Sunday, January 31, 2016

Review: After the Woods by Kim Savage

After the WoodsAfter the Woods by Kim Savage
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Release Date: Feb 23rd, 2016
Purchase: Amazon
Would you risk your life to save your best friend?

Julia did. When a paroled predator attacked Liv in the woods, Julia fought back and got caught. Liv ran, leaving Julia in the woods for a terrifying 48 hours that she remembers only in flashbacks. One year later, Liv seems bent on self-destruction, starving herself, doing drugs, and hooking up with a violent new boyfriend. A dead girl turns up in those same woods, and Julia’s memories resurface alongside clues unearthed by an ambitious reporter that link the girl to Julia’s abductor. As the devastating truth becomes clear, Julia realizes that after the woods was just the beginning.

My Thoughts:
After the Woods is a thrilling creeptastic ride that showed me just how crazy people can really be.

The synopsis does a fantastic job setting up the story.  The book starts out showing us what happened in the woods that day with Julia and Liv, but as you can guess we don't know everything and man was this book explosive.

I think my favorite part of this book was the atmosphere that Kim Savage has created.  This setting was creepy from the get go and that darkness continued throughout the story in so many ways.  It almost felt like a sinister shadow was following each and every character and I promise I could feel it in my fingers while holding this book.  This to me was genius!  I loved this and I didn't want to put this book down!

The only thing that truly bothered me was the ending. After so much build up I expected an explosion, but that's not what happened.  Things become very clear to the reader, but I think a certain character got off a little too easily.  I think Julia deserved more after what she did for this person and it just didn't feel right to me.  I liked Julia and I thought she was a super strong character, but she needed more closure from these horrific events.

Other than the ending I truly enjoyed this book.  I even liked the romance!  It felt a bit rushed, but that's not uncommon amoung YA books and in this one I actually totally bought it.  If you are looking for a super suspenseful kidnapping story with a huge twist this is for you!  I can't wait to see what Kim Savage comes up with next!

3.5 snowflakes

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Review: The Infinite Sea (The 5th Wave #2) by Rick Yancey

Published: September 16, 2014
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
How do you rid the Earth of seven billion humans? Rid the humans of their humanity.

Surviving the first four waves was nearly impossible. Now Cassie Sullivan finds herself in a new world, a world in which the fundamental trust that binds us together is gone. As the 5th Wave rolls across the landscape, Cassie, Ben, and Ringer are forced to confront the Others’ ultimate goal: the extermination of the human race.

Cassie and her friends haven’t seen the depths to which the Others will sink, nor have the Others seen the heights to which humanity will rise, in the ultimate battle between life and death, hope and despair, love and hate.

My Thoughts
Heartbreaking, exciting and action packed... AND that my friends is why I finished it so quickly! I need book three NOW!!!

The Infinite Sea is the second and middle installment to The 5th Wave. Where most second books suffer from the “middle book filler syndrome” Rick Yancey was having none of that for his series. This installment was relevant and purposeful. A definite treat for fans of this series!

Now that the world has lost over seven billion people, Cassie, Sammy, Ben and Ringer are faced with the next wave of attacks. The Others are determined to exterminate humanity from the Earth, but the extent to which people will go to survive is the strongest fight of all.

In this book, I definitely got more insight into how and why The Others were getting rid of humanity. It was truly an emotional and psychological attack where Cassie, Ben and Ringer refuse to give up hope. However, there is constant mistrust that continues play out and sever the binds among this group. It was heartbreaking at times, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

A significant portion of this book focuses on Ringer, who now plays a vital role in the series. Having her introduced as a minor character in book one was just a teaser. In The Infinite Sea, Ringer plays a vital role causing me to shift my feelings for this character.

Overall, this installment was amazing. I can’t wait for the third and final book The Last Star. If it’s anything like the first two books, I expect absolutely pandemonium and heart pumping action. Yes please!
5 Snowflakes

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Blog Tour: Interview with Alison Goodman!

 Today on WinterHaven Books I am participating in the blog tour for Alison Goodman!  Her latest novel The Dark Days Club hit shelves this week and if you haven't stalked your local bookstore then you must do so now!!  For our stop on this amazing tour Alison is stopping by to answer a few of our questions!

1. Please describe The Dark Days Club in five words or less.
Demon hunting in Regency high society.  I know that’s six words…but it’s a big book.

2. Which character was your favorite to write?
Lady Helen has to be my favorite, but a close second is Lord Carlston. He is mysterious and not altogether respectable–an excellent Regency hero–and it was so much fun writing the banter between him and Lady Helen. I also enjoyed creating Mr Benchley who is quite a nasty piece of work; villainous types are always great to write.

