Tuesday, May 29, 2012

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.

The Diviners
by Libba Bray

hitting shelves September 18th, 2012 from Little, Brown BYR

description: Evie O'Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City--and she is pos-i-toot-ly thrilled. New York is the city of speakeasies, shopping, and movie palaces! Soon enough, Evie is running with glamorous Ziegfield girls and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is Evie has to live with her Uncle Will, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult--also known as "The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies."
When a rash of occult-based murders comes to light, Evie and her uncle are right in the thick of the investigation. And through it all, Evie has a secret: a mysterious power that could help catch the killer--if he doesn't catch her first.

My thoughts: So what's not to want about this? It's Libba Bray, its a mystery, there is a "Museum of the Creepy Crawlies", some sort of paranormal goodness going on, AND it's set in the 20's! That sounds like a full-on winning combination to me. :)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Review: The Selection by Kiera Cass

The Selection by Kiera Cass

publisher: HarperTeen

release date: April 24th, 2012

hardcover, 327 pages

intended audience: Young adult

series: The Selection, book 1


source: from publisher for honest review

description: For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in the palace and compete for the heart of the gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself- and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

Review: Along with most of my fellow cover-obsessed YA readers, The Selection initially grabbed me with that completely gorgeous cover: the beautiful over-the-top dress is such a perfect eye-catching color, the crown worked into the title art, the hypnotic hall-of-mirrors effect. I was in love. I do have to admit though, the description did not grab me, and I was even more put out by the many reviews that I saw that compared this to the TV show, The Bachelor, which I am completely disgusted by. So needless to say, despite my adoration of the cover, I went in fully expecting to really not enjoy this one. I can't tell you how wrong I was. I loved this book.

There are so many surprising elements here; there are strong themes of family, friendship,
loyalty, love and the unexpected turns that it takes. In the beginning, I was a little confused by the caste system. It was sprung on the reader without much explanation at first, and I wish a little more world building and set up had been included to show how the world has ended up this way. However, once I caught on, the story flew by. I wasn't sure I liked America in the beginning...it was made so clear how she wanted to help her family and what a struggle it was to be sure they were all fed, but then when her mother has to bribe her to join the The Selection by offering to let her keep half her work earnings for her own personal use instead of helping to feed the family, and she happily accepts---it kind of grated on my nerves. But other than that one instance, she really grew on me. She was determined to hold onto who she was, determined to push forth despite a shattered heart, she spoke her mind with bravery and heart. She stood up for those below her station and stood by those whom she had become friends with. Prince Maxon was also an amazing character, so admirable and surprising. I loved the friendship that grew between America and Maxon---it developed in such a perfect way, with complete honesty, mutual respect and just a great natural connection. He seemed to have such a great heart, and you just have to feel for his conflict between following his own heart and doing what he must for his kingdom.

There is a love triangle here, so a warning to those who dislike them! I, myself, don't mind them at all, and thought this one really had some great emotional conflict behind it. There were some amazingly romantic moments that took my breathe away.
But I have to admit, I'm Team Maxon all the way. We'll see how that pans out in the upcoming books!

What I really feared about reading The Selection was the relationship between the other girls---the cattiness, the ugly competitiveness, and trashy actions that you see in shows like The Bachelor. I was so glad to realize there was almost none of this going on here (except from one particular character) and that the friendships that developed between America and some of the other girls were some of my favorite parts of the story.

Such a fun read, with a completely unexpected amount of emotion and depth. For those who have seen all the mixed reviews or, like me, hesitate to pick this up because you hate things like the Bachelor---I say, give this one a chance! You may end up loving it as much as I did!

Visit Kiera Cass's site: www.kieracass.com

Purchase The Selection at: AmazonBN.com BookDepository Indiebound

Saturday, May 26, 2012

New Shelf Goodies & The Weekly Nutshell {5}

For New Shelf Goodies, I'll be showing you what lovely books I acquired this week, whether from publishers, or the library, or from whatever half-crazed book-buying binge I happened to go on. :D (Inspired by Alea @ Pop Culture Junkie's This Week in Books posts) The Weekly Nutshell will be just that...my week here at Stories & Sweeties, in a nutshell. (inspired by Ginger @ GReads and her recaps at the end of the TGIF posts) Note: This is not a meme, but I'll be hopping around to IMMs, Stack the Shelves, Book Hauls, or whatever other book-loot sharing posts I come across!

Here's the haul this week:
For Review:
Awakened by PC Cast & Kristen Cast
I don't read this series, but my guest reviewer Amy does--though I think she's a bit behind on it. She may be reviewing this, or I might pass it on to another blogger!
Dark Companion by Marta Acosta
Very excited for this one!

Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins (my review)
One of my very favorite books this year. I gave my ARC away so I happily bought myself a pretty shiny finished copy!
The Enchantress by Michael Scott
This series is actually a hubby favorite. :) He's been crazy excited for this book to come out!

New on My Nook:
Entangled by Nikki Jefford
I'd heard good things about this series and this one was free for kindle!

