Sunday, February 26, 2017

New Shelf Goodies & The Weekly Nutshell {183}

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)

Well, this post is running a little late this week because up until a few hours ago I didn't have a working computer...so here we go!

SO it was an MG kind of week this week! I have to say I'm pretty excited for all of these! Carmer & Grit looks like such fun (fairies and magicians and such!!) and I'm always excited to check out anything by Sarah Beth Durst, she's a favorite of mine. Same with Gardenia by Kesley Sutton, I initially thought this was another MG in verse, and was super eager to read it because I loved her last one The Lonely Ones, but this is a new YA from her! That's awesome, too! Love her writing, always so atmospheric. And speaking of atmospheric---I am WAY excited for The Wood; time portals and creepy forests? That could not be more my kind of thing!! 

Many thanks to Penguin, Macmillan, Algonquin, Diversion Books, and the fabulous Sarah Beth Durst for sending these my way!

The Weekly Nutshell:
SO another week with only one post. Sorry about that! Basically my computer went from sort of working to completely dead. My son played some game on it that just completely ate it---it won't even turn on past the start-up screen.  Haha, I even did my WoW post this week using my tablet, and realized that's a bit of a nightmare. So off to shop for a new computer I went. Acquired, set up, and so now I'm ready to go again. 
This week I finished up reading Daughter of a Pirate King. SO fun, my review will hopefully be up in the next few days. Right now I'm reading The Dragon's Price and loving it so far, too.  

Hope everyone is having a great week!

Wednesday, February 22, 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 Amber Mitchell

hitting shelves March 6th, 2017
from Entangled Teen
After seven grueling years of captivity in the Garden—a burlesque troupe of slave girls—sixteen-year-old Rose finds an opportunity to escape during a performance for the emperor. But the hostage she randomly chose from the crowd to aid her isn’t one of the emperor’s men—not anymore. He’s the former heir to the throne, who is now leading a rebellion against it.

Rayce is a wanted man and dangerously charismatic, the worst person for Rose to get involved with, no matter what his smile promises. But he assumes Rose’s attempt to take him hostage is part of a plot to crush the rebellion, so he takes her as his hostage. Now Rose must prove where her loyalties lie, and she offers Rayce a deal—if he helps her rescue the other girls, she’ll tell him all the Garden’s secrets.

Except the one secret she’s kept for seven years that she’ll take to her grave if she must. 

My thoughts:  This sounds so exciting and interesting and daring! I want to know all the secrets and why the heir is now rebelling and if they fall in love along the way!! Yay for awesome sounding fantasy. :D

What book are you eagerly anticipating this week?

Sunday, February 19, 2017

New Shelf Goodies & The Weekly Nutshell {182}

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)

So this week I had some pretty amazing bookmail arriving! 
The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana
Amid Stars and Darkness by Chani Lynn Feener
By Your Side by Kasie West
Wait for Me by Caroline Leech
#Famous by Jilly Gagnon
A Season of Daring Greatly by Ellen Emerson White
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Flame in the Mist by Renee Adieh
The Ends of the World by Maggie Hall
And We're Off by Dana Schwartz
Edgeland by Jake Halpern & Peter Kujawinski
The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich
The Emperor's Ostrich by Julie Berry
Wesley James Ruined My Life by Jennifer Honeybourn
I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo
The Traitor's Kiss by Erin Beaty
Alex & Eliza by Melissa De La Cruz
So...wow :D A little overwhelmed lol, but OH SO excited about most of these!! Some of these are unsolicited and that's awesome, but with that also comes a few that aren't my taste. But that's okay, too. I really appreciate them being sent my way. A few of these finished copies will go into my library's collection so they will definitely find their readers!  SO so excited for Library of Fates, Flame in the Mist, Amid Stars and Darkness, I Believe in a Thing Called Love, Traitor's Kiss, ...almost all of these actually! 

Super huge thanks to Harper Collins, Macmillan, and Penguin!! 

The Weekly Nutshell
So, a pretty mellow week all around. My house is still mid reno right now, but I did finally get gorgeous new countertops and a copper sink, which I absolutely love.  ♥
And with my quieter week, did I do lots of reading? Well, some. I'm about halfway through Daughter of a Pirate King and it's so fun. I love the main character. But what I did do is get in some time with two of my other favorite hobbies...baking and sewing! If you missed my post earlier this week, I posted a review and designed an Empress cupcake for the Empress of a Thousand Skies blog tour!  As for the sewing, I made something fun for my daughter and I! I've been seeing book sleeves everywhere lately, but they weren't quite everything I needed, so I decided to make these:
I gave them pockets to hold bookmarks and pens and small notepads when I need to take reviewing notes. I also gave them a top flap and made them water-resistant---because if there's one biggest danger to my books while they're in my work bag or my purse, its a hand sanitizer spill or a run in with a leaky water bottle. Anyhow, it was a fun rainy day project--and we've definitely been having plenty of those.  The one with the Anna and the French Kiss quote is my daughter's. Anyone know what theme the other one is? It's an ode to my favorite character on Doctor Who ;)

Have a great week, everyone! :D 

Wednesday, February 15, 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 Elizabeth Byrne

hitting shelves September 12th, 2017
from HarperTeen
Two teenage sisters must deal with the world outside their insular family in this imaginative coming-of-age novel set in a society obsessed with grave keeping, from debut author Elizabeth Byrne.