3. I love that Helen will be hunting demons! Did you always plan for her to hunt demons or did your writing turn this way halfway through?
I am a planner, so I always knew Helen would discover that there was a shadowy world of demonic creatures hidden within Regency society. However, at the beginning of the novel, she is not aware of them. Nor is she aware of her own extraordinary abilities–they are only just starting to develop. As the book progresses, the truth about her abilities gradually emerges and she must face enormous danger and terrible choices.

4. Do you have any writing rituals?
When I sit down to start a new day of writing, I always read what I wrote the day before, edit it, and then start on the new section. In that way I retrieve the flow of the writing and the tone, and “warm up” for the day ahead.

5. Can you share what you are working on next?
I am currently working on Book 3 of the Lady Helen series, which is set in Bath in the winter social season. I’m also writing another project set in the Regency: a short story titled “The Benevolent Society of Ill Mannered Ladies”. It is for a new anthology called And Then…The Great Big Book of Awesome Adventure Tales, which will be published this year by Clan Destine Press.
Alison thanks so much for stopping by!  I can't wait to dive into this amazing adventure!!

The Dark Days Club (Lady Helen, #1)The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Release Date: January 26th, 2016
Purchase: Amazon
New York Times bestseller Alison Goodman’s eagerly awaited new project: a Regency adventure starring a stylish and intrepid demon-hunter!

London, April 1812. On the eve of eighteen-year-old Lady Helen Wrexhall’s presentation to the queen, one of her family’s housemaids disappears-and Helen is drawn into the shadows of Regency London. There, she meets Lord Carlston, one of the few who can stop the perpetrators: a cabal of demons infiltrating every level of society. Dare she ask for his help, when his reputation is almost as black as his lingering eyes? And will her intelligence and headstrong curiosity wind up leading them into a death trap?
Find Alison

The amazing people at Penguin are hosting an awesome giveaway! 
5 lucky readers will win a hardcover copy of The Dark Days Club!
Open to US residents only

Monday, January 25, 2016

Life Lessons from Gayle Forman (Publisher Giveaway!)

I've been a huge fan of Gayle Forman for many years. I first came across her novel, If I Stay back in 2009 and knew immediately after reading it in one sitting that I discovered an inspirational author. Forman not only shares stories about characters that deal with real issues and painful decisions, but she does so in a way that you walk away a little bit more compassionate, a tad wiser, and a ton more emotional because of the journey she takes you on with her advice and perspective.

For my post, I'm going back to the books that connected me with this author, and I'll be sharing a few quotes that moved me in more ways than one… I hope you enjoy…
1. “If you stay, I'll do whatever you want. I'll quit the band, go with you to New York. But if you need me to go away, I'll do that, too. I was talking to Liz and she said maybe coming back to your old life would be too painful, that maybe it'd be easier for you to erase us. And that would suck, but I'd do it. I can lose you like that if I don't lose you today. I'll let you go. If you stay.

This scene in the book was like an emotional punch when reading how much Adam Wilde was willing to sacrifice for the person he loved. It's not always easy to make those painful decisions, but if you truly care and love that person, no sacrifice is too small.

2. “Love, it never dies. It never goes away, it never fades, so long as you hang on to it. Love can make you immortal.

I believe that someone who has lost a person they truly loved can understand this statement completely. When I first read this caption in If I Stay, it reminded me of a painful loss and Forman was right… just because the person is gone, the love you shared will always be there.
3. "I want to cut through the space that separates us, measured in feet – not miles, not continents, not years - and I want to touch her to make sure it’s really her... but I can’t touch her, it’s a privilege that’s been revoked. Against my will but still."

For those that read this book, this passage is pretty emotional. It represents a promise that Adam Wilde made in book 1 that has caused him incredible pain. He kept his promise and that reminded me that your word is who you are. When you make a promise, keeping it defines who you are as a person.

4. "I needed to hate someone and you’re the one I love the most, so it fell on you."

This statement is so damn true! I hate to admit it, but I'm sure most of us have hurt someone we truly love. It's typically the ones we love the most that we tend to hurt the deepest. It doesn't make it right… it just makes it true...

I also have a couple of music selections that I came across when reading these books several years ago. To this day, they tend to remind me of the emotions experienced when reading these books. 

