Friday, October 30, 2015

Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson {review}

Rebel Mechanics 
by Shanna Swendson
♦publisher: Farrar, Strauss, & Giroux
♦release date: July 14th, 2015
♦hardcover, 310 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦series: Rebel Mechanics, book 1
♦source: from publisher for honest review
A sixteen-year-old governess becomes a spy in this alternative U.S. history where the British control with magic and the colonists rebel by inventing.

It’s 1888, and sixteen-year-old Verity Newton lands a job in New York as a governess to a wealthy leading family—but she quickly learns that the family has big secrets. Magisters have always ruled the colonies, but now an underground society of mechanics and engineers are developing non-magical sources of power via steam engines that they hope will help them gain freedom from British rule. The family Verity works for is magister—but it seems like the children's young guardian uncle is sympathetic to the rebel cause. As Verity falls for a charming rebel inventor and agrees to become a spy, she also becomes more and more enmeshed in the magister family’s life. She soon realizes she’s uniquely positioned to advance the cause—but to do so, she’ll have to reveal her own dangerous secret.

Review: Despite a rough start (I had actually started this one, set it aside for a while, then decided to give it another go!), Rebel Mechanics  turned out to be a fun romp of a steampunk story that I absolutely enjoyed to bits! 

 In an alternate history where Magisters hold all the power in government and military, a revolution is brewing among magic-free folk. They’re determined to show that machinery and ingenuity is just as valuable and should not be held back. Verity, finds herself mixed up with the rebels on her very first time in a new city, charmed by their determination, their clever mechanical creations, and of course, by a handsome smile and first taste of attraction. I found her a bit frustratingly naïve at first, but Verity grew on me and grew as a character. She gets coerced into spying for the Rebels and takes the excitement on with zeal, bravery, and no small amount of gutsiness! Her new official job as governess to the wards of an enigmatic Magister proves a challenge with both dealing with the kids and dealing with her own closely held secret.

I loved the development of her relationship with Henry. I though he was absolutely charming in that bumbling, distracted sort of way. There is a bit of a triangle going on here, but never really felt like one to me, because the other “option” was never appealing to me! There are a slew of great characters running through this riotous story, most of them complex enough make readers both like them and doubt them at the same time. Including Verity herself. 

With the creativity and vivid detail of the steampunk machinery, a clever girl with one foot in both sides of a revolution, and a story full of romance, friendships, and ulterior motives, Rebel Mechanics is the start of a series that I will definitely be returning to for future adventures!

Find Shanna Swendson online:  Website  •  Twitter  •  Facebook

Purchase the book:  Indiebound  •  BookDepository   •  Amazon

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Boy Who Knew Everything by Victoria Forester {Blog Tour Spotlight & Giveaway}

Today I am super excited to have the blog tour for 
The Boy Who Knew Everything
rolling through! Find out more about this fantastic middle grade follow up to
 The Girl Who Could Fly, and enter below to win a copy! 

There is a prophecy.

It speaks of a girl who can fly and a boy who knows everything. The prophecy says that they have the power to bring about great change...

The boy is Conrad Harrington III. The girl is Piper McCloud. They need their talents now, more than ever, if they are to save the world—and themselves.

Victoria Forester is the author of The Girl Who Could Fly, a Booklist Editor’s Choice and Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year. She is also a successful screenwriter, and originally wrote The Girl Who Could Fly for film. She liked the story so much that she decided to expand it into her first book. Victoria grew up on a remote farm in Ontario, Canada, and graduated from the University of Toronto. She now lives in Los Angeles with her husband, daughter, and cat.

WIN A COPY of The Boy Who Knew Everything!
Thanks to the lovely folks at Macmillan, I get to give away a copy to one lucky winner!  Enter below!
•Must be 13 or older
•Open to US mailing addresses only

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Waiting on...

"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 Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

hitting shelves June 7th, 2016
from HarperTeen
For fans of The Princess Bride comes the comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey.

