Friday, July 22, 2016

Love Charms and Other Catastrophes by Kimberly Karalius {review+giveaway}


Love Charms and Other Catastrophes
by Kim Karalius
♦publisher: Swoon Reads
♦release date: May 17th, 2016
♦paperback, 384 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦series: Grimbaud, book 2
  review of book 1: Love Fortunes and Other Disasters
♦source: ARC from publisher for honest review
Sometimes love comes gift-wrapped…literally.

Aspiring love-charm maker Hijiri Kitamura was excited to come back to Grimbaud for her sophomore year—until she learned about the upcoming charm-making competition. She, along with her friends and fellow rebels, had worked too hard to free the town from Zita’s tyrannical love fortunes to allow some other charm maker to move in and take over. The only solution is for Hijiri to win the contest herself.

Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done, especially when Love itself has decided to meddle in Hijiri’s life. Concerned that its favorite charm maker has given up on finding a love of her own, Love delivers a very special gift—the perfect boyfriend, specially crafted just for her.
 

Review: After venturing into the world of Grimbaud for the first time in Love Fortunes and Other Disasters last year, I must say I couldn't wait for a return visit.  I missed all of these characters and this incredibly quirky town. I don't think they're any better word for it. The world building is thorough and impeccable, but absolutely kooky and quirky in the best way.  

This time around, the focus is on the shy and quiet Hijiri. She's a love charm maker whose never been in love. She suffers from social anxiety and absentee parents, so I really felt for her when she has to really put herself out there for very public scrutiny and also when Love throws her a very bizarre curveball to put her to the test. The really slow-building romance in this one is, without a doubt, like nothing I've ever read before. It's odd and unsure and she is very rightfully hesitant to fall for Ken's adoration of her, considering the bizarre way he pops into her life. He's still quite the awkward charmer though, so it was fun to see it all unfold, but also frustrating that no matter how he tried to prove himself, she held him at arm's length with her need to "solve" him.  His bit of backstory also took me quite by surprise! I also loved how Hijiri's relationship with her parents and her need for something solid and reliable affected her ability to really let herself love. 


The competition added a fun spin to the story and I loved the magic and how each charm was created. It added a whole slew of new and interesting players to the story! It's a very twisty plot, as much as if not more so that the first book.  Karalius definitely loves to throw in those really crazy plot turns that take the story in a whole new direction. There were definitely some moments that I felt were a bit draggy and I felt like other than Fallon and the twins, we don't get quite enough of the rest of the wonderful characters (please can we have a Nico-centric book?? LOL), but overall, the story is great fun, shot through with some really heart-tugging surprises.  I'm not sure if there will be more, but if there is, I'm definitely there for them!


Lastly, I have to mention this quote! This was the first time in a long time that a book quote made me stop and read it again and again before my heart would let me go on! :D
To change lives and get to the root of love, there must be tears. There must be anger, jealousy, and hopelessness, she thought. Use them sparingly, but use them. Those are the feelings that invite change, whether we like them or not. 




 ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kimberly Karalius is the author of "Love Fortunes and Other Disasters" and its sequel, "Love Charms and Other Catastrophes". She holds an MFA in fiction from the University of South Florida and has been sharing stories on Figment.com with a strong following of enthusiastic readers since the site s inception. Although Kimberly lives in sunny Florida, she prefers to stay indoors and sometimes buys a scarf in the hopes of snow. She loves watching really old cartoons and silent films. Being in Florida certainly has one big perk: going to Disney World. Which she does. Frequently. 
Kimberly holds an MFA in fiction from the University of South Florida. Her fiction has appeared in literary journals such as Luna Station Quarterly, The Medulla Review, andHogglepot. Her chapbook, Pocket Forest, was published by Deathless Press in August 2013.

WEBSITE  •  TWITTER  •  INSTAGRAM

Purchase the book:  Indiebound  •  BookDepository  •  Amazon

GIVEAWAY!
I want to spread the love!!
Guys these fun books are all about love, in all it's crazy shapes and forms. So I want to give one person out there a copy of both books in this series! One winner will get a finished copies of Love Fortunes and Other Disasters and Love Charms and Other Catastrophes!
Open internationally! :)
Enter below by August 5th, 2016

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 20, 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 Lisa Maxwell

hitting shelves April 25th, 2017
from Simon Pulse
Stop the Magician.
Steal the book.
Save the future.

