Thursday, December 31, 2015

WinterHaven Books 2015 Reading Wrap Up!

Now that 2015 is quickly coming to a close, we wanted to share some of our stand-out books (both good and bad) that made our year.  We hope 2016 brings everyone lots of great reading adventures!
Happy New Year!

Top 3 favorite books of 2015
Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
The Revolution of Ivy by Amy Engel

Favorite female character of 2015
Quinn Sullivan from Things we Know by Heart

Favorite male character of 2015
Bishop Lattimer from The Revolution of Ivy

Book that shocked you the most
All the Bright Places by Jennifer Nivel

Book that disappointed you the most
Hotel Ruby by Suzanne Young
Underneath Everything by Marcy Beller Paul

How many series did you start
The Book of Ivy and Illuminae

What books are you looking forward to the most in the New Year 
Third installment of The Young Elites by Marie Lu
The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead

Blogging Resolutions + Goals
I’d like to continue to genre hop to keep my reading pallet alive, as well as revisit some of my favorite authors I’ve let slide.

 Top 3 favorite books of 2015

Falling Kingdom by Morgan Rhodes--Best series EVEAH!
Rebel Spring by Morgan Rhodes
These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly
Favorite female character of 2015
Lillian from Firewalker by Josephine Angeilni

Favorite male character of 2015
Rowan from Firewalker by Josephine Angelini

Book that shocked you the most
The Last Good Day of the Year by Jessica Warman

Book that disappointed you the most
 Survive the Night by Danielle Vega--this one still upsets me

How many series did you start
18!  Too many!!
 Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes
Black Dagger Legacy by J.R. Ward
Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton
The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher
A Curious Tale of the In-Between (Pram) by Lauren DeStefano
Sisters of Blood and Spirit by Kady Cross
Nightmares by Jason Segel & Kristen Miller
The Generations Trilogy by Scott Sigler
The Great Library by Rachel Caine
The Edge by Ilona Andrews
The Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward
Blood and Salt by Kim Liggett
The Devil's Engine by Alexander Gordon Smith
Frostborn by Lou Anders
The Sin Eaters Daughter by Melinda Salisbury
City of Fae by Pippa DeCosta
 Forbidden by Kimberley Griffiths Little
Wicked by Jennifer L. Armentrout
What books are you looking forward to the most in the new year
Seven Black Diamonds by Melissa Marr 
And I Darken by Kiersten White 

Blogging Resolutions + Goals
This year I really want to find my love of reading and blogging again.  I kinda lost it towards the end of the year and I miss it dearly.  Going forward I am going to throw out my schedule and just read what I want when I want and hopefully realize that I don't have to stress about the small stuff in our amazing blogging world.

Top Three Books: 
Dumplin' by Julie Murphy
Underwater by Marisa Reichardt
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

 Favorite female character of 2015
Willowdean from Dumplin' by Julie Murphy

Favorite male character of 2015
Josh from I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios

Book that shocked me the most
Since there are both fiction and non-fiction books that shocked me, I will mention one from each category. From fictional titles, I was shocked by This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp, because despite the fact that I knew the subject matter it dealt with, it managed to shock and harrow me from page one til the very end. From nonfiction titles, I was shocked and terrified by Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town. Krakauer's book not only shocked me, but made me very angry about the ways our society deals with issues related to rape.

Book that disappointment me the most
City Love by Susane Colisanti. This book was honestly one of the worst books I've ever read!

How many series I started:
Tracked by Jenny Martin (I cannot wait for book 2!)
The Winner's Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski (I almost listed the first book as the most disappointing read, which means that I won't be continuing with this one!)
Unearthly by Cynthia Hand (I loved the first book and definitely want to read the other books in the trilogy!)
The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey (This was alright, so I am looking forward to reading the second book.)
Cruel Beauty Universe by Rosamund Hodge (Unfortunately despite my excitement this wasn't for me.)
Lois Lane by Gwenda Bond (This was such a great series starter and I cannot wait for book two!)
Illuminae by Amie Kaufmann and Jay Kristoff (Hmm, not sure whether I liked this or not! I liked the format, the story not so much!)
The Grisha Trilogy (I loved the writing, but wasn't hugely impressed with the story itself. Might read books 2 and 3 at some point though.)
The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh (You cannot imagine my disappointment when I kept reading this one and noticed that it wasn't for me AT ALL!)
Daylight Falls by Dahlia Adler (I absolutely loved this book and I have the second one lined up to be read ASAP!)

Books I'm most looking forward to
The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson, American Girls by Alison Umminger, Gemini by Sonya Mukherjee
Blogging Resolutions + Goals
Just have fun with it really! I am not big on setting goals because I keep punishing myself if I don't reach them, so I have decided just to have fun with it and enjoy the world of reading and book blogging as much, and as often, as possible!

Top 3 favorite books of 2015
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell- My favorite book in 2015. This was made of pure Awesomesauce!
Fan Girl by Rainbow Rowell- This is the book that made me discover the great Rainbow Rowell.
Ensnared by A.G Howard- The perfect fantasy retelling I have ever had the pleasure of reading.

Favorite female character of 2015
Aelin Galathynius- Throne of Glass series- This girl is crazy freaken fierce!

Favorite male character of 2015:
Sorry boys but your gonna have to share the spotlight for this one;) Simon Snow and Basil Pitch (Baz) from Carry On by Rainbow Rowell! Gawd I ship them crazy!!

Book that shocked you the most
-November 9 by Colleen Hoover- The twist in this book? Yeah, I never saw it coming. Brilliant!

