Sunday, September 21, 2014

New Shelf Goodies & The Weekly Nutshell {103}

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)

New on my bookshelves the past two weeks:
The Swap by Megan Shull
Messanger of Fear by Michael Grant (with playing cards)
Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White
The Clockwork Dagger by Beth Cato
Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan
Lark Rising by Sandra Waugh
The Bodies We Wear by Jeyn Roberts

Many thanks to Harper and Random House for these lovely finished copies!

{Friday}  Cover Story

I was away from the blog for some family time these past few weeks, because I lost my lovely grandpa.  He was 96 years old, such an amazing wonderful man, and I will miss him so incredibly much.   Now I seem to be coming down with a cold, so I'm not sure how much I'll be around this coming week, either. 
Last week I finished Gates of Thread and Stone so review coming up on that one.  I started Firebug and with all that was going on, just couldn't get into it so I've put it aside for now.  I do plan to give it a try another time. Yesterday I started Trial by Fire and I literally have NOT wanted to put it down.  I should be done with it tomorrow so review to come on that one, too! 

Thanks for stopping by, everyone! 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Cover Story

Quite a few covers have been revealed recently! Here's a few that caught my eye:

by Courtney Summers
St. Martin's Griffin
April 14, 2015

The Conspiracy of Us
by Maggie Hall
Putnam Juvenile
January 15, 2015

by Tina Connolly
May 5, 2015

Court of Fives
by Kate Elliott
Little Brown BYR
August 18, 2015

by Kelly Loy Gilbert
May 19, 2015

No Parking at the End Times
by Bryan Bliss
Greenwillow Books
February 24, 2015

by Katelyn Detweiler
Viking Children's
May 2015

What You Left Behind
by Jessica Verdi
April 2015

by Ally Carter
January 27, 2015

The Novice
by Taran Matharu
Fiewel & Friends
May 5, 2015

Pretty much loving all of these! Especially The Novice---looks like the same amazing artist as the Throne of Glass books. Conspiracy of Us is stunning in color and composition, and ALL of these have great font work, something I happen to be  a completely sucker for.  :)  The current trend of using fairly clean photographic images is also starting to grow on me, especially with Seriously Wicked, which is just such a cute cover!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang {guest review}

Falling Into Place
by Amy Zhang
♦publisher: Greenwillow Books
♦release date:September 9, 2014
♦hardcover, 304 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦source: from publisher for honest review
♦reviewer: Amy
On the day Liz Emerson tries to die, they had reviewed Newton’s laws of motion in physics class. Then, after school, she put them into practice by running her Mercedes off the road.

Why? Why did Liz Emerson decide that the world would be better off without her? Why did she give up? Vividly told by an unexpected and surprising narrator, this heartbreaking and nonlinear novel pieces together the short and devastating life of Meridian High’s most popular junior girl. Mass, acceleration, momentum, force—Liz didn’t understand it in physics, and even as her Mercedes hurtles toward the tree, she doesn’t understand it now. How do we impact one another? How do our actions reverberate? What does it mean to be a friend? To love someone? To be a daughter? Or a mother? Is life truly more than cause and effect? Amy Zhang’s haunting and universal story will appeal to fans of Lauren Oliver, Gayle Forman, and Jay Asher.

Review: When Liz Emerson crashed her car into a tree, she thought that would be the end. The end of having to look at herself in the mirror, seeing all the damage that she has caused in her life, as well as the lives of those around her. What she didn’t expect, was to live, if you call dangling on the edge living.  As Liz fights for her life, follow the days, hours, minutes and even years, before she crashes her Mercedes. Recounting her life in every last detail …3 years before Liz crashes her car… 8 hours before Liz crashes her car… 17 minutes before … Snapshots of her life’s memories, as well as the events that impacted Liz’s life and those who surround her.

Visions of Liz Emerson’s life: popular, pretty, the homecoming queen, she is everything everyone wants to be. Yet, popularity comes at a cost, a cost Liz is unsure if she is willing to pay. A mean girl to the core and almost naturally cruel, Liz knows that she was responsible for starting the cracks in everyone’s lives, lives that are all now in ruins. If only her classmates knew the real Liz, a girl, tormented with secrets, trying to discover the real place in which she gains her determination to live.

