Review of Malik by Marian Tee

November 07, 2017

Hey there, Booksnakes! It has been a while since my last review, but I am back with another Marian Tee novel, and it is part two of her Desert Sheikh Romance titled, Malik.

I have a confession to make: I actually read this after finishing Tarif, which is actually the third installment in the author's series. For some screwed up reason, I belatedly realized that I received a copy of this book from the author. I only found out about it when I was already writing my review of the book which apparently comes after this one. But better late than never, I say, so I jumped in head first in the story and came out of it feeling thrilled, happy, and slightly dirty (which was the author's intention all along).

Title: Malik: Desert Sheikh Romance
Author: Marian Tee
Published by: Jaded Speck Publishing
Publication Date: August 17, 2017
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: ARC Given by Author
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36069145-malik


SYNOPSIS:

Sheikh Malik Al-Atassi was only seventeen when his mother took in orphaned 7-year-old Kyria as her legal ward.

Since then, the royal family had raised Kyria alongside Malik as if they were brother and sister…even if they were not related by blood.

And for a while, everything was as it should be…until Kyria came into womanhood, and she realized that her feelings for the sheikh were also that of a woman for a man.

Come join Marian Tee in another sheikh romance set in the exotic desert kingdom of Ramil. This is a no-cliffhanger standalone romance and does not require you to read any of the other Desert Sheikh novels.

CHARACTER BACKGROUND:

Kyria Markide is a strong and passionate woman who hides herself behind an image of meekness and submission. She believes that she owes her life to the royal family of Ramil for taking her in, raising her up, and making her feel loved. To return their generosity, she swore to remain loyal to them and not bring them shame in any way. That is until she realized that her feelings for her sheikh brother is more than just familial...it was also quite carnal.

Malik Al-Atassi is a man of many faces. He could be gracious, forgiving, and patient, but he's also prone to doing dangerous and desctructive actions. Overall, he's an honourable, dependable man who would rather spend a decade pretending he doesn't just love his adoptive sister, he's also in love with her.

REVIEW:

As a bookworm whose main genre of focus is romance, I have read a lot of books that cover a myriad of love stories. There's the typical boy-meets-girl tale that make us all sappy, and then there's the more mature, dark, and erotic novels that are not for the feint of heart. Malik falls somewhere in between, with the author's writing as charmingly comedic as it is, but the subject-matter being taboo to a lot of people -- incest.

I'm no stranger to love stories that are far from the norm. Erotica is also a staple in my to-read list, so Marian's approach in Malik and Kyria's story didn't deter me from opening my e-reader and enjoying the ride one bit. In fact, one of the things I liked about this novel is the realistic approach the author took. Realistic, how? Kyria was taken in by the Al-Atassi family when she lost her parents at a very young age. Malik was 10 years her senior and so he made sure to look after her and do everything he can to take away her pain and make her happy. 

FACT: They're not related by blood and Malik is old enough to understand this. 
FACT: Loving someone doesn't always entail physical attraction first. Only pervs think that. 
FACT: The bond these two people shared growing is deep and only they can understand it. This kind of relationship actually happens somewhere in the world, most people just refuse to acknowledge it. 

But because this is not socially acceptable, the author made a point of putting this problem in perspective for the characters. So it's not all rainbows and butterflies. 

I don't want to give much away about the story, but I will say that Malik is incredibly hot. I think he's the one I like most out of the five sheikhs. I also saw a funnier and more intimate side of the Al-Atassi family. From the banter between Malik and his mother, to the constant ribbing of the guys, and of course, the love and loyalty they all have for one another. 

SUMMARY:

Malik, compared to the other part of the series, is relatively laid-back. I didn't cry as I did in My Arabian Billionaire or Tarif, but I felt satisfied knowing that they're happy together, and that they can fight whatever the world throws at them because they have the people who love them to back them up.

RATING:


PURCHASE LINKS: 

Amazon
Kobo
Barnes & Noble

Book image from Goodreads

Review of My Arabian Billionaire by Marian Tee

June 21, 2017

I don't even know why I'm still surprised that I finished reading this book with frog-like eyes and a stuffy nose. I should know better by now that Marian WILL make me bawl my eyes out, no matter how sweet and funny she starts off.

Anyway, I have a lot to say about My Arabian Billionaire, so let's get started, shall we?

