Wednesday, June 29, 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.
by Rachel Neumeier

hitting shelves March 14, 2017
from Knopf Books for Young Readers
Leigh Bardugo meets The Sixth Sense in this story of one girl’s perilous journey to restore a lost order. 
Imagine you live with your aunt, who hates you so much she’s going to sell you into a dreadful apprenticeship. Imagine you run away before that can happen. Imagine that you can see ghosts—and talk with the dead. People like you are feared, even shunned.
Now imagine . . . the first people you encounter after your escape are a mysterious stranger and a ghost boy, who seem to need you desperately—though you don’t understand who they are or exactly what they want you to do. So you set off on a treacherous journey, with only a ghost dog for company. And you find that what lies before you is a task so monumental that it could change the world.

My thoughts:  While I don't like such a direct comparison to another author's style, I DO like the idea of  high fantasy Sixth Sense! :D  Ghost dogs, a cruel aunt, and a mysterious all sounds pretty bizarre and amazing!  The cool, slightly unsettling cover doesn't hurt either! 

What book are you eagerly anticipating this week?

Sunday, June 26, 2016

New Shelf Goodies & The Weekly Nutshell {166}

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)

Aaaaand I'm back :D Sorry about the unannounced radio silence there, guys! I don't like to announce when my house will be empty--internet safety 101, people! :D But I was away on a fabulous vacation and family visit to sunny (and hot and suffocatingly humid) Florida!   Despite the heat, we had an amazing time and I miss it already.   Here was my view for the past 8 days:
Such a pretty place--I l♥♥♥ve all the white sandy beaches and the mossy trees. It's unlike anything we have here on the West Coast! Disney World was fun but just so overwhelming! I think I've come to realize I'm a Disneyland person haha. Oh, and a huge shout-out to Rachel @ Paper Cuts for being my Disney guru! If you ever want tips on how to tackle DisneyWorld, she is the one to ask! Thanks, girlie!!

And then, I came back to this loveliness!! I think picking up mail after a vacation hold is probably the best thing EVER. :)

And here are the bookish goodies that were inside! 
For review:
Ok, so if you remember, this was also in my last haul post. Yes, this is a duplicate. Hm...what to do, what to do...giveaway? Epic trade?  Hehe, we'll see! :D
Ah, so excited to read this MG! It looks like just my kind of thing!!

Eeee, one of my most anticipated books this year. So happy to have this in my hands!!
SO pretty. ♥.♥  I love the little fox :D And this sounds like another fabulous Tahereh story! :D

And then there was THIS. OH how I do feel like the luckiest person on earth to have won this amazing prize pack!! The fabulous Martina Boone gave this away during the BEA #YAParty and the book gods were smiling down upon me that day :D I love this so much, the bag, the necklace, all the pretty charm bookmarks! Each book is signed with a sweet personal message and I'm just feeling so grateful & honored to have one the very few Illusion ARCs that will be made! :D  Thank you, Martina and Simon & Schuster!! Thank you X 1000!!

(So, some of those packages above were beauty stuffs ;) On a side note, I've been tossing around the idea of adding some beauty reviews and unboxings here, because between daughter and I, we get lots of beauty mail as well! Would anyone be interested in seeing that?) 

The Weekly Nutshell
On the reading front, during my vacation I read The Lonely Ones by Kelsey Sutton. SO much love for this. After that, I got back to My Lady Jane, which I started a few weeks ago, but had to put aside to get some deadline books read.  Still really enjoying it and I'm nearly done now.  Next up is...well, I haven't decided yet. I have so many books that I'm crazy excited to read hanging out on my shelf right now. I feel like I'm literally going to have to reach out to my bookshelves blindfolded to make the decision on what to dive into next!! Plus my daughter read Everland on vacation and is so completely in love with it and begging me to read it, so that's another contender. :)

How about you all? Any summer vacation plan or recent trips? And what books will you be reading on those get-aways? :D

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

And I Darken by Kiersten White {blog tour review}

I'm super excited and honored to be participating in the blog tour for one of my long-time fave authors and her new title! Today I'm reviewing the incredibly epic 
by Kiersten White! 

by Kiersten White
♦publisher: Delacorte Press
♦release date: June 28th, 2016
♦hardcover, 496 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦series: The Conqueror's Saga, book 1
♦source: ARC from publisher for honest review

And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.

Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, who’s expected to rule a nation, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion.

But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point.

Review: AND I DARKEN has a vast epic feel and scope that I really enjoyed.  It followed it's characters, the hard and seemingly heartless Lada, and the tender-hearted and gentle-souled Radu from their birth into their teens and really gave the reader a chance to know them. There is so much that happens in the course of their lives but at the heart of it is a brother and sister, their familiarity, their rivalry, their protectiveness of each other, and how love will shape both of their lives. 

I have certainly never read about a princess like Lada--and I loved her! Though admittedly I was also terrified of her by the time she turned the not-very-sweet age of 5! Her bravery, her stubborness, her fierceness, and her insistence to be treated as an equal to the boys and not as incapable simply because she was a girl were all things that I couldn't help relishing as I watched her character grow. Radu faces challenges just as immense, as he constantly struggles to prove himself and later when he is forced to face a truth in himself that he doesn't even have a name for. I also loved the focus on his spiritual journey and how it strengthens him. 

While it's a huge brutal and exciting tale, there were a few sections of the story that I found to be really slow going. Also, as much as it might have made sense for Lada and Radu to be hardened and matured by the harsh situations they found themselves in,  there were still some actions and dialogue that I couldn't picture a 12 and 13 year old doing or saying. The story almost immediately picked up for me though when they turned 15 and 16, and stayed a twisting, engaging, emotional roller coaster until it's very end.  There were a few nights this one kept me up until 3 am, completely unwilling to put it down! This is nothing like anything I've read from Kiersten White, but it was definitely another piece of incredible and creative storytelling from her!


KIERSTEN WHITE is the New York Times bestselling author of the Paranormalcy trilogy; the dark thrillers Mind Games and Perfect Lies; The Chaos of Stars; and Illusions of Fate. She also coauthored In the Shadows with Jim Di Bartolo. She lives with her family near the ocean in San Diego, which, in spite of its perfection, spurs her to dream of faraway places and even further away times.


Purchase And I Darken:  Indiebound  •  BookDepository  •  Amazon

Be sure to visit the rest of the tour stops for AND I DARKEN!

Monday, May 30thIcey Books, Review

Tuesday, May 31stBookiemoji, Guest Post (Character Profiles)
Wednesday, June 1stSeeing Double in Neverland, Review
Thursday, June 2ndAlexa Loves Books, Playlist Post
Friday, June 3rdOwl Always Be Reading, Review

Monday, June 6thJessabella Reads, Review
Tuesday, June 7thThe Eater of Books!, Top Five Roundup
Wednesday, June 8thAcross the Words, Review
Thursday, June 9thPandora’s Books, Sneak Peek for Book Two
Friday, June 10thTales of the Ravenous Reader, Review

Monday, June 13th: A Midsummer Night's Read, Review
Tuesday, June 14thThe Irish Banana Review, Top 10 Guest Post
Wednesday, June 15thStories & Sweeties, Review
Thursday, June 16thJenuine Cupcakes, Author Mystery Guest Post
Friday, June 17thThe Soul Sisters, Review

Monday, June 20thWinterhaven Books, Review
Tuesday, June 21stTwo Chicks on Books, Q&A (4-6 questions)
Wednesday: June 22ndThe Book Swarm, Review
Thursday, June 23rdRead. Sleep. Repeat., Top Five Fantasy Books Kiersten Loves to Re-Read
Friday, June 24thPlease Feed The Bookworm, Review

Monday, June 27thComfort Books, Review
Tuesday, June 28thFitshun, Q&A
Wednesday, June 29thAddicted Readers,Review
Thursday, June 30thLindsay Cummings, Movie Casting Post
Friday, July 1stRabid Reads, Review

Monday, July 4thReading Teen, Review
Tuesday, July 5thYA Bibliophile, Guest Post (Trip to Romania)
Wednesday, July 6thCarina’s Books, Review
Thursday, July 7thMundie Moms, Author Mystery Guest Post
Friday, July 8th:  Bookishness and Tea, Review

Tuesday, June 14, 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 Tara Sim

hitting shelves November 1st, 2016
from Sky Pony Press
In an alternate Victorian world controlled by clock towers, a damaged clock can fracture time—and a destroyed one can stop it completely.

It’s a truth that seventeen-year-old clock mechanic Danny Hart knows all too well; his father has been trapped in a Stopped town east of London for three years. Though Danny is a prodigy who can repair not only clockwork, but the very fabric of time, his fixation with staging a rescue is quickly becoming a concern to his superiors.

