Thursday, April 30, 2015

Blog Tour Review: The Truth Commission by Susan Juby

Today I am joining in the blog tour for The Truth Commission by Susan Juby hosted by the publisher!

The Truth CommissionThe Truth Commission by Susan Juby
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Release Date: April 14, 2015
Purchase: Amazon
Open secrets are the heart of gossip—the things that no one is brave or clueless enough to ask. That is, except for Normandy Pale and her friends Dusk and Neil. They are juniors at Green Pastures Academy of Art and Applied Design, and they have no fear.

They are the Truth Commission.

Then, one of their truth targets says to Normandy: "If you want to know about the truth, you might want to look a little closer to home." And that means facing Keira, Normandy's brilliant older sister, the creator of a bestselling graphic novel series, who has left college and come home under mysterious circumstances, and in complete silence.

Even for a Truth Commissioner, there are some lines that cannot be crossed.

This dryly funny, knife-sharp novel, written as "narrative nonfiction" by Normandy herself, features footnotes, illustrations, and a combination mystery/love story that will capture readers from the first page.

My Thoughts:
This book really made me think about my own personal life and what truths I stray away from.  And I really liked that, was everything I found out about myself, but it was a real eye opener that's for sure.

Normandy (love that name by the way) and her friends decide that they need to hunt for the truth.  They start The Truth Commission in the hopes of helping people by speaking their truths and letting them know its okay to face your fears.  At first this seemed to be all about gossip, but when I found out Norm and her friends weren't doing it to spread gossip and rumors I liked the book all the more.  I liked that they just wanted to help people. They didn't get the reaction they wanted all the time and they found out that truth hurts sometimes.  When Norm looked at her truth the story really took off and it was amazing.

I couldn't wait for Norm to stand up to her sister and her family.  Her sister Keira is a graphic novelist and she literally uses her family for inspiration. She created this world based on her family only using characters that only vaguely look like them.  Everyone knows its them, but no one says anything about it.  And what's worse is that Keira takes the worst of everyone and creates a story. It was all just sad and I hated that Norm had to endure that kind of life.  Her parents were very much on the Keira bandwaggon and it broke my heart.  I normally hate parents in YA books and this one was no exception.  Even with Norm's explanation I still didn't like them and I think most people will agree.  Keira really was a piece of work and I can't believe what she did and what was unearthed at the end.  It was just cruel and I wanted to stand up for Norm myself.  I'm glad Norm found people who backed her up because she deserved more than her parents and Keira.

What I found fascinating about this book is how true it really is.  I mean I think everyone would love to go up to the people they know and just flat out ask what that persons truth is.  I think it's better that we don't because sometimes those truths will hurt, but I think we can all relate to this story.  And this has actually made me want to be more truthful in my own life.  Will I own up to everything no, but I think I will start taking more responsibility in my life.

One thing I have to mention is the writing.  I love Aussie writers, they all have this way with words that I can't find with any other author.  Susan Juby is the exception.  Her writing was amazing and I loved how easy it was to just fall into this story.  It was funny, heartbreaking, uplifting, and incredible.  This book reminded of my Aussie favorites and I can't wait to read more for Ms.Juby.

Oh and a special mention to Norm's friends.  I loved Neil and I did have a hard time with Dusk, but in the end she proved to be amazing.  I did have a hard time with all the footnotes.  I loved them to pieces and I think it added a really fun element to the story, but I didn't get a lot of the references.  That would be my only complaint.  

Part of this blog tour is listing two truths and a lie.  Can you spot my lie??
1. I am a dental assistant
2.  I once pulled the silent alarm at a bank
3. I love coconut

What's your two truths and a lie?

 4 Snowflakes

Review: Ask the Passengers by A.S. King

Ask the Passengers by A.S. King
Published: October 23, 2012
Publisher: Little, Brown BFYR
Astrid Jones desperately wants to confide in someone, but her mother's pushiness and her father's lack of interest tell her they're the last people she can trust. Instead, Astrid spends hours lying on the backyard picnic table watching airplanes fly overhead. She doesn't know the passengers inside, but they're the only people who won't judge her when she asks them her most personal questions--like what it means that she's falling in love with a girl.

