Thursday, January 31, 2013

How to Eat a Pomegranate with Tahereh Mafi

I have to share this with my fellow Shatter Me fans.  Because it's hilarious. Because Tahereh Mafi is awesome. Because the ending made my jaw drop and then bust up laughing.


(Oh, and make sure you turn captions on!)

This video decided it for me...I'm reading Unravel Me next. :D

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

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.

Ashes on the Waves
by Mary Lindsey

hitting shelves June 27th, 2013 from Penguin

description: Liam MacGregor is cursed. Haunted by the wails of fantastical Bean Sidhes and labeled a demon by the villagers of Dòchas, Liam has accepted that things will never get better for him—until a wealthy heiress named Annabel Leighton arrives on the island and Liam’s fate is changed forever.

With Anna, Liam finally finds the happiness he has always been denied; but, the violent, mythical Otherworlders, who inhabit the island and the sea around it, have other plans. They make a wager on the couple’s love, testing its strength through a series of cruel obstacles. But the tragedies draw Liam and Anna even closer. Frustrated, the creatures put the couple through one last trial—and this time it’s not only their love that’s in danger of being destroyed.

Based on Edgar Allan Poe’s chilling poem Annabel Lee, Mary Lindsey creates a frighteningly beautiful gothic novel that glorifies the power of true love.

My Thoughts:  Several reason to drool over this one: first off, it's Mary Lindsey---her first book, Shattered Souls, was so good. Secondly, it's based on Poe's Annabel Lee!! And last but not least, the gorgeous cover--her dramatic dive into the dark, crashing water and the ominous Victorian mansion in the background.  Love it. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Becky's View: Asunder by Jodi Meadows

Asunder by Jodi Meadows
♦publisher: HarperTeen
♦release date: January 29, 2013
♦hardcover, 416 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦series: Newsoul,book 2
  review of book 1, Incarnate
♦source: from publisher for honest review
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.

Warning! Review may have slight spoilers for Incarnate, book 1---if you haven't started the series yet, stop here.
Review:  Last year, I went into Jodi Meadows’ debut, Incarnate, not knowing what expect except for a book about incarnated souls.  I came away completely blown away by the wonder and fantasy that she filled the pages with.  It quickly achieved a spot in my top reads of the year.  So you can imagine my anticipation of Asunder!  While I found Asunder not quite as good as Incarnate, it definitely did not disappoint.

Asunder picks up right where Incarnate left off.  The people of heart are recovering from the horrible dragon attacks on the city, when the temple went dark and several souls were permanently lost after 5,000 years of being reincarnated.  It’s a day they now know as Templedark.  While they grieve, there is still growing wariness toward Ana as a newsoul, despite the fact that she saved so many lives during the attacks.  Things are getting worse; the brutish Merton is doing everything he can to rally the people of Heart against her, and suspicion grows as Ana discovers a strange connection to the sylph.  When another newsoul is born, things escalate into violence, and Ana is determined to become the defending voice and protector of all the newsouls.  Her character really grows in strength in this sequel, but she you can see the lasting effects of being raised by a heartless mother has had on her. It gives her a great complexity and vulnerability.  We get to see a different, very vulnerable side to Sam, too, in both the romance between them and in the ways he pays for protecting Ana.

I did feel like there were a few slow moments here and there, and I felt like the dilemma with Ana against the people was growing a little monotonous, like ground that had been covered in the last book, and then even more in this book.  There is a new mystery surrounding the sylphs and what they really are that was definitely intriguing, though not altogether hard to guess, but it was compelling watching the characters come to the conclusion.  

One thing new to this book was the gruesomeness of some the descriptions.  There are a few scenes that I literally had to stop reading for a moment because they completely turned my stomach.  We also get to meet a few new characters, some good, some bad, and some that remain a mystery until the very end.  There were definitely some gripping moments that will catapult this story into it's finale.

A great follow up to Incarnate, this series will definitely be one that I follow until the very end!

Find Jodi Meadows online:  Website  •  Twitter  •  Facebook

Purchase Asunder:  Amazon  •  •  Bookdepository  •  Indiebound 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Amy's View: 17 & Gone by Nova Sum Rena

17 & Gone by Nova Ren Suma
♦publisher: Penguin Dutton
♦release date: March 21, 2013
♦hardcover, 354 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦source: from publisher for honest review
Seventeen-year-old Lauren is having visions of girls who have gone missing. And all these girls have just one thing in common—they are 17 and gone without a trace. As Lauren struggles to shake these waking nightmares, impossible questions demand urgent answers: Why are the girls speaking to Lauren? How can she help them? And… is she next? As Lauren searches for clues, everything begins to unravel, and when a brush with death lands her in the hospital, a shocking truth emerges, changing everything.

