Thursday, April 30, 2015

What's New: May YA Release List & Giveaway

OH my this year needs to sloooow dooowwwn. My head is just spinning that it is already MAY.  Summer is right around the corner---in fact where I am, we have already had a few days that hit 90 degrees. That's not okay. :(  End of school is also right around the corner..eek! I can't even wrap my head around that. On the book front, though: tons of awesome books coming out this month! Check out that list below!

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 April's giveaway is Sarah S.! Congrats!

May 2015 Releases:
Just like previous months, I've put a little lve by those books that I am really anticipating!

Fallout by Gwenda Bond
Fire & Chasm by Chelsea M. Campbell
The Merit Birds by Kelley Powell

Atlantis in Peril by T.A. Barron
Blue by Lisa Glass
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
The Clouded Sky by Megan Crewe
Crimson Bound by Rosamond Hodge
Dust to Dust by Melissa Walker
The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West
Galgorithms by Aaron Karo
Halfway Perfect by Julie Cross & Mark Perini
The Heir by Kiera Cass
Hexed by Michael Alan Nelson
Ice Kissed by Amanda Hocking
Isle of the Lost by Melissa de la Cruz
Lola Carlyle's 12-Step Romance by Danielle Young-Ullman
Love, Lucas by Chantele Sedgwick
Novice by Taran Matharu
Overtaken by Mark H. Kruger
Revenge, Ice Cream, and Other Things Best Served Cold by Katie Finn
Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen
Seriously Wicked by Tina Connelly
Some Kind of Normal by Juliana Stone
The Summer After You and Me by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski
Tracked by Jenny Martin
Under the Spotlight by Angie Stanton
Undertow by Michael Buckley
Until the Beginning by Amy Plum

Avalon Rising by Kathryn Rose
What Remains by Helene Dunbar

5 to 1 by Holly Bodger
Apple and Rain by Sarah Crossan
Burn by Sarah Fine & Walter Jury
The Cost of All Things by Maggie Lehrman
Crow's Rest by Angelica R. Jackson
Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge
End of Days by Susan Ee
Fell of Dark by Patrick Downes
Kisses and Curses (Fierce Reads anthology)
Heat of the Moment by Lauren Barnholdt
The Hunted by Matt De La Pena
Love Fortunes and Other Disasters by Kimberly Karalius
Making Pretty by Corey Ann Haydu
A Matter of Heart by Amy Fellner Dominy
The Messengers by Edward Hogan
Out of Control by Sarah Alderson
The Rise and Fall of the Gallivanters by M.J. Beaufrand
Second Kiss: Spell Crossed by Robert Priest
The Sound by Sarah Alderson
The Tale of Two Besties by Sophia Rossi
Toxic by Sara Shepard
Vanished by E.E. Cooper
Velvet by Temple West
We Are All Made of Molecules by Susin Nielson
The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

Bone Deep by Kim O'Brien
Chantress Fury by Amy Butler Greenfield
Dangerous Deceptions by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Eternity Wheel by Neil Gaiman & Michael Reaves
From a Distant Star by Karen McQuestion
Hit Count by Chris Lynch
Hold Me Like a Breath by Tiffany Schmidt
Illusionarium by Heater Dixon
The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak by Brian Katcher
Killer Within by S.E. Green
The Last Good Day of the Year by Jessica Warman
Maximum Ride Forever by James Patterson
Off the Page by Jodi Picoult & Samantha van Leer
Sasquatch by Andrea Schicke Hirsch
Scarlett Undercover by Jennifer Latham
A School for Unusual Girls by Kathleen Baldwin
A Sense of the Infinite by Hilary T. Smith
Three Day Summer by Sarvenaz Tash

Anything Could Happen by Will Walton
The Cage by Megan Shepard
Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan
Dime by E.R. Frank
The Edge of Shadows by Elizabeth George
Emancipated by M.G. Reyes
Eternal City by Paula Morris
Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider 
Immaculate by Katelyn Detweiler
Kissing in America by Margo Rabb
I am Princess X by Cherie Priest and Kali Ciesemeir
The Notorious Pagan Jones by Nina Berry
Nowhere but Here by Katie McGarry
Out of Aces by Stephanie Guerra
The Porcupine of Truth by Bill Konigsberg
Outage by Ellisa Barr
P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han
Rusty Summer by Mary McKinley
Shadow of the Wolf by Tim Hall
srsly Hamlet by William Shakespeare and Courtney Carbone
The Tenderness of Thieves by Donna Freitas
YOLO Juliet by William Shakespeare and Brett Wright

