Monday, August 3, 2015

WinterHaven Team Post & Giveaway - Our Listopia!

It's been a while since the WinterHaven Team has done a team post, and we thought what better way to get together than to share some of our book secrets with our blog followers. Sooo, get ready as we talk about some of our favorite books. Also, be sure to enter the giveaway below!

A book you've read over and over again:

AmberAnna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins.

Arlene: I'm on the same page as Milka. I don't re-read too many YA books multiple times only because there is so much out there for me to choose from.  I rarely feel I have time to go back and re-read something. However there is one book that I've read a couple of times, and I've been meaning to make some time to dive into it again, and that is Raw Blue by Kirsty Eager. I really want to re-read that again soon.

BrittMockingjay by Suzanne Collins! Why did all the people hate this?! I thought it was freakin' amazing! I finished it and immediately re-read it twice through.

Crystal:  Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling! I will never stop rereading these books!

Milka: Hmm. There are not that many YA books I've read multiple times, but the one that comes to my mind instantly is Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, which I have read three times. My number one book for rereads is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, which I have read probably 30 times.

Tina: Kiss An Angel by Susan Elizabeth Phillips.

A book you won't easily admit you've read and loved:
Amber: Hmmm....not sure about this one. I'll ponder it more...

Arlene: Okay, I'm going to say Insurgent by Veronica Roth. Now let me explain… I LOVED the first book and waited too long to jump back into the series, so when I heard what she did to one of her main characters at the end, I told many, many people I would not finish the series. How could an author do that to one of her main characters??? Well fast forward to the movie coming out, and I couldn't in good faith see the movie without reading the book. When I finished the series, I thought it was pretty good. Does that mean I have to go back to all those people that I said I changed my mind? I hope not!

Britt: The Fae Chronicles by Amelia Hutchins. I am not usually into like R rated books, but these are my guilty pleasure.

Crystal: Oh this is a hard question! Most of my books I hide are my adult fiction books...hmm I guess and I can't believe I am admitting this, but this answer has to be Vampire Kisses by Ellen Schreiber.

Milka: I am not one really to be embarrassed of books I read - some books are meant to be just entertainment, and I don't think there's anything wrong in entertaining yourself. I guess something like the Twilight Saga, which I absolutely loved back in the day, would go into this category.

TinaI don't have a book-book, but does Twilight Fanfiction count? :p 

A book you read in school that you absolutely adore:
Amber: Well, since I wasn't a big reader in school, I'm going to mention the book series that honestly started my love of reading and that is the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer. I admit it. I couldn't read those stories fast enough!

Arlene: I have to go with The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. I loved that book then and now. I think that's the first book that taught me - if you love an author's novel, then read everything they've got out there. So, yes I also gobbled up That was Then, This is Now as well as Rumble Fish. Great author!

Britt: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. My love of fantasy began right here so it will always have a place in my bookish heart.

Crystal:  I have to go with a classic here Macbeth by William Shakespeare. Dark and twisty that's me! 

MilkaThe Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison - not an adorable book in any way, but so beautifully written. This one will haunt me for the rest of my life.

Tina: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery.

A book you have more than one copy of:
Amber: Well, if I can include ebook format into that...there are many! My favorite as of now would be The Kiss of Deception and The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson.

Arlene: There are quite a few books that I have an eBook version and a hardcopy version, but the one book that I've collected the hardcopy, paperback and eBook is Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. I have a signed copy by the author, and that's not something I was willing to lend out back in the day, so I purchased an extra paperback version whenever someone wanted to borrow the book. Okay… I'll go hide in shame now...

Britt: I am NOT a collector of books but since Sarah Maas' Throne of Glass series is my favorite I have prints and hard copies and e books too.

Crystal:  Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini.

MilkaPride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

Tina: Twilight by Stephenie Meyer & The Lux series by Jennifer L. Armentrout.

The last book that made you cry:
AmberFinding Cinderella by Colleen Hoover.

Arlene: I actually have a bookshelf on GR for books that make me cry because there aren't that many out there. So I'm embarrassed to say the last time I read a book that made me cry was in March of 2014! It was Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. I can't wait to read the sequel that will soon be coming out. Maybe I can dust that shelf off and add another book to the list. 

Britt: Hmmmm My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick. Anything that deals with death or a close call with it cracks my heart in half.

Crystal: I make it a rule to never read anything that makes me cry so this category I can't answer. I just don't like the feeling I get when I read and cry so yep I avoid it. Plus I am an ugly crier and nobody needs to see that lol.

