romances.

My rating: 3 stars