Winter Falls: A Tale of the Snow Queen – Jacque Stevens (Review)

Title: Winter Falls: A Tale of the Snow Queen
Author: Jacque Stevens
Publisher: sjacquebooks, 2017 (January 23)
Genre: YA Fantasy, YA Retellings

**I received a copy of this book free from Ebooksforreview and the author in exchange for an honest review**

This review can be found on my BlogTeacherofYA’s Tumblr, or my Goodreads page

My Review:

Ok,  you all know I’m drawn to pretty covers, right? Like, if you’ve followed my blog for at least a couple weeks, you know this by now. This cover didn’t do it for me…but I took the plunge based on the blurb:


Looks kinda cheesy, right? Like those freebie books that you get (well, I get mainly) in your email? Yeah, well…in this case, “DO NOT JUDGE THIS BOOK BY ITS COVER.”

It looks like your run-of-the-mill romance schmaltzy book. Nope.

This book….let’s just say that Stealing Snow should have been replaced by this book! I could imagine that cover on this book. And then this book being picked up by the big pubs. Like, seriously, I’m finding all these jewels lately that are better than the big bestsellers…so what’s up with that??

Anyway. Let me tell you about this fabulous book I read (that you better not judge cover-wise, even though I’m a hypocrite):

The book is set somewhere around the early 1900s from what I could gather…it never specifies but there are references. And it makes sense since the original Hans Christian Andersen story is from the 19th century. But I digress. As usual.

In the beginning, Katie falls through the ice. She was going to jump, but she slipped anyway. And when she wakes up, she is not dead, but in another world. We get backstory in between segments of the narrative, and we slowly find out what led Katie to jump…and what she is doing in this world to which she somehow traveled.

Katie works at her father’s hotel since it’s only the two of them. Katie’s mother, her father tells her, is off fighting pirates and freeing people from criminals. But when Katie finds out from gossip at the hotel that her mother is actually dead, her belief in all things good shatters. She begins to build a wall and she stops believing in anything resembling magic, especially her pet crow Avery who used to talk to her. 

But crows don’t talk. Mothers don’t fight pirates. And fathers remarry and have new families.

(I feel a Frozen gif coming on…)


Told in a present to past perspective (via dreams, storytelling), we learn that Katie takes on more and more responsibility at the hotel, shutting herself off from her family.  Shay, a young neighborhood boy, seems to be interested in her, but she keeps him at arms length as well, responding to the taunts of “Ms. Katherine, the spinster, the Ice Princess.” A self-fulfilling prophecy, Katie eventually pushes everyone away.

But in this other world, she finds out that four fairies rule the seasons, but Winter has become the most powerful. And Katie learns the Winter Queen has Shay. But why does she have him? And why does Katie even care? 

As she makes it her personal quest to save Shay, Katie discovers that even walls we build inside ourselves must crumble…if we are ever to find out the truth behind them. 


Is it Classroom-Appropriate?

Yes. This story is very clean, it intermixes all sorts of lessons and other fairy tales, and it connects students to classic literature. The Snow Queen is a story we are mostly familiar with, and we have been searching for an adequate retelling for years. Some authors have done it and others have not (cough cough Stealing Snow cough cough). This could be used in a lesson plan as a contemporary retelling and be compared to the original. It could be used to showcase the coming-of-age theme, as well as highlight the escapism that Katie shares with the creatures from the other world. I think it would be better as a MG classroom piece, but I could see it effectively used if time allowed for a folk/fairy tale unit.

So I actually give Winter Falls…


Can definitely be used with some creativity!

Age Range

Of course indie books aren’t ever on Lexile, so I won’t even try to look it up. I would say 13 and up, as the Goodreads blurb warns of “alcohol abuse, suicide, and other serious topics.” The site referenced, MyBookRatings, is not a site I’m familiar with, but they suggest 14 and up. I honestly think that’s overcautious. It is a clean romance and there are many other books dealing with far more serious issues in MG books. So I think 13 is a good age, and I would even give it to my 12 year old niece (if she liked retellings, but alas, she’s not like her cool aunt). 

