Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Authors Are Rockstars Tour Stop - Melissa West!! Guest Post & Quadruple Giveaway!

Welcome, book lovers to my stop on the Authors are Rockstars tour!!

Today I'm featuring the author of the upcoming YA sci-fi romance Gravity,
  Melissa West! 

So, what makes Melissa a rock star?  Well, aside from writing a book that I've been salivating over for many, many months now, with an epic cover that is absolutely to die for and one of the best, most intriguing taglines out there? Here's what gives her rock star status to me: she's also a mommy, a wife, a collector of shoes (really, what good rock star isn't?), and she totally owns being a sore loser at Monopoly. :)  Now, I totally thought she rocked before, but then I found out this little tidbit:
 Melissa has commited to donating 10% of all sales of the entire Gravity series to the American Cancer Society. 
Wow. Just wow.  Her reasons for doing this are incredibly touching, and I'll let you read about it in her own words here.  But as some of you know, I'm a cancer warrior myself, so if you ask me, this incredibly generous act not only makes her a rock star, it makes her a bona fide hero of mine. :)  So, to show my gratitude, I'll be purchasing four copies---one for me, of course LOL---and three for giveaway! Check out the giveaways down below to win one!

In the future, only one rule will matter:

Don’t. Ever. Peek.

Seventeen-year-old Ari Alexander just broke that rule and saw the last person she expected hovering above her bed — arrogant Jackson Locke, the most popular boy in her school. She expects instant execution or some kind of freak alien punishment, but instead, Jackson issues a challenge: help him, or everyone on Earth will die.

Ari knows she should report him, but everything about Jackson makes her question what she’s been taught about his kind. And against her instincts, she’s falling for him. But Ari isn’t just any girl, and Jackson wants more than her attention. She’s a military legacy who’s been trained by her father and exposed to war strategies and societal information no one can know — especially an alien spy, like Jackson. Giving Jackson the information he needs will betray her father and her country, but keeping silent will start a war.

Gravity comes out October 16th, 2012 from Entangled Teen.

About Melissa:

Melissa lives in a tiny suburb of Atlanta, GA with her husband and daughter. She pretends to like yoga, actually likes shoes, and could not live without coffee. Her writing heroes include greats like Jane Austen and Madeleine L'Engle.

She holds a B.A. in Communication Studies and an M.S. in Graphic Communication, both from Clemson University. Yeah, her blood runs orange.

GRAVITY is her first book.

Guest Post:
Melissa's thoughts on making characters readers can relate to…even if they aren’t human:

It’s interesting that this topic was presented to me as I’ve been thinking a lot lately over what bonds a reader to a character. I think it’s easy to understand why we fall for characters like Katniss Everdeen. She may not be the most presentable lady. She isn’t funny. She isn’t cute. But she’s brave. She’s loyal. She cares more about her family than anything—than what’s right, what’s legal, what’s expected of her. That sort of determined love is admirable. Couple that deep love with her skill and bravery and suddenly it’s easy to understand why we root for her.

I think the traits that bond us to Katniss, or even to a person in our everyday lives, also apply to characters that aren’t human. The key is to make those nonhuman characters humane in their actions, in their emotions, in the way the human characters in our books sympathize with them. Suddenly we no longer care that “X” is a vampire, or werewolf, or angel, or demon…or alien.

Hopefully, readers quickly forget that Jackson is an alien and instead view him as the kick ass, super hot guy that he is. ;)

And now for the giveaways! 
#1 - Entangled Teen has generously provided an e-book of Gravity for giveaway!   
#2 - And as promised, I'm giving away three pre-ordered Gravity paperbacks.  
Both giveaways are open internationally. Must be 13 or older. You may enter both giveaways using the rafflecopter forms below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck, everyone, and thanks for stopping by my Authors are Rockstars tour stop!

Tuesday, August 28, 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 Amy Butler Greenfield

hitting shelves May 7th, 2013
from Margaret K. McElderry Books

Sing and the darkness will find you.

Shipwrecked on an island seven years ago, Lucy has been warned she must never sing, or disaster will strike. But on All Hallows Eve, Lucy hears tantalizing music in the air. When she sings it, she unlocks a terrible secret: She is a Chantress, a spell-singer, brought to the island not by shipwreck but by a desperate enchantment gone wrong.

Her song lands her back in England — and in mortal peril, for the kingdom lies in the cruel grasp of a powerful Lord Protector and his mind-reading hunters, the Shadowgrims. The Protector has killed all Chantresses, for they alone can destroy the Shadowgrims. Only Lucy has survived.

