Thursday, July 24, 2014

Dream Boy by Mary Crockett and Madelyn Rosenberg {review}

Dream Boy
by Mary Crockett & Madelyn Rosenberg
♦publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
♦release date: July 1st, 2014
♦paperback, 336 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦source: from publisher for honest review
Annabelle Manning feels like she’s doing time at her high school in Chilton, Virginia. She has her friends at her lunchtime table of nobodies. What she doesn’t have are possibilities. Or a date for Homecoming. Things get more interesting at night, when she spends time with the boy of her dreams. But the blue-eyed boy with the fairytale smile is just that—a dream. Until the Friday afternoon he walks into her chemistry class.

One of friends suspects he’s an alien. Another is pretty sure it’s all one big case of deja vu. While Annabelle doesn’t know what to think, she’s willing to believe that the charming Martin Zirkle may just be her dream come true. But as Annabelle discovers the truth behind dreams—where they come from and what they mean—she is forced to face a dark reality she had not expected. More than just Martin has arrived in Chilton. As Annabelle learns, if dreams can come true, so can nightmares.

Review:  With a surprisingly humorous voice and an intriguing take on blurring dreams and reality, Dream Boy makes a stunning double-debut for these authors. The idea of dreams coming to life may sound familiar to some, both in books and movies, but they’ve managed to give us a world and a group of characters that is all at once funny, thrilling, and imaginative. 

When the boy she has spent countless nights dreaming about comes waltzing into her classroom one day, Annabelle is shocked, confused, and starts to question her own sanity.  She is even more thrown for a loop when he reveals that he is, in fact, that same boy. I can’t say much more without spoiling the curious workings of this world, but things take a frightening turn when she begins to dream of a creepy little girl who threatens to come through as well and kill her.  

Annabelle and her friends were completely relatable and real, feeling much like a normal crew you might encounter at any high school.  I love that she felt comfortable enough with her two friends
to tell them what was happening, even though she feared they’d think she was certifiable. I love even more that they stayed by her, whether they believed her or not.  The Dream Boy himself, Josh, later known as Martin, was amusing and mysterious. He almost seemed as flabbergasted at his own presence in the real world as Annabelle was, though he played it cooler.  I would have actually enjoyed just a little more build-up of Annabelle's draw to "Josh" within her dreams to give his sudden appearance in her real life a little more impact.  Will is a charmer, and poor guy, so hopelessly stuck in the friend zone despite his obvious affection for Annabelle.  I loved the easy way they had between them. His playfulness and useless geeky knowledge had me completely endeared to him.

There were twists and turns that came as complete shocks, and even those that may have been a little predictable, but in the best way…meaning at one point I screamed out "I knew it!"  And then caught myself grinning with sheer delight at the turn the story had taken.   If a book can pull that kind of reaction from me, I’d say it’s proof-positive just how invested in the story and characters I am.  There were small story points that seemed just a little muddied, like the story behind the bottle tree and its connection to dreams. Still, what little flaws there were in these pages were mostly overlooked in the name of a fun, surprising, and well-told story.

 Find Mary Crockett online:  Website  •  Twitter  •  Facebook
Find Madelyn Rosenberg online: Website  •  Twitter  •  Facebook

Purchase Dream Boy:  •  BookDepository  •  Indiebound 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

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 Mantchev
hitting shelves December 1st, 2014 from Skyscape
A girl with a clockwork heart makes every second count.

When Penny Farthing nearly died, the brilliant surgeon Calvin Warwick managed to implant a brass “Ticker,” transforming her into “the first of the Augmented!” But soon it was discovered that Warwick kidnapped and killed dozens of people striving to perfect another Ticker for Penny.

The last day of Warwick’s trial, the Farthing factory is bombed, Warwick disappears, and Penny and her brother, Nic, receive a ransom demand for all of their Augmentation notes if they want to see their parents again. Who is trying to stop their work? Or to control it? Or is the motive more sinister?

