Monday, October 31, 2011

Sweetness on Spookday! Pumpkin Spice Spiderweb Cupcakes

Who's ready for some spooky Halloween Cupcakes?? :D
Halloween is my favorite holiday!! My whole house is decorated, my whole front yard is looking good and spooky, the creepy music and fog are cued up for trick-or-treaters...last step is to make these yummy cupcakes to make my whole house smell like spice and pumpkin!

Pumpkin Spice Spiderweb Cupcakes

Line cupcake pan with 12 (halloween!) liners. Preheat oven to 325

For the cupcake:
1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 stick of unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup pumkin puree
2 large eggs

~In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and ginger. Set aside.
~Place butter in a small bowl and melt in microwave until just melted. Let cool a little. In a large bowl, mix butter, sugar, pumpkin puree and eggs with an electric mixer on medium speed until mixture is smooth.
~On low speed, mix flour mixture into pumpkin mixture. Batter should be smooth and fairly thick.
~Fill each cupcake liner about 3/4 full. Bake 25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely.

For the Frosting and Webs:
1 stick unsalted butter - room temperature
6 ounces cream cheese
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2-1/2 powdered sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1-1/2 tsp milk

~Mix butter, vanilla, and cream cheese in a medium bowl. Slowly add powdered sugar until smooth. Frosting should be spreading consistency. Add a tiny bit of milk if too thick, add a little extra powdered sugar if too thin. Frost each cupcake as smooth as possible.
~Put 1/4 cup of frosting in a small bowl. Mix in cinnamon and milk. This should make a thick but pourable icing.
~Spoon cinnamon icing into zip-lock baggie. Carefully cut off just a tiny bit of the tip. Just a small stream should come out when you squeeze the bag. For each cupcake, make a dot in the center and two rings. Drag a toothpick straight outward from the dot, through the rings, to the edge of the cupcake. Repeat all the way around cupcake until it makes a "spiderweb"! Easy! :D

Hope you make and enjoy these!
Every have a Happy & Safe Halloween!!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

In My Mailbox {90}

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

For Review:
Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
YAY!!! That is all.

Exile by Jakob Ejersbo
This one came unsolicited, and I'm not sure it's going to be my cup of tea. From the description, I'd guess it's going to be a little too gritty and depressing for me. Though it did come all the way from the UK, so I'd like to make sure it gets a review---anyone in the US that's interested can contact me!

The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa
These books are so gorgeous! I think this was my favorite cover of the series. Now that I have them all, I'm going to read the series all the way through!

New on my Nook:

For review:
Become by Ali Cross
Ali contacted me after seeing this one on my WoW picks last week! Yay! Can't wait to read this! :D

Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman
This one sounds amazing, so excited. Yup, I used the UK cover instead of the US---because it is way more gorgeous! lol If I end up loving this one, I'll be ordering from Book Depository just to get the cover I love!

I was thrilled this week to find out that finally put out an Android app!! I think it's actually been out for awhile, but I'm just hearing about it now. So I immediately signed up and grabbed this one. It's read by the amazing Jim Dale. Listening to it just makes me miss one of my favorite cancelled-way-too-early shows, Pushing Daisies!

Many thanks to Little Brown Books, Random House, Quercus, and Ali Cross for the books to review!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Review: Sleight by Jennifer Sommersby

Sleight by Jennifer Sommbersby

publisher: self-published

release date: March 23, 2011

paperback, 328 pages

intended audience: Young adult

series: AVRA-K, book 1


source: from author for honest review

Her mom is dead. Ghosts follow her around. Her best friend is an elephant. And she’s about to meet the biggest game changer of all: a boy. With a secret. When circus-dwelling Gemma Flannery learns she will be attending public school for the first time in her seventeen years, little does she know that fitting in with her 12th-grade classmates will be the least of her concerns. A pro at hiding her knack for seeing the dead (“shades”), Gemma is grieving the recent suicide of her mentally ill mother, a process eased by the introduction of her first real love interest, the charming and painfully handsome Henry Dmitri, who is harboring his own collection of dangerous secrets. Together, they will be presented with a frightening challenge: to assume their roles as heirs to a 3000-year-old magical text, the AVRAKEDAVRA, a book the über-rich, sleight-of-being master Lucian Dmitri would do anything to get his hands on. As each terrifying layer in her new reality melts away, Gemma unearths truths that her quiet, nomadic life with the Cinzio Traveling Players is not at all what she’d always cherished. Gemma and Henry must rely on each other to stop Lucian’s diabolical plotting that will bring the world to its tired, scab-riddled knees, and are sent on the flight of their young lives, to save themselves, their families, and the world from the darkest kind of destruction. Let the chase begin.

