Saturday, January 31, 2015

Stacking the Shelves #71

A weekly meme hosted by, Tynga's Reviews, that features the books we bought, borrowed, were gifted, and were given for review. 
 Britt and Milka are doing an awesome job!  We are so excited to have them on our team!  They have both posted reviews this week you won't want to miss!  Tina also reviewed Ensnared and I loved her review! Here's our recap for the week!


Cover Reveals:


This week Macmillan spoiled us!  Here's what landed in our happy hands!
Becoming Jinn (Becoming Jinn, #1) Forever for a Year Dust to Dust (Ashes, #2) Get Dirty (Don't Get Mad, #2) Black Dove, White Raven The Novice (Summoner, #1) Sweet Dream A Little Dream (Silver Trilogy #1) Finding Mr. Brightside The Third Twin Sisters of Blood and Spirit The Heart of Betrayal (The Remnant Chronicles, #2)
For Review:

Read Between the Lines

Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles, #0.1)

*Special thanks to Henry Holt and CO (BYR),  Harlequin Teen, Delacorte, Macmillan,  Feiwel & Friends, Disney-Hyperion, Katherine Tegen, Balzar & Bray, & The Library Thing*

That's it for us this week!  Please leave me a link so I can see all your new pretties!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Review: My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga

My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga
Publisher: HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray
Release Date: February 10, 2015
ARC from Edelweiss

Sixteen-year-old physics nerd Aysel is obsessed with plotting her own death. With a mother who can barely look at her without wincing, classmates who whisper behind her back, and a father whose violent crime rocked her small town, Aysel is ready to turn her potential energy into nothingness.

There’s only one problem: she’s not sure she has the courage to do it alone. But once she discovers a website with a section called Suicide Partners, Aysel’s convinced she’s found her solution: a teen boy with the username FrozenRobot (aka Roman) who’s haunted by a family tragedy is looking for a partner.

Even though Aysel and Roman have nothing in common, they slowly start to fill in each other’s broken lives. But as their suicide pact becomes more concrete, Aysel begins to question whether she really wants to go through with it. Ultimately, she must choose between wanting to die or trying to convince Roman to live so they can discover the potential of their energy together. Except that Roman may not be so easy to convince.

My Thoughts:

While looking at the descriptions of upcoming YA contemporary novels, I came across a repeated theme: suicide or the fashination with death. Along with My Heart and Other Black Holes, this theme seems to be used as a setting for example in Paperweight by Meg Haston, Vanished by E.E. Cooper, The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand and All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. In addition to books that deal directly with suicide, there seems to be a lot of upcoming titles which deal with mental health issues of some kind, like Made You Up by Francesca Zappia (schizophrenia) and Love, Lucas by Chantele Sedwick (depression). 

Though writing about such serious issues is not a new phenomenon, I find that they are gaining more and more visibility within the pages of young adult literature. Issues of mental health remain a stigmatised issue in the contemporary society, and in many cases, unfortunately, young people (in some cases even adults) don't have an educated outlook into mental health issues as a result of which they do not have the capability to take such issues seriously. Also, the still seems to be a stereotype present which brands mental health issues as a sign of weakness and something that should be afraid of. As a result of these preconceptions and prejudices, the importance of writing about mental health issues in an honest and realistic manner is crucial and I think YA literature is one of main ways especially young readers can be made aware of the complexities of mental health issues.

As a result of the fact that I have lost someone extremely close to me through suicide, I am always a bit wary when it comes to picking books that deal with the issue. I have always felt that someone who does not have experience from such a thing cannot write realistically about it and sometimes I have come across books that deal with the issue but don't really GET how it feels like when someone you love, someone you knew so well, is suddenly gone just because he/she did not have a will to live anymore. From the moment I started with My Heart and Other Black Holes, I felt a connection with the novel and realized that Jasmine Warga really seems to get what it is all about – how someone might look completely okay while there is a black slug of depression crawling inside. How depression and sadness is not something beautiful and something that should be glorified. What I especially appreciated about Warga's writing was the fact that she writes honestly about suicide and is not afraid to point out that while it might be cowardly and selfish, it also might be something that let's you free and gives you peace, while never making it sound like it is something beautiful or admirable or fashinating.