What life lessons have YOU learned from a Gayle Forman book?
Be sure to add Gayle Forman's books to your bookshelf!
To celebrate the Paperback release of I Was Here by Gayle Forman… another amazing novel that carries a ton of inspiration and emotion… Penguin Young Readers is hosting a giveaway. Be sure to enter for a chance to win. Open to US Resident only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Movie Release & Book Review: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Here's another series that I've recently become a fan of, which has a movie coming out this week! It's always exciting to see amazing books hit the big screen, and I'm proud to admit I've already purchased my tickets. :)
For those of you following The 5th Wave movie release, the first installment is about to hit movie theaters everywhere!  Enjoy this post to get an overview of the first book, my review, the movie details and trailer. 
The 5th Wave movie release is coming Friday, January 22, 2016.
Original Book Cover
The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave #1) by Rick Yancey
Published: May 7, 2013
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it's the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth's last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie's only hope for rescuing her brother--or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.
My Thoughts

A moment comes in war when the last line must be crossed. The line that separates what you hold dear from what total war demands. If he couldn’t cross that line, the battle was over, and he was lost…

That was incredible! High energy, amazing cast, and captivating plotline. I’m so happy I found a Young Adult series I can feel vested in for the coming months. 

I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to read The 5th Wave. Full disclosure… the only reason I finally decided to dive into it is because the movie is coming out, and I have a cardinal rule to never watch a movie before finishing the book. Any book nerd would appreciate that, I’m sure.

Well I absolutely loved The 5th Wave! Loved it! It was just what I was looking for in a Young Adult series… fast paced, absolutely intriguing, tons of twists and turns and loads of action… oh and don't let me forget the love interest…. not bad!

In this novel, the Earth is at the cusp of battling the 5th wave against an alien invasion. The 1st wave cut off all of the power. The 2nd wave created an earthquake felt around the world. The 3rd wave took out over 3 billion people with disease and pestilence that spread around the word. 

Cassie has survived up until this point, and she’s on a mission to find her little brother Sammy that was taken by “The Others.” However, she can’t do it alone, but the first rule for surviving the 4th wave is don’t trust anyone. The only way to stay alive is to stay alone.

First off, the cast was amazing! Every character in this book caught my attention. Cassie was exactly what every heroine should be – strong, hopeful, smart and calculating. I love it when female characters are deserving of their voice as the main character, and Cassie fit the part perfectly!

When I met Evan Walker, I immediately fell for him, but not without a fair share of skepticism. I can’t wait to learn more about him and how his journey continues with the next book.

Overall, The 5th Wave was absolute perfection. It’s not often that I fall into a SciFi book, but Rick Yancey has managed to remind me how amazing the adventures can be. Loved it!

We’re here, and then we’re gone, and it’s not about the time we’re here, but what we do with the time.

Now that I’ve finished the book, I can’t express how much I’m looking forward to the movie! Not only that, but I have the second installment in my hot hands ready for me to dive in! Bring it on!! 

In the end it wouldn’t be the lucky ones left standing…
5 Snowflakes

Movie Tie-in Edition Book Cover of The 5th Wave
The 5th Wave Movie Trailer
For fans of Evan and Cassie… here's another movie clip to enjoy!
The 5th Wave Movie Release Date: Friday, January 22, 2016
Be sure to let me know if you plan to see this movie! :)

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: The Last Star (The 5th Wave #3) by Rick Yancey

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we can't wait to get our hands on.
Here's my selection for this week…

The Last Star (The 5th Wave #3) by Rick Yancey
Expected publication: May 24, 2016
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
We’re here, then we’re gone, and that was true before they came. That’s always been true. The Others didn’t invent death; they just perfected it. Gave death a face to put back in our face, because they knew that was the only way to crush us. It won’t end on any continent or ocean, no mountain or plain, jungle or desert. It will end where it began, where it had been from the beginning, on the battlefield of the last beating human heart.

Master storyteller Rick Yancey invokes triumph, loss, and unrelenting action as the fate of the planet is decided in the conclusion to this epic series.

I've recently devoured the first two books of The 5th Wave series in less than three days, and with the movie coming out this week, how could I not showcase the third and final installment The Last Star?  I can't wait to get my hands on this book to see how the cards play out for Cassie, Sammy, Ben and what's left of humanity.  I expect a ton of action and massive amounts of explosive and emotional moments. 

Sooo what book are you waiting on???

Top Ten Tuesday

 Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.
This weeks topic is..

Monday, January 18, 2016

Upcoming Release: TITANS by Victoria Scott

We are stoked about the upcoming release of TITANS by Victoria Scott! Hold your horses (pun intended) this book isn't unleashed into the wild until February 23, 2016. But let me assure you, it's one you want to add to your TBR list. If you're anything like me and can't stand waiting, I've added a pre-order link just for you!

Titans TITANS by Victoria Scott
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date:February 23, 2016 
Pre-Order Link: B&N  Amazon  ibooks

From Victoria Scott, author of FIRE & FLOOD, comes a thrilling story of impossible odds.

