Thursday, June 26, 2014

Look out Vegas!! Here come the librarians!!

It's finally here! Time to go hang out in Vegas with all my fellow library peeps! :D Despite my dread of the unrelenting Vegas heat (dry or not, 105+ is unbearable!), I am so incredibly excited to be attending this great conference once again.  So much to look forward to, including meeting a few of my favorite authors (Jay Asher! Cat Winters! JUDY BLUME!! Just to name a few...), discover what is up and coming in the library world, grabbing a few awesome books, and of course, hanging out with and chatting up some incredible librarians, bloggers, and publicists!!

If you happen to be attending ALA too, please don't hesitate to say hello if you spot me wandering the Exhibit floor! Or if you want to find me, you an always tweet me @storiesweeties! Hopefully I'll have my head together enough to tweet a bit of the event, but I can't promise anything.  I get so overwhelmed at these things!

I'll be back early next week with a full report and hopefully some fun photos!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard {review}

Something Strange and Deadly
by Susan Dennard
♦publisher: HarperTeen
♦release date: July 24th 2014
♦hardcover, 388 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦series: Something Strange and Deadly, book 1
There's something strange and deadly loose in Philadelphia...

Eleanor Fitt has a lot to worry about. Her brother has gone missing, her family as fallen on hard times, and her mother is determined to marry her off to any rich young man who walkers by. But this is nothing compared to what she's just read in the newspaper—

The Dead are rising in Philadelphia.

And then, in a frightening attack, a zombie delivers a letter to Eleanor... from her brother.

Whoever is controlling the Dead army has taken her brother as well. If Eleanor is going to find him, she'll have to venture into the lab of the notorious Spirit-Hunters, who protect the city from supernatural forces. But as Eleanor spends more time with the Spirit-Hunters, including the maddeningly stubborn yet handsome Daniel, the situation becomes dire. An now, not only is her reputation on the line, but her very life may hang in the balance.

Review:  Something Strange and Deadly wastes no time dallying around it’s wild premise; from it’s chaotic first scene in a Victorian train station, where Eleanor Fitt awaits her brother’s arrival, we get a taste of what’s in store---the dead are rising from their graves in Pittsburg, and thanks to a message oddly delivered by a rotting corpse, Eleanor knows her brother is somehow involved.  To find out what has happened to him, or if he is even still alive, Eleanor puts her trust in a group of misfit spirit-hunters.  They’ve been hired to rid the city of the dead, but can’t seem to gain the city’s confidence.  As Eleanor gets more and more involved with them and their work, she uncovers a few family secrets that have been around her all along. 

Eleanor is a fun character, spirited and torn between helping her mother and straining against her tight control. I thought it was funny that she often referred to her as “dragon mother”.  Her mother has been skirting close to madness since their father died, and she’ll do anything, including bartering Eleanor’s hand in marriage, to secure a place back in high society.  Eleanor also rails against the restraints of strict manner and corsets, especially after meeting Jie, the Chinese spirit hunter girl who dresses like a boy.  Jie was a favorite character, she was so fierce! And there was also Daniel.  A feisty and fiery start between Daniel and Eleanor simmers into a possibly romance and some really sweet moments.   

What sets this aside from other zombie books, is that it’s really not about the zombies.  They are really just a small part in this wild tale about magic and necromancy, science and power, and a girl who is trying to find both her lost brother and her own place in the world.  So excited to have two more books in this series to dive into!

One small note, and this is a a plea to the publisher and publishers everywhere! One of the things that came up several times is that Eleanor had to stand up for herself against attacks on her less-than-sticklike figure. I would have loved to see Eleanor’s real stature better represented on the cover. Whoever that super skinny thing is on the cover, it’s not Eleanor! That's not, however, why I held back a rating---the story was fun and entertaining, but really quite predictable when it came to the mystery of who the necromancer was!

