Let it go | Once we were, Stepsister's tale & Finnikin.



Today I feature three completely different different book. I start with Once we were, a sequel to What's left of me, by Kat Zhang. This is a dystopian book about a world where hybrids exist, but they are hunted down by the government. The second book is a failed attempt to a fairytale retelling with a refreshing POV and lastly, a very hyped fantasy book that just wasn't meant to be.

16109664Kat Zhang – Once we were. Published September 17th 2013 by HarperCollins. Review: What’s left of me.
Eva was never supposed to have survived this long. As the recessive soul, she should have faded away years ago. Instead, she lingers in the body she shares with her sister soul, Addie. When the government discovered the truth, they tried to “cure” the girls, but Eva and Addie escaped before the doctors could strip Eva’s soul away. Now fugitives, Eva and Addie find shelter with a group of hybrids who run an underground resistance. Surrounded by others like them, the girls learn how to temporarily disappear to give each soul some much-needed privacy. Eva is thrilled at the chance to be alone with Ryan, the boy she’s falling for, but troubled by the growing chasm between her and Addie. Despite clashes over their shared body, both girls are eager to join the rebellion. Yet as they are drawn deeper into the escalating violence, they start to wonder: How far are they willing to go to fight for hybrid freedom? Faced with uncertainty and incredible danger, their answers may tear them apart forever.
FINISHED: 3.5 stars.The thing about this series is that not a lot happens, but it’s still captivating. There is something about the writing-styles and the characters that makes me want to read on. Addie/Eva escaped together with some other hybrids and they are hiding with a family. They are asked to work with a resistance, but it’s much bigger than they anticipated and things run out of control. The hybrids are still fascinating to me. It makes me wonder what is better.. You kill a soul and someone who completes you, but on the other hand you need to share your body and it makes it hard to lead your own life.. This makes the dynamic between Addie/Eva very interesting. I look forward to the conclusion, which is Echoes of Us.

18722882Tracy Barrett – The stepsister’s tale. Publication: June 24th 2014 by Harlequin Teen (Netgalley).
What really happened after the clock struck midnight?Jane Montjoy is tired of being a lady. She's tired of pretending to live up to the standards of her mother's noble family-especially now that the family's wealth is gone and their stately mansion has fallen to ruin. It's hard enough that she must tend to the animals and find a way to feed her mother and her little sister each day. Jane's burden only gets worse after her mother returns from a trip to town with a new stepfather and stepsister in tow. Despite the family's struggle to prepare for the long winter ahead, Jane's stepfather remains determined to give his beautiful but spoiled child her every desire. When her stepfather suddenly dies, leaving nothing but debts and a bereaved daughter behind, it seems to Jane that her family is destined for eternal unhappiness. But a mysterious boy from the woods and an invitation to a royal ball are certain to change her fate...
FINISHED2 stars.Written from the POV of the ugly stepsister instead of Cinderella, I thought I was going to read something good. Unfortunately, I was left bored and disinterested in any of the characters. Jane and her sister live a hard life after they are abandoned by their father. When their mother returns from a trip, she brings a new husband and sister with her. Cinderella is nothing like we know. The roles are turned and she is a whiny, spoiled brat whereas Jane is doing all the hard work. The two stars are for the character development from Cinderella and the unique POV, but that is about it.

