Sunday, March 31, 2013

Author Spotlight (Review & Giveaway) Tabitha Suzuma author of Forbidden

Today we are EXTREMELY excited to have Tabitha Suzuma author of Forbidden visit us here at WinterHaven Books. 

We have so much to share with you, including two reviews of her amazing book Forbidden, an author interview, a sneak peak at her newest novel Hurt (coming soon), AND a SIGNED BOOK GIVEAWAY that Ms. Suzuma was gracious enough to offer to three commenters of her choice. Enjoy!!
Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma
Published: May 27, 2010
Publisher: Definitions
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository

Arlene's Thoughts
As an avid reader you come across dozens and dozens of books hoping the next one you pick up will either move you to uncontrollable tears, challenge your belief system, take you on an emotional rollercoaster, show you love, make you feel hate, sigh with happiness, leave you with a sense of longing, or simply just close the book when you're done and say to yourseslf "wow, that was absolute perfection." This book didn't just do one of those, it did ALL of the above and then some.

For those that know me, they can attest to the hard fact that I don't cry over books...ever. Well, I can no longer claim that fame. My eyes were watery hours after I sat down to write my review. I was truly exhausted emotionally and psychologically after reading this book and all I could think of was torturing myself by starting at page one all over again and reading through this masterpiece from the beginning to end. Angst to the 10th degree... BY FAR!

I don't think I'll ever…EVER… forget this book or Lochan and Maya for that matter. The content shocked me but the writing and delivery left me in awe. I truly believe not just any author could have taken this taboo subject and delivered it with such flawless execution that you begin to root for the main characters as they make choices and feel emotions that are so NOT socially, or legally, acceptable.

Forbidden takes the reader into the lives of Lochan and Maya Whitely. They are two teenage brother and sister forced to care for a family of five when the father exits their life and the worst mother in the entire world abandons them. Together they raise Kit, Tiffin and Willa, and do their best to keep their family together despite ongoing challenges and struggles. Lochan and Maya cry together, comfort each other, and see one another's vulnerable side, but unfortunately, they also share a burden inexplicable to the outside world. Their burden is a love so strong that it crosses boundaries society deems unacceptable as it goes deeper than sibling affection.

I despised the loser mother of this book with such a passion, and that just propelled my level of compassion for Lochan and Maya. My heart broke for the smaller children as they learned too early that for some... life just isn't fair. For Lochan and Maya, I was in constant angst as the logical side of my brain wanted to counsel them and tell them, ", guys you can't do that. it's not right." But at the same time, the emotional side of my brain was thinking, "oh thank gawd they have each other. what they are doing isn't wrong." Then I'd stand back and think WTF did I just say? My mental babble… or rather battle was constant and the conflict I felt was emotionally charged to a level I wasn't prepared for, especially the ending. But to be honest with myself, I wanted them to love each other the way that felt natural to them… so yes, at the end of the day… I rooted them on. There you have it. To anyone that feels this is disgusting, I challenge you to read this book because believe me, it's insane to feel or see yourself seamlessly accepting and rooting for two people as they cross that forbidden boundary.

I don’t know what else to say but that I don't regret reading this book one bit and I certainly don't feel guilty about my feelings for the main characters and their choices. I absolutely love and slightly curse this book for how and what it made me feel and I know for certainty that I'll read it over again… and again… and again.. Absolutely AMAZING!!!
5 Snowflakes
Crystal's Thoughts:
My heart hurts. I am in such a state of shock and turmoil right now that honestly I don't know what to do. My brain keeps trying to convince me that this was only a book nothing more, the characters are pure fiction. My heart though has been completely ripped out and I know to the core of my being that these were not just characters. This work of art is so much more than just a book and I know that I will never recover from the devastation that has taken place.

The story told in Forbidden is actually quite simple. Lochan and Maya, both being the oldest out of their family of four, take on the responsibilities of being caretakers to their younger siblings after their mother pretty much deserts them for her own selfish reasons. These two do everything just like normal parents would, but with the added pressure of making sure no one finds out their mother is gone so that they can stay together as a family. See very simple, but when you throw in emotions things get way more complicated. Lochan and Maya start down a very slippery slope when they realize that they each have certain feelings for each other and when the pressure gets to be to much and emotions are high the unthinkable happens. They know that they have to be careful or else their family will be ripped apart but what do you do when all you want is that one person and have to hide? You find a way and that is what they do, they chance it all and things get messy.

I just don't even know what to say except that I am so broken from this book. I knew going into this book that it was going to be an emotional ride but I never expected what I read. Lochan was just so broken the entire book. I cried my eyes out for him and what he had to endure both in school and with his family. I knew in the beginning that he would rip out my heart and he did. Maya was stronger in my opinion and I wasn't as worried about her until the end. I was literally screaming at her throughout the last chapter and I have to believe in my heart that she chose to do the right thing. If I imagine the worst then I don't know if I will ever pick up another book again because my heart won't be able to take another heartache.

We as readers always find at least one book that sticks with us. I have a few that I know I will never forget no matter how much I try or how much I wish I could take away the pain of remembering and Forbidden is at the top of my short list. I was completely devastated after reading Outlander and while that book is VERY different from this one it still left me in quite a state and I never thought I would find another book that would basically kill me, but Forbidden has done that and so much more. Forbidden was beautiful, crazy, intense, powerful, shocking, and heart wrenching. Every reader needs to find a book that grabs them and never lets go so if you haven't found one or if you want another one to add to your unforgettable list then please pick this one up. The only thing I regret is that I didn't pick this book up sooner.
5 Snowflakes
Author Interview
Thank you Tabitha for visiting us at WinterHaven. As you probably know by now, Crystal, Tina and I have all read and loved your powerful and poignant novel Forbidden. But, for those who might not have had the chance to read this book yet, can you please give us the nutshell version of how you describe this story?

