Tuesday, May 3, 2016

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 Rin Chupeco

hitting shelves March 1, 2017
from Sourcebooks Fire
When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she’s a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training.

In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an asha — one who can wield elemental magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles…and make a powerful choice.

My thoughts:  Okay, so I know this one is super far from publication, but I just had to have this gorgeous thing on my blog. Loooook at that cover, all swirly and purpley and dreamy and creepy.  Plus the story sounds all kinds of awesome. Necromancy and elemental magic, dark forces and danger. Yep, my kind of book!  Also, you can check out an excerpt right here

What book are you eagerly anticipating this week?

Sunday, May 1, 2016

What's New: May YA New Releases & Giveaway!

My goodness, May is here already!! For all you lucky ducks headed off to BEA next week, have a fabulous time! Know that I'll be stalking your book finds on twitter so don't disappoint me! :D  I want to seeee and drool over those lovely copies of Caraval (and others, of course lol)!!   I'm hoping to get more back into the groove of things this month--but of course, it is May, so just as the house stuff is getting finished up, I'll have my youngest getting out of school for the summer! Eeek lol. So, well, fingers crossed I can get this blog back into a more regular schedule. *sigh* Life just feels like it won't slow down for a second!!

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 April's giveaway is Tanya G. ! Congrats!

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

Double Down by Gwenda Bond 
Hurricane Kiss by Deborah Blumenthal

Alice and the Fly by James Rice 
Anything You Want by Geoff Herbach
Ask Me How I Got Here by Christine Heppermann
The Blood Between Us by Zac Brewer
The Crown by Kiera Cass
The Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas 
Dream On by Kerstin Gier 
Genius: The Game by Leopoldo Gout
The Girl I Used to Be by April Henry
Holding Smoke by Elle Cosimano
If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
Invisible Fault Lines by Kristen-Paige Madonia
Invision by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Lost in Love by Susane Colasanti
Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch
The May Queen Murders by Sarah Jude 
Mother-Daughter Book Camp by Heather Vogel Frederick
Night Speed by Chris Howard
The Outliers by Kimberly McCreight
The Paladins by Julie Reece
Ruined by Amy Tintera 
Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes 
Shuffle, Repeat by Jen Klein
The Society by Jodie Andrefski
The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood 
Suffer Love by Ashley Herring Blake
Summer of Sloane by Erin L. Schneider
Tone Deaf by Olivia Rivers
A Totally Awkward Love Story by Tom Ellen & Lucy Ivison
Traitor Angels by Anne Blankman 
The Trials of Apollo by Rick Riordan 
True Born by L. E. Sterling
The Truth Game by Anna Staniszewski
The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson 
Unforgivable by Amy Reed
A Walk in the Sun by Michelle Zink
Wandering Wild by Jessica Taylor
Warrior Witch by Danielle L. Jensen
The Way Back to You by Michelle Andreani & Mindi Scott
Whisper To Me by Nick Lake
Wild Swans by Jessica Spotswood 

The Countdown by Kimberly Derting
The Disappearance of Ember Crow by Ambelin Kwaymullina
Even if the Sky Falls by Mia Garcia
Everland by Wendy Spinale 
The Fall of Butterflies by Andrea Portes
Hearts, Fingers, and Other Things to Cross by Katie Finn
Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley 
A Hundred Hours of Night by Anna Woltz & Laura Watkinson
The Inquisition by Taran Matharu
Jerkbait by Mia Siegert
The Last Remnant by Pam Brondos
The Last Time We Were Us by Leah Konen
Love Blind by C. Desire & Jolene Perry
The Mark of Cain by Lindsey Barraclough
The Neverland Wars by Audrey Greathouse
Running for Water and Sky by Sandra Kring
The Season of You and Me by Robin Constantine
Summer of Supernovas by Darcy Woods
This is My Brain on Boys by Sarah Strohmeyer
Unrivaled by Alyson Noel

