Book Review: Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust

Book Review: Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa BashardoustGirls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust
Published by Flatiron Books on September 5th 2017
Pages: 384
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Frozen meets The Bloody Chamber in this feminist fantasy reimagining of the Snow White fairytale

At sixteen, Mina's mother is dead, her magician father is vicious, and her silent heart has never beat with love for anyone—has never beat at all, in fact, but she’d always thought that fact normal. She never guessed that her father cut out her heart and replaced it with one of glass. When she moves to Whitespring Castle and sees its king for the first time, Mina forms a plan: win the king’s heart with her beauty, become queen, and finally know love. The only catch is that she’ll have to become a stepmother.

Fifteen-year-old Lynet looks just like her late mother, and one day she discovers why: a magician created her out of snow in the dead queen’s image, at her father’s order. But despite being the dead queen made flesh, Lynet would rather be like her fierce and regal stepmother, Mina. She gets her wish when her father makes Lynet queen of the southern territories, displacing Mina. Now Mina is starting to look at Lynet with something like hatred, and Lynet must decide what to do—and who to be—to win back the only mother she’s ever known…or else defeat her once and for all.

Entwining the stories of both Lynet and Mina in the past and present, Girls Made of Snow and Glass traces the relationship of two young women doomed to be rivals from the start. Only one can win all, while the other must lose everything—unless both can find a way to reshape themselves and their story.

My Review: 

Girls Made of Snow and Glass is an enchanting and unique take on the tale of Snow White. This character driven story mainly focuses on two young women. The first is Mina, who thanks to her magician father has a heart made of glass. Because of this, Mina is unable to love or feel for others, causing her to focus instead on obtaining power. Eventually she finally succeeds in her quest by marrying a widowed King, who has a young daughter named Lynet. Little does Mina know at the time, that her own father takes part in Lynet’s creation by making her out of snow upon the request of the king in the exact image of his dead wife. At first this is not a problem, but as Lynet grows up Mina starts to feel she could lose her power and position in court to Lynet.

Melissa Bashardoust does a brilliant job when it comes to creating and developing her characters. Mina believes that the ability to love will forever elude her. She pushes everyone away, but is desperately lonely and wanting of love. As the reader, you can’t help but feel a bit of compassion towards her, and even understanding. Though you still have concerns about her obsession with power and how calculating her mind can be.

Lynet has been living under the constant shadow of her dead mother. Even her own father is creepily obsessed with how much she looks like his departed wife. Lynet struggles to find her own identity, and takes dangerous risks to prove she isn’t a fragile delicate thing. Even so, Lynet is left wondering if she’ll ever be free of her mother’s ghost. As well as how she can be her own person without betraying Mina – the only mother she has ever known.

What I love the most about Girls Made of Snow and Glass is that the author does not follow all the core concepts of the original Snow White. This tale isn’t about an aging, bitter queen hating on the beautiful young princess.  Their relationship is complex, like most mother/daughter relationships are. In the end they do work together to help one another, which isn’t what I was expecting. However, I'm happy that the author pushed away from the usual path most retellings take, and created something completely her own.

Aside from the wonderful character development, there are also some deeper and difficult themes that this novel addresses. From perceived gender roles, the relationship of Lynet and her father, and the complex relationship of a mother and daughter. All of which I am sure will make fantastic topics for discussion at any book club, or reading group.

While the world building needed more development and various plot points were not fully explained (i.e. Why/how Mina controls the Southern territories? ), I am still very much in love with what Melissa Bashardoust created within these pages (I want more!!!). It was refreshing to read a story that had such two very different, yet strong female points of view. Though the first half is on the “slower” side, it is necessary in order to give the reader the background needed for both characters, and to further their development.

Girls Made of Snow and Glass is a beautifully delicate and inventive snow-covered retelling that perfectly merges together the traditional Snow White with something delightfully new and unexpected. I would highly recommend it to all lovers of fairy tales, magic and femine empowerment.

