Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Book Favorites

Well 2013 is quickly coming to a close and here at WinterHaven Books, we'd like to thank all of our bloggy friends that have visited and chatted with us here. As a close out for the year, we wanted to share with you the wonderful reading adventures we've had throughout the year with our 2013 favorites. Enjoy!!

What was your YA favorite book in 2013? 
Arlene: Just One Year by Gale Forman, The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead, Champion by Marie Lu
Amber: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey, If I Should Die by Amy Plum, Erased by Jennifer Rush, The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead
Crystal: Unhinged by A.G. Howard, Orleans by Sherri L. Smith, Mind Games by Kiersten White
Tina: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey, Sentinel by JLA, Origin by JLA, Wait for you by JLA

Who was your favorite YA fictional male character in 2013? 
Arlene: Jase Garrett from My Life Next Door, Willem De Ruiter from Just One Year. Daniel (Day) Wing from Champion
Amber: Evan from The 5th Wave, Guy from Fire & Flood, Adrian from The Indigo Spell, Logan from Deception, Kai from Sweet Peril
Crystal: Ohh that title has to go to Morpheus from Unhinged!
Tina: Dean Holder from Losing Hope, Cameron Hamilton from Wait for you by JLA, Aiden St. Delphi from Sentinel by JLA

Who was your favorite YA fictional female character in 2013? 
Arlene: Emmaline from The Moon and More, June Iparis from Champion 
Amber: Alexa from Defy by Sara B. Larson, Cassie Sullivean from The 5th Wave, Jade from Pieces of Jade
Crystal: That is a toss up between Fia in Mind Games, Alex in Apollyon and Alyssa in Unhinged
Tina: Celaena Sardothien from Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Mass, Cassie Sullivean from The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey, Alexandria Andros from Sentinel by JLA

What was your most anticipated YA book in 2013? 
Arlene: Just One Year by Gale Forman, The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead, Champion by Marie Lu
Amber: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey, If I Should Die by Amy Plum, The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead, Sweet Peril by Wendy Higgins
Crystal: Definitely Apollyon by Jennifer L. Armentrout and The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey.
Tina: Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare (2013)

What is your reading challenge for 2014?
Arlene: My reading challenge for 2014 will be to catch up on some of my series favorites that I’ve fallen behind on such as Morganville Vampires, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, The Coincidence, Covenant, Infernal Devices, The Grisha, His Fair Assassin 
Amber: My reading Challenge for 2014 will be to read books on my shelf I haven't gotten to, catch up on series I've fallen behind on, and try to read some thrillers (I'm a big chicken)
Crystal: My reading challenger number wise will be 122. It was 121 in 2013 and I have increased it by one every year so I am going to continue to do that. As far as other goals go I am going to try and clean up my Netgalley and Eldeweiss account and also finish up a few series that I have left hanging on my shelf. I know 2014 will be an exciting year! 
Tina: I plan to read all books on my shelf purchased from 2013 and below.

Thank you everyone for a great reading and blogging year!! Be sure to share some of your 2013 favorites!!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Release Event: Pieces of Jade by Lani Woodland and Melonie Piper

You're invited to the online Pieces of Jade launch party! You can be entered to win swag, books and more! Come hang out and chat with authors Lani Woodland and Melonie Piper.

Here is the pertinent information:
Monday, December 30th 2013
Time: 5-8 (PST) 
Place: Facebook's Pieces of Jade Launch Party Event Page. Click here to join the fun! 

Pieces of Jade

by Lani Woodland and Melonie Piper

Sentenced to death by the man she loves . . .

Jade has no control over her future. She is the Emmía, the girl whose magical blood keeps her kingdom’s cursed soil fertile and ensures the survival of her people. But her destiny is ruined when pirates take her magical medallion, the loss of which is treasonous, and the prince she loves is honor-bound to sentence her to death.

Forced to flee to the pirate she hates . . .

Jade escapes from prison, but her sister is captured and will die in her place unless Jade returns with the medallion still on the pirates’ ship. In disguise, she joins the pirate crew where she finds herself drawn to the first officer, William, and his claims of the crown’s hidden brutality in the kingdom. But when Jade learns the fate of every Emmía before her, she is finally forced to choose her own destiny: die a martyr or live a rebel.

Sound like something you'd like to read? If so, you can purchase Pieces of Jade for the Nook by clicking here or for the Kindle by clicking here.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Review: Fracture Me (Shatter Me #2.5) by Tahereh Mafi

Fracture Me (Shatter Me #2.5) by Tahereh Mafi
Published: December 17,  2013
Publisher: HarperCollins
In this electrifying sixty-page companion novella to the New York Timesbestselling Shatter Me series, discover the fate of the Omega Point rebels as they go up against The Reestablishment. Set during and soon after the final moments of Unravel Me, Fracture Me is told from Adam's perspective.