Jennifer Sommersby has an amazing way with words and descriptions that just pulls you right in. The storytelling is fast-paced and exciting and chock full of magic, ghosts (called Shades, some scary, some not), plenty of intriguing family secrets and a cruel, conspiring villain.

Gemma Flannery, a fiery red-haired circus musician who has just lost her mother and has always had the ability to see Shades, was a fantastic character. She was principled, smart, and very much shaped by the unusual life she's been raised in with the traveling circus, perfectly rounded out with a sharp, snarky humor. Throw in a little angstiness at having to adjust to regular high school life and you have one very authentic, likable, passionate character.

The circus is her built-in family and the people she cares about most. Her best friends in the world are an outgoing trapeze artist and an elephant. There are so many great characters among them, it's hard to pin a favorite! With the introduction of Lucian and his son, Henry, things start getting a little strange and twisted. The poor girl gets hit with one shock after the next. The more Gemma learns about the role she plays in the fate of the Avra-K, a set of ancient magical books, the more Gemma's familiar world gets turned upside down. Suddenly she and the people she loves are put in terrible danger.

I really enjoyed the complexity of the love story between Gemma and Henry. It wasn't this simple thing of "I like you and you like me"...there were so many wrenches thrown into the works, so many dangers and challenges that they both had to face. They are both so involved in what is happening around them. It will be interesting to see how they get through it all as the series continues!

There was a turning point in the action that I temporarily thought would have made a better end to book one and start to book two, and it just slightly slowed the flow for me...until the chase picked up and I got to the actual end. The ENDING...WOW. Took my breath away and now has me checking Goodreads daily for any news on book 2 of this amazing series.

Definitely pick this one up! Such a great story, though I do recommend for older teens due to a few really violent and disturbing scenes.

Visit Jennifer Sommersby's site here!

Purchase Sleight at: AmazonBN.comBookDepositoryIndiebound

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Book Trailers: The Iron Knight

It's likely that this one is old news by now, but I just had to post it here because its such a cool trailer. I was just checking the in-stock status for my local Barnes, when I noticed the trailer there! So, if you, like me, have had this one elude you until now---Enjoy!

I am running out to buy this tomorrow---and I haven't read any of the books. I've been waiting for this last one to come out so I can read the whole series all the way through :D It's the first time I've done this with a series. What are your thoughts? Good idea, bad idea?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

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.

Lies Beneath
by Anne Greenwood Brown

hitting shelves June 12, 2012 from Delacorte Press

description: Calder White lives in the cold, clear waters of Lake Superior, the only brother in a family of murderous mermaids. To survive, Calder and his sisters prey on humans, killing them to absorb their energy. But this summer the underwater clan targets Jason Hancock out of pure revenge. They blame Hancock for their mother's death and have been waiting a long time for him to return to his family's homestead on the lake. Hancock has a fear of water, so to lure him in, Calder sets out to seduce Hancock's daughter, Lily. Easy enough—especially as Calder has lots of practice using his irresistible good looks and charm on unsuspecting girls. Only this time Calder screws everything up: he falls for Lily—just as Lily starts to suspect that there's more to the monsters-in-the-lake legends than she ever imagined. And just as his sisters are losing patience with him.

My thoughts: This one sounds so good. I love Mermaids, but my favorite depictions of them have always been on the creepy side (think Peter Pan movie remake from 2003). The mermaids in this book sound like they are going to be completely bad-ass. Those mermaid sister's don't sound like anyone I'd want to mess with! Plus I love a good forbidden love :)


by Ali Cross

hitting shelves November 11, 2011

description: Sixteen-year old Desolation Black wants nothing more than to stay in Hell where it’s cold and lonely and totally predictable. Instead, she’s sent back to Earth where she must face the evil she despises and the good she always feared.