Thank you to the Flatiron Books for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

 

Pre-Order Incentive:

Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust goes on sale Sept 5th, 2017, click here to find out about the sparkly gift you can receive if you preorder this magical book.

four-half-stars

Sisterhood of the Traveling ARC: Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco

Welcome to the Sisterhood of the Traveling ARC, a feature started by Elizabeth from Tea and A Tantrum, Nicole from Nicole’s Novel Reads) and myself. We have been loyal fans of Ms. Kerri Maniscalco since she first debuted her novel Stalking Jack the Ripper. It is actually the first ARC we featured when we started the Sisterhood of the Traveling ARC (you can read our reviews here).

We thought it only fitting to now give our thoughts and attention to Kerri Maniscalco’s latest novel Hunting Prince Dracula. Make sure to check out our reviews and come back next month for when the official blog tour for the book begins (I will be doing a feature on costume ideas for trick or treating as Audrey Rose and Thomas).

Title: Stalking Jack the Ripper
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson
Publication date: September 19, 2017
Pages: 448
Source/format: Publisher/ARC

AMAZON

GOODREADS

 

 

 

Hunting Prince Dracula is everything I hoped for and more. Kerri Maniscalco once again conjures up an atmospheric and eerie tale full of blood and murder. Starting right up where Stalking Jack the Ripper left of, the two main characters Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell find themselves on the Orient Express on their way to study at the Academy of Forensic Medicine and Science in Romania. However, when a “vampiric-styled” murder occurs on their train, things are set in motion that will ultimately lead our duo to go on the hunt for Prince Dracula.

One of the many aspects of Kerri’s writing that I love is her attention to detail. She clearly puts a lot of research and time into creating her setting, plot, characters and timeline. I am in awe at how flawlessly she recreates travel on the Orient Express train, and the beauty of the Romanian countryside. As the reader, I felt completely immersed in the story.

Another one of my favorite things about Kerri’s books is her characters. We get a whole new array of interesting characters in Hunting Prince Dracula, and even “meet” Thomas’s sister. However, no other character will hold a place in my heart like Audrey Rose and Thomas do. I love their witty banter, and flirting. I am glad to see their relationship blossoming in Hunting Prince Dracula.

Unlike Stalking Jack the Ripper, I had a much harder time figuring out who the murderer turns out to be in Hunting Prince Dracula. The constant suspense in the story kept me guessing and on the edge of my seat. My favorite scenes are of Audrey Rose and Thomas stalking the bowels of the castle in search for clues. I found it very funny, and endearing that both Audrey Rose and Thomas share a fear of spiders.

When the reveal finally comes at the end, I was utterly surprised and thrilled. I absolutely love how Kerri sealed it all up nice and bloody. I am still in shock, but it is PERFECT and my dark little heart loved it.

Overall, Hunting Prince Dracula is delightfully full of atmosphere, beautiful scenery, lots of Audrey/Thomas moments and a thrilling ending. Hunting Prince Dracula is a definite MUST READ for all lovers of mystery and suspense.

Now to eagerly await the next installment, and daydream about where Audrey Rose and Thomas will go next, and who they might encounter.

** I received a copy of HUNTING PRINCE DRACULA from the publisher, in return for an honest review and to be featured on The Sisterhood of the Traveling Arc. **

Because You Love to Hate Me Blog Tour: Marissa Meyer and Zoë Herdt (Excerpt+Mini Review+Giveaway)

by Marissa Meyer
Published by Bloomsbury Genres: Adventure, Fairy Tale Retelling, Fantasy, Magic, Retelling, Young Adult

Welcome to the Because You Love to Hate Me blog tour! Today is my stop on the tour and I am super excited to share with you an excerpt of Marissa Meyer’s story The Sea Witch (story promoting by booktuber Zoë Herdt). Make sure to check out the giveaway at the end of this post for your chance to win your  very own copy of Because You Love to Hate Me and also to view the other stops on the tour (each featuring a different story/author).

