Monday, March 31, 2014

Glamour by Andrea Janes: Blog Tour Stop & Giveaway!

Today the blog tour for
 Glamour by Andrea Janes
 is stopping at Stories & Sweeties!
Townie. That’s what eighteen-year-old Christina Sundy is. All year round she lives in a one-stoplight town on Cape Cod and when summer comes she spends her days scooping ice cream for rich tourists, who she hates. So when one of them takes a job in the ice cream shop alongside her, she’s pissed. Why does a blonde and perky Harvard-bound rich girl like Reese Manning want to scoop ice cream anyway?

Something else weird is happening to Christina: tiny blue sparks seem to be shooting off her fingers. It isn’t long before she realizes the truth about herself — she’s actually a powerful hereditary witch. But her newfound powers are too intense for her to handle and, in a moment of rage, she accidentally zaps Reese into another dimension.

So that no one will notice that the rich girl has disappeared, Christina casts a disguising spell, or “glamour,” and lives Reese’s life while she tries to find a retrieval spell. But as the retrieval spell proves harder than anticipated, and as she goes about living Reese’s life without anyone on the outside noticing the switch, Christina realizes that there’s nothing to stop her from making the glamour permanent… except, of course, her fellow witches, a 16th century demon, and, just maybe, her own conscience.

Andrea Janes writes horror, dark comedy, thrillers, and historical slapstick. She is the author of Boroughs of the Dead: New York City Ghost Stories. She is also a licensed NYC tour guide, and offers a variety of ghostly tours around the city. Her many obsessions include New York City history, old photographs, Mabel Normand, all things nautical, and beer. She maintains a personal blog over at Spinster Aunt, where she discusses these obsessions in more detail than is probably healthy.


World Weaver Press is generously allowing me to giveaway a copy of GLAMOUR
Enter below!
•US mailing address only
• must be 13 or older or have parent permission
•Ends  April 14th, 2014
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, March 30, 2014

New Shelf Goodies & The Weekly Nutshell {83}

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 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)

New goodies for the week:
This one came so highly recommended by Leanna of Daisy Chain Books, I just had to get myself a copy!
 One of my favorite authors takes on Irish legend...this was a must-buy for me!

For review: 
Super-happy-dance!!  Born of Illusion was one of my faves of 2013, so excited for this sequel!
This looks really cool...about a girl who is an oracle!
This will be my first Morgan Matson book and I can't wait to read it!
The cover of this makes me think of The Secret of Nimh. And the illustrations inside...this is going to be gorgeous as a finished copy!

Many thanks to Harper Teen, Soho Teen, and Simon Schuster for the review copies!

The Weekly Nutshell:
{Tuesday} Waiting on Wednesday: The Crystal Heart
{Wednesday} Review: The Taking by Kimberly Derting
{Thursday} MG Steampunk Giveaway: The Mark of the Dragonfly
{Friday} The Secrets of Lily Graves by Sarah Strohmeyer

Wow where did that week go?  This week I was reading After the End, and I haven't pinpointed what it is about this book, but I can't seem to put it down!  I got drawn away from Liv Forever because of a few deadlines, but I actually can't wait to get back to it.  And guys, the cupcake end of this blog has definitely gone neglected for a while, but there are a few flavors I have been dying to put together, so hopefully you'll see some yumminess on this blog again soon! 

Happy reading, everyone! :D

Friday, March 28, 2014

Becky's View: The Secrets of Lily Graves by Sarah Strohmeyer

The Secrets of Lily Graves by Sarah Strohmeyer
♦publisher: Balzer & Bray
♦release date: May 13th, 2014
♦paperback, 304 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦source: from publisher for honest review (via SF book review)
Growing up in a house of female morticians, Lily Graves knows all about buried secrets. She knows that perfect senior-class president Erin Donohue isn’t what she seems. She knows why Erin’s ex-boyfriend, hot football player Matt Houser, broke up with her. And she also knows that, even though she says she and Matt are just friends, there is something brewing between them—something Erin definitely did not like.

