Stealing Snow

28260524.jpg Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige

**This review is based on ARC from BEA and also from Netgalley, release date 9/20/16.

Summary from Goodreads:

Seventeen-year-old Snow has spent the majority of her life within the walls of the Whittaker Institute, a high security mental hospital in upstate New York. Deep down, she knows she’s not crazy and doesn’t belong there. When she meets a mysterious, handsome new orderly and dreams about a strange twisted tree she realizes she must escape and figure out who she really is.
Using her trusting friend Bale as a distraction, Snow breaks free and races into the nearby woods. Suddenly, everything isn’t what it seems, the line between reality and fantasy begins to blur, and she finds herself in icy Algid–her true home–with witches, thieves, and a strangely alluring boy named Kai, none of whom she’s sure she can trust. 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 the fate of everything…including Snow’s return to the world she once knew.

My thoughts:

I really went back and forth on even writing this review, because it hurts my heart to say negative things about Danielle Paige’s writing. She is one of the sweetest authors I have interacted with, so please remember that I feel that way through this review. In fact, here is a picture of us to make it better (haha):

Now, I was super excited to pick this up at BEA, not only to meet Danielle, but to get to read it because I loved the Dorothy Must Die series. I read some negative reviews before starting, but chose to ignore them and give it my all as I usually do. I was pretty interested for the first several chapters, but then I kept finding my mind wandering. Still, I stuck with it and read, but just could not make myself be interested in what was going on or invested in the characters. I think I would have liked a little more background on Snow and a little more struggle with her trying to learn how to use her newly found magic abilities. I can’t help but think of the scenes from the Twilight series where Bella is learning to use her powers after becoming a vampire as an example of more of what I would have wanted. I’m not sure why it just didn’t sit well with me. I also didn’t care for any of the love interests (and yes there was more than one, even more than two actually) and didn’t find myself rooting for any of them to be the one for Snow. Overall, I just couldn’t stay focused and I feel like I missed a lot of details because I wasn’t paying attention. I don’t think I’ll investigate this series further, but that won’t stop me from purchasing it for my library and letting some students try it out. Maybe it just wasn’t my cup of tea, maybe I just liked Dorothy Must Die so much because I’ve always been a bit obsessed with Wizard of Oz…I’m just not sure. I wouldn’t discourage others from reading this one, I just wouldn’t pick it up again myself. Again, I love Danielle Paige, and I’m sorry that I didn’t love this particular book.

My rating: 2/5

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Once Upon a Dream

Once Upon a Dream (A Twisted Tale, #2) Once Upon a Dream by Liz Braswell

**This review is based on an ARC, release date 4/5/16.

Summary from Goodreads:

What if the sleeping beauty never woke up? Once Upon a Dream marks the second book in a new YA line that reimagines classic Disney stories in surprising new ways.
It should be simple–a dragon defeated, a slumbering maiden, a prince poised to wake her. But when said prince falls asleep as soon as his lips meet the princess’s, it is clear that this fairy tale is far from over.
With a desperate fairy’s last curse infiltrating her mind, Princess Aurora will have to navigate a dangerous and magical landscape deep in the depths of her dreams. Soon she stumbles upon Phillip, a charming prince eager to join her quest. But with Maleficent’s agents following her every move, Aurora struggles to discover who her true allies are, and moreover, who she truly is. Time is running out. Will the sleeping beauty be able to wake herself up?

My thoughts:

Well, I was really pumped about this book because I LOVE Sleeping Beauty. I didn’t bother reading the first one in this series because I read some pretty awful reviews and didn’t have time to read something that was going to be mediocre at best. Unfortunately, I am stuck right in the middle with this title, didn’t love it but didn’t hate it either. I felt that this could be a very confusing read for many people with the way it jumps around and some of the writing is just too basic (not sure if that’s the word I’m looking for here, but it will work). On the other hand, this was a wonderful idea and could have been fantastic! I wanted to be sucked in and attached to the characters, but I just wasn’t. I will still purchase for my high school library, as I did the first in the series, because I can imagine some of my students will enjoy these; but, unfortunately, it will not be high on my list for recommending.

