Tuesday, January 27, 2015

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 Lauren DeStefano

 hitting shelves September 1st, 2015 
from Bloomsbury USA
Pram Bellamy is special—she can talk to ghosts. She doesn’t have too many friends amongst the living, but that’s all right. She has her books, she has her aunts, and she has her best friend, the ghostly Felix.

Then Pram meets Clarence, a boy from school who has also lost a parent and is looking for answers. Together they arrive at the door of the mysterious Lady Savant, who promises to help. But this spiritualist knows the true nature of Pram’s power, and what she has planned is more terrifying than any ghost.

My thoughts:  Because it's Lauren DeStefano. I cannot wait to see what her wild and twisted imagination brings to MG. :)

Sunday, January 25, 2015

New Shelf Goodies & The Weekly Nutshell {114}

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)

I was away on birthday vacation last week :) So this haul is for the past two weeks:
For review:
Novice by Taran Matharu (!!! So excited!!)

Many thanks to Macmillan, Harper Collins, and Bloomsbury for these lovelies!

The Weekly Nutshell: 

{Wednesday} Waiting on Wednesday: Another Day
 {Thursday}  Review: When by Victoria Laurie
{Friday} Cover Story

Everyone have a great couple of weeks?  Hubby and I had birthdays last week (his is the day before mine), so we ran away to the beaches of Monterey Bay, one of our favorite places to escape to. :) So so pretty there and such yummy places to eat!  This week I read When and I'm finishing up Storm Siren (I had to stop reading it to get When in for a deadline...which I hate to do but it was ok since When was a fun quick read). Next up is Save Me and either When My Heart Was Wicked or A Wicked Thing...or maybe Beastkeeper. LOL will have to let my mood decide!  Oh but it all may be completely derailed when I get my hands on Fairest this week! I'll be running to the store on Tuesday to get my grabby hands on a copy!! 

Have a great week, everyone! :D

Friday, January 23, 2015

Cover Story

Some recent cover reveals:

by Shalanda Stanley
Knopf BYR, Sept 8 2015

Danielle L. Jensen
Angry Robot, June 2, 2015

by Suzanne Young
Simon Pulse, November 2015

by Lori M. Lee
Skyscape, March 10, 2015

by Sandra Waugh
Random House, September 22, 2015

by Betsy Schow
Sourcebooks, June 2, 2015

by Michael Harmon
Knopf BYR, August 4, 2015

by Charlotte Huang
Delacorte, November 10, 2015

And last but not least, two pre-publication cover changes:

I like these better that the original covers that came out for these two.  Lots of fun variety of covers this year, that's for sure! I love the cover for STICK. :D And I love how The Infinite and Hidden Huntress match their first books so well!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

When by Victoria Laurie {review}

♦by Victoria Laurie
♦publisher: Disney-Hyperion
♦release date: January 13th, 2015
♦hardcover, 336 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦trade show 
Maddie Fynn is a shy high school junior, cursed with an eerie intuitive ability: she sees a series of unique digits hovering above the foreheads of each person she encounters. Her earliest memories are marked by these numbers, but it takes her father’s premature death for Maddie and her family to realize that these mysterious digits are actually death dates, and just like birthdays, everyone has one.

Forced by her alcoholic mother to use her ability to make extra money, Maddie identifies the quickly approaching death date of one client's young son, but because her ability only allows her to see the when and not the how, she’s unable to offer any more insight. When the boy goes missing on that exact date, law enforcement turns to Maddie.

Soon, Maddie is entangled in a homicide investigation, and more young people disappear and are later found murdered. A suspect for the investigation, a target for the murderer, and attracting the attentions of a mysterious young admirer who may be connected to it all, Maddie's whole existence is about to be turned upside down. Can she right things before it's too late?

Review:  When is a page-turning murder mystery with a morbidly fun (is that a thing?) paranormal twist.  When reading a story about a person who can see death dates, it definitely begs the question, would you want to know? But this story touches more on what people do with that information once they have it. 

Maddie is a sweet kid, weighed down by the darkness of her gift and the guilt that she could have stopped her father’s death if she’d only known what the dates meant.  She wants nothing more than to someday help someone avoid an early death just by telling them their date, in hopes that they are extra careful driving that day, or get themselves to the doctor, or stay in to completely avoid whatever it is that takes their life. If only just to prove that a date can change—because she’s never seen one do it.  But her most innocent, helpful intentions suddenly go horribly wrong.

I think this would be perfect for younger teens, there’s no language that I can recall and Maddie and Stubby actually came across as a little younger than 16 to me, especially Stubby.  They had such a sweet friendship that gets tested to its very limits and had me rooting for them both to come out of the awful situation they found themselves in unscathed. They faced challenge after challenge with their classmates and teachers bullying, a caring but cocky uncle, her alcoholic mother, and two exceptionally unfair and cruel FBI agents.   The adults around Maddie were all unlikable to me, except for her kindly neighbor, Mrs. Duncan and one other surprising turnaround character that I ended up loving by the end.

The main issue I found with this one was the way the investigation played out and how the agents working on the case and almost every adult in Maddie’s school were made out to be so cruel and villianous to the point of being unrealistic. And everyone seemed to own the same shoes!  :)  The killer left a shoeprint that the cops used as evidence and it seemed everyone up for suspicion wore that same brand!  There were definitely some things that required some suspension of disbelief.  Still I couldn’t fault it too much ---hey, we often have to do that with TV shows, too lol---and the fast-twisting mystery made this a super quick and entertaining read.
Find Victoria Laurie online:  Website  •  Twitter  •  Facebook

Purchase When:  Indiebound  •  BookDepository  •  Amazon

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

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 David Levithan

 hitting shelves August 25, 2015 
from Knopf Books for Young Readers
In this enthralling companion to his New York Times bestseller Every Day, David Levithan (co-author  of Will Grayson, Will Grayson with John Green) tells Rhiannon’s side of the story as she seeks to discover the truth about love and how it can change you.