With complexity and richness, Nova Ren Suma serves up a beautiful, visual, fresh interpretation of what it means to be lost.

Review: I eagerly anticipated this book and even contacted Penguin Publishing for an early copy. The moment it arrived I dove right in, however by page 156 I found myself stuck. Not knowing which way I should go, to simply set it down or keep reading.

The story line was one that intrigued me, a promising thriller with a 17 year old girl who is having visions of girls who are missing. I found myself hoping for mystery to follow the ghostly images or trails of kidnapping and murder and all I got was chapter after chapter of each girl’s story of how they disappeared.  Long, drawn out and elaborate in their storyline. Not at all relating to one another but all plaguing Lauren’s daily life to the point of utter destruction. Weaving you through the mental strains of following Lauren as she tries to help the lost girls and figure out why they disappeared.

Not the ghost story I had hoped for but the inter-workings of girl who is, “lost”. Truly complex and believable, leaving you sympathetic of the delusions a mind can create. Now that I have reached the last chapter I have a new respect for how the book was laid out. Although I do wish it was done in reverse. Having the knowledge of the tragic way the mind can work gives you the understanding and sympathy you need to truly follow Lauren’s Story. Complex and often too wordy, 17 and Gone was an interesting but long read that could possibly have been published as an adult book.

Find Nova Ren Suma online: Website  •  Twitter  •  Facebook

Preorder 17 & Gone:  Amazon  •  •  Bookdepository  •  Indiebound

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

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 Midnight Dress
by Karen Foxlee

hitting shelves October 8th, 2013 from Knopf BYR

description: Quiet misfit Rose doesn't expect to fall in love with the sleepy beach town of Leonora. Nor does she expect to become fast friends with beautiful, vivacious Pearl Kelly, organizer of the high school float at the annual Harvest Festival parade. It's better not to get too attached when Rose and her father live on the road, driving their caravan from one place to the next whenever her dad gets itchy feet. But Rose can't resist the mysterious charms of the town or the popular girl, try as she might.

Pearl convinces Rose to visit Edie Baker, once a renowned dressmaker, now a rumored witch. Together Rose and Edie hand-stitch an unforgettable dress of midnight blue for Rose to wear at the Harvest Festival—a dress that will have long-lasting consequences on life in Leonora, a dress that will seal the fate of one of the girls. Karen Foxlee's breathtaking novel weaves friendship, magic, and a murder mystery into something moving, real, and distinctly original.

My thoughts:  Small towns, witches,  murder mystery,...and the synopsis hints of an enchanted dress! This sounds so fun and right up my alley.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

New Shelf Goodies & The Weekly Nutshell {33}

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!

Had a pretty great book week, did lots of happy dancing over these lovely titles(which was a good thing because it was my birthday this week, so I needed to dance off all those birthday cupcakes!) 

For review: 
Pretty much freaking out over ALL 5 of these!!

Yay!! Loved Timeless, can't wait to see what happens in book 2!
OMG--is that cover gorgeous or what??

Many, many thanks to Macmillan, Random House, Gallery Books, & Penguin for all of these!

 The Weekly Nutshell: 

Have a great week, everyone!! 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Dreaming of Books Giveaway Hop!

It's time for the annual Dreaming of Books Giveaway hop!  This year the hop is being hosted by I Am a Reader, Not a Writer and Reviews by Martha's Bookshelf.

For this event, I'll be giving away an ARC of Mila 2.0!

•US/CAN entries only
•must be 13 or older
•Enter by January 24th, 11:59 PM

a Rafflecopter giveaway Be sure to visit the rest of the blogs participating in the hop!

Becky's View: Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff

Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff
♦publisher: Razorbill
♦release date: January 8th, 2013
♦hardcover, 368 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦source: from publisher for honest review
The city of Ludlow is gripped by the hottest July on record. The asphalt is melting, the birds are dying, petty crime is on the rise, and someone in Hannah Wagnor’s peaceful suburban community is killing girls.

