Friday, September 4, 2015

The Uninvited by Cat Winters {review}


The Uninvited
by Cat Winters
♦publisher: William Morrow
♦release date: August 11, 2015
♦paperback, 343 pages
♦intended audience: Adult
♦stand-alone
♦source: from publisher for honest review

Twenty-five year old Ivy Rowan rises from her bed after being struck by the flu, only to discover the world has been torn apart in just a few short days.

But Ivy’s life-long gift—or curse—remains.  For she sees the uninvited ones—ghosts of loved ones who appear to her, unasked, unwelcomed, for they always herald impending death. On that October evening in 1918 she sees the spirit of her grandmother, rocking in her mother’s chair. An hour later, she learns her younger brother and father have killed a young German out of retaliation for the death of Ivy’s older brother Billy in the Great War.

Horrified, she leaves home, to discover the flu has caused utter panic and the rules governing society have broken down. Ivy is drawn into this new world of jazz, passion, and freedom, where people live for the day, because they could be stricken by nightfall. But as her ‘uninvited guests’ begin to appear to her more often, she knows her life will be torn apart once more, but Ivy has no inkling of the other-worldly revelations about to unfold.
Review:  Once again, I am thrown back into the past with Cat Winters' gorgeous storytelling.  This author has such an expert touch with historical writing...you turn the pages and you literally feel like you are walking down the streets of 1918 Illinois right alongside Ivy, seeing the horrors of the rampant influenza and the suspicions, ugly prejudices, and family losses caused by The Great War.  As much as it's a world  I would never want to live in, being sucked into it's wretchedness from the comfort and safety of my couch is endlessly fascinating. 

When we meet Ivy, she is an illness-weakened homebody, but when she finds out about her father and brother's crimes, she leaves her family home behind. She strikeds out on her own,  finds a place to stay with a school friend's widow, and seeks out the brother of the man her family murdered, hoping to relieve some of her guilt by helping him. Through a few unexpected encounters, Ivy finds herself caught up in a nightly mission to save the sick, being eyed as a german conspirator, and in a love affair where she never could have expected it. I loved this characters compassion, bravery, the flaw of her irrational guilt, and her tendency to give in easily to curiosity. There are lots of interesting characters floating in and out of Ivy's life, but none as much as Daniel, with his pain and his secrets and his love and passion for jazz music. 

The story is just completely haunting, and not just because Ivy can see the dead and know that it means someone else is going do die. Each revelation was unexpected to me and spine-chilling, but in the end I just found the whole story beautiful. It's a story about finding comfort in the ugliness of the world and about love and how it can make us see things clearly (and sometimes not so clearly). The inclusion of fantastic playlist of music is one of my favorite things about this story. And as someone who has always loved the incredible jazz music of the 40s,  its the most unique and entirely wonderful depiction of heaven and the afterlife Cat Winters could have given me. I want to reread this someday with the music ready to play alongside each scene! 

Another incredible read from this author. 

Find Cat Winters online:  Website  •  Twitter  •  Facebook
Purchase the book:  BookDepository  •  Indiebound  • Amazon

Also check out the playlist of music mentioned in the story:

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Waiting on...

"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 Janet Fox

hitting shelves March 15th,  2016
from Viking Juvenile
Something is not right at Rookskill Castle, a rundown Scottish manor shrouded in mystery. The castle is a temporary boarding school for children escaping the Blitz, but soon it’s clear there is something terribly wrong. There are clues hinting that a spy is in the house, and there are undeniable signs of a sinister magic. When the children in the castle’s temporary boarding school begin disappearing one by one, it’s a race against the clock for twelve-year-old Kat Bateson, her two younger siblings, and their new best friend.

From author's website: "In THE CHARMED CHILDREN OF ROOKSKILL CASTLE you’ll find ghosts, spies, a steampunk witch, an immortal wizard, new-found friends, a creepy castle, an enigma machine, teachers-who-are-not-what-they-seem (aren’t they all?), missing children, the Scottish Highlands…and tons of fun."

