Monday, October 24, 2016

ROSEBLOOD Blog Tour {Guest Post & Exclusive Giveaway!}

I've got an exciting one for you today, everyone!! Today I'm helping to kick off the fantastic blog tour for Roseblood by A.G. Howard with a closer look at the six main characters and not one, but TWO amazing giveaways! Let get right to it:


RoseBlood by A.G. Howard
In this modern day spin on Leroux’s gothic tale of unrequited love turned to madness, seventeen-year-old Rune Germain has a mysterious affliction linked to her operatic talent, and a horrifying mistake she’s trying to hide. Hoping creative direction will help her, Rune’s mother sends her to a French arts conservatory for her senior year, located in an opera house rumored to have ties to The Phantom of the Opera.

At RoseBlood, Rune secretly befriends the masked Thorn—an elusive violinist who not only guides her musical transformation through dreams that seem more real than reality itself, but somehow knows who she is behind her own masks. As the two discover an otherworldly connection and a soul-deep romance blossoms, Thorn’s dark agenda comes to light and he’s forced to make a deadly choice: lead Rune to her destruction, or face the wrath of the phantom who has haunted the opera house for a century, and is the only father he’s ever known.

Coming January 10, 2017 from Amulet Books

Available in Hardcover, Paperback, & Ebook

Preorder:  Amulet   •   Amazon   •   Indiebound   •   BookDepository

*        *        *       *       *      

Thanks so much for joining us for the RoseBlood Virtual Tour, presented by Amulet Books, Pique Beyond, and RockStar Book Tours!

On each stop of the tour, there will be a rafflecopter for a domestic giveaway offering 5 RoseBlood hardback + collectible mask sets.

Collectible mask + signed arc set

And to make things fair for the foreign fans, each guest or reveal post will have its own unique INTL giveaway rafflecopter personalized to the post, spotlighting one or more of the following prizes:

So be sure to follow along each day to get a chance at all the prizes! 

For today's guest post, let's meet the six main characters of RoseBlood (three of them might surprise you!) and see what makes each one tick.

The Phantom
picture attribution:

HEART'S DESIRE: To reclaim something he once lost, by any means necessary.

HOBBIES: Ventriloquism, architecture, botany, zoology, magician, composer, vocalist, instrumentalist, experimenting, inventing, devising, manipulation, 
terrorizing, stalking, killing...

FEARS: Death. Not his own, and not death in the literal sense. The end of hope. The death of that final chance for unconditional love.


Michael Gandolfi = Thorn

Photo by Salvador Sabater
HEART'S DESIRE: To repay the debt he's owed since his childhood.

HOBBIES: Violinist, tending to animals, spying, composing music to blot out sinister acts he wants to forget.

FEARS: Becoming too monstrous to walk in the light, to breathe fresh air, to find a companion to walk and breathe with. Being so warped by misdeeds, even a mask won't cover the disfigurement of his soul. 


Emily Rudd = Rune

HEART'S DESIRE: To know who she is, and to purge the guilt of her father's death.

HOBBIES: Sewing, knitting, designing, reading, gardening.

FEARS: That her musical illness is demonic, and somehow responsible for her father's death. That the unnatural talent will strike again and leave someone else a victim.



HEART'S DESIRE: To beat Diable at every game.



HEART'S DESIRE: To have a bowl of cream for each meal.


Thorn's Stradivarius

HEART'S DESIRE: Do violins have hearts? Hmmm...

There you have the six main characters. I hope they intrigued you enough to want to read about them in RoseBlood!


A.G. Howard was inspired to write SPLINTERED while working at a school library. She always wondered what would've happened had the subtle creepiness of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland taken center stage, and she hopes her darker and funkier tribute to Carroll will inspire readers to seek out the stories that won her heart as a child.

