Mini Review: The Stepsister’s Tale by Tracy Barrett {3.0}

Title: The Stepsister’s Tale
Author: Tracy Barrett
Series: N/A, Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy, Retelling
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: July 24th, 2014
Pages: Kindle, 272 pages
My Rating: 3 Stars

What really happened after the clock struck midnight?

Jane Montjoy is tired of being a lady. She’s tired of pretending to live up to the standards of her mother’s noble family-especially now that the family’s wealth is gone and their stately mansion has fallen to ruin. It’s hard enough that she must tend to the animals and find a way to feed her mother and her little sister each day. Jane’s burden only gets worse after her mother returns from a trip to town with a new stepfather and stepsister in tow. Despite the family’s struggle to prepare for the long winter ahead, Jane’s stepfather remains determined to give his beautiful but spoiled child her every desire.

When her stepfather suddenly dies, leaving nothing but debts and a bereaved daughter behind, it seems to Jane that her family is destined for eternal unhappiness. But a mysterious boy from the woods and an invitation to a royal ball are certain to change her fate…

From the handsome prince to the evil stepsister, nothing is quite as it seems in Tracy Barrett’s stunning retelling of the classic Cinderella tale.

When I first started reading The Stepsister’s Tale, I was actually very invested in the story. As a fan of fairy tale retellings, it’s always interesting to be able to read from the villain’s perspective. But as I read on, I found the book to be too long because it was full or narratives, which I never seem to enjoy. In addition to that, I actually read Snow, Glass, Apples by Neil Gaiman, which is a Snow White retelling from the Evil Queen’s perspective.

The main difference of that book and this one is in Snow, Glass, Apples, it showed the misrepresentation of the story, but it also showed that the events were still true. The Evil Queen really tried to poison Snow White, but she had her reasons. In The Stepsister’s Tale, the author made it so that the stepsisters were absolutely kind, and everything was Cinderella’s fault. In this sense, there was a role reversal. I think I would have liked it more if the characters weren’t made to be so absolutely good or so absolutely bad.

I would have to admit though, that Tracy Bennett’s imagining of the novel is very much commendable. It seems like a simple enough plot, but if I were tasked to think of something like this, I’m pretty sure that I won’t be able to do it. The idea is really great, and I always enjoy reading from another perspective, but I think it could still be improved.

amazing-interpretation stars

Mini Arc Review: The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi!

Title: The Star-Touched Queen
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Series: The Star-Touched Queen #1
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication Date: April 26th, 2016
Pages: Kindle, 342
My Rating: 2.5 Stars

Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you’re only seventeen?

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…

But Akaran has its own secrets—thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most…including herself. 

  I was given an Audiobook by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 
When The Star-Touched Queen was first released, there was so much hype surrounding it that I truly wanted to read it someday. However, I was not able to buy a copy of this book yet when I was offered a copy for A Crown of Wishes, so I decided to read that one first. When I was given the chance to review the audiobook copy of this book, I immediately jumped at the opportunity because this book sounds amazing. Huge thanks to Macmillan Audio for this audiobook!

The Star-Touched Queen started out to be interesting, but then quickly turned boring for my taste. Throughout the duration of the book, I fell asleep multiple times which is why it took me a really long time to finish it. And by then, the continuity of the book has already been disrupted multiple times. The story was actually okay, but the pacing was just a tad too slow for me.

One thing I liked about The Star-Touched Queen though was the romance. It made me feel the feels, although it didn’t really progress in a realistic manner for me. I also liked all the conspiracies surrounding their romance, and the manner in which the secrets were unveiled. However, it felt like this book only centered on the romance part and not about anything else, which bothered me. Most fantasy books are exciting with a great story arc, but this fantasy felt like a contemporary romance novel that’s just set in a different world. Anyway, that’s just me.

Overall, this book was not quite what I was expecting, and I didn’t like the fact that it mostly centered on romance and not anything else.

2.5 limited-story-arc stars

Mini ARC Review: Winning by Lara Deloza

Title: Winning
Author: Lara Deloza
Series: N/A, Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, LGBT, Contemporary
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: June 28th, 2016
Pages: 336
My Rating: 2 Stars

Whoever said being nice would get you to the top?

Certainly not Alexandra Miles. She isn’t nice, but she’s more than skilled at playing the part. She floats through the halls of Spencer High, effortlessly orchestrating the actions of everyone around her, making people bend to her whim without even noticing they’re doing it. She is the queen of Spencer High—and it’s time to make it official.

