Tuesday, January 31, 2017

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 MacKenzie Cadenhead

hitting shelves August 1st, 2017
from Sourcebooks Fire
Sarah’s dreams are everyone else’s nightmares in this thriller that perfectly combines Inception and Heathers

As a sufferer of REM Sleep Behavior Disorder, Sarah acts out her dreams. Usually she's only a danger to herself, but when she almost breaks her best friend's neck at a sleepover, Sarah becomes a social pariah. Luckily (and strangely), Wes, a guy she's only seen in her dreams, turns up at school and the two become inseparable.

An experimental drug offers a cure, but she and Wes soon realize that not only are they sharing the same dreams, they can now alter other people's dreams. It's clear that this new drug is offering a lot more than just sleep. Will Wes and Sarah choose responsibility…or revenge?

My thoughts:  Dreams :) Really, when a synopsis mentions dreams and something bizarre going on with them, I'm pretty much in at that point. This also sounds a bit science-fictiony with the experimental drug, so....interesting! Hope this one is good and doesn't cross the line into "too wierd" LOL. 

What book are you eagerly anticipating this week?

Sunday, January 29, 2017

New Shelf Goodies & The Weekly Nutshell {180}

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 that...my 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 landed on my doorstep these past few weeks:
Truthwitch by Susan Dennard (UK Edition)
Soooo gorgeous. I couldn't resist the newly released UK paperback!

For review:
Windwitch by Susan Dennard
Also gorgeous lol. This series is up next for me and I honestly can't wait. 
The Best Kind of Magic by Crystal Cestari
Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken
I got a surprise unsolicited package from Disney! So, so grateful as always, but this is my third arc of Wayfarer (a signed copy, but also a little beat up--odd lol) and Best Kind of Magic is a double for me, also. I'll find good homes for them one way or another, though! :D
The Black Tempest by Ryan Dalton
Also unsolicited---Looks interesting--I think it's a sequel, but I haven't read the first one. 
Luna Lovegood Pop Vinyl figurine!! 
Yay! I've been searching and searching for her. She is my favorite HP character ♥. So sweet, we went to a Barnes & Noble last week and after I looked through rows and rows of Pop figures in the store and I came up empty handed, I went out into the car and she was sitting in the passenger's seat. My hubby does love staging a good surprise :D

The Weekly Nutshell:

Ahh, will things finally starting winding down? It always seems like the holiday rush runs from November to end of January in my house (possibly because of all the January birthdays:D)  Hubby and I just got back from a really nice 3-day birthday getaway, and now we are back and some crazy house projects are underway. We seem to do this a lot, don't we? It seems like I'm always on here talking about some remodel project or another, haha.  Anyhow, it's fun. :)

I've just started reading Empress of a Thousand Skies and I'm really enjoying it so far! The blog tour will be rolling through in early February with my review and a fun spacey cupcake! Next up I'll be diving into Truthwitch and Windwitch and I can't tell you how excited I am---after a year of hearing such amazing things about book one. Not sure why it took me so long, considering how much I loved Susan Dennard's first series. I've also been listening to The Inventor's Secret and School for Good and Evil on audiobook---enjoying them both! 

Also this week, I finally got myself going on Instagram!! I'm still kind of bumbling around and trying to figure it all out, but if you are so inclined, I would really appreciate any follows! You can find my account HERE .

Lastly, I just watched the last episode of Sherlock, season 4. Rumored to be the last Sherlock EVER. Oh man, this was such an odd season. So much darker than they've ever been. I'm still processing it I think, but for now I just want to go back and watch the wedding episode for the 50th time to cheer myself up. :D  Did any of you watch them? If so, what did you think?

Have a wonderful week, everyone! Happy reading! :D

Friday, January 27, 2017

Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken {review}

by Alexandra Bracken
♦publisher: Disney Hyperion
♦release date: January 3rd, 2017
♦hardcover, 532 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦series: Passenger, book 2 (duology)
  review of book 1, Passenger
♦source: from publisher for honest review
All Etta Spencer wanted was to make her violin debut when she was thrust into a treacherous world where the struggle for power could alter history. After losing the one thing that would have allowed her to protect the Timeline, and the one person worth fighting for, Etta awakens alone in an unknown place and time, exposed to the threat of the two groups who would rather see her dead than succeed. When help arrives, it comes from the last person Etta ever expected—Julian Ironwood, the Grand Master’s heir who has long been presumed dead, and whose dangerous alliance with a man from Etta’s past could put them both at risk.

