Sunday, April 23, 2017

Traitor's Kiss blog tour: Meet the Characters!

Today I have the blog tour for the upcoming debut, 
The Traitor's Kiss 
stopping by!  Author Erin Beaty has a few people she'd like us to meet. Read on to find out more about the characters from this exciting fantasy world. ALSO be sure to jot down the secret message at the end of this post---you can collect the secret messages from each tour stop to unravel a deleted scene!

•ABOUT THE BOOK•
♦publisher: Imprint 
♦release date: May 9th, 2017
♦hardcover, 352 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦series: Traitor's Trilogy, book 1
An obstinate girl who will not be married. 
A soldier desperate to prove himself. 
A kingdom on the brink of war.

With a sharp tongue and an unruly temper, Sage Fowler is not what they’d call a lady―which is perfectly fine with her. Deemed unfit for marriage, Sage is apprenticed to a matchmaker and tasked with wrangling other young ladies to be married off for political alliances. She spies on the girls―and on the soldiers escorting them.

As the girls' military escort senses a political uprising, Sage is recruited by a handsome soldier to infiltrate the enemy ranks. The more she discovers as a spy, the less certain she becomes about whom to trust―and Sage becomes caught in a dangerous balancing act that will determine the fate of her kingdom.

•MEET THE CHARACTERS•
Meet The Main Characters of The Traitor’s Kiss:

Sage Fowler
 :
DEEPEST DESIRE: To have the kind of love her parents had.
Y'all know who this is:
http://muirin007.deviantart.com
HOBBIES: Using a sling to target rabbits and squirrels raiding her aunt’s garden. Reading, wandering through the woods, learning and teaching whatever is interesting. Baiting her cousin Jonathan with everything she can do better. Punching sandbags when Uncle William won’t listen.
This might be my favorite Sage pic ever.:
FEARS: Being dependent on those who don’t understand or care about her. Marrying a man she can never be herself with.
© Elisabeth Ansley / Trevillion Images:


Mistress Darnessa Rodelle
C:\Users\Erin_2\Desktop\Writing\marilyn lightstone.jpg
Photo: Marilyn Lightstone
DEEPEST DESIRE: To do right by every girl who crosses her threshold.

HOBBIES: Sewing, People watching, Running Crescera’s Regional Matchmaker’s Guild
FEARS: The nation losing faith in the matching system women have used for centuries to protect each other and cultivate bonds between regions, making Demora stronger. Matchmakers using their power for personal gain.

Sergeant Ash Carter
Drop the gun and you can be one of my characters.:
DEEPEST DESIRES: To be invisible and work behind the scenes while making his royal father proud. Marriage to a girl who likes him for himself, not his position in life.

HOBBIES: Riding, hunting, keeping his half-brother Robert out of trouble.
D'Artagnan in The Musketeers. I love this pose; his eyes are full of brooding while his sword arm is poised in patient readiness.:
FEARS: Letting his brothers-in-arms down or outshining the Crown Prince. Somehow ending up as the only heir to the throne.
C:\Users\Erin_2\Desktop\Writing\Pull Quotes\sword.jpg


Captain Alexander Quinn
Hmmm... Arthur or Alex?:
DEEPEST DESIRE: To be as competent and respected as his father on his own merit.
HOBBIES: Learning and mastering every skill possible, Spending time with his younger brother, Charlie.
Fabrizio Rossi gorgeous looking!!!!!:
FEARS: Failure, letting his men down. Having his judgment compromised. Being solely responsible for Charlie’s safety. Everyone believing he’s only successful because his father is the General. Marriage.
The Sceptres maybe?:


Duke Morrow D’Amiran
I really hate to make Richard Armitage a bad guy, but this is so D'Amiran:
DEEPEST DESIRES: To reclaim the Demoran crown stolen from his family by the Devlins. To settle the score with Pendleton Quinn for blocking his advancement in the army, then stealing the woman he was promised, sending him back to Tegann with nothing but his title.
HOBBIES: Reading and writing poetry, hunting
FEARS: Failing to finish what his family worked to achieve for generations. Living out his days in the drabness of Tegann, groveling to the Devlin family.
Arundel Castle, West Sussex, England: Conisbrough Castle ~ built in the 11th century, South Yorkshire, England:


•SECRET MESSAGE•
"Doing Mistress Rodelle’s work (for favor?)"