100 Days of Cake by Shari Goldhagen 
Breakfast with Neruda by Laura Moe
Circle of Jinn by Lori Goldstein
The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye 
Devil and the Bluebird by Jennifer Mason-Black 
Draw the Line by Laurent Linn
Gena/Finn by Hannah Mostowitz & Kat Helgeson
Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes
It Wasn’t Always Like This by Joy Preble 
Love Charms and Other Catastrophes by  Kimberly Karalius 
Marked by Jenny martin
The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You by Lily Anderson
Places No One Knows by Brenna Yovanoff 
The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Rise by Jennifer Anne Davis
Silence is Goldfish by Annabel  Pitcher
Spark by Holly Schindler
Summer Days and Summer Nights by Stephanie Perkins (anthology)
This is the Part Where You Laugh by Peter Brown Hoffmeister
Within Reach by Jessica Stevens

26 Kisses by Anna Michels
Breaker by Kat Ellis
Curse by Steven James
Exile for Dreamers by Kathleen Baldwin 
The Hunt by Megan Shepard
Incriminated by M.G. Reyes
The Last Star by Rick Yancey
Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee 
Please Don’t Tell by Laura Tims
The Safest Lies by Megan Miranda
Shining Sea by Mimi Cross

The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson
Beware That Girl by Teresa Toten
City of Spies by Nina Berry
Crow Mountain by Lucy Inglis
Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick
Frannie & Tru by Karen Hattrup
In the Shadow of the Dragon King by J. Keller Ford 
The Inside of Out by Jenn Marie Thorne 
The Language of Stars by Louise Hawes
Lies I Live By by Lauren Sabel
Meet Me Here by Bryan Bliss
Nil on Fire by Lynne Matson
Read Me Like A Book by Liz Kessler
Resurgence by Kerry Wilkinson
Savage by Thomas E. Sniegoski
Sing by Vivi Greene
The Sleeping Prince by Melinda Salisbury 
Wanderlost by Jen Malone
Without Annette by Jane B. Mason

(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 May release of their choice! *see note below
• Contest ends 
May 31st, 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 
April or May reviews, and can be done once per review. Come back throughout May whenever you comment on my reviews and get your extra points!    

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

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 Irena Brignull

hitting shelves September 6, 2016
from Weinstein Books
Poppy Hooper and Ember Hawkweed couldn’t lead more different lives. Poppy is a troubled teen: moving from school to school, causing chaos wherever she goes, never making friends or lasting connections. Ember is a young witch, struggling to find a place within her coven and prove her worth. Both are outsiders: feeling like they don’t belong and seeking escape.

Poppy and Ember soon become friends, and secretly share knowledge of their two worlds. Little do they know that destiny has brought them together: an ancient prophecy, and a life-changing betrayal. Growing closer, they begin to understand why they’ve never belonged and the reason they are now forever connected to each other.

Switched at birth by the scheming witch Raven Hawkweed, Poppy and Ember must come to terms with their true identities and fight for their own place in the world. Enter Leo, a homeless boy with a painful past who – befriending them both – tests their love and loyalty. Can Poppy and Ember’s friendship survive? And can it withstand the dark forces that are gathering?

My thoughts:  Two misfits switched at birth, magic, mystery, and a devious plotting witch. Love the sound of this. Plus this sillhouette cover design is gorgeous. 

What book are you eagerly anticipating this week?

Sunday, April 24, 2016

New Shelf Goodies & The Weekly Nutshell {162}

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 getting these posts up every two weeks is about par for these last few months. :/  Here's the two week's worth of mail goodies:
From trade:
Mr. Fahrenheit by T. Michael Martin

For review:
Wild Swans by Jessica Spotswood
Rose & Thorn by Sarah Prineas
Kingdom of Ash & Briar by Hannah West
Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst
Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
Foxheart by Claire Legrand
Bright Smoke, Cold Fire by Rosamund Hodge

So, guys, I'm not even going to try to separate these out because I'm equally and ecstatically excited about each and every one. Basically my week consisted of me fawning over these, staring at them all moony-eyed, a petting them full-on Golem style..."my precioussss".  Lets just says they all had had to be cleaned of fingerprints before their photoshoot due to me picking them up like precious babies all week. :D 

Many many lovely thanks to Molly, Sourcebooks, Holiday House, and Harper Collins for all these gorgeous things!!