But secrets, even ones that are long buried, have a way of returning to haunt their keeper.

So when Erin is found dead the day after attacking Lily in a jealous rage, Lily's and Matt’s safe little lives, and the lives of everyone in their town of Potsdam, begin to unravel. And their relationship—which grew from innocent after-school tutoring sessions to late-night clandestine rendezvous—makes them both suspects.

As her world crumbles around her, Lily must figure out the difference between truth and deception, genuine love and a web of lies. And she must do it quickly, before the killer claims another victim.

Review: The Secrets of Lily Graves is a morbid but colorful murder mystery.  It’s told from the POV of a teen that has grown up surrounded by corpses in the family mortuary. Lily lives with and gets a daily dose of guidance from a very eccentric group of women; her mother, her grandmother, and especially her aunt.  Reflecting that upbringing, we get her skewed, slightly cold attitude toward death.  She’s a bit of a gothic outcast, and we know from the get-go that she and Erin, the girl who is found dead in her bathtub, were far from friends.  

The story itself is good, though nothing about it truly stood out to me. I did like the way Lily used her family’s insider info and knowledge from working at the mortuary to really help work the mystery out.   Lily was tutoring Erin’s boyfriend, and she suspected they were getting a little too close right before she winds up dead, so Lily must do everything she can to find the killer and keep the fingers from pointing at her and Michael.  

Many of the characters suffer from a bad dose of heavy cliché: here we have the goth girl who grew up in a mortuary, here’s the jock with questionable intentions, there’s the town stoner, and oh look, there are the mean girls that all the adults think are angels.  I also found the humor to be a little off-putting at times, and while it might not bother some, it took away slightly from my enjoyment of this book. 

 Still, there are a few really good surprises to keep the reader guessing and a shocking twist ending will leave your head spinning! It was, for the most part, a fun and fast read that kept me entertained. This may be a win for fans of Pretty Little Liars (I watch the show, but haven’t read the books, so don’t quote me on that!), it's definitely a similar vibe.

Find Sarah Strohmeyer online:  Website  •  Twitter 

Purchase The Secrets of Lily Graves:  Amazon  •  BookDepository  •  Indiebound

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Mark of the Dragonfly - MG Steampunk Giveaway!!

Today I'm happy to be participating in the blog tour for the steampunk fantasy, 
Mark of the Dragonfly!!
Piper has never seen the Mark of the Dragonfly until she finds the girl amid the wreckage of a caravan in the Meteor Fields.
   The girl doesn't remember a thing about her life, but the intricate tattoo on her arm is proof that she's from the Dragonfly Territories and that she's protected by the king. Which means a reward for Piper if she can get the girl home.
   The one sure way to the Territories is the 401, a great old beauty of a train. But a ticket costs more coin than Piper could make in a year. And stowing away is a difficult prospect--everyone knows that getting past the peculiar green-eyed boy who stands guard is nearly impossible.
   Life for Piper just turned dangerous. A little bit magical. And very exciting, if she can manage to survive the journey.

 ★ "This magnetic middle-grade debut...[is] a page-turner that defies easy categorization and ought to have broad appeal."-Publishers Weekly, starred 

★ "Heart, brains, and courage find a home in a steampunk fantasy worthy of a nod from Baum."-Kirkus Reviews, starred

About the author:

JALEIGH JOHNSON is a lifelong reader, gamer, and moviegoer. She loves nothing better than to escape into fictional worlds and take part in fantastic adventures. She lives and writes in the wilds of the Midwest, but you can visit her online at or on Twitter @JaleighJohnson.

The lovely people at Delacorte are allowing me to give away one finished copy of 
Mark of the Dragonfly!  
Enter below!
•US mailing addresses only
•Must be 13 or older, or have parent permission to enter
•Ends April 10, 2014
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Becky's View: The Taking by Kimberly Derting

The Taking by Kimberly Derting
♦publisher: HarperTeen
♦release date: April 29th, 2014
♦hardcover, 368 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦series: The Taking, book 1
♦source: ARC from publisher for honest review (via SF Book Review)
A flash of white light . . . and then . . . nothing.