In terrible danger, Lucy takes shelter with Nat, a spy who turns her heart upside-down. Nat has been working with his fellow scholars of the Invisible College to overthrow the Lord Protector, and they have long hoped to find a living Chantress to help them. But Lucy is completely untrained, and Nat deeply distrusts her magic. If Lucy cannot master the songspells, how long can she even stay alive?

Beguiling and lyrical, dangerous and romantic, Chantress will capture readers in a spell they won’t want to break.

My thoughts: This sounds like an amazing high fantasy! Shipwrecks, enchantments and the magic of music, a kingdom in peril, mind-reading hunters? OOOH, this sounds so good. Such a torturously long wait, but sounds to me like it will be well worth it!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Away for the weekend! Mumford & Sons! :D

I'm on vacation, dear blog friends!  Stories & Sweeties will be a bit silent this weekend, likely until Tuesday.  I'm taking off just a few hours down the road to one of my favorite beach towns (Monterey) to see one of my very favorite bands in concert!! Mumford & Sons ♥ ♥ ♥!! I absolutely love them---their music is so passionate, creative, unique---yeah, I'm a bit smitten with this amazing British band.  SO so excited to finally catch them in concert in one of their few appearances on this side of the world!

I'm ready for a weekend of amazing music, indulging on delicious food, walking the beautiful beaches of Monterey & Carmel, and just relaxing!  I leave you with a few of my favorites from this awesome band!!

This second one is actually a trailer for a british film adaptation of Wuthering Heights that came out a few years ago...they wrote the song for it. LOVE.

And finally---White Blank Page, filmed live so the sound is bit off BUT I absolutely adore that it's shot in a Welsh bookshop. ;)
Have a great weekend, everyone---I'll be back to blogging soon! :D

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Becky's View: Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield

Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone
by Kat Rosenfield
♦publisher: Dutton Juvenile
♦release date: July 5th, 2012
♦hardcover, 279 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult (recommend for 16+)
♦source: from publisher for honest review
An arresting un-coming-of-age story, from a breathtaking talent

Becca has always longed to break free from her small, backwater hometown. But the discovery of an unidentified dead girl on the side of a dirt road sends the town--and Becca--into a tailspin. Unable to make sense of the violence of the outside world creeping into her backyard, Becca finds herself retreating inward, paralyzed from moving forward for the first time in her life.

Short chapters detailing the last days of Amelia Anne Richardson's life are intercut with Becca's own summer as the parallel stories of two young women struggling with self-identity and relationships on the edge twist the reader closer and closer to the truth about Amelia's death.

Review: Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone has the feel of the old classics that have stood the test of time.  The writing is exceptional.  Beautiful, haunting, and truly exceptional.  The story is dark and not at all lacking in grit, as anyone should be able to guess from the subject matter. The mystery of Amelia's death unravels slowly and hauntingly, but with Rosenfield's writing, every word seems to have been carefully chosen to really sink the story and the imagery right into your heart and your gut.  Amelia's death is all the more grueling, Becca's emotions hit home all the more heavily, and the small town of Bridgeton seems to practically breath with a life of its own. 

The story flits back and forth between Becca and James' past and present, and then little bits of Amelia's story leading up to her death are thrown in.  The investigation plods on, fingers are pointed, and we get little tidbits of the town's back story that gives us a feel of how the town and it's people work.  I loved how the small-town gossip and the tragedy itself were practically characters in their own right---something tangible that slips through the front door and sits at the family table for dinner. 

While, for me, this story did start out a little slowly after the initial shock of the body being found, and the explanations of "this is how it works in a small town" became a little redundant at times,  there was a point about half way through where I stopped being able to put it down. The oncoming reveal starts rushing at you like a freight train as suspicions go horribly awry, Becca seems to be eaten up by her doubt and fear of her own future,  and the truth of what really happened on the night Amelia died eerily surfaces. 

A haunting and intense read.  I can't wait to read more from Kat Rosenfield. 
 Find Kat Rosenfield online: Website  •  Facebook  •  Twitter

Purchase Amelia Anne is Dead on Gone:  Amazon  •  •  BookDepository  •   Indiebound  

Wednesday, August 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 Art of Wishing
by Lindsay Ribar

hitting shelves March 21st, 2013 from Dial Books for Young Readers

Margo McKenna has a plan of attack for everything, from landing the lead in her high school musical to dealing with her increasingly absent parents. But when she finds herself in possession of a genie's ring and the opportunity to make three wishes, she doesn't know what to do. Especially since Oliver--not blue-skinned, not bottle-dwelling, but a genie nonetheless--can see more than what she's willing to show him. With one peek into her mind, he can see the wishes that even Margo herself doesn't know she wants.