Aysel has been through a lot. Her father, a man she thought she knew better than anyone else, is locked in a prison after committing a horrible crime, and now she is stuck living with her mother and her new, perfect family. Her mother ignores her, she feels no connection with her half-siblings whatsoever and everyone in the small town she lives in knows about her father and what he did. Whispers and scared looks follow her wherever she goes, and it seems like she is unable to find peace and quiet from the world she lives in. Though she keeps living her life, going to school and her after-school job, she is constantly sad, the black slug of depression residing inside her body and mind.

Wanting to end it all, Aysel comes across a Suicide Partner chat within a forum dedicated to those who want to end their life and contacts FrozenRobot, a teenager from the neighboring town, who is also planning to end his life. When she meets this mysterious FrozenRobot (aka Roman) they start to plan their demise, but as the day for the act itself starts to get closer, Aysel starts to realize that there are things in her life that make it worth to second-guess her decision, one of them being Roman himself. But though she starts to feel like she might be ready to do it, she realizes that convincing Roman won't be easy. In fact, it might be impossible.
Roman has his own reasons for wanting to end his life. He blames himself for something that happened to someone he loved and after that fateful night, he has dropped everything he loved, including basketball, feeling like because of what happened, he deserves to be miserable, sad and depressed. Finding Aysel gives him a chance to really make his plans concrete, but as they spend more time together, he starts to feel like what he wants is very different from what Aysel wants.

The connection between Aysel and Roman is so well constructred and slow-boiling – despite the fact that we only know these characters within a time period that spans across a couple of weeks, after finishing this book I really felt like I knew Aysel and Roman. I salute Warga for avoiding the cliches and the “instant relief” solution. Her honesty and her openness allow these characters to really show themselves to the reader – for the good and the bad. It is really hard for me to believe that this is Warga's debut, because her voice comes out so strongly and so masterfully. All I can say is that I am really looking forward to reading more from this talented, upcoming author. Finally, I want to just thank Warga for writing this book and for giving Aysel and Roman a voice and more importantly, for giving them each other – the importance of having people in your life who just GET you through and through can never be over-emphasized. 

5 Snowflakes



Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Review: Soulprint by Megan Miranda

Soulprint by Megan Miranda
Expected publication: February 3rd 2015 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens

From the author of FRACTURE, a riveting new thriller which draws on cutting-edge science.
Alina Chase has been contained on an island for the last 17 years—whether that’s for the crimes of her past life, or for her own protection, well, that depends on whom you ask. With soul-fingerprinting a reality, science can now screen for the soul, and everyone knows that Alina’s soul had once belonged to notorious criminal, June Calahan, though that information is supposed to be private. June had accomplished the impossible: hacking into the soul-database, ruining countless lives in the process.
Now, there are whispers that June has left something behind for her next life—something that would allow Alina to access the information in the soul-database again. A way to finish the crimes she started.
Aided by three people with their own secret motivations, Alina escapes, only to discover that she may have just traded one prison for another. And there are clues. Clues only Alina can see and decipher, clues that make it apparent that June is leading her to something. While everyone believes Alina is trying to continue in June’s footsteps, Alina believes June is trying to show her something more. Something bigger. Something that gets at the heart of who they all are—about the past and the present. Something about the nature of their souls.
Alina doesn’t know who to trust, or what June intends for her to know, and the closer she gets to the answers, the more she wonders who June was, who she is, whether she’s destined to repeat the past, whether there are truths best kept hidden—and what one life is really worth.

I was a bit leery of this book at first glance. I had thought of it as science fiction and those are truly hit or miss with me. I read the blurb and realized it had to do with the human soul and was immediately intrigued. There is just so much that can be done with that topic since there is so many different beliefs. Megan Miranda really took it to new level by infusing her story with bits of genetics/science that were easy to follow and helped to enhance the plot. She also didn't try to over explain things that would had sounded unbelievable. The approach was refreshing to say the least! The basic set up didn't try to explain away why the souls moved on the way they did, Miranda just hit on the fact that they could figure out who they belonged to prior with something called a soul-fingerprinting. The sci-fi kind of took a back seat to a brilliant character driven plot. The main thing I took from this is could or should a past life effect the present one?