Forbidden is a tragic love story. The main protagonists are seventeen-year-old Lochan and sixteen-year-old Maya. They have been best friends since childhood, have always loved each other deeply, and then one day realize they have fallen deeply in love with each other. But their love is an impossible one; a love that would be rejected by everyone the world over for the rest of their lives. It is the kind of love that provokes feelings of disgust, horror, and hatred in others. It is banned, it is forbidden, it is even illegal. Because they are brother and sister.

The book shows how a sibling love, in exceptional circumstances, can turn into romantic love. At the beginning of the book Lochan and Maya are more like best friends. They love each other and care for each other like siblings, but they share an even deeper bond because of their family circumstances. They are the eldest of five children: Kit (13), Tiffin (8) and Willa (5). Their father left them when they were young and has had no contact with them since. Their mother is an alcoholic who has never really grown up: she sleeps all day and goes out drinking with her new boyfriend all night. As a result, Lochan and Maya have had to take on the role of parents to their three younger siblings: cooking for them, taking them to school, caring for them when they are sick, washing their clothes, bathing them, putting them to bed, breaking up arguments and trying to get by on money they have to beg their own mother to give them. They have no life of their own, can't go out like other teenagers, and have to keep their situation a secret for fear that Social Services will find out and take them into care. As a result, they are loners at school: Maya has just one friend who doesn't fully understand, and Lochan suffers from such acute shyness, it prevents him from even being able to answer questions in class. They are loners, except for when they are together, and as their domestic situation worsens, they turn to each other for comfort, and eventually fall in love. At first they fight against it, horrified with themselves and ashamed - but the more they fight it, the stronger their love grows until they are forced to accept it and develop a relationship that they have to keep secret from the entire world.

I’ve read very few novels that revolve around the taboo and sensitive subject you chose for Forbidden. So I’m curious, what inspired you to write Lochan and Maya Whitely’s story?

I decided that I wanted my next book to be a love story – a tragic love story: star-crossed lovers who had to fight against the world to be together but were ultimately torn apart. I wanted to write a modern-day Romeo and Juliet, and I tried to think of a situation that would force two lovers apart despite their every effort to stay together. I had one basic stipulation – that the book had to be set in contemporary Britain . . . But therein lay my problem: what situation would totally and absolutely prevent two people in love from being together? Religion, culture, age-difference, teacher–pupil all crossed my mind, but as my protagonists needed to be older teens in order for their love to be taken seriously, there was always the option of eloping, running away from families or a community that condemned their relationship. I had to come up with something stronger. I had to think of something that would be universally condemned. So it was by a process of elimination that I ended up with incest: the last taboo, something that would never be accepted by the outside world; something that instantly provokes in people such strong feelings of disgust. We are biologically wired to react strongly against the mere idea of being romantically and sexually involved with a sibling or any close family member. For good reason of course: interbreeding usually produces deformities in anyoffspring. So our reaction is Darwinian and innate. But, like a mental illness, things can go wrong – biologically or circumstantially or both.

About a year earlier I had toyed with the idea of writing a book about child carers, having been one myself. Young people can be forced to become carers when a parent becomes sick or disabled, or are neglected by their parents to the point where they have to fend for themselves and their younger siblings at the most basic level. This latter scenario was the one that struck a chord in me. Growing up as the eldest of five with an abusive father and an overworked mother, I always had difficulty making friends at school, instead turning to my sister. Our relationship was extremely close – we had our own secret language and confided only in each other. When my youngest sibling was born – a brother, fourteen years my junior – I happily took over the role of main carer. I left school the week he was born, and from then on did the school run and the morning and bedtime routines – recognizing his extraordinary musical talent when he was only a few months old and teaching him the piano. I thought of him as my son; I wanted him to be my son. I even changed his name!

I realized that here were circumstances exceptional enough to feed an incestuous relationship – and the story of a carer to younger siblings was the most natural and easiest for me to write. With two teenage carers sharing the responsibility of parents, I could see how they might come to love and support and depend on each other in a way that the average brother and sister do not – the absence of parental love and the huge demands and responsibilities placed upon them pulling them close. In these circumstances they might seek comfort in each other, becoming isolated from the outside world and sharing a difficult and stressful existence that only they could understand, ultimately drawing them together into an inevitable but doomed romantic relationship.

Considering the sensitivity of the novel, did you experience any issues with having your book published?

At first I was too afraid to tell anyone about my idea, so I started writing it in secret. About two chapters in, though, I lost confidence, thinking that a story about consensual sibling incest could never be accepted for publication. So I gave it up and began looking for new ideas. But a few weeks later, I was at my editor's house for a social call, as we had become good friends, and she asked me whether I had a new book in mind. I told her no, but then I added that I'd 'stupidly' thought of writing a love story between a brother and sister, before realizing it could never get published. To my great surprise, my editor's eyes lit up. She didn't say much more, but then a few days later, I got a call from my agent saying that my publishers, Random House, wanted to commission me to write the book! It was my very first commissioned book, and I wasn't even sure I could write it, but without even having to produce a synopsis, my publishers were so excited that they were willing to pay me then and there to write the book.

What has been the reaction from your readers?