The Weekly Nutshell:
{Sunday} Sweetness on Sunday featuring Tiger's Curse Recipe & Giveaway!
{Monday} Review: Silence by Michelle Sagara
{Tuesday} Waiting on Wednesday: The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron

Well, another slow week for posts here! My daily life is taking over right now. With two kids having birthdays and one graduating, there's been some mad planning and cleaning going on here...I've been exhausted and reading soooo slowly. Still, I'm reading Book of Blood & Shadows and The Selection right now and enjoying both! I was so pooped out, I even passed up an awesome signing with Cynthia Hand, Bree Despain, and Brodi Ashton---crazy, I know,..but I just could not bring myself to take on San Francisco that night. Hopefully, after next week, things will slow down a bit and I can give this blog some much-needed make-up time! :D

Happy reading, everyone!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

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.

The Dark Unwinding
by Sharon Cameron

hitting shelves September 1st, 2012 from Scholastic Press

A spine-tingling tale of steampunk and spies, intrigue and heart-racing romance!

When Katharine Tulman's inheritance is called into question by the rumor that her eccentric uncle is squandering away the family fortune, she is sent to his estate to have him committed to an asylum. But instead of a lunatic, Katharine discovers a genius inventor with his own set of rules, who employs a village of nine hundred people rescued from the workhouses of London.

Katharine is now torn between protecting her own inheritance and preserving the peculiar community she grows to care for deeply. And her choices are made even more complicated by a handsome apprentice, a secretive student, and fears for her own sanity.

As the mysteries of the estate begin to unravel, it is clear that not only is her uncle's world at stake, but also the state of England as Katharine knows it. With twists and turns at every corner, this heart-racing adventure will captivate readers with its intrigue, thrills, and romance.

My thoughts: Since first hearing about this book over at Shannon's site (Stalking The Bookshelves), I have declared myself officially smitten with this cover and synopsis. I mean, come on: England, a gothic estate, a mysterious uncle, a little psychological thrill and romance thrown in, and plenty of cool steampunkery!! This sounds so amazing!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Review: Silence by Michelle Sagara

Silence by Michelle Sagara

publisher: DAW (Penguin)

release date: May 1th, 2012

hardcover, 289 pages

intended audience: Young adult

series: Queen of the Dead, book 1


source: from publisher for honest review

It began in the graveyard. Ever since her boyfriend Nathan died in a tragic accident Emma had been coming to the graveyard at night. During the day she went through the motions at her prep school, in class, with her friends, but that's all it was. But tonight was different. Tonight Emma and her dog were not alone in the cemetery. There were two others there—Eric, who had just started at her school, and an ancient woman who looked as though she were made of rags. And when they saw Emma there, the old woman reached out to her with a grip as chilling as death…

Review: With a great synopsis, some really interesting characters, and a sweet doggie that is such a character, he can be counted as part of the supporting cast, I really wanted to love Silence. For the first 50 or so pages, it moved along at a great pace, the story really took off, was intriguing, had a fantastic creepiness factor---and at first taste, I really thought the writing style was unique, with kind of a mysterious air to it. But eventually, I found myself feeling a bit confused and lost and having to reread several bits to really get the meaning of what the author was trying to convey. It felt really muddled, with the sentences themselves seeming broken up and choppy. Also, the third person perspective sometimes left me confused as to who was speaking at any given time, especially with such a large cast of characters. I definitely think this one might have benefited from a first person POV---or perhaps even an alternating POV between Emma and the mysterious Eric. It would have been great to get into his head a little. I did, however, push through all that and found a good story and some really great likeable characters, which for me, is what kept me reading to the end

Emma is a bit broken, having suffered the loss of her father and her boyfriend, Nathan. There is very little love story here, which I was kind of glad about {spoiler:---once we find out that Eric is meant to kill her I really didn't want them to end up together (that's been done enough, right?)} Eric is intriguing, but kind of stays that way---his actual purpose seems to stay a bit vague. What I really loved is the friendship dynamic between Emma and her circle of friends, Allison, Michael, & Amy. Allison is all support, Amy is a fireball, and Michael, especially, was fascinating to read about, the way his mind worked and how he viewed the things that were going on all around them. While I did think their acceptance of what was happening to Emma was a tad too easy, I loved that they all banded together to help her through it all. About two-thirds of the way through, there were so many extra characters that I was having trouble keeping track of who was who, but it certainly kept me on my toes. There are some really dark moments here, both in action and emotionally, but it added to the story. It's not your everyday, done-to-death story about necromancers--I really enjoyed some of the twists on what we normally see that Silence offered.

While I had mixed feelings about this one, I think I connected with the characters enough to be curious about what they will tackle in the following books.

Visit Michelle Sagara's website: www.michellesagara.com

Purchase Silence at: AmazonBN.comBookDepository Indiebound

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sweetness on Sunday featuring Tiger's Curse by Colleen Houck: Recipe & Giveaway!!

I have a very special Sweetness on Sunday for you today!!
Thanks to Colleen Houck and Katie at Sterling Publishing, I have a wonderful recipe from the story and a copy of the newly released paperback version of Tiger's Curse to give away!!

