Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Review: Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige

About the Book

Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige
Published by Bloomsbury USA Children on September 20, 2016

GoodReads Description

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

Mine broke Bale.


Seventeen-year-old Snow has spent her life locked in Whittaker Psychiatric—but she isn’t crazy. And that’s not the worst of it. Her very first kiss proves anything but innocent…when Bale, her only love, turns violent.

Despite Snow knowing that Bale would never truly hurt her, he is taken away—dashing her last hope for any sort of future in the mental ward she calls home. With nowhere else to turn, Snow finds herself drawn to a strange new orderly who whispers secrets in the night about a mysterious past and a kingdom that’s hers for the taking—if only she can find her way past the iron gates to the Tree that has been haunting her dreams.

Beyond the Tree lies Algid, a land far away from the real world, frozen by a ruthless king. And there too await the River Witch, a village boy named Kai, the charming thief Jagger, and a prophecy that Snow will save them all.

My Thoughts

I really wanted to love this book.  I was so surprised that I didn't!  After all, many of my favorite books are fairy tale retellings and I had heard so many good things about this retelling of The Snow Queen.  As you will see below, there were plenty of things that I liked about it.  Unfortunately, however, the things that I didn't like outweighed the things that I did like.


What I Liked

  • I was drawn to this novel by its interesting premise.  I couldn't wait to see what Paige changed or didn't change from the original fairy tale.  Although elements of the original tale were definitely evident, there were not enough of these elements to feel like I was reading a true retelling.  However, I did like the elements that were presented because I felt like I was revisiting an old friend, The Snow Queen.
  • The cover is absolutely GORGEOUS! Even though I didn't like this very much, I may keep my copy around just to keep my shelf looking nice! 
  • There was never a dull moment in this novel.  It was constant action and I never found myself getting overwhelmed or lost in the action.  After all, it kept me interested and held my attention.  I simply needed to know what happened next!

What I Didn't Like As Much

  • I truly believe that Paige forgot to do any form of world-building for this novel.  Perhaps she had the idea of Algid so firmly in mind that she felt she didn't need to introduce it to her audience because they were as familiar with it as she was.  For me, this presented a huge problem as I was thrown into a foreign world with no form of map.  This made the plot much more difficult to understand and left the novel feeling lackluster.
  • This novel was definitely too short for all that Paige tried to put into it.  This means that although she introduces several wonderful ideas and subplots, none of them are fully developed.  Most readers, myself included, want to see these things become developed!  This was beyond frustrating for me, especially as the world surrounding these events was not built either.  In the end, this novel was a confusing pile of places and people that I wanted to know better.
  • What the heck happened at the end?  I have no idea why Snow goes to the place she chooses to go. I have no idea why she is so upset with another character that she knew was a liar the entire freaking time.  
Overall, I was disappointed with this novel.  I had wanted to see so much more, but it just wasn't there.  The sequel is set to be released in October 2020 and I must decide if I will read it or just let it fall to the wayside.  Part of me is curious to see how her writing has developed in the years between novels.  The other part does not want to be disappointed again.

Notable Quote

And maybe, just maybe, it didn't matter how you looked going into battle.  It just mattered that you went.

My Rating


Sunday, February 9, 2020

DNF Chronicles #1: Searoad by Ursula K. LeGuin

About the Book

Published January 27, 2004 by Shambhala

GoodReads Description

In one of her most deeply felt works of fiction, Le Guin explores the dreams and sorrows of the inhabitants of Klatsand, Oregon, a beach town where ordinary people bring their dreams and sorrows for a weekend or the rest of their lives, and sometimes learn to read what the sea writes on the sand. Searoad is the story of a particular place that could be any place, and of a people so distinctly drawn they could be any of us.

I did not Finish this Book because...

I simply did not care about any of the characters in the first two character sketches.  I truly wanted to like this book because I know that LeGuin is a famous author that many of my favorite writers truly adore.  Instead of adoring her work, I found myself dreading sitting down to read about characters that I had no reason to care about.  This piece was written without a plot in mind, so I knew that I would not see any long lasting character growth. 

In the Future...

I may choose to try this book again after reading some of LeGuin's more famous novels.  As I have never read any of her work before trying Searoad, I wonder if my opinion may change when I am more familiar with her work and her style.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Review: This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

About the Book

This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on January 5, 2016

GoodReads Description

10:00 a.m. The principal of Opportunity High School finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m. The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03 a.m. The auditorium doors won't open.

10:05 a.m. Someone starts shooting.

Told from four different perspectives over the span of fifty-four harrowing minutes, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

My Thoughts

This is Where it Ends was recommended to me by a paraprofessional at my school.  I was surprised that she was so willing to lend it to me as she was in the middle of it herself.  As a result, I read it as quickly as possible so that I could let her get back to her reading.  Reviewing this book proved difficult because I have an opinion of it as a regular person and a different opinion of it as a teacher.  Therefore, I decided that I should use this review as a way to combine those two opinions.

What I Liked

  • The characters in this novel were very well developed.  Of them, my favorite two were Autumn and Claire.  Both of these girls knew the shooter rather intimately and yet had very different opinions of what happened.  While they both agreed that they were scared and that there was senseless violence occurring, both were affected in very strong ways by the very same person.  This definitely demonstrates the massive impacts that one person can have on the lives of several.
  • Although I had two favorite characters, I loved that Nijkamp chose to write from the points of view of several characters.  Because of this, I felt that Nijkamp did a wonderful job of showing how the actions of one person can change the lives of so many others. 

What I Didn't Like As Much

  • In my opinion, and apparently a few people on GoodReads as well, Tyler's character fell flat.  He was supposed to be this very conflicted and troubled young man.  Instead, he was portrayed as simply "evil" or "bad."  While I will agree that his actions were unthinkable, I have a hard time accepting the black and white thinking involved in this scenario.  By the time the majority of school shootings take place, the perpetrator has demonstrated behaviors that show he/she needs help.  This could be for a variety of reasons such as mental health issues or family troubles.  As long as the general public and authors such as Nijkamp perpetuate the ideology that all school shooters do it because they are evil, it becomes increasingly difficult for these students to get the help they need before the shooting or other attack occurs.

My Rating



Let's Chat

Do you think that this book should go into my classroom library?  Would you put a similar book in your classroom?  Explain your answer in the comments below!