The reaction has been stupendous. Wonderful but quite overwhelming. Forbidden was not just published here in the UK, but also in the US, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Greece and Thailand. There is currently an online campaign set up by Latin American readers to have the book published in Spanish. I receive messages daily not just from teenagers but also from adults all around the world. I've been to award ceremonies in Germany and Italy and had to give speeches in both languages which I can barely speak! It's definitely not a book for young teens and carries a warning label, but adults right up into their seventies have contacted me to say how much the book moved them. So many people have told me that they picked up the book out of morbid curiosity and were shocked by the topic, reading it while expecting to hate it, but that soon after they started, they found themselves rooting for Lochan and Maya and desperately wanted them to find some way to stay together and have a happy ending. Many readers have got very emotional, writing me long emails about how the book changed their outlook on the topic of consensual incest as well as love in general, and begging me to write a sequel, or an alternative, happy-ever-after ending. I had braced myself for some angry or negative reviews but received almost none. The reaction has been incredible.

There's so much that happens in Forbidden that pulls at the reader’s emotional strings. I can tell you that when Lochan made a significant decision at the end of the novel, I have never cried so hard in my entire reading experience. We’re talking ugly face crying! What was your reaction as you were writing this particular scene? How many boxes of tissues did you go through?

It's a book that seems to make everyone cry! I actually found the ending almost unbearably painful to write. I was teaching during the day, so only had time to write at night, and during those final chapters I would have to keep taking breaks because I was crying so hard I couldn't see what I was writing! I remember pacing up and down the room just sobbing, or going for long walks at 4am with tears running down my cheeks. I invested so much in those characters that in my mind they became real, and I felt I was experiencing their every emotion. I completely fell in love with Lochan and Maya and it was as if I had become a part of them and was living their story. I actually ended up having a breakdown after finishing the book. I had been writing every night so intensively, getting very little sleep and I was depressed, burnt out, and emotionally and physically exhausted.

What do you hope readers will come to appreciate about your main characters, Maya and Lochan?

I hope readers will come to love them, the way I did. I hope readers will have the empathy to imagine being in Maya and Lochan's situation: so isolated, so afraid, with the weight of so much responsibility on their young shoulders. I hope they will find a way of understanding why they fell in love, realize how incredibly brave and selfless they were, and how they sacrificed everything for each other and for their family. I hope they will come to see what caring, passionate people they were, and finally I hope they will admire them for their bravery, their strength, their love and their sacrifices.

Lastly, your newest novel Hurt will be hitting the shelves on September 5, 2013! Can you share a teaser quote or scene for your fans anxiously awaiting this novel?

Sure. There are several on my website: including some audio recordings, but here is a brand new one:

‘I’m scared – ’ The words come out of their own accord, bypassing the filter in Mathéo's brain. He presses his hand down against his eyes to avoid seeing Lola's expression. There is a long silence. She lets the pause sit and then grow. He knows she is struggling to make sense of the word, of his erratic behavior. She is trying to understand.
‘Of diving?’
‘No – !’
He senses her shock through the air-conditioned, sterile air between them. Her shock and then a new emotion – a fear of her own. ‘Of what, Mattie?’
‘Of – of – ’ He fills his lungs, then empties them slowly in an attempt to force himself into a state of calm. ‘Of remembering – ’
‘Remembering what?’
‘Something terrible.’ He closes his eyes. ‘It was a nightmare, I was sure it was a nightmare. Or maybe I just really wanted to believe it was a nightmare. But then, when I was counting myself in to the dive, I began to remember, it all started coming back – ’
‘The nightmare?’ Worry and confusion sounds in Lola’s voice. ‘Or the thing you thought was a nightmare? What on earth happened that night, sweetheart?’
An image flashes through his brain. A body, just slightly out of focus. The crack of his own fist meeting bone. And blood, lots of blood . . .
He forces himself to open his eyes, forces himself to look at her. ‘I’m scared of losing you . . . ’ His tone rises. He holds his breath. Articulating the words seems to somehow magnify their power so that they take on a whole new meaning of their own. It’s almost as if he has foretold the future, cursed them both with a prophesy that cannot ever be unsaid, cannot ever be undone.
‘Why?’ A breath. She pauses as if to gather her thoughts. Strokes his hair rhythmically, gazing out of the darkened window at the distant lights of the city. Mathéo takes a deep breath, trying to steady his breathing. The morphine is acting like some kind of truth serum, of that he feels sure. The pain in his head and the shock of the fall off the diving board has skewed his thought process, knocked down his defenses, and he no longer feels in control, either of his emotions or of the words coming out of his mouth. A different type of fear begins to grip him – the one that he might fall apart completely, right here, right now in this hospital bed, and tell Lola everything. Everything his brain spewed out from the darkest recesses of his mind as he stood atop that damn diving board. Ruin their relationship with just one sentence, shatter her image of him in the space of a second, destroy every memory, every kiss, every secret, every shared moment of intimacy, every good thing that has happened between them from the moment they first met.
Her voice, oddly disembodied in the gathering gloom, propels him out from the vortex of his mind. ‘Did you – did you do something really terrible that night?’ It is barely phrased as a question, much less an accusation; it is simply the agonized gasp of someone searching for some kind of explanation.
He feels himself go completely cold, cold and then numb, as if his body were suddenly sucked dry of all substance, of all feeling, of all emotion. For one insane moment, he thinks he is going to tell her: absolve himself of all this guilt, clear his conscience and free himself from the weight of this hellish, secret albatross. But then he imagines life without Lola: the guilt still present, but not just his life in tatters, hers as well. He imagines never seeing her again: that vibrant, expressive face, that mischievous smile. The way she bites the tip of her tongue when she is teasing, the way she rubs her finger against her lip when she is worried. He imagines never again seeing the spark of mischief in those gold-flecked eyes, never again feeling the caress of her hand against his cheek. He imagines gradually forgetting the feeling of being held, of being stroked, of being kissed by Lola – and he cannot do it. Cannot utter the one word that would wipe out her love for him for ever. So he shakes his head and closes his eyes.

