Book Review

A Witch in Winter by Ruth Warburton

Release Date: February 25, 2012
Country of Release UK
Author Info: Website | Twitter
Publisher: Hodder Children’s Books
Age Group: Young Adult
Shelfability: Acquire
Pages: 346
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Interest: Summary & Debut
Challenge: The Debut Author Challenge

I love books about witches. I think perhaps my obsession with witches all started with the movie Teen Witch. It’s a movie from the late 80′s about a girl who discovers she is a witch… or perhaps it stemmed from another witch movie from the late 80′s The Worst Witch. (Which was also a book!) I mean who wouldn’t want magical powers! I even wrote a book in elementary school about turning myself invisible and playing pranks on people at school. Regardless I’ve wanted to discover that I just happened to be a witch. It hasn’t happened yet, but I’m still hoping.

But anyway… we should really talk about A Witch in Winter. I wanted to read this book because of the witch aspect, and I’m so glad that I did! It was such a fun book to read and I can’t wait for the next one!

Anna Winterson, moves to the small town Winter with her father. (Winterson and Winter… did you catch that!) Anyway, they move into this big creepy house, from what I can take  this house has a lot of secrets we have yet to discover. Anna makes a few new friends at school and a few enemies too. This isn’t spoilery since it’s in the summary, but Anna finds out she is a witch when unknowingly enchants a boy at school after her friends find a spell and have some fun at a slumber party. (Wow run-on sentence!) This novel however, is not your typical witchy romance. There is a darker aspect to the novel as well, a good vs evil element, if you will. I think readers who love paranormal with romance but are looking for something a little different, will really like this one.

I loved Anna’s character. She continued to surprise me throughout the entire story, she’s not at all your typical heroine and that was refreshing. I loved that she didn’t do what I expected her to do most of the time. Although I do have to admit there were a few times I wanted to give her a hard love tap! And Seth was such a great guy, it was nice to have a paranormal read with the love interest not being a jerk.

And this might sounds a little funny… but I LOVED the UK slang in the book! I hope they don’t change that if they do end up publishing it in the US, it helped cement the setting of the story so well.

I was so thrilled to have a chance to read this book and I sooooo can’t wait for the next one! I’m not sure if this one is going to be released in the US (fingers crossed) but it’s worth the read if you can get a UK copy!


Guest Blog

Guest Blog: Heather Burch author of Halflings

Heather Burch


  • Halflings

Website | Halflings Network | Buy the Book | Preorder Guardian | 11:15 | Memory Game App

After being inexplicably targeted by an evil intent on harming her at any cost, seventeen-year-old Nikki finds herself under the watchful guardianship of three mysterious young men who call themselves halflings. Sworn to defend her, misfits Mace, Raven, and Vine battle to keep Nikki safe while hiding their deepest secret—and the wings that come with.

A growing attraction between Nikki and two of her protectors presents a whole other danger. While she risks a broken heart, Mace and Raven could lose everything, including their souls. As the mysteries behind the boys’ powers, as well as her role in a scientist’s dark plan, unfold, Nikki is faced with choices that will affect the future of an entire race of heavenly beings, as well as the precarious equilibrium of the earthly world.

I’ve always been a bit of a rule breaker. I don’t mean to be. It sort of works out that way.

When I began writing Halflings, YA books were primarily first person POV. So what do I do? Third person, multiple POV. The story just couldn’t be told without being inside the heads of Mace and Raven.

People often tell me, “Halflings is different but in a good way.”

So I explain, “Halflings was a truly organic project.” When I started writing it, there were no angel/fallen angel books out. (Shocking, I know.) I didn’t look at what was trendy, acceptable, expected in a YA novel. I know a lot of teens and I wanted to write a story they couldn’t put down. Simply put, I wanted to captivate them.