Here we go!So, of course, I had to make these for myself. And I am telling you--these are delightfully yummy! So rich and chocolatey with a yummy peanut butter center. Especially good fresh from the oven (ok, well, wait a few minutes so as not to burn your mouth, I guess lol) when they are still very warm and gooey. And the tall glass of milk pictured next to it is almost a must! :D

Ren's Cookies

2 sticks of butter
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 ½ tsp vanilla
¼ tsp salt
¾ cup dark coco powder
2 cups flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 bag of chocolate chips
¾ cup smooth peanut butter
½ cup brown sugar

Cream the butter then add sugars. When it’s light and fluffy, add eggs and vanilla. Sift the next 5 dry ingredients and mix with the wet until thoroughly combined. Add one package of chocolate chips (or as many as you like!) to the dough. Mix together the next 2 ingredients to make the peanut butter filling. Then place a spoonful of the chocolate dough on a baking sheet, top with some peanut butter filling, and cover with some more chocolate dough. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-20 minutes depending on cookie size.

* * * * * *
So to celebrate the paperback release, I have one brand new paperback copy to give to one luck reader!! Just fill out the form below and the winner will be chosen with random.org!
• open to US/CAN
•must be 13 or older
•Contest closes June 3rd, 2013

If you simply can't wait to get yourself a copy of Tiger's Curse in paperback, it's now available at:

Until next time,

Saturday, May 19, 2012

New Shelf Goodies & The Weekly Nutshell {4}

For New Shelf Goodies, I'll be showing you what lovely books I acquired this week, whether from publishers, or the library, or from whatever half-crazed book-buying binge I happened to go on. :D (Inspired by Alea @ Pop Culture Junkie's This Week in Books posts) The Weekly Nutshell will be just that...my week here at Stories & Sweeties, in a nutshell. (inspired by Ginger @ GReads and her recaps at the end of the TGIF posts) Note: This is not a meme, but I'll be hopping around to IMMs, Stacking the Shelves, Book Hauls, or whatever other book-loot sharing posts I come across!

This week's bookish goodness:
For review:
Stunning by Sara Shephard
I don't read this series, so I'll be featuring this one with a giveaway soon!
Darkness Before Dawn by J.A. London
Excited read this--haven't delved into the world of vamps for awhile, so we'll see how it goes!
Blackwatch by Jenna Burtenshaw
I've heard book one of this was good---will have to track down a copy so I can start this series!

Gilt by Katherine Longshore
I was thrilled to have the launch for this book happening so close to my hometown! :D Check back later this week for a recap of the event!

For giveaway:
Tiger's Curse by Collen Houck

Many thanks to Harper Collins & Sterling!

New on my Nook!
Anathema by K.A. Tucker
This is currently free for Kindle & Nook, and came very highly recommended by Mindy@ Magical Urban Fantasy Reads!

The Weekly Nutshell:
{Monday} Review: Perception by Kim Harrington
{Tuesday} Waiting on Wednesday: Mystic City by Theo Lawrence
{Friday} Guest Review: Until I Die by Amy Plum

With all the end-of-school-year distractions, I'm afraid my blog was a little neglected this week! And I feel like I have been reading sooooo slow. :( Still, I'm enjoying what I read, so I guess that's what counts. Check back in tomorrow---I'll be featuring the paperback release of Tiger's Curse with a giveaway and a very special Sweetness on Sunday featuring Ren's cookie recipe from Colleen Houck!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Guest Review: Until I Die by Amy Plum

Until I Die by Amy Plum

publisher: HarperTeen

release date: May 8th, 2012

hardcover, 357 pages

intended audience: Young adult

series: Revenants, book 2
(Becky's review of Die for Me)


source: From publisher for honest review
review: Amy

Spoiler Alert! Description and review may contain slight spoilers for book 1 in the series, Die For Me. If you haven't read it yet, Stop Here! :D

description: Kate and Vincent have overcome the odds and at last they are together in Paris, the city of lights and love.

As their romance deepens there’s one question they can’t ignore: How are they supposed to be together if Vincent can’t resist sacrificing himself to save others? Although Vincent promises that he’ll do whatever it takes to lead a normal life with Kate, will that mean letting innocent people die? When a new and surprising enemy reveals itself, Kate realizes that even more may be at stake—and that Vincent’s immortality is in jeopardy.


I don't know what it is specifically that drew me in to this series, but I am totally captivated by this book. Once again Amy Plum doesn't disappoint with her second book in what I am sure is a trilogy or more. I will say however she does leave you hanging waiting for the next book. Until I Die picks up right where Die For Me ended so seamlessly that I had to actually check the books to see where one ended and the other began to write this review.

