Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Graces by Laure Eve {blog tour excerpt & giveaway}


Today I'm super excited to be taking part in the tour for
The Graces
by Laure Eve

I haven't yet read this one but I can tell you I'm excited! Three mysterious sisters who've bewitched an entire town and the new girl at school who will do anything to be a part of them. I love a good witchy story so I'm in!  Today I'm giving you all a sneek peek inside the book, and don't forget to enter the tour-wide giveaway of THREE finished copies and some cool tattoo swag!


by Laure Eve
♦publisher: Amulet Books
♦release date: September 6th, 2016
♦hardcover, 352 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦series: The Graces, book 1
When a glamorous family of teenage witches brings a mysterious new girl into their fold, they unwittingly nurture a powerful black magic that could destroy them all. This paranormal YA fantasy features intrigue, spells, and a devastating twist. In The Graces, the first rule of witchcraft states that if you want something badly enough, you can get it . . . no matter who has to pay.

Everyone loves the Graces. Fenrin, Thalia, and Summer Grace are captivating, wealthy, and glamorous. They’ve managed to cast a spell over not just their high school but also their entire town—and they’re rumored to have powerful connections all over the world. If you’re not in love with one of them, you want to be them. Especially River: the loner, new girl at school. She’s different from her peers, who both revere and fear the Grace family. She wants to be a Grace more than anything. But what the Graces don’t know is that River’s presence in town is no accident.

This fabulously addictive fantasy combines sophisticated and haunting prose with a gut-punching twist that readers will be dying to discuss. Perfect for fans of We Were Liars as well as nostalgic classics like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the 1996 movie The Craft, The Graces marks the beginning of a new wave of teen witches.

~Excerpt~ 
The next Friday, the library’s double doors swung violently open, slamming back against the walls. Marcus, sitting two desks away from me, jumped. Summer strode in, looking around with undisguised disgust. She paused just inside, as if striking a pose. If anyone else had done that, I’d have choked on my own disdain. But Summer looked like she would forever not give two shits what you thought because what you thought wasn’t worth giving two shits over. And it just worked. 

She slowly folded her arms over her chest, scanning the room. Her long black hair had been wound into a coil at the nape of her neck and her lace-up knee boots creaked very slightly in the silence as she shifted her weight. All this I saw in the instant before her eyes fell on me, and one brow rose. 

She walked over to my desk. 

“Hey, new girl.” 

“Hi,” I said, startled. 

“You’ve been here a couple of months, right?” 

“Yeah.” 

“It’s March. How come you transferred in the middle of the school year?” 

The official reason was that we had to move because of my mother’s new job. 

The unofficial reason would die with me. 

She rolled her eyes at my silence, put her back to me, and turned her head so it was silhouetted above her shoulder. I tried to commit the movement to memory. 

“Are you coming?” she said. 

“Where?” 

“One-time-only invitation.” 

One time only. 

This was it. 

Don’t screw it up, whispered the voice in my head. 

I didn’t intend to. I shoved my empty Tupperware box into my bag, the fork rattling around inside, as well as the dog-eared paperback I’d been reading. Summer had already moved to the doors, not even looking back to see if I was following. I had better keep up. 

She strode through the corridors ahead. Most people were in the cafeteria, but the few milling about watched her surreptitiously as she passed them. I walked a couple of paces behind— not enough to crowd her, but enough to signal to others that I was allowed to be there. 

We reached the locker corridor, and as we passed Jase Worthington, he said, “Stupid goth bitch.” 

Summer stopped. 

His friend Tom, whom I had briefly fancied when I first got here, hissed, “Dude, don’t.” 

They were both popular surfer types, Tom much shorter than the rest of them and constantly irritated by it. That meant they naturally fit in with Fenrin, who was in the same year as them, and I had thought they were all friends. A friend of Fenrin’s would never dare to start on any of his family like that. 

Especially not Summer. “Oh, Jase-ington,” she said, with a fluttery sigh in her voice. “I simply don’t have time for you today.” 

