Review: The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand

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Title: The Afterlife of Holly Chase
Author: Cynthia Hand
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: October 24, 2017
Stars: 4/5

Summary (from Goodreads): On Christmas Eve five years ago, Holly was visited by three ghosts who showed her how selfish and spoiled she’d become. They tried to convince her to mend her ways.

She didn’t.

And then she died.

Now she’s stuck working for the top-secret company Project Scrooge–as the latest Ghost of Christmas Past.

Every year, they save another miserly grouch. Every year, Holly stays frozen at seventeen while her family and friends go on living without her. So far, Holly’s afterlife has been miserable.

But this year, everything is about to change. . . .

Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon

The Afterlife of Holly Chase truly surprised me. This is an original story based on the classic A Christmas Carol where the main character works for a company trying to save Scrooges every year. I found the main character to be likeable, even though she is intended to be dislikable, and I loved reading about the secrets at Project Scrooge. This is such a festive book that will definitely get the reader in the Christmas spirit.

This book has such an original concept! Basically, a spoiled rich girl is killed and wakes up to learn that she is the new Ghost of Christmas Past. Frozen in time, she must work for an organization dedicated to changing the ways of modern Scrooges for the better. I really enjoyed the complexity of Holly’s afterlife and how believable Project Scrooge is. The book is also witty, making it more fun than a typical retelling of A Christmas Carol.

Normally, I am not a fan of dislikable characters, purposeful or not, but I actually really enjoyed Holly’s character. She starts off pretty snobby, and is actually a failed Scrooge, but she really transforms as the story progresses. Holly’s snarky attitude and witty retorts are hilarious, and I loved her sass. She is also pretty daring and willing to do whatever it takes to follow her heart, which is such a nice characteristic.

What I most enjoyed about The Afterlife of Holly Chase is the fact that it isn’t a generic retelling of A Christmas Carol. It takes the idea of the original story and creates something entirely new. Every character assumes the role of one of the classic characters for the mission every year, and the book focuses more on the behind the scenes work at Project Scrooge. Also, the main character isn’t actually Scrooge, which I thought was a nice twist. This book is unlike any A Christmas Carol retelling you will ever read, and I would definitely recommend it this holiday season.

The Afterlife of Holly Chase is an inventive story based on A Christmas Carol. I loved the sassy main character and the various twists on the original story. If you are looking for something different to read this winter, this is the perfect book to pick up.

 

Review: Kissing Snowflakes by Abby Sher

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Title: Kissing Snowflakes
Author: Abby Sher
Publisher: Point
Publication Date: November 1, 2007
Stars: 3/5

Summary (from Goodreads): This fun, sweet, wintertime book is filled with humor and romance. The picturesque mountain ski lodge is the perfect place to spend winter break if you have a boyfriend! Otherwise, that cozy leather couch in front of the crackling fire looks a lot less inviting. Good thing that there are lots of cute, blond, sweater-wearing ski instructors around to choose from.

Goodreads | Amazon

Kissing Snowflakes is a wintry drama with plenty of skiing. The more serious topics in the book balanced out the fluff, and the resort setting is so peaceful. However, I found the main character to be dislikable, so I didn’t enjoy this one as much as I had hoped.

This book tells the story of a ski trip celebrating the remarriage of the main character’s dad. On the trip, Sam meets a cute ski instructor and finds herself falling for him. However, the more time she spends with him, the more she realizes that he might not be the one for her. I loved the resort setting and the relaxing winter break vibes. There is also a good mix of drama and fluff. I was actually surprised to see topics like divorce discussed in the story, since books like this one aren’t typically too heavy. Kissing Snowflakes is overall super cosy and perfect for the winter.

I didn’t really like Sam’s character. I found her to be too clingy and naive, and the way she acts can be so immature. I also didn’t like the way she treats her best friend from home and how she doesn’t even give her stepmom a chance. Some of Sam’s actions are understandable, but most of them are pretty frustrating. I would have preferred if she was more considerate and listened.

Kissing Snowflakes is a cute and wintry read filled with skiing and drama. I enjoyed the relaxing resort setting, but the main character didn’t satisfy me. I would still recommend this one, though it would be better suited for those new to the YA genre.