This book hit the ground running with Aline's prison break. She has the reincarnated soul of a dangerous criminal named June. Alina is a strong and clever character even though she has suffered through prejudice her entire life. Somehow her spirit remains intact. This makes rooting for her almost inevitable. I don't know if I would have the capacity to trust human relationships at all if I was locked away for someone my soul had been in a past life. The pacing wanes a bit after this but it did't bother me since the "intentions guessing game" kept me rapt. Things really took off the latter half of the book when truths finally came to light. I always can appreciate a story line that doesn't need a romance to carry it, just enhance it and that is exactly what Alina & Cameron's relationship did. just really cute together and I'm so glad Cameron wasn't the typical jerk-off hot guy. He was really genuine and wanted to help Aline since he empathized with her. They were I LOVED the way it ended, just enough to wrap it up nicely without leaving any major plot hangovers. The whole really gave me a ton to think about in regards to how are own soul affects us and how someone's reincarnated soul would as well. If you like books that really give you something to think about then this will definitely soothe your soul. *See how I did that?*

4 Snowflakes

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday ~ Becoming Jinn by Lori Goldstein

Welcome to Waiting On Wednesday here at

 Winterhaven Books!

This is a feature created by Jill at Breaking The Spine where we share some books we are anxiously awaiting.

This week's pick...

Becoming Jinn by Lori Goldstein
Expected Publication: April 21st 2015 by Feiwel & Friends

Forget everything you thought you knew about genies! Azra has just turned sixteen, and overnight her body lengthens, her olive skin deepens, and her eyes glisten gold thanks to the brand-new silver bangle that locks around her wrist. As she always knew it would, her Jinn ancestry brings not just magical powers but the reality of a life of servitude, as her wish granting is controlled by a remote ruling class of Jinn known as the Afrit. To the humans she lives among, she’s just the girl working at the snack bar at the beach, navigating the fryer and her first crush. But behind closed doors, she’s learning how to harness her powers and fulfill the obligations of her destiny. Mentored by her mother and her Zar “sisters”, Azra discovers she may not be quite like the rest of her circle of female Jinn . . . and that her powers could endanger them all. As Azra uncovers the darker world of becoming Jinn, she realizes when genies and wishes are involved, there’s always a trick.
This is the year of the Jinn for me!! I am super fascinated by this new mythological creature!! I have read a few books about them and they were DEVOURED so when I saw this it was an immediate need. I was dying to read this and my prayers have been answered thanks to Netgalley & Feiwel & Friends!! Thank you & I still can't wait to read it!!

Teaser Tuesday #84, THE STORYSPINNER by Becky Wallace

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 Storyspinner (The Keepers' Chronicles, #1)THE STORYSPINNER by Becky Wallace
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Expected Publication Date: March 3, 2015

Drama and danger abound in this fantasy realm where dukes play a game for the throne, magical warriors race to find the missing heir, and romance blossoms where it is least expected.
In a world where dukes plot their way to the throne, a Performer’s life can get tricky. And in Johanna Von Arlo’s case, it can be fatal. Expelled from her troupe after her father’s death, Johanna is forced to work for the handsome Lord Rafael DeSilva. Too bad they don’t get along. But while Johanna’s father’s death was deemed an accident, the Keepers aren’t so sure.
The Keepers, a race of people with magical abilities, are on a quest to find the princess—the same princess who is supposed to be dead and whose throne the dukes are fighting over. But they aren’t the only ones looking for her. And in the wake of their search, murdered girls keep turning up—girls who look exactly like the princess, and exactly like Johanna.
With dukes, Keepers, and a killer all after the princess, Johanna finds herself caught up in political machinations for the throne, threats on her life, and an unexpected romance that could change everything.

Teasers from page: 26
"You can't always use your affinity to save you, Pira." He threw the sword to the side, and offered her a hand up. "You never know when your gift will fail or when your opponent will come after you with something besides a metal weapon. You have to be ready to fight any one, in any condition."

Page: 30
"Are you going to let me in?" She folded her arms tightly across her chest, wondering what in the world had her brother so on edge. 
"If I do, will you swear  that everything you hear tonight will remain a secret?"

*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, January 26, 2015

Cover Reveal! Amber Smoke by Kristin Cast

Today we have a special treat! 

This book is for 18+ as it New Adult. 

The door to the massive New York Times bestselling HOUSE OF NIGHT series has closed. 

    Now, Kristin Cast kicks down a new door to welcome her millions of fans to her latest sizzling series.

