ARC Review: Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust

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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.

review

****Big thank you to Flatiron Books for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!****

This was a very unique and creative take on Snow White and one that I really did enjoy especially with the minor F/F romance and feminist themes! However, there was just something not there for me to rate this any higher than 3.5 unfortunately.

PLOT

My biggest complaint about this book is the extremely uneven pacing because it would have me turning pages eager to know more or I’d set the book down and not pick it up for days it was so slow. This is a problem for me since it’s harder for me to want to finish a book when it gets super slow after being so good! I have to say the end  and the middle is where it slowed down significantly for me and thought the first 40%-50% was much better.

The story is told in two different POVs one is Mina, the Queen and stepmother, and Lynet, the princess. In this way Mina is the “evil Queen” and Lynet is “Snow White”. The story revolves around Mina wanting to keep her power as Queen so she can be loved even though her heart is made of glass and Lynet is supposed to take her place but would rather spend her time climbing the castle walls and spending time with the new surgeon. Personally I found Mina’s chapters to be much more interesting.

As I already mentioned this book is a little slower with the pacing since it’s a very character driven story and doesn’t have an action packed plot by any means. I really loved the overall themes of feminism, family not being only blood, and being accepted for you who are and not who you “should” be. I also thought the general retelling of the Snow White fairy tale was done very well here, very creative and unique, and I loved seeing the twists on certain elements such as the enchanted mirror, huntsman, and poison apple!

The writing was also very well done and compelling…just saying. It really was wonderfully written and helped set the atmosphere for a fairy tale retelling.

I kind of stated already that I loved the themes in this book and I really appreciated that this is a book that focuses on female empowerment and women helping and supporting other women. Instead of Mina and Lynet fighting each other for the sake of power and the whims of oppressive men they stood against that and helped and supported each other. And that’s awesome.

characters

Now to the characters which were the best part and what drove the story forward!

Mina was by far my favorite character, I really thought her chapters and flashbacks were the most interesting parts of this story. Her character had so much depth and development throughout the book and we really see so many layers to her. She was raised motherless and by a father who constantly tells her that with her glass heart she cannot love or be loved. In her desperation for love she makes some bad choices but ultimately she is a very sympathetic character.

Lynet is the main character overall but she wasn’t as interesting to me as Mina, probably since she’s younger and there isn’t as much complexity to her character. She is constantly being compared to her late mother and instead of allowing herself to be groomed for the throne she would rather spend her time climbing and getting into mischief. I found myself really sympathizing with her though since she just wants to be her own person and not be a version of her mother like everyone wants. Lynet does grow over the course of the story significantly though as she learns she can use her power as queen to help people and help her kingdom.

The only other characters of any importance in the story would be King Nicholas, Mina’s father Gregory, Nadia the surgeon, and Felix the huntsman. King Nicholas and Gregory the magician were probably my least favorite characters since they’re both men trying to rule over and pressure our female characters Lynet and Mina (their daughters respectively). Sure King Nicholas doesn’t go about ruling over his daughter Lynet in an abusive way like Gregory rules over Mina, but he still tries to force her mother’s image on her. As for Gregory….he is straight up an asshole….just saying.

Nadia’s character was very interesting and she does play the love interest for Lynet which was a very slow-burn and sweet romance. Nadia actually develops quite a bit over the story even though she doesn’t play a huge role in it.

Felix plays the role of the huntsman and he is….adorable. I thought the take on his character was very, very creative and he actually grew a lot considering he’s more of a minor character.

romance

The romance does not play a central role in this book at all but it is there! It’s an F/F romance between Lynet, our Snow White character, and Nadia. I really loved the romance here since it didn’t overtake the main plot line and it was a nice slow burn romance, it was also very adorable!

in conclusion

I did really enjoy this book and think it’s a very creative take on the Snow White fairy tale but the pacing was something I had a hard time looking past while reading. There wasn’t much action which I understand but it would have been nice to have a little more and a few more complex side characters as well! Minor complaints those last two though.