 (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 May release of their choice! *see note below
• Contest ends May 31st
, 2015 at 11:59 PM
• Must be 13 or older.
• Open internationally. *International winners will be required to choose a book that is available through
•Extra entries can be earned by commenting on
April or May reviews, and can be done once per review. Come back throughout May whenever you comment on my reviews and get your extra points!    
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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Beastkeeper by Cat Hellison {review}

by Cat Hellison
♦publisher: Henry Holt & Co
♦release date: February 3rd, 2015
♦hardcover, 208 pages
♦intended audience: Middle Grade
♦source: from publisher for honest review
Sarah has always been on the move. Her mother hates the cold, so every few months her parents pack their bags and drag her off after the sun. She’s grown up lonely and longing for magic. She doesn’t know that it’s magic her parents are running from.
When Sarah’s mother walks out on their family, all the strange old magic they have tried to hide from comes rising into their mundane world. Her father begins to change into something wild and beastly, but before his transformation is complete, he takes Sarah to her grandparents—people she has never met, didn’t even know were still alive.
Deep in the forest, in a crumbling ruin of a castle, Sarah begins to untangle the layers of curses affecting her family bloodlines, until she discovers that the curse has carried over to her, too. The day she falls in love for the first time, Sarah will transform into a beast . . . unless she can figure out a way to break the curse forever.

Review: Cat Hellison so perfectly captures the classic fairy tale feel in Beastkeeper. I loved her writing style in When the Sea is Rising Red and while completely different, I love it here, too. It's lyrical while still feeling contemporary, you can hear that it's told by a young girl of modern times, albeit a girl that is thrust into a pretty extraordinary and lonely situation.  She's such a strong, sincere character and I can't imagine being her age (or any age for that matter!) and discover that you'll turn into a beast and possibly lose yourself inside that beast the first time you fall in love!

The mystery and magic keeps the pages flying by, and I appreciated that evil is not plain evil, good is not always good, love is not straightforward or easy, and Sarah discovers that being human is not the only way to be herself.  There is a stroke of humor to the writing as Sarah actually does become the beast and we feel her struggling to keep her thoughts more human that wild animal. 

With it's intricate twists and the way it examines such intense things, like what it means to be yourself, the love of family, and the twisted ways of love and forgiveness, I can see Beastkeeper being one story that reaches out far beyond it's middle grade audience.

Find Cat Hellison online: Website  •  Twitter  

Purchase Beastkeeper:  Indiebound  •  BookDepository  •  Amazon

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It lets us all gush about what soon-to-be released books we are jumping-up-and-down excited for.
by Amy Alward

hitting shelves July 2nd (UK) and September 29th (US)
from Simon & Schuster
When Nova's princess (more Kate Middleton than Rapunzel!) is poisoned by her own love potion, the city's alchemists are entered into a deadly, high-profile quest to find a cure. It's the chance of a lifetime for Sam's alchemist family, who have been mixing magic potions for generations... but can Sam save their crumbling reputation?

Sam must choose whether to work with or against her best friends, Anita and Arjun, and finds herself thrown towards Zain, heir to the ZoroAster synthetic potions corporation, and her arch enemy. He also happens to be the boy most likely to marry the princess...

With the nation's media watching her every move, Sam overcomes incredible dangers and impossible dilemmas in order to hunt down the ingredients: a mermaid's pearl, pink jasmine, Eluvian ivy, hair from an abominable and a unicorn's tail. Tricky. Can Sam save the now dangerously powerful princess by winning the contest? And just how close are she and Zain willing to get in the meantime?

My thoughts:
Very excited for this one!! This one will be released in the US under the title MADLY, but I'm featuring the UK edition here today. When it comes down to it, this will be the one I order, not only because I adore the cover illustration, but because it comes out sooner---the sooner I'll have it in my hot little hands! :D

Monday, April 27, 2015

Prodigal/Riven Blog Tour- Double Giveaway!

Today I'm excited to be participating in the blog tour for Prodigal & Riven, books 2 & 3 in The Lost Imperial series by Tyler H. Jolley and Sherry Ficklin! It's a giveaway bonanza! :D  I personally am offering up an international giveaway of the paperback (it includes both books! How cool is that!) and there is also a really cool tour-wide giveaway for a fantastic prize pack! Read all about this awesome series and then enter both giveaway below!

Welcome to the TIME WAR.

STEIN has been with the Hollows for as long as she can remember. Taken as a child, she has no memories of her past—and that's always been fine by her. Until the day she stumbles across a hidden journal containing the devastating truth about her paternity. Now everything she thought she knew—and everyone she thought she could trust—has changed. The truth about who she is and where she came from is a secret so deep, it will rock the Hollows and the Tesla Institute alike.

