Friday, September 4, 2015

{Review/Giveaway} A WHOLE NEW WORLD by Liz Braswell

Tour Schedule:

Week One:
8/24/2015- Adventures of a Book JunkieInterview
8/25/2015-Book BriefsReview
8/26/2015-FiktshunGuest Post
8/27/2015- Addicted ReadersReview
8/28/2015-Me, My Shelf and IInterview

Week Two:
8/31/2015- Bumbles and Fairy-TalesReview
9/1/2015- NerdophilesGuest Post
9/2/2015- Pandora's BooksReview
9/3/2015- Novel NoviceInterview
9/4/2015- A Backwards StoryReview

O P E N I N G   H O O K:

  A HIGH WHITE MOON cast its light on the city below as brightly as the sun was said to shine in northern countries. White mud-brick buildings gleamed like pebbles from a faraway beach. The golden onion domes of the capital glittered like a dream against the pale dunes and the dark, starry void. 

(page 1, US ARC edition)

"Don't let life's unfairness, don't let how poor you are decide who you are. You choose who you will be, Aladdin. Will you be a hero who looks after the weak and powerless? Will you be a thief? Will you be a begger--or worse? It's up to you, not the things--or peope--around you. You can choose to be something more."
~Aladdin's Mother, A WHOLE NEW WORLD

If you grew up watching Disney, you already know the story of Aladdin. Except, in this case...YOU DON'T. What would happen if, after getting the lamp, Aladdin actually HANDED IT to Jafar? What if Jafar got all of his wishes early on. How would Agrabah change? How would the story change? A WHOLE NEW WORLD explores a world where Jafar is Sultan. He wants the people to love him, and he wants Princess Jasmine's love, too. Her hand in marriage to cement his claim to the throne isn't enough. Jafar's magic allows him to give bread and coin to a starving nation in order to claim his love, but he's also becoming a mad, crazy dictator. Can a fleeing royal princess and a cunning street rat save Agrabah, or will they be collateral in the battle to come?

If you love Disney and/or Aladdin, you're really going to enjoy A WHOLE NEW WORLD!

You're either going to love or hate the first 50-100 pages of the book. With the exception of the beginning, which introduces us to Aladdin's mother and his childhood, readers are treated to a reproduction of the movie up through that pivotal Cave of Wonder moment with the lamp. LITERALLY. Direct movie quotes and all. The "sameness" of it bothered me a bit, but I can see super fans loving this addition. Heck, I would have if I was younger. I used to buy all those junior movie novelizations and read my favorite parts over and over again until the movie was out to own! But it bored me a bit now. Luckily, once Jafar gets the lamp and Aladdin gets stuck in the Cave of Wonders and left to die, things change drastically.

This is NOT your traditional retelling of Aladdin. It's darker and grittier. It delves into the culture of Street Rats and the starving bellies of Agrabah. The Sultan is flung to his death, the magic carpet is tortured, and even the citizens of Agrabah don't escape bodily harm. There's nothing overly graphic, but I might not recommend this to the youngest of readers. The book had more of a "teen" feel than it did "juvenile young reader" to me, but I feel it would appeal to juvenile readers the most, so it will be interesting to see where bookstores market it.

There are a lot of interesting new characters in A WHOLE NEW WORLD, but there isn't a lot of dimension to anyone, not even Aladdin or Jasmine. Then again, we know those characters well already, so that's an assumption and adds layers to their characters in other ways. Jasmine is actually fierce and amazing when you factor in these elements, and you really get a feel for Aladdin's upbringing and his moral character. I really liked those character elements and they added nuance to my beloved movie characters, though I wish there was more depth in the book as well. But those new layers still brought out something that added to the story.

The new A Twisted Tale series is definitely for Disney fans. It's less of a fairy tale retelling and more of a new take on a Disney Classic. (Take Cinderella 3 if you've seen it, where the Evil Queen wins. It's like that!) Disney fans will eat this book up!

Content Ratings: highlight between ( ) for details

Romance: PG ( kissing scenes )
Language:  PG ( there's one scene early on where Jasmine mourns that she doesn't want to be "stuffed full of babies," so it's not EXPLICIT and kids won't get it, but it IS there. )
Violence: PG12 ( relatively non-graphic fantasy murder and torture scenes, though one scene in particular seemed a bit visual--but I'm squeamish, so! )
Other: --
C O V E R   D E S I G N: 

I really like the final cover so much more than the one that was on the ARC.
It's really eye-catching!!!

