The Reflections of Queen Snow White

What happens when “happily ever after” has come and gone? 

On the eve of her only daughter, Princess Raven’s wedding, an aging Snow White finds it impossible to share in the joyous spirit of the occasion. The ceremony itself promises to be the most glamorous social event of the decade. Snow White’s castle has been meticulously scrubbed, polished and opulently decorated for the celebration. It is already nearly bursting with jubilant guests and merry well-wishers. Prince Edel, Raven’s fiancé, is a fine man from a neighboring kingdom and Snow White’s own domain is prosperous and at peace. Things could not be better, in fact, except for one thing: 

The king is dead. 

The queen has been in a moribund state of hopeless depression for over a year with no end in sight. It is only when, in a fit of bitter despair, she seeks solitude in the vastness of her own sprawling castle and climbs a long disused and forgotten tower stair that she comes face to face with herself in the very same magic mirror used by her stepmother of old. 

It promises her respite in its shimmering depths, but can Snow White trust a device that was so precious to a woman who sought to cause her such irreparable harm? Can she confront the demons of her own difficult past to discover a better future for herself and her family? And finally, can she release her soul-crushing grief and suffocating loneliness to once again discover what “happily ever after” really means? 

Only time will tell as she wrestles with her past and is forced to confront The Reflections of Queen Snow White.

This book really surprised me, in a good way. Although I read the blurb I didn’t really appreciate that it was going to be a mature book dealing with grief and hope and not just a future continuation of a well known fairy tale. Dealing with grief has a very personal connection to life at the moment and I found Snow’s feelings about her loss very true. The use of the mirror to help her come to terms with this was inspired and I think a very powerful way to explore the process. Throughout the story we relive some of the best and worst moments of Snow’s life and I found the writing particularly beautiful. It wasn’t complex but care has been taken to use the right words to describe both setting and feelings. I was particularly shocked by the end of chapter 7 when the story included a more detailed personal memory than I had expected to read  however the writing captured perfectly an experience that was a pleasure to read. The more harsh memories however was also written well so as to capture the pain of the moment without being too gruesome. Of course what is important is how Snow deals with reliving them. In her grief she has lost her hope and strength believing it to have been down to Charming but with the mirrors help she is able to realise that within her there are still these qualities and through her daughter they can keep his memory alive and continue to live happily.  

Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Things That Make Your Life As A Reader/Blogger Easier

Another good topic this week from The Broke and The Bookish, out Top Ten Things That Make Life As A Reader/Blogger Easier. I have to admit I don’t quite have 10 things again this week but I’ve a few things that make both loving reading and blogging just that bit more accessible. 

Reader

  • Goodreads – discovering this website has been amazing for my OCD about reading. I can now keep track of what I’ve read in a year, what I thought of books and discover new ones.
  • Kindle – for me the kindle is a good thing and that’s because I travel, so it saves me a lot of space and weight in my case. and it also saves me a little money but it will never replace a good old fashioned book.
  • Library – again this one is mainly for the money, I couldn’t have afforded to by half the books I’ve read but I also love that the library is full of great books that no-one else really knows about and discovering them is always a pleasure. 
  • Reviews – with so many books out there to choose from and a mind that would happily devour them all it’s good to be able to read others peoples opinions of them so can rule some out and stop the To-Read list reaching the moon. 
  • Friends Who Read – you need to have friends who read as a reader because sometimes when you finish a book you have to talk about it and if you’re friends don’t read the can’t understand that emotionally connection never mind run read the book too so you can feel the pain together.

Blogger

  • Scheduling – this is a vital tool for keeping on top of any weekly posts you like to do, particularly if you have a busy life or like to travel and I love that on a good day I can be on top of my blog for when those weeks come around and I have too much to do 
  • Other Blogs – I still don’t feel very confident in my blogging even though it’s been almost a year and a half so I like to check other blogs out to see how they do things
  • Book Memes – this kind of ties in to the last point as it gives me some content for those weeks I’ve not finished a book but I also enjoy getting involved in them, as it fuels and satisfies my passion for books
  • Comments – I’m not sure if this makes it easier as such but I love comments, reading although everyone does it alone is actually such a social thing because there is always discussion to be had and comments allow us to share out passion as well as feeling a little pleased people like our blogging. 

