Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Blog Tour: The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas

Today I am participating in the blog tour for The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas hosted by the publisher! 
The Darkest CornersThe Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas
Publisher: Delacorte
Release Date April 19th, 2016
Purchase: Amazon
The Darkest Corners is a psychological thriller about the lies little girls tell, and the deadly truths those lies become.

There are ghosts around every corner in Fayette, Pennsylvania. Tessa left when she was nine and has been trying ever since not to think about it after what happened there that last summer. Memories of things so dark will burn themselves into your mind if you let them.

Callie never left. She moved to another house, so she doesn’t have to walk those same halls, but then Callie always was the stronger one. She can handle staring into the faces of her demons—and if she parties hard enough, maybe one day they’ll disappear for good.

Tessa and Callie have never talked about what they saw that night. After the trial, Callie drifted and Tessa moved, and childhood friends just have a way of losing touch.

But ever since she left, Tessa has had questions. Things have never quite added up. And now she has to go back to Fayette—to Wyatt Stokes, sitting on death row; to Lori Cawley, Callie’s dead cousin; and to the one other person who may be hiding the truth.

Only the closer Tessa gets to the truth, the closer she gets to a killer—and this time, it won’t be so easy to run away.
My thoughts:
Wow this was a crazy filled roller coaster!  The Darkest Corners is one of those rare books where just when you think you know everything it slaps you in the face with an ending that you will never forget!

Tessa was a character that I felt sympathy for from the get go.  She never really had a family and when he life gets turned upside down after testifying at a trial she looses her best friend as well.  When she learns that her father is dying she returns to her old town and you can probably guess things start off crazy the moment she sets foot in her old best friends house.

I liked Tessa.  I like I said felt sorry for her and just wanted to give her a hug, that is if she would have let me touch her.  Tessa is quiet, reserved, and in all honesty felt like a frightened animal in front of headlights throughout the book.  She did grow a backbone though and I loved seeing her stand up for herself and finally seek out her truth.

And man what a truth it was!  This Kara Thomas is brilliant!  She managed to weave in not one but two stories that played into each other throughout and it was amazing!  I never knew to suspect and I loved that she kept me guessing.  I've read a lot of books that fall into this category, but none of them to date has surprised as much as The Darkest Corners. That ending was chilling and after reading it I had to sit there and just shudder for several minutes.

I liked the other cast of characters as well.  They each seemed to fit the small town life perfectly and I thought the author did a great job at interweaving everybody.  There were a few loose ends that I would have liked tied up though.  Katie and Ari both I think deserved a little bit more of a mention in the end and I also would have liked to have known more about the actual villain.  We get to see the crazy twist, but I wanted more closure in their story lines.

I think what's really interesting though is how closely this resembled Making a Murderer.  I know it wasn't intentional and I know that there are huge differences between the two, but since I watched the Netflix show recently I can't help, but to compare the two.  This story is about two girls trying to figure out that night when the unthinkable happened and the fall out from their testimony.  Was the wrong guy in jail??  This is the part that triggered my memory to the Netflix show and I loved it!  I thought it was a unique spin on this genre and I again I am still floored at Thomas' brilliance!

All in all this was a very VERY strong thriller that totally captivated me and I can't wait to see what Kara Thomas throws at us next!!

4.5 snowflakes

To find more about this incredible book check out the official website!
Click HERE 

About Kara Thomas
 Kara is the author of THE DARKEST CORNERS, coming April 2016 from Random House/Delacorte. She is also the author of the Prep School Confidential series from St. Martin's Griffin under the pen name Kara Taylor. Kara has written for Warner Brothers Television and currently writes full-time on Long Island, where she lives with her husband and rescue cat.

Be sure to visit the rest of the amazing blogs participating in the tour!
Blog Tour
3/14 Fresh Fiction
3/15 Jessabella Reads
3/16 Book Addict Confessions
3/17 Hollywood News Source
3/18 Undeniably (Book) Nerdy
3/19 Curling Up with a Good Book
3/20 Out of Time
3/21 Supernatural Snark
3/22 Live to Read, review
3/23 Dark Faerie Tales
3/24 Ex Libris
3/25 Reading with Cupcakes
3/26 The Reader Bee
3/27 The Eater of Books!
3/28 Reading Teen
3/29 Chapter by Chapter
3/30 Winter Haven Books
3/31 Once Upon A Twilight
4/1 Intellectual Recreation
4/2 The Hiding Spot
4/3 Carina Books
4/4 Cover Contessa
4/5 Me Read A Lot
4/6 The Writer Diaries
4/7 Whimsically Yours
4/8 Hook of a Book
4/9 Reading Nook Reviews
4/10 Downright Dystopian
4/11 Such A Novel Idea
4/12 Across the Words
4/13 Reviews From a Bookworm
4/14 Itching For Books
4/15 Waste Paper Prose
4/16 The Irish Banana
4/17 The Book Rat
4/18 YA Reads
4/19 No BS Book Review
4/20 Serenity’s Lovely Reads
4/21 Pandora’s Books

Monday, March 28, 2016

Review: Nightstruck by Jenna Black

NightstruckNightstruck by Jenna Black
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: April 5th, 2016
Purchase: Amazon
The start of a paranormal horror series from Glimmerglass author Jenna Black.

The night is the enemy, and the city of Philadelphia is its deadliest weapon.