6719736_thumb1Melina Marchetta – Finnikin of the rock. Published February 9th 2010 by Candlewick Press.
At the age of nine, Finnikin is warned by the gods that he must sacrifice a pound of flesh to save his kingdom. He stands on the rock of the three wonders with his friend Prince Balthazar and Balthazar's cousin, Lucian, and together they mix their blood to safeguard Lumatere. But all safety is shattered during the five days of the unspeakable, when the king and queen and their children are brutally murdered in the palace. An impostor seizes the throne, a curse binds all who remain inside Lumatere's walls, and those who escape are left to roam the land as exiles, dying by the thousands in fever camps. Ten years later, Finnikin is summoned to another rock--to meet Evanjalin, a young novice with a startling claim: Balthazar, heir to the throne of Lumatere, is alive. This arrogant young woman claims she'll lead Finnikin and his mentor, Sir Topher, to the prince. Instead, her leadership points them perilously toward home. Does Finnikin dare believe that Lumatere might one day rise united? Evanjalin is not what she seems, and the startling truth will test Finnikin's faith not only in her but in all he knows to be true about himself and his destiny.
FINISHED: 2.5 stars.That moment you don’t like a book everyone seems to love. I really tried. I picked this book up at the beginning of March and it took me nearly four months to finish this book, which is just ridiculous. I never felt tempted to get started and when I did, I was bored. The world-building is fantastic. I loved the overall plot, but nothing happens and I didn’t really care for any of the characters. Evanjalin is a strong woman, but that’s it. I never felt connected or interested in her or Finnikin. I will try the next book (because I have it on the shelves) and I hope there is some more action and story to it. I wonder if the hype and all the ‘I love this book, it’s my favorite!’ gave me too many expectations? I just.. don’t see it :(

38 comments

  1. Mel I am so sad about Finnikin of the Rock but I do understand completely. It happens. And the story is very slow to build. Reading it over 4 months... well I can imagine never really getting into it. It takes patience and a certain devotion to fantasy I think hah.

    As for Once We Were - I agree with you. Not much happened but I was still fascinated by the hybrid storyline. I too am looking forward to the conclusion!!

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    1. I just wasn't captured by the story, but I hope the sequel does work for me.

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  2. Oh that is too bad about Finnikin! I think the second book is excellent too, so I hope it will grab you better! But like Nicole said, it happens - it's good to move on to another book that you will really fall in love with!

    I haven't read the other two books, and now I'm really not in a rush to either. :)

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  3. Oh, I'm a bit surprised you DNFed Finnikin of the Rock, if only because like you said, EVERYONE seems to love that one. It just goes to show that not everyone will love the same thing, no matter how the hype goes! It might just be that the hype just made it impossible for you to love it as much as the rest. I am sorry it was a letdown though :( That Kat Zhang series is another one I've seen around a lot, but luckily I was never really drawn to it...doesn't seem like I'm missing much heh. I'd never heard of the Stepsisters Tale though but from what you said ^^ I'll just as soon keep it that way.

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    1. Not a DNF, but a 2 star rating :) I think it has a bit to do with the hype too!

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  4. Oh no! I'm so sorry to hear you didn't like Finnikin of the Rock! I can understand you're not connecting with the characters, as I don't remember really loving any of the characters in this book, but somehow, I still enjoyed the first installment. Maybe, it was the world building and the premise. It was actually the second book that I had trouble with. I don't think I'll read the other two, and I'm sorry you didn't like these. Wonderful post, Mel! And love this feature :D

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  5. wait i'm confused.. did you DNF Once We Were or did you like it?… because you gave it 3.5 stars so i'm assuming you did read it and liked it.. but this post is about DNF-ed books.. sorry i'm feeling really tired and my brain might not be working properly..

    - Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf

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    1. It's in the first sentence:
      "Let it go is my new feature, where I will spotlight all the books I DNF and the ones I read, but don’t want to review."

      This feature is for DNF books and books I want to highlight, but I don't have too much to say about them :)

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  6. I haven't read any of these books (although I do have Once We Were as a review galley). I love the idea of this post though. I don't review books that I DNF but I feel like I should still tell people why I DNF'd it.

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  7. I definitely agree with you regarding The Stepsister's Tale! I also had to DNF that one, I just couldn't get into it. I found it to be just so monotonous with the snail like pacing and honestly boring. It felt like I was just reading about chores lol. However, I'm glad to hear that the Cinderella character actually does go through some character development. I DNF'ed prior to that I suppose, as she was still selfish and annoying when I called it quits haha.

