Thursday, April 27, 2017

Cold Summer by Gwen Cole {blog tour review + giveaway}

Hey, all! I'm hosting today's stop on the Rockstar Book tour for 
Cold Summer by Gwen Cole
Haven't checked this one out yet? Well, I'm here to tell you..YOU NEED TO. 
Check out my full review below, and be sure to make it to the end of this post, where you can enter to win one of the 7, count em', SEVEN copies of Cold Summer being given away.

by Gwen Cole
♦publisher: Sky Pony Press
♦release date: May 2nd, 2017
♦hardcover, 256 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦source: from publisher for honest review
Today, he’s a high school dropout with no future.

Tomorrow, he’s a soldier in World War II.

Kale Jackson has spent years trying to control his time-traveling ability but hasn't had much luck. One day he lives in 1945, fighting in the war as a sharpshooter and helplessly watching soldiers—friends—die. Then the next day, he’s back in the present, where WWII has bled into his modern life in the form of PTSD, straining his relationship with his father and the few friends he has left. Every day it becomes harder to hide his battle wounds, both physical and mental, from the past.

When the ex-girl-next-door, Harper, moves back to town, thoughts of what could be if only he had a normal life begin to haunt him. Harper reminds him of the person he was before the PTSD, which helps anchor him to the present. With practice, maybe Kale could remain in the present permanently and never step foot on a battlefield again. Maybe he can have the normal life he craves.

But then Harper finds Kale’s name in a historical article—and he’s listed as a casualty of the war. Is Kale’s death inevitable? Does this mean that, one of these days, when Kale travels to the past, he may not come back?

Kale knows now that he must learn to control his time-traveling ability to save himself and his chance at a life with Harper. Otherwise, he’ll be killed in a time where he doesn’t belong by a bullet that was never meant for him.

Review: I had a feeling when I saw this synopsis that I might enjoy this one. But I had no idea just how much I would end up loving it.  It was beautiful and real and heart-wrenching and many feels. And tears. I don't cry often at books, sometimes there is one moment in a book that will really take me by the heart and bring me to tears---in Cold Summer there were a few. 

There were so many elements that drew me into this one:  a potential romance with years and years of history behind it, broken families working to rebuild themselves, good supportive friendships, great complex characters trying to find their places in a confusing world.  Not to say that they were perfect---oh, they definitely had their flawed moments and times where I just wanted to wring their necks and scream "Set your pride aside already, it will make things better for everyone!". But I understood how they might feel the way they did and my heart just went out to them. 

The time travel aspect was perfectly done. Time travel can be tricky and can trip over itself if it tries to over-analyze the hows and why's if you ask me.  Kale's strange ability just "is" and the story was less about the time travel itself and more about how it affected his relationship with the people who cared about him. 

I can't attest to how well or accurately PTSD was portrayed here as I have no experience with it, but it was definitely heart-wrenching to see a young man go through it, especially in a situation where it was fairly impossible for him to seek help.  

Cold Summer reads as a beautiful contemporary story with a bit of a sci-fi twist and I thought it was the perfect way to tell Harper and Kale's story, two teens who've known eachother all their lives falling in love in extraordinary circumstances. At it's heart, its a story of how each person finds their own meaning of family, home, and love. 


Gwen Cole writes Young Adult books and her debut novel, COLD SUMMER, will be released in the spring of 2017 with Sky Pony Press, an imprint of Skyhorse Publishing.

She grew up in upstate New York, moved to Virginia where she did not graduate college, and worked a various number of jobs including pharmacy technician, meat clerk, ranch hand, and a receiving specialist at Target. She may or may not have written a number of books while working at certain jobs.

At the age of eighteen, Gwen played bass in a hardcore band and later married the lead guitarist. She can also play piano, guitar, and wishes she could play the cello. Her favorite place to vacation is Wyoming, where she gets to wear a cowboy hat and pretend she actually is one.

Gwen now lives in Richmond, Virginia with her husband, daughter, and very large dog, where she longs to live in the country again.