Ever since the Titans first appeared in her Detroit neighborhood, Astrid Sullivan’s world has revolved around the mechanical horses. She and her best friend have spent countless hours watching them and their jockeys practice on the track. It’s not just the thrill of the race. It’s the engineering of the horses and the way they’re programmed to seem so lifelike. The Titans are everything that fascinates Astrid, and nothing she’ll ever touch.

She hates them a little, too. Her dad lost everything betting on the Titans. And the races are a reminder of the gap between the rich jockeys who can afford the expensive machines to ride, and the working class friends and neighbors of Astrid’s who wager on them.

But when Astrid’s offered a chance to enter an early model Titan in this year’s derby, well, she decides to risk it all. Because for a girl from the wrong side of the tracks, it’s more than a chance at fame or money. Betting on herself is the only way she can see to hang on to everyone in the world she cares about.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Blog Tour: Traveler (Seeker #2) by Arwen Elys Dayton

Today on WinterHaven Books I am participating in the blog tour for Arwen Elys Dayton hosted by the publisher.  I thought Seeker was fantastic so I am beyond excited to help out with Arwen's tour!  For my stop Arwen, being the amazing person that she is, has videoed taped her answer to "What is your writing process?"!
Take a look...

Traveler (Seeker, #2)TRAVELER (Seeker, #2) by Arwen Elys Dayton
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: January 12th, 2016
Purchase: Amazon
Quin Kincaid is a Seeker. Her legacy is an honor, an ancient role passed down for generations. But what she learned on her Oath night changed her world forever.

Quin pledged her life to deception. Her legacy as a Seeker is not noble but savage. She was trained to be an assassin. And the boy she once loved is out for vengeance, with her family in his sights.

Yet Quin is not alone. Shinobu, her oldest companion, might now be the only person she can trust. The only one who wants answers as desperately as she does.

But the deeper they dig into the past, the darker things become. They are long-vanished Seeker families, shadowy alliances, and something else: a sinister plan begun generations ago with the power to end the legacy forever. And it might destroy them all.

 About the Author
ARWEN ELYS DAYTON is the author of SEEKER and TRAVELER. She spends moths doing research for her stories. Her explorations have taken her around the world to places like the Great Pyramid at Giza, Hong Kong and its many islands, and lots of ruined castles in Scotland. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter @arwenelysdayton, and check out her video series about writing, 1 QUESTION, 2 MINUTES, at and on YouTube

For those who can't access the video or who are at work trying to be sneaky here's a transcript you can read!
I’m here with Winterhaven Books to answer the question, “What is your writing process?”

This is a tough question because it’s a little bit like saying, “What is your living process?” I don’t know if I have a grand plan for how to write books. I think that each one is kind of a different animal and has to be tackled differently. But I will try to pull out the universal things I do to get a book done.

It really starts with the vision of a character – a personality that kind of starts manifesting itself and sticks around. Or it could be a place I am fascinated with or a situation, but for me it’s usually a character.

The beginning of writing for me is pulling on that thread because there is something there that intrigues me. And I hold onto that and keep pulling it toward me. Usually as I do that, more things will come into focus, whether it’s the people that surround this character or what led up to this situation I saw.

If it’s interesting enough to me, slowly, maybe over weeks, months, or even years, depending on the idea, little pieces of this world come toward me, and I catch hold of them. When I really start to like them, I’ll probably start writing anything down that’s in my mind that I think belongs in this world.

Once I have enough of these ideas and notes and pieces of the world, then I actually sit down and start putting it together into something that feels like a story: meaning, I think it starts here and it goes somewhere where we hit this point and then this point and perhaps it ends up over here. Even if you don’t want to call it outlining, it is kind of like the broad strokes of who does what when, just so I can form the story in my head.

Usually at that stage, so many more ideas come into play and get put into different places in my mind or this timeline or outline or however I decide to do it. And then at a certain point you just have to take that leap off the edge of the cliff into the dark abyss of unknown and start writing.

Maybe that’s actually what Winterhaven Books is asking me about – once you start writing, what do you do – but I feel like that earlier part is really where the book is born and comes to life. Pulling that thread toward you, for me is how I start to know that I have something that is good enough that I want to tell other people about it.

So I hope that gives a little insight into the writing process. And I actually do a weekly video called 1 QUESTION 2 MINUTES where I take up questions readers ask me about writing and publishing and editing and all that sort of stuff, or you can send me your own question for me to answer in the future.

Thank you very much to Winterhaven Books for having me.