Book that disappointed you the most
-Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined by Stephenie Meyer- Yeah...It wasn't Midnight Sun:(

How many series did you start:
I started 11 new series that I can't wait to go back to in 2016!
- Sword and Verse by Kathy MacMillan
-Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
-Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan
-Velvet by Temple West
-Spirits and Thieves by Morgan Rhodes
-Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard by Rick Riordan
-The Field Party by Abbi Glines
-The Great Library by Rachel Caine
-Titan series by Jennifer L. Armentrout
-A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
-Thunder Road by Katie McGarry

What books are you looking forward to the most in the new year:
- Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare!!! -GIMME!!
-The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead- I'll take a new Mead book any time.
- The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan- It's Rick baby! I'll read his books forevah

Blogging Resolutions + Goals
-I'm gonna go with what I try to resolve every year since I've became an insane avid book buyer. I'm gonna try to knock down all the unread books sitting on my shelf at home, collecting dust, and glaring at me for not paying them any attention. Dame you New Shiny Books!
Happy New Years guys!!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Review: Sword and Verse by Kathy MacMillan

Sword and Verse by Kathy MacMillan 
Publisher- Harper Teen
Released- Jan 19th 2016
Pre-Order- Amazon / B & N

Raisa was just a child when she was sold to work as a slave in the kingdom of Qilara. Despite her young age, her father was teaching her to read and write, grooming her to take his place as a Learned One. In Qilara, the Arnathim, like Raisa, are the lowest class, and literacy is a capital offense. What’s more, only the king, prince, tutor, and tutor-in-training are allowed to learn the very highest order language, the language of the gods. So when the tutor-in-training is executed for teaching slaves this sacred language, and Raisa is selected to replace her, Raisa knows any slipup on her part could mean death.
Keeping her secret is hard enough, but the romance that’s been growing between her and Prince Mati isn’t helping matters. Then Raisa is approached by the Resistance—an underground army of slave rebels—to help liberate Arnath slaves. She wants to free her people, but that would mean aiding a war against Mati. As Raisa struggles with what to do, she discovers a secret that the Qilarites have been hiding for centuries—one that, if uncovered, could bring the kingdom to its knees.
My Thoughts:
Sword and Verse, really surprised me in the best way possible. I loved Kathy MacMillan writing, it's sharp, intelligent and carefully calculated. The story is so evenly paced with suspense and intrigue and the concept is quite fascinating. This has a wonderful blend of fantasy, mythology and forbidden love. There is a lot going on here plot wise since this pans out three or four years throughout the book, but it never felt overwhelming or dull, it was always constantly moving and there were many points of the story that I would feel anxious for Raisa. For her safety. For her heart. Also, besides the ending, there isn't a lot of action or thrills, but it's not without it's share of drama, angst or political control. But I think my favorite part was learning about the symbols, scripts and system to the library of the Gods and it's importance to the story. I also enjoyed learning about the gods history at the beginning of the chapters and how it entwined with Raisa past and then we have the added mystery of Raisa heart-verse that kept me invested and curious throughout the novel. I also loved the Resistance and what they stood for. I've never been comfortable reading slavery in my escapes but I think MacMillan was tasteful and handled it well.

I've really grown to love, respect and admire these characters, they are all very well developed and capable and made it entirely to easy for me to lose myself in their story.  Raisa was such a conflicted creature, but I liked how her strength and courage develops throughout the story. The struggles and confusion made her feel more realistic and relatable, I mean how do you choose between your people and your one true love, even if it is forbidden? Despite his title, Prince Mati is actually so very kind, considerate and compassionate. I kept forgetting he was the prince, he seemed so down to earth and not the overbearing controlling royal I see in other reads. As for the romance? I absolutely adore it! It's sweet, tender, warm and at times so unsure, but it was beautifully done and made the fight even more richer and worth it.

All in all, I really just loved this one, it has everything I want in an escape. Solid concept, engaging plot and remarkable characters. I'm surprised that this is a standalone, but only because it's rare to run into for this genre, but MacMillan wraps this up quite smoothly and there really is nothing like feeling content and satisfied after you finished a novel. Still, I'm looking forward to the companion, I'd love to know what happens to some of these other characters and see what's in store for Qilarite next. A fascinating read!

Find the author:
Goodreads / Website                               4 Snowflakes 

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Review: Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman

Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: February 9th, 2016
Review copy from Edelweiss
Blackbeard the pirate was known for striking fear in the hearts of the bravest of sailors. But once he was just a young man who dreamed of leaving his rigid life behind to chase adventure in faraway lands. Nothing could stop him—until he met the one girl who would change everything.

Edward "Teach" Drummond, son of one of Bristol's richest merchants, has just returned from a year-long journey on the high seas to find his life in shambles. Betrothed to a girl he doesn’t love and sick of the high society he was born into, Teach dreams only of returning to the vast ocean he’d begun to call home. There's just one problem: convincing his father to let him leave and never come back.

Following her parents' deaths, Anne Barrett is left penniless and soon to be homeless. Though she’s barely worked a day in her life, Anne is forced to take a job as a maid in the home of Master Drummond. Lonely days stretch into weeks, and Anne longs for escape. How will she ever realize her dream of sailing to CuraƧao—where her mother was born—when she's stuck in England?

From the moment Teach and Anne meet, they set the world ablaze. Drawn to each other, they’re trapped by society and their own circumstances. Faced with an impossible choice, they must decide to chase their dreams and go, or follow their hearts and stay.

OH MY OH MY OH MY!!! This one was AMAZING!

I was not quite sure what to expect from Blackhearts. The tale of Blackbeard is not very familiar to me, but I did obviously know it involved pirates. Since I am not a big pirate fan (gasp! I know... there are people like that out here as well), I was kind of skeptical about this one. There is one pirate I love - obviously Hook from OUAT - but in general pirates make me think of The Pirates of the Caribbean films, only like one of the crappiest film franchise I have been forced to watch (I fell asleep in the cinema while watching the third film). So yeah, my mindset going to this book was kind of mixed - at the same time I was excited and scared that the whole pirate thing would not keep me interested enough.

