Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige #YA #Bookreview

stealingsnowTitle: Stealing Snow
Author: Danielle Paige
Series: Stealing Snow #1
Format: Digital ARC, 384 pages
Publication Details:  October 6th 2016 by Bloomsbury Childrens
Genre(s): YA; Fantasy; Retellings
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review. 

Goodreads 

bookdepo

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 …

Review

I read the original Snow Queen at the beginning of the year after getting it as a Christmas present. I enjoyed it a lot. It’s an odd little fairy-tale but totally compelling. I am also a huge fan of Frozen (which is very, very loosely based on Andersen’s tale) so I was really excited when I saw the premise of this book. 

Snow resides in a psychiatric hospital in New York. We’re not sure why she’s there but she seems to have accepted it. It’s all a bit of a mystery; she doesn’t seem ill enough to be in a secure hospital, although she does have one hell of a temper. Her best friend and part-time boyfriend Bale is also a permanent resident there. But he’s been kept away from Snow ever since he fractured her wrist the first time they kissed. 

But Snow knows he didn’t mean it, he’s just unwell. And she becomes convinced that he’s been kidnapped and taken into another world via a magic mirror.

OK, I know this all sounds a bit hokey but this was actually the most believable and exciting part of the story.

I loved the hospital setting. It was written well and full of intrigue. The characters – both the staff and the patients- were interesting and fleshed out, and the bond between Snow and Bale felt real. Paige seems to have taken a lot of care in building this world for it to be used in such a small part of the story. 

Snow manages to pass through the mirror to the other side – Algid. And this is where it all goes a bit wrong. I felt like Snow was just dumped there with no thought as to where the story should go. The world-building from here on out was almost non-existent, the characters she met were bland and one-dimensional, and quite frankly I had no idea what was going on.

All of a sudden, Snow is a princess who can summon ice and snow, and conjure these elements whenever she feels like it. There was no transition period at all. No fleshing out, no descriptions, it was all just a bit too fast and brief. WhamBamNoThankYouMam.

I felt really disappointed and let down by everyone involved in this book to be honest. Mainly because it had such great potential. It could have been this amazing Snow White / Snow Queen mash-up, but instead it was just painstakingly flat and messy.

I did like that Paige preserved some of the original story, and the idea that Snow’s icy kiss was slowly killing Bale but I couldn’t see past the rest I’m afraid. 

If it wasn’t for the great first couple of chapters and the idea in itself, I’m not sure I would have been able to finish the book, never mind give it two unicorns, but I think it’s a fair rating for the potential alone. 

P.S Three love interests, really!? Sigh. 

unicorn rating 2

 

 

Lazy Saturday Review: The Winter Place by Alexander Yates #BookReview

I started doing ‘lazy Saturday reviews’ as a way of getting reviews done in just 30 mins, and they proved to be quite popular. They are quick and snappy, and concentrate less on the plot and writing and more on my general feelings about said book. They generally end up being a bit of a rant. My fave!

thewinterplace
Title: The Winter Place
Author: Alexander Yates
Series: N/A
Format: Digital, 448 pages
Publication Details: October 22nd 2015 by Simon & Schuster Children’s UK
Genre(s): Childrens/YA
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review.

Goodreads // Purchase
When a mysterious stranger and his brown bear show up on the same day that Axel and Tess’s father dies in an accident, Axel fears he might be going crazy, especially as only he can see them. However, the strange duo are quickly forgotten when Axel and Tess are shipped off to Finland to stay with grandparents that they’ve never met. But when they arrive in Finland, Axel is stunned when the stranger and his bear reappear. More incredibly, the stranger tells him that his parents are lost and need help.

Desperate to see his father again, and actually meet his mother, Axel follows the man and his bear, disappearing deep into the frozen wilds of northern Finland. When Tess realises that her brother has vanished she’s distraught. And so begins the frantic search across snow and ice into the dark forest. But as the hours creep by and with no sign of Axel, Tess begins to wonder if her brother has ventured onto a path that she cannot follow.

Delving into the timeless, fantastical world of Nordic mysticism, set against the harsh beauty of a frozen landscape, The Winter Place is an imaginative, beautiful story of loss, love and hope, a story of family, and of a brother and sister who find each other again.

Review

I thought I’d be describing this book as magical, beautiful, emotional, but instead I find myself thinking bizarre, odd, and quirky. That’s not to say that those things are bad, but I was certainly thrown by it.

It is quite a cute story about Axel, who has muscular dystrophy (this is only touched upon and doesn’t define him as a character-which I loved btw) and his older sister Tess. The story is steeped in Scandinavian mythology and based around the Hiisi folklore, something I knew nothing of but enjoyed finding out about.