    I haven't read any books by Kat Zhang, but I'm definitely wanting to. I've heard great things about her books and the fact that you mention her writing to be compulsive reading definitely makes me interested haha c: The Hybrid books also seem to be quite unique and well done. Added to my TBR!

    I'm sorry Finnikin of the Rock didn't appeal to you. It's the worst when there's so much hype around a book and you end up feeling disappointed by the product. It was like that for The Winner's Curse for me, though I still ended up giving it 3.5 stars just not five haha.

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    1. I wish I DNF it, because the development from Cinderella wasn't enough to make it a good book. The whole hybrid idea is so fascinating. Just thinking about having two souls makes me uncomfortable, but it's nicely explored.

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  8. Mel, I love seeing this mini reviews! And I totally understand. Sometimes, you just don't have that much to say about a book! I still need to read What's Left of Me, but I'm glad you enjoyed its sequel! As for The Stepsister's Tale, I saw it on NG and didn't request it because it looked really boring to me... and I'm glad I didn't! The characterization actually doesn't look great at all. Aww no, Finnikin of the rock! I haven't read that one yet but it's on my shelf too, and I'm worried. Yikes, 4 months to read? Sigh... I'll have to try it out still. Thanks for your honest opinions on these mini reviews, Mel!

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    1. Exactly! And I still want to highlight the books, because my short opinions might help someone :) I was hopeful, because fairytales are my favorite thing, but in the end your thoughts were right.

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  9. I have the same problems with hype (in your last book). I've stopped looking at goodreads before I read a new book, simply if I see that book get good/bad reviews, it affects how I read it. The Cinderella retelling sounded like it should have been a BLAST, but it twisted the story into something completely different.

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  10. Ooof, the name Evanjalin would tempt me to dnf that book! It just doesn't flow well.

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  11. Oh, no... now I am on the fence about reading Finnikin of the Rock. I have been reading good reviews, but the slow to build thing has been happening to much with me lately. I need something that jumps up and grabs you by the head and drags you into the pages. This is a great feature by the way. I love seeing why you may have put a book down, or just little blurbs about books that there wasn't much to say.

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    1. If you ask me, this isn't the book for you at this moment. It's not a story where a lot happens :(

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  12. I'm glad that you enjoyed Once We Were as a whole. I have the first book and am looking forward to tackling it this summer. Kind of scary to hear that the plot lacks some, but it's exciting to know that there's still something that keeps you reading. Sorry the Cinderella retelling left you lukewarm =/ As for Finnick, I thought that this would 100% be something you'd enjoy. I don't enjoy Aussie authors that much, most of them have this writing that just doesn't suit me, but I'm still so sorry to hear that you were bored. At least the world was awesome. I felt the same with The Bone Season and here's to hoping that the next books in both of these series will work out better for us. Great mini-reviews, Mel!

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    1. I guess it's the interesting concept of having two souls! And her writing-style makes it easy to read. I really thought I would like Finnikin two. Everyone was raving about it and I love fantasy books, but I guess I wasn't in the mood for something slow like this?

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  13. See that is EXACTLY my thoughts with Once We Were - nothing freaking happens...yeah 'not alot' to me not even enough to make it memorable but the end maybe

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  14. Aw, man, so sorry that you didn't like Finnikin much, Mel! Yeah, I know how awkward it feels to dislike a book that's been getting 5-star reviews EVERYWHERE, but it's understandable. I actually tried it about a year ago but gave up before the first chapter was over because it was too slow-moving already. :P I've been meaning to try reading it again, but not right now. It's such a disappointment to hear that nothing much happens throughout the book because that's a sure sign that I won't like it either.

    I haven't heard much about Once We Were, but I did hear something about the whole hybrid concept STILL not being explained, and if that's true, it's going to bug the heck out of me. >.< I'm still glad you managed to enjoy this one, though! I remember really liking the first book, so I'll probably still continue with this series because it has such a cool premise.