Lady Jane Grey, sixteen, is about to be married to a total stranger—and caught up in an insidious plot to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But that’s the least of Jane’s problems. She’s about to become Queen of England. Like that could go wrong.

My thoughts: Whatever book was previously my TOP most anticipated book of 2016 has just been dethroned by this little beauty.  I have to fess up that I've not read anything by Brodi Ashton, but I have heard many great things about her series. BUT Cynthia Hand and Jodi Meadows---two of my absolute favorite authors---writing a fantastical romantical comedy together, and on top of that, a comparison to Princess Bride??? I can't even imagine the amazingness that this is sure to be. It's like all my favorite things rolled into one. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Creeptastic Covers! {Top Ten Tuesday}

I don't know why I don't participate in this meme more often...I love making lists :D Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  To find out more and check out future topics, click on over there!!

This week, TTT gets spooky! Bloggers can pick their Halloween topic of choice, be it top ten horror stories, bookish Halloween costumes, books that will scare you,...or Top Ten Creeptastic Book Covers, which I've done here!  YA has some of the best creepy covers out there, if you ask me. These may not be THE scariest or the bloodiest, but these are 10 of my spine-tinglers:

LOVE this cover. It's one of my favorites off all time.  Not to mention this book began my deep love of everything that Cat Winters writes!

This ghostly image is so eerie to me. She looks like she's about to choke herself of those blood-red nails. 

This book is filled with creepy photography, that is supposedly unedited in any way from it's antique state.  At first glance this pic is not anything special, until you realize the little is levitating.  (Funny thing is, she is actually one of the most charming characters in the book!)

The washed out sepia and the angle of this really sets the tone of this one. With the wierd shadowing, to me it almost looks like she is just standing with her face to a wall.


This cover will always be one of my favorites, too. Stark black and white illustration with the splash of blood at her legs and the floating rose petals. Also one of my favorite books ever!

Not sure what exactly makes this one as creepy as it feels to me. The lighting, maybe? It just IS. 

Another that is not particularly creepy at first glance..until you notice the splatter of blood in the corner. 

This one just feels like chaos and madness and motion and I love how she's breaking through the floor and the rest of her seems buried. It's the hand grabbing her foot that really sends chills down my spine, though!


Some book covers are creepy, and then some feel even creepier after you've read the book and it's just as terrifying.  This is the case with Daughters Unto Devils...horror inside and out.

I always thought this one was creepy just on it's own, but when it was about to come out, there was a horrific sidebar banner to go with it, with all these haunting whispers and scratches. Scare me to death the first time I heard it and didn't know where the sound was coming from LOL.  I think of it everytime I see the cover.
So what do you think? These get you in the Halloween mood?  In case you haven't read any of these, most of them (aside for Madness so Discreet & This is Not a Test which I haven't read yet) are also books I highly recommend for perfectly creepy Halloween reads!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

New Shelf Goodies & The Weekly Nutshell {145}

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)

So, this is actually for the past two weeks. I was out of town last weekend and didn't get around to posting! 

Here's what graced my mailbox this past fortnight :)
The super gorgeous teacup is from Evelyn Skye's giveaway to introduce all the incredible characters from her upcoming YA fantasy, The Crown's Game.  I am so excited to have been one of the lucky winners!! :D
For review:
Aaaah, the covers of these are so gorgeous! I hope the story is, too! :D
Teri Brown, that's all I need to know. Loved Born of Illusion. 
Not sure this is for me, but we'll see!
This one looks so cute. Can't wait to start it. Look for my review in March for the blog tour!

Part of the reason I was out of town last weekend was for a trade show in San Francisco! I'ts Nor-Cal based and I love this one, as it's super tiny compared to ALA, but its such a great chance to really sit and chat with the publishers and see what upcoming titles they are excited for!  My most exciting treasure was Wink Poppy Midnight, which you might be able to tell from my bookmark, I'm nearly to the end of! 
Here's the YA awesomeness I acquired there...

...and some really great looking MG I'm looking forward to!