As her secret relationship becomes more intense and her friends demand answers, Astrid has nowhere left to turn. She can't share the truth with anyone except the people at thirty thousand feet, and they don't even know she's there. But little does Astrid know just how much even the tiniest connection will affect these strangers' lives--and her own--for the better.

In this truly original portrayal of a girl struggling to break free of society's definitions, Printz Honor author A.S. King asks readers to question everything--and offers hope to those who will never stop seeking real love. 
My Thoughts
Very unique story that was shared with a sense of levity by an immediately likeable character. It was because of the smooth, funny, thoughtful narrative that allowed me to enjoy this novel about a very serious subject.

Astrid Jones is from a small town called Unity Valley. We meet her at a time when she’s struggling to understand her sexual orientation and how and when she wants to make it public to family and friends. She can’t quite open up to her mother, which she finds hard to connect with or her oblivious father, so she spends her time in the yard staring up at the sky and sending her love to the passengers flying above. She shares her feelings with strangers because it’s safe and easy. However, one night when she gets caught with her girlfriend and everything comes tumbling around her, friends and family seem to disappoint her, so she resorts back to passengers in the sky.

I REALLY liked Astrid! She kept me busy with her insightful ramblings and philosophical debates. She carried on internal monologues with the passengers in the sky, Frank Socrates, herself, her brain people… just about everyone. Through her musings, I came to understand her frustrations and worries.

Throughout the story, I wanted to yell at everyone around her to just shut up and let Astrid breathe! This poor girl was trying to figure herself out, and I felt like her parents, friends and girlfriend were pushing her to admit and make decisions she just wasn’t ready to make. To top it off, she was betrayed by her best friend at the most difficult times, so I felt frustrated for the main character. I wanted them all to cut her break and let her think and breathe.

Overall, Ask the Passengers is a breath of fresh air that grapples with a very real and serious subject in a manner that was relatable and worthy of applause. Well done!
4 Snowflakes

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Review: Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Release Date: April 7, 2015
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Review copy from Edelweiss

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

My thoughts:

Say hello to a new addition to my “favorite books ever” list and be prepared for a long, gushing rant about why I loved Becky Albertalli's brilliant debut Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda so incredibly much.

We are introduced to Simon who's a high school junior. He is fairly popular, has a tight group of friends and an awesome, slightly weird, reality-tv obsessed family. But there's a part of him that he has not told about to anyone, except to a mysterious boy called Blue that he found from the school Tumblr blog. Simon is gay, and though he knows that there's nothing embarrassing about it, he is not quite sure how to tell the whole world about it. So he starts to email Blue who's in a similar situation and they find a connection that Simon has never felt with anyone before. But then one of Simon's drama club buddies finds out about Simon's sexuality and takes screen captions of the emails Simon has been exchanging with Blue (what a douche, btw!) and Simon finds himself from a situation in which he does not quite know what to say or how to act. Simon is pulled into a whirlwind of emotions, revelations and feelings and the eventually it seems like the only constant in his life are the emails from Blue.

Simon is such a great protagonist. His life is generally okay and he has a place within his own little community of people, but at the same time, he does not quite feel like the people around him know him fully. He is sure of his sexuality, but at the same time, he is confused about how he should act around others and how things would change if he were to come out to his family and friends. It is so interesting to follow Simon around, to really get into his head and to see the world through his eyes. Simon is funny, extremely relatable and simply a pleasure to read about. Throughout the novel, he feels so real and honest, more like a friend than a fictional character and very quickly he became someone I felt very protective about and someone that I started to deeply care about. The way he can be honest about himself in the emails he exchanges with Blue just made my heart burst from happiness. They are so in sync without even knowing who they are writing to and the way they can trust each other is very admirable. The exchanges between them are like ones found from extremely good 90s romantic comedies, ones that slowly establish the relationship and really savour in the connection between the two people. Because really, the connection between Simon and Blue is MAGICAL.