As I was reading this story, I really enjoyed it, but I felt like I was always waiting for more to happen. I loved the relationship between the two siblings, and seeing how they kept hope and joy alive in the most horrible of circumstances. I loved the mystery of the bear, and the wheelchair that follows Axel around, and not knowing for a long time whether it was supposed to be real or all in his imagination.

Overall, this wasn’t the magical, winter tale I was expecting, but it was a really interesting delve into nordic mysticism, and I’m sure that plucky Axel will stay with me for a long time.

unicorn rating 3

The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell (out on Wednesday!)

wolfwilder
Title: The Wolf Wilder
Author: Katherine Rundell
Series: N/A
Edition: Digital ARC, 256 pages
Publication Details: September 9th 2015 by Bloomsbury Children’s
Genre(s): Children’s Fiction
Disclosure? Yep! I received an advance copy in exchange for an HONEST review.

Goodreads // Purchase

Feodora and her mother live in the snowbound woods of Russia, in a house full of food and fireplaces. Ten minutes away, in a ruined chapel, lives a pack of wolves. Feodora’s mother is a wolf wilder, and Feo is a wolf wilder in training. A wolf wilder is the opposite of an animal tamer: it is a person who teaches tamed animals to fend for themselves, and to fight and to run, and to be wary of humans.

When the murderous hostility of the Russian Army threatens her very existence, Feo is left with no option but to go on the run. What follows is a story of revolution and adventure, about standing up for the things you love and fighting back. And, of course, wolves.

Review

From appearance alone, The Wolf Wilder is everything I want in a book. The Wintery setting, a pack of wolves, revolution, and adventure…like, seriously everything, so I was pretty eager to start this.

But I’m sad to say it wasn’t quite everything I imagined.

It’s a really adorable story about Feo, who along with her mother is a Wolf Wilder out in the snowy wilderness of Russia. Wolf Wilders are almost like people of folklore, it is in their nature to help discarded domesticated wolves to revert back to their true nature, wild.

There was definitely a lot to like about this book. The setting was beautiful, and the writing matched it perfectly. It was also a really quick read, which is nice, but it just wasn’t very exciting.

If it wasn’t for the pretty setting and beautiful way Rundell has with words, I would have been truly bored. Such a shame! I also didn’t really get the whole Wolf Wilder thing. For one, the book wasn’t really about that at all, and secondly, Feo obviously wasn’t that great at it because her pack of wolves were tame to point where she and her new friend Illya (who has no experience with wolves) can even ride them.

And I guess that was my main problem with this book – it just wasn’t believable in the slightest. I’d love to believe a 12 year old girl could start a revolution because the Tsar asked her to shoot her wolves, and that the Tsar would then become obsessed on finding her, this little girl. Bit weird.

However, I did like the whimsical nature of The Wolf Wilder, and how strong Feo was as a protagonist; I think young girls will love her and she’s definitely a good character to look up to.

It might work for the age-group it’s aimed at, but for cynical adults like me (apparently) the plot was just too far fetched. This book tries to give a real, important voice to children though, which I found wonderful.

I’d love to see the illustrations as well, as they weren’t included in the advance copy – I’m sure they will make the book even more beautiful than it already is.

unicorn rating 3

The Quality of Silence by Rosamund Lupton

quality
Title: The Quality of Silence
Author: Rosamund Lupton
Series: N/A
Edition: Digital ARC, 384 pages
Publication Details: July 2nd 2015 by Little, Brown
Genre(s): Thriller
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free, advanced copy in exchange for an HONEST review!

Goodreads // Pre-order/Purchase

On 24th November Yasmin and her deaf daughter Ruby arrived in Alaska. Within hours they were driving alone across a frozen wilderness. Where nothing grows. Where no one lives. Where tears freeze . And night will last for another 54 days.

They are looking for Ruby’s father. Travelling deeper into a silent land. They still cannot find him. And someone is watching them in the dark.

Review

The Quality of Silence is an assault on your senses. You can feel the snow, smell the petrol, and see harsh landscape of Alaska so vividly, it’ll have you grabbing for your fur-lined coat, such is the magic of Lupton’s writing.

Ruby idolises her father; he gets understands her in a way that her mum Yasmin doesn’t. But Ruby’s father, a wildlife photo-journo and film-maker has been involved in a terrible plane accident in the remote depths of Alaska and hasn’t come to meet them like he should have. Instead, they are greeted by the devastating news that he is dead. His wedding ring and his jacket, the only things remaining from the wreckage.

