Saturday, February 27, 2016

New Shelf Goodies & The Weekly Nutshell {157}

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 little but fierce haul this week :)
For review:
Save Me, Kurt Cobain by Jenny Manzer
Aeee, I feel the nostagia already. :)
The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh
Never Ever by Sara Saedi
Always up for a Pan retelling. ;)

Many thanks to Random House & Penguin for these lovelies!

So, a good week! :D  I devoured Crown's Game, guys. Serious, TORE through it. It's absolutely wonderful, magical, romantical. LOVED. My full review will be up this Thurdsay when the blog tour rolls through here, along with a yummy recipe!  Next I picked up Red, a super cute MG retelling of Red Riding Hood. Nearly done with it, it's a fast read. That blog tour also stops here this coming week on Wednesday! :) And lastly the Rockstar tour for Steep and Thorny Way stops here Friday! :)  It's a blog tour bonanza on the blog this week! LOL
This week also involved some lovely Chocolate Banana muffins---so much more chocolate than banana haha. But they were delish so expect that recipe soon (likely this coming Sunday)! Also this week I discovered the new Starbucks Smoked Butterscotch Latte. OH, friends, I am in heaven.  I love Butterscotch everything (yea, okay, so I put butterscotch liqueur in my hot cocoa ;D) so this was definitely destined to be my new weakness. I guess that plan to cut back on Starbucks just went out the window.  Ah, well...

What's everyone reading this week?  

Friday, February 26, 2016

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton {review}

Rebel of the Sands 
by Alwyn Hamilton
♦publisher: Viking Juvenile
♦release date: March 8th, 2016
♦hardcover, 320 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦series: Rebel of the Sands, book 1
♦source: ARC from publisher for honest review
She’s more gunpowder than girl—and the fate of the desert lies in her hands.

Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mystical beasts still roam the wild and barren wastes, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinni still practice their magic. But there's nothing mystical or magical about Dustwalk, the dead-end town that Amani can't wait to escape from. 

Destined to wind up "wed or dead," Amani’s counting on her sharpshooting skills to get her out of Dustwalk. When she meets Jin, a mysterious and devastatingly handsome foreigner, in a shooting contest, she figures he’s the perfect escape route. But in all her years spent dreaming of leaving home, she never imagined she'd gallop away on a mythical horse, fleeing the murderous Sultan's army, with a fugitive who's wanted for treason. And she'd never have predicted she'd fall in love with him...or that he'd help her unlock the powerful truth of who she really is.

Review: With this awesome debut, a smart mix of middle eastern folklore and sharpshooting western-style adventure, Rebel of the Sands quickly became one of my favorite books of this year and Alwyn Hamilton took her place on my list of authors to pine for more books from. The writing immediately pulled me in as we get dropped right into the action and it just keeps that same exciting pace the entire way through. The second we meet Amani, she is showing her gutsy nature and when we find out why she is so determined (escaping a life of no choices, a cruel family, and an arranged marriage), there was no stopping my cheering this character on.

The plot bullets along, twisting and turning, with no shortage on surprises. I loved the stark desert setting mixed with the wild array of mythological creatures, both good and evil. There is daring escape on a horse made of sand, a high speed train heist, and a battle that plays out with of deception and magic.

 Both Amani and Jin are fun and fiery characters and I was endlessly entertained by what can best be described as their verbal sparring. She had a sassy mouth and Jin matched her in wit every time. While it doesn’t happen too suddenly, you know the spark between them is growing, and watching the slow-burn of it is half the fun! (Of course the other half is the payoff of a few swoony moments!)  The author took as much care fleshing out so many of the side characters, even those that show late in the story---each of them had their strengths and quirks and such distinct personalities.

This is going to be a fantastic series and this debut left me absolutely craving book two!


Alwyn Hamilton was born in Toronto and spent her childhood bouncing between Europe and Canada until her parents settled in France. She grew up in a small town there, which might have compelled her to burst randomly into the opening song from Beauty and the Beast were it not for her total tone-deafness. She instead attempted to read and write her way to new places and developed a weakness for fantasy and cross-dressing heroines. She left France for Cambridge University to study History of Art at King’s College, and then to London where she became indentured to an auction house. She has a bad habit of acquiring more hardcovers than is smart for someone who moves house quite so often.