The Weekly Nutshell
{Tuesday} Waiting on...Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst
{Wednesday} Review: Pull by Anne Riley
{Friday} Review: The Land of 10,000 Madonnas by Kate Hattemer

So just a quick few comments here on the past week because I'm getting up early tomorrow with the family to go the Highland Games (squee---english toffee & shortbread, here I come!).  We're winding down to the end of our renovations, which is suuuch a nice break.   I'm finally starting to get back to reading more, although this week I was completely distracted with following TxLA tweets---so depressing since I had planned to go but that fell through because LIFE. ugh.
On the reading front, I read Land of 10,000 Madonnas and unfortunately it wasn't for me. And of course, getting through it when I wasn't enjoying it was made even harder by the arrival of such glorious things in the mail (see above lol).  When that was done, I dove into Shadow Magic and I am loving it so much so far. Also on my agenda this week is The Star Touched Queen, and I am so excited to start it.

What lovely things did you get this week? And what book are you enjoying (or not) right now??

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Land of 10,000 Madonnas by Kate Hattemer {review}

The Land of 10,000 Madonnas 
by Kate Hattemer
♦publisher: Knopf BYR
♦release date: April 19, 2016
♦hardcover, 352 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦source: arc from publisher for honest review
Five teens backpack through Europe to fulfill the mysterious dying wish of their friend.

Jesse lives with his history professor dad in a house covered with postcards of images of the Madonna from all over the world. They’re gotten used to this life: two motherless dudes living among thousands of Madonnas. But Jesse has a heart condition that will ultimately cut his life tragically short. Before he dies, he arranges a mysterious trip to Europe for his three cousins, his best friend, and his girlfriend to take after he passes away. It’s a trip that will forever change the lives of these young teens and one that will help them come to terms with Jesse’s death.

Review: The Land of 10,000 Madonnas sounded like a such a fun but heart-wrenching European road trip story, but sadly, it just didn't speak to me.  I felt like it was going for a certain level of depth and character growth through a group that was grieving and working together to fulfill their friend's wish, but it just didn't quite hit a mark of sincerity for me. 

Jesse has past away from a long-standing disease, and as his final months, he arranged to send his two cousins, two friends, and his girlfriend on a quest through Europe to find his estranged mother. They are each left a different set of clues and they must work together to find her. Problem is, they don't really know each other, and each are handling Jesse's death is their own way: with angst or guilt or heartbreak or what have you. There personalities don't mesh well, and while that's completely realistic to have a group that really gets under each other's skin, especially in an already emotional situation---watching them gripe at each other all through Europe with different levels of disdain, selfishness, or pettiness doesn't really make for an interesting read. 

Another problem I had was with the flow and writing itself.  The jump from present to flashback and back to present was breakneck and jarring every time.  Also, the story is told in five alternating third-person POVs, with a few journal entries from Jesse. While that may work sometimes, many times I found their voices just not distinct enough to pull it off and found myself having to back-read a page or two into a chapter to remind myself who was at the helm. 

There were things I did really like about this, though.  I did like a few of the slow-building comraderies between a couple of the characters, one that was especially hard-won. I liked the actual flashback moments with each character's memories of Jesse and what it brought to the story (though many times I didn't actually like Jesse himself).  And I actually really loved the way the story resolved itself.  It was not what I expected and I really enjoyed that turn in the story. 

Overall, I few engaging, humorous, and heartfelt moments, but not enough to overcome the issues that kept me from really enjoying this one. 


Kate Hattemer graduated with a degree from Yale in Classics. She works as a bookseller in Cincinnati and is the author of The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy, which has received five starred reviews.

Purchase Pull:  Indiebound  •  BookDepository  •  Amazon

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Pull by Anne Riley {review}

by Anne Riley
♦publisher: Spencer Hill Press
♦release date: February 2nd, 2016
♦paperback, 424 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦source: won from author
Rosie Clayton witnesses a mugging on her first night in London—and then the scene rewinds itself.

 She finds herself standing in the same place again, with the mugging happening just like before, except this time a stranger steps in and stops it. There's no way the same incident can have two outcomes. Rosie thinks she’s losing her mind, until just a few days later, the stranger saves her.