Purchase COLD SUMMER: 

 Indiebound   •  Amazon  •   Book Depository

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Visit ALL the tour stops!
Week One:
4/24/2017- Brittany's Book RamblesInterview
4/25/2017- Just CommonlyReview
4/26/2017- Literary MeanderingsGuest Post
4/27/2017- Stories & SweetiesReview
4/28/2017- Adventures of a Book JunkieInterview

Week Two:
5/1/2017- Novel Novice - Review
5/2/2017- Fiction FareGuest Post
5/3/2017- Pretty Deadly ReviewsReview
5/4/2017- YA Books CentralInterview
5/5/2017- Owl Always Be ReadingReview

Wednesday, April 26, 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 Sharon Cameron

hitting shelves October 10th, 2017
from Scholastic Press
Samara doesn't forget. And she isn't the only one. Safe underground in the city of New Canaan, she lives in a privileged world free from the Forgetting. Yet she wonders if she really is free, with the memories that plague her and secrets that surround her. Samara is determined to unearth the answers, even if she must escape to the old, cursed city of Canaan to find them.

Someone else is on their way to Canaan too . . . a spaceship from Earth is heading toward the planet, like a figment of the city's forgotten past. Beck is traveling with his parents, researchers tasked with finding the abandoned settlement effort. When Beck is stranded without communication, he will find more in Canaan than he was ever trained for. What will happen when worlds and memories, beliefs -- and truths -- collide?

This pulse-pounding, evocative companion to Cameron's highly acclaimed The Forgetting explores the truth and loss that lie within human memory, and the bonds that hold us together.

My thoughts:  Last year, The Forgetting completely blew me away---Sharon Cameron's books are some of my very favorites but this one was my favorite of hers so far. Which is why I am so exciting for this upcoming companion!! 

What book are you eagerly anticipating this week?

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Traitor's Kiss blog tour: Meet the Characters!

Today I have the blog tour for the upcoming debut, 
The Traitor's Kiss 
stopping by!  Author Erin Beaty has a few people she'd like us to meet. Read on to find out more about the characters from this exciting fantasy world. ALSO be sure to jot down the secret message at the end of this post---you can collect the secret messages from each tour stop to unravel a deleted scene!

♦publisher: Imprint 
♦release date: May 9th, 2017
♦hardcover, 352 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦series: Traitor's Trilogy, book 1
An obstinate girl who will not be married. 
A soldier desperate to prove himself. 
A kingdom on the brink of war.

With a sharp tongue and an unruly temper, Sage Fowler is not what they’d call a lady―which is perfectly fine with her. Deemed unfit for marriage, Sage is apprenticed to a matchmaker and tasked with wrangling other young ladies to be married off for political alliances. She spies on the girls―and on the soldiers escorting them.

As the girls' military escort senses a political uprising, Sage is recruited by a handsome soldier to infiltrate the enemy ranks. The more she discovers as a spy, the less certain she becomes about whom to trust―and Sage becomes caught in a dangerous balancing act that will determine the fate of her kingdom.

Meet The Main Characters of The Traitor’s Kiss:

Sage Fowler
DEEPEST DESIRE: To have the kind of love her parents had.
Y'all know who this is:
HOBBIES: Using a sling to target rabbits and squirrels raiding her aunt’s garden. Reading, wandering through the woods, learning and teaching whatever is interesting. Baiting her cousin Jonathan with everything she can do better. Punching sandbags when Uncle William won’t listen.
This might be my favorite Sage pic ever.:
FEARS: Being dependent on those who don’t understand or care about her. Marrying a man she can never be herself with.
© Elisabeth Ansley / Trevillion Images:

Mistress Darnessa Rodelle
C:\Users\Erin_2\Desktop\Writing\marilyn lightstone.jpg
Photo: Marilyn Lightstone
DEEPEST DESIRE: To do right by every girl who crosses her threshold.