When she's not writing, A.G.'s pastimes are reading, rollerblading, gardening, and family vacations which often include impromptu side trips to 18th century graveyards or condemned schoolhouses to appease her overactive muse.
WebsiteBlogTwitter Facebook • Tumblr • Pinterest • Goodreads


Today's INTL giveaway pack consists of three items that represent three of the characters you met: Masquerade Pendant (the Phantom's tendency to hide), Eiffel Tower Key Chain (Thorn's desire to walk above ground and stop hiding), Emoticon Key Chains (something secret between Thorn and Rune that binds them together).


a Rafflecopter giveaway

And to enter for the signed ARC & Collectible Mask:
(US mailing address only please)

Good luck to everyone, and be sure to join us again tomorrow for stop #2, and on to the rest of the stops!!
10/24/2016- Mundie MomsSpotlight
10/24/2016- Stories & SweetiesGuest Post
10/24/2016- Adventures of a Book JunkieReview

10/25/2016- Once Upon a TwilightSpotlight
10/25/2016- Two Chicks on BooksGuest Post

10/26/2016- Tales of the Ravenous ReaderSpotlight
10/26/2016- Seeing Double In NeverlandGuest Post

10/27/2016- BookHounds YAReview
10/27/2016- Dark Faerie TalesGuest Post

10/28/2016- FiktshunReview
10/28/2016- BookemojiGuest Post

Sunday, October 23, 2016

New Shelf Goodies & The Weekly Nutshell {174}

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's new on my shelves these past two weeks:
For review:
Given to the Sea by Mindy McGinnis
So excited for this one, it looks fantastic!!
Journey's End by Rachel Hawkins
Always, always look forward to new stuff from Rachel Hawkins!
A Good Idea by Cristina Moracho
Is there anything creepier than a dingy old bathtub in the woods? (Or anywhere, really lol)
The Castle in the Mist by Amy Ephron
The Ephrons---seriously how does so much talent come out of one family??
Addison Cooke and the Treasure of the Incas by Jonathan W. Stokes
I featured this fun adventure a few days ago--see below for link!
The Haunted House Project by Tricia Clasen
This sounds so heartfelt and sweet, I need to read this soon. 
The Weaver by Emme Itaranta
Intrigued by this one! It's a been a long time since I picked up a dystopian (I think this one is?) I may try this out!
Something in Between by Melissa De La Cruz
I almost past this over as too contemp for my taste, until I saw it's about a Filipino family! I definitely need to find time for this one.  

Huge thanks to Penguin, Harper Voyager, Harlequin Teen, & Sky Pony Press for these!

The Weekly Nutshell:
recent posts:
Review: A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess
Review & Giveaway: Every Hidden Thing by Kenneth Oppel
Spotlight: Addison Cooke & the Treasure of the Incas
Waiting on Wednesday: The Spellbook of the Lost and Found
Review: Yesternight by Cat Winters

I'm writing this as fast as my fingers will go lol--my darn internet connection keeps cutting in and out UGH.  It's been a good couple of weeks...finally starting to feel a little more energetic and like myself . And then my hubby comes down with a cold, so I'm avoiding his germs like the plague xD. I can't imagine getting cold-sick after being practically house-bound for over a month. That. would. SUCK. 
Guys, I've been tearing through Heartless this week. And it's so good, but as I near the end, it is just tearing my heart right out.  I'm also listening to the audiobook of Foxheart and loving that as well. Such a good narrator---I highly recommend!  Next up for me is Unnatural Things and Journey's End

What are you reading this week?

Friday, October 21, 2016

Yesternight by Cat Winters {review}

by Cat Winters
♦publisher: William Morrow Books
♦release date: October 4th, 2016
♦paperback, 400 pages
♦intended audience: Adult
♦source: from publisher for honest review

In 1925, Alice Lind steps off a train in the rain-soaked coastal hamlet of Gordon Bay, Oregon. There, she expects to do nothing more difficult than administer IQ tests to a group of rural schoolchildren. A trained psychologist, Alice believes mysteries of the mind can be unlocked scientifically, but now her views are about to be challenged by one curious child.

Seven-year-old Janie O’Daire is a mathematical genius, which is surprising. But what is disturbing are the stories she tells: that her name was once Violet, she grew up in Kansas decades earlier, and she drowned at age nineteen. Alice delves into these stories, at first believing they’re no more than the product of the girl’s vast imagination.  But, slowly, Alice comes to the realization that Janie might indeed be telling a strange truth.

Alice knows the investigation may endanger her already shaky professional reputation, and as a woman in a field dominated by men she has no room for mistakes. But she is unprepared for the ways it will illuminate terrifying mysteries within her own past, and in the process, irrevocably change her life.
Review: This book had three things going for it right off the bat: Cat Winters brilliant historical storytelling (I make no secret of the fact that this author is one of my absolute faves), a 1920 setting, and a subject matter that I have always, as long as I can remember, been fascinated with---past life memories in children.  And while there were one or two things that made this my least favorite of her stories so far, it definitely drew me in and enthralled me---I was not disappointed. 

