Saturday, June 30, 2012

New Shelf Goodies & The Weekly Nutshell {8}

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 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!

Since I was at ALA this past weekend, I didn't do a NSG post last week, so this is two weeks worth of books!
For review:
From Spencer Hill Press:
Cursed by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Deity by Jennifer L. Armentrout (!!!)

From Macmillan:
The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There by Catherynne M. Valente
Sapphire Blue by Kristin Gier
Promised by Caragh M. O'Brien
The Shadow Society by Marie Rutkoski

From HarperTeen:
Once by Anna Carey

From Random House:
Flirting in Italian by Lauren Henderson
Lies Beneath by Anna Greenwood Brown
The Master of Misrule by Laura Powell
Dust Girl by Sarah Zettel

From William Morrow:
Size 12 and Ready to Rock by Meg Cabot

A huge thanks to all the publishers above for sending me these! Very excited for many of these! The Meg Cabot book is an adult title that came unsolicited. I may try it out or I may put this one up for trade---any major Meg fans out there?

The Weekly Nutshell:
(since there was no post last weekend, I included all post since the last "Nutshell" post!)
{6/17} Sweetness on Sunday: Pineapple Upside Down Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Buttercream
{6/19} Waiting on Wednesday: The Treachery of Beautiful Things
{6/20}Guest Review: Glimmer by Phoebe Kitanidis
{6/22} Review: Fated by Alyson Noel
{6/26} Waiting on Wednesday: Boundless
{6/27} Review: Revived by Cat Patrick
{6/29} My ALA Experience!

We have one more huge event this month and then things should slow down again...4th of July is big deal in this house! I live in a small town but we have a pretty impressive Fireworks show, plus street fireworks are legal here---so of course we have everyone over for a party! :D After this week, we have no plans (ahhhh, finally!) until the end of August when we're going to see Mumford & Sons in Monterey!! If you haven't heard of them, look them up! They are my absolute favorite band!

Have a great week, everyone! Keep an eye out for random ALA giveaways happening soon! :D

Friday, June 29, 2012

My ALA Experience! :D (picture-heavy!)

with Talia Vance
So, as I said last week, I made the 8 hour drive from my home town to Anaheim for the wonder that was ALA Annual!
As both a library assistant and a YA book blogger, the whole thing was just a fantastic experience all around. When I first walked into the conference hall, I was completely overwhelmed and felt like my head was spinning from all the things to see and directions to turn! But once I got my bearings (with some very organized guiding from my best friend and frequent guest blogger, Amy) I got into the swing of things and had an absolutely wonderful time!
Quarantine author team Lex Thomas

Shannon Cameron signed The Dark Unwinding
There really is no way to prepare for it if you've never been to a huge conference like this before. I read every blog post and bits of advice I could find beforehand---went in with lists and maps and signing schedules and still ended up a bit adrift in the sea of book-lovers! Friday was actually the craziest time, possibly because everyone is just running on pure excitement at being there. It was really the only time we experience any pushing and elbowing for arcs, and that was at the very popular HarperTeen booth, and really only by one or two people in particular (strangely enough, neither of them seemed to have any affiliation with either a library or a blog). By Sunday, Harper had come up with the brilliant idea of forming a nice line when they were about to do a big ARC drop and let people come by a few at a time---that was so much nicer and much less chaotic way to do it!

Suzanne's gorgeous gloves!
Having a laugh with Suzanne Lazear
There were some amazing signings going on throughout the event. You really had to stay on your toes because a few signing were added in at the last minute and weren't announced on the ALA schedule. I got to meet some of my very favorites, including Kendare Blake, Jackson Pearce (we've been waiting forever to catch her on this side of the country!) Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl, Talia Vance (who I met in Davis at Katherine Longshore's signing and had such a fun time chatting with! She is amazing and so sweet!). I did miss out on seeing Tahereh Mafi again, but was so excited to find out that Marissa Meyer would be signing ARCs of Scarlet, the sequel to Cinder---it literally became my #1 priority to make it to that signing! That line was the longest that I saw, stretch across two full aisles and around a few corners!