Ready for this guys...





Here it is...






Amber Smoke by Kristin Cast
(The Escaped #1)
Published by: Diversion Books
Publication date: June 9th 2015
Genres: New Adult, Paranormal

There is a world that runs parallel to our own, a world in which the souls of the damned are caged, where they are looked over by the Furies, and where they spend eternity in torment, mirroring the devastation and mayhem they created when alive.
Someone has opened the cage.
The worst of terrors has crossed the barrier that separates our world from theirs, and the Furies send a great, albeit untested warrior—their only son, Alek—to try to bring those souls back.  He is young and handsome, headstrong and impulsive, and he won’t be able to do it alone.
Eva has grown up, beautiful and beloved, but surrounded by secrets.  First, she will be hunted in an ancient feud that will threaten her life.  Then, she will become the hunter.
With the police closing in and two worlds on the verge of crumbling around them, Alek and Eva must find each other, discover the limits of their powers, and work together to save everything they hold dear, including one another.  Blending elements of mythology with the dazzling storytelling that her fans have devoured through the HOUSE OF NIGHT series, Kristin Cast weaves a spellbinding and passionate tale that starts a thrilling new series with an explosive charge.

Add To Goodreads:



Kristin Cast is a NY Times and USA Today bestselling author who teamed with her mother to write the young adult House of Night series. She has stories in several anthologies, as well as editorial credits, and a thriving t-shirt line. The first book in her new adult paranormal romance series releases June 9th, 2015!

Author Links:

Review: Ensnared by A.G. Howard

Ensnared by A.G Howard
Publisher-Amulet Books
Released- Jan 6th 2015
Purchase- Amazon / B & N

After surviving a disastrous battle at prom, Alyssa has embraced her madness and gained perspective. She’s determined to rescue her two worlds and the people and netherlings she loves. Even if it means challenging Queen Red to a final battle of wills and wiles . . . and even if the only way to Wonderland, now that the rabbit hole is closed, is through the looking-glass world—-a parallel dimension filled with mutated and sadistic netherling outcasts.In the final installment of the Splintered trilogy, Alyssa and her dad journey into the heart of magic and mayhem in search of her mom and to set right all that’s gone wrong. Together with Jeb and Morpheus, they must salvage Wonderland from the decay and destruction that has ensnared it. But even if everyone succeeds and comes out alive, can they all truly have their happily ever after?
My Thoughts:
Ensnared, is the last book in what I believe is the very best Alice in Wonderland retelling I've ever read. To express into words how much I adored the Splintered trilogy is hard, only because I don't think I'll be able to give it the justice it truly deserves. What A. G. Howard envisioned for this world and how much imagination, creativity and spirit she poured left me completely mesmerized. I haven't been able to really get into a good book lately, but I devoured this like I was starving for my last breath.

Since this is the final book, I don't want to give to much away, but I'd like to take a minute and just appreciate this vividly wicked and warped world. I've mentioned it before, but I'll say it again, not since The Iron Fey series has a world captivated me and effected me this powerfully. All the netherling creatures and characters were so deliciously and deliriously maddening I couldn't wait to see what each would do and say next, and I honestly couldn't predict what would happen next. I loved all the twist and turns and how everything comes alive and raw through the eyes of each of these spellbinding characters.

Every single animated character in these books played their roles so incredibly well but Gossamer, Chessie and Rabid White earned a special place in my heart. As for Alyssa, Jeb and Morpheus? Just wow! These three beloved characters have owned every inch of this epic adventure. They've all come so far and I admire their personal growth and attitude throughout. These guys made me laugh out loud and made me swoon like a little girl. Seriously, the best chemistry and the best characters I've read in a really long time. I wont say to much about the romance, but I will say that I don't have a team. I have loved Jeb and Morpheus in two different ways but both equally have my heart. As for the ending? Well, I don't think I could have asked for a more fitting and perfect way to end such an epic story, but I think not everyone will feel this way, in fact, I think readers who didn't care for the epilogue in Clockwork Princess, may not care for the ending to this one as well. Just saying. But I loved, loved, loved!!

Bottom line, I absolutely had the best time reading this entire trilogy! It's has so much heart and soul captured against a backdrop of a warped, wicked and wonderfully weird world that I'd want to live in if I wasn't so scared;) Wildly entertaining and brilliant beyond belief. I can't wait to see what Howard comes up with next!!

