Stealing Snow

Stealing Snow

NETStealing Snow by Danielle Paige
Published by Bloomsbury Children’s
Ebook
Published 20 September 2016
380 pages
NetGalley

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I was given a review copy by the publisher via NetGalley and voluntarily reviewed it.

WHAT’S IT’S ABOUT 

Seventeen-year-old Snow lives within the walls of the Whittaker Institute, a high security mental hospital in upstate New York. Deep down, she knows she doesn’t belong there, but she has no memory of life outside, except for the strangest dreams. And then a mysterious, handsome man, an orderly in the hospital, opens a door – and Snow knows that she has to leave …

She finds herself in icy Algid, her true home, with witches, thieves, and a strangely alluring boy named Kai. As secret after secret is revealed, Snow discovers that she is on the run from a royal lineage she’s destined to inherit, a father more powerful and ruthless than she could have imagined, and choices of the heart that could change everything. Heroine or villain, queen or broken girl, frozen heart or true love, Snow must choose her fate …

A wonderfully icy fantastical romance, with a strong heroine choosing her own destiny, Danielle Paige’s irresistibly page-turning Snow Queen is like Maleficent and Frozen all grown up.

EXTRACT

First kisses sometimes wake slumbering princesses, undo spells, and spark happily ever afters.

WHAT I THOUGHT

I haven’t read Dorothy Must Die but have a couple of titles and they sound amazing. Unfortunately, this book was not, just some awful rip-off of Frozen and about a hundred other well-known fairy tales. I thought the book was awful. It has zero originality. Stealing Snow does have some good points, such as retelling parts of The Snow Queen which I love and there was a lot of action. My main issue is that none of this is put together very well. So much didn’t work and some plot elements were so ridiculous they annoyed me (Snow being locked up in an asylum for walking through a mirror for example). I really didn’t like Snow. Her sarcasm irritated me as did constantly repeating what we already knew like a million times. The world of Stealing Snow is just a blank sheet of paper, nothing was developed and the book could have been set anywhere. The book is choked with clichés and it just didn’t hold my interest at all. I also thought the book was quite nasty about people with mental illness as they people in the asylum were very bland and cartoonish. And don’t get me started on Snow having three love interests. Stealing Snow was awful. Read it at your pearl.

RATING

1 STAR

Clancy of the Undertow

Clancy of the Undertow

Clancy of the Undertow by Christopher Currie
Published by Text Publishing
Ebook
Published 16 November 2015
282 pages
NetGalley

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I was given a review copy by the publisher via NetGalley and voluntarily reviewed it.

WHAT’S IT’S ABOUT 

In a dead-end town like Barwen a girl has only got to be a little different to feel like a freak. And Clancy, a typical sixteen-year-old misfit with a moderately dysfunctional family, a genuine interest in Nature Club and a major crush on the local hot girl, is packing a capital F.

As the summer begins, Clancy’s dad is involved in a road smash that kills two local teenagers. While the family is dealing with the reaction of a hostile town, Clancy meets someone who could possibly—at last—become a friend. Not only that, the unattainable Sasha starts to show what may be a romantic interest.

In short, this is the summer when Clancy has to figure out who the hell she is.

EXTRACT 

She’s got this nearly chinless face, which isn’t as bad as it sounds because she’s European and her nose bends over in a poetic way.

WHAT I THOUGHT 

Clancy of the Undertow was okay but left me a bit cold. I liked the fact the main character was gay. I think this can be lacking in gay fiction and is one of the reasons I wanted to read the book. Clancy is a pretty decent character but nothing special. I thought her behaviour was a bit pathetic at times, especially when she becomes fixated on a straight girl who she stalks in the park with her boyfriend. A gay person falling for someone straight is a tired and old plot and I was hoping for something original. The book starts off well but starts to drag and I found myself getting bored. I got that Clancy was an outcast and struggling with a lot of things but I just didn’t find the plot compelling enough. Nice try though, and a thumbs up for tackling LGBT themes in YA fiction.

RATING

3 STAR RATING

This Impossible Light ARC

This Impossible Light ARC

NETThis Impossible Light by Lily Myers
Published by Philomel Books
Ebook
Expected publication 6 June 2017
346 pages
NetGalley

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I was given an ARC by the publisher via NetGalley and voluntarily reviewed it.

WHAT’S IT’S ABOUT

From the YouTube slam poetry star of “Shrinking Women” (more than 5 million views!) comes a novel in verse about body image, eating disorders, self-worth, mothers and daughters, and the psychological scars we inherit from our parents.

Sixteen-year-old Ivy’s world is in flux. Her dad has moved out, her mother is withdrawn, her brother is off at college, and her best friend, Anna, has grown distant. Worst of all, Ivy’s body won’t stop expanding. She’s getting taller and curvier, with no end in sight. Even her beloved math class offers no clear solution to the imbalanced equation that has become Ivy s life.