Title: My Arabian Billionaire (In Bed with a Billionaire): A Desert Sheikh Romance
Author: Marian Tee
Genre: Romance, Erotic Romance
Publication Date: June 14th 2017
Source: ARC Given by Author
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35438470-my-arabian-billionaire-in-bed-with-a-billionaire

Image from Goodreads

SYNOPSIS:

Years and years from now, it would go down as one of the saddest days in the kingdom’s history when the crying, trembling figure of their queen was seen at the gates of the palace, performing the public ritual of ending her marriage to the king. 

News traveled fast, and the area was soon swarming with people - reporters who were out to sensationalize this unprecedented sight, gawking guests who were titillated by the hint of scandal in the air, and men like Mahmud, who didn’t hesitate to sow seeds of discord to further their cause. 

Terrible accusations began to take shape, broadcasted in viral headlines--- 

Queen Harper publicly disavowing marriage to travel alone and leave Ramil? 

Princess Safiya, daughter of Sheikh Mahmud, to be Ramil’s next queen? 

Ramilians to be fined if found offering aid to Queen Harper? 
Later, there would also be stories of loyalty – of how secret enemies of the sheikh had incited a rabble, and of the queen’s most trusted guards coming to her defense. Witnesses had sworn they heard the queen tearfully begging her loyal guards not to endanger themselves for her, but still they had shed blood for her, their loyalty to her unwavering. 

You will always be our queen. 

And when the tide seemed to swell in the favor of the sheikh’s enemies, there came the thundering, ground-crushing sound of the army’s footsteps, led by the king and his vassals. They fought their way to the queen’s side, infallible in their power, strength, and valor – 

It was a breathtaking sight, witnesses from that night were known to avow. But what they would never ever forget was the sight of their king finding his queen--- 

Only to let her go--- 

You are free, my love. 

CHARACTER BACKGROUND:

Harper Griffiths is a strong-willed woman who has a stubborn streak to her. She's got a short temper, sharp tongue, and distant demeanor. But all of these she simply use to cover up and protect a soft heart and innocent soul that people try to hurt time and time again. She's intelligent, loyal, and most of all, honourable.

Khalil Al-Atassi is a man who would give his life for his kingdom. He cares for his people above all else, and he's willing to do whatever it takes to protect his nation - even if that means tearing his heart out in the process.

REVIEW:

Let me start off by being completely honest: I had no idea what the story of My Arabian Billionaire would be about or who the characters involved are.

I tried racking my brain, trying to remember which of Marian Tee's characters is an Arabian Billionaire, but I just couldn't remember. I'm ashamed. Sorry, Marian. But then, Sapphire - Safi - March was mentioned, and then BAM! Khalil Al-Atassi is Jeremy Raybourne! I've said this before, but How Not to Be Seduced by Rockstars is one of my favourite of Marian's work. So of course, when I've finally made a connection, the sun shone and birds chirped.

From the first couple of pages, I already knew that I was going to enjoy whatever journey the story is going to take me. We're immediately introduced to a handful of characters that are different from each other, yet they share a strong, unbreakable bond that makes one want to see more of their dynamic.

And then we jump right into the chemistry between Khalil and Harper. Like most of Marian's male protagonists, the king of Ramil also enjoys teasing - and upsetting - his leading lady. But one of the thing I like about Khalil, is despite his past, or even his current political status, he's not a cold, distant man who's sworn off love. He's just a regular guy ... sort of. And that makes this story refreshing, in a way, because I didn't have to curse the guy for being stupid. In fact, he's such an honourable man that even Harper can't hate him for breaking her heart.

Let me just quickly point out that the steamy scenes here were hot AF. Like, for real. Marian made is as sexy and rough as she could in a page or two. It was erotic in a tasteful manner, if that makes sense.

The story flowed smoothly; though of course there were moments I felt some parts could've been ellaborated, but it didn't take away from the book as a whole so it's okay.

However, I need to point out that ending made me wonder - for the Nth time - what the hell happened with KC Chariot and Yuki Himura? What was so traumatizing that the thought of seeing him, even just hearing his name, evokes such a severe negative reaction from her? Marian, please end our agony and tell us the story.

SUMMARY: 

I'm still not quite used to reading completed stories by Marian. Wait, that sounds wrong. What I meant to say was, she always delivered her stories in at least 3 parts which, in my opinion, works because we get more up and down moments. Meaning, more playful and romantic moments, and more heartbreaks and begging. But with My Arabian Billionaire, we got everything Marian has to offer in 140 pages or so.