ETHAN is left with a serious problem after what should have been a routine mission. He's fractured—a break between mind and body that leaves him at the mercy of his Rifter abilities, which are quickly tearing him apart. He will have to trust the only person who might know how to fix him, a mysterious Rifter named Stewart Stills, who seems to have a special connection with the time stream.

About the authors:

Tyler H. Jolley is a sci-fi/fantasy author and full-time orthodontist, periodontist (see: Overachiever). He divides his spare time between writing, reading, mountain biking, and camping with his family.
Sherry D. Ficklin is a full-time writer and internet radio show host with more mouth then good sense. She has a serious book addiction, but continually refuses treatment, much to her husband’s chagrin.
Tyler and Sherry met one fateful day and bonded over their love for books, science fiction, and donuts. Their first co-written novel came shortly after. Now, they still do all those other things, but also go to various steampunk conventions and events under the guise of ‘research’. They can often be found lurking on the Lost Imperials Facebook page or over on the official website,   

Now on to the giveaways!

I'm giving away one copy of the combined Prodigal/Riven paperback! 
Open internationally.
Ends 5/5/15, so I can get it ordered as soon as the book is released.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A Humongous prize pack is being given away tour-wide! Be sure to use those arrows in the rafflecopter to scroll through the awesome list of prizes!
US addresses only. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck everyone!  

Sunday, April 26, 2015

All The Rage by Courtney Summers Blog Tour Giveaway

Today the blog tour for All the Rage rolls through!  I'm thrilled to feature this book and offer up a chance to win a copy!

The sheriff’s son, Kellan Turner, is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is, and Romy Grey knows that for a fact. Because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town, the truth about him has cost her everything—friends, family, and her community. Branded a liar and bullied relentlessly by a group of kids she used to hang out with, Romy’s only refuge is the diner where she works outside of town. No one knows her name or her past there; she can finally be anonymous. But when a girl with ties to both Romy and Kellan goes missing after a party, and news of him assaulting another girl in a town close by gets out, Romy must decide whether she wants to fight or carry the burden of knowing more girls could get hurt if she doesn’t speak up. Nobody believed her the first time—and they certainly won’t now — but the cost of her silence might be more than she can bear. 

With a shocking conclusion and writing that will absolutely knock you out, All the Rage examines the shame and silence inflicted upon young women after an act of sexual violence, forcing us to ask ourselves: In a culture that refuses to protect its young girls, how can they survive?


Courtney Summers lives and writes in Canada, where she divides most of her time between a camera, a piano and a word processing program. She is also the author of What Goes Around, This is Not a Test, Fall for Anything, Some Girls Are, Cracked Up to Be, and Please Remain Calm.  


•Must be 13 or older
•Open to US/CAN addresses only
•Ends May 10th, 2015
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New Shelf Goodies & The Weekly Nutshell {124}

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)
My new goodies for the last two weeks:
Such an interesting mix this week. So excited for Pip Bartlett---love the two authors and Maggie's illustrations! So fun! I'm most of the way through Seriously Wicked--it's a cute read. Check out the blog tour when it rolls through here on the 8th! The others are from an awesome Harper box; I don't know much about most of them but so excited to have a finished copy of Orphan Queen!!

Thanks to HarperCollins, Tor, & Scholastic for these!

The Weekly Nutshell
 Just getting back into the swing of things this week after our little vacation.  Last week we were in Texas and I had the absolute pleasure of attending TLA! Gah it was so awesome! :) So many great signings, memorable moments, and some much need time with my best friend. :) I'm going to do a recap this week and tell more about that, but yea--so fun! 
This week I read Love Fortunes & Other Disasters and most of Seriously Wicked. Both really cute and both have tour stops coming through here in early May, so look out for that!  

Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Water and the Wild Blog Tour: Guest Post & Giveaway!

Today I'm so excited to feature this awesome book by K.E. Ormsbee, The Water and the Wild!  K.E. (aka Kathryn) is going to give us an insider introduction to her main character, Lottie. :) I'll also be giving one lucky reader a chance to win an autographed copy! Here we go!

A green apple tree grows in the heart of Thirsby Square, and tangled up in its magical roots is the story of Lottie Fiske. For as long as Lottie can remember, the only people who seem to care about her are her best friend, Eliot, and the mysterious letter writer who sends her birthday gifts. But now strange things are happening on the island Lottie calls home, and Eliot's getting sicker, with a disease the doctors have given up trying to cure. Lottie is helpless, useless, powerless—until a door opens in the apple tree. Follow Lottie down through the roots to another world in pursuit of the impossible: a cure for the incurable, a use for the useless, and protection against the pain of loss.