Written in a universal language of love, loss, fe
ar and most of all hope, “Falling into Place,” calls out to be read and understood, highlighting the cause and effect that we have on one another.

Narrated in a unique and surprising voice, I am in awe with the beauty in which Amy Zhang writes. Her honest portrayal of high school and the pitfalls of popularity, exposes the face behind the mask, as well as a side that is rarely seen. Within the chapters of her book, she opens readers to a world of loneliness and loss, with both intensity and realism. Poetic and heartfelt, Amy writes in a fresh new voice that captivates readers, pulling you into a tale that is as fast paced as it is addicting. Forcing readers to explore the world inside Liz Emerson, it leaves your mind to trying to discover why she really crashed her car.

Find Amy Zhang online:  Website  •  Twitter  •  Facebook

Purchase Falling Into Place:  •  BookDepository  •  Indiebound

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Jackaby Book Birthday Giveaway!

Hi all! :)  I've been away a few weeks, but I wanted to come back with a fun celebration of the release of Jackaby, one of my recent favorites!  Jackaby was released into the world yesterday, so I hope you all get a chance to check it out!
“Miss Rook, I am not an occultist,” Jackaby said. “I have a gift that allows me to see truth where others see the illusion--and there are many illusions. All the world’s a stage, as they say, and I seem to have the only seat in the house with a view behind the curtain.”

Newly arrived in New Fiddleham, New England, 1892, and in need of a job, Abigail Rook meets R. F. Jackaby, an investigator of the unexplained with a keen eye for the extraordinary--including the ability to see supernatural beings. Abigail has a gift for noticing ordinary but important details, which makes her perfect for the position of Jackaby’s assistant. On her first day, Abigail finds herself in the midst of a thrilling case: A serial killer is on the loose. The police are convinced it’s an ordinary villain, but Jackaby is certain it’s a nonhuman creature, whose existence the police--with the exception of a handsome young detective named Charlie Cane--deny.

Doctor Who meets Sherlock in William Ritter’s debut novel, which features a detective of the paranormal as seen through the eyes of his adventurous and intelligent assistant in a tale brimming with cheeky humor and a dose of the macabre.

Here's a link to my review if you missed it: Jackaby by William Ritter
I gave it a well-earned 5 cupcakes!

To spread the love, I'm giving away one finished copy of Jackaby!

Open internationally!
•must be 13 or older or have parent permission
•Ends 9/27/14
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, September 7, 2014

New Shelf Goodies & The Weekly Nutshell {102}

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)

This week, one lovely finished copy and one book from a trade:

The Weekly Nutshell: 
{Monday} What's New YA September Releases & Giveaway

{Tuesday}  Waiting on Wednesday: Burning Kingdoms
{Wednesday} Six Feet Over It blog tour giveaway
{Friday} Review : Stega by Karen Monahan Fernandes

This week I finished The Fall and though my review won't be out until October 1st when the blog tour rolls through, I will say that I really enjoyed this dark, eerie, completely bizarre book. I also listened to the inspiration story, Poe's Fall of the House of Usher and was intrigued by the close parallels of the two stories.  Currently, I'm reading Gates of Thread and Stone, which after seeing some "meh" reviews I went into with much more subdued expectations. So far I'm enjoying it---I'm about 160 pages in and the story is at a pretty big turning point so we'll see where it goes from here! 
Hope everyone is having a great weekend! :D

Friday, September 5, 2014

Strega by Karen Monahan Fernandes {review}

by Karen Monahan Fernandes
♦publisher: Mink Publishing
♦release date: December 5th, 2013
♦paperback 278 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦series: Strega, book 1
When high school senior Jay Bonifacio finds her grandmother brutally murdered in their small-town home, the scar left by the death of her parents years earlier is ripped open. She is devastated, but she is not nearly as terrified as she should be.

Jay is a Strega. Like her mother and grandmother, she is a descendant of the original Strega of ancient Etruria—gifted women of the woods bestowed with godly power, and the world’s first witches. With the truth withheld from her all her life, Jay is blindsided when her power is unbound. Demons are coming for her. They killed the people she loved most to get to her, and they won’t rest until she is dead.