We got the fun, we got the steamy, we got the pain, and finish off with the Happily Ever After. It's a complete package that will leave you feeling satisfied while making you want more.

PURCHASE LINKS: 

Amazon
Barnes & Noble

RATING: 


Review of King's Cage by Victoria Aveyard

June 17, 2017

At last! After waiting for months, I finally got my hands on King's Cage, the third installment in Victoria Aveyard's Red Queen series. 

Before I get on my official review, let me just say that the wait was well worth it. 

I won't prolong this intro anymore. Let's jump right to it. 

Title: King's Cage (Red Queen #3)
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia, Romance
Publication Date: February 7th 2017
Published By: HarperTeen
Source: Bought

Image from Goodreads

SYNOPSIS:

In this breathless third installment to Victoria Aveyard’s bestselling Red Queen series, allegiances are tested on every side. And when the Lightning Girl's spark is gone, who will light the way for the rebellion?

Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother's web in an attempt to maintain control over his country—and his prisoner.

As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continue organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare's heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back.

When blood turns on blood, and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fire—leaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down. 

REVIEW:

Warning: Spoilers Ahead

We left Glass Sword with Mare held captive and suffering public humiliation in the hands of Maven. This was a result of the sacrifice she made for her comrades, in order to spare their lives. We actually get a glimpse of that moment in the first few pages of this book. We see, in detail, not only the physical pain Mare is going through, but also the emotional and mental torment: she's prisoner to the person she hates most, her brother is gone, and she worries about the effects of her imprisonment for the Scarlet Guard. 

We see a Mare that is not only vulnerable because she it literally powerless (hello Silent Stone and Arvents), but also because she still feels a pull towards Maven. 

I like that Maven can't help but open up to Mare at unexpected moments. He ends up revealing how his mother — who won Worst Mother of the Year Award — manipulated his mind ever since he was little. She took away things from Maven that she considers weakness, and that led him into this madness. 


I thoroughly enjoyed the multiple POVs in this book. We don't just get immersed in Mare's journey, but we also get a glimpse of Cameron's mind and her own struggles. But the shocker here, which probably no one saw coming, was we get Evangeline's point-of-view. 

Yes, this is the Evangeline who tried her best to antagonize Mare since day one. The same woman who's hell-bent on hurting—and killing—our leading lady. Apparently, Victoria decided that we all deserved to see through the eyes of this cold-hearted, metal-wielding, "I-know-I'm-better-than-you" silver. 

The thing is, though, while reading her parts, I was surprised to know that she's not a hundred percent rotten. She has her soft spots and gentle moments, and there's a reason why she is the way she is. 

We get to see more of the Samos clan, as well as new silvers, namely Lakelanders. We're also introduced to a whole bunch of other characters that will surely play a bigger part in the continuation of the story. 

Unfortunately, for fans of Kilorn, he doesn't get that much "exposure". But I guess it's okay. He plays a vital role in the Scarlet Guard, and his importance in the lives of everyone around him cannot be denied. I get a feeling we'll see more of him in the next book, though.

SUMMARY:

Victoria Aveyard managed to outdo herself in King's Cage. She showed us multiple sides of characters —  how people can change, and how some simply cannot. This book to me on a journey filled with action, sadness, confusion, hope, heartbreak, and a whole lot more. I didn't know what to expect before I turned to page 1, but I definitely didn't think I'd get sucked in such a riveting story. A story where you don't know who your allies are, and where happiness is merely an illusion. 

Needless to say, it's a book worth reading and a world worth immersing yourself in. 

PURCHASE LINKS:

Philippines: Fully Booked
US: Amazon

RATING:


Review of Savage, Broken, Beautiful by Marian Tee

April 12, 2017

Hey there Booksnakes! So it's been quite a while since I last wrote a review for a book. I've been busy beyond belief and haven't really had enough time to write for personal purposes, but that's not what this post is for, so let's move on.

When I started my blog, my first ever post was about New York Times and USA Today Best Selling Author Marian Tee. I figured it would be fitting that my "comeback review" if there was such a thing, would be of her book too. I'm sentimental that way.

I am a huge Marian Tee fan, and the Marian Tee Mania series here is supporting evidence of that. So even though I've been pretty much silent here, on Goodreads, and other platforms, I've been keeping tabs on her latest book releases and updates. Last week, I've had the honor of being sent an advanced reader's copy of her newest work, "Savage, Broken, Beautiful". I knew that this was a special project of the author, and because of that, I wanted to understand why that is. And that leads us here, to my review of Marian Tee's modern take on a tale as old as time. 