Thank you so much for stopping by Ms. Suzuma!
Pleasure. Thanks for having me!
Hurt by Tabitha Suzuma
Expected Publication Date: September 5, 2013
Publisher: Definitions

Additional books by Tabitha Suzuma
About the Author
Tabitha Suzuma is a British award-winning author of six books. A Note of Madness, From Where I Stand, A Voice in the Distance, and Without Looking Back. Her most recent, Hurt, will be out in September 2013. Her last book, Forbidden, a controversial and hard-hitting book about sibling incest, was translated into six languages and won the Premio Speciale Cariparma for European Literature Award as well as being nominated for a number of others. She has won the Young Minds Book Award and the Stockport Book Award. Her books have been shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award, the Lancashire Book of the Year Award, the Catalyst Book Award, the Stockport Book Award, the Jugendliteraturpreis Book Award and nominated for the Waterstone’s Book Prize and the Carnegie Medal.
Follow this author: 

Tabitha Suzuma has signed print editions on offer for the three most interesting comments. If you liked her interview or have any further questions for her, let her know here by sharing a thoughtful comment! 

She will be picking the winners, so be sure to...
Share a comment before April 14, 2013 for a chance to win a SIGNED book by Tabitha Suzuma!!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Blog Tour, Giveaway & Excerpt: Vengeance Bound by Justina Ireland

Today WinterHaven Books is participating in the blog tour for Vengeance Bound by Justina Ireland hosted by AToMR.  Our stop includes a fun excerpt and giveaway.

Vengeance BoundVengeance Bound by Justina Ireland
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: April 2, 2013
The Goddess Test meets Dexter in an edgy, compelling debut about one teen’s quest for revenge… no matter how far it takes her.

Cory Graff is not alone in her head. Bound to a deal of desperation made when she was a child, Cory’s mind houses the Furies—the hawk and the serpent—lingering always, waiting for her to satisfy their bloodlust. After escaping the asylum where she was trapped for years, Cory knows how to keep the Furies quiet. By day, she lives a normal life, but by night, she tracks down targets the Furies send her way. And she brings down Justice upon them.

Cory’s perfected her system of survival, but when she meets a mysterious boy named Niko at her new school, she can’t figure out how she feels about him. For the first time, the Furies are quiet in her head around a guy. But does this mean that Cory’s finally found someone who she can trust, or are there greater factors at work? As Cory’s mind becomes a battlefield, with the Furies fighting for control, Cory will have to put everything on the line to hold on to what she’s worked so hard to build.

On my way down the hallway I catch my reflection in the mirror. It came with the apartment, one of the items of furniture left behind by the previous occupants. I thought about junking it, since as a rule I dislike mirrors. The face that smirks back at me is nothing more than a cleverly crafted lie, and I hate seeing it. But I loved the wrought iron frame so much that I kept it. Now I stop and stare like I always do. Not because I’m vain, but because I’m watching, waiting for a sign that I have less time than I think. It was Alekto’s first lesson.
Your eyes are the windows to your soul. Use them to see what darkness lurks there.
Too much movement, and I risk losing my hold on Them. The hungrier They are, the more They crave Justice, the more visible They are within the iris of my eyes. If I don’t give Them what They want I risk Them trying to possess me completely.
Too little motion? Well, that’s never been a problem.
I stare into my eyes, searching the blue depths. My eyes twitch left and right. Seconds pass and nothing happens. Part of me hopes nothing will.
What would I do if I were free of the Furies? Maybe I could go live with relatives.  Someone would want me. Not my aunt and uncle. They never really forgave me for the part I played in their daughter’s death, an incident I was too young to remember. If they’d wanted me, I never would’ve ended up a ward of the State of Georgia.
Maybe I could travel the world. I visualize myself lying on a beach, the sand warm under my feet and the sun bright overhead. These mini-daydreams make me hopeful.
But hope is deadly, because just as I’m about to turn away I see it. A shadow flits across my left eye. It’s gone before I can track its progress. I wait, and a similar shape appears in the blue of my right. I hold my breath, and just as I feared, They come swimming back, sharks in the blue pools of my irises, whispers of madness in my mind.
In that instant, I hate Them.

Sounds Awesome right?!!  I can't wait to get my hands on this!  
 We also have a very special giveaway to share with you and don't forget to stop by the rest of the blog stop on the tour.  Just click HERE to see the line up.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
About the Author:
Justina Ireland enjoys dark chocolate, dark humor, and is not too proud to admit that she’s still afraid of the dark. She lives with her husband, kid, and dog in Pennsylvania. Vengeance Bound is her first novel.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Stacking the Shelves ( 40)

A weekly meme hosted by, Tynga's Reviews, that features the books we bought, borrowed, were gifted, and were given for review.

Hey Everyone!  So yes as you can see we have joined Bloglovin'.  We have been hearing rumors about GFC being discounted  and with Google Reader being discounted we wanted to give our followers another way to follow us and well with so many other blogs going to Bloglovin we figured it would be the best for our followers.  If you want to follow us on Bloglovin just click the icon and it should take you to our site =)
Now time for our recap!