Becket is an ordinary teenage girl, wrestling with the upheaval of her parents' divorce. Her biggest problems to date have been choosing which colleges to apply to, living up to her parents' ambitious expectations of her, and fighting her secret crush on her best friend's boyfriend. That all changes the night she tries to save an innocent life and everything goes horribly wrong.

Becket has been tricked into opening a door between worlds. As dark magic trickles into Philadelphia, strange creatures roam the streets and inanimate objects come to life, all of them bloodthirsty and terrifying. The city returns to normal when the sun rises each morning. The moment the sun sets, most citizens shut themselves in their houses and stay there no matter what they hear.

The magic is openly hostile to most mortals, but there are some it seems to covet, trying to lure them out into the night. While Becket struggles to protect her friends and family from predatory creatures of the night, she is constantly tempted to shrug off her responsibilities and join them.
My thoughts:
I am incredibly frustrated by this book.  The story was a really interesting one, but the main character Becket is insanely annoying and really killed this story for me.

The story opens up really strong and I liked the whole creepy factor that the author chose to go with.  Was it original not really, but her spin was great and I found I liked it.  That all changed when Becket became the main focus.  Her constant "I'm not good enough, nobody will ever like me" grated on my nerves almost from the get go.  I like stronger characters and this story deserved a stronger character.  It needed it honestly.  She was a weak minded person who didn't fight.  I kept screaming at my Kindle FIGHT!!  She never did.  Even in the end she never fought and I just can't forgive her for what she did.

I also had a HUGE problem with Piper, Becket's so called best friend.  How Becket could ever call Piper that is beyond me.  This girl was rude, self-absorbed, and downright mean.  If you have to schedule time to be with your best friend months in advance because she is too busy with her other friends she is not a friend to you. I have read several books where the BF is the best person ever, but I hated Piper. Yes I said hated.  Every time she would come into the picture I groaned and just wanted to hit her.  And this shows again that Becket wasn't a strong character because she made up excuses for Piper and just let her walk all over her. It was painful to see and I wish Becket would have kicked her to the curb.

The romance was okay.  I would have liked to have seen a certain someone profess their feelings out loud.  Instead I got to see Becket agonize over every single signal and it got annoying. I promise I really tried to cut her some slack as I was the overly shy nerdy in my high school days, but I couldn't look past all of it.

What stinks is that I loved the story.  The small glimpses we get to see I loved.  It was dark and crazy and felt like The Purge on magic steroids.  I would have loved to have seen more development in the overall world.  I wanted the hows and whys and way more details than we were given. I think if the author had chosen to focus more on the dark story and less on the teenage angst this would have been a huge hit for me.  I will read the next installment because even though I'm really angry the cliffhanger ending did reel me in.  GAH!  I really hate when that happens, but it did and all I can hope for is that we get to see more of the magical side of things and I hope I get to see a stronger Becket.

A side note I'm beyond furious at what Becket's dad did.  I can't say much because its a huge spoiler, but man I have never been madder at a parent in my lifetime of reading.  She didn't deserve what he did and for that I have to give her a few sympathy points.

2.5 snowflakes

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Review: Riders by Veronica Rossi

Riders (Riders, #1)Riders by Veronica Rossi
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: February 16th, 2016
Purchase: Amazon
Nothing but death can keep eighteen-year-old Gideon Blake from achieving his goal of becoming a U.S. Army Ranger. As it turns out, it does.

While recovering from the accident that most definitely killed him, Gideon finds himself with strange new powers and a bizarre cuff he can’t remove. His death has brought to life his real destiny. He has become War, one of the legendary four horsemen of the apocalypse.

Over the coming weeks, he and the other horsemen—Conquest, Famine, and Death—are brought together by a beautiful but frustratingly secretive girl to help save humanity from an ancient evil on the emergence.

They fail.

Now—bound, bloodied, and drugged—Gideon is interrogated by the authorities about his role in a battle that has become an international incident. If he stands any chance of saving his friends and the girl he’s fallen for—not to mention all of humankind—he needs to convince the skeptical government officials the world is in imminent danger.

But will anyone believe him?
My thoughts:
I really enjoyed this book and I am honestly baffled at all the negative reviews.  I've been trying to stay away from them for the most part so that I could reach my only conclusion about the story, but I've seen a few and I think I must have read a totally different book than everyone else! 

This story incorporates Revelations and the four horsemen.  This right off the bat grabbed me.  I was completely intrigued by this new idea so from the get go I was all in.  I will be honest and say I am not fully in the know about Revelations so maybe this helped me enjoy the story a bit more.  I thought the opening was great and I really liked the way the author chose to deliver her story.  Having Gideon tell his story through an interrogation was unique and made me feel more connected to him as a character.  We got to see how he felt reliving it all and the breaks in between when he would talk to the interrogator helped clarify certain spots. Brilliant in my opinion.

I did see that a few people were frustrated with the lack of movement in the story and thought it was incredibly slow.  I did not see it that way. I thought everything happened for a reason and the story moved just fine for me. In so many stories I can pick the villain, the murderer, and basically call everything before I even make it halfway through the story. So for me to be left completely in the dark was nice.  I also liked that there was a reason why we were left in the dark.  Early on Rossi explains through Daryn why Gideon and his crew can only know a limited amount of information and I bought it.  I thought it kept things interesting and for me it let my brain kinda relax.  I wasn't constantly searching for clues because I wanted to let Daryn call the shots.

