Sunday, April 12, 2015

New Shelf Goodies & The Weekly Nutshell {123}

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)

Here's what fun stuff I got in my mailbox this week:
Got a really cool package from Harper. Inside was a *book shimmy* book bag, Dorothy Must Die buttons and gum and these two books:

For review:
This looks really cute and a fun idea!
This book came with really fun packaging and a cookie! :D

The Weekly Nutshell
{Thursday} Cover Story
My week was a bit of a stressful one. Spent a day in the ER with Hubs. Kidney stones, people---I hope none of you ever get them.  That level of pain is not pretty. My poor guy.
This week I only got around to one book, Crimson Bound, which despite some really gorgeous writing, I found to be a bit slow. Or maybe I was just too distracted this week. Either way, it wasn't holding my attention.
As for the week ahead, it will be very quiet here. I have a few posts scheduled but I'll be flying to Texas to visit my bestie, Amy (whom I haven't seen since last July, so yipppeee!) and we'll be attending TLA. Eeeeee, so excited! The list of authors signing at this conference is flipping ridiculous!!  Anyhoo, I'll be back this weekend with some fun pics hopefully!

Have a great week, everyone! Happy reading!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Cover Story

So much gorgeousness has been revealed lately!
Just wanted to share a few! 

by Susan Dennard
Tor, January 2016

by Andrea Cremer
Philomel, November 3, 2015

by Kate A. Boorman
Amulet, October 13, 2015

by Amy Lukavics
Harlequin Teen, September 29, 2015

by Kendall Kulper
Little, Brown BYR, September 8, 2015

by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Knopf BYR, October 20, 2015

by Gail Carriger
Little, Brown BYR, November 3rd, 2015

by Sarah Crossan
Greenwillow, September 15, 2015

by Lena Coakley
Amulet, January 5, 2016

What do you think? Any new favorites? Any that you're dying to read?

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

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 Ishbelle Bee

hitting shelves June 2nd, 2015 
from Angry Robot
1888. A little girl called Mirror and her shape-shifting guardian Goliath Honeyflower are washed up on the shores of Victorian England. Something has been wrong with Mirror since the day her grandfather locked her inside a mysterious clock that was painted all over with ladybirds. Mirror does not know what she is, but she knows she is no longer human.

John Loveheart, meanwhile, was not born wicked. But after the sinister death of his parents, he was taken by Mr Fingers, the demon lord of the underworld. Some say he is mad. John would be inclined to agree.

Now Mr Fingers is determined to find the little girl called Mirror, whose flesh he intends to eat, and whose soul is the key to his eternal reign. And John Loveheart has been called by his otherworldly father to help him track Mirror down…

My thoughts:
I spied this on Natalie's blog last Wednesday and my brain instantly went into COVET mode.  The pages could be blank and I would still want to buy this extraordinary cover---luckily, the story sounds wonderful as well!  ;D

Monday, April 6, 2015

Guest Post with Karen Akins: Favorite Time Travel Inspirations!

Today I'm super pleased to have Karen Akins, author of Loop and the upcoming sequel, Twist as my guest!! She's stopping by to let us in on her favorite time travel inspirations!


The unbelievably thrilling sequel to the time-travel YA novel Loop.

Bree Bennis finally has it all—a non-comatose mother, an uber-hot (albeit anachronistic) boyfriend named Finn, and a new-found mission to protect the timeline from those who would skew it for their own gain. But when she leans over one day to smooch said boyfriend, her lips meet those of her arch-nemesis Wyck instead. The timeline has been altered, and Bree is caught in the crosshairs. But when she goes back to repair the damage, she is stopped by none other than her Future Self, who delivers an urgent message: Someone is kidnapping Shifters from the distant past. It’s up to Bree to stop them. But first, she has to figure out who... and why.

To follow the trail of chronocrumbs, Bree reluctantly accepts her new undercover gig as Wyck’s girlfriend. Everything goes spiffy until Finn shows up in the 23rd century on the eager arm of a gorgeous fellow Shifter, Blark. Even as Bree struggles with jealousy, she battles the nagging dread that Finn might be better off with someone less chronologically complicated. Her worst fear is confirmed when Finn becomes the kidnapper’s next victim. As Bree zeroes in on the culprit, they unravel her life one timeline-change at a time. She realizes that she alone has the power to save herself and everyone she loves. But to do that, she may lose Finn forever.

Favorite time travel inspirations!
Thank you so much for hosting me on your blog!

One of the hardest parts of writing time travel has been that I love the genre so much. There are so many amazing, fun, mind-bendy examples of time travel that I adore. In LOOP and TWIST, I wanted to pay homage to those, but I also wanted my world to be original.