But Oliver comes with more than just mind-reading abilities, a flair for magic, and the prettiest eyes Margo's ever seen. Someone from his past is hunting him--someone bent on killing him, along with all the other genies in the world, for the sake of honor. And as Margo soon discovers, it will take more than three wishes to save him.

A whole lot more.

My thoughts: Who can resist such a completely amazing cover? Not me!! Genies!! How awesome is that? Not a paranormal being you see much, and especially not in the form of a hottie with pretty I'm really excited to see how this story plays out! 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Becky's View: Spark by Amy Kathleen Ryan

Spark by Amy Kathleen Ryan

♦publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
♦release date: July 17th, 2012
♦hardcover, 309 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦series: Sky Chasers, book 2
Waverly and Kieran are finally reunited on the Empyrean. Kieran has led the boys safely up to this point, and now that the girls are back, their mission seems slightly less impossible: to chase down the New Horizon, and save their parents from the enemy ship. But nothing is truly as it seems…Kieran’s leadership methods have raised Seth’s hackles— and Waverly’s suspicions. Is this really her fiancé? The handsome, loving boy she was torn from just a short time before? More and more, she finds her thoughts aligned with Seth’s. But if Seth is Kieran’s Enemy No. 1, what does that make her?

In one night, a strange explosion rocks the Empyrean—shooting them off course and delaying their pursuit of the New Horizon—and Seth is mysteriously released from the brig. Seth is the most obvious suspect for the explosion, and Waverly the most obvious suspect for releasing him. As the tension reaches a boiling point, will Seth be able to find the true culprit before Kieran locks them both away—or worse? Will Waverly follow her heart, even if it puts lives at risk? With the balance of power precarious and the clock ticking, every decision counts… every step brings them closer to a new beginning, or a sudden end...

Review: So...I'm going to be upfront about this: I didn't read Glow.  After seeing a few mixed reviews of it, I still meant to read it, but it just kept getting put on the back burner again and again.  When I received Spark for review with the promise that it was even better than Glow...well, I decided to take my chances and jump right into Spark. To be fair, if I hadn't liked it, I wouldn't have reviewed it at all, giving it the benefit of the doubt that maybe I didn't like it because I'd skipped the first and missed important details. But that was not the case with Spark. After just reading a bit of a summary for Glow, Spark had just enough clever flashing back to the action of Glow for me to not only follow the continuing plot, but to become fully immersed in it.

The story is told from a third person POV, with each chapter alternating between the three main characters: Seth, Waverly, and Kieran.  With so much intense action going on, and so much conflict and emotion running rampant through the story, this was the perfect way for it to be told. You really get a feel for how each one of them thinks, the mental processing behind all their rash decisions and actions.  Even as much as you get angry and want to smack some sense into certain characters, you can see how they have justified it in their own minds.  The three of them, along with the entire population of kids on the Empyrean have one single goal---to get back their parents from the New Horizon, the ship where they're being held hostage.  But all have different ideas of how to do it, whose to blame for them being left behind, and who to follow.  This leads to a dirty power struggle: Kieran overlooks his own morals to hold onto his captain's chair while attempting to outsmart the evil Ann Mather; Waverly rails against him for abusing his power as captain, while fighting off ugly accusations and harrassment about leaving the parents behind, and Seth is just trying to stay alive and prove his own innocence in the sabotage that is happening on the ship. It's heartbreaking to see them all forced to deal with much more than they should have to as mere kids, and in some cases, to see them make such crucial mistakes.   On top of that,  Kieran and Waverly both struggle with the fact that they've seemingly become enemies,  and Seth and Waverly grapple with growing feelings for each other.  And all the while, a new and vicious danger lurks on the ship that will change everything.

It's definitely an exciting and intense ride through space, a story of power, bravery, determination, and loss.  Spark has convinced me to go back and read Glow, and I'll definitely be continuing this series when the third hits shelves!

Visit Amy Kathleen Ryan: Website  •  Facebook

Purchase Spark at:   Amazon  •  •  BookDepository  •  Indiebound

Saturday, August 18, 2012

New Shelf Goodies & The Weekly Nutshell {15}

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 & Tynga's Stacking the Shelves) 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 any other book haul-sharing posts I come across!