Alexandra has a goal, you see—Homecoming Queen. Her ambitions are far grander than her small town will allow, but homecoming is just the first step to achieving total domination. So when peppy, popular Erin Hewett moves to town and seems to have a real shot at the crown, Alexandra has to take action.

With the help of her trusted friend Sam, she devises her most devious plot yet. She’ll introduce an unexpected third competitor in the mix, one whose meteoric rise—and devastating fall—will destroy Erin’s chances once and for all. Alexandra can run a scheme like this in her sleep. What could possibly go wrong?

  I was given an ARC by the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. 

I consider Wining to be a pretty unique book. It’s hard to come across books with the supposed “villain” as the main character, but it’s even hard to find books where that “villain” is unapologetic. It was interesting for me to see all the scheming and ruthlessness done just to achieve the results that the school’s “queen” wants.

However, the thing is, I wasn’t really able to enjoy this book that much. At first it was entertaining and refreshing, but as the story went on, it just became dragging. I felt like rolling my eyes and I didn’t really see a point anymore. I wanted to put this book down, but I couldn’t because I always have a hard time DNF-ing books. As a result, I read this for a week, which for me is really, really slow.

I’d like to say that I enjoyed this book but I really did not. I’m only giving this book 2 stars because I think it was unique and kinda entertaining at first. It’s also hard to make a contemporary character who is “evil” through and through and who would stop at nothing to get what she wants.

dragging stars

Mini ARC Review: Eleven Things I Promised by Catherine Clark

Title: Eleven Things I Promised
Author: Catherine Clark
Series: N/A, Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date:  April 5th 2016
Pages: Kindle, 304
My Rating: 2.5 Stars

Add to Goodreads

  Seventeen-year-old Frances wouldn’t describe herself as adventurous. She certainly isn’t the kind of person who would sleep under the stars or bleach her hair or have a truly epic kiss. Until now.

  For the next week Frances will be away from home, competing in a bike race with friends from her high school. But while her teammates are determined to get first place, Frances has another goal: Before she crosses the finish line, she will have done every single thing on the Fix-It List. Ten crazy, totally out-of-character ideas her best friend, Stella, came up with to make the ride unforgettable. Ten things that Frances has to do on her own because of the accident that left Stella broken and angry…and Frances struggling to find a way to reconnect with her friend.

  However, as each item on the list opens Frances up to new adventures, new friends, and possibly even a new romance, it becomes increasingly difficult for her to keep the one promise that she knows she absolutely must obey—her promise to not tell anyone the truth about what happened to Stella. When it comes to friendship, Frances must decide what distances she’s willing to go and what risks she’s willing to take for the person she cares about the most.

  I was given an ARC by the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. 

  To be honest, I almost gave up on this when I reached about 25% of the book. I felt like the writing was kind of raw and amateur, and the flow just felt off to me. I decided to continue, however, because it’s always been hard for me to put down books just like that.

  When I finished the book, I felt glad that I read because the story truly is a good one. It’s about coming to terms with the things that happened, about forming new friendships, being the best-est friend ever, having a sense of purpose and being strong enough to allow others to help you. Eleven Things I Promised made me learn so much, and for that, I would always be thankful.

  Now, you might ask, “If it’s so great, then why did you only give it 2.5 stars?” Well, my inhibitions still didn’t change. Although the overall idea for the story is amazing, the execution is just not for me. I felt like I was reading a final draft of a book, but still a draft nonetheless. Not to put down books on Wattpad, because there are a lot of amazing books out there, but this felt like a Wattpad novel instead of a published one. It’s hard for me to give this book only 2.5 stars when the impact on me is so great, but there’s still a lot to be desired in terms of writing.

2.5 i-wish-i-can-give-more stars

Mini Review: Becoming Rain

Title: Becoming Rain
Author: K.A. Tucker
Series: Burying Water #2
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publication Date: March 3rd 2015
Publisher: Atria Books

My Rating: 4 Stars

  Luke Boone doesn’t know exactly what his uncle Rust is involved in but he wants in on it-the cars, the money, the women. And it looks like he’s finally getting his wish. When Rust hands him the managerial keys to the garage, they come with a second set—one that opens up the door to tons of cash and opportunity. Though it’s not exactly legal, Luke’s never been one to worry about that sort of thing. Especially when it puts him behind the wheel of a Porsche 911 and onto the radar of gorgeous socialite named Rain.

  Clara Bertelli is at the top of her game—at only twenty-six years old, she’s one of the most successful undercover officers in the Washington D.C. major crime unit, and she’s just been handed a case that could catapult her career and expose one of the west coast’s most notorious car theft rings. But, in order to do it, she’ll need to go deep undercover as Rain Martines. Her target? The twenty-four-year old nephew of a key player who appears ready to follow in his uncle’s footsteps.