Moonset by Scott Tracey--Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours
A Shade of a Vampire by Bella Forrest--Includes an excerpt and cover reveal


Book Blast:
Blood Awakening by Jamie Manning--Book Trailer and Giveaway

Hoppy Eggstravaganze Giveaway Hop--Arclight by Josin L. McQuein
Fairy Tale Giveaway Hop--Towering by Alex Flinn

Cover Reveals:

WinterHaven Fun:

Waves of Fiction Giveaways (18 & over only please)

This week was slow for our mailbox but we have so much to keep us busy that we are not complaining lol!  Here is what we did receive this week:
 Charm & Strange
For Review:

The Lives We Lost (Fallen World, #2)
*Special thanks to St. Martins Griffin & LibraryThing*

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

Blog Tour: Review and Giveaway- Moonset by Scott Tracey

Today WinterHaven Books has the wonderful opportunity to review,  Moonset by Scott Tracey. Special thanks to Rockstar Book Tours for hosting this blog tour as well as allowing us to participate. 
You can view the complete Moonset tour schedule; Here

Moonset (Legacy of Moonset, #1)

Moonset by Scott Tracey
Release-April 8th 2013
Pre-Order-Amazon / B & N

Justin Daggett, his trouble-making sister, and their three orphan-witch friends have gotten themselves kicked out of high school. Again. Now they’ve ended up in Carrow Mills, New York, the town where their parents—members of the terrorist witch organization known as Moonset—began their evil experiments with the dark arts one generation ago.When the siblings are accused of unleashing black magic on the town, Justin fights to prove their innocence. But tracking down the true culprit leads him to a terrifying discovery about Moonset’s past . . . and its deadly future.

 My Thoughts:
Moonset was once an ordinary coven. Not remarkable in any one way till something set them on the path to darker magic which continued to crave unstoppable forbidden powers. They started a war, became terrorists that lead to hundreds of deaths. They were a feared unstoppable force. Then one day they simply surrendered. No one knows why, maybe it was momentary clarity that freed them from the dark forces. But being quickly tried and executed, their plans were never revealed.
However, they did leave something else behind...
Malcolm, Justin, Jenna, Cole and Bailey. The children of Moonset. They will always be reminded of the sins of their parents and branded by an unbreakable curse that sets their fate as one. Something or someone is coming. Will the Moonset children be evil's second-coming? Or can they rise above and escape their tainted bloodline?

Wow! I had so much fun with this book!
This would be my first book by Scott Tracey, but it wont be my last. Tracey's writing is smooth, sharp and confident and has the perfect blend of magic and madness. I was easily absorbed from the first page till the very last. It's been a long time since I enjoyed magical element in my escape to this extent, but it also has a little bit of everything else I love. Mystery, suspense, wicked idea and wonderful imagination and even a touch of romance to make me smile.

Moonset is told in Justin's point of view which I absolutely loved. Not only do I adore male characters pov's but Justin has one of those voices that is easy to connect with instantly. He's got a great sense of humor, looks out for his family and glues you to the pages throughout the entire story.
His twin sister, and the only one related to him by blood, Jenna on the other hand is a really piece of work. Attention seeker, stubborn, frustrating, bratty, always stirs up trouble. You know the kind. Someone you'd love to slap or watch someone put her in place. I can't say that I loved her, but she's got sharp wit and I found her colorful dialog to be most entertaining, plus, you can't deny she loves her family.
As for the rest of the 'adopted' siblings, I liked them a lot as well. Malcolm is the eldest and relies more on his physical strength then magical spells. Cole is funny and fearless while Bailey is the youngest, she's sweet, pixie-like and very much protected.
Together these are the teenagers of Moonset and they have so much weight on their shoulders that I'm amazed they can even walk straight. To be viewed and judged solely by the actions of what their parents did in the world before their death must be both exhausting and excruciating. But through it all they look out for each other, being each others family and friend. I love their bond, their connection, their humor, their banter and overall good nature despite everything. They are a wonderful cast of character that have you invested the minute you meet them and they will make you want to see it through till the very end.

The concept and story line has a good mixture between a healthy dose of gathered information about the history and magical aspect and the full force of what that magic has planed for this group of misfit teens.
There are a handful of adult/guardians that, quite frankly I never cared for. Other then Quinn (he was cool) they all seemed very judgmental, unfair and full of themselves despite there good intentions.
This also has very little romance, which the sap in me would usually complain about, but to honest the story line was so busy you don't even miss it. What we did get was cute though. The minute I met Ash, I knew we were gonna get along just fine. She's a fun, witty, fiery characters that's a bit odd but there is a kind of twinkle in her personality that I found infectious.

All in all, I had a great time with this book. You can tell that Scott Tracey took his time in this world filling it with action and adventure and so much magic. The fun kind, complete with titles and spells and creatures and a history that made this universe unique, intriguing and fascinating. There is a lot to process but the way it's told felt easy to absorb everything this book has to offer. It also leaves us on a good note, but I'm still really looking forward to seeing where Tracy will take these characters next!

A very well done fun filled adventure fit for fans who is looking for a fresh twist in their magical escape!
Loved it! Next!
                                                                    4.5 Snowflakes
Scott Tracey is a YA author who lived on a Greyhound for a month, wrote his illustrated autobiography at the age of six, and barely survived Catholic school (and definitely not for the reasons you might think).He is the author of the WITCH EYES trilogy, of which the final book, PHANTOM EYES, will be released in the fall of 2013. He is also the author of the LEGACY OF MOONSET series, the first book of which, MOONSET, will be released April 8, 2013, as well as a contributor to the SHADOWHUNTERS & DOWNWORLDERS anthology, edited by Cassandra Clare.His career highlights include: accidentally tripping a panic alarm which led to nearly being shot by the police; attacked in a drive-thru window by a woman wielding a baked potato, and once moving cross country for a job only to quit on the second day.His gifts can be used for good or evil, but rather than picking a side, he strives for BOTH (in alternating capacity) for his own amusement.

