Review: Water Song: A Retelling of “The Frog Prince” by Suzanne Weyn

725806Blurb from Goodreads

Young, beautiful, and wealthy, Emma Pennington is accustomed to a very comfortable life. Although war rages abroad, she hardly feels its effect. She and her mother travel from their home in Britain to the family estate in Belgium, never imagining that the war could reach them there. But it does.

Soon Emma finds herself stranded in a war-torn country, utterly alone. Enemy troops fight to take over her estate, leaving her with no way to reach her family, and no way out.

With all of her attention focused on survival and escape, Emma hardly expects to find love. But the war will teach her that life is unpredictable, people aren’t always what they seem, and magic is lurking everywhere.

Paperback, 194 pages
Published October 1st 2006 by Simon Pulse
edition language: English
genre: Historical, Retelling, Young Adult
My Thoughts
I never read nor watch the movie of The Frog Prince before, but I get the idea of what it is all about. When I picked this book up, I wonder how the author will tell and transform the hero into the frog. To be honest, reading a frog prince is not that appealing for me. I’m more curious of the way the author retells it, which brings me to this book.I really like how it feels like a new story for me, despite that I’ve already known (a bit) the story. I also liked the historical setting which takes place during the WWI. It feels like the fairytale isn’t that far away with our world. And the author provides the historical background quite well, I think.I liked the main characters, Emma and Jack, they are strong will and brave in their own way. Although at first there is prejudice between them, I cannot help not to love their banter and wit. It’s so good reading their dialogues, they can make me smile or even laugh with their wit.

However, I want more about Jack’s magic. I think it doesn’t describe well, at least not as descriptive as I want to. It’s like it’s so natural for Jack he hopes I, as a reader, can understand it without him describing it. And there are also things that I think too easy for the characters. Jack’s magic that feels too convenience for their own good.

All in all, as my first The Frog Prince retelling I think it’s a good and enjoyable story. It feels too short though. I wish there is more story about Emma’s father, Jack’s family and his magic.
Result: 3 out of 5 stars
Reading Challenge:
– GoodReads: Book #18
– YA Buddy Readers’ Corner ♥: Read books I never thought I’ll read.
– Popsugar: A book set in a different country (in Belgium)
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Rebel Wing #1, Shattered Veil by Tracy Banghart

20951188Blurb from GoodReads

When everything that defines you is stripped away, who do you become?

War has invaded Atalanta’s quiet villages and lush woodlands, igniting whispered worries in its glittering capitol. Far from the front lines, 18-year-old Aris Haan, a talented wingjet flyer, has little cause for concern. Until her beloved Calix is thrust into the fray, and a stranger makes her an impossible offer: the chance to join a secret army of women embedded within the all-male military.

Aris’s choice to follow Calix to war will do more than put her in physical danger; it will make her question everything she believes about herself. When she and her enigmatic commander uncover a deadly conspiracy, her expert flying may be the only hope for her dominion’s survival…and her own.

It’s Mulan meets Battlestar Galactica, with a heroine who is strong enough to save a nation…but only if she’s willing to sacrifice everything, even the one promise she swore she’d never break.

Kindle Edition, 372 pages
Published February 24th 2014
edition language: English
series: Rebel Wing
genre: Dystopia, Romance, Young Adult
My Thoughts
ARC was provided by the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for honest review.

I think this is a good book and I enjoyed reading it, mostly in second part.

The first part was a struggle for me. Despite the war that is looming in Aris’ world, the story is a bit boring. Although I admire her eagerness to be with her loved one, Calix, I’m also annoyed with her. She’s joining the military to be close to him, so she should know the consequences. But in all her training time she’s whiney and is so innocent, if not a bit silly and careless. I know it is needed for her character development, as we can guess she’ll soon realize her role and reasons in the military is bigger than her initial reason, but still I felt like I want to tell her to stop complaining. In a way, it makes the story feels slow. And then, there is another story between the leaders of the dominion, it isn’t as interesting as Aris story and I felt it kind of dragged on.

Another thing is there isn’t much description about most of the important things, well at least important for me.

When I read the blurb I thought that this is a dystopian story. I felt like it is a dystopian but I didn’t get clear worldbuilding and the time setting of the story. If it’s a dystopian I need to know what happened before Aris’ time takes place. My friend said this might set in an alternate universe as we felt places in the story remind us of places in our world. But there isn’t much any description either. So it’s pretty hard for me to picture Aris’ world.

As the most important thing in Aris disguise, the Diatous Veil, didn’t describe much either. Aris has to have it to manipulate human eyes to think that she’s a man. The book says that it has something to do with electrode. I don’t think it’s enough for my brain to believe it. I need more explanation about it, how about the chemistry and other technical things that connects to the electrode?