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda is a love story between two incredible, honest individuals who fall in love under unusual circumstances (though I guess Internet love is getting more and more usual these days). The fact that they happen to be gay just makes this book so much more beautiful, in some sense, because of the all the stigma and prejudice that still surrounds these issues. I did not see their romance as more valuable or more special because they are gay – I saw it as valuable and special simply because they are so good to each other and so honest about the ways they feel. Yes, this could have been a novel about a boy and a girl and I probably would have enjoyed it too, but I don't know, just the way these two characters connect in an environment in which they are bullied and looked down to made me so incredibly happy.

Albertalli is such a good writer. I mean seriously, this story and the way she has build these characters and their surroundings just took my breath away. I know a lot of people who mainly read fantasy/dystopian say often that they are not attracted to contemporary YA because the fictional world is always the same, usually high school with a certain group of people are the focus. And yes, you can find that from Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, but the way that Albertalli writes about these people and this environment is done so well that I never felt like “hey, I have read this book before”. I loved the pacing of the novel and the switch between the chapters consisting of the email exchanges and the chapters focused on Simon's life outside the email exchanges. What was especially interesting was to see how these two worlds, Simon's life and the emails with Blue, start to emerge together as they start to know more about each other.

One of the best aspects of this book is the mystery of who Blue is. It is made clear in the beginning that Blue is someone who goes to same school with Simon, and it so much fun to put together all the little hints that point towards Blue's identity. Yes, I figured it out before it was revealed in novel, but that in no way made this less pleasurable read for me. Actually, I think it just made me love it even more, because I just couldn't wait to reach the point that the two actually meet each other.

There is also an interesting array of side characters in this book – Simon's family and friends, the drama club people, the people Simon meets as he tries to figure out his sexuality. I loved how the characters all contribute something to the story, but never take the focus away from Blue and Simon. As I was reaching the end of this novel, I felt grief just because I did not want it to end. Simon and Blue are one of those couples that will stay with me forever, and if Albertalli ever decides to write about them again, I will throw a party.

Though this is only Albertalli's debut, she has just become one of my favorite authors!

Five Snowflakes


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday - The Iron Warrior by Julie Kagawa

Welcome to Waiting On Wednesday here at

 Winterhaven Books!

This is a feature created by Jill at Breaking The Spine where we share some books we are anxiously awaiting.

This week's pick...

The Iron Warrior (The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten #3) 
by Julie Kagawa
Expected publication: October 27th 2015 by Harlequin Teen 

The Iron Prince—my nephew—betrayed us all.
 He killed me. Then, I woke up. Waking after a month on the brink of death, Ethan Chase is stunned to learn that the Veil that conceals the fey from human sight was temporarily torn away. Although humankind's glimpse of the world of Faery lasted just a brief moment, the human world has been cast into chaos, and the emotion and glamour produced by fear and wonder has renewed the tremendous power of the Forgotten Queen. Now, she is at the forefront of an uprising against the courts of Summer and Winter—a reckoning that will have cataclysmic effects on the Never never. Leading the Lady's Forgotten Army is Keirran himself: Ethan's nephew, and the traitor son of the Iron Queen, Meghan Chase.To stop Keirran, Ethan must disobey his sister once again as he and his girlfriend, Kenzie, search for answers long forgotten. In the face of unprecedented evil and unfathomable power, Ethan's enemies must become his allies, and the world of the fey will be changed forevermore.

My dear sweet Kierran, how wrong our relationship did go. I absolutely loved The Iron Fey series. Julie Kagawa and Fairies: I mean what more could you really ask for? How about the realization of a prophecy long since foretold. I NEED to know what happens next. I have not even began to let myself think about it but now I feel that little glimmer of excitement. Julie has never disappointed me in a series conclusion and I am sure she will not start now!

An Ember in the Ashes Release Day blitz!

I am so excited that AN EMBER IN THE ASHES by Sabaa Tahir releases today and that I get to share the news, along with a special introduction from Sabaa herself!

If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book by Author Sabaa Tahir, be sure to check out all the details below.
This blitz also includes a giveaway for a signed copies of the book and some of those awesome sword letter openers we’ve seen around courtesy of Sabaa, Penguin Teen, and Rockstar Book Tours. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

A letter from Sabaa Tahir.