Title: Because You Love to Hate Me: 13 Tales of Villainy
Edited by: Ameriie
Authors: Renee AhdiehSoman ChainaniSusan DennardSarah EnniMarissa MeyerCindy PonVictoria SchwabSamantha ShannonAdam SilveraAndrew SmithApril Genevieve TucholkeNicola YoonSasha AlsbergBenjamin AldersonWhitney AtkinsonTina BurkeCatriona FeeneyZoë HerdtSamantha LaneSophia LeeRaeleen LemayRegan PerusseChristine RiccioSteph SinclairJesse GeorgeKat O’Keeffe
Pub. Date: July 11, 2017
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Pages: 320
Find it: AmazonBarnes & NobleBook DepositoryIndieBound
 

SYNOPSIS:

Leave it to the heroes to save the world–villains just want to rule the world.

In this unique YA anthology, thirteen acclaimed, bestselling authors team up with thirteen influential BookTubers to reimagine fairy tales from the oft-misunderstood villains’ points of view.

These fractured, unconventional spins on classics like “Medusa,” Sherlock Holmes, and “Jack and the Beanstalk” provide a behind-the-curtain look at villains’ acts of vengeance, defiance, and rage–and the pain, heartbreak, and sorrow that spurned them on. No fairy tale will ever seem quite the same again!

 

EXCERPT : The Sea Witch by Marissa Meyer / Zoë Herdt:

The razor-sharp barnacles clawed at my fingertips as I strained to wrench them free of the rotting wood. I cursed them repeatedly as I worked, not having known the depths of my hatred for barnacles until this moment. Vicious, stubborn little parasites. Vile, thankless cadgers.

It wasn’t long before I was also cursing my own feeble muscles and long, ink-black hair that wouldn’t stop swimming in front of my face and obscuring my vision. Another barnacle sliced into my palm and I let out a scream of frustration. Grabbing the whale-bone knife from my sack, I lifted the blade over my shoulder with every intention of hacking the nasty creatures to pieces, but I resisted the temptation long enough for the fury to pass. My heart was still thumping, but reason began to return. I needed the barnacles intact or this wouldn’t work. I needed them whole.

I drew in a mouthful of salt water, swished it angrily around my cheeks, then forced it out through my teeth. My tail flicked against the side of the long-drowned ship, making a hollow drumming sound that matched my pulse. Eyeing the barnacles, I resolved that I would not be deterred. They were the last ingredient I needed, and I would have them, no matter if they left my fingertips shredded and scarred. After all, what was this temporary pain to a lifetime of bliss?

Shoving my drifting hair out of my face, I returned to my work, digging the point of the dagger around the barnacles’ edges. I leveraged it against the wood, prying and grunting. The wood began to crumble and I grasped the edge of a waterlogged plank and pulled hard, bracing my tail against the ship’s side. It creaked and groaned and finally released, just as a particularly cruel barnacle sliced through the pad of my thumb. I yanked my hand away with a snarl. Blood blossomed like pearls on my skin before dispersing in the dark water.

“That’s it,” I growled, stabbing at the traitorous barnacle. With a pop, it dislodged and sank down toward the ocean floor. It wasn’t as satisfying a death as I would have hoped, but no matter. I had what I’d come for.

Opening the sack that bobbed on my shoulder, I stashed the splintered plank of barnacle-infested wood inside. Twenty live barnacles, the spell demanded. I had twice that, but I wanted to be sure I had plenty, in case something went wrong and I had to start over. I’d never tried such a complicated spell before, nor had I ever so badly wanted one to work. Needed one to work.

That left only one more ingredient to gather: three silver scales taken from the tail of the merman I wished to fall in love with me.

I still wasn’t sure how I would get close enough to Prince Lorindel to cut three scales from his tail, but the royal concert was tonight and he was sure to be there. Surrounded by his horrid entourage, no doubt, but they couldn’t spend the entire evening at his side. And I only had to get close enough for a moment.