There are so many questions about it in my mind as so does with the reason of the war. I hope I’ll get the answers in next books.

Fortunately, second part is much better as the pace takes turn. Aris is more likeable. She begins to understand her role in the military. Her struggle to keep hiding her identity is also interesting. In order to keep her “mask” I think it’s impossible for her to avoid touching her friends in the military, but I also can’t wait to know when and how her disguise reveals.

I also like the way Aris and Calix relationship grows. It’s bittersweet but it’s understandable. It surely adds the drama in their relationship and become an important thing in Aris’ life. And it’s action-packed. I really enjoyed reading how Aris loves flying. I can see that she indeed loves to fly.

Can’t wait to read book 2! Thank goodness I’ve already had it so I don’t have to wait for long to read it.

Result: 3 out of 5 stars
Reading Challenge:
– GoodReads: Book #11
– YA Buddy Readers’ Corner ♥: Finish all of ARCs (Advance Reader Copy) I have by the end of 2015.

Review: Hashtag #1, #Nerd by Cambria Hebert

23286422Blurb from Goodreads

Two people from completely different worlds are about to be thrown together…

In more ways than one.

She wants to keep her scholarship. He wants to stay on the team. An awkward alliance doesn’t even begin to cover Rimmel and Romeo’s relationship.

But that’s about to change.

It starts with a dare. An initiation. A challenge.

Quickly, it turns into more. But when you’re a victim of your status, there is no room for anything real. The rules are clear and simple.

Stick to your circle.

And never fall in love with anyone on the outside.

Kindle Edition
Published November 1st 2014 by Cambria Hebert Books, LLC
edition language: English
series: Hashtag
genre: Contemporary, Romance, New Adult
My Thoughts
I liked this kind of story. And it’s been a while since I read an engaging popular jock whose falls in love with a nerd story.

Actually there’s nothing new in Romeo and Rimmel’s story. I bet you can guess it just by reading its blurb. And yet I can still enjoy it. They story might not an original one, far from it, but it was so engaging I couldn’t stop reading it. It was one sitting kind of book.

I really liked Romeo and Rimmel and other supporting characters. Both Romeo and Rimmel are lovable in their own way. I usually don’t like clumsy kind of heroine, but reading Rimmel clumsiness was just so adorable I found myself smiling and giggling over her while I liked Romeo because he doesn’t play like a bad boy kind of hero. I’m taking a break from them now, so it was so nice reading a good popular jock whose falls in love with a clumsy nerd girl story. As for other supporting characters, Ivy, I liked that she isn’t the typical jealousy girl who wants to get herself with the hero. I think she’s a good friend for Rimmel. And for Missy, I didn’t know her well as she doesn’t have much role here, but am curious of her relationship with Breaden, Romeo’s bestfriend. I’m also looking forward for Breaden’s story in #Selfie. I just hope I don’t have to wait too long till I get his story, though I can’t wait for another Romeo and Rimmel’s stories. And I wish Missy and Breaden’s relationship last longer than just in here. Yes, it means I want them to be together in Breaden’s story 🙂

I also enjoyed one teeny tiny thing that the author put in the story, the BuzzFeed kind of notification that she put at the beginning of every chapter. It’s entertaining and made me felt like reading really notifications. However I think there’s one inconsistency between chapter 20 and 21’s BuzzFeed notification. It might be a little thing that I can ignore but it was kinda bother me, to be honest. And I didn’t quite satisfy with the ending. I felt like it ended abruptly and in a rush. I still liked it, though. And looking forward for book 2.

Result: 3 out of 5 stars

Review: Off The Map #3, Inside Out by Lia Riley

20805727Blurb from Goodreads

Book #3 in the OFF THE MAP series
New Adult Contemporary Romance

When Talia first moved from California to Australia to study abroad, she never dreamed she’d find the love of her life. Bran understands her like no one ever has before. And despite the numerous challenges they’ve faced, they’ve always managed to figure out how to stay together. But this time they’ll face their toughest hurdle yet. Is their love strong enough to keep them together?

Kindle Edition, 244 pages
Published December 2nd 2014 by Forever
edition language: English
series: Off The Map
genre: Contemporary, Romance, New Adult
My Thoughts
ARC was provided by the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for honest review.
As the final book of Off The Map series, I think it wasn’t as engaging as the previous books. Most of the time I felt it was too slow and got distracted easy by other things, unlike when I read Upside Down and Sideswiped. And one thing that I really looking forward since Upside Down which I kinda wish will describe more doesn’t happen here. It’s Talia’s OCD. Since book 1 I really liked reading her OCD because somehow I can relate to and it was so believable I want her to feel better from it. But her anxiety here doesn’t even explain more than in Sideswiped.