For Hannah, the summer is a complicated one. Her best friend Lillian died six months ago, and Hannah just wants her life to go back to normal. But how can things be normal when Lillian’s ghost is haunting her bedroom, pushing her to investigate the mysterious string of murders? Hannah’s just trying to understand why her friend self-destructed, and where she fits now that Lillian isn’t there to save her a place among the social elite. And she must stop thinking about Finny Boone, the big, enigmatic delinquent whose main hobbies seem to include petty larceny and surprising acts of kindness.

With the entire city in a panic, Hannah soon finds herself drawn into a world of ghost girls and horrifying secrets. She realizes that only by confronting the Valentine Killer will she be able move on with her life—and it’s up to her to put together the pieces before he strikes again.

Review: Paper Valentine was my first taste of Brenna Yovanoff's writing.  I'd heard some great things about her previous books, and now I see what all the hype was about.  She knows how to spin a tale that just kind of swallows you up into it's world.  It was easy to fall into step with this small town community, baking in the unforgiving summer, and wondering what has happened to the safe little town they thought they lived it.  Someone is murdering young girls and everyone is living in fear of when the killer will strike again.  For Hannah, some of these girls are kids she grew up with, some are the same age as her little sister, but all of them seem to be trying to contact her, pushing her to find their killer. 

But they aren't the only ghosts that are pushing her to find the killer. Lillian, Hannah's best friend, died of anorexia  and has been constantly with her since.  I loved the relationship between Hannah and Lillian; from the very beginning you get a feel for their closeness.  Lillian's part in this story really gave the plot something completely unique, both as a ghost story and a story about eating disorders.  Lillian is much the same in death as she was in life, but every once in while, she slips into the emotions of dealing with what she did to herself.  We watch as she tries to come to terms with it, to justify it, to regret it, and to see firsthand just how much it hurt her best friend.  Hannah herself was a great complex character, creative and inquisitive, dealing with the loss of her friend with a mix of anger and sadness. She's drawn into the murder mystery in several different ways, by clues she comes across at her job and secrets that she only knows because of Lillian and her ability to see the murder victims.

The love story was a bit on the sidelines, but I really thought it was sweet.  It's born more from a curiosity about the aloof and generally misunderstood Finny Boone than just a plain attraction.  They'd grown up together in the same school, so there was all this history that seemed to both push them apart and draw then together.  

The one thing I didn't like is this..and it's a bit of a spoiler so I've whited it out.  Highlight at your own risk! * When we finally find out who the killer is, I completely get that she was trying to buy herself some time until help arrived, but I seriously didn't believe that the killer would sit with her in a meadow, chatting it up about why and how he did it all and who he worked with.  No matter how crazy he was suppose to be. *  BUT aside from that one small thing,  Yovanoff's writing is exceptional, her prose easily paint pictures in your head (be prepared for some pretty grisly descriptions of the ghosts and murder scenes).  Paper Valentine was an incredibly entertaining and well-told story of murder, ghosts, social structures, and most of all, love and loss.

Find Brenna Yovanoff online: Website  •  Twitter  •  Facebook

Purchase Paper Valentine:  Amazon  •  •  BookDepository  •  Indiebound

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Book Trailers: Revolution 19, Pulse, Tragedy Paper, & Timekeeper

It's book trailer time!  I love these four, all of them are pretty exceptional for book trailers!  The publishers really seem to have gone all out for these!

Pulse by Patrick Carmen

Revolution 19 by Gregg Rosenblum

Timekeeper by Alexandra Monir

The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth Laban

Very excited for Timekeeper, as I was a big fan of the first book, Timeless!  And the Tragedy Paper has been compared to Thirteen Reasons Why, so that sold it for me!
What do you think? Do the trailers make you want to read any of these titles?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

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 Between 
by Sonia Gensler

hitting shelves August 27th, 2013 from Knopf BYR

description:  A supernatural romance about the powers that lie in the shadows of the mind, perfect for fans of Sarah Rees Brennan, Alyxandra Harvey, and Libba Bray.

At the turn of the twentieth century, Spiritualism and séances are all the rage—even in the scholarly town of Cambridge, England. While mediums dupe the grief-stricken, a group of local fringe scientists seeks to bridge the gap to the spirit world by investigating the dark corners of the human mind.

Each running from a shadowed past, Kate, Asher, and Elsie take refuge within the walls of Summerfield College. But their peace is soon shattered by the discovery of a dead body nearby. Is this the work of a flesh-and-blood villain, or is something otherworldly at play? This unlikely trio must illuminate what the scientists have not, and open a window to secrets taken to the grave—or risk joining the spirit world themselves.

