dinsdag 23 februari 2016

The Forbidden Wish - Jessica Khoury

Publisher: Razorbill

Published: February 2016

ISBN: 9781595147677

She is the most powerful Jinni of all. He is a boy from the streets. Their love will shake the world... 
When Aladdin discovers Zahra's jinni lamp, Zahra is thrust back into a world she hasn't seen in hundreds of years -- a world where magic is forbidden and Zahra's very existence is illegal. She must disguise herself to stay alive, using ancient shape-shifting magic, until her new master has selected his three wishes. 

But when the King of the Jinn offers Zahra a chance to be free of her lamp forever, she seizes the opportunity—only to discover she is falling in love with Aladdin. When saving herself means betraying him, Zahra must decide once and for all: is winning her freedom worth losing her heart?

As time unravels and her enemies close in, Zahra finds herself suspended between danger and desire in this dazzling retelling of Aladdin from acclaimed author Jessica Khoury.

My review 

When I saw the cover of The Forbidden Wish, I just knew I had to read this book. I mean: a story about Aladdin, who wouldn't want to read about him? And now the twist: the genie in the lamp isn't a regular genie: he is a SHE this time. Well, that made the story even more interesting. Because before even reading the book I was wondering what would there be happening with the princess in the original story? And how can Jessica Khoury pull this off? Well, basically: she can. The story was build up from the view of Zahra, the jinni. And you can read about her thoughts and emotions as though she is 'talking' to her Habiba, her closest friend (I don't want to spoil the story, so I will not tell you, who she is talking to). The moment Aladdin finds the lamp (yeah, just like in the original story), the jinni gets unlocked out of her lamp and she has to fulfill three wishes for Aladdin. Unlike the Disney version of the story, where there is Abu (you know: the cute monkey), Aladdin is on his own and on a vendetta to revenge his parents death. But in this version of the story Zahra has an agenda of her own. So she convinces Aladdin to let her make him a prince and to try to convince princess Caspida (yeah: there she is), to marry him instead of her betrothed, so Zahra can have access to the palace. Princess Caspida doesn't have Raja the tiger to keep her save, she has Watchmaidens. And they are hilarious. Strong willed and powered women, who can take on their share of men. However, where princess Jasmine and Aladdin are falling in love, there is no chemistry between Aladdin and princess Caspida. Instead, there are sparks flying between Aladdin and his jinni. Interesting... Because what will happen if the jinni has to chose between her love and her freedom (being trapped in a lamp for over 500 years is a very, very long time...)? The story reads very easily, with a few twists and turns, but overall there is a high level of recognition of the original tale. And since I'm a sucker for happy endings, I really enjoyed this book. So, well done Jessica Khoury. Four stars for your Forbidden Wish.

dinsdag 9 februari 2016

Find her - Lisa Gardner

Publisher: Dutton

Publication: February 2016

ISBN: 9780525954576 

Flora Dane is a victim.

Seven years ago, carefree college student Flora was kidnapped while on spring break. For 472 days, Flora learned just how much one person can endure.

Flora Dane is a survivor. 

Miraculously alive after her ordeal, Flora has spent the past five years reacquainting herself with the rhythms of normal life, working with her FBI victim advocate, Samuel Keynes. She has a mother who’s never stopped loving her, a brother who is scared of the person she’s become, and a bedroom wall covered with photos of other girls who’ve never made it home.

Flora Dane is reckless. . . . or is she? 

When Boston detective D. D. Warren is called to the scene of a crime—a dead man and the bound, naked woman who killed him—she learns that Flora has tangled with three other suspects since her return to society. Is Flora a victim or a vigilante? And with her firsthand knowledge of criminal behavior, could she hold the key to rescuing a missing college student whose abduction has rocked Boston? When Flora herself disappears, D.D. realizes a far more sinister predator is out there. One who’s determined that this time, Flora Dane will never escape. And now it is all up to D. D. Warren to find her.

My review

Although I'm not a true thriller-fan, occasionally I like to read a suspense novel. So when I read the synopsis of Find Her, I just had to request an advanced reading copy. When I read that Flora Dane was kidnapped for 472 days, I was intrigued. But when I received my ARC (yay, thank you FirsttoRead!) and started reading, I just fell face first into the nightmare of Flora Dane's kidnapping. Lisa Gardner takes the reader seven years back in time and let you relive the abduction of Flora. I was stunned, I was shocked, I was aghast... and I really had to keep reading. Throughout the book, Lisa takes you through 472 days of nightmares, in a multitude of flashbacks. You can feel the despair, the anguish and the self loathing of Flora. But these are only the flashbacks. The story of detective D.D. Warren and her case with the missing girls is the main course of the book. D.D. is a strong willed female, who has been hurt during a previous assignment. She can't perform her normal duties, but that doesn't mean she just sits back during desk duties. Lisa has done a well job in describing the frustration of a dedicated woman, who can't do her job in the way she wants to do. In the chapters from D.D.'s point of view, you understand her distrust of Flora and you wonder with her if Flora is indeed only a victim or maybe something more. And although some parts are a bit unrealistic (I mean: to kill a man, when you are totally naked, with you hands bound, and only using garbage, that is a tiny bit unrealistic, don't you think?!), the plot just keeps turning and just as you think you know what Flora's role is in the assaults and abductions, Flora gets taken herself. At that point in the book I was totally confused. Flora had just killed her assaulter and they were finding the evidence of his kidnapping of the other girls and now Flora is missing? I was tempted to re-read part of the book to see if I had missed an important clue. But no, after reading on, and siding with detective D.D. I still couldn't phantom who was behind the kidnapping. But when reading the chapters from Flora's point of view, the story just gets scarier and scarier. I'm not a fan of small spaces, but after reading this book, I don't think I'm stepping into a small room again. And you realize time is running out. Detective D.D. is realizing this also. So you just have to keep on reading, to find out if D.D. will make it in time to save Flora and to discover who is behind the horrors. Off course, I won't tell you "Who Dunnit", but you will be surprised! So, in all a very well written story. Afterwards I found out that detective D.D. has a total series of stories. So maybe, when I'm recovered from my fears of small spaces, I'll try another thriller of Lisa Gardner. Well done, four stars.