Monday, September 25, 2017

Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust

Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust

5 stars

“There are worse things in the world to be than delicate. If you’re delicate, it means no one has tried to break you.”

Mina’s father is a magician in the South. Her father is feared by everyone and as his daughter she is guilty by association. Mina grows up isolated and alone; constantly told by her father that she is unlovable and the reason her mother killed herself. Mina learns that she isn’t truly human. She died and her father kept her alive by turning her heart into glass. When Mina moves to the Whitespring Castle after her father saves the King’s daughter, Lynet, she decides that the king will allow her to experience love and be loved. Lynet looks like her mother, an exact copy in every way. It’s magical—she was created through snow and the magician’s blood. Lynet doesn’t want to be like her mother and she wants to have her own path. The person she wants to be like is Mina, but how can she be like Mina when Mina tries to kill her? AHHHH! I totally loved this book. I am genuinely pleased and surprised. I knew I would like this book because 1) it’s a Snow-White retelling and I’m a sucker for retellings 2) the blurb compares it to The Bloody Chamber, which I haven’t read, but know I’ll love 3) feminist fantasy I’M SOLD. This book had so much potential and it lived up to it for me. I don’t know if everyone will be obsessed with this book, but I recommend that everyone should check out this book and here’s why.

Bashardoust creates a beautifully cold and bleak world with little emotion within the walls of a kingdom. The tone feels chilly and the characters resemble that because they struggle to show their true emotions—either for political power or because of not knowing how to show them. I loved so many quotes in this novel. I highlighted so many great passages and I was moved to tears at simple scenes between Mina and Lynet that had no weight to the plot, but showed how important their relationship is. Bashardoust does a fantastic job at creating an intense world with intrinsic descriptions and emotionally captivating characters. The writing is wonderfully introspective and cunning in painting the character and the world without giving away too much at one time.

Whimsical Writing Scale: 5

“Made, created, shaped—all those words meant the same thing: she was something artificial. She was a duplicate, created to live out all the days that had been stolen from her mother.”

The characters in this are so amazing. They are all layered and at times frustrating… humanly frustrating. The story is told in alternating PoVs and timelines— present Lynet, past Mina, and present Mina. This worked out so well and intertwined to create such a riveting plot that had me on the edge of my seat no matter the timeline. This novel is important because it shows that stepmothers and daughters can have a strong bond that is as strong as a real mother-daughter bond. I was so invested in their relationship and resolving the misunderstanding that occurs because I wanted them to be on the same page and be the fierce dynamic duo I knew they could be. These two characters were absolutely lovely. On their own, they have flaws and while I didn’t always root for them at times because of their choices, I always enjoyed reading from their perspective seeing their characters grow. While this is a Snow-White retelling, the core story here is the strength of a mother-daughter relationship that isn’t familial and it’s a theme that isn’t present in YA, much less YA fantasy. It’s so refreshing to see an author—especially a debut author— flipping a typical trope in fantasy that has passed down for generations. Even my favorite fantasy novel, Daughter of the Forest, adheres to the evil stepmother trope, but Girls Made of Snow and Glass shows that the villain doesn’t have to always remain the villain because sometimes the villain wasn’t trying to be one.

“She was her father’s daughter, and what she didn’t have, she would create.”

Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: Mina- 5 Lynet- 5

The Villain- It’s known pretty early on that the magician, Mina’s father, is the villain. He’s kind of stereotypical, but I was not expecting him to get as twisted as he did towards the end.

Villain Scale: 4

There’s a romance in here and it’s not with a prince. It’s with Nadia… a female surgeon within the Castle of Whitespring. I think it’s great that there is more representation in YA fantasy, especially since I have a sneaking suspicion that Lynet is bisexual due to a scene with a random boy later in the novel, but regardless of whether she is a lesbian or bisexual, I’m sure her confusion and acceptance over her attraction to a girl will be understood by many young female readers. I personally didn’t feel a strong connection to romance. I also didn’t particularly like Nadia’s character and that’s because she was a little too-faced in certain scenes and I never felt like I was able to truly gather her real intentions until the very end. However, I’m really happy to see a different take on romance in a YA fantasy retelling.