Taking place on the streets of Paris I found myself whisked away to another country surrounded by old world meets the city of romance and that is exactly what Kate finds... love. And not just a love of a lifetime but the love of many lifetimes since that is all that a revenant can offer.
I love the idea behind Revenants and how wonderfully they define their lives and who they are. Not a vampire, but an immortal equal. It just leaves me questioning how Kate really will fall into the Revenants and their life path. This book helps define the parameters of Kate and Vincent's relationship and also that of the revenants; what they do and the choices that they must make to stay alive as well as that of their enemies ,which takes this book on more of a gripping adventure than that of just a Paris love story. I like that we get to see a lot of Kate's sister, Georgia, getting her involved in a lot of the mystery and adventure. It's a relief that this is not once again a story of girl meets boy, boy has a secret identity, girl drops everyone she knows and who she is to be with a boy. Kate still finds a way to stand strong alongside the revenants and even finds a way to help which is a fun turn on tradition as well.

Without giving any of this marvelous book away I will say this is one of my new favorite series. I was fortunate enough to read the two books back to back but the unfortunate part is I am left mourning the fact that I have to wait for the next book. Whether you loved the beautiful setting of Anna and the French Kiss or a love that spans eternity like Twilight, this series is defiantly a must read!

Visit Amy Plum's site: http://www.amyplumbooks.com

Purchase Until I Die at: AmazonBN.comBook Depository Indiebound

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

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.

Mystic City
by Theo Lawrence

hitting shelves October 9, 2012 from Random House Children's

Aria Rose, youngest scion of one of Mystic City's two ruling rival families, finds herself betrothed to Thomas Foster, the son of her parents' sworn enemies. The union of the two will end the generations-long political feud—and unite all those living in the Aeries, the privileged upper reaches of the city, against the banished mystics who dwell below in the Depths. But Aria doesn't remember falling in love with Thomas; in fact, she wakes one day with huge gaps in her memory. And she can't conceive why her parents would have agreed to unite with the Fosters in the first place. Only when Aria meets Hunter, a gorgeous rebel mystic from the Depths, does she start to have glimmers of recollection—and to understand that he holds the key to unlocking her past. The choices she makes can save or doom the city—including herself.

My thoughts: This one says for fans of Hunger Games, X-Men, and Blade Runner. Well, HG, YES...X-Men, sometimes..Blade Runner?? Heck yes!! :D This sounds pretty amazing and what a cool cover--love all the shimmering lights of the city in the background.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Review: Perception by Kim Harrington

Perception by Kim Harrington

publisher: Scholastic Point

release date: March 1st, 2012

hardcover, 288 pages

intended audience: Young adult

series: Clarity, book 2
(my review of book 1)


source: from publisher for honest review

description: When you can see things others can't, what do you do when someone's watching you?

Everybody knows about Clarity "Clare" Fern. She's the psychic girl in school, the one who can place her hands on something and see hidden visions from the past.

Only Clare would rather not be a celebrity. She prefers hanging back, observing. Her gift is not a game to her.

But then someone starts playing with her head . . . and heart. Messages and gifts from a secret admirer crop up everywhere Clare turns. Could they be from Gabriel, the gorgeous boy who gets Clare's pulse racing? Or from Justin, Clare's hopeful ex-boyfriend who'd do anything to win her back?

One thing is certain. Clare needs to solve this mystery, and soon. Because the messages are becoming sinister, and a girl in town has suddenly disappeared.

Review: While normally I would post a spoiler warning for book 1, I didn't this time. The fun thing about this series is that I think each book stands strong on it's own. There is enough recapping in book two to not be lost if read alone. That said---don't skip out on either one!! These are such fast, fun mysteries and the characters are great to get to spend some time getting to know.

The small seaside town of Eastport and Clarity's family has been hit with more mystery---and this time it's threefold. A teenage musical prodigy has gone missing and the girl who knew her best has suddenly befriended Clare. A strange ghost has started hounding Clare's brother, Perry (real name, Periwinkle *giggle*). And Clare not only has the two most wanted guys in school waiting for her to decide between them, but now she finds herself being stalked by a creepy secret admirer. Perception gives more of the twists and turns that keep me guessing until the very end that I loved from Clarity. The thing that made it stand apart was that we get to see a bit more about Clare personally as she deals with her first taste of being accepted by her peers and the bit of celebrity status she's acquired from solving a murder mystery with her psychic powers. It really felt alot like a contemporary novel with just a hint of the paranormal thrown in, which actually worked really well for me. Clare is kind and strong-minded and really seems to think things through---well, except for one instance at the end, but I don't want to spoil anything! :D

Every bit as entertaining as it's predecessor, but this honestly didn't "wow" me until the last few chapters. They were pretty-edge-of-your seat exciting and the love story finally comes to a head. Phew---those poor guys, just choose one already, Clare! It finishes up perfectly---not sure if there will be a book 3, but it certainly doesn't need it. Though I wouldn't mind at least one more round with these characters!

Visit Kim Harrington's website here.