When Desi is forced to embrace her inner demon, she assumes her choice has been made—that she has no hope of being anything other than what her father, Lucifer, has created her to be. What she doesn’t count on, is finding a reason to change—something she’s never had before—a friend.

My thoughts: This one sounds awesome, and the few reviews that I've seen so far have been great. Fabulous cover, intriguing dilemma (the devil's daughter want to be a good girl? Can't wait to see how that goes over!)...and strangely enough, one of the things that makes me want to read this is the main character's name: Desolation (aka Desi). How cool is that name? Not that I want to name my next kid that, but as a character's name in a dark story? Very cool.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Giveaway!! Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

It's finally here!! This is one of those books that I've literally been counting the days to, and it has finally hit the shelves! Today I am very excited to offer TWO of my lovely readers a chance to win the newest book in one of my favorite series:Beautiful Chaos description:
Sometimes there isn't just one answer or one choice. Sometimes there's no going back. And this time there won't be a happy ending. Ethan and Lena’s mesmerizing romance continues in the highly anticipated new Beautiful Creatures novel, coming October 18th.

* * * * *

Check out more about the series here:

* * * * *

Click here to enter!
Two winners will each receive one finished copy of Beautiful Chaos.
Winners chosen randomly with
Open to US residents only.
Contest closes November 7, 2011.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Review: On the Fringe by Courtney King Walker

On The Fringe by Courtney King Walker

publisher: Lands Atlantic Publishing

release date: October 19, 2011

paperback, 288 pages

intended audience: Young adult


source: received from author for honest review

Claire is struggling to overcome the murder of her childhood friend and secret crush, Daniel. Everyone else seems to be moving on with their lives, but she's still trying to cope. The fact that she finds herself alone and drowning on her 16th birthday isn't helping.

Neither is thinking she sees Daniel's face in murky water as she mysteriously resurfaces. But something happened during those four and a half minutes that will make her realize it was not just her imagination.

As Claire and Daniel try to grasp a possible reconnection, other grudge-holding beings have plans of their own. Now, the two of them have to decide if their fleeting relationship is worth the possibility of Claire being trapped on the fringe forever.

Beautifully told, On the Fringe intertwines fresh ideas about devotion, revenge, and the consequences that come with life and death.

Review: I loved this book. More specifically, I loved Claire and Daniel. The love story in this book is one of the sweetest, most captivating loves I've read in a long time. Why? Because the two main characters, before realizing they were in love, had known each other almost their whole lives. There is something so infinitely romantic to me about having a person in thousands of your memories, having stored up good times and bad times, pranks and adventures, over twelve years and then one day coming to the realization that this is the person that makes your heart race and the one you don't ever want to live without. For all of you YA readers out there who can't take one more bout of the dreaded "instalove"---On the Fringe is about as far from that as you can get. I was completely smitten with these two. They were really just two very normal kids, not stunningly beautiful or extraordinary, Claire is even described as a little uncoordinated and awkward.

On the Fringe is both heart-wrenching and hopeful. You can feel each characters emotions, especially Claire's, but also the other characters as well, no matter how they handle it, show it, or bury it. The story being told alternately from Claire's and then Daniel's perspective, really gave us the full story from all sides and that worked for me. There are some great emotional scenes between Claire and her best friend, Addie, and for Claire and her brother. I really enjoyed all the shifts in each relationship throughout the story. I also loved how present Claire's parents were.
There are also some very spine-tingling moments, as well as plenty of excitement and danger, thanks to a very insane and angry spirit looking for revenge.

Mostly, it's about what you would give, what limits you would go to for that impossible second chance. It's about being surprised by love and how powerful it can be. It's also about missed chances, remorse, misconceptions, and revenge. On the Fringe is an excellent debut, and I'll definitely be on the look-out for more from this author in the future.

Visit Courtney King Walker's site here.

