Monday, October 5, 2015

Review: These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly

These Shallow GravesThese Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly
Publisher: Random House Delacorte
Release Date: Oct 27th, 2015
Purchase: Amazon
Set in gilded age New York, These Shallow Graves follows the story of Josephine Montfort, an American aristocrat. Jo lives a life of old-money ease. Not much is expected of her other than to look good and marry well. But when her father dies due to an accidental gunshot, the gilding on Jo’s world starts to tarnish. With the help of a handsome and brash reporter, and a young medical student who moonlights in the city morgue, Jo uncovers the truth behind her father’s death and learns that if you’re going to bury the past, you’d better bury it deep.
My Thoughts:
1890 why wasn't I born in you?!!  Ever since I started These Shallow Graves, I have been flimflamming, pick pocketing, and screaming headlines on the streets just like a newsie!

What I loved most about this book might surprise you, it did me that's for sure.  These Shallow Graves is a murder mystery, but that's not the story I fell in love with. I figured out the culprit really early on and I mean like within the first few chapters, but I think that was supposed to happen.  By letting her readers know early on who not to trust she let us open our mind and explore her world. I didn't have to keep guessing and looking for clues they were already there so I got to fall in love with Jo, Eddie, Oscar, and Bram and their world.  I have never been a fan of knowing the mystery outcome early, but for this it really worked. Plus there were so many side stories woven throughout that if I had to focus too hard on the mystery I really would have missed out on some incredible storylines and emotions.  This doesn't mean I didn't like the mystery part at all.  I liked it and I was intrigued by it, but the world Ms.Donnelly has created took over for me and that was what held me.

The story is a complex one filled with business politics, murder, ruthlessness, and danger.  The central story line though is about Jo trying to find out what really happened the night her father died.  When she learns certain things everything she knows falls a part and what started out as a not so simple murder mystery turns into a dangerous game with more than one life on the line.  I really liked how each story wrapped around each other and were all affected by the others.  I didn't lose any story lines throughout and that was amazing.

I also feel like the romance was a nice touch.  I'm not loving romances at the moment, but man this book sort of made me rethink that.  Jo and Eddie were a great pair and I really enjoyed seeing their story unfold. It wasn't an easy one and I think it was woven into the story brilliantly.  It wasn't the main focus so the glimpses we get were strong and made me want more. 

I have to say these characters that Jennifer Donnelly has created are some of my favorites.  I really don't want to let them go!  I honestly fell in love with each and every one of them and I'm craving just one more chapter so that I can see them again.  And as a side note I really want a book about Oscar!  I would even take a novella!  Just anything!  I loved him and his quirkiness!!  Jo and Eddie were also a delight and I loved how well they worked together.  Eddie treated Jo as an equal and she needed that to see there was life beyond what was expected of her. Jo did what she had to do even if it was dangerous and yes she did some pretty dangerous stuff, but I respected her and her decisions.

I will not forget this book anytime soon and I can guarantee I will pick up Ms. Donnelly's other works. She definitely knows how to craft a world that I want to live in!

Be sure to check back this month, Jennifer is stopping by to answer a few questions!

Blizzard Read!!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Review: Gathering Deep by Lisa Maxwell

Gathering Deep by Lisa Maxwell
Publisher- Flux
Released- Oct 8th 2015
Purchase- Amazon / B & N

