Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Review: Royally Lost by Angie Stanton

Royally Lost by Angie Stanton
Publisher- Harper Collins
Released- May 6th 2014
Pre-Order- Amazon / B & N

Dragged on a family trip to Europe’s ancient cities, Becca wants nothing more than to go home. Trapped with her emotionally distant father, over-eager stepmother, and a brother who only wants to hook up with European hotties, Becca is miserable. That is until she meets Nikolai, a guy as mysterious as he is handsome. And she unknowingly finds herself with a runaway prince.Nikolai has everything a guy could ask for-he's crown prince, heir to the throne, and girls adore him. But the one thing he doesn't freedom. Staging a coup, he flees his kingdom and goes undercover on his own European tour.When Nikolai and Becca meet, it’s their differences that draw them together. Sparks fly as they share a whirlwind of adventures, all the while dodging his royal guard. But Becca's family vacation ends in a matter of days. Will Nikolai and Becca be forced to say goodbye forever, will his destiny catch up to him, or will they change history forever?

My Thoughts: 
Royally Lost is a classic story of a Prince who wants to get away from his responsibilities to the throne and goes out into the world to escape his overbearing parents and duties. Only he didn't expect to run into American girl, Becca, who is on a European tour with her family and form an instant refreshing connection to someone who likes him for himself and not just his crown.

Okay cheesy, I admit it. But even though I may have thought this was a very simple, predictable and rushed story that lacks in some character development and plot depth, I still found this to be a sweet, fun and cute entertaining story. Sometimes I'm looking for cheesy in my books, if only to break up the usual heavy-hit issues I find in my usual contemporary or intense action and heart pound I find in my paranormal, fantasy or sci-fi escapes. This also reminds me of those mindless sappy movies I watched as a teen that no one else really liked. So while this was indeed a fluff-and-stuff read, it was still fun-filled and brought a dorky smile to my face as I welcomed the refreshing pace and ease of a light and clean story.

I really liked Becca and thought she was a fun character. She’s been having a hard time accepting her new stepmother and even a harder time trying to find any excitement on this family vacation, but as soon as Nikolai gave her directions and started to show up at ever stop, an easy friendship and spark formed making this European disaster something worth while.
I also really liked Becca’s brother, Dylan. He’s funny and a little reckless but he likes to live in the moment and encourages Becca to do the same, even though it’s this isn’t exactly the soundest advice, it’s something a brother would do and I had to smirk at that thought.
I however didn’t really care for their parents. These are characters that are venturing off to college and are old enough to make their own decisions. I thought it was a little unnecessary for all the strict overprotective parental supervision. Vicky, the step mother, I got to understand a little bit better by the end and thought she was at least better portrayed then the dad.
Nikolai is the Prince of Mondovia and sick and tired of having no real choices of his own. When he was with Becca he was sweet and playful and never used his influences to get what he wants. The measures he went to be with her, following her around, was really just too cute. I also liked Stanton’s European history lessons and thought she did a fine job of making Becca and Nikolai’s journey more believable and interesting at the same time.
Together Becca and Nikolai have a very rushed and instant love connection that will be sure to roll a few eyes, but as fluffy as this was, I still liked the warmth and ease of this kind of relationship. It was great to be with characters simply because they want to have fun, live in the moment and be together without all that extra drama, angst and fuss.

All in all, I thought this was a decent story. It may not be a favorite but it didn't feel like I wasted my time either. It’s simply a lovely, charming get-away romance fit for tweens and teens alike that are looking for a light, clean and quick fairytale escape that has a hopeful happily ever after ending. A cute read!

Find the author:
Goodreads / Website                                3.5 Snowflakes 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Teaser Tuesday, #65, The Warrior by Victoria Scott

Welcome to Teaser Tuesdays! Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
My Teaser Tuesday is for the following...

The Warrior (Dante Walker, #3)
The Warrior (A Dante Walker Novel) by Victoria Scott
Publication Date: May 6, 2014
Publisher: Entangled Teen

War between heaven and hell is coming, but Dante Walker makes it look damn good.
Dante’s girlfriend, Charlie, is fated to save the world. And Aspen, the girl who feels like a sister, is an ordained soldier. In order to help both fulfill their destiny and win the war, Dante must complete liberator training at the Hive, rescue Aspen from hell, and uncover a message hidden on an ancient scroll.
Dante is built for battle, but even he can’t handle the nightmares where spiders crawl from Aspen’s eyes, or the look on Charlie’s face that foretells of devastation. To make matters worse, the enemy seizes every opportunity to break inside the Hive and cripple the liberators. But the day of reckoning is fast approaching, and to stand victorious, Dante will have to embrace something inside himself he never has before—faith.

*Quotes are from an Advanced Readers Copy. They are subject to change.*

Teasers from Pages one & three...

  "I am: sharp eyes for hunting, broad shoulders for fighting, strong hands for gripping a weapon. I am built for this. I will protect Charlie, and I will rescue Aspen from hell. There's nothing I wouldn't do for my girls, and I plan to do it all. Blood will spill, and I will spill it without a second thought.
  I am a machine."

  "Charlie wraps her arms around my waist, and her fingers clutch my back. My armor falls away in an instant, and I'm no longer what I was a moment before. Now I'm sharp eyes for watching her, and broad shoulders for easing her worries, and strong hands for holding her tight."