 The stranger, Albert, and his band of misfit crime-fighters, have the special ability to Pull, which allows them to rewind just enough time to undo a recent event. Someone is hunting Albert and his crew– and now that Rosie’s been seen with them, she’s a target too. Rosie is left with no choice but to trust Albert to keep her safe.

 As Rosie learns more about this unbelievable ability and the people – if you can call them that – who want them dead, she discovers that the group’s desire for her blood might be more than mere coincidence. Each step into this magical side of London introduces Rosie to a family history that she never knew existed, and dangerous forces that could unravel her world in an instant.

 Her family may be the reason they’re all being hunted—and she may be the only one who can figure out how to save them. Sure, between the lot of them, they have a few shots to get it right. The thing about Pulling, though, is you have to be alive to do it.

Review: Pull was one that I very much enjoyed!  When Rosie and her troubled family arrive in London to visit her ailing grandfather, they are shocked when they suddenly have to rush to the hospital just in time to say their last goodbyes. Her grandfather whispers something in Rosie’s ear that seems like delusional gibberish at first, but she soon learns she’s been bequeathed a gift that will change her—and put her in mortal danger.  

There is a huge cast of such varied characters, some of them not very likable, but they are very much meant to be that way, I think. I had mixed feelings about the beginning. On one hand, I liked that so much time was focused on the Rosie’s family dynamic, because their different troubles had much to do with how the story unfolded. However, there was eventually a feeling of wanting to get to the action and find out more about Rosie’s new gift and “pulling”. Once we got into that and she met Albert the story sped along with at an exciting pace.  There’s a little bit of suspension of disbelief required in the fact that all of these bizarre incidents happen right where Rosie’s new friends happen to be, and also a bit of backstory to where the gift comes from that I felt was a little muddled.  

The connection between Rosie and Albert grew pretty naturally, and I loved how she was slowly and cautiously brought into the confidence of his friends and sister.  The ending was quite a twist, very unique and unexpected in how it played out,  but who the main villain turned out to be was, admittedly, a bit predictable.  

Still, I really enjoyed the story as a whole.  I recommend it for a fun read and look forward to the possibility of a sequel!


Anne Riley is an author of young adult fiction cleverly disguised as a high school Spanish teacher. She lives in Birmingham, Alabama, with her family.
Anne began writing at the ripe old age of nine, when she penned a literary classic about… well, she doesn’t really remember what it was about, but she’s pretty sure the main characters were ferrets.
These days, she writes stories about teenagers instead of ferrets.

Purchase Pull:  Indiebound  •  BookDepository  •  Amazon

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

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 Sarah Beth Durst

hitting shelves September 20, 2016
from Harper Voyager
An idealistic young student and a banished warrior become allies in a battle to save their realm in this first book of a mesmerizing epic fantasy series, filled with political intrigue, violent magic, malevolent spirits, and thrilling adventure

Everything has a spirit: the willow tree with leaves that kiss the pond, the stream that feeds the river, the wind that exhales fresh snow . . .

But the spirits that reside within this land want to rid it of all humans. One woman stands between these malevolent spirits and the end of humankind: the queen. She alone has the magical power to prevent the spirits from destroying every man, woman, and child. But queens are still just human, and no matter how strong or good, the threat of danger always looms. 

With the position so precarious, young women are chosen to train as heirs. Daleina, a seemingly quiet academy student, is under no illusions as to her claim to the throne, but simply wants to right the wrongs that have befallen the land. Ven, a disgraced champion, has spent his exile secretly fighting against the growing number of spirit attacks. Joining forces, these daring partners embark on a treacherous quest to find the source of the spirits’ restlessness—a journey that will test their courage and trust, and force them to stand against both enemies and friends to save their land . . . before it’s bathed in blood.

My thoughts:  Sarah Beth Durst has pretty much become an auto-wishlist author for me, after the amazingness that was Chasing Power and Vessel and Conjured. Love her writing, so this one is definitely on my must-read list for 2016. 

What book are you eagerly anticipating this week?