End Result

I found another favorite that gave me a major book hangover! This book is fresh and keeps you on your toes, as you are eager to learn what brought Katie to this world. The four fairies are so different but each are sympathetic characters, as is our Ice Princess, Katie. She is not a Mary Sue by any means, she is not a “chosen one” but a jaded girl who has felt alone all her life. Stevens writes with no errors and I honestly think if you slapped a pretty cover on this and put it out, people would love it. I haven’t felt as passionate since Heir of Illaria. And at least that had a pretty cover. 

So I give Winter Falls: A Tale of the Snow Queen:


Yup, it’s a new fave of mine! 

So…will you be picking this on up? Can you put the cover aside if I add a screamingly beautiful graphic here instead? 

Here, this is better:


Or if you’re more modern, how about this? 


Would you read either of these? πŸ€”

**Don’t forget to enter my GIVEWAWAY for two signed copies of Heir of Illaria, the first one to make me feel this way!**

Here’s the link: A Rafflecopter Giveaway

I’m also going to a book signing tonight, so details to come! ::squeals::

Advertisements

69 thoughts on “Winter Falls: A Tale of the Snow Queen – Jacque Stevens (Review)

    1. It really really is. I was so eager to get the bitter taste of Stealing Snow out of my mouth!! πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚
      I just wish that cover was prettier bc no one will pick it up like that! And it’s a shame.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Ah, yes. I remember thinking that at first. Let me know the min the book slaps you in the face and/or stabs you in the back! πŸ‘Ώ
      Hahahaha.
      I’m so weird. If you like it, lemme know. Cause I’m still going to read the second one. 😬

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Well it is clear you are NO friend of Stealing Snow! lmao! I’ve always been tempted to read that author’s Dorothy Must Die series but for some reason my bookworm spidey senses to stay clear of Stealing Snow LOL! I’m glad you enjoyed thi one, I think you actually find some of the better indie books out there. the types of requests I get in my mailbox have me looking all types of crazy smh. Winter Falls looks innnneresting but is it 4 Dumbledores or 5 Rainbow Brites? or am I missing something? Love the Frozen gif, it fits perfectly πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh. The four Dumbledores are Classroom Appropriateness! That’s a system that is on my sidebar with a key that I just rolled out. I even put a little blurb underneath each Rating so teachers can know what I think for its usefulness. The Rainbow Brites are all Me, baby!!
      Steer clear of a lot of indies…I might have a Spidey sense here. I’m not sure. Lol. And avoid Stealing Snow unless you want to read the tropiest book with a LOVE SQUARE. Yes. You heard me. πŸ™„

      Liked by 1 person

      1. BaHA! CLEVER! I dig it lol, I’m def not reading Stealing Snow, I’ve seen enough to know it’s not for me, the square & triangles are seriously over used at this point. I plan on accepting some Indie requests later on in the Summer when I’ve gotten this arc spreadsheet under control *fingers crossed*

        Liked by 1 person

    2. And I hope to get my hands on the big titles when these indies are under control, lol! I’m glad you like my ratings systems bc I was tired of not having a clear way to demonstrate the book’s usefulness in education. I mean, I AM TEACHEROFYA! I gotta hold up my end of the bargain, you know? πŸ˜‚
      No, Stealing Snow isn’t even a triangle. It’s a freaking SQUARE. Three male love interests. It’s just wrong.
      I hope you add this to your list of indies, and you can always enter for the other great one, Heir of Illaria, because it looks pretty on a shelf (I’m assuming as I haven’t received it yet).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. LMAO! we’re in reverse BUT now that I know your trick to dl the galleys on Kindle, I can ACTUALLY read some of my own books w/out feeling pressured. I’ve been on such a mission to make a dent on these arcs that i’ve neglected my own physical shelves smh WHELP NO MORE I SAY! lol The rating system you came up with fits TEACHEROFYA very nicely, its what makes you YOU & stands out. I have not read Heir of Illaria yet but i’ll enter if it’s still open πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

