Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday & a 2011 ARC Giveaway !!

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It lets us all gush about what soon-to-be released books we are jumping-up-and-down excited for.

Shadows on the Moon
by Zoe Marriott

releasing July 2011 from Walker Books

"On my fourteenth birthday when the sakura was in full bloom, the men came to kill us. We saw them come, Aimi and me. We were excited, because we did not know how to be frightened. We had never seen soldiers before." Suzume is a shadow-weaver. She can create mantles of darkness and light, walk unseen in the middle of the day, change her face. She can be anyone she wants to be. Except herself. Suzume died officially the day the Prince's men accused her father of treason. Now even she is no longer sure of her true identity. Is she the girl of noble birth living under the tyranny of her mother’s new husband, Lord Terayama? A lowly drudge scraping a living in the ashes of Terayama’s kitchens? Or Yue, the most beautiful courtesan in the Moonlit Lands? Everyone knows Yue is destined to capture the heart of a prince. Only she knows that she is determined to use his power to destroy Terayama. And nothing will stop her. Not even love.

My thoughts: Zoe Marriott describes her upcoming book as
"Cinderella, turned on its head and set in a faerytale version of Feudal Japan". That was enough to catch my attention! I absolutely love books that are rich with the culture and history of the Orient, and if you're a regular reader of this blog, you know I have an absolute love for fairy tale retellings!! This sounds like its going to be the best of both of those worlds! Add in the stunningly gorgeous cover and you have a book that I am literally counting down the days---well months---to!!

But WAIT! There's more! The author, Zoe Marriott, is giving away three,..you heard it right...THREE ARCs of Shadows on the Moon on her blog!! All she asks is that we help her get to 200 followers---if she reaches it by Christmas, she will pick three of those followers to receive those ARCs! Check it out HERE.

So what are you waiting for this lovely Wednesday?

Gratitude Giveaway Winners!!

Thanks so much to everyone who entered my Gratitude Giveaway! And welcome to all my new followers! I hope you decide to visit often!! :D

So, on to the winners!!

Winner of Matched:
#218- Kate

Winner of Please Ignore Vera Dietz:
#36- Cynthia

Congrats!! You both have emails from me in your inboxes!
For those who didn't win, don't be sad!! I'll be holding another giveaway in the next few weeks!
Thanks to every single one of my followers!! I love you guys! :D

Monday, November 29, 2010

Recommend{2}Me - New weekly feature

This will be a new weekly feature here at Stories & Sweeties! For Recommend{2}Me, I'll feature an already-released book that I have my eye on, it's caught my interest for one reason or another, but before I spend my money or go through the trouble to track it down at the library, I want to hear from you!! Have you read it? What did you think? Love it? Hate it? Don't waste my hard-earned cash? Sure I can just check store sites for reviews but, you know what? I trust the word of my fellow book readers and bloggers more than anyone else!

So here is this week's Recommend{2}Me pick:

Falling by Sharon Doger
(Chicken House Ltd., 2009)

Neesha is afraid - haunted by the fragments of a nightmare about a girl falling, far away and a long time ago. Just when the echoes in her head threaten to overwhelm her, a boy unexpectedly comes to her rescue. Handsome and talented, Sammy finds himself strangely drawn to Neesha - but it's only when they come together, that they begin to realize why. Are they falling in love or being pulled into the past - fated to replay a love affair that ended in blood?

So what do you think? Have you read it and recommend it? Haven't read it but want to? Hated it and I should put down the credit card before it's too late?? :D Let me know what you think in the comments!

Would any bloggers out there like to do this feature with me?? If so, let me know and I'll make a button and set this up as a meme! :)

Cover Story: Wildefire & Ladybird, Ladybird

Two gorgeous covers were revealed this week, and I am beyond excited about both of these books!!

First up, there is Wildefire by Karsten Knight. This is Karsten's debut novel, being put out by Simon & Schuster in summer 2011. What puts this at the top of my list of highly anticipated 2011 reads is the fact that it's about Polynesian Goddesses. WAY cool. I was a hula & tahitian dancer for years and I have always loved the Polynesian culture and legends, so this subject holds a very special place in my heart. ♥ When i saw this cover, I was even more excited. It's gorgeous! I loved the smoldering lily in the center and the eerie black lilies all around---to me, if you look at it from a distance, the black lilies almost look like the wavy black hair of a hawaiian goddess.