HOBBIES: Sewing, People watching, Running Crescera’s Regional Matchmaker’s Guild
FEARS: The nation losing faith in the matching system women have used for centuries to protect each other and cultivate bonds between regions, making Demora stronger. Matchmakers using their power for personal gain.

Sergeant Ash Carter
Drop the gun and you can be one of my characters.:
DEEPEST DESIRES: To be invisible and work behind the scenes while making his royal father proud. Marriage to a girl who likes him for himself, not his position in life.

HOBBIES: Riding, hunting, keeping his half-brother Robert out of trouble.
D'Artagnan in The Musketeers. I love this pose; his eyes are full of brooding while his sword arm is poised in patient readiness.:
FEARS: Letting his brothers-in-arms down or outshining the Crown Prince. Somehow ending up as the only heir to the throne.
C:\Users\Erin_2\Desktop\Writing\Pull Quotes\sword.jpg

Captain Alexander Quinn
Hmmm... Arthur or Alex?:
DEEPEST DESIRE: To be as competent and respected as his father on his own merit.
HOBBIES: Learning and mastering every skill possible, Spending time with his younger brother, Charlie.
Fabrizio Rossi gorgeous looking!!!!!:
FEARS: Failure, letting his men down. Having his judgment compromised. Being solely responsible for Charlie’s safety. Everyone believing he’s only successful because his father is the General. Marriage.
The Sceptres maybe?:

Duke Morrow D’Amiran
I really hate to make Richard Armitage a bad guy, but this is so D'Amiran:
DEEPEST DESIRES: To reclaim the Demoran crown stolen from his family by the Devlins. To settle the score with Pendleton Quinn for blocking his advancement in the army, then stealing the woman he was promised, sending him back to Tegann with nothing but his title.
HOBBIES: Reading and writing poetry, hunting
FEARS: Failing to finish what his family worked to achieve for generations. Living out his days in the drabness of Tegann, groveling to the Devlin family.
Arundel Castle, West Sussex, England: Conisbrough Castle ~ built in the 11th century, South Yorkshire, England:

"Doing Mistress Rodelle’s work (for favor?)"

•Meet the Author•

Erin Beaty was born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana, which means she can't drive a tractor, but she won't eat veggies that come from a can. She graduated from the US Naval Academy with a degree in rocket science and somehow always ended up writing her study group's lab reports. After serving in the fleet as a weapons officer and a leadership instructor, she resigned to pursue her side hobby of populating the Church of Rome. It still amazes her when other people want to hear the stories that come out of her head.

She and her husband have five children, two cats, and a vegetable garden and live wherever the navy tells them to go.


Purchase Traitor's Kiss:

Don't forget to check out the rest of the stops on the tour!
20-Apr: bookaddictsguide -Scented Candle
22-Apr: booknerdsacrossamericaList of Favorite Literary Female Spies
24-Apr: mundiemomsGuest Post: Top 10 Things All Spies Need
25-Apr: bookiemojiTop 5 Reasons to read The Traitor's Kiss
26-Apr: fiktshun - Guest Post: Favorite & Most Challenging Scene to Write (and Why)
27-Apr: foreveryoungadultGuest Post: YA "matchmaker"
28-Apr: yabookscentral Guest Post: What gave you the inspiration for this book?
29-Apr: bookbriefs Guest Post: Top 5 Things You Didn't Know about Sage & Mouse
30-Apr: trippingoverbooksMood Board
1-May: darkfaerietalesGuest Post: What's the most daring thing you would do for a mission?
2-May: whatsarahreadMood Board
3-May: booklovingnutPlaylist
5-May: quitethenovelideaAlternate Cover
6-May: herestohappyendingsQ&A
7-May: brooke-reports Sage Character Interview
9-May: undeniably book nerdyFancast