Yet, if I see it from different angle, I think Talia finally can overcome (?) it slowly but surely with Bran’s help, of course. That was what made me love them even more. Their relationship is so strong and they trust each other. There is nothing can shake their feeling. I just love how they help each other and always know what they need from one and another.

“You matter so much. And what you feel, matters to me.”

description
One thing that I didn’t quite like was a feeling that each chapter has similar pattern. It’s kinda repetitive for me. It’s like Talia and Bran’s problems take turn in each chapter. So here I read one chapter about Talia’s issue and Bran tries to help her and then she gets her confidence back in a couple chapters. After that it’s time for Bran to face his problem with Talia convincing him that he’s a worthy man. Just like in Talia’s problem, it needs a few chapters till he gains his confidence back. Then the pattern goes back to Talia before it makes a circle to Bran’s problem again. It happens over and over till the last chapter.

I still think it’s an enjoyable ending, though. Not all of Talia and Bran’s problem are solved completely, some of them are left unsolved. But it is what happens in real life, right? You live your life and solve your problems one at the time and if you have someone along the way, like Bran for Talia and Talia for Bran, then you’re so lucky.

Result: 3 out of 5 stars

Review: The Reed Brothers #4, Maybe Matt’s Miracle by Tammy Falkner

20949852Blurb from Goodreads

What he needed was a miracle…

Matthew Reed has seen his share of problems. But he’s a Reed and Reeds can overcome anything. Matt is content working in his family’s tattoo parlor with his brothers surrounding him. The only thing he’s lacking is the ability to have a family of his own. Then his battle with cancer leads him to meet a woman who just might need him as much as he needs her.

She didn’t need anything…

Skylar Morgan is happy. She has a boyfriend. Sure, he doesn’t make her heart pound faster and he really doesn’t support her when she needs it. But she doesn’t need much. Does she? She’s happy to be self-sufficient and she’s happy that she doesn’t have a tremendous amount of responsibility. She’s educated, has a great job, and she has enough money for a lifetime. But what she lacks, she doesn’t even realize until she meets him. And them. The ones who change her life forever.

ebook, First, 185 pages
Published May 1st 2014 (first published April 21st 2014)
edition language: English
series: The Reed Brothers
genre: Contemporary, Romance, New Adult
My Thoughts
This is the fourth book of the series but it still has thing I really liked from Reed Brothers series, drama-less. I like drama in contemporary story but sometimes less drama is even better. There is no unnecessary misunderstanding kind of drama here, though I have to admit I thought there will be one, with what happens with Sky, Matt, and his ex-girlfriend, April.

Both Matt and Sky are lovable characters. I loved the way they interact with Sky’s nieces and nephew. They are so natural around them, though it wasn’t that easy for Sky in the beginning. I guess it made their relationship more make sense to me, knowing that she didn’t have a good example how to be in a good-healthy relationship. And her story was just so sad. I think in a way I see it much sadder than other female characters’ story in the series. And I can connect with her well.

One thing that I didn’t quite enjoy was the way Matt and Sky fall in love. It was way too fast, it was an insta-love. Logan and Emily also have an insta-love but they give time to know each other along the story, unlike Matt and Sky. In just a few pages Matt has already told her that he loves her and determines to make her fall in love with him. As much as it is so sweet and made me smile and giddy, I just couldn’t buy it.

Result: 3 out of 5 stars

Review: One Week Girlfriend #4, Four Years Later by Monica Murphy

21418318Blurb from Goodreads

“Over. “That about sums up everything in my life. Suspended from my college football team and forced to cut back my hours at The District bar because of my crappy grades, I can’t keep turning to my sister, Fable, and her pro-football playing husband, Drew, to bail me out. I just can’t seem to find my own way. Weed and sex are irresistible temptations–and it’s messed up that I secretly hand over money to our junkie mom. A tutor is the last thing I want right now–until I get a look at her.
Chelsea is not my type at all. She’s smart and totally shy. I’m pretty sure she’s even a virgin. But when she gives me the once over with those piercing blue eyes, I’m “really” over. But in a different way. I won’t deny her ass is killer, but it’s her brain and the way she seems to crave love–like no one’s ever given her any–that make me want her more than any girl I’ve ever met. But what would someone as seemingly together as her ever see in a screwed up guy like me?

ebook
Published February 28th 2014 by Bantam (first published February 25th 2014)
edition language: English
series: One Week Girlfriend
genre: Contemporary, Romance, New Adult
My Thoughts
When I knew Ms Murphy is going to write Owen’s story, I was beyond excited. He’s a minor character in Fable and Drew’s story but I just loved him as much as I loved Fable and Drew and wanted his own story. So you can imagine how happy I was to get my hand on his book and had a very high expectation.