When Chloe Sabourin wakes in a dark, New Orleans cemetery with no memory of the previous days, she can hardly believe the story her friends tell her. They say Chloe was possessed by a witch named Thisbe, who had used the darkest magic to keep herself alive for over a century. They tell her that the witch is the one responsible for the unspeakable murders that nearly claimed the life of Chloe's friend, Lucy. Most unbelievable of all, they say that Thisbe is Chloe’s own mother. As she struggles with this devastating revelation and tries to rebuilt her life, Chloe wants nothing to do with the magic that corrupted her mother…especially since she feels drawn to it. Now, a new series of ritualistic killings suggests that Thisbe is plotting again, and Chloe is drawn unwillingly back into the mystical underworld of the French Quarter. To stop Thisbe before she kills again, Chloe and her friends must learn what they can from the mysterious Mama Legba. But when her boyfriend Piers vanishes, Chloe will have to risk everything and embrace her own power to save the one person she has left… even if that means bringing down her mother.
My Thoughts:
Honestly? I wasn't sure if I'd love this book more then the first one. See, Sweet Unrest was one of those reads where not only did the words haunt me, but so did the characters, in the best way possible. I've always been a romantic sap, and well, Alex and Lucy had such a bittersweet love that I craved more the minute the story was over. So when I found out this book was a companion and not the sequel I was secretly hoping for, I had my doubts but they were quickly at ease only after reading the first chapter. Gathering Deep in Chloe's story and it's filled with just as much mystery, suspense and intrigue that I fell in love with in the first book, but this book felt different, more dangerous more sinister and I loved every minute of it!
Man, I really just adore Maxwell's fantastic storytelling. It's so crisp that I could feel and see everything play out in my mind so vividly. The atmosphere crackles with torment, power and charm and I love the way she clues in the reader with history, visions and dreams to connect us to that right moment or memory from past to present. I also love that this is set in New Orleans and that it's woven in deep voodoo magic, tortured love and an inevitable destiny. It's creepy mind you and gave me some chills, but it was so captivating I couldn't wait to see how everything plays out.
My heart really goes out to Chloe, she's been through some crazy stuff and it's not everyday you learn you mamma is an all powerful voodoo witch out for blood and took over her own daughter for her wicked plans. Literally. To say that Chloe was a bit unhinged would be an understatement and yet, I have to say I'm impressed with how she handled it. Scared, yes, haunted, sure, but extremely determined to try to fix her unconscious-mistakes and own up to her part, even if she wasn't the ones who pulled the strings. I thought Chloe was fascinating even in her resentment and doubts, I applaud her dedication to put a stop to Thisbe, even if it means the end to her own mother. 
Piers, I think, will be misunderstood for this book. When he we first meet him in Sweet Unrest, he plays the part of Chloe's charming love interest and I enjoyed what he brought to the story, but he didn't come out of Sweet Unrest, unscratched and what he had to face, what he had to almost do still haunts him. Saying that, I think I get why Piers was so overbearingly protective and even controlling and I even get why Chloe was so irritated and upset with him, but through it all, I liked Piers unwavering love and support. It just felt, realistic and I was nervous for this very thin-as-ice relationship's future. And as always I loved seeing Lucy and Mama Legba, such amazing characters that add the perfect charm to this magical story.
Bottom line, I really loved this one. Gathering Deep has a great twisty plot, remarkable writing and unforgettable characters and it make me crave more stories about voodoo witches and forbidden love. While this left us on a satisfying note, I think there is room for one more. I'm simply not done with these characters yet or this captivating world. Great read and fun escape. Can't wait for more from Maxwell!

Find the author:
Goodreads/ Website                                4.5 snowflakes

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Stacking the Shelves #94

A weekly meme hosted by, Tynga's Reviews, that features the books we bought, borrowed, were gifted, and were given for review.
 We've missed a few weeks, but we've still been blogging up a storm!  Here's what we've been up to these past few weeks!


WinterHaven Fun:


Here's some of our most exciting books that landed in our hands these past few weeks!
Shade Me The Impostor Queen Romancing the Dark in the City of Light Tell the Wind and Fire A Song for Ella Grey A Midsummer Night #nofilter (OMG Shakespeare) Flawed (Flawed, #1) My Second Life These Vicious Masks The Killing Jar No Love Allowed Ten Thousand Skies Above You (Firebird, #2) The Mirror King (The Orphan Queen, #2)
For Review:

*Special thanks to Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster, Thomas Dune, Clarion Books, Delacorte Books, Random House, Macmillan, & Swoon Reads*

That's it for us!  As you can see we had a very busy few weeks and we are not stopping!  October is a huge month for us so be sure to stop by and check out all the amazing authors we have stopping by!
Also don't forget to leave me a link so I can see all your pretties!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Guest Post: Carly Anne West!

Woohoo! We have another amazing post to share with you today!  This month is really starting off with a bang and Carly Anne West is joining in the fun!  Carly is one of my go to authors for all things creepy so I started wondering if there were any lines she refused to cross when writing.  For instance, I refuse to allow clowns around me in any form and I really wanted to know if Carly felt the same.  She was gracious enough to answer!  Take a look...
I’m not sure I would consider myself a careful person. I am full of care, sure, but in terms of avoiding the stuff that could (or most definitely will) get me into a moderate amount of trouble, I would say no, I’m not such a careful person. I used to be. But then I got older, and maybe I got a little dumber, but where I used to hesitate – a lot – now I step flat-footed into things that stick to my shoes.

