Review of Poison and Mirrors by Holly Hook

Synopsis (from Amazon):
Mara’s always had to have an attitude. There’s no room to be a pushover when you’re the bottom rung of the social ladder and you live in an orphanage. Her crush, Eric, probably doesn’t realize she exists. Or he’s too afraid of her black makeup and warped sense of humor.

But when she finally draws Eric’s attention, strange stuff happens to Mara and they’re right out of a fairy tale. A teacher’s tie nearly chokes him to death and classmates turn into donkeys…and it seems all this dark magic is aimed at her. Worse, she’s been having a nightmare about a very red and dangerous apple. Someone’s trying to keep her away from Eric at all costs—someone jealous. Could her best friend, Sara, be trying to eliminate her?

Mara must get to the bottom of this fairy tale nightmare if she is to survive. And it might take more than an attitude to learn the truth.

Oh, my heart! What happens when best friends are torn apart, despite having spent all their lives together? This novel had an amazing twist, and I absolutely loved it. Nothing is at all what it seems, and it seems that all are able to be manipulated, especially when key facts are left out about who they are.

This novel does call into question the people working for the king attempting to overthrow Fable– is everyone as complacent as he believes?

Star Rating: 

Review of The Mirror’s Tale by P. W. Catanese

The Mirror’s Tale
A Further Tales Adventure
By P. W. Catanese

Star Rating: 
Genre: Young People/Young Adult
Number of Pages: 288

Date Started: December 10, 2016
Date Finished: December 14, 2016

Synopsis: (From Amazon)mirrors_tale_front_cover
Everyone has heard the story — the dwarves, the talking mirror, the evil witch. But this tale doesn’t belong to Snow White anymore….

Bert and Will, the twin sons of the baron of Ambercrest, are best friends. They do everything together and can’t help it if trouble just seems to…find them. But the baron is fed up and has decided that separation will keep them out of mischief. One twin, he proclaims, will stay in Ambercrest for the summer, while the other will be sent to The Crags — a foreboding, rocky outpost on the edge of the kingdom.

It is there, hidden in a forbidden black chamber, that one of the boys discovers a bejeweled and mysterious mirror. What is the precious object? And why does it make him feel so…powerful? Soon the twins’ kinship is replaced by dark magic and deceit, and a kingdom hangs dangerously in the balance. What becomes of one who is ruled by the forces of evil? And can brotherly love conquer a consuming quest for power?

I love that there are elements of the classic fairy tale of Snow White in this book. I think that the story was perfectly entwined so that it didn’t deal so much with the fairy tale as it referenced it as most stories are– an event that most people don’t know the entire truth about. The depth of characterization was surprising and refreshing for the grade level, giving the villains realistic and understandable qualities and traits that readers might also face.

There are so many morals that one could take out of this book, including but not limited to: sometimes the life path you dream isn’t one that suits you, you can always improve your own behaviour if others find you act inappropriately (which is a far better plan than to act out and potentially hurt someone you care about), that not everything is as it seems.

Author Biography: (From Amazon)
If you would like to read P. W. Catenese’s biography, check his Amazon page here.

Review of As Black as Ebony by Salla Simukka

As Black as Ebony
Book 3 in The Snow White Trilogy
By Salla Simukka
Translated by Owen Witesman

Star Rating: 

Genre: Mystery, Young Adult

Number of Pages: 208

Season Read: Summer

Synopsis:(From Amazon)As-Black-as-Ebony
After a harrowing summer in Prague, Lumikki Andersson is back in Finland at her prestigious art school, concentrating on graduation. She lands the lead role in the school’s modern-day adaptation of “Snow White” and finds herself facing a new distraction—Sampsa, the boy playing the role of the huntsman, who has an undeniable allure that makes Lumikki conflicted about what, and who, she wants.

As Lumikki starts falling into something more than just her role on stage, a shadow is cast over the production when she begins receiving creepily obsessive love notes. Lumikki can’t ignore the increasingly hostile tone of her admirer’s messages, and when the stalker threatens mass violence at the play’s premiere, Lumikki knows she must discover who is behind the menace and stop the person at all costs.

With a foe who has a heart as black as ebony, does Lumikki have any hope of saving those she loves?

I was the first to admit that I had been quite disappointed with the second book in The Snow White Trilogy, White as Snow.  It had seemed so short!  The book itself, the mystery within, had been awesome.  Now, the concluding book, is perfection.

Lumikki knows that something is wrong with her.  It has nothing to do with having to become her namesake on stage, though she finds that to be a bit odd.  She has to fight through what she feels in her heart, and what she thinks she remembers from her past.  Someone out there has done a great deal of investigating her, and she doesn’t want that person to harm her or the people she is closest to.  While she thinks of a particular few who might have the potential to stalk her, the truth is far more explosive than anyone likely would have considered, proving that Simukka really does have a knack for incredibly interwoven stories.

simukkaAuthor Bio: (From Amazon)
Winner of the 2013 Topelius prize, Salla Simukka is an author of young adult fiction and a screenwriter. She has written several novels and one collection of short stories for young readers, and has translated adult fiction, children’s books, and plays. She writes book reviews for several Finnish newspapers and she also writes for TV. Simukka lives in Tampere, Finland.

Photo Credit: Karoliina Ek



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