Three scales. Three insignificant little scales, and by this time tomorrow, Lorindel would be mine.

 

MINI-REVIEW for The Sea Witch:

The Sea Witch written by Marissa Meyer (prompted by booktuber Zoë Herdt) is perfection. I wanted it to be a whole book and not just a few short pages. From the first sentence you are completely drawn in by Marissa Meyer’s descriptive and lively writing. I love the Little Mermaid story, and it was fascinating to read the story through the “sea witch’s” eyes.

Re-imagining such a famous and popular fairy tale while making it completely new must have been quite a challenge, but Marissa Meyer does this beautifully. While reading it, I could see/imagine where some of her inspiration came from be it folklore, myth, or even Disney. Yet, the tale remained entirely her own. As did the very distinctive voice of the “Sea Witch” herself.  

I highly recommend picking up this wonderful anthology of  re-imagined fairy tales through  the eyes of the “villains”. Expect the unexpected, and beware of potentially “falling” for the villains/changing your loyalties. 

 

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY:

Enter to win a copy of Because You Love to Hate Me! The novel will be sent by the publisher. Best of Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

FOLLOW THE TOUR:

Thank you to Bloomsbury Books for providing me with an advance peek at this fantastic anthology.  As well as for sending me a gorgeous finished copy in return for my participation in the tour/review.

#VILLAINISBAE

Blog Tour: Knife’s Edge by Hope Larson, Illustrations by Rebecca Mock

Genres: Adventure, Graphic Novel, Middle Grade

Welcome to the Knife’s Edge Blog Tour! Today is my stop on the tour and I am so excited to share with you my thoughts on this exciting and fun duet series. (You can follow the whole blog tour here).

 

Knife’s Edge
by Hope Larson
Illustrations by Rebecca Mock
Read: June 4-5, 2017
Published: June 27, 2017 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Source: Finished copy from publisher (Thank You!)
Category: Middle Grade, Graphic Novel, Historical Fiction, Twins, Adventure, Ships
Series: Sequel to Compass SouthFour Points Duet 2/2
Find: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Indiebound

 

Book Description: Twelve-year-old twin adventurers Cleopatra and Alexandra Dodge are reunited with their father and realize that two family heirlooms reveal the location of a treasure that is their birthright. When they set sail with Captain Tarboro on the Almira, they know they’re heading into danger—the ocean is filled with new and old enemies, including their nemesis, the infamous pirate Felix Worley.

But like a coral reef that lurks below the surface of the waves, trouble is brewing between the siblings. Alex is determined to become a sailor and is happy with his role aboard the Almira, but Cleo—the only girl on the ship—is tired of washing dishes in the galley. In an effort to find her own purpose, she begins studying sword fighting with Tarboro, but neither Alex nor her father approves.

Can the twins remain close as they pursue different goals and dreams, or will their growing differences tear the family apart before the treasure can be found?


In this follow-up to the New York Times bestselling Compass South, Hope Larson and Rebecca Mock once again create an outstanding seafaring adventure.

 

My Review:

After reading Compass South, I couldn’t wait to continue on the journey with Alex and Cleo in Knife’s Edge.  I would recommend reading Compass South before diving into Knife’s Edge, only because it will give you a fuller reading experience to know the background story. Between Hope Larson’s engaging narrative/dialogue and Rebecca Mock’s beautiful and detailed illustrations the story truly came to life.

In Knife’s Edge, twelve-year-old twins, Alex and Cleo, along with the help of family heirlooms and the crew of the Almira set sail on another thrilling adventure in search of lost treasure. Upon setting sail with Captain Tarboro, they know they are heading to danger, as their nemesis pirate Felix Worley is also on the hunt for the same treasure.

 You can’t help but cheer on for our two heroes, Alex and Cleo, as they use their wits, cleverness and family heirlooms to solve the riddles and puzzles throughout their journey.