Find the author:
Goodreads / Website                                  5 Snowflakes

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Review: Things We Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby

Things We Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: April 21, 2015
ARC via Edelweiss

Quinn Sullivan lost the love of her life when her boyfriend, Trent, died in an accident their junior year. In an attempt to get closure, she reached out to the recipients of his donated organs. Though some answered her letters, the one Quinn feels matters most--the person who received Trent's heart--has been silent.

Nineteen-year-old Colton Thomas has spent the last several years in and out of hospitals waiting for a heart transplant. Now that he's finally received a new heart, Colton is regaining strength, and he's walking away from his bedridden past with no intention of looking back. He doesn't want to know about the person who had to die so that he could live. He only wants to move forward.

But Quinn can't let it go. Venturing outside the system to find Colton, Quinn takes a risk in hopes of finally laying her memories to rest. But what begins as an innocent conversation quickly becomes an attraction--and to make matters worse, Colton has no idea how they're connected. His zest for life pulls Quinn from her months of sorrow but leaves her torn between honesty and utter betrayal. Because no matter how hard she's falling for Colton, each beat of his heart reminds her of all she's lost.

My Thoughts

Last summer, I read Jessi Kirby's In Honor and fell in love with the wonderful story about loss, self-discovery and falling in love (and okay, there might have been some swooning over the love interest, Rusty, who reminded me so much of the wonderful Tim Riggins). When I first read about Things We Know by Heart, I instantly got excited. That excitement was COMPLETELY justified.

It has been over a year since Quinn Sullivan's boyfriend Trent died without a warning. One moment he was there, making Quinn fall more and more in love with him every single day. And then a horrible accident took Trent away from him and spread parts of him around through organ donation. To get some sort of closure to her grief, Quinn starts to look for the people that now have a part of Trent in them and though she succeeds to connect with some of the donors, it seems like the recipient of Trent's heart is not willing to establish contact. So Quinn starts snooping around and eventually finds the young man whose life was saved through the organ donation. And though she knows that she should not make any contact, she cannot help herself.

After an excruciating wait for a donor heart, Colton Thomas is more than ready to say goodbye to the times when he was forced to stay in hospital, only dreaming about the life he wanted to have. His weakness and thinness, caused by the illness, have changed into strenght and a body that allows him to surf and help with the family kayaking business. When a mysteriou girl arrives to the little coast town he lives at, he is intrigued - the more he sees of her, the more he wants to spend time with her.

I loved both Quinn and Colton. Quinn is broken, yet in my opinion extremely strong. She has gone through something horrible, and the way she tries to deal with it all was so realistically written that it brought tears into my eyes. As someone who has lost a person very close to me suddenly, I was able to identify with Quinn's fight to remember the last time she held Trent's hand, the last time she sat with him at the back porch and so on. The way the desire to remember was portrayed as consuming and both as a relief and a burden was so well done by Kirby. This woman really knows how to write about grief.

Colton is charming and funny, but also broken, though in a different way than Quinn is. He has been given a chance to live and sometimes it seems to him like he cannot find the way to express his gratitude. Why should he be alive when someone else had to die for it? When he meets Quinn, it seems to him like he could start again with someone who does not know what has happened to him, but as we all know, there are things we just cannot hide. Especially not from the people we care about.

Things We Know by Heart is extremely well written - Kirby's narrative flows and her prose made me both laugh and cry. Her characters are engaging, well established and full of surprises. Things We Know by Heart is definitely one of those special, unique books that I had a very difficult time putting down, as a result of which I ended up staying up until 4 am just to finish reading it.

4½ Snowflakes


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Stacking the Shelves #70

A weekly meme hosted by, Tynga's Reviews, that features the books we bought, borrowed, were gifted, and were given for review. 
We've had another exciting week!  Here's our recap!

Blog Tours:


We also had another amazing book haul week!  Harper definitely spoiled us and our ehaul was out of this world!  Here's what landed in our happy hands this week!