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your ‘teasers’ in a comment here if you don’t have a blog Thanks! 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Cover Reveal: Opposition by Jennifer L. Armentrout!!

We are so exited to share with you the cover for Opposition!!  WOOHOO!!  
Opposition by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher: Entangeled Teen
Release Date: Aug 5, 2014
Katy knows the world changed the night the Luxen came.

She can't believe Daemon welcomed his race or stood by as his kind threatened to obliterate every last human and hybrid on Earth. But the lines between good and bad have blurred, and love has become an emotion that could destroy her—could destroy them all.

Daemon will do anything to save those he loves, even if it means betrayal.

They must team with an unlikely enemy if there is any chance of surviving the invasion. But when it quickly becomes impossible to tell friend from foe, and the world is crumbling around them, they may lose everything— even what they cherish most—to ensure the survival of their friends…and mankind.

War has come to Earth. And no matter the outcome, the future will never be the same for those left standing.
About the Author
 # 1 NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY Bestselling author Jennifer Armentrout 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 Russell, 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.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Review & Interview: Peacemaker by Marianne de Pierres

Today on WinterHaven Books we have the amazing Marianne de Pierres with us!  I loved her Burn Bright series so when I had the opportunity to read and review her newest novel Peacemaker I jumped at the chance!  Not only was I lucky enough to receive a review copy, but she offered to graciously stop by and answer a few of my questions!  Have I mentioned that I love her??!!
Welcome Marianne! 

Hi Crystal!
Thanks for having me visit!

1. The world in Peacemaker was beautiful! How did you come up with this world?
Thank you! I think it was one of those what if moments. I’d been wanting to write some form of a Western for years and just couldn’t quite nail the concept. I started fooling around with the original short story (Gin Jackson, published ten years ago) and began asking myself questions about the world. What if the landscape had changed? What if the inland of Australia was no longer desolate? It’s so impossible to imagine Australia as overpopulated, and that’s what made it the perfect scenario. Then the thunderbolt hit, and I could suddenly picture the Western Quarter in all its mish-mash, stetson and akubra glory.

2. How much research was involved during your writing process?
I spent time re-reading the Time Life Old West series and did a lot of reading and thinking about the concept of mythology. There were other things as well. I usually always have to do some research into weapons.

3. The whole mythos idea really intrigued me, will we meet more people who have them in the next installment?
That whole story thread will develop a lot in the next novel as different Mythos begin to break through into the world. I’m really looking forward to writing some of these scenes. Virgin has a lot to learn from Nate about battling the Mythos, and she’s not keen on being his apprentice at all!

4. I'm waiting impatiently for the next book, can you tell us a little more about what we might expect?

Here’s a snip of the synopsis:
Dealbreaker (Peacemaker #2)

Virgin’s in a tight spot. A murder rap hangs over her head and isn’t likely to go away unless she agrees to work for her mother and an organisation called GJIC (the Global Joint Intelligence Commission). Being blackmailed is one thing, discovering that her mother is both alive and the President of GJIC is quite another.

But in the end Ranger Jackson is a pragmatist who cherishes her freedom. She takes the deal.

Virgin continues in her ranger duties at Parks Southern while working undercover for GJIC, which means building a closer relationship with her designated partner, Nate Sixkiller. This does not always go well!

But the one thing they share is a love and respect for the land, and they find a united cause in protecting Virgin’s beloved park from the threat of the Mythos.

5. Do you have any writing rituals?
I’ve tried to keep that sort of thing to a minimum. I wrote my early novels when my children were small and I had to learn to write anywhere, any time. Nowadays, the main thing I need is quiet. I don’t write well with a lot of distraction. Aside from that, cake has to be on the agenda. Cake is brain food! Since I’ve become gluten free that’s become a little more problematic … but where there’s a will …

6. For all of us dying to see you, do you think you might make a trip to the US??
Awww, thanks Crystal! I will definitely be over within the next twelve months, so it’s just a matter of arranging some book shop visits and events around that etc. I’ll be posting any plans on my website, so check in!
 Marianne you are one of my favorite people ever and I really hope you come to a city near me!  Thanks so much for the snippet too!!  Can't wait for Dealbreaker!!

PeacemakerPeacemaker by Marianne de Pierres
Publisher: Angry Robot
Release Date: April 29, 2014
Purchase: Amazon / BN
When an imaginary animal from her troubled teenage years reappears, Virgin takes it to mean one of two things: a breakdown (hers!) or a warning. Dead bodies start piling up around her, so she decides on the latter. Something terrible is about to happen in the park and Virgin and her new partner, U.S. Marshall Nate Sixkiller, are standing in its path...

Virgin Jackson is the senior ranger in Birrimun Park - the world's last natural landscape, overshadowed though it is by a sprawling coastal megacity. She maintains public safety and order in the park, but her bosses have brought out a hotshot cowboy to help her catch some drug runners who are affecting tourism. She senses the company is holding something back from her, and she's not keen on working with an outsider like Nate Sixkiller.
My thoughts:
Having already been a fan of Ms. Pierres I knew going into this I would more than likely love it.  Not only did I love it, but it completely blew me away and I think I even like it more than her Burn Bright series which I never thought would happen!