So... I had a super happy book week!

For Review:
The Kill Order by James Dashner
Hubby was so happy we got this, he loves this series! I haven't started it yet, but I may start with this prequel!
Catherine by April Lindner
Lindner did such an amazing job with her retelling of Jane Eyre--can't wait to read this one of Wuthering Heights!
Adaptation by Malinda Lo
Super happy dance!! Lo is one of my very favorite authors---SO excited to get this one!
Trinkets by Kirsten Smith
Love the sound of this one---about three girls in a shoplifters anonymous group.
Iron-Hearted Violet by Kelly Barnhill
I adore this cover!! This is actually a duplicate for me so this one is going on my Books to Trade list!
For review (cont.):
The Map of the Sky by Felix J. Palma
This sounds fascinating! War of the worlds, HG Wells, Poe, time travel...very cool!
The Time Traveling Fashionista at the Palace of Marie Antoinette by Bianca Turetsky
The illustrations in here are so pretty! I haven't read book one yet, but I hope to find time for both soon!

Debutantes by Cora Harrison
Gorgeous cover, hope the story is as lovely! Sounds a bit like Little Women set in the 20s, so I'm excited to read it!
Traded for:
Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout
So excited to read this one! I've heard a million rave reviews and I love Armentrout's Half Blood series!

Huge, giddy thanks to Random House, Hatchette, Atria, and to Aylee for the trade!:D

The Weekly Nutshell:
{Monday} Books for Trade (updated list)
{Mondey} Review: The Unnaturalist by Tiffany Trent
{Tuesday} Waiting on Wednesday: Strands of Bronze and Gold
{Thursday} Review: Lucid by P.T. Michelle
{Friday} Cover Story: 5 new gorgeous covers!

Happy reading, all! :D

Friday, August 17, 2012

Cover Story

A few more new cover discoveries this week!

The Book of Broken Hearts
by Sarah Ockler
(Simon Pulse)
Another great cover for one of Ockler's books.

Vengeance Bound
by Justina Ireland
(Simon Pulse)
Not sure if this cover is final, it was on goodreads earlier, and now it's not. I'll post
again if it changes! :)

The Loop
by Shandy Lawson
This wins for my favorite cover of this post.
The clock, the exploding shards,
plus the premise sounds awesome.

Cleopatra Ascending
by Maureen Lipinski
Teenage girl who is the reincarnation of
Cleopatra. Sounds cool!

The Different Girl
by Gordon Dahlquist
(Dutton Juvenile)
Love the power button earring! A story
that blurs the line between contemporary
and sci-fi.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Becky's View: Lucid by P.T. Michelle

Lucid by P.T. Michelle
♦ self-published
♦ release date: July 9th, 2012
♦ ebook, 272 pages
♦ intended audience: Young adult
♦ series: Brightest Kind of Darkness, book 2
   (review of book 1)
*Spoiler alert! Description and review may contain spoilers for book 1 in the series!*
Once Nara combines her prophetic ability with Ethan’s power to outsmart Fate at his own deadly cat-and-mouse game, she’s more determined than ever to help Ethan learn the meaning behind the raven sword tattoo that suddenly appeared on his back after their confrontation with Fate.

During her quest to uncover the tattoo’s secrets, Nara enlists the help of some new friends and discovers her own surprising connection to Ethan.

While Nara digs deeper into the mystery, her desire for answers leads her down a dangerous path full of powerful and ruthless enemies. Swept into an age-old battle, Nara quickly learns that keeping one’s enemies close can be a necessary evil, making an intangible enemy she can control far more preferable to the human enemies she can’t.

Review: With Lucid, this series continues it's awesomeness.  Brightest Kind of Darkness was easily one of my favorite reads last year, and while Lucid left me a little less starry eyed, it was still a fantastic, exciting read.  

Lucid really had a very different feel from BKoD, mainly because Ethan is hardly present in it at all. It takes place shortly after book one left off, and Ethan is gone for most of the book to try and rebuild a relationship with this parents.  I thought this might bother me at first, but I actually loved how the connection between him and Nara and the ravens came a little more to light because he was gone. Plus, it gave us a chance to see Nara stand on her own two feet and grow as her own character---and for her to have a chance to let some new people into her life.  And when I say new people, I mean Drystan---lovely Welsh, kick-ass parkour-doing, all around good guy with a few interesting secrets of his own.  I love watching parkour, so to see it incorporated into a story and used as a cool kind of self-defense added a really unique touch to this story.  For those of you dreading that this will spin into a love triangle, have no fear.  I think we're safe there.  He makes a good friend to Nara, there's a great connection there.  I hope he has a part in book 3 because I can't wait to hear more about his background and his part in all of it.  