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Cover Reveal: Of Silver and Beasts by Trisha Wolfe

Today Winterhaven Book is participating in the cover reveal for Of Silver and Beasts by Trisha Wolfe hosted by YA Bound.  This cover is absolutely gorgeous!!
Of Silver and Beasts (A Goddess Wars Novel)
Release Date: June 1, 2013
Genre: New Adult Dark Fantasy
Cover Reveal Organized by: YA Bound
Cover Designed by: Steven Novak

Summary from Goodreads:
In the sand-covered queendom of Cavan, the goddess once saved a young Kaliope’s life, preventing the mercury her father attempted to hide in her blood from reaching her heart. Now, a cybernetic clamp filters it, but the silver streaks swirling faintly beneath her skin are a constant reminder that she’s different.

When nineteen-year-old Kaliope is chosen as head of the Nactue Guard, she becomes the sworn protector to her empress. In the midst of an invasion on a neighboring land, Kaliope is placed in charge of guarding Prince Caben, the last heir to his kingdom. But when they’re attacked by the feared Otherworlders, Caben and Kaliope are abducted and taken below to a realm where they must fight for their life in a caged arena.

Kaliope struggles to protect her princely charge, keeping him and herself alive while battling inhumanly opponents, and trying to save the stolen, sacred relic that will restore her empress’s life force and all of Cavan. And if she can somehow awaken the goddess within her, she may save what’s most important.

I open my mouth to say something comforting, but I’m unsure of what. In this moment, I’m reminded that I know little about him. Other than the sarcasm and desire to understand nothing of my queendom, he hasn’t allowed me past the surface. But then, I have my own walls, hiding things I’d never want him or any other to know. And I understand that need to hide them. You can’t trust anyone. “Caben…” I start, but still can’t find the right words. He lowers his hand from his face, never taking his eyes off the glinting water top. “You’re right,” he finally says. “Let’s find the access to Lilly’s section.” A hollow pang hits my chest, and I’m not sure why. Something in his voice sounds lost, broken. I imagine the gears around my heart spinning faster, trying to keep up with my racing heart. When he sidesteps me, I reach out and grab his arm. “Caben, I didn’t mean—” “It’s fine, Kal,” he snaps. “We have work to do.” “No, I’ve said something to offend you.” I drop my hand, but keep close to him, not allowing him to leave my side. Goddess, trying to understand the male brain is harder than anything in protector training. I’ve heard people say that you have to tip-toe around a woman’s emotions, but a man’s ego is every bit as fragile, if not more so. He releases a heavy breath through his nose and walks back to the pool. He sits down along the edge and rolls up his pants, then slips off his boots. “I honestly don’t think Bax or his goons will be returning tonight.” He sinks his bare feet into the water and sighs. Glancing at the back of the cave, I plant my hands on my hips. We don’t have time for indulgencies, but the prince is still my charge. If it were my empress, I’d give her anything she’d ask for. Allow her as much time as she needed to collect herself. I have to watch over his mental state as well as protect him, so I try to push the pending need to find Lilly aside and sit down next to him. “Here,” he says, turning his hand out near my crossed feet. “You have to feel this.” A smile tugs at the corner of my mouth. “I can remove my own—”  “Have you never been pampered a day in your life?” he asks, lifting an eyebrow. “I know that the Nactue are fierce and will put a hurt on any man for touching them. But try to relax.” “Is that the rumor in Perinya?” “What?” I bite my lip, suddenly regretting my blurt. “Nothing. Never mind.” From the corner of my eye, I see his lips pucker into a pinched smile, as if he’s trying not to. “Ah,” he says, like he’s made some great universal connection. “Well, there are many whisperings about the Nactue. Some I dare not repeat for fear I’d leave here missing a limb, but that’s one, yes.” He takes my booted foot and begins to unlace it. “I’ve heard that the empress’s protectors are untouchable—forbidden to give themselves to men. And that they’ll snap a man’s neck just for making an advance.” My mouth drops open. Appalled, I counter, “That’s not true.” “All right,” he says, as if he hasn’t just insulted my very existence. “It’s only rumors. Things men jaw about in pubs. The unattainable woman is a fantasy, Kal. Don’t be offended.” “Unattainable?” I grit my teeth, trying to maintain my composure. “Tell me, prince. Do men in your country just go around bedding every woman they can in order to keep them compliant?” I shake my head. “If their fantasy is a woman that would have nothing to do with them, it seems to me it’s their way of feeding their egos after being rejected.” His eyes widen. “No! How does your brain come up with these—” He bites off his words, his lips thin as he presses them together. “Look, it was a joke.” I nod, many times. “Another joke. I’m glad that our hard work and sacrifice is amusing to the men of Perinya.” Caben lets out another sigh and slowly pulls off my boot. His warm fingers skim my calf as he inches up my pant leg. “Just stick your foot in,” he says, then adds lower, “while I stick mine in my mouth.” Unexpectedly, I laugh. “At least it’s now clean,” I say. “Would you like some help getting it to your face?”
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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Giveaway Hop

Today WinterHaven Books is excited to join the Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am A Reader Not A Writer & Read Now Sleep Later

For this hop we are offering one lucky followerour ARC copy of Arclight by Josin L. McQuein.  This giveaway is open internationally and all you have to do is fill out the rafflecopter form below.  Good luck and Happy Easter everyone!
Arclight by Josin L. McQuein
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Don't forget to check out all the other amazing blogs who are participating!