•Meet the Author•

Erin Beaty was born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana, which means she can't drive a tractor, but she won't eat veggies that come from a can. She graduated from the US Naval Academy with a degree in rocket science and somehow always ended up writing her study group's lab reports. After serving in the fleet as a weapons officer and a leadership instructor, she resigned to pursue her side hobby of populating the Church of Rome. It still amazes her when other people want to hear the stories that come out of her head.

She and her husband have five children, two cats, and a vegetable garden and live wherever the navy tells them to go.

WEBSITE    TWITTER    INSTAGRAM    GOODREADS

Purchase Traitor's Kiss:



Don't forget to check out the rest of the stops on the tour!
20-Apr: bookaddictsguide -Scented Candle
22-Apr: booknerdsacrossamericaList of Favorite Literary Female Spies
24-Apr: mundiemomsGuest Post: Top 10 Things All Spies Need
25-Apr: bookiemojiTop 5 Reasons to read The Traitor's Kiss
26-Apr: fiktshun - Guest Post: Favorite & Most Challenging Scene to Write (and Why)
27-Apr: foreveryoungadultGuest Post: YA "matchmaker"
28-Apr: yabookscentral Guest Post: What gave you the inspiration for this book?
29-Apr: bookbriefs Guest Post: Top 5 Things You Didn't Know about Sage & Mouse
30-Apr: trippingoverbooksMood Board
1-May: darkfaerietalesGuest Post: What's the most daring thing you would do for a mission?
2-May: whatsarahreadMood Board
3-May: booklovingnutPlaylist
5-May: quitethenovelideaAlternate Cover
6-May: herestohappyendingsQ&A
7-May: brooke-reports Sage Character Interview
9-May: undeniably book nerdyFancast

Saturday, April 22, 2017

New Shelf Goodies & The Weekly Nutshell {189}

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)


Here's the lovely things that graced my doorstep this week:

A Million Junes by Emily Henry
I was honestly luke warm on Henry's debut, Love that Split the World, but this companion novel just sounds irresistable!
Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao
This sounds so good--but also has the potential to be a little too gruesome for me, with all the heart-eating and such lol. 
Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moira Fowley-Doyle
The Accident Season was one of my favorite reads last year so I couldn't be more excited to check out more from this author!
Doctor Who series (!!) by Adam Hargreaves
Ok, how cute is this?? I loved the original Mr. Men and Little Miss books by Roger Hargreaves when I was little. And now Hargreaves' son has carried on his father's legacy with these super cool renditions featuring Doctor Who!! 

Thank you so much to Penguin for sending these my way!

The Weekly Nutshell 
So this week, I didn't have much time to blog, but I did get my weekly WoW posted, this week featuring A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge. Sooo pretty. As for reading, I dove into Cold Summer for my upcoming blog tour review this Thursday, and spoiler alert people---I am loving this book!  I still have a little ways to finishing Umberland---I set it aside NOT because it's not wonderful lol, but because I wanted to be sure I got Cold Summer done!

My time off work is coming to end Monday (waaaaaaah D':), so it's back to the library for me. I mean lol, I like my job, but you know how it is. Plus it stinks that I was sick pretty much my whole time off. 😡 I did, however, have a fantastic first week with my Story Hero shop! :D  If you're interested, there are actually two giveaways going on right now--one on Twitter held by my fabulous friend Brittany (enter here!) and one on my Instagram to celebrate the grand opening! 

I finally saw Beauty and the Beast this week! LOL, I know, so late to the game. But health and stuff has just kept me away. Ahhh, I loved it. The original is so special to me--it was one of the movies hubby and I watched ALL the time when we were dating---so it was so incredible to see this remake done so well. I loved some of the new songs, too--- Evermore especially had me in tears. 

Anyone watch the new season of Doctor Who this week??? You know I did LOL. Surprisingly, I really liked the new companion! It almost always takes me a few episodes to get used to the newbie, and I was really pretty worried after the (crappy) sneak peek we got of her earlier this year. But I have to say,  I think Bill will make a great new companion! And I love that Matt Lucas' character, Nardole, is still around.  

That's it for my rambling--have a great week, everyone!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

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 Frances Hardinge

hitting shelves October 10th, 2017
from Amulet Books
A Skinful of Shadows is a dark YA historical fantasy set in the early part of the English Civil War. Kate is an illegitimate daughter of the aristocratic Fellmotte family, and as such, she shares their unique hereditary gift: the capacity to be possessed by ghosts. Reluctant to accept her appointed destiny as vessel for a coterie of her ancestors, she escapes. As she flees the pursuing Fellmottes across war-torn England, she accumulates a motley crew of her own allies, including outcasts, misfits, criminals, and one extremely angry dead bear. From Costa Book of the Year winner Frances Hardinge comes a new dark historical fantasy that’s sure to satisfy her leagues of fans who are eager for more.