Margaret Stohl & Kami Garcia - Two Beautiful Creatures!
Ali Fisher - one of my new favorite publicists!
Jackson Pearce - finally on the west coast!
Kendare Blake - creator of my favorite love & gore story :)
Marissa Meyer - signing my copy of SCARLET!!
Kady Cross - lovely in pink!
The greatest part of the whole experience was actually getting to meet so many amazing bloggers, librarians, and publicists that I've only been able to get to know online! I got to meet and chat with Katie (Katie's Book Blog), Jill (Swimming in YA), Bailey (IBBookBlogging), Cameron (What the Cat Read), Tara (Tater's Tall Tails), Lena (Addicted2Novels), Cambria (YA Confidential), Lisa (A Life Bound by Books), and Nicole (The Reader's Antidote). I also met authors Melissa Buell (The Seventh Blessing) while in line for Kendare Blake, and Shannon Messenger (Let the Sky Fall) as she was strolling the exhibits. And it was great to catch up with Mindy (Magical Urban Fantasy Reads), Jaime & Patricia (Two Chicks on Books) again! It was also fun to get to talk to so many wonderful librarians and teachers who are all so passionate about the books, the kids that they work with, and their work! 

One of many awesome displays (this one is Tor's)

Some fun highlights:
•Seeing George R.R. Martin, author of Game of Thrones, being mobbed for pictures like a rock star!
•Meeting one of my favorite publicist ever: Ksenia from Macmillan! She has been so amazing to work with these past two years and I finally got to thank her face to face!
•Watching my husband get all excited when he found out two of his own favorites would be signing: Brandon Mull & James Dashner. (Yes, he's my middle grade reader LOL)

So here is a little gallery of all my lovely signed copies!! There were four in our group--me, Amy, & our husbands who braved it all with us---they were such troopers! At times the signings were right on top of each other so we had to "divide and conquer" to see all the authors we were hoping to see! Some are signed to my husband, some to my daughter (she loves Lisa Schroeder, so we got two of Lisa's books signed to her), and we even got a few comic books and children's books signed to my little guy, which he loved! You can click on this (and any of the other pics, actually) to see them closer if you want!

And last but not least, the books! Well, we got lots of books, more than I really want to take the time to list, so instead I chose my Baker's Dozen---13 books that I am so absolutely, jump-up-and-down, squeal-and-very-nearly-pass-out excited to have acquired at ALA! :D

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Review: Revived by Cat Patrick

Revived by Cat Patrick

publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

release date: May 8th, 2012

hardcover, 336 pages

intended audience: Young adult


source: from publisher for honest review

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.

Review: Even after loving Cat Patrick's first book, Forgotten, I went into Revived with a little bit of trepidation. From the synopsis, it sounds a little science fiction-y and definitely a very different feel from Forgotten. But I found that I loved Revived. Absolutely loved it. Here's what I love most about Cat Patrick's stories: she puts her characters in very extraordinary situations--- whether they be paranormal or science fiction---but she keeps the story very human. Revived may be about a drug that brings people back from the dead, but beyond that it almost reads like a contemporary novel. Daisy is just a very typical teen who wants what every teen wants---some stability, some normalcy, and love whether it be from family, friends, or romance. Granted she has this huge secret that she's been revived over and over again, but it's just part of her life and she deals with it the only way she knows how. And what turns out to be the best part of this story is not the Revived drug at all---it's about life and death and how someone who has always taken death so lightly reacts when faced with the permanency and loss of a death that can't be reversed. It really was a wonderfully touching story.

Along with that, each character was interesting and the character-related twists were heartbreaking (even though I had my suspicions about one major one), the suspense was gripping as what was really going on in the Revived program unfolded, and the love story was full of this great emotional tension that drew me right in. I think that had a lot to do with the fact that it was not, and could not, be all about them. They were both dealing with something much bigger that just their attraction.

Highly, highly recommend this one!