As for the parts where Ethan does make an appearance, things get pretty steamy. :)  But he was also a little too intense and possessive and it turned me off from him a bit. It sounds like he's been through a lot and learned a great deal while he was away, so I can't wait to find out more about what he's uncovered about his powers and his connection to Nara.  I loved all the raven-lore we get to read about while Nara is frantically researching to find an answer to their mystery.  She finds a raven sanctuary and what happens on her first visit there is absolutely magical.  There are some serious baddies after Nara and her raven research, but what they're after and why is a mystery that has yet to be unraveled in the next installment.  We also get a lot more insight into what happened with Nara's dad.  Lucid leaves us with a bit of surprise twist, a bit of a cliffhanger, and a few more questions, so now I'm eagerly anticipating book 3!

So, I do have one small negative---and really, it may just be me and my own bizarre idiosyncrasies on this one.  In my own crazy reading quirks, there is one writing mishap that trips me up every time.  It's when one phrase is used too many times.  I'm not going to say what phrase it was, because I don't want anyone else to catch on to it if it doesn't bother them (kind of like when someone points out a flaw in a picture that you never noticed, and from then on that's all you notice. )  However, for my review, it was worth mentioning because it completely distracted me every time it came up, even enough to momentarily pull my mind out of the story. 

Aside from that, an awesome sequel that left me with enough questions to start craving the third installment!! I also can't wait for the third book's cover reveal---the first two have been gorgeous!

Visit P.T. Michelle: Website  •  Facebook  •  Twitter

Purchase Lucid at: Amazon  •   •  Smashwords
(coming soon to paperback, too!)

Tuesday, August 14, 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.

Strands of Bronze and Gold
by Jane Nickerson

hitting shelves March 12th, 2013 from Knopf

The Bluebeard fairy tale retold. . . .
When seventeen-year-old Sophia Petheram’s beloved father dies, she receives an unexpected letter. An invitation—on fine ivory paper, in bold black handwriting—from the mysterious Monsieur Bernard de Cressac, her godfather. With no money and fewer options, Sophie accepts, leaving her humble childhood home for the astonishingly lavish Wyndriven Abbey, in the heart of Mississippi.

Sophie has always longed for a comfortable life, and she finds herself both attracted to and shocked by the charm and easy manners of her overgenerous guardian. But as she begins to piece together the mystery of his past, it’s as if, thread by thread, a silken net is tightening around her. And as she gathers stories and catches whispers of his former wives—all with hair as red as her own—in the forgotten corners of the abbey, Sophie knows she’s trapped in the passion and danger of de Cressac’s intoxicating world.

Glowing strands of romance, mystery, and suspense are woven into this breathtaking debut—a thrilling retelling of the “Bluebeard” fairy tale.

My thoughts: More fairytale retellings! More, more, more! :D I do love them, and this one looks exceptionally amazing. Gorgeous cover, and a gothic and ghostly premise...I can't wait!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Becky's View: The Unnaturalists by Tiffany Trent

The Unnaturalists
by Tiffany Trent
♦publisher: Simon & Schuster
♦release date: August 14, 2012
♦hardcover, 320 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦source: ARC from publisher for honest review
In an alternate London where magical creatures are preserved in a museum, two teens find themselves caught in a web of intrigue, deception, and danger.

Vespa Nyx wants nothing more than to spend the rest of her life cataloging Unnatural creatures in her father’s museum, but as she gets older, the requirement to become a lady and find a husband is looming large. Syrus Reed’s Tinker family has always served and revered the Unnaturals from afar, but when his family is captured to be refinery slaves, he finds that his fate may be bound up with Vespa’s—and with the Unnaturals.

As the danger grows, Vespa and Syrus find themselves in a tightening web of deception and intrigue. At stake may be the fate of New London—and the world.