I began breathing again. Summer started to walk off. 

“Ooh, what are you going to do?” Jase jeered. “Put a spell on me?” 

She threw him an impatient look over her shoulder. “Of course.” 

Silence.


*      *      *      *       *       *    

•ABOUT THE AUTHOR•

A French-British hybrid who grew up in Cornwall, a place saturated with myth and fantasy. Being a child of two cultures taught her everything she needed to know about trying to fit in at the same time as trying to stand out. 

She speaks English and French, and can hold a vague conversation, usually about food, in Greek.

A random selection of favourite things: Terry Pratchett quotes, characters with questionable morals, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Häagen-Dazs cookie dough ice cream, anything Trent Reznor is remotely involved in even if it only extends to 'he once touched this artist's arm', bad 90s dance music and anything a bit weird (see: Davids Lynch and Cronenberg).



Purchase The Graces:  Indiebound  •  BookDepository  •  Amazon

*GIVEAWAY*
Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance at one of 3 finished copies & some cool tattoos!
•US mailing address only please

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to check out the rest of the tour stops for reviews, interviews, and more!
Week One:
8/22/2016- Quite the Novel Idea– Interview
8/23/2016- Novel Novice– Review
8/24/2016- Stories & Sweeties– Excerpt
8/25/2016- Fiction Fare– Review
8/26/2016- A Dream Within A Dream– Guest post

Week Two:
9/5/2016- Tales of the Ravenous Reader– Review
9/6/2016- a GREAT read– Character Interview
9/7/2016- All Things Urban Fantasy– Review
9/8/2016- The Cover Contessa– Interview
9/9/2016- Ex Libris– Review


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Peculiar Haunting of Thelma Bee by Erin Petti {review}

The Peculiar Haunting of Thelma Bee
by Erin Petti
♦publisher: Mighty Media Press
♦release date: September 6th, 2016
♦hardcover, 216 pages
♦intended audience: Middle Grade
♦stand-alone
♦source: ARC from publisher for honest review
Ghost-story lover and debut author Erin Petti has written a quirky story for fans of The Goonies, Goosebumps, and Coraline.

Eleven-year-old budding scientist Thelma Bee has adventure in her blood. But she gets more than she bargained for when a ghost kidnaps her father. Now her only clues are a strange jewelry box and the word “Return,” whispered to her by the ghost. It’s up to Thelma to get her dad back, and it might be more dangerous than she thought—there’s someone wielding dark magic, and they’re coming after her next.

Review: The Peculiar Haunting of Thelma Bee was a fun, fast, and at times, genuinely terrifying read!  The story follows Thelma, an inquisitive girl who has several scientific experiments going and a great like-minded friend to bounce ideas off of.  Her father owns an antique store, and one day a mysterious (and very cranky) old woman sells them a strange box. Suddenly, Thelma is being haunted by a creepy ghostly woman. She finds herself on her own when her father disappears and she calls on her friend's group of paranormal investigators to help her rescue him and to find out why another ghost seems to think she is a witch! 

This is a great group of characters with a closeness that lent to the small-town setting. I really loved Thelma's endlessly curious nature and her scientific mind. Her friend Alexander is a perfect match for her, as they love coming up with ideas together and encouraging each other on. I love how important their friendship was to each of them, and I liked how there was just the tiniest bit of the whole boy/girl awareness of each other and nothing more. Izzy added a fun element to the group with her feisty attitude and I liked that she became a friend rather than an adversary like it seemed she might when they first met.  

While I really enjoyed this story, I sometimes felt it could have been better fleshed out in some of it's details. A few parts, especially toward the ending, felt just a bit rushed and definitely a few moments where I thought the age old rule of "showing not telling" was an issue.  Still, the storyline was well-crafted with a great spin on Norse mythology and played off a real historical event. The fast-pacing kept me entertained from start to finish. Thelma and her friends were a fun bunch that I loved following on this adventure! 