Lately, sixteen-year-old Athena Windham has been spending all her spare time in her grave.
Her parents—owners of a cemetery in Upstate New York—are proud of her devoutness, but her thirteen-year-old sister, Laurel, can’t understand it. Laurel would rather spend her time exploring the acres and acres of state forest that surround the Windhams’s property.

The Windham girls lead pretty secluded lives—their older sister died in a tragic accident the year before Laurel was born, and their parents’ protectiveness has made the family semi-infamous in their small town.

As the new school year begins, the outside world comes creeping in. Athena—a professional high school loner—grapples with a newfound enemy and, even more surprising, her first best friend. And home-schooled Laurel, sheltered and shy, finds herself face-to-face with a runaway boy who’s hiding out in an abandoned grave.

All the while, a ghost hangs around the Windham house and cemetery—the only grave keeper never to cross over, as far as she knows—messing with people’s graves, turning the Windhams’s lights off and on, spying on the sisters, and plotting how to keep the girls close to home and close to her . . . forever.

My thoughts:  I don't think this sysnopsis could be any more perfectly "my cup of tea". A perfect blend of a contemporary story of sisterhood with the macabre of  a graveyard and even a ghost spying on their lives. YES PLEASE to all of that. And that cover? Love it. 

What book are you eagerly anticipating this week?

Monday, February 13, 2017

Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza {blog tour review, giveaway & cupcake!}


Welcome to my stop on the tour for
Empress of  A Thousand Skies!!

Today I'm featuring this galactic adventure with my review and a specially designed cupcake to go with that gorgeous cover! Plus don't forget to enter the tour-wide giveaway below for a chance to win one of FIVE signed copies of Empress of A Thousand Skies!

by Rhoda Belleza
♦publisher: Razorbill
♦release date: February 7th, 2017
♦hardcover. 344 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦series: (no info on upcoming books yet!)
♦source: from publisher for honest review
Empress
Rhee, also known as Crown Princess Rhiannon Ta’an, is the sole surviving heir to a powerful dynasty. She’ll stop at nothing to avenge her family and claim her throne.

Fugitive
Aly has risen above his war refugee origins to find fame as the dashing star of a DroneVision show. But when he’s falsely accused of killing Rhee, he's forced to prove his innocence to save his reputation – and his life.

Madman
With planets on the brink of war, Rhee and Aly are thrown together to confront a ruthless evil that threatens the fate of the entire galaxy.

A saga of vengeance, warfare, and the true meaning of legacy.

Review:  This was quite an adventure! 

The story is told from the alternating voices of Rhee and Alyosha.  I really enjoyed both of their personalities. Rhee's fierce determination is admirable but when she gets caught up in a deeper political mystery than she expected, she looses her confident footing and realized she doesn't know who to trust. Despite her questions, she pushes forward, sometimes alone, and I loved her perseverance and the way she pulls from family memories for strength. Alyosha is quick and resourceful and careful, running for his life as a wanted murderer. He's a fun and interesting character to get to know.  

The world building definitely has a very cool and detailed Star Wars feel to it, with lots of different planets, societies, alien races, and cultures. It dealt with the issues of prejudices that go with such a melting pot of cultures, especially as we see Aly and what he goes through as an "easy target" to be framed for Rhee's murder, but also in the case of Rhee, who is treated differently once her face becomes marked.  

I think some will be disappointed with the lack of romance in this one, because the synopsis definitely makes it sound like there might be. I thought it was fine without it, and definitely think we'll come to it in future installments, but not for Rhee and Aly.  There's a lot going on plotwise with this and I though what little romance there was made sense. 

One drawback with this is actual a personal peeve of mine, so feel free to disregard LOL. In fantasy worlds, sometimes made up words are used in place of swear words or exclamations. It's a fun detail, but for some reason it irritates me when they are used really, really often. But, again...that' s just me. :) There are also a few dips in pacing here and there, but it's still a fairly quick read.

It's a great story with lots of twists, and although the big reveal at the end was not surprising, it was entertaining to see the truth unfold for the characters. I can't wait to see where the new info will lead all of them!


Guys, since the day I spotted that gorgeous cover, I knew I wanted to design a cupcake to match!! So many pretty colors and I love the hidden image in the moon. So here's what I came up with: the cover's main colors swirled into buttercream frosting, edible star sprinkles, and a shimmer-dusted moon!


•ABOUT THE AUTHOR•

Rhoda Belleza was raised in Los Angeles, where she grew up writing X-Filesfanfiction and stuffing her face with avocados. She's a children's editor at a publishing house and writes from a sunny Brooklyn apartment stuffed with far too many bikes and far too many shoes. When she's not writing, Rhoda obsesses over nail art tutorials, watches kung fu movies, and sews together crooked things that pass for clothes. Empress of a Thousand Skies is her debut novel. 


