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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Review: Everything Has Changed by Mia Kayla

24356312Blurb from Goodreads

Imagine finding the love of your life at the age of six.

Bliss Carrington did.

Bliss has known Jimmy Brason since first grade. He took on the role of the big brother Bliss never had, breaking Bliss out of her shy shell, encouraging her to have fun in high school, and pushing her to live her life to the fullest. They have always been friends—until one day, Bliss wanted more. Now seeing women everywhere swooning over Jimmy, head quarterback of the New York Cougars, is enough to drive her to madness.

Jimmy has been in love with Bliss forever, but she doesn’t know and she can never find out. In all the craziness of his fast track to fame and money, Bliss is the one person who has kept him sane. He firmly believes that history repeats itself and with his tainted past, he’s afraid that he’s fated to hurt her if he allows himself to follow his heart.

Bliss has watched Jimmy grow from a boy into a man, and it’s not fair that someone else will get to keep him when she knows in her heart that he only belongs to her.

When they tiptoe on the edge of love, can their friendship remain intact with both of them ignoring the rumblings that’s threatening to explode?

Everything Has Changed is a story of love, loss, and longing for the one you grew up loving.

Kindle Edition, 304 pages
Published February 16th 2015 by MAM Books LLC
edition language: English
genre: Contemporary, Romance, New Adult
My Thoughts
ARC was provided by the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for honest review.

This is another case where the book has perfect formula but somehow I just missed it and think that it isn’t the one for me, while it has things I usually like.

So Bliss and Jimmy is best friend for forever. But somewhere along the way, Bliss feels something different. She falls in love with Jimmy while he is a I-don’t-do-relationship kind of guy. As a famous quarterback, of course there are women around her that makes Bliss feel even more insecure of herself.

From the beginning I can sense that this one is an angsty story. I don’t mind angst, I even like it. It’s my guilty pleasure. So I really like first couple chapters. I think it captures Bliss feeling for Jimmy well. I feel bad for her when it seems he doesn’t see her more than a BFF. And I understand her insecurity. At the same time, I know that Jimmy’s feeling is mutual but for some reason he doesn’t want her to know it. This causes problems between them. And it goes on and on and on in more than half of the book.

The thing is I can bear and understand their conflict as it can make the drama to the story, and yes the angst that I like. But if it happens more than I can count and it’s like they are running in circle, it’s frustrating me! Even Bliss feels it too. She tells me herself. There is nothing much in 70% of the story aside that they talking the same things over and over. Reading it is just exhausting.

I also don’t like the way Bliss keeps telling the same things over and over. Not just in the way she describes her feeling, it also when she describes something. She sounds like a song in repeat to me. Jimmy isn’t much better either. He keeps hurting Bliss while he says that he cares for her. If he cares for her, he won’t hurt her all the time and makes her the only one who fights for their love. At this moment, I didn’t know which one I most dislike. Bliss who cannot move on and letting him hurt her for countless time or Jimmy who hurt her in most of the story and doesn’t have a backbone to pursuit their love?

My excitement to Bliss and Jimmy story soon replace with boredom. And when they finally tell each other feeling, I lost my interest and just want to finish it as soon as I can so that I can move on to another book.

Result: 2 out of 5 stars
Reading Challenge:
– GoodReads: Book #14
– YA Buddy Readers’ Corner ♥: Finish all of ARCs (Advance Reader Copy) I have by the end of 2015.

Review: Ever Darkening by Janeal Falor

23403993Blurb from GoodReads

Perfection. Goodness. Elimination of evil. It’s what seventeen-year-old Kaylyn has trained her entire life to achieve. But no one is prepared for the consequences of her actually defeating all evil people on the planet. Finally successful in her mission, Kaylyn faces an unfamiliar world, full of good people doing good things, in which she no longer has purpose.

When the skies grow dark, and a stranger from another village pleads for her help, her instincts roar to life. It turns out their perfect world isn’t exactly what it seems. Kaylyn’s new quest, harder than any she’s been on before, will rip apart her friendships, her life, and her soul more than any evil man ever managed to.

