Category Archives: Disney

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

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passengerTitle: Passenger

Author: Alexandra Bracken

Publisher: Disney Hyperion

Expected Publish Date: January 5, 2016

Pages: 464 pages


Henrietta “Etta” Spencer, the lead protagonist of the story, is a violin prodigy who’s raised by Rose (her mother) and practically by Alice (her mentor). She lives her normal life in New York and if she is not in school, she is most likely found at Alice’s place; practicing continuously for hours and hours with her violin.

Etta, even if she’s raised by her mother, feels that something is missing between their relationship. She feels that no matter how hard she tries to receive her mother’s affection, or catch her attention, and earn her appreciation, she is always denied.

What does it take to ignite their relationship and finally bridge the bond between her mother and her? Why does Etta know very little of her family’s past? What secrets lurk in their, her, bloodline that’s keeping her from the truth?


Passenger by Alexandra Bracken was a curious read for me. Now that I thought about it, it sort of follows the footsteps of Spinning Starlight by R.C. Lewis because they both “travel” through a portal of some sort (though Spinning Starlight travels to different dimension while Passenger travels through time) and both, unfortunately, in some way lost me when they started talking Sci-Fi-ish.

The author knows her words and is capable of using them beautifully like how she can fluidly describe her characters emotions, what’s stimulating their sensations, and with a few words, an intimate love scene between Etta and her love interest, Nicholas. However, there were times when I skimmed through her words due to excessive world building or inner dialogue and there were times when I had to muscle through a chapter because it felt like reading everything was a chore.

I had information overload when the author started talking about music concertos, a pirate’s life, traveling back in time, Etta’s family history, and how to find the passages. Nevertheless, it seemed like she did a great deal of a research regarding the topics (though I never verified that). The plot did make me feel random emotions especially when it started talking about slavery and the ideology behind it, how Nicholas described Etta as a “fierce queen on a battle field,” the secrecy and deception, and most importantly feminism.

Overall, Passenger was a good read. I must say that I LOVE the calligraphic design of the title and if you look closely, you can see Nicholas’ ship capsized beneath the beautiful New York City.

Disclaimer: I received this ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

A Whole New World by Liz Braswell

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a whole new worldA Whole New World by Liz Braswell is a retelling of the classic Disney movie Aladdin, but with a twist.

The beginning of the book was very familiar, because it was exactly how it was in the movie. Aladdin and Abu were busy with their usual shenanigans; stealing food and running away from the palace guards, Al giving his share of bread to the two kids scavenging for food, and meeting Princess Jasmine at the market by saving her from the vendor who wanted to decapitate her. These certain parts of the book made me nostalgic because Disney was my childhood. It gave me comfort that these parts weren’t changed. Though, I should have known better that everything else is bound to altered…

A Whole New World tried to tell a story where Jafar was the person who summoned the Genie. This book unearthed Jafar’s even darker side and his deep-seated hatred. He did not just want the throne — he also wanted to be the most powerful sorcerer, and Princess Jasmine’s love. Did I mention he wanted to expand his reign worldwide with the help of his undead army?

For Jafar’s dictatorship to start, he first wished to be the Sultan. Second, he wished to be the most powerful sorcerer in the world. Fueled by rage, hatred, and the need to feel loved, it wasn’t enough for Jafar to be Sultan of Agrabah. He pushed Princess Jasmine’s father off the public balcony for everybody to see him die.

COMPLETE CUCKOO RIGHT?

Princess Jasmine witnessed her father fall off to his doom. She watched her father die while every citizen in Agrabah was busy gathering gold coins that was raining from the sky.

JASMINE WANTS REVENGE.

She wants to take back what was rightfully hers. She wants to defeat Jafar and prevent him from raising an army of the undead.

How will Princess Jasmine defeat Jafar, the most powerful sorcerer in the world? What does she have that can triumph over him? Will someone help her overthrow his regime and take back what was rightfully hers?

I am uncertain which one was worse: the retelling, or the way it was written. I never realized that the author did not give a description of the characters because having seen the movie, I automatically assumed their image. If it wasn’t for Bookowly’s Review, I would not have noticed this flaw.

In the movie, I remember Princess Jasmine as a headstrong, and clever princess. Throughout the beginning of the book, I felt like she was portrayed as a naïve, spoiled, pampered princess who craved attention and approval.

Exhibit 1: Jasmine was “seething since the evening before. Since the boy she was just about to kiss was whisked away by the guards. She stalked down the halls, not caring who heard the stomp of her feet in their silk slippers. Seething and trying to track down the boy hadn’t left her a chance to bathe or change since the night before. Her thick black hair was coming out of its bands. Tendrils waved behind her like snake.”