Review: I've been really enjoying all the cool steampunk books that have been popping up lately.  I've always loved the Victorian era with the clothes and manners and carriages---add in all the clockwork and dirigibles and my mind just boggles with wonder.  The Unnaturalists went even a few steps further into the fantastical.  Tiffany Trent has created a magical world that blends steampunk, magic and witchcraft, mystical creatures, and a gritty New London that has jumped dimensions into the midst of fairyland during the time of Nikola Tesla.  I'll admit that it took a few chapters to really take it all in and figure out the dynamics of the world---there is so much going on, some verbage that takes a little getting used to before it all comes clear (ie, "myth" as an energy source, objects being "nevered"), and several social stations to figure out (tinkers, pedants, and the higher cityfolk, along with the mysterious Architechs and the Unnaturals). But soon I was able to wrap my mind around all of this and The Unnaturalists grabbed me and didn't let me go until the very last page. 

I loved Vespa and her strong determination to be more than just someone's prospective wife.  She loved her work at the museum and from page one shows us a fiesty humor and personality.  The love story is slow building and won't find her giving her trust out like lollipops and falling at first look into someone smoldering eyes.  I loved that about her! The story is told alternately from Vespa's first person POV and then from a third person POV with Syrus, a tinker.  Sometimes I shy away from alternate POVs, but this was really seamlessly done and worked perfectly for the complexity of the story. You really needed to see what was happening from more perspectives than one.  By the middle of the story, when the plot really thickens, I found myself so invested in the characters that my audible gasps and exclaimations of "Oh, no! No!" earned me some fairly odd looks from my family members. :)

The one thing this story did lack is a bit of description when it came to some of the Unnaturals themselves.  Sure, most of us know what a sphinx or harpie looks like, but several creatures were included, and even played prominent parts in the story, but the imagery wasn't there.  Unless you know your mythological creatures like the back of your hand, you're going to be doing some internet referencing to get a visual.  In case you want to go into reading this prepared, I would suggest looking up these: wights, manticores (I vaguely remembered what this was from The Last Unicorn :D), sylphids, amphisbaena, naiads, and grues.  

This really is such an imaginative tale about the butting of heads between science and magic.  I definitely recommend falling into the world of New London!

Visit Tiffany Trent at:  Website  •  Facebook  •  Twitter

Purchase The Unnaturalists at:   Amazon   •  •  BookDepository  •  Indiebound


*UPDATED*---a few new notes and a few books that were taken have become available again so I'm reposting! Thanks! ;)

SO who feels like doing some trading?? I have a huge list of books up for trade! Take a look, and if you see anything you want, feel free to email me at with your offer! I have a list of books that I am especially looking for, and those will be considered first, but all offers will be considered! :)

Available for Trade:
•Because It Is My Blood by Gabrielle Zevin (arc)
•Sweet Shadows by Tera Lynn Childs (arc)
•Endlessly by Kiersten White(arc)
•Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce (hc)
•Fall From Grace by Charles Benoit (arc)
•Masque of The Red Death by Bethany Griffin (arc)
•Angelfall by Susan Ee (arc)
•Size 12 and Ready to Rock by Meg Cabot (pb)
•This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel (hc-new cover edition)
•Feedback by Robison Wells (arc)
•Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer (arc)
•Destiny by Gillian Shields (arc)
•Stunning by Sara Shephard (hc)
•Black Dawn by Rachel Caine (hc)
•Glimmer by Phoebe Kitanidis (arc)
•Of Poseidon by Anna Banks (arc)
•League of Strays by LB Shulman (arc)
•Glass Heart by Amy Garvey (arc)
•Magisterium by Jeff Hirsh (arc)
•Perfect Escape by Jennifer Brown (arc)
•Middle Ground by Kate Kavinsky (arc)
•Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols (arc) (this one is very slightly damaged toward the back---bit of a water bottle accident!)

Books I'm Wishing For:
•Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff
•Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter
•My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
•What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang
•Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
•Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone
•Unspoken by Sarah Reese Brennan
•Black City by Elizabeth Richards
•Prodigy by Marie Lu
•Venom by Fiona Paul

**I'm also happy to trade for Amazon/BN/BookDepository orders of books on my list that are already released or are releasing soon.**

A few important notes:
•Because, sadly, I've been burned more than once on trades before, I do require delivery confirmation (I provide it to you as well). Thanks for understanding.)
•I'm afraid I have a wimpy budget right now after buying tons of back-to-school clothes, so I can only ship to US/CAN.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

New Shelf Goodies & The Weekly Nutshell {14}

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 & Tynga's Stacking the Shelves) 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 any other book haul-sharing posts I come across!

Here's my haul for this week!