In modern day New York, magic is all but extinct. The remaining few who have an affinity for magic—the Mageus—live in the shadows, hiding who they are. Any Mageus who enters Manhattan becomes trapped by the Brink, a dark energy barrier that confines them to the island. Crossing it means losing their power—and often their lives. 

Tessa is a talented thief, and she's been raised to steal magical artifacts from the sinister Order that created the Brink. With her innate ability to manipulate time, Tessa can pilfer from the past, collecting these artifacts before the Order even realizes she’s there. And all of Tessa’s training has been for one final job: traveling back to 1901 to steal an ancient book containing the secrets of the Order—and the Brink—before the Magician can destroy it and doom the Mageus to a hopeless future.

But Old New York is a dangerous world ruled by ruthless gangs and secret societies, a world where the very air crackles with magic. Nothing is as it seems, including the Magician himself. And for Tessa to save her future, she may have to betray everyone in the past.

My thoughts:  Time travel, forbidden magic, secret orders, and gorgeous eerie storytelling---if you read Lisa Maxwell's Unhooked, you know exactly what I mean.  Her writing is haunting and beautiful and I can't wait to see what this new story brings!! I can easily say this is one of my most highly anticipated titles of 2017!!


What book are you eagerly anticipating this week?

Sunday, July 17, 2016

New Shelf Goodies & The Weekly Nutshell {168}

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)


Got some lovely goodies this week!!
For review:
Life in a Fishbowl by Len Vlahos
A cool looking contemp about a reality TV show. Thanks, Bloomsbury!
The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst
Favorite author alert!! I have adored everything I've read by Sarah, and she was so kind to send me a signed copy of her newest!! ♥♥♥

Won:
Prisoner of Ice and Snow by Ruth Lauren
So excited for this MG fantasy debut, out April 2017!! The author held a giveaway for her 40th bday and I was lucky enough to win it!! :D
Yesternight by Cat Winters
Another Fave author alert!! Seriously guys, if you have read Cat Winters books, you MUST. Both her YA and adult titles are amazing.  I won this on Goodreads, so yay!! 



The Weekly Nutshell:
recent posts:
Review-Scarlet & Ivy: The Lost Twin by Sophie Cleverly
Waiting on Wednesday- The Book Jumper
Blog Tour-Learning to Swear in America: Excerpt & Giveaway!

So just quickly, because it's so late and my eyes are closing (seriously I need to get better about scheduling posts and blogging time lol).  This week I finished up reading Love Charms and Other Catastrophes. I really enjoyed it, and I'll be reviewing it this week.  I started Siren's Song by the lovely Mary Weber. I love this series and I'm hoping to savor this last installment so I'll be picking it up and reading it in between a few other deadline books! Also this week I'll be reading Nevernight---so excited to start it but also nervous because I've been hearing some mixed things. I really hope I love it. It sounds so amazing. And yes, I do know it's a bit racey and not really YA, so I won't be shocked LOL. 

Have a great week full of great books, everyone!! :D

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Learning to Swear in America by Katie Kennedy {blog tour excerpt + giveaway}

Hi all! Today I'm so excited to be part of the blog tour for 
by Katie Kennedy

Guys, I've only just started this one, and I'm already loving the writing style and humor and the main character's mix of guts and awkwardness. Check back soon for my full review, but I've got a good feeling about this one! :D Today I have an excerpt for you, and a great tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a copy and some fun swag! 


Learning to Swear in America
by Katie Kennedy
♦publisher: Bloomsbury USA
♦release date: July 5th, 2016
♦hardcover, 352 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦stand-alone, contemporary
Brimming with humor and one-of-a-kind characters, this end-of-the world novel will grab hold of Andrew Smith and Rainbow Rowell fans. 

An asteroid is hurtling toward Earth. A big, bad one. Yuri, a physicist prodigy from Russia, has been called to NASA as they calculate a plan to avoid disaster. He knows how to stop the asteroid: his research in antimatter will probably win him a Nobel prize--if there's ever another Nobel prize awarded. But Yuri's 17, and having a hard time making older, stodgy physicists listen to him. Then he meets Dovie, who lives like a normal teenager, oblivious to the impending doom. Being with her, on the adventures she plans when he's not at NASA, Yuri catches a glimpse of what it means to save the world and save a life worth living.