Purchase Perception at: AmazonBN.comBookDepository Indiebound

Saturday, May 12, 2012

New Shelf Goodies & The Weekly Nutshell {3}

For New Shelf Goodies, I'll be showing you what lovely books I acquired this week, whether from publishers, or the library, or from whatever half-crazed book-buying binge I happened to go on. :D (Inspired by Alea @ Pop Culture Junkie's This Week in Books posts) The Weekly Nutshell will be just that...my week here at Stories & Sweeties, in a nutshell. (inspired by Ginger @ GReads and her recaps at the end of the TGIF posts) Note: This is not a meme, but I'll be hopping around to IMMs, Stack the Shelves, Book Hauls, or whatever other book-loot sharing posts I come across!

Here's the haul for this week:
For review:
Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield
Amelia Anne is one that I'm already hearing great things about.

The Blessed by Tonya Hurley
This looks so interesting...who is this mysterious Sebastian?

All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin(my review here)
Because It Is My Blood by Gabrielle Zevin
I was so happily surprised by the package from Macmillan containing a paperback All These Things and an ARC of book 2! I loved All These Things, and am eager to see where Anya's story goes next. Love the new covers and thrilled to have the matching set!

An interesting little nugget of info: if you look at the finished UK cover of The Blessed, it appears to be the same cover model as the new All These Things covers--I'm almost sure of it!

Thanks to Penguin, Hodder, and Macmillan for these lovelies!

The Weekly Nutshell:
{Sunday} Spring Blog Carnival - Fortune Teller's Booth
{Monday} Cover Story: Torn Wing, Asunder, and Falling To Ash
{Tuesday} Review: Pure by Jennifer L. Armentrout
{Tuesday} Shatter Me series news from Tahereh Mafi!
{Wednesday} Waiting on Wednesday: Fathomless by Jackson Pearce
{Thursday} Guest Review: Hollow Pike by James Dawson

Another busy week around here. School is almost out, which amazingly enough means that my eldest is days away from graduation. Wow...just wow. I am, as always, behind of reviews lol---I have reviews of Pyxis, Silence, and Struck in my head and waiting to be written out. Tomorrow is Mother's Day---so happy day to all you Mommies out there!! ♥

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Guest Review: Hollow Pike by James Dawson

Hollow Pike by James Dawson

publisher: Orion's Children's Books

release date: February 2nd, 2012

paperback, 416 pages

intended audience: Young adult


source: purchased
reviewer: Amy

Something wicked this way comes... She thought she'd be safe in the country, but you can't escape your own nightmares, and Lis London dreams repeatedly that someone is trying to kill her. Lis thinks she's being paranoid - after all who would want to murder her? She doesn't believe in the local legends of witchcraft. She doesn't believe that anything bad will really happen to her. You never do, do you? Not until you're alone in the woods, after dark - and a twig snaps... Hollow Pike - where witchcraft never sleeps.

Marvelously Brilliant and British!

Hollow Pike is the perfect blending of some of my favorites.. a good classic witch-in-the-woods scary story and my new love of British authors. This story follows a wonderful classic horror story of teenagers playing the proverbial game of "what if..." and the consequences that follow when you play with the game of fate.

I will tell you I was pleasantly surprised with the many twists and turns that this book took with keeping and building the storys' suspense, not giving away any answers till the very end.
I loved all the small town references of witchcraft and all the paranoia that surrounds such legends. I will say however the most surprising revelation of all is this book was written by a man. Please don't shy away and think that it is written for guys or tend to avoid books written in a guy's perspective. It's not! James Dawson gets it dead right. I don't know how many times I found myself glancing to the back cover just to confirm "yes this really is written by a man." So kudos to you, James, somehow you have figured us women out enough to write a book with a female main character that is identifiable and spot on.

Without delving too much into the details of this book (I don't want to give any of it away) I will say if you love witch stories or a good murder mystery or wonderfully undiluted British writing this book is for you!!

Oh and a little side note: Great job on the back jacket photo. It is the prefect pic with an air of mystery---as a photographer myself, I just love it when authors and photographers get it right!! If I was allowed to rate the photo (which I secretly always do) I give you a bonus 5 cupcakes--- ones made of dark chocolate with a mysterious dark ganache filling! :)

Visit James Dawson's site: www.jamesdawsonbooks.com

Purchase Hollow Pike at: AmazonUKBookDepository

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

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 Jackson Pearce

hitting shelves September 4th, 2012 from Little,Brown Books for Young Readers

Celia Reynolds is the youngest in a set of triplets and the one with the least valuable power. Anne can see the future, and Jane can see the present, but all Celia can see is the past. And the past seems so insignificant -- until Celia meets Lo.

Lo doesn't know who she is. Or who she was. Once a human, she is now almost entirely a creature of the sea -- a nymph, an ocean girl, a mermaid -- all terms too pretty for the soulless monster she knows she's becoming. Lo clings to shreds of her former self, fighting to remember her past, even as she's tempted to embrace her dark immortality.

When a handsome boy named Jude falls off a pier and into the ocean, Celia and Lo work together to rescue him from the waves. The two form a friendship, but soon they find themselves competing for Jude's affection. Lo wants more than that, though. According to the ocean girls, there's only one way for Lo to earn back her humanity. She must persuade a mortal to love her . . . and steal his soul.