 Meanwhile, Nicholas and Sophia are racing through time in order to locate Etta and the missing astrolabe with Ironwood travelers hot on their trail. They cross paths with a mercenary-for-hire, a cheeky girl named Li Min who quickly develops a flirtation with Sophia. But as the three of them attempt to evade their pursuers, Nicholas soon realizes that one of his companions may have ulterior motives.

As Etta and Nicholas fight to make their way back to one another, from Imperial Russia to the Vatican catacombs, time is rapidly shifting and changing into something unrecognizable… and might just run out on both of them.

Review: If there's one thing that can be said about this series, it's that it certainly is impressive. Once again, Bracken spins a historical adventurous tale with a scope so expansive and rich in detail it will leave any reader's head spinning. 

Wayfarer picks up shortly after Passenger ends. Etta and Nicholas have been separated by centuries and everyone is searching for the astrolabe, all with different intentions on what to do with it once it's found---even more so once it becomes clear exactly what the consequences might be of destroying it.  As the search intensifies, passages begin to collapse and timelines change, making the need to get it back (and out of Ironwood's hands) before all of history is irreparably damaged more desperate than ever. 

This time around, Etta has definitely acclimated to the life of a traveler, and faces down every danger and challenge that comes her way with grit, smarts, and tenacity. Someone also happens back into her life that is so important to her story, someone who will change her heart and open her eyes to emotions she's repressed her whole life, leading her to questioning her relationship with her mother and her own confidence.  A few other great new characters come into the story: Nicholas's supposedly-dead brother, Julian, is a fun addition with his brash confidence and witty remarks. It was also interesting to get more backstory on Sophia, and see her hard exterior and heart be cracked wide open by the fierce newcomer, Li-Min.  

The historical detail in this is sublime. My very favorite part of the story involved Etta getting to finally play music again and for the most humbling impressive two-person audience she could dream of. My only issue with this story is not that the book was long (I don't mind a brick of a book once in a while lol) but that at many times it felt long. And as sometimes happens with alternating view points, there are times when one side of the story and action is more compelling than the other, so when the viewpoint switches, it tends to break down the pacing a little. 

For those hoping to jump back into the swoony story of Nicholas and Etta---be prepared to have your patience tested! However, their determination to fight their way back to each other is rather romantic. The whole quest builds to an action-packed climax and a twist that I didn't see coming! It wraps up in a sweet and satisfying finale that I'm sure will satisfy even the most hopeless romantic (like myself :D).  All in all, a beautiful story and a wonderful read-worthy duology. 

~Favorite Quote~
There were nights Etta dreamed of drowning, of sinking further and further into the black heart of the sea. No one came to rescue her. 

She'd had to rescue herself.


Alexandra Bracken was born and raised in Arizona. The daughter of a Star Wars collector, she grew up going to an endless string of Star Wars conventions and toy fairs, which helped spark her imagination and a deep love of reading. After graduating high school, she attended The College of William & Mary in Virginia, where she double majored in English and History. She sold her first book, Brightly Woven, as a senior in college, and later moved to New York City to work in children's book publishing, first as an editorial assistant, then in marketing. After six years, she took the plunge and decided to write full time. She now lives in Arizona with her tiny pup, Tennyson, in a house that's constantly overflowing with books. 
Alex is a #1 New York Times bestselling and USA TODAY bestselling author. Her work is available across the world in over 15 languages. 


Purchase the book:   Indiebound   •   BookDepository   •   Amazon

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

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 Tara Goedjen

hitting shelves October 10th, 2017
from Delacorte Press
A gothic mystery set on the Gulf Coast of Alabama, the novel follows 16-year-old Mae Cole's quest to uncover who is responsible for her sister's mysterious death, and the terrifying turn it takes as she starts to dig up long-buried secrets about her family's dark past.

My thoughts:  Not too much info on this one as of yet, but...Gothic. Southern. Mystery. Family secrets.  That's really all I need to know to draw me to this one! :D

What book are you eagerly anticipating this week?

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Heartstone by Elle Katharine White {Blog tour excerpt + Giveaway!}

Welcome, welcome to my stop on the Heartstone Blog Tour! Today I'm featuring an except from debut author Elle Katharine White's fantasy adventure, Heartstone (a Pride and Prejudice retelling with dragons!) along with a chance to snag one of three copies in the tour-wide giveaway! Read on!

by Elle Katharine White
♦publisher: Harper Voyager
♦release date: January 17, 2017
♦paperback, 352 pages
A debut historical fantasy that recasts Jane Austen’s beloved Pride and Prejudice in an imaginative world of wyverns, dragons, and the warriors who fight alongside them against the monsters that threaten the kingdom: gryphons, direwolves, lamias, banshees, and lindworms.