Dear Readers,

Today, my “baby” AN EMBER IN THE ASHES is finally out in the world! From inception to pub date, this journey took eight years. And what a journey it was: writing, rewriting, revising, editing, querying, submitting; Meeting other debuts, bloggers, booksellers and librarians, and hearing their thoughts on EMBER. There aren’t enough superlatives to describe the radness.

And now, the book is here! I am so excited to see it in the hands of readers. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. To celebrate release day, I’m giving away two signed, first-edition hardcovers of the book. Details below!

All my best,


Author: Sabaa TahirPub. Date: April 28, 2015Publisher: RazorbillPages: 464Find it: AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooks, Goodreads

Set in a terrifyingly brutal Rome-like world, An Ember in the Ashes is an epic fantasy debut about an orphan fighting for her family and a soldier fighting for his freedom. It’s a story that’s literally burning to be told.
LAIA is a Scholar living under the iron-fisted rule of the Martial Empire. When her brother is arrested for treason, Laia goes undercover as a slave at the empire’s greatest military academy in exchange for assistance from rebel Scholars who claim that they will help to save her brother from execution.
ELIAS is the academy’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias is considering deserting the military, but before he can, he’s ordered to participate in a ruthless contest to choose the next Martial emperor.
When Laia and Elias’s paths cross at the academy, they find that their destinies are more intertwined than either could have imagined and that their choices will change the future of the empire itself.

Check out the book trailer!

About Sabaa:
Sabaa Tahir grew up in California’s Mojave Desert at her family’s 18-room motel. There, she spent her time devouring fantasy novels, raiding her brother’s comic book stash and playing guitar badly. She began writing An Ember in the Ashes while working nights as a newspaper editor. She likes thunderous indie rock, garish socks and all things nerd. Sabaa currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family.

Giveaway Details:

2 winners will receive a signed hardcover of AN EMBER IN THE ASHES. US Only.

3 winners will receive a hardcover of AN EMBER IN THE ASHES and a Sword Letter Opener! US Only.

Ends on May 9th at Midnight EST!

Teaser Tuesday #94 Ice Kissed by Amanda Hocking

Welcome to Teaser Tuesdays! Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm. 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...

Ice Kissed (Kanin Chronicles, #2)
Ice Kissed by Amanda Hocking
Expected Publication: May 5, 2015
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Bryn Aven has always longed to be a part of the Kanin world.
Though she has no social status because she’s a half-breed, she refuses to give up on her dream of serving the kingdom she loves. It’s a dream that brings her to a whole new realm . . . the glittering palace of the Skojare.
The Skojare people need protection from the same brutal rival who’s been threatening the Kanin, and, being half Skojare herself, it’s a chance for Bryn to learn more about her heritage. Her boss Ridley Dresden is overseeing her mission and wants to help. He’s always been her most trusted friend—but as their undeniable attraction heats up, he becomes a distraction she can’t afford.

Brynn is about to discover that the Skojare world is full of secrets, and as she’s drawn in deeper and deeper, she doesn’t know who to trust. As she gets closer to Ridley, she realizes she may not even be able to trust her own heart.

(Teasers are from an Advanced Readers Copy. Teasers are subject to change in the finished copy)

Teaser from Ebook page:10

"But now as I rode Bloom through the falling snow, pushing him hard as though I could somehow escape the truth, I realized I was more afraid that my memories were right."

Teasers from Ebook page: 21

"The sight of him had been like encountering a ghost, and I'd been in shock, so he'd been able to get the best of me."

Mark your calendars!!! Swing by the blog on May 4th for our Review, Excerpt, and GIVEAWAY!!!!

*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 27, 2015

Upcoming Release: Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

Expected Publication: May 5, 2015
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Peyton, Sydney's charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion's share of their parents' attention and—lately—concern. When Peyton's increasingly reckless behavior culminates in an accident, a drunk driving conviction, and a jail sentence, Sydney is cast adrift, searching for her place in the family and the world. When everyone else is so worried about Peyton, is she the only one concerned about the victim of the accident?