I also really enjoyed the characters.  I wish Jode and Bas would have toned it down a bit. but all in all I can see why the author chose to make them the way she did.  The other thing that bugged me a bit is that I wish they would have been a bit more badass.  They are the four horsemen they should be all out amazing!  What we get though is a few guys who really don't know what they are doing.  This is more realistic, but for me I wanted more swagger.  I'm hoping in the next book they bring it!

I do have two other gripes. One being that Gideon should have called his mom.  This bugged me and bugged me and BUGGED ME!  No she wouldn't have understood and yes she would have been mad, but she needed to know his was okay.  I was completely frustrated that he never picked up the phone.  That was a plot line that really needed to be tightened up.  My other complaint is the ending.  After reading the last chapter I can see where Rossi is hoping to take her readers, but I didn't like the military getting involved like they did.  If this was going to be the case I would have liked a little bit more build up and involvement from them from the get go.  I didn't buy them showing up like they did as quick as they did.  That to me was a plot hole.  I'm curious to see how this all plays out because like I said Rossi threw a few things at us at the end that helped.

All in all though even with my gripes I really enjoyed this one.  I think it's a quickish read that brings a fresh new idea to the YA table.  Some will love it some will hate it as I have seen, but for me it was a huge hit!  And I can't wait to read the sequel!

4 snowflakes


Thursday, March 24, 2016

Review: Where Futures End by Parker Peevyhouse

Where Futures EndWhere Futures End by Parker Peevyhouse
Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books
Release Date: February 19th, 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.

My thoughts:
Have you ever read a book and just didn't get it, but wanted to so badly?  Well this is me right now.  I feel like I am totally missing out on some huge secret and I don't like it at all.  I want to like this book and I want my intelligence to understand what the author was trying to say to me, but I just don't get it.

The story started out really interesting.  We have Dylan who is obsessed with the Other Place which I think and I'm pretty sure I'm right is Fairy.  Now I could be wrong, but it felt like that was what the author was going for.  Don't think Melissa Marr's world, but more like a fairy tale happy place with adventures...maybe Peter Pannish??  I don't know but anyway Dylan wanted to go back there because he felt like that was where he belonged. The story was weird from the start, but I understood it because the author did a great job cluing her readers in.  Things slowly fell apart after that first part though for me.

This book is broken down into parts instead of chapters and the second part takes place ten years later and the world is a very different place.  It all felt really sad to me.  I kind of got the feeling like maybe the author was predicting our future because it was all very technology based and not in a good way.  Think YouTube but way way bigger.  This second story I understood too for the most part, but it didn't really connect much with the first.  The Other Place was in there and a few other things, but not enough for me to connect the dots.

I trudged on though because I did like the writing and the story was still really interesting.  This third part though was a little more different and while I still got it I started to really question where this was all going. This part was sadder than the previous ones and honestly made me scared.  I don't think this could happen but it does make you think about where our world is headed.

The fourth part really made me think.  This part was about a gaming world and was again sadder than the other parts.  The Other Place and Dylan were still the only connecting lines throughout the stories and at this point I had no idea where the author was going.  I had a hard time understanding this part because it was so very different than what my imagination could grasp so I was left feeling left out.  Now that I am thinking of it every part felt like a short story.  They all had a common thread, but nothing really connected them.

At the end I totally lost it all.  This last part takes place more than one hundred years from the start and I have no idea what this story was supposed to be about.  I feel like it has some higher meaning and I honestly feel a little stupid for not understanding it.  I don't like when stories make me feel this way.  I want to get it and I wanted to fall in love with this book because it had my name written all over it, but I'm left feeling very disgruntled, sad,  and a little upset.  I'm going to look through other reviews to see if it's just me and hopefully I'll find some clarity for this story because I feel like it should have been great and enlightening.  Maybe I'm just reading too much into I don't know, but I'm completely lost after that last chapter. 

I don't even know what to rate this honestly so I am for the first time ever not going to rate a book that I finished.  I can't rate something I didn't understand in my opinion so there you go no rating and a review filled with I don't get its....sorry.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Review: The Girl I Used to Be by April Henry

The Girl I Used to BeThe Girl I Used to Be by April Henry
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co
Release Date: May 3rd, 2016
Purchase: Amazon
When Olivia's mother was killed, everyone suspected her father of murder. But his whereabouts remained a mystery. Fast forward fourteen years. New evidence now proves Olivia's father was actually murdered on the same fateful day her mother died. That means there's a killer still at large. It's up to Olivia to uncover who that may be. But can she do that before the killer tracks her down first?

My thoughts:
I'm thinking I need to part ways with Ms. Henry.  This is my third book by her and while I loved the first one I read these past two have really left me feeling meh.  I'm used to "it's not you it's me", but in this case I really kinda think it was the book.

The first chapter was amazing, full of suspense, girl on the run from the killer, and terror.  I liked it and after reading it I was ready for this story, but it all fell apart rather quickly.  It all just felt very convenient.  From Olivia deciding to move into her mother's old house which just recently became available to the whole town opening up about this unsolved case that happened fourteen years ago.  I just didn't buy it.  The way the events happened also just seemed to work in Olivia's favor.  I mean she decides to go to a certain family members funeral but has no idea how she is going to get in because she wants to keep her identity a secret when in walks the elderly neighbor she used to know.  I can't imagine anybody asking a complete stranger to give them a ride to a funeral.  I know certain things were exposed later, but at this time the neighbor still had no idea who Olivia was so that was no reason for her to even ask. 

