Review: Cold as Ice (Whatever After #6)

Title: Cold as Ice (Whatever After #6)
Author: Sarah Mlynowski
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Source: Borrowed from a friend
Format: Paperback
Release Date: November 25, 2014
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Brrrrrrrr. This fairy tale is FREEZING!

Even though my brother and I had decided to stay away from the magic mirror, our puppy had other plans — he bounded right in. What choice did we have but to go in after him? 

When we land in a winter wonderland, we realize we must be in the story of The Snow Queen. And this fairy tale is nothing like the movie. This Snow Queen is super-mean, and she turns our dog into an ice sculpture!

To get home we’ll have to: 
– Defrost our furry friend
– Ride a very chatty reindeer
– Learn to ice-skate
– Escape from a band of robbers

And if we’re not careful . . . we could end up frozen ourselves!

Review:

I really love this series! This chilly story was a great book.

I’ve never read the tale of the Snow Queen, so this story was new to me. I’ve watched Frozen, but the fairytales that Abby and Jonah enter are the original tales, not the Disney versions. This story is a dark tale, so Abby and Jonah had to try to turn it into a happy ending.

There were some big surprises at the end of this story. Abby and Jonah’s secret of the mirror was almost discovered by their parents, but at the last minute their minds were wiped. Another important memory was altered as well, so I have no idea how it will play out in the rest of the series!

As always, I can’t wait to continue the rest of this series. It is a great collection of fairytale retellings.

What to read next:

Beauty Queen (Whatever After #7) by Sarah Mlynowski

Flunked (Fairy Tale Reform School #1) by Jen Calonita

Have you read Cold as Ice? What did you think of it?

Review: The Devouring Gray

Title: The Devouring Gray
Author: Christine Lynn Herman
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Source: Indigo Summer Preview
Format: Paperback
Release Date: April 2, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

On the edge of town a beast haunts the woods, trapped in the Gray, its bonds loosening…

Uprooted from the city, Violet Saunders doesn’t have much hope of fitting in at her new school in Four Paths, a town almost buried in the woodlands of rural New York. The fact that she’s descended from one of the town’s founders doesn’t help much, either—her new neighbours treat her with distant respect, and something very like fear. When she meets Justin, May, Isaac, and Harper, all children of founder families, and sees the otherworldly destruction they can wreak, she starts to wonder if the townsfolk are right to be afraid.

When bodies start to appear in the woods, the locals become downright hostile. Can the teenagers solve the mystery of Four Paths, and their own part in it, before another calamity strikes?

Review:

I loved this book! It’s spooky and suspenseful.

This story has been compared to The Raven Cycle and Stranger Things, and I was definitely reminded of both of those series while reading it. In this story, there is a place in the woods called the Gray. It is like an alternate version of the forest where time feels different. The Gray holds a beast that kills people in the town, so the founding families use their special powers to defend the town. This reminded me of the Upside Down in Stranger Things, which is also like an alternate version of their town.

This town felt like a real place because of all of the history it had. There were four founding families, each of which has their own special power, including seeing the future and bringing stone to life. There was so much history of the town that it seemed like a real place, though it would be a creepy town if it were real.

The characters were also well developed. They had intense histories, including losing family members. The three main characters have to do rituals to get their powers, if they have them. If they don’t have powers, the town looks down on them. The narrative alternated between the perspectives of Justin, Violet, and Harper. They are each in a different position in terms of their relation to the town and the Gray, so they have very different perspectives of the town.

I really enjoyed this story. The ending was open ended, so I’m curious to see what happens in the rest of the series.

What to read next:

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater

Stranger Things: Worlds Turned Upside Down by Gina McIntyre

Have you read The Devouring Gray? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour Review: Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy #1)

Title: Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy #1)
Author: Emily A. Duncan
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: April 2, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.

A prince in danger must decide who to trust.

A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings. 

Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.

In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light. Wicked Saints is the thrilling start to Emily A. Duncan’s devastatingly Gothic Something Dark and Holy trilogy.. 

Review:

This book definitely lived up to the hype. It had lots of emotional ups and downs. I loved it.

While I was reading it, I kept thinking of the Shadow and Bone trilogy by Leigh Bardugo. They both have a strong presence of saints in the world. There are monsters masquerading as humans in both worlds. Also, the main character has special powers that she is just learning how to use to the fullest.