Everything feels off-kilter until a skipped meal leads to a boost in confidence and reminds Ivy that her life is her own. If Ivy can just limit what she eats the way her mother seems to she can stop herself from growing, focus on the upcoming math competition, and reclaim control of her life. But when her disordered eating leads to missed opportunities and a devastating health scare, Ivy realizes that she must weigh her mother’s issues against her own, and discover what it means to be a part of and apart from her family.  

This Impossible Light explores the powerful reality that identity and self-worth must be taught before they are learned. Perfect for fans of Laurie Halse Anderson and Ellen Hopkins.”

EXTRACT

Extract From My Mother

is made of the bones of birds
I look at her and hear the sound of twigs snapping
Next to her I am giant
clumsy
obtuse.

WHAT I THOUGHT 

I really enjoyed this novel in verse. I found Ivy’s voice and her story compelling. I enjoyed the way she desperately tries to seize control of one aspect of her life because everything else has fallen apart. Ivy is having a bad time following her parent’s divorce. Her mother is depressed and shutting herself away. Ivy’s world is suddenly unstable and she latches onto the one thing she can control – her eating. I liked the way the story progresses with Ivy’s eating disorder gradually having more and more serious repercussions. This Impossible Light is incredibly sad and moving at times. My only criticism is that the verse that makes up this novel felt a bit too simple at times and could have been deeper. Still, I was drawn in from page one and enjoyed every word. I’d recommend This Impossible Light.

RATING

4 STAR RATING

Thirteen Reasons Why

Thirteen Reasons Why

NETThirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Published by Penguin
Ebook
Published 16 September 2009
288 pages
NetGalley

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I was given a review copy by the publisher via NetGalley and voluntarily reviewed it.

WHAT’S IT’S ABOUT

You can’t stop the future.

You can’t rewind the past.

The only way to learn the secret is to press play.

Clay Jensen returns home to find a strange package with his name on it. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker – his classmate and first love – who committed suicide two weeks earlier.

Hannah’s voice explains there are thirteen reasons why she killed herself. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why.

All through the night, Clay keeps listening – and what he discovers changes his life… forever.

OPENING 

‘Sir’ she repeats. ‘How soon do you want it to get there?’

WHAT I THOUGHT 

I’ve wanted to read this book for a long time, years, in fact. I never got round to it. I watched the entire Netflix series in one day, which wrecked me and made me cry for two days. So when I saw this pop up on NetGalley I had to request it. Thirteen Reasons Why is one of the saddest, moving and most riveting YA books I’ve ever read. I loved it even thought I feel weird and uncomfortable about loving something so sad. As I’ve seen the show I kind of knew what to expect with this one, but as always, the book was much better. Netflix did a good job adapting it. I loved the way the book was structured, one chapter for each side of a tape, with Hannah’s words on the tape overlapping with Clay’s memories and experiences while listening to the tapes. This works really well. I was heart-broken for Hannah. I felt everyone on the tapes deserted to be there for being such horrible people. I also felt sorry for the people who hurt Hannah so much she took her own life. They weren’t monsters, well not everyone, they were people, who were thoughtless and stupid the way people can be, who had no idea what the consequences of their actions would be. Bulling is something very real and it happens to kids every day. I was bullied. Suicide is also something that happens far too often. Thirteen Reasons Why doesn’t have a good ending but it deals with something painfully real. This book will stay with me for a long time. You must read it.

RATING

5 STAR RATING

The Girl In The Steel Corset

The Girl In The Steel Corset

The Girl In The Steel Corset by Kady Cross
Published by MIRA Ink
Ebook
Published 1 January 2011
477 pages
Library book

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I read this for 2017 Popsugar Reading Challenge. The category is ‘a steampunk novel’.

WHAT’S IT’S ABOUT

In 1897 London, sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne has no one…except the thing inside her. When a young lord tries to take advantage of Finley, she fights back. And wins. But no normal Victorian girl has a darker side that makes her capable of knocking out a full-grown man with one punch. . . . Only Griffin King sees the magical darkness inside her that says she’s special, says she’s one of them. The orphaned duke takes her in from the gaslit streets against the wishes of his band of misfits: Emily, who has her own special abilities and an unrequited love for Sam, who is part robot; and Jasper, an American cowboy with a shadowy secret. Griffins investigating a criminal called The Machinist, the mastermind behind several recent crimes by automatons. Finley thinks she can help and finally be a part of something, finally fit in. But The Machinist wants to tear Griff’s little company of strays apart, and it isn’t long before trust is tested on all sides. At least Finley knows whose side she’s on even if it seems no one believes her.

EXTRACT

 London, The Age of Invention, late April 1897

‘You’re the very spawn of Satan and I’ll not have you darken this door ever again’.