As Omega Point prepares to launch an all-out assault on The Reestablishment soldiers stationed in Sector 45, Adam's focus couldn't be further from the upcoming battle. He's reeling from his breakup with Juliette, scared for his best friend's life, and as concerned as ever for his brother James's safety. And just as Adam begins to wonder if this life is really for him, the alarms sound. It's time for war.

On the battlefield, it seems like the odds are in their favor—but taking down Warner, Adam's newly discovered half brother, won't be that easy. The Reestablishment can't tolerate a rebellion, and they'll do anything to crush the resistance . . . including killing everyone Adam has ever cared about.

Fracture Me sets the stage for Ignite Me, the explosive finale in Tahereh Mafi's epic dystopian series. It's a novella not to be missed by fans who crave action-packed stories with tantalizing romance like Divergent by Veronica Roth, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and Legend by Marie Lu.

My Thoughts
“We hear the bombs explode far off in the distance, and that’s when I feel it: the bones inside of me fracture, little earthquakes breaking me apart.”

What an intense punch in this short novella from the Shatter Me series! Fracture Me was definitely the quick fix I needed to keep me pining for more as I wait for the final installment Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi. Loved it!

This installment is told in an interesting perspective using Adam’s voice. Through his narrative, we get a glimpse of how he sees Juliette and how lost and vulnerable she seems to be. But more importantly there’s an emotional reveal about how deeply connected he is to his little brother James. There were several scenes in this book that clearly show how Adam’s first and foremost allegiance is to his little brother’s safety and well-being. I loved reading that!

Despite not getting any significant feel for where and what Warner was up to inFracture MeM, because he’s still my main interest in this series, ~wink~ I still enjoyed getting into Adam’s head to uncover what’s most important to him and his motives for destroying The Reestablishment and Warner. Very intriguing and well done!

In a short novel that unveils powerfully gripping scenes of innocent civilians being targeted by The Reestablishment, Tahereh Mafi manages to prove once again that she has a poignant story to tell. I’ll be sure to keep my download button ready on my eReader for the final installment of Ignite Me on February 4th. Can’t wait!!!!
4 Snowflakes

Friday, December 27, 2013

Review: Salt by Danielle Ellison

Salt (Salt, #1)
Salt by Danielle Ellison
Publisher- Entangled Teen
Released- Jan 7th 2014
Pre-Order- Amazon / B & N

Penelope is a witch, part of a secret society protecting humans from demon attacks. But when she was a child, a demon killed her parents—and stole her magic. Since then, she’s been pretending to be something she’s not, using her sister’s magic to hide her own loss, to prevent being sent away.When she’s finally given the chance to join the elite demon-hunting force, Penelope thinks that will finally change. With her sister’s help, she can squeeze through the tests and get access to the information she needs to find "her" demon. To take back what was stolen.Then she meets Carter. He’s cute, smart, and she can borrow his magic, too. He knows her secret—but he also has one of his own.
Suddenly, Penelope’s impossible quest becomes far more complicated. Because Carter’s not telling her everything, and it’s starting to seem like the demons have their own agenda…and they’re far too interested in her.
My Thoughts:
Wow! I’m surprised how much fun I had with this book. I've always loved hocus pocus type books and I’m still kinda amazed how much I've grown to love demon lore, but I was really impressed with Salt. It has everything I look for a good paranormal escape. Its action punched, suspenseful, mysterious and has a romance that’s totally kissable.

Danielle Ellison’s writes an amazing debut novel. The concept may not be something exactly new but I still really enjoyed Ellison’s take on this genre and I really liked the twist and turns in the plot. It kept me on my toes and anticipating what comes next.
Ellison also really knows how to write some mean ass-kickin! From badass demonic action to Pen’s examination training, to its gripping conclusion, this book is chalked filled with excitement and entertainment that kept my imagination on thrill. But it wasn't all fightin’ there is plenty of hugable romance that saps like me crave for, and Ellison really delivered those moments beautifully.

There is a lot happening here plot wise, but I thought the flow and pace of the story was well done. It never felt dragged out or dull, in fact, I was completely absorbed throughout the entire story. Lies and secrets seem to be the running theme in Penelope Grey’s life. The mysterious surrounding Pen and her families history was a great element I was completely intrigued with, but there are so many factors in this story that make the bigger picture really standout. Carter’s has his own secrets and agendas and I thought it was well played how those secrets affected his magical chemistry with Pen. I also really liked Poncho’s character and was surprised with the secrets he too was hiding. Everything about the story-line was calculating and connected in one way or another and I had a great time trying to piece the string of clues together while kicking back and just enjoyed the comfortable ease of the characters themselves.

