Friday, August 31, 2012

Review: Silver by Talia Vance

Silver (Bandia, #1)
Silver by Talia Vance

Released-Sept 8th 2012
Purchase-Amazon / B&N / Chapters

"As I step into the room, a silver flash blurs my vision. Before I can take a breath, the world falls away."
Brianna has always felt invisible. People stare right past her, including the one boy she can't resist, Blake Williams. But everything changes at a house party where Brianna's charm bracelet slips off and time stands still. In that one frozen, silver moment, Blake not only sees her, he recognizes something deep inside her she's been hiding even from herself.
Discovering she is descended from Danu, the legendary Bandia of Celtic myth, Brianna finds herself questioning the truth of who she is. And when she accidentally binds her soul to Blake, their mutual attraction becomes undeniable.
But Blake has his own secret, one that could prove deadly for them both.
Bound together by forbidden magic, Brianna and Blake find themselves at the heart of an ancient feud that threatens to destroy their lives and their love.
My Thoughts:
Brianna has always been invisible. The kind of girl who fades into the background at parties while her friends work the floor. This isn't anything new. Acceptable but still disappointing all the same.
But things are different when Brianna and her friends goes to this party. There Brianna was, quietly pining over an old obsession while he flirts with her best friend, but this is normal she reminds herself,  it doesn't matter that he doesn't notice her, no matter how much Blake effects her. When a guy bumps into her and causes her silver bracelet to come undone, it's like a flip has been switched. Not only does Blake take notice (in a very eerie way) but so does everyone else....

First off, I really did enjoy what Silver had to offer. A wondrous escape. This has all the things I love in my reads. A well thought out mythology, great writing, a mysterious story line, intriguing characters and a love story denied and dangerous.

Talia Vance's writing is very bold and brave, I love that she doesn't shy away from some of the racier scenes and I love what she did with this particular Celtic mythology. That was my favorite part. It's unique and exciting and filled with so much history, mystery and suspense. I'd be lying if I said that I understood everything, but once the story started to play out it was easier to connect the plot with the roles of each character. 

My real issue sadly deals with most of the cast. I didn't really care for Brianna's friends. I thought they were snobby and self centered. Her parents are okay but her dad seems to be the bigger supporter.
But my biggest problem were these boys. They really make the reader work for their affections.The constant push/pull dance was extremely frustrating but fascinating at the same time. Austin was pretty much a giant question mark the minute we meet him. He says and does all the right things, but I found myself questioning his true motives. Good or bad? There was just something about him that felt off. Even after the story is done, I still don't know how to feel about him.
And as for Blake? Man, this guy just killed me. He's one of those swoon worthy bad boy players that you really have high hopes for.
But the way he treats Brianna made me so flppin' dizzy. He wants her but then pushes her away in the same breath. I get the why's of it all considering the lore around them, but still. It took everything in me not to throw my computer out the window. 
The relationship was very conflicting, complicated and consuming. It was so madding and almost twisted the way he'd compliment her but then shoot it down in the same sentence. Every intention felt like it was laced with a hidden meaning and the mind games went on and on till almost the end of the book. But when push comes to shove I still couldn't stop reading. It was crazy addicting.
Brianna was the only character that was easy  to connect with. She's shy and sweet, but I loved seeing a different side to her. The confidence side making her shine with brilliance and beauty.  

With that said, this still turned out to be decent read. It's entertaining and intoxicating from start to finish. I loved the concept and I adored this myth. The powers was exhilaration to witness and it was fun trying to keep up with these characters. I may not have loved this the way I wanted to, but it was still promising enough to provoke strong emotions and made me curious enough to want to know what happens next.  

Find the author:

                                                                        3.5 Snowflakes 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Review: The City's Son by Tom Pollock

The City's Son (The Skyscraper Throne, #1)The City's Son by Tom Pollock
Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books
Release date: August 2, 2012
Purchase: Amazon / Barnes and Noble
Running from her traitorous best friend and her estranged father, graffiti artist Beth Bradley is looking for sanctuary. What she finds is Urchin, the ragged and cocky crown prince of London’s mystical underworld. Urchin opens Beth’s eyes to the city she’s never truly seen-where vast spiders crawl telephone wires seeking voices to steal, railwraiths escape their tethers, and statues conceal an ancient priesthood robed in bronze.

