Sunday, July 26, 2015

New Shelf Goodies & The Weekly Nutshell {134}

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)

Booky Goodness:
The Singular & Extraordinary Tale of Mirror & Goliath by Ishbelle Bee
I fully admit to needing this for the cover. :) But the story sounds incredibly charming as well.

For Review:
Menagerie by Rachel Vincent
Aaaagh, so excited for this one!
The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall by Katie Alender
Equally excited for this one!! Katie Alender never disappoints :)
Outrage by John Sandford & Michelle Cook 
Looks interesting, though not sure it's something I'd enjoy. 

From #booksfortrade:
Hidden Huntress by Danielle Jensen
Dark Shimmer by Donna Jo Napoli
Constable & Toop by Gareth P. Jones
Dance of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin
The Gracekeepers by Kristy Logan
 So, guys, I've been having way too much fun participating in the book trading hashtag on twitter! It's very fast paced and you do have to keep your wits about you when deciding who to trade with. But mostly it's fun, and I love getting books I'm either done with or not interested in into the hands of readers who will love them! 

Huge thanks to Harlequin, Scholastic, and Knopf for the review books, and to Gabi & Mia for trading with me! :D

The Weekly Nutshell 
 {Wednesday} Waiting on: The Forbidden Orchid by Sharon Biggs Waller
{Friday} Review + Giveaway: Beastly Bones by William Ritter

 Not much to say this week, but it was definitely a better week than last and the week before that. Busy but better.  :)  Still reading so incredibly slow.  I'm about halfway through School for Unusual Girls---was loving it but its slowing a bit in the middle for me. So we'll see where it's going. Next up is either Damage Done or This Monstrous Thing.  If I read Monstrous Thing, it will be four historical period books in a row LOL, but I'm so excited for that one, so that's likely what I'll reach for.  I just love them, I guess! :D

What's everyone reading this week?  Loving it, feeling meh, or ready to DNF? Do tell! :D

Friday, July 24, 2015

Beastly Bones by William Ritter {early arc review + giveaway}

Beastly Bones
by William Ritter
♦publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
♦release date:  September 22nd, 2015
♦hardcover, 304 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦series: Jackaby, book 2
  review of book 1
♦source: trade show
“I’ve found very little about private detective R. F. Jackaby to be standard in the time I’ve known him. Working as his assistant tends to call for a somewhat flexible relationship with reality.”

In 1892, New Fiddleham, New England, things are never quite what they seem, especially when Abigail Rook and her eccentric employer R. F. Jackaby are called upon to investigate the supernatural.

First, a vicious species of shape-shifters disguise themselves as a litter of kittens, and a day later, their owner is found murdered with a single mysterious puncture wound. Then in nearby Gad’s Valley, now home to the exiled New Fiddleham police detective Charlie Cane, dinosaur bones from a recent dig mysteriously go missing, and an unidentifiable beast starts attacking animals and people, leaving their mangled bodies behind. Charlie calls on Abigail for help, and soon Abigail and Jackaby are on the hunt for a thief, a monster, and a murderer.

Review:  *Sigh* please let there be at least a dozen more Jackaby adventures before we see the end. This is just the kind of series I adore---wonderful characters, great fun plots, and each book has its own story arc that stands on it's own.  In this second story, William Ritter has given us another wild and entertaining mystery to unfold alongside Jackaby and his assistant, Abigail.  With curious creatures, grim killings, and one bafflingly hideous knit hat, this series brings on another tale of fast-paced, laugh out loud fun.

This time around we get to delve deeper into Abigails love for archeology. A strange creature has been unearthed at a local farm and Abigail and Jackaby have been called in to investigate a few strange deaths that have happened nearby.  A  slew of fun new characters come into play including two notoriously rivaling archeolgists, a riotously smart-mouthed and headstrong reporter, the kindly farmer grieving his late wife, and a big loveable country trapper with a fascination for bizarre creatures (this one, I couldn’t help but picture as Hagrid from HP!).  A few familiar faces from book one make appearances, including Jenny, the ghost who lives with them, and Charlie, a police officer who was banished to the countryside after his true “lineage” was revealed in the first adventure.   Abigail was incredibly fond of him the first time around and their closeness and attraction grows ever sweeter and stronger, in their very proper Victorian ways—for the most part. :) The bumbling way they sort of dance around their feelings is just adorable.