Find Susan Dennard online: Website  •  Twitter  •  Facebook

Purchase:  •  BookDepository  •  Indiebound

Tuesday, June 24, 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 MarcyKate Connolly
hitting shelves February 10th, 2015 from HarperCollins

The city of Bryre suffers under the magic of an evil wizard. Because of his curse, girls sicken and disappear without a trace, and Bryre’s inhabitants live in fear. No one is allowed outside after dark.

Yet night is the only time that Kymera can enter this dangerous city, for she must not be seen by humans. Her father says they would not understand her wings, the bolts in her neck, or her spiky tail—they would kill her. They would not understand that she was created for a purpose: to rescue the girls of Bryre.

Despite her caution, a boy named Ren sees Kym and begins to leave a perfect red rose for her every evening. As they become friends, Kym learns that Ren knows about the missing girls, the wizard, and the evil magic that haunts Bryre.

And what he knows will change Kym’s life.

Reminiscent of Frankenstein and the tales of the Brothers Grimm, this debut novel by MarcyKate Connolly stands out as a compelling, original story that has the feel of a classic.
My thoughts:  This looks fantastic and I've been having so much fun with original fairy tales lately. Plus, this cover artwork is so amazing. I love it!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

New Shelf Goodies & The Weekly Nutshell {93}

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 shelf goodies:
Find Me Where the Water Ends by Rachel Carter
 Thorn Jack looks really interesting, based on a Scottish fairy tale. I haven't started the other two series, but they are both series that I've been wanting to read!

The Weekly Nutshell: 

Nothing much going on this past week, besides last minutes prep for our trip to ALA Vegas. Very excited but dreading the weather since I pretty much wilt in hot weather. Still, SO excited to be going. I'm just about done with the second book in the Something Strange and Deadly series---love the second even more than the first! A rare thing with series! :D

Have a great week everyone! :)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A Creature of Moonlight by Rebecca Hahn {review}

Creature of Moonlight
by Rebecca Hahn
♦publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
♦release date:  May 6th, 2014
♦hardcover, 313 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦source: from publisher for honest review
A stunning debut novel about a girl who is half dragon, half human, and wholly herself.

As the only heir to the throne, Marni should have been surrounded by wealth and privilege, not living in exile-but now the time has come when she must choose between claiming her birthright as princess of a realm whose king wants her dead, and life with the father she has never known: a wild dragon who is sending his magical woods to capture her.

Fans of Bitterblue and Seraphina will be captured by A Creature of Moonlight, with its richly layered storytelling and the powerful choices its strong heroine must make.

Review: If you’re in the mood for a fairy tale, not a retelling, but a wholly unique creation with as much darkness, mystique, and wonder as a story straight from Grimm, Creature of Moonlight is what you want. With dozens of odd little creatures leering out of the woods, a lady with the knowledge of how to knit pine needles into pure vengeance, and girls who run off into the woods to escape their fears never to be seen again, Rebecca Hahn’s debut spares no creativity to spin Marni’s magical story.  On the contrary, readers looking for a fast-paced action-heavy adventure will not find it here.  This story takes it’s time relinquishing all of its secrets and fleshing itself out, and I was completely mesmerized by the language, the intrigue, and the mystery.

The sincerity of all the characters is what really engaged me here.  Even inhabiting such a world of fantasy doesn’t stop each and every one from feeling completely genuine in their actions and emotions, from Marni who just seems to want to find freedom and a place of belonging, to her Grandfather who lovingly made incredible sacrifices to protect her, to the Lord who persistently tries to win her over, the Queen who unexpectedly befriends her, and even the King who will never let her live in peace because of who she is. They just all struck me a completely sure in what they were doing and why.

Marni was an incredible character with a heaping share of determination, stubborn attitude, and strength of heart. She’s the only girl who is lured into the woods and doesn’t disappear, but she’s torn between letting herself be taken for good, and living in a world that seems to have nearly forgotten her.  When she finds herself at court, she seems pulled toward the small happinesses she finds there, too. She’s constantly trying to find a place where she belongs, where she feels free, and what it is that will define “home” for her.