But it all teeters on the brink of destruction. Amid rumors that Urchin’s goddess mother will soon return from her 15-year exile, Reach, a malign god of urban decay, wants the young prince dead. Helping Urchin raise an alleyway army to reclaim his skyscraper throne, Beth soon forgets her old life. But when her best friend is captured, Beth must choose between this wondrous existence and the life she left behind.

My Thoughts:
Having been completely taken aback and confused by this storyline, that didn’t stop The City’s Son from still creeping me out. All I have to say is “What just happened!?!”  As far as the creep-factor, I can't quite put my finger on why I felt this way. I do know I was thoroughly confused and perplexed for most of the book, you’ll see why later. However,  I have no doubt that the next installments are going to involve an epic showdown.  But unfortunately, since this book wasn’t quite for me, I’ll have to rely on other steampunk fan reviews to see how this all plays out. The journey stops here for me and let me explain why.

Seeing as I have no clue what really happened in this book, my summary is going to be very short.  There are two characters Fil and Beth who meet by chance and both needing help in different ways.  They team up together to stop Reach from taking the city. See quite simple, but the story is so so far from that.  You have weird spider thingies, and glass bulb thingies, and a person that has to recreate themselves from garbage everyday and that is just what you learn in the first few pages. My brain hurt from trying to decipher what was what in this highly detailed steampunkish novel.  I can usually stretch my imagination pretty far but I just couldn't grasp what was going on.  I can't say that I didn't like this because it did capture my attention, but what I liked got so jumbled up with all the detailing of the world that I lost it.  I think the overall story is a good one, with Fil trying to recapture his city before his tyrant of a mother returns to invoke her wrath upon all who betrayed her. See sounds good right??  I enjoyed Beth's side of the story also.  She had to grow up very early when her Dad checked out on her after her mothers death and she shows a lot of strength while standing by Fil's side.  I just again couldn't focus on her because of all the craziness.

My low rating is not because The City's Son is a bad read it is because it just didn't work for me.  I think this book requires a certain type of mindset and I don't think my imagination can be stretched that far.  So if you are looking for a very unique world this is the book for you. I think the world here is very amazing and beautiful so please give it a shot and if you do read it please let me know what exactly those spider thingies look like!

2.5 Snowflakes
Find the Author:
Blog / Goodreads 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday, #9

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

Quintana of Charyn (Lumatere Chronicles #3) by Melina Marchetta
Publication Date Australia: September 26, 2012
Publisher: Viking Australia
Publication Date US: March 12, 2013

Quintana of Charyn is the spine-tingling and unforgettable final volume in the Lumatere Chronicles, which began with Finnikin of the Rock and Froi of the Exiles. An achingly satisfying and masterfully plotted novel from the pen of internationally best-selling and multi-award-winning author Melina Marchetta.

Separated from the girl he loves and has sworn to protect, Froi and his companions travel through Charyn searching for Quintana and building an army that will secure her unborn child's right to rule. While in the valley between two kingdoms, Quintana of Charyn and Isaboe of Lumatere come face to face in a showdown that will result in heartbreak for one and power for the other.
Quintana of Charyn is the third and I believe final installment of the Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta. To call myself a huge fan of this author is probably the biggest understatement of the year. I truly believe the woman does NOT have the ability to disappoint when she puts her pen to paper. I’ve love her contemporary novels with a passion and her fantasy books are just about the epitome of brilliance.
To give you an idea of how badly I want to get my hands on this book, I’ve actually contacted an Aussie bookstore and offered to pay premium shipping prices to ship me a book to the US because having to wait until March 2013 will probably just about send me to my grave. I’m so excited to read this book and re-visit with some of my favorite characters in the hopes they find everything their hearts desire. I.JUST.CAN’T.WAIT!! I’m truly jumping in my seat with anticipation!!
If you've never heard of this series and would like to hear what Melina Marchetta has to say about her Lumatere Chronicles, check out this YouTube trailer. Enjoy!
So, what book are you waiting on?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Review: Defy the Stars by Stephanie Parent

Defy the StarsDefy the Stars by Stephanie Parent
Release Date: August 1, 2012
Purchase: Amazon
Julia Cape: A dedicated classical piano student just trying to get through her last semester of high school while waiting to hear from music conservatories.