  As Clara drifts deeper into the luxurious lifestyle of Rain, and further into the arms of her very attractive and charming target, the lines between right and wrong start to blur, making her wonder if she’ll be able to leave it all behind. Or if she’ll even want to.

  I received an ARC copy in from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  I requested Becoming Rain mainly because I read Burying Water, although by the time that I started reading this, I already forgot most of the details from Burying Water, which is a total fail. I must say though that I like this book better than the first one. This one has more excitement and feels and I just really enjoyed this one better.

“Such a precious sun it is, the one that shines after a cold, harsh rain.”

  This book was a really fun read to me since I’ve never read a book about an undercover Fed before. Also, I just love romances wherein you are not supposed to fall in love with each other but do! I find it cute and entertaining watching the characters battle their feelings for each other. I was also happy to see Jesse and Alex in this book again.

  This book is weird because I enjoyed the book, but I had a very hard time writing the review because I have nothing else to say rather than I liked it.

4  stars

Mini Review: Through the Ever Night

Title: Through the Ever Night
Author: Veronica Rossi
Series: Under the Never Sky #2
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Dystopia
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date:  January 8th 2013
Pages: 341
My Rating: 4 Stars

It’s been months since Aria last saw Perry. Months since Perry was named Blood Lord of the Tides, and Aria was charged with an impossible mission. Now, finally, they are about to be reunited. But their reunion is far from perfect. The Tides don’t take kindly to Aria, a former Dweller. And with the worsening Aether storms threatening the tribe’s precarious existence, Aria begins to fear that leaving Perry behind might be the only way to save them both.

Threatened by false friends and powerful temptations, Aria and Perry wonder, can their love survive through the ever night?

  It is without a doubt that Through the Ever Night is an amazingly written book with a really great plot, but compared the the first book, I felt like this book fell flat. Whereas the first book was more engaging and “energetic,” I felt like this one was just telling a story. I didn’t feel as connected to the characters as I did in the first book, and I felt harder to emphatize with them in this book. 
  However, disregarding the comparison with the first book, I truly did enjoy this story. It’s still the same book that got me hooked and it was hard to put the book down. I am really excited to continue on with the journey of our characters, and I am really glad that I already own a copy of the next book! 
nice stars

Review: I’ll Give You the Sun

Title: I’ll Give You the Sun
Author: Jandy Nelson
Series: No
Genre: Young-Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publication Date: September 16th, 2014
Publisher: Dial Books
Pages: 371 
My Rating: 5 Stars

Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah’s story to tell. The later years are Jude’s. What the twins don’t realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.

First of all, I want to say that I love the cover.

Now, moving on to the serious business.

I love this book. It is such a well written book about the relationship between two sibilings, about secrets and pain and self-discovery. It may seem to start off a bit… uninteresting? but it’s far from that. The story is wonderful, touching and heartbreaking. It has many moments of shock, too. But not shock like some huge revelation. But realisations. When you go,“Oh my god! He’s Ralph”. That, by the way, is not one of those shocking revelations; just something that makes you laugh.

Also, Jandy Nelson has managed to write two of the most amazing, complex, quirky and flat-out weird characters that I’ve even has the pleasure of reading about. And that’s not even the best part.

The best part, for me, was seeing them change. Seeing how every situation affected them and made them into the person that they were. From the beginning, we see both Noah and Jude at two different points in their lives, their personalities so changed due whatever happened in between. And seeing the trasformation and why it occurred, and learing that a person, truly, isn’t isn,t just one person… it was quite the journey.

A tip I’d like to give:
You need to be a bit patient with the book. There may be a few hiccups in the beginning (for some people) and you may not always like the characters or not be comfortable with the length of the chapters, but stick to it. Because it is so worth it.

So yeah, beautiful book, made me cry half-a-dozen times and laugh so many that I lost count, and is, without doubt, one of my top reads of this year.

5 Teary-eyed Stars

Mini Reviews #2: 5 Stars

Mini reviews are for books which I have read and want to share my thoughts on, but couldn’t write a fully review on mostly either because I loved it too much and whatever I say won’t do it justice or I felt nothing towards the book and have not much to say.  Mini reviews are reviews which just consists of 1-2 paragraphs for each book. For every mini review post, there will be 2-3 books featured.

Today’s feature is on books that I rated 5 stars.