If you are looking for a page turning pirate story, you might be disappointed. I think I had read about 60% of the eARC when piracy was even mentioned the first time. Like the description says, this is the "origin story" of Blackbeard, a tale of a time when he was just Edward Drummond, to his friends Teach, a young man living in Bristol.

The events of the novel kick into full force when Teach returns from the sea back to Bristol. He is set to marry a daughter of a baron and forget his seafaring days. He meets Anne Barnett, a mixed-race daughter of an Englishman and a woman from West Indies, under circumstances that definitely makes it difficult for him to forget her. When they roads cross again and again in the Drummond house, they feel a pull for each other and despite their circumstances and their society, they cannot stay away from each others' lives.

Blackhearts is in heart a romantic historical novel. And like historical novel, it is quite slow-burning and surprisingly detailed despite the fact that is is not that big of a book. The relationship between Anne and Teach, both amazing and engaging characters in their own right, is extremely well and deliciously executed. As someone who despises instalove, I loved the slow-burning building of friendship and trust and eventually love between Anne and Teach. Though they come from different places, and Teach obviously has a higher role in the eyes of the society as a man as someone with white skin, they both feel like they are imprisoned and wish to escape their realities for an unknown life that could possibly be better than what they have now.

I loved Anne's strength and willpower, as well as her honesty and tendency to say what she thinks rather than what she should. I loved how protective Teach is of Anna, how passionate he can be, and how determined he is to make a life for himself according to his dreams despite his controlling father. The supporting characters, like Teach's father and betrothed, offer interesting side stories to the romance and work as obstacles on Anna and Teach's way to happiness.

The ending of Blackhearts suggests that this is not a standalone, but rather a first book in a series. I am not a big series reader these days, but I am 110% sure that if there is a sequel for this one, I will read it, because I absolutely fell in love with these characters. In addition to awesome characterization, Nicole Castroman's is incredibly talented writer whose prose was able to suck me into the story and made it difficult to let go off until I reached the end. The pacing of the story is incredibly well executed and the historical setting works extremely well.

Blackhearts is a novel filled with incredible characters, beautiful writing and a romance that will definitely make you swoon.

5 snowflakes

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas from WinterHaven Books

The WinterHaven Team would like to wish our fellow readers and bloggy friends a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. We hope you have a wonderful time with your families celebrating the holidays. 

Merry Christmas!

Copyright: <a href=''>terriana / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Review: The Goblin's Puzzle: Being the Adventures of a Boy with No Name and Two Girls Called Alice by Andrew S. Chilton

The Goblin's Puzzle: Being the Adventures of a Boy with No Name and Two Girls Called AliceThe Goblin's Puzzle: Being the Adventures of a Boy with No Name and Two Girls Called Alice by Andrew S. Chilton
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: January 19th, 2016
Purchase: Amazon
Brimming with dragons, goblins, and logic puzzles, this middle-grade fantasy adventure is perfect for readers who enjoyed The Princess Bride or Rump.

THE BOY is a nameless slave on a mission to uncover his true destiny.
THE GOBLIN holds all the answers, but he’s too tricky to be trusted.
PLAIN ALICE is a bookish peasant girl carried off by a confused dragon.
And PRINCESS ALICE is the lucky girl who wasn’t kidnapped.

All four are tangled up in a sinister plot to take over the kingdom, and together they must face kind monsters, a cruel magician, and dozens of deathly boring palace bureaucrats. They’re a ragtag bunch, but with strength, courage, and plenty of deductive reasoning, they just might outwit the villains and crack the goblin’s puzzle.
My thoughts:
This was such a fun read!  I know I have said this before, but I am really digging the whole Middle Grade genre these days!  The ones I have read lately have such unique story lines and I have to say could really give some YA books a run for their money!

In the Goblins Puzzle we get to set out on several adventures that eventually merge together in one amazing story line.  I truly enjoyed seeing each story play out and I think each character stood front and center of their own story.  Sometimes characters can get lost in the shuffle or I won't feel as connected to certain ones, but I was fully engaged with each character in this story.  I did feel a little more towards the boy with no name because his story started with the goblin, but this still didn't take anything away from the other amazing characters.

The story was also one of my favorites!  There were so many amazing twists and turns and my goodness I did not see that ending happening!  This is also very action packed!  We have dragons, ogres, an evil sorcerer, and a very tricky goblin!  Throw all that in and you know you have a fun adventure!  The author did a great job pacing everything and I thoroughly enjoyed watching each character use their wits to outsmart their opponents!

The only thing that threw me in this was the way slaves were presented.  It was quite heavy handed and while I do understand the thought behind it all I still felt a bit uncomfortable at times and I think it was a bit much for younger readers.  I wish the author would have pulled back a bit because I don't think it was all needed.

That being said though I still felt like this book was definitely fun and I loved seeing the puzzle unfold.  If you are looking for a fun adventure this book is for you!

4 snowflakes

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Holiday Spotlight!

Every holiday season I try and read at least one Christmas story, this year I am having a bit of trouble finding just the right story since my romance meter is at full capacity.  I have been searching and searching for days, but then something magical happened!  The wonderful people at St. Martins sent me a copy of My True Love Gave to Me by Stephanie Perkins!  My knew my search was over after opening this amazing package!  I have always been a fan of Ms. Perkins and I know if anybody can pull me out of my romance funk it is her!  This book though not only showcases the talented Perkins it also includes stories by Gayle Forman, Laini Taylor, and Kiersten White and so many more!  If you haven't checked this book out then you really need to!  This looks like the perfect holiday read and I will definitely cozy up to my warm fire...well okay I'm in Texas so I'll cozy up to my air conditioner with a light blanket and settle in for some holiday true love stories!