My thoughts: Excited!! I loved Sisters Red so much. And while I haven't gotten around to Sweetly, my best friend and guest reviewer gave it an ecstatic 5-cupcake rating. So when I heard the next retelling in Jackson Pearce's series would be of The Little Mermaid, I was freaking out with glee. I do have to say, I'm am so disappointed that they are changing the original covers of Sweetly and Sisters Red to match this one, instead of making Fathomless match the hardcovers (they were so incredible, artful, imaginative, and unique!). The new look is very pretty, but not nearly as striking. Still I can't wait to read this third installment in the Fairytale Retellings series!! I really hope she keeps going with these!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Shatter Me Series News from Tahereh Mafi!!

Ok, for all my blog readers who don't follow Tahereh Mafi's blog (why the heck not? The girl is so funny!), I wanted to share this with you. Miss Mafi imparted some awesome news for those of us who are dying for more of this series and are impatiently suffering because book 2's release date was pushed back until February of 2013. Ugh.

But here it is...I'll let Tahereh tell you herself:

Awesome, right?? :D

Review: Pure by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Pure by Jennifer L. Armentrout

publisher: Spencer Hill Press

release date: April 3rd, 2012

paperback, 329 pages

intended audience: Young adult

series: Covenant, book 2
(review of book 1)


source: ARC from publisher for honest review

Spoiler alert: description and review may contain slight spoilers for book 1, Half-Blood. If you haven't read it yet, stop reading here! :D

description: There is need. And then there is Fate...

Being destined to become some kind of supernatural electrical outlet isn't exactly awesome--especially when Alexandria's "other half" is everywhere she goes. Seth's in her training room, outside her classes, and keeps showing up in her bedroom--so not cool. Their connection does have some benefits, like staving off her nightmares of the tragic showdown with her mother, but it has no effect on what Alex feels for the forbidden, pure-blooded Aiden. Or what he will do--and sacrifice--for her.

When daimons infiltrate the Covenants and attack students, the gods send furies--lesser gods determined to eradicate any threat to the Covenants and to the gods, and that includes the Apollyon... and Alex. And if that and hordes of aether-sucking monsters didn't blow bad enough, a mysterious threat seems willing to do anything to neutralize Seth, even if that means forcing Alex into servitude... or killing her.

When the gods are involved, some decisions can never, ever be undone.

Review: Fair warning: I love this series, and sometimes it's hard to put that love into coherent thoughts and words, so we'll see how this review turns out. :) For those YA readers out there who pass up books from smaller presses, they are really missing out amazing series such as this one. It is one of those truly incredible pieces of storytelling. Book one, Half-Blood, blew me away with it's intensity, danger, humor, and emotional pull---in Pure, we get more of all of that, magnified ten times over.

The romance is edgier and more complicated as her feelings for both Aiden and Seth start to change and become a little less cut-and-dry. Seth's character really progresses in this book. I think the only feelings I had toward him in the first book were,"Ack, what is his problem?" This time around, sure you get to see more Seth naughtiness, but we also have the pleasure of getting to know a bit more about him outside of his all-powerful Apollyon title. And Aiden, well...Aiden is just as swoon-worthy as ever---the hard training, the caring moments, the slip-ups in his resistance. But the danger of their feeling for each other is laid bare when they get to see first hand what happens when the laws that keep Pures and Half-Bloods apart are disobeyed.

The action sequences were, once again, amazingly visual and heart-pounding. New threats to Alex's life come from surprising sources. Her visit to another covenant brings out some new great characters and dangers and temptations and we even get to see a bit of a girly side to Alex's normally snarky, badass character.

Once again, this series brings on the action, the romance, the emotional surprises, the endlessly gripping story---and like most who have fallen in love with the Covenant series, I can't wait for more. Book three, Diety, absolutely cannot get here soon enough.

Visit Jennifer L. Armentrout at www.jenniferarmentrout.blogspot.com

Purchase Pure at: AmazonBN.comBookDepository Indiebound

Monday, May 7, 2012

Cover Story! Asunder, Torn Wing, & Falling to Ash

Spotted three beautiful covers this morning!!
(cover images link to Goodreads)

Coming Jan/Feb 2013 (no firm date yet) from Katherine Tegen Books
Ana has always been the only one. Asunder. Apart. But after Templedark, when many residents of Heart were lost forever, some hold Ana responsible for the darksouls–and the newsouls who may be born in their place.

Many are afraid of Ana’s presence, a constant reminder of unstoppable changes and the unknown. When sylph begin behaving differently toward her and people turn violent, Ana must learn to stand up not only for herself but for those who cannot stand up for themselves.

Ana was told that nosouls can’t love. But newsouls? More than anything, she wants to live and love as an equal among the citizens of Heart, but even when Sam professes his deepest feelings, it seems impossible to overcome a lifetime of rejection.

In this second book in the Incarnate trilogy, Ana discovers the truth about reincarnation and will have to find a way to embrace love and make her young life meaningful. Once again, Jodi Meadows explores the extraordinary beauty and shadowed depths of the soul in a story equal parts epic romance and captivating fantasy.