Kindle Edition, 171 pages
Published January 22nd 2015
edition language: English
genre: Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult
My Thoughts
ARC was provided by the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for honest review.

I’m conflicted now. I liked things in this book as much as disliked other things in the story.

I liked the writing, obviously. It flows smoothly and so clear I can picture the worldbuilding and everything in the story easily. And not to mention that it has perfect pace. There is a room for slow thing as well as things that made my heart beat fast.

I also liked the unknown feeling that I got from Kaylyn, the heroine in this story. She made me wondering what really happen to her world exactly. It’s pretty predictable, to be honest and is quite easy to guess what happened and will happen into her world (and my guessed were right, if you want to know), but it didn’t mean that I stop wondering while I read her story. I always love the feeling when I’m wondering and questioning the story. It means I pay attention to it and it glues me to keep reading it.

However me questioning things could lead into something else that bring me to other things that I didn’t quite like. From the beginning I’ve already known that destroying the evil forever is not as good as it sounds because everything needs balance. So how come Showna, the leader of Kaylyn’s band of fighter (I cannot point out my finger to Kaylyn since she’s still young and doesn’t have much experience as Showna) didn’t think about it or at least questioning it to Aster and Astra, Kaylyn’s community leaders? I can ignore it, though. It’s not a big deal compare to the grand scheme of the story and is kind of understandable for them to follow all the rule and what they asked since it’s in their blood to be good person.

But it also leads me questioning that even a good person cannot be a whole good person forever. Everything needs balance, remember? At this point it seems conflicted with the plot. The good characters are described so good they don’t have any single evil thought while the story tells me that good cannot exist without evil. If the good characters are so good and they need bad characters to exist, isn’t it unfair for bad characters when they actually are good characters but are provoked to do evil things just so the balance keeps back in track? And I also didn’t buy that the good cannot be swing into evil side. If they can provoke their friend, why cannot their friends do the same thing to them?

So you see, I liked this story, I really do. I think it has good idea and I liked the ending, though it’s as I predicted. But I also didn’t quite agree with that good and evil thing. I guess it means that this book is more than an okay book as I enjoyed reading it.

Result: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Reading Challenge:
– GoodReads: Book #10
– YA Buddy Readers’ Corner ♥: Finish all of ARCs (Advance Reader Copy) I have by the end of 2015.
– Popsugar: A book with a love triangle

Review: Maybe by Amber L. Johnson

22057891Blurb from GoodReads

Letting go is hard. Admitting you need each other is harder.

Emily Portman loves her job. A writer for Breakout! Magazine, she shadows and showcases up-and-coming bands. When her next assignment takes her to Austin, Texas, she can’t wait to add the city to her map of places she’s visited. Places she’s left without looking back. Her plan is to keep moving on, and the last thing she needs is a man holding her back. She’s not going down that road again.

Tyler Macy is stuck in a rut. Despite his exceptional talent as a musician, he has chosen to take a back seat with his music and let others grab the limelight. Wounded and mistrustful, he doesn’t appreciate his friends’ efforts to bring him back to center stage. Emily comes onto the scene and sees his full potential, but he fights to stay in the shadows, shutting her out before she can add to the scars another woman gave him.

For Tyler to find his music again, he needs to accept the help that Emily and their friends offer. When he discovers that his muse lies underneath Emily’s skin, it is still not enough to keep her from walking away. Neither will admit what they really want until it is too late.

Emily is once again thrown in Tyler’s path when she is assigned to join them on tour. Despite the pain in his past, Tyler sees that she is worth it, even if she’s stolen both his heart and peace of mind. In order for them to be together, they both must discover whether the music and their passion are enough to overcome the obstacles that separate them.

Maybe finding love is worth the risk.

Kindle Edition, 249 pages
Expected publication: February 12th 2015 by The Writer’s Coffee Shop
edition language: English
genre: Contemporary, Romance, New Adult
My Thoughts
ARC was provided by the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for honest review.