What Things Help You With A Life Of Reading/ Blogging?

Requiem

Book Blurb

They have tried to squeeze us out, to stamp us into the past.

But we are still here.

And there are more of us every day.

Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has been transformed. The nascent rebellion that was under way in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight.

After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven—pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators now infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels, and as Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancée of the young mayor.

Maybe we are driven crazy by our feelings.

Maybe love is a disease, and we would be better off without it.

But we have chosen a different road.

And in the end, that is the point of escaping the cure: We are free to choose.

We are even free to choose the wrong thing.

My Synopsis

Lena is about to have to get use to having more than just one person from her past back into her life. Both of whom she has loved and is struggling to deal with her feelings towards them now. But that isn’t the only thing going on around her she needs to deal with. In the towns and cities the resistance is getting stronger and the governments are trying harder to clamp down. Lena and her group have to make a decision about where they want to go and what they want to do but it isn’t going to be easy and there is more discoveries and pain still to come. 

Back in the city however Lena isn’t the only one struggling to make a decision about her future. As the days count down to Hana’s marriage to the mayor she starts having dreams and visions that the cure should have taken away. She can’t help feeling guilty about Lena and her family and she begins to discover things are not at all as perfect as she expected.  Then suddenly she has a chance to make things up to Lena, but can she take it?

Review

I wasn’t sure where she was going to take this story. For me although there is the dystopian world and Lena disagrees with it I never really seen her as becoming a main part of the resistance, the story was about her discovery of love and freedom. I think that the series did finished off how I was expecting to although that doesn’t make it the most exciting of endings. 

I was pleasantly surprised by the introduction of Hana’s point of view in this book. Having read the short story about her previously it was good to hear from her again and I also found it worth while to be able to understand what was going on inside the cities and towns still. It also kept the Hana we met in the first book alive. It would have been too easy to have let her be cured and forgotten about but she still had more to give to Lena. 

For me this book wasn’t as good as the second but still better than the first. There was lots of action going on, people where making discoveries and relationships built and changed. I didn’t feel like the story built well enough to its conclusion, it felt a little last minute but I did like that the end was not only about the love of the characters but about how everyone should have choice and freedom.  

 

Re-Read Review – Delirium

I’m not sure what it is about this book but for me it just lacks a bit of energy. I’m quite happy to sit and read it but it doesn’t get my pulse going or my mind racing. I think the idea of love as a disease is a great base for a dystopian novel and although it doesn’t get my mind racing I do find some of the concepts interesting. Maybe it’s because of the books I am enjoying at the moment that I don’t appreciate this as a good book about teenage love and I’m sure for many people this is a really good book. It brings up questions about just how much control the government should and how often they become violent and horrible to uphold their values as well as endangering and de-humanising people.However it is also about the power of love and how although it can be painful it can also bring us alive and allow us to enjoy everything around us.

Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Books When I Need Some Light And Fun

I found this weeks topic from The Broke and The Bookish particularly difficult. We are supposed to list our Top Ten Books When I Need Some Light and Fun however I don’t really read a lot of books that fall under that title. My mum especially goes on about the depressing nature of my books and so I only a few books for this weeks list.

  • Vegan Virgin Valentine by Carolyn Mackler
  • Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling
  • The Poison Apples by Lily Archer
  • Holes by Louis Sachar

If I am in the need of something more light though rather than pick up a particular book I tend to go look in either;

  • my local libraries – There are two I can walk to, one is really close but don’t have a big collection and the other takes longer to get too but has a better choice of books. 
  • or on Amazon in the Kindle Freebie section – I don’t know if it’s just the type of books the make free or because it doesn’t matter if they are good because they were free but kindle freebies are always a bit more light hearted 

What Books Do You Pick Up When You Need Something Light And Fun?

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Book blurb

Join Dorothy Gale, Toto, and all of her friends as they explore the incredible land of Oz. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is American’s most enduring fairy tale. From the moment Dorothy puts on the silver slippers (changed to ruby slippers by MGM to take advantage of their new advance in movie making: color) until the moment she clicks her heels and returns home to Kansas you will be swept away and captivated by her extraordinary story.