Visit Cat Patrick's site:

Purchase Revived at: AmazonBN.comBookDepository Indiebound

Tuesday, June 26, 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 Cynthia Hand

hitting shelves January 22, 2013 from HarperTeen

No synopsis yet!

My thoughts: I adore this series! Even with no synopsis yet, as long as there's Clare & Christian & Tucker, I'm in!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Off to ALA Anaheim!!

Well, it's going to be a bit quiet around Stories & Sweeties until next week!! And that's because I'm off to Anaheim for ALA Annual!! I am SO excited to be attending this year and I'm really looking forward to seeing so many great authors, chatting up some of my favorite publishers, and hopefully meeting as many of my wonderful fellow bloggers as possible! :D This is my first event of this magnitude, so I'm hoping not to be too overwhelmed! I'm also hoping not to get too roughed up---lol, after all the crazy stories from ALA Midwinter about foul play over books, I'm a bit freaked out--- after all, the "little" in Little Miss Becky ain't just for show. I'm just a 5 foot little filipino girl, okay! :) So here's to hoping everyone plays nice, has a great time, and doesn't trample me! :D I'll see you all Monday (or Tuesday, I may need a day to recover lol) with lots of pics, stories, and great books to share!

If you're attending ALA, too, and you see me around the exhibit hall, please don't be shy (because honestly, I tend to be). Come up and say hello! :D If you want to find me, shoot me a tweet @storiesweeties! I'll be trying to tweet a bit about all the goings-on while I'm milling around in lines and such.

Review: Fated by Alyson Noel

Fated by Alyson Noel

publisher: St. Martins Griffin

release date: May 22nd, 2012

hardcover, 352 pages

intended audience: Young adult

series: Soul Seekers, book 1


source: from publisher for honest review

description: Lately strange things have been happening to Daire Santos. Animals follow her, crows mock her, and glowing people appear out of nowhere. Worried that Daire is having a nervous breakdown, her mother packs her off to stay in the dusty plains of Enchantment, New Mexico with a grandmother she’s never met.

There she crosses paths with Dace, a gorgeous guy with unearthly blue eyes who she’s encountered before...but only in her dreams. And she’ll get to know her grandmother—a woman who recognizes Daire’s bizarre episodes for what they are. A call to her true destiny as a Soul Seeker, one who can navigate between the worlds of the living and the dead. Her grandmother immediately begins teaching her to harness her powers—but it’s an art that must be mastered quickly. Because Dace’s brother is an evil shape-shifter who’s out to steal her powers. Now Daire must embrace her fate as a Soul Seeker and find out if Dace is one guy she’s meant to be with...or if he’s allied with the enemy she’s destined to destroy.

Review: Well, after seeing a few disappointed reviews of Fated, I have to say that I was surprised to like this as much as I did. Granted I didn't love it---the main character was not likeable for much of the book and therefore a tough sell when I'm expected to root for her, but I actually really loved all the spiritual New Mexican culture that was in this. I've always been fascinated by tribal beliefs and that kind of thing, and to be honest I'm really not really sure if there is any accuracy to the way it's presented in Fated, but it was very imaginatively told and a mystical take on shaman lore. I loved the significance of the animals and the connection to the earth and nature.

Like a said, main character Daire was hard to take---she was so awful to everyone around her, and while I could see a little angst being thrown toward her flaky mother, the doctors that dismiss her visions as insanity, and the world in general, the way she acted toward her grandmother who was only trying to help her understand what was happening to her made her loose points with me. I also thought it was weird how she sort of did an unexplained turn-around as far as wanting to escape the town and then in the next few pages just unquestioningly going along with what her grandmother was saying. There's not much to the love story to really draw a good romantic in---its just sort of there. She dreams of him and she loves him in her dreams, then she meets him so she's already sort of in love with him. Aside from being a really nice guy, and being described repeatedly as amazingly gorgeous and radiating some sort of mystical warmth, there was not much to him that we get to connect with. I did really enjoy reading the character, Xotichl (and finding out how to pronounce that name! I've always wondered!). She was a blind girl with a fantastic witty sense of humor who befriends Daire.