My thoughts: Set in the 40s, magic and spies, creepy castle in Scotland..and a steampunk witch?? This sounds like an incredibly fun and dark MG,..just how I like them! :D

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

What's New: September YA Release List & Giveaway

September ALREADY!! Yikes, guys. On one hand, YAY we're only a month away from Halloween! (and the other holidays are coming, too lol. Can you tell which one's my favorite?)  On the other hand--where the heck did this year go??  So, about this month's list, it's not exceptionally long--- but it is CHOCK FULL of bookish goodness, people.  Look at all my crazy hearts down there! Quick question for you all: would it help for me to add which publisher each book is from to this list?  I want this list to be as helpful and comprehensive as possible to everyone. Let me know what you think?

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 August's giveaway is Sandra! Congrats! 

September 2015 Releases:
Just like previous months, I've put a little lve by those books that I am really anticipating!


{1}
Anne & Henry by Dawn Ius 
The Body Institute by Carol Riggs
Burn Girl by Mandy Mikulencak
Catacomb by Madeleine Roux
Cut Both Ways by Carrie Mesrobian
The Dogs by Allan Stratton
Don’t Fail Me Now by Una LaMarche
Dream Things True by Marie Marquardt
Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon 
The Fate of Ten by Pittacus Lore
Firewalker by Josephine Angelini 
The Fix by Natasha Sinel
The Foxglove Killings by Tara Kelly 
Has To Be Love by Jolene Perry
Hunter by Mercedes Lackey
Infinite in Between by Carolyn Mackler
Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman
Midnight Dolls by Kiki Sullivan
Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez
Paper Hearts by Meg Wiviott
Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas 
Shades of Doon by Carey Corp & Lorie Langdon
The Shadow Behind the Stars by Rebecca Hahn 
Smoked by Mari Mancusi
State of Grace by Hilary Badger
Truest by Jackie Lea Sommers
Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman 
Violent Ends (by several authors)
The Wanderers by Kate Ormand 
Whippoorwillby Joseph Monninger
A Whole New World by Liz Braswell

{8}
The Boy Meets Girl Massacre by Ainslie Hogarth
Dark Shimmer by Donna Jo Napoli 
Drift & Dagger by Kendall Kulper 
Drowning is Inevitable by Shalanda Stanley 
Edgewater by Courtney Sheinmel
Every Word by Ellie Marney 
Evolution by Stephanie Diaz
The Firebug of Balrog County by David Oppegaard
Goose by Dawn O’Porter
The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz 
Lessons in Falling by Diana Gallagher
Mary: Unleashed by Hillary Monahan
The OneThing by Marci Lyn Curtis 
Rogue by Mark Frost
Stand-Off by Andrew Smith and Sam Bosma
The Suffering by Rin Chupeco
Sweet Temptation by Wendy Higgins 
True Dark by Gary Meehan
Wonders of the Invisible World by Christopher Barzak

{15}
The Appearance of Annie van Sinderen by Katherine Howe 
Ash & Bramble by Sarah Prineas 
The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich 
Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy 
Imposter by Antony John
Lock & Mori by Heather W. Petty
Lumiere by Jacqueline E. Garlick 
Maid of Wonder by Jennifer McGowan
Mirrored by Alex Finn
One by Sarah Crossan
Shattered Blue by Lauren Bird Horowitz 
Sweet Madness by Trisha Leaver & Lindsay Currie 
The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore 

{22}
Beastly Bones by William Ritter 
Bits  & Pieces by Jonathan Maberry
Blood & Salt by Kim Liggett 
Dreamland by Robert  L. Anderson 
I Crawl Through It by A.S. King 
Juniors by Kaui Hart Hemmings
Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs 
Never Never by Brianna Shrum 
Nightfall by Jake Halpern & Peter Kujawinski
Noir by Jacqueline E. Garlick 
Silver Eve by Sandra Waugh
The Summer Marked by Rebekah L. Purdy
The Tattooed Heart by Michael Grant
This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee 
Ungodly by Kendare Blake
Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson 
What We Saw by Aaron Kartzler