I really loved all of these characters. They are filled with fun filled banter, wit and sarcasm. Okay…I admit that Penelope Grey is a character that did have a few flaws. I found her to be a bit hypercritical concerning the lies and deceit. She’s kinda not one to talk since she’s been keeping quite a few secrets to the people who matter the most and her reaction to Carter’s ‘betrayal’ was a bit of an overreaction and little more then childish. She also comes off a little repetitive, and her desperation to become an Enforcer and hunt down the demon that stole her magic and killed her parents tended to scream right off the pages a little too frequently, but as a whole, I liked and admired her determination, passion and strength, especially when it mattered most. I also adored her snark, sass, and fire and the fact that she didn't just roll over when she meets Carter. She’s a fighter, she makes things challenging and she can totally handle her own.
Carter was my by far my favorite, he is simply a fully loaded blast of a character. He’s arrogant, overly confident and drips with charm, wit and charisma. There were a few surprises concerning his character as well, which I loved, but I don’t think one of the earlier revelations should have been that dramatic. I guess I just don’t see the big deal.
This boy knows how to kick some serious ass but I like that he knows how to right a wrong and that he’s supportive and genuinely cares for Pen. Plus, he bakes cookies.
Need I say more?
Together, Pen and Carter steal the show as well as my heart. I really enjoyed the chemistry between them. They have an adorable playful banter thing going on that I found really sweet, sexy and adorable. Pen has a bit of an inner-battle concerning Carter at first since he makes her feel vulnerable in ways only her family has seen, but the connection between them is undeniable when they learn what they can accomplish together in both magic and heart. 
I also loved Pen’s sister Connie and her best friend Ric. They were amazing secondary characters who brought constant loyalty, smiles and support when it was needed.

In a nutshell, Salt was just a lot of fun to read. The plot was sizzling with action and mystery. The magical aspect was refreshing, the writing was smooth and these characters were wonderfully put together, easy to love and be invested with from minute one. I’m really looking forward to seeing what Ellison does with the sequel. A solid escape.

Find the author:
Goodreads /Website                                4 Snowflakes

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Author Interview, Excerpt, & Giveaway: Stephanie Powell

Today on WinterHaven Books we have the wonderful Stephanie Powell with us!  I just recently read her novel Pink and really enjoyed it so I am beyond thrilled to have her with us!  Stephanie has graciously answered some of my questions, given me a very awesome excerpt to share, AND is providing a giveaway to one lucky reader!!  Woohoo!! 
First up the interview!

Welcome Stephanie!

1. I really enjoyed the world that you built in Pink. How did you come up with the idea?
I've always liked "what if" science fiction. And I'm fascinated with the ways in which men and women are both alike and different. So the idea for Pink is really a combination of those two things. The question "what if the world were only women?" struck me as intriguing. Since Pink is Cassie's coming-of age-story, I wanted to create a major roadblock for her in finding true love—and what bigger roadblock could there be than living in a world where a plague has wiped out every male on the planet! I'm also a sucker for a story that takes the main character on an epic journey. Cassie takes such a quest, finding the two boys who have survived the plague in very different ways. She then discovers that one of the boys is the key to returning the world to normal.

2. What was you favorite scene to write? I think I know, but what was your toughest scene to write? My favorite scene to write was the love scene at the end between Cassie and Sam. Cassie's world is crashing down around her—emotionally she is at her lowest low. Yet she experiences physical intimacy for the first time surrounded by the splendor of blossoming cherry trees. The contrast of Cassie's trauma with the romantic setting made the scene a lot of fun to write!
The toughest scene to write was the ending (but not the epilogue), mostly because I had to figure out details with only having a basic idea of the next two books. One of the most enjoyable parts of writing is that the story can take you anywhere—you are only limited by your imagination. That said, the endless options are also the tough part—with so many directions to go in, it's hard to know which one is the best!

3. Did you always know where the story would go or did it change the closer you got to the ending?
I always had a basic idea of the story, but as the saying goes, the devil is in the details . . . and it seemed like those devilish details kept changing at a moment's notice! Creating a story is a strange combination of lead and follow--I wouId write parts, (or maybe struggle with is more like it!) and then parts would seem to write themselves—I only had to listen to what the characters were telling me.
I also discovered that plotting a single story over three books is quite a challenge! My undying admiration goes out to all those young adult authors who have nailed the multi-book format. Pink did go through many changes—the story line of Brandon, the villain, changed completely, the ending had to be tweaked for clarification, and for a while, the title seemed to change every week—but the basic idea of Cassie finding and falling in love with a special boy in a world of women was there from the beginning.