Title: Savage, Broken, Beautiful: A Sexy Contemporary Rom-Com Retelling of Beauty and the Beast
Author: Marian Tee
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: April 9, 2017
Source: ARC Given by Author

Image from Goodreads


SYNOPSIS:

To save her father from prison, geeky graphic artist Arabella Blume agrees to sell herself to Aurélien Sauvage, a young French billionaire whose life is shrouded in mystery and strange and conflicting rumors. 

When she’s immediately whisked away to a remote island, Arabella braces herself for all kinds of torture. But instead, her new life is more perplexing than terrifying. 

During the day, the staff pampers her like a princess. 

But as for the nights – 

They’ve become her most precious and shameful secret. 

When all is silent and dark, Arabella succumbs to the dangerously addictive passion of her master. Night after night, he listens to her, he talks to her, he makes her laugh, he makes her forget – and later on, he fucks her. 

He fucks her long and hard, he fucks her until she passes out, he fucks her so, so beautifully, and Aurélien promises to cherish her forever – for as long as she doesn’t break his rules. 

Never talk about me to anyone. 

And she doesn’t. 

Never kiss me. 

And she doesn’t. 

And the most imperative, my beauty – never, ever try to look at me in the light. 

But Arabella does. 

She doesn’t mean to, but it happens, and that’s when Arabella realizes all along she’s been making love to an animal. 

A man with a beautiful face, sapphire eyes, and a lethally powerful body, but at the same time a beast with terrifying horns, claws, and fangs – 

Oh my God. 

La bête Sauvage. 

It’s what the islanders have been whispering about – something they’ve always known but never told her, something she thought she understood but didn’t, something that may change the way she sees him – 

Aurélien. 

Her owner. 

Her lover. 

And he seems to know this, too, as the beast – her beast – asks quietly, 

Do I frighten you now, ma belle? 

Do I disgust you? 

Do you want me still? 

CHARACTER BACKGROUND:

Arabella Blume, like most of Marian's heroines, is a kind-hearted person who loves her father purely. She also has a stubborn streak and refuses to cave in to her desires and emotions as much as she can. But unlike most of the female protagonists in the author's books, Arabella has a temper and a potty mouth, and she isn't ashamed of it one bit. She's also quite confident with her body and isn't afraid to claim what she wants -- in other words, she can be aggressive (much to my delight). 

Aurélien Sauvage also has a heart of gold, he just doesn't acknowledge it because of his "situation". He believes that he doesn't deserve to have someone by his side because it would only cause them harm. He's rich and powerful - figuratively and literally - but he's also lonely and trapped in the "beast". However, he's not afraid to take the leap and love someone. In fact, love is what he craves to give and receive - also unlike Ms. Tee's seemingly love-allergic heroes in other books. But he's insecure and afraid, and with good reason. But will he be Aurélien the man or will he let the beast take over forever? 

REVIEW:

Confession time! I haven't watched the new Beauty and the Beast movie yet. Also, I haven't watched the original animation. Lastly, I haven't even read the book where they based the film on. But, in spite of this, I am familiar with the story and its ending - I mean, she's one of my generation's Disney princesses so knowing her is embedded in my DNA. The only difference that I can say from this situation is I at least won't struggle to compare this story to the original one. For me, this IS an original story and one that I liked a lot.

Warning: Spoilers Ahead

The story starts off by showing us how it all started. How Aurélien came to be something else, how the island of St. Marianne became a home cherished by many people, and how unconditional love is an important factor in this story. I love how detailed the author was when describing the island, specifically the mansion where the Sauvage family lived. It made me feel as though I was there, seeing what the newcomers saw and experiencing what they experienced and felt. We are easily transported to a place of opulence and beauty, but one with mysteries and sadness too. 

One of the things I liked about this story is how the modern world and "fairy tale land" seemingly blended to create a unique set up for our characters. I also like how the characters can go from 1600-era to knowing Game of Thrones - it serves as a reminder that these people, no matter how disconnected they seem from the world, are still living in the same time and space we are (as far as fictional stories go, of course). 

This story doesn't try hard to be a replica of Beauty and the Beast. It's a completely different interpretation that readers who aren't familiar with the movie won't have a hard time absorbing the story, while those who are fans of the tale will find subtle similarities here and there. 