Like the synopsis says this story takes place in a park and Virgin is a ranger.  Forget everything you think you know about rangers and parks because Ms. Pierres has totally reworked the whole idea.  Her take on this world is even more amazing than the one she created in Burn Bright.  Where Burn Bright  was dark and dangerous the world in Peacemaker is beautiful and haunting.  Her vivid descriptions are amazing and I could picture everything without having to think too much.  Let me just tell you that if you love imagery this is the book for you!  It is also haunting though which in my opinion is even harder to capture than beautiful.  This books setting had me totally engrossed from the get go and I swear I could feel every bump and rock.

The story itself isn't an easy one.  We are introduced to a whole new world that does take some getting used to.  I am guessing this is a futuristic book and I always have a hard time with these, but I will say I had the least amount of problems with this one and that's because of the writing.  After I grasped the world and all the new gadgets everything else fell into place.  I loved reading about Virgin, her mythos (something you will need to read the book to find out what this is), Nate, and all the fun secondary characters that make up this brilliant and intricate story.

Virgin was a great character.  She was totally bad arse and never backed down.  I love characters like this.  I am not a fan of the damsel in distress and Virgin was definitely not one of those.  She knew what she needed to do and she saved Nate just as much as he saved her.  It wasn't ever one sided.  I had a lot of respect for her because even when she was hurt and down for the count she still picked herself back up and confronted her enemy.

I will say though my favorite part was the ending and the two bombs that were dropped.  I kinda saw one of them coming but I never saw the other one.  Ms. Pierres is BRILLIANT for dropping both of these and I can tell you know I am already waiting impatiently for the next book!!

4.5 snowflakes

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Review: Killer Instinct by S.E. Green

Killer  InstinctKiller Instinct by S.E. Green
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: May 6, 2014
Purchase: Amazon / BN
She’s not evil, but she has certain... urges.

Lane is a typical teenager. Loving family. Good grades. Afterschool job at the local animal hospital. Martial arts enthusiast. But her secret obsession is studying serial killers. She understands them, knows what makes them tick.


Because she might be one herself.

Lane channels her dark impulses by hunting criminals—delivering justice when the law fails. The vigilantism stops shy of murder. But with each visceral rush the line of self-control blurs.
And then a young preschool teacher goes missing. Only to return... in parts.
When Lane excitedly gets involved in the hunt for “the Decapitator,” the vicious serial murderer that has come to her hometown, she gets dangerously caught up in a web of lies about her birth dad and her own dark past. And once the Decapitator contacts Lane directly, Lane knows she is no longer invisible or safe. Now she needs to use her unique talents to find the true killer’s identity before she—or someone she loves—becomes the next victim...

My Thoughts:
Warning this is not for the faint of heart or the squeamish.  Luckily for me I am neither of those things because if I was I would have missed on one kick ass book that did what no other book I have ever read has been able to do.  Totally and completely shock me!  I thought (and yes I even texted my blog roomie so it would be documented) I knew who the villain was for sure!  OMG was I wrong and I don't mean in an "oh hmm well I guess the clues where there"  I mean in an "HOLY ^#^(^@(^$(^@(#&(@&(#^  Did that just happen??!!!!"  Yep never saw it coming.  S.E Green you are a mad genius!!

The story starts off with a bang!  That first line was amazing and I don't know of any other book that has had that strong of a first sentence.  Lane is not your typical high school student.  She is very smart and doesn't have a lot of friends, but what makes her different is her killer instincts.  Her mom is an FBI agent that has first hand experience in serial killers and maybe that's where Lane's obsession comes from, but really it doesn't matter all that matters is that she wants to kill and has just picked out her target.  Now to get the timing, scene, and preparations done.  Are you hooked yet??!!

From the get go you know this book will be gritty and it doesn't disappoint.  There was blood, suspense, crazy family drama, and yes there is even a weird and awkward encounter with a boy.  Lane is very distant from people and you can see this throughout the book.  She doesn't do emotional or drama and I think that helped mold the story.  If Lane were the typical girl and driven by her emotions things would have turned out to be a lot different.  I liked that she looked at things differently and this is the one time where I thought a 17 year old could handle what was being thrown at her without the help of her parents.  Were all her decisions, but whose are?  There were a few scenes that threw me, like the boy encounter in the library but I guess it just showed how Lane was trying to change. 

I can't say enough how much I loved this story.  I have been on the prowl for something to shock me and oh my did this ever.  I can't wait for all my book buddies to devour this so we can look back through and find clues that we missed.  I am dying to know if anyone else will be as shocked as I am.
*Thank you Simon Pulse for the amazing review copy!*

5 Snowflakes

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Teaser Tuesday, #64 Avalon by Mindee Arnett

Welcome to Teaser Tuesdays! Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
My Teaser Tuesday is for the following...
Avalon (Avalon, #1)
AVALON by Mindee Arnett
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Publication Date: January 21, 2014

A ragtag group of teenage mercenaries who crew the spaceship Avalon stumble upon a conspiracy that could threaten the entire galaxy in this fascinating and fast-paced sci-fi adventure from author Mindee Arnett.

Of the various star systems that make up the Confederation, most lie thousands of light-years from First Earth-and out here, no one is free. The agencies that govern the Confederation are as corrupt as the crime bosses who patrol it, and power is held by anyone with enough greed and ruthlessness to claim it. That power is derived from one thing: metatech, the devices that allow people to travel great distances faster than the speed of light.