Determined to solve the mystery and reunite their family, the Farthings recruit their closest friends: fiery baker Violet Nesselrode and gentleman-about-town Sebastian Stirling. Unexpectedly leading the charge is Marcus Kingsley, the young army general who has his own reasons for wanting to lift the veil between this world and the next. Wagers are placed, friends are lost, romance stages an ambush, and time is running out for the girl with the clockwork heart.
My thoughts:  Yay for more from this wonderful author! Her Theatre Illuminata was a most bizarre and mezmerizing series, and I loved it!  I can't wait to see what she does with a steampunk setting! :)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Meet You on Monday: Movie Adaptations

Hello, all! Welcome to Meet You on Monday! This is a very new semi-regular feature here: I’m going to be posting a fun question or subject (sometimes book related, sometimes not!) and of course, answer it myself here.  Feel free to answer it also, in the comments or grab the banner and do your own post! Through this feature, I hoping we all get to know each other better! :)

Here's a question for today:
Movie Adaptations: Love them or hate them?

So I'm not just talking about Book-to-Movie, I'm encompassing them all: Cartoon-to-Movie, TV Show-to-Movie, Play or Musical-to-Movie.  But I think as book lovers, movie adaptations are an especially touchy subject for us. Especially YA readers, because after Twilight and Hunger Games and Harry Potter, turning YA/kids books into movies seems to be THE THING TO DO in Hollywood. 

As for me...I don't love them or hate them; but I always go into them with a mixed bag of emotions, mostly excitement with nearly equal parts absolute dread.  And the closer the book is to my own heart, the more extensive the level of dread. Don't get me wrong, I would love to see some of my favorite stories brought to shining life on the big screen.  But as strong as that desire is, the worry is even stronger.  Will they do it justice? Will they change important plot lines? Will the chosen actors completely annihilate my own vision of my favorite characters? Will it just plain suck?

Here's some adaptations that I've loved:
  • Now is Good (adapted from Before I Die by Jenny Downham)
  • How to Train Your Dragon --- LOVE these movies :)
  • Harry Potter
  • Hunger Games
  • Perks of Being a Wallflower
  • Maleficent (I wouldn't say I loved it, but I liked it a lot and I like how they twisted the original story)

And some that I didn't:
  •  Most of the Twilight movies---I actually really liked Breaking Dawn pt 2 :)
  • Beautiful Creatures (far too many changes made and cheesy acting)

A few forthcoming that I'm really excited about:
  • Mockingjay (They've done such a fantastic job of these so far)
  • Fallen (Excited but also a bit worried)
  •  Maze Runner
  • Into the Woods (adapted from the musical,...can't WAIT) 
  • The Giver

And lastly, here's a few adaptations that I'd love to see done (done well, that is)
 These would be stunning on-screen.  Though I think I would worry myself sick that it wouldn't be done justice. 
This book is so chock-full of cool steampunk imagery, I would love to see this world come to life. 
Sisters Red would make an awesome movie with all the fenris butt-kicking that goes on.
It would be a bit gruesome with the plague scenes, but awesome with ghostly photography.
With the coming of Into the Woods and Jersey Boys and Les Mis...I'd be happy to see the trend in Musical-to-Movie continue with a Wicked movie.  Then it can be a Movie-adapted-from-a-Musical-adapted-from-a-Book. :D

What do you like? Love adaptation movies or hate them? Fear them, maybe? Any coming out soon that your especially excited for? Any you've really loved that I need to check out?

Saturday, July 19, 2014

New Shelf Goodies & The Weekly Nutshell {95}

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 week here at Stories & Sweeties, in a nutshell. (inspired by Ginger @ GReads and her recaps at the end of the TGIF posts)

Some lovely stuff came through my mailbox this week...
 For review:
Made For You by Melissa Marr
I've ended up with two of these, so I'll be passing one on to...
Stone Cold Touch by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Interesting! I almost dismissed this because it looked like a NA (I haven't gotten into those) but it turns out it YA! I'll have to track down book 1 now!
The Young Elites by Marie Lu 
Oh this looks Gooooood.
Stranger by Rachel Manija Brown & Sherwood Smith
So intrigued by this one! Have you read the description yet? If not, do!
Atlantia by Ally Condie
This one was a surprise, but I'm excited! Will be interesting to see Ally Condie take on a this underwater world!