(dear readers, I'm not gonna list and link these all out---it's very late and it would take me forever.  LOL. And I have to be up early to bake cookies for a birthday party :D These pics blow up to full size if you click on them, if you need to see any closer or see the full title or author name to look them up!)

The Weekly Nutshell:
{Wednesday} Waiting on...The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge
{Thursday} Review: Calvin by Martine Leavitt

This week after the trade show, we ran away to Monterey & Carmel---always a good idea. :)  Beautiful bay, gorgeous weather, and lots of yummy food.  With everything that's gone on the past few months in my life, its nice to escape and just let it roll off me a little.  But the busy days continue now that I'm back!  My grandma's 90th (!!) birthday is tomorrow and we've got a huge bash planned! And then of course there's Halloween next weekend, so I'll be sewing away (last minute as always) on my son's costume (Ash Ketchum from Pokemon lol).  

This week I read up Sweet Madness (oh, man, that is some dark, dark stuff) and immediately jumped into Wink Poppy Midnight, which I am loving. After this, I'm feeling the need for some really funny, laugh-out-loud YA, guys. Who's got a recommendation for me? :D

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Calvin by Martine Leavitt {review}

by Martine Leavitt
♦publisher: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux
♦release date: November 17th, 2015
♦hardcover, 192 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦source: from publisher for honest review
Seventeen-year-old Calvin has always known his fate is linked to the comic book character from Calvin & Hobbes. He was born on the day the last strip was published; his grandpa left a stuffed tiger named Hobbes in his crib; and he even has a best friend named Susie. As a child Calvin played with the toy Hobbes, controlling his every word and action, until Hobbes was washed to death. But now Calvin is a teenager who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, Hobbes is back—as a delusion—and Calvin can't control him. Calvin decides that if he can convince Bill Watterson to draw one final comic strip, showing a normal teenaged Calvin, he will be cured. Calvin and Susie (and Hobbes) set out on a dangerous trek across frozen Lake Erie to track him down. 

Review: Calvin is a unique tale, there’s no arguing that.  Written as a very long letter to Calvin & Hobbes creator, Bill Watterson, it’s the story of a brilliant imaginative boy finding his way back to confidence after being diagnosed with schizophrenia. He doesn’t want to take meds, he wants to heal himself---and he’s got a plan to do just that. 

For me, no amount of suspension of disbelief could keep me from being charmed by Calvin’s mind and his determination and his hope. Hope that his plan would work, hope that Susie was real, hope that they made it across the deadly lake Erie.  Along their trek, they muse over the history of their friendship and what it means that she is here with him now.  They explore their feelings toward his diagnosis, their fears, the lake itself, Hobbes, and the world in general.  They come across many things: ice fishing villages, a lot of cars stranded in the middle of the frozen vastness, and a helpful stranger who welcomes them into his home on the ice who seems almost as lost as they are. 

I suppose it helped that I’m a long-time fan of Calvin & Hobbes.  The writing and the feel of this story really did a great job paying homage to some of the profound ideas that snuck out between the playful and raucous antics of a small boy and his imaginary tiger.  If you’re not familiar with the comic strip, a few things might not strike a cord, such as the interjected reports from Spaceman Spiff.  At the very beginning, it was hard to get a handle on the way the dialogue is written, more like a script than a novel.  But I came to really enjoy it; the casual writing style really came across as a letter from Calvin to the one man he thought could save him and make him “normal” by creating one more comic strip. 

This is a great little tale of hope, friendship, confusion, and bravery. There are moments of brilliance and silliness and sweetness, and one that brought me to tears. If you're looking for something unlike anything else out there, pick up this book!

Find Martine Leavitt online:    Twitter  

Purchase Calvin:  Indiebound  •  BookDepository  •  Amazon

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Waiting on...

"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 Frances Hardinge

hitting shelves May 10th, 2016
from Amulet Books
In this deliciously creepy novel by the author of the critically acclaimed Cuckoo Song, the fruit of a magical tree uncovers dangerous truths.