My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories
My True Love Gave to Me by Stephanie Perkins, Holly Black, Ally Carter, Matt de la Pena, Gayle Forman, Jenny Han, David Levithan, Kelly Link , Myra McEntire, Rainbow Rowell, Laini Taylor, Kiersten White
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: October 14th, 2014
Purchase: Amazon
If you love holiday stories, holiday movies, made-for-TV-holiday specials, holiday episodes of your favorite sitcoms and, especially, if you love holiday anthologies, you’re going to fall in love with My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by twelve bestselling young adult writers, edited by international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins. Whether you enjoy celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah, Winter Solstice or New Year's there's something here for everyone. So curl up by the fireplace and get cozy. You have twelve reasons this season to stay indoors and fall in love.

Top Ten Tuesday

 Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.
This weeks topic is..
Top Ten Books I Wouldn't Mind Santa Leaving Under My Tree This Year 

Anything signed by Richelle Mead, but I would love to complete my Bloodlines Collection and get Silver Shadows and The Ruby Circle for my bookshelf.

I'm dying for the Illustrated Harry Potter book and I would love Untamed by A.G. Howard!

Illustrated Harry Potter and a physical copy of The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord since I desperately need that for my collection.

-Oblivion by Jennifer L. Armentrout- More Daemon Black baby!
-Untamed: A Splintered Companion by A.G Howard- Any Splintered fan's must have. 

Monday, December 21, 2015

Review: Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace

Shallow GravesShallow Graves by Kali Wallace
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date:
Purchase: Amazon
For fans of Holly Black and Nova Ren Suma, a gripping, hauntingly atmospheric novel about murder, revenge, and a world where monsters—human and otherwise—lurk at the fringes.

When seventeen-year-old Breezy Lin wakes up in a shallow grave one year after her death, she doesn’t remember who killed her or why. All she knows is that she’s somehow conscious—and not only that, she’s able to sense who around her is hiding a murderous past. In life, Breezy was always drawn to the elegance of the universe and the mystery of the stars. Now she must set out to find answers and discover what is to become of her in the gritty, dangerous world to which she now belongs—where killers hide in plain sight and a sinister cult is hunting for strange creatures like her. What she finds is at once empowering, redemptive, and dangerous.

Tense, complex, and wholly engaging, Shallow Graves is a stunning first novel from Kali Wallace.
My Thoughts:
This book literally threw everything including the kitchen sink into it!  What I thought was just a simple creepy thriller turned into a very strange paranormalish urban legend tale!

I can't deny that Shallow Graves starts off incredibly creepy.  We have a "dead" girl who can sense killers and we get to see her take revenge on those killers.  Love this!  This whole idea is right up my alley and I was hooked from page one!  

All that changed a bit after Breezy discovers there are others kind of like her.  I don't think that part quite clicked with me and I honestly can't think of a reason why.  I enjoyed the authors writing, I liked the characters well enough even the girl I was supposed to I think hate.  I even liked the paranormalish/urban legend stuff.  The only think I can guess is that I didn't like the two stories rolled into one.  If you take the first half out and rewrite the ending to that story and if you were to write the beginning of the second half over my gawd those two books would reign over all others on my shelf.  Just thinking about the possibilities gets me excited!  As a whole though I feel like the author swung for the fences and just missed what she was going for.

I think some will love this as it is and maybe I am just on an island by myself.  It surely wouldn't be the first time and I know it won't be the last.  I am really sad though because I did enjoy so many aspects of this book.  It is definitely unique and I can say with out a doubt I would read a sequel. I am curious about a few loose threads that weren't really tied up and I have a feeling I would even like the sequel more since it would deal more with the second part of the story and leave the part that didn't fit out.  

So I am going with 4 snowflakes for a lot of reasons, but namely because I did like the stories even though they didn't fit and I did really enjoy the writing.  Plus Breezy was a pretty awesome character OH and NO romance woohoo! Thank you Kali Wallace!!  I loved the friendship that was developed and I am so glad it stayed what it should have.

4 snowflakes


Sunday, December 20, 2015

Review: The White Rose by Amy Ewing

The White Rose (The Lone City, #2)
The White Rose by Amy Ewing
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: October 6, 2015
Purchase: Amazon
Violet is on the run. After the Duchess of the Lake catches Violet with Ash, the hired companion at the Palace of the Lake, Violet has no choice but to escape the Jewel or face certain death. So along with Ash and her best friend, Raven, Violet runs away from her unbearable life of servitude.

But no one said leaving the Jewel would be easy. As they make their way through the circles of the Lone City, Regimentals track their every move, and the trio barely manages to make it out unscathed and into the safe haven they were promised—a mysterious house in the Farm.

But there’s a rebellion brewing, and Violet has found herself in the middle of it. Alongside a new ally, Violet discovers her Auguries are much more powerful than she ever imagined. But is she strong enough to rise up against the Jewel and everything she has ever known?

The White Rose is a raw, captivating sequel to The Jewel that fans won’t be able to put down until the final shocking moments.

My Thoughts...

The White Rose picks right up where the Jewel left off. After the Duchess (and her horrible niece, Carnelian) caught Ash and Violet together in his room and he was beaten in front of her and then thrown in the dungeon with no one to be sent to save him. Violet knows if he stays in there he will die,  Let's just say Violet and Ash are in a world of trouble with the Duchess. She has no mercy and her actions have proved that many times over.

