December 2, 2019

"Winterwood" by Shea Ernshaw REVIEW


Book: Winterwood

Author: Shea Ernshaw

My Rating: ★★★★

Synopsis: Be careful of the dark, dark wood…

Especially the woods surrounding the town of Fir Haven. Some say these woods are magical. Haunted, even.

Rumored to be a witch, only Nora Walker knows the truth. She and the Walker women before her have always shared a special connection with the woods. And it’s this special connection that leads Nora to Oliver Huntsman—the same boy who disappeared from the Camp for Wayward Boys weeks ago—and in the middle of the worst snowstorm in years. He should be dead, but here he is alive, and left in the woods with no memory of the time he’d been missing.

But Nora can feel an uneasy shift in the woods at Oliver’s presence. And it’s not too long after that Nora realizes she has no choice but to unearth the truth behind how the boy she has come to care so deeply about survived his time in the forest, and what led him there in the first place. What Nora doesn’t know, though, is that Oliver has secrets of his own—secrets he’ll do anything to keep buried, because as it turns out, he wasn’t the only one to have gone missing on that fateful night all those weeks ago.

For as long as there have been fairy tales, we have been warned to fear what lies within the dark, dark woods and in Winterwood, New York Times bestselling author Shea Ernshaw, shows us why.

      So as I mentioned in my currently readings post from last week (which you can read here), I picked up "Winterwood" by Shea Ernshaw after reading her debut novel, "The Wicked Deep" a year ago and overall enjoying myself. I  knew nothing about this book going in except that it dealt with witchcraft and took place in winter. That being said...

      I really enjoyed this book! I was not expecting to enjoy this as much as I did. Like I've previously mentioned, I thought "The Wicked Deep" was pretty good, but it wasn't anything special. Going into "Winterwood" I thought I would like it, but necessarily love it. That did not happen, which was a nice little surprise. I'd actually say this is one of my favorite books of 2019.

      The writing style for this book is what really drew me in. I really love the way Ernshaw wove her words and descriptions. Everything was just so beautifully written. I don't typically go for poetic-like writing, but this wasn't like in your face poetic if that makes sense. Even the way the characters thought was gorgeous. And I recognize that normal teens don't typically think like that, but hey, it's fiction.

      At first I wasn't entirely on board with the plot because I didn't really know where it was going or what the purpose of all of it was, but after a while I clung onto it. This was definitely more slow-burning then I was used to. The bulk of the action really didn't hit until the last third, and when it hit, it hit with full force. There were two twists that really pushed the plot. The first one I saw coming a mile away from the beginning, and honestly, if that twist hadn't been there, I would have questioned the entire book. That second twist however, boy oh boy did it really rock my world. It incorporated a new element to the book that changed my whole perception of everything that had already happened and made things line up. I'm definitely gonna have to reread this book sometime.

      As far as the characters go, I liked them. The main girl, Nora, could get a bit into her head sometimes and tended to overthink/overreact, but I get like that sometimes too, so that's no big deal. She was weird but not in the typical "quirky" way. Her relationship with witchcraft was a really interesting dynamic. Speaking of witchcraft, I really enjoy the way it was portrayed. I love how the Walker women were connected with nature and that's how they drew there "powers". The concept of "nightshade" was also super interesting. I'd never heard of that before, and I've read a lot of books dealing with witchcraft.

      I had a good team reading about the romance between Nora and Oliver. Even though their relationship kinda went from 0 to 100 real quick and they didn't really know each other, I dug it. They had some really sweet, intimate moments. In the span of the few days (week, I don't know how much time passed), they went through a lot and handled it pretty well. I would have loved to see them learn more about each other, but that air of mystery is also a part of what drove the story.

      Overall, this book checked off everything for me. While some might think this is a typical YA book, I just really enjoyed the writing, characters, and plot. I love a good witchcraft book and this was a good witchcraft book. If you like a good supernatural YA book sprinkled with romance then this is the book for you.

      Have you guys read "Winterwood"? If so, what did you think of it? If not, have you ready Shea Ernshaw's other book, "The Wicked Deep"? Tell me all your thoughts in the comments down below.

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