Faith Sunderly leads a double life. To most people, she is reliable, dull, trustworthy—a proper young lady who knows her place as inferior to men. But inside, Faith is full of questions and curiosity, and she cannot resist mysteries: an unattended envelope, an unlocked door. She knows secrets no one suspects her of knowing. She knows that her family moved to the close-knit island of Vane because her famous scientist father was fleeing a reputation-destroying scandal. And she knows, when her father is discovered dead shortly thereafter, that he was murdered.

In pursuit of justice and revenge, Faith hunts through her father’s possessions and discovers a strange tree. The tree only bears fruit when she whispers a lie to it. The fruit of the tree, when eaten, delivers a hidden truth. The tree might hold the key to her father’s murder—or it may lure the murderer directly to Faith herself.

My thoughts: I actually picked this one up this past week at a trade show, but I'd never heard of it before and now I'm so excited for it! This one's already come out in the UK, but I love that US cover---wow, just stunning. 

Friday, October 16, 2015

Nightmares! & The Sleepwalker's Tonic by Jason Segel & Kirsten Miller {audiobook review}

Guys, this series is so much fun!  I was recently sent these two for review in print, but I heard that the audiobooks were read by author, Jason Segel, so I snagged them off of Audible and gave them both a listen!  So happy with this choice as they were such great fun to listen to. Aside from a bit of monotone at the very beginning of book one, Jason Segel really got into character bringing the story to life as the story went on, using plenty of varied, hilarious, and entertaining voices. BUT one thing I do suggest is, even if you listen to these on audiobook, you also need to get your hands on the print copies of the books, as Karl Kwansy's illustrations are really fantastic and bring so much charm to the stories!

  In book one, we meet Charlie.  He's a young boy who's just recently lost his mother to illness. He's hurt and he's angry and often takes it out on his little brother, as brothers sometimes do.  There is an old house in his neighborhood, a spooky old purple house on a hill, and when he crosses paths one day with Charlotte Dechance, his worst fear happens---she becomes his stepmom and he winds up living in the big purple house!  When he starts having horrible nightmares, he knows she and the house have something to do with it.  Together with his band of friends, they take on their nightmares in a way they never imagined. The characters are all very different and bring something fun to the story. There's some heavy themes and touching moments dealing with loss and having a parent remarry, but also a great message in facing one's fears, standing up for your friends, and finding and using your strengths. I really enjoyed this one so much!

The second book is no sleepy follow-up (haha, sorry for the pun), as we join Charlie and his friends for another great adventure.  This time around they are teaming up with their friends from the Nightmare world to figure out who is turning the neighboring town into zombie-like Sleepwalkers--and it looks like their town will be next!  Not only that, but the mystery tonic is putting even the Nightmare world into danger. Charlie and Charlotte's relationship are closer than ever, but he's working though some feelings toward his brother Jack, and also toward one of his best friends, Penny.  He learns a hard lesson about the difference between being smart and being brave and how there's a time and place for both. These books are both such entertaining stories but I love how they tackle a few deeper themes like self-confidence, and standing by and taking care of family.  I loved getting to know these characters more and I will definitely be picking up the third book, The Lost Lullaby.

for both books! :D

Authors: Jason Segel & Kirsten Miller


Purchase the Nightmare! series:  Indiebound  •  BookDepository  •  Amazon

Check out the trailer! 

Print copies were provided by Random House in exchange for an honest review. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Waiting on...

"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 Passion of Dolssa
by Julie Berry

hitting shelves April 12th, 2016
from Viking Books for Young Readers
I must write this account, and when I have finished, I will burn it. 

Buried deep within the archives of a convent in medieval France is an untold story of love, loss, and wonder and the two girls at the heart of it all.

Dolssa is an upper-crust city girl with a secret lover and an uncanny gift. Branded a heretic, she’s on the run from the friar who condemned her mother to death by fire, and wants Dolssa executed, too.