Prepare to laugh, cry, cringe, and have your mind burst open with questions of the universe.

{excerpt}

“How old are you, anyway?” she asked, peering at him.
“Seventeen.”
“Huh. And you’re a science guy? Really?”
“Um, yes.”
He was silent for a moment, tensing as he saw her flip her turn signal on, waiting for the next challenge to the axle, then realized he should show an interest in her.
“And yourself?”
“Sixteen, high school student. Not a science guy.” She drummed her fingers on the steering wheel. “It’s nine days till summer break. I was going to apply for a job at the video store, but if California’s going splat by the time school starts up again, I should probably spend the summer doing something else. So.”
She looked at him. “What do you think?”
They rocked up and slammed down from the curb. The crystals      hanging from her key ring clinked softly.
“Pardon?”
“Should I get a summer job?”
He looked at her for a moment. She was what they were working to save. This girl, with flecks of paint on her knuckles and the troughs around her fingernails, and all the Dovie Collums in California. While he was printing flight schedules and scheming to get home, while he was sitting on a bridge, thinking about jumping. He felt a stab of shame. She had no chance to help shape the work that would guide the rockets. How helpless did she feel? How out of control?
“Yes,” he said. “Get summer job.”
Dovie smiled widely. It was a great smile, and he stopped feeling the scrapes. She nodded, and her bangs waved to him. She drove on for another ten minutes, careening around corners, testing the limits of modern metallurgy as the car groaned and clicked in unsettling ways. It made him think of submarine movies, with all their menacing creaks.
“Do you have papers to drive?”
“A license? I’m sixteen,” she said, and had nosed the car into a residential neighborhood of small postwar houses by the time he realized she hadn’t actually said she had a license.
Dovie turned into the driveway of a small purple house with a wheelchair ramp, and the car rocked to a stop.
“Home again, home again, jiggity jig.”
She pulled her key ring from the ignition and got out of the car. The door clattered as it shut. Yuri sat alone for a moment, bewildered.
“This isn’t my hotel.”
She pointed to her ear.
He got out and pushed the door shut, afraid the impact would make the car collapse.
“This isn’t my hotel.”
It sounded stupid. Of course it wasn’t. How would this girl know where he was staying? Maybe he was too accustomed to limo services.
“Yeah, but it is my house.”
She waved her hand and, without waiting to see if he would follow, walked up the ramp. Yuri hesitated for a moment, swiveling to look at the row of small dwellings, identical in size and orientation to lot, and at this one, the only purple house on the street. The only purple house he’d ever seen. Attached to the siding was a metal rivet for a flagpole, which held a rainbow-hued peace-symbol flag. Only one of those on the block, too.
Dovie opened the front door and motioned to him. He hesitated a moment, absolutely sure that he was dangling as loose as he had been at the bridge, and then he followed Dovie Collum up the ramp and into her house.

*       *       *       *       *      *


•ABOUT THE AUTHOR•

Katie Kennedy is a college history instructor. She used to teach in a fire station. When the alarm rang, the entire class jumped up and ran out of the room. She became an LPN in order to write more accurate medical scenes. She has been lost in Moscow, and rousted by the KGB for sitting in Red Square to eat her ice cream. She has been bitten by a fish.

Katie lives in Michigan's Upper Peninsula with her husband, daughter, and son, in a town with a million bats. LEARNING TO SWEAR IN AMERICA comes out July 5, 2016, from Bloomsbury.

WEBSITE  •  TWITTER 
Purchase the book:  Indiebound  •  BookDepository  •  Amazon


*GIVEAWAY*
The lovely folks at Bloomsbury are giving away a copy of Learning to Swear in America and a great swag pack! 
•US mailing addresses only
•Ends 7/16
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to stop by the rest of the tour stops to find out more about 
Learning to Swear in America!

Tuesday, July 12, 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 Book Jumper
by Mechthild Gläser

hitting shelves January 3rd, 2017
from Feiwel & Friends
A thrilling YA adventure about a fifteen-year-old girl with an unexpected ability—she can jump inside books and experience their stories firsthand.
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 exciting 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 cost.

My thoughts:  Ah, this sounds so fun! What some of us wouldn't give to have this power, aye?? And while this cover isn't completely final, I'm hoping they don't stray too far from this design because I love this whimsical concept!! 