Parts of this were really pretty gory and that was a surprise! Heads on sticks, some zombie like creatures, and the eating of entrails.
Not all a bad thing, it definitely lent to some heart-stopping creepy moments.

All in all, not a bad read. It was interesting enough to keep me reading and I may even check out the second book to see where the story leads, but also hoping for a bit more character development.

Visit Alyson Noel's site:

Purchase Fated at: AmazonBN.comBookDepository Indiebound

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Guest Review: Glimmer by Phoebe Kitanidis

Glimmer by Phoebe Kitanidis

publisher: Balzer & Bray

release date: April 17th, 2012

hardcover, 352 pages

intended audience: Young adult


source: sent from publisher for honest review
reviewer: Amy

description:What if you forgot your identity and had to rely on other people to tell you who you were?

And what if to discover your true self, you first had to unravel a mystery so big and terrifying you were not sure you’d survive solving it?

When Marshall and Elyse wake up in each other’s arms with zero memory of how they got there or who they are, it’s the start of a long journey through their separate pasts and shared future.

Terrified by their amnesia, the two make a pact to work together to find the answers that could jog their missing memories. As they piece together clues, they discover they’re in the idyllic mountain resort town of Summer Falls, where everyone seems mysteriously happy, but as Marshall and Elyse quickly learn, darkness lurks beneath the town’s perfect facade. Not only is the town haunted by sinister ghosts, but none of its living inhabitants retain bad memories of anything—not the death of Marshall’s mom, not the hidden shame in Elyse’s family, not even the day-to-day anguish of high school.

Lonely in this world of happy zombies, Marsh and Elyse fall into an intense relationship...but the secrets they uncover could be the death of this growing love—and the death of everyone, and everything, they love in Summer Falls.

As the saying goes all small towns have their secrets. But this one takes the cake, or the cupcake! i will say this book Glimmer is a refreshing change of place. it has a new and fresh storyline, on of which i have never read or even heard about.
A small love story in a small town of secrets. Marshall and Elyse are baffled by their loss of memory and that of the people around them. They find themselves throughout the story completely frustrated by the fact that no one has a bad memory. Even in that happy Summer Falls a beautiful idealistic tourist town filled with perfect weather, perfect people, and perfect scenery there has to be one unpleasant thing! Soon they realize that in all of that perfection, true evil lurks and they soon realize the hell that they are trapped in. Surrounded by zombie-like people (emotionless, memory-less souls) its up to them and only them to figure out what is happening to their family and their town. And they soon realize that the small town is filled to the brim with ghosts and secrets of its own.
I will say at times its hard to see the abuse that is happening to Elyse but it make your root for her that much more.
The ending has an unforeseen twist that keeps you engrossed and totally baffled to the end. I love the twist of "happy mindless Zombies" for it bridges a whole new way to explore the wonderful world of zombies.
Although it doesn't hit my favorite topics of witches, vampires, or the mysteries of the dead, it did hit upon a new world of paranormalcy with a refreshing splash.
I give this book of happy zombies 3 fluffy white cupcakes with cotton candy flavored turquoise frosting dusted in edible glitter!

Visit Phoebe Kitanidis at her website:

Purchase Glimmer at: Amazon BN.comBookDepositoryIndiebound

Tuesday, June 19, 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 Treachery of Beautiful Things
by Ruth Frances Long

hitting shelves August 16th from Dial Books

A darkly compelling mix of romance, fairy tale, and suspense from a new voice in teen fiction

The trees swallowed her brother whole, and Jenny was there to see it. Now seventeen, she revisits the woods where Tom was taken, resolving to say good-bye at last. Instead, she's lured into the trees, where she finds strange and dangerous creatures who seem to consider her the threat. Among them is Jack, mercurial and magnetic, with secrets of his own. Determined to find her brother, with or without Jack's help, Jenny struggles to navigate a faerie world where stunning beauty masks some of the most treacherous evils, and she's faced with a choice between salvation or sacrifice--and not just her own.