    3. Open until the 14th! So I’m happy you’ll enter!!
      Yes, I’m so glad I could help with that. I really am. It makes me happy. I am spending my day opening book mail before my mom gets home and flips out on me. So you’ll see a lot of photos on Instagram today. And my NG shelf has been ignored until Gilded Cage…I have a lot of books to read and so little time, esp since once my mom gets back tonight, I’m probably going to be applying for all sorts of crazy jobs so I’m working again: no more vacation from work bc it looks like we aren’t going to Florida…πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ

      Like

  2. Christy Luis

    Isn’t it fun how the girls are saving the boys now, in books? Lol. I’m so glad you found an awesome “Snow Queen” retelling- despite the cover! You do find all the gems, Steph. You’re so adventurous πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!! I try to take on the books that sound good but need a new graphic designer apparently! πŸ˜‚
      I think this one was magical! I hope others will think so too. It does have high ratings on Amazon.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Christy Luis

        Oh nooo, not another one :/ Ugh. I hadn’t heard about that controversy, yet…I’m still processing the last one about The Continent Lol. It can be really tough to tackle issues of race in fiction, and unfortunately Goodreads has no grace for debut mistakes anymore.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. And that’s why I don’t use their rating system anymore. Did you know if I went on there tomorrow and said I liked The Black Witch (which I haven’t read so I don’t know), I’d be getting people with pitchforks coming at my door. People can’t read it and I’m surprised they aren’t burning it in the streets. I think it’s all unacceptable: if there are problems in a book, write about it in your review, and move on. Even write a letter to the pub if you want. But this stuff is getting out of hand, to the point where Laurie Forrest has left Twitter for awhile and hasn’t even gone on Goodreads bc her book is basically trashed. I think of angry mobs and we are better than that. πŸ™„ (Or I thought we were)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Christy Luis

        Seriously. It’s garbage to treat an author that way, trashing her book just because it’s the popular thing to do πŸ˜‘ If people want to really read it and give a thoughtful review, that’s one thing, but calling the author names and making accusations just undermines their position and clouds the issue. And it’s mean! Lol

        Liked by 1 person

    3. Damn straight, Christy! Glad we are in the same boat on this one!!
      I hope it dies down…I will try to support good authors and I’m very happy about diversity in literature, but I don’t believe harassing someone does anyone any good. And 1 star ratings for a book you haven’t read is like lying to me. You take the word of someone blindly? I think I remember another time that happened…it was in Salem, and it was during the 1600s.
      Witch hunt. πŸ˜‘

      Liked by 1 person

    1. You like the cover? Well, I didn’t personally like it but I think it appeals to some people. I’m not big on the close-up person-cover look. I think she should have gone more Snow Queen. Plus the girl on the cover is way too modern looking for the story inside. But aesthetically, it’s not too bad.
      I’m glad you liked the review! I need to see the movie The Snow Queen with Bridget Fonda in the title role. Have you seen it?

      Liked by 1 person

    2. They’ve made a couple remakes…I found one by accident on YouTube while looking for images, and it’s like a Pixar one, and then there’s the one with Fonda in it from 2002. I wonder if I can find it bc I have always loved her. πŸ€”

