A Whole New World by Liz Braswell

24397040A Whole New World by Liz Braswell
Series: A Twisted Tale #1 (1/?)
Published by Disney-Hyperion on September 1, 2015
Genres: [Young Adult] Fantasy, Retelling
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley

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1.5 Stars, Completed August 30, 2015

– SPOILERS ahead –

A Whole New World is an Aladdin retelling where the events are slightly distorted from the original Disney film. Instead of Aladdin meeting the genie first and having to struggle with facing the truth and his identity, before Aladdin even catches on that the tales of djinns and genies are real, the grand vizier, Jafar, possesses the lamp and transforms Agrabah into an apocalyptic setting by using dark magic.

After reading, it got me thinking that beloved Disney films though they have their own merits (good morals, beautiful illustrations, funny moments, and encouragement of imaginations to name a few) still are full of instalove romances, love triangles, development of somewhat bland characters, and other unwanted characteristics most readers probably don’t enjoy reading usually. However, for a movie, that’s okay. I can completely sympathize that there’s so much you can squish into a 2 hour movie; these inadequacies can easily be brushed off. On the other hand for a book, so much more of the story can be elaborated on and there’s plenty of room for the author to unleash creativity. So for this Aladdin retelling I was anticipating many things that weren’t addressed in the film. I was hoping this book would bridge the gaps and clarify the grey areas in the movie, and still make references from the original film all the while being unique as a novel on its own.

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Inactivity (Not Discontinuity!) and No Strings Attached Award

Blog Update (Inactivity and No Strings Attached Award)

Hi everyone,

By the time you read this I will probably be in class. This is actually my first time scheduling a post so I hope it works. I just wanted to give you guys a quick blog update. (And I apologize in advance for the many parenthetical phrases and bursts of emojis, which was due to my recent discovery of this WP Smilies guide…)

I’ve hinted this in my recent posts (and it’s probably been pretty evident this past month) but you may see a few changes on Xingsings. Because of my fall schedule, some pharmacy internships, and possible research (if I get it) this semester I’ll be even more inactive than ever. It won’t be abnormal for me to post only once a week or even a couple of times a month, which probably isn’t too different from my usual 2-3 posts a week but it’s still a change. I just thought I’d give you all the heads up!

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Summertime Madness Tag

The Summertime Madness Tag

Hello! It’s been a while (a couple of days really) since I’ve last updated this blog and I’m sorry to confess that the inactivity is going to get a lot worse because… school starts back this Thursday for me!

Which also means the summer is almost officially over therefore I thought it’d be appropriate for me to post yet another long overdue post, the Summertime Madness Tag. (Yes, I also decided to post this now lest this be done next summer which would have been way way overdue.) I was tagged by Carolyn to participate. She’s a fellow Vietnamese-American blogger on WP and secretly-ish we’ve been doing a buddy read and reading A Darker Shade of Magic. We both finished it yesterday (8/18/15: well I finished it today actually) and it was such a fantastic story. So be on the lookout for some ADSoM posts in the near future (yeah… I know, I promised a Summer Says post this week but yeah, that’ll come soon too, I hope)!

Gosh, I haven’t even started the tag yet and I’ve already used four parenthetical phrases. I’m so done. Alright, let’s get on to this before I add any more…

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Authors I’ve Read The Most Books From

TTT Authors I've Read the Most Books From

Hello! I recently reorganized my bookshelves… again (hopefully this new arrangement will last until 2016, because the spontaneous experimentation makes my arms sore and needs to stop), and I hope to write a Summer Says post about a topic that involves that soon-or at least before school begins.

Anyway, it’s Tuesday and with the new layout I felt inspired to participate in this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly bookish meme by The Broke and the Bookish, feature: Top Ten Authors I’ve Read the Most Books From. This was an easy topic since I already had my books laid out in front of me (actually, I was wading through the sea of books; why I bring that upon myself I will never understand) and was able to visualize which authors I owned the most books of and hence which ones I’ve read the most books from.

So okay, with no further ado let’s get started!


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A random “representation” of these authors. Sorry, having authors’ faces on my blog is a little too weird for me. Oh and blue is my favorite color! 😉

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Bath & Body Works Book Tag

Bath & Body Works Book Tag

Hiya! I just came back from the beach yesterday and felt like posting a somewhat summer-y post today. I was tagged by the sweet Analee (thank you!) to do the Bath & Body Works Book Tag, a tag Analee actually created herself (I don’t know how I didn’t realize that until I published this). For those of you that don’t know, Bath & Body Works, is a big chain store here in the U.S. (and I think Canada as well) that sells a lot of, well, bath and body products in various scents and fragrances. So yeah, that should explain the random fragrance names before the questions.

Okay, so let’s get to the actual tag! I’ll do my best to just choose one book for each answer (you guys know how I always manage to cheat with these tags)!


Truth_about_Forever_1. Pure Paradise: A book that was simply perfection.
Perfection? Oh gosh, that holds a lot of weight. For me, it’s The Truth About Forever (no surprise). This was the book that got me into reading Sarah Dessen, now one of my favorite authors. And I love everything about it. The characters (all of them), the story line, the comedic relief, the swoon worthy male MC, the overall deeper message, the lyrical writing, and, yeah, I could go on… It still remains my all time favorite ya contemporary novel, I think. Also it’s such a perfect summer read-all of Sarah Dessen books are.

Before-I-Fall-by-Lauren-Oliver2. Sweet Pea: A romance/contemporary novel that you really enjoyed.
Instead of choosing my two favorite contemporary reads from this year (Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and The Summer of Chasing Mermaids), I want to share a book that I have yet to talk about on Xingsings: Before I Fall. This was my first Lauren Oliver book and I remember reading it when it was first released and absolutely enjoying it. I haven’t read Oliver’s other books for some reason… I’ll fix that one day I’m sure!

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Rome in Love by Anita Hughes

rome in loveRome in Love by Anita Hughes
Published by St. Martin’s Griffin on August 4, 2015
Genres: [Adult] Contemporary
Pages: 320
Format: Paperback, ARC
Source: Publisher

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3 Stars, Completed August 1, 2015

– SPOILER free –

I think it was an advantage that prior to Rome in Love I had no background knowledge on Audrey Hepburn* except that she’s an iconic actress that has influenced and inspired many people. It was also nice to read this not having watched Roman Holiday. I was able to dive in with a fresh mind with no particular expectations.

Rome in Love is a story of a young actress, resembling Audrey Hepburn named Amelia, that takes on the role of Princess Ann in the remake of Roman Holiday. In Rome while shooting the film, Amelia meets a real princess, Sophie. Sophie is in Rome taking time off from her royal duties, and she seems to truly be reliving a “Roman Holiday.” Amelia is having a blast exploring her new self as an actress and visiting the diverse Italian venues with Sophie, but then her boyfriend of three years decides to break up with her over her acting career. Along the way, she also happens to meet Philip, an American journalist that is keeping a few secrets of his own, and is under the impression Amelia is a hotel maid. Misunderstandings arise and Amelia’s left with tough decisions about love, friendship, and the acting profession. Just in time, she finds Audrey Hepburn’s secret letters in the very same hotel room Audrey stayed in over half a century ago; and Audrey’s evident intellect and wisdom shows through the yellowed letters guiding Amelia through the struggles she’ll have to face.

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