It’s a really gorgeous story, and so beautifully told. It ambles off into so many curious corners and is so far off the usual plotting paths.  I really enjoyed this one and highly recommend to all lovers of fairy tales. 

Find Rebecca Hahn online:  Website  •  Twitter

Purchase Creature of Moonlight:  •  BookDepository  •  Indiebound

Tuesday, June 17, 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 Orphan Queen 
by Jodi Meadows

hitting shelves March 10th, 2015 from Katherine Tegen books
Wilhelmina has a hundred identities.

She is a princess. When the Indigo Kingdom conquered her homeland, Wilhelmina and other orphaned children of nobility were taken to Skyvale, the Indigo Kingdom’s capital. Ten years later, they are the Ospreys, experts at stealth and theft. With them, Wilhelmina means to take back her throne.

She is a spy. Wil and her best friend, Melanie, infiltrate Skyvale Palace to study their foes. They assume the identities of nobles from a wraith-fallen kingdom, but enemies fill the palace, and Melanie’s behavior grows suspicious. With Osprey missions becoming increasingly dangerous and their leader more unstable, Wil can’t trust anyone.

She is a threat. Wraith is the toxic by-product of magic, and for a century using magic has been forbidden. Still the wraith pours across the continent, reshaping the land and animals into fresh horrors. Soon it will reach the Indigo Kingdom. Wilhelmina’s magic might be the key to stopping the wraith, but if the vigilante Black Knife discovers Wil’s magic, she will vanish like all the others

Jodi Meadows introduces a vivid new fantasy full of intrigue, romance, dangerous magic, and one girl’s battle to reclaim her place in the world.
My thoughts: Awesome looking high fantasy from Jodi Meadows, author of the Newsoul series, one of my favorites. So yea, I'm reading this. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

News that made my day...

OMG. Guys. I just saw a most fabulous announcement on Twitter and USA Today regarding one of my favorite series, The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer.  Ok, so not the BEST news EVER. Because this also came with the news that Winter has been pushed back to November 2015.

Have you heard about this?? Because my mind is reeling...

 Not a novella, not a teaser for Winter, a full-fledged 256 page companion novel about the wicked Lunar Queen, Levana.  According to USA Today, an event happens in Fairest that will impact a major turning point in Winter. That's so exciting!!

Check out the whole story and interview with Melissa Meyer on USA Today!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

New Shelf Goodies & The Weekly Nutshell {92}

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)

A small but fun haul this week, especially excited for Witch Hunt---loved the first book! 
 For review:

Thanks to Abrams and Hodder Children's for these!!

The Weekly Nutshell: 
{Monday} Review: Dangerous Creatures
{Tuesday} Waiting on Wednesday: Jackaby
{Thursday} Cover Story

Another mad week! I think I have to face facts and stop calling a three-post week a "slow week"...I think that is just all life is allowing me to do right now! With everyone home and Father's day and vacation coming up and work and all the madness.  To push to do more would be pressure, and pressure leads to unhappy blogging. So three posts it is lol (well, actually four, including New Shelf Goodies, but I never count those in the recaps). 

This week I read Creature of Moonlight, which was lovely---full review to come this week. And I've started my binge-read of the Something Strange and Deadly series. Loving it so far! 
What are you reading this week? Be sure to link me up to your haul posts! I love seeing them!