Twitter  ♦  Goodreads  ♦  Tumblr  ♦  Instagram

Purchase Rebel of the Sands:
 Indiebound   BookDepository  ♦  Amazon

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Cover Story

Anyone else just get incredibly loopy excited when you look through your to-read list or wishlists on Goodreads and start to see more and more of the covers filling in? Here's a few new covers that have popped up lately. 

by Sally Gardner
Delacorte Press, November 8th 2016

by McKenna Rhea Ruebush
Henry Holt & Co, September 27th, 2016

by Stacey Kade
Simon & Schuster, August 30th 2016

Gwenda Bond
Skyscape, July 5th, 2016

by Adam Selzer
Simon & Schuster, August 30th, 2016

by Jocelyn Davies
Simon & Schuster, September 20th, 2016

Of Fire and Stars
by Audrey Coulthurst
Balzer + Bray, November 22nd, 2016

by Tina Connelly
TorTeen, November 1st, 2016

The Swan Riders
by Erin Bow
Margaret K. Mcelderry Books, September 20th, 2016

by Emma Mills
Henry Holt & Co, October 4th, 2016

Witch's Pyre
by Josephine Angelini
Fiewel & Friends, September 20th, 2016

by Kendare Blake
HarperTeen, September 20th, 2016

So many gorgeous cover designs this year.  See any new favorites here? I love the quirky Seriously Shifted and how well it matches the first book, Seriously Wicked. The Just Kill Me cover just cracks me up. The illustrated Enter a Glossy Web is absolutely charming. I love the colorful paint design on This Adventure Begins.  And for Witch's Pyre, Of Fire and Stars, and Three Dark Crowns, well...I was super excited for all three of these long before the covers came out, so I'm drooling over them even more now that they are so pretty to look at!! :D

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

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.
Iron Cast
by Destiny Soria

hitting shelves October 11th, 2016
from Amulet Books
It’s Boston, 1919, and the Cast Iron club is packed. On stage, hemopaths--whose "afflicted" blood gives them the ability to create illusions through art--captivate their audience. Corinne and Ada have been best friends ever since infamous gangster Johnny Dervish recruited them into his circle. By night they perform for Johnny’s crowds, and by day they con Boston’s elite. When a job goes wrong and Ada is imprisoned, they realize how precarious their position is. After she escapes, two of the Cast Iron’s hires are shot, and Johnny disappears. With the law closing in, Corinne and Ada are forced to hunt for answers, even as betrayal faces them at every turn.

My thoughts:  This one is an obvious must-read for me, in all it's vintage-y, magic-y goodness. Infamous gangsters, theatrical illusions, all set against the onset of the glamorous jazz era. That gorgeous cover doesn't hurt, either. ;)

What are you waiting on this week?

Sunday, February 21, 2016

New Shelf Goodies & The Weekly Nutshell {156}

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)
I didn't post last weekend (sorry Alyssa!♥) so this is my last two week's haul:

Lovely gifties:
Traitor Angels by Anne Blankman
Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes
ALL the kisses to Britt for these two!! Eee so excited for both!!

From Trades:
Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
The Sleeping Prince by Melissa Salisbury
Julia Vanishes by Catherine Egan
The Last Monster by Ginger Garrett
Beyond excited for every single one...thanks to my trading buddies! :D

For Review:
Walk the Edge by Katy McGarry
I hear great things about this author, but I'm not much of a contemp we'll see.
Chasing Midnight by Courtney King Walker
Eee! Loved this author's first books. Have you read On The Fringe?? 
If not, DO IT. 
Siren's Song by Mary Weber
I received a gorgeous hardcover copy!! Swoon ♥_♥
Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy by Kate Hattemer
This looks interesting! And maybe funny? Has anyone read it?

Many thanks to Harlequin Teen, Courtney King Walker and Cedar Fort Publisher, Random House, and Thomas Nelson Books for these! 