Jeth Seagrave and his crew of teenage mercenaries have survived in this world by stealing unsecured metatech, and they're damn good at it. Jeth doesn't care about the politics or the law; all he cares about is earning enough money to buy back his parents' ship, Avalon, from his crime-boss employer and getting himself and his sister, Lizzie, the heck out of Dodge. But when Jeth finds himself in possession of information that both the crime bosses and the government are willing to kill for, he is going to have to ask himself how far he'll go to get the freedom he's wanted for so long.

Avalon is the perfect fit for teens new to sci-fi as well as seasoned sci-fi readers looking for more books in the YA space-and a great match for fans of Joss Whedon's cult hit show Firefly.

*Teasers are from an Advanced Readers Copy. Quotes are subject to change in the final copy*

Teasers from pages: 120

"Pretty, feisty, and strong. That was a whole lot to like. 
Don't be stupid, the voice of reason broke in. You don't need that kind of distraction."

"He focused all his energy on Avalon, the only girl he really wanted or needed."

LEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your ‘teasers’ in a comment here if you don’t have a blog Thanks! 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Review: The Hunt- Project Paper Doll by Stacey Kade

The Hunt by Stacey Kade
Publisher- Disney Hyperion
Released- April 22nd 2014
Pre-Order- Amazon / B & N

Ariane Tucker has finally escaped GTX, the research facility that created her. While on the run, Zane Bradshaw is the only person she can trust. He knows who-and what-she is and still wants to be part of her life.
But accepting Zane's help means putting him in danger.Dr. Jacobs, head of GTX, is not the only one hunting for Ariane. Two rival corporations have their sights set on taking down their competition. Permanently. To protect Zane and herself, Ariane needs allies. She needs the other hybrids. The hybrids who are way more alien and a lot less human. Can Ariane win them over before they turn on her? Or will she be forced to choose sides, to decide who lives and who dies?
My Thoughts:
Ariane and Zane successfully escaped the GTX lab in on piece, but the danger is far from over. They thought Dr. Jacob was the problem, but soon discover that there are other companies who are also hunting her down. On a mad attempt to find someone to trust, and to keep her and Zane safe, Ari has to try to convince the other hybrids to work together and refuse to cooperate so there won’t be any trials. Only the other hybrids are anything but human and every moment she allows Zane to be with her, puts his life in danger.

After reading the first book, The Rules, I knew that I would fall in love with these books, and I was right. The Hunt is the second installment in the Project Paper Doll series and even better then the first one. This novel is very sharp and very smart. The plot is filled with all the technical sci-fi details that had my head spinning in the best way possible but it was still laced with one sweet romance.

I really loved how Kade handled this plot. It was always moving, twisting and turning in new unexpected ways. I loved the unpredictability of it all, the suspense, the thrills and the excitement of danger within every turn. Ari and Zane felt like they were trying to fight something so much bigger then they could possibly handle with very little help to do it, and yet, they still tried, no matter the consequences.

Ariane is such a heartbreaking creature. She knows she’s a half human/ half alien hybrid, designed in specific skills and although she may be powerful, she doesn't have anyone to turn to except for Zane. She’s torn between wanting to keep him with her and leave so he won’t be in danger. Torn between what she is and what he makes her want to be. Human.
Zane is everything you could ask for in a friend and love interest. He’s sweet, funny, kind, protective and loyal. He doesn't care that Ariane is some freak science experiment or that she’s something other then totally human, he wants to take care of her and keep her safe, even if it means getting himself killed in the process.
The romance is very light, but it’s still really quite adorable. I loved those awkward moments between them when it’s still so uncertain giving the impending danger they’re surrounded in, but their playfully stubbornness and dancing emotions were really something to hold on to. They have great chemistry that made me smile, swoon and laugh.

All in all, this was a really great book. The writing is strong, the flow and pace was perfect, the plot has a heart stopping, nail biting edge that screams with excitement and these characters will keep you on your toes and begging for more. That ending really just about killed me, so be warned, evil-cliffy is just mean, but what a helluva way to grab readers with that gasping conclusion. I can’t wait to get my hands on the next installment! A solid escape.

Find the author:
Goodreads / Website                               4 Snowflakes  

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Reivew: The Killing Woods by Lucy Christopher

The Killing WoodsThe Killing Woods by Lucy Christoper
Publisher: Chicken House
Release Date: January 7, 2014
Purchase: Amazon / BN
Emily’s dad is accused of murdering a teenage girl. Emily is sure he is innocent, but what happened that night in the woods behind their house where she used to play as a child? Determined to find out, she seeks out Damon Hillary, the enigmatic boyfriend of the murdered girl. He also knows these woods. Maybe they could help each other. But he’s got secrets of his own about games that are played in the dark.

A new psychological thriller from the award-winning and bestselling author of STOLEN and FLYAWAY.
My thoughts:
This was my first Lucy Christopher book and I can tell you it definitely won't be my last. 

When I pick something up to read I need it to grab me right from the start.  I have noticed lately that I have zero patients when it comes to my books these days and if something doesn't jump at me then I put it down rather quickly.  I know this isn't good but at the moment that's how I am choosing what I read.  Well The Killing Woods not only grabbed me, but it held on throughout the entire book.