Struggling psychologist, Alice Lind, is trying to prove herself in a male-dominated field. When she's brought into town to test the children of Gordon Bay, she's introduced to Janie, whose father is convinced she is having past life memories. I love that she sticks to her psychological thinking and insists on ruling out every possibility rather than just buying into it right away. I love how the evidence and arguments for all possibilities is taken into consideration as the story slowly unfolds, coming clear in shocking little spine-tingling moments, and things get harder and harder to deny. And I thought it was interesting that we get to see her internal struggle with her own strange childhood and how it might parallel what she is seeing in Janie, and also her coming to terms with how a case like this could effect her professional standing.  The whole unraveling of the mystery of Janie was fanastic and I love how it resolved---and I might have actually liked this more if it had ended with that.

The last part of this story took a strange turn and focused solely on Alice's past and her own possible past life. It started off good, with some scary discoveries coming to light. But as it went on, it sort of lost me. While I love a good creepy twist, this one, I couldn't help but feel was a little out of place and out of character for the Alice we'd gotten to know through the whole rest of the book. There was sexual content that seemed a little forced in, and yet another twist at the end, that was creepy and shocking in an entertaining way, but also in a way that was just a little too convenient.

Still incredibly gripping and entertaining, and while, like I said, it's definitely my least favorite of Cat Winters books so far,  I really enjoyed this one despite a few quirks. 


photo credit: Tara Kelly
Cat Winters is an award-winning, critically acclaimed author of YA and adult fiction that blends history with the supernatural. Her young adult works include In the Shadow of BlackbirdsThe Cure for DreamingThe Steep and Thorny Way, and the forthcoming Odd & True (Fall 2017). Her adult novels are The Uninvited and Yesternight. She has been named a Morris Award finalist, a Bram Stoker Award nominee, and an Oregon Spirit Book Award winner, and her books have appeared on numerous state and “best of” lists. 

Winters was born and raised in Southern California, near Disneyland, which may explain her love of haunted mansions, bygone eras, and fantasylands. She received degrees in drama and English from the University of California, Irvine, and formerly worked in publishing. She now lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband and two kids.


Purchase Yesternight: Indiebound  • BookDepository  •  Amazon  

Wednesday, October 19, 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 Moïra Fowley-Doyle

hitting shelves August 8th, 2017
from Kathy Dawson Books
Olive, Rose, Laurel, Ivy, Hazel, Rowan.
Six teenagers, connected in ways they could never have imagined.

After the town’s summer bonfire party, Olive and her best friend, Rose, begin to lose things. It starts with simple items like hairclips and jewelry, but soon it’s clear that Rose has lost something much bigger, something she won’t talk about, and Olive can’t stop feeling that her best friend is slipping away.

Then lost things start appearing. Fields are filled with odd treasures; the lake sparkles with trinkets; seductive diary pages written by a girl named Laurel show up all over town. And Olive finds Ivy, Hazel, and her brother, Rowan, secretly squatting in the nearby abandoned housing development. Hazel and Rowan are wild and alluring, but they seem lost too, and like Rose, are holding tight to their secrets. 

It’s the damp, tattered spellbook that changes everything. Full of mysterious hand-inked charms to make things go missing and to conjure back others, it might be their chance to find what they need to set everything back to rights. Unless it’s leading them toward secrets that were never meant to be found . . .

My thoughts:  The Accident Season was so beautiful and bizarre---one of my absolute favorite books last year (my review is here if you want to see my thoughts). So I'm completely ecstatic to see another book from this author!  

What book are you eagerly anticipating this week?

Friday, October 14, 2016

Spotlight: Addison Cooke & The Treasure of the Incas

Hello, all! Today I am shining a little spotlight on a fantastic looking middle grade novel that came out this week from Philomel/Penguin!! Check it out!

This one looks like such fun and me and my 11 year old Dex are both really looking forward to reading it!

Smooth-talking, refined twelve-year-old Addison Cooke loves a grand adventure, especially one that involves using his vast knowledge of history and archaeology, learned from his aunt and uncle, both world-famous researchers. If that adventure includes an expertly-knotted Windsor tie and an Arnold Palmer on the rocks, all the better.