What I Loved:

  • F/F, slow burn romance
  • Great feminist themes
  • Fantastic characters that were well developed
  • The writing was done well
  • Creative take on Snow White

What I Didn’t Love:

  • Not a whole lot of action
  • Very uneven pacing (most of the time a little on the slow side)
  • Would have liked a few more complex characters

RECOMMEND

I do recommend checking this book out especially if you’re looking for a good Snow White retelling or even just a book that has some great feminist themes!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

The Sassy

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Loved The Year I Started My Blog

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Another week, another Top Ten Tuesday! This week’s theme is a throwback freebie so it can be anything you’d like to discuss about older books such as: books published 10 years ago, older books you forgot you loved, or books from the year you started blogging (which I’m doing!).

There are so many books I read a while ago that I don’t talk about enough and some of them I do talk about plenty. This is going to be a list of my favorite reads from 2015 back when I started this blog!

These are in no particular order and I do have reviews up for each of these books but I’m not going to link them since they’re older and slightly embarrassing! Still though they are available if you want to hear my full thoughts on some of them.


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10.) A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

This was one of the first books I read when I started my blog because there was a ton of hype and glowing reviews for it! Of course I’m super happy I gave Schwab a try because she’s one of my favorite authors now.


9.) Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

I had read “Gone Girl” as well as “Dark Places” before I gave this one a go because I really enjoy the way Flynn tells her stories, they’re also super twisted. This one is probably one of my favorites of hers now as well because of that twist at the end!


8.) Slasher Girls & Monster Boys stories selected by April Genevieve Tucholke

This was a new release when I started my blog and I had heard a few good things about it and I’m ALWAYS looking for some great, creepy YA horror books. This is an anthology and pretty much all of the stories were fantastic plus some of them definitely did not fail to give me nightmares!


7.) Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor

I actually mention this book quite frequently but when I first started blogging I was digging around for some great books to read that I hadn’t heard of before. “Lips Touch” was one of the ones I found and it definitely is very underrated. It’s three short stories told by Laini Taylor and her writing here is just as beautiful as it is in her other book “Daughter of Smoke and Bone”. Highly recommend checking out if you’re a fan of hers!


6.) The Girl From The Well by Rin Chupeco

I bought this book when I got “Slasher Girls & Monster Boys” as well because I had heard mixed things about it and was looking for more scary reads. I’m really terrified of Japanese horror stories every since getting nightmares in the fourth grade from the movie “The Grudge” so I was easily scared reading this book, which was fun!


5.) The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich

I hadn’t actually heard much about this book but I saw it in my local bookstore and the cover was so intriguing and creepy that I HAD to buy it. It’s also told in a really unique format consisting of transcripts of video footage, journal entries, and even drawings. It’s an interesting and pretty suspenseful psychological thriller.


4.) The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

This book….broke my heart! It came highly recommended when I was searching Goodreads for new books to read since I started my book blog and while it was fantastic and very well written….it was also completely emotionally devastating!


3.) Alice by Christina Henry

Okay, okay I KNOW I mention this book all the time but that’s only because it’s so fantastic! I think it’s pretty good for me to still be recommending a book two years after reading it! This is a very twisted, gritty retelling of Alice in Wonderland and is very much worth reading through in my opinion.


2.) Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh

This book was actually recommended to me by one of my blogging besties Arianna @ The Quirky Book Nerd and I of course always take her recommendations to heart! This was such a hilarious graphic novel and I enjoyed every minute of it, it’s a great book to brighten up your day!


1.) Vicious by V.E. Schwab

Probably my most highly recommended book I’ve read and I was pretty proud reading two of Schwab’s books in half a year too when I started all of this! It’s got morally ambiguous characters with freaking superpowers….so yeah I was definitely impressed. I’m also DYING to read the sequel!!!!


A Few Honorable Mentions:

  • You by Caroline Kepnes
  • The Wrath & The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
  • The Steep & Thorny Way by Cat Winters
  • Uprooted by Naomi Novik
  • The Martian by Andy Weir
  • Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

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Have you read any of these books as well? What did you think?

What are some of your favorite books from the year you started blogging?

How about some older favorites in general?

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy

Top 5 Wednesday: Series That Got Better!