I also didn't like how Olivia just moved into her old town and started asking questions about her parents and what happened fourteen years ago.  Everybody in town thought she was a stranger so why in the world would they talk to her?  And when did Olivia decide to start looking for the killer? This was never explained all we get to read is her many inner monologues asking herself could it be this person, that person, what motive.  She was not a detective and she didn't have any clue who these people were.  How did she know this person would even still be in the town??  See very convenient.  I think way more ground work needed to be worked in for me to buy a lot of the things that the author was throwing out.  I also kept having to remind myself that Olivia was not an adult, but the way the adults kept treating her and telling her things that really shouldn't have been shared with a teenager it was hard to remember that she was only seventeen. It almost felt like a TV show where everyone gets stuck in their small town and everybody still acts like they are in high school.  It was so bizarre!

I don't know a lot of things didn't add up.  The ending especially didn't work for me.  The actual villain was out of nowhere and didn't make much sense to me.  I get the why's and how's but the author could have gone in a much darker path and it would have made me forget a lot of the things that bothered me. I know she's capable of this because of her previous book, but she just closed everything up with a weird bow that didn't even match her story.

So I am going to part ways with Ms. Henry.  After two disappointing books I can say without a doubt her stories are just not for me.

2 snowflakes...only because I loved Duncan and the way he didn't let Olivia run away from her past.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Review: When We Collided by Emery Lord

When We Collided by Emery Lord
Publication Date - April 5th, 2016
Publisher - Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Meet Vivi and Jonah: A girl and a boy whose love has the power save or destroy them.

Vivi and Jonah couldn't be more different. Vivi craves anything joyful or beautiful that life can offer. Jonah has been burdened by responsibility for his family ever since his father died. As summer begins, Jonah resigns himself to another season of getting by. Then Vivi arrives, and suddenly life seems brighter and better. Jonah is the perfect project for Vivi, and things finally feel right for Jonah. Their love is the answer to everything. But soon Vivi's zest for life falters, as her adventurousness becomes true danger-seeking. Jonah tries to keep her safe, but there's something important Vivi hasn't told him.

My Thoughts:

I have been a huge fan of Emery Lord ever since I read an ARC of her debut Open Road Summer a couple of years ago. Her characters and writing are capable to suck me right in and I can honestly say that I have shed many a tear while reading her novels. Her upcoming third YA contemporary novel When We Collided was no exception.

When We Collided introduces the reader to Vivi and Jonah. Vivi is new to Verona Cove and she is in love with the little town. Jonah is a Verona Cove native and yearns to leave everything behind in order to see bigger cities, in order to be a part of something bigger. Their paths cross when Jonah takes his little sister Leah to a pottery studio and very quickly they form a bond unfamiliar to both of them from their previous experiences.

Vivi is so full of life and creativity. For most of the time it feels like she navigates her world wearing rose-colored glasses. She speaks her mind, is spontaneous and seems to love the position as a center of attention. But there is also another side to Vivi, a side affected by depression, a side she is desperate to keep at bay so she can keep going on with her joyous way of life. In contrast to Vivi, Jonah seems to have lost the joy from life he still had when his dad was alive. Taking care of his younger siblings while his mother mourns is taking its toll of Jonah, who feels like he has lost touch of the young man he used to be. When Vivi, like a wave of confetti and parade music, enters into his life, things slowly start to seem a bit better and Jonah feels like everything is not doomed after all.

The relationship between Vivi and Jonah is so well written and paced that I had a really difficult time putting this book down. The way they complement each other and add something to each other's lives is so beautifully done by Emery Lord. I also really loved how Jonah's family is a part of the novel, as well as how the relationship between Vivi and her mother is developed within the narrative.

Mental health narratives continue their popularity in young adult literature and while there have been narratives in which mental health has been used as a trope, as something that can be romanticized, Emery Lord doesn't do that. She approaches Vivi and her mental health with respect and in a way that shows research. While I am not a mental health professional or a psychologist, the things Vivi goes through and the way those things are addressed by Emery Lord rang true to me. I also highly appreciated the author's note at the end of the novel and in many ways, I was able to relate with it through personal experiences.

When We Collided is one of those books that will make you fall in love, cry and think about your own life (at least it did that for me). The beautiful writing, the humor and the many quotable lines will stay with me forever and I cannot wait for the moment I get to add a physical copy of this next to my two other much-loved Emery Lord novels of my bookshelf.

5 Snowflakes

Friday, March 18, 2016

Review: Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare
Publisher- Margaret K. McElderry Books
Released- March 8th 2016
Purchase- Amazon / B & N