Coming October 2nd from Tor Teen
Tiki’s greatest fear suddenly becomes all too real: the fey have returned to London seeking revenge. As war escalates in the Otherworld, Queen Victoria’s youngest son, Prince Leopold, is attacked. In order to protect her family and the ones she loves, she needs to know the meaning of an fáinne sí, the birthmark that winds around her wrist. But will Tiki be brave enough to face the truth?

A bloody escape, a deadly threat, a shocking revelation…

Coming September 27th, 2012 from Corgi Children's
You can’t choose your family... living or dead.

Trapped between two very different worlds, newly made vampire Moth is struggling to find her place in either. Not only does she have to answer to her strict Irish-Catholic Dad, but her over-protective maker, Theo, is intent on making her the star attraction in his powerful Boston vampire clan. Moth will have to pull off the double-act of the century to please both of them...

Adding to her problems is the dangerously attractive Jason Murdoch, a trainee vampire hunter who loves to play cat and mouse in his spare time (Jace = cat; Moth = mouse). But when the teenagers of Boston’s wealthiest families start to disappear, it forces Moth and Jace into an uneasy truce. Will they be able to solve the mystery behind the disappearances—before someone winds up undead?

(Corgi is a UK publisher, not sure if this will get a US release, or if the cover will be the same!)

What do you think of these covers? Eyecatching, no? Will they be on your to-read list??

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Spring Blog Carnival: Fortune Teller Booth!

Welcome...Welcome, my dears, to the Fortune Teller's Booth! Come in and sit down while we look into the future of YA!! Today you have a chance to win two amazing books about a gifted seer name Clarity. Here is the prize that could be in your future:

One copy of Clarity + One copy of Perception

(above photo credit:staceylynnstudios.com)

The Challenge Set Before You Is This:
Look deep into my crystal ball and tell me what YOU see in the future of YA!
(Or what you hope to see :D)

Leave your answer in the comments, with an email where I can contact you!
Open Internationally!

Be sure to visit the rest of the booths in the Spring Blog Carnival!
Many thanks to Angela from Reading Angel, Candace from Candace’s Book Blog, and Lori from Pure Imagination for hosting the second annual Spring Blog Carnival!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

New Shelf Goodies & The Weekly Nutshell {2}

For New Shelf Goodies, I'll be showing you what lovely books I acquired this week, whether from publishers, or the library, or from whatever half-crazed book-buying binge I happened to go on. :D (Inspired by Alea @ Pop Culture Junkie's This Week in Books posts) The Weekly Nutshell will be just that...my week here at Stories & Sweeties, in a nutshell. (inspired by Ginger @ GReads and her recaps at the end of the TGIF posts) Note: This is not a meme, but I'll be hopping around to IMMs, Stack the Shelves, Book Hauls, or whatever other book-loot sharing posts I come across!

Here's my loot for this week! It's a relatively small haul, which is kind of a relief after the past few weeks! Need some time to catch up on reading!
For Review:
The Last Princess by Galaxy Craze
Revived by Cat Patrick
Thanks to Little, Brown for these! Very excited to read both!

New on my Nook:

Timepiece by Myra McEntire

I tried and I tried to resist this when I saw it pop up on Netgalley. I failed. The first book was just too good. I had to have this. :)

The Weekly Nutshell:
Monday: Guest Review: Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock
Tuesday: What's New: May YA Releases & Giveaway!
Wednesday: Waiting on Wednesday: Splintered by A.G. Howard

It was definitely a quiet week here in Stories & Sweeties, and I apologize for that! It was a crazy, hectic week of prom preparation ( I had two of my kids going this year!), work, and a modem that decided to die on me---so I was without internet for most of the week. Even after we replaced it, my internet seems to be stuttering a bit. :( The week ended with a beautiful service for my grandma. Thank you to everyone for the words of comfort for me and my family last week. *hugs* In the week ahead I'll be catching up on lots of reading and reviewing!

Have a great week, everyone!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

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 A.G. Howard

hitting shelves January 2013 from Amulet Books

For sixteen years, Alyssa Gardner has lived with the stigma of being descended from Alice Liddell -- the real life inspiration for Lewis Carroll's famed novel, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. But cruel jokes about dormice and tea parties can’t compare to the fact that Alyssa hears the whispers of bugs and flowers ... the same quirk which sent her mother to a mental institution years before.

When her mother takes a turn for the worse and the whispers grow too strong for Alyssa to bear, she seeks the origins of their family curse. A set of heirlooms and a moth tied to an unusual website lead Alyssa and her gorgeous best friend / secret crush, Jeb, down the rabbit hole into the real Wonderland, a place more twisted and eerie than Lewis Carroll ever let on.

There, creepy counterparts of the original fairytale crew reveal the purpose for Alyssa’s journey, and unless she fixes the things her great-great-great grandmother Alice put wrong, Wonderland will have her head.