When sixteen-year-old Kyra Agnew wakes up behind a Dumpster at the Gas ’n’ Sip, she has no memory of how she got there. With a terrible headache and a major case of déjà vu, she heads home only to discover that five years have passed . . . yet she hasn’t aged a day.

Everything else about Kyra’s old life is different. Her parents are divorced, her boyfriend, Austin, is in college and dating her best friend, and her dad has changed from an uptight neat-freak to a drunken conspiracy theorist who blames her five-year disappearance on little green men.

Confused and lost, Kyra isn’t sure how to move forward unless she uncovers the truth. With Austin gone, she turns to Tyler, Austin’s annoying kid brother, who is now seventeen and who she has a sudden undeniable attraction to. As Tyler and Kyra retrace her steps from the fateful night of her disappearance, they discover strange phenomena that no one can explain, and they begin to wonder if Kyra’s father is not as crazy as he seems. There are others like her who have been taken . . . and returned. Kyra races to find an explanation and reclaim the life she once had, but what if the life she wants back is not her own?

Review: In The Taking, Kimberly Derting gives us yet another great story full of struggle and romance and the mysterious unknown in her signature relatable writing style that I’ve come to love.   She’s taken a concept that can be precarious to tackle well in fiction and made it fresh---it’s probably the most human alien abduction story I’ve ever come across.

This story very smartly concentrates less on the hows and whys of an unexplainable alien abduction and keeps the focus on Kyra’s struggle to blend back into a life that doesn’t fit anymore.   She’s lost five years in the blink of an eye and hasn’t aged a day.  I was easily drawn into her confusion and hurt as she realized that everything she held dear has changed, her family, her boyfriend, even hopes for her future have all slipped away or changed to the point of being almost unrecognizable.

The love story in this one is not only very sweet, but also a strengthening factor for Kyra.  And not in a way that makes her feel dependent or weak.  It’s actually a bit awkward to begin with; a boy that she last saw as the twelve-year-old brother of her boyfriend is now charming, artistic, and connects with her in ways that his brother never could.  She has a hard time wrapping her head around that at first, of course, and tries to deny their attraction, but well, you can guess how that goes!  Kyra does come across a little angsty at times, especially where her new family situations are concerned but I thought most of her anger and frustration were understandable. She did misdirect some of that at her new little brother, which made it hard to like her at times, but that eventually smoothed out, which I was glad of. 

For me, anything to do with aliens can quickly turn cheesy, but here I think the subject is handled really well.  This IS the start of a new series, and while it touched on the mysterious things going on with government agencies, the sketchy character who claims to be like her, and the strange things that Kyra is discovering about herself after being abducted, there is plenty left wide open to make me curious enough to pick up book two.  It does leave us with a heart-stopping cliffhanger, but I actually loved where the story ended. 

This was one more from this author that I thoroughly enjoyed!

 Find Kimberly Derting online:  Website  •  Twitter  •  Facebook

Purchase The Taking:  Amazon  •   BookDepository  •  Indiebound

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

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 Crystal Heart 
by Sophie Masson

hitting shelves July 1st, 2014 from Random House Australia

description: A girl in a tower. An underground kingdom. This retelling of Rapunzel offers a gripping blend of magic, romance, adventure, fairytale, and mystery.

When 17-year-old army conscript Kasper Bator is chosen to join the elite guard that keeps watch over a dangerous prisoner in a tower, he believes what he's been told: the prisoner is a powerful witch. But when he meets the prisoner, Kasper's life will change forever—for the prisoner is no witch, but a beautiful young girl. The daughter of the country's enemy, the Prince of Night, Izolda has been held hostage since she was three. And she is in imminent danger, for a prophecy says she must die on her 16th birthday if Krainos is to be saved from the Prince of Night. Kasper decides to help her escape. As the days pass, their friendship turns into real love, but their hiding place won't stay safe forever.
My thoughts:  Another fun twist on Rapunzel!  This one looks like it's only going to have an AU release, so thank goodness for sites like Fishpond and Book Depository!! 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

New Shelf Goodies & The Weekly Nutshell {82}

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 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)

New to my shelf this week:
For review:
Boarding school story that intertwines with the Salem Witch Trials. So excited for this!
 I'm a sucker for books about finding old letters or journals..and this involves Old Hollywood!
Curses and magic in a 1930's setting. YES.
A boy who sees another world when he closes his eyes. So curious about this!