Yasmin, who loves her husband yet feels estranged from him, came to Alaska to try to make their marriage work one last time. After hearing the news she refuses to believe that he is dead. She will believe it only when she sees it, but the police refuse to help, and have stopped the search, adamant that no one could have survived.

And so Yasmin and Ruby, set off on the most dangerous road trip imaginable, to find Daddy, to find the husband, to keep hope alive.

This book BLEW ME AWAY. I know people say that all the time, but woah…it was just amazing.

I loved the setting, the characters – especially Ruby – who is AMAZING, and the slow, mysterious reveal of what happened to Ruby’s dad…it was all amazing.

The only thing stopping me from giving this 5/5 and claiming it to be the book of the year, is because it took me a while to adjust to the constant switching of perspective. Sometimes, this style can be a deal-breaker for me, but after an adjustment period, Lupton really managed to pull it off!

unicorn rating 4

You can pre-order The Quality of Silence from Waterstones now.

Book Promo: Frey’s Saga ~ L.K Hill

Welcome to another book promo/spotlight on Lipsyy Lost & Found.

This one got my attention because, er NORWAY, VIKINGS, and PAGANS, plus all that snow! I’m still wishing for snow, clearly it’s not gonna happen as it’s basically Spring already, so I guess I’ll settle for this instead…

About the book

freysaga
Title: Frey’s Saga

Author: L.K Hill

Series: N/A

Editions: hardback, Paperback, e-book 204 pages

Publication Details: August 15th 2012 by Xlibris Corporation

Goodreads

Amazon

L.K. Hill weaves an adventurous tale of a young orphaned monk’s life in Norway following his capture by Norse seafarers. During his captivity by the Vikings in the small coastal village, Frey struggles to survive within a world of raiders, berserkers, thralls, wolves, death, murder, battles, gossip and treachery, all while finding courage, love and family.”

A young boy named Frey survives the slaughter of his parent’s village by unknown raiders, as he and his two sisters run for the nearby woods, while his parents and the villagers sacrifically give their lives to allow the children to escape. In fear, Frey runs endlessly for many days until he stumbles upon a monestary and is taken by a band of Vikings and introduced to the horrors of being a Christian in a Pagan World. He finds his own virtues as a slave, and the salvation of his father’s past teachings. In time, he finds respect, and is given his freedom from those who enslaved him, and eventually finds love in the arms of the Chieftain’s daughter.

Meet the Author

L.K. Hill is a certified nurse’s aide and graduate of the Institute of Children’s Literature. She has written numerous short stories, and has strong interests in Paganism and Viking culture. She is married with two sons, and is a lifelong Connecticut resident.

Say What?

Here is a gentle fantasy (well, there is a berserker, some hungry and battle-glad wolves, a despicable lout of a “bad guy”, raiding, murder, and spies) which I could not put down.”

– Jane (Amazon)

Cherry-loving Wolves, Bloody Knives, and People Made of Magic…

Of Scars and Stardust by Andrea Hannah

arc1
Title: Of Scars and Stardust
Author: Andrea Hannah
Series: N/A
Edition: ARC, 366 pages
Publication Details: October 8th 2014 by Flux
Genre(s): Mystery; Thriller; YA
Disclosure? Yep! I received a copy from the Publisher/Author in exchange for an HONEST review.

Goodreads
Purchase

After her little sister mysteriously vanishes, seventeen-year-old Claire Graham has a choice to make: stay snug in her little corner of Manhattan with her dropout boyfriend, or go back to Ohio to face the hometown tragedy she’s been dying to leave behind.

But the memories of that night still haunt her in the city, and as hard as she tries to forget what her psychiatrist calls her “delusions,” Claire can’t seem to escape the wolf’s eyes or the blood-speckled snow. Delusion or reality, Claire knows she has to hold true to the most important promise she’s ever made: to keep Ella safe. She must return to her sleepy hometown in order to find Ella and keep her hallucinations at bay before they strike again. But time is quickly running out, and as Ella’s trail grows fainter, the wolves are becoming startlingly real.

Now Claire must deal with her attraction to Grant, the soft-spoken boy from her past that may hold the secret to solving her sister’s disappearance, while following the clues that Ella left for only her to find. Through a series of cryptic diary entries, Claire must unlock the keys to Ella’s past—and her own—in order to stop another tragedy in the making, while realizing that not all things that are lost are meant to be found.

Woah. This book.

I have a total book hangover from this so please excuse my babbling review.

First of all, I didn’t even read the synopsis of this book before I picked it up. I requested it on the basis of the title and the cover alone, and went into it pretty blind and I’m so glad I did.