My rating: 3/5

Charmed

Charmed (Fairy Tale Reform School, #2) Charmed (Fairy Tale Reform School #2) by Jen Calonita

**This review is based on an ARC from Netgalley, release date 3/1/16.

Summary from Goodreads:

It takes a (mostly) reformed thief to catch a spy. Which is why Gilly Cobbler, Enchantasia’s  most notorious pickpocket, volunteers to stay locked up at Fairy Tale Reform School…indefinitely. Gilly and her friends may have defeated the Evil Queen and become reluctant heroes, but the battle for Enchantasia has just begun.
Alva, aka The Wicked One who cursed Sleeping Beauty, has declared war on the Princesses, and she wants the students of Fairy Tale Reform School to join her. As her criminal classmates give in to temptation, Gilly goes undercover as a Royal Lady in Waiting (don’t laugh) to unmask a spy…before the mole can hand Alva the keys to the kingdom.
Her parents think Gilly the Hero is completely reformed, but sometimes you have to get your hands dirty. Sometimes it’s good to be bad…

My thoughts:
I was excited to read this because I read the first one and thought it was adorable. I enjoyed this one as well, it picks up right where Flunked left off, and even though I’m awful at remembering details from books I read more than a month ago, I didn’t have any trouble following this second book. The author does a good job of reminding you what happened with characters in the first book throughout this one. I thought the little fairy tale cliches were just as cute this time around too, as well as the magical scroll news stories throughout the book. This is a fun middle-grade novel that I will purchase for some of my readers at my high school library. If you love fairy tales, princesses, and villains, then you will absolutely think these books are fun!

My rating: 4/5

 

The Ugly Stepsister by Aya Ling

23162056 The Ugly Stepsister by Aya Ling

**This review is based on an ARC from Netgalley, release date: 6/12/15.

This is a fairy tale retelling, but one that feels totally different to me. Kat literally falls into an old book of the Cinderella story and wakes up as Lady Katriona in a whole different world that she dubs Storybook World. Her mission, given to her by a goblin named Krev, is to complete the story in order to return home to the modern world and her family. In other words, she has to get the prince to meet and marry Cinderella, named Elle in this book, so they live happily ever after. In the process, Kat finds herself appalled by the way children and women are treated in this land and becomes an activist for their rights.  She also falls in love with the wrong person and has to decide if she wants to stay here or return to her family in her own world. I thought this book might be kind of silly, but I ended up really liking it. It was obviously a Cinderella story, but was told in a whole different way that made it truly its own story. I will be purchasing this one for my high school library and recommending it when school starts back in August.

My rating: 4/5

Flunked by Jen Calonita

21996359 Fairy Tale Reform School: Flunked by Jen Calonita

**This review is based on an ARC from Netgalley, release date 3/3/15.

Famous fairy tale characters at a Hogwarts-type school?? Be still my heart! This reminded me of a Once Upon a Time episode mixed with a Harry Potter book–2 of my all-time favorite things! Needless to say, I loved this little book and read it in less in a day. Flunked is about a girl named Gillian, who gets sent to Fairy Tale Reform School (FTRS) for stealing from the royals to help her family survive. This is a school that is supposed to help the villains of Enchantasia become heroes, led by none other than the evil stepmother of Cinderella herself. We also see the formerly evil characters from Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood, and The Little Mermaid to name a few.  Gillian finds that there is something weird going on at FTRS and gets involved with some other students who want to figure it all out.  She ends up being considered a hero after a particularly horrifying Royal Day event and is offered the chance to go home early from her sentence, but decides to stay to defeat the evil that is happening….and I’ll stop there. This is a very fun, interesting read; and, even though, it is geared to mostly middle grades, I will still buy for my high school library because I know I have some students who will adore it. Read this one for something a little different!

My rating: 5/5