And so they assign him to Enfield, a town where the tower seems to be forever plagued with problems. Danny’s new apprentice both annoys and intrigues him, and though the boy is eager to work, he maintains a secretive distance. Danny soon discovers why: he is the tower’s clock spirit, a mythical being that oversees Enfield’s time. Though the boys are drawn together by their loneliness, Danny knows falling in love with a clock spirit is forbidden, and means risking everything he’s fought to achieve.

But when a series of bombings at nearby towers threaten to Stop more cities, Danny must race to prevent Enfield from becoming the next target or he’ll not only lose his father, but the boy he loves, forever.

The stunning first novel in a new trilogy by debut author Tara Sim, Timekeeper is perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare and Victoria Schwab.

My thoughts:  So, another cover that I am not super in love with, BUT OH MAN give me all the steampunkery and time-stopping and clock spirits?? How cool does that sound?? This is one of the main titles that makes me so sad to be missing ALA, as the author will be signing! :'(  But this is definitely on my must-read list for November. 

What book are you eagerly anticipating this week?

Sunday, June 12, 2016

New Shelf Goodies & The Weekly Nutshell {165}

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 it seems I've taken to doing these posts every two weeks xD.  That could change of course at any time, but that's just the way my time management has been going these past few months, I guess! It does pose a bit of a challenge though, with remembering what I've shown and what I haven't LOL. (I've got a ridiculously terrible memory, guys. This is part of the reason I started blogging in the first place! :D) I think this is everything that I've gotten in the last two weeks!

For review:
Truly, people, this thing looks glorious inside and out. Can't wait to dive in. 
I don't know much about this series--anyone want to convince me it's a must-read? :)

Eeek, this looks so good and creepy. A BEA giftie from the lovely Britt :*

From Trades:
*DYING* This is pretty much my TOP most anticipated book right now. I am doing all I can not to drop everything and start it!! But commitments, deadlines...ugh lol. 
I WoWed this one a few months back, it looks amazing! 
I've never read this author, but still so excited for this MG fantasy!
This looks gorgeous and fun---witchy stories, always up for that!
I adored the first book, and pretty much everything Lauren DeStefano creates! 

From the library:
This passed through my library, and I just couldn't resist. I've been wanting to read this one, the synopis is so intriguing!

Huge love and thanks to St. Martin's & Harlequin Teen for the review books, and to all my wonderful trade buddies! ;D

The Weekly Nutshell:
recent posts:
What's New: June YA Release List & Giveaway!
Review: Rocks Fall Everyone Dies by Lindsay Ribar
Waiting on Wednesday: The Dragon's Price by Bethany Wiggins
Old Books, New Looks: Paperback Makeovers!

So the last few weeks I've been reading some great things! If you check out my review above, you know how much I really enjoyed Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies.  I started My Lady Jane and am loving it so much, but I had to put it aside for a few days because I need to start And I Darken for my upcoming tour stop! Only it's taking me a little longer to read that I hoped--it's good, it's just not a fast read at all for a very long time into the story, or at least it wasn't for me. I am enjoying it though and you can see my full thoughts this Wednesday when the blog tour rolls though! 

What are all you booklovers reading right now? 

Friday, June 10, 2016

Old Books, New Looks {17}

Time again for another round of Old Books, New Looks, where I feature the covers of books that have already been released and their redesigned paperback counterpart! :) Sometimes I like the new better, sometimes I like the old.  It's actually not often that I do two of these post so close together but I've been finding a lot of these lately! Here we go:

  The OLDIES   vs.  The NEWBIES 
GASP!! It's not often this happens, but I LOVE THEM BOTH. 

I haven't read this series yet, but I've heard there's great humor in it.  Both quirky covers fit that, but I think I like the illustrated one just a bit more! 

Oh this is one that I definitely think the makeover was a big improvement!! I love the new one!

Are we seeing a bit of a theme here?  Illustrated covers are making a huge comback and I'm actually loving it. I do like the eeriness of the original, and I think it looks more like a YA book than the new one, but I LOVE the redesigned title font. 

I love both of these, too. The original was so deliciously creepy with the contrast of pretty flowers and old boards and I love the titlework.  But I also love the  new cover that sets the time and place and seeing her booking it out of that graveyard really sets the eerie tone!
I'm not super crazy about either, but I do like the new one better. The old one never really appealed to me. 