If danger and peril weren’t enough to worry about, the twins must also overcome their “growing pains”, as for the first time in their lives, it becomes clear to them that they’re different genders will cause them to be at odds with one another.

Alex is ready to take up the life of a sailor, but Cleo struggles to find a place for herself in a mainly male dominated world. I am glad the author did not shy away from putting some sibling tension in her story, as it made the characters seem more realistic.

The underlying theme of “finding oneself” and “identity” is subtle but comes off loud and clear.  I enjoyed the parallel between the twins seeking treasure while at the same time  “seeking” themselves and their own way in the world.

Reading graphic novels is a relatively new to me. I am so very glad I decided to start reading them on a more regular basis. Knife’s Edge had a little bit of everything, from pirates, to family drama, adventure, danger, and even a little bit of (innocent) romance too.

Readers of all ages should enjoy this quick, fun read. Everyone should be able to relate to the theme of “finding yourself and your place in the world”.  I highly recommend both Compass South and Knife’s Edge for middle grade readers and anyone who loves pirates and adventure books.

 


 

 

Follow the Tour: 

6/26 — Love Is Not a Triangle
6/27 — Here’s to Happy Endings
6/28 — Never 2 Many 2 Read
6/29 — Librarian’s Quest
6/30 — The Windy Pages
7/3 — The Plot Bunny
7/4 — Undeniably Book Nerdy
7/5 — The Novel Hermit
7/6 — The Hiding Spot

Book Blitz: The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss

I am really excited about Theodora Goss’s upcoming new book called The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter. It is loosely based on the literary classic of Jekyll and Hyde and I honestly can’t wait to read it. I love the description of this book (and just look at that GORGEOUS cover!!!), which made me add it to my pre-order list instantly. Plus, if you haven’t read anything by Theodora Goss yet, I highly recommend you do. Her writing and stories are absolutely brilliant. Make sure to check back in a few weeks, as I will be reviewing The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter and gushing about everything I LOVED about it.

 

 

Title: The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter

Author: Theodora Goss

Series: Stand Alone

Publisher: Saga Press

Publication Date: June 20, 2017

Source: Publisher

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

 

 

 

ABOUT THE STRANGE CASE OF THE ALCHEMIST’S DAUGHTER:

How do I explain how amazing this book is? TSCotAD features found families, monster girls, snarky meta, and Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson all wrapped up in an incredible Victorian Era bow. Brianna took this book to London with her and devoured it. Hopefully you’ll love it just as much as she does!

Based on some of literature’s horror and science fiction classics, this is the story of a remarkable group of women who come together to solve the mystery of a series of gruesome murders—and the bigger mystery of their own origins.

Mary Jekyll, alone and penniless following her parents’ death, is curious about the secrets of her father’s mysterious past. One clue in particular hints that Edward Hyde, her father’s former friend and a murderer, may be nearby, and there is a reward for information leading to his capture…a reward that would solve all of her immediate financial woes.

But her hunt leads her to Hyde’s daughter, Diana, a feral child left to be raised by nuns. With the assistance of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Mary continues her search for the elusive Hyde, and soon befriends more women, all of whom have been created through terrifying experimentation: Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherin Moreau, and Justine Frankenstein.

When their investigations lead them to the discovery of a secret society of immoral and power-crazed scientists, the horrors of their past return. Now it is up to the monsters to finally triumph over the monstrous.

LINKS: Amazon | B&N

ABOUT THEODORA GOSS:

Theodora Goss’s publications include the short story collection In the Forest of Forgetting (2006); Interfictions (2007), a short story anthology coedited with Delia Sherman; Voices from Fairyland (2008), a poetry anthology with critical essays and a selection of her own poems; and The Thorn and the Blossom (2012), a two-sided novella in an accordion format. She has been a finalist for the Nebula, Crawford, Locus, and Mythopoeic Awards, and on the Tiptree Award Honor List. She has won the World Fantasy and Rhysling Awards.

LINKS: Website | Twitter