That being said, here are some of my favorite time travel tales that have inspired me over the years:
1.) Back To The Future
 This was the first movie I truly remember seeing in the theater. I was seven years old, and my dad took my sister and I out to see it on a school night. (SCHOOL NIGHT!) A good 75% of the movie probably went straight over my head, but I didn’t care. I was in love.
The idea of going back in time and being able to change your own past…what? It blew my mind. Even today, I love dissecting the trilogy, looking for slip-ups and hiccups. That’s half the fun.
And, of course, hoverboards had to make a cameo in TWIST. Because hoverboards.

2.) Star Trek: First Contact
In all its incarnations, Star Trek has done time travel many times in many different ways. I’m a huge Trek fan, but I think this one is my favorite time travel. The Next Generation Enterprise gang goes back in time to the first instance of human’s traveling at warp speed—the speed of light. The Borg is about to wreak havoc and prevent them (Bo-org!) so, of course, it’s up to Picard and company to stop the Borg.
The reason I love it is that it holds up this iconic moment in history, and then shows the blunderings behind the scenes. I think that’s how a lot of big historical moments actually were and are—full of humans with all their imperfections. It doesn’t take away from the things we’ve achieved, and in some ways, I think it actually adds power to them. That beautiful things can be made out of our messes.

3.) Terminator
I think the thing I love about these movies is that they just keep…coming…back. That’s one of the great things about time travel. Don’t like the way the story ended? Ehh, just go back and change it.

4.)  Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
This was my favorite of the movies and second favorite of the books (behind Goblet of Fire). I had already predicted that Hermione had a time-turner, and I remember being all smug about how smart I was, figuring out a sub-plot before it was revealed. But then the sub-plot ended up driving the entire plot. Didn’t see that coming, and I love it when time travel loops back on itself and reframes the story.

5.) The Time Traveler’s Wife
Confession: I’ve never read the book, only seen the movie. This one was fun, if a bit depressing. But…Eric Bana. Come on.

6.) Somewhere in Time
This is one of those classic gems that I didn’t discover until ten years ago when my hubby introduced me to it. Christopher Reeve is a modern day playwright who becomes obsessed with a popular stage actress in the early 1900’s (Jane Seymour). He time travels back to meet her by… dressing up in period costume and convincing his brain that he’s there. (Yeah, don’t overthink it.) It’s cheesy good fun, and last summer, my family went to Mackinac Island in Michigan where it was filmed. We stayed in the same hotel where the cast and crew stayed. We recreated our favorite scenes.
They don’t allow cars on Mackinac, and it genuinely feels like taking a step back in time. It’s always interested me how humans crave that experience of being immersed into history. One of TWIST’s subplots involved time travel tourism, and I thought of Mackinac while writing it.

7.) Groundhog’s Day
Some might quibble that this is an alternate reality loop rather than true time travel. Don’t care. I love this movie, and I love that he figures out how to cheat the system. I mean, who of us would be able to pass up the opportunity to know every question on Jeopardy? To invest that dollar in the stock market at just the right time? To impress the girl with how much you know about her before you’ve even really met? Oh, wait. I might be talking about Finn here.

Goodness…I could keep going. But Future Karen wants me to wrap it up and go eat some chocolate.

Thanks again for having me! I hope everyone has as much fun reading TWIST as I did writing it. :)

Karen Akins writes humorous, light sci-fi for young adults and the young in spirit. When not writing or reading, she loves lightsaber dueling with her two sons and forcing her husband to watch BBC shows with her.
Karen has been many things in her life: an archery instructor, drummer for the shortest-lived garage band in history, and a shockingly bad tic-tac-toe player.


Thanks, Karen, for a wonderful post! I see some of my own favorites in there--Hermione's time turner, Groundhog Day, Somewhere in Time, and definitely Back to the Future!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

New Shelf Goodies & The Weekly Nutshell {122}

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)

My mailboxes was full of surprises this week! I only knew that one of these books was coming! 
 For review:

Thanks to Thomas Dunne Books, Penguin Random House, HarperTeen, and Macmillan for all of these! 