4. The ending was a HUGE bomb drop! What can you tell us about the sequel?
The second book in the Pink trilogy is called Puzzle and will be available on Amazon no later than May 2014. You can go to my website—www.stephaniepowellbooks.com—to get updates on when it will be out. It's hard to talk about Puzzle without spoilers; having said that, I will say that the second book is about Cassie's search for someone who has become very important to her. In that search, she journeys to a world she didn't know existed.

5. What advice can you give aspiring writers?
My advice is simple—write! Everyday if you can. Write the story you want to read. Give yourself permission to enjoy your own writing, to use it as a way to explore yourself and the world around you. And write until the rules of grammar and syntax become embedded in your brain.
Then there's the flip side: read! Try out all kinds of genres, even the ones you think you don't like. Figure out why you enjoy a certain author or kind of book—and then figure out why you don't like other stories or writers. Read to learn, to grow, to be inspired, to be challenged—and of course, to enjoy the incredible diversity of stories and voices at our fingertips.

Thanks Stephanie!  I adore your answers and I can't wait to dive into Puzzle!!

Excerpt Time!!  I love this scene!

Sam leaned in and kissed her. He drew her towards him, his breath starting to deepen. Cassie let herself become lost in the caress. She slid one hand around Sam’s neck, the other under his shirt, feeling the smooth nap of his skin. 
Cassie broke away to see Sam’s puzzled face. She stood up and, taking him by the hand, led him to a secluded spot under a stand of cherry trees. Scattered pink petals blurred the distinction between ground and sky. 
Cassie stretched out beneath the spreading canopy, pulling Sam down with her. The more she kissed him, the more she felt her anguish fade until all she knew was the touch of his hand, the softness of his lips, the weight of his body. 
After a long kiss, Sam pulled away. “I don’t know what to do,” he whispered. 
She brushed the hair out of his face with her fingertips. “Neither do I—but let’s keep doing it.” 

 About the Author:
Stephanie Powell lives in Austin, Texas with her engineer/musician husband (a modern-day renaissance man), her two darling children (yes, grown kids can still be darling!) and her Master’s in Film (a degree for watching movies . . . what’s not to like!) Her day gig is as a sign language interpreter; in her free time, she likes to walk the neighborhood, have lunch with friends, and indulge in her obsession with crafting. Pink is her first young adult novel. She wrote the non-fiction book Hit Me With Music: How to Start, Manage, Record, and Perform With Your Own Rock Band which starts out with a forward by (attention: name-drop alert) Steven Tyler of Aerosmith.

Stephanie is offering one lucky reader their very own copy of Pink!  The winner can choose either an ecopy from Amazon or a print copy.  All you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form below!  Good luck! 
Click on the cover to be redirected to Goodreads.
Giveaway open to US residents only.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Happy Holidays!

We all would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday!  We hope that everyone has a safe and wonderful day and that everybody gets at least one bookish gift!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Teaser Tuesday, #55 The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore

Welcome to Teaser Tuesdays! Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teaser Tuesday is for the following...

The Night Before Christmas
The Night Before Christmas By Clement C. Moore
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: September 26, 2006


He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, And away they all flew like the down of a thistle. But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight, "Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!"

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your ‘teasers’ in a comment here if you don’t have a blog Thanks!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Review: Relic (Book of Eva #1) by Heather Terrell

Relic (Books of Eva, #1)Relic (Book of Eva #1) by Heather Terrell
Publisher: SoHo Teen
Release Date: October 29th, 2013
The truth will test you...

For fans of Game of Thrones and The Hunger Games: high fantasy and dystopia meet in this high-stakes tale of a civilization built on lies and the girl who single-handedly brings it down.

When Eva’s twin brother, Eamon, falls to his death just a few months before he is due to participate in The Testing, no one expects Eva to take his place. She’s a Maiden, slated for embroidery classes, curtseys, and soon a prestigious marriage befitting the daughter of an Aerie ruler. But Eva insists on honoring her brother by becoming a Testor. After all, she wouldn’t be the first Maiden to Test, just the first in 150 years.

Eva knows the Testing is no dance class. Gallant Testors train for their entire lives to search icy wastelands for Relics: artifacts of the corrupt civilization that existed before The Healing drowned the world. Out in the Boundary Lands, Eva must rely on every moment of the lightning-quick training she received from Lukas—her servant, a Boundary native, and her closest friend now that Eamon is gone.