Many thanks to Goldberg McDuffie, Harper Teen, Harlequin Teen, and Penguin for these! 

The Weekly Nutshell:
{Thursday} Review: Strange and Ever After by Susan Dennard

This week I finished up Dream Boy, which was such a fun read---I'll be reviewing it this week. Now I'm reading Kiss of Deception, which I am loving so far.   The main She had me rooting for her after the very first chapter. Hopefully it holds up its fantastic pace and tension.  I've set aside My Last Kiss for now; maybe it's just not the right time for it or maybe it wasn't for me...not ready to officially DNF it just yet. I just couldn't get into it.  Other than that, things are pretty low key in life right now LOL. It's a bit nice, for once.  :)

Have a great week, everyone! Happy reading! 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Strange and Ever After by Susan Dennard {review}

Strange and Ever After 
by Susan Dennard
♦publisher: HarperTeen
♦release date: July 22th 2014
♦hardcover, 400 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦series: Something Strange and Deadly, book 3
  review of book 1
  review of book 2
  *NOTE: description and review may contain slight spoilers for book 1 in this series! *
In the conclusion to the trilogy that Publishers Weekly called “a roaring—and addictive—gothic world,” Eleanor Fitt must control her growing power, face her feelings for Daniel, and confront the evil necromancer Marcus...all before it’s too late.

He took her brother, he took her mother, and now, Marcus has taken her good friend Jie. With more determination than ever to bring this sinister man to justice, Eleanor heads to the hot desert streets of nineteenth-century Egypt in hopes of ending this nightmare. But in addition to her increasingly tense relationships with Daniel, Joseph, and her demon, Oliver, Eleanor must also deal with her former friend, Allison, who has curiously entangled herself in Eleanor’s mission.

With the rising dead chomping at her every move and Jie’s life hanging in the balance, Eleanor is convinced that her black magic will see her through to the bitter end. But there will be a price. Though she and the Spirit Hunters have weathered every battle thus far, there will be consequences to suffer this time—the effects of which will be irreversible. And when it’s over, only some will be able to live a strange and ever after.

Susan Dennard will leave readers breathless and forever changed in the concluding pages of this riveting ride.

Review: In this third and final quest for Eleanor and her friends, this steampunk adventure trilogy comes to a fantastic end.  Strange and Ever After starts off with a daring airship rescue of their friend Jie, and then sweeps the reader off to exotic Egypt in their pursuit to stop Marcus, the man responsible for raising the dead across two continents.  Along with that, Eleanor and Oliver seek out the mysterious The Black Pullet, a feat that will fulfill his final command from Elijah and allow him to be set free.  As they come closer and go deeper into danger, Eleanor’s magic heightens, often pulling her unwillingly “behind the curtain” into the afterlife where a spirit jackal seems to trying to get her attention. 

Once again, this trilogy had me completely mesmerized. As with the second book in the series, I found myself having to force myself to put it down.  I’ve only grown more attached to this fun band of characters, especially Eleanor and Daniel and their slow growth towards letting each other in. Their relationship proves a complicated one, with the constant tension over Eleanor’s use of magic and also because Daniel’s love lies with Eleanor, but his strongest trust and loyalty lies solidly with Joseph and Jie. As for Oliver, despite several moments of doubting the sincerity of his friendship, he completely captured my heart by the time all was said and done. 

Eleanor is tested to the very limits of her magical and emotional strength and beyond.  In the rage of this final battle, she and her friends will both triumph and lose so much. This series definitely doesn’t tie itself up in a pretty little Victorian bow; a few harsh twists, one in particular, are likely to rip reader’s hearts right out. The grand finale to this wonderful series gives us a perfectly imperfect ending. If you love action, adventure, magic,  steampunk, and can stomach a bit of gore that comes along with the rising dead, this series will thrill you from start to finish.

Find Susan Dennard online: Website  •  Twitter  •  Facebook
Purchase:  •  BookDepository  •  Indiebound

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

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.
A Murder of Magpies
by Sarah Bromley

hitting shelves October 28th, 2014 from Month9Books

Winter in Black Orchard, Wisconsin, is long and dark, and sixteen-year-old Vayda Silver prays the snow will keep the truth and secrecy of the last two years buried. Hiding from the past with her father and twin brother, Vayda knows the rules: never return to the town of her mother’s murder, and never work a Mind Game where someone might see.