Purchase On The Fringe at: Amazon BookDepository Indiebound


Saturday, October 22, 2011

In My Mailbox {89}

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

Got some cool stuff this week! :D
For Review:
Mastiff by Tamora Pierce
This is a third in a series, so I'm not sure I can catch up--plus I think this might be a little too far into the realm of high fantasy for my tastes. Will most likely feature this one with a giveaway so if you love this series, keep an eye out for that!

Harbinger by Sara Wilson Etienne
SO excited for this one. So, so excited! :D See below!

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Steifvater
RAK from Nicci at Paper Dreams---thanks so much, sweetie!!

Fury by Elizabeth Miles
Deep and Dark and Dangerous by Mary Downing Hahn
Happy to get a copy of Fury, and I am so curious about Deep & Dark...I'd never heard of it before, but the cover is so eerie and it's gotten all kinds of cool awards. Thought I'd check it out!

Harbinger came with some cool stuff! Check it out:

The gorgeous book, of course, a nice lanyard, a cool flyer and map of the school grounds where the story takes place, and a little weeping doll---curious to know what significance that will have to the story! I'm going to be participating in an art reveal tie-in for this book in a few months...definitely looking forward to that!!

New On My Nook:

Fracture by Megan Miranda
Death Watch by Ari Berk
Ok, so Fracture is a given---cool cover, cool storyline, excited! But have you seen Death Watch? If you're anything like me, I sadly passed over this one a few times because the cover is just "meh". But when I finally read the summary, I immediately grabbed it. Sounds awesome!

Many thanks to Random House, Sara Wilson Etienne, Nicci @ Paper Dreams, Walker Books for Young Readers, Simon & Schuster Galley Grab, & Netgalley! :D

Friday, October 21, 2011

TGIF{2} from GReads!

Over at GReads, the fabulous Ginger hosts a great little feature each week called TGIF, and this is my first time taking part! :) Its a chance for us to wrap up the week, get ready for the weekend, and she also posts a fun question for us to answer! Here we go!

This week we're shouting out about:
Book Blogs That Make You Smile!
5 blogs you visit often & think other should, too!

Melissa @ I swim for Oceans
I love Melissa's blog! Fantastic, in depth reviews---probably the blog that I most often go "Yes! I totally agree!", so I look to her blog often for recommendations on books I haven't read also.

Gabrielle @ The Mod Podge Bookshelf
I love Gabrielle's reviews---always honest---and the way she always notes on the character names and adds in the parental review. Love her entertaining, enthusiastic IMM vlogs (I think she is always cute!). Great interviews and extras, too!

Juju @ Tales of Whimsy
Being a lover of all things vintage, Juju's blog and all the retro images she uses completely call my name. Plus, Juju herself is such a lovely and always takes the time to visit everyone! She astounds me! Plus, great reviews, very honest---and I love her "wee-views".

All the awesome chicks at Bewitched Bookworms
Such a fun blog, always tons of things going on, great reviews, great vlogs, fantastic giveaways...just a great group of booklovers!

Tahereh Mafi @ Stir Your Tea
Not just a book blog, but an author blog--Tahereh Mafi always has some great things to say and such witty ways to say them in---I think every single one of her posts has made me laugh out loud.

There are so many more! These are just a few but there are so many awesome blog that I visit almost daily!

Stories & Sweeties Weekly Wrap-up!
Sunday: IMM & A Little Giveaway!!
Tuesday: Review of Juliet Immortal
Wednesday: Waiting on Wednesday - Revived by Cat Patrick
Thursday: Spooky Reads Challenge Amazon GC winner

Have a great weekend, everyone! :D

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Amazon GC Winner!! (week 2-Spooky Reads Challenge)

The second week is over of the...

and the winner is:

Mary of Sparkling Reviews

Congrats, Mary!

For those of you participating, get those reviews in for more chances to win!! There is one more week to go for the Amazon GCs, and the Spooky Books Prize Pack at the end, so if you haven't signed up, now is the time!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

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 Cat Patrick

hitting shelves May 8, 2012 from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

description: As a little girl, Daisy Appleby was killed in a school bus crash. Moments after the accident, she was brought back to life.