Not that I think it would have been any less amazing if I’d heard more about it, but I wasn’t expecting that.

Claire is living an average teenage existence in Ohio, going to bonfire parties where they drink cherry vodka and tell stories about the wolves that stalk the cornfields. Claire’s little sister, Ella is full of creativity and imagination and sees the world through magical eyes like only an eight year old can.

When Ella is asked to leave a party that she followed Claire to, she’s attacked on her way back. Her face will never be the same again, and Claire, now obsessed with the wolves that she believes attacked her is shipped off to New York. The only thing that brings her back to Ohio is when Ella disappears.

Of Scars and Stardust completely blew me away if you can’t tell already. It was a mystery, a psychological thriller, a romance, and it was written so beautifully it made me want to cry.

I loved how Claire saw her sister, and tried to make sense of the world as she saw it. She was terrified, damaged, and often alone, but she never felt like a victim. As the book went on it became clear that not only did Claire not know who to trust, but we as readers are not sure if we can trust her either.

I don’t think I even took a breath during the second half of this book, I was literally on the edge of my seat – which is pretty hard to do when you read in bed. If someone could come and pick my jaw up off the carpet, that would be great.

I loved setting, I loved the characters and I loved the uniqueness of this book, but I don’t want to say much more about it in case I ruin it for others.

What I will say, is that as soon as I finished it, I wanted to start over. Therefore, I give it all of the unicorns. Keep them all. And let them breed.

unicorn rating

Pre-order Of Scars and Stardust now, you won’t regret it!

Festive Reads Review: Starry Night by Debbie Macomber

starry’Tis the season for romance, second chances, and Christmas cheer with this new novel from Debbie Macomber.

Carrie Slayton, a big-city society-page columnist, longs to write more serious news stories. So her editor hands her a challenge: She can cover any topic she wants, but only if she first scores the paper an interview with Finn Dalton, the notoriously reclusive author.

Living in the remote Alaskan wilderness, Finn has written a mega-bestselling memoir about surviving in the wild. But he stubbornly declines to speak to anyone in the press, and no one even knows exactly where he lives.

Digging deep into Finn’s past, Carrie develops a theory on his whereabouts. It is the holidays, but her career is at stake, so she forsakes her family celebrations and flies out to snowy Alaska. When she finally finds Finn, she discovers a man both more charismatic and more stubborn than she even expected. And soon she is torn between pursuing the story of a lifetime and following her heart.

Filled with all the comforts and joys of Christmastime, Starry Night is a delightful novel of finding happiness in the most surprising places.

Alaska, stargazing and a brooding man, what more could you want this Christmas?

Starry Night has everything I was looking for in a cozy Christmastime read. As soon as I picked it up, I just wanted to snuggle under a blanket with a mug of mulled wine in front of an open fire. I had to make do with a radiator but that’s beside the point.

Carrie is a headstrong, career-driven young woman who is grateful to be working for a respected newspaper but frustrated about her lack of progression. She’s bored of attending glitzy parties and charity events and writing about what people are wearing so when the opportunity comes up to prove to her worth to her boss she jumps at the chance.

But of course there are many obstacles in Carrie’s way. First she has to find reclusive Finn Dalton, and then she has to get him – a stubborn loner with trust issues when it comes to women – to agree to an interview. And then there’s Alaska itself, with snowstorms looming Carrie could easily get stuck in wilderness with a man who really doesn’t appreciate her imposing, and to top it all off, her deadline and Christmas is swiftly approaching.

There were things I really loved about this book. The writing is simple and flawless making it such a quick, easy read. I’ve wanted to go to Alaska my whole life so the setting is what appealed to me initially and it didn’t disappoint on that front.

With all of those things working for it, the romance had such great potential but I felt a bit let down by it in the end. I think Finn’s broody, damaged exterior melted away just a bit too quickly, as if he just changed overnight. I found it a bit hard to believe, but it didn’t stop my overall enjoyment.

I enjoyed the relationship between Carrie and her family, and also Finn’s dog, and I was happy that it was written from both Finn and Carrie’s point of view. It also reminded me a bit of How to Lose a Guy in 10 days and I love that film.

This is the first book I’ve read by Debbie Macomber, and it certainly won’t be the last. Locate an armchair, put it in front of a fire, and give Starry Night a whirl.

unicorn rating 4

Disclosure?: Nope, I bought it.
Title: Starry Night
Author: Debbie Macomber
Details: Paperback, 272 pages
Publication Date: October 8th 2013 by Arrow
My Rating: 4/5
Is it a Keeper? I think so…