{29}
All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
Brazen by Christina Farley
Daughters Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics 
Faceless by Alyssa Sheinmel
The Lost Girl by R.L. Stine
A Mad Zombie Party by Gena Showalter
Madly by Amy Alward 
Sanctuary by Jennifer McKissack 
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo 
The Unquiet Pastby Kelley Armstrong 
Until Bethby Lisa Amowitz
Untwine by Edwidge Danticat 
Very in Pieces by Megan Frazer Blakemore
Young Man with a Camera by Emil Sher & David Wyman
Zeroes by Scott Westerfield



(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 September release of their choice! *see note below
• Contest ends 
September 30th, 2015 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 up to $20 value.
•Extra entries can be earned by commenting on August or 
September reviews, and can be done once per review. Come back throughout September whenever you comment on my reviews and get your extra points!    
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, August 30, 2015

New Shelf Goodies & The Weekly Nutshell {139}

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)

New shelf candy:
From Trade:
I've always wanted to read this one! So glad to finally have a copy! 

From publisher:

Purchased: 
This story collection features some of my favorite authors so I was so excited that Powell's in Oregon was offering signed copies! I WISH I could have gone to this signing, such an incredible trio--Cat Winters, April Tucholke, and McCormick Templeman!! I'm hoping to someday fill out that blank front page with even more of these author's signatures! Wouldn't that be incredible to have a copy signed by all 14 of these amazing authors?! :D

Many thanks to Harper Collins and Random House for the review books, and to Anna for trading with me! :D


The Weekly Nutshell  
{Sunday} Sweetness on Sunday: Bailey's Ice Cream with Nutella Swirl
{Tuesday} Waiting on...Gateway to Fourline by Pam Brondos
{Friday} Review: The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall by Katie Alender
{Saturday} Review: The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle

 Caught up with a few reviews this week! :D Loved both of these. This week I read The Uninvited. So so great. Cat Winters does in again! Right now I'm reading A Curious Tale of the In-Between, and so far I'm really enjoying Lauren DeStefano's first go at MG! Next up is either Ash & Bramble for a blog tour stop here in September, or Drift & Dagger, both of which I'm very excited for!

That's it for me this week! Happy reading, everyone!
 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle {review}

The Accident Season 
by Moira Fowley-Doyle
♦publisher: Kathy Dawson Books
♦release date: August 18th, 2015
♦hardcover, 304 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦stand alone
♦from publisher for honest review
Every October Cara and her family become inexplicably accident-prone. Some years it’s bad, like the season when her father died, and some years it’s just a lot of cuts and scrapes. They know what they need to do—stock up on bandages and painkillers, cover sharp table edges with padding, banish knives to locked drawers, switch off electrical items. They buckle up, they batten down.

But this accident season—when Cara; her ex-stepbrother, Sam; and her best friend, Bea, are seventeen—none of that will make a difference.

Because Cara is starting to ask questions. And the answers were never meant to be found.

A haunting, untethered, addictive read that perfectly captures that time in our lives when our hearts crack open and the raw secrets of our true selves burst forth—whether we are ready or not.

Review: I have a pretty good inkling that this book will not be for everyone.  It's a strange premise. It's a bizarre atmosphere that runs through it, it's a completely mixed bag of characters...and for me, it was absolutely perfect.

I heard this one compared to Alice Hoffman's work and I whole-heartedly agree. Her earlier stuff. The stuff that was family-centric and just had an all-around eerie vibe to it.  The Accident Season makes you go through most of the story, not even trying to explain itself; the accidents just happen here and there but what's really going on here is a family trying to work themselves out, and a girl trying to solve all of it's mysteries.   I loved all the different relationships---between Cara and Sam, and Cara and Bea, and Bea and Alice. And the mystery of who Elsie is and how exactly she could be entwined in Cara's life. You just get the feeling that everyone is trying to figure out what is suppose to be normal, and what feels normal.

So much incredibly ethereal and dreamy imagery.  Little strips of paper, full of secrets, dangling above the students heads as they walk the high school halls. A tree full of dreamcatchers. A glassy-eyed doll lying in the jaws of an animal trap. Cara seeing the eerie reflection of the group's other selves in a passing train. The writing just felt magical and intense, dizzying at times and sometimes very sad. There are two heart-pounding romances, both of which the characters will have to work through their own doubts and hesitations to get to.  There are secrets that blow everything wide open and haunting truths that none of them will be able to hide again.

