The Snow Child

The Snow Child

By: Eowyn Ivey

Challenge: Once Upon a Time

Published:  2012

# of pages:  386

Quote:  "Cradling a swaddled infant in their arms, mothers would distractedly touch their lips to their babies' foreheads.  Passing their toddlers in a hall, mothers would tousle their hair or even sweep them up in their arms and kiss them hard along their chins and necks until the children squealed with glee.  Where else in life, Mabel wondered, could a woman love so openly and with such abandon?"  -pg. 328

Official description: Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead, and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart--he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm; she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season's first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone--but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees. This little girl, who calls herself Faina, seems to be a child of the woods. She hunts with a red fox at her side, skims lightly across the snow, and somehow survives alone in the Alaskan wilderness. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful, violent place things are rarely as they appear, and what they eventually learn about Faina will transform all of them.
My opinion:  I loved this book!  I can't explain all the reasons why without spoilers, but I can say that the writing is beautiful.  The characters are well developed and relatable.  I loved the transitions in the we are right there with Jack and Mabel as their lives change.  I also felt like the novel was full of mystery.  I kept imagining what would happen next and coming up with theories, but was always surprised.

I think this book encompasses several genres.  It's a retelling of a fairy tale, but also magical realism and historical fiction.

I'd love to see this book made into a movie someday.  I wanted to be there.  The descriptions drew me in, they are just beautiful.

It was hard to read at times.  The subject of infertility and stillbirth is hard for any mother to read about, I'm sure.  I know it will be even harder for those who have been through those situations.  But it's such a beautiful love story at the same time.

Why I gave this book 5/5 stars: Well written, unique story, beautiful descriptions.

Other reviews:
Book Nut
Literary Musings

Have you reviewed this? Let me know and I'd be happy to post yours as well.

Once Upon a Time VI Challenge

Wednesday, March 21st begins the sixth annual Once Upon a Time Challenge. This is a reading and viewing event that encompasses four broad categories: Fairy TaleFolkloreFantasyand Mythology, including the seemingly countless sub-genres and blending of genres that fall within this spectrum. The challenge continues through Tuesday, June 19th and allows for very minor (1 book only) participation as well as more immersion depending on your reading/viewing whims.
The Once Upon a Time VI Challenge has a few rules:
Rule #1: Have fun.
Rule #2: HAVE FUN.
Rule #3: Don’t keep the fun to yourself, share it with us, please!
Rule #4: Do not be put off by the word “challenge”.

Read at least 5 books that fit somewhere within the Once Upon a Time categories. They might all be fantasy, or folklore, or fairy tales, or mythology…or your five books might be a combination from the four genres.

1. Enchantment  by: Orson Scott Card - Folklore/Mythology/Fantasy
2. Cinder  by: Marissa Meyer (Lunar Chronicles, Book 1) - Fairy tale
3. Torn  by: Amanda Hocking (Trylle Trilogy, Book 2) - Fantasy
4. Neverwhere  by: Neil Gaiman - Fantasy
5. The Snow Child  by: Eowyn Ivey - Fairy tale


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By: Marissa Meyer

Challenge:  Once Upon a Time

Series: Lunar Chronicles

Published: 2012

# of pages: 387

Official description:Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . . 
Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future. 
My opinion:  Loved it!  It's such a unique setting and an awesome re-telling of the story of Cinderella.  I liked the character of Cinder and found her easy to relate to although she is young and a little immature.  I also like how Prince Kai is drawn to her although she never looks "beautiful" in the world's eyes.  Sure, one of the "plot twists" was predictable, but it wasn't annoying and didn't ruin the book for me.  I loved finding some of the objects in the fairy tale version in the novel.  I thought it was very well written!

Why I gave this book 5/5 stars:  Unique setting and way of telling a classic fairy tale, interesting plot and characters, a book I was really drawn into (thought about it during the day and imagined myself in the story).

Other reviews:
Bookfoolery and Babble
It's All About Books
A Girl, Books and Other Things
Royal Reviews
Book Nut

Have you reviewed this? Let me know and I'd be happy to post yours as well.



By: Orson Scott Card
Challenge: Once Upon a Time
Published: 1999
# of pages: 387
Quote: "And as for getting baptized, well, history was littered with the bodies of people who didn't find quite the right way of saying no thanks to a fervent evangelist with a sword." -Ivan pp. 89-90
Official description:
As one of the most consistently exciting writers to emerge in the last twenty-five years, Orson Scott Card has been honored with numerous awards, immersing readers in dazzling worlds only he could create. Now, in Enchantment, Card works his magic as never before, transforming the timeless story of Sleeping Beauty into an original fantasy brimming with romance and adventure.

The moment Ivan stumbled upon a clearing in the dense Carpathian forest, his life was forever changed. Atop a pedestal encircled by fallen leaves, the beautiful princess Katerina lay still as death. But beneath the foliage a malevolent presence stirred and sent the ten-year-old Ivan scrambling for the safety of Cousin Marek's farm.

Now, years later, Ivan is an American graduate student, engaged to be married. Yet he cannot forget that long-ago day in the forest--or convince himself it was merely a frightened boy's fantasy. Compelled to return to his native land, Ivan finds the clearing just as he left it.

This time he does not run. This time he awakens the beauty with a kiss . . . and steps into a world that vanished a thousand years ago.