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Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Thoughts on Tomes and created by Lainey @ Ginger Reads Lainey. You can check out the group’s Goodreads page for this month’s topics!

I’m not much of a series reader I’m usually the kind of person that can start a ton of series and then not actually ever finish them. So this list was a little harder for me especially since I feel a lot of series really get worse the farther they go on for me, however, here are a few I felt got better!

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5.) Uglies Series by Scott Westerfeld

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I read this series such a long time ago but when I read the first book I honestly didn’t think much of it, it was okay. However, I decided to continue on and read “Pretties” and “Specials” as well and in my opinion both of those books were a lot better than “Uglies”. I never did read “Extras” but I don’t really feel like I need to either since it isn’t from Tally’s POV.

Would I still think this if I re-read these books now? Maybe but from what I remember when I was younger I thought the books got way better as they went!


4.) Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead

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Once again this was a series that I read when I was younger and thought it was amazing! Of course my opinion might change if I read them again now but I like to live in my nostalgia…..

The first couple of books in this series are kind of so, so there really isn’t anything too crazy special about them but as they go they get a lot more action, plot twists, and more interesting back stories!


3.) The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

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This might be cheating since I haven’t actually finished the series! BUT I have read the first two books and I definitely loved “The Dream Thieves” even more than I loved “The Raven Boys” so I’m just kind of assuming the series will only continue to get better as well!

You can read my full review of “The Raven Boys” here.


2.) The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski

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Once again I haven’t fully completed this series but I’ve read the first two books just not the last! I was really leery with the first book since I wasn’t sure it was going to be good or not and I was actually really pleasantly surprised by it! So of course I devoured the second book which was EVEN BETTER than the first one! So I think it’s safe to say this is one of those series you should stick with after the first book.

You can read my full review of “The Winner’s Curse” here.


1.) The Inkworld Trilogy

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This is my most prime example of a series that gets WAAAAAY better as it goes, the jump in awesomeness from “Inkheart” to “Inkspell” is huge! While I did really like the first book I still wasn’t super impressed with it but since I already had the second book I pushed on anyways and I am so glad I did! “Inkspell” is ten times the fun with way more characters, magic, and world building! Then there’s “Inkdeath”……I didn’t know it could get any better than “Inkspell” but it did, there are so many plot twists and so much emotional turmoil! The ending was perfect though.

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What are some series you think got better?

Do you agree or disagree with any of these series? Have you read any of them?

Are you big on finishing series or, like me, start them more than finish them?

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy

June Wrap-Up

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June was a fantastic month for me! Honestly it’s been really amazing to see my blog being supported so much by all of you it blows my mind and I’m extremely grateful for each and every one of you!

It’s also pretty great that I managed to read so many books as well although I have to say my June TBR did NOT go as planned at all and I’m so sorry…..

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Hopefully I’ll stay a little more on track this month with my reading!

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Books Read This Month: 9

Paper Girls, Vol. 1 by Brian K. VaughanThe Hundredth Queen by Emily R. KingOne of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManusThe Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 1 by Kieron GillenThe Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 2 by Kieron GillenThe Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 3 by Kieron GillenThe Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 4 by Kieron GillenLost Boy by Christina HenryDare Me by Megan Abbott

Overall I had really mixed feelings about the books I read this month, it seemed I either really liked them or really disliked them. My favorite read would be “Lost Boy” and I really did not like “One of Us is Lying” and “Dare Me”.


Reviews Finished This Month:

The Hundredth Queen by Emily R. King

You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott

One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Lost Boy: The True Story of Captain Hook by Christina Henry

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

Beware That Girl by Teresa Toten

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart


Tags & Memes Done This Month:

Top Ten Tuesday: Fantasy Books Recently Added to My TBR

Top 5 Wednesday: Books for Ravenclaws!

The Goodreads Book Tag

Top Ten Tuesday: Series I’ve Been Meaning To Start

Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books of 2017 So Far! 

The New Disney Princess Book Tag


Other Posts Done This Month:

May Wrap -Up

June Releases I’m Excited For!