Reed MacAllister: A slacker more likely to be found by the stoners’ tree than in class.

Julia and Reed might have graduated high school without ever speaking to each other…until, during a class discussion of Romeo and Juliet, Julia scoffs at the play’s theme of love at first sight, and Reed responds by arguing that feelings don’t always have to make sense. Julia tries to shake off Reed’s comment and forget about this boy who hangs with the stoner crowd—and who happens to have breathtaking blue eyes—but fate seems to bring the two together again and again. After they share an impulsive, passionate kiss, neither one can deny the chemistry between them. Yet as Julia gets closer to Reed, she also finds herself drawn into his dark world of drugs and violence. Then a horrific tragedy forces Julia’s and Reed’s families even farther apart…and Julia must decide whether she’s willing to give up everything for love.

Defy the Stars is written in an edgy free-verse style that will appeal to fans of Ellen Hopkins and Lisa Schroeder; however, the writing is accessible enough to speak to non-verse fans as well. The novel’s combination of steamy romance and raw emotion will appeal to fans of Gayle Forman, Simone Elkeles, Jennifer Echols, and Tammara Webber. With a story, language and form that both pay homage to and subvert Shakespeare’s play, Defy the Stars is much more than just another Romeo and Juliet story.

My thoughts:
What starts out as a simple love story between two people from two different worlds, turns out to be so much more complicated and tragic that my heart still hurts.

Julia simply put is your average student just trying to survive high school and eventually go off to college where she can practice her music.  She feels like no one understands her even her parents and she knows that life will be so much better when she can just be around other music people like herself.  With pressure from her friends, she decides to go out on a date with Perry, the guy her parents desperately want her to be with.  Well when things don't go as planned and Mr.Perry gets a little to grabby she runs away and in the process runs smack dab into Reed, the guy she never knew she wanted until he looked at her with his bright blue eyes.  Reed is everything her parents don't want for her, guy from the wrong side of the tracks, brother possibly into illegal stuff, and just no hope for a future.  Julia knows Reed isn't perfect, but she loves him anyway and knows in her heart that she can save this boy from himself.

What an emotional story. I think Stephanie Parent did an amazing job at showing that not all teenage love is perfect.  What Julia and Reed go through is totally heartbreaking.  It was real and tragic and just so moving.  I really appreciate the author taking her time with this book,  I felt like having it in verse definitely helped pace things so we only get the most important parts of the story.  I loved getting to know these two characters flaws and all.  I only wish that a particular character would have listened and waited.  I know that is cryptic but I can't say anymore as it will give too much away.

A great debut from what I hope is a long career for Ms.Parent. I will definitely be on the look out for her next novel.

Find the author:
Blog / Goodreads
3 Snowflakes

Sunday, August 26, 2012

500 FollowerPalooza!!

Wow! To say it's been an amazing few months is a huge understatement!  We've had an absolute awesome time here at WinterHaven meeting new bloggers, book friends, and authors this summer. We can't believe how quickly we've reached 500 followers because we've been so busy having a great time with everyone!  So thank you!  Thanks for helping us grow this blog, for chatting with us and most importantly for posting great ideas and suggestions to make WinterHaven more fun and exciting.

One of the many things we'd like to show our appreciation for is helping us with WinterHaven Corner.  We loved the suggestions and comments you've given us, so please keep them coming.  We plan to grow that page based on what our followers tell us they'd like to see.  EXCITEMENT!  Remember, we have a contest going on for WinterHaven Corner so visit our Giveaways Page for details before September 10, 2012.