A rich tapestry of clashing worlds and cultures, Enchantment is a powerfully original novel of a love and destiny that transcend centuries . . . and the dark force that stalks them across the ages.

My opinion: This novel was a little slow in the middle and I felt that some of the characters were unnecessary, or at least the way they were written was unnecessary. However, I always enjoy a retelling of a fairy tale and this was no exception. It was unique and I liked the Russian setting. The book as a whole didn't live up to its potential, but it's still worth reading, especially if you are a fan of fairy tales retold.
Something that I did enjoy is how this book is made up of so many different genres. Fantasy, fairy tale, historical fiction, magical realism.... There's also an interesting mix of religion, myths, magic, and folklore. As a Christian myself it was hard to understand why anyone would seriously mix magic and Christianity (if magic is/was even real), but I think that's exactly what happened when Christianity was first introduced to many countries. Not with magic exactly, but myths and things perceived as magic were mixed with Christianity.
I don't want to make it sound like this book is full of religion or is offensive to religious people because it really isn't. But that's just one thing I found interesting in a good way and is one reason I am recommending it.
Why I gave this book 3/5 stars: Neat setting and retelling, but not the best character development and pace.
Other reviews:
Have you reviewed this? Let me know and I'd be happy to post yours as well.

The Night Circus

The Night Circus

By: Erin Morgenstern

Published: 2011

# of pages: 387

Quote: "The stone feels heavier in your hand.
When you drop it in the pool to join the rest of the stones, you feel lighter. As though you have released something more than a smooth polishes piece of rock." -p. 283

Official description:

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des RĂªves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.

My opinion: I'm not gonna lie, I was disappointed in this book. I read another review that summed up how I feel by saying that the elaborate descriptions make up 80% of the book and the remaining 20% make up the "plot."

I'm confused by the official description's claim that the two main characters, Celia and Marco, are engaged in a "fierce competition." I kept waiting for the game the two played to really start. And it never did. That's not a spoiler, I'm just warning y'all! The romance was also a disappointment. I felt that with the in depth descriptions, Morgenstern could have written so much more about the game and the characters, but instead she concentrated on the setting. And the setting is amazing! I wish I could go to the Circus of Dreams!

It was pretty confusing at first with the different viewpoints and time lines. But after the first 80 pages or so it started to make more sense. Everything comes together in the end, you just may have to flip back and forth a bit to keep track of the different time stamps at the beginning of each chapter.

Why I gave this book 3/5 stars: Underdeveloped plot and characters, confusing time lines, but neat imagery and setting.

Other reviews:
S. Krishna's Books
Book Nut
Literary Musings
It's All About Books
life by candlelight

Have you reviewed this? Let me know and I'd be happy to post yours as well.

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World War Z

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War

By: Max Brooks

Challenge: The Dystopia Challenge 2012

Published: 2006

# of pages: 342

Official description:

The Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. Max Brooks, driven by the urgency of preserving the acid-etched first-hand experiences of the survivors from those apocalyptic years, traveled across the United States of America and throughout the world, from decimated cities that once teemed with upwards of thirty million souls to the most remote and inhospitable areas of the planet. He recorded the testimony of men, women, and sometimes children who came face-to-face with the living, or at least the undead, hell of that dreadful time.World War Z is the result. Never before have we had access to a document that so powerfully conveys the depth of fear and horror, and also the ineradicable spirit of resistance, that gripped human society through the plague years.

Ranging from the now infamous village of New Dachang in the United Federation of China, where the epidemiological trail began with the twelve-year-old Patient Zero, to the unnamed northern forests where untold numbers sought a terrible and temporary refuge in the cold, to the United States of Southern Africa, where the Redeker Plan provided hope for humanity at an unspeakable price, to the west-of-the-Rockies redoubt where the North American tide finally started to turn, this invaluable chronicle reflects the full scope and duration of the Zombie War.

Most of all, the book captures with haunting immediacy the human dimension of this epochal event. Facing the often raw and vivid nature of these personal accounts requires a degree of courage on the part of the reader, but the effort is invaluable because, as Mr. Brooks says in his introduction, “By excluding the human factor, aren’t we risking the kind of personal detachment from history that may, heaven forbid, lead us one day to repeat it? And in the end, isn’t the human factor the only true difference between us and the enemy we now refer to as ‘the living dead’?”

My opinion: My husband and I recently came up with our zombie plan (we also have an EMP plan and a general apocalypse plan). I had already had one for awhile and I don't know what possessed me to share my plan with my husband. But thankfully he didn't think I was crazy, he went along with it! So now we're always adding to our plans and I decided to read this book to come up with ideas.

After I started I found out that Brooks has another book, The Zombie Survival Guide. But World War Z was an interesting read and I loved how it was structured to be so real. It's written in a series of interviews that take place all over the world. Brooks has constructed an entire history that the reader slowly learns about through the interviews.

It isn't perfect, but I was impressed with the depth of the plot and the different voices that are presented. I recommend this to adults who enjoy post-apocalyptic/dystopian/zombie books.

Why I gave this book 4/5 stars: Unique story (both plot and writing style), may be hard for some people to "get into" since there is no central character, a few typos (including one that made things confusing)

Other reviews:

Have you reviewed this? Let me know and I'd be happy to post yours as well.

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This is a place where you can read book reviews, discover links, and learn about the reading challenges in which I'm taking part.


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