Kissing Ted Callahan (And Other Guys) Etherworld (Elusion, #2) King (The Dragon King Chronicles, #3) How to Win at High School Solitaire The Memory Key Pretty Wanted (Pretty Crooked #3) City Love Briar Queen: A Night and Nothing Novel Shadow Scale (Seraphina, #2)
For Review:

*Special thanks to Poppy,  Katherine Tegen Books, Harper Teen, Harper Voyager & Random House Children's*

That's it for us!  I hope everyone had an amazing week as well!  Leave me a link so I can see all your pretties!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Review: Tear You Apart by Sarah Cross

Tear You Apart by Sarah Cross
Expected Publication: January 27th 2015 by Egmont USA

An edgy fairy tale retelling of "Snow White" set in the world of Kill Me Softly for fans of Once Upon a Time and Grimm.
Faced with a possible loophole to her "Snow White" curse, Viv goes underground, literally, to find the prince who's fated to rescue her. But is life safe in the Underworld worth the price of sacrificing the love that might kill her?

My Thoughts:

Perfect for the fairy tale fanatic like myself.

Just when I thought I knew everything there was there was to know about fairy tales, Tear You Apart comes along and proves to me that I couldn't be more wrong. Sarah Cross has taken carnal fairy tale knowledge to new heights by crafting the town of Beau Rivage, a place where these classic curses continue to play themselves out in a present day setting. This books was fantastic since it touched upon so many of them in one fell swoop. Some I knew by heart, while others I had grossly forgotten. I want to throw out there the fact that I had not read Kill Me Softly first and felt that there was no need too although, I did purchase it immediately upon completing this book.

Imagine fairy tales been passed down from generation to generation except they were fantastically twisted. The twelve dancing princesses still rose from their bed every night and were compelled to dance till dawn (one of my favs) except now they tatter their Jimmy Choo's. Balls have been replaced by nightclubs in the famed "underworld" & country clubs have replaced the palaces. Beau Rivage is a place where dreams come true or nightmares become reality depending on which side on the fairy's wand your on. 
There is so many curses threaded through this story it is a fantasy lovers paradise. They range from East of the sun/west of the moon curse, diamonds and toads curse where the bearer spits up either, Goose girl curse, and of course the more classic well know Cinderella and Snow-white curses. Let us remember that Disney was not entirely accurate in their portrayal. As the book states, "Cinderella's step sisters had their eyes pecked out by birds. The stepmother in 'The Juniper Tree" was crushed and killed by a millstone. The false prince in "The Goose Girl" was stuffed naked into a barrel studded with nails, then dragged through the streets by horses." Last but not the least gruesome is the ending of Snow White, where the evil stepmother was forced to dance to death in red hot iron shoes at the wedding reception. These are the curses the residents are afflicted with. The fairies felt the mixed blood between humans and magical creatures centuries ago was reason to punish. Around the age of 16 is the time the fairy appears and brands you with the tale tail marchen mark, the mark that signifies which curse you are fated to. 

Vivian is part of snow white curse complete with an evil stepmother and a huntsman who will one day spare her or cut her heart from her chest. The twist is the fact that Henley, the huntsman, has been Viv's best friend and boyfriend forever. They both the know the day will come when he will be propositioned by Viv's evil stepmother to kill her. As I'm sure it would in any relationship this causes a bit of turmoil. I couldn't stand Viv. I thought she was a selfish self indulgent lil' brat but, I also empathize with the fact that she simply doesn't know what is going to happen between her and Henley. It must be quite anxious making to constantly worry about your beau coming after your heart...literally not figuratively. Enter Prince Charming offering Viv safe harbor and all hell breaks loose. The characters were really fun to read about but mostly due to their curses, not their substance. I found them all to be a bit shallow.

I had trouble with the 3rd person narration as it kept pulling me out of the story. I know it sounds like I have many gripes but the good ultimately overshadowed the bad. There were more than a few of these minor annoyances but, they were heavily combated with snarky dialogue. Here are a few of the funnier quotes. (quotes are pulled from arc and subject to change)

"My chipmunks would bite the shit out of you. You might not want to risk it."

"You've got no figure to speak of  - your ass is as flat as a squashed cockroach."

I love books set in other time periods but, they can tend to feel a bit stuffy so this humor was definitely welcome since it's paired with some pretty macabre scenes. There was a brilliant twist on the Rumpelstiltskin curse which you must look out for. All in all, I think that if you love fairy tales this will be a satisfying light read for you. It is like Once Upon A Time meets Beverly Hills 90210. In the end I really enjoyed it and will definitely be looking forward to revisiting Beau Rivage very soon!