As usual, Marian Tee managed to deliver a book that is well-written. The humor is there, and the steamy scenes are heart-racing. As I was nearing the end of the book, I had a lot of questions that have yet to be answered. And so I know that there will be following installments to this story. 

Let me point one thing out, though. When reading a Marian Tee book, I already expect to shed some (translation: a lot) tears. So going in Savage, Broken, Beautiful, I figured that I'd be crying for sure. To my surprise, this book is relatively lighter than other works of the same author. I mean sure there's some violence, but all-in-all, I found that it wasn't emotionally exhausting as her other novels. Does that make it less good? No. Do I expect more heart-wrenching moments when the second (and hopefully third) book comes out? Maybe. But only because I know Marian's not afraid to put her characters through shit to make the happily ever after so much more worth it. 

This was a great read and I would recommend it to others. I honestly can't wait for other surprises from the very talented author, Marian Tee. 

PURCHASE LINK:

Amazon

RATING: 



Shopping at Fully Booked: Pros and Cons

January 27, 2017

If you are a bookworm in the Philippines, then you must know of Fully Booked. It's that large bookstore that's at least three stories high, located in places like Alabang and Bonifacio Global City. 

I say "gigantic" with fondness because this place is truly a haven for book - and even comic book - lovers. But is Fully Booked really what it's hyped to be and should it be your go-to bookstore for all your literature needs? I'll be listing down the pros and cons of the place, and hopefully, by the end of this article, you can find the answer to these questions. 

PROS: 

They Have An Extensive Collection of ... Well, Everything


Whether you're looking for sci-fi novels, comic books, or classic literature, Fully Booked has them in store. This is a thing I enjoy, especially with their Classics section. Not a lot of bookshops in the country carry a lot of classics like works by Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, and many others. And not only are their written work available, but they also have them in different editions which are perfect for collectors. But if you're a comic book aficionado, you will enjoy their floor dedicated entirely to graphic novels and memorabilia. 

They Have Baskets/Trollies


If you think this is a shallow Pro, then obviously you haven't experienced carrying an armful of books around the store and to the cash register. This trolley can hold all your purchases and is easy to mount and dismount on the escalator so you can move from floor to floor with much ease. 

They Have More Than Just Books


Fully Booked has an entire floor dedicated to arts and crafts supplies, notebooks and other school essentials so you won't have to go to a separate store just to buy pens and papers. Oh, they also carry miniature figures. So if you collect these, you can probably get your hands on Harry Potter or Star Wars ones. 

You Can Read Inside


This is probably the biggest pro of all. I feel like a lot of people go to Fully Booked to pass the time, reading whatever they can get their hands on that day, but leave without actually buying anything. Don't worry; I'm not judging. In fact, good for you! I respect that you're making good use of your spare time. 

The establishment has about 8-16 chairs per floor, except for the ground one, to accommodate readers who just want to get lost for a few minutes. I don't know of any other bookstore that offers this privilege, so hats off to Fully Booked.

CONS:

Expensive


Most of you may not realize this, but their books are at least 10-15% more expensive than other bookstores. Unfortunately, I don't have pictures to show you. However, a quick trip to Fully Booked and National Bookstore can prove this. Or try looking at their websites to get a good feel of what I'm talking about. And speaking of their website...

Their Website


For a bookstore this size, you would think that browsing on their online shop would be a fun experience. But I found it to be completely underwhelming, to say the least. Their website probably doesn't even have 20% of the books they carry in their stores! I mean, I get that it's better to go to the actual store, to begin with, but purchasing online is a different thing altogether. Also, a store's website is usually a means to gauge if they have what you're looking for in the first place.

Crumpled Books


Probably one of the biggest pet peeve of bookworms. And unfortunately, you will find a good amount of books with either folded pages or torn covers put on shelves in Fully Booked. I guess this is one of the consequences of letting customers read anything anytime, and this is a loss to the store and not really to us, but it is still heartbreaking to see. Especially if that's the book you're looking for, and it's the only one in stock. Truly tragic. 

There we have it; the advantages and disadvantages of shopping in Fully Booked. Whether this side by side helped you determine if you want to spend your next book splurge here or not, I still recommend that you drop by, if you haven't yet, in one of their stores. If not to make a purchase, at least for the experience. I promise you; it'll probably be the closest you can get to bookworm heaven. 

Gifs from Giphy

Did this article help you at all? Yes, no, not sure, let me know what you think in the comments below. Or if you have any thoughts, opinions, and suggestions, please, I'll be happy to hear them.
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