But there are threats in The Testing beyond what Lukas could have prepared her for. And no one could have imagined the danger Eva unleashes when she discovers a Relic that shakes the Aerie to its core
My Thoughts:
I'm a little lost for words right now honestly.  This started out so so good and then BOOM the story hit a strange turn and things got just strange and preachy.  I really wish the story would have stayed on its path *sigh*

The story starts off with a murder and then jumps ahead to the events that happened because of the death.  Eva lost her twin brother and no one really knows what happened to him other than he fell from climbing an ice wall. Since Eamon was in training to take the Test is was just assumed it was an unfortunate accident.  Eva has been grieving for her brother and knows one of the only ways for her to move on is to compete in the Testing.  Whoever wins will become the next Archon, which is a position her father still holds and is something that a girl hasn't been in a very long time.  Nobody wants Eva to compete but she knows she has to for her brother so she starts training and before she knows it she is on her dogsled riding out to the Frozen Seas.

In order to win Eva must bring back a relic of some kind that will show her people why the great floods happened and why things are different now.  The North people believe in the Lex and it let me tell you it  has a lot of rules.  Basically it states that everything we use now in our reality (computers, phones, Mastercards) are evil and is the reason why the Gods chose to rid the world of almost everyone.  These Tests that induct a new Archon or president if you will are to remind the people of what once was and what happened when people fell pray to the Apple.  Yes I said Apple.

At first I thought this Apple was the Bible, but I was wrong.  If I read correctly it means a Mac computer....I don't get it.  See this is where the story took a weird turn for me.  I get that this new world wants nothing to do with the technology of the past and basically everything that we hold dear nowadays, but the way this story is told is just weird in my opinion.  I mean at one point we have the characters calling relics the MasterCards minions, I mean WHAT?  It all just felt so weird especially when relics where found and we hear things like Prada and Maybeline being discussed as though they were evil things.  How can a purse be evil?? 

I think if the story would have stayed on its path and dealt more with the actual Testing and conspiracies I would have liked this so much better.  What we get though is some strange story about floods that directly resembles Noah's Ark and yes this is discussed in the book so honestly I feel a little preached to.  I am really curious what the second book will bring and if it will stay on this current path.  Like I said the beginning was great.  A little hard to grasp world wise but really good and interesting.  I got lost among the Apples, Maybelines, Pradas, and fiction unfortunately.

Oh and that synopsis is WAY off!  I love Game of Thrones and Hunger Games and this is not even close to either one of these.  I have no idea why this is categorized this way.

2 snowflakes

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Review: Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens

Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens
Publisher-Harper Collins
Released- Feb 25th 2014
Pre-Order- Amazon / B & N

An edgy, realistic, and utterly captivating novel from an exciting new voice in teen fiction.Alexi Littrell hasn't told anyone what happened to her over the summer. Ashamed and embarrassed, she hides in her closet and compulsively scratches the back of her neck, trying to make the outside hurt more than the inside does.When Bodee Lennox, the quiet and awkward boy next door, comes to live with the Littrells, Alexi discovers an unlikely friend in "the Kool-Aid Kid," who has secrets of his own. As they lean on each other for support, Alexi gives him the strength to deal with his past, and Bodee helps her find the courage to finally face the truth.A searing, poignant book, Faking Normal is the extraordinary debut novel from an exciting new author-Courtney C. Stevens
My Thoughts:
Faking Normal is a heartbreaking story about a girl named Alexi who is going through the phases of life and pretending that what happened during the summer doesn't matter, but inside she’s dies a little everyday and has the scars on her neck to prove it. Who would have thought that the boy everyone refers to as the 'Kool-Aid Kid', would be the only person who became the constant in her life, and while Bodee has his own family heartaches, they still manage to find something in each other they didn't even know they needed. Strength.

I was very surprised how much I enjoyed this book. The first time I read the blurb, I didn't really see this as a ‘me’ escape since I tend to stay away from heavy hearted books that usually makes me feel depressed or mournful. But for some reason this book didn't make me feel like that come the end. It’s an emotional raw read, but it’s also full of hope, love and friendship and even had a few scenes that made me genuinely smile.
This may be Stevens’ first novel, but her writing is so comfortable it made me feel like I've been reading her books forever. Her writing has a way of getting under my skin and makes me think, but in a way that doesn't make me feel overly sad. Yes, it’s a sad story, but amazingly enough it doesn't read like one.