My thoughts: Someday, I may get tired of reading this era, and about ghosts and seances.  But not today and hopefully not before I get to read this book! It looks amazing---set in Victorian England, spirits and murder mystery and seance con artists (for some reason,  I just love reading about all the little tricks they performed to make the seances believable!) and a little science thrown in for good measure! 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Bout of Books Read-a-Thon! *Wrap Up Post*

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 7th and runs through Sunday, January 13th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 6.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. -From the Bout of Books 6.0 team

I've decided to join up in the annual Bout of Books read-a-thon this week!  It will be my very first time participating. I kept seeing it around so many of my favorite blogs and it just sounded like so much fun. Plus it comes at a perfect time---my reading time has been so short lately with holidays and visitors and all the kids home.  Today is their first day back to school and I'm hoping to get back to  get lots of reading done this week, so this is the perfect way to get me going!

Here's the stack I'm hoping to tackle:

I'm nearly done with Splintered--despite loving it, all the holiday busyness lately has caused me to take forever reading this book! I can't wait to dig into the other three. Hoping to read all three, but realistically, I will probably only make it though two.

My goals:
☻Finish 2-3 books
☻Read at least an hour daily (which will be a  challenge since I work a few full days this week!)
☻Participate in 2 mini-challenges
☻Visit at least 5 participating blogs a day--at least two that are new to me.
☻Update my progress on twitter

Daily updates:
Book I'm reading today: Splintered
Read from page 265 to 288
Notes: Turned out to be a busy day and I only got about a half-hour read in. Booo..

Book I'm reading today: Splintered & Paper Valentine
Read from page 288 to 371 (done with Splintered!)
Note: Not sure this counts, but I started  Paper Valentine by pulling up the sample at while on the desk at work. ;)

Book I'm reading today: Paper Valentine
Read from page 1 to 168
Notes: Even with working another full day on Wed, I got over half-way through this one! Loving it so far! I also visited blogs, but still found no time to tweet updates or do challenges.

Book I'm reading today: Paper Valentine
Read from page 168 to 304 (end)
Notes: Done with book #2!  This one flew by for me and I really enjoyed it, aside from a few weird moments.

Book I'm reading today: Asunder
Read from page 1 to 29
Notes: Hardly any time to read today.  Laaaaame.

Book I'm reading today: Asunder
Read from page 30 to 115
Notes: Really enjoying this one so far!

Book I'm reading today:
Read from page 116 to 142
Not much time to read today, we went on a family outing instead :)

Final thoughts: OK, so I over-estimated my reading time during this read-a-thon!  I did finish two books and make it halfway through a third! But I didn't reach my goals to do a few challenges and I didn't get to visit as many blogs as I'd hoped to.  Ah, well! It was still fun to participate! :D

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Becky's View: Splintered by A.G. Howard + Giveaway!

Splintered by A.G. Howard
♦publisher: Amulet Books
♦release date: January 1, 2013
♦hardcover, 384 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦source: from publisher for honest review
This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence. Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.
When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.

Review: As someone who grew up with the tale of Alice in Wonderland, in book form, in movie form (several different versions, actually), and surrounded with the characters in all kinds of figurines and collector pieces, reading Splintered was an absolutely unique experience.  A.G. Howard took a world that is  so familiar and beloved and gave us something new and intriguing and absolutely twisted.  

I was actually surprised with how urban-feeling the setting and characters were.  Our heroine, Alyssa, is a skater girl with a funky sense of girly style.  She's a character with a great dose of attitude and creativity, but also one that has been emotionally knocked down and teased her whole life for her ties to the Alice stories, one struggling to deal with having a mother in an institution, and one who is terrified that her ability to hear the voices of flowers and bugs will land her in the same place.  I loved the build up of the story, learning about her family and her crush on her best friend, Jeb, and all the crazy occurances that lead her to seek out the Rabbit Hole.   

Wonderland itself was amazingly recreated.  It was such a brilliant twist to stay close to the original story. Alyssa must basically trace the footsteps of Alice to find her way back home, but she soon finds out that Alice must have been too young to process the dark things she saw.  The creatures are far, far creepier that the ones she knows from the book.  Howard's descriptions are vivid and gruesome---characters like the Mad Hatter, the White Rabbit, and the Tweedle twins are completely reimagined into dark, nightmarish creatures, yet enough traces were left of the original children's book characters to make me feel nostalgic and still be drawn in by them.  Wonderland has always had an underlying, almost innocent vein of chaos and madness running through it, but in Splintered it's brought right to the surface and made not-so-innocent anymore!