My thoughts: COVER!! :D...ok, the story sounds good too, but really---it's the cover that drew me to this one. Can't be helped.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sweetness on Sunday: Pineapple Upside-Down Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Buttercream

Sooo, I toiled for a while on exactly how I wanted to do do you do a cupcake upside down? Traditionally, the cake is baked with the pineapples & brown sugar on the bottom and then flipped over. Well, I can't do that..I've seen it done, think it looks silly. Upside down cupcake,...pshh. :) So, I came up with this. Still pretty, pineapples are on the top (although you mostly can't see them under all that yummy brown sugar buttercream) and all the lovely flavors of pineapple upside-down cake are there. YUM :D Created for my niece's graduation party---the first cake she ever made by herself when she was little was a pineapple upside down cake. Good girl ;)

For Cupcake:
Preheat oven to 350 & prepare cupcake pan with pretty liners!

Yellow cake mix
Eggs and vegetable oil in amounts called for on cake mix package
1 (20 oz) can pineapple crushed pineapple in juice
handful marachino cherries, finely chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar

•Separate pineapple chunks from juice. Set aside pineapple chunks in a small strainer.
•In a small saucepan over medium low heat, melt together butter and brown sugar until smooth.
•Using 1 cup of pineapple juice in place of the water, prepare cake mix per box instructions. Bake for 5 minutes, just to barely set batter. Pull cupcakes out, and gently top each with a few pineapple chunks and chopped cherries. Pieces should sink in a bit but not all the way to the bottom. Drizzle a good amount of the brown sugar syrup over each cupcake. Return to oven and bake for another 20-22 minutes, until toothpick comes out mostly clean. Set aside to cool.

For Frosting:
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 cups powdered sugar
3 tblsp whipping cream

In mixer, combine first three ingredients, then alternately add powdered sugar and whipping cream until smooth and fluffy.

Frost and eat! Mmm..brown sugar buttercream is my new favorite. Must think of new cupcake flavors to use this with :)

Until next time...

Saturday, June 16, 2012

New Shelf Goodies & The Weekly Nutshell {7}

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 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 what I got this week!
For review:
Eve & Adam by Michael Grant & Katherine Applegate
This one sounds fun--plus, a husband and wife writing team! Cool!

Crewel by Gennifer Albin
Very excited for this one---the story surrounding the Guild of Spinsters sounds fantastic!

Rapture by Lauren Kate
Body & Soul by Stacey Kade
The final books in two of my favorite series!! OH, I will be so sad to see these both end!

Thanks to Macmillan for the review books!

The Weekly Nutshell:
{Monday} Review: Book of Blood & Shadow
{Tuesday} Waiting on Wednesday: Whispers in Autumn by Trisha Leigh
{Wednedsay} Book/Movie News: Rise of the Guardians
{Friday} Cover Story
{Saturday} Review: Pxyis by K.C. Neal

Things are finally starting to slow down here--it was a relaxing week and it was nice to finally get some blogging and reading done! A few more quiet days and then it's time to prepare for my road trip to Southern Cali for ALA! Yay! :D

Have a great week everyone!

Review: Pyxis by K.C. Neal

Pyxis by K.C. Neal

publisher: Stonehouse Ink

release date: October 2nd, 2011

version read: ebook

intended audience: Young adult

series: Pxyis, book 1


source: from author for honest review

Corinne lives an average teenage life working at her dad’s cafe, hanging out with her best friend, and trying to forget a falling-out with her almost-boyfriend Mason. Things take a strange turn when she uses her late grandmother’s food dyes for a bake sale, and her customers suddenly find her irresistibly alluring. Then she discovers she and Mason are haunted by the same dreams of a dark force that consumes everything in its path.

Pursued by shadowy figures and a crazy woman with secrets from the past, Corinne must find out who her grandmother really was. In her quest to unravel her family’s history, she learns she is destined to protect this world--and the dark world of her dreams. She races to find the answers she seeks before her nightmares break free.