A secret government agency has developed a drug called Revive that can bring people back from the dead, and Daisy Appleby, a test subject, has been Revived five times in fifteen years. Daisy takes extraordinary risks, knowing that she can beat death, but each new death also means a new name, a new city, and a new life. When she meets Matt McKean, Daisy begins to question the moral implications of Revive, and as she discovers the agency’s true goals, she realizes she’s at the center of something much larger — and more sinister — than she ever imagined.

My thoughts: Cat Patrick really impressed me with Forgotten, so I'm definitely looking forward to her second novel! Love this cover, it's not like anything else I've seen lately. Kind of makes me think of her looking out from a body bag, so it fits the story. Can't wait to read this!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Review: Juliet Immortal

Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay

publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

released: August 9th, 2011

hardcover, 304 pages

intended audience: Young adult


source: from publisher for honest review

The most tragic love story in history . . .

Juliet Capulet didn't take her own life. She was murdered by the person she trusted most, her new husband, Romeo Montague, a sacrifice made to ensure his own immortality. But what Romeo didn't anticipate was that Juliet would be granted eternity, as well, and would become an agent for the Ambassadors of Light. For 700 years, she's fought Romeo for the souls of true lovers, struggling to preserve romantic love and the lives of the innocent. Until the day she meets someone she's forbidden to love, and Romeo, oh Romeo, will do everything in his power to destroy that love.

Review: This is one I'd been coveting for a long time---with its gorgeous cover and the promise of a completely reimagined Romeo & Juliet. Juliet Immortal takes the most well-known love story of all time and gives it a completely twisted makeover, sending the characters off into a whole new direction.

Over 700 years, Juliet and Romeo are pitted against each other in a war of love---Juliet fights to save the love between soulmates, while Romeo fights to destroy it. Juliet jumps from body to body and then has to figure out who the two soulmates are that she has to keep together. She lands in the body of Ariel, a girl who is a bit awkward and unself-assured due to a burn scar on her face and mother who has always made her feel self-conscious about it. I loved the way Juliet had to balance her actions between how she would react and how Ariel was expected to act, and the fact that with each life she overtook, she strove to make things better in that life, despite that not being her purpose for being there. It made for a very complex character. It was almost like reading a story told in both first and second person perspectives. I thought the romance was very sweet and I loved Ben's character---definitely not love at first site but a sort of instant easiness with each other that grew as they got to know each other, despite Juliet's efforts to hold back. I found the main plot twist concerning them to be predictable, but not in a way that completely ruined the story---more like you are just waiting for the characters to realize it, too.

There are some really great satisfying and heartfelt moments concerning Ariel and her mother and the intensity and conflict in the friendship between Juliet/Ariel and the best friend, Gemma was so infuriating as it needed to be. There are some really creepy moments and a good amount of violence and gore, which was slightly unexpected. Romeo made a fairly nasty villain, but his true intentions were always kind of unclear. Still, I found a few parts dragged for me and the details of the Mercenaries and the Ambassadors became a bit muddy and confusing.

Still, an interesting take on Romeo & Juliet! I recommend giving this one a try at your library.

Visit Stacey Jay's site here.

Purchase Juliet Immortal at: Amazon BookDepositoryIndiebound

Saturday, October 15, 2011

In My Mailbox {88} & a little Giveaway!

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

Two newbies to the shelf this week!
From Library:
Misfit by Jon Skovron
I never got a chance to read this when I got it from Netgalley, so I grabbed it from the library to read soon! I've heard great things about this one!

For Review:
Creatura by Nely Cab
I ran across this one just perusing around goodreads. The story looks fascinating, and that cover immediately caught my eye. Even the website for this one is absolutely charming! Turns out the author actually painted the gorgeous artwork on the cover! So cool! She was kind enough to send me a review copy and...
...some gorgeous bookmarks! She sent several, so I kept a few for myself and I want to share the rest with you guys!! I have 5 to give away so if you want one, shout in the comments: I want a pretty bookmark!! :D I'll pick 5 randomly to get one! (I have to keep this one US only...sorry international friends!)