There was a love story here---a bit of a love triangle, actually---but I have to admit that it was the one small part of the story that didn't draw me in.  Maybe because I found both guys unlikable for most of the story.  Morpheus was too cocky and emo and just plain sinister, and Jeb...well, he was sweet at times and tried to be chivalrous and I loved that they were best friends...but many times he was just too pushy, a little too brooding, and didn't seem to understand Alyssa, what she was going though and what was important to her. 

STILL, despite my feelings about the love story, I thought this story was brilliant.  It was creepy and emotional and the kind of twisted adventure that really gets inside your head---I do believe I actually dreamed of having wings once or twice in the last few days of reading it. :)  Such an great debut, and I can't wait to see what A.G. Howard takes on next.

Find A.G. Howard online:  Website  •   Twitter   •   Facebook

Pre-order Splintered:  Amazon  •  •  Indiebound  •  Book Depository


Now enter for a chance to win your own copy!
I'm giving away one finished hardcover copy of Splintered! Enter below!
•US mailing addresses only
•must be 13 or older
 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, January 11, 2013

Cover Story

A few recent cover discoveries! Although I admit to being a bit out of the loop lately, so some of these may just be new to me! :)

Intuition by C.J. Omololu
I see ominous clouds and a creepy castle, and the description mentions reincarnation! That's enough to make me pick this one up!

Very cool cover, I love all the reflections.  And the synopsis definitely has me curious.

Mistwalker by Saundra Mitchell
Love the lighthouse and waves, the synopsis is interesting, but still a bit vague---can't wait to dig deeper into this story and find out why and how he collects those souls!

Gah--someday, I will start this series! I've been wanting to pick it up forever! Beautiful cover, though I do admit, I'm starting to feel like the mask trend in YA covers is getting a bit overused!

The Forgotten Ones by Laura Howard
WOW, so pretty. And it's about the Tuatha de Danaan, so bring on the Irish mythology! :D

And last but not least, two gorgeous Middle Grade titles!!

This is a companion novel to The Grimm Legacy, which I loved so much!  I can't wait for more of this fun story!

Keeper of the Lost Cities: Exile
I haven't gotten around to reading book one yet, but I've heard such great things about it!

What do you think?  Will any of these covers be calling to you from the bookstore shelves?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Amy's View: Everbound by Brodi Ashton

Everbound by Brodi Ashton
♦publisher: Balzer & Bray
♦release date: January 22nd, 2013
♦hardcover, 384 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦series: Everneath, book 2
             (review of Everneath)
♦source: from publisher for honest review
Nikki Beckett could only watch as her boyfriend, Jack, sacrificed himself to save her, taking her place in the Tunnels of the Everneath for eternity — a debt that should’ve been hers. She’s living a borrowed life, and she doesn’t know what to do with the guilt. And every night Jack appears in her dreams, lost and confused and wasting away.

Desperate for answers, Nikki turns to Cole, the immortal bad boy who wants to make her his queen — and the one person least likely to help. But his heart has been touched by everything about Nikki, and he agrees to assist her in the only way he can: by taking her to the Everneath himself.

Nikki and Cole descend into the Everneath, only to discover that their journey will be more difficult than they’d anticipated — and more deadly. But Nikki vows to stop at nothing to save Jack — even if it means making an incredible sacrifice of her own.

Once again the Underworld calls for Nikki but this time in a different way. Instead of running from the binds of the Everneath, Nikki finds herself desperate to discover a way back into the underworld, once again being reminded she will be forever bound to the world that remains below her. Now that Jack did the ultimate sacrifice of taking Nikki's place in Everneath, Nikki finds herself determined in any way to find him and save him from his soul being taken forever.  She will do and say anything to have him back in her arms safe and only then will she be free from the guilt that plagues her every day. Even if that means she will have to find Cole and beg him to take her back.  Nikki is prepared to barter in any way necessary to have him to take her back to the Underworld.