Many thanks to Penguin, Disney-Hyperion, and Abrams for these!

The Weekly Nutshell:
{Monday} Review: The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski
{Wednesday} Waiting on Wednesday: Winterspell
{Saturday} Old Books, New Looks : Cover Makeovers!

This week, I read The Taking and really enjoyed it. Now I've started Liv, Forever and Secrets of Lily Graves, both pretty good so far!  I need to unload some books, guys! Oh and actually I got duplicate copies of Otherbound, it's a June release so if anyone has anything fun to trade, just email me! I'm thinking about putting up a trade list soon, but looking for input---where do you like to look for trades?  Goodreads? YABookExchange?  Or should I just post a trade list here? 

Happy reading this week, everyone!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Old Books, New Looks {10}

Time again for another round of Old Books, New Looks, where I feature the covers of books that have already been released and their redesigned paperback counterpart! :) Sometimes I like the new better, sometimes I like the old. Here's a few that I've come across lately:

Some interesting changes this time around! 

Kind of like both, but the new one lacks the intensity and originality of the old. Plus I don't care for the font on the new one. 

The original of this always kind of bugged me---for some reason the eye didn't seem like it was in the right place on her face. The new one is pretty, but again, lacks some originality. 

LOVE the change. The original seemed so boring to me.

Not sure which of these I can really say I like---the new one feels very adult novel to me. However, I always hated that the "YA" characters on the original look like they are almost 30.

Like the new one better...the original was an interesting idea that just came out looking awkward.

Ooooh, major improvement here. Especially love how the title shadows her face.

They really should have stuck with the original on this one---it's focuses on her eyes and make you curious about why they are like that!  The second...not sure what's going she a mannequin?

What are your thoughts on these cover makeovers??

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

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 Claire Legrand
hitting shelves September 30, 2014 from Simon & Schuster
The clock chimes midnight, a curse breaks, and a girl meets a prince . . . but what follows is not all sweetness and sugarplums.

New York City, 1899. Clara Stole, the mayor's ever-proper daughter, leads a double life. Since her mother's murder, she has secretly trained in self-defense with the mysterious Drosselmeyer.

Then, on Christmas Eve, disaster strikes.

Her home is destroyed, her father abducted--by beings distinctly not human. To find him, Clara journeys to the war-ravaged land of Cane. Her only companion is the dethroned prince Nicholas, bound by a wicked curse. If they're to survive, Clara has no choice but to trust him, but his haunted eyes burn with secrets--and a need she can't define. With the dangerous, seductive faery queen Anise hunting them, Clara soon realizes she won't leave Cane unscathed--if she leaves at all.

Inspired by The Nutcracker, Winterspell is a dark, timeless fairy tale about love and war, longing and loneliness, and a girl who must learn to live without fear.
My thoughts: A paranormal YA take on The Nutcracker?? I AM IN. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Becky's View: The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski
♦publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
♦release date: March 4th, 2014
♦hardcover, 355 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦series: Winner's Trilogy, book 1
♦source: from publisher for honest review
As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

Review: A Winner’s Curse is without a doubt one of the most anticipated books of the year among YA readers. And we can all see why:  with lots of early buzz, an enticing story premise, and one perfectly gorgeous cover, it drew us all in.  Marie Rutkoski delivers with writing that is absolutely gorgeous, a world that is intricately built, and two very strong-willed characters to acquaint ourselves with.

While I know many people who absolutely love this one, I found that I did really enjoy it, just not as much as I’d hoped or expected to.  Possibly this one fell victim to overblown hype or high expectations after seeing so many gushing reviews, but I was expecting to swoon like the girl on the cover, to be completely blown away,…and it fell just a little short of that.