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooh, I’m so glad bc it’s so worth it! I would choose this over Stealing Snow ever! And it’s really written well. I wasn’t too familiar with the Snow Queen fairy tale but this one explains it so much. I just really loved it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh great review for this book Stephanie. I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen a Snow Queen retelling before but it’s one of my favourite fairytales so it really needs more love (I actually requested Stealing Snow from NetGalley thinking it was a Snow Queen retelling, I was a little disappointed when it turned out it wasn’t, then I read the book and was even more disappointed!)
    This sounds like a great book, and yeah the covers not really catching my eye either but I guess this one really is a case of ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I thought Stealing Snow was a Snow White retelling…but they said it was a Snow Queen retelling: you know, girl goes after kidnapped boy? But I did not like it one bit. Well, one bit. But that’s it!
      This is truly the case of “give me the book and I’ll redesign the cover and I’m sure everyone will love it” scenario. It’s unfortunate bc it looks cheesy. And the girl on the cover is modern when the story is set in the 20th century, but EARLY 20th century, you know? Like cars aren’t a big thing. I think for a romance in the Snow, this would be perfect. For a nice, fluffy story. But not for this. It doesn’t match.
      If you like The Snow Queen, I really think you’ll like this one. The indies are getting better than the published ones, and it’s kind of scary, tbh.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I didn’t get a Snow Queen impression at all, and if it was then it was a disappointment for me in terms of a retelling.
        I’d be interested to see how you’d design this cover Stephanie, and yeah I got kind of confused when you said this book was set back then because it’s not the impression I got from the cover!
        Guess the indies have a better eye for books at the moment! πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Yes, the cover does NOT match the time period. And I’m pretty sure it’s what I read about Stealing Snow: that it was a SQ retelling. And I had thought Snow White, so I didn’t see the similarities…so if I had read it through another lens, maybe I would have understood it more? I’m just not sure…I just don’t think I’m a fan of Paige’s writing. I thought I’d try to read Dorothy Must Die, but I’m just not sure.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh I hadn’t actually read anything like that. I didn’t spot any similarities between Stealing Snow and the Snow Queen so in my mind it isn’t a proper retelling. To be honest I don’t think I’m a fan of Danielle Paige’s writing either, I’m not a fan of the Dorothy Must Die books either so I’m going to leave her books for now.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Great review! I’ve always loved The Snow Queen so I think I’d really like this from what you wrote about it. I like your replacement pics for the cover. That’s a really good idea for when you review a book with a not-so-great actual cover. πŸ˜› The real cover looks like an ad for a winter-themed Lifetime movie. lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s EXACTLY WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE!! I couldn’t put my finger on it, but you nailed it!! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚
      Oh thank you. It was driving me crazy. You are so right. Yeah, I’m going to just start replacing bad covers! I’ll just go through and rip off the ugly ones and recover them.
      (Some graphic designers, I swear…or sometimes it’s the own author’s fault).
      I’m so glad you get it. But give it a read if you like a good Retelling. πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, this sounds amazing, Stephanie!! You did such a good job reviewing it and making me fully convinced I need to pick this up. The cover it not very enticing as you said, but it’s what’s in the inside that counts, right? πŸ˜„ I’m a total book cover judger, so I’m super glad it worked out. And I don’t think I’ve read a Snow Queen retelling yet. I’ve seen maybe two, but now after your mentions of Stealing Snow not done right, that’s one I’ll be crossing off. Wonderful review!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, girl, if you loved Princess of Tyrone, you’re gonna love this one! You HAVE to read this one. (Yeah, Stealing Snow – skip it skip it skip it)
      The min you read this, you let me know. Because I hate to overhype and I’m afraid of doing that, but with you I feel like I can! (We will have to contact her and tell her that her cover needs to go. We have to help!) πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‰

      Like

    1. Thanks! I’m glad I could make up for the cheesy cover! Just scrub that out of your mind and know that if I could pick a cover for this book, it would be phenom!
      It’s a great Retelling and one that blows many I’ve read out of the water. (I just want to pull the authors aside and tell her that her cover is scaring people away, lol).

      Liked by 1 person

  6. OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO this sounds good. Thank you for reprimanding me about the whole cover thing because once I saw I was kind of like: “mehhhh….uhhhhhh…..maybeeeee…not?” But then your lovely review cleared up all that shameful judging and I’m really hopeful I’ll be able to pick this book up one day! I do fancy myself in the mood for a snowy story I guess πŸ˜„ Lovely review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know: I almost judged it myself…when I was offered the book, I thought eww, this looks so cheeseball. But, the description was very good. So I was like, screw it, I have yet to read a Snow Queen Retelling that’s any good, you know?
      Well, I think I have Spidey senses when it comes to indie books lately.
      Please give this a read and let me know what you think…I can promise you it’s 100 times better than Stealing Snow. πŸ˜‚

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Ah, Andersen’s Snow Queen was one of my favorites in my childhood. An Estonian theatre actually put it into film as well in 1985 and I just adored it! So so much πŸ™‚
    I’m glad to see a retelling for this one.