•ABOUT THE AUTHOR•
Erin Petti lives by the ocean in Massachusetts and loves to read about magic, dinosaurs, folklore, and ghosts. She has a Masters in Education and a background in improvisational comedy.
Erin lives with her husband, excellent toddler, and cat (who she suspects likes her better than she's letting on).
Her debut novel, The Peculiar Haunting of Thelma Bee, publishes from Mighty Media Press September 2016.

WEBSITE  •  TWITTER  •  INSTAGRAM

Purchase the book:  Indiebound  •  BookDepository  •  Amazon

Friday, August 12, 2016

Fear the Drowning Deep Blog Tour {Excerpt, Recipe, & Giveaway!}


Failt erriu, everyone! Here I am with the final stop in the blog tour for
Fear the Drowning Deep
by Sarah Glenn Marsh!

 Fear the Drowning Deep is set in the small island nestled right in between England and Ireland, the Isle of Man. So today, I'm bringing you a special little taste of the Manx culture! Along with an exclusive excerpt of the story, I'll be sharing a recipe for Fruit Bonnag, a traditional Manx tea cake. The simple cake is a big part of the island's cuisine--they even have a World Bonnag Championship bake-off every year!  So take a look below to learn more about the book, read an exclusive excerpt, enter to win a gorgeous tote designed by Evie Seo, and bake up some goodies with me! :D



by Sarah Glenn Marsh
♦publisher: Sky Pony Press
♦release date: October 4th, 2016
♦hardcover, 310 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦stand-alone
Witch’s apprentice Bridey Corkill has hated the ocean ever since she watched her granddad dive in and drown with a smile on his face. So when a dead girl rolls in with the tide in the summer of 1913, sixteen-year-old Bridey suspects that whatever compelled her granddad to leap into the sea has made its return to the Isle of Man.

Soon, villagers are vanishing in the night, but no one shares Bridey’s suspicions about the sea. No one but the island’s witch, who isn’t as frightening as she first appears, and the handsome dark-haired lad Bridey rescues from a grim and watery fate. The cause of the deep gashes in Fynn’s stomach and his lost memories are, like the recent disappearances, a mystery well-guarded by the sea. In exchange for saving his life, Fynn teaches Bridey to master her fear of the water — stealing her heart in the process.

Now, Bridey must work with the Isle’s eccentric witch and the boy she isn’t sure she can trust — because if she can’t uncover the truth about the ancient evil in the water, everyone she loves will walk into the sea, never to return.

~Excerpt~   
 The ocean flashed and sparkled under the sun in welcome, putting on a show for the girl on the island least likely to appreciate it. My bare feet met the mushy sand, making me cringe, and I picked my way around tide pools in search of the snigs. 

     If only Lugh and Cat could see me now. 

     As I walked along the shore, I fingered the horrible charm Morag had given me that morning. 

     “The mouth-bone of a Bollan wrasse,” she’d said gruffly, putting the pendant around my neck with oddly trembling hands. “Also known as a Bollan Cross. It’ll keep you from drowning.” The fishbone vaguely resembled a row of human teeth, but I’d seen wrasses’ impressive mouths enough times to know Morag wasn’t lying.

     If only I had the faintest idea of where to look for snigs, I wouldn’t be on the beach long enough to need the bone’s protection. 

     When I was quite small, and unafraid of the water, Grandad had shown me a nest of snigs. The silvery eels were no bigger than his fingers, and no wider. But their nest had been out in water up to my knobby toddler knees, and there was no way I’d ever walk into the sea of my own free will now. 

     Inhaling the nausea-inducing scents of brine and stranded shellfish, I hitched up my skirt and knelt shakily beside a deep tide pool. Who knew what was waiting to bite or sting me in there? Still, my conscience demanded I put forth some effort. 

     I braced myself for the chill water, rolled up my sleeve, and plunged my hand into the pool. A gray-shelled creature about the size of a coin skittered out of reach. 