Violet is beside herself and trapped in her bedroom in the palace of the Lake. Garnet, the Duchess of the Lake's own son told her they were going to get her out over the Arcana. And she's overcome with grief as Ash is trapped and bleeding in the dungeons. The Duchess announced she an emergency petition to the Exetor for the companion's execution which would serve as a torture Violet in the cruelest way possible.

"I need you to understand," the Duchess says. "You are mine. The doctor will not stop until my baby is growing inside you. I will no longer have any consideration for your pain, or discomfort, or frame of mind. You will be like a piece of furniture to me. Is that clear?"

With the help of a few friends, Violet is able to escape from the Duchess's clutches, but it wasn't easy as many obstacles cross their path. I enjoyed the scenes of their escape and felt the added backstory weaved in gave me a better understanding of Ash's past and the life he lived as well as the other companions.

The White Rose isn't only the title to this story, but it holds a significance. It becomes the heart, a meeting ground for Surrogates whom will join the forces of the rebels to take a stand against the royals, There, they discover their real power and are able to connect with different elements. Their true powers were kept from them, and manipulated to suit the needs of the royals.

Word of an uprising spread, chaos and deceptions ensued among the many Houses, Time was running out before the next auction, Ash, Violet, Sil and the others drew up a plan then an unexpected  twist is thrown in and were left hanging.

I feel that there was more potential to add more substance into the story. I really could've passed on the part when each surrogate goes through the process in which they learn of their real powers.  I also feel that there could've been more interactions with the rebel group, and while the story itself was satisfying, it also lacked in depth.  The first half of the story outshines the second half with the exception of the cliffhanger at the end. I figured out what it was before the reveal pretty easily, and hoped that perhaps another layer of "OMG" would've added to the finale.

Overall this was a good read. I'll certainly pick up the next book and see how this story concludes.

4 snowflakes

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Giveaway! The Radiant Road by Katherine Catmul

Hey snowflakes!  I have a super awesome giveaway to share with you!  The amazing people at Penguin are hosting a fantastic giveaway for their upcoming title The Radiant Road by Katherine Catmul!  Details below!
Group giveaway for an advance readers copy of THE RADIANT ROAD. There will be 10 winners!!
Entries restricted to US only.

The Radiant Road The Radiant Road by Katherine Catmul
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
Release Date: January 19th, 2016
And sometimes the Strange came to visit Clare, and dreams walked through her waking life.

After years of living in America, Clare Macleod and her father are
returning to Ireland, where they’ll inhabit the house Clare was born
in—a house built into a green hillside with a tree for a wall. For
Clare, the house is not only full of memories of her mother, but also of
a mysterious boy with raven-dark hair and dreamlike nights filled with
stars and magic. Clare soon discovers that the boy is as real as the
fairy-making magic, and that they’re both in great danger from an
ancient foe.

Fast-paced adventure and spellbinding prose
combine to weave a tale of love, loyalty, and the strength we carry
within ourselves. 

Friday, December 18, 2015

Review: The Ward by Jordana Frankel

The Ward (The Ward, #1)
The Ward by Jordana Frankel
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: April 30, 2013
Amazon  B&N

Sixteen-year-old Ren is a daredevil mobile racer who will risk everything to survive in the Ward, what remains of a water-logged Manhattan. To save her sister, who is suffering from a deadly illness thought to be caused by years of pollution, Ren accepts a secret mission from the government: to search for a freshwater source in the Ward, with the hope of it leading to a cure. However, she never expects that her search will lead to dangerous encounters with a passionate young scientist; a web of deceit and lies; and an earth-shattering mystery that’s lurking deep beneath the water’s rippling surface. Jordana Frankel’s ambitious debut novel and the first in a two-book series, The Ward is arresting, cinematic, and thrilling—perfect for fans of Scott Westerfeld or Ann Aguirre.
 My Thoughts...

Combined unique elements give this a fresh Dystopian feel. Ren is a racer in the Ward, a district that is suffering from illness and a lack of clean "fresh" water. It isn't an easy place to live, nor is it easy for Ren to gain acceptance by the "guys" in the racing arena. One mistake lands Ren into a precarious situation, one that also makes her realize she cares for her friend turned sister more than herself and she will do whatever she has to do to make sure she gets the treatment to make her better.

It took me a minute to adjust to the protagonists lingo. Words like "fresh" instead of saying clean water, and a few others. Actually, I found it a little annoying and distracted me from the flow of the story. The picture painted was interesting and unique. Not a fan of car racing, I did enjoy the uniqueness of these races, bouncing from one rooftop to another, using water pressure and other elements to change it up.

This story is packed with action, romantic elements, deception, and mystery. I'd say this story is mostly action with a small percentage of romance. With Ren being more of a tomboy, I had hoped she found a guy who not only made her feel pretty, but enhanced her feminism. She certainly was a character with a tough exterior and took a beating not only physically, but emotionally as well. This was a good read and by the end I felt that I liked Ren a lot more than I had throughout the first 3/4 of the book.

The secondary characters were pretty cool. I had a slight bookish crush on her Bookie...can't lie. Even though he had a mysterious edge, I could tell he had feelings for Ren. Then there's the Scientist....he turned up to be an awesome character and one that I really liked, but yet, not enough for me to want him and Ren together.

She seemed to always land herself in predicaments that had a ripple effect, causing more grief or an added layer of frustrating obstacles. The cure for which Ren and the Scientist worked hard for was pretty clever I thought. She plays a major roll in the turnover in the health of not just her sister, but for all the people in the Ward. Loved the ending!  The symbol of the copper penny was pretty cool in my book, and I loved how the doormat was covered with them at the end. I know this seems like gibberish to those of you who haven't yet read this, but seriously was struck giddy with a smile by it.