They say a Rider in possession of a good blade must be in want of a monster to slay—and Merybourne Manor has plenty of monsters.

Passionate, headstrong Aliza Bentaine knows this all too well; she’s already lost one sister to the invading gryphons. So when Lord Merybourne hires a band of Riders to hunt down the horde, Aliza is relieved her home will soon be safe again.

Her relief is short-lived. With the arrival of the haughty and handsome dragonrider, Alastair Daired, Aliza expects a battle; what she doesn’t expect is a romantic clash of wills, pitting words and wit against the pride of an ancient house. Nor does she anticipate the mystery that follows them from Merybourne Manor, its roots running deep as the foundations of the kingdom itself, where something old and dreadful slumbers . . . something far more sinister than gryphons.

It’s a war Aliza is ill-prepared to wage, on a battlefield she’s never known before: one spanning kingdoms, class lines, and the curious nature of her own heart.

Elle Katharine White infuses elements of Austen’s beloved novel with her own brand of magic, crafting a modern epic fantasy that conjures a familiar yet wondrously unique new world.

The dragon’s wings stretched the length of the field, and talons the size of plowshares scoured the earth where it landed. Pewter scales shone with a bluish-gold luster where the sun hit its sides, and I longed for a canvas and some paints to capture the sight, my fear forgotten.
A broad-shouldered figure leapt from the dragon’s back.
“You there!”
The Rider’s voice tore me away from the strokes of my mental paintbrush. I reddened as he approached and tried to wipe some of the mud from my dress, succeeding only in smudging it farther down the front. The contrast between us grew clearer—and more painful—with each step. Tooled in gold across the Rider’s breastplate was the rampant figure of a dragon, the symbol of House Daired, and on the hilt of the sword slung over his shoulder I caught the bloodred glimmer of a lamia’s heartstone. As my younger sister Mari once told me, the serpentine, scythe-wielding monsters called lamias were one of the Tekari, sworn foes of humankind. A lamia’s heartstone would be a worthy pommel gem for a Daired’s blade.
My gaze trailed from his heartstone to his face, and a new chill ran through me, though this one wasn’t so much fear as a healthy dose of embarrassment.
Blast. He would be handsome.
Of course, he could’ve looked like the wrong side of a troll and his appearance would’ve still made me blush. By rights this Daired shouldn’t have been here at all. Merybourne Manor sat at the heart of a poor county, the smallest in the island kingdom of Arle. Lord Merybourne ruled over farmers, craftspeople, and the occasional merchant, but no one rich or distinguished, and it’d taken us months to scrounge enough to meet the bond-price for a band of Riders.
My father, the Manor clerk and an old friend of Lord Merybourne, had spent weeks running the sums to see how we could afford it. Five Riders, five mounts, and food and lodging for a fort-night, in return for which they’d hunt down and slay the gryphon horde that plagued us. At twenty silver dragonbacks per Rider, the commission cost the Manor a total of one hundred dragonbacks. 
Or, by my more practical calculation, the entire income of Merybourne Manor in a year.

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Elle was born and raised in Buffalo, NY, where she learned valuable life skills like how to clear a snowy driveway in under twenty minutes (a lot easier than you think) and how to cheer for the perennial underdog (a lot harder than you think).

When she's not writing she spends her time reading, drinking absurd amounts of tea, having strong feelings about fictional characters, and doing her best to live with no regrets.

Connect with her on Facebook at @ellewhite.author, or witness the hilarious spectacle that is a writer contending with the 140-character limit on Twitter at @elle_k_writes.

Purchase The Graces:  Indiebound  •  BookDepository  •  Amazon

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance at one of 3 finished copies !

•US mailing address only please

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to drop by all the other tour stops for Heartstone!

Week One:
1/9/2017- YA Book NerdInterview         
1/10/2017- Seeing Double In Neverland Review
1/11/2017- Novel NoviceGuest Post     
1/12/2017- What the Cat ReadReview 
1/13/2017- Two Chicks on BooksInterview        

Week Two:
1/16/2017- Fiction Fare Review
1/17/2017- The Eater of Books!Excerpt
1/18/2017- History from a Woman's PerspectiveReview             
1/19/2017- Stories & Sweeties- Excerpt
1/20/2017- The Book NutReview 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

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 Anna-Marie McLemore

hitting shelves September 26th, 2017
from Feiwel & Friends
For nearly a century, the Nomeolvides women have tended the grounds of La Pradera, the lush estate gardens that enchant guests from around the world. They’ve also hidden a tragic legacy: if they fall in love too deeply, their lovers vanish. But then, after generations of vanishings, a strange boy appears in the gardens.

