Review: Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa BashardoustGirls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust
Published by Flatiron Books on September 5, 2017
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: the publisher
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Frozen meets The Bloody Chamber in this feminist fantasy reimagining of the Snow White fairytale

At sixteen, Mina's mother is dead, her magician father is vicious, and her silent heart has never beat with love for anyone—has never beat at all, in fact, but she’d always thought that fact normal. She never guessed that her father cut out her heart and replaced it with one of glass. When she moves to Whitespring Castle and sees its king for the first time, Mina forms a plan: win the king’s heart with her beauty, become queen, and finally know love. The only catch is that she’ll have to become a stepmother.

Fifteen-year-old Lynet looks just like her late mother, and one day she discovers why: a magician created her out of snow in the dead queen’s image, at her father’s order. But despite being the dead queen made flesh, Lynet would rather be like her fierce and regal stepmother, Mina. She gets her wish when her father makes Lynet queen of the southern territories, displacing Mina. Now Mina is starting to look at Lynet with something like hatred, and Lynet must decide what to do—and who to be—to win back the only mother she’s ever known…or else defeat her once and for all.

Entwining the stories of both Lynet and Mina in the past and present, Girls Made of Snow and Glass traces the relationship of two young women doomed to be rivals from the start. Only one can win all, while the other must lose everything—unless both can find a way to reshape themselves and their story.

Girls Made of Snow and Glass was SO FREAKING GOOD!!!!! I loved everything about it – the plot, the characters, and the writing. This was one of my most anticipated reads of 2017, and it definitely did NOT disappoint!

I absolutely loved Mina. I know we’re supposed to dislike her, as the Evil Queen, but you guys know I LOVE a good villain/villain origin story, so I was completely fascinated by Mina’s story. She was so strong and fierce! I hated how her father and the people of the north treated her, though. At times, you could see the scared, vulnerable little girl hiding beneath the crown. She wanted nothing more than to be loved, yet she couldn’t see the love that was right in front of her.

Lynet was an interesting character, but I found some of her scenes a little more boring compared to Mina’s. About 60% into the story, it really started to slow down and I got to a point where I only wanted Mina’s POV. But things definitely picked up as the book went on, and Lynet came to be a strong character with plenty of fight in her. I LOVED how her story ended!

I loved the relationship between Mina and Lynet – I know that’s weird to say, when we all know how the original Snow White fairy tale ended. But this book allowed us to see a different side to both girl and queen. It was a refreshing take, and always had me on the edge of my seat – always wondering how the author was going to get from where the characters were in this story to where they were in the original fairy tale. It didn’t seem possible, but the author pulled it off in an intriguing, masterful way!

I really liked Nadia, despite not fully trusting her. There was just something about her that made me feel suspicious – and then the revelation about her confirmed my suspicions. Yet I still liked her. I really liked the relationship between her and Lynet. It was a slow burn, but it was worth it – the way things ended, it was SO satisfying. And I loved the way Nadia’s story ended in general.

Nicholas was a complete and total ass. He didn’t truly love his daughter, he was just mourning the loss of his wife and trying desperately to recreate her via his daughter. I also hated the way he treated Mina. It’s one thing to mourn the loss of someone, it’s another to forget about the living – or treat them terribly – because of that loss. Gregory, also, was a disgusting ass – but that was less of a surprise, so the gross things he did were only mildly shocking.

The only character I don’t have a lot to say about is Felix. I was intrigued by him in the beginning, and then he lost my interest. He lacked a personality and despite understanding why, I just reached a point where I didn’t care for him or his story anymore.

I loved the way many things in this story mirrored (see what I did there?) the original fairy tale, but I also loved the creative liberty the author took – I was never a huge fan of the story of Snow White, but this book made me SO happy!

Overall, if you couldn’t tell from my super rambly review (seriously, sorry if this review is rambly and wordy and weird – I loved this book so much, I couldn’t really articulate how I felt about it), I absolutely adored this book!!! I can count on one hand how many books I TRULY loved this year, and this is one of them! I HIGHLY recommend it to those who love fairy tale retellings! I can’t wait to see what Melissa Bashardoust does next!


Favorite Quotes/moments:

“Lynet always saw Mina as a flame, something fierce and fearless and regal” (US Hardcover, page 74). This perfectly describes Mina.

“Cold as snow, sharp as glass.” (US Hardcover, page 205)


Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Caraval by Stephanie GarberCaraval by Stephanie Garber
Series: Caraval #1
Published by Flatiron Books on January 31, 2017
Pages: 407
Format: ARC
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon

Whatever you've heard about Caraval, it doesn't compare to the reality. It's more than just a game or a performance. It's the closest you'll ever find to magic in this world . . .

Welcome, welcome to Caraval―Stephanie Garber’s sweeping tale of two sisters who escape their ruthless father when they enter the dangerous intrigue of a legendary game.

Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the far-away, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.

Caraval was a twisty-turny book. It kept me on the edge of my seat, never knowing who to trust or what to believe. Honestly, I finished it yesterday and I’m STILL not sure what to make of what happened!! This book reminded me of a combination of Wintersong (because of the sisters) and Fever by Lauren DeStefano (because of the “carnival” and the dark and gritty plot).

The world of Caraval was absolutely gorgeous and breath-taking – the island it takes place on, Isla de los sueños (the island of dreams) is up there with Wonderland and Oz, in my opinion. It’s magical and fantastical and I’d love to go there and experience it for myself.

As I mentioned, the sisters in this – Scarlett and Tella – reminded me very much of Liesl and Kath from Wintersong, respectively. Both Scarlet and Liesl are headstrong and overprotective. Each ends up on a bizarre adventure in an attempt to save their sister. Both Tella and Kath are carefree and a bit immature. They don’t think about the consequences of their actions. The one big difference? There’s more to Tella than meets the eye.

As for the other characters… Julian is cocky, sarcastic and a complete mystery. I was constantly shuffling back and forth, wondering if I could trust him or not. And even after finishing the book, there’s still something about him that’s nagging at me. I really wanted to like Dante. He was so kind in the beginning, but then certain things that happened later on had me rethinking everything he said and did. I think I liked Aiko, but I can’t be sure because we didn’t really get to know her very well. I really hope we learn more about her in the sequel because I think there’s more to her than we know. I REALLY wanted to like Count Nicholas d’Arcy. His letters had me hopeful, but then.. Sigh. Basically, I didn’t trust ANYONE at all and I’m dying for book two because I can’t wait to see where their stories all go next. Finally, obviously, I HATED their father with a passion.

The only negative thing I really have to say is this book started off REALLY slow. Like.. For me, it honestly didn’t pick up until about page 221. But once it DID pick up, it didn’t slow down again until the very last page – and then I was devastated that it was the last page and now I CANNOT wait for book two!!! That cliffhanger was INSANE!!!

Overall, if you can push through the first half and stick with it, the second half is AMAZING and mind-blowing. You won’t know who to trust, you won’t know what to believe – and you won’t want it to end.