The Weekly Nutshell
{Monday} Valentines Giveaway with Wag!
{Tuesday} Riders release day giveaway!
{Wednesday} Waiting on...The Scourge by Jennifer A. Nielsen
{Thursday}Review: Ravenous by MarcyKate Connelly

So this past week, I finished up Passenger (really enjoyed this one), read & reviewed Ravenous, and am now completely enchanted and in love with Crown's Game.  Keep an eye out, I'll be participating in a blog tour for this one in a few weeks, featuring a review and yummy recipe! :D

What lovely things did you add to your bookshelves this week? And what's your current read? Let me know if it's something I must read! 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Ravenous by MarcyKate Connelly {review}

by MarcyKate Connelly
♦publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books
♦release date: February 9th, 2016
♦hardcover, 432 pages
♦intended audience: MG/YA
♦series: Monstrous, book 2
  review of book 1
♦source: ARC from publisher for honest review
A witch has come to the city of Bryre. She travels in a hut that has chicken feet, and is ravenous for children. And once she gets what she desires, she never lets it go.

But when the witch captures Hans, Greta’s little brother, Greta refuses to let her have him. The two strike up a bargain. Greta will retrieve something the witch desires in exchange for her brother’s freedom.

To get the prize Greta must travel to Belladoma—a city where she was once held captive—which brings back terrible memories. With the help of a new friend, Dalen, a magical half-boy and half-horse, Greta embarks on the journey and tries to overcome both foes and her own weaknesses.

For fans of Monstrous and new readers alike comes the story of an epic quest and a heroine who will stop at nothing to save the one she loves most.

Review: Ravenous is the second installment in the Monstrous series, and another charming tale that stretches the imagination! It's a fun mix of Hansel & Gretel and the russian Baba Yaga myth, but it's also a wholly unique and creative story full of dangerous adventure and gutsy characters. Also, though we get to revisit a few of beloved characters from Monstrous, this is a companion and stands on it's own, which I loved.

While I have to admit that I didn't fall in love with this one quite as much as I did Monstrous, it's still a great read. This time around, I found the writing a little flat until the second half and it really took me awhile before it grabbed me.  I did love Greta again---I coulnd't hep admire her devotion to her brother and she is just as much of a fireball as she is in Monstrous. When the King of Bryre and Ren, who are also suppose to be her good friends, turn down her plea for help and accuse her of conjuring a fake brother to stall their plans to help Belledoma, she goes off on her own to save Hans from a hungry Witch. She is brave and resourceful, but after what happened with her friends, she is determined not to put her trust in anyone else. I love that by the end, she learn that a little help is not a bad thing and that often the most obvious option is often not the only option. I was also really liked how much revolved around her facing down her awful memories of being held captive in Belladoma and what she assumed about the people who, in her mind, let that happen.  I liked the friendship that grew between her and Dalen, he was a sweet character, but again, until about the middle, I didn't feel very engaged by it.

It's when Greta makes an incredible discovery about her family that this story really drew me in. From this point to the end, the stakes were heightened and her decisions more meaningful and I really began to root for all of the characters to work together to find a way to each meet all of their opposing goals and triumph over all the evils they faced!

Even with the few problems I had, Ravenous was an enjoyable story and I look forward to more from MarcyKate Connelly!

Find MarcyKate Connolly online: Website  •  Twitter  •  Facebook

Purchase Ravenous:  Indiebound  •  BookDepository  •  Amazon

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

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 Scourge
by Jennifer A. Nielsen

hitting shelves August 30th, 2016
from Scholastic
As a lethal plague sweeps through the land, Ani Mells is shocked when she is unexpectedly captured by the governor's wardens and forced to submit to a test for the deadly Scourge. She is even more surprised when the test results come back positive, and she is sent to Attic Island, a former prison turned refuge -- and quarantine colony -- for the ill. The Scourge's victims, Ani now among them, can only expect to live out short, painful lives there. However, Ani quickly discovers that she doesn't know the whole truth about the Scourge or the Colony. She's been caught in a devious plot, and, with the help of her best friend, Weevil, Ani means to uncover just what is actually going on. 

But will she and Weevil survive long enough to do so? 

The Scourge is an explosively thrilling tale of adventure and intrigue, courage and heart from New York Times bestselling author Jennifer A. Nielsen.

My thoughts:  The Coverrrrr ♥.  Okay, now that's out of the way. :D  I actually haven't read this author before, but I hear nothing but great things. I think this is MG (?) but I can't find anything that specifically says that, or the character's age. But it sounds like a fantastic adventure whichever it is!!  Also, it's a standalone. And sometimes I just love those. :)

What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Riders by Veronica Rossi {release day giveaway!}

Today is the day that Veronica Rossi's Riders hits the shelves!!
Check out below to find out all the juicy details about the book and enter to win a copy!