Also revealed this week, was a new one from Knight Angels author, Abra Ebner! Ladybird, Ladybird is set in the country and tells the story of Samantha who was raised as a "cursed child" by her unloving father and can hear her dead mother through keys (?? That part has me completely curious!!). She has one friend, a quiet farm boy with a broken heart and demons of his own. This one sounds charming and spooky and amazing all at the same time!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

In My Mailbox {44}

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren, where we all share what we got during the week!

Well, I got some interesting stuff this week! And one super fantastic early Christmas present that I am just in love with!! Here's what I got:
For review:
Random Magic by Sasha Soren
I'll be participating in the Winter Tour of this book, so keep an eye out for that in December!

Tapestry: The Fiend and the Forge by Henry Neff
The Fortune of Carmen Navarro by Jen Bryant
Wish by Joseph Monninger
Teenage Waistland by Lynn Biederman
All four of these were sent from the awesome folks at Random House...I hadn't heard of a couple of these, but they all look interesting!

Library Checkouts:
The Tree Shepard's Daughter by Gillian Summers
Hunter's Moon by O.R. Melling
Both of these caught my eye when someone turned them in at my library. Can't resist fairies!

Rampant by Diana Peterfreund
I've been meaning to read this forever! Finally bought my own copy so hopefully will get to it soon!

Foundling by D.M. Cornish
This sounds like a slightly creepy one, and that cover makes it look a little steampunky.

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly
ARC won from Random Buzzers. Loved this book, you can see my review here.

And last, but certainly not least,...I got a Nook Color!!! So excited and I'm completely in love with it. For those who are curious, reading on it doesn't bother my eyes at all---I know people have been wondering about how they would work compared to the dedicated E-readers. It helps that you can change the font sizes and the screen brightness. I don't get a lot of glare, either,...what you see here is mostly from my camera flash. This device is just wonderful!! I love that I can check my mail, check my site, read my books, and even watch a movie all on one little toy!
Happy reading this week, all!! Don't forget to link me up to your mailboxes so I can see what you got, too!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Review: Museum of Thieves

Museum of Thieves by Lian Tanner

publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

release date: September 28, 2010

Hardcover, 256 pages

intended audience: Middle grade

source: purchased


Welcome to the tyrannical city of Jewel, where impatience is a sin and boldness is a crime. Goldie Roth has lived in Jewel all her life. Like every child in the city, she wears a silver guardchain and is forced to obey the dreaded Blessed Guardians. She has never done anything by herself and won’t be allowed out on the streets unchained until Separation Day. When Separation Day is canceled, Goldie, who has always been both impatient and bold, runs away, risking not only her own life but also the lives of those she has left behind. In the chaos that follows, she is lured to the mysterious Museum of Dunt, where she meets the boy Toadspit and discovers terrible secrets. Only the cunning mind of a thief can understand the museum’s strange, shifting rooms. Fortunately, Goldie has a talent for thieving. Which is just as well, because the leader of the Blessed Guardians has his own plans for the museum—plans that threaten the lives of everyone Goldie loves. And it will take a daring thief to stop him. . . . Museum of Thieves is a thrilling tale of destiny and danger, and of a courageous girl who has never been allowed to grow up—until now.

Review: What a fun adventure! The Museum of Thieves is set in the dystopian city of Jewel where everyone is so overprotective and fearful that they chain their children in "guardchains" to protect them from being hurt or running off by themselves. These chains are held during the day by the Blessed Guardians, who seem to have become a little power-hungry from having so much control over the children. The poor children are even chained during the night to their beds! The society has been convinced that this is the bes
t way to keep them safe. When they reach the age of sixteen, the chains are removed during the Separation ceremony, only this year is the first year that the age has been lowered to twelve, and our heroine, Goldie, is going to be the first twelve-year-old to be separated. When the ceremony is interrupted and then cancelled altogether, Goldie runs away and finds herself at the mysterious Museum of Dunt.

This book is filled to the brim with amusing characters! Least of which is the main character, Goldie Roth. She is headstrong and undaunted, which before her daring escape would land her in punishment chains often! She is sometimes guided by a mysterious voice in her head, and we are left to speculate exactly what this voice really is (Is it just her conscience? Strong sense of intuition? Or is she somehow channeling her brave Aunt Praise who disappeared from Jewel years ago?) Goldie is a fun character to read, very realistic in that she sometimes shows her innocence with slightly childish behaviour, and sometimes she is very wise and mature, but she always seems up for a challenge.