For Review:
Amarok by Angela J. Townsend
Wolves! Can't wait to read this--think daughter will love this one, too!
Embers & Echoes by Karsten Knight
Gah! So excited for book 2!!
The Rise of Nine/The Power of Six/I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore
I haven't read these, though I've heard they're good. Amy's son looooooves this series, I'm sure he's going to be all *grabby hands* over Rise of Nine! :)

Huge thanks to Spencer Hill Press, Simon & Schuster, & HarperTeen for these!

New on my Nook:
Anew by Chelsea Fine
Came across this one by sheer chance this week, looked good, lots of great the sample and was completely hooked!

The Weekly Nutshell:
{Tuesday} Waiting on Wednesday:The Dead & Buried by Kim Harrington
{Wednesday} BOOKS FOR TRADE! (still lots left!)
{Saturday} Cover Story: 7 New Cover Reveals!

SO as you can see, I wasn't around much this week! We're on our last few days of summer vacation and getting in a few last hurrahs! The kids start back Monday morning so I should be posting full force again--I have three reviews and lots of reading to catch up on! If you haven't checked out my Books For Trade list, be sure to take a look! Still lots of goodies left!

Have a great week, everyone!

Cover Story

Some fantastic covers have been revealed recently! Take a look:

Another sweet love story from the author
of Statistical Probablility of Love at First Sight!

Death, Doom, and Detention
Second book to the Darklight series
from Darynda Jones.

Pretty creepy cover! A girl seeks revenge on
the boy responsible for her cousin's death.

Over You
I've never read Amy Reed before, but
I've always loved the cool simplicity of
her books' covers!

Thieves, spies, and murder mystery in
Queen Elizabeth's court!

Impossibility of Tomorrow
The follow-up to Avery Williams' Incarnation series that started with
Alchemy of Forever.

Belle Epoque
I will definitely be checking this one out!
Friendship, intrigue, and deception in the
most decadent historical period of Paris.
I love this cover!

Tuesday, August 7, 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 Dead and Buried
by Kim Harrington

hitting shelves January 1st, 2012 from Scholastic Point

A haunted house, a buried mystery, and a very angry ghost make this one unforgettable thriller.
Jade loves the house she's just moved into with her family. She doesn't even mind being the new girl at the high school: It's a fresh start, and there's that one guy with the dreamy blue eyes. . . .
But then things begin happening. Strange, otherworldly things.
Jade's little brother claims to see a glimmering girl in his room. Jade's jewelry gets moved around, as if by an invisible hand. Kids at school whisper behind her back like they know something she doesn't.
Soon, Jade must face an impossible fact: that her perfect house . . . is haunted.
Haunted by a ghost who's seeking not just vengeance, but the truth. The ghost of a girl who ruled Jade's school -- until her untimely death last year. It's up to Jade to put the pieces together before her own life is at stake. As Jade investigates the mystery, she discovers that her new friends in town have more than a few deep, dark secrets.
But is one of them a murderer?

My thoughts: I love Kim Harrington's Clarity series and this looks like something I will enjoy as well!! A haunted house, a mysterious murder...and I love the creepy cover! It's too bad this one isn't coming out a few months earlier---seems like it would be a perfect Halloween read!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

New Shelf Goodies & The Weekly Nutshell {13}

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 & Tynga's Stacking the Shelves) 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 any other book haul-sharing posts I come across!

Two new goodies this week for review:
For Review:
Something Red by Douglas Nicholas
Notice the wolf sneakily hidden in the
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
I've been meaning to read this one before the movie came out---so I was happy when this showed up in my mailbox! Cool movie tie-in edition. :)

Many thanks to Atria Books & MTV Books for these!

* * * * * *

The Weekly Nutshell:
{Monday} Giveaway: Glow & Spark by Amy Kathleen Ryan
{Tuesday} Waiting on Wednesday: Pretty Dark Nothing by Heather L. Reid
{Wednesday} What's New! YA August Release List & Giveaway
{Thursday} Our Review: Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake
{Friday} Book Trailers: Rift, Venom, & The Girl Who...

Have a great week, everyone and happy reading! :D

Friday, August 3, 2012

Book Trailers: Rift , Venom, & The Girl Who...