Saturday, April 22, 2017

New Shelf Goodies & The Weekly Nutshell {189}

For New Shelf Goodies, I'll be showing you what lovely books I acquired this week, whether from publishers, or the library, or from whatever half-crazed book-buying binge I happened to go on. :D (Inspired by Tynga's Stacking the Shelves) The Weekly Nutshell will be just week here at Stories & Sweeties, in a nutshell. (inspired by Ginger @ GReads and her recaps at the end of the TGIF posts)

Here's the lovely things that graced my doorstep this week:

A Million Junes by Emily Henry
I was honestly luke warm on Henry's debut, Love that Split the World, but this companion novel just sounds irresistable!
Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao
This sounds so good--but also has the potential to be a little too gruesome for me, with all the heart-eating and such lol. 
Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moira Fowley-Doyle
The Accident Season was one of my favorite reads last year so I couldn't be more excited to check out more from this author!
Doctor Who series (!!) by Adam Hargreaves
Ok, how cute is this?? I loved the original Mr. Men and Little Miss books by Roger Hargreaves when I was little. And now Hargreaves' son has carried on his father's legacy with these super cool renditions featuring Doctor Who!! 

Thank you so much to Penguin for sending these my way!

The Weekly Nutshell 
So this week, I didn't have much time to blog, but I did get my weekly WoW posted, this week featuring A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge. Sooo pretty. As for reading, I dove into Cold Summer for my upcoming blog tour review this Thursday, and spoiler alert people---I am loving this book!  I still have a little ways to finishing Umberland---I set it aside NOT because it's not wonderful lol, but because I wanted to be sure I got Cold Summer done!

My time off work is coming to end Monday (waaaaaaah D':), so it's back to the library for me. I mean lol, I like my job, but you know how it is. Plus it stinks that I was sick pretty much my whole time off. 😡 I did, however, have a fantastic first week with my Story Hero shop! :D  If you're interested, there are actually two giveaways going on right now--one on Twitter held by my fabulous friend Brittany (enter here!) and one on my Instagram to celebrate the grand opening! 

I finally saw Beauty and the Beast this week! LOL, I know, so late to the game. But health and stuff has just kept me away. Ahhh, I loved it. The original is so special to me--it was one of the movies hubby and I watched ALL the time when we were dating---so it was so incredible to see this remake done so well. I loved some of the new songs, too--- Evermore especially had me in tears. 

Anyone watch the new season of Doctor Who this week??? You know I did LOL. Surprisingly, I really liked the new companion! It almost always takes me a few episodes to get used to the newbie, and I was really pretty worried after the (crappy) sneak peek we got of her earlier this year. But I have to say,  I think Bill will make a great new companion! And I love that Matt Lucas' character, Nardole, is still around.  

That's it for my rambling--have a great week, everyone!

Tuesday, April 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 Frances Hardinge

hitting shelves October 10th, 2017
from Amulet Books
A Skinful of Shadows is a dark YA historical fantasy set in the early part of the English Civil War. Kate is an illegitimate daughter of the aristocratic Fellmotte family, and as such, she shares their unique hereditary gift: the capacity to be possessed by ghosts. Reluctant to accept her appointed destiny as vessel for a coterie of her ancestors, she escapes. As she flees the pursuing Fellmottes across war-torn England, she accumulates a motley crew of her own allies, including outcasts, misfits, criminals, and one extremely angry dead bear. From Costa Book of the Year winner Frances Hardinge comes a new dark historical fantasy that’s sure to satisfy her leagues of fans who are eager for more.

My thoughts:  I've been curious about this author for ages but have never gotten around to reading one of her books. They all sound pretty amazing, and this one is no exception! Ghostly possession, an escape from an unwanted life, and an intriguing time setting. All things that having me dying to read it!  Not to mention, this gorgeous cover. Seriously, Amulet is killing it this coming season with their cover designs: exhibit A, exhibit B, and now this one. :) 

What book are you eagerly anticipating this week?