The boy is a mystery to Estrella, the Nomeolvides girl who finds him, and to her family, but he’s even more a mystery to himself; he knows nothing more about who he is or where he came from than his first name. As Estrella tries to help Fel piece together his unknown past, La Pradera leads them to secrets as dangerous as they are magical in this stunning exploration of love, loss, and family.

My thoughts:  Though I've somehow never gotten around to reading a book by this author, all of her books sound like something that I would absolutely love: magic and atmosphere and just a little on the bizarre side.  This one is no exception---it sounds so amazing! And that cover...wow. I'm in love with the title font and all the color.  

What book are you eagerly anticipating this week?

Friday, January 13, 2017

Timekeeper by Tara Sim {review + giveaway}

by Tara Sim
♦publisher: Sky Pony Press
♦release date: November 8th, 2017
♦hardcover, 414 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦series: Timekeeper, book 1
♦source: from publisher for honest review
Two o’clock was missing. 

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.

Review: This book was an absolute charmer. Even if you're eyeing this book thinking to yourself, 'I don't really like steampunk'---I still think anyone would really enjoy this one. I love steampunk stories, but only when it's not too too longwinded with the mechanical details, then I tend to get bored. But Timekeeper is what I'd call "steampunk-light". :) Just detailed enough that you get a perfect visual of the cool clockwork, plus it actually focuses more on the magical side of things, the spirit of the clock, and how the clocktowers and time are entwined. It was perfect. 

Danny is such a fun character to read. He's a perfectly realistic mix of determination, smarts, bumbling Britishness (sort of like very young Colin Firth ;D) and social and emotional insecurity.  He's not well liked among his peers but he knows he's good at what he does and he takes a lot of pride in that.   Danny's home life is strained since his father went missing, and he also suspects that his mom is not happy about his lifestyle choice.  You definitely feel for him and when he meets the clock spirit of Enfield, you just root for him to have that happiness, no matter how forbidden falling in love with a clock spirit was.  I loved his best friend, Cassie--a quick-tongued, ingenious auto mechanic---and also several other of the side characters that Danny's story entangles with.

The magic and world-building in this was wonderful and so well thought out. The idea that these clock towers actually control time for each region was such an interesting idea, and although I felt the intermittent chapters telling the backstory of the Gods interrupted the flow of the story a bit, it still added much needed info on how and why the world was the way it was.  The plot is full of mystery and wonder and danger and one of the sweetest, swooniest romances I've read in a while. I was completely enchanted from start to finish. 


Tara Sim is the author of Timekeeper (Sky Pony Press, Fall 2016) and writer of all things magic. She can often be found in the wilds of the Bay Area, California.

When she’s not writing about mischievous boys in clock towers, Tara spends her time drinking tea, wrangling cats, and occasionally singing opera. Despite her bio-luminescent skin, she is half-Indian and eats way too many samosas.


Purchase the book:   Indiebound   •   BookDepository   •   Amazon

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So since I was fortunate enough to be sent a finished copy of this wonderful book that I was planning to buy anyhow, I'm going to order one to send to one lucky winner, anywhere in the world*! :D This books makes me happy and swoony---and that's the kind of thing that needs to be spread around! ♥
Enter below!
Open anywhere BookDepository ships*
Ends 1/28/17

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

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 Laurie Forest

hitting shelves May 2nd, 2017
from Harlequin Teen
A Great Winged One will soon arise and cast his fearsome shadow upon the land. And just as Night slays Day, and Day slays Night, so also shall another Black Witch rise to meet him, her powers vast beyond imagining. 

So foretells the greatest prophecy of the Gardnerian mages. Carnissa Gardner, the last prophesied Black Witch, drove back the enemy forces and saved her people during the Realm War. Now a new evil is on the horizon, and her granddaughter, Elloren, is believed to be Carnissa’s heir—but while she is the absolute image of her famous grandmother, Elloren is utterly devoid of power in a society that prizes magical ability above nearly all else.

When she is granted the opportunity to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming an apothecary, Elloren is eager to join her brothers at the prestigious Verpax University and finally embrace a destiny of her own, free from the shadow of her grandmother’s legacy. But she soon realizes that the University, which admits all manner of peoples—including the fire-wielding, winged Icarals, the sworn enemies of her people—is an even more treacherous place for the granddaughter of the Black Witch.