Soooo back to the party... in the spirit of celebrating our WinerHaven Corner and thanking our awesome 500 followers , we're offering a giveaway centerd around our favorite winter things.  Grab your snow gear and get ready to party at our 500 FollowerPalooza!

One lucky follower will win a WinterHaven Prize Pack that includes:
1 book of their choice from our Winter themed books section
1 book of their choice from either our books with winter in the title or our follower favorites section
1 CD of their choice from the playlist section (Sorry I have to exclude Alien for Christmas by Fountains of Wayne, I can't find the CD)
US $10 Starbucks gift card to sample our favorite drinks

Woohoo!  All you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form below and leave us a comment letting us know which books, CD, or drink you are looking forward to the most!

Good luck!

Aussie Book Review & Give-away: Guitar Highway Rose by Brigid Lowry

Guitar Highway Rose by Brigid Lowry
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: January 24, 2006

Popular and smart, fifteen-year-old Rosie Moon is the quintessential good girl. She also wishes she could be someone else for a while, someone more interesting. Asher Fielding is the mysterious new boy at school who has dreadlocks and a love of Jim Morrison. On the first day of tenth grade, Rosie develops a crush on Asher, and when the two pair up for a poetry assignment they quickly form a bond. When Asher is falsely accused of stealing a wallet at school, he and Rosie decide to escape it all--their families, their school, their ordinary town--and hitchhike up the Australian coast. They know they shouldn't, and that is exactly why they do. Part road story, part love story, Guitar Highway Rose is a thrilling ride for anyone who has ever dreamed about escaping everyday life, even just for a little while.

Quote: "Some ideas are not born of logic and good sense. They are made of clouds and cobwebs. They sprout from nowhere and feed on excitement, sprinkled with adventure-juice and the sweet flavor of the forbidden. The psyche moves from the realms of the ordinary and takes a delicate step towards the territory of the unknown. We know that we shouldn’t and that is exactly why we do."

Wow! How beautiful is that?

My Thoughts:
Guitar Highway Rose is filled with amazing thoughtful passages, enlightening Aussie lingo, and precise descriptions of the landscape in Australia that makes you feel part of the setting and the story. The writing style is light and very much unique as it allows glimpses into the lives of Rosie, Asher and their families during a time a transition and adjustment.

In this story, Asher comes to a new town and school in the aftermath of his parents’ separation. He’s had to leave his friends and father to try and make a new life in Perth with his mom. There he meets Rosie who not only develops a crush on him, but stands by him when he’s falsely accused of stealing a wallet at school. Rosie’s life isn’t much better. Her parents are fighting quite a bit and her relationship with her mom is strained and full of tension. Together, Rosie and Ash form a plan to take a small “time-out” from their lives and go on a road trip that ultimately leads to a lasting friendship.

Guitar Highway Rose was nothing short of what I expected from this genre of Australian YA Contemporary. I fell for the characters immediately as they shared their raw feelings with no remorse. There were moments in the story where my emotions jolted and that just proved how much I came to care for the characters in this story. From beginning to end, I was vested in this wonderful story.

Another beautiful example of the brilliance Australia has to offer . Brigid Lowry holds a firm spot among her talent pool. Loved it!

4 Snowflakes
WinterHaven Books is giving away a copy of Guitar Highway Rose to one lucky follower. Just fill out the rafflecopter and tell us if you've had a chance to read an Aussie book. Good luck!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Blog Tour: Inbetween by Tara Fuller (Review & Give-away)

Today WinterHaven Books has the opportunity to review Inbetween by Tara Fuller hosted by Shane at Itching for Books. Thank you IfB for allowing us to participate!

Inbetween by Tara Fuller
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: August 28, 2012
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Since the car crash that took her father’s life two years ago, Emma’s life has been a freaky—and unending—lesson in caution. Surviving “accidents” has taken priority over being a normal seventeen-year-old, so Emma spends her days taking pictures of life instead of living it. Falling in love with a boy was never part of the plan. Falling for a reaper who makes her chest ache and her head spin? Not an option.