Review: Snow in Love by Claire Ray

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Title: Snow in Love
Author: Claire Ray
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: December 23, 2008
Stars: 4/5

Summary (from Goodreads): Welcome to Alaska!

A special welcome to my boyfriend, Jake, the cutest tourist I’ve ever met!

Explore our natural beauties and untouched wilderness.

Jake and I like to hike our great (romantic!) nature trails. . . .

Enjoy our perfect skiing and snowboarding conditions.

Be sure to catch Will Parker doing his snowboarding tricks. He makes all the girls in town melt. (Except for me. Who needs Will when you’ve got Jake?)

Experience our world-class resorts and spas.

While you’re there, find out what’s up with that hot girl Jake brought to the lodge this year. She’s probably just his cousin or something. Right?!

Get ready for a vacation you’ll never forget!

Goodreads | Amazon

Snow in Love is a cute and festive story that also has a fair bit of drama. The Alaskan setting is absolutely perfect, and I enjoyed the relatable main character. This is a cute and fluffy holiday read that is he perfect thing to curl up with this winter.

This book tells the story of a girl whose boyfriend shows up in her town with a new girlfriend. In an attempt to make him jealous, she starts hanging out with another guy and ends up starting to fall for him. I loved the Alaskan setting, especially since I haven’t read too many books set there. Snow in Love makes Alaska seem like the ultimate winter destination, and I would definitely love to go there after reading it. The plot is pretty clichéd, but honestly, I like that sort of thing in fluffy holiday reads.

I enjoyed Jessie’s character in the book. She works at the ice cream parlour that her parents run, and she’s so relatable. I liked the way she deals with the mean girls in town, and she has a great group of friends. Jessie’s cluelessness and naiveté did get a bit frustrating at times, but overall, she entertained me.

Snow in Love is a short and sweet book that is perfect for the holidays. I loved the wintry setting and the female friendships in the story. There were certain aspects that didn’t impress me, but I still found this one pretty cute.

Review: Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige

 

Book cover for Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige

Title: Stealing Snow (Stealing Snow #1)
Author: Danielle Paige
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Publication Date: September 20, 2016
Stars: 3/5

Summary (from Goodreads): First kisses sometimes wake slumbering princesses, undo spells, and spark happily ever afters.

Mine broke Bale.

Seventeen-year-old Snow has spent her life locked in Whittaker Psychiatric—but she isn’t crazy. And that’s not the worst of it. Her very first kiss proves anything but innocent…when Bale, her only love, turns violent.

Despite Snow knowing that Bale would never truly hurt her, he is taken away—dashing her last hope for any sort of future in the mental ward she calls home. With nowhere else to turn, Snow finds herself drawn to a strange new orderly who whispers secrets in the night about a mysterious past and a kingdom that’s hers for the taking—if only she can find her way past the iron gates to the Tree that has been haunting her dreams.

Beyond the Tree lies Algid, a land far away from the real world, frozen by a ruthless king. And there too await the River Witch, a village boy named Kai, the charming thief Jagger, and a prophecy that Snow will save them all. Continue reading

Review: Mistletoe by Hailey Abbott, Melissa de la Cruz, Aimee Friedman, and Nina Malkin

 

Book cover for Mistletoe by Hailey Abbott

Title: Mistletoe
Authors: Hailey Abbott, Melissa de la Cruz, Aimee Friedman, and Nina Malkin
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: October 1, 2006
Stars: 4/5

Summary (from Goodreads): Snuggle up beside the fire with this juicy collection of four different, but equally sizzling, winter romances.

Glittering white snowflakes. The handsome blond ski instructor. The sparkle on a cashmere skirt. Hot cocoa and kisses in front of a crackling fire. The holiday season is the ESSENCE of magic…and romance. Four of today’s bestselling teen authors — Melissa de la Cruz (THE AU PAIRS), Aimee Friedman (SOUTH BEACH), Hailey Abbott (SUMMER BOYS), and Nina Malkin (6X) — bring us delectable tales of love and lust and holiday cheers (and tears) in this one-of-a-kind collection that teens will devour faster than a plate of Christmas cookies. Continue reading