Luckily for Addison, adventure has a way of finding the Cookes. After Addison's uncle unearths the first ancient Incan clue needed to find a vast trove of lost treasure, he is kidnapped by members of a shadowy organization intent on stealing the riches. An expert in Incan history, Addison's uncle is the bandits' key to deciphering the ancient clues and looting the treasure. . . unless Addison and his friends can outsmart the kidnappers and decipher the clues first. So it's off to Peru (business class, no less), across the Amazon, and all the way to Machu Picchu in a race for riches and history.


Jonathan Stokes is a screenwriter living in Los Angeles. He has written on assignment for Fox, Paramount, Universal, Warner Brothers, New Line, and Sony. He is the author of several upcoming kids' books being published by Penguin Random House. Jonathan is a street taco aficionado, an urban explorer, and koala enthusiast.


Purchase the book:  Indiebound  •  BookDepository  •  Amazon

Every Hidden Thing by Kenneth Oppel {review + giveaway}

Every Hidden Thing
by Kenneth Oppel
♦publisher: Simon & Schuster
♦release date: October 11th, 2016
♦hardcover, 368 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦from publisher for honest review
The hunt for a dinosaur skeleton buried in the Badlands, bitter rivalries, and a forbidden romance come together in this beautifully written new novel that’s Romeo and Juliet meets Indiana Jones.

Somewhere in the Badlands, embedded deep in centuries-buried rock and sand, lies the skeleton of a massive dinosaur, larger than anything the late nineteenth century world has ever seen. Some legends call it the Black Beauty, with its bones as black as ebony, but to seventeen-year-old Samuel Bolt it’s the “rex”, the king dinosaur that could put him and his struggling, temperamental archaeologist father in the history books (and conveniently make his father forget he’s been kicked out of school), if they can just quarry it out.

But Samuel and his father aren’t the only ones after the rex. For Rachel Cartland this find could be her ticket to a different life, one where her loves of science and adventure aren’t just relegated to books and sitting rooms. Because if she can’t prove herself on this expedition with her professor father, the only adventures she may have to look forward to are marriage or spinsterhood.

As their paths cross and the rivalry between their fathers becomes more intense, Samuel and Rachel are pushed closer together. And with both eyeing the same prize, their budding romance seems destined to fail. But as danger looms on the other side of the hills, causing everyone’s secrets to come to light, Samuel and Rachel are forced to make a decision. Can they join forces to find their quarry—and with it a new life together—or will old enmities and prejudices keep them from both the rex and each other?

Review: This story is described as Romeo & Juliet meets Indiana Jones--and that is a perfectly accurate comparison.  I've had a run of good luck with finding fun stories lately, and this was definitely no exception. 

Every Hidden Thing is definitely unique in that it's an archeology story set in the Old West. Both the main characters have ultra-competitive fathers who are trying to out-do each other in their archealogical finds. But Samuel and Rachel have grow to have as much passion for discovering bones as their fathers---and the time setting sets up a particular challenge for Rachel as digging up bones in the wilderness is just not proper for a young lady. But she cleverly finagles her way into the journey. The whole thing becomes a race to find a legendary dinosaur complete with territorial squabbles, accusations of sabotage, and run-ins with the native Sioux tribes that leave Rachel with a very justified doubt in her father's sanity.The audacity and righteousness of both men just leaves you wanting to strangle them most times, but especially Rachel's father.  

The love story was sweet, and despite being a nearly instant attraction, their trust and actual feelings for each other grew gradually. Their secret stolen moments were as romantic as they could be in the middle of a dirty digging site, hiding from fathers and cocky college boys.  I liked the realistic take on their romantic experiences ---it wasn't the "perfect first kiss" and the perfect first..etc. ;) And it was all very kind of bumbling, unsure...real.  I also appreciated that it was not all glossed over and perfect even after they got together, because they were still faced with outside forces, doubts, and hard life-changing decisions to make. 

I had only one big issue with this book. It was not exactly the alternating points of view, but the way the rapidly changing POV was formatted.  This story actually really benefited from being told from both Samuel's and Rachel's sides but the change from one to the other was not marked except for a very subtle font change.  The difference, to me, was not obvious enough and it often left me jumping from one voice to the other without noticing for a few seconds. There were far too many of those "wait..who's talking now?" moments. :) There was also one instance where each of them started talking directly to the other instead of the "audience" (only for a second) and I found that a bit odd. 