My thoughts:  I've been curious about this author for ages but have never gotten around to reading one of her books. They all sound pretty amazing, and this one is no exception! Ghostly possession, an escape from an unwanted life, and an intriguing time setting. All things that having me dying to read it!  Not to mention, this gorgeous cover. Seriously, Amulet is killing it this coming season with their cover designs: exhibit A, exhibit B, and now this one. :) 

What book are you eagerly anticipating this week?

Sunday, April 16, 2017

New Shelf Goodies & The Weekly Nutshell {188}

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)


Here's what goodies landed on my doorstep this week!
The Dastardly Miss Lizzie by Viola Carr
Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy
North of Happy by Adi Alsaid
Because You Love to Hate Me sampler
Some interesting stuff this week! I'm curious about North of Happy as I haven't heard much about it. So many awesome names on that sampler!! Plus I'm curious about the author/blogger-youtuber pairings for these stories! Including one by Whitney of Whitty Novels (who, incidentally, is also the one who traded with me for Ramona Blue! Thanks, Whitney!).

Thanks to HarperCollins, Harlequin, and Bloomsbury for the review copies!

The Weekly Nutshell
First off, Happy Easter to my bloggy friends who celebrate the holiday! I hope everyone is having a good weekend dying eggs and eating good food---or maybe just have a lovely day of reading and Netflix binging. ;D  Either sounds wonderful.  This week on the blog I posted my weekly WoW pick, Girl Made of Snow and Glass and it's icy gorgeous cover. Then two awesome blog tours stopped here: First We Were Four on Thursday with some author insight on that mysterious title, and on Friday, Lucy Keating's Literally made a delicious appearance that featured one of my favorite things---ice cream!! On the reading front, I'm nearly done with Umberland and it's quite a crazy ride!

But the biggest news I want to share with everyone has to do with the little project I've mentioned a few times before...I opened an etsy shop!! I mentioned a while back that I'd tried my hand at making a few book covers/sleeves/whatever you want to call them lol, and after playing with a few designs and constructions, and getting as creative as I could with them, I've finally ended up with a product that I love!  If it's something that interests you, please click over and check out my new shop! :D

Story Hero on Etsy

I just did a sort of soft opening this weekend, but if you follow me on Instagram, keep an eye out for a Grand Opening giveaway happening this coming week!

In other news, thank you all for the well wishes last week.  I am feeling much better, have one more test at the hospital coming up this week. BUT how's this for crappy luck: I just started feeling better from this "other thing" and suddenly I get slammed with allergies. And on my nice little 9-day staycation from work, too!! Booooo.
Ah, well.  Gotta roll with the punches, I guess.

Have a great week, everyone!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Literally by Lucy Keating: It's All About the Ice Cream! {guest post & recipe}

Today I've got a delicious little post for you that's all about 
Literally 
by Lucy Keating

*AND* 

it's about something that Lucy Keating and main character, Annabelle, and ME all have in common.  A particular love of ice cream.  So read on...Lucy's gonna share what ice cream means to her, what part it plays in the story, and then I'm gonna show you how to make a particularly significant-to-the-story flavor of the yummy stuff! Let's begin! :D


by Lucy Keating
♦publisher: HarperTeen
♦release date: April 11th, 2017
♦hardcover, 256 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦stand-alone
A girl realizes her life is being written for her in this unique, smart love story that is Stranger Than Fiction for fans of Stephanie Perkins.

Annabelle’s life has always been Perfect with a capital P. Then bestselling young adult author Lucy Keating announces that she’s writing a new novel—and Annabelle is the heroine. 

It turns out, Annabelle is a character that Lucy Keating created. And Lucy has a plan for her. 

But Annabelle doesn’t want to live a life where everything she does is already plotted out. Will she find a way to write her own story—or will Lucy Keating have the last word? 

The real Lucy Keating’s delightful contemporary romance blurs the line between reality and fiction, and is the perfect follow-up for readers who loved her debut Dreamology, which SLJ called, “a sweet, quirky romance with appealing characters.”
 

*       *       *       *       *       *

Guest post with Lucy Keating:
ICE CREAM!!