New on my Nook:

Pyxis by K.C. Neal
Fairies! :D

Hope everyone had a great week! Happy reading!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Guest Review! Sweetly by Jackson Pearce

Today I have, for the first time ever, a special guest reviewer on Stories & Sweeties! My best friend and partner-in-crime in all other things, and the very person who started me on YA books in the first place, will be stopping by every once in while with her thought on books! Everyone please welcome Amy, and enjoy her first review!! :D

Sweetly by Jackson Pearce

publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

release date: August 23, 2011

hardcover, 312 pages

intended audience: Young adult

series: Fairytale Retellings, book 2 (companion, not sequel)
Book 1: Sisters Red (see review)


source: from publisher for honest review

description: SWEETLY is a modernization of Hansel and Gretel and a companion book to SISTERS RED.

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.

Sweetly captures you before you even open the book, with it's clever optical illusion on the cover, and continues it's grip on you until the very last page. Jackson Pearce spins a story so magical that I found myself not able to put it down.

Your mind bounces from the childhood fairytale that you thought you knew so well to a wonderfully sweet twist that makes you want to savor the mystery and keeps you constantly guessing if you are rooting for the right person.

I was delighted with the "Hansel & Gretel meets werewolves" theme and loved the shocking ending. Sweetly and Sisters Red and my new favorite fairy tales and I can't wait for the next book in this series.

The only thing I can find missing are recipes for the wonderfully delicious food that was described throughout the book---they truly made my mouth water!

Becky adds: Oh, wow, now I really can't wait to read this one. AND I just discovered the next book to get the Jackson Pearce makeover will be The Little Mermaid!! Fathomless comes out August 2012!!

Visit Jackson Pearce's site here.

Purchase Sweetly at: Amazon BN.comBookDepository Indiebound

TGIF{1} from GReads!

Over at GReads, the fabulous Ginger hosts a great little feature each week called TGIF, and this is my first time taking part! :) Its a chance for us to wrap up the week, get ready for the weekend, and she also posts a fun question for us to answer! Here we go!

This Friday's Question:

Show & Tell: Where do you grab a book and get lost in it? Show us your favorite spot you like to read at.

When I settle in toread a good book, it's usually right here on my little corner of the couch. Comfy couch, feet up on the ottoman, good natural light during the day, and a nice little lamp for the evening, usually with a cup of tea or mug of hot chocolate sitting on the little table beside me. Oh, and sometimes with my kitty, Keegan snugged on my lap. :) I especially love sitting here when it's raining outside, next to the big front window.

If not here, then sometimes in bed, though I tend to fall asleep too fast if I get too cozy! Sometimes on my front porch if the weather is good (and by that, I mean not too hot, because I will gladly snuggle up in a blanket in cool weather and take it to the porch for a little while, especially in the rain!).

Stories & Sweeties Weekly Wrap-up!

Sunday: A very epic In My Mailbox!
Monday: Vindicated by Keary Taylor Cover & News
Tuesday: Carrier of the Mark Review (please visit! It's a little comment-lonely!)
Wednesday: Waiting on Wednesday - Still Waters by Emma Carlson Berne
Thursday: Cover Story: Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake & Amazon GC Winner for the Spooky Reads Challenge!
Friday: TGIF and Guest Review of Sweetly by Jackson Pearce

Thanks for stopping by! :D

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Cover Story: Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake!!

YAY! So excited about this!
One of my favorite books of this year now has a sequel with a cover! :D
Check out Girl of Nightmares, sequel to Anna Dressed in Blood!!

No synopsis yet but be sure to add it to your tbr lists at Goodreads!

Amazon GC Winner!! (week 1-Spooky Reads Challenge)

So the first week of the challenge is over and I have a winner for the first Amazon GC!!

Link #10 - Jen Ryland!!!
Congrats, Jen!

Thanks to all who are participating! :)
Hope you're all enjoying those spooky reads!!

It's not too late to sign up!! I have two more weeks worth of Amazon GCs to give away, and don't forget the Spooky Reads Gift Pack at the end!!
To sign up and post reviews, see this post!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

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.

Still Waters
Emma Carlson Berne

hitting shelves December 20th, 2011 from Simon Pulse

Hannah can't wait to sneak off for a romantic weekend with her boyfriend, Colin. He’s leaving for college soon, and Hannah wants their trip to the lake house to be one they’ll never forget.