The Weekly Nutshell: 
 {Monday} Lies I told Blog Tour + Giveaway
 {Tuesday} Waiting on Wednesday - A Thousand Nights

{Wednesday} What's New: April YA Release List & Giveaway
{Thursday} Old Books, New Looks
{Friday} Review: Burning Kingdoms by Lauren DeStefano

This week I'm feeling much much better, so glad to have gotten over whatever it was before my upcoming vacation!  I still only read one book though---I read The Replaced and it took me longer than I thought it would. I really enjoyed book one, but this one was just okay for me.  Full review to come soon! I started Crimson Bound today and I'm loving the wonderful high fantasy feel of it and the main character so far! This week is going to be all about shelf-clearing and getting some things to new homes and donated to different places. Wish me luck! LOL

Happy Easter to those who celebrate!  Happy spring and happy reading to everyone! :D


Friday, April 3, 2015

Burning Kingdoms by Lauren DeStefano {review}

Burning Kingdoms
by Lauren DeStefano
♦publisher: Simon & Schuster 
♦release date: March 10, 2015
♦hardcover, 320 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦series: Internment Chronicles, book 2
  review of book 1: Perfect Ruin
♦source: from publisher for honest review
Danger descends in the second book of The Internment Chronicles, from the New York Times bestselling author of The Chemical Garden trilogy.

After escaping Internment, Morgan and her fellow fugitives land on the ground to finally learn about the world beneath their floating island home.

The ground is a strange place where water falls from the sky as snow, and people watch moving pictures and visit speakeasies. A place where families can have as many children as they want, their dead are buried in vast gardens of bodies, and Internment is the feature of an amusement park.

It is also a land at war.

Everyone who fled Internment had their own reasons to escape their corrupt haven, but now they’re caught under the watchful eye of another king who wants to dominate his world. They may have made it to the ground, but have they dragged Internment with them?

Review: Burning Kingdoms is another fascinating journey into the worlds that Lauren DeStefano so expertly creates. A little curious, deeply emotional,  and just a touch magical, this story continues only moments after Perfect Ruin ended.  Morgan, Pen, Basil, and the whole crew have safely reached the ground after risking their lives to escape from Internment on a ship shaped like bird.

When they step outside, they are immediately taken into custody by the right hand man to the king.  They are brought to his home, a large off-season hotel where he lives with his five children. Two of them are around the same age as Morgan, so I knew they would play a big part in the story.  The family dynamic reminded me a little of the Von Trapps, two older kids taking care of the little ones in place of a distant political father.  I loved Birdie---she was spunky, opinionated, and fun.

Love the worldbuilding in this. What I initially thought was our own world in the 20s turned out to be something  similar but slightly more magical, two lands run by two stubborn kings and torn apart by the a war over fuel.  When Pen and Morgan make an important discovery about the precious substance, Morgan must decide if that discovery is a bargaining chip that could get them all home, or a secret that could bring their whole floating city crashing down.

There are really a lot of emotional chips thrown down here, as they discover this new world.  We find out exactly why Princess Celeste muscled her way onto the ship, and she gets in over her head trying to play her political hand.  Pen wrestles with a few old demons and a dangerous weakness. Morgan must decide where her loyalty lies strongest and also face up to what she really wants for her and Basil, now that they are not held by Internments laws of betrothal. And they all must come to terms with their feelings about their lives on Internment and the fact that they may never be able to go home again.  All while trying to figure out this strange new place and survive it’s escalating war.

You never quite know how this is going to play out and it ends on another suspenseful and exciting cliffhanger. I’ve definitely become invested in the lives of this huge group of characters. A little bit of a slow in pacing here and there, but there is never any falter from the gorgeousness of DeStefano's writing!  A really great second installment---can’t wait to see what book three holds!
Find Lauren DeStefano online:  Website  •  Twitter  •  Facebook
Purchase Burning Kingdoms: Indiebound  •  BookDepository  •  Amazon

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Old Books, New Looks {13}

ime again for another round of Old Books, New Looks, where I feature the covers of books that have already been released and their redesigned paperback counterpart! :) Sometimes I like the new better, sometimes I like the old. Here's a few that I've come across lately:

  The OLDIES  vs.  The NEWBIES 
Loved the DRAMA of the original. I didn't read this one, but I think it just fit a book set in the 30s. The new is pretty, like the font, but it's not as interesting and doesn't give as much of a sense of the book.

The original was only okay for me in the first place, but on the second, the girl looks a little cartoony to me. Meh on both.

Both pretty gorgeous!  Love the boldness of the original, and I want that girl's tealy blue highlights! :)

I love the humor in both of these, but all the color and dimension of the original really draws my eye and makes me want to read it!!

I don't like the new :( There was just something about the elegant font and the bold, stark bloody infinity symbol that was perfect. 

Ack.  This change is just a NO for me.

I'm glad they stuck with the font!  I never really liked the dragonfly (if anyone remembers, this cover originally had a clockwork anatomical heart on it, and I loved that!). I actually like the new one better for these! Very dramatic and gorgeous steampunk fashion! :)

Let me know what you think! New or Old?