The Shadowhunters of Los Angeles star in the first novel in Cassandra Clare’s newest series, The Dark Artifices, a sequel to the internationally bestselling Mortal Instruments series. Lady Midnight is a Shadowhunters novel.It’s been five years since the events of City of Heavenly Fire that brought the Shadowhunters to the brink of oblivion. Emma Carstairs is no longer a child in mourning, but a young woman bent on discovering what killed her parents and avenging her losses.Together with her parabatai Julian Blackthorn, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches across Los Angeles, from the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica. If only her heart didn’t lead her in treacherous directions…Making things even more complicated, Julian’s brother Mark—who was captured by the faeries five years ago—has been returned as a bargaining chip. The faeries are desperate to find out who is murdering their kind—and they need the Shadowhunters’ help to do it. But time works differently in faerie, so Mark has barely aged and doesn’t recognize his family. Can he ever truly return to them? Will the faeries really allow it?Glitz, glamours, and Shadowhunters abound in this heartrending opening to Cassandra Clare’s Dark Artifices series.
My Thoughts:
Well dame! Here I thought nothing could beat The Mortal Instrument series, but I was sadly mistaken. The first book, Lady Midnight, The Dark Artifices series, is absolutely brilliant!! At this point I can't say that it's better then the TMI books (yet) but I have a feeling by the time this series is over I'll be singing a different tune. Already, Lady Midnight has surpassed my deepest expectations. It has shiny new characters that had me instantly, and I mean instantly invested. It's plot is thick in the Shadowhunter world complete with demons, warlocks, faeries and parabatai and was always kept moving with action, fascination and a romance that is burning with devotion and forbidden longing. Seriously, I am overwhelmingly hooked in this world and physically pained that I have to wait years before everything is said and done. It hurts!

Cassandra Clare has always been a fantastic storyteller but I love her growth as a writer. This book felt more mature in ways but still has that classic Clare sass and wit she brings to her characters. The plot itself is more intense, more brutal as we're dealing with a serial killer butchering humans and fair-folk with the same markings that were on Emma Carstairs' parents when they were found murdered. Emma, obsessed with revenge, will do anything to find who is responsible, is persistently investigating against Clave rules, but it would also seem that she's not the only one who wants to see justice prevail. The plot is action packed and pulse pounding entertainment that I expected in a Cassandra Clare book but it has also has so much depth and heart that it shattered me in two. I was impressed and surprised with how much love-story we get in this installment. Clare doesn't hold anything back or shy away compared to the TMI books. Those characters were more conflicted towards their emotions, which was perfect and maddening for how that story was told, but in Lady Midnight, I thought the romances were more of a significant element, that didn't exactly take over the initial plot but felt just as important (if not more) for the overall series. I also love that we learn more about the parabatai vow in this book more so then the first series. I have a clearer understanding of what it truly means and trying to reason the hell out how to get around it for my favorite parabatai couple. Clare truly is a master for bringing in that anxious longing and incredible rush of a forbidden romance that can't be denied and I can't wait to see how this plays out!!!! 

With every new series introductions are in order and while some readers might find the beginning chapters tedious, I for one loved getting to know these characters and back-stories on a deeper level. I thought it was so smart of Clare to introduce most of these characters in the last TMI book. I was already connected to them but I don't think I was prepared to absolutely love them this much. I adore the Blackthorn family!!! I can't believe how relatable and likeable each of these characters are and I absolutely love the family togetherness and close friendships laced throughout the story. Julian, Mark, Livvy, Ty, Dru, Tavvy, Emma and Cristina. Everyone was put together beautifully with great personality and sharp voices. I think those were some of my favorite moments, when the family is just there eating and researching and being together. It was extremely touching and funny and warm and I loved how each of them were so easy to connect with. I loved them all, but I think my favorite three are Julian, Emma and Mark. I can't express how amazing Julian is. To raise his four brother and sisters at the age of twelve, taking care of the institute and his fragile uncle is more responsibility then one should endure at such an age. I have nothing but love, respect and admiration for Jules. Emma is also so amazing and while obsessive revenge can start to wear thin in books, I found myself cheering her on the whole way through. But the most surprising of all the characters was Mark. He has a sad story, he's been tortured and tormented by the Wild Hunt, he's this feral, unhinged shell of a man and my heart bleed for him. But as the story goes on, Mark becomes a little more confident but still just as lost. His child-like reactions were absolutely adorable, hilarious and charming and I loved how wise and whimsically spoken he can be. Truly, he was an absolute joy and a breath of fresh air! I also can't forget to mention a few more characters that made an impact in this book, whether it be good or bad; Malcolm, Kieran and Diego. My heart is still undecided about Kieran. He did something pretty dame unforgivable, but I don't think it's the last we see of him. TMI fans will also be happy to know that their favorite characters do make an appearance and mentioned often throughout the book. I didn't read The Shadowhunter Academy book yet since I'm waiting for the physical copy to release, so I was surprised and delighted to discover a few things that happened after TMI ended. We even get a special bonus chapter that I was a little floored by. The word, dreaded, is scaring the crap out of me, so yeah, need more of that please! 

Bottom line, Lady Midnight is Epic!!! This has it all my friends. A great demonic mystery, twist and turns and surprises. Fantastic world building and storytelling and an all consuming love story that tore my heart over and over again and all I want is more, More, MORE!! Completely absorbing, completely amazing, completely addicting as hell! This world is still my all time favorite escape!! LOVED!!!!!!!

Find the author:
Goodreads / Website                             5 Billion Snowflakes

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Blog Tour: Shimmer (The Rephaim #3) by Paula Weston

Today I am very excited to join in the blog tour for Paula Weston hosted by Tundra!

Shimmer (The Rephaim, #3)Shimmer (The Rephaim #3) by Paula Weston
Publisher: Tundra Books
Release Date: March 8th, 2016
Purchase: Amazon
Gaby thought her life couldn't get more complicated.

She's almost used to the idea that she's not the teenage backpacker she thought she was. She can just about cope with being one of the Rephaim--a 139-year-old half-angel--whose memories have been stolen. She's even coming to grips with the fact that Jude, the brother she's mourned for a year, didn't die at all.

But now Rafa--sexy, infuriating Rafa--is being held, and hurt, by Gatekeeper demons. And Gaby has to get the bitterly divided Rephaim to work together, or Rafa has no chance at all.