After Puddle Jumping I have high expectation on this book. That’s why I was so eager to read it and cannot help myself not to request it on NetGalley. I know those two books are different in so many ways, so I shouldn’t compare it but they come from the same author I thought at least I can enjoy it.

Now I can say that I really shouldn’t have any expectation as in the end it didn’t live my expectation and I didn’t quite enjoy it. The story is so cliche, predictable and formulaic I don’t even find any single thing that never told before, mostly in NA stories. I don’t mind cliche and formulaic stories but usually it also has something that can attract me to say that I like it. Not in this case, unfortunately.

I usually like the hate-love relationship but here, I didn’t think so. Emily hates Tyler in the beginning but it soon, like sooner than a blink of an eye, changes to attraction (or should I say lust?) I kind of forget that she hates him in the first place. Emily being a journalist and Tyler a musician should have a conflict of interest. You know when she has to dig deep the skeleton in Tyler’s life and his band while at the same time she’s in a relationship with him. I think it should conflict her feeling but she doesn’t conflicted enough for me. And Tyler doesn’t like when people call him with his first name, Tyler, but why did he introduce himself as Tyler when he met Emily for the first time. I didn’t buy it.

I liked that the story is fast pace but in most of the time it too fast I have a hard time believe in Tyler and Emily relationship. With all of bad past relationship they had, I think at least they need time for their new one. But here it feels like they jump straight to it while they can, though mostly it’s just about sex. Well at least that was what I feel.

All in all, this one is a letdown compare to my first Amber L. Johnson book. But I’m sure it won’t be my last one, because to be honest her other books look as appealing as her two books I’ve read. I just have to read them to know the result, right?

Result: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Reading Challenge:
– GoodReads: Book #9
– YA Buddy Readers’ Corner ♥: Finish all of ARCs (Advance Reader Copy) I have by the end of 2015.
– Popsugar: A book by a female author

Review: The Last Kings of Sark by Rosa Rankin-Gee

18404267Blurb from Goodreads

My name is Jude. And because of Law, Hey and the Obscure, they thought I was a boy.’

Jude is twenty-one when she flies in a private plane to Sark, a tiny carless Channel Island, the last place in Europe to abolish feudalism. She has been hired for the summer to give tuition to a rich local boy called Pip. But when she arrives, the family is unsettling – Pip is awkward, over-literal, and adamant he doesn’t need a tutor, and upstairs, his enigmatic mother Esmé casts a shadow over the house.

Enter Sofi: the family’s holiday cook, a magnetic, mercurial Polish girl with appalling kitchen hygiene, who sings to herself and sleeps naked. When the father of the family goes away on business, Pip’s science lessons are replaced by midday rosé and scallop-smuggling, and summer begins. Soon something surprising starts to touch the three together.

But those strange, golden weeks cannot last forever. Later, in Paris, Normandy and London, they find themselves looking for the moment that changed everything.

Compelling, dark and funny, The Last Kings of Sark is tale of complicated love, only children and missed opportunities, from an extraordinary new writer.

Kindle Edition, 289 pages
Published July 8th 2014 by St. Martin’s Press (first published November 7th 2013)
edition language: English
genre: Contemporary, Adult
My Thoughts
DNF at chapter 12 (30%)

ARC was provided by the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for honest review.

The blurb intrigued me to read this book, that’s why I requested it from NetGalley in the first place. Somehow I was kind of wish that I’ll get Jane Eyre-esque story, a beautiful-romantic with mystery kind of story.