More cool trailers hit the web these past few days. Here's a few I came across:

Venom by Fiona Paul

Rift by Andrea Cremer

And last, but definitely not least,
The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There
by Catherynne M. Valente

Ah, love that last one. :)  So, will you be reading any of these?  To be perfectly honest, I didn't really have Venom on my must-read list until I saw this trailer for got to the last part where he leans down to kiss her hand and my eyes bugged out!! Whaaaat the...?? Oh, I am definitely planning on reading it now.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Our Review: Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake

Well, this is a first---Amy & I actually read the same book at the same time! :) We both LOVED this one, so we both wanted to share a few thoughts on it!

Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake
♦publisher: TorTeen
♦release date: August 7, 2012
♦hardcover: 336 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦series: Anna, book 2
  Becky's review of Anna Dressed in Blood
It's been months since the ghost of Anna Korlov opened a door to Hell in her basement and disappeared into it, but ghost-hunter Cas Lowood can't move on.
His friends remind him that Anna sacrificed herself so that Cas could live--not walk around half dead. He knows they're right, but in Cas's eyes, no living girl he meets can compare to the dead girl he fell in love with.
Now he's seeing Anna everywhere: sometimes when he's asleep and sometimes in waking nightmares. But something is very wrong...these aren't just daydreams. Anna seems tortured, torn apart in new and ever more gruesome ways every time she appears.
Cas doesn't know what happened to Anna when she disappeared into Hell, but he knows she doesn't deserve whatever is happening to her now. Anna saved Cas more than once, and it's time for him to return the favor.

On Aquiring Girl of Nightmares:
 Amy: Anna Dressed in Blood was most likely one of my favorite reads last year, and one of the main reasons I went to ALA this year. I couldn't wait to meet the woman behind the amazing strong willed character, Anna. And I wasn't disappointed. Kendare Blake was a pleasure to meet and shake hands with. I asked her to sign the cover of my copy of Anna Dressed in Blood and she so obliged and did so with a red sharpie to boot.  I couldn't wait to bring the book home and front it on my shelf of favorites!
 Becky: Yes, after completely being blown away by Anna last year, Girl of Nightmares was one of those books that it didn't matter how long the line was, I would have waiting hours in line at ALA for the chance to meet Kendare and get the coveted second book! She was awesome---and she knew of Stories & Sweeties! I think my head spun a little at that. :) I was completely starstruck.

On the "GUTS" of the story ;)
Becky: Absolutely fantastic.  Every bit as good as the first, but so incredibly different.  Its been a few months since Anna saved them all, and Cas starts to see gory visions of her everywhere.  Is she in trouble? Has she crossed back over?  He knows he has to do something, but also knows everyone will think he's crazy.  So much more going on in this one emotionally, too---Thomas is an even more awesome character this time, always up for a challenge and always there to support Cas. Things get complicated with Carmel as she grapples with her part in all of it.  We get to see more of the mysterious Gideon and new characters come into the picture---one that I especially loved, Jestine.  She keeps us guessing where her loyalties lie (I don't think even she know for sure), but she is all spunk---her feistiness very nearly gets her killed in her very first appearance!  And the gore---OH, the GORE.  I have to say, there was way more gore this time around.  There are times when the ghosts are almost more like zombies.  Dark, dark, stuff happening all around.
Amy: EPIC!! That's all I can say about this book. I was almost trepidacious about cracking open the cover. Scared to start only because I didn't want it to end.  Girl of Nightmares doesn't disappoint, and is the perfect companion to the first book.  Anna winds herself back into Cas' life even though she always was present in his heart. Cas faces some tough choices throughout the book that only loving a dead girl can bring.  He leaves no stone unturned or detail unpolished, which keeps you captivated from cover to cover. And as Kendare Blake promised, there is no gore lost in this sequel. Horror and Gore abound in every last blood dripping detail. I don't know where she comes up with the story but it has fresh, new twists at every bend that almost leave you breathless. 

The End: 
Becky: I think this may be the end, my friends.  Sad as that makes me, this story definitely came to a complete, mind-blowingly exciting, but satisfying end.  I can't think of how the story might continue---but if anyone's imagination could do it, it's the brilliant Kendare Blake! I guess we'll have to wait and see!  If not, I'll definitely miss all of these amazing characters!

Amy's cupcake match: Dark chocolate for the color of Anna's hair, cherry pie filling in the center so it bleeds when you cut into it, with wild wispy chocolate dark frosting on top. Only a dark gooey chocolate cupcake can match the darkness of this book. 
 Visit Kendare Blake: Website  •  Facebook  •  Twitter

Purchase Girl of Nightmares:  Amazon  •  •  BookDepository  •  Indiebound

Trailer: (watch it---it's awesome.)