The mystery is full of clever twists and keeps you guessing at what could possibly be behind the strange deaths and missing artifacts--and how the two might be connected. The big climactic scene is so full of fantasy, peril, and bittersweet turns, it broke my heart one second and had me cheering the next.  There is also a brilliant bit of build-up to the plot of the next book. Looks like we'll be finding out more about Jenny. Though she is just a small part in Beastly Bones, she breaks out with some seriously strange behavior, so I absolutely can't wait to find out what is happening to her!
Find William Ritter online:  Website  •  Twitter 

Purchase Jackaby:  Indiebound  •  BookDepository  • Amazon

I want to get this into another reader's hands!! Enter below to win a copy :)
•US addresses only
 (watch for an international giveaway closer to the pub date!) 
•Ends 8/7/15 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 22, 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 Sharon Biggs Waller

hitting shelves February 2nd, 2016
from Viking Juvenile
Staid, responsible Elodie Buchanan is the eldest of ten sisters living in a small English market town in 1861. The girls' father is a plant hunter, usually off adventuring through the jungles of China.

Then disaster strikes: Mr. Buchanan fails to collect an extremely rare and valuable orchid, meaning that he will be thrown into debtors' prison and the girls will be sent to the orphanage or the poorhouse. Elodie's father has one last chance to return to China, find the orchid, and save the family--and this time, thanks to an unforeseen twist of fate, Elodie is going with him. Elodie has never before left her village, but what starts as fear turns to wonder as she adapts to seafaring life aboard the tea clipper The Osprey, and later to the new sights, dangers, and romance of China.

But even if she can find the orchid, how can she find herself now that staid, responsible Elodie has seen how much the world has to offer?

My thoughts:
I never did get around to reading Waller's Mad Wicked Folly, but I heard great things about it! And this one---another historical setting, a sister story, sea voyages, and exotic China. This sounds amazing.  

What are you excited for this week?

Sunday, July 19, 2015

New Shelf Goodies & The Weekly Nutshell {133}

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)

De Lovelies:
 For Review:
The Unquiet by Mikaela Everett
LOL Dragged myself out of bed at 6am to request this one. A rep at Harper was clearing out her Fall arcs on twitter! That's dedication, right? Or am I just crazy?

The Tattooed Heart by Michael Grant
She was a sweetheart and threw in this one, too! :D I had it already so I'll pass it on to someone soon!

No Such Person by Caroline B. Cooney
I haven't read this author, but she seems like she has a ton of books out! Anyone recommend? Might be a bit too contemp for my taste.

The Edge of Forever by Melissa E. Hurst
The Wanderers by Kate Ormond
A Blind Guide to Stinkville by Beth Vrabel 
All of these came from the new contact I made at ALA for Skyhorse Publishing. I've been dying for The Wanderers and The Edge of Forever, and she recommended Stinkville--it looks so good!  

Thanks so incredibly much to Harper Collins, Delacorte Press, and Skyhorse Publishing for these!!

The Weekly Nutshell 

 {Tuesday} Waiting on: A Drop of Night by Stephen Bachman
{Friday} ALA San Francisco Recap: The Good, The Bad, and, well...

Finished Beastly Bones this week, and let's just say this second book about Jackaby and Abigail only strengthen Ritter's spot on my list of new favorites. :)  SO fun again.  Just started School for Unusual Girls today and loving so far.  Main character is such a firecracker so far.  I have high hopes for this one and it's going to take something special to keep me happy after my last two reads left me with double-book-hangover! Let's hope this is it!
On a personal note, my week...has turned out much like last week. And an especially bad blow to my heart came just today. But I'm hanging in there. And, hey, it's my wedding anniversary this Friday! ♥ Hubs is my rock, my cheer up partner, my happy place. So this week is already destined to be better.