There are other romantic leads with the King and with Felix, Mina’s creation from glass. There were times when I loved the King’s lines, but he was wishy-washy and obsessed with his dead wife. Trying to recreate the past with his dead daughter is too Gatsby for me and that’s why he ended up getting shanked while hunting like Robert Baratheon (a-la-Game of Thrones). Felix was an interesting character and he had similar parallels to Mina’s struggle with being emotionless and being made of glass, but he understood who he was quicker and was able to decipher and discover emotions early on and it made his love story with Mina sweet, but I didn’t really ship it.

To be honest, the only thing I did ship was that Mina and Lynet would realize how much they loved each other and all would be well.

Romance Scale: 3.5

I loved the plot for Girls Made of Snow and Glass so much. The fact that these characters are both strong women, but in different ways, and have magical powers is so awesome. I love stories with magic powers, castles, strong characters, and politics. This novel was so much fun for me and I looked forward to walking around campus and reading this on my phone. If you are going to pick one 2017 debut, make it Girls Made of Snow and Glass because it spins old-age fantasy tropes on their heads and turns a simple story into a breathtaking read. Also this kind of feels like Game of Thrones because it’s cold, there’s a lot of are you the villain or am I?, and it’s fantasy with the occasional court politics thrown in.

Plotastic Scale: BROKE MY SCALE

Cover Thoughts: I love this cover because it represents both Mina and Lynet. It’s ice shards. Obsessed.

Thank you, Netgalley and Flatiron Books, for allowing me to read this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Have you read Girls Made of Snow and Glass? What are your thoughts on it? What is your favorite Snow White retelling? What trope are you tired of seeing in fantasy? Let me know down below in the comments! 

Friday, September 22, 2017

Romance Book Haul

Hi, everyone! I hope you are all doing well. I'm continuing to upload my book hauls that I prefilmed over the summer and this one focuses on books in the romance genre. 


So far I've read 4/8 of these books. My favorite is Redeeming Love and I highly recommend it. I have reviews for:
Too Scot to Handle 3.25 stars

Have you read any of these books? What are your thoughts on them? What are your favorite romance reads? Let me know down below in the comments!

Monday, September 4, 2017

Books I've Read in 2017 #20-23

Hi, everyone! It's been a bit of a hot minute since I've uploaded a video, but I finally figured out the technical problems I've been having. Here's a review of four books that I've read in 2017. Also I'm so excited because I just hit 101 subscribers on YouTube and I'm so blessed and thankful for each person who has taken the time to watch my videos and liked me enough to subscribe to my channel. Again, thank you so much for reading my blog and watching my videos. It really means the world to me!

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Excerpts from a Film (1942-1987) - A.C. Wise 5 stars This Tor short was absolutely beautiful. It follows a young woman with dreams of becoming a Hollywood star. She wants the world to remember her, but is also haunted by the ghosts of young women who have been forgotten. It's a wonderful story and you can read it for free on Tor's website! Check out my review here.
Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald - Therese Anne Fowler 4.25 stars The fictionalized account of Zelda Fitzgerald's life and marriage to F. Scott Fitzgerald is a very interesting look into a starlet of the past. Zelda played a huge role in the 1920s, but she is, in my opinion, a figure who has been linked to her husband. This novel does an excellent job of showing that she was and wanted to be a woman of her own making, but the time period she lived in didn't allow that to come to fruition.
 Dolores Claiborne - Stephen King 5 stars If you've been watching my videos the last couple of months, then you are probably tired of hearing about this King novel, but it is so good that I can't stop talking about it. Seriously, read this one! It's amazing and one of the best character studies I've ever read.
The Pocketbook of Sunshine and Rain - Nenia Campbell 4.5 stars This is a poetry collection that is worth checking out. There are some great poems and if you want an idea of the style, I read my favorite poem in the video. Check out my review here.

Best of the Bunch:
Dolores Claiborne 

Have you read any of these books? What are your thoughts on them if you have? Do you plan on checking out any of these reads? Let me know down below in the comments!

Short Stories That I Enjoyed in the Last Two Weeks

Hey, everyone! I've been away for a while. I moved into my apartment, started my intern teaching tenth graders at a local high school, d...