I became so emotionally invested in the story by the end. Some characters were not who they appeared to be at first, so I didn’t know who to trust. I loved that both Nadya and Serefin had separate narratives, so two sides of the story were told.

The final scenes were some of the most intense scenes I’ve ever read. There was tons of action and there were revelations that I wasn’t expecting. I never could have guessed how the story ended!

I loved this book. I’m excited to see what happens in the rest of the series!

What to read next:

Shadow and Bone (Shadow and Bone Trilogy #1) by Leigh Bardugo

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

About the Author:

EMILY A. DUNCAN works as a youth services librarian. She received a Master’s degree in library science from Kent State University, which mostly taught her how to find obscure Slavic folklore texts through interlibrary loan systems. When not reading or writing, she enjoys playing copious amounts of video games and dungeons and dragons. Wicked Saints is her first book. She lives in Ohio.

Author Links:

Website: https://eaduncan.com/
Twitter: @glitzandshadows
Instagram: @glitzandshadows
Tumblr: http://glitzandshadows.tumblr.com/

Buy the book:

https://static.macmillan.com/static/smp/wicked-saints/

Thank you to Wednesday Books for letting me participate in this blog tour.

Review: The Last Namsara (Iskari #1)

Title: The Last Namsara (Iskari #1)
Author: Kristen Ciccarelli
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Purchased
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: October 3, 2017
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

In the beginning, there was the Namsara: the child of sky and spirit, who carried love and laughter wherever he went. But where there is light, there must be darkness—and so there was also the Iskari. The child of blood and moonlight. The destroyer. The death-bringer.

These are the legends that Asha, daughter of the king of Firgaard, has grown up learning in hushed whispers, drawn to the forbidden figures of the past. But it isn’t until she becomes the fiercest, most feared dragon slayer in the land that she takes on the role of the next Iskari—a lonely destiny that leaves her feeling more like a weapon than a girl.

Asha conquers each dragon and brings its head to the king, but no kill can free her from the shackles that await at home: her betrothal to the cruel commandant, a man who holds the truth about her nature in his palm. When she’s offered the chance to gain her freedom in exchange for the life of the most powerful dragon in Firgaard, she finds that there may be more truth to the ancient stories than she ever could have expected. With the help of a secret friend—a slave boy from her betrothed’s household—Asha must shed the layers of her Iskari bondage and open her heart to love, light, and a truth that has been kept from her. 

Review:

I’ve had this book sitting on my shelf for so long, and I regret not reading it sooner. It’s an amazing story!

I loved the power of stories in this book. Stories have the ability to attract dragons and give them the power to breathe fire. However, they are also believed to steal life from the person who tells them. Words and stories are very powerful because they represent our histories and dreams. I appreciated the way stories played a small part in this narrative, as a weapon, but didn’t take over from the main narrative.

There was a strong hierarchy of power in this story. The people in positions of power own the skral people, who work as their slaves. The skral aren’t even allowed to touch or look at their masters or anyone above them on the social hierarchy. Though Asha has the power to kill dragons, she doesn’t have any power over her own life. Her father controls the decision of who she will marry, and once she marries, her husband will control her choices. Though Asha is at a disadvantage in her position, she is very strong willed, which encourages her to fight for her life.

I loved this story! I can’t wait to read the next book in the series!

What to read next:

The Caged Queen (Iskari #2) by Kristen Ciccarelli

Ash Princess (Ash Princess Trilogy #1) by Laura Sebastian

Have you read The Last Namsara? What did you think of it?

Review: Mirror, Mirror (Twisted Tales #6)

Title: Mirror, Mirror (Twisted Tales #6)
Author: Jen Calonita
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Disney Book Group
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: April 2, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

What if the Evil Queen poisoned the prince?

Following her beloved mother’s death, the kingdom falls into the hands of Snow White’s stepmother, commonly referred to as “the Evil Queen” by those she rules. Snow keeps her head down at the castle, hoping to make the best of her situation.

But when new information about her parents resurfaces and a plot to kill her goes haywire, everything changes for Snow. With the help of a group of wary dwarfs, a kind prince she thought she’d never see again, and a mysterious stranger from her past, Snow embarks on a quest to stop the Evil Queen and take back her kingdom. But can she stop an enemy who knows her every move and will stop at nothing to retain her power… including going after the ones Snow loves? 