Throughout her adventure we meet Sinew, Toadspit, Olga Ciavolga, and Herro Dan. Great supporting characters, although I would have like to know a bit more background about them all and how they came to be at the museum. This is the beginning of the series, so hopefully we will get to hear more about them, and also how the museum came to be in the sequels! The Museum itself is almost like it's own living, breathing character in this book! For me, there were a few dips in the story where my attention was not completely gripped, but for the most part, an enthralling adventure!

Cover story: The cover of this book is one of my favorites out there! What fantastic artwork, so detailed and a perfect depiction of the wonders of the museum. Check out the Australian and German covers---equally as beautiful! I love the worn book-look of the Aussie cover!

The second book in this series,
City of Lies will be published in 2011, and the third, Path of Beasts, in 2012.

Visit Lian Tanner's website here!

Purchase Museum of Thieves at: AmazonBN.comBookDepository


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It lets us all gush about what soon-to-be released books we are jumping-up-and-down excited for.

by Josephine Angelini

releasing May 31st, 2011 from HarperTeen

Set on the island of Nantucket, STARCROSSED tells the tale of Helen Hamilton, a young woman whose destiny is forever altered when she meets Lucas Delos and tries to kill him in front of her entire high school. Which is terribly inconvenient, not only because Lucas is the most beautiful boy on the island, but also because Helen is so achingly shy she suffers physical pain whenever she is given too much attention.

Making matters worse, Helen is beginning to suspect she’s going crazy. Whenever she’s near Lucas or any member of his family she sees the ghostly apparitions of three women weeping bloody tears, and suffers the burden of an intense and irrational hate. She soon learns that she and Lucas are destined to play the leading roles in a Greek tragedy that the Three Fates insist on repeating over and over again throughout history. Like her namesake, Helen of Troy, she’s destined to start a war by falling in love. But even though Lucas and Helen can see their own star-crossed destiny, they’re still powerfully attracted to each other. Will they give up their personal happiness for the greater good, or risk it all to be together?

My Thoughts: HarperTeen has been hyping this series for a long time, I remember seeing it in PubWeekly because it was a debut and they paid the author some huge amount to write the series. Plus, the cover is gorgeous, and the story sounds really interesting, and I've already read a few of my favorite authors say it's amazing! My curiousity is peaked as to what all the hubbub is about!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Taking the Challenge!! 2011 Debuts!

2011 is going to be a good year. Strike that---it's going to be an amazingly fantastic year for YA debuts!!
So once again, I am taking the Debut Author Challenge hosted by The Story Siren!! The idea is to commit to reading and reviewing at least twelve YA or MG titles by debut authors---the books must be read between January 1st 2011 and December 31, 2011. For full guidelines, details and faqs, go HERE.

Ok, so...on to my list!! I am listing more than 12 here, I can't pare it down because there are so many awesome debuts coming out! I'll be adding to and changing this list as I discover more debuts!

  • Wildefire by Karsten Knight (done)
  • Hourglass by Myra McIntire (done)
  • Wither by Lauren DeStephano (done)
  • Falling Under by Gwen Hayes
  • Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton
  • Die for Me by Amy Plum (done)
  • Clarity by Kim Harrington (done)
  • Legend by Marie Lu
  • A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies
  • The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter (done)
  • Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini (done)
  • Entwined by Heather Dixon (done)
  • Lost Voices by Sarah Porter
  • Across the Universe by Beth Revis (done)
  • Unearthly by Cynthia Hand (done)
  • Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake (done)
  • Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey (done)
  • Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon (done)

Good luck in the challenge to all who are participating!! :)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sweetness of Sunday: An Ode to a Favorite!

Sometimes life is just too darn busy. Somedays, stopping everything to spend a few hours making cupcakes and frosting from scratch is just not a possiblity (I've personally had quite a few of those days lately!). So what does this mean for a cupcake lover? Does a craving for the lovely handheld goodness just have to go ignored and unchecked??? I think not!! So for this Sweetness on Sunday, I'm honoring the old standby for busy days when you feel like you must have a fresh baked cupcake and you must have it right now. Pictured below is my personal favorite: yellow cupcakes with chocolate frosting.