This book had everything I love in a murder mystery.  We have a confession from a person who is not mentally stable, a main character who feels deep down her dad didn't do it, another main character who can't remember the night of the killing but knows he was the last to see the victim alive, and a side character with a camera that just might show too much.  Oh and a creepy bunker with pictures that well I'll let you read to find out exactly what they do.  This by no means will give anything away, but it shows a great foundation in my opinion. 

Mysteries have to have a great balance and the author did a great job at keeping me interested but letting the story reveal itself.  I honestly had the killer pegged from pretty early on, but it didn't bother me.  I loved seeing the story unravel and the big reveal at the end actually shocked me even though I knew who did it. 

I enjoyed reading both POVs from Damon and Emily.  They both had a unique voice that brought a lot to the story.  I wasn't really fond of the romance between the two though. I would have preferred for them to stay just friends if a relationship were to develop.  It felt a little weird for feelings to be involved considering how messed up the story was.  I don't think it was believeable. Now their friendship yes I can see happening.  They were both victims of that night and they needed each other to fill in the gaps of that night.  I really loved the dual POV and I don't think the story would have worked if we would have only seen one side.

They whys of it all was just crazy and it kinda felt like an after school special at the end.  I totally buy the whys but I wish it wouldn't have felt like I was being talked to about an important issue.  Does this specific topic need to be addressed with teens..yes, but I just wasn't prepared for it at the end of this story.  I will say it added a strong twist to the story though. I expected something much different so this was a great twist to things I didn't see coming.

All in all a great book that I really enjoyed even with certain hang ups on my end.  I will definitely read Stolen by this author.  I hear it is phenomenal and a must read!

3.5 snowflakes


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Review: The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith

The Geography of You and Me 
by Jennifer E. Smith
Publisher- Poppy
Released- April 15th 2014
Purchase- Amazon / B & N

Lucy and Owen meet somewhere between the tenth and eleventh floors of a New York City apartment building, on an elevator rendered useless by a citywide blackout. After they're rescued, they spend a single night together, wandering the darkened streets and marveling at the rare appearance of stars above Manhattan. But once the power is restored, so is reality. Lucy soon moves to Edinburgh with her parents, while Owen heads out west with his father.Lucy and Owen's relationship plays out across the globe as they stay in touch through postcards, occasional e-mails, and -- finally -- a reunion in the city where they first met.A carefully charted map of a long-distance relationship, Jennifer E. Smith's new novel shows that the center of the world isn't necessarily a place. It can be a person, too.
My Thoughts: 
My favorite thing about reading one of Jennifer E. Smith's books is there is usually some kind of greater force that brings her characters together. Call it love at first sight, soul mates or destiny, one way or another two souls will meet and their lives will irrevocably be changed forever. I was really excited to read The Geography of You and Me, since it followed along the same lines as destiny, but this time around we get a different side to fate. We all know that fate can be both your friend and enemy, and for Lucy and Owen, it seemed that fate meant for them to meet in a stuck elevator while the world around them turned black and proceeded to have that one magical day where you connect with someone who, at that moment, is just as lost and alone as you. But fate decided to take a different road for both Owen and Lucy and their one night turned into a beautiful memory, one they'll never be able to forget or let go.

I remember that citywide blackout that reached from Canada to New York back in 2003. It was August and unbearably hot and I missed my air conditioner more then the lights for the next three days. I'm only guessing this is where Smith got her inspiration for this book, so I thought it was pretty cool to be back in that moment with Owen and Lucy, turning a chaotic situation and giving it the opportunity for fate to step in and make it something better. For the most part, I really enjoyed this book. I love the idea of meeting someone and having an instant spark. Living in the moment, laughing and having fun with someone you barely knew, but wouldn't change any of it for the world. It's a grand romantic notion that is realistically believable and irresistibly sweet, but I'm not sure it was always convincingly portrayed by the actual characters. The feeling of deep emotions and longing was always present throughout the novel, but at the same time it felt like you really have to want that connection to really believe in it.  

Owen and Lucy met on a stuck elevator on a city wide blackout. The experience instantly bonded them together and somewhere between their walk through the dark NY streets and the rooftop morning, they left a lasting impression with one another that unknowingly tied them together. But in a twisty fate, these two unlikely friends both end up moving away but are determined to keep in touch by postcards and e-mails and eventually met up in-between the years. This is the part where I wish we had more time with the characters together. Individually, Owen and Lucy are good people. I respected the way Owen wanted to take care of his grief stricken father and how he wanted to keep his mothers memory alive and I liked that Lucy finally was able to get her parents attention and that she gets her opportunity to travel instead of just living it through sent postcards...but together, Owen and Lucy seemed to try to maintain some form of a  long distance friendship more then a relationship but lacked the bigger moments to want to go to that extreme. I'm a hopeless romantic and a complete sap for these kind of books so I get how strongly someone can make a dent in your heart big enough to take with you as you move along through life. Always keeping the thought alive and close but to far away to really touch. Postcards, e-mails and one visit were nice gestures but it needed something more. I felt like something was missing, something epic where you can look at these two people, feel that undeniable connection and hope against hope that they will find a way to be together, and yet, this ended up feeling underwhelming and forced.