Overall, I liked The Ward. I found it to be unique and pretty darn interesting. If you give it a go, be prepared for lots of action and an ending that will make you smile.

3.5 Snowflakes

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Review: Nameless by Jennifer Jenkins


Nameless by Jennifer Jenkins
Publisher: Month9Books
Publication Date: October 6, 2015
Amazon  B/N

Four clans have been at war for centuries: the Kodiak, the Raven, the Wolf and the Ram. Through brutal war tactics, the Ram have dominated the region, inflicting death and destruction on their neighbors. Seventeen-year-old Zo is a Wolf and a Healer who volunteers to infiltrate the Ram as a spy on behalf of the allied clans. She offers herself as a Ram slave, joining the people who are called the “nameless.” Hers is a suicide mission – Zo’s despair after losing her parents in a Ram raid has left her seeking both revenge and an end to her own misery. But after her younger sister follows her into Rams Gate, Zo must find a way to survive her dangerous mission and keep her sister safe. What she doesn’t expect to find is the friendship of a young Ram whose life she saves, the confusing feelings she develops for a Ram soldier, and an underground nameless insurrection. Zo learns that revenge, loyalty and love are more complicated than she ever imagined in the first installment of this two-book series.

 My Thoughts...

Read this now!!! Nameless is an amazing story crafted with many unforgettable characters. I LOVED this book to pieces! Please, please let there be a number two!!!! I want more Gryphon and Zo!
Nameless has a permanent space on my 2015 Favorites Shelf.

With a forbidden love trope, the slow building chemistry between Zo and Gryphon was perfection, no insta-love, which left me cheering for them until the very last page. Nameless’s cast of characters grew on me quickly, especially little Joshua. His heart was bigger than the beastly men manning the gates. As a reader, I was quickly pulled into the harsh world Jenkins created.

Zo takes on a mission that could be her last. The Allies desperately needed information that only she could provide, if they hoped to defeat the most powerful military force in the region: Ram’s Gate. Gabe, Zo’s guard tried everything to convince her to back out of the mission. He’d done so much for her and her eight-year-old sister, Tess, since they’d journeyed from the Valley of Wolves to live with Commander Laden and the Allies. Commander Laden told her she needed to look desperate if she wanted the Ram to believe her story, her lie. She’d do anything for the Cause.

“Look after Tess. Tell her I’m doing this for her. Tell her I’m doing it for our parents.”

Inside the wall, there was hundreds of acres of farmlands, mountainous forests, and enough homes to house thousands of Ram and the slaves they called “Nameless.” Zo had a goal, but it’s jeopardized as she finds her younger sister appears and is captured too. Not only did she have the burden of the mission, she had to protect her sister who followed her unknowingly. Zo’s savior was her quick thinking, telling the Ram she was a third generation healer. Zo is given a chance to prove her abilities by healing a young boy, Joshua. The Ram, notoriously known for their brutality and unwavering rules, is very unlike the other clans. Zo learned from her mom, you had to love to heal. She couldn’t see herself loving a young Ram any more than an adult Ram, but she had to try for her sister’s sake and safety. They were all horrible. But, over time, Zo grew a fondness for the young boy.

Gryphon had grown to care for Joshua like a father since the boy’s father had died before he was born, and Gryphon understood what it was like not to have a man around growing up. Gryphon had his own demons to battle, but proved his worth and given the honor of “Striker” which was given to someone with more experience. Second-In-Command. “It was a dangerous gift.” Gryphon wasn’t like his clansmen. He has a heart and perhaps it’ll be his downfall, but he has a conscience, and that I liked vs the hardcore ruthless jerk.

Rumors spilled that the Raven clan had stockpiles of grain hidden somewhere in the mountain range. Food the Ram needed if their crops didn’t produce higher yields than the last. Gryphon realized Zo saved Joshua with her healing and Joshua grew fond of Zo despite being a Ram, and it forbidden. She’s a nameless, a nobody—the very essence of slave in their eyes. Gryphon took liberties that were against the rules, but his heart won out, and feelings developed for Zo.

Dangers present themselves in various ways, such as the creepy Gate Keeper, prohibited feelings, and much more. In this harsh, cruel society, Zo, Gryphon, Tess, Joshua, and others work together undetected to regain their freedom. Everything about this book was perfection. I really liked all the characters and how Jenkins wove their stories into one beautiful compilation. With plenty of action, romantic elements and emotional attachments to the characters, I simply didn’t want this book to end. I was seriously yearning for more, and I really, really, really want to know what’s to become of Gryphon, Zo, Joshua, Tess and the others.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday

 Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.
This weeks topic is..
Top Ten Best Books I Read In 2015

Soundless The Book of Ivy (The Book of Ivy, #1)
Soundless by Richelle Mead
The Book of Ivy by Amy Engle

Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms, #1) Rebel Spring (Falling Kingdoms, #2)
Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes
Rebel Spring by Morgan Rhodes--does anyone see a trend here???

Dumplin' Since You've Been Gone
Dumplin' by Julie Murphy
Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson

 Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass, #4) Endgame (Night School, #5)
Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas- I mean dammmme!
Endgame by C. J Daugherty- A great ending to such an addicting series.

Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass, #4)The Heart of Betrayal (The Remnant Chronicles, #2)
Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas- This book was hands-down the best in this series so far! 
The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson- I'm pretty sure this book was written for me LOL! It is perfection!