My Synopsis

When Dorothy is caught in a cyclone she finds her whole house lifted up into the air where she remains till she lands in a strange land. There there is a land so much more colourful than Kansas and the people are small but grateful for her house has killed the wicked witch of the East. As a reward the good witch of the north gives her the silver shoes that had been on the witch but Dorothy still wants to go home. The witch tells her she cannot get her their but the Wizard of Oz may be able to and to find him she must follow the yellow brick road. 

Along the road to the Emerald city where the wizard lives Dorothy is met by both friends and dangers. She is joined in her quest by a scarecrow, a tin woodman and a lion who hope to also get something from the wizard. When they final reach him however he requires them to do a task for him first. To kill the wicked witch of the west. Again the group have to set of but this mission is just as dangerous and they think it’s their last chance to get their wished from the wizard. 

Review

I only recently learnt that the well known film The Wizard of Oz was based on a book, although I had always suspected it might be. This I think effected my opinion of the book because it is a film I have adored for a long time and I couldn’t help but compare the two  leaning in favor of the film. The book is actually quite dark. There are a few times where dark creatures are trying to hurt the group and have to be killed and the wicked witch of the west wants to keep both Dorothy and the Lion as her slaves. It was still an interesting story where more of Oz is explored than in the film and we get to meet more of the people there. There a few major difference too though, for example the slippers are silver not ruby and it is the good witch of the North she meets at the start and Glinda is the good witch of the South who we don’t meet till the end. 

There are 14 books written by Baum set in Oz and I have got them all now on my kindle so I plan on returning to Oz in the rest of the series throughout the year but I think these are books to read as a child or too children. 

Reached

Book Blurb

After leaving Society to desperately seek The Rising, and each other, Cassia and Ky have found what they were looking for, but at the cost of losing each other yet again. Cassia is assigned undercover in Central city, Ky outside the borders, an airship pilot with Indie. Xander is a medic, with a secret. All too soon, everything shifts again.

My Synopsis

In the final part of the Matched trilogy all three of our characters are in someway or another back in the society. Now however they are following new orders. 

Xander has his final work placement. He has been helping the rising by changing the medication given to protect new-borns however people are starting to get sick and he knows this is the sign.

Cassia is working as a sorter but also continuing to trade for information from the boys. The museums are no longer open however and have been walled off as the society tries to hide that more and more people are becoming ill.

Ky is working as a pilot back at base looking forward to seeing Cassia again. This is the moment however The Pilot chooses to start their take over and he finds himself reunited with Indie to take the cure into another province. 

Although they are all doing what they can for the raising and believe that it is right Cassia still hates being separated from Ky and she missed Xander. As the illness begins to brought under control she embraces the new freedom by bringing together words, picture and music. But these as well as her trades bring her to the attention of the Pilot and although she finds herself reunited with both Ky and Xander and other people from her past she realises not everything has gone to plan and there is a lot more still to be done and learn about herself.

Review

I’m not sure what I was expecting from this book. The situation they are in and the lack of knowledge about the Rising from the previous books made it difficult for me to predict how this book would turn out and I felt that it was actually resolved in a more peaceful way than I could ever have considered. There was some quite exciting moments throughout the book that kept me reading and I felt that we finally learnt a lot about the people each of our main characters had become as well as the pasts of people important to them. 

Having the three points of view in this story really worked for me. I think that although I agree with the way each book added a new character in it was always a story about all three of them and as this book emphasises more than the others they all had important roles to play in not shaping the future of their society. I found it very easy to like Xander in particular as I think his story was the hardest. He has had the easiest life and yet he couldn’t get the one thing he wanted, Cassia. Yet he still had hope and he believed in her and Ky and the Rising. 

For me there was a lot in this story that talked about the how countries are fun and about power and how it is used, controlled and passed on. All of this was really interesting and of course really important but there was also the continuing theme about culture and creativity. The use of poetry and paintings, the desire to be able to sing and dance and teach everyone in the world to write. These added a new dimension to the story and you really felt that these actions where a powerful expression of the people’s right to choose. 