     Gasping, I withdrew my hand. What was I thinking, coming here? I was too scared to pick up a wriggling eel. I couldn’t even stick my hand in a tide pool for a few seconds. 

     Rising unsteadily to my feet, I spotted a long piece of drift- wood resting in the sand nearby and grasped it, thinking I might be able to spear a few snigs on its sharper end—even if I lost the contents of my stomach in the process. 

     Cold sand oozed between my toes as I paced, scanning the area for kittiwakes. The white and gray seabirds preferred to eat snigs, so seeing their feathers would give me hope. 

     Nothing stirred but the breeze tugging my hair. Even the sun appeared to be a distant spectator, refusing to warm the sea and sky. 

     I trained my eyes on the ground, searching for anything I could bring to Morag to appease her: a perfect scallop shell, a jumble of sea glass, a smooth lump of lightning-struck sand. I didn’t know what might put a smile on her wrinkled face, but gathering flotsam from the beach was worth the gamble for extra coin in my pocket. 

     A flash of emerald green caught my eye. I tossed my drift- wood spear aside and grabbed it, expecting to feel the water- rounded sides of sea glass. 

     “Mollaght er!” I growled as a razor-sharp edge sliced into my thumb. Someone, probably a thoughtless tourist, had smashed a bottle and left it where anyone might stumble on the broken shards. 

     I wiped my stinging thumb on my cloak. Warm, sticky droplets trickled down my hand, but I’d earned cuts this painful from a tangle of briars plenty of times before. Picking up my driftwood, I scaled a hill of sand that didn’t quite pass for a dune and stopped cold. 

     At the waterline lay a dark-haired young man, naked and horribly still. Despite the distance, there was no mistaking the crimson gashes on his stomach. Waves lapped at his feet as the tide moved in, and I pictured the dribble of water from the dead girl’s mouth when the fishermen had turned her over. 

     This boy could be another victim. Of who or what, I wasn’t yet certain. 

     Heart thumping wildly, I abandoned my pail and driftwood to dash across the sand.

     “Please don’t be dead,” I choked out, sinking to my knees beside him. His fingernails were bloody and ragged, as though he’d fought hard against something. “Please, please, please don’t be dead.” 


• ABOUT THE AUTHOR•

Sarah Glenn Marsh is the author of the YA fantasy Fear the Drowning Deep from Sky Pony Press, the forthcoming Reign of the Fallen fantasy duology from Razorbill (Penguin), as well as several forthcoming children's picture books. An avid fantasy reader from the day her dad handed her a copy of The Hobbit and promised it would change her life, she's been making up words and worlds ever since. She lives in Virginia with her husband and her tiny zoo of four rescued greyhounds, a bird, and many fish.

When she's not writing, she's often painting, or engaged in nerdy pursuits from video games to tabletop adventures. You can visit her online at www.sarahglennmarsh.com, and follow her on Twitter @SG_Marsh.


Pre-Order Fear the Drowning Deep:


Bake up some Fruit Bonnag! :)
This is a traditional tea cake served in the Isle of Man. I went a little rogue, working with several different recipes that I found for it, and adding just one or two of my own special additions. I hope you try this out and enjoy with a nice cup of tea or coffee!


To get started, grease a 8 or 9 inch round cake pan or line it with parchment. Preheat oven to 350

Ingredients:
• 1 cup buttermilk, or milk/vinegar mixture (see below*)
•3 cups all purpose flour
•1/2 cup sugar
•1/2 cup light brown sugar
•1 teaspoon baking soda
•1-1/2 teaspoon of apple pie OR pumpkin pie spice
•pinch of salt
•3 tablespoons butter
•1 cup dried berries (I used 1/2 cup cranberries, 1/2 apricots)
•1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
•Raw sugar to sprinkle on top

*If using milk/vinegar as a substitute for buttermilk: Put 2 teaspoons of white vinegar in a measuring cup, then fill to "1 cup" line with milk. Let this sit for 10 minutes. 