For eighteen-year-old Gideon Blake, nothing but death can keep him from achieving his goal of becoming a U.S. Army Ranger. As it turns out, it does.

Recovering from the accident that most definitely killed him, Gideon finds himself with strange new powers and a bizarre cuff he can't remove. His death has brought to life his real destiny. He has become War, one of the legendary four horsemen of the apocalypse.

Over the coming weeks, he and the other horsemen--Conquest, Famine, and Death--are brought together by a beautiful but frustratingly secretive girl to help save humanity from an ancient evil on the emergence.

They fail.

Now--bound, bloodied, and drugged--Gideon is interrogated by the authorities about his role in a battle that has become an international incident. If he stands any chance of saving his friends and the girl he's fallen for--not to mention all of humankind--he needs to convince the skeptical government officials the world is in imminent danger.

But will anyone believe him?

VERONICA ROSSI is the NY Times and USA Today Best Selling author of the UNDER THE NEVER SKY series for young adults. She was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, grew up in California and graduated from UCLA. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and two sons, one of whom just surpassed her in height.


The generous folks at Tor Teen are letting me give away one copy of RIDERS!
•Open to US and CAN mailing addresses.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day, Lovelies! (a little different giveaway)

Happy Valentine's Day, my friends! 

Want to share a little love with you all today! :D  With a little something different.  I know, this is mostly a YA blog and I could talk for days on the many wonderful love stories in all our favorite YA novels. Some personal faves of course: Lilac & Tarver (Starbound series), Sophie & Archer (Hex Hall series), and new favorite, Amani & Jin (Rebel of the Sands!).  Then there are the classics, of course. Emma & Knightley, Jane and Rochester (though I love their story even more in the modern retelling Jane by April Lindner ;D), Jo & Laurie (yea, we'll just pretend Little Women ended differently).

today I'm going to go for a different side of love in books. It's definitely one of my favorite books about love ever. ♥ Guys, if you're a dog lover, a cat lover, a cuteness lover, just a lover of LOVE, this book is just the most adorable thing.  I'm talking about...
Patrick McDonnell is the writer of the comic strip Mutts, and his illustrations have the most charming retro simple style. I love them.  Wag! is a picture book starring the comic strip characters Earl (the doggie) and Mooch (the kitty) and Mooch tries to help find out what makes Earl's tail wag. Its the cutest thing EVER. 

Go out and find a copy!! I promise it will brighten your day.
Or here...have a little love---> one person, anywhere in the world can have a copy, my treat ;D

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Heir and the Spare by Emily Albright {review + giveaway}

The Heir and the Spare 
by Emily Albright
♦publisher : Merit Press
♦release date: January 18th, 2016
♦hardcover, 288 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult/New adult
♦source: from publisher for honest review
Family can be complicated. Especially when skeletons from the past pop up unexpectedly. For American Evie Gray, finding out her deceased mother had a secret identity, and not one of the caped crusader variety, was quite the surprise. Evie’s mom had a secret life before she was even born, one that involved tiaras.

In this modern day fairytale, Evie is on a path to figure out who her mom really was, while discovering for herself what the future will hold. Charged with her late mother’s letters, Evie embarks on a quest into her past. The first item on the list is to attend Oxford, her mom’s alma mater. There, Evie stumbles upon a real life prince charming, Edmund Stuart the second Prince of England, who is all too happy to be the counterpart to her damsel in distress.

Evie can’t resist her growing attraction to Edmund as they spend more time together trying to unravel the clues her mother left behind. But, when doubts arise as to whether or not Edmund could ever be with an untitled American, what really ends up unraveling is Evie’s heart. When Evie uncovers all the facts about her mom’s former life, she realizes her mom’s past can open doors she never dreamed possible, doors that can help her be with Edmund. But, with everything now unveiled, Evie starts to crack under the pressure of new family responsibilities and the realization that her perfect prince may want her for all the wrong reasons.

Review: The Heir and The Spare was a fun rompy story of a girl with a family secret who suddenly finds herself not only in the attention of a real-life prince, but also discovers she is royalty herself.  Many a young girl's fantasy, no doubt, which made this a fun tale of romance and wish-fulfillment, with a few little bumps along the road.

