Winterwood, by Shea Ernshaw

sophiaalexisbooks's review against another edition

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Shea Ernshaw is a writer whom I adore, the only reason this book isn’t rated higher is for the repetitive paragraphs regarding Nora and her heritage. Other than that, this book is whimsical and wonderful.

digitalli's review against another edition

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There’s a dull ache left in me after I finished this book.

This is a whimsical story about a girl who haven’t found her magical calling yet and a boy she found in the woods. I can’t really comment whether I liked or disliked the relationship because it was insta-love in a very slow way (I know, what the hell am I talking about.) They did immediately form a connection but it was written in a very heart-wrenchingly simplistic way that makes you feel they had no choice but to care for each other this fast. Like it’s the only way they could be.

And the atmosphere in this, wow, it’s so painfully beautiful. Even if you didn’t like this book, you will admit Shea Ernshaw did a very good job with her world building. The whole story read both slow and fast simultaneously. Fast as in I can’t stop flipping these pages, wondering what’s going on. Slow as in the rich writing of Ernshaw making me feel as if everything around me slowed down as well, like the snowy landscape of the story.

The book’s not perfect, I know. You can definitely sense something’s needed in the story; I personally can’t pinpoint what it is. But it didn’t matter to me. Something kept gnawing at me that makes me just wanna care about the story, I just wanted to hug the coldness out of it.

When I say I felt numb as I read this, it’s because I could feel what these two were going through, how cold the winter was, how bleak they felt. It felt like I was wafting through the cold with them, the pages making way for me as I read on and the emotions within them coming out and gripping my heart. And this dull feeling turned to an ache in me when the haunting love story of the two characters and the breathtaking world effortlessly intertwined, punching a gaping hole in my heart as I closed the book.

mellarkbakery10's review against another edition

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[Actual rating 4.5/5] WOW THAT PLOT TWIST GAVE ME CHILLS ANd was just so beautifully planned and executed! Honestly what made the book for me was the plot twist at about 80% in, so unfortunately I can’t say much because I don’t want to spoil anyone! I can guarantee I was tearing up at the beautiful ending that tied everything together perfectly. I also loved the interleaved pages that told a story of a different Walker woman each time! The only thing that I wasn’t crazy about was I felt that some things were very repetitive, but by the end of the story I really connected with the characters and overcame my previous reservations to the book and there was ANOTHER PLOT TWIST THAT HAD ME SCREAMING AGAIN so yes if you love plot twists as much as me READ THIS NOW (I wanna go back and reread this again now that I know the ending)!
P.S. I think that you would like this if you like House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig!

loreofthebooks's review against another edition

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I absolutely flew through this in one sitting. I was addicted from the moment I read it. Witches? Check. Winter? Check. Magic? Check. It checked all the things I love – and I cannot even express how much I fell in love with this book! I previously read The Wicked Deep and enjoyed that one, so I assumed I would probably like this one as well – but I did not expect to like it as much as I did.

The night snow sailed down from the mountains and howled against the eaves of the old house as if through gritted teeth – cruel and baleful and full of bad omens not to be ignored.

However, this book is not going to be for everyone. There is pretty much nothing high stakes or super crazy happening in this book. It is a slow build, slow progression, slow pace, slow everything. If you do not like slow books, or if you like action, this one is not going to be for you. If you also don’t like purple or heavy prose, again, this book is not going to be for you.

The moon is whispering your secrets. It knows your darkest thoughts.

I like slow books to an extent – sometimes I feel that they can drag out too long. But Ernshaw does it so well, and partially I think it is because her writing, her characters, the flow of the events and the atmosphere make it come alive. There is nothing like a book that reads so beautifully that I can feel it in my bones. I felt this one in my bones. I absolutely adored it. In fact, I’m giving it five stars even though there was one itty bitty thing I didn’t like, but it was by no means a huge deal.

Because I am more darkness than girl. More winter shadows than August sunlight.