This doesn’t make me a maverick. I am not the first person in the world to, say, elope. I wouldn’t by any stretch of even the most far-fetched imaginings consider myself a rebel. I am, alas, still relatively boring (a common author problem, I’m told, and the same reason we’re prone to story-weaving and wearing flannel pants into the afternoon). But I do credit writer-hood with at least a good chunk of my adult carelessness. That and parenthood, which will send even the most cautious of us leaping into the abyss if for no other reason than to escape a 3:00 a.m. cry from the room across the hall.

I’m supposed to be telling you about lines I will not cross. Specifically, lines I will not cross in writing. And I had a small list going for a brief moment. Yet every time I reviewed the list, I found myself attaching a caveat for each item: “…well, except if …” So I quickly realized that there are no real lines I would absolutely, definitively not cross in writing.

Allow me to elaborate, lest you decide in this moment that Carly Anne West has no scruples (which you may still conclude). I know of a number of topics about which I would choose not to write. In horror, I find that I’m much more drawn to ghost stories, the ones that are practically drowning in weighty history. I like to explore the intersection between ghostly experiences and the intentions of living people. I love to play with horror tropes, bend and twist perspectives, unravel mysteries. I don’t gravitate toward the more earthly horrors, but there are elements of those in many of my stories as well. People do horrible things to people, and I think that makes a lasting mark. Yet I don’t see myself ever saying “I won’t cross that line.” And I think that’s because fiction has allowed me to erase a lifetime of lines I’ve drawn to keep me cautious. Writing has been that single place where I can cross any line I want to cross. And while everyone might not like that, and they may choose not to read what I’ve written, I have the right (and the very distinct privilege) to write it.

So in answer to the question of lines that I won’t cross, I guess my answer is none. Because that might be synonymous with drawing them, and I can’t draw a straight line to save my life. And I have nothing but respect for authors who choose to write with lines in mind – bold, dashed, wavy, or otherwise. Knowing the world you choose to write within is critical for every author to understand. Perhaps I’ll find the borders of my own world along the way. Who knows? I’d like to think I’m in the infancy of my writing life.

So here’s to every author finding their world, and here’s to every reader finding the world that welcomes them the most. And here’s to demolishing lines that don’t need to be there.

Except for that line that lies before the toe of a giant red clown shoe. That line should remain.  I fucking hate clowns. (Kidding! Sort of. That one was for you, Crystal).

 THAT LAST LINE!  *shudders*  Even thinking of a clown shoe has me inching my finger toward the delete button to erase the image lol!!  Carly you are beyond amazing and I love love love the line "And I have nothing but respect for authors who choose to write with lines in mind – bold, dashed, wavy, or otherwise"  That is beautiful and something that will stay with me forever.  Thank you so much for agreeing to answer my crazy question!

So my snowflakes what lines won't you cross?  Whether they be in writing, movies, or books leave us comment and let us know! 

Also be sure to check out our Author Fright Fest on Halloween because Carly is donating something special to our giveaway and believe me you want to win this giveaway!!

Find Carly Anne West
The Bargaining The Murmurings

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Blog Tour: Interview Jake Halpern & Peter Kujawinski

Today on WinterHaven Books I am thrilled to participate in the blog tour for Nightfall by Jake Halpern & Peter Kujawinski.  This book was all kinds of creepy and right up my alley!  For my tour stop I got to ask the guys a few questions and I even have some exclusive content to share with you!  

1. I absolutely love that y'all took out daylight throughout Nightfall! It gave the book a whole new level of scary for me. How did you come up with this idea? 
PK: I always think back to camping. The forest is so beautiful and great during the day, and then at night it’s downright terrifying – just like Nightfall.
JH: When I was a freshman at Yale, my girlfriend and I explored this old abandoned floor at the top of a gothic tower. There were no windows on the floor. It was insanely dark. I couldn’t see anything. We got totally lost. At first it was fun in a kind of campy way. Then it started to get really scary when we could not find a way out. That experience has always stayed with me.

2. Which character was your favorite to write? 
PK: There are scenes involving all characters that I love, but I guess I really liked thinking about Kana, because of what he’s going through. I guess I should stop there so I don’t spoil the book!
JH: No question for me, the answer is Marin. She is just such a badass. She is tough and brave and stubborn. She isn’t perfect. She has a hard time admitting when she has made a mistake. But her determination and ferocity is what saves them. She was inspired in part by my wife, Kasia, who is a doctor, a triathlete, and a scrappy immigrant from Poland. I didn’t know my wife when she was 14, but I kind of imagine her this way. I loved writing Marin.