Despite that, though, I really loved this one. Such a riveting adventure and a compelling, complicated love story! 


credit: Mark Raynes Roberts
Kenneth Oppel is the author of numerous books for young readers. His award-winning Silverwing trilogy has sold over a million copies worldwide and been adapted as an animated TV series and stage play. Airborn won a Michael L. Printz Honor Book Award and the Canadian Governor General’s Literary Award for children’s literature; its sequel, Skybreaker, was a New York Times bestseller and was named Children’s Novel of the Year by the London Times. He is also the author of Half BrotherThis Dark EndeavorSuch Wicked Intent, and The Boundless. Born on Canada’s Vancouver Island, he has lived in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, Canada; in England and Ireland; and now resides in Toronto with his wife and children.


Purchase the book:  Indiebound  •  BookDepository  •  Amazon

I received the finished copy of Every Hidden Thing so I'm passing along my ARC to one lucky winner! Enter below! 
•US mailing addresses only please
•Ends October 28, 2016

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, October 13, 2016

A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess {review}

A Shadow Bright and Burning
by Jessica Cluess
♦publisher: Random House BFYR
♦release date: September 20th, 2016
♦hardcover, 416 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦series: Kingdom of Fire, book 1 
♦source: ARC from publisher for honest review
I am Henrietta Howel.
The first female sorcerer in hundreds of years.
The prophesied one.
Or am I?

Henrietta Howel can burst into flames. 

Forced to reveal her power to save a friend, she's shocked when instead of being executed, she's invited to train as one of Her Majesty's royal sorcerers.

Thrust into the glamour of Victorian London, Henrietta is declared the chosen one, the girl who will defeat the Ancients, bloodthirsty demons terrorizing humanity. She also meets her fellow sorcerer trainees, handsome young men eager to test her power and her heart. One will challenge her. One will fight for her. One will betray her.

But Henrietta Howel is not the chosen one. 

As she plays a dangerous game of deception, she discovers that the sorcerers have their own secrets to protect. With battle looming, what does it mean to not be the one? And how much will she risk to save the city—and the one she loves?

Review: This story is quite literally exciting and fun from start to finish. I really, really enjoyed every moment. There were some fantastic shocking twists, and even a moment I gasped so loud, my daughter came out of her room to check on me. xD  I loved the very non-stuffy alternate-London Victorian setting, I loved the characters (well, some are more of a "love to hate" thing) and I think this is a great start to an exciting new series.

Henrietta is a character to root for. She has this incredible power, but it's Victorian London, so even when she is brought into the school to train, she is constantly having to prove herself among the men. She is feisty and knew what she needed to do---and I loved that when "their way" with magic doesn't quite work for her, she finds a way of her own to still accomplish the same goal, even when she knows the truth could derail everything.

Those who are wary of love triangles or any sort of multiple-option love interests are probably going to have a field day with this romance. I myself really enjoyed it. It's not a huge part of the story---and I loved that Henrietta's focus really stays mostly on becoming a commended sorcerer and getting a better life for her and her friend Rook.  I loved that there were lots of growing and changing friendships among them, some definite up and downs in each relationship, and actually two, that I just wished they had stayed friends and only friends. By the end, there was only one that I personally wanted to see her end up with, if she ends up with anyone at all. But that could all change in the coming installments, of course!

One thing I did want for in this was just a little more "why" and "how" when it came to the Ancients. I felt a lot of details about the lore and why they did what they did and how they worked was kind of skimmed over as we were thrown right into the action of fighting them off. I'm hoping for a little more clarity on that end in the future of this series. I did however, love the history that was given of the sorcerers vs. magicians, and am hoping for a more in-depth look at that, too!

A fantastic and breath-taking debut and one that I will definitely be counting down the days to book 2 for!!


Jessica Cluess is a writer, a graduate of Northwestern University, and an unapologetic nerd. After college, she moved to Los Angeles, where she served coffee to the rich and famous while working on her first novel. When she’s not writing books, she’s an instructor at Writopia Lab, helping kids and teens tell their own stories.


Purchase the book:  Indiebound  •  BookDepository  •  Amazon