This has been an enjoyable series to read. As with all dystopian novels it has got me to think about things in our lives now and consider how things could become and the problems with it. Although it was a love story, and this part is resolved in the book what I liked was that with many similar stories the society is left about to begin rebuilding itself and it is the feeling of hope that you are left with when you close the book. 

Crossed

Book Blurb

In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky – taken by the Society to his certain death – only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake.

Cassia’s quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander – who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia’s heart – change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever.

My Synopsis

Ky has returned to the outer provinces and though he is living through hell again he can see the Carving in the distance where he remembers his father trading and plans to run away into them to try and find his was back to Cassia. 

Cassia with the help of her family and Xander had been moving about working trying to find the perfect time to make a run for it herself. Although she wants to find Ky she has also learnt of a movement trying to stop the rules of the society, the Rising. As much as she tells herself getting back with Ky is the most important thing she finds herself driven to also find the Rising. 

With the help of knew friends the two teenagers find more about their world as well as each other. The discover secrets about the society that continue to fuel their hatred of it and push themselves to limits that, Cassia particularly, never thought would ever be possible. 

Review

In the second book of the series we get to hear from both Cassia and Ky point of view. This brings a whole new perspective to the story as we also get to fins out about a different side to the society. We learn Ky’s story, how his life was so different to Cassia’s and importantly about his interactions with Xander that make him fear loosing her. 

The travelling aspect of this story made it really interesting for me. It allows for more description of the world that they are in and this is something I enjoy reading. The characters in this book I also find a lot more interesting, with a young character you want to mother and one to be suspicious of. 

I felt the Cassia was trying to find herself as well through this book. Having put faith in the society for so long in the last book her world came crashing down and you can feel her using her journey as a way of rediscovering herself and what she wants to believe in. 

For me this book was as good as the first one and as good as the first time i read it. I am really exciting to read how the trilogy is going to end too and I am assured it is worth the wait. 

Matched

Book Blurb

Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander’s face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate… until she sees Ky Markham’s face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it’s a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she’s destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can’t stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society’s infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

My Synopsis

Cassia has always dreamed that her she might be lucky enough to have her matching banquet on her 16th birthday and when this happens she feels her future is going to be perfect. She is well on the way to becoming a professional sorter and everything else in her life is perfect. When her best friend Xander is announced as her match although at first a little take a back she continues to put her faith in the rules of the society.

When she puts her microchip in to see what is says about Xander however the face that flashes before her is not his. It is of someone else she knows. Ky. 

For Cassia this is a seed of doubt in her mind that is about to grow into many questions about how good her society really is. Slowly but surely things begin to change around her. She can’t keep herself away from Ky and the more time she spends with him the more questions she has. However she is about to see different sides to all the people in her life and how their love for her will help her achiever her new desires.

Review

The society in this book I find very easy to imagine. It has worked out the prime of everything, from putting together couples at the right age to food and exercise and even the perfect life span. As with everything though it too has it’s flaws. Cassia describes in the book that they have a good control over people because they give them just enough freedom to reign people in when they feel least faith in the system and that for most people providing the optimum conditions for living prevents people questioning the rules. The mistakes that leads to Cassia’s lack of faith however begins to show the flaws in their perfect world. 

I like the way the characters are introduced in this book. We are aware of many of them from the start but their stories are slowly dripped in and allow us to appreciate them all as interesting people. They all have their own story and I think these are really important to Cassia because she learns that it is ok to doubt and that she is still loves and surrounded by love. 

This is the second time I have read this book and I am re-reading it so that it is fresh in my head for reading the final book in the series. I’m not sure if I found it as good as the first time I read it but I just enjoyed it and I’m excited to read on.

 

Happy Christmas – Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Freebie – Top Ten Bookish Gifts – Top Ten Christmas Movies

Merry Christmas !!! Hope You are having a great day and have been given lots of books from Santa 🙂

As it is Christmas today, this weeks topic from The Broke and The Bookish is Top Ten Books Freebie as I am sure there will be lots of people who wont be posting today because they are having lots of fun. I must admit I probably wont be on my blog today but thanks to the power of scheduling I actually wrote this post over a month ago.