    Ugh, The Stepsister's Tale. What little reviews I've seen for it have been pretty much negative, which is a shame, because like you, I thought the premise would be cool as well. I'd probably like it even less than you did, though, because I just have zero tolerance for slow-moving stories, as you probably know.

    Thanks for these reviews, Mel! I hope your next read is much better than all of these!

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    1. Well, it stays slow-moving like that unfortunately :(

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  15. Oh, I love Finnikin. >-< But the first time I read it I had a really really tough time getting into it. It's quite slow! I also feel like I have to be in the mood for epic fantasy! I was a bit meh about the 1st hybrid book, but I kind of want to know how the series ends! I love that this feature is called Let it Go. lol. EPIC.

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    1. I'm in the mood for fantasy, but I guess I'm just in the mood for something with more action and pace!

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  16. *HUGS* <3 Amazing reviews sweetie. Thank you for sharing and being honest :D But aw. Yeah. I'm still a little heartbroken that you didn't like Finnikin, lol. <3 But I understand it. I had some issues with it too; with the beginning. But I ended up really loving it. Hmm. I need to re-read it soon, lol. But yeah. I do hope you will end up reading the sequels and love them more :) Froi is AWESOME. Yet that second book have so much heartbreak. Especially the third one. Makes my heart ache just thinking about them. Sniffs. But so good :) Best of luck, if you do read them. <3 (Which you should :D)

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  17. Awww, I'm so sad you didn't like Finnikin! :( But yeah, it happens.

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  18. Nooo, I was really looking forward to reading The Stepsister's Tale! I'm sorry you didn't enjoy it Mel. D:
    And I've heard really great things about Finnikin of the Rock. Now I'm worried I wouldn't like it like you. :l

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  19. I actually haven't read any of the books on this list, although that might be because they aren't necessarily my type. Lately I've been really picky about the books I read, and my standards are a lot higher. I'm trying to stay away from books that I'll end up rating less than 3 stars because I feel like it's a waste of my time - I could be reading something awesome! I'm sorry these books didn't work out for you, though. :( That's always disappointing, especially when your fellow bloggers really love a book but you don't. Makes you feel like an odd one out.

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    1. It does, but at the same time I also know that we all read books in our own way :)

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  20. I'm glad that Once We Were is a good one. I bought it on sale for about five dollars, and have been pretty keen to read it ever since! I like the thought of two minds in one body - that's awesome.

    UGH at The Stepsister's Tale. It sounds cliche and disappointing, even though it could have been wonderful. Such a shame D:

    And I'm sad you didn't like Finnikin! I read it a few years ago and I loved it. I can't say anything about the sequels, because I STILL haven't gotten around to them.
    I know what you mean about being affected by what people say. There are a few books that have been that way for me, most recently Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas. I think we get so convinced by the words of people we trust that we go in to a book assuming we will love it, even if it might not be to our taste.
    Hopefully you'll like the second one better!

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    1. Yes, or sometimes we have these expectations and they can't be met by the book after all.

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  21. I think this is a great feature idea. Let's you do mini reviews for the books you didn't have enough thoughts on in order to write a full one. That Kat Zhang series was one I tried to start but really couldn't get into, it wasn't anywhere near as good as I thought it would be. I might give it another try sometime, but I'm not sure yet.

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  22. Awww, I'm so sorry you didn't enjoy Finnikin. :( It's one of my favorite series, but I know some people have had trouble getting into it (it seems to be that way with the beginning of quite a few Melina Marchetta books).

    Love this feature, btw! I'm doing something similar - sometimes mini reviews are all I have time for or I just don't have that much to say about a book (especially if it's not for review). This way is much more manageable.

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    1. Yes and I still want to highlight those books :)

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  23. I love this feature! I think it's interesting to see what you choose to include or didn't like. I have plenty of these myself. :)

    Tressa @ Wishful Endings

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