Review: I really, really, enjoyed reading Pyxis---so why the 3.5 rating? Well, I'll get to that,... but first I want to say that this was a really well-written, fast-paced, fun story. I loved how normal and authentic Corinne and the other characters felt, dealing with the everyday stuff: planning little schemes with her best friend, putting up with the snotty girls, dealing with the accidental kiss with her best guy friend, only to hear rumors of him kissing her biggest enemy before taking off on a long trip. Even in dealing with the not-so-everyday stuff, their reactions still felt right. Plus the girl loved to bake, which for me, was a big plus in my book! :) The story pulled me in immediately, starting out at a bake sale where Corinne's petite fours have a surprising effect on her fellow classmates. What she though were her grandmothers food coloring in pretty bottles turns out to be a mysterious secret potion that has some of the hottest guys in school and some of the most popular girl vying for her attention. Very strange, indeed! :)
The plot races along, getting more and more mysterious and turning a little eerie when Corinne starts having strange, dark dreams. Lots of twists and turns and dangers pop up along the way, and then her best friend Mason, returns from a family trip and seems somehow connected to the strange things happening, too---as well as added a nice bit of romantic tension as Corinne tries to keep him at arms length because of what happened before he left. I was absolutely enjoying it all---the characters, the mystery, the romance, and the magic.

However, I had one huge problem with this book, and to me, it was worth a hefty docking of one and half cupcakes in my rating of Pyxis. This felt unfinished. The ending was not so much a cliffhanger as it was just a strange place to cut off the story. I jumped into Pyxis actually thinking it was going to be something about faeries (I think because the word "pyxis" was so similiar to "pixies"). Upon finishing, I'm actually still not exactly sure what it's all about. Honestly, on the last page, I double checked to be sure I wasn't missing pages. I felt like we were just about to get into the thick of the story and finally find out what the Pyxis was, but we're denied that satisfaction---and for me, it really needed that bit more of information about what was going on to be a complete book, even for a planned series.

Despite that, as I said before, I really enjoyed the characters and the story so far and I'm looking forward to reading more! I haven't decided yet, but I may wait until the entire series is out before reading the whole thing together, including a re-read of Pyxis.

Visit K.C. Neal's site:

Purchase Pyxis at: AmazonBN.comBookDepositoryIndiebound

Friday, June 15, 2012

Cover Story

Spotted some cool new covers in my weekly perusal through the Goodreads 2013 list!
What do you think? We'll these be on your must-read list for next year?

It's 1950 and as the French Quarter of New Orleans simmers with secrets, seventeen-year-old Josie Moraine is silently stirring a pot of her own. Known amongst locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie wants more out of life than The Big Easy has to offer. She devises a plan get out, but a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie tangled in an investigation that will challenge her allegiance to her mother, her conscience, and Willie Woodley, the brusque madam on Conti Street. Should she avoid Jesse, the mysterious motorcycle boy? Can she trust Patrick, her best friend at the bookstore? Caught between the dream of an elite college and a clandestine underworld, New Orleans lures Josie in her quest for truth, dangling temptation at every turn, and escalating to the ultimate test.
Add to Goodreads

No synopsis yet, but this is book 2 in the Watersong series by Amanda Hocking.
Add to Goodreads

A music-obsessed, slightly snarky New York City girl, Lexi is on her own. After making a huge mistake—and facing a terrible tragedy— Lexi has no choice but to track down her long-absent mother. Rumor has it that Lexi’s mom is somewhere in Florida with a traveling circus.

When Lexi arrives at her new, three-ring reality, her mom isn’t there…but her destiny might be. Surrounded by tigers, elephants, and trapeze artists, Lexi finds some surprising friends and an even more surprising chance at true love. She even lucks into a spot as the circus’s fortune teller, reading tarot cards and making predictions.