Happy reading, everyone. ;D

Friday, July 17, 2015

ALA San Francisco 2015 - The Good, The Bad, and, well...

Two weeks ago was ALA time again! This year I was super excited to have it taking place so close to my hometown, just an hour down the road. No plane ride needed, yay! :D (Can you tell I don't like flying much?)

The city was crazy as always, traffic, traffic, construction, and more traffic.  With Pride running right alongside the conference and the morning's Supreme Court ruling to legalize gay marriage, the city itself just seemed alive with a positive, festive hum. It was actually way less crazy and crowded in the city than I expected it to be---I think I was inside the conference when most of the parade stuff was going on.

ALA itself was run a bit different this year.  I'm not sure what the goal of some of the changes was, but as an exhibit-only badge holder, I couldn't help but feel a bit snubbed. First off, ALA always distributes an Aisle by Aisle guide to the exhibits. Publishers put fun coupons and ads in these that you can tear out to get a special giveaway, usually a featured book or bookbag. This year, exhibit-only folks weren't allowed to have these.  This was also the first year exhibit-only peeps were kept out of opening night. Now I can kind of see what they are trying to do with that--letting the first night be exclusively for librarians and library staff (it is a librarian conference, after all!) but there has to be a better way to do to that.  I saw tons of actual library staffers that were exhibit-only get turned away at the door. (Just a note: I did get in---in the rush of the doors opening, they couldn't have checked every badge, and I didn't realize until I was already in that they were stopping people with yellow exhibit badges. Felt so bad for those that did get turned away at the door, though!)

The Moscone center where it all took place is just massive.  There was so much to see. And sooo much walking. One thing that I thought was odd (and this is my last gripe, I swear lol) was that for the first time, the publishers were split between the two huge halls.  Normally, there is a sort of "publishers alley" where all the publisher are in one 5-6 aisle area.  Having them split just made it exhausting and confusing! So much walking back and forth and having to perfectly coordinate to get to each signing. The two halls looked nearly identical, so I swear I kept forgetting which one I was in! My poor brain and feet--both just exhausted at the end of the day!

One of the things that I love about ALA is not only do I get to feed my need for seeing all the lovely new books coming out and hear about publisher faves for the upcoming season, but I get to be the library girl that I am outside of the blog. Being local, it was also cool to go to a library conference and finally see some of my own library's staffers in attendance! I was especially excited to be able to check out and sample the new library catalog system my library is shifting to next year. That change is going to be a bit scary so it was neat to get to play around with the demo! I'm also the mending wiz at my branch so of course I had to check out the latest book-beautifying supplies!

SO enough of my rambling---on to authors and books!
There were some awesome signings again this year!  I feel bad that I didn't take more pics but I did get a few. 

Amy Lukavics signing Daughters Unto Devils:
 Had to show Amy from two angles--her tattoos are awesome! :D Van Gogh on one side, a raven and stars on the other!!

Erin Bow signing
The Scorpion Rules

Anna-Marie McLemore signing
 The Weight of Feathers

Nova Ren Suma signing
The Walls Around Us

Virginia Boeker signing
The Witch Hunter


William Ritter signing
Jackaby & Beastly Bones

Some of my favorites not pictured were Marissa Meyer (I already had Fairest so I just had her sign my bag--see below), Kelley Armstrong (I think I might have been a little too star-struck to remember to get a pic lol,) Dan Santat, and April Tucholke (she is so adorable, she was drawing little slasher stick figures in each book and her and I just giggled the whole time because the guy in front of me didn't get it--also, see sob story below *sniffle* ).  

Below is a fun little thing I started doing this time--got the idea from another attendee who happened to have this same bag! Only my faves got to sign the bag! So far there is Kelley Armstrong, David Levithan, Marissa Meyer, and William Ritter! :D

And finally, there's the books.  I tried to be good and only grab what I really really wanted, but it still ended up being alot. *sigh* ♥-♥
The whole last pile is signed.  There were some really cool titles that I hadn't even heard of before ALA and I am so excited for now, like The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch and Six-Gun Snow White! The new discoveries is what makes ALA so great!