Grab a box of yellow cake mix---follow instructions on the back for cupcakes. (Baker's secret: most cake mixes that call for 3 eggs turn out just as moist and yummy with only 2!)
Grab a container of your favorite chocolate frosting. (I prefer Betty Crocker for both the cake mix and the frosting)
Frost those lovelies up and enjoy :D
Oh, and don't forget the sprinkles! Sprinkles are like happy thoughts, enjoy them whenever you can!!

And, yeah...the cupcake in this photo? Eatin' it as I type this post. You better believe it! :D

Saturday, November 20, 2010

In My Mailbox {43}

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren, where we all share what we got during the week!

This week I am sick..blaahhhh. So, I didn't feel much like getting out of bed and setting up shelves to take photos. Besides, I only got one book this week---but OH what a cool book it was!! I read it in one day, it was completely un-put-downable! Thanks to Around the World Tours for the chance to read this one! I'll be putting up an early review in the next few days and then featuring it again (probably with a giveaway!) when it hits shelves in February!

Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann

On a related note, I'd also like to say that I've been to a couple of blogs that have the countdown widget for this book and every time I hear it, it completely freaks me out. My son was sitting near me and he heard it---completely freaked him out as well. LOL---he says "Mom, what was that?? Did you hear that??" I think he thought our house was haunted! (He watches too many scary movies!)

Cover Story

Today, while lying sick in bed perusing the new Macmillan catalogs for Spring 2011, I spied a few gorgeous new covers that I'd never seen before!!
(Clicking on the covers will take you to their goodreads descriptions)
(LOVE this one..something about water and pretty dresses that always gets me!)

(This one was released earlier but will be out in 2011 with this pretty new cover! Love the oh-so-long title of this one!)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Winners Announced!

The winners have been chosen in my Beautiful Darkness/Crescendo Contest!!! Sorry for the delay, everyone! It was quite a job processing multiple entries without the help of the "Contest Winner Picker", which has disappeared from the internet! If anyone knows of a program like that one out there, please direct me to it!! :D

Enough chatter...lets get to the winners!!

The winner of Beautiful Darkness:
Sara @ YA Vampire Books!!

And the winner of Crescendo:
Andréia @ Mon Petit Poison

Thanks so much to everyone who entered. Look for more giveaways coming soon and don't forget to enter for a chance to win Matched and Please Ignore Vera Dietz in the Gratitude Giveaway!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It lets us all gush about what soon-to-be released books we are jumping-up-and-down excited for.

by Tara Hudson

releasing June 7th, 2011 by HarperTeen

A stranded spirit, a sudden love...

Drifting in the dark waters of a mysterious river, the only thing Amelia knows for sure is that she’s dead. With no recollection of her past life—or her actual death—she’s trapped alone in a nightmarish existence. All of this changes when she tries to rescue a boy, Joshua, from drowning in her river. As a ghost, she can do nothing but will him to live. Yet in an unforgettable moment of connection, she helps him survive.

Amelia and Joshua grow ever closer as they begin to uncover the strange circumstances of her death and the secrets of the dark river that has held her captive for so long.

Thrilling and evocative, with moments of pure pleasure, Hereafter will linger with fans of The Lovely Bones and those who enjoy paranormal romance and dark intrigue set in a very believable contemporary world.

My thoughts: HarperCollin's new Spring 2011 catalog has some gorgeous covers in it...and this happens to be one of my favorites. Plus, it's a ghost story---and I'm always up for one of those!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Great Gratitude Giveaway!!

I am so happy to be participating in the Gratitude Giveaway!! I love my followers and am incredibly grateful to all who visit and read Stories & Sweeties! Thank you, thank you, everyone!! Here's what I have up for grabs to TWO lucky followers!! This contest is International, but open only to followers---so if you haven't become a Stories & Sweeties follower yet, do so now by clicking follow on the right sidebar!! :D -->

Up for grabs:

~One finished copy of Matched by Allie Condie!!
~One ARC of Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King!!

Click HERE to fill out entry form!
(Winning entries will be chosen by Random.org)

Then, be sure to visit the rest of the Gratitude Giveaway! There are over 175 blogs participating, all giving away amazing prizes!! Have fun, and good luck, everyone!!