Review:

This is the first book that I’ve read in the Twisted Tales series. I love adaptations of fairytales, so I knew I would love this book!

This book is a modern adaptation of the classic Disney movie Snow White. It follows both Snow and the Evil Queen, Ingrid. I liked how familiar the story was, since I grew up watching the movie. It’s been many years since I watched it, but the characters were the same, so I could imagine what they looked like.

Though this story is based on the Disney movie, it has more modern themes. Snow is a leader who takes charge of the plan to remove the Evil Queen from power. She has more power than the original Snow White would have had in the 1937 movie. Gender roles were reversed when her prince was placed in a glass coffin instead of her (This is not a spoiler because it happens in the prologue). Snow is a much more active character in this modern story.

I loved this story! I’ll definitely have to check out the other books in the series.

Thank you to Disney Book Group for providing me an e-galley of this book via NetGalley.

What to read next:

Fairest of All: A Tale of the Wicked Queen by Serena Valentino

Part of Your World (Twisted Tales #5) by Liz Braswell

Have you read Mirror, Mirror? What did you think of it?

Review: Twilight of the Elves (The Adventurers Guild #2)

Title: Twilight of the Elves (The Adventurers Guild #2)
Author: Zack Loran Clark and Nick Eliopulos
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: November 13, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

I should probably start at the beginning, Zed wrote, when things first went wrong?.

Zed, Brock, and their friends may have saved Freestone from destruction, but the fight against the Dangers is far from over. No one knows what to expect next from the dark power that forced the elves to abandon their city. And the influx of elf refugees in Freestone strains resources and brews resentment among the townspeople. Things have shifted between best friends Zed and Brock, as well, with their friendship crumbling under the weight of the secrets they’re keeping from each other.
When tensions reach an all-time high, Queen Me’Shala, leader of the elves, approaches the Adventurers Guild with a mission. She wants a small group of adventurers to go behind the king’s back on a covert mission to save her city, and Zed, Brock, Liza, Jett, Micah, and their elven friend Fel join the quest. To face a powerful form of magic thought to be extinct, the adventurers will have to learn how to rely on each other and fight harder than ever before.


Don’t miss this second installment of Zack Loran Clark and Nicholas Eliopulos’s Adventurers Guild trilogy, where the stakes are raised, the action is breathless, and the dangers will stop even the bravest of hearts.

Review:

This is a fun story in the Adventurers Guild series.

I love the group of kids who form the Adventurers Guild. They are like a bunch of misfits because they don’t really belong anywhere else. There was a lot of tension between Zed and Brock, the two main characters, because they are both keeping secrets from one another. The characters got a little confusing at times because there were so many new ones, such as the elves they travelled with, and some characters have similar names.

I was reminded of Game of Thrones throughout this story. There were different creatures and species, such as dragons. The elves play an important role in this story. The Adventurers Guild has to try and help the elves get rid of the Lich, which is causing all of their dead to spring to life and attack. Their trek reminded me of when the characters in Game of Thrones go beyond the wall. This story is like a kid-friendly version of Game of Thrones.

I really enjoyed this action-packed story! This is a great series!

What to read next:

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1) by Rick Riordan

Have you read Twilight of the Elves? What did you think of it?

Review: Shatter Me (Shatter Me #1)

Title: Shatter Me (Shatter Me #1)
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: HarperCollins
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
Release Date: November 15, 2011
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

Review:

I loved this book! I keep hearing about the series, so I bought a boxed set to see what it’s like. I read this book in one sitting, all one afternoon. I couldn’t put it down!

The story is unlike other similar YA dystopians I’ve read. It starts with Juliette already locked up to prevent her from using her powers. Typically, the main character discovers their powers in the first book in a series. I liked how this one jumped right into the story.

Juliette’s growth throughout the story is physically demonstrated on the page. At the beginning, she crosses out a lot of words and lines on the page. The author says at the beginning that these crossed out parts are intentional. As the story progresses, Juliette crosses out less of her story. She becomes more confident in her narrative. When she is more uncertain, the lines return on the page. I loved the way that her character development was portrayed in this way.

This book was an amazing start to the series! I can’t wait to read the next book!

What to read next:

Unravel Me (Shatter Me #2) by Tahereh Mafi

Destroy Me (Shatter Me #1.5) by Tahereh Mafi

Have you read Shatter Me? What did you think of it?