Every day is the same for Rhiannon. She has accepted her life, convinced herself that she deserves her distant, temperamental boyfriend, Justin, even established guidelines by which to live: Don’t be too needy. Avoid upsetting him. Never get your hopes up.

Until the morning everything changes. Justin seems to see her, to want to be with her for the first time, and they share a perfect day—a perfect day Justin doesn’t remember the next morning. Confused, depressed, and desperate for another day as great as that one, Rhiannon starts questioning everything. Then, one day, a stranger tells her that the Justin she spent that day with, the one who made her feel like a real person . . . wasn’t Justin at all.

My thoughts:  Every Day was amazing, one of my favorites (here's my review). So now it's Rhiannon's turn to tell the story and I am so excited!

Friday, January 16, 2015

First Impression Review: Storm Siren by Mary Weber

 First Impression Reviews is a new feature here at Stories & Sweeties where I give my first thoughts at 50-100 pages into a book. For a details about this feature, go here!

where I'm at:  pg 120

first impressions: I’ve been dying to read this one for ages, and of course, that always comes with a little bit of cautious worry that a book won’t live up to expectations. But at 120 pages in, this is how I’m feeling toward this one: Storm Siren is the first book in a long time to make me want to hiss at anyone who tries to interrupt my reading time. LOL

Right off the bat you can see that Nym is fierce. But as the story goes along, you see that she is also funny, head-strong, frightened, and so remorseful for the people she has harmed with her wild uncontrollable powers. When she is offered the chance to learn to control them, she jumps at it, no matter how twisted the person behind the offer of help seems to be. Adora, her new “owner” is definitely a piece of work—still no telling which way this crazy character will go. But Nym finds new friends in the snarky, hilarious Breck and her overly confident and flirtatious brother, Colin. Then there is Eogan, the mysterious man charged with helping her learn to control her powers. The attraction there is getting both more heated and dangerous.

Loving the world building so far, lots of different creatures and powers and politics---and do I detect a hint of steampunkery?? Just a hint, mind you, a glimpse of airship, a run-in with a bitey little mechanical animal--- but I do love a bit of steampunk. And I had no idea I'd find it in this story!  The main story is building around a brewing war and the part Nym will play as a rare female Elemental. I am loving this so far.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand {review}

The Last Time We Say Goodbye
by Cynthia Hand
♦publisher: HarperTeen
♦release date: February 10th, 2015
♦hardcover, 400 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦source: from publisher for honest review
There's death all around us.
We just don't pay attention.
Until we do.

The last time Lex was happy, it was before. When she had a family that was whole. A boyfriend she loved. Friends who didn't look at her like she might break down at any moment.

Now she's just the girl whose brother killed himself. And it feels like that's all she'll ever be.

As Lex starts to put her life back together, she tries to block out what happened the night Tyler died. But there's a secret she hasn't told anyone-a text Tyler sent, that could have changed everything.

Lex's brother is gone. But Lex is about to discover that a ghost doesn't have to be real to keep you from moving on.

From New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Hand, The Last Time We Say Goodbye is a gorgeous and heart-wrenching story of love, loss, and letting go.

Review: As much as I loved Cynthia Hand’s debut paranormal series, and as much as I am not a contemporary fiction reader, I think that this is my favorite book of hers so far. So beautifully done but in a way that feels like a snapshot out of the life or a normal teen.  It’s an incredibly touching story that sends us reeling through a girl’s journey of grief, guilt, and trying to move on.

Alexis is in her senior year of high school, half-way to the graduation finish line when her life is turned upside down by her brother’s suicide.  Before, her greatest worry was getting into MIT’s elite mathematics program; now she’s faced with overbearing sympathy from those around her, a mother that is drinking her pain away, her absent father that she and Ty used to face together for their weekly awkward dinners, and an overwhelming guilt that she could have stopped her brother from taking his life. The story is told alternately through journal entries that her psychologist is requiring her to do, and in her first person perspective. I thought the journal entries were a perfect way to really get inside her head, interject backstory and important memories, and see how her character grows and heals through the months after Ty’s death.

All the character development really stood out for me.  Every one of them, even side characters, felt really genuine, a group of kids you might find in any high school. It showed how everyone had their own ways of dealing with grief, trying to be there for each other, and moving on.  Another thing I loved about this is that the romantic interest is not described as drop-dead-gorgeous, perfectly sculpted body and features with every girl in school after them…he’s smart, funny, a little awkward, real. Alexis writes how on their first kiss, their glasses collided :D. And Alexis herself, she’s snarky, understandably angry, brilliant, lulls herself to sleep by counting prime numbers. I really enjoyed all of these characters.  

There is a little bit of a ghostly vibe going on, as Alexis starts to see Ty everywhere, but is it real or is it her mind playing tricks? Cynthia Hand somehow manages to tackle this sensitive and all-too-real subject, while magically not giving us a story that feels all-out depressing.  With that said, I will admit that the last 20 pages, along with the author’s note at the end, had me crying buckets.

I loved this story from start to finish; it’s a touching, heartbreaking and, in the end, hopeful look at surviving grief and finding a way to heal. 

Find Cynthia Hand online: Website  •  Twitter  •  Facebook

  Purchase the book:  Indiebound  •  BookDepository  •  Amazon