I really liked everyone of these characters, or well, almost all of them. They are all very sharply developed and easy to like and connect with.
Lexi is a great protagonist. I thought it was very brave of her that even though she went through this terrible ordeal, she still puts on a happy face with her friends and her family, but I hated what this shameful secret was doing to her inside. It took real courage to face her demons, but it’s still good  to see that even though she’s been faking normal for so long, that she was still looking for normal at the same time. The whole Captain Lyrics was really very sweet and very touching and it gave the readers, as well as Lexi, something to look forward to with the mystery of it all. I really loved who it turned out to be.
While this is mostly Lexi’s story, Bodee really owned this book for me. He’s never been the most popular kid and he has sort of a bad rep but I loved that he had this he-is-who-he-is attitude. After what happened with his parents, he too has been dealing with his own demons, and yet, he still manages to be Lexi’s constant rock no matter what. Lexi and Bodee are two broken pieces, but they don’t try to really fix each other, instead they’re just there, together supporting and caring and somehow making each other whole.
I also liked Lexi’s friends but I couldn't stand Kayla for pretty much the entire book, and thought she was a nasty selfish sister who only thought about herself and her messed up relationship, but I’m glad that she had the right reaction come the end. I wasn't really sure of how she would react, so I felt relieved that she didn't disappoint.
I liked the ending but it felt like something was missing. It ended on a hopeful note, but for some reason it still had that up-in-the air feeling and I wanted a little more closure for both Lexi and Bodee’s situation.

All in all, I was really impressed with this book. It’s heartbreaking and emotionally charged, but it’s also very moving and touching and sweet in very unexpected ways. A brilliant debut. I look forward to reading more of Stevens books in the future.

Find the author:
Goodreads / Website                             4 Snowflakes

Friday, December 20, 2013

Review: Into the Still Blue (Under The Never Sky, #3) by Veronica Rossi

Into the Still Blue (Under the Never Sky, #3)
Into The Still Blue By Veronica Rossi
Publisher: HarperCollins
Expected Publication Date: January 28, 2014
Amazon / B&N
The earth-shattering conclusion to Veronica Rossi's "masterpiece" Under the Never Sky trilogy and sequel to the New York Times bestselling Through the Ever Night (Examiner.com).
Their love and their leadership have been tested. Now it's time for Perry and Aria to unite the Dwellers and the Outsiders in one last desperate attempt to bring balance to their world.
The race to the Still Blue has reached a stalemate. Aria and Perry are determined to find this last safe-haven from the Aether storms before Sable and Hess do-and they are just as determined to stay together.Meanwhile, time is running out to rescue Cinder, who was abducted by Hess and Sable for his unique abilities. And when Roar returns to camp, he is so furious with Perry that he won't even look at him, and Perry begins to feel like they have already lost.Out of options, Perry and Aria assemble a team to mount an impossible rescue mission-because Cinder isn't just the key to unlocking the Still Blue and their only hope for survival, he's also their friend. And in a dying world, the bonds between people are what matter most.
In this final book in her stunning Under the Never Sky trilogy, Veronica Rossi raises the stakes to their absolute limit and brings her epic love story to an unforgettable close.

My Thoughts:
Into the Still Blue is the final installment of Veronica Rossi’s stellar Under the Never Sky Trilogy. I will miss this world and the characters I had grown attached to. This was the perfect example of my fictitious HEA. 

The intensity of the story elevated with Hess and Sable joining forces, and they have Cinder in their possession. Roar was still torn up from the loss of Liv. And the red streaked sky slowly replaced the blue, and threatened to wipe out everyone and everything in its path. Their time was running out and desperation to find the Still Blue and save their friends pressed heavily on their hearts.

I love the undeniable chemistry between Aria and Perry. There’s the perfect blend of romance weaved into and throughout the story, but yet, it didn’t veer away from the plot. The drama continued and the action maintained a steady pace up until the very end. Sorren had always been a little bit much to swallow at times, but he really stood out in this one. I felt that he’d matured and finally opened up. There was one specific scene where Aria gave him a dose of his own medicine, and I couldn’t help but laugh. It was nice to have a good laugh when their world seemed so bleak.

Followers of Rossi’s trilogy will not be displeased. The story is tied up nicely and capped off with something I found as sweet as it could be. I am trying to keep this spoiler free and it is very difficult after devoting my time and connecting emotionally with these beloved characters on their journey. This is a Five Star in my book. And, a Must-Read trilogy!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Author Interview: Barbara Stewart

 Today on WinterHaven Books we are excited to have the amazing Barbara Stewart with us!!  I absolutely loved her book The In-Between and I am so thrilled that she took the time to answer some of my questions!  I have to also say that her answers are some of my all time favorite!  Take a look!