With that said, for me, this may not have been Smith's strongest escape, but I still ended up enjoying this for what it is, a lovely story about the what-could-have-happened and the hope of one days. Jennifer E. Smith is a wonderful writer who tackles destiny like no other and I look forward to seeing what she comes up with next. A decent read.

Find the author:
Goodreads / Twitter                                 3 snowflakes 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Teaser Tuesday # 63 REMNANTS by Lisa T. Bergren

Welcome to Teaser Tuesdays! Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
My Teaser Tuesday is for the following...

Season of Wonder (The Remnants #1)
REMNANTS (Season of Wonder) by Lisa T. Bergren
Publication Date: April 8, 2014

*Teasers are from an Advanced Readers Copy. Quotes are subject to change in final copy*

Teasers from page: 272

"Angels, huh?" I said.
"You see them too," he said, hope lacing his tone. 
I smiled. "No. But I can feel your emotion, brother. And your heart tells me what my eyes cannot."

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your ‘teasers’ in a comment here if you don’t have a blog Thanks! 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Review: Darkbound by Scott Tracey

Darkbound by Scott Tracey 
Published- Flux
Released- April 8th 2014
Purchase- Amazon / B & N

Malcolm has seven days to unravel a twenty year old mystery, find a body, capture a killer and keep a demon at arm's length.No one hates being a witch quite like Malcolm. But if there's one thing worse than being a witch, it's being a Moonset witch. There are very few things in his life that he can control, and after a fight with his siblings, he's losing his grip on what he's got left.A creature as old as Hamelin has crept out of the Abyss, and its siren song has infected the teenagers of Carrow Mill compelling them, at first, to simply be swept away in love. But love soon turns dangerous, as passion turns to violence and an army of sociopaths is born.
The Pied Piper isn't just a story, and he's got his eyes set on Malcolm, promising a life of freedom from magic and the shackles of the Moonset bond. As Carrow Mill burns, Malcolm must make the hardest choice of his life: family? Or freedom?
My Thoughts:
Switching point of views are always a little tricky, especially with paranormal genres. 
Once the reader falls in love with a particular voice, it’s sometimes hard to let anyone else in the spotlight. While I'm always curious enough to accept a change in character's perspective, I still go into it a little weary. Moonset, the first book, was told in Justin’s pov and is the reason I really fell for this series. Not only was he easy to connect with, but he had this really sharp way he held himself. Smart but sarcastic witty but warm and while he’s always known that his coven bonded ‘family’ is screwed, he was at least optimistic about it. Malcolm? Not so much.
Going into this book, I must admit, I wasn't prepared for how really dark Malcolm could be. I had known that he liked to rely on his physical strength more then his magical ones, but I didn't know just how much he despises, well, everything. He hates magic and everything that comes with it. He hates the fact that he has to constantly live in the shadows of his parents sins and that he can’t have any kind of normal life. He also hates that he’s stuck to his ‘adopted’ siblings because of some magical coven bond and is against learning how to control it. He’s cynical, jaded and pissed off. He wants his freedom but will it cost him the only family he has?

While I didn't always like Malcolm’s attitude, I still have to admit he was a real force in this one. Tracey knew what he was doing. Malcolm may be the oldest of the Moonset children but not the wises. He had to find his own path and his own way of dealing with the pressures of this magical life he never asked for and struggle with his haunted history that he wants to overcome. Still, this was cleverly done and I ended up really enjoying the darker side of this Moonset teen and his journey of self-worth.

I really loved the plot line, it was very well crafted. Tracey continues to thrive with dedication to historical detail for this world as well as giving us the magical madness that I crave in my books while adding a seriously sadistic Prince demon that was both unhinged and riveting. The storyline was less action packed then the last book, but it’s definitely more suspenseful and fascinating. I loved diving deeper into the history of the original Moonset and the monsters that wrecked havoc during their rein. The Abyssal Prince demon was crazy consuming. He offered Malcolm something that he wants more then anything. His freedom, and for added measure to insure Malcolm see things his way, the Prince started to infect the witches of Carrow Mill with dark spells, twirling the town with deadly seduction and warping their every thought. When one of the Moonset brothers gets hurt, Malcolm has no choice but to make peace with Jenna and work together to find a way to stop the Princes evil doings and uncovers long buried secrets along the way.

Justin, Jenna, Malcom, Cole and Bailey are so much stronger when together. I love how they play off one another in banter and devotion. They were bonded together for a purpose, even if they don’t understand why and it’s those moments I find myself enjoying the most. But for this book, it’s really Malcolm’s story and the journey he needed to take to finally accept what he is and what he has to do. However,  I was surprised that Jenna was featured in this one so closely to Malcolm since these two particular characters don’t really like each other and don’t get along very well, despite them being ‘siblings’. Still, it was really great to see them put their differences aside and work together for the greater good. But I think my favorite part is when all the Moonset children come together, uniting their magic through the coven bond at the end of the story. It was a very defying moment for Malcom, for the reader and what it means for future books. I also really loved the Abyssal Prince. This guy was seriously creepy and unnerving. Tracey wrote him good.

All in all, I really enjoyed myself with Darkbound. The writing is really very smart and I loved that Tracey kept me on my toes throughout the entire story. If you’re looking for a magical read with a unique twist in paranormal, then I would recommend this series as a solid entertaining escape. There is so much more to the story and I look forward to seeing what Tracey has in store next for this world and the Moonset children who can’t escape their fate. Well done!