Enter the Chathams, a warm, chaotic family who run a pizza parlor, play bluegrass on weekends, and pitch in to care for their mother, who has multiple sclerosis. Here Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance. And here she meets Mac, gentle, watchful, and protective, who makes Sydney feel seen, really seen, for the first time.

The uber-popular Sarah Dessen explores her signature themes of family, self-discovery, and change in her twelfth novel, sure to delight her legions of fans.

My Thoughts
Saint Anything is a perfect example of Sarah Dessen’s ability to pen a worthy Young Adult contemporary that’s filled with a great cast and a story that allows for a sense of connection.

In this novel, we meet Sydney who has always been overshadowed by her bigger-than-life older brother Peyton. Having the spotlight on him was the norm to her existence and that included her parents doting constant attention on him despite his transgressions. So when Peyton is charged with a drunk driving conviction that leaves a fifteen year old boy paralyzed, Sydney finds herself lost and not quite sure how to adjust to the new family dynamics. She ultimately makes a drastic decision to switch from her small private school to Jackson High School to alleviate some financial pressure on her parents, and this is where she meets the Chatham family.

Making new friends and redefining what’s important to her, Sydney finally gets a chance to feel a part of something and for once be noticed. The bond she creates with Mac and Layla opens Sydney’s eyes to true friendship and familial connection, which is always a good feeling to experience when reading one of Dessen’s novels.

As with most of her other books, I absolutely love how Dessen doesn’t feel the need to make a romance the center of her books. She places more of an emphasis on friendships, family dynamics and character self-development, which was clearly evident in this book.

The light romance between Mac and Sydney was fun to witness because it was so subtle, yet meaningful. I enjoyed their scenes together, but most of all I appreciated what they came to mean to each other. The saint charm he gave her was a nice gesture because I know how much something like that means to those that believe in protectors. Very heartwarming.

Overall Saint Anything was signature of Dessen’s ability create a meaningful story about family and friends. I enjoyed this book from beginning to end.
4 Snowflakes

Review: Everything That Makes You by Moriah McStay

Everything That Makes You by Moriah McStay
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: March 17, 2015
Review copy from Edelweiss

One girl. Two stories. Meet Fiona Doyle. The thick ridges of scar tissue on her face are from an accident twelve years ago. Fiona has notebooks full of songs she’s written about her frustrations, her dreams, and about her massive crush on beautiful uber-jock Trent McKinnon. If she can’t even find the courage to look Trent straight in his beautiful blue eyes, she sure isn’t brave enough to play or sing any of her songs in public. But something’s changing in Fiona. She can’t be defined by her scars anymore.

And what if there hadn’t been an accident? Meet Fi Doyle. Fi is the top-rated female high school lacrosse player in the state, heading straight to Northwestern on a full ride. She’s got more important things to deal with than her best friend Trent McKinnon, who’s been different ever since the kiss. When her luck goes south, even lacrosse can’t define her anymore. When you’ve always been the best at something, one dumb move can screw everything up. Can Fi fight back?

Hasn’t everyone wondered what if? In this daring debut novel, Moriah McStay gives us the rare opportunity to see what might have happened if things were different. Maybe luck determines our paths. But maybe it’s who we are that determines our luck.

My Thoughts:

Moriah McStay's debut, Everything That Makes You, is not quite anything I've come across before. Though this probably is not an original idea, meaning that this is not the first time a story like this has been put together, I would argue that this is pretty original when it comes to YA (correct me if I am wrong). Well, despite the possibility that there might be other books that use the same premise than Everything That Makes You, I found myself immensely enjoying this one and it proved to be a quite a unique, new reading experience for me.

We are introduced to Fiona Doyle, a girl whose face is covered by scars she got in an accident when she was five years old. For her whole life, she has defined herself by her scars - she has avoided mirrors, situations in which she might be the center of attention and in general, she has tried to keep herself as invisible as possible. This uncomfortability with herself has led her to ignore possibilities where she could shine (performing her songs) or where she could actually feel something (admitting her feelings to the swoonworthy Trent). Through new experiences and a possibility for a "cure", Fiona learns that she is more than just her scars.