The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Milay
This book is really WOW. Just, WOW. Not only did it make me stay up all night and got me scolded by my mother at least three times, but it also left me speechless. This book has 4 of what I’ve been asking for in a book, and to be honest, I got shocked to find them all jam packed into one hell of an awesome book! Katja Milay is definitely an author to look out for.

“There are so many things that can break you if there’s nothing to hold you together.” 

     So, so good! I haven’t read a five-star book in a long time, and I’m really glad to have read this one! TATBILB is a book that seems fluffy and romance-y at a glance, but has a deeper meaning once thoroughly scrutinized.
“Life doesn’t have to be so planned. Just roll with it and let it happen.”

Infinity Plus One by Amy Harmon
Although my least favorite of all the Amy Harmon books I’ve read, it’s still one of my favorites out of all the books I’ve read. Amy Harmon truly is gifted, and I would read any of her books without knowing what they are about.
 “No matter how many words we get, there’s always going to be the last one, and one word is never enough.”

Mini Review #1: "3 books: Making Liars Fall"

Mini reviews are for books which I have read and want to share my thoughts on, but couldn’t write a fully review on mostly either because I loved it too much and whatever I say won’t do it justice or I felt nothing towards the book and have not much to say.  Mini reviews are reviews which just consists of 1-2 paragraphs for each book. For every mini review post, there will be 2-3 books featured.

  Today, I will be posting my thoughts on Making Faces by Amy Harmon, We Were Liars by E. Lockheart, and Deeper We Fall by Chelsea Cameron. These reviews were from 2014 but only posted now as I only decided to have this feature this year.

Making Faces by Amy Harmon: 5
Making Faces was an exceptional read. Although the first chapters were kind of slow for me, it did not stop this book from being one of my favorite books of all time. The characters were amazing and I loved how the three main characters, namely Fern, Ambrose and Bailey were heroes in their own ways. The story was very realistic, enjoyable and relatable, and there were a lot of really amazing quotes from it.

“Everybody is a main character for someone.”

Oh, the hype. Half the time I’m reading this, I didn’t know what was going on. I wanted to know what happened of course, but I had to convince myself to read the whole thing rather than just jump to the last pages to find out. This book is crazy, and I didn’t like it at all. Please don’t kill me for saying that!

“Do not accept and evil you can change.”

Deeper We Fall, for me, is a novel that should be very good and is very good, but I just don’t feel it. I think it’s just a bit above normal. There were moments that I liked, yet there were also moments that I hated and was annoyed at. It was interesting, but not interesting enough to hold my attention. I kept putting it down, and it took me several days to finish it. I wanted to like this more, I really do, but I just don’t know why I don’t. There were some really great lines from this novel that highlighted, but aside from that, I read through this novel being on the neutral side of things instead of hating it or loving it.

“No sense in worrying about the past. It’s not going to worry about you.”

Mini ARC Review: Speechless

Title: Speechless
Author: Hannah Harrington
Series: N/A, Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Publication Date: August 28th, 2012
My Rating: 4 Stars

  Everyone knows that Chelsea Knot can’t keep a secret

  Until now. Because the last secret she shared turned her into a social outcast—and nearly got someone killed.

  Now Chelsea has taken a vow of silence—to learn to keep her mouth shut, and to stop hurting anyone else. And if she thinks keeping secrets is hard, not speaking up when she’s ignored, ridiculed and even attacked is worse.

  But there’s strength in silence, and in the new friends who are, shockingly, coming her way—people she never noticed before; a boy she might even fall for. If only her new friends can forgive what she’s done. If only she can forgive herself.

  Sixteen-year-old Chelsea Knot is known for not knowing how to keep a secret. So when something happens because she spilled the beans, she decides to take a vow of silence. Chelsea used to be on top of the social ladder, but now everyone hates her. Soon, Chelsea learns how to let go of the past and know who her true friends are. 
  Speechless was a book that I ended up enjoying more than I thought I would in the beginning. Starting the book, the main character seemed like a bitch, but this book showed how she transformed into the best that she can be. Sixteen is usually a confusing time in one’s life, and I’m glad that Chelsea found herself at that time. I love how this book was about knowing what really matters and what doesn’t, and the quotes were really amazing too! 
  Speechless is a book that I highly recommend to everyone, but especially teens who are trying to find themselves. Speechless is a worthy read, and I guarantee that not a minute of your time will be wasted.

“Hate is… It’s too easy. Love. Love takes courage.” 
“You can be surrounded by people and still be lonely. You can be the most popular person in school, envied by every girl and wanted by every boy, and still feel completely worthless. The world can be laid at your feet and you can still not know what you want from it.”