Find the author:
Goodreads / Website                               4 Snowflakes

Monday, April 7, 2014

Review: The Last Best Kiss by Claire LaZebnik

The Last Best Kiss by Claire LaZebnik
Publisher- Harper Teen 
Released- April 22nd 2014
Pre-Order- Amazon / B & N 

Anna Eliot is tired of worrying about what other people think. After all, that was how she lost the only guy she ever really liked, Finn Westbrook.Now, three years after she broke his heart, the one who got away is back in her life.All Anna wants is a chance to relive their last kiss again (and again and again). But Finn obviously hasn’t forgotten how she treated him, and he’s made it clear he has no interest in having anything to do with her.Anna keeps trying to persuade herself that she doesn’t care about Finn either, but even though they’ve both changed since they first met, deep down she knows he’s the guy for her. Now if only she can get him to believe that, too....
My Thoughts: 
When you like someone, it shouldn't matter what anyone else thinks about him right? That was Anna Elliot's first mistake. She cared to much. Liking Finn Westbrook was easy to Anna. They had an instant connection in 9th grade carpooling to school and eventually they started to date, but Anna wasn't quite ready to share him with her friends yet since he wasn't on the social radar and would be defined as your typical nerd, so Anna kept him her little secret, that is till the dance where she humiliated Finn in front of all her friends. Feeling awful for the way she acted, Anna wanted to make it right between them but never had the chance since Finn’s family moved away that summer, leaving Anna with a heart full of regret and sadness. Fast forward three years later and guess whose back in town? Be gone is the old nerdy Finn with no fashion sense and geeky glasses and is replaced with a taller, brooder, more confident and collected sexy Finn Westbrook and he’s caught the attention of every girl in school, including Anna's best friend. But Finn also hasn't forgotten what Anna did to him, no matter how sorry she was for treating him like an embarrassment. Can Anna prove that she’s grown up since then and can Finn forgive her enough to give her a second chance? Or has the damage already been done?

For the most part, I really enjoyed The Last Best Kiss. The plot was really cute and very realistically portrayed. Everyone at one point in there lives makes mistakes when you’re young and desperate to fit in. Everyone wants to feel accepted and is scared that if you’re dating the loser in school then you won’t be. Everyone has regrets or things they aren't proud of, but it’s what you do to mend those mistakes that really matter. Guilt looked really good on Anna, it’s good for the soul and means there’s hope for her yet. I liked that she owned up to her mistakes and tried to make things right and it was good to see her morals strengthen through her experiences.
Finn was super cute back in 9th grade. He was thoughtful and funny and smart and I really couldn't blame him for being hurt and for how he treated Anna when he came back to school. This was his little way of getting back at Anna and even though he wasn't exactly mean, he was still pretty cold and somehow that makes it even worse. I’m glad he didn't put up that act to long and managed to be civil long enough to be friends again.
Anna and Finn are really quite adorable together, they bring out the best in each other and I really enjoyed their moments throughout the entire novel.

So, I liked the storyline, the writing was strong and the pace and flow was smooth. I liked Anna and I liked Finn, but I had a really hard time liking or connecting with everyone else. Family and friends in any story usually compliments the plot or leaves some sort of impression or impact for the leading characters. Or at the very least, they usually provide some kind of entertainment, support or comic-relief, but in this case, Anna’s family was just terrible and quite strange. Besides her one sister Molly, I found her parents and her other sister Lizzie to be a very negative part of her life. I never understood the bond between their dad and Lizzie and I really don’t understand the whole Ginny thing, it was kinda creepy actually. As for her friends, I didn't find any of them to be very likable either. They all felt fake and into their own drama. It just seemed that Anna didn't really have any stable or solid figure to depend on and yet she was still able to grow and mature enough to own up to her mistakes and change into the person she wants to be.

With that said, this may not be a favorite, but I still thought this was a cute and sweet book. It’s an easy quick read that takes you back to when you were young and acceptance was a pretty scary word. Claire LaZebnik delivers a strong message about peer pressure, self discovery, regrets, forgiveness and second chances with strong voices and a heartwarming plot that a lot of readers will be able to relate to. All in all, a decent read.  

Find the author:
Goodreads  / Website                                3 Snowflakes 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Review: Daughter of Chaos by Jen McConnel

Daughter of Chaos (Red Magic, #1)Daughter of Chaos by Jen McConnel
Publisher: Month9Books
Release Date: March 25, 2014
Witches must choose the path they will follow, and Darlena Agara is no exception. She’s been putting it off long enough, and in her case, ignoring it has not made it go away. In a moment of frustration, Darlena chooses to follow Red Magic, figuring she had outsmarted the powers that be, since there’s no such thing as Red Magic. But alas, Darlena’s wrong (again) and she becomes a newly declared Red Witch.

Her friends are shocked and her parents horrified by the choice Darlena has made. As a Red Witch, she now governs one third of the world’s chaos. She is the walking personification of pandemonium, turmoil, and bedlam, just as the patrons of Red Magic would have it to be.