My Thoughts: OK, people. I know this a long way off to publication, but LOOK at THAT COVER. And it's another book about Alice in Wonderland, which as I told you all before here, I am a huge Alice fangirl--- so Yay!! Not a retelling, but a trip back to Wonderland for one of Alice's great, great, great grandchildren. Such a cool idea for a story.
Definitely can't wait.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

What's New: May YA Releases & Giveaway!!

Ahh, May. The weather outside is wonderful right now, not too hot yet, but warm enough that I'm compelled to do most of my reading outside. My flowers are in bloom and the air smells completely wonderful because of the bazillion orange blossoms in my backyard :) Hope you're all enjoying!

So if you're new to Stories & Sweeties, here's a little run-down of this feature: at the start of each month, I do a little thing called the "What's New List & Giveaway" where you'll find a full list of the new releases in YA for the month, and entry to the giveaway. At the end of each month, one lucky winner will get to choose any new release as their prize! Let get on to the list---it's a looong one this month---the 1st of May alone is EPIC! :D

First off, the winner of April's giveaway was: Moirae (the Fates). Congrats! :D

May Releases:
Just like previous months, I've put a little lve by those books that I am really anticipating---whether I can't wait to read them or I just can't wait to have my own finished copy!

Being Friends with Boys by Terra Elan McVoy
Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
Black Dawn by Rachel Caine
Body & Soul by Stacey Kade
Crazy Dangerous by Andrew Klavan
Dark Vengeance, Vol. 2; Winter, Spring by Jeff Mariotte
Destined by Aprilynne Pike
The Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi
Elemental by Emily White
Everfound by Neal Schusterman
The Last Princess by Galaxy Craze
Monster High 4: Back and Deader Than Ever by Lisi Harrison
Nothing Special by Geoff Herbach
Infinity by Rachel Ward
The Peculiars by Maureen McQuerry
Revived by Cat Patrick
The Royal Treatment by Lindsey Leavitt
Shine by Jeri Smith-Ready
Silence by Michelle Sagara
Storm by Brigid Kemmerer
Summer of No Regrets by Katherine Grace Bond
Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins
This is SO Not Happening by Kieran Scott
The Vicious Deep by Zoraida Cordova
Waiting by Carol Lynch Williams
Wanted by Heidi Ayarbe
Welcome Caller, This is Chloe by Shelly Coriell
Wentworth Hall by Abby Grahame
What She Left Behind by Tracy Bilen
When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle
While He Was Away by Karen Halvorsen Schrek
Wrecked by Anna Davies

Broken Illusions by Ellie James
City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare
Enchanted by Alethea Kontis
Endure by Carrie Jones
Fall From Grace by Charles Benoit
Ferocity Summer by Alissa Grosso
First Comes Love by Katie Kacvinksy
Happy Families by Tanita S. Davis
Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock
Hollyweird by Terri Clark
The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda
In Honor by Jessi Kirby
Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Jersey Angel by Beth Ann Bauman
Ladies in Waiting by Laura L. Sullivan
Last Rite by Lisa Desrochers
Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick
Ordinary Magic by Caitlin Rubino-Bradway
Pilgrims Don't Wear Pink by Stephanie Kate Strohm
Pretty Amy by Lisa Burstein
Princesses of Iowa by M. Molly Backes
Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
Struck by Jennifer Bosworth
The Unbearable Book Club For Unsinkable Girls by Julie Shumacher
Until I Die by Amy Plum
Wuftoom by Mary G. Thompson

The Summer My Life Began by Shannon Greenland
Beauty by Lisa Daily

As Dead As it Gets by Kate Alender
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
A Confusion of Princes by Garth Nix
Forgetting Curve by Angie Smibert
From What I Remember by Valerie Thomas & Stacey Kramer
Gilt by Katherine Longshore
Kiss the Morning Star by Elissa Janine Hoole
Railsea by China Meiville
Immortal Hearts (Vampire Kisses 9) by Ellen Schreiber

37 Things I love (In No Particular Order) by Kekla Magoon
Alice on Board by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Bridge of Time by Lewis Buzbee
Dark Kiss by Michelle Rowan
The Dead by Charlie Higson
The Downside of Being Charlie by Jenny Torres-Sanchez
The Enchantress by Michael Scott
Fated by Alyson Noel
Girl in the Clockwork Collar by Kady Cross
The Lost Code by Kevin Emerson
The Messenger by Leah Rose
The Murder Notebooks: Dead Time by Anne Cassidy
Of Poseidon by Anna Banks
Shift by Em Bailey
Taken by Storm by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker
Wicked Sweet by Mer'ce Merrell

Changeling by Philippa Gregory
Darkness Before Dawn by J.A. London
Dreamless by Josephine Angelini
No Safety in Numbers by Dayna Lorentz

Keep Holding On by Susane Colasanti

(All links go to Goodreads)
Please feel free to email me if you notice any YA titles missing! :)

Giveaway Details:
One winner will win a YA May Release of their choice! *see note below
• Contest ends May 31st, 2012 at 11:59 PM
• Must be 13 or older
• Open internationally. *International winners will be required to choose a book that is available through BookDepository.com.

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