A little more about SEEKER and TRAVELER…
SEEKER is the story of three teenagers who have spent most of their lives training for what they think is a noble purpose – to be Seekers - only to discover that their families are actually turning them into assassins. In TRAVELER, as they try to break away from this fate, or maybe embrace it, they discover that the world of Seekers is larger than they’d realized, and they become entangled in a plan begun generations ago that immediately threatens their very survival.

Arwen thank you so much for this!  I know your video will help a lot of writers out there and I know I will definitely check out your weekly videos!  Such a fun idea!!

We also have an amazing giveaway to share with you!!  The amazing people at Delacorte Press are offering to send one lucky reader their very own copy of Seeker and Traveler!
US only
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, January 15, 2016

Review: Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined (Twilight #5) by Stephenie Meyer

Published: October 6, 2015
Publisher: Little, Brown
Celebrate the tenth anniversary of Twilight! This special double-feature book includes the classic novel, Twilight, and a bold and surprising reimagining, Life and Death, by Stephenie Meyer.

Packaged as an oversize, jacketed hardcover “flip book,” this edition features nearly 400 pages of new content as well as exquisite new back cover art. Readers will relish experiencing the deeply romantic and extraordinarily suspenseful love story of Bella and Edward through fresh eyes.

Twilight has enraptured millions of readers since its first publication in 2005 and has become a modern classic, redefining genres within young adult literature and inspiring a phenomenon that has had readers yearning for more. The novel was a #1 New York Times bestseller, a #1 USA Today bestseller, a Time magazine Best Young Adult Book of All Time, an NPR Best-Ever Teen Novel, and a New York Times Editor’s Choice. The Twilight Saga, which also includes New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn, The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: An Eclipse Novella, and The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide, has sold nearly 155 million copies worldwide.
Arlene's Thoughts
Wow! I can believe it’s been over seven years since Twilight came to its conclusion with Breaking Dawn. It’s no secret that I loved the first three books and absolutely hated the last installment. Not to mention, the movies messed up my fictional image of Edward in my head, so when I did tried to re-read Twilight, it was Pattinson and Stewart invading my thoughts and not my first imagination of what I pictured Edward and Bella to be.

Overall, the entire Twilight experience had its ups and downs for me… a horrible finale, a campy first movie, a cast that messed with my imagination and a longing to read the coveted Midnight Sun that might never see the light of day.

Setting all of that aside, I decided to read Twilight Reimagined and realized it was just more of the mind-f*ck I’ve been experiencing since Breaking Dawn. However, not in an absolutely horrible way like some of the other Twilight disasters. This book had its… charm… yes that’s the right word... charm. I didn’t hate it or love it, but I found myself constantly trying to figure out who was who.

In Twilight Reimagined, Bella now becomes an ordinary boy named Beau and the vampire is Edythe, who plays the part of Edward. All other characters, with the exception of Charlie and Renee are gender swapped. For quite a few chapters, I thought Meyer’s simply did a quick and simple “find/replace” job in Word, but there were moments and scenes that were redeveloped, which were fun to read.

Overall, I liked the original Twilight much better with Bella and Edward, but I much preferred the ending that Stephenie Meyer crafted in this book. I wish she would have taken this route over seven years ago. Perfect ending having been given a second chance.
3 Snowflakes

Tina's Thoughts:
Okay, I'm gonna be totally honest here. When I first saw the interview with SM introducing the new bonus material for the 10th anniversary edition of Twilight, I was both excited and disappointed. For those who know me, know it's no secret that I want Midnight Sun written, bound and in my greedy little hands. It would have been the ultimate gift SM could have given her fans, but, instead, we got Life and Death-Twilight Reimagined. So, no, it wasn't the Midnight Sun I was hoping for, but lets face it, I'm not going to complain since I've been so desperate for anything new from SM that I would have still jumped at the chance to read any book she writes.

Now, don't get me wrong here, I thought this book was actually pretty great, it was different, ok, really different, meaning strange to be reading this story and be so familiar with everything in it but in a totally different light. For one thing I had the hardest time getting the voices straight in my head without thinking about the original characters. Beau (Bella) is now a human male and Edythe (Edward) is now a shiny female vampire. Besides the ending of the book (which I loved) every moment and everything said between the two was pretty much the same, and while it was a fun and even an entertaining story, I think I'm more of a traditional kinda girl. I like my male leads to be more masculine and my female leads, independent, sure, but not ashamed of accepting help when needed. Bella and Edward had (for me) off the charts chemistry, you could feel the power of first love, but sadly Beau and Edythe didn't seem to have that same chemistry, connection or romantic spark. 

With that said, I still thought this was a really great and quirky treat for any fans who wanted a little something twilight-related to add to their collection. The Twilight Saga will always have a special place in my heart and I'll forever be waiting and hoping for Midnight Sun, but for this respect, I still think Bella and Edward had the better story.

