Malin’s #CBR5 Review #112: Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu

Hazel and Jack are best friends and live just down the street from one another. Until recently, they didn’t go to the same school, but after Hazel’s dad moved away, she had to change schools and now she’s in the classroom across the hall from Jack. Hazel doesn’t really fit in at school. None of the other kids were adopted from India and look completely different from their mum and dad. She only really feels like she completely belongs when she’s with Jack, and when he’s off playing with the other boys, she feels desperately alone.

Of course, there are worse things than your dad leaving your mum and you to manage by yourselves or your friend occasionally playing with others. Your mum could still be there, listless and uncaring, empty-seeming and no longer noticing much of anything, like Jack’s mum. Maybe that’s why he changes completely one day – becoming mean and distant the day after he had an accident in the school yard, when something seemed to pierce him in the eye? Suddenly he just wants to play with the boys, and ignores Hazel completely. Then he disappears. His parents say he’s off taking care of his elderly aunt Bernice, but Hazel’s known Jack her entire life – he doesn’t have an aunt Bernice. One of the other boys mentions having seen Jack going into the woods, with a tall, icily beautiful, fur-clad woman, like the White Witch of Narnia. But witches aren’t real, are they? Hazel knows that she needs to rescue her best friend, even if it means going off into terrible danger.

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Malin’s #CBR5 Review #10: The Snow Queen by Mercedes Lackey

Rating: 3.5 stars

Alexia lives in a snow castle in the far North and is one of many Godmothers, magically gifted individuals tasked with making sure that stories have happy outcomes rather than end tragically. The force known as Tradition will try to twist events into legendary stories, just as often as not with unhappy endings, and if no one keeps an eye out and intercedes and manipulates gently, a lot more individuals will end up in horrible messes than with happily ever afters.

Popularly known as The Snow Queen, Alexia is a Godmother especially skilled in mirror magic, and also seems to be the one in charge of “Be careful what you wish for”. She has a reputation for being cold as the ice she lives among, emotionless and heartless. Only her fellow Godmothers know that this is just an act.