One of the big questions the book tackles with is what would have happened if the accident would never have taken place and Fiona would not have gotten scarred. To discover this possibility further, we are introduced to Fi Doyle. Pretty much throughout her life, she has been defined by her talent in lacrosse, a sport her parents do not see Fi having a future in. Though it could offer her a place in college, it is not something she can do for the rest of her life, or at least that is how her parents think. When Fi gets into an accident and lacrosse is suddenly taken out of her life, at least for a while, she has to start to look for something else to define herself with. When she meets Marcus, everything changes in a way Fi never would have expected.

The novel switches between Fiona's and Fi's stories, with same characters occurring in both. There is Trent, who is the unattainable crush to Fiona and the best friend to Fi. There is Marcus, who Fiona only hears about while for Fi he becomes someone who changes her life. And then there is Jackson, who is friend to both, but possibly something more for one of them. I loved to read about the differences between Fiona and Fi and it was interesting to notice that though they are different, they also share a lot of similarities. Though they have different backgrounds, they essentially are the same person, just with different destines. The discovery of "what ifs" and "what nots" eventually leads to two different paths of self-discovery, forgiveneness and second changes.

I loved how honestly McStay writes about struggle with self-love and the process of understanding that there are things we cannot change, even if we want to. Both Fiona and Fi struggle with confidence, though in two very different ways, and both learn something new through what they experience. At first, their stories are heavily intertwined, but as the book processes and more events happen, they get distanced more and more - one conversation can have the power to change everything, one decision might either make or brake you.

McStay's debut is written with confidence and bravado. Everything That Makes You probably has not been the easiest book to write, and I salute McStay for intertwining the stories together with skill. The only reason I go with four stars instead of five is the fact that it took me a while to fully get into this book, but once that happened, I could not put it down.

4 Snowflakes


Sunday, April 26, 2015

Review: Seed by Lisa Heathfield

Seed by Lisa Heathfield
Release date: March 10, 2015
Publisher: Running Press Kids
Review copy from NetGalley

All that Pearl knows can be encapsulated in one word: Seed. It is the isolated community that she was born into. It is the land that she sows and reaps. It is the center of her family and everything that means home. And it is all kept under the watchful eye of Papa S.

At fifteen years old, Pearl is finally old enough to be chosen as Papa S’s companion. She feels excitement... and surprising trepidation that she cannot explain. The arrival of a new family into the Seed community — particularly the teenage son, Ellis — only complicates the life and lifestyle that Pearl has depended upon as safe and constant.

Ellis is compelling, charming, and worldly, and he seems to have a lot of answers to questions Pearl has never thought to ask. But as Pearl digs to the roots of the truth, only she can decide what she will allow to come to the surface.

My Thoughts:

As someone who's fascinated by cults and anything to do with them, factual or fictional, the moment I read the synopsis for Lisa Heathfield's YA debut Seed, I knew that I would have to get my hands on it ASAP. Though there seems to be more and more YA novels that feature cultish aspect, I find that many of them do it in a setting that's not completely contemporary. The fact that Heathfield's novel seems to take place in a world just like ours instantly made me even more curious, because I often find that books that like with a setting that I can identify with, have a much bigger effect on me.

We are introduced to Pearl, a 15-year-old girl who has just become a woman according to the rules of Seed, the most beautiful place in the world. Her new womanhood means that she is allowed to grown out her hair, to wear a skirt, and most importantly, now she's allowed to become the companion of Papa S., the leader of Seed, appointed by Nature. Pearl loves Seed and everything it represents – peace, love for nature, family. Rather than being a child of someone, she's the child of Nature and when she does something wrong or has wrong thoughts, she understands that the Nature will punish her, and she's okay with that. Having spent her whole life at Seed, she does not know that somewhere else, things are different.