                                                                    3 Snowflakes

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: The Way Back to You by Michelle Andreani and Mindi Scott

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we can't wait to get our hands on.

Here's my selection for this week…

Expected publication: May 3, 2016 Katherine Tegen Books

In this witty, heart-tugging novel, two teens take a spontaneous road trip across the Southwest to meet three strangers who received the life-saving organs of their late best friend—charting a journey of loss, hope, and love along the way.

Six months ago, Ashlyn Montiel died in a bike accident.

Her best friend Cloudy is keeping it together, at least on the outside. Cloudy’s insides are a different story: tangled, confused, heartbroken. 

Kyle is falling apart, and everyone can tell. Ashlyn was his girlfriend, and when she died, a part of him went with her. Maybe the only part he cares about anymore.

As the two people who loved Ashlyn best, Cloudy and Kyle should be able to lean on each other. But after a terrible mistake last year, they're barely speaking. So when Cloudy discovers that Ashlyn’s organs were donated after her death and the Montiel family has been in touch with three of the recipients, she does something a little bit crazy and a lot of out character: she steals the letters and convinces Kyle to go on a winter break road trip with her, from Oregon to California to Arizona to Nevada. Maybe if they see the recipients—the people whose lives were saved by Ashlyn’s death—the world will open up again. Or maybe it will be a huge mistake. 

With hundreds of miles in front of them, a stowaway kitten, and a list of people who are alive because of Ashlyn, Cloudy and Kyle just may find their way to back to her...and to each other. 

This reminds me a bit of Things We Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby, and I loved that story!  Couple that with a road trip, and I have a feeling The Way Back to You by Andreani and Scott will be filled with emotional substance. Can't wait to get my hands on this one! 

Blog Tour: The Radiant Road by Katherine Catmull!

 Today on WinterHaven Books I am joining in the blog tour for The Radiant Road by Katherine Catmull!  I am so excited to jump into this world because I love all things fairy and this sounds right up my alley!  As part of my tour stop I have the amazing Katherine Catmull with us for a fun game of Would You Rather!  

Would you rather eat pizza or Mexican food?
Mexican food. I am one of those boring celiac people, so Mexican food gives me more options. But also I live in Austin and migas, y’all. 

Would you rather watch a thriller movie or a comedy?
Hmmmm. Depends on my mood, and what you mean by thriller—I love a good non-explosion-y thriller. If I look at my viewing honestly though, probably comedy. But a really GOOD comedy.

Would you rather go to dinner with a vampire or a werewolf?
. . . . werewolf? I feel like I’m more of a werewolf, personally: so nice, so polite, so friendly, NOW I EAT YOU. Also, a werewolf and I could chat about interesting local hikes—whereas a vampire would just be snarking about my clothes all night.

Would you rather be snowed in or trapped in by a rainstorm?
Easy for me to say “snowed in,” as I’ve never been snowed in—though we do have ice days sometimes in Austin, and if you’re all set for food and have power, nothing’s lovelier. So: snow!

Would you rather eat sweet or salty?
Salty. Not that I’ll turn down a good chocolate chip cookie.

Would you rather be cold or hot?
Cold. I hate being hot, just hate. I live in the wrongest possible place, in that regard.

Would you rather read a scary book in the dark or in the daylight?
Daylight! My mind provides plenty of it’s own dark.

Would you rather stay out til the wee hours of the morning or be in bed by 8?
Wee hours. I like the night. I get sleepy around 10 or 11, but if I get past that window then I can stay up till 4, no problem

Would you rather have access to as many books as you want for 5 days only or only have 5 books to read the rest of your life?
This is the worst question anyone has ever asked me. It makes me want to cry. But if I must choose I’ll pick five books to read the rest of my life—as long as I can pick the books. I’d go with “The Collected Shakespeare,” a twenty-pound poetry compilation, things like that.

Would you rather read the book or watch the movie?
Book! Come on, if it’s a decent book, the book is always better.

Would you rather run or walk?
Walk. I keep trying to run and . . . no. It makes me cross. I’m a brisk walker, though. I’m kind of a loper.

Would you rather own a cat or a dog?
Cat. But dogs look lovely; I’d really like both. Between traveling and theater (I’m an actor), I fear I couldn’t do right by a dog. Cats are fine with “see you tomorrow, maybe the next day!”—dogs not so much.

Would you rather cancel cable or twitter?
Twitter I guess? Tough call. I like Twitter, though I’m kinda bad at it myself.

Would you rather watch a 90's sitcom or one from the past 10 years?
Past 10 years. Comedy is infinitely smarter and cooler than it used to be.