But Darlena believes there must be more to Red Magic than chaos and destruction, and she sets out on a journey to achieve balance. Only doing so puts her at odds with the dark goddess Hecate, who simply will not allow Darlena to quit. She encourages Darlena to embrace who and what she is and to leave good magic to the good witches. If only Darlena could, life would be simple, and she would not be the Daughter of Chaos.
My Thoughts:
This book and I have a love/hate relationship.  There were a few things that I loved, but there were a lot of things that just didn't work at all for me and I am left feeling kinda ho hum about it all. 

Darlena is a witch and when the time comes for her to declare a path for her studies she chooses Red thinking that the made up path will give her time to figure out what she really wants to do.  Unfortunately for her Red is real and not only is real but very dangerous.  Now she is front and center in a battle with the most powerful witch Hecates and hardly anybody on her side.  Darlena must figure out how to control her new magic and also stay alive without killing anybody else.

This story really had great promise.  I loved the beginning and I thought wow this is going to be good.  I love Greek myth and so I was thrilled with all the myth that was sure ot come my way.  After the first chapter though things kinda fell flat.  Darlena wasted more time and energy hoping that everything was a dream and would just go away.  I wanted her to fight for answers and learn what she needed to learn.  Basically just own what she chose and make it work for her even if she had to stand up to all the big bad goddesses. 

Unfortunately she didn't do this and the story felt like a lot of filler.  We would get glimpses of this chaos causing magic, but that was really only in the first few chapters.  The majority of the story centered around Darlena trying to get her ex boyfriend to love her and trying to make everything just disappear.  Even when the story would finally switch back to magic I wasn't very impressed. The things that Darlena did I wouldn't say were chaos.  Two things she chose to do stopped chaos, but all the practicing she did was really just ordinary magic that her parents could do.  I didn't understand what made her magic different from any others especially after it was revealed others could use some of the same powers only she was supposed to be able to use.

I wasn't fond of the romance either.  Justin was fine as the love interest but it all just didn't fit.  I guess it was just the timing of it all.  It took up too much of the story and I honestly screamed at Darlena for what she did mid way through the book..  What she did was unforgivable in my book and I was mad at her for going that far. 

I think though that this might have worked if the story was more of a contemporary novel.  If you drop all the magic aspects you have a romance that is angsty, a female lead that needs help solving a life changing puzzle, a best friend who her parents don't approve of, and a crazy family that always wants something from her.  See sounds contemporary right?  I might have enjoyed it if it were written that way but as it is I just wasn't that into it.

Oh and one more thing her parents! I am so sick of all these parents just running for their lives and letting their teenagers save them.  My gawd you are supposed to protect your children at all costs don't run!  I would have preferred for her parents to die protecting her than see them just turn and run.  I had a few problems with her parents but this was my main one. 

I am going with 2 snowflakes...1 for the first chapter and all its creepiness and 1 for the fun myth that was woven throughout the story.

2 snowflakes

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Review: Half Bad (Half Life, #1) by Sally Green

Half Bad (Half Life, #1)Half Bad (Half Life, #1) by Sally Green
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Release date: March 4, 2014
Purchase: Amazon / Barnes & Noble
Half Bad by Sally Green is a breathtaking debut novel about one boy's struggle for survival in a hidden society of witches.

You can't read, can't write, but you heal fast, even for a witch.

You get sick if you stay indoors after dark.

You hate White Witches but love Annalise, who is one.

You've been kept in a cage since you were fourteen.

All you've got to do is escape and find Mercury, the Black Witch who eats boys. And do that before your seventeenth birthday.


My Thoughts:
I loved this! Will it be for everybody no, but if you are looking for something a little out there and not the norm then this is for you. I am always on the lookout for books that are different and Half Bad was definitely that. With its interesting storyline and amazingly fun writing style this book delivered in more ways than one.

Nathan is a witch. Not an ordinary witch though, he is part black witch. This puts him in dangerous category that could wind up killing him. After basically being kidnapped he sets out on a journey to find the one person who can help him. This person though is evil and all signs say that Nathan should just run away, but the inevitable happens and BOOM things go from crazy to just downright explosive.

When this book first started I thought it was from a girls POV so I was shocked to learn it was actually a guys. Especially considering the setting of that first chapter. I loved the way it started too. It was so creepy and dark and intense!! Ms. Green did an amazing job setting up the story and drawing the reader in. I was hooked by page 2! I really liked Nathans voice. It was strong and he did what he needed to do to get what he wanted. He isn't the sharpest pencil in the box, but what he lacks in knowledge he makes up for in courage. I rooted for him right up til the end and I so desperately wanted a certain romance to work out. I still have my hope though since there will be a sequel. Nathan is just the type of character that you root for.

The writing I will admit might turn some people off but I love this writing style. I'm not sure what it is called, but I have read a few other books that are similar (Mind Games by Kiersten White) and it just really works for me. I don't as much filler throughout with this type of writing and that makes the book feel like a fast moving train with no end in sight.

One thing and I am sure it is probably just me, but with the whole bad witch/good witch and magic users/non-magic users I kinda got a Harry Potter type vibe. Nathan is even bullied by his sister and well it all just felt influenced by Rowling. Is this a bad thing, not really I did enjoy the Potteresque stuff and there was enough original ideas to make the story stand on its own. I just feel like I should say something that way its out there and well if anybody else feels the same way you know you aren't alone.

This was a great start to what I know will be an amazing series. I cannot wait to get my hands on the sequel!

4 snowflakes