This sequel takes you into the incredible complex world of Everneath, describing every level in intense detail as you are lead to the heart of their world. Time plagues Nikki as it continues to lapse in the two worlds, from the surface to Everneath and back again.  On the surface each night Nikki finds herself desperately clinging onto Jack’s image in her dreams trying to keep him alive as she searches for him. As well as having to frantically dodge her inquisitive father and meddlesome psychologist while on the surface. And if that isn’t enough being ripped back into the Underworld into Cole’s waiting arms every morning is enough to make a girl go crazy.

The love triangle continues to intensify as Nikki and Cole spend ample amounts of time together searching through the underbelly of Everneath where in turn they have to search their own soul’s fears, longings, and desires to pass through the levels of Everneath together, leaving their hearts exposed and once again opening up to one another.

This book will take you on a maze of twists and turns on its well developed and complex journey. Brodi Aston completely and thoroughly thought out the Underworld’s map and describes in a tremendous amount of detail. However, at times, I did find myself overwhelmed with the detail she needed to use to describe the Underworld properly which made it a little hard to follow. However if you are a lover of mythology you will most likely love this sequel.
For me it was 3 ½ cupcakes.
  Find Brodi Ashton online: Website  •  Twitter 

Purchase Everbound Amazon  •  •  BookDepository 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

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 Stacey Jay

hitting shelves July 23rd by Delacorte Books for Young Readers

In the beginning was the darkness, and in the darkness was a girl, and in the girl was a secret...

In the domed city of Yuan, the blind Princess Isra, a Smooth Skin, is raised to be a human sacrifice whose death will ensure her city’s vitality. In the desert outside Yuan, Gem, a mutant beast, fights to save his people, the Monstrous, from starvation. Neither dreams that together, they could return balance to both their worlds.

Isra wants to help the city’s Banished people, second-class citizens despised for possessing Monstrous traits. But after she enlists the aid of her prisoner, Gem, who has been captured while trying to steal Yuan’s enchanted roses, she begins to care for him, and to question everything she has been brought up to believe.

As secrets are revealed and Isra’s sight, which vanished during her childhood, returned, Isra will have to choose between duty to her people and the beast she has come to love

My thoughts:  You know I'm always up for a good fairytale retelling---plus unlike many retellings these days, Jay kept the story rooted in high fantasy, rather than giving it a modern, urban makeover! Looove that about this one. And well, the extra-gorgeous cover doesn't hurt either. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Young Adult Faeries & Fantasy Giveaway Hop!

This year, once again, I'm participating in the YA Faeries & Fantasy Giveaway Hop, co-hosted by I'm A Reader, Not a Writer and Mod Podge Bookshelf!

I've chosen two of my favorite fantasy series to give away!  One winner can choose between Cinder, a preorder of Scarlet, Incarnate, or a preorder of Asunder!  So I've got something for those who've read the first books and are ready for book two, and those who haven't! :)

Open internationally, wherever Book Depository or Fishpond ships!
(must be 13 or older, or have parent permission)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Be sure to visit all the sites participating in the hop!
 (click below for full list!)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

New Shelf Goodies & The Weekly Nutshell {32}

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 what I got this week:
Elixir & Apollyon by Jennifer L. Armentrout
So...if you've been with me for a while, you know...I love this series!  There was much happy dancing when Apollyon arrived in the mail!  I read a few pages before realizing I had to have Elixir (the novella that comes just before Apollyon in the series), and more happy dancing happened when I discovered my local Barnes had print copies in the store.. 

Thanks so much to Spencer Hill Press for this one! :)

The Weekly Nutshell: 

Hope everyone's year is off to a great start! :D

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Amy's View: Broken by A.E. Rought

Broken by A.E. Rought
♦publisher: Strange Chemistry
♦release date: January 3rd, 2013
♦paperback, 320 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦source: from publisher for honest review
A string of suspicious deaths near a small Michigan town ends with a fall that claims the life of Emma Gentry’s boyfriend, Daniel. Emma is broken, a hollow shell mechanically moving through her days. She and Daniel had been made for each other, complete only when they were together. Now she restlessly wanders the town in the late Fall gloom, haunting the cemetary and its white-marbled tombs, feeling Daniel everywhere, his spectre in the moonlight and the fog.

When she encounters newcomer Alex Franks, only son of a renowned widowed surgeon, she’s intrigued despite herself. He’s an enigma, melting into shadows, preferring to keep to himself. But he is as drawn to her as she is to him. He is strangely…familiar. From the way he knows how to open her locker when it sticks, to the nickname she shared only with Daniel, even his hazel eyes with brown flecks are just like Daniel’s. The closer they become, though, the more something inside her screams there’s something very wrong with Alex Franks.