What book are you eagerly anticipating this week?

Monday, July 11, 2016

Scarlet and Ivy: The Lost Twin by Sophie Cleverly {review}

Scarlet and Ivy: The Lost Twin
by Sophie Cleverly
♦publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
♦release date: May 3rd, 2016
♦hardcover, 304 pages
♦intended audience: Middle Grade
♦series: Scarlet and Ivy, book 1
♦source: received from publisher for honest review
Ivy, I pray that it's you reading this. And if you are, well, I suppose you're the new me...

When shy Ivy's troublemaking twin Scarlet vanishes from Rookwood boarding school, Ivy is invited to "take her place." But when Ivy arrives, she discovers the school's true intention; she has to pretend to be Scarlet. She must think like Scarlet, act like Scarlet, become Scarlet. What on earth happened to the real Scarlet, and why is the school trying to keep it a secret?

Luckily for Ivy, Scarlet isn't about to disappear without a fight. She's left pieces of her journal carefully hidden all over the school for Ivy to find. Ivy's going to figure out what happened to Scarlet. She's got to.

But the staff of Rookwood is always watching, and they'll do anything to keep their secrets buried...

Review: The Lost Twin is such a fun and twisting mystery, the first in a series of three that has already published overseas. I can only hope Sourcebooks has plans to publish all three in the US, or I'll have to track them all down in their foreign editions! This first installment is so entertaining and absolutely perfect for readers who love the classic gothic children's tales like The Secret Garden and The Little Princess (both of these were my own favorites as a child...heck, I love them still!).

When we meet Ivy, she is mourning the loss of her twin sister--they were very, very close but exact opposites in every way possible. She reluctantly takes the open spot left by Scarlet at an elite private school, only to find when she gets there that the headmistress actually expects her to pretend to be Scarlet to cover up her disappearance! As horrid as this is, this is actually where the fun begins, because Ivy must follow a trail of puzzles and clues left by her sister to find hidden pages of her diary that reveal what happened.

While there are certainly things that feel overly familiar here---an absent-minded aunt, the sinister headmistress, the school mean girl and her gang of followers---the story is beautifully told, and Ivy's experiences of making friends, being a shy girl forced to break out of her comfort zone, grieving for her sister, rediscovering her love of dance, and cleverly working through the clues to solve Scarlet's disappearance all make this story a delight to watch unfold. The twisting plot serves up some great surprises, too! I really look forward to reading more of this series!


•ABOUT THE AUTHOR•
Photo by Aeryn Ivy

Sophie Cleverly was born in Bath in 1989. She studied for a BA in Creative Writing and an MA in Writing For Young People. She is the author of the SCARLET AND IVY series, published by HarperCollins in the UK and Sourcebooks in the US.

Aside from writing, she can often be found blogging about symphonic metal, watching fantastical TV and struggling to find her way out of her ever-increasing pile of books.

 WEBSITE   •  TWITTER  •  TUMBLR   •  PINTEREST 

Purchase the book:  Indiebound  •  BookDepository  •  Amazon

Sunday, July 10, 2016

New Shelf Goodies & The Weekly Nutshell {167}

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 graced my doorstep these past two weeks!
For review:
The Woman in the Photo by Mary Hogan
Looks interesting! About a young woman during the Johnstown Flood and her present-day descendant who finds her photo.  

From Trades:
Scythe by Neal Schusterman
SO excited for this one! Love reapers stories. Did anyone else love the show Dead Like Me? :D
Fate of Flames by Sarah Raughley
This looks like a fun elemental powers story! Love those! :)

Also this week, I received two gorgeous coloring books---part of  a new line coming from Doubleday Books for Young Readers.  The full Coloring Classics line will include a selection of favorite classics, also including Pride and Prejudice, Wuthering Heights, and A Christmas Carol!  These are so beautiful and well-done, I can't wait to see the rest of them!


What's New: July YA Release List & Giveaway!

So, after a nice little Fourth of July bash, this week was just a plain ol' boring week of work and daily mundanities.  That makes for some good reading time, though. I read Scarlet & Ivy: The Lost Twin and really enjoyed it! Such a fun middle grade mystery. Then I started Love Charms and other Disasters, and I'm really loving being back in the quirky world of Grimbaud with these characters. I'm about halfway through now. :)

What's everyone reading this week?