Purchase the book:  Indiebound  •  BookDepository  •  Amazon

*       *       *       *       *       *
GIVEAWAY!
Enter below to win one of FIVE signed finished copies of Empress of a Thousand Skies!

a Rafflecopter giveaway NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on February 6, 2017 and 12:00 AM on February 20, 2017. Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about February 22, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.



Don't forget to stop by the rest of the tour!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

New Shelf Goodies & The Weekly Nutshell {181}

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 all the glorious bookishness that's been dropped through my mailbox these past two weeks! Basically it was two weeks of jumping and squealing and happy dancing, as many of these were on my top most anticipated list for this year!!
So excited for the story and format of this one. Made You Up, this authors debut, was amazing---if you haven't read it already, I hightly recommend!
Okay, so the Peter Pan characters from book one (which was amazing, btw) meet up with the Alice in Wonderland characters and travel from London to Germany to find a poisonous apple tree.  So, you see why I am freaking excited for this??  
Family secrets and mysterious boys who inexplicably crawl out of graves. Yep, that sounds like my kind of creepy. :D
Shadow Magic blew me away last year---definitely a favorite. Can't wait to get back to this world!
This hints at all the bizarre and mysterious things I love, a mother-daughter story, all very Alice Hoffman-sounding. So I'm on board. 
Magic and a shapeshifting princess, a retelling of classic---what's not to be excited about??
The Possible by Tara Altebrando
A mother-daughter mystery + telekinesis---sounds good to me! I've bee fascinated with ESP from a young age when I first read Lois Duncan's Gift of Magic!
A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi
The Star-Touched Queen was so beautiful and imaginative, I can't wait to see what this companion novel holds!
The Girl with the Ghost Machine by Lauren DeStefano
Ah YAY, so excited. Lauren Destefano is always a win for me, I've loved everything I've read by her so far, both YA & MG!
Kill All Happies by Rachel Cohn
Not my usual thing, but it sounds like a fun one. Check out my bookstagram for it here!
American Street by Ibi Zoboi
This one looks really interesting, but it's getting some rather mixed reviews. Still, I may dive into when I'm in the mood for contemp!
Lifeblood by Gena Showalter
Unfortunately this series wasn't for me. I did a mini DNF review for Firstlife here. I'll be passing this one along, though, into the hands of someone who will hopefully love it! :)

Many many thanks go out to all the publishers, trade partners and friends for all these lovely things!!


The Weekly Nutshell:
So it was very quiet here this week as life outside of blogging has just been nuts lol. It was a veritably cursed week for electronics in my life for some strange reason haha.  My main computer's adapter died so I basically have it rigged into my TV right now so it can be close enough to plug straight into the router. My tablet took a dive---my puppy knocked it off the couch and of course the screen is now fractured so completely, it looks like a butterfly wing.  AND our router at work mysteriously broke, leaving our library catalog, internet, and account access completely down for three days. Such a strange week all around. :/ 

The sad lonely post I got up this week was my WoW post, featuring The Wicker King by K. Ancrum.  I very, very regretfully put aside Truthwitch---it seems like a good story, but I honestly just cannot wrap my head around it right now, so much gets thrown at you in those first 70 or so pages. I definitely plan to pick it back up at some point, but right now, with craziness everywhere to distract me...*hangs head in shame*.  I'm jumping into some things a little more light and fun---Secret of a Heart Note and then Daughter of a Pirate King. I finished The Inventor's Secret on audiobook so I should be reviewing that soon and I'm currently listening to Ever the Hunted on audio and it is incredible! I love the reader, she does such an amazing job. 

Here's hoping for a quiet, uneventful week to come. I just want to sit in silence and read! xD
Have a great week, all! ;D

Tuesday, February 7, 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 K. Ancrum

hitting shelves October 31st, 2017
from Imprint
The Wicker King is a psychological young adult thriller that follows two friends struggling as one spirals into madness.

Written in vivid micro-fiction with a stream-of-consciousness feel and multimedia elements, The Wicker King explores a codependent friendship fraught with madness, love, and darkness. 

When August learns that his best friend, Jack, shows signs of degenerative hallucinatory disorder, he is determined to help Jack cope. Jack’s vivid and long-term visions take the form of an elaborate fantasy world layered over our own—a world ruled by the Wicker King. As Jack leads them on a quest to fulfill a dark prophecy in this alternate world, even August begins to question what is real or not. 

August and Jack struggle to keep afloat as they teeter between fantasy and their own emotions. In the end, each must choose his own truth.

My thoughts:  This sounds incredible! And just the kind of story I love to lose myself in, with fantasy and friendship and madness and lots of bizarre atmosphere---there is nothing as intriguing as a character "beginning to question what is real or not". :)  Excited for this one, and excited to see what else is to come from this new imprint of Macmillan!

What book are you eagerly anticipating this week?