Would you rather color in crayolas or markers?
When I do color I seem to use markers, mostly, so maybe that’s the answer. Crayons are hard!

Would you rather write notes by hand or type them on a computer?
Hand. Times a million.

Would you rather drink coffee or tea?
Teas are good when I want to drink pots and pots of something. But normally: cofeh all the way.

Would you rather eat a Milky Way or a Butterfinger?
Milky Way, though it’s not much of a choice, tbh. Where’s my Baby Ruth at? My Payday?

Would you rather party on Halloween or New Years?
New Years. After all this time in theater, getting dressed up as someone else doesn’t feel all that special to me. But I love people getting together to cross a threshold together with celebration and hope. Also: any excuse to drink champagne. Halloween should up its beverage game.

Would you rather wear make up or go with none?
I would rather be better at applying makeup! For nicer events (and, uh, theater), I try. But I guess I’m bad at makeup because I lose interest so quickly, so: none.

Would you rather spend a day at the library or the beach?
Tough call. Can I say day at library, NIGHT at beach? I love oceans, not that crazy about sun. And books are everything.

Would you rather cuddle with a bunny or baby monkey?
Ohhhhhhhh. [Loses twenty minutes imagining both.] I guess bunny. A bunny seems more likely to stay put for cuddling.

Would you rather sit next to a famous actress/actor or a book character?

Would you rather know your future or be surprised?
This one seems like it ought to be so much harder than it is. I am one of those people who obsesses about what’s coming next and how can I prepare and how can I make it be what I want. I don’t think much about the past—I’m all about what’s coming. But now that you ask, I realize I’d far rather be surprised. I love surprises. Knowing would spoil everything. I think that when I’m in WHAT’S COMING NEXT mode, it’s actually anxiety. I don’t really want to hear what’s next—I want to be told “everything’s okay.” Which is not actually the same thing. Wow, I feel like I just had a revelatory therapy session: thank you!

Katherine thank you sooo much!  I have to admit I laughed so hard throughout this and I squeed big time because I live in Austin too!!  Everything you said about our crazy town was right and I am with you on the heat lol!

The Radiant Road The Radiant Road by Katherine Catmull
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
Release Date: January 19th, 2016
Purchase: Amazon

A gorgeously written tale of magic, friendship, and self-discovery set in a dream-like landscape filled with fairies.

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 and loyalty in this young adult fantasy.

About Katherine Catmull
Katherine Catmull
 I'm a writer and actor in Austin, TX. I also sometimes write for the Austin Chronicle, act on stage in various Austin venues, and do voice work for games like DC Universe Online (Oracle) and Wizard 101 (Myrella Windspar). 


Top Ten Tuesady

 Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.
This weeks topic is..
Top Ten 2015 Releases I Meant to Get to But Didn't


Sunday, January 10, 2016

Review: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
Released- Jan 5th 2016
Purchase- Amazon / B & N

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them— whether she wants to or not.Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are play­ing, treacherous forces threaten to sep­arate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home . . . forever

My Thoughts:
What a sensational book!! I've been really fortunate to have read so many time travel books that I absolutely adored. I haven't always been lucky with this genre but it's one of my favorites, so I'm happy to say that along with Karen Akins Loop series and my most recent time travel escape, Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor, Bracken's Passenger adds to the string of great time travel books that keeps me wanting and begging more from this thrilling universe.

I've always been a huge fan of Bracken since her debut novel, Brightly Woven, but I think this is her best book ever. This book has it all. Thrilling adventure, stunning settings, fantastic writing and likeable amazing characters that will hook you from minute one till that evil cliffhanger of an ending. And I do mean evilI really loved how Bracken created such a vast world of adventure and wonderment. I loved seeing all the different centuries and kept anticipating what timeline we'll see next. Everything felt so real, like I was being transported through time by the eyes of these characters. What lush and violent worlds filled with so much danger and daring excitement. I really have to hand it to Bracken, she did her homework, her words make everything feel so crisp and alive. I don't want to say anything about the plot since I think readers will want to discover everything this book has to offer, and dame, does it offer a lot, but I will say that it's excellently paced with suspense and mystery and even though I'm not a huge historical fan, I couldn't seem to get enough of this history. Never a dull or dragged out moment here folks, this was pure solid entertainment.

I really loved Etta and Nicholas, they are so wonderful individually and together. Etta is a true firecracker, so much fearless feist and fight with a sharp mind and a big beautiful heart to go with it. It's rare to see a character like Nicholas these days, or maybe I'm just reading the wrong kind of books, but Nicholas has such an old-charm about him that makes me smile. He's an honourable and loyal man that lives by his promises. I really loved the romance even though it's fragile and so uncertain but it was the spontaneous warmth and the intimately sweet moments that I couldn't seem to get enough of. My heart can't help want a happily ever after once this is all said and done. 