Botille is a matchmaker and a tavern-keeper, struggling to keep herself and her sisters on the right side of the law in their seaside town of Bajas.

When their lives collide by a dark riverside, Botille rescues a dying Dolssa and conceals her in the tavern, where an unlikely friendship blooms. Aided by her sisters and Symo, her surly but loyal neighbor, Botille nurses Dolssa back to health and hides her from her pursuers. But all of Botille’s tricks, tales, and cleverness can’t protect them forever, and when the full wrath of the Church bears down upon Bajas, Dolssa’s passion and Botille’s good intentions could destroy the entire village. 

From the author of the award-winning All the Truth That’s in Me comes a spellbinding thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the final page and make you wonder if miracles really are possible.

My thoughts: This sounds like a wonderfully rich and thrilling tale of friendship and sisters and magic. Love the French historic setting and the mix of characters already has me curious! 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Dreamstrider by Lindsay Smith: First Impression Review + Second Chance Giveaway

 First Impression Reviews is a new feature here at Stories & Sweeties where I give my first thoughts at 50-100 pages into a book. For a details about this feature, go here!

Where I'm at: 75

First Impression: 
Part of what gave this one it's slow start was the really long prologue.  To be honest, I started reading this one with the preview on Amazon, and for whatever reason, I started with chapter one. I thought it was pretty interesting and I was able to figure out what was going on pretty easily and how the dreamstriding worked.  Later on, I went back and started from the Prologue, and while that gave a bit of insight on where Livia came from and how she met Brandt, I still, at page 75, am not exactly clear on the world building and what exactly the "tunnels" were. Were they literal tunnels? Was it just another way to say the lower poorer areas of the city? 
Now back to the first chapter, that was actually exciting stuff! Livia is Dreamstriding in the body of an enemy General, trying to find out a few military secrets. It starts to go wrong and you see the danger in what she is doing...if the person wakes and forces her out of his body, she can be lost in the world of nightmare.  After that, the story completely lost me. From the end of chapter one, to page 75, it is nothing but politics and more politics, with a little hint of Livia mooning over Brandt. Neither the story or the writing was holding my attention.  I found nothing of the characters to connect to. And I found a few of the characters a little cartoonish.  So as much as it pains me to do so, I'm setting this aside at page 75. 

But wait!! If it's one thing a book blogger knows, its that not every book is for everyone!  This one might not have worked out so well for me, but I want to give this book a second chance at being loved! Want to give this one a shot? Enter below to win my copy!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, October 11, 2015

New Shelf Goodies & The Weekly Nutshell {144}

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 candy:
For Review:
Tell the Story To It's End by Simon P. Clark

Pull by Anne Riley

Traded for:
The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace

Such lovely book mail this week :D I am so very excited about every single one of these, but *super happy dance* at Pull & Girl from Everywhere---two of my tippy-top most anticipated books of 2016!! 

Thanks to St. Martins Griffin, Anne Riley for the review/prize copies, and for Calla for a most epic trade!! :D

The Weekly Nutshell:
{Wednesday} Waiting on...Exile for Dreamers by Kathleen Baldwin
{Thursday} Review: Drift & Dagger by Kendall Kulper

So this week I was lucky to get anything up on the blog at all. I feel like this year has just been one thing after the other and this past week was no exception. My lovely Aussie dog, Daphne got really sick this week and for few days we thought we might lose her.  But after an emergency vet trip, a round of medications, and some careful doggie-nursing from the whole family, she seems to be pulling through :)  She's a very old lady, and we know she won't be with us forever, but it won't be any less heartbreaking to lose her. Anyhow, she seems determined to stay with us a while longer. ♥
On the reading front, well, I did almost none this week.  I think I've decided to throw in the towel on Dreamstrider, it just wasn't for me (possibly more on that later) and after setting that aside, I haven't picked up anything else yet because of all that was going on.  Now that things are leveling out and I have  few days off of work, I'm hoping to find something to catch my attention! :D

Are you reading something that you're loving this week? Do tell! :)

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Drift and Dagger by Kendall Kulper {review}

Drift and Dagger
by Kendall Kulper
♦publisher: Little, Brown BYR
♦release date: September 8th, 2015
♦hardcover, 368 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦stand-alone (companion prequel to Salt & Storm)
♦source: from publisher for honest review
I’ve always been a monster. And monsters destroy things. Things like magic and friendships and futures.