June TBR

Discussion Post: Physical ARCs vs E-Galleys

Books I Forget To Recommend

Discussion Post: Reviewing New Releases vs. Backlist Books


What I’m Currently Reading: 

The DisappearancesDreamfall (Dreamfall #1)

Currently enjoying “The Disappearances” a lot and hopefully will have a review up by Wednesday! Then I’ll be moving on to “Dreamfall” which sounds super amazing!

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How was your reading and blogging month this June?

What were your best or worst reads?

What are you currently reading?

What books are you excited for this coming month, July?

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy

The Goodreads Book Tag

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Big thank you to Jess @ Beaucoup Books for tagging me to do this one! Be sure to head over and not only check out Jess’s answers but her amazing blog as well!

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1. What was the last book you marked as “read?”

The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 1: The Faust Act by Kieron Gillen

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This is a graphic novel so it may be cheating a little bit (if it is the last BOOK I read was “One of Us is Lying”). I haven’t reviewed this one yet as I finished it yesterday but it will be a glowing review, it was absolutely amazing! The art style was awesome and the story was even awesome-er, highly recommend it by the way!


2. What was the last book you marked as TBR?

The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke

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The last two books I’ve read by this author were really “meh” so you might be wondering why I’d add another one of her books. Well, it’s really hard to pass up a book that’s described as being a “genderbent Beowulf re-imagining” because that sounds PERFECT and also BADASS! I’m definitely more than willing to give Tucholke another go just for this premise!


3. What book do you plan to read next?

Well I had a TBR set up for June but I also went to my library and they had a bunch of new releases so this is really a toss up. I’m terrible about sticking to reading plans, I’m sorry! However, I really want to make sure I finish up the books I borrowed first so I don’t really know. Either:

Lost Boy: The True Story of Captain Hook by Christina Henry

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or

Dreamfall by Amy Plum

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4. Do you use the star rating system?

Of course! Although I try to be a bit pickier with my ratings because I don’t really like when other people rate EVERYTHING 4 or 5 stars.


5. Are you doing the 2017 Reading Challenge?

Yes I am! My goal is 80 books this year and currently I’m at 31 books read. So I’m 5 books behind schedule, yikes! However, I did factor in that I’d be reading shorter books as well as graphic novels so I’ll catch up eventually.


6. Do you have a wishlist?

Does any book lover NOT have a wishlist? I have a list of books I “need to buy” and wait until they have a decent prices so I can get a copy!


7. Which book do you plan on buying next?

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Currently I’m torn between When Dimple Met Rishi and Bad Romance! If you’ve had a chance to read either of these let me know what you thought in the comments down below and help me make up my mind!


8. Do you have any favorite quotes? Share a few.

“The books we love, they love us back, And just as we mark our places in the pages, those pages leave their marks on us. I can see it in you, sure as I see it in me. You’re a daughter of words. A girl with a story to tell.” – Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

“Plenty of humans were monstrous, and plenty of monsters knew how to play at being human.” – Vicious by V.E. Schwab


9. Who are your favorite authors?

Jay Kristoff, V.E. Schwab, Laini Taylor, Christina Henry, Amy Lukavics, Rick Riordan, J.K. Rowling (obviously!), & Gillian Flynn.

These are all authors I’ve read multiple books by and loved all of them!


10. Have you joined any groups?

Top 5 Wednesday & Hype or Like Friday! I don’t join the topics as much but these are both fantastic and fun groups to join!

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Just going to tag a couple people here! Sorry if you’ve already done this tag, feel free to just ignore this if that’s the case!

Tag! You’re It:

Anna @ My Bookish Dream

Ariana @ The Quirky Book Nerd

Kirsty @ Kirsty Reads Blog

Destiny @ Howling Libraries

Rachel @ Bookish Rachel

Becky @ Book To The Becky

Amanda @ Literary Weaponry

The Sassy

Book Review: Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

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Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair…

Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily doesn’t believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan in the forbidden woods of Neverland and immediately falls under his spell.

Peter is unlike anyone she’s ever known. Impetuous and brave, he both scares and enthralls her. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland’s inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. Soon, she is risking everything—her family, her future—to be with him. When she is faced with marriage to a terrible man in her own tribe, she must choose between the life she’s always known and running away to an uncertain future with Peter.