Sunday, April 16, 2017

New Shelf Goodies & The Weekly Nutshell {188}

For New Shelf Goodies, I'll be showing you what lovely books I acquired this week, whether from publishers, or the library, or from whatever half-crazed book-buying binge I happened to go on. :D (Inspired by Tynga's Stacking the Shelves) The Weekly Nutshell will be just week here at Stories & Sweeties, in a nutshell. (inspired by Ginger @ GReads and her recaps at the end of the TGIF posts)

Here's what goodies landed on my doorstep this week!
The Dastardly Miss Lizzie by Viola Carr
Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy
North of Happy by Adi Alsaid
Because You Love to Hate Me sampler
Some interesting stuff this week! I'm curious about North of Happy as I haven't heard much about it. So many awesome names on that sampler!! Plus I'm curious about the author/blogger-youtuber pairings for these stories! Including one by Whitney of Whitty Novels (who, incidentally, is also the one who traded with me for Ramona Blue! Thanks, Whitney!).

Thanks to HarperCollins, Harlequin, and Bloomsbury for the review copies!

The Weekly Nutshell
First off, Happy Easter to my bloggy friends who celebrate the holiday! I hope everyone is having a good weekend dying eggs and eating good food---or maybe just have a lovely day of reading and Netflix binging. ;D  Either sounds wonderful.  This week on the blog I posted my weekly WoW pick, Girl Made of Snow and Glass and it's icy gorgeous cover. Then two awesome blog tours stopped here: First We Were Four on Thursday with some author insight on that mysterious title, and on Friday, Lucy Keating's Literally made a delicious appearance that featured one of my favorite things---ice cream!! On the reading front, I'm nearly done with Umberland and it's quite a crazy ride!

But the biggest news I want to share with everyone has to do with the little project I've mentioned a few times before...I opened an etsy shop!! I mentioned a while back that I'd tried my hand at making a few book covers/sleeves/whatever you want to call them lol, and after playing with a few designs and constructions, and getting as creative as I could with them, I've finally ended up with a product that I love!  If it's something that interests you, please click over and check out my new shop! :D

Story Hero on Etsy

I just did a sort of soft opening this weekend, but if you follow me on Instagram, keep an eye out for a Grand Opening giveaway happening this coming week!

In other news, thank you all for the well wishes last week.  I am feeling much better, have one more test at the hospital coming up this week. BUT how's this for crappy luck: I just started feeling better from this "other thing" and suddenly I get slammed with allergies. And on my nice little 9-day staycation from work, too!! Booooo.
Ah, well.  Gotta roll with the punches, I guess.

Have a great week, everyone!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Literally by Lucy Keating: It's All About the Ice Cream! {guest post & recipe}

Today I've got a delicious little post for you that's all about 
by Lucy Keating


it's about something that Lucy Keating and main character, Annabelle, and ME all have in common.  A particular love of ice cream.  So read on...Lucy's gonna share what ice cream means to her, what part it plays in the story, and then I'm gonna show you how to make a particularly significant-to-the-story flavor of the yummy stuff! Let's begin! :D

by Lucy Keating
♦publisher: HarperTeen
♦release date: April 11th, 2017
♦hardcover, 256 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
A girl realizes her life is being written for her in this unique, smart love story that is Stranger Than Fiction for fans of Stephanie Perkins.

Annabelle’s life has always been Perfect with a capital P. Then bestselling young adult author Lucy Keating announces that she’s writing a new novel—and Annabelle is the heroine. 

It turns out, Annabelle is a character that Lucy Keating created. And Lucy has a plan for her. 

But Annabelle doesn’t want to live a life where everything she does is already plotted out. Will she find a way to write her own story—or will Lucy Keating have the last word? 

The real Lucy Keating’s delightful contemporary romance blurs the line between reality and fiction, and is the perfect follow-up for readers who loved her debut Dreamology, which SLJ called, “a sweet, quirky romance with appealing characters.”