Exhibit 2: Aladdin: “I just thought you were a pretty rich girl slumming it.” Jasmin: “You think I’m pretty?”

Imma let you finish, but this is not how Princess Jasmine should have been portrayed.

One more thing: Is it just me or did Aladdin and Princess Jasmine not have any connection at all? She wanted to do one thing, and he persuaded her to do the other. This did not only happen once, but twice which caused serious consequences and made Princess Jasmine look like a push over.

Though this book has a lot to work on, I did like a few things.

“Don’t let life’s unfairness, don’t let how poor you are decide who you are. You choose who you will be, Aladdin…

…you can choose to be something more.”

  •  I like how I have a background of Aladdin’s mom. I appreciate how the author tried to give us a fanfic of how his mom was and how she raised him the way he is now. I love how strong of a woman she was until the end.
  •  I like how the author built Jafar’s past that caused his demons. I like how she showed his pain, and anger, which caused him to seek power and vengeance.

In conclusion, A Whole New World by Liz Braswell has its ups and downs. I like how she tried to reinvent a Disney classic into something I would have never thought otherwise. With a little spring cleaning and character building, this book could be liked a little more.

Rating: 2/5 stars

Disclaimer: I would like to thank Netgalley, Disney Press, and Disney Book Group for granting me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston

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A Thousand Nights

Let’s start this review with a little disclaimer, shall we?

I received this ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

There we go. Now, to the fun part.

A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston has a very promising plot. Lo-Melkiin, rules a prosperous and peaceful qasr. He accomplished this by marrying a girl from each village, and one from every district inside the city walls. And get this, they all die a few days after their marriage.

*insert surprised face here*

I know right?

Why do these girls die after they wed him? Why did the people worship the girls who died and built them altars to remember their deaths? Why did the main character sacrifice herself instead of letting Lo-Melkiin pick her sister? What is the purpose of this book?

It feels ghastly saying this, but I will never know the answers to my questions. I will never know because I DNF’d this book at 50%. I swore I would never DNF a book, yet here we are.

I feel sad that I DNF’d this book because first and foremost, look at the cover! I am a sucker for gorgeous, jaw dropping covers.

Second. It really bothered me that I was already at 50% of the ARC and I still don’t know the name of the main character. It bothered me more because most of the people in the book does not have names. Instead, the author used the following: lady-bless, lady mother, father’s father’s father, mother’s mother’s mother, sister, brother, mother, father, Lo-Melkiin’s mother.

WHY IS THERE A SHORTAGE OF NAMES? I DON’T UNDERSTAND THIS!

Third. Because the characters lack names and proper building of their characters, I did not feel attached to them. There wasn’t any connection between the characters. There wasn’t any substance. They were faceless males and females to me. It felt like they exist solely because the author said so. Also, you know how the guy always look hot and have perfect jaws and chiseled abs? Well, I think the author missed this memo. I don’t even know what Lo-Melkiin looks like!

Fourth. I did not get enough description of the setting. I understand it’s in a desert, but where? Middle East? Africa? North America? South America? Vegas? Ok, the author said Lo-Melkiin lives in a qasr and according to Wikipedia, it is in the Middle East. But what does the qasr look like? The feel of the floor? The scent of the food? The curtains? The walls? I was so lost.

Fifth. I read this book after reading The Wrath and The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh (which by the way I really LOVED), I was thinking if this book would surpass it, but it fell short.

NEVER, EVER READ THIS BOOK AFTER READING THE WRATH AND THE DAWN. JUST. DON’T. OK?

Enough with my rant. I would like to point out something that I like about this book.

I failed to mention that Lo-Melkiin is possessed by another nameless evil creature. I called it, The Thing. Anyway, The Thing, is the one who is controlling him, keeping his thoughts locked away at the corner of his mind. The Thing is responsible for the deaths and is just using Lo-Melkiin’s body and kingdom.

The Thing and its first kill aka the woman Lo-Melkiin loves: “I took what I required from her, and made Lo-Melkiin watch as she shriveled and wilted under his hands.”

Can you imagine the love of your life dying because of your touch and you can’t do anything about it? Pretty sadist right? This gave the book a sick, much needed horrendous twist, which I really loved.

I genuinely tried to finish A Thousand Nights, and I really wanted to love this book. The author tried, but the story just did not work for me.

Rating: 2/5 stars