And when Emma stumbles across a grotesque and terrifying menagerie of mangled but living animals within the walls of the Franks’ estate, creatures she surely knows must have died from their injuries, she knows.

Review:  Horrifically wonderful. Broken is a haunting Frankenstein-like story that will intrigue you from the very start. A twisted tale of love, broken hearts, and shattered lives.

Emma Gentry is a broken-hearted, emotionally absent girl trying to get through life after the devastating death of her boyfriend, Daniel. Not sure how she will finish her high school days, Emma finds herself starting each day with a breve of coffee (us Americans call it a latte) from the walk up window of the  Mugz in Chugz as she reluctantly scuffs off to school. But when Emma arrives at school one crisp chilly morning everything is about change. There is a devastatingly new student, Alex Franks, who feels just a little bit too familiar. From the moment their eyes lock and Alex unlocks Emma’s locker, her life takes on a dramatic and alarming new change.

Even though Emma feels that she is slowly falling apart, Alex still finds a way in to her everyday life, almost, in a way, haunting her days. The only problem is the more she finds herself around Alex the more she finds herself starting to live but also finds herself even more reminded of Daniel---from Alex’s eyes that looks just like Daniels with their little brown flecks in them to the way he can open her jammed locker and the way he calls her by Daniels secret nickname. As time goes on, Emma finds herself strangely attracted to him but also in fear of him. There is too much wrong with Alex Franks to overlook, and the similarities between him and Daniel are all too alarming. And Emma can’t help but constantly wonder how can Alex remind her so much of her dead boyfriend Daniel?

Delightfully from the first paragraph  this story builds into mystery with horrific consequences. Broken takes so many twists and turns I found myself not wanting to put iy down for fear of it losing momentum.  I was truly a captive of Broken's wicked tale. A must read for all you horror fans!

Find A.E Rought online: Website  

Purchase Broken: Amazon  •  •  BookDepository  • Indiebound

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Becky's View: The Friday Society by Adrienne Kress

The Friday Society by Adrienne Kress
♦publisher: Dial Press
♦release date: Decemeber 6, 2012
♦hardcover, 440 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
 ♦source: from publisher for honest review
An action-packed tale of gowns, guys, guns –and the heroines who use them all.

Set in turn of the century London, The Friday Society follows the stories of three very intelligent and talented young women, all of whom are assistants to powerful men: Cora, lab assistant; Michiko, Japanese fight assistant; and Nellie, magician's assistant. The three young women's lives become inexorably intertwined after a chance meeting at a ball that ends with the discovery of a murdered mystery man.

It's up to these three, in their own charming but bold way, to solve the murder–and the crimes they believe may be connected to it–without calling too much attention to themselves.

Set in the past but with a modern irreverent flare, this Steampunk whodunit introduces three unforgettable and very ladylike–well, relatively ladylike–heroines poised for more dangerous adventures.

Review:  Look at the cover of The Friday Society. Looks fun, doesn't it?  Looks like a fantastic Steampunk romp (yes, romp... I believe that is the perfect word for this book) through London, featuring three strong, kick-butt characters with distinct talents that are about to set off an adventure, no matter who or what tries to stand in their way. Well, dear readers, what you see is what you get.  Well, except for Nelly (the girl with the playing card)---her character is way more joyful and sparky that she looks there.  But everything else? Perfect. And call me crazy, but I love when a cover perfectly depicts the story inside. 

With an author that also has one foot in acting and directing, I think it would be awesome to someday see this one played out on stage or screen! The atmosphere and imagery is wonderfully described, whether it was a grand crowded party, a mystical magician's act, an intricate piece of weaponry, or a grisly murder scene, Kress's words conjured just the right picture in your mind. 

I loved all three main characters,  all of them are overflowing with attitude and spunk.  Each one has their own strengths and distinct backgrounds: Cora, a lab assistant, has an incredible knack with gadgets and machinery and very practical head on her shoulders.  Nelly, a magician's assistant, has a crazy fun silliness to her while still being incredibly sharp, a flamboyant fashion sense (she adores her stage costumes!) and uses her escape-artist talents both on and off the stage.  Michiko is the most introverted of them, partly because she barely speaks the same language, but also because she has been trained in the art and mentality of a samurai.  She is constantly flabbergasted by how much these two crazy girls she's become friends with like to talk. Each has their strengths and weaknesses, but it was fun watching them grow and learn to trust eachother.  The men in their lives are an interesting mix, most of them a little hard to like (except for Raheem, the magician. I loved his fatherly relationship with Nelly and how he encouraged the girls.)