With enemies threatening to tear them apart, the lovers seem doomed. But it’s the arrival of Wendy Darling, an English girl who’s everything Tiger Lily is not, that leads Tiger Lily to discover that the most dangerous enemies can live inside even the most loyal and loving heart.

review

Let me just say that YOU WILL CRY! This story isn’t the happy, fun Neverland that we all know it’s a dark, dispiriting one but all at once the best word to describe this book is beautiful.

PLOT

This story is about Tiger Lily and Peter Pan’s relationship but mostly it’s about Tiger Lily as a person and there’s also a lot more to it than just that. This book has a very unique narrative style as it’s told from the perspective of Tinkerbell as she follows different characters around and can read their thoughts. I found that having Tink narrate added a LOT more insight into each character than we would have gotten with a different point of view.

We start the story with Tiger Lily at a younger age and watch as she grows and Tink notices that Tiger Lily is a lot different from the people of her tribe and therefore doesn’t quite fit in. There are many different events that come into play (I don’t want to spoil anything!) but ultimately everything pushes Tiger Lily towards Peter and from there we watch how things play out with the different characters on the island. There are quite a few twists in the story that I hate to say are pretty heart-wrenching but overall add so much complexity, all the little threads weaving together.

Like I mentioned right away this isn’t a happy story and Neverland isn’t the care-free place we have seen before, it’s a very dark and sad place full of flawed and broken people. Many things that occur in the plot are deeply saddening, once again I’ll tell you YOU WILL CRY!

The pacing is very slow in this book but it isn’t out of place here and I didn’t mind it at all. “Tiger Lily” is very much a character driven story and is not action packed by any means but I feel a faster pacing would tell a completely different story than the wonderful one we already got.

And that writing! It’s absolutely gorgeous! Jodi Lynn Anderson managed to write something that’s just so beautiful, heart-wrenching, and magical all at the same time. The writing is wonderfully descriptive and just fit the story perfectly.

I also just have to add for any Peter Pan fan (like myself) there are a bunch of very fun twists on things from the original story!

characters

I think it’s easy to say the characters are the best part of this story, everyone is very complex and has so much personality. Everyone is flawed in their own ways but they all also have their own strengths.

Tiger Lily is such a wonderful protagonist she’s strong, brave, and fearless but she’s also incredibly lonely. She has the complete acceptance of only a few people in her tribe such as Tik Tok, her foster father, and her friends Pine Sap and Moon Eye yet she still feels very alone. Tiger Lily is also more capable of doing things the men of her tribe do versus the things the women do and I loved that she could care less in this matter what people think. Girl power!

Peter himself is as lonely as Tiger Lily in some ways but he’s still a bit of the mischievous boy we all know and love.

We also get to see some different spins on the Lost Boys, Wendy Darling, Captain Hook, and even Smee.

romance

I’m extremely torn about the romance! On one hand a big part of the story is Tiger Lily and Peter’s relationship and I loved it but on the other hand I’ll always be a lover of Peter and Wendy…..

To be fair though I loved how Tiger Lily and Peter’s brokeness drew them together and their interactions were heart-warming at times but also they did have a lot of problems. They weren’t meant for long-term, they’re too unstable and dispirited for each other. They both needed people more encouraging and stable for themselves.

I did like how their romance ended up but also at the same time it DESTROYED ME!

in conclusion

I loved the story and don’t really have to much to complain about but at the same time it just seems to be more of a four star read for me than a five star read.

What I Loved:

  • The complexity of the characters
  • Tinkerbell’s narrative style
  • The relationships/romances
  • The plot twists and events (even though the wrecked me)
  • The references to the original Peter Pan tale
  • The writing is beautiful

What I Didn’t Like:

  • A certain thing that occurs at the very end…it ruined me
  • I wish it had been longer
  • I would have liked more insight and story time with Captain Hook, Wendy, and The Lost Boys

RECOMMEND

I highly recommend reading this book, period. If you love retellings, read this book. If you love Peter Pan, read this book. If you’re looking for a story that is both parts beautiful and heart-wrenching, read this book.

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

The Sassy