Mal used to have a home, a best friend, and a secret. But he lost all three on the day Essie Roe exposed him as a blank. Blanks cannot be cursed or saved or killed by magic. And everyone is afraid of them—even Mal himself.

Now Mal travels the world in search of dangerous and illegal magical relics, never stopping in any one place too long. When his partner in crime, Boone, hears of a legendary dagger that can steal magic, Mal knows he finally may have found a way to even the score with Essie. Crossing oceans and continents, Mal and Boone travel from Boston to Paris to Constantinople in search of the dagger. Finding it would mean riches, fame, and revenge—but only if Mal can control the monster inside him.

Kendall Kulper weaves a vivid story of betrayal and determination—and the road to forgiveness—in this new adventure set in the world of Salt & Storm.

Review: I admit I haven’t read this author’s first book, Salt & Storm. But after hearing that it is even better than Drift & Dagger, I know I need to move it up on my reading list…because I really enjoyed this one quite a lot! This is the prequel to the events of Salt & Storm so I’m eager to see where Essie’s story leads. Kendal Kulper’s writing is stunning and the world she has built to backdrop Mal’s story is a lush version of the 1850’s infused with magic, superstition, hunters, mysterious artifacts, and secret societies.  His adventure spans the globe, starting in a small-minded and curse-fearing town called Prince Island and on to London, New York, Constantinople, and even the jungles of Burma.

Mal is a constantly surprising character. At times he’s clever and resourceful, but at the idea of being left on his own, he fears the threat of loneliness.  He can be a bit broody at times, especially when thinking about the life he’s been dealt as a blank and what he fears he’ll become according to legend.  And then there is a side of him that is angry and wants nothing more than vengeance on Essie for what she did to him. He teams up with Boone, a shady thief with powers of magical persuasion—and while his power doesn’t work on Mal, he’s all too happy to play Mal’s fear and weakness to his advantage under the guise of being his only friend. Definitely a character readers will love to hate.

While both the romantic twist and the “true” nature of the monster growing in Mal are not hard to see coming, I love the way this ended and was more than happy to see a few despicable characters get exactly what they deserved! Many excited scenes that had my heart pounding, lots of adventure as they chase down a magical dagger. The only issues I had were with the frequent jumps to past stories that I found a bit jarring, but gave great insight to the story as a whole.

I’ll definitely be reaching for more work from this author in the future!
Find Kendall Kulper online:  Website  •  Twitter  •  Tumblr

Purchase the book:  Indiebound  •  BookDepository  •  Amazon

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Waiting on...

"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 Kathleen Baldwin

hitting shelves May 24th, 2016
from Tor Teen
No official description for this one yet!! :D

My thoughts: So, not much official news on this one yet, aside from another gorgeous cover, but i
f you read a finished copy of A School for Unusual Girls, you know from the sneek peek at the end that Exile for Dreamers will be about the characters Tess and Lord Ravencross. They are two incredibly feisty and intriguing characters from the first book.  I can't wait to find out more about them!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

New Shelf Goodies & The Weekly Nutshell {143}

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)

Gorgeous things came to my door...
For review:
I am reading Madness so Discreet SOON. I've heard some mixed things about Dreamland so I'm a bit nervous about that one, but we'll see!

Traded for:
Thanks, Anna, for these!! So excited for both!

A few years ago I absolutely fell in love with this book, On the Fringe, so imagine my sheer delight to find out this author wrote this new book! AND she has another YA coming out in 2016!! So excited for both!

Thanks so much Harper Collins for the review books!