MilkaAll the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.

Tina: Sentinel by Jennifer L. Armentrout (That ending!)

The last book that made you laugh out loud:
Amber: This is my go-to book when I remember laughing the most. This book had me up until 3:00 a.m., where I had to crawl out of bed and sit on the floor beside it because I was certain my laughing shakes would wake my husband! Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley.

Arlene: That would have to be The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. I hear they are making a movie out of the book. I can't wait to see who they cast for the film!

Britt: An Echo in the bone by Diana Gabaldon. I just find her dialogue so funny sometimes and I love her character. At this point in the series i am so incredibly invested that I feel like part of the family. Ian & Fergus crack me up of course the children are funny too!

Crystal: Okay this really made me realize that I need to read more light hearted things! The only book I could find that I remembered laughing at was Storm Front by Jim Butcher. I need comedy recs people!

Milka: Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen.

Tina: The Hash Tag series by Cambria Hebert.

Lastly, if you could only read one genre for the rest of your life what would it be? Be more specific than just YA. :) 
Arlene: Hands down that would be YA Contemporary! I've always been a fan of that genre, and I don't see that changing any time soon.

Britt: I am always and forever a fantasy fan! ALL types is okay by me be it adult or YA.

Crystal: Again this is so hard to answer because my tastes change constantly, so I am going to say Urban Fantasy. I love creepy, but too much and I start freaking out at the slightest sound. Urban Fantasy always keeps me entertained and never lets me down!

Milka: YA contemporary. Though I love books in fantastical elements, for me the real magic can be found from the way talented authors make the often bleak normalcy of life (and being a teenager) filled with magic and cute guys and strong girls.

Tina: That's a hard question since there are too many awesome genre's, but if I have to pick? YA Paranormal.
Well we hope you enjoyed our list of favorites and so much more. If there's a book on our list that caught your eye, be sure to enter our rafflecopter for a chance to win a US$10 Book Shopping Spree at either The Book Depository, US Barnes & Noble or US Amazon. Be sure to fill out the rafflecopter and comment on any of the categories we listed above. We'd love to hear what books are your favorites, your criers and your hidden pleasures!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Blog Tour Review: The Enchanted Files: Diary of a Mad Brownie by Bruce Coville

The Enchanted Files: Diary of a Mad BrownieThe Enchanted Files: Diary of a Mad Brownie by Bruce Coville
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Release Date: June 30th, 2015
Purchase: Amazon
Introducing The Enchanted Files! Told in diary entries and other “documents,” this magical, modern-day new comedy series by the master of funny fantasy, Bruce Coville is filled with laugh-out-loud humor and heart.
In the first hilarious Enchanted Files, Angus is a brownie. No, not the kind you eat! He’s a tiny magical creature that loves to do chores. Angus has just “inherited” a new human girl, Alex. To say that Alex is messy would be an understatement. She’s a total hurricane-like disaster—and she likes it that way, thankyouverymuch! Living with each other isn’t easy but Angus and Alex soon learn there is a curse that binds them. What’s worse, it threatens Alex’s family! Working together, Angus and Alex will set out to break the curse . . . without killing each other first . . . hopefully.
My Thoughts:
I loved so much about this book!  The Enchanted Files was so so funny, cute, and just downright adorable! 

In this story we have Angus, a brownie who has to go to America to serve his new family.  He is not happy about it one bit, but has no choice.  See there is a curse that was placed on Angus's family a long time ago and he has to serve one family for the rest of his days unless he can break the curse.  This seems impossible until the curse really kicks into gear hurting the people he is supposed to be looking after.  What's a brownie to do?!

Well I'll tell you!  This brownie is made of tough stuff and is not a little man at all!  He takes fate into his own hands and with the help of Alex and her family and friends they go on an adventure to solve the puzzle of the curse.  What ensues is some pretty hilarious moments and a lot of cuteness all around.

I really liked the way this story was told as well. The diary entries and letter style was really fun and added a uniqueness to the book.  I also felt more connected to each character since I got to see through their eyes and I got to hear what they were thinking.

This book made me want to have a brownie of my own!  I can live with a bit if mischief (as all brownies are supposed to create a little here and there) to have a brownie of my own looking after me!  Bruce Coville has definitely done it again with this book and I am hoping we get more from Angus and friends!