It’s not easy being dead especially for a reaper in love with a girl fate has put on his list not once, but twice. Finn’s fellow reapers give him hell about spending time with Emma, but Finn couldn’t let her die before, and he’s not about to let her die now. He will protect the girl he loves from the evil he accidentally unleashed, even if it means sacrificing the only thing he has left...his soul.
My Thoughts:
Book Quote: "They say the dead can’t sleep, can’t dream. But as I stood there lost with wanting, I couldn’t help but wonder when I was going to wake up.” 

Wow! What a pleasant surprise and huge shocker considering I’ve never thought to pick up a book about reapers. So glad I was invited on this blog tour because I truly enjoyed Inbetween by Tara Fuller. 

Never have I thought I’d fall this hard for a reaper. I mean how can you drool or squee over a guy that wields a scythe and transports souls to their next destination point? What’s intriguing about that? HA! Well, leave it to Tara Fuller to create a unique cast of characters and a well paced storyline that had me hooked from the prologue all the way to the last page. I mean, I was so engrossed in the story that when I stumbled from one sentence to the “Acknowledgements” I was like NOOOOO!! Not because there was a painful cliffy, don’t get me wrong I want more, but I was really drawn into Fuller’s storytelling. Well done!

So let me tell you a little bit about this book. Inbetween introduces us to four reapers - Scout, Easton, Anaya and Finn. Their job is to transport fallen souls to their next stopping ground which can be Heaven, Hell or somewhere Inbetween. For the last two years, Finn has gone against the rules of his role and risked his existence to protect a girl’s soul from an evil reaper named Maeve. See these three souls all met once before where Finn made a decision that determined Emma’s fate and earned her an enemy from the Inbetween. So when Maeve exacts her revenge on Finn through Emma, he and his band of reapers combine forces to set things right. 

Overall, I loved how Fuller paced her novel. There were so many layers to this story that she developed and executed with precision. It never felt rushed, but when secrets were revealed and actions were set in motion, it was like being glued to a movie where I was left sitting at the edge of my seat. 

Also, I have to give credit where credit is due. Tara Fuller might incorporate the concepts of Heaven, Hell and the Inbetween, but there’s nothing religious or philosophical about her setting. In fact, it’s merely that – a place to execute her plot. No hidden agendas or personal opinions – just straight up storytelling with her own unique element of awesome. 

I can’t wait to read her next book where we hopefully get to see what happens with Cash as he recovers from his own encounter with the reapers. He surely wasn’t left unscathed and I’m eager to see how it all plays out. 

So, if you’re looking for something different coupled with a layer of splendid, give Inbetween by Tara Fuller a try. You won’t regret it.
5 Snowflakes

Inbetween YouTube Book Trailer

About the Author: Tara Fuller

Tara Fuller writes novels; some about grim reapers and some about witches. All of course are delightfully full of teen angst and kissing.  Tara grew up in a one stoplight town of Oklahoma where once upon a time she stayed up with a flashlight reading RL Stine novels and only dreamed of becoming a writer. She has a slight obession with music and a shameless addiction for zombie fiction, Mystery Science Theater, and black and white mochas. Tara no longer lives in a one stoplight town. Now she lives with her family in a slightly larger town of North Carolina where tehy have at least three stoplights.

Follow this author: | @Tara25Fuller

Book Give-away!
A signed copy of Inbetween by Tara Fuller is being given away by Itching for Books. The give-away ends August 27, 2012 and the terms and conditions are listed in Rafflecopter. Please note, it is the blog tour owner's responsibility to ensure that the winner gets their book, not WinterHaven Books. Thank you and good luck!
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Stacking the Shelves (9)

A weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews, that features the books we bought, borrowed, were gifted, and were given for review in the mail.   
I am just in shock that August is almost over!  We have read some amazing books this summer and have gotten so many that were on our must have list!  This week is no exception.  We are beaming over all the books we received this week and can't wait to share them all with you =)  So here we go!  (Clicking on each picture will take you to Goodreads =))

The Dark Unwinding Death and the Girl Next Door (Darklight, #1) Crewel (Crewel World, #1) 
 Eve and Adam MORE
For review:
The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron
Death and the Girl Next Door by Darynda Jones
Crewel by Gennifer Albin
Eve and Adam by Katherine Applegate & Michael Grant
More by T.M. Franklin

Sanctum (Guards of the Shadowlands, #1)
Blog Tour:
Sanctum by Sarah Fine (Big HUGS to Alexa from Collections!)