But then Lexi’s ex-best friend from home shows up, and suddenly it’s Lexi’s own future that’s thrown into question…

With humor, wisdom, and a dazzlingly fresh voice, this debut reminds us of the magic of circus tents, city lights, first kisses, last heartaches, and the importance of an excellent playlist.
Add to Goodreads

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Book/Movie News: Rise of the Guardians

This may be old news, but it's news I'm very excited about!! :) I caught this trailer when we went to see Snow White and the Huntsman this past weekend. This movie looks amazing and it's based on The Guardians of Childhood books by William Joyce. Plus, it's from the creators of How to Train Your Dragon, which is a favorite in this house. This looks fantastic!!

Based on this series:

I've been meaning to read these! The picture books are just stunningly gorgeous and the MG books catch my eye every time I go into my local Barnes.

What do you think? Will you be heading to theaters in December to see
Rise of the Guardians?

Tuesday, June 12, 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.

Whispers in Autumn
by Trisha Leigh

publishing on July 24th, 2012

In 2015, a race of alien Others conquered Earth. They enslaved humanity not by force, but through an aggressive mind control that turned people into contented, unquestioning robots.

Except sixteen-year-old Althea isn’t content at all, and she doesn’t need the mysterious note inside her locket to tell her she’s Something Else. It also warns her to trust no one, so she hides the pieces that make her different, even though it means being alone.

The autumn she meets Lucas, everything changes.

Althea and Lucas are immune to the alien mind control, and together they search for the reason why. What they uncover is a stunning truth the Others never anticipated, one with the potential to free the brainwashed human race.

It’s not who they are that makes them special, but what.

And what they are is a threat. One the Others are determined to eliminate for good.

My thoughts: When I saw that flippin' gorgeous cover and read the alien-invaded synopsis, this immediately went onto my must-read wishlist! This sounds really awesome and the description has me intriqued...just what are they?? I can't wait to find out.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Review: Book of Blood and Shadow

The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman

publisher: Random House Children's Books

release date: April 10th, 2012

hardcover, 432 pages

intended audience: Young adult


source: from publisher for honest review

description: It was like a nightmare, but there was no waking up. When the night began, Nora had two best friends and an embarrassingly storybook one true love. When it ended, she had nothing but blood on her hands and an echoing scream that stopped only when the tranquilizers pierced her veins and left her in the merciful dark.

But the next morning, it was all still true: Chris was dead. His girlfriend Adriane, Nora's best friend, was catatonic. And Max, Nora's sweet, smart, soft-spoken Prince Charming, was gone. He was also—according to the police, according to her parents, according to everyone—a murderer.

Desperate to prove his innocence, Nora follows the trail of blood, no matter where it leads. It ultimately brings her to the ancient streets of Prague, where she is drawn into a dark web of secret societies and shadowy conspirators, all driven by a mad desire to possess something that might not even exist. For buried in a centuries-old manuscript is the secret to ultimate knowledge and communion with the divine; it is said that he who controls the Lumen Dei controls the world. Unbeknownst to her, Nora now holds the crucial key to unlocking its secrets. Her night of blood is just one piece in a puzzle that spans continents and centuries. Solving it may be the only way she can save her own life.

Review: This was a slow read for me. It actually started off really well, a compelling story about Nora and her friends, translating ancient Latin documents and letters for an eccentric professor, not exactly sure what it was leading up to. Then suddenly one of them is dead and the others are left to be sucked into a sinister world of two secret societies, each on the opposing sides of an ancient religious war over a machine that is said to enable the user to converse with God. The story had much the same feel as The DaVinci Code (which I loved) with its mysteries being slowly unraveled with all number of codes and puzzles and ancient translations. It was an extremely plot-driven story---very intricately woven and twisting every which way. While there were aspects that I honestly loved, there were almost as many parts that had me very nearly setting this one aside.