WHAT I THOUGHT

I was going to say this was my first steampunk novel but that’s not true, I love The Lunar Chronicles. I thought The Girl in the Steel Corset was great. I was surprised that it was set in Victorian London and would have expected this kind of novel to be set in the future. But what do I know, eh? This novel has clearly been influenced by Frankenstein and I really enjoyed this take on it. It’s not the deepest and most profound novel I’ve ever read but it was a lot of fun. I enjoyed it and there’s nothing wrong with that. I plan to read the series and would recommend this book.

RATING

4 STAR RATING

A Song For Ella Grey

A Song For Ella Grey

A Song For Ella Grey by David Almond
Published by Hodder Children’s Books
Hardback
Published 2 October 2014
276 pages
Library book

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WHAT’S IT’S ABOUT

“I’m the one who’s left behind. I’m the one to tell the tale. I knew them both…knew how they lived and how they died.”

Claire is Ella Grey’s best friend. She’s there when the whirlwind arrives on the scene: catapulted into a North East landscape of gutted shipyards; of high arched bridges and ancient collapsed mines. She witnesses a love so dramatic it is as if her best friend has been captured and taken from her. But the loss of her friend to the arms of Orpheus is nothing compared to the loss she feels when Ella is taken from the world. This is her story – as she bears witness to a love so complete; so sure, that not even death can prove final.

OPENING 

I’m the one who’s left behind. I’m the one to tell the story. I knew them both, knew how they lived and how they died. It didn’t happen long ago. I’m young, like them. Like them? Can’t that be possible? Can you be both young and dead? I don’t have to think of that. I need to cast the story out and live my life. I’ll tell it fast and true and get it gone, right now, while darkness deepens over the icy North and the bitter stars shine down. I’ll finish it by morning.

WHAT I THOUGHT 

This is my first time reading the author. I have his book, My Name Is Mina, unread on my Kindle.

I thought A Song for Ella Grey was fantastic. This is one of those rare, magical books that reaches right inside your heart and squeezes so hard you can’t breathe. Is Orpheus just a boy, a beautiful boy with a talent for singing and charm or is he a creature from myth? Apparently this book is a retelling of the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. I didn’t know this when I read it though it makes perfect sense given the descriptions of Orpheus and his talents and his quest to find his love, Ella. I’ve heard of Orpheus and Eurydice but never knew the whole story which meant I could enjoy A Song for Ella Grey on its own merit and not as a retelling. This book is beautifully written and I enjoyed every page. I loved the section where Orpheus journeys into death. The pages at this point are black and the text is printed in white. This shouldn’t really work but does. A Song for Ella Grey is amazing and I would recommend it.

RATING

5 STAR RATING

Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone ILLUSTRATED EDITION

Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone ILLUSTRATED EDITION

Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone ILLUSTRATED EDITION by J K Rowling
Published by Bloomsbury
Hardback
Published 6 October 2015
248 pages
Owned

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I read this for 2017 Popsugar Reading Challenge. The category is ‘a book that you’ve read before that never fails to make you smile’.  

WHAT’S IT’S ABOUT

Prepare to be spellbound by Jim Kay’s dazzling depiction of the wizarding world and much loved characters in this full-colour illustrated hardback edition of the nation’s favourite children’s book – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Brimming with rich detail and humour that perfectly complements J.K. Rowling’s timeless classic, Jim Kay’s glorious illustrations will captivate fans and new readers alike.

When a letter arrives for unhappy but ordinary Harry Potter, a decade-old secret is revealed to him that apparently he’s the last to know. His parents were wizards, killed by a Dark Lord’s curse when Harry was just a baby, and which he somehow survived. Leaving his unsympathetic aunt and uncle for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry stumbles upon a sinister mystery when he finds a three-headed dog guarding a room on the third floor. Then he hears of a missing stone with astonishing powers, which could be valuable, dangerous – or both. An incredible adventure is about to begin!

EXTRACT  

Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the last people you’d expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they just didn’t hold with such nonsense.

WHAT I THOUGHT

I’ve read Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone at least ten times. This is my first time reading the illustrated edition. A word about the illustration edition; the illustrations are lush and gorgeous, and bring Harry’s first adventure to life. This book was a pleasure to read. As for the book itself, I am an uber-fan of Harry Potter. I’ve read the books at least ten times each and seen the DVD’s as many times. The Philosopher’s Stone has a special place in my heart as it was the first time Harry, Ron and Hermione have an adventure. I love this book. It’s easily at the top of my list of all-time favourites. There are so many moments that I love in this book; Harry finding out about Hogwarts, the midnight duel with Malfoy, Hagrid’s dragon, the trip to the Forbidden Forrest, solving the puzzles to reach the stone and a million other things. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is easily one of the best books ever written.

RATING

5 STAR RATING