Even so, I can’t deny that Marie Rutkoski has some serious writing style.  The language, the descriptions, the imagery, all gorgeously done. What I loved most about this story was Kestrel.  What a great heroine.  She is incredibly sharp, with a mind that her father, the General, covets to strategize his wars. She is determined not to join the military as her father wants and sees past his attempts to manipulate her.  Her passion is music, even though it’s unheard of among the high society.  She is constantly at war with herself, at being who she is within the aristocracy and who she truly is or wants to be inside, especially once Arin comes into her life. I especially loved the conflict and honor she wrestled with once the Herrani revolution began.

The love story took a long time for me to buy into, I loved Kestrel and Arin separately and each of their strength and spirit, but it took me a while to see why they would be so drawn to one another.  Still, by the middle of the story, I was rooting for them.

There is a good bit of history of the Herrani and the Valorians, and of Kestrel and Arin’s own lives, and sometimes I found it interesting, and sometimes I felt it drag a bit.  There is also extensive description of war strategy, which were exciting at times, but I admit my mind wandered a bit.  I found the pacing in the first half to be much slower than the second---it’s definitely the explosive events of the second half that really caught my attention and kept me reading to the end.

The Winner’s Curse is a beautiful intense story, one that I will most likely continue because the end leaves us at a great setup for both characters about to take on new adventures.  If there is one thing for sure, this taste of Rutkoski’s writing has left me hungry for more, and I’ll be seeking out her other work from now on.

Find Marie Rutkoski online:  Website  •  Twitter 

Purchase The Winner's Curse:  Amazon  •  BookDepository  •  Indiebound

Saturday, March 15, 2014

New Shelf Goodies & The Weekly Nutshell {81}

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 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)

It was a week of stand-out covers in my mailbox! 
 For review:
The Violet Hour by Whitney Miller
Cults and mind powers and horror...creepy.
Eleanor by Johnny Worthen
I was told this had a native american folklore twist to it..couldn't resist. 
Great by Sara Benincasa 
Gatsy retelling. Really excited for this one. 
 (Don't You) Forget About Me by Kate Karyus Quinn
Oh my, this looks eerie and so good.

Rain by Amanda Sun 
I was so excited about the first book, but never got to it. I will have to tacked them both!
Dark World by Cara Lynn Shultz
I Wow'ed this one a few weeks ago. Looks really fun. 

Many thanks to Flux Books, Jolly Fish Press, & Harper Teen for these!

The Weekly Nutshell
{Monday} Cover Story
{Tuesday} Waiting on Wednesday: Love, Lucy by April Lindner
{Wednesday} Review: Don't Even Think About It by Sarah Mlynowski

Slow week. There was suppose to be one more review up this week on Friday, but guys, I literally sat in front of a blank page for an hour on Thursday trying to write this review and when I did get a few paragraphs out, it was just not coming out right.  Ever have a review that just refuses to be written? LOL  So I cut myself a break and let it slide until next week.
This week I started reading The Taking by Kimberly Derting. Really enjoying it so far---the beginning reminded me of the old Disney movie, Flight of the Navigator, and that made me so nostalgic.  I must have watched that movie a hundred times when I was little! :)

Hope everyone had a great week! :D

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Becky's View: Don't Even Think About It by Sarah Mlynowski

Don't Even Think About It by Sarah Mlynoski
♦publisher: Delacorte Press
♦release date: March 11th, 2014
♦hardcover, 336 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦source: from publisher for honest review
We weren't always like this. We used to be average New York City high school sophomores. Until our homeroom went for flu shots. We were prepared for some side effects. Maybe a headache. Maybe a sore arm. We definitely didn't expect to get telepathic powers. But suddenly we could hear what everyone was thinking. Our friends. Our parents. Our crushes. Now we all know that Tess is in love with her best friend, Teddy. That Mackenzie cheated on Cooper. That, um, Nurse Carmichael used to be a stripper.