And then there was this lovely thing!  Just a sampler, but it's absolutely gorgeous and makes me so crazy excited for the finished book in October!! The illustrations are so incredible.

So, yea, on Saturday night during dinner, this happened:
Stupid thieves broke into my car and grabbed my friend's backpack and a couple of bags of books.  *SOB*  Funny thing is, we weren't in a bad neighborhood, and a pretty populated one at that, so it still just flabbergasts me that this happened.  Not so funny thing is--I lost some good books---including that adorable signed-by-giggling-April Tucholke copy of Slasher Girls and Monster Boys and my covented copy of The Doldrums.  And I'm sure those jerk thieves were just thrilled when they realized they'd stolen books. Grrr. :( So precious to readers like us, but I seriously doubt they saw any value in them at all.  So so sad.  And, yea...sad about my car, too.  But BOOKS. 

So that's it guys! Another ALA annual gone by! Despite all the weirdness (Oh did I mention the all-gender bathrooms?), and the few negative changes, and my poor car, it was a blast again and so fun to see and meet so many blog friends, publishers, library friends, and authors!  Hope I can make it again next summer to ALA Orlando (in 90 degree-90% humidity- summer...honestly who picks these locations??) and Harry Potter World!

Tuesday, July 14, 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 Stefan Backmann

hitting shelves March 15th, 2016
from Greenwillow Books
Five gifted teenagers are selected out of hundreds of other candidates to fly to France and help with the excavation of a vast, underground palace buried a hundred feet below the suburbs of Paris. Built in the 1780's to hide an aristocratic family and a mad duke during the French Revolution, the palace was sealed after the aristocrats fled there. No one has set foot in it for over two centuries.

Now, in the present day, the teenagers enter with cutting-edge technology, state-of-the-art security, scientists and chaperones. And then a brutal accident occurs. No way out. Caught in the dark.

They will have to fight to survive. But are they really alone in the depths?

My thoughts:
While this sounds like an amazing thriller/mystery already--I still hope there is something seriously spooky going on in this story!!  I love stories surrounding the French Revolution, so that alone puts it on my must-read list.  Plus, the gorgeous cover doesn't hurt either. :)

Sunday, July 12, 2015

New Shelf Goodies & The Weekly Nutshell {132}

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)

The lovelies this week: 
From trades:
Firewalker by Josephine Angelini
GAH so excited for this one. Thanks SO SO much, Britt! 

For review:
The Unquiet Past by Kelley Armstrong
The Revenge Playbook by Allen
Get Dirty by Gretchen McNeil
Don't Ever Change by M. Beth Bloom
A Sense of the Infinite by Hilary T. Smith
Another really interesting mix this week! Especially excited to check out Kelley Armstrong's newest!

Thanks to Orca Books, Library Early Reviewers,  and Harper for these! 

The Weekly Nutshell
{Tuesday} Waiting on: The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins
{Friday} Review + Giveaway: The Game of Love and Death 

 This week I dove headlong into the second Jackaby book, Beastly Bones, even though I have a few others that I need to read for upcoming deadlines---but I had to. I loved the first so much and I knew after finishing the absolutely beautiful Game of Love and Death, it's the only thing that would cure my book hangover! :) 
On a personal note, it was just a bad week all around---work and life just took it all out of me and I'm ready to move onto next week. :) But with it all, I am reading soooo bloody slow and not much energy to blog. Hopefully that changes soon. Surely I can do better than 3 posts a week.  Eek.

Oh, one last note.  For some strange reason, I haven't been able to comment on any Wordpress blogs! :( I haven't figured it out yet, if there even is a fix for it, but I'm so sad because there are so many lovely blogs that I love to visit that now I can't leave comments for. Hopefully I will come across a fix soon.  Anyone have any ideas on how to remedy this?? Or why it might be happening? Help!!