Blind Spot The Shadow Society
Amazon Vine:
Blind Spot by Laura Ellen
The Shadow Society by Marie Rutkoski

The Rise of Nine (Lorien Legacies, #3) Starling (Starling, #1) False Memory (False Memory, #1)
The Rise of Nine by Pittacus Lore
Starling by Lesley Livingston
False Memory by Dan Krokos

*Special thanks to Scholastic, Netgalley, Fiewel & Friends, Macmillan, TWCS Publishing House, St.Martins Press,       Farrar, Straus, & Giroux (BYR), and Alexa from Collections*

That's it for us this week!  Leave us a comment and let us know what pretties you grabbed this week!

Review and Giveaway: You Against Me by Jenny Downham

You Against Me
You Against Me by Jenny Downham
Publisher-David Fickling 
Release date-Dec 2nd 2010
Purchase-Amazon / B & N

If someone hurts your sister and you're any kind of man, you seek revenge, right? If your brother's been accused of a terrible crime and you're the main witness, then you banish all doubt and defend him. Isn't that what families do? When Mikey's sister claims a boy assaulted her at a party, his world of work and girls begins to fall apart. When Ellie's brother is charged with the crime, but says he didn't do it, her world of revision, exams and fitting in at a new school begins to unravel. When Mikey and Ellie meet, two worlds collide. Brave and unflinching, this is a novel of extraordinary skillfulness and almost unbearable tension. It's a book about loyalty and the choices that come with it. But above all it's a book about love - for one's family and for another.
My Thoughts
This issue alone would usually have me steer clear of a book like this. I'm a paranormal junkie and the occasional contemporary romance YA reader, but when it comes to serious issues I tend to stay away...I guess I like reading escape more then reality, but once in awhile a book comes along and you read the reviews and my curiosity seems to get the better of me. You Against Me is one of those books and I'm so glad I took the chance on this one since I would have missed out on a really great read.

You Against Me is a story of pure complications. It's about a girl named Karyn who went to a party and is a victim of rape. Her brother Mikey, the has-to-be-responsible one in the family wants revenge on Tom, the one who did this to Karyn. But somewhere along the way Mikey falls for Tom's sister, Ellie. Someone who knows what actually happened... 
That's a pretty messy situation huh? 

Jenny Downham did an amazing job of tackling this kind of issue. It's true that a lot of the time rape is a very hard to prove and there is a lot of he said/she said with dangling doubts in the background. But there is more to this story. We get to see what it's like for the other people involved, the families and how it effects their lives and the choices they make. It's about loyalty and right and wrong no matter how much you hate it. But it's also a story about finding love where you least expect it. 

I didn't think a romance would be something that would fit in a story like this. It's so unlikely that the brother of the victim and the sister of the assaulter would come together like they did, but you know, it worked. I really enjoyed Mikey and Ellie. They are both going through their own personal hell, and yet, they don't want the other going through this pain, but by all rights, should want exactly that. They understand one another and no matter how problematic their relationship or involvement may seem, it makes more sense for them to be together then apart. It's not something easily conveyed, but Downham did a very convincing job by combining an intricate issue with heartfelt hope. 

Overall, I was very impress with this book. We don't get all the answers in the end, but in a way I'm glad. I don't really know how I'd feel one way or the other regarding Tom but I think everything will be alright for the rest of the characters and that's good enough for me.

Thought provoking, intriguing and tugs at the heart. 
Highly recommended!    

Find the author:

                                                                   4 Snowflakes 

Book Give-away!
We're offering one lucky follower a copy of this book. Just fill out the rafflecopter and good luck!

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