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Guest post with Lucy Keating:

Anyone who knows me, even at a great distance, could tell you that choosing a “favorite dessert” is akin to asking me what my favorite book is. Or my favorite band. It’s like putting me in a pen filled with puppies and telling me to choose the cutest. Yeah, right. The point is: sugar is my kryptonite. I don’t get too worked up over food, freak out about fancy restaurants, or watch a ton of cooking shows…but if you take me to a bakery I will want to try everything single morsel they have, and The Great British Bakeoff was the most riveting television experience of my life (and it also makes an appearance in LITERALLY!). Ice cream is truly my jam, though. It’s the only cooking class I’ve ever taken, I own a pretty fancy ice cream maker (even though I do not own a microwave or toaster at present…priorities). My sister in law once said that ice cream doesn’t survive a night in the fridge at the Keating’s. And it’s true! We all love it, and are all sneaky late night culprits.

For this reason, in LITERALLY, I made ice cream a part of Annabelle’s life too. She and I do not have a lot in common. She is extremely organized, on top of all her schoolwork, loathes her family dog, and doesn’t know how to color outside the lines. I do keep a freakishly organized calendar, like her, but that’s about it. I never know where my keys/phone/wallet are. I am late to most things. The outfit I wear depends mostly on which pair of jeans I arbitrarily pull from my laundry bin. It sounds silly, but Annabelle loving ice cream was a way for me to humanize a very uptight character, and understand her better. And, it’s a big moment in her relationship with Will. But why, I can’t say! You’ll have to read to find out.


Lucy lives in San Francisco, California. She grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, attended Williams College in the Berkshires, and still misses the East Coast very much. 

When she's not writing, Lucy can usually be found obsessing over the latest music, inventing new flavors of ice cream, or having what she feels are perfectly acceptable conversations with her dog, Ernie.

You can follow Lucy on Instagram @lucy.keating, and Ernie The Dog @ernsboberns


Purchase LITERALLY: 

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Sea Salt Creamery's 
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream
(Brace yourselves, people---this is just as delicious as it sounds)

•5 egg yolks
•1/2 cup sugar
• 1 cup milk 
• 1 cup heavy whipping cream
• 1/4 cup chocolate liqueur 
• 1 tsp vanilla
•6 oz semi-sweet chocolate
•1/2 tsp sea salt
•1 bag of mini reese's peanut butter cups, each one quartered.

In a small bowl, melt the chocolate in a microwave, 30 seconds at a time until melted, stirring between each time.  Separately, lightly beat eggs yolks and then stir together eggs, sugar, milk, cream, liqueur, and vanilla in a medium saucepan. Heat mixture over medium heat, stirring often to keep the milk from scorching. When it just starts to boil, remove from heat. Whisk in the chocolate until incorporated and smooth. 

Pour mixture into a shallow pan.  Allow to cool about 10 minutes, until there is no steam coming off of it.  Mixture will have thickened quite a bit already. Cover with plastic wrap, settling the wrap right onto the surface of the mixture to keep a film from forming.  Freeze this for 1 to 2 hours (can be frozen overnight).

Pour mixture into ice cream maker and follow manufacturer's instructions for your ice cream maker.  In the last few minutes of churning, when ice cream is almost done, drop in peanut butter cups a handful at a time. Sprinkle sea salt a pinch at a time. Churn the ice cream a bit between each addition. This will evenly swirl the mixtures into the ice cream.

Ice creams with liquor in them generally take a few hours after churning to freeze completely. Or you can serve this right away as soft serve. ;) 

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

One last thing, guys! Don't miss out on any of the previous tour stops!

4/3 - Evie Bookish - Tote Design
4/4 - The Books Buzz - Creative Post
4/5 - YA and Wine - Review
4/6 - The YA Book Traveler - Q&A
4/7 - Book Nerd Addict - Review

4/10 - Little Lillie Reads -Review
4/11 - Brittany's Book Rambles - Fav Quotes
4/12 - A Book and a Cup of Coffee - Review
4/13 - It Starts At Midnight - Guest Post & Review
4/14 - Stories & Sweeties - Recipe & Guest Post