In the beginning I really liked the characters and became quickly invested in them. However, throughout the story, I feel like we were made to question their actions and motives so often that by the end, I had completely disconnected from all of them. The only one that I really enjoyed reading all the way through was Eli. Things that I thought would be important and meaningful somehow fell by the wayside and then just seemed a bit insignificant. Also, the translated old letters from Elizabeth to her brother in the 1500s that had completely captivated me at first, seemed to be unnecessarily long and rambling toward the end; I found myself peeking ahead to see when the letter would end, but reading the entire thing in case it revealed anything important. It was definitely interesting enough to read all the way through, but the pace and flow just made it feel very long and a bit fragmented.

Give this one a try! It might not be for everyone, but I know some have really enjoyed it!

Visit Robin Wasserman's site:

Purchase at: AmazonBN.comBookDepositoryIndiebound

Sunday, June 10, 2012

New Shelf Goodies & The Weekly Nutshell {6}

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 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!

This is actually two weeks :D... I got one last week and one this week.
For Review:
The Reckoning by Alma Katsu
Wild Ink by Victoria Hanley

Excited to check out both of these! I loved Victoria Hanley's other writing book---very useful and easy to read, unlike a lot of other instructional books. A new cover has since been revealed for The Reckoning, and I believe they are re-covering the first book, The Taker, with a matching one:
I love the colors and the feathers! :)

The Weekly Nutshell:
{Monday} What's New: June YA releases & Giveaway!
{Tuesday} Waiting on Wednesday : Crash by Lisa McMann
{Wednesday} Debut Author Giveaway Hop!
{Thursday} Review: Of Poseidon by Anna Banks

Yesterday officially marked the end of two weeks full of crazy busy family events!! My son's graduation, my daughter's 17th birthday, and my youngest son's 7th birthday, plus a few more graduation celebrations thrown in. Phew! I'm hoping to get back to my regular reading and blogging routine a bit more now. And then just a mere 2 weeks from now I'll be heading to Anaheim for ALA Annual 2012!! Woo-hoo! My first book conference! For anyone who is going---I'd love to meet you! If you see me, please say hello! :D

Have a great week, everyone!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Review: Of Poseidon by Anna Banks

Of Poseidon by Anna Banks

publisher: Feiwel & Friends

release date: May 22nd, 2012

hardcover, 336 pages

intended audience: Young adult

series: Of Poseidon , book 1


source: from publisher for honest review

description: Galen, a Syrena prince, searches land for a girl he's heard can communicate with fish. It’s while Emma is on vacation at the beach that she meets Galen. Although their connection is immediate and powerful, Galen's not fully convinced that Emma's the one he's been looking for. That is, until a deadly encounter with a shark proves that Emma and her Gift may be the only thing that can save his kingdom. He needs her help--no matter what the risk.

Review: The thing that grabbed me right from the beginning in this book was the humor. Any book that makes me laugh out loud several times in the first chapter gets major points from me. The plot was great, and the Syrena lore was a bit confusing at times, although usually interesting---but what really makes this book is the characters. Galen, Toraf, Rayna, & Emma---all great characters with a boat-load of fun personality between them. They seemed very realistically "balanced" if that make sense. Not all good, not all bad. Especially Emma. We get to know her best out of all of them since every other chapter is told in her perspective. She has a great biting wit, a heavy sarcasm, and a good dose of spunk and sweetness. But there were a couple of times when her emotions seem to fly off the handle for reasons I couldn't see, where her actions were a little irrational---I mean, I'm all for a girl thinking for herself and not letting a guy tell her what to do, but doing something you know is dangerous just because he told you not to? That kind of thing grates of my nerves. Still, her flaws just added to her overall charm and realism. She wasn't perfect, none of them were; it just made them all that much more relatable.

I thought the way it was alternatively told in first-person from Emma's POV, and third person in every other chapter made the flow a little odd at times. It did give the reader a wider view of the story from the perspective of the other characters, though.

All in all, a great story and one that I zipped right through, thoroughly entertained the whole time.
As for the nice little twist ending, I admit I saw it coming, but it was definitely a fun ride getting there! I can't wait to see where this story and these great characters find themselves next!

Visit Anna Banks' website:

Purchase Of Poseidon at: AmazonBN.comBookDepositoryIndiebound