When Linda moves to Seed from the Outside with her two children, Pearl finds things changing. The older of Linda's children, Ellis, a boy of Pearl's age starts to make Pearl feel things that she knows she is not supposed to feel. She's not allowed to be jealous of the attention Ellis gives to the other people of Seed, she's not allowed to feel attraction, because her ultimate goal should be to be the companion of Papa S. And she's certainly not allowed to question the rules of Seed and the possibilities of life Outside. But as more and more happens, she starts to realize that maybe there's a possibility she could have been wrong. That maybe she has been living a lie.

What I really loved about Seed is the way Heathfield very slowly and carefully reveals the workings of the cult. Rather than laying them out all at once, she builds them into the story and reveals them to the reader through dialogue and characterization. It was extremely interesting to read about Pearl and the way she very slowly starts to understand that the life outside of Seed might not be what she has been told it is. The way she blindly believes in everything Papa S. says is heartbreaking for someone who knows better and I really liked the way Heathfield first makes her so sure of the fact that Seed is the best possible place for her to be.

The way Heathfield builds the story really makes this book one of those titles that is just so difficult to put down. I found myself wanting to read more and more, just to learn more about the cult and the thoughts of Pearl as they start to change. Though I kind of knew before starting this one that Papa S. would be creepy as hell, I kind of wished that he would have been even a bit more brutal. Yes, I completely hated and despised him, but maybe it is the masochist in me for wished for even more. But for a YA novel, Papa S. is plenty creepy.

Heathfield is a very talented writer and Seed is a very promising debut. It is a coming-of-age story, a story about a delusional con-artist, a story about a society that might first seem ideal, but that actually is very messed up. Though there's just a hint of romance added to the mix, I am grateful that Heathfield has written this a story of a young woman's maturation and the way someone's worldview can change through experiences and exploration. I am definitely looking forward to seeing what Heathfield comes up next, and I hope that this novel finds its way to the hands of YA readers, because it definitely is a book worth reading!

Four Snowflakes


Saturday, April 25, 2015


This past week was the annual TLA convention. For those who don't know TLA stands for Texas Library Association and is basically heaven for bloggers and readers. This was my second year attending and if you have ever been to ALA then you know what this is like expect much smaller.  Sometimes bigger is better and while I do love ALA, TLA gives me the chance to really talk with publishers and not feel rushed and overwhelmed.  I am terrible at remembering pictures but I did manage to take a few from the event.
I've realized after this year that I have gotten into a very bad habit.  Normally I have a list of must have books and I'll go and beg for these titles which I did do this year, but I did something different this time around and it was by accident.  I was talking to my friend who went with me (who is delightful by the way ;)) at the Penguin both.  I was showing her Still Waters by Ash Parsons and explaining how I loved the dark undertones of the book when an amazing publicist popped up and said "oh if you loved that one you have to check this out!"  He dropped Fell of Dark by Patrick Downes into my hands and I have never been more thankful.  I have already read and loved this book and I am so grateful he overheard my conversation. Fell of Dark wasn't on my must have list because I hadn't heard anything about this debut title.  Shame!!  So I started thinking what else don't I know about?!  From that point on in every booth I would ask "what do you recommend" Some publicists were excited for my genre choice others stayed away from creepy, but still tried to help which I thought was amazing.  This year I brought home not only my must haves, but quite a few new to me titles that sound absolutely amazing!  I am so glad that the Penguin publicist stepped in because now I have a new strategy.  The titles I know about I can always buy, but these hidden gems that I don't know about might go unnoticed and that would be a travesty!  So thank you Penguin for your amazing people and all the other publishers like Little Brown, Houghton Mifflin, Harper, Harlequin, Random House, & Simon & Schuster  who stepped up and showed me some new incredible books that I can't wait to dive into!

Some of my favorite finds were:
Fell of Dark The Detour Violent Ends I Crawl Through It

Now I have to mention Violent Ends because this book is completely new to me and I have no idea how I missed hearing about this one!  This story is told from 17 points of view and each point of view was written by a different author!  Kendare Blake, Trish Doller, Neal Schusterman, and Courtney Summers are just a few!!  I mean where did this come from??!  I am so beyond excited I was lucky enough to grab a copy of this book!

And I did just notice that every cover is grey...hmmm..