But once Hannah and Colin get there, things start to seem a They can't find the town on any map. The house they are staying in looks as if someone's been living there, even though it's been deserted for years. And Colin doesn’t seem quite himself. As he grows more unstable, Hannah worries about Colin’s dark side, and her own safety.

Nothing is as perfect as it seems, and what lies beneath may haunt her forever.

My thoughts: This week, I decided to stop torturing myself with all the lovely 2012 books and remind myself of a book that is high on my wishlist..and the release date is just around the corner! This one looks amazing...dark and creepy...there is nothing creepier than being stranded with someone you thought you knew and loved who is changing into something dark right before your eyes (The Shining, anyone?). Yup, very excited for Still Waters.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Review: Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon

The Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon

publisher: HarperTeen

released: October 4th, 2011

paperback, 342 pages

intended audience: Young adult

series, book one


source: from publisher for honest review


Their love was meant to be.

When Megan Rosenberg moves to Ireland, everything in her life seems to fall into place. After growing up in America, she's surprised to find herself feeling at home in her new school. She connects with a group of friends, and she is instantly drawn to darkly handsome Adam DeRís.

But Megan is about to discover that her feelings for Adam are tied to a fate that was sealed long ago—and that the passion and power that brought them together could be their ultimate destruction.

Review: I, along with most habitual readers of paranormal YA, have been salivating for this book for months now. Ever since the books first press release was spread online as the the first book to be plucked for the online writing community, InkPop, and the simultaneous reveal of one the most gorgeous covers to hit shelves this year, I had pined for it. you can see from the cupcakes up there: it wasn't awful, but it didn't hold the WOW factor for me that I'd hoped for either.

The Irish setting was done really well, I loved being sort of immersed in the lifestyle and how it differed from what the main character, Megan had encountered before in all her moving around. The uniforms, the school system, the landscape, the slang---I've always loved reading accents and picturing characters with them. I really liked Caitlin, a girl who befriends Megan from her first day there and really comes through as a great friend to her and a great supporting character. I also like the the easy-going relationship between Megan and her dad. Megan, herself, was just kind of "take her or leave her" for me. She was easy to relate to as just a normal teen, but when it came to discovering her powers, I found her reactions just a little off-putting. As far as the love story is concerned, I just wasn't drawn in and romanced by Adam and Megan's relationship. I did love that they were both tripping over their own feet around each other, it wasn't just here loosing her cool around him while he stands perfect and beautiful---he was just as bad, even ran into a wall! It was just very instant and there isn't a lot of depth to it even after they get together. At one point in the story, Megan questions whether their feelings for each other are just a side-effect of their powers, and honestly, I had a hard time arguing with that.

The paranormal aspect is interesting and unique, having to do with four kinds of elemental powers. While the major detail given about the history of their powers was a little overbearing, and delivered in such a textbook manner that I had a hard time staying interested, what I really loved was the personal stories that went along with it. The backstory we get on Rían, Adam, and especially Fionn's part in the whole elemental alignment prophecy was compelling and emotional.

My biggest quirk with this one is how formulaic this stories set-up was. It took a turn of it's own eventually, but for the first 200 pages, there was just too much that felt a bit déjà vu. A new girl move to town, new school, a few new friends...the unapproachable boy that everyone drools over but no one has been able to attract before suddenly has eyes for said new girl...strange, unexplainable things start happening...boy has a perky sister that wants to be girl's best friend...boy's other sibling seems to absolutely loathe girl and wants her to stay away from them all...there is even a mention that if boy and girl have a baby, it will be some sort of monster or darkness. Sound familiar? Yeah, it kind of does. :)

The ending was what pulled the book together for me and really made my decision to continue with this series. Very exciting stuff and I was ultimately glad that I stayed with this one through the entire ride! I think now that the story has been set up and the history has been laid down, it has the potential to really take off in the second book. At least, that is what I'm crossing my fingers for! I'm not giving up on this one yet!

Visit Leigh Fallon's site here!

Purchase at: AmazonBN.comBookDepositoryIndiebound


Monday, October 10, 2011

Vindicated by Keary Taylor : Cover & Release News!