Also, there’s the whole angels and God thing. You know what? I wrote exactly what I wanted to write and didn’t fret about what people might think. I had author friends tell me, “You’ll have to take out God. No one wants to read about that.” Angels without God? Nope, didn’t ring true in my ears. So I just did it. I didn’t compromise the integrity of the story because it would have ultimately hurt the project as a whole. My job as an author is to tell a haunting story you’ll never forget. If I’ve done that, I’ve accomplished something great.

When the characters Mace, Raven and Vine started talking in my head and I realized these boys weren’t going to shut up until I told their heartbreaking story—one part Peter Pan, one part X-Men—I can’t tell you how excited I was.

I began with the scene where Nikki is being chased by hell-hounds. (Even after multiple revisions to get the book juuuuust right, that scene remained almost verbatim my first draft.) Once I wrote scene one, I was gloriously lost in the Halflings plight. I still haven’t come up for air.

My publisher has so totally caught the vision of this project. The Halflings have their own social network (oh, humans are welcome to join.) We just released a free game app, and I’ve written two short stories to coincide with books one and two. 11:15, The Making of a Halfling is a free illustrated e-book prequel to book one. The second, tentatively titled, A Halflings Rescue, will be available before the September release of Guardian, book two in the Halflings series. It will also be available at all the major e-book retailers.

All in all, if Halflings is different in a good way, I’m honored to be different! And it seems to be working for readers and reviews as well. USA Today calls Halflings “Utterly Addicting.”



I’m Candor Faction Leader!

Faction Before Blood

Are you getting excited for the release of INSURGENT?!? (May 1, 2012) I know that I am. Divergent was one of my favorite books last year… if not my most favorite and I’ve been dying to read the sequel since I turned the last pages!

This weekend I was given a task as a Dauntless to distribute some faction tattoos at THE HUNGER GAMES movie! It was a lot of fun handing out the tattoos and telling fans about Divergent! (And wasn’t the movie AWESOME!?) In addition to the task I was told I would receive a package on March 26th, the contents of which are highly coveted.

I came home to a package on monday enclosed with this:

There was also a folder in there with some paperwork…. but this was the really good stuff, AN ARC OF INSURGENT! I might have screamed and flailed around the house like a ridiculous mad woman, but my husband is totally used to it, so no problem!

There were FIVE blogs that were awarded these arcs and also became leaders of the factions.

Divergent Fans— Dauntless
Divergent Examiner— Abnegation
Divergent Lexicon— Amity
The Story Siren— Candor
Bookalicious— Erudite

I am so honored to be included! But that’s not all! Nine initiates will be joining me in the Candor Faction! Those nine initiates will be receiving their own arc of Insurgent! The other Factions will be gaining nine initiates each as  well! I won’t find out who my initiates are until later, but I hope to lead them to victory! You can follow the information on Twitter by looking for the hashtag #DivergentNation. And don’t forget to follow the Candor Tumblr!

There is more excitement to come!

Cover Reveal: Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff (Plus an Interview & Giveaway)

Not only do I have the UK cover of STORMDANCER to share with you, I also have a short interview with author Jay Kristoff and a giveaway for a SIGNED finished copy of STORMDANCER!

But first off:
Interview with Jay:

What are your thoughts on the UK cover of Stormdancer?

On the Whovian Scale of Awesome (totally an official mode of measurement), I’d rate it slightly higher than David Tennant. So, pretty frackin’ awesome. There’s power in it, but it’s elegant and beautiful, too. The guys at Tor UK did a shiny job.

Did you have any input in the cover design?

For sure. The aspect I wanted the guys to capture more than anything was that Yukiko is a fighter – fierce and capable and independent. Showing a beautiful Japanese girl in a pretty dress wasn’t going to cut it, you know?

The clan logos running down the side were my idea too, in a roundabout way – a friend and I designed them for fun, thinking maybe they’d get used as chapter headers. But the guys at Tor liked them so much, they put them on the cover too. So that was pretty cool.

What makes Stormdancer different?