4 snowflakes

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Review: Pretending to be Erica by Michelle Painchaud

Pretending to Be EricaPretending to be Erica by Michelle Painchaud
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Release date: July 21st, 2015
Purchase: Amazon
We Were Liars meets Heist Society in a riveting debut!

Seventeen-year-old Violet’s entire life has revolved around one thing: becoming Erica Silverman, an heiress kidnapped at age five and never seen again.

Violet’s father, the best con man in Las Vegas, has a plan, chilling in its very specific precision. Violet shares a blood type with Erica; soon, thanks to surgery and blackmail, she has the same face, body, and DNA. She knows every detail of the Silvermans’ lives, as well as the PTSD she will have to fake around them. And then, when the time is right, she “reappears”—Erica Silverman, brought home by some kind of miracle.

But she is also Violet, and she has a job: Stay long enough to steal the Silverman Painting, an Old Master legendary in the Vegas crime world. Walking a razor’s edge, calculating every decision, not sure sometimes who she is or what she is doing it for, Violet is an unforgettable heroine, and Pretending to be Erica is a killer debut.
My thoughts:
Pretending to be Erica was definitely an interesting read.  This was my first YA con book and I have to say I think I will be craving more of these!

Violet has been groomed to become Erica Silverman. This will be her until con and solidify her place besides the man who rescued her from foster care and taught her everything she knows.  All she has to do is pretend to be Erica for a few months, steal a painting, and disappear into the night.  Easy right?  Well the whole stealing the painting thing would be easy except for one thing.  Violet realizes everything she doesn't have living with Erica's family and starts to wonder if her con filled life is really all it's cracked up to be.

I have to say I ended up liking this quite a bit.  I was torn about midway through I won't lie though because Violet/Erica just had too many inner monologues about what she had to do and how leaving would effect her.  It just got to be too much for me to read.  I understood it would be hard for her, but I didn't need to hear it every other page.  I liked the strong con artist female from the beginning and wished she would have stayed a bit longer.

Also she seemed really self assured of her abilities, but then people would find out about her faking and it was all a no big deal.  I didn't expect that at all.  I understood one particular person's choice to stay mum, but not the others.  What did they gain?  Adding to that there had been two other fakes so I would assume this would not have been swept underneath the rug like it was.  That part I just didn't understand and there were a few plot holes that left me wondering, but they didn't take away from the unique storyline. Most stories I have read like are like this in the whole faking to be somebody else game are about revenge.  This is the first con one I have read and it definitely stands out in a crowd even with my few minor hangups.

Honestly though I kept on reading because I did like Violets voice.  I wanted to see whether she chose to steal the painting and what her ending would be like.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Adult Review: The Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward

The Bourbon Kings (The Bourbon Kings, #1)The Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Release Date: July 28th, 2015
Purchase: Amazon
The #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Black Dagger Brotherhood delivers the first novel in an enthralling new series set amid the shifting dynamics of a Southern family defined by wealth and privilege—and compromised by secrets, deceit, and scandal....

For generations, the Bradford family has worn the mantle of kings of the bourbon capital of the world. Their sustained wealth has afforded them prestige and privilege—as well as a hard-won division of class on their sprawling estate, Easterly. Upstairs, a dynasty that by all appearances plays by the rules of good fortune and good taste. Downstairs, the staff who work tirelessly to maintain the impeccable Bradford facade. And never the twain shall meet.

For Lizzie King, Easterly’s head gardener, crossing that divide nearly ruined her life. Falling in love with Tulane, the prodigal son of the bourbon dynasty, was nothing that she intended or wanted—and their bitter breakup only served to prove her instincts were right. Now, after two years of staying away, Tulane is finally coming home again, and he is bringing the past with him. No one will be left unmarked: not Tulane’s beautiful and ruthless wife; not his older brother, whose bitterness and bad blood know no bounds; and especially not the ironfisted Bradford patriarch, a man with few morals, fewer scruples, and many, many terrible secrets.

As family tensions—professional and intimately private—ignite, Easterly and all its inhabitants are thrown into the grips of an irrevocable transformation, and only the cunning will survive.
My thoughts:
This is another time where I just have to post an adult review!  The Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward was fantastic and I think our older readers should definitely know about this book!

I've been a long term fan of Ms.Wards and while her BDB series has taken a somewhat wrong turn for me I couldn't let The Bourbon Kings go unread.  This book totally surpassed my expectations and brought me back to the Ward that I love and adore!