Forced to embrace her identity if only to survive, Jay uncovers a past life when her ruthless enemy’s hatred for her was born, she rediscovers an eternal love that has burned throughout lifetimes, and she is drawn back into an ancient battle between the virtuous and the wicked that threatens to destroy all of humankind.
Review: Jay is alone. Her parents were taken from her when she was just a child, and now the only family she had left, her Gram, is gone in a violent flash. She’s taken in by her Gram’s best friends; she has only them, her boyfriend Shaun, and her best friend Rena, who is there for her every moment. As the vivid dreams that once plagued her as a child resurface and start to bleed into her real life, and a strange knife with ancient runic symbols on it mysteriously falls into her possession, Jay’s past, and true identity, are slowly revealed to her in a bloody and perilous string of encounters.

The writing and storytelling in Strega are gorgeous, though at some moments it misses the mark of a realistic teen voice. Fluid and descriptive phrasing gives the whole story a lyrical, ethereal feel and makes its imaginative spin on ancient Etruscan mythology and witchcraft come alive. Each chapter is short and tightly written. It alternates between giving the reader tidbits about Jay’s past and unfolding the increasingly terrifying events of the present, making each chapter feel like a quick burst of excitement and moving the story along at a lightning-quick pace. This format also nudges the reader on, making it easy to talk yourself into reading just one more chapter. Thanks to this, I found myself reading the book well into the night, being drawn back to devour another chapter in my every free moment.

As Jay uncovers the truth, each intense scene tingles the spine as you feel the danger creeping closer to her. She is a smart, resourceful character; sometimes she makes a foolish decision or two, but it just makes her more real. Despite a few pacing hiccups toward the end, as a huge amount of backstory comes to light, Strega is an outstanding start to a clever fantasy trilogy and one that I plan to continue reading; the story comes to a thrilling head at the end, and I definitely need to know what happens to these characters next!

Find Karen Monahan Fernandez online: Website  •  Twitter

Purchase Strega: BookDepository  •  Indiebound

(review originally featured in San Francisco Book Review. Book provided to me for honest review.)

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Six Feet Over It Blog Tour Giveaway!

Today the SIX FEET OVER IT blog tour is stopping by!

Home is where the bodies are buried.

Darkly humorous and heart-wrenchingly beautiful, Jennifer Longo’s YA debut about a girl stuck living in a cemetery will change the way you look at life, death, and love.

Leigh sells graves for her family-owned cemetery because her father is too lazy to look farther than the dinner table when searching for employees. Working the literal graveyard shift, she meets two kinds of customers:

Pre-Need: They know what’s up. They bought their graves a long time ago, before they needed them.

At Need: They are in shock, mourning a loved one’s unexpected death. Leigh avoids sponging their agony by focusing on things like guessing the headstone choice (mostly granite).

Sarcastic and smart, Leigh should be able to stand up to her family and quit. But her world’s been turned upside down by the sudden loss of her best friend and the appearance of Dario, the slightly-too-old-for-her grave digger. Surrounded by death, can Leigh move on, if moving on means it’s time to get a life?

JENNIFER LONGO holds an M.F.A. in Writing for Theater from Humboldt State University. She credits her lifelong flair for drama to parents who did things like buy the town graveyard and put their kids to work in it-because how hilarious would that be? Turns out, pretty hilarious. Jennifer lives in Seattle, Washington with her husband and daughter and writes about writing at


Win a copy of SIX FEET OVER IT!
•US mailing addresses only
•must be 13 or older, or have parent permission
•Ends 9/17/14

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Don't forget to visit the rest of the stops on the tour! 
Happy Indulgence Books                              8/26      
Confessions of a Readaholic                         8/27      
Christy's Book Addiction                               8/28      
Unofficial Addiction Book Fan Club           8/29      
YA Reads                                                           9/1        
Candace's Book Blog                                       9/2        
Stories & Sweeties                                           9/3        
Live to Read                                                      9/3        
A Dream Within a Dream                              9/4        
Rather be Reading YA                                    9/5        
Pandora’s Books                                              9/8        
Evie Bookish                                                     9/9        
Winter Haven Books                                       9/10      
Wondrous Reads                                             9/10
Bumbles and Fairy-Tales                               9/12      
Bundle of Books                                               9/17      
The Children’s Book Review                         9/19