Review, Interview, & Excerpt: A Shade of a Vampire by Bella Forrest

Today at WinterHaven books we have Bella Forest with us!  She has graciously stopped to answer some of our questions and has sent an amazing excerpt for us to share! 
First the interview!

1.I really wanted to learn more about Sofia and Derek's background, will we learn more about them in the next book?
Definitely. Book 2: A Shade of Blood, is going to be longer than the first and the characters will be developed further

2. How did you first envision the plot of the book? And as you continued with the writing process, did anything change along the way?
I was daydreaming a few years ago and the idea just came out of nowhere. I immediately took notes but only last year did I sit down to write the novel. Yes, the story did change once I got into it.

3. Please tell me that Sofia beats the you know what out of a certain character!!
Haha! That would be a spoiler!

4. Are you planning for this to be a trilogy or a longer series?
This will be at least a trilogy. There will possibly be four books but I am not sure at this point.

5. Can you give us a glimpse into the next book?
I can't reveal too much yet, but you can expect to delve deeper into the characters and the history of The Shade.

6. Any other projects in the works?
Other than finishing the Shade of Vampire series, I'm now also working toward releasing a New Adult book that should be out within a month or so.
Thanks Bella for stopping by!  I can't wait to dive into the sequel!

I’d been meandering along the shore for about an hour when I suddenly sensed that I wasn’t alone. Someone was approaching me from behind. My heart leapt. I was so sure it was Ben, that when a stranger showed up beside me, I couldn’t hide my disappointment.

He must have noticed, because a smirk formed on his lips. “Were you expecting someone else, love?”

I eyed him suspiciously, remembering how many times my father had told me not to talk to strangers. I looked him over, taking in his appearance. My eyes widened. I couldn’t find words to describe how fine a man he was. He was almost beautiful. The first thing I took notice of was how his blue eyes were about three shades brighter than any I’d ever seen before. It was such a stark contrast to his pale – almost white – skin and dark hair. Standing beside me, he was easily more than half a foot taller. His height, broad shoulders
and lean build reminded me of Ben, but he had a presence that was far more imposing than my best friend’s.

My gaze settled on his face.

I realized that he was inspecting me just as closely as I was him. His eyes on me suddenly made me feel uncomfortably vulnerable. I gave my father’s advice a second thought, but quickly canceled out all notions of heeding to his counsel when I reminded myself that he stopped caring a long time ago.

I straightened to my full height and mustered all the courage I had to keep myself from running away from this stranger.

Bella has also given us the cover to A Shade of Blood, the sequel to A Shade of Vampire to share with you!  It is just as gorgeous as the first book!

A Shade of Vampire (A Shade of Vampire, #1)A Shade of a Vampire by Bella Forrest
Release Date: December 14, 2012
Purchase: Amazon
On the evening of Sofia Claremont's seventeenth birthday, she is sucked into a nightmare from which she cannot wake.

A quiet evening walk along a beach brings her face to face with a dangerous pale creature that craves much more than her blood.

She is kidnapped to an island where the sun is eternally forbidden to shine.
An island uncharted by any map and ruled by the most powerful vampire coven on the planet. She wakes here as a slave, a captive in chains.

Sofia's life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn when she is the one selected out of hundreds of girls to join the harem of Derek Novak, the dark royal Prince.

Despite his addiction to power and obsessive thirst for her blood, Sofia soon realizes that the safest place on the island is within his quarters, and she must do all within her power to win him over if she is to survive even one more night.

Will she succeed? ...or is she destined to the same fate that all other girls have met at the hands of the Novaks?
My thoughts:
Shade of a Vampire was very different from your normal everyday vampire novels.  It does still have that romantic element to it, but underlying is a story filled with power hungry vampires and a Prince who wakes to fulfill his destiny.

Sofia on the night of her birthday is taken by a vampire to a secluded fortress known as the Blood Shade.  This place is a safe haven for vampires and it is set up like a kingdom with guards, elites, and slaves which of course are humans.  She is picked to become the slave of Derek Novak, the Prince of the Blood Shade and her time spent with Derek is bittersweet.  He seems different from the other vampires especially his crazy older brother Lucas.  Things go from bad to worse and when an unexpected friend shows up as another slave, Sofia knows she has to find a way out no matter the cost to her heart.

For a short story Shade of a Vampire packs a punch.  I really enjoyed reading about this whole Blood Shade fortress and that honestly is what held my attention.  I liked Sofia, but I would have liked to have seen more struggle from her in the beginning.  I felt like she accepted being a slave a little to easily.  I understand that she really didn't have any family and if this was her reasoning for just going with the flow sorta speak then I would have liked a more detailed description about her life before being abducted.  All we are really given is information about her best friend and I really wanted more background.  Sofia did stand up to Derek which I appreciated, but again I just wanted her to be a little stronger and not just live it up at the penthouse.  Derek was an interesting character and I am glad to see some growth from him at the end.  I wasn't sure if I would end up really rooting for him, but I think all my fears will be pushed aside after the next book.  He turned a corner for me at the last second and from the epilogue we are given I think her will be awesome in the sequel.  AS for the story itself it was an interesting one.  I am excited to see more about this world that the author has created and less about the romance.  I know Sofia has a lot to proof so I am hoping for more action and intensity.  I don't think we were given much actual meat from this story but like I said it was short and we are introduced to the world so I can't really complain.

I am definitely looking forward to the next installment to see what events will unfold now that a kiss has been sealed.  I am hoping that a can of whoop you know what will be opened on a certain character that should have had their heart ripped out in this one as well as many many scenes of intrigue and kingdom craziness.  Great start to an interesting series.