Review: Macbeth #killingit by Courtney Carbone, William Shakespeare & A Midsummer Night #nofilter by Brett Wright, William Shakespeare

Macbeth #killingitMacbeth #killingit by Courtney Carbone, William Shakespeare
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Release Date: January 5th, 2016
Purchase: Amazon
Macbeth, one of the greatest stories ever told . . . in texts?!
Imagine: What if that tragic couple, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, had smartphones? A classic is reborn in this fun and funny adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays!
A prophecy from three witches.
A social-climbing couple committing a murder most foul.
A cover-up that spins way out of control.

and h8. The classics just got a whole lot more interesting. ;)
tl;dr A Shakespeare play told through its characters texting with emojis, posting photos, checking in at locations, and updating their relationship statuses. The perfect gift for hip theater lovers and teens.

A glossary and cast of characters are included for those who need it. For example: tl;dr means too long; didn’t read.

A Midsummer Night #nofilter (OMG Shakespeare)
A Midsummer Night #nofilter by Brett Wright, William Shakespeare
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Release Date: January 5th, 2016
Purchase: Amazon
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, one of the greatest stories ever told . . . in texts?!
Imagine: What if the fairies and star-crossed lovers of the forest had smartphones? A classic is reborn in this fun and funny adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays!
Four lovers who can’t decide who they have a crush on.
One mischievous fairy with a love potion.
Total chaos in the fairy world, the human world, and everywhere in between!

and h8. The classics just got a whole lot more interesting. ;)
tl;dr A Shakespeare play told through its characters texting with emojis, posting photos, checking in at locations, and updating their relationship statuses. The perfect gift for hip theater lovers and teens.

A glossary and cast of characters are included for those who need it. For example: tl;dr means too long; didn’t read.

My Thoughts:
I love these books!  They are hilarious and really make me want to pick up Shakespeare! 

Macbeth is my all time favorite Shakespeare play and I was super excited that it was being done in this text type style book. I think Courtney Carbone did a great job keeping the story the same and she definitely included the important events.  It was really funny to see Lady Macbeth through texts.  I think her dialogue was my favorite.  She was a character that I definitely wanted more of because she was so crazy! 

I have never read A Midsummer Night so this one was new to me and again I just want to go pick up the real play now!  I thought this one resembled 90210 and I can definitely see teenagers loving this drama filled book.  The added text messages makes it even more fun and drama filled and really made me feel like I was back in high school! 

My only complaint with these two new additions to the OMG Shakespeare series is that they did feel a little more heavy handed with the teenage lingo. In the previous two books acronyms are definitely a part of the series and honestly makes the books what they are, but things didn't feel forced.  A few times I thought the lingo messed with the flow and I wished the authors would have held back a tad. 

Other than that though and I really enjoyed the latest installments to this fun series!  I said before that I have always been a fan of this type of book and I hope hope hope these last two books aren't the last!  I think it would be fun to see other classics make their way into the new age!

both books receive 4 snowflakes!

Also as a fun side note the new Macbeth movie is out and if you haven't seen it then you really should!  It's a great adaptation and one that I know I will watch more than once!  
For more info click HERE


Friday, December 11, 2015

Review: We'll Never be Apart by Emiko Jean

We'll Never Be ApartWe'll Never be Apart by Emiko Jean
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Release Date: October 6th, 2015



That’s all seventeen-year-old Alice Monroe thinks about. Committed to a mental ward at Savage Isle, Alice is haunted by memories of the fire that killed her boyfriend, Jason. A blaze her twin sister Cellie set. But when Chase, a mysterious, charismatic patient, agrees to help her seek vengeance, Alice begins to rethink everything. Writing out the story of her troubled past in a journal, she must confront hidden truths.

Is the one person she trusts only telling her half the story? Nothing is as it seems in this edge-of-your-seat psychological thriller from the debut author Emiko Jean.
My thoughts:
This has such great potential and I am incredibly sad that the author strayed so far from what could have been an explosive story line.  I'm so so sad *sad face*

The story starts off really good and had me looking for clues to what was really going on with Alice.  See she is in a mental hospital for the second time after falsely admitting she started the fire that killed her boyfriend.  Alice knows she has to protect her twin sister at all costs, but she knows she can't go on living with her sister.  Celia is toxic and has pretty much ruined Alice's life from the moment their grandfather died.  Now they are both in Salvage Isle and its a race to see who kills who first.

Okay see that sounds exciting right??  The story starts exactly the way I described it and we get to see flashbacks throughout the story as well, but things take a turn once Chase shows up.  This is Alice's love interest and honestly he had no place in this story.  I already had to read words upon words about Jason her boyfriend that died I didn't want to read more instalove and conflicting feelings because now Alice felt like she was betraying Jason.  This was not what I signed up for when I read the description of this book.  The whole middle up to the last chapter was filled with longing, hand holding, secret kisses, and shy looks.  It just didn't fit with the whole mental institution background.

I felt like the author lost her focus, that or she had two ideas in her head and decided to combine them.  I wish she would have kept to the original story!  It was so good and my gawd that last chapter was chill worthy!  I mean like put the book in the freezer worthy!  But it was to little to late and I'm incredibly sad about it because I wanted Alice's story.

I do think the author did a good job at keeping the overall "moment" a secret.  I guessed a few things early on, but I wasn't sure because of the way the story was told.  On the flip side of this though there were so many plot holes when the revelation was revealed.  I mean huge stare at you in the face plot holes that were kind of brought up but never explained.  I wish the author would have focused more on tying up these loose ends and plot holes rather than on a relationship built on shaky foundation.

As you can see this review is full of wishes.  It hurts but I can't give this story more than a one rating because it wasn't strong enough for anything else in my opinion.  Take out Chase and add in more Alice and Celia and the story would have been amazing.  I could have even looked over a few of the plot holes, but as it stands this story is just a crazy romance tied with a mental hospital colored ribbon.

1 snowflake

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Blog Tour Guest Post Morgan Rhodes!