Review: Raised by Wolves

Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

publisher: Egmont USA

released: June 8th, 2010

hardcover, 418 pages

intended audience: Young adult

source: library


Adopted by the Alpha of a werewolf pack after a rogue wolf brutally killed her parents right before her eyes, fifteen-year-old Bryn knows only pack life, and the rigid social hierarchy that controls it. That doesn't mean that she's averse to breaking a rule or two.

But when her curiosity gets the better of her and she discovers Chase, a new teen locked in a cage in her guardian's basement, and witnesses him turn into a wolf before her eyes, the horrific memories of her parents' murders return. Bryn becomes obsessed with getting her questions answered, and Chase is the only one who can provide the information she needs.

But in her drive to find the truth, will Bryn push too far beyond the constraints of the pack, forcing her to leave behind her friends, her family, and the identity that she's shaped?

Review: Jennifer Lynn Barnes says in her Acknowledgments in the back of Raised by Wolves that before the book was titled, she referred to is as the "love book" because she wrote it for the sheer love of storytelling. I believe this one hundred percent! This was a very full, complicated story, full of twists and turns, highs and lows, layer upon layer. Very well written, and despite a small section somewhere in the middle where I felt a little bit of a drag in the story, it was a story that I really enjoyed.

The main character Bryn was very courageous, confident, and spirited. She is like a daughter to the Alpha of the werewolves, the man who saved her from a rabid werewolf that killed her family, Callum. He marked her as his own, which kept her protected as a human among the pack and gave her the power to mentally "connect" with the pack, a power which she resisted for most of her life. Her whole attitude toward the pack and boys in general can be summed up in this quote from the book:
"I spent enough time resisting testosterone-driven dominance maneuvers in my day-to-day life. The last thing I needed was a human boyfriend who wanted me to play the simpering miss."

Needless to say, the girl can hold her own, and was trained by Callum to do just that.

I loved her two best friends in this book! Devon is a riot, but a steadfast trustworthy friend to Bryn. When he kind of drops out of the story for awhile, I was so glad to see him thrown back into the mix toward the end! Lake, a werewolf that doesn't live with the pack, has a lot of the same spunk as Bryn, but magnified by about ten! She was tough and funny, loved her weapons, didn't take crap from anyone! I hope to see more of her in the sequel.

At the heart of the book is not a plot based on werewolves or even the intermingled love story (which was just okay for me, it happened a little too fast and conveniently, and the reason for their immediate bond to each other was not explained until the very end)---these two things were more like catapults for the real story here. It was more about Bryn finding her way..figuring out if she wanted to be part of the strict hierarchy of the pack because it was the only "family" she had ever known or if she wanted something else for herself. It definitely went a little deeper than most werewolf stories. I loved the ending, it was fantastic!! A good, entertaining read!

Visit Jennifer Lynn Barnes site here!

Purchase a copy of Raised by Wolves
at : Amazon BN.comBook Depository

Monday, November 15, 2010

Cover Story: Penguin's Cool Classics!!

I've recently been scouring bookshelves for a really cool copy of Jane Eyre to add to my collection, and that let me to discovered these!! Actually, I may be late to the game since some of these have been out for awhile. But how cool are these Classic reprints by Penguin illustrated by famed fashion illustrator Ruben Toledo??? I love them and plan to collect them all for my bookshelves. :) What do you think?

There were a few others, but these four are my favorites!
Click HERE to check them out at BN.com!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

In My Mailbox {42}

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren, where we all share what we got during the week!

Well, I had a fantastic book week. I think I did the happy dance so many times this week that I lost a few pounds! (Probably a good thing seeing that the holidays are quickly sneaking up on us!) Here's what I got...
Across the Universe by Beth Revis
This one is getting great reviews already, so I can wait to dig in. Plus, the title makes me think of one of my fave Beatles songs :)

Banished by Sophie Littlefield
Love the sound of this one. Its about a girl with the magical power to heal---a pretty unique idea in the YA world.

The Jumper Chronicles: Quest for Merlin's Map by W. C. Peever
My husband and I both plan to read this one---its sounds like a fantastic adventure story!

Where I Belong by Gwendolyn Heasley
I've gushed about this cover a few times here on the blog, I absolutely love it. And the whole fish out of water theme is one that I always enjoy!