This is as most have described it.  A little bit Dallas, a little bit soap operaish, and at its core a romance.  With Wards BDB series I love the romance part of it and her unique ability to craft a family I want to live in.  What I didn't like was the Lesser part because well they are icky.  The Bourbon Kings takes everything I love about her BDB series and adds in amazing drama that kept me hooked from the get go without the icky Lessers.  

I admit I loved soap operas back in the day so this is definitely up my alley, but I think it's more than just that that I loved.  The way Ward writes her characters is just amazing and even the messed up ones I rooted for...and yes there are some pretty messed up characters.  I thought the whole Southern thing was done very well and I could honestly picture each and every scene that was written.  I think Ward has most definitely found her home with this genre!

There were two things that bothered me.  One being that Lane kept a very vital piece of information from Lizzie.  I think if he had told her upfront a few scenes and drama could have been avoided, but seeing as how Lizzie needed to trust him I can see why it was written the way it was.  The other being I would have liked to have seen more of Lane's father.  He played a huge role in this book and I would have liked a few more scenes with him. 

Other than those two things I absolutely loved this and found myself addicted to the writing, story, and characters.  I cannot wait for the next installment as I have to know what's around the next corner for Lane, Lizzie, Edward, Max, and Gin. 
4.5 snowflakes


Thursday, July 30, 2015

Review: What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick

What I Thought Was True 
by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Published April 15th 2014 by Dial Books for Young Readers

From the acclaimed author of My Life Next Door comes a swoony summertime romance full of expectation and regret, humor and hard questions. Gwen Castle has never so badly wanted to say good-bye to her island home till now: the summer her Biggest Mistake Ever, Cassidy Somers, takes a job there as the local yard boy. He's a rich kid from across the bridge in Stony Bay, and she hails from a family of fishermen and housecleaners who keep the island's summer people happy. Gwen worries a life of cleaning houses will be her fate too, but just when it looks like she'll never escape her past—or the island—Gwen's dad gives her some shocking advice. Sparks fly and secret histories unspool as Gwen spends a gorgeous, restless summer struggling to resolve what she thought was true—about the place she lives, the people she loves, and even herself—with what really is. A magnetic, push-you-pull-me romance with depth, this is for fans of Sarah Dessen, Jenny Han, and Deb Caletti.

My Thoughts

What I Thought Was True is my second Huntley book. I am still kinda new in the genre and while it wasn't my all time love of my life book, there was still a lot that I enjoyed. This is classic other side of the track tale of a girl named Gwen who is learning quickly and sometimes a bit harshly that things aren't always what she believed them to be.

 I can totally see the appeal of Mrs. Fitzpatrick is that she is the queen of capturing that certain personification whether it be the tough sarcastic girl from the working class family or the spoiled rich kid who can never quite fill his older siblings shoes. She seems to be greatly attuned to people and is able to really give them all a ton of depth. it shines through in her writing as clear as day. I really like Gwen's dry, kind of self depreciating, sense of humor. She is just so funny to me. Very unlike most Contemporary books I have read (which is like 3 so I know my experience is limited here folks). 

I was to thrilled with the layout by that i mean the flashbacks interspersed through out the first 60% of the book. I see what the author was trying to do by slowly building the history/ back story but I wasn't feeling it. Maybe if they had a nice segue or something but no, they're just kinda inserted when Gwen's mind wanders. I have had to re-read a few of those scenes to actually make sure they we the flash backs. I thought they were a different scene al together. Did anyone else have this issue? Anyway I know it's on purpose so I'll overlook it.

I didn't particularly fall for the romance either. Gwen and Cass's cat and mouse game was tedious at best. It took far to long or me to become invested in the dilemma. Let me just say that I did like the enlightenment aspect that both characters faced though, another nod to her awesome characterizations.

This plot seemed very gritty and real, almost seemed more to life as in there was no grand gesture after a huge fight were all kiss and make up. It payed out like life would. Huntley was able to capture that perfectly. She also does a great job or portraying the inner working of family life. It isn't always peaches and cream. Parents and kids alike can make mistakes but everyone has their own story. That was the redeeming quality of this book. That and Gwen's sense of humor. Nic and Viv, that whole thing felt unnecessary. 

I was not really a fan of this story but I simply cannot overlook the sheer brilliance of Huntley's writing so I will absolutely read her next book. As a matter of fact I will be doing that next week! I am thrilled to get back to the Garretts.

3.5 Snowflakes

The lovely folks at Penguin are super awesome and are offering you a chance to win a copy of What I Thought Was True & an arc of The Boy Most Likely To! Amazing right?!?!?