This might sounds weird but I liked that his life isn’t perfect. As Fable’s brother, I thought his life will be much easier as her life with Drew is much better. But far from it, not even when Fable and Drew’s life is so perfect there’s nothing to compare their perfectness. Owen has his own life, a life that different from his sister and brother-in-law. I think it’s what exciting me more. He’s different from Owen I knew before. I have to admit that I was surprised with it. It was like I didn’t recognize him but at the same time it made the story more interesting, with his drama and all.

However, I didn’t quite enjoy the insta-love in this book. Owen and Chelsea are surely attracted from the very first minute they met. And only in one week, they practically fall head over heels with each other, though they haven’t realized it at the time. I just couldn’t buy it. Not when he that keeps saying he doesn’t do relationship and she who keeps telling me that she doesn’t trust people easy. I liked her as his love interest, though. She’s so different from him I think she’s a perfect balance for him.

As much as I loved Owen, I don’t think this book is as good as Fable and Drew’s book. It also couldn’t live my expectation. It doesn’t mean that it wasn’t good though. In a way, I didn’t feel the feeling I thought I would feel like when I read One Week Girlfriend and Second Chance Boyfriend. But I think I’ll keep reading any books about those characters in the future if Ms Murphy decides she still has something to tell. Maybe Wade’s story? I’m quite curious of him now 😀

Result: 3 out of 5 stars

Review: What Price Paradise by Katherine Allred

2414750Blurb from Goodreads

What Price Paradise Katherine Allred All his life Tate McCullom has been taught to be responsible, and he is the very model of what a respectable man should be. Until the night he gets drunk and sleeps with a woman he barely knows. Now, six weeks later, she’s pregnant, alone, and broke. Once again, Tate must take responsibility for his actions, and makes plans to marry his child’s mother. There’s only one problem.he has to tell his fianc e. Abby Grayson hasn’t had an easy life. As the daughter of the town whore, people either avoid her or think she’s like her mother. For Abby, it’s a struggle just to fill her belly and keep a roof over her head. Loneliness and a secret yearning for this man she thought she’d never have led her to spend the night with Tate. But the last thing she needs is a baby when she can barely take care of herself. Desperate, but too proud to ask for help, she finally agrees to accept a job from Tate  the job of being his wife. Now she has almost everything she’s ever dreamed of. Unfortunately, only one thing will gain her Tate’s love – his realization that the night he spent with her was no drunken accident. It was a last-ditch attempt to win the woman he really wanted.

ebook, 224 pages
Published July 14th 2005 (first published June 29th 2005)
edition language: English
genre: Contemporary, Romance, Adult
My Thoughts
As my second Katherine Allred book, I have to say that I much enjoyed and loved Sweet Gum Tree more. But now I’m sure that I liked her writing, especially when she describes the setting. It makes me picture it easily and feel like be there in the story.

I really liked the main characters in this book. I can see that they change throughout the story. Abby at the end of the book is stronger, braver and more determine than at the beginning while Tate can learn from his mistake and knows what he wants for his life. I also liked they relationship. It’s cute and sweet, though it isn’t an easy one to begin with. As for other characters, Buddy and Joe, they are so good I want they have their own stories.

But it is Diane that I wasn’t quite satisfied. From Tate and Joe description about her in the beginning of the story, I assumed that she’s a (sort of) wicked, manipulative woman. So I was kinda hope she has more backbone when Tate told her that he married someone else. I don’t know, I think I kinda wished that she’s more cunning and determine to get him back while I didn’t see much of it. I felt like she doesn’t live up what people say about her, a rich young woman who keeps flirting with lots of men and always gets her way to keep coming back to her fiance. I didn’t see it at al. Well…maybe I was just assumed wrong, but I think it can be a good drama in the story which was what I thought when I read its blurb.

And then there are things that I felt like unclear and just left it behind.

Her glance landed on the dirty dishes and she jumped to her feet, the paper bag that had been in her lap falling unnoticed to the floor.

This is from chapter 3, after the description there isn’t any follow up about that paper bag. What is it in the paper bag? Is there anyone who notice it if Abby left it on the floor unnoticed? Is it the same paper bag that she mentions later in chapter 22? And then there is also about Abby’s birthday. Tate is planning to give something for her birthday which he thinks has to be a surprise. He then goes to town with her to buy it while she buys something for herself. Then something happens and then he never mentions about his give or her birthday in general anymore. They are only teeny tiny things, I know, but I felt like the characters forget them because something happened after those things. Or maybe I was just missing something there?

Result: 3 out of 5 stars