 Today on WinterHaven Books I am squeeing from the rooftops because the AMAZING Morgan Rhodes is stopping by!!  I am in LOVE with her Falling Kingdoms series and I can't believe that our blog was chosen as a tour stop for her!  And she typed up a pretty awesome guest post!  Seriously my year has been made!!  
I asked Morgan
Which titles do you think will hold your readers captive while waiting for The Falling Kingdoms next installment? 
See below for her answer and some great distractions!

1. THE PRINCESS BRIDE – The movie or the book by William Goldman is a light, humorous, and unforgettable twisted fairytale that will sweep anyone away to another world. Virtually, of course. Truly a fantasy classic.
2. GAME OF THRONES by George R.R. Martin – Falling Kingdoms is often referred to as “Game of Thrones for Teens” since both series feature a fight for the throne between warring kingdoms and a large cast of characters set in a gritty fantasy land, so I must mention it as a mega amazing book series and TV series to binge read or watch if you’re looking for that type of tale. Just keep in mind, GoT is definitely R-rated when it comes to sexytimes and violence and not for the faint of heart!!
Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, #1)
3. VAMPIRE ACADEMY by Richelle Mead – Looking for some non-sparkling teenaged vampires to go with your snazzy elemental magic? How about some shocking twists and unexpected deaths? *cue dramatic music* This is one of my favorite series ever (along with its sequel series Bloodlines), and well, pretty much anything by Richelle. These characters will seriously take over your life and you’ll be frantically turning the pages to find out what happens next.
4. AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER – This isn’t a book, it’s an animated TV show, but it has everything a Falling Kingdoms reader would want – elemental magic, war, betrayal, deception, romantic ships, REAL ships, humor, action, and mega elemental magic!! The way I learned about this show in the first place was someone telling me how much Prince Zuko reminded them of Prince Magnus. I’ve watched most of the first season and…yeah, he sure does!
5. REIGN – Again, not a book, but a castle-set, historical fantasy with kings and queens and magic and fabulous costumes? That seems very Falling Kingdoms to me! (I may change my mind when I actually get around to watching it – it’s available to binge watch on Netflix, right??)
The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, #1)
6. LORD OF THE RINGS – I shall now hang my head in shame and admit I’ve never read the books by J.R.R. Tolkien…but the movies? So amazing, each and every one of them…including the recent Hobbit trilogy. Fun fact: The elves of LOTR were a definite inspiration for my immortal Watchers in Falling Kingdoms.
7. SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN – No, seriously. Not for the story or the acting, although Chris Hemsworth is really quite…….. Um, sorry, I got distracted for a moment there. I remember watching the trailer for this movie and thinking that if Falling Kingdoms became a movie or TV show (hey, one can hope!!), THIS is what I’d want it to look like. The cinematography is fantastic and worth watching for alone. (Whispers: I actually kinda loved this movie.)
An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes, #1)
8. AN EMBER IN THE ASHES by Sabaa Tahir – A truly killer YA fantasy by an incredibly talented debut author…this book will sweep you away to a gritty, spectacular world of brewing rebellion, brave heroines, shadowy assassins, and dangerous romance…made all the better when one realizes there is a sequel in the works!
Rush (The Game, #1)
9. RUSH: THE GAME TRILOGY by Eve Silver – Okay, enough with the fantasy. How about a palate- cleanser of some seriously kickass sci-fi in which a girl is pulled from her real life into a game world where she has to fight aliens with the ultimate fate of the human world at stake? BRING IT ON, Y’ALL!
A Book of Spirits and Thieves (Spirits and Thieves, #1)
10. A BOOK OF SPIRITS AND THIEVES by (yours truly) Morgan Rhodes – This is the spinoff/companion series to Falling Kingdoms! Partially set in our “real” world and partially in the world of Falling Kingdoms, two sisters discover an ancient book that leads them to a power hungry secret society and a porthole to another world full of magic and danger. I’m working on the sequel right now and it’ll be out June 2016, which will help bridge the gap a bit before Falling Kingdoms #5 in December 2016!

Happy Reading!

Morgan thank you so much for this!  These are great picks and I know I will definitely use them between  now and when the next installment of The Falling Kingdom's comes out!

About Morgan Rhodes:
Morgan Rhodes
Morgan Rhodes lives in Ontario, Canada. As a child, she always wanted to be a princess -- the kind that knows how to wield a sharp sword to help save both kingdoms and princes from fire-breathing dragons and dark wizards. Instead, she became a writer, which is just as good and much less dangerous. Along with writing, Morgan enjoys photography, travel, reality TV, and is an extremely picky, yet voracious reader of all kinds of books. Under another pen name, she’s a national bestselling author of many paranormal novels. Falling Kingdoms is her first high fantasy. 
Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms, #1) Rebel Spring (Falling Kingdoms, #2) Gathering Darkness (Falling Kingdoms, #3) Frozen Tides (Falling Kingdoms, #4)
Click on each cover to visit Goodreads and to find out more information about each book.

Be sure to follow the rest of the tour!
The Irish Banana Review
12/7 - interview
Addicted Readers
12/7 - review
A Perfection Called Books
12/8 - review
12/8 - Would You Rather?
WinterHaven Books
12/9 - guest post
Once Upon a Twilight
12/10 - Review & giveaway
Two Chicks on Books
12/11 - guest post
Jessabella Reads
12/11 - review
My Friends Are Fiction
12/14 - guest post
A Midsummer Night's Read
12/15 - Book Playlist
Dark Faerie Tales
12/15 - review
12/16 - Top 10 list
The Daily Quirk
12/17 - review & giveaway
Mundie Moms
12/18 - interview
Hollywood News Source
12/18 - review