Meet Lottie Fiske!
Kathryn: Hello! I’m tickled pink to be dropping by Stories & Sweeties. Thank you for hosting me!

Today, I’m pleased to introduce you to Lottie Fiske, the twelve-year-old heroine of The Water and the Wild who journeys to the magical world of Albion Isle on a quest to save her best friend’s life. That’s what the jacket flap of the book will tell you, but who is Lottie Fiske, really? Let me better acquaint you with these ten fun facts:

Fun Fact # 1
Lottie’s favorite item of clothing is her periwinkle tweed coat. She wears it even on warm days. Why periwinkle? Because a) periwinkle is a fabulous word and b) it’s my own favorite color.

Fun Fact #2
Lottie’s birthday is March 17, which technically makes her twelve and a half when her story begins on a rainy September day.

Fun Fact #3
Lottie’s full name is Charlotte Grace Fiske. The name Charlotte is a tribute to one of my favorite children’s books, Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White.

Fun Fact #4
Lottie lives on Kemble Isle, a fictional island off the coast of New England that experiences harsh winters and vibrant autumns. More specifically, she lives in a town called New Kemble, on a street called Thirsby Square, in a boardinghouse run by her stuffy guardian, Mrs. Yates. New Kemble is modeled after the city of York, England.

Fun Fact #5
Lottie’s favorite meal is an omelet stuffed with extra sharp cheddar cheese, onions, tomatoes, and green peppers. Ever year, the boardinghouse cook whips up one of these omelets for Lottie’s birthday breakfast. Lottie’s favorite treat is sweet-so-sours, a candy she and her best friend Eliot often exchange.

Fun Fact #6
Lottie’s favorite song is “Gymnopédie No. 1” by composer Erik Satie. When she was younger, Lottie heard the piece performed by a visiting orchestra in New Kemble’s town hall, and she was mesmerized. She still keeps the program from that night’s performance tacked on her bedroom corkboard.

Fun Fact #7
Lottie has a very high tolerance for pain. She rarely cries or complains when she injures herself.

Fun Fact #8
Lottie has never owned a pet, though she’s always wanted a dog. Little does she know she’s about to make the acquaintance of some magical animals who go far beyond the definition of “pet.”

Fun Fact #9
Lottie’s best friend is Eliot Walsch, a boy who loves to paint and lives atop a calligraphy shop called The Barmy Badger. Her worst enemy is Penelope Bloomfield, a girl from school who owns a parakeet and says very nasty things in a deceptively sweet way. 

Fun Fact #10
Lottie is an excellent cyclist. She was through with training wheels at age five and travels nearly everywhere in New Kemble by bicycle. She harbors the secret dream of one day owning a motorcycle.


There you have it! Ten fun facts about Lottie Fiske. And should you join Lottie on her journey in The Water and the Wild, I hope these facts make the read extra enjoyable!

*        *        *        *        *        *        *

I was born and raised in the Bluegrass State. Then I went off and lived in places across the pond, like England and Spain, where I pretended I was a French ingénue. Just kidding! That only happened once. I also lived in some hotter nooks of the USA, like Birmingham, AL and Austin, TX. Now I'm back in Lexington, KY, where there is a Proper Autumn.

In my wild, early years, I taught English as a Foreign Language, interned with a film society, and did a lot of irresponsible road tripping. My crowning achievement is that the back of my head was in an iPhone commercial, and people actually paid me money for it.

Nowadays, I teach piano lessons, play in a band you've never heard of, and run races that I never win. I likes clothes from the 60s, music from the 70s, and movies from the 80s. I still satiate my bone-deep wanderlust whenever I can.

Last but not least, the lovely folks at Chronicle are letting me give away one signed copy of The Water and the Wild!
Enter below; contest closes May 9, 2015

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Replaced by Kimberly Derting {review}

The Replaced
by Kimberly Derting
♦publisher: HarperTeen
♦release date: April 28th, 2015
♦hardcover, 368 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦series: The Taking, book 2
   review of book 1
♦source: from publisher for honest review

Kyra hasn't been the same since she returned from her mysterious five-year disappearance. Now, on the run from the NSA, Kyra is forced to hide out with others who, like her, have been Returned. Yet she is determined to find Tyler, the boy she loves who was also abducted—all because of her. When her group intercepts a message that Tyler might still be alive but is in the hands of a shadowy government organization that experiments on the Returned, Kyra knows it's a risk to go after him. What if it's a trap? And worse, what if the returned Tyler isn't the same boy she lost?