Very rarely do I reread any book, but when I finished this one, and even now as I'm writing this review, I just want to flip it open and experience it again. A beautiful debut---this author is definitely one I'll be watching out for in the future.

Find Moira Fowley-Doyle online:  Twitter  •  Tumblr

Purchase the book:  Indiebound  •  BookDepository  •   Amazon

Friday, August 28, 2015

The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall by Katie Alender {review}


The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall 
by Katie Alender
♦publisher: Scholastic Point
♦release date: August 25th, 2015
♦hardcover, 336 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦stand-alone
♦source: from publisher for honest review
In this asylum, your mind plays tricks on you all the time…

Delia’s new house isn’t just a house. Long ago, it was the Piven Institute for the Care and Correction of Troubled Females—an insane asylum nicknamed “Hysteria Hall.” However, many of the inmates were not insane, just defiant and strong willed. Kind of like Delia herself.

But the house still wants to keep “troubled” girls locked away. So, in the most horrifying way, Delia gets trapped.

And that’s when she learns that the house is also haunted.

Ghost girls wander the halls in their old-fashioned nightgowns. A handsome ghost boy named Theo roams the grounds. Delia finds that all the spirits are unsettled and full of dark secrets. The house, as well, harbors shocking truths within its walls—truths that only Delia can uncover, and that may set her free.

But she’ll need to act quickly, before the house’s power overtakes everything she loves.

From master of suspense Katie Alender comes a riveting tale of twisted memories and betrayals, and the meaning of madness.
 

Review: Once again, Katie Alender gives her readers a perfect blend of great characters, horrific  moments, and emotional impact. I know I've said this before, but she is one of those authors that I can always pick up and know I'm going to get a spine-chilling great story. 

The story starts off with Delia's family moving into the "house" that her aunt left her. Upon arriving they find a daunting old mansion that they discover was once an asylum---one where many women were wrongful held and where several people died. I love the way the beginning is written. They are short chapters inserted called "Observations after the fact" so you know some huge twist is coming, but when it does it's still left me shocked and heart-wrenched. 

Delia's character grows so much throughout this story, from headstrong and a bit angsty to courageous and smart, a caring sister and good friend who only wants to see the people she cares about safe. The other characters were all well written, and I loved the different personalities from different eras all thrown together in this terrifying situation. Most seemed content to accept their captive eternity, but Delia sparks them to action.  I do wish there had been more of Theo, that he'd had a bit more involvement in the story and maybe a bit more romantic buildup, but the story was still great without it. 

It's definitely a creepy story, perfect for those moments when you just want to be spooked!  But it's also a great emotional story about family and sisterhood, friendship and finding strength, forgiveness and letting go. If you can't get to it any sooner, I highly recommend this one for a perfect Halloween read!


Find Katie Alender online:  Website  •  Twitter  •  Instagram

Purchase the book:  BookDepository  •  Indiebound   •   Amazon  

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Waiting on...

"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 Pam Brondos

hitting shelves December 1st,  2015
from Skyscape
Years before, a gateway opened between their world and ours. Sending one young woman through may be the key to survival for the kingdom of Fourline.

Strapped for cash, college student Natalie Barns agrees to take a job at a costume shop. Sure, Estos—her classmate who works in the shop—is a little odd, but Nat needs the money for her tuition.

Then she stumbles through the mysterious door behind the shop—and her entire universe transforms.

Discovering there’s far more to Estos than she ever imagined, Nat gets swept up in an adventure to save his homeland, an incredible world filled with decaying magic, deadly creatures, and a noble resistance of exiled warriors battling dark forces. As she struggles with her role in an epic conflict and wrestles with her growing affection for a young rebel, Soris, Nat quickly learns that nothing may go as planned…and her biggest challenge may be surviving long enough to make it home.

My thoughts: This sounds like such a fun fantasy!! I hadn't heard of this one until just today, and the protaganist is college age, which I guess makes this NA, not YA?  Regardless, this looks wildly entertaining and I'll definitely be checking this out!