It’s kind of a high-speed collision between epic fantasy and Japanese inspired-steampunk.
There’s no corsetry or high tea or Victorian sensibilities. Shima is a country ruined by technology – air-ships smearing black exhaust across blood-red skies, samurai in combustion-driven power armor, ninja rebels and shadowy geisha and power-mad Shōguns. And in the middle of it all, a teenaged girl who befriends the last griffin left alive and rises to challenge the might of the entire empire.

I tried to take readers to a place unlike anything they’ve seen before. Hope it worked!

Can you tell us a little more about your heroine, Yukiko?

She’s kinda stubborn. Brave or stupid, depending how you look at it . Her mother left when she was younger and her father is a drug-addict, so she’s had to stand up tall, be self-reliant. Oh yeah, and she can speak telepathically to animals. Which sounds pretty sweet until you consider:

The pollution in Shima is so bad, there aren’t many animals left to talk to.

People displaying any aptitude for the gift are publically burned :P

Can you tell us something about Stormdancer that we won’t learn from the synopsis?

How about I show you something instead?

Summary for STORMDANCER:

The Shima Imperium is verging on the brink of environmental collapse; decimated by clockwork industrialization and the machine-worshippers of the Lotus Guild. The skies are red as blood, land choked with toxic pollution, wildlife ravaged by mass extinctions.

The hunters of the imperial court are charged by their Shōgun to capture a thunder tiger – a legendary beast, half-eagle, half-tiger. But any fool knows thunder tigers have been extinct for more than a century, and the price of failing the Shōgun is death.

Yukiko is a child of the Fox clan, possessed of a hidden gift that would see her executed by the Lotus Guild. Accompanying her father on the Shōgun’s hunt, she finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in Shima’s last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled thunder tiger for company. Even though she can hear his thoughts, even though she saved his life, all she knows for certain is he’d rather see her dead than help her.

But together, the pair will form an indomitable friendship, and rise to challenge the might of an empire.

The UK Cover:

Official Contest information:

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Book Review

In Too Deep by Amanda Grace

Release Date: February 8, 2012
Author Info: Website | Twitter | Facebook
Publisher: Flux
Age Group: Young Adult
Shelfability: Borrow
Pages: 228
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Interest: Author
Challenge: None
Buy the Book: Amazon

Samantha has a major crush on her best friend Nick. Too bad that he is so easily distracted by his on-again, off-again girlfriend to take notice of her. Until tonight that is, because Sam has a plan! If only Nick could see her as a desirable girl and not just his friend, maybe their relationship could be something more. And the way to make Nick see her as desirable is to have another guy take notice. In comes Carter. If Sam can get Carter to flirt with her, Nick will have no choice but to take notice. Too bad it doesn’t exactly work out that way.

Somehow Sam’s embarrassing denial from Carter, has been twisted into something much more serious. Can Sam fix it, and does she really want to?

This review may just be a little bit spoilery…. so read at your own risk!

I had a hard time with this story because I was incredibly infuriated with Sam. I could empathize with her and her situation, but accusing someone of rape is pretty darn serious in my book. For Sam to let the rumors and her actions to escalate the way that it did, ugh. Bad Sam!

Nevertheless… I really enjoyed reading this book because of what happened! I loved that it evoked that sort of emotion from me. That is made me feel something so deeply! Those are the types of books that really make an impact. I was so MAD at Sam, and I think as a reader you almost need to be. To watch and learn from her mistakes. Because we all make them. Serious ones and stupid ones. And as long as we learn from them, I think there can be some sort of redemption there. And I felt like that happened with Sam. It might have taken her a little bit longer than I wanted, but it happened and I commend her for that.

My favorite character in this one, had to be Nick. It was devastating to see him so hurt! I wish we could have seen a little bit more resolution with his character.

Despite the serious nature of this book, it was a quick read for me. Amanda Grace tackles yet another serious issue in an information and graceful manner. Can’t wait for more.

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