The Fall of Angels series by Keary Taylor has a new installment releasing soon! The final book, Vindicated, will be available on November 29th, 2011.

A quick synopsis:
With the pain of the past behind them, Jessica and Alex are ready to move on with their lives. But moving on is hard when it involves reconnecting with the family who wanted to send Jessica to an institution. And living life isn’t easy when someone who doesn’t belong is watching her, threatening her life, determined to take Jessica back to the afterlife she should have joined months ago.

And every day becomes a little harder for Alex. Time is ticking and if it runs out, Alex won’t be returning to the world of the living. It all boils down to Cole’s final words to Jessica: What are you willing to do to save him?

The answer to keeping Alex lies in Jessica returning to the place he saved her from.

* * * * * *
While I haven't tried out this series yet, I've heard some amazing things about it from my fellow bloggers. I own the first book and was going to start it, when I found out the final book in the series is coming out sooner than originally planned, so I figured I'd wait and read the whole series all the way through!
Check out more about this series at Goodreads!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

In My Mailbox {87}

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

Well, my mailbox was a bit monstrous this week! Lots of exciting stuff, though. If you saw my last post, I already showed a few of the books I bought at the Maureen Johnson/Steph Perkins signing, so I left those out! we go!
Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick
Can. not. WAIT to read this! And very excited to hear the recent announcement that this will not be the last book in the series!
A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan
This one came in at work, and I couldn't resist it's gorgeousness. *sigh* The perils of working at a library.
For Review:
Destined by Jesse Harrell
Damage by Anya Parrish
On The Fringe by Courtney King Walker
All three of these look amazing...gods, creepy imaginary friends and ghosties!

For review: the Macmillan stack
Hades by Alexandra Adornetto (2nd copy, finished)
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
The Humming Room by Ellen Potter
When the Sea is Rising Red by Cat Hellison
Life is but a Dream by Brian James
Dreamland by Alyson Noel
Cinder looks awesome; The Humming Room is based on The Secret Garden which I love; When the Sea and Life is but a Dream are just gorgeous and both sound a but trippy; ah, and Dreamland...looking forward to seeing if life this better than Shimmer, because I loved Radiance!

For Review: the insane Random House box!!
Every You, Every Me by David Levithan
A Plague Year by Edward Bloor
Unforsaken by Sophie Littlefield
You Have Seven Messages by Stewart Lewis
My Beating Teenage Heart by C. K. Kelly Martin
A couple of these I wasn't excited about until I got them in hand and had a look inside them. A Plague Year is by Edward Bloor---who wrote one my favorite books, London Calling, so while I'm a bit apprehensive about the subject in this one, I'm willing to give it a shot. Unforsaken! Loved the first book so I was excited to get this.

For review: Random House (cont.)
Scored by Lauren McLaughlin
The Silence of Murder by Dandi Daley Mackall
All the Earth, Thrown to the Sky by Joe R. Landsdale
Empire of Ruins (Hunchback Assignments #3) by Arthur Slade
The Lost Songs by Caroline B. Cooney
I hadn't heard of a lot of these until they came up for the What's New List. The Silence of Murder looks really good and All the Earth caught my interest because its set during the Dust Bowl (though you'd never guess that from the cover!). The Empire of Ruins looks fun and it doesn't look like the kind of series you have to read in order, so that's good!

Many thanks to Random House, Macmillan, Courtney King Walker, Flux Books, and Jessie Harrell for all of these wonderful books!

New on my Nook:

Touch by Jus Accardo
In the Forest of the Night by Kersten Hamilton
Had to have Touch after reading about it on The Reading Housewives of Indiana. SO excited for In the Forest...Tyger, Tyger was one of my favorites last year!
Thanks to Netgalley, Clarion, and Entangled Publishing!

So that's what I got...I need to get reading! Guys don't forget to check out the other cool things going on at Stories & Sweeties! Right now, I've got some cool giveaways going on---check the upper right hand column for the list. And I would love to have more participants in the Spooky Reads Challenge!! So if you're planning to read you spookiest books for Halloween, please visit this post and sign up!

Have a great week, everyone! And Happy Reading!