So as I said, I was drawn in by the writing. Ernshaw certainly created an atmosphere for this book, and it some ways it reminded me of another adult fantasy/historical fiction book I loved, The Bear and the Nightingale. To me, it felt similar in style to that. Which is to say, loved it!

I loved how everything was dished out slowly, and that you learn things as you go along, both about Oliver and Nora. There is a lot to love about Nora who is a loner, who misses her grandmother but who also longs to be part of something. I love Nora’s journey in this book, in finding herself. And while it was done subtly, I think it was done well for me.

Plus all the backstory of her ancestors? Absolutely adored those portions! I would love short stories dealing with them! I would read them in a heartbeat!

The girl with moonlight in her veins.

The little problem I mentioned earlier was the romance. I think this book could have stood very well without it for the most part, but because it wasn’t a huge portion of the book, I felt that it didn’t really undermine my five star rating.

The plot was great too – I love how things came to a head in the end, and the closure was wonderful too. I mean, yes, there was some predictability with the book, but honestly it didn’t take away my enjoyment of it at all.

I could rave about this book for days! I was absolutely enthralled with it!

lydia2004's review against another edition

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I didn’t hate this book but I did find pretty predictable. I like to be shocked when reading books but everything that u expect to be a twist u can guess from 5 chapters in. I also did not really like Nora when I was reading this I couldn’t stop yelling idiot, I was surprised how much a fictional character could anger me.
On another note I did like how descriptive the writing was it was very easy to picture the wicker woods and the characters. I wouldn’t say you should absolutely not read it because it’s still interesting reading about the walkers even if you were able to guess most of the ending.

mikaelaj's review against another edition

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lighthearted mysterious fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


romanapeckham's review against another edition

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dark mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No


youngatheartreader's review against another edition

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I had really high hopes for Winterwood. Sadly they weren't met. Now, this isn't saying I didn't like the book or that it was a bad book. It's more saying that Shea's debut book was so good that Winterwood had big shoes to fill.

Winterwood was a good story about a girl left alone in an isolated town. I liked the idea of a magical woods full of lost items and that you can only enter it during certain times - I would have liked more. I also liked the idea of the magic system - how every female in the family had some sort of power - not all "useful". I wish there was more about it and had it explored further. I understand that Nora didn't understand the magic fully so we shouldn't either, but still. I also would have liked more of the pages where we learn more about the family, their gifts, and their recipes.

I enjoyed Nora and Oliver as a character, but I found some of their interactions awkward - even forced. I didn't feel the swooning like I did in The Wicked Deep. They felt like they had chemistry and you felt for them - where here it felt more like they just existed together and the story decided that they liked each other - both isolated and loners together.

I found the twist predictable and guessed it rather early on. I know that majority of this sounds like I really disliked the book, but it was just ok for me. Like I said I enjoyed Nora and Oliver outside of a relationship and I enjoyed the family history moments of .it. I love Shea's writing style and I will still gladly pick up her next book, I just think my expectations let me down.

queenofhistoricalfiction's review against another edition

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I’m honestly kind of a bit flabbergasted. I’ve heard a lot of mixed reviews and was literally just about to unhaul this book because it wasn’t calling to me when I picked it for my Reading Rush challenge of read the first book you touch. I also read it in one day and I haven’t read a book that fast since probably last year’s Reading Rush.

I don’t think this book is going to be for everyone. Ernshaw’s writing is filled with metaphorical prose, its thick and drips in it. It feels almost tangible, like you can taste it, and feel it. This is a character driven story with an incredibly slow moving plot at its center. But I love character driven stories and this book was no exception. She has a similar writing style to Maggie Stiefvater so if you like her works then maybe check this out. Plus it just oozes with that classic fairy tale vibe.

emilyacreates's review against another edition

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This book was a very quick read for me. I enjoyed the fact that it came from two perspectives, which really sold the plot twist. The middle dragged a bit for me. I feel like very little new information was revealed, but lots of feelings and confusion took place. I’lll be honest, the plot twist did surprise me. But everything after that point was predictable. It captivated my attention very well, and I would recommend it to anyone who likes YA and is looking for a quick winter read!