I love the silhouette and the image within the silhouette. It's Aladdin, but something new, too. Perfect!!!
O F F I C I A   I N F O:

Author: Liz Braswell
Release Date: September 1, 2015
Publisher: Disney Press
Received: For Review

Welcome to a new YA series that reimagines classic Disney stories in surprising new ways. Each book asks the question: What if one key moment from a familiar Disney film was changed? This dark and daring version of Aladdin twists the original story with the question: What if Jafar was the first one to summon the Genie?

When Jafar steals the Genie’s lamp, he uses his first two wishes to become sultan and the most powerful sorcerer in the world. Agrabah lives in fear, waiting for his third and final wish.To stop the power-mad ruler, Aladdin and the deposed Princess Jasmine must unite the people of Agrabah in rebellion. But soon their fight for freedom threatens to tear the kingdom apart in a costly civil war.

What happens next? A Street Rat becomes a leader. A princess becomes a revolutionary. And readers will never look at the story of Aladdin in the same way again.

  photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg

About the Author
After the sort of introverted childhood you would expect from a writer, Liz earned a degree in Egyptology at Brown University and then promptly spent the next ten years producing video games. Finally she caved into fate and wrote Snow and Rx under the name Tracy Lynn, followed by The Nine Lives of Chloe King series under her real name, because by then the assassins hunting her were all dead.  She lives in Brooklyn with a husband, two children, a cat, a part-time dog, three fish and five coffee trees she insists will start producing beans any day.  You can email her at or tweet @LizBraswell.

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5 winners will receive a finished copy of A WHOLE NEW WORLD. 

US Only.

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Thursday, September 3, 2015

{Excerpt/Book+GC Giveaway} NEVER BEEN TEXTED by Linda Joy Singleton

by Linda Joy Singleton
Release Date: July 27th 2015

Summary from Goodreads:

When Ashlee’s stepdad completely forgets her birthday she takes matters into her own hands to get the one thing she really wants: her own cell phone. 

But text messages start rolling in from a broken-hearted boy, and though Ashlee knows not all stories end happily, she’s determined to make hers the best it can be.

Buy Links:


The phone shows me a dark room piled with boxes, folding chairs, holiday decorations, and a sewing machine.
                The attic! I palm-smack my forehead. Duh! I should have thought of looking there myself, except it’s someplace I avoid since it’s full of memories of Mom. I’m not sure if my phone is being helpful or hurtful, reminding me of feelings I’d successfully shut out for so long.
                But instead of the usual sadness when I enter the attic, I get a warm feeling around my shoulders, like someone is hugging me. I can almost hear Mom’s voice, urging me to search through boxes until I find one labeled shoes. I trace my fingers over Mom’s bold inked lettering, the loopy Ss like curving roads beckoning me.
                My fingers tremble as I lift off the lid, and there they are.
                Shoes. Not just any shoes but shoes more beautiful than anything I’ve ever worn, made of velvety leather the color of snow with twists of silver laces and a sprinkle of crystal beads with three-inch heels. They seem familiar, like I’ve seen them before but I can’t remember where
                When I slip them on, they’re a perfect fit.
                Two weeks until Talent-Mania.
                Against all odds, I’m ready.


About the Author 

When she was 8, Linda Joy Singleton wrote animal stories and by age 14 she was writing mystery novels.  In 1986,  she had the unique experience of co-writing a mystery, THE TALKING SNOWMAN, with her favorite childhood author, Margaret Sutton (Judy Bolton mysteries).  Her goal was to have a mystery series of her own that that happened in 1994: MY SISTER THE GHOST series/Avon Camelot Books.  Recently she’s crossed genres to publish her first picture book, SNOW DOG, SAND DOG (Albert Whitman 2014). 
When Linda isn’t writing, she enjoys reading, movies, country walks, camping, bowling and reality shows (she’s never missed a season of Survivor, Amazing Race or Big Brother). She also collects vintage girl series mysteries like Nancy Drew, Judy Bolton and Trixie Belden and in 2014 spoke at a Nancy Drew convention. She’s a longtime member of Sisters in Crime and SCBWI, and enjoys speaking at school, libraries and writing conferences.
She lives with her husband, David, in Northern California, in a country home where she’s surrounded by horses, peacocks, dogs, wild turkeys and demanding cats. Follow Linda on her website, Twitter, and Facebook.


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5 ebook copies of NEVER BEEN TEXTED
1 $10 Amazon gift card!

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