•Mix together all dry ingredients. Cut the butter into small cubes and incorporate into the dry mixture. Stir in the berries.

•Add vanilla and the milk to the dry mixture until a dough forms. Do not overmix. Add flour as needed to make a dough that is sticky but not wet or runny. 

•Transfer dough into prepared pan. Slightly smooth out surface. Brush top with a little milk and sprinkle with raw sugar.  Bake for 45-50 minutes, it should be lightly browned on top and a toothpick stuck into the center should come out clean. 

When cooled, slice, slather with butter, and grab a cup of tea! Yummy :P

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

Giveaway!
Enter to win an ARC of Fear the Drowning Deep and a beautiful book tote designed by Evie Seo!
Open INTERNATIONALLY!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to check out the rest of the tour stops for more great reviews and posts all about 
Fear the Drowning Deep!
Week 1: 
8/1 -   Bookish Lifestyle - Excerpt + Tote Design
8/2 -   A Perfection Called Books - Review + Pinterest Board
8/3 -   Booknerd Addict - Review 
8/4 -   Caught Read Handed - Review + Interview
8/5 -   Dana Square - Review

Week 2: 
8/8 -   Alexa Loves Books- Bookish Style Files
8/9 -   It Starts at Midnight- Review
8/10 - The YA Book Traveler - Interview
8/11 - Brittany's Book Rambles - Review + Playlist
8/12 - Stories & Sweeties - Bonnag Recipe + Excerpt

Monday, August 1, 2016

What's New: August YA Release List & Giveaway (and a little announcement)

I can't believe its already August!  Life is speeding right along, my not-so-little guy  *sob* is headed back to school next week--his first year in middle school *sobs harder* D':  So, that along with family craziness, having to take extra hours at work, and just life in general have sadly kept me from giving this blog much attention. And honestly, guys, I hate feeling like I'm half-assing it. So I've decided to take the month of August off.  I have a few blog tour stops already scheduled so I do hope you'll stop by for those, but other than that, I just have to give myself one less thing to divide my attention between for a little while.  I'm not quitting completely, so please don't forget about me! :D  ♥♥♥


So if you're new to Stories & Sweeties, here's a little run-down of this feature: at the start of each month, I do a little thing called the "What's New List & Giveaway" where you'll find a full list of the new releases in YA for the month, and entry to the international giveaway. At the end of each month, one lucky winner will get to choose any new release as their prize!

First things first! The winner of July's giveaway is ! Congrats!



August 2016 Releases:
Just like previous months, I've put a little lve by those books that I am really anticipating!

{2}
The Assassin's Game by Kirsty McKay
The Bad Decision Playlist by Michael Rubens
Beneath Wandering Stars by Ashlee Cowles
The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson 
Children of Icarus by Caighlan Smith 
Enter Title Here by Rahul Kanakia
Finding Abbey Road by Kevin Emerson
Forever Doon by Carey Corp & Lorie Langdon
The Gilded Cage by Lucinda Gray 
Infinite Risk by Ann Aguirre
Recreated by Colleen Houck
The Smaller Evil by Stephanie Kuehn
Songbyrd by Anna Silver
The Telling by Alexandra Sirowy 
Three Truths and a Lie by Brent Hartinger
United by Melissa Landers
Wake the Hollow by Gaby Triana 
Wax by Gina Damico 
A Week of Mondays by Jessica Brody
Whatever by S. J. Goslee
You Before Anyone Else by Julie Cross & Mark Perini

{9}
All We Have Left by Wendy Mills
Dragonbound by Chelsea M. Campbell
The Well of Prayers by Anne Boles Levy
When We Was Fierce by e.E. Charlton-Trujillo

{16}
The Almost King by Lucy Saxon
Cherry by Lindsey Rosin
David by Johnny Worthen
The Edge of Light by Elizabeth George
The Flame Never Dies by Rachel Vincent
Poisoned Blade by Kate Elliott
Vicarious by Paula Stokes 