Sark island interesting enough with its mysterious vibe. I think the author did a good job describing it. However it was hard for me to connect to the story and the characters. I really tried but up to the end of chapter 12 I still couldn’t care less with both of them. Jude, the main character and narrator of this story described most of everything but I got so little thing about her. Her co-worker, Sofi is an interesting character but I feel like she talked too much and her character overshadows Jude. It made me think why didn’t give her own POV, instead of Jude since I got her story more than Jude. She came to Sark to tutor a boy, Pip, he is supposed to be an interesting character too, but he feels flat to me. It was like he was there just so Jude has someone to tutor while she even rarely tutors him. Esme, Pip’s French mom, she’s the one I thought could make the story more mysterious, but the way Jude describes her make her isn’t mysterious enough for me to know what her story is. And Eddy, Pip’s dad, he disappears a lot from the story I didn’t get much about him.

And there is also something off with the way Jude tells her story. Maybe it’s just me being a reader with English isn’t my first language, maybe it’s because I’m still learning it so I don’t know much about it. But one thing for sure was I have problem reading her story. She likes using ‘later’. It’s kinda kill the element of surprise for me. I think I already know who or what will happen long before it happen or he/she enters the story since she tells me one step forward. Hence when a character enters the story and/or some things finally happened, it didn’t interest me anymore. I also quite difficult to differentiate when and where she talks about something. I feel like she talks about one thing and then in the same paragraph it turns to other thing. I think the flow doesn’t go smoothly.

All in all, I think this book has potential but I just couldn’t connect to it and there weren’t much happened till 30% of the story. To be honest, I tried a few times to pick this book up again and again in a span of 8 months. I feel bad I couldn’t finish it, maybe it just isn’t my cup of tea and it will work differently for other readers.

Result: since I did not finish it, I didn’t give it any star
Reading Challenge:
– GoodReads: Book #6
– YA Buddy Readers’ Corner ♥: Finish all of ARCs (Advance Reader Copy) I have by the end of 2015.
– Popsugar: A book written by an author with your same initial

Review: When by Victoria Laurie

24460603Blurb from Goodreads

Maddie Fynn is a shy high school junior, cursed with an eerie intuitive ability: she sees a series of unique digits hovering above the foreheads of each person she encounters. Her earliest memories are marked by these numbers, but it takes her father’s premature death for Maddie and her family to realize that these mysterious digits are actually death dates, and just like birthdays, everyone has one. Forced by her alcoholic mother to use her ability to make extra money, Maddie identifies the quickly approaching death date of one client’s young son, but because her ability only allows her to see the when and not the how, she’s unable to offer any more insight. When the boy goes missing on that exact date, law enforcement turns to Maddie. Soon, Maddie is entangled in a homicide investigation, and more young people disappear and are later found murdered. A suspect for the investigation, a target for the murderer, and attracting the attentions of a mysterious young admirer who may be connected to it all, Maddie’s whole existence is about to be turned upside down. Can she right things before it’s too late?

Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published January 13th 2015 by Disney Hyperion
edition language: English
genre: Mystery, Paranormal, Young Adult
My Thoughts
ARC was provided by the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for honest review.This book somehow brings out memory of my teenage life when the only thing I read is suspense-detective kind of books. I love detective stories I thought I’ll only read them for the rest of my life which is not likely happen as I grow old.

Now, reading this book with my older eyes and mind, I can say that I still love this kind of books. And I really enjoyed this story, though I also realize that there are things that feel unbelievable and far-fetched. But I can shrug it off and think that Maddie is just a teenage girl. So it’s understandable when she’s a bit naive and doesn’t take a second thought of what older people suggest her to do. When she puts her mind on something, she’ll do it. No matter what. In a way I admire her bravery. On the other hand I feel like I want to tell her to be careful. The story also contains with things that are too easy for Maddie and other characters it seems they are often be at the right/wrong place in a right/wrong time. And much for their inconvenience it seems to help/make the situation worse for them. But then again, I can still bear it as I like the characters.

For one thing, though it’s kind of predictable, there are still things that surprise me. And the pace is so good it’s so engaging I want to keep reading it. There are moments when I feel my heart beats fast as much as when I can’t help not to smile because of Maddie and her bestfriend, Stubby’s coversation or his unique personalities behind that shyness and awkward boy. And I really like their relationship. They a bit remind me of Amy and Hawkeye, a pair of teenage detectives from Can You Solve The Mystery? series I fell in love with long time ago.