My Thoughts:
All of my previous reviews for this series have been singing praises from the roof tops and this review will be no different.  Paula Weston has created an absolutely amazing series that just gets better and better with each installment.  I don't know how she does it and I hope she continues to delight her readers for more years to come!

The first thing I have to say is that I love how Paula started the book with a quick prologue that recapped the previous two books.  It's not an in depth  recap, but if it's been awhile since you've read Shadows and Haze this will refresh your memory a bit.  I also really enjoyed the character list.  This really helped jog my memory and helped me keep the characters straight from previous books.  These two things were a huge bonus for me.

Okay so the story.  Man this story just gets better and better!!  Each book has added another layer to this tension filled story and Shimmer is no exception.  At one point in the story I was so tense and stressed that my whole body was shaking.  I have never had that happen before!  I had to make myself slow down because I knew if I kept reading at a fast pace I would miss a lot and this book needed to be savored.  Also as a fun side note there were times that I would have normally had to stop reading because I couldn't remember something, but with book I couldn't put it down long enough to look!  I had total faith in the author that she would answer my questions without my having to look anything up and she totally succeeded!  By the end of the book I felt like I had Shadows and Haze right in a row with Shimmer.   

In this third book the story did progress quite a bit, but still kept that "we still don't remember" story line. This would normally bother me, but I knew once Gaby and Jude remembered the story would be over and I really didn't want that to happen!  Instead of them remembering we get to see a lot of secrets revealed and I have to say again I loved how Paula set them all up.  I liked that we the reader got to know each secret, but the other Rephaim did not know them.  This was fun for me because I felt in the loop and sort of part of the group.  I also really liked that we are getting to see more and more history come out.  Jude starts asking more questions in this one and they all tie into Nathaniel and the Garrison.  I think there's a lot we don't know and I feel like this book really set things in motion for a more dramatic fourth and final book.  

The characters.  Man I just fell in love with each and every one of them.  Okay I'm not loving Daniel quite yet, but I have faith that Paula will make me love him by the end.  My three favorites of course are Rafa, Jude, and Gaby but all the Rephaim were amazing.  I have to talk about Jude though.  I love his character fiercely and I felt all the feels throughout this book for him.  He is just what a brother should be and I loved that he took care of Gaby and stood by her each and every time she needed him to.  He never wavered.  I can't lie though I am terrified to find out what happened in that last year because I don't want them to fight.  Gaby and Jude need each other and I will say that when that all comes out I will be reading with one eye open and might have to skip to the end to make sure they end up on the same page by the end of the book.  My heart can't take that tension I can promise you that.

Rafa oh Rafa.  He's was amazing as usual and I am crushing hard on him still!  We don't get to see a lot of him in the beginning because of events that happened in Haze, but it was a glorious moment when he returned.  I love how his rescue scene played out (MINOR SPOILER) and I'm glad the author let Gaby take the lead with this one.  I think that sealed their bond and I'm hoping that whatever went down between them can be fixed with this one action.  I know they have something huge between them and again I'm terrified to read what it is, but I have hope that all will be sunshine and rainbows in the end.  I am normally all about the shock value and bows being undone at the end of a story, but not this time.  I want puppies, rainbows, kisses, and freaking sunshine people!!!  I want everyone to live and I want everyone to get along.  I haven't felt this strongly since Harry Potter so that should tell you something!!

I could go on and on about this series.  I was honestly in a book slump before I read this, but Paula is amazing and I just couldn't pass up her blog tour.  Well Shimmer has done what no other book has been able to do and has officially ended my slump!  Thank you Paula for writing such an amazing story!  I will forgive you for that evil cliffhanger only because I know the next book Burn will be in my hands soon.  If I had to wait a year I might have to put you in the corner!!  I'm terrified, but I can't wait to read Burn and I have a feeling after I finish this series I will dive right back in and re-read them.  They are that good!

Blizzard Read!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Movie Release & Review: Allegiant by Veronica Roth

For those of you following The Divergent movie releases, the third installment is about to hit movie theaters everywhere!  Enjoy this post to get an overview of the book, my review, the movie details and trailer. 

Allegiant (Divergent #3) by Veronica Roth
Published: October 22, 2013 
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered - fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she's known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.

But Tris's new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningliess. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend to complexities of human nature - and of herself - while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.

Told from a riveting dual perspective, ALLEGIANT, by #1 New York Times best-selling author Veronica Roth, brings the DIVERGENT series to a powerful conclusion while revealing the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in DIVERGENT and INSURGENT.

My Thoughts

There are so many ways to be brave in this world. Sometimes bravery involves laying down your life for something bigger than yourself or for someone else. Sometimes it involves giving up everything you have ever known, or everyone you have ever loved for the sake of something greater…

Well I have put Allegiant off for over two years, and I've finally caved and completed the Divergent series. My journey with Veronica Roth started about four years ago when I ranted and raved about her series installment, but as with most series that take so long to publish, my interest waned after the passage of time. So when the final book eventually hit the shelves, and I heard the outcry over the dismal outcome of one of her characters, I was in no rush to continue. However, after seeing the movie releases hit the big screen, I once again found myself diving into this series, and overall I'm glad I did.

It's no doubt that Veronica Roth is a great story-teller and has a way of world-building that easily catapults her audience into another world believing the social rules and back history that make up her dystopic society. I had no problem falling back into the world of Tris Pryor and journeying with this amazing character as she fights to redefine the social order that is breaking down.