4 snowflakes

Review: The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi

The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: June 16, 2015
ARC via Edelweiss

A fun, romantic read, perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen and Susane Colasanti!

Before Matt, Ella had a plan. Get over a no-good ex-boyfriend. Graduate from high school without any more distractions. Move away from Orlando, Florida, where she’s lived her entire life.

But Matt—the cute, shy, bespectacled bass player who just moved to town—was never part of that plan.

And neither was attending a party that was crashed by the cops just minutes after they arrived. Or spending an entire night saying “yes” to every crazy, fun thing they could think of.

Then Matt abruptly left town, and he broke not only Ella’s heart but those of their best friends, too. So when he shows up a year later with a plan of his own—to relive the night that brought them together—Ella isn’t sure whether Matt’s worth a second chance. Or if re-creating the past can help them create a different future.

In alternating then and now chapters, debut author Lauren Gibaldi crafts a charming, romantic story of first loves, lifelong friendships, uncovered secrets, and, ultimately, finding out how to be brave.

My Thoughts

My expectations for The Night We Said were certainly high. I loved the prospect of reading a story with a structure that alternates between then and now chapters, and the prospect of being introduced to a story that mainly covers two separate nights from year a part was a very exciting one. Now that I've read The Night We Said Yes, I don't know exactly what to feel. I really wanted to fall in love with this book, but I feel like it never went that far. I liked it, but I did not love it. I read it, but I probably won't read it again.

At the center of The Night We Said Yes are Ella and her group of friends, mainly her best friend Meg, Meg's on/off boyfriend Jake and Matt, a guy Ella cannot get out of her mind. During the "then" chapters, we get to live along these characters as they have their first "night of saying yes". Matt is new in town - he is cute, a bit shy and an amazing bass player and almost by accident joins Ella, Meg and Jake for their night of fun. There seems to be an instant connection between Ella and Matt, and eventually the night of fun turns into something more significant. But then Matt disappears without a word and leaves Ella brokenhearted and confused.

The move to the "now" chapters is made when Matt shows up again to town after a year of being away. Ella and her friends have just graduated from high school and Ella is more than ready to pack her bags and move to college several hours away from her hometown. Seeing Matt again makes everything more complicated and Ella does not know how to react - she is angry and confused, yet at the same time she has a hard time to control her excitement. She realizes how much she has missed Matt. When it seems like Matt has a plan, Ella just goes along, willing to give him a chance to show why she should forgive him.

For some reason I just did not feel any sort of connection with this book whatsoever. Ella is independent and not afraid to speak her mind, but for some reason she constantly feels like she's in the shadow of Meg. Meg is beautiful and witty and always ready to speak her mind and I could not help feeling like Meg is occasionally too controlling - the narration from the POV of Ella constantly made me feel like everything she and Meg do together is initiated by Meg and that Ella is pretty much responsible from Meg and her actions. She is always there when Meg and Jake get into a row and it feels like she is pretty much expected to calm her down. When Ella needs support with Matt, Meg does not really seem to be there for her, which kind of sucks.

The one character that really made it difficult for me to read this book was Jake. He is so full of himself and though the characters in the book try to justify him and his actions, I just could not get pass the fact that Jake is just generally a pretty unlikable guy. Matt was pretty problematic character for me as well - he seems sweet and cute, but I just never really felt that he gave a good enough justification for why he left and never explained his actions well enough. I know a lot of readers probably disagree with me about this, but I just wanted to share my opinion.

I guess I should have expected instalove after reading the synopsis for this book. I always feel a bit iffy when it comes to instalove and I do have to admit that I slightly felt like that while reading The Night We Said Yes. I do get how two people can feel a connection in an instant, but I guess I am so cynical that I just cannot see a connection like this as realistic.

I am probably in a small minority with this negative review (so far the advance reviews have been pretty positive), but I felt it my responsibility to share my thoughts with you. I really hope this review does not shake you away from this one if you have been looking forward to reading it - you should definitely check it out and see what you think. To conclude, I want to note that my issues were with the characterisation, not with the writing, which I think actually works very well in this novel. The Night We Said is Gibaldi's debut, and though I did not particularly like the story, I do look forward to Gibaldi's future endeavours just to get a chance to read more of her writing.

2 Snowflakes