No one can know the toll emotions take on Vayda, how emotion becomes energy in her hands, or how she can’t control the destruction she causes. But it's not long before her powers can no longer be contained. The truth is dangerously close to being exposed, placing Vayda and her family at risk.

Until someone quiets the chaos inside her.

Unwanted. That's all Ward Ravenscroft has ever been. To cope, he numbs the pain of rejection by denying himself emotions of any kind. Yet Vayda stirs something in him. He can't explain the hold she has on him--inspiring him with both hope and fear. He claims not to scare easily, except he doesn't know what her powers can do. Yet.

Just as Vayda and Ward draw closer, she finds the past isn't so easily buried. And when it follows the Silvers to Black Orchard, it has murder in mind.
My thoughts:  This sounds dark and mysterious, and I love the tagline on the cover. It has me so intrigued.  And can I just say---Month 9 Books has the most amazing art department! I don't think I've seen a dud cover yet from them. This one is especially gorgeous!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Top Ten Tuesdays: TV Show Favorites!

I don't know why I don't participate in this meme more often...I love making lists :D Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  To find out more and check out future topics, click on over there!!

This weeks topic is TV shows or Movies. I love way too many movies, but strangely I don't really get into too many TV shows. Here, though, are a few that I've really loved.  Seems like the shows I love don't always make it past two seasons LOL, not sure what that says about my taste xD. Quirky, I guess? 

The Twilight Zone
 I grew up watching Twilight Zone rerun marathons with my Mom, pretty much everytime we caught one on TV. I suppose it's part of what gave me love for the eerie and paranormal!

Dead Like Me
This show was so fun, about a girl who gets killed by a toilet seats that falls back to earth from an exploded space shuttle. She gets tapped to be a grim reaper and must learn the ropes of taking souls. Great, great hilarious dialogue. 

The Catherine Tate Show
This a british skit comedy which I started watching just to see what else "Donna" from Doctor Who could do! I thought it was kind of stupid at first, but it quickly grew on me and it's now probably one of the most quoted shows in my house. :D

Gilmore Girls
LOVE me some Gilmore Girls. We have the collector's edition full daughter and I do a rewatch every year. I'm thinking it's almost that time again...

Pretty Little Liars
 I turned up my nose at this one at first, but my daughter got me watching it eventually and now I'm hooked.  Oh, those outits---sometimes really cute, sometimes completely ridiculous! But always fun to watch.

Aw, Monk. OCD detective in San Francisco. Hubby and I loved this one, but I think watching it only made us more germaphobic right along with Monk. :)

 Like I said...quirky. And director Brian Grazer does quirky so well. Dead Like Me is also one of his. This one was about a girl who starts hearing voices from stuffed animals and statues, basically anything inanimate with a mouth would talk to her. 

Pushing Daisies
 Another Brian Grazer.  Loved this show so much. The style of it is so cool, kind of retro and fun. And a bit dark, since Ned ( Lee Pace) can bring people back the dead with a touch, so of course he uses it to solve crimes for the reward money LOL.

Downton Abbey
 Gorgeous and soapy...and the costumes!! I swoon for vintage frocks.

 Doctor Who
 I admit it. Freely and proudly. I'm a Whovian. I adore this show...little nervous about the new Doctor but I'm sure it will be ok (please, be ok). David Tennant will always be my Doctor (and this scene above will always be one of my favorite heartbreaking moments of the show).  He was the hands-down best Doctor, but Matt Smith had most of the best stories (Vincent and the Doctor---favorite episode ever. Makes me cry every time).

 I've seen all different version of Sherlock Holmes, but with this show, BBC nailed it. It's so amazing. Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch are absolutely perfect in these roles. It's freaking torture that there are only a few episodes per series and looooong lengths of time between each one.

So there it is! My TV life!  Pretty much the only other things I watch on TV are HGTV (House Hunters International is my fave) and The Graham Norton Show on BBC (most hilarious talk show ever!). Oh and the occasionally competition show (Face Off, The Voice)  What's your TV life like?