My thoughts:  This sounds so amazing and fun. A girl living up to a legacy, trying to make her own path, and a magical university. Yep...I'm excited for this one!!  

What book are you eagerly anticipating this week?

Sunday, January 8, 2017

The Book Jumper by Mechthild Gläser {blog tour review}

Today the blog tour for The Book Jumper, Mechthild Gläser's new fantasy-fulfilling YA novel, stops right here at Stories & Sweeties! :D I'll be sharing my thoughts and then telling you which book I would love to jump into if I had the Lennox family's book-jumping powers! Read on>>>

The Book Jumper
by Mechthild Gläser 
♦publisher: Feiwel & Friends
♦release date: January 3rd, 2017
♦hardcover, 384 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦source: from publisher for honest review
Amy Lennox doesn't know quite what to expect when she and her mother pick up and leave Germany for Scotland, heading to her mother's childhood home of Lennox House on the island of Stormsay.

Amy's grandmother, Lady Mairead, insists that Amy must read while she resides at Lennox House—but not in the usual way. It turns out that Amy is a book jumper, able to leap into a story and interact with the world inside. As thrilling as Amy's new power is, it also brings danger—someone is stealing from the books she visits, and that person may be after her life. Teaming up with fellow book jumper Will, Amy vows to get to the bottom of the thefts—at whatever the cost.

Review: If there was ever a book that fulfilled every avid reader's fantasy, it's The Book Jumper. The two families on the island of Stormsay have a very special legacy and an amazing gift. They are the guardians of the literary world---every story every written is theirs to watch over and protect. And to do this, they magically transport themselves right into the stories themselves.  What reader has not dreamt of this very thing?? I think it may be my favorite magical power that I've ever come across. :)

When Amy learns of her family's gift, she is excited to start jumping. She's a little cocky and reckless with it, especially after she learns she can do something no one else can, not even other Jumpers. I liked the closeness between her and her mother, but I really thought Amy's reaction to a few surprises her mother throws at her were a bit overly dramatic. I did like the gradual closeness that grows between her and Will, a young man from the "rival" family on the island. The mystery and danger grows as one character turns up murdered and key ideas start going missing from the stories, throwing them into chaos.  Amy, Will, and her new fictional friend Werther race to find out who is behind the thefts, with all kinds of suspicions flying. In the story, each work of fiction is part of a huge connected world and even though at times the how and why of the way the world worked is a little glazed over and fuzzy, with a little suspension of disbelief, it's a completely enjoyable romp through some of my favorite stories.

There were just a few problems I had. As often happens with translated books, I found the flow to be a little bit choppy at times. Its times like these that I wish I could magically read in any language so I could experience all stories in their original form. I definitely think that there's usually a little something that gets lost in translation.  Another little quirk I had is that it felt very young. Amy seemed very young at times and most of the story felt more geared toward a middle grade audience---so much so that the few swear words that popped up felt jarring and out of character.

Still, such a wild, fun, and creative story.  I also loved that for a book about fairy tales and classic stories, it wasn't quite a happily ever after but an interesting ending that left Amy with a pretty weighty decision to make in her future.


Mechthild Gläser was born in the summer of 1986 in Essen. Even today, she lives and works in the Ruhr area, where she devotes herself to her studies and now and then dances ballet badly - but only when no one is looking. She started writing early, and her laptop still stands on the pink desk under which her first stories arose. She finds inspiration everywhere, but best with a cup of peppermint tea.
(translated from Goodreads author info, originally in German)

Purchase the book:   Indiebound   •   BookDepository   •   Amazon

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So which book would I love to jump into??

If I ever was so lucky to find myself suddenly able to jump into my favorite books, the question would be: which book would I jump into FIRST ;D. It would be a dream come true, being able to fly with Peter Pan and Wendy, join Dumbledore's Army, drink a cup of tea with the Hatter and Alice, and learn to fence with the Three Musketeers.  But the first book I would jump into, just to get my feet wet in the literary world, would be Pride and Prejudice. To talk and dream with Lizzie and Jane, walk the halls of Netherfield, put on a pretty gown and my best manners and dance at a lively ball, and take long walks and carriage rides through the English countryside. Not to mention, get to witness both the first encounter of Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, and flip to the end to see him finally confess his love. ♥♥♥

SO which book would YOU jump into??

Be sure to drop by the rest of the stops on the Book Jumper Tour!
January 4th: Mundie Moms 
January 6th: Reading Nook Reviews 
January 9th:  Quite the Novel Idea