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
This one has always intrigued me with that oh-so-creepy cover!

Wildwing by Emily Whitman
I only just realized that I've read this author before! I loved her book Radiant Darkness, so I'm hoping this one is just as amazing!

Wither by Lauren DeStephano
This dystopian debut sounds so amazing, and that cover takes my breath away!

Enchanted Ivy by Sarah Beth Durst
An alternate magical Princeton? I've been wanting to read this one for a long time!

(Huge thanks to Mary of SparklingReviews.com, Harperteen, Random House, Paul at Savant Books, and my lovely local libraries!)

Hope you all had a great book week, too! I can't wait to see what everyone got. I'm currently processing all the entries for the Beautiful Darkness/Crescendo Giveaway so check back later for the big announcement! Also, I'm participating in the great Gratitude Giveaway Hop hosted by I am a Reader, Not a Writer, so come back Wednesday because I'll be giving away some great stuff!! Have a great week, everyone, and thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Review: The Prince of Mist

The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

released: May 4th, 2010

hardcover, 214 pages

intended audience: Young adult

source: library


A mysterious house harbors an unimaginable secret . . .

It’s wartime, and the Carver family decides to leave the capital where they live and move to a small coastal village where they’ve recently bought a home. But from the minute they cross the threshold, strange things begin to happen. In that mysterious house there still lurks the spirit of Jacob, the previous owners’ son, who died by drowning. With the help of their new friend Roland, Max and Alicia Carver begin to explore the suspicious circumstances of that death and discover the existence of a mysterious being called The Prince of Mist— a diabolical character who has returned from the shadows to collect on a debt from the past. Soon the three friends will find themselves caught up in an adventure of sunken ships and an enchanted stone garden, which will change their lives forever.

Review: I read most of this book with a kind of quiet fascination. Its a fast read, beautifully written, but with a fluid pace that lets the story unfold piece by piece, like an old fashion mystery. In the midst of that were moments of sheer terror that left my mouth gaping open and my spine tingling. Mr. Zafon certainly knows how to write a spooky scene. Creepy shadows in the sea, statues that can't seem to stay put, film reels made by a dead boy, untouched keys that creak and turn in their keyholes...I had no idea just how eerie this book would be.

The story surrounds the Carver family, who has just moved to a small town by the sea to get away from a large city being hit hard by war. While we get to know each of the five family members in turn, thirteen-year-old Max is at the forefront of the story. I loved the dynamic of this family, supportive and kind to eachother---even the eldest, Alicia, who comes off a little angsty at the start, shows a few different sides to herself as the story goes along. I really liked Max, he was curious, brave and determined. When he meets Roland, a boy from the town, they quickly fall into an easy friendship.

The eerie things start to happen almost immediately once they move into the house. Max finds a walled garden full of creepy statues not far from his house, and that is where the mystery all begins.

There were some plot points that I felt were missing or incomplete here, and some things that came across as just a little too convenient or cliche . While I am the first to admit that clowns can make the creepiest of evil creatures, there is no arguing that the "scary clown" scenario is just a bit cliche!

Still, an excellent read---definitely pick this one up when your in the mood for a spine-tingling tale!!

Visit Carlos Ruiz Zafon's website here! (The site is in spanish)

Purchase The Prince of Mists at: AmazonBN.comBookDepository

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It lets us all gush about what soon-to-be released books we are jumping-up-and-down excited for.

Sweetly by Jackson Pearce

releasing: June 7, 2011 from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Twelve years ago, Gretchen, her twin sister, and her brother went looking for a witch in the forest. They found something. Maybe it was a witch, maybe a monster, they aren’t sure—they were running too fast to tell. Either way, Gretchen’s twin sister was never seen again.

Years later, after being thrown out of their house, Gretchen and Ansel find themselves in Live Oak, South Carolina, a place on the verge of becoming a ghost town. They move in with Sophia Kelly, a young and beautiful chocolatier owner who opens not only her home, but her heart to Gretchen and Ansel.

Yet the witch isn’t gone—it’s here, lurking in the forests of Live Oak, preying on Live Oak girls every year after Sophia Kelly’s infamous chocolate festival. But Gretchen is determined to stop running from witches in the forest, and start fighting back. Alongside Samuel Reynolds, a boy as quick with a gun as he is a sarcastic remark, Gretchen digs deeper into the mystery of not only what the witch is, but how it chooses its victims. Yet the further she investigates, the more she finds herself wondering who the real monster is, and if love can be as deadly as it is beautiful.