3. I felt like the ending was very open ended, are there plans for a sequel?? *Crosses fingers!!*
PK: We wrestled with the ending a bit, and settled on the current one because it felt the most satisfying for this story. We’ve absolutely discussed a second and even third book (we even have several thousand words for each book), but whether they get written depends on our readers!
JH: We deliberately left the end kind of ambiguous and open ended because we wanted to create room for a sequel if we ever decide to write one. Right now we are working on a book that is set in the same world – it involves Furriers and Desert Landers – but it is not about Marin and Kana per se. But yes, at some point, it would be fun to write the conclusion of their story.

4. Actually speaking of sequels I would love a novella detailing the backstory of the, as I call them, Night Dwellers. Can you share anything about their background? 
PK: Good questions!  We’ve written a little bit about the Night Dwellers backstory and the arrival of a furrier, 14 years before the current book opens. We’re thinking of expanding that, but again, it depends on what our readers want.
JH: Okay we will give you a little more of a glimpse. This is an exclusive that we have shared with no one else, but our editor: During the fourteen years of Day, Soraya and her people hibernate below ground in vast, natural caverns that are an offshoot of the main canyon. This cave system extends throughout the entire island, and many areas are unmapped. None of Soraya’s people has ever made it through the entire cave system. There are rumors of the caves extending under the seabed so far that they reach other islands. Most of the Night creatures hibernate for the full fourteen years, in comfortable wooden containers lined with leaves and covered with branches torn from trees. Soraya started her hibernation several months later than she should have. This, of course, was because of Kana and her efforts to leave him with the Day Dwellers. Postponing hibernation, as Soraya did, is forbidden. It is also both dangerous and painful. Even small amounts of ambient light can be toxic for the Night creatures.

5. I know sometimes in co-authored books each author will write certain characters, was this the case for you two? 
 PK: No – Jake and I don’t divide up scenes or characters – doing it this way ensures that the book feels seamless, as if written by just one person.
JH: What Peter – whom I call, Kujo – says is true. But there are characters, or elements of characters, that seem to come more from one of us than the other. For example: I feel that Kujo had a really powerful sense of who Kana was and what the transformation was like for Kana. I feel like I had a strong sense of what Marin’s relationship was like with her mother and Line. Kujo, has twins himself (age 4), so he had a strong sense of how the twins (Marin and Kana) related to each other.

6. If you are each currently working on something new, can you share any details? 
PK: Sure!  We’re currently working on another book set in the Nightfall world, although it will feature different main characters and a different part of the world (closer to the Desert Lands). Though the plot will be different, I think you’ll see that it’s the same type of taut, atmospheric read, populated with some of the people you’ll remember from Nightfall – like the furriers. It’s tentatively called Edgelands.
JH: I will just add that Edgelands is all about an island at the edge of the world that operates as a gigantic funeral parlor. That’s all!

 Okay I have to say it, this interview is one of my all time favorites!  I love the exclusive that Jake shared! Just that tiny bit really wrapped up so many questions, but at the same time opened up even more!  I am really hoping with everything inside me that we get to see that second and third book and Edgelands!  I mean a gigantic funeral parlor??!!  That's got me written all over it!  
Peter & Jake thank you so much for stopping by and sharing so many amazing details. Nightfall was darkishly delicious and I can't wait for everyone to devour it!
BTW guys love the Kujo nickname!

Find the Authors:
Jake Halpern: Website / GoodreadsTwitter
 Peter Kujawinski: Website / Goodreads / Twitter

Publisher: G.P. Putnam's and Sons Books for Young Readers
Release Date: September 22nd, 2015
Purchase: Amazon
The dark will bring your worst nightmares to light, in this gripping and eerie survival story, perfect for fans of James Dashner and Neil Gaiman.

On Marin’s island, sunrise doesn’t come every twenty-four hours—it comes every twenty-eight years. Now the sun is just a sliver of light on the horizon. The weather is turning cold and the shadows are growing long.

Because sunset triggers the tide to roll out hundreds of miles, the islanders are frantically preparing to sail south, where they will wait out the long Night.

Marin and her twin brother, Kana, help their anxious parents ready the house for departure. Locks must be taken off doors. Furniture must be arranged. Tables must be set. The rituals are puzzling—bizarre, even—but none of the adults in town will discuss why it has to be done this way.

Just as the ships are about to sail, a teenage boy goes missing—the twins’ friend Line. Marin and  Kana are the only ones who know the truth about where Line’s gone, and the only way to rescue him is by doing it themselves. But Night is falling. Their island is changing.

And it may already be too late.