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Cover Story

New covers starting to pop up.  Some of these are just breathtaking. And one involves a lot of floating heads. LOL

by Lauren DeStefano
Simon & Schuster, May 10, 2015

by Lanie Bross
Delacorte Press, January 27, 2015

by Sean Williams
Balzer & Bray, November 4, 2014

In a World Just Right
by Jen Brooks
Simon & Schuster, 2015

by Jamie Kain
ST. Martin's Griffin, October 7, 2014

The Third Twin
by CJ Omololu
Delacorte Press, 2015

What do you think? Any new favorites? Guess which series is getting a whole new look? Yup, Perfect Ruin is getting a makeover that matches Burning Kingdoms. Both are pretty, but I really loved the original Perfect Ruin cover. Ah well.  And I love the Chaos cover---even if he does have her like a sack of potatoes. And well, floating heads. Not too sure. ;)  Third Twin looks creeeeepy :)

Tuesday, June 10, 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 William Ritter
hitting shelves September 16th, 2014 from Algonquin Young Readers

“Miss Rook, I am not an occultist,” Jackaby said. “I have a gift that allows me to see truth where others see the illusion--and there are many illusions. All the world’s a stage, as they say, and I seem to have the only seat in the house with a view behind the curtain.”

Newly arrived in New Fiddleham, New England, 1892, and in need of a job, Abigail Rook meets R. F. Jackaby, an investigator of the unexplained with a keen eye for the extraordinary--including the ability to see supernatural beings. Abigail has a gift for noticing ordinary but important details, which makes her perfect for the position of Jackaby’s assistant. On her first day, Abigail finds herself in the midst of a thrilling case: A serial killer is on the loose. The police are convinced it’s an ordinary villain, but Jackaby is certain it’s a nonhuman creature, whose existence the police--with the exception of a handsome young detective named Charlie Cane--deny.

Doctor Who meets Sherlock in William Ritter’s debut novel, which features a detective of the paranormal as seen through the eyes of his adventurous and intelligent assistant in a tale brimming with cheeky humor and a dose of the macabre.
My thoughts: They had me at "Doctor Who" meets "Sherlock".  There is no way I'm not reading this after a comparison like that. :)  Plus all the mystery, supernatural elements, and a Victorian setting puts this squarely on my most-wanted list.


Monday, June 9, 2014

Dangerous Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl {review}

Dangerous Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
♦publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
♦release date: May 20th, 2014
♦hardcover, 368 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦series:Dangerous Creatures, book 1
♦source: from publisher via SF Book review
Ridley Duchannes will be the first to tell you that she's a bad girl. She's Dark. She's a Siren. You can never trust her, or even yourself when she's around. Lucky for her, Wesley "Link" Lincoln can never seem to remember that; quarter Incubus or not, his heart is Mortal when it comes to Ridley. When Link heads to New York City to start a music career, Ridley goes along for the ride-and she has her own reasons. As if leaving small-town Gatlin for the big city, trying to form a band, and surviving life with a partially reformed Siren isn't hard enough already, Link soon learns he has a price on his head that no Caster or Mortal can ever pay.

Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, the #1 New York Times bestselling coauthors of Beautiful Creatures, are back and casting another magical spell. Their signature mixture of mystery, suspense, and romance, along with a dash of fun and danger, will pull fans in and leave them begging for more.

Review: While I admittedly didn’t finish the Beautiful Creatures series (I read the first two, but somehow lost interested half-way through the third), I couldn’t resist the temptation to pick up this spin-off featuring two of my favorite characters.  Link and Ridley have run off to New York to follow Link’s dream of success in a band.  What Link doesn't know is that Ridley already has a gig lined up for him---one involving a dark caster that will hold both their lives in his hands.

With these two huge personalities constantly bantering and flaring up with their own biting humor, the entertainment is pretty non-stop.  But aside from the battle of snark between them, we also get a long overdue look into a different side of their personalities. Link is not just the goofy cocky best friend of Ethan, and Ridley has more going on in her head that being the sultry dangerous siren.  We get a glimpse into their on-again-off-again relationship and their deepest well-hidden insecurities.   There’s also a few peeks at Ridley’s memories that lead to one really heart-wrenching twist to the story.

They encounter some great new characters in their move to New York.  The new band is made up of a heavily pierced Necromancer, an illusionist with eyes for Link, and a Darkborn with a seriously icy shell. Also introduced is Lennox Gates, a seemingly sinister character who definitely took me by surprise. I personally hope to see him in the next books of this series. 