I also got to meet the amazing Rachel Vincent and grab a copy of The Stars Never Rise!  I have been wanting this book forever and I am so excited to finally have it in my hands!

Giveaway time!  Normally I have a few books that I can part with, but this year I was really choosy and only accepted what I knew I would read so I am going to giveaway a pre order this year.  You can pick from my favorite finds list or one that you are pining for.
 US $15 and open to wherever the Book Depository delivers. 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, April 24, 2015

Stacking the Shelves #81

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

Our recap for the week!


What landed in our happy hands..
Inherit the Stars A History of Glitter and Blood The Rest of Us Just Live Here All Played Out (Rusk University, #3) A Tale of Two Besties: A Hello Giggles Novel Nightborn (Thrones & Bones, #2) The Truth Commission
For review:

Off the Page

Frostborn (Thrones & Bones, #1)

*Special thanks to Running Press Kids, Chronicle Books, Walker Books, William Morrow & Company, Razorbill, Delacorte, Crown Books for Young Readers, & Viking Books for Young Readers*

That's it for us this week! I hope everyone had an amazing week as well!  Please leave me a link so I can see all your goodies!

Review: Confess by Colleen Hoover

Published: March 10, 2015
Publisher: Atria Books
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover, a new novel about risking everything for love—and finding your heart somewhere between the truth and lies.

Auburn Reed has her entire life mapped out. Her goals are in sight and there’s no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to find a deep attraction to the enigmatic artist who works there, Owen Gentry.

For once, Auburn takes a risk and puts her heart in control, only to discover Owen is keeping major secrets from coming out. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything important to Auburn, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it.

The last thing Owen wants is to lose Auburn, but he can’t seem to convince her that truth is sometimes as subjective as art. All he would have to do to save their relationship is confess. But in this case, the confession could be much more destructive than the actual sin… 

My Thoughts
“There are people you meet that you get to know and then there are people you meet that you already know.”
Emotional and full of heart! A Hoover book that reminds me why I fell in love with her writing so long ago.

It’s been a while since I’ve read a book by Colleen Hoover that shot straight to my heart. I remain an avid fan of Slammed and Point of Retreat because those books were pure magic. As I’ve witnessed Hoover become a seasoned writer with a crazy avid fan following, I’ve waiting patiently for her next book to move me like her debut novels.

Thankfully, after a few years of waiting, I can sigh with relief in knowing that she hasn’t lost her touch when it comes to crafting characters that slip into my heart and affect my psyche. I finished this book a few days ago, and I’m still thinking about Auburn and Owen. I’m glad I waited a few days to let this experience process because where I might have given this book four stars and just moved on, forcing myself to wait, process her story and then review and rate it proved to me that Confess was more than just a story. It was an experience in and of itself.

Confess is told in two different perspectives, which I believe is a style of writing Hoover excels at. She starts off with Auburn Mason Reed sharing her experience with a tragic loss that happened at the age of fifteen.

Forward five years later and Auburn finds herself back in Texas on a quest to right some wrongs. In need of money and stumbling upon a “Help Wanted” ad she lands a job at an art gallery of sorts where she helps Owen Mason Gentry (yes, cute initials that were well played in the book – OMG), the artist, sell his confession paintings. These paintings are inspired by peoples’ confessions and every first Thursday of the month he opens his gallery for the public to come and purchase his artwork.

As Owen and Auburn realize the undeniable attraction between each other, they are faced with obstacles that keep them apart.

I’m going to stop there for fear that I’ll give something away. This story had a series of delayed revelations that unfolded in the later chapters, and as each twist revealed itself, it added to the depth of the novel. How the small details of the story came together at the end reminded me how clever Colleen Hoover can be in her story-telling.

Overall, I enjoyed just about everything in this book. Auburn and Owen commanded the stage with their voices. I loved the red-hot chemistry between these two, and I appreciated the deliberate care they took in fostering their relationship. Owen was sheer perfection. I think Will from Slammed has a little bit of competition! ☺

Confess is unique in its own right and amazing by default. A novel I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend. Loved it!
5 Snowflakes