Since we've kept our freakish skill a secret, we can sit next to the class brainiac and ace our tests. We can dump our boyfriends right before they dump us. We know what our friends really think of our jeans, our breath, our new bangs. We always know what's coming. Some of us will thrive. Some of us will crack. None of us will ever be the same.
So stop obsessing about your ex. We're always listening.

Review: With such a crazy and unusual premise, I went into this book knowing there were going to be some hilarious moments.  I was not disappointed, and this story is so much more than that.  These poor kids, just trying to get through the daily high school grind: parents, dating, flirting, looks, weight issues, friends, enemies…we’ve all been there, we know it’s plenty hard enough as it is. Already in real high school life, privacy is hard to come by with the way news spreads in a school situation.  But imagine if what little privacy you had was gone.  Everyone could hear your every thought, and you were forced to listen to every opinion around you. UGH.  

For the kids of homeroom 10B, that’s exactly what life has become. They are all very different people, some of them friends, some not so much, but they have to band together to figure out how to handle their new powers and how to keep everyone from finding out so they don’t end up as guinea pigs, or worse.  Some will use it to their advantage, some will let dark secrets slip, and some will find their whole world crumbling around them.  A lot of it is pretty humorous, but their powers also bring about some very tough and touching moments.  They can’t hide, but they also see through every lie, and they’ll all soon find out that that can be a blessing or a curse. 

The story is told as if the group, "The Espies" as they start to call themselves, is relaying how it all started.  Mostly told in third person, it would sometimes drop into a first person "we" perspective. Something dramatic would happen to one of them and they would all weigh in.  It was a really cute and unique way to tell the story, but it can feel a bit odd until you get used to it.  You really get to know this wide variety of characters (much more than they would want you to, I’m sure!), though I admit that at times there are so many of them its hard to keep track of who is who. But you can’t help but feel for their various mishaps and scandals and heartbreaks set off by this mysterious side effect. 

Don’t Even Think About It is just a really enjoyable read.  I definitely recommend this one next time you’re in the mood for something with a perfect mix of a few good laughs and just a touch of tough emotional subjects. Or perhaps the next time you get a flu shot---it will make you grateful all you get from it is a stick in the arm!
Find Sarah Mlynowski online: Web  •  Twitter  •  Facebook

Purchase Don't Even Think About It: Amazon  •  BookDepository   •  Indiebound 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

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.
Love, Lucy 
by April Lindner
hitting shelves January 15, 2015
from Poppy
While backpacking through Florence, Italy, during the summer before she heads off to college, 17-year-old Lucy Sommersworth finds herself falling in love with the culture, the architecture, the food...and Jesse Palladino, a handsome street musician. After a whirlwind romance, Lucy returns home, determined to move on from her "vacation flirtation." But just because summer is over doesn't mean Lucy and Jesse are over, too.

Inspired by E.M. Forster's A Room with a View.
My thoughts:  Now, I never did get to read April Lindner's Catherine, but I absolutely ADORED Jane, her take on Jane Eyre.  This author has got a real knack for brilliant retellings of classic literature. So I'm excited for more.   And the cover...perfection.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Cover Story

I spied some new fantastic covers this week!

by The Brother's Washburn
Jolly Fish Press, October 7th, 2014

by Nichola Reilly
Harlequin Teen, June 24, 2014

by Kat Beyer
Egmont USA, November 11, 2014

The Last Good Day of the Year
by Jessica Warman
Walker Books, September 9, 2014

by Jennifer McGowan
Simon & Schuster,  August 26, 2014


by Michael Grant
Katherine Tegan Books, September 23, 2014

by Mark Alpert
Thomas Dunne Books, April 22, 2014

by Melissa De La Cruz
Hyperion, September 9, 2014

Mojave Green's cover freaks me out just as much as the first book did! But I love it.  I love the colors on The Furies.  And the new cover style for the Maid of Secrets/Maid of Deception series is defintiley growing on me.  What do YOU think of these new book covers?

Saturday, March 8, 2014

New Shelf Goodies & The Weekly Nutshell {80}

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 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)

Here's what's new to my shelves this week:
The Seers by Julianna Scott
Book one of this series actually made it to my top books list for 2013...can't wait to start this!