Bottom line, Passenger was such a great read. It's the kind of journey that will throw you from your own reality and into a whole new world, and real, what more can I ask for in an escape? Except perhaps the next book and the answers to that evil cliffhanger of an ending! A fantastic read! 

Find the author:
Goodreads / Website                               4.5 Snowflakes

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Giveaway! Where Futures End by Parker Peevyhouse!!

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 Where Futures End by Parker Peevyhouse! Details below!

 Enter for a chance to win an advance readers copy of WHERE FUTURES END. There will be 5 winners, entries restricted to US only.

Where Futures EndWhere Futures End by Parker Peevyhouse
Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books
Release date: February 9th, 2016
Purchase: Amazon
Five teens.
Five futures.
Two worlds.
One ending.

One year from now, Dylan develops a sixth sense that allows him to glimpse another world.

Ten years from now, Brixney must get more hits on her social media feed or risk being stuck in a debtors' colony.

Thirty years from now, Epony scrubs her entire online profile from the web and goes “High Concept.”

Sixty years from now, Reef struggles to survive in a city turned virtual gameboard.

And more than a hundred years from now, Quinn uncovers the alarming secret that links them all.

Five people, divided by time, will determine the fate of us all. These are stories of a world bent on destroying itself, and of the alternate world that might be its savior--unless it's too late.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Review: The Impostor Queen by Sarah Fine

The Impostor Queen (The Impostor Queen, #1)
The Impostor Queen by Sarah Fine
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Release Date: January 5th, 2016
Purchase: Amazon
Sixteen-year-old Elli was a small child when the Elders of Kupari chose her to succeed the Valtia, the queen who wields infinitely powerful ice and fire magic. Since then, Elli has lived in the temple, surrounded by luxury and tutored by magical priests, as she prepares for the day when the Valtia perishes and the magic finds a new home in her. Elli is destined to be the most powerful Valtia to ever rule.

But when the queen dies defending the kingdom from invading warriors, the magic doesn’t enter Elli. It’s nowhere to be found.

Disgraced, Elli flees to the outlands, the home of banished criminals—some who would love to see the temple burn with all its priests inside. As she finds her footing in this new world, Elli uncovers devastating new information about the Kupari magic, those who wield it, and the prophecy that foretold her destiny. Torn between the love she has for her people and her growing loyalty to the banished, Elli struggles to understand the true role she was meant to play. But as war looms, she must align with the right side—before the kingdom and its magic are completely destroyed.
My Thoughts:
This year is definitely going to be the year that Fantasy takes over our shelves and brains and The Impostor Queen is setting the bar high my friend!  This expertly crafted world is truly amazing and will grab even the fantasy fearfull.

This book from the get go is intense.  The very first chapter had me on the edge of my seat and craving more and with fantasy novels this is a really hard thing to do.  Worlds have to be created, characters have to be built, and a whole epic storyline has to be crafted.  Sarah Fine manages to do these huge tasks in a matter of a few simple chapters.  Don't get me wrong I promise you won't know everything in a few chapters, this world continues to build and build and just when you think you know everything BAM! things get crazy!

This is honestly one of the most imaginative worlds I have read and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I think the addition of the magic and what it symbolized was really intriguing and I liked how the author used it throughout this story.  The part I loved the best though was the ending and how everything came to be.  I cant go into specifics, but I will say WOW!  I never saw that coming and I can't wait to see how it all plays out!

What truly surprised me though was how connected I felt to the characters.  I loved Elli!  She was fierce and determined to serve her people no matter what, even in the face of pain.  I really appreciated how the author let Elli grow up and let her make decisions not based on her heart.  She knew what she was born to do and she did just that even if it meant heartache.  This to me is a true Fantasy character.  I enjoyed the secondary characters as well.  Oskar and Sig were fun even though a bit moody and I loved Ramio!  His character is the one I am looking most forward to because he has answers but also because I think there is something else to him and I smell a little sinisternish coming from him!

The only thing I wasn't fond of was the overall romance.  If it had just been Elli and Oskar I would have been okay, but the story starts off a different way and I wish the author would have stayed true to her path.  I liked that this book was different and I would have loved to have seen where things could have gone, but the author chose a different path.  I am not sure why she did and I know I probably will never know but it makes me sad.  The romance between Oskar and Elli was really well written though and I appreciated the slow build up so I suppose I can live with the way things are.  I am curious if the author will revisit these issues in later installments though.

4 snowflakes