Mini Reviews: Two Underwhelming September Releases

Posted August 3, 2017 by Madalyn || 11 Comments

Hello hello! Welcome to another round of mini reviews. Today, I’ll be discussing two upcoming releases I found severely overhyped and disappointing. Honestly, I decided to do mini reviews of both of these instead of full reviews simply because I don’t have much to say about either of these books, other than… I didn’t enjoy them. But I’m going to articulate WHY I didn’t like them, because being a critical reader is important, no? Anyway, that’s enough rambling for one post. Onto my thoughts!

 Mini Reviews: Two Underwhelming September ReleasesGirls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust
Published by Flatiron Books on September 5th 2017
Pages: 400
Format: e-ARC
Source: Netgalley

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.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This. Book. Was. So. Dull. Like, mind-numbingly boring to read. I find Girls Made of Snow & Glass quite difficult to review, because while I didn’t hate this book– I have more of a total apathy towards it– I simply do not understand the amount of hype around it. I got almost 2/3 of the way through the book before deciding to DNF it and, like… nothing happened. The characters are two-dimensional and have no personality or discerning voice whatsoever. The magic is predictable and overdone. I was bored pretty much from the first page, and absolutely no action of interest happened in the 64% of the book that I read. This book is pitched as a feminist retelling of Snow White, but the retelling felt so lacking in originality. Plus, I just didn’t get feminist vibes from this book at all. It wasn’t anti-feminist, per se, but I also didn’t feel like it added anything new or needed to feminist YA lit. There were hints of an f/f romance forming– which, as you guys know, is MY JAM, always– but even that relationship wasn’t interesting enough to make me finish this book. Part of the reason Girls Made of Snow & Glass was such a huge letdown for me was because all of my friends who have similar reading tastes, as well as almost all the reviewers I trust, have adored and raved about this book. That makes me think my dislike of the book is an “it’s not me, it’s you” situation. So, if you enjoy fairytale retellings, maybe give this one a shot! I simply found it utterly boring and unoriginal, and I don’t plan to ever finish it.

Mini Reviews: Two Underwhelming September ReleasesOdd & True by Cat Winters
Published by Amulet Books on September 12th 2017
Format: e-ARC
Source: Netgalley

Trudchen grew up hearing Odette’s stories of their monster-slaying mother and a magician’s curse. But now that Tru’s older, she’s starting to wonder if her older sister’s tales were just comforting lies, especially because there’s nothing fantastic about her own life—permanently disabled and in constant pain from childhood polio.

In 1909, after a two-year absence, Od reappears with a suitcase supposedly full of weapons and a promise to rescue Tru from the monsters on their way to attack her. But it’s Od who seems haunted by something. And when the sisters’ search for their mother leads them to a face-off with the Leeds Devil, a nightmarish beast that’s wreaking havoc in the Mid-Atlantic states, Tru discovers the peculiar possibility that she and her sister—despite their dark pasts and ordinary appearances—might, indeed, have magic after all.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I really want to like Cat Winters, you guys. I try so hard. Historical fiction is my favorite genre, and I especially love historical fiction with fantasy/paranormal elements. It would stand to reason that I would love Cat Winters’s books, but I’m starting to think her writing and I just don’t get along. I’ve tried a few of her books and not loved any of them, but Odd & True was the biggest disappointment of them all. The two main characters in Odd & True are two sisters, Odette and Trudchen– get it??? Od and Tru? ODD AND TRUE??? *insert me rolling my eyes for twelve years here*– whose family has told them all their lives that monsters exist and they come from a family of monster hunters. The paranormal elements of this book were just plain confusing, if I’m honest. Not confusing in that I didn’t understand them, but confusing in that they just didn’t make any sense. They seemed like a crutch the author used to explain away her characters’ motivations and to get the plot moving. The pacing of this story was incredibly slow, and I feel that it could have been cut down to a significantly smaller number of pages. Odd & True is told through alternating timelines (Trudchen’s perspective in the present, and Odette’s perspective in the past), yet somehow there wasn’t a whole lot done to differentiate the POV characters’ voices. Plus, like the main characters in Girls Made of Snow & Glass, both Od and Tru just felt so dull and lifeless, like cardboard cutouts instead of fully-fleshed-out characters. Like I touched on before, I simply did not understand their motivations or the decisions they made. They also read very young and naive– which I don’t have a problem with (I mean, they’re sheltered teen girls around the turn of the century, what do you expect?), but I know many people do, so just a warning if you prefer older YA. I will say, I did really appreciate how one (spoiler-y, so I won’t go into detail here) major plot point in Odette’s story was handled, especially the way that plot tied together in the end. Overall, though, this book did not impress me, and I don’t think I’ll be picking up any more of Cat Winters’s future books.


Whew! That was a lot of negativity for one post. Have you read either of these books? If so, do you have different thoughts on them? I’d love to discuss in the comments! If not, do you plan to pick them up?

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Madalyn

Madalyn is a 20-something music student and lifelong lover of reading. When she's not reading or singing, you're likely to find her drinking coffee, traveling, or buying more lipstick than one person could possibly need.
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  • Jen

    I get put of reading YA books because of “The characters are two-dimensional and have no personality or discerning voice whatsoever,” to borrow your words. And having been reading supernatural/vampire books for I don’t know around (ah!) 20 years I look for originality. I have the same problem with adult books of this genre. Besides the characters being so perfect or so whinny take your pick you just don’t get the same delight reading them as other books as the style can often be boring (or in the charcaters voice which I don’t always like) I end up counting all the “I” on the page sometimes in first person books. Sometimes I wonder if they’re all copying the popular vampires/witch books and not really thinking for themselves, but then films have gone that way. Don’t get me wrong there’s some amazing YA books out there, I just feel let down by the urban-fantasy/supernatural genre these days. Only because when you read an amazing book (The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova, anything by Carlos Ruiz Zafon) it makes you picking when you read something a bit (or lot less) amazing.

    • I really do love reading YA books, but yeah, some of them (esp. paranormal stories) just don’t work for me because the characters feel so stagnant. And I totally agree about the fact that reading tons of great books with awesome writing (I also adore Carlos Ruiz Zafon) makes the problems in less-great books even more glaring.

  • Oh no! A mind-numbingly boring read does not like fun at all. I’m sorry to hear. I wasn’t curious about it until I saw all the hype, but that’s such a bummer that it doesn’t live up to the hype. It sounded like it had a cool concept too. I’ll skip it. :/

    Sorry to hear Odd & True didn’t work for you either. I listened to one book from her on audiobook that worked for me, but most of her others haven’t worked that well. I tend to lose interest in her writing too.

    I hope your next reads are better than these two, Madalyn!

    • Right? I really don’t know why Girls Made of Snow & Glass was such a miss for me, because the premise seemed so up my alley, and everyone I tend to agree with on books looooves it. I was just so bored! And yeah, one of Cat Winters’s books was a fairly enjoyable read for me, but her others have been misses. Thanks so much, Nick!

  • Leah Wong

    Nooooo! Both of these are on my Most Anticipated for the second half of the year. Sorry they didn’t work out for you. 🙁

  • Sydney West

    Oh No! I was really looking forward to Girls made of snow and glass. I hate that it was so boring. 🙁

    • I know; I was so disappointed because I was highly anticipating it! Hopefully it will work out better for you. 🙂

  • I actually really enjoyed Odd & True. It had an unexpected twist that I enjoyed. I have not read Girls Made of Snow and Glass but have seen mixed reviews on it.

    • I’m glad you enjoyed it! I think the writing just wasn’t my taste.

      • I can see that! It’s cool to get a different perspective and opinion on it too. <3