Anyone who knows me, even at a great distance, could tell you that choosing a “favorite dessert” is akin to asking me what my favorite book is. Or my favorite band. It’s like putting me in a pen filled with puppies and telling me to choose the cutest. Yeah, right. The point is: sugar is my kryptonite. I don’t get too worked up over food, freak out about fancy restaurants, or watch a ton of cooking shows…but if you take me to a bakery I will want to try everything single morsel they have, and The Great British Bakeoff was the most riveting television experience of my life (and it also makes an appearance in LITERALLY!). Ice cream is truly my jam, though. It’s the only cooking class I’ve ever taken, I own a pretty fancy ice cream maker (even though I do not own a microwave or toaster at present…priorities). My sister in law once said that ice cream doesn’t survive a night in the fridge at the Keating’s. And it’s true! We all love it, and are all sneaky late night culprits.

For this reason, in LITERALLY, I made ice cream a part of Annabelle’s life too. She and I do not have a lot in common. She is extremely organized, on top of all her schoolwork, loathes her family dog, and doesn’t know how to color outside the lines. I do keep a freakishly organized calendar, like her, but that’s about it. I never know where my keys/phone/wallet are. I am late to most things. The outfit I wear depends mostly on which pair of jeans I arbitrarily pull from my laundry bin. It sounds silly, but Annabelle loving ice cream was a way for me to humanize a very uptight character, and understand her better. And, it’s a big moment in her relationship with Will. But why, I can’t say! You’ll have to read to find out.

•ABOUT THE AUTHOR•

Lucy lives in San Francisco, California. She grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, attended Williams College in the Berkshires, and still misses the East Coast very much. 

When she's not writing, Lucy can usually be found obsessing over the latest music, inventing new flavors of ice cream, or having what she feels are perfectly acceptable conversations with her dog, Ernie.

You can follow Lucy on Instagram @lucy.keating, and Ernie The Dog @ernsboberns

WEBSITE    TWITTER    INSTAGRAM    GOODREADS

Purchase LITERALLY: 


*       *       *       *       *       *

Sea Salt Creamery's 
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream
(Brace yourselves, people---this is just as delicious as it sounds)


Ingredients:
•5 egg yolks
•1/2 cup sugar
• 1 cup milk 
• 1 cup heavy whipping cream
• 1/4 cup chocolate liqueur 
• 1 tsp vanilla
•6 oz semi-sweet chocolate
•1/2 tsp sea salt
•1 bag of mini reese's peanut butter cups, each one quartered.

In a small bowl, melt the chocolate in a microwave, 30 seconds at a time until melted, stirring between each time.  Separately, lightly beat eggs yolks and then stir together eggs, sugar, milk, cream, liqueur, and vanilla in a medium saucepan. Heat mixture over medium heat, stirring often to keep the milk from scorching. When it just starts to boil, remove from heat. Whisk in the chocolate until incorporated and smooth. 

Pour mixture into a shallow pan.  Allow to cool about 10 minutes, until there is no steam coming off of it.  Mixture will have thickened quite a bit already. Cover with plastic wrap, settling the wrap right onto the surface of the mixture to keep a film from forming.  Freeze this for 1 to 2 hours (can be frozen overnight).

Pour mixture into ice cream maker and follow manufacturer's instructions for your ice cream maker.  In the last few minutes of churning, when ice cream is almost done, drop in peanut butter cups a handful at a time. Sprinkle sea salt a pinch at a time. Churn the ice cream a bit between each addition. This will evenly swirl the mixtures into the ice cream.

Ice creams with liquor in them generally take a few hours after churning to freeze completely. Or you can serve this right away as soft serve. ;) 

*       *       *       *       *       *
GIVEAWAY!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

One last thing, guys! Don't miss out on any of the previous tour stops!