And then as I reach the final page, I realize I don’t want this story to end. It has perfect ending, I really liked it but I also feel like I can read more of Maddie and other good characters in the future.

Result: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Reading Challenge:
– GoodReads: Book #5
– YA Buddy Readers’ Corner ♥: Finish all of ARCs (Advance Reader Copy) I have by the end of 2015.
– Popsugar: A book with a one-word title

Review: Beneath Beautiful by Allison Rushby

18886367Blurb from Goodreads

When a handsome stranger approaches Cassie Tavington in Paris’s beautiful Père Lachaise cemetery, she has no idea who he is. It doesn’t take long to find out. A whispered name from a passerby shocks her into the realisation that it’s Cameron Callahan, high-profile modern artist, who she’s busy showing around the cemetery.

Mortified, Cassie runs, but Cameron soon tracks her down. He’s intent on having Cassie sit for him, but Cassie isn’t sure. His provocative sculptures are often in the media, which isn’t somewhere that Cassie, the daughter of a politician, should be.

But there’s no denying the attraction between the pair, and Cassie soon finds herself in a strange whirlwind of a relationship. Between Paris, London and New York, Cassie finds sitting for an artist isn’t as simple as it seems. There’s much to contend with—including Cameron’s ex-girlfriend, Plum, her own father, and her new love interest, James.

With the clock ticking down to the opening of Cameron’s new exhibition, Cassie must struggle to decide just how much of herself she can give over to Cameron and his sculpture while still remaining whole.

ebook
Published November 1st 2014
edition language: English
genre: Contemporary, Romance, New Adult
My Thoughts
ARC was provided by the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for honest review.

To be honest, as my first book from Allison Rushby, I didn’t expect much to this book. I don’t know her writing style or what she usually writes. The cover and the blurb that were intrigued me to request it on NetGalley. And when I saw that it is a New Adult book, I thought that it is like any other New Adult books I’ve read. You know with characters whose have baggage, a hero who needs to be rescued, a naive heroine and an insta-love.

I even think there is an insta-love when I reach 4% of the story, just because the main character, Cassie told me that she has an instant attraction with the hero, Cameron. And boy did she have it and lust over him for most of the time along the story. I have to admit, though, that I didn’t quite like it. Reading her having an instant attraction and lusting over Cameron was quite annoying. I think it didn’t suit with her personalities well. When she met him for the first time, she told me she always takes herself carefully to not be exposed by the media because of her father’s job. So when she decided to sit for him and willingly moved to New York only days after meeting him, it seems so careless and so-not her. At least the Cassie she told me about at the beginning of the story.

And then there are other characters that somehow intertwine Cassie and Cameron’s life it seems too coincidence. Hence I didn’t buy it. I mean it is like Alys, Plum and James suddenly in New York just because Cassie is there, though Alys was there in the first place. But still their connection is hard to believe, for me, at least.

However, the more I read the more I understand what Cassie’s trying to tell. And all of my thoughts when I started reading this book were just a glimpse of the story. And my prejudice of this book, about it being as cliche as any other new adult books was wrong. I’m glad the author can show me that I was wrong and there is more to her story, Cassie’s story, than the blurb and its label, being a new adult book, tell me.

I really liked the way it’s written. I’m not an artistic person. I mostly don’t understand the meaning of painting, moreover sculpture. But here, I get it, I understand what Cameron trying to say through his works. It left me wondering whether his works are purely the author’s idea because they are amazing.

Although at the beginning I didn’t quite like Cassie, I cannot help to not love her in the end. She grows up throughout the story and reading her character development was so relieving. I also liked other characters, especially Cassie’s older sister and her husband, Jo and Jeremy, they are really funny. All of the characters play their role well.

I think there is no better title for this book than Beneath Beautiful. It describes the story perfectly. You have to read this book, with its layers to understand it well.

Result: 3.5 out of 5 stars