In Allegiant, we learn about a group of people who want to leave the city and stay in factions. This group of Allegiants want to keep to the original purpose of their society, which is to send people outside the walls when they have a large enough Divergent population.

However where the last book left off, Four's mother Evelyn and her faction-less group have control over the society and they begin to define a new set of rules that involve getting rid of the factions and closing the walls forbidding anyone to leave.

When Tris and Four escape with a group of their friends, they come across a society outside the walls that includes the Bureau of Genetic War. This group is trying to restore humanity to its previous state prior to the Purity Wars by increasing the genetically healed population know as the GPs - genetically pures, AKA Duantless. They are also making moves to critically alter the society within the walls causing Tris and Four to face some difficult choices about what side they want to declare their alliance to.

Overall, I really enjoyed the story. Veronica Roth did an amazing job of developing and unfolding her plot. So much was revealed, and just about every loose end was brought to closure.

As with most fans of this series, the only issue I had with the ending was the character annihilation that was so unnecessary. I spent the entire novel hearing how this beloved character did not want to die, so it was quite sad that a sixteen year old character faced her dismiss when her life hadn't even begun yet.

In the end, I'm glad I completed this series because I have every intention of watching the entire series on film. I don't think this book hit me as hard as it should have because I had two years to process what happened in this final installment. I think if I would have read it when it first came out, I would not have been as generous with my rating as I am today. So only one less star for needless character annihilation, but overall well done!
4 Snowflakes

Movie Tie-in Edition Book Cover of Allegiant
Allegiant Movie Trailer

Allegiant Movie Release Date: Friday, March 18, 2016
Be sure to let me know if you plan to see this movie! :)

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday

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

The Last Star by Rick Yancey. I canNOT wait!
Glittering Court by Richelle Mead. So excited to dive into this one!

Seven Black Diamonds by Melissa Marr
Down with Shine by Kate Karyus Quinn
Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan

The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout
The Last Star by Rick Yancey
A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

Dig too Deep by Amy Allgeier
The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

Glittering Court by Richelle Mead
A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum
The Last Star by Rick Yancey

Monday, March 14, 2016

Blog Tour: The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

Today on WinterHaven Books I am participating in the blog tour for The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner. In addition to information about the book and the author, I will be sharing my review of this INCREDIBLE young adult novel that completely managed to take my breath away!

The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner
Publisher: Crown Books For Young Readers/Random House
Release Date: March 8th, 2016
Purchase: Amazon / B&N
Dill has had to wrestle with vipers his whole life—at home, as the only son of a Pentecostal minister who urges him to handle poisonous rattlesnakes, and at school, where he faces down bullies who target him for his father’s extreme faith and very public fall from grace.

He and his fellow outcast friends must try to make it through their senior year of high school without letting the small-town culture destroy their creative spirits and sense of self. Graduation will lead to new beginnings for Lydia, whose edgy fashion blog is her ticket out of their rural Tennessee town. And Travis is content where he is thanks to his obsession with an epic book series and the fangirl turning his reality into real-life fantasy.

Their diverging paths could mean the end of their friendship. But not before Dill confronts his dark legacy to attempt to find a way into the light of a future worth living.

My thoughts:


Sorry for the caps lock yelling, but seriously guys, this book is so damn beautiful that I just want to yell it form the rooftops. With The Serpent King Jeff Zentner has created something timeless, something that has the capability to make you both laugh and cry, something that every single human being walking on this earth can relate with somehow. It is a story about friendships, families, first love, prejudices, horrible losses and brilliant futures. It's a story about growing up and finding yourself through fighting the expectations everyone has for you. It is about cherishing the past and where you have come from and the capability to leave the past behind to become something new, to become YOU, the person you're meant to be.

The Serpent King centers around a group of friends - Dill, Lydia and Travis - who live in a small town in Tennessee named after Nathan Bedfort Forrest, one of the forefathers of Ku Klux Klan. Like the namesake of the town, also many of its inhabitants have questionable reputations, like Dill's grandfather and now-imprisoned father. The narrative kicks off from the beginning of the trio's senior year. While Lydia is looking forward to escaping Forrestville and finally fully beginning her life in a big city, both Dill and Travis know that escape might not be that easy for them. Travis, the target of his father's constant bullying and disappointment, has a job on a family lumberyard for the rest of his life, while Dill, who is continually blamed for his father's imprisonment by his parents feels like there is no way he can get rid of the Early family reputation. He thinks it is only inevitable that he will also hear the call of the rattlesnakes and follow the legacy of his elders.

The dynamics of the relationship between Dill, Travis and Lydia are extremely well established, and I loved the fact that Zentner gives them all their own voice and allows the reader to see things from their point of view. Dill thinks there is nothing grand waiting for him after high school graduation. He expects to continue his job backing groceries and handing in his paychecks to her mother so she can shorter the big loans his family is riddled with. He expects more awkward visits to the prison to see his father who seems more and more like the stranger every time he seems him. And he expects loneliness, an empty life after the departure of Lydia. Travis's home life isn't good either, but at least he has his fantasy books as an escape. When his father is violent, either verbally or physically, Travis knows that in his fantasy world, he has a chance to be someone else, someone who is brave and respected, someone who wouldn't let his father continually abuse him. Both Dill and Travis know Lydia is going to be something big - with her popular blog and her personal style, Lydia is ready for New York City where she feels like her creativity can finally flow without the constraints of her small, back-woods home town. But things don't always go as planned and Dill, Travis and Lydia have to experience that first hand.