My thoughts: Okay, A) This cover completely creeps me out...that is one sinister face of branches! B) I completely adored Sisters Red, it was one of my favorite reads this year. C) Its a fairy-tale modernization...I love those! Haven't read one yet that I didn't love. So it all adds up to this being one of my most highly anticipated books of 2011!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Desires of the Dead: Coming Soon(er)!!!

HarperTeen must really love us! They know how to make us impatient bookfans smile! I just read on the fabulous Kimberly Derting's blog that her follow up to The Body Finder, Desires of the Dead, will be released into our hot little reader hands a whole month early!!! Yay!

release date: not March, but FEBRUARY 15, 2011!! :D

Monday, November 8, 2010

Cover Story

It's been a veritable cover reveal extravaganza lately in YA bookland!! Some of these, I'm not sure when they were revealed, but they are definitely new to me! Let me show you a few of my favorites:

First off, Saundra Mitchell revealed a new cover for her upcoming Vespertine and honestly, I like this one SO much better! Now this one would completely sell me if I were browsing a bookstore. The gorgeous dress and the slightly panicked look on her face. This has me thinking, "What is she running from? I must read this and find out!!"

Super excited about Shimmer, the second Riley Bloom book from Alyson Noel. I really enjoyed Radiance, so I'm excited to see what is next for this fun character!

Nightspell, the second book the Mistwood by Leah Cypress, was revealed and it's gorgeous! AND it coordinates perfectly with the first book, which I love!

The third book in R.J. Anderson fairy series, called Arrow, is due out early next year. This is actually the UK cover, no sign of a US cover yet, but honestly, when I finally get around to buying these, I'll be hitting BookDepository for the UKs. Like I said before, I do so appreciate it when the series covers match! They looks so much prettier on my shelves!

Ok, I admit I haven't read this series yet. But I had to show this reveal off..as my best friend put it (she is a huge House of Night fan), this cover is just plain Bad-Ass. Love the swirly tattoo, love the cool black wings. Awakened, coming January 2011.

Jaclyn Dolamore's newest offer is about mermaids and winged creatures!! How fun!! I do love mermaid stories, and find that they score some the most beautiful covers! Think Forgive My Fins, Lost Voices, Sirens, and now, Between the Sea & Sky!!

So, that's the cover story for now! Let me know what you think of all these fabulous beauties!
And answer me this: Which upcoming YA cover are you dying to see revealed??
My answer: Wildfire by Karsten Knight & Passion by Lauren Kate

Sunday, November 7, 2010

In My Mailbox {41}

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren, where we all share what we got during the week!

Good stuff this week, a few that I've been wanting to read for awhile now!

Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Despite my recent feeling of being "all werewolfed out", this one came so highly recommended from some of my favorite bloggers, I just had to give it a try!

Wildthorn by Jane Eagland
I've been wanting to read this one for ages. Honestly, that cover is so gorgeous, I would read it based solely on that, but from the reviews I've read, there's a great story hiding inside as well! :D

Dark Heart Forever by Lee Monroe
This one sounds amazing and I can't wait to get started! Dreams, sleepwalking, mysterious worlds and an enigmatic stranger? I'm there.

Afterlife by Claudia Gray
I've had the first two books in this series sitting on my shelf for awhile now---I'll have to track down the third, but then I am excited to get started on this series!

So, that's all for this week! What did you get in your mailbox??
A quick reminder, my Beautiful Darkness/Crescendo Giveaway ends in just a few days! Get those entries in by the 10th!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Hoppin' Around! Blog Hop & Follow Friday

It's Friday again and you know what that means!! It's time to hop around and make some new blog friends!! If it's your first visit to Stories & Sweeties, WELCOME!!! Please feel free to link in the comments so I can visit you, too! :)

First off, we have Follow Friday hosted by Parakjunkee's View! (click the logo to get there!)Here's the featured question of the week:
Who are your favorite authors?

Oh, I have tons! Lauren Kate, Maggie Stiefvater, Anastasia Hopcus, Kiersten White, Kelley Armstrong, Alice Hoffman, Amy Tan, Linda Buckley-Archer...and Louisa May Alcott, just to name a few!