Evie was a good character but she definitely had her issues. I loved the bits about her mom's letters, their connection and the whole quest to discover her mother's past. I also loved how outspoken and fiesty Evie was, especially when putting snobby titled girls in their place, even at times when she was inwardly feeling less than confident. However, some of the overreactions to certain situations with Edmund and the overly childish name-calling (even just in her inner dialogue) came off as more a middle school level of maturity than university freshman . 

The plot moved very quickly and was so fun to watch unfold as Evie tries to figure things out with Edmund and find out what her mother is trying to tell her. There were some definite swoon-worthy moments and heartbreak along the way.  This definitely felt like The Princess Diaries as far the "duchess lessons" were concerned and a few other scenes that seemed similar to other "american-goes-abroad" type books and movies (one especially at the end that felt straight out of "What a Girl Wants"). 

Still, despite a few character issues and scenes that felt a little too familiar, I can't deny that I still really enjoyed this one for it's swoony romance and British charm. It gets points for just being fluffy and fun and a perfect book to reach for when one needs a quick read and  a little cheering up. :)

Find Emily Albright online:  Website  •  Twitter  •  Instagram

Purchase Heir and the Spare:  BookDepository  •  Indiebound  •  Amazon

I've ended up with an extra ARC copy of this one, so I want to pass it on! Anyone in the mood for a little fun royal romance? ;)
Enter below. 
US mailing addresses only please.

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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

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 Yvonne Ventresca

hitting shelves October 4th, 2016
from Sky Pony Press
Her father died before she was born, but Ella Benton knows they have a supernatural connection. Since her mother discourages these beliefs, Ella keeps her cemetery visits secret. But she may not be the only one with secrets. Ella’s mother might be lying about how Dad died sixteen years ago. Newfound evidence points to his death in a psychiatric hospital, not as a result of a tragic car accident as her mother always claimed. After a lifetime of just the two of them, Mom suddenly feels like a stranger.

When a handprint much like the one Ella left on her father’s tombstone mysteriously appears on the bathroom mirror, at first she wonders if Dad is warning her of danger as he did once before. If it’s not a warning, could her new too-good-to-be-true boyfriend be responsible for the strange occurrences? Or maybe it’s the grieving building superintendent whose dead daughter strongly resembles Ella? As the unexplained events become more frequent and more sinister, Ella becomes terrified about who—or what—might harm her.

Soon the evidence points to someone else entirely: Ella herself. What if, like her father, she’s suffering from a breakdown? In this second novel from award-winning author Yvonne Ventresca, Ella desperately needs to find answers, no matter how disturbing the truth might be.

My thoughts:  Ahh, this sounds so incredibly creepy and perfect for a little pre-Halloween spookiness!  Love the father/daughter tie, a little paranormal ghostliness going on, and the promise of sinister family secrets!

What are you waiting on this week?

Sunday, February 7, 2016

New Shelf Goodies & The Weekly Nutshell {155}

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)

Traded for:
The Siren by Kiera Cass
For being such a well-known author I feel like I haven't heard much feedback for this one! I'm very excited to read it, though!

For Review:
Time Stoppers by Carrie Jones
 I haven't read this author since her very first book, Need, but this MG is looking fantastic!
Exile for Dreamers by Kathleen Baldwin
Eeee, so excited for this. While I enjoyed the first book in this series, I loved the character that this companion focuses on. Yay for more Tess!
Some of the Parts by Hannah Barnaby
Curious about this one, it's an interesting premise but one that's been done before, so I'm not sure! I'll probably wait to see a few more trusted reviews before taking on this one. 
The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner
OK. So I don't read much contemp, but with the reader reactions I've been seeing to this book, I don't think it's one I want to miss. 

Many thanks to Bloomsbury Kids, Tor Teen, and Random House for these! And to the lovely Jane for trading with me! :D

The Weekly Nutshell:
{Monday} What's New February YA Releases & Giveaway
{Tuesday} Waiting on...Lotus & Thorn by Sara Wilson Etienne
{Thursday} Guest post featuring Annabeth Neverending + Cupcakes!