    As for indies vs books by big publishers- there definitely is a LOT of hidden indie gems out there that deserve, sometimes, more hype than some of the trad published books. I agree with you on the cover- it doesn’t do it for me either, but for nostalgia’s sake I may just check this one out for meself! πŸ™‚ Great review, Teach!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Boss! Yeah, I had never read the story and when I think of The Snow Queen, I think of Narnia and Turkish Delight. So I’m obviously missing out.
      But this book. It’s the best Retelling I’ve read of this story, and the only one I know of is Stealing Snow, though there’s a very cool looking space one when you Google the name that has a woman in a bird mask, so that could be a cool one.
      Let me know if you check it out!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. LOL yeah, this cover isn’t the best, but with indie/self-published books, I always look past the covers because it’s not like there is a highly paid cover artist designing the cover. Snow Queen retellings, hmmm… I think Stealing Snow is the only retelling of Snow Queen that I’ve read and man, I hated that book. Oh well! I’m really glad you enjoyed this book, Stephanie!

    Have a great week. =)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ok, I hated Stealing Snow too! So you HAVE to read this!! Bc it takes Stealing Snow and slaps it upside the head and is all, “This is how a Retelling should be, yo!!” It blew that horror of a book out of my mind.
      If you want to erase that evil book, check this out. I would totally take Snow’s cover and stick it on this book and say, “Now HERE is a Retelling done right.”
      Just sayin. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
      Always love it when you stop by, Alyssa!!

      Like

  9. The second I read that you wished this would replace Stealing Snow I was like “Yep I’m adding this to my TBR!” πŸ˜‚. I feel like we’ve talked about Stealing Snow so many times but you know I was so excited for that until I read nothing but negative reviews. It’s good to know this one was a way better Snow Queen retelling. And plus fairies! I always have to read a book with fairies in it. Great review as always, Stephanie!! πŸ˜πŸ’•

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you love! Yes. Stealing Snow made me mad. Because I wanted to love it so much. I kept telling myself that I’m not as picky as most people and therefore I would love it. I tried to win it so many times. I think it was meant to be that I didn’t own a physical copy to throw at someone.
      Yes fairies. I love me some fairies. I just want to remove the cover and have it be blank over what’s there bc that cover is so wrong for this book.
      I should just petition Stevens for a new cover and then I could prob help push this book more. Why don’t authors realize covers matter SO MUCH???

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m usually not as picky as most readers either but I think we all have those little things we don’t like at all in books and are just like nope when we’re excited for a book and they end up having them in it. πŸ™ˆ
        I do know some authors don’t get to choose their covers. But, yeah, covers matter a lot! In bookstores they draw eyes and all of that. Who knows, maybe one day there will be a better cover for this one? 😊

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Surprisingly, I got a comment from Jacque and she told me that in the indie market, she was encouraged to go with that cover, and that originally she wanted to go with a frosted rose or something more abstract. She was turned down.
      She said if the big pubs ever call, she’s def up for a cover change! I feel bad for her, and I told her that it wasn’t bad, but that covers are easily judged and her book definitely could make it. She told me she’d be down for a giveaway though, so I’d love to share the book with others! Yay, more giveaways of great indie books! 😊😊😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh wow. I always thought with indie you had more of a choice in the cover you wanted. That sucks because I bet the original cover she had in mind would have been gorgeous!
        That’s awesome about the giveaway though. I will be keeping a look out for that whenever you do it! 😁

        Liked by 1 person

    1. You are dense! Silly rabbit!
      The Dumbledores are my Classroom-Appropriateness Rating System! I made them in hope of giving better feedback for teachers and parents. (I mentioned this in a post, but I am guessing you’re a skimmer? 😏)
      The Rainbow Brites are the overall “ness” of the book: my own Rating. I have a key on the sidebar if you ever want to see what either means…
      You’re not dense, lol, I was kidding. You’re the second or third person to ask so I prob didn’t make it clear the first time. I’ll explain it again in my next one. 😘

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s