Next up is the Book Blog Hop hosted by Crazy-for-Books! (click the logo to get there!)This week, she asks: What are your feelings on losing followers? Have you ever stopped following a blog?

Huh, interesting question, I guess I've never really given it a lot of thought. I've never unfollowed a blog myself, but imagine if someone stops following they must have their reasons, whether they follow too many blogs and need to cut some or I am simply boring them to death! :) I really appreciate all my lovely followers and I hope they stick with me, though!!

Thanks for hopping by! Don't forget to sign up for a chance to win Beautiful Darkness or Crescendo (link at the top right sidebar).
This week on Stories & Sweeties:
Entangled by Cat Clarke
Knight Angels 2: Book of Revenge by Abra Ebner

I am determined to do a Sweetness on Sunday post this week (eek, it's been a long time!) so check back for some yumminess this weekend!

Review: Dreaming Anastasia

Dreaming Anastasia by Joy Preble

publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

release date: September 1st, 2009

paperback, 310 pages

intended audience: Young adult

source: library


description: Anastasia Romanov thought she would never feel more alone than when the gunfire started and her family began to fall around her. Surely the bullets would come for her next. But they didn't. Instead, two gnarled old hands reached for her. When she wakes up she discovers that she is in the ancient hut of the witch Baba Yaga, and that some things are worse than being dead.

In modern-day Chicago, Anne doesn't know much about Russian history. She is more concerned about getting into a good college—until the dreams start. She is somewhere else. She is someone else. And she is sharing a small room with a very old woman. The vivid dreams startle her, but not until a handsome stranger offers to explain them does she realize her life is going to change forever. She is the only one who can save Anastasia. But, Anastasia is having her own dreams…

Review: This book was a total surprise to me. I've always been intrigued by the mystery of Anastasia and this completely turned the story on its head and added a new fantastical twist. I was not expecting this one to be as spine-tingling as it was. Strangely, I had heard of the witch Baba Yaga, but never actually heard her story, and let me tell you...it completely freaked me out. The thought of this decrepit old creepy witch with her gigantic detachable hands that would go out and do her devious bidding was enough to have me slapping the book closed until my shivers died down. In this story,those creepy hands swooped in and took Anastasia away from the massacre of her family, but Baba Yaga has held her captive for nearly 100 years and everyone involved in the mystery has been made immortal until the day when a mystery girl will come to her rescue.

Anne made for a really interesting protagonist. She is just a regular teen, trying to do well in school and studying ballet. She has a good head on her shoulders, and while being a little less outspoken than her best friend, Tess, she has a good confident voice. I love her first reactions to her encounters with Ethan. Instead of being one of those girls that swoons when she sees any hot guy staring at her incessantly and continually keeps popping up where ever she is, she thinks to herself "why can't I be approached by someone normal? Why do I get this guy who stares at me and seems to be a stalker." Not her exact words, but you get the idea. It takes her awhile to be convinced that the magical things happening to her are real, but when she does, she goes at it head on!

Tess was a good supporting character, an excellent best friend to Anna. She was tough and persistent and refused to be left out of the loop if it meant standing by Anna, even when she knew it might be dangerous. She was also funny and witty, a good balance to the intensity of the story.

The point of view goes back and forth between Anne and Ethan with a few interjections from Anastasia. While most of the time this worked really well and it was perfect to be able to get Ethan's side of the action, a few times (just a very few, really) their voices were not distinct enough from each other and I would forget whose POV I was currently in. It didn't take away from the story, though.

I did take one cupcake away for "presentation", I guess you would call it. In certain parts of this book, Anastasia is writing to her deceased family members. These sections were printed in a script font that was very near to being illegible. I came to actually dread getting to these sections! Her letters did impart some important information pertaining to the storyline, but the struggle to decipher the fancy font was enough to make the story feel like it was dragging.

Despite that, I loved this one. It was exciting and adventurous, and definitely chilling at times! A perfect, magical twist on the Anastasia legend!

The next installment is due out in February. I have it here and I can't wait to start it! The cover is just as gorgeous as the first, and this time around there will be a malevolent mermaid involved!! Sounds amazing!

Visit Joy Preble's website here!

Purachse Dreaming Anastasia at: AmazonBarnes & NobleBook Depository