 It's going to be in the 70s here this week. Sunny and 70s!! I'm torn, I love Winter and wish it would stay just a bit longer, but I'm looking forward to Spring, too I guess. Speaking of Winter...audiobook, still slowly working my way through and just absolutely loving it. I've found myself sitting in my car and extra few minutes after I get where I'm going just to finish whatever amazing scene I'm caught up in (apologies to my boss for being late to work LOL).  I read Heir and the Spare last week, which was just fun and a bit fluffy, but really good---my full review will be up this week.  Now I'm reading Passenger, 100 or so pages in and loving it so far. Which is good, because I know I've seen a few people warn of a slow beginning and I was worried! 

Hope you are all getting some great reading done this week! :D

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Guest post with Leyla Kader Dahm - Annabeth Neverending & Salted Caramel Ankh Cupcakes!

Today I have special treat! A guest post featuring author Leyla Kader Dahm!  To celebrate her new book, Annabeth Neverending, she's stopped by for a little guest baking session :)


Annabeth Neverending
by Leyla Kader Dahm
♦release date: December 15th, 2016
♦paperback, 307 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
At first, teenager Annabeth Prescott thinks she’s found quite a deal when she talks down the price of an ankh pendant she discovers at a flea market. She soon wonders if the bauble is more than she's bargained for when she faints and glimpses images from a past life in ancient Egypt. 

The discovery coincides with another new find: Gabriel, a handsome young man who takes an interest in her. When she meets his twin brother C. J. at a Halloween party, she realizes they look exactly like two boys who figure prominently into her memories.

Does C. J. share the heroic qualities held by his past incarnation Sethe, her bodyguard when she was Princess Ana? Does Gabriel possess the same evil powers he wielded as Kha, the black sorcerer who sought her affection?

Love meets the supernatural in this gripping young adult paranormal romance. Readers with an interest in reincarnation, as well as ancient Egypt, will be drawn to its mystical mixture of history and hesitation as Annabeth sways between the two brothers. 

Will her reincarnated soulmate win out? Or will Kha finally find the way to her heart?

Wisconsin native Leyla Kader Dahm popped popcorn and dreamt of a career in show business while working in a movie theater during high school. The small-town Midwestern girl opted for the practical route and studied communications at Carroll College and Cornell University. But her life changed course dramatically when a temp agency placed her in a production and development gig at Miramax/Dimension Films.

Dahm went on to work as a script consultant for numerous production companies. She appeared in the acclaimed spoken word show Sit ‘N Spin and had her comedy feature spec, Due North, optioned by Michael Levy Enterprises. She sold her pitch, Survival Instinct, to Nickelodeon Original Movies. 

Dahm lives with her husband and children in Los Angeles, where she focuses on writing quality material for families and young adults.


Annabeth Neverending is a fun paranormal romance featuring past lives, magic, and tons of great Egyptian mythology.  To perfectly tie in with her book, Leyla has created these fun cupcakes. They sound delicious (salted caramel is a fave flavor of mine!) and she even instructs on how to make the cute little Ankh cupcake-toppers!  


1 3/4 c boiling water
6 oz semisweet chocolate chips
1 c unsweetened cocoa powder
2 c sifted cake flour
2 ts baking soda
1/4 ts salt
10 oz unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 c firmly packed dark brown sugar
4 lg eggs
2 ts vanilla


1. Preheat oven to 350F. Put cupcake liners in tins.
2. In a medium bowl, pour the boiling water over the chocolate chips. Set aside for 5 minutes. Add the cocoa and stir until the mixture is smooth. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
4. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream the butter and brown sugar and add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. 
5. Add the flour mixture and half the chocolate mixture. Beat on low speed to combine, and then on high for 1 1/2 minutes. Add the remaining chocolate mixture and beat on low speed to combine.
6. Pour the batter into the prepared tins and bake for 30-40 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Set the cupcake pans on a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes. 



1 c firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 c butter
1/3 c whole milk
4 c powdered sugar, sifted
1 ts vanilla extract
1/2 ts sea salt

1. Bring first brown sugar and butter to a rolling boil in a 3 1/2-qt. saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly.
2. Stir in milk, and return to a boil; remove from heat. Pour into bowl of a heavy-duty electric stand mixer. 
3. Gradually beat in powdered sugar and vanilla at medium speed, using whisk attachment; beat 7 to 10 minutes or until thickened. 
4. Frost cupcakes.


To make the ankh decorations, either use an ankh shaped candy mold like I did, or you can pipe ankh shapes with melted chocolate chips onto wax paper.