4/3 - Evie Bookish - Tote Design
4/4 - The Books Buzz - Creative Post
4/5 - YA and Wine - Review
4/6 - The YA Book Traveler - Q&A
4/7 - Book Nerd Addict - Review

4/10 - Little Lillie Reads -Review
4/11 - Brittany's Book Rambles - Fav Quotes
4/12 - A Book and a Cup of Coffee - Review
4/13 - It Starts At Midnight - Guest Post & Review
4/14 - Stories & Sweeties - Recipe & Guest Post

Thursday, April 13, 2017

First We Were IV by Alexandra Sirowy {story behind the title & giveaway}

Hello! Today I'm hosting the blog tour stop for Alexandra Sirowy's 
FIRST WE WERE IV
Read on for a guest post from Alexandra, where she'll tell us all about the conception of the title, and a tour-wide giveaway!


by Alexandra Sirowy
♦publisher: Simon & Schuster BYR
♦release date: July 25th, 2017
♦hardcover, 448 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦stand-alone
It started for pranks, fun, and forever memories.
A secret society – for the four of us. 
The rules: Never lie. Never tell. Love each other.
We made the pledge and danced under the blood moon on the meteorite in the orchard. In the spot we found the dead girl five years earlier. And discovered the ancient drawings way before that. 
Nothing could break the four of us apart – I thought.
But then, others wanted in. Our seaside town had secrets. History.
We wanted revenge.
We broke the rules. We lied. We told. We loved each other too much, not enough, and in ways we weren’t supposed to. 
Our invention ratcheted out of control.
What started as a secret society, ended as justice. Revenge. Death. Rebellion.

*       *       *       *       *       *
Guest post with Alexandra Sirowy
The Story Behind the Title:

The title for my upcoming book, FIRST WE WERE IV, came to me almost as soon as the first impulse of “I want to write a book about four best friends who start a secret society to play vigilante-pranks, but it ratchets way out of control and twists into a weapon of revenge, costing all of them something, and one of them everything” did. A chaotic impulse, I know.
This title was with me from the beginning and I never considered another because FIRST WE WERE IV cuts right to the bone of what the story is. The title helped to shape the book as I wrote. It evokes the books twisty, mysterious atmosphere. It’s also the first thing people ask about the book – what’s up with the title? What does it mean? Why use a Roman numeral?
The title hints at one of the book’s core mysteries. Four best friends – Izzie, Viv, Graham, and Harry – invent a secret society. Only three survive it. FWWIV begins with the end of their story. The aftermath. It begins with broken hearts and broken rules. It begins with a dead body.
I chose to use the Roman numeral IV for the same reason Viv tells the group they should name their secret society the Order of IV rather than the Order of Four – way more badass.

*       *       *       *       *       *
•ABOUT THE AUTHOR•


Alexandra Sirowy is the author of the young adult thrillers THE CREEPING, the Bram Stoker Award® Nominated THE TELLING, and the upcoming FIRST WE WERE IV. Alexandra attended a women's college as an undergrad and received her graduate degree in International Studies. When she isn't writing, she loves to travel, read, eat, and get into mischief. She lives with her husband in Northern California.

WEBSITE    TWITTER    INSTAGRAM    PINTEREST

Purchase First We Were IV: 

*INTERNATIONAL GIVEAWAY*

Don't miss any of the stops of the tour! 


Week 1
March 27: Brittany's Book Rambles - Intro Post + Excerpt

March 28: YA and Wine - Most Mischievous YA Characters 
March 29: Rattle the Pages - Nail Art
March 30: Book Nerd Addict - Inventing A Secret Society
March 31: Fables Library - YA Books with Secret Societies

Week 2
April 3: Emily Reads Everything - Fancast 

April 4: The Eater of Books - History of Secret Societies
April 5: It Starts At Midnight - Author Guest Post: FIRST WE WERE IV vs. Alexandra's Previous Books
April 6: BookCatPin - Mystery YA List
April 7: A Book and a Cup of Coffee - Moodboard

Week 3
April 10: The Book Buzz - YA Thrillers You Need to Know About

April 11: The Candid Cover - Bookworm Initiation Quiz
April 12: Girl in the Pages - Book Recs for First We Were IV Characters
April 13Stories and Sweeties - Author Guest Post - Story Behind the Title
April 14Little Lillie Reads - Playlist

Week 4
April 17: Literary Legionnaire - Favorite Quotes 

April 18Chapter by Chapter - Author Guest Post: Secret Society Initiation Rituals
April 19Tales of the Ravenous Reader - Secret Societies You Never Knew Existed
April 20YA Book Central - Author Guest Post:  3 Favorite Books About Secret Societies
April 21The Bookish Feels - Author's March Favorites

Week 5
April 24: Waiting For Wentworth - Author Guest Post: Secret Society Rules

April 25The Reader and the Chef - Book Inspired-Recipe 
April 26Forever Lost in Literature - Author Guest Post: What We Do For Friendship
April 27Flying Through Fiction - Favorite YA Friendships
April 28: One Way or an Author - Phone Wallpapers