The Weekly Nutshell

First off, thanks to all who left kind words of support in the comments last week. It's been a tough time, but I'm getting through.  ♥
So as I'm writing this a gorgeous lightning storm is going on outside and the rain is just starting to fall. I looooove this weather, makes me want to cook up a big pot of comfy soup...which I did, this week. :)  On the reading front, I blew through Daughter Unto Devils this week, which scared the pants off me. Such a perfect Halloween read! I'll be reviewing this one over at Books Take You Places with a coordinating cupcake recipe this month for Fortnight of Fright! I also finished the audiobook of Nightmares! The Sleepwalker Tonic, so I'll be reviewing the series so far this week! Right now I'm finishing up Rebel Mechanics...this was a fun one! :)   Up next for me is Dreamstrider and then I may have to give in to copy continues to give me the "come hither" stare every time I pass my bookshelves lol.

Hope everyone has a great week!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Blog Tour: An Inheritance of Ashes by Leah Bobet

Today I'm excited to be a part of the official tour for Leah Bobet's new YA novel, 

This book, with it's promise of war, family secrets, and monsters, sounds so amazing! Read below for an exclusive excerpt and be sure to enter the giveaway below to win one of  three gorgeous finished copies!

by Leah Bobet
♦publisher: Clarion Books
♦release date: 
♦hardcover: 400 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult

The strange war down south—with its rumors of gods and monsters—is over. And while sixteen-year-old Hallie and her sister wait to see who will return from the distant battlefield, they struggle to maintain their family farm.

When Hallie hires a veteran to help them, the war comes home in ways no one could have imagined, and soon Hallie is taking dangerous risks—and keeping desperate secrets. But even as she slowly learns more about the war and the men who fought it, ugly truths about Hallie’s own family are emerging. And while monsters and armies are converging on the small farm, the greatest threat to her home may be Hallie herself.

A bird called, harsh and frightened, and I dared open my eyes. Dawn light pried through my thick-paned window. The sky above it was as blue and fine as my faded bedroom walls. The thunder rattled weaker, wet leaves on glass. My heart wouldn’t stop its frightened stutter. “He’s dead,” I muttered sternly, padded across the green rag rug and opened the window.
The yard stretched before me, brown and empty; the air smelled of woodsmoke and frost. I shoved my head into the chilly dawn outside, and the bare branches of trees, the barns, the gray river unscrolled sleepily into the sky. From below, from the leaf-clogged gutters, something let out a whimpered cheep. I reached down—
—and a small shape exploded in a fury of wings.
I shrieked.
It staggered and shrieked right back at me, a harsh, uncertain caw. Battered brown wings struggled for purchase on the sill; tiny claws scrabbled closer. I grabbed the window handles and jerked them down between us. The thin cry muffled as wood and glass slammed down—and then it rose to a scream. A dark smear fluttered between the thick panes and the white sill: the wing. It was nothing more than a stunned bird, and I’d just crushed its wing.
“Oh,” I breathed, and brushed river stones and hair clips messily off the sill. Bile stung my throat: You’ve killed it. It can’t even fight back. I shoved the window upward, fast, hands clutched under the bottom frame.
The wing slapped my hand so hard that everything stopped.
“Ow!” I cradled the hand close to my chest. Furious, ragged squawks trailed me back into the bedroom. “Sorry,” I whispered over and over, an exhausted litany of sorry that beat in time with my throbbing hand. The wing had left a red spot, as red as a bug-bite burn. I brushed it with idle fingernails.
They caught on something. Hard.
The thinnest edge of a cobweb was growing out of my left hand. It seared my window frame brown where it stuck, and the line it burned led straight to the bird’s desperate talons. I’d been too rattled, too guilty to see it: those eight black sparrow-nails were sticky-coated with web.
It wasn’t a bird. It was a Twisted Thing—one of the Wicked God Southward’s pet monsters.

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Leah Bobet is a bookseller, publisher, and editor as well as a Pushcart-Prize nominated author. 

She lives in Toronto. 


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