In keeping with the theme of they day my list today is my Top Ten Bookish Gifts. These my 10 favourite book/ book related gifts I have received, and one I am hoping Santa may bring this year.

1. M.Edge Reading Light 

This light is designed to go along with my kindle cover but it also make a great general reading light. There is a slit in my cover for the light to slip in by there is also a bit on it so you can add it to the cover of a paper back too making it good for any kind of reading. The other great thing about it that there is three different strengths of light so it is totally versatile. 

2. Dictionary

This is possibly my favourite bookish gift ever. I have been given a dictionary as a gift twice in my life and both of them I have loved. I have always had issues spelling so it is very useful for that but I also love it because I love words. I’m not sure why but it is interesting how so many words exist and when you are reading a book and come across new words I know I have my dictionary handy to look them up. 

3. Kindle

 There is much debate among book lovers over e-readers but because I was going camping for three week I really needed a more convenient way to be able to read. I do love my kindle because it saves me so much space and weight when travelling but also money as the books are cheaper and you get some interesting free reads. 

4. M.Edge Kindle Cover 

After I got my kindle I was desperate for a cover for it because it felt wrong not being able to hold it like a real book. This is a really sturdy cover but still looks stylish.

5. Roald Dhal Treasury 

I have had this book for a long time and have lost the dust cover for it but I love it. It is full of extracts from his books, some of his shorter stories and information about him and his illustrator. It is a lovely gift for someone who loves his work and is still available today. 

6. Am I Bovvered The Catherine Tate Show Scripts 

The Catherine Tate Show was one of my favourites when I was a young teenager and I went through a phase of quoting the more well known catchphrases. 

7. Italian Key Phrases Bookmark 

This was a gift given to me before I went to Italy for the first time. It’s full of really useful phrases and with the magnet on it meant that I could put it in the book I was reading there and not loose it.

8. The Jane Austen Complete Collection

I have still never read any of these books but I love having them all because I do want to read them eventually.

9. The Chronicles of Narnia 

Santa brought me this collection last year after I put it on my list. The films are always shown at Christmas and I really wanted something to read the had a Christmas feel too it. I am only two stories in but hopefully this Christmas I’ll get a bit further. 

10. Personal Library Kit 

This is the one that is on my list for this year. I am always loaning books to my friends who then take them off to uni and would be great to be able to keep track of them.

As a little extra I am also putting up my Top Ten Favourite Christmas Movies. If I am honest I usually watch films around Christmas rather than read. I haven’t read many Christmas themed books so it is Christmas films that really get me in the spirit. For are change, here are my favourites IN ORDER!

1. Miracle on 34th Street (1994)

This will always be my favourite Christmas film, I love Mara Wilson’s character, she is so clever for her age but still so young and full of hope. I also think Richard Attenborough makes the best Santa.

2. The Santa Clause

This play on words make this film a great watch, I love the idea that it really is a clause.

3. Fred Clause

Being the brother of Santa must be really hard work and this film shows that in a comic way.

4. Santa Who

Imagine the chaos if Santa really did loose his memory?

5. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (2005)

I’m not sure if this really counts as a Christmas movie but it is also played around Christmas time and so it always puts me in the Christmas spirit. I think because it is also about having a little faith in something magical that makes so many happy.

6. Mary Poppins

I know this isn’t a Christmas film at all but this is also one that is played around Christmas. It’s another one with a little bit or magic to it.

7. The Greatest Store In The World (1999 BBC Film)

I can remember seeing this for the first time on CBBC and thinking it was actually quite scary. The men that are trying to rob the store still freak me out. But it shows how all parents will do anything to give their kids some sort of magic at Christmas and it will also remind me of being a kid at Christmas.

8. Elf

This is just a really fun feel good film and after my Religion teacher went on about it for a whole year it will always remind me of her.

9. Jack Frost (1998)

When we were little we use to all watch this together at Christmas time. Although I like other films now to put my in the mood for Christmas I feel it is tradition still to watch this.

10. The Santa Clause 2

As is often the case with sequels this film isn’t as good as the first but is till a good film and make me feel Christmasy.

Hope Everyone is Having A Great Day. Happy Holidays.