Review: While I have a feeling I’ll be one of the few to read this book, because I know I was one of the few who really enjoyed The Taking, I admit I had a harder  time with this second installment.  After the way book one ended, with Kyra’s boyfriend and father disappearing and her finding her way to a camp of others like her---other Returned---I guess the natural way for the story to progress would be the action-packed run from the government agents and the suspenseful search for her missing loved ones.  It was good in that sense.  Excitement, danger, and some great new characters that she meets in the camp keep the plot rolling.  

However, I found it lacking a lot of what I loved about book one.  Kyra’s angst and immaturity that I was able to accept before as  being a pretty realistic reaction of a girl thrown suddenly into a difficult and crazy situation was just too much this time around.  There was a fair bit of whining and jealousy and sulking that seemed out of place in such intense situations. Still, it’s not completely unfounded, as Kyra discovers she doesn’t quite fit in, even with others that have been abducted and returned.  There's an interesting dilemma where she is faced with figuring out what being human means to her.  And I'm not usually one to complain about a love triangle, but I didn't like the one building here.

sStill, a few really sweet moments and a good surprise twist or two pulled this one back to a decent read for me. I’m undecided yet whether or not I’m curious enough about how it ends to pick up the third book next year, but I fairly enjoyed this second book!

Find Kimberly Derting online:  Website  •  Twitter  •  Facebook

Purchase The Replaced:   BookDepository  •  Indiebound   •  Amazon 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

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 Micol Ostow, illustrations by David Ostow

hitting shelves October 13th, 2015 
from Soho Teen
Seventeen-year-old Winnie Flynn, a closet horror fan with a starkly realistic worldview, has never known her mom’s sister, Maggie: a high-profile reality TV producer. But in the wake of her mother’s suicide, Winnie is recruited by Maggie to spend a summer in New Jersey, working as a production assistant on her current hit: Fantastic, Fearsome. At first Winnie figures that she has nothing to lose; her father has checked out, and Maggie is the only family she has left. But things get increasingly weird on set as Winnie is drawn into a world of paranormal believers and non-believers alike. Soon she learns a paranormal ability of her own: she can psychically detect lies. The things she discovers threaten her plan to stay under the radar, and may provide clues to her mother’s death.

Told as an ongoing letter to a friend, with illustrations that offer clues throughout, Winnie’s story is both a heartrending mystery and a pop culture critique in the vein of Libba Bray’s Going Bovine and Beauty Queens—supplemented with illustrations throughout that recall the quirky, dark, and distinct aesthetics of Ransom Riggs’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

My thoughts:
I just met this lovely author and heard about this book and it sounds so awesome.  Plus, I'm a sucker for YA books with illustrations. ;)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

New Shelf Goodies & The Weekly Nutshell {123}

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 fun stuff I got in my mailbox this week:
Got a really cool package from Harper. Inside was a *book shimmy* book bag, Dorothy Must Die buttons and gum and these two books:

For review:
This looks really cute and a fun idea!
This book came with really fun packaging and a cookie! :D

The Weekly Nutshell
{Thursday} Cover Story
My week was a bit of a stressful one. Spent a day in the ER with Hubs. Kidney stones, people---I hope none of you ever get them.  That level of pain is not pretty. My poor guy.
This week I only got around to one book, Crimson Bound, which despite some really gorgeous writing, I found to be a bit slow. Or maybe I was just too distracted this week. Either way, it wasn't holding my attention.
As for the week ahead, it will be very quiet here. I have a few posts scheduled but I'll be flying to Texas to visit my bestie, Amy (whom I haven't seen since last July, so yipppeee!) and we'll be attending TLA. Eeeeee, so excited! The list of authors signing at this conference is flipping ridiculous!!  Anyhoo, I'll be back this weekend with some fun pics hopefully!

Have a great week, everyone! Happy reading!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Cover Story

So much gorgeousness has been revealed lately!
Just wanted to share a few! 

by Susan Dennard
Tor, January 2016

by Andrea Cremer
Philomel, November 3, 2015

by Kate A. Boorman
Amulet, October 13, 2015

by Amy Lukavics
Harlequin Teen, September 29, 2015

by Kendall Kulper
Little, Brown BYR, September 8, 2015

by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Knopf BYR, October 20, 2015

by Gail Carriger
Little, Brown BYR, November 3rd, 2015

by Sarah Crossan
Greenwillow, September 15, 2015

by Lena Coakley
Amulet, January 5, 2016

What do you think? Any new favorites? Any that you're dying to read?