My few complaints were these:  a few draggy moments in the pacing, a few times where the dialogue seemed just a little out of place, and one or two instances where the silliness put one toe across the line to utter absurdity.  Also, monologuing villians tend to bother me. BUT despite these few minor setbacks, The Friday Society was one entertaining, humorous read that I highly recommend!  This is currently a stand-alone, but I definitely wouldn't mind going on a few more adventures with The Friday Society!

Find Adrienne Kress online:  Website  •  Twitter  •  Facebook

Purchase The Friday Society: Amazon  •  •  BookDepository  •  Indiebound

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

What's New: January YA Releases & Giveaway!

It's 2013! We survived :D! And it's on to another year..
This month brings lots of fun stuff---my 3 year blogoversary (3 years, guys!! Holy cow, where did the time go!) so expect a lovely celebration there. My birthday is also this month. AND ALA Midwinter is coming up! Not only am I excited to attend, but it's also my first time visiting Seattle! Fun!
So with all this, I've been pretty excited for January to get here!

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!

First things first! The winner of December's giveaway was: Len! Congratulations! :D

January 2013 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!

Altered by Jennifer Rush
The Dead & Buried by Kim Harrington
Dr. Frankenstein's Daughters by Suzanne Weyn
Empty by K.M. Walton
The Essence by Kimberly Derting
Falling for You by Lisa Schroeder
The Fire Horse Girl by Kay Honeyman
The Savage Blue by Zoraida Cordova
The Sin-eater's Confessions by Ilsa J. Bick
Splintered by A.G. Howard
Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz
Victoria Rebels by Carolyn Meyer

Catherine by April Lindner
Prophecy by Ellen Oh

Anatomy of a Single Girl by Daria Snadowsky
Blood Prophecy by Alyxandra Harvey
Broken by A.E. Rought
Cleopatra Ascending by Maureen Lipinski
Crash by Lisa McMann
Delusion by Laura L. Sullivan
Doomed by Tracy Deebs
The Fairest Beauty by Melanie Dickerson
Fangtabulous by Lucienne Diver
Janie Face to Face by Caroline B. Cooney
Just One Day by Gayle Forman
One Came Home by Amy Timberlake
Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff
Revolution 19 by Gregg Rosenblum
Rise by Andrea Cremer
Shadowlands by Kate Brian
Then You Were Gone by Lauren Strasnick
Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi
Timekeeper by Alexandra Monir
The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LaBan
What We Saw at Night by Jacquelyn Mitchard
The Wrap-up List by Steven Arntson
The Cadet of Tildor by Alex Lidell
Salvation by Anne Osterlund

Gates of Paradise by Melissa de la Cruz
Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans
Return to Me by Justina Chen
Shades of Earth by Beth Revis
Touch of Death by Kelly Hashway
Uses for Boys by Lorraine Scheidt
Vortex by Julie Cross


Exposure by Kim Ashkey & Amy Helms
The Namesake by Steven Parlato

The Archived by Victoria Schwab
Black Ice by Andrew Lane
Boundless by Cynthia Hand
Cinders & Sapphires by Leila Rasheed
Everbound by Brodi Ashton
Kiki Strike: The Darkness Dwellers by Kirsten Miller
Nobody by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Ravage by Jeff Sampson 

Slated by Teri Terry
Try Not to Breathe by Jennifer R. Hubbard 
Asunder by Jodi Meadows
Hooked by Liz Fichera
The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd
Nobody But Us by Kristin Halbrook
Othermoon by Nina Berry
The Prey by Andrew Fukuda
Prodigy by Marie Lu
Shadowhunters and Downworlders by Cassandra Clare
Shadows in the Silence by Courtney Allison Moulton
A Shimmer of Angels by Lisa M. Basso
Stolen Nights by Rebecca Maizel
Sweet 16 to Life by Kimberly Reid
The Voice by Jennifer Anne Davies
What the Spell by Brittany Geragotelis

(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 January release of their choice! *see note below
• Contest ends January 31th, 2013 at 11:59 PM
• Must be 13 or older
• Open internationally. *International winners will be required to choose a book that is available through a Rafflecopter giveaway