Welcome Barbara!

1) Wow I was completely blown away by The In-Between, how did you come up with this haunting tale? 
Three things set this story in motion: I'd always wanted to write something creepy. I'd always wanted to write something with an unreliable narrator. And that first line has haunted me forever—since I was a kid, actually. A few years before I was born, my grandmother was in a really bad car accident. She was pronounced dead at the scene. She survived, but she was different. Something like that changes a person. My father used to tell me that my grandmother before the accident and my grandmother after the accident were two completely different women. That always fascinated me because I only ever knew one side of her. The funny thing is, though, I wasn't really aware of that while writing—how much of my grandmother had crept into the book. In retrospect I realized the stories I'd been hearing my whole life inspired some of what Ellie goes through.

2) I was really intrigued by the science behind the story, did you have to do a lot of research?

I didn't do a lot of research because I didn't want Ellie to be a textbook case of anything. Rather than starting with the premise that Ellie was afflicted with a certain mental condition, I wrote from her point of view, about what she was experiencing, and then worked to decide what kind of diagnosis she would receive and also what drugs and treatment her doctor might prescribe.
Now the Vanishing Twin Syndrome thing . . . that was a happy accident! I'd been doing a little research on parasitic twins—another creepy obsession of mine—when I stumbled upon that one.
(Okay I had to make a comment here about the use of the words parasitic twin!  CREEPY!!!  And I think I just might love Ms. Stewart and her awesome obsessions LOL!)

3) Which scene was the hardest for you to write?
Ellie's journal entry for Christmas was by far the hardest to write. I can't tell you how many edits that went through. I knew it couldn't be a repeat of Thanksgiving—the first major holiday she has to get through after the biggest loss of her life—and I also knew that it was time for her to feel some hope, however small, that maybe everything might turn out all right. It's easy to write about darkness, but writing about surfacing from darkness is difficult—for me, anyway.
4) Which scene was your favorite to write?
Pretty much any scene in which Ellie is playing around with language, when we get to see her love of poetry. She never actually writes any poems in her journal, but I wanted her love of words to shine at certain moments.
5) Did you always know things would end the way they did or did everything change once you got closer to the end?
After Part I, I developed a broad outline—just a general arc—but mostly the story unfolded as I wrote. I thought I knew where it was headed, but then the story took a turn and did not end the way I'd expected. The ending is far more hopeful than I'd originally intended, and that's a good thing. I don't think Ellie could've arrived—emotionally, that is—at the place where we leave her if I'd anticipated what was in store. If I'd let myself get too far ahead of her in the story, I think it would've lost some of its power.
6) Are you currently working on a new project and if so can you share a little about it?
Yes! I recently completed another YA psychological thriller—The Killing Part—about two girls stalked by something they thought was only an urban legend. As the story unfolds, though, the girls learn that reality is often more terrifying than myth.

Woohoo I don't know about you but I am dying to get my hands on The Killing Part!!  It sounds right up my alley and I will definitely keep my eye out for upcoming details!
Thank you so much for stopping by Ms. Stewart!  It was a pleasure having you join us today!
I loved The In-Between so much that I have decided to give a copy to one lucky reader!  Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter.  If TBD ships to you then you are welcome to enter!
Good luck!
The In-Between

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Teaser Tuesday, #54 Forged (An Altered Series Prequel) by Jennifer Rush

Welcome to Teaser Tuesdays! Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teaser Tuesday is for the following...

Forged (Altered, #0.5)

Forged (An Altered Series Prequel) by Jennifer Rush
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: December 3, 2013

Teasers are from Ebook Pages: 6

"Growing up, my mother had always said I was beautiful, but it was never meant as praise. She had the rare gift of turning compliments into disparaging remarks."

"It wasn't until about a year ago that I started to realize that being pretty wasn't such a bad thing. And just to drive the point home to my mother, I started wearing tighter shirts, shorter skirts, and push-up bras. She tried grounding me, but by that point I'd outgrown her, both physically and mentally. I'd learned how to intimidate her from the best teacher: my father."

*Don't forget to sign up for the Altered and Erased Giveaway!!!

 PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your ‘teasers’ in a comment here if you don’t have a blog Thanks!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Review: Uninvited by Sophie Jordan

Uninvited by Sophie Jordan
Publisher-Harper Teen
Released-Jan 28th 2014
Pre-Order- Amazon / B & N

The Scarlet Letter meets Minority Report in bestselling author Sophie Jordan's chilling new novel about a teenage girl who is ostracized when her genetic test proves she's destined to become a murderer.When Davy Hamilton's tests come back positive for Homicidal Tendency Syndrome (HTS)-aka the kill gene-she loses everything. Her boyfriend ditches her, her parents are scared of her, and she can forget about her bright future at Juilliard. Davy doesn't feel any different, but genes don't lie. One day she will kill someone.Only Sean, a fellow HTS carrier, can relate to her new life. Davy wants to trust him; maybe he's not as dangerous as he seems. Or maybe Davy is just as deadly.The first in a two-book series, Uninvited tackles intriguing questions about free will, identity, and human nature. Steeped in New York Times bestselling author Sophie Jordan's trademark mix of gripping action and breathless romance, this suspenseful tale is perfect for fans of James Patterson, Michelle Hodkin, and Lisa McMann
My Thoughts: 
Uninvited is a rather interesting book and while I thought it was indeed fascinating and even thought provoking, I can’t say I actually liked what was happening in this particular story. See, when a story can provoke strong emotions –positive or negative- it’s a good book in my opinion. It means I care enough about what going on, but there’s a big different between disliking a certain scene or quality and actually hating everything that’s happening to our main protagonist. I’m gonna go with the whole “this isn't fair” route for this one, cause to be honest, it really isn't. I like to think that human beings have a conscience and freewill and no one can really predict your future, so to have a government come in and say that this or that person will be a criminal one day according to medical fact and then proceed without judge or jury seems rather extreme, harsh and inhuman. This is also a very dark, merciless and violent world and doesn't leave much room for anything other then fear, humiliation and pain. I wasn't exactly expecting fluff and stuff here, but some kind of humanity would have been nice.

My heart really goes out to someone like Davy. She’s a kind character who obviously doesn't have a mean bone in her body but when you’re shoved in a corner with no way out what real choices do you have? Things really never got better for her, from a cage to a training camp, it seemed no matter where she went it was always dangerous. Things got from bad to worse and all I kept thinking was; this is such a cold and brutal reality to be facing and I really never understood the whys.

I get the general idea here. The government has found some way to test people who may or may not have HTS- Homicidal Tendency Syndrome. And if you’re a carrier-innocent or guilty- one day you will be capable of murder. It’s like stopping crime before it even begins. Taking a criminal and giving it a label, back it up with tangible medical proof, find it, contain it and lock it away. Everyone starts to feel like they have control again and will eventually be able to go back to pretending that life is prefect in a messed up world. It’s a pretty cool and frightening concept if you think about it, but when you have someone like Davy, seeing what’s been done to her and what she’s been put through, it makes you question who the real monster are.

I really liked Davy’s character. I thought her reaction to everything was really believable. She was strong at first, determined to beat down the labels and prove them wrong. We get a glimpse into the kind of life Davy lived in before and it was a good life, so when she was sent into the ‘cage’ I could really feel the magnitude of this new life. The pure intimidation and fear from the other carriers felt like a knife to your throat, twisting my stomach with hatred.
When society calls you a monster and makes you live a monstrous life- even if you know who you are- doubt, resentment, fear and eventually anger will start to weigh you down to the point where you become the very thing you swore you weren't to begin with. And yet through it all, Davy fights to keep her soul intact.
~Sean is also a very interesting character. He’s mysterious, intense and although he tries to push Davy away he turns out to be the only positive force in her world.  I love the way he always seemed to be protecting her- be dame the consequence. Although, there is something about him that makes me questions his true role in this story-line, it could be my active imagination wandering, but I think he may not actually be who we think he is. I guess only time will tell.
I also really liked Davy’s family, specially her brother Mitchell. It broke my heart to see them in such emotional heartache and being powerless to do anything to stop this from happening to Davy. It was so good to see that someone still believed in her and their unconditional love and support felt like a giant hug in a very unforgiving world.
The romance is very light, at first it was more of a general fondness for one another and a certain understanding given their cruel situation, but later it became something promising and a desperation to believe that love is possible in all this ugliness.
I also liked the ending, it gave us a sliver of hope that I think readers need to hold on to when they read this book since it felt like the entire story at this point doesn't have any real direction or reason as to why this even happened to someone like Davy and even other characters who don't seem to fit the criminal vibe.

For the most part it may seem like I didn't enjoy this book, but I really did. It may not be a favorite and it may stir-up some rather hateful feelings for this particular world, but it’s a concept that is very much intriguing and compelling.  Jordan has delivered a plausible universe that is scary as hell to contemplate with likable and realistic characters that you can’t help be invested in from minute one. I’m also curious enough to want to know what happens next and look forward to seeing what Jordan has planned for these characters and this world.

Find the author:
Goodreads / Website                              3.5 snowflakes