Design-wise, I would say the new is an improvement---but if you read the synopsis of this book, the happy little jar of fireflies seems a little too lighthearted for how intense the story sounds.

What say you?? Old or new? :D

Tuesday, June 7, 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.

by Bethany Wiggins

hitting shelves February 21st, 2016
from Crown Books for Young Readers
When two warring kingdoms unified against a deadly menace laying waste to both their lands, they had to make a choice: vow to marry their heirs to one another, or forfeit their lives to the dragon.
Centuries later, everyone expects the sheltered princess Sorrowlynn to choose the barbarian prince over the fire-breathing beast—everyone, that is, except Sorrow, who is determined to control her own destiny or die trying.
As she is lowered into the dragon’s chamber, she assumes her life is over until Golmarr, the young prince she just spurned, follows her with the hopes of being her hero and slaying the dragon. But the dragon has a different plan. . . .
If the dragon wins, it will be freed from the spell that has bound it to the cave for centuries. If Sorrow or Golmarr vanquish the dragon, the victor will gain its treasure and escape the cave beneath the mountain. But what exactly is the dragon hiding?
There are no safe havens for Sorrow or Golmarr—not even with each other—and the stakes couldn’t be higher as they risk everything to protect their kingdom.

My thoughts:  A princess choses death by dragon over an arranged marriage, and the prince goes after her---but the dragon turns the tables on the both of  them! I looove the sound of this one and can't wait to see where it will lead and what the dragon is hiding!

What book are you eagerly anticipating this week?

Friday, June 3, 2016

Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies by Lindsay Ribar {review}

Rocks  Fall, Everyone Dies 
by Lindsay Ribar
♦publisher: Kathy Dawson Books
♦release date: June 7th, 2016
♦hardcover, 336 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦source: arc from publisher for honest review
Twin Peaks meets Stars Hollow in this paranormal suspense novel about a boy who can reach inside people and steal their innermost things—fears, memories, scars, even love—and his family's secret ritual that for centuries has kept the cliff above their small town from collapsing.

Aspen Quick has never really worried about how he's affecting people when he steals from them. But this summer he'll discover just how strong the Quick family magic is—and how far they'll go to keep their secrets safe.

With a smart, arrogant protagonist, a sinister family tradition, and an ending you won't see coming, this is a fast-paced, twisty story about power, addiction, and deciding what kind of person you want to be, in a family that has the ability to control everything you are.

Review: Wow, I can honestly say that I have never loved a story so much and dislike the main character at the same time.  This twisty magical story is told in a casual contemporary voice, from the perspective of one Aspen Quick. He’s a boy in love, willing to use desperate sneaky measures to steal the object of his long-time crush away from his best friend. Only thing is, he actually has an easy way to do it. Aspen’s family has a secret---they can reach into anything that a person has touched and steal things away: feelings, fears, freckles, sobriety…even love. As much as  I didn’t like the things he was doing, it was easy to see how a teen with an unrequited crush could easily fall into using this power the wrong way and taking for granted what a small “theft” every now and then wouldn’t amount to much. But he will learn quite the opposite by the end.

I loved the turns this story took, how the relationships between Aspen and everyone in the story---his parents, his friends (old and new), his aunt, his grandmother, his cousin---grew and morphed and stretched thin. I loved how the families secrets slowly seeped out and forced Aspen to take a look at what came so easily to him before. The romance is messy in this and turned out...exactly as I hoped it would. I loved Leah, she is fierce, unapologetic, wounded, and confused all at once and I might have shipped her and Aspen if I didn't want to ring his neck so many times xD.

It’s a super fast read, wildly entertaining, that’s about all the littlest things that make us who we are and what we might be without them. It’s about family and friends and fear and trust and power and when enough is enough.  The twist ending is fantastic and hopeful and I left the story thinking this Aspen kid, he’s gonna be alright. Phew. ;)


Lindsay Ribar lives in New York City, where she works in book publishing by day and writes YA novels by night. She attends far too many concerts, watches far too much nerdy TV, and consumes fanfiction like it's made out of chocolate. She is fond of wine, cheese, and countries where they speak English but with really cool accents. Oh, and she has a Harry Potter tattoo.

Purchase the book:  Indiebound  •  BookDepository  •  Amazon