Dystopia · Romance · Young Adult

Book Review: Holding Ground

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Title: Holding Ground: A Stephen Richard Novella

Author: Alice Rachel

Series: Under Ground # 2.5

Genre: Young Adult, Dystopia, Romance

ISBN: 9781539323471

Publishing Date: October 26, 2016

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Holding Ground: A Stephen Richards Novella

“My soul has deserted this ship and my heart has frozen over.
Everything that made me human is now gone.I am a monster.
This monster they’ve turned me into.
Out of all of them, Fox is the one I despise the most.
He’s a fool if he thinks I won’t make him pay the price for his sins.
He’s a fool if he believes I will ever forget.”
– Stephen Richards

Visit “Holding Ground: A Stephen Richards Novella” on Goodreads


Chi: A Short Story 2

The day Chi’s twin brother Stephen almost died from the West Nile virus was the day their relationship started to worsen. Unable to understand what could have caused such a change in Stephen’s behavior, Chi is forced to fight to try and bring back the brother he used to know. But is their relationship truly damaged beyond repair, or can Chi hope that his brother might still care about him somehow?

Visit “Chi: A Short Story 2” on Goodreads


Willow: A Short Story 2

Born illegally, Willow never stood a chance at a normal life.​
Meeting a boy and falling in love with him was apparently too good to be true as well because even that is dangerous and forbidden.
Because to be safe is to avoid life, apparently.

Visit “Willow: A Short Story 2” on Goodreads

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I want to thank Author Alice Rachel for sending me a copy of her book. This does not affect my review in anyway.


Holding Ground: A Stephen Richards Novella

I enjoyed reading Stephen’s point of view, again. I can say I understand him more after reading each novella. Most people would hate him if they have only read Under Ground (Book 1) but people should definitely read the novellas too because it gives you a different perception about the other characters. This novella gave a chance for Stephen to state his side and what he has gone through all this years. It pave way for readers like me to understand the reasons behind all his actions. I love how I can get to know Stephen in a different degree like how he is with his family, with Chi and especially when he is with Willow. Aside from that, we can even see how he is when he is confused or in pain.

I am also fond of how Stephen cares for Chi so much. From their childhood days up to now, he still wants nothing but the betterment of his brother. When they were only a child, he just wants Chi to be happy and not let his brother know what was really happening in their family. Now they got older, Stephen doesn’t want Chi to get hurt and he will sacrifice and do everything just to save Chi’s life. For that, I am so proud of Stephen because after all of the things that happened to him, he is still that loving brother everyone wants to have.

And because of all this things, Stephen was the character that I was most attached to. His character was really mysterious and puzzling. I salute the author, Alice Rachel, for giving Stephen a voice of his own. Thank you so much for that. I really do appreciate this novella.

Lastly, I just find that the writing style of Stephen’s first novella was better than this one but all in all, without comparing it to the first one, I enjoyed this novella and would keep recommending this series to anyone.

My Rating: 4/5

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Chi: A Short Story 2

This short story showed how Chi also cared for his brother, Stephen. We can see the developing relationship between Chi and Stephen as they grow up and how their relationship became distant from each other. We also get to see how Chi sometimes blame himself for being an unwanted and how he sometimes get jealous for not having what Stephen has. But still, Stephen was his brother and he cared for him too. We get to see how he tried fixing things in their family and help Stephen in many ways. Even though the characters can’t see this things for themselves. We, the readers, can definitely feel this connection between them. I just feel bad how he hates Stephen now for what happened between his brother and their parents. This story showed the process of how Chi became this way through time especially after everything that has happened to them.

This story does not only tackle Chi’s family but also about his relationship with Willow. We all know that Willow was engaged to Chi but I just don’t understand the connection between them and their scenes felt a bit short for me. I know Chi cared for Willow. But my question is to what extent? Did he care for her because he was engaged to her? Did he loved her? Is it because Willow was the only girl he was attached to back then?

My Rating: 3.5/5

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Willow: A Short Story 2

Through this short story, we got to know all the things Willow had gone through as an unwanted like how she gets jealous of her sister too and how her parents open up about their situation. I also got to know Willow well as a person and how unique she was from the other characters like how she loved art and animals and how sweet she was as a daughter and a lover. This short story also answered my question, “Why did she said yes to be engaged to Chi?” which was going through my mind since I knew about this arrangement. I just didn’t like how she faced the problem about the engagement. She knew Stephen would get mad and even insane especially because Chi was the guy Willow was going to marry. How could she just accept it? If you love someone, you’ll choose their happiness. She thought that it was for the best. But is it what Stephen wants? Did it made Stephen happy?

But still, I loved how this short story ended. It was full of feelings and emotions and I, myself, got carried away of what happened to Willow. In the end, she still loves Stephen and we got to see that she is still a human being who can make wrong decisions and get hurt by it.

My Rating: 4/5

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Don’t forget to get yourself a copy of this book. available in eBook and Paperback form. I also want you all to know that author pledges to donate 100% of sales revenue from “Holding Ground” to RAINN. So what are you waiting for? Go get yours now!

Link: Amazon / Barnes & Noble



Follow Me On:

Instagram | Goodreads

For book review request:

Email: hannabananareads@gmail.com

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