While I was excited about this book after reading the synopsis, I must admit I never expected something as beautiful as it actually was. Zentner's prose allows the reader to dive into Forrestville and while there were points I wish I could have come up and take a breath, I couldn't do it. The way I started to feel for this characters is something I haven't experienced in a while and I actually found myself from bed at 3 am sobbing uncontrollably for these characters and what they had to go through. Don't get me wrong though, there were also tears of happiness in the mix. What Zentner has come up with feels so real and honest and what these characters go through feels so much like real life. There are ups and downs, mistakes and successes, happiness and uncontrollable sadness. It is really the mixture of all of those feeling that makes this book so worthwhile, because like the characters, the reader goes through an emotional process - I promise you that you will feel different about yourself and about your surroundings after you finish this one. As cliche as it might sound, this book really did change my life and had an effect on how I look at certain things.

As I get older and continue reading young adult literature, I become much more conscious of the way parents and other parental figures are written. Sometimes they are not present at all, or don't have a considerable role. Sometimes they are there, but still don't get much attention. And unfortunately, sometimes they are written in a way that feels very one dimensional - there's either the nagging mother of the "my-mother-is-my-best-friend" character; the absent father of the over-protective father. As I kept reading The Serpent King one of my favorite things about it became the way Zentner writes about relationships between teenagers and adults. There are the problematic, sometimes violent relationships between fathers and sons. There are constantly changing, sometimes aloof, sometimes caring relationships between mothers and sons. And then there are the ideal, loving, nurturing relationships between married parents and a child. But in addition to this, there were relationships between a teenager and an adult that broke family barriers, relationships that were build on mutual trust and understanding. I have been fortunate enough to have a mother who has always been there for me, but ever since my father died when I was 12, there has been different male figures in my life that have all contributed something - my mother's husband who after my somewhat angsty teenage years has become my ally and a friend; the father of one of my closest's friends who has always silently expressed that he's there for me if I need help; the husband of a cousin who was always up for a weekend of video games, pizza and movies. This book really made me think of all those people who have had a role in my life, especially during my teenage years, and made me hope that if there ever is a change for me to help someone young, someone who might not have it so good at home, I hope that I am given a change to do that.

It is books like The Serpent King that make me realize what a privilege and honor it is to read the written word. I have been a reader since childhood and have loved books even before I knew how to read, but once in a while, it is nice to get a reminder of why reading is such a great hobby, or actually, more than a hobby - it's a choice and a way of life. There is no doubt in my mind that you will fall in love with this book if you just give it a chance. Just have a big packet of tissues near by and prepare yourself for something absolutely beautiful.

5 snowflakes


"The Serpent King" gripped me in its coils and kept me turning pages late into the night. A triumph of love and dignity."
- Stephanie Perkins, New York Times bestselling author

"[T]this sepia-toned portrait of small-town life serves as a moving testament to love, loyalty, faith, and reaching through the darkness to find light and hope. Zentner explores difficult themes head on - including the desire to escape the sins of the father than the fragility of happiness - while tempering them with the saving grace of enduring friendship."
- Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

"Characters, incidents, dialogue, the poverty of the rural South, enduring friendship, a desperate clinging to strange faiths, fear of the unknown, and an awareness of the courage it takes to survive, let alone thrive, are among this fine novel's strengths. Zentner writer with understanding and grace - a new voice to savor."
- Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

About The Author:

Jeff Zentner lives in Nashville, Tennessee. He came to writing through music, starting his creative life as a guitarist and eventually becoming a songwriter. He’s released five albums and appeared on recordings with Iggy Pop, Nick Cave, Warren Ellis, Thurston Moore, Debbie Harry, Mark Lanegan, and Lydia Lunch, among others.

Now he writes novels for young adults. He became interested in writing for young adults after volunteering at the Tennessee Teen Rock Camp and Southern Girls Rock Camp. As a kid, his parents would take him to the library and drop him off, where he would read until closing time. He worked at various bookstores through high school and college.

He speaks fluent Portuguese, having lived in the Amazon region of Brazil for two years.

Tour Schedule:

Monday, February 22: Jenuine Cupcakes, Kickoff Blog Tour Post
Tuesday, February 23: Book Hounds, Review
Wednesday, February 24: Mundie Moms, Review
Thursday, February 25: Curling Up With a Good Book, Review
Friday, February 26: To Read or Not to Read, Annotate a Scene Guest Post
Monday, February 29: Bookish Lifestyle, Review
Tuesday, March 1: The Book Swarm, Review
Wednesday, March 2: Katie's Book Blog, Playlist Post
Friday, March 4: Who R U, Behind the Scenes Book Secret Guest Post
Monday, March 7: Icey Books, Review
Tuesday, March 8: Stories & Sweeties, Author Interview
Wednesday, March 9: LovingDemBooks, Review
Thursday, March 10: Swoony Boys Podcast, Review
Friday, March 11: Good Books and Good Wine, Review
Monday, March 14: WinterHaven Books, Review
Tuesday, March 15: Me, My Shelf and I, Review
Wednesday, March 16: Novel Novice, Review
Thursday, March 17: Lili's Reflections, Review
Friday, March 18: A Reader of Fictions, Author "Don't Miss" in Nashville Guest Post