Though it’s a pretty straight-forward plot of revenge with just a few slows in pacing after their arrival in NYC, the danger steadily builds as it careens toward an explosive climactic scene and a shocking cliffhanger ending.  As I suspected it would be, Link and Ridley’s first solo adventure proved to be one wild ride!

Find Margaret Stohl online:  Website  •  Twitter  •  Facebook
Find Kami Garcia online:  Website  •  Twitter  •  Facebook

Purchase Dangerous Creatures:  BN.Com   •  BookDepository  •  Indiebound

Sunday, June 8, 2014

New Shelf Goodies & The Weekly Nutshell {91}

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 I got this week:
For review:
The Cabinet of Curiosities by Stefan Bachmann, Katherine Catmull, Claire LeGrand, and Emma Trevayne (story collection)
Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini
The Vault of Dreamers by Caragh M. O'brien
I could comment separately on each one, but really I'm so excited for every single one of these! I was oooing and aaahing like it was the 4th of July every time I opened a package. :D

And I have to show the packaging for Trial by Fire...once again, I'm in awe of Macmillan's marketing team. Lovely, lovely...

Thanks to Greenwillow Books and Macmillan for the mail this week!

The Weekly Nutshell: 

Well, gosh, I guess I sort of disappeared midweek! It's been too hot here to do much of anything but sit very still, read, and eat ice cream.  We went to the zoo for my son's birthday on Wednesday and I think my brain might have melted. Seriously, I don't do well in heat, and summer hasn't even started. Is it autumn yet??? :D

Wednesday, June 4, 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.
Of Scars and Stardust 
by Andrea Hannah
hitting shelves October 8th, 2014 from Flux Books
After her little sister mysteriously vanishes, seventeen-year-old Claire Graham has a choice to make: stay snug in her little corner of Manhattan with her dropout boyfriend, or go back to Ohio to face the hometown tragedy she's been dying to leave behind.

But the memories of that night still haunt her in the city, and as hard as she tries to forget what her psychiatrist calls her "delusions," Claire can't seem to escape the wolf's eyes or the blood-speckled snow. Delusion or reality, Claire knows she has to hold true to the most important promise she's ever made: to keep Ella safe. She must return to her sleepy hometown in order to find Ella and keep her hallucinations at bay before they strike again. But time is quickly running out, and as Ella's trail grows fainter, the wolves are becoming startlingly real.

Now Claire must deal with her attraction to Grant, the soft-spoken boy from her past that may hold the secret to solving her sister's disappearance, while following the clues that Ella left for only her to find. Through a series of cryptic diary entries, Claire must unlock the keys to Ella's past—and her own—in order to stop another tragedy in the making, while realizing that not all things that are lost are meant to be found.
My thoughts:  A sister story, a psychological thriller, a story involving wolves...all things that make me WANT THIS.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Meet You on Monday!

Hello, all! Welcome to Meet You on Monday! This is a very new semi-regular feature here: I’m going to be posting a fun question or subject (sometimes book related, sometimes not!) and of course, answer it myself here.  Feel free to answer it also, in the comments or grab the banner and do your own post! Through this feature, I hoping we all get to know each other better! :)

So here's today's question:

Reading Timeline: What books did you read growing up?

At the thought of meeting one my favorite childhood authors (witness fangirling on this post), I’ve been nostalgically remembering the books that I grew up on. I thought it would be fun to share a timeline of what books I was reading at different ages, books that stuck with me and made me the avid reader I am today. :

So there’s my reading journey! At least a little glimpse at it---there have been so many other wonderful books that made me the reader I am today! I know I’m probably forgetting some really obvious ones! :D  Notice a glaring pull toward fantasy my whole life? I always did love  magic and ghosties and dragons. 

SO what about YOU?? What have you been reading throughout the years??