Thanks Bella for offering us the opportunity to review your book! 

3 Snowflakes 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday, #35

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... 

This Girl (Slammed #3) by Colleen Hoover
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: April 30, 2013
Pre-Order: Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  iBookstore

Slammed from Will's Point of View!!

Today Colleen Hoover revealed the cover for the third installment in the Slammed Series. This Girl is the highly anticipated book that is told in Will's Point of View!! Excitement!! I've been a HUGE fan of Hoover's and I absolutely adored Slammed and Point of Retreat. Waiting for This Girl is absolute torture because I just know, Will's POV is going to be powerful. 

Colleen Hoover is offering a lucky winner a set of signed books for this series. So, be sure to go HERE to find out how you can enter to win these amazing books. Good luck!

Sooo, what book are you waiting on?

Cover Reveal: Frigid by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Today, we are excited to share a cover reveal for Jennifer L. Armentrout's lastest new book, Frigid. 
Check it out!
Frigid by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publication Date: July 30, 2013
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
For twenty-one-year-old Sydney, being in love with Kyler isn't anything new. They'd been best friends ever since he pushed her down on the playground and she made him eat a mud pie. Somewhere over the years, she fell for him and fell hard. The big problem with that? Kyler puts the 'man' in man-whore. He's never stayed with a girl longer than a few nights, and with it being their last year in college, Syd doesn't want to risk their friendship by declaring her love.

Kyler has always put Syd on a pedestal that was too high for him to reach. To him, she's perfect and she's everything. But the feelings he has for her, he's always hidden away or focused on any other file://localhost/Users/matthewsweet/Pictures/iPhoto%20Library.photolibrary/Masters/2013/03/26/20130326-203919/Frigid%20Amazon%20GR%20Smash.jpgfemale. After all, Kyler will always be the poor boy from the wrong side of tracks, and Syd will always be the one girl he can never have.

But when they're stranded together at a posh ski resort due to a massive Nor'easter, there's nothing stopping their red-hot feelings for each other from coming to the surface. Can their friendship survive the attraction? Better yet, can they survive at all? Because as the snow falls, someone is stalking them, and this ski trip may be a life-changer in more ways than one. 

About the Author
J. Lynn, also known as Jennifer L. Armentrout, is a # 1 New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author. She lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russel Loki.

Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen.

She also writes adult and New Adult romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

Follow this Author

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Review: Arclight by Josin L. McQuein

ArclightArclight by Josin L. McQuein
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Release Date: April 23, 2013
Pre order: Amazon / Barnes and Noble
No one crosses the wall of light . . . except for one girl who doesn’t remember who she is, where she came from, or how she survived. A harrowing, powerful debut thriller about finding yourself and protecting your future—no matter how short and uncertain it may be.

The Arclight is the last defense. The Fade can’t get in. Outside the Arclight’s border of high-powered beams is the Dark. And between the Light and the Dark is the Grey, a narrow, barren no-man’s-land. That’s where the rescue team finds Marina, a lone teenage girl with no memory of the horrors she faced or the family she lost. Marina is the only person who has ever survived an encounter with the Fade. She’s the first hope humanity has had in generations, but she could also be the catalyst for their final destruction. Because the Fade will stop at nothing to get her back. Marina knows it. Tobin, who’s determined to take his revenge on the Fade, knows it. Anne-Marie, who just wishes it were all over, knows it.

When one of the Fade infiltrates the Arclight and Marina recognizes it, she will begin to unlock secrets she didn’t even know she had. Who will Marina become? Who can she never be again?

My Thoughts:
Well this was different and I am not quite sure if that is a good thing or not.  What started out really strong ended up being extremely confusing and honestly I am still not sure if I understand it all.

Arclight starts off with a BANG!  And I mean heart pounding, adrenaline inducing bang.  The people who live in this Arc type community fear the dark.  They know that what lies beyond in the dark is bad and so they keep lights on at all times to keep the dark and the monsters called the Fade away.  Well when the story starts off there is a breach and everything gets thrown into chaos from the get go.  Things get very complicated and confusing from this point on and all I can say about the story is that you won't know everything until the last page.  I was floored by a few things and like I said very confused with others.  This world is very different from others that I have read and yet still very similar.  We have the girl who no one likes, the boy who wants to save her for reasons of his own, a scared human race, and a dark unknown that threatens the lives of the humans.

Marina, the main character, has a lot of problems.  She doesn't remember where she came from, all she remembers is waking up in a puddle of water in the dark and being rescued.  Her rescue came at the expense of several others and for that she is treated with disdain from the ones who lost their families.  They blame Marina even though she never asked to be rescued.  When a Fade is left undetected in the community Marina agrees to help this creature so that she can help save the ones she cares about and right the wrong that her life caused.  This is where the book takes a very weird turn and we find out that not everything is as it seems which I am sure you could guess.

This is probably one of the toughest books for me to summarize because I just don't really get it.  I mean I understand the overall storyline, but the specifics I just can't grasp.  What are nanites?  Why were the created?  What made the humans scared to begin with?  In the beginning we are shown one thing and in the end another and I don't get where the two meet up and make sense.  See I am confused as all get out.  The writing didn't really help either.  I had to reread certain scenes because I was completely lost and turned around.  In the beginning I loved the writing but it just took a turn and when things got complicated it made it even more complicated.

If you are looking for something very different, but still holds that YA formula than this might be the book for you and if you do read it please come back and explain things to me because I really want to understand.  I really liked the overall idea and I would love to know more about the background and the whys of it all.

3 snowflakes