{23}
100 Days by Nicole McInnes
8 Rivers of Shadow by Leo Hunt
Ghostly Echoes by  William Ritter 
Scavenger of Souls by Joshua David Bellin
The Secret Sea by Barry Lyga
Spontaneous by Aaron Starmer
Thieving Weasels by Billy Taylor
Under the Lights by Abbi Glines
Unscripted Joss Byrd by Lygia Day Peñaflor     

{30}
Been Here All Along by Sandy Hall
Between Worlds by Skip Brittenham 
The Call by Peadar O'Guilin 
Don't You Trust Me by Patrice Kindl
The Fixes by Owen Matthews
For This Life Only by Stacey Kade
The Form of Things Unknown by Robin Bridges
Furthermore by Teherah Mafi
Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow
In-Between Days by Vikki Wakefield
Into the Abyss by Stefanie Gaither
Just Kill Me by Adam Selzer 
Kook by Chris Vick
Last Descendants by Matthew Kirby
Possession by M. Verano
Scary Out There by Jonathan Maberry
The Scourge by Jennifer A. Nielsen 
Tell Me Something Real by Calla Devlin
The Thousandth Floor by Katherine McGee
A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir 

(All links go to Goodreads)
Please feel free to email me if you notice any YA titles missing! :)


Giveaway Details: 
One winner will win a YA July release of their choice! *see note below
• Contest ends August 30
th, 2016 at 11:59 PM
• Must be 13 or older.
• Open internationally. *International winners will be required to choose a book that is available through BookDepository.com or Fishpond.com up to $20 value.
•Extra entries can be earned by commenting on 
REVIEW posts, and can be done once per review. Come back whenever you comment on my reviews and get your extra points! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, July 31, 2016

New Shelf Goodies & The Weekly Nutshell {169}

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's landed on my doorstep these last two weeks!
For review:
The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles
This looks really good and getting good reviews already!
The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco
One of my most anticipated for next year! And so gorgeous!
Unnatural Deeds by Cyn Balog
Love the sound of this and I've enjoyed this author before. 
Rebellion of Thieves by Kekla Magoon
Cute middle grade Robin Hood-style adventure!
Vicarious by Paula Stokes
A Sci-fi sister story--looks good!
Beastly Bones by William Ritter
Eeeee,  I adore this series so much!!
I've read the first few chapters and love the humor and main character already!

From trades:
A Most Magical Girl by Karen Foxlee
Victorian England, magic, mystery, and friendship! Love the sound of this one!
The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You by Lily Anderson
I hear this one is super cute! And how can I pass up a book that promises Doctor Who references!

So many thanks to Bloomsbury, Tor, Sourcebooks, and Algonquin for these! And to my wonderful trading buddies! :D


The Weekly Nutshell
recent posts:
Waiting on Wednesday: The Last Magician
Love Charms and Other Catastrophes Review + Giveaway
Waiting on Wednesday: Bad Blood
Never Missing, Never Found Blog Tour Giveaway

So, guys, I am STILL reading Nevernight. Work and family and LIFE has just been nuts lately and this is not (at least not for me) a quick paced read to begin with. But as it's gotten more to the middle, I'm enjoying it a more. It was definitely touch and go for a while through the beginning though. And it's hard when there are so many books that I want to be reading right now!! Eeek.  
Another things taking up my time--my daughter and I are binge watching American Horror Story on Netflix.  We're just starting the fourth season, Freak Show. I'm so hooked into the various story lines and characters but UGH guys, I am such a wimp about gore. I seriously only see about 1/3 of the show..the rest I've got my eyes closed LOL. It's so bloody BLOODY!! 
So who among you all are reading the new Harry Potter right this minute? :) I'm not. And actually I'm not 100% sure I will. At least not for a while, until the hype dies down a bit and I hear with absolute certainty that it lives up to it's predecessors and shouldn't be missed. So let me know if you've read it and what you think please! 

Happy reading, all! :D