For Review: 
Dead Silent by Sharon Jones
 Dead Jealous started this series off great, and this one looks even better!
The Mirk and Midnight Hour by Jane Nickerson
 Looking forward to another eerie atmospheric read like Strands of Bronze and Gold!
Don't Even Think About It by Sarah Mlynowski
Nice to have a finished copy! I reviewed the ARC and that will be up this week!
Never Ending by Martyn Bedford
This looks really good--though the character that is dead shares my youngest son's name...not sure I could handle that. :(
This looks really cute---I haven't read this author before!

Many thanks to Hachette UK and Random House for these!

The Weekly Nutshell 

{Tuesday} Waiting on Wednesday: The Last Changeling
{Wednesday} Review: Dorothy Must Die
{Friday} Review: Tsarina

 Aw, guys, it's daylight savings time here in the US...and not the good one where we gain an hour (another reason I favor fall lol) but the crappy one where we "spring ahead" and lose a precious hour of sleep. Boooo.  This week I read Don't Even Think About It---such a cute story so look out for my review this week. And I'm half-way through Winner's Curse, and I hate to admit I'm not enjoying it as much as I'd hoped. I know I'm in the minority on this one, so I can't help but wonder if it's just me! LOL  Maybe I'm distracted or I'm missing's good so far, just not great.  Maybe the second half will amaze's hoping. 

So that's my week in books---hope everyone has a great week coming up! 

Friday, March 7, 2014

Becky's View: Tsarina by J. Nelle Patrick

Tsarina by J. Nelle Patrick
♦publisher: Razorbill
♦hardcover,  331 pages
♦release date: February 27th, 2014
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦source: ARC from publisher for honest review
Natalya knows a secret.
A magical Faberge egg glows within the walls of Russia's Winter Palace.
It holds a power rooted in the land and stolen from the mystics.
A power that promises a life of love for her and Alexei Romanov.
Power, that, in the right hands, can save her way of life.
But it's not in the right hands.

Review: In Tsarina, and under a new pen name, Jackson Pearce shows us yet another side of her writing talents as she takes us on an alternate-historical adventure set in the world of the Romanov family and Russia on the brink of war.  Some die hard history buffs may be a bit bothered by the creative license taken with a few time lines and the ages of the Romanov children, but let yourself get past that, and you’re in a for a beautifully written, lushly descriptive, and romantic tale.

Natalya is a noble, comfortable in her life of glittering parties in the palace, but also fiercely patriotic in her love of Russia. She’s grown up alongside the Romanov children and will soon be married to Alexei.  One night, Alexei tells her the family’s greatest secret: they are protected by a magical fabrege egg created by the late Rasputin.  Shortly after, the family flees and the palace is overtaken by Reds.

Natalya is incredibly brave and determined in her quest to retrieve the egg and get it back to the family. Of course, the secret egg is not so secret after all and more people than her are determined to get their hands on it.  Natalya and her friend Delia will definitely have their eyes opened to a world beyond their own as they find themselves kidnapped and crossing the country with a Red.  I love that she stays true to her ideals for Russia, but is forced to see that they are not the ideals of everyone, and she learns compassion.

There is a lot of magic running though this story, both pushing it along and tying it all together.  There is the egg itself, but Natalya’s fate also inadvertently tangles with the mystics of the land.   Their desperation to regain their magic spirals into an explosive struggle for power and control.

This story is beautifully crafted with vivid imagery of a Russian winter, wild magic, and a revolution about to happen.  It does sometimes get a little carried away and over-descriptive, but it’s still gorgeous and atmospheric and romantic in many different ways.

The author sums up the most important idea of the story she tells perfectly in her ending notes:
“When you forget that those you disagree with are people, not just your faceless opposition, you don’t end up proving who is right and who is wrong. You end up with a body count.”

Find J. Nelle Patrick online: Website  •  Twitter  •  Facebook

Purchase Tsarina:  Amazon  •  BookDepository  •  Indiebound