Wednesday, December 29, 2010
by M.J. Putney
released March 1st, 2011 by St. Martin's Griffin
Lady Victoria Mansfield, youngest daughter of the Earl and
Countess of Fairmount, is destined for a charmed life. Soon she
will be presented during the London season, where she can choose a mate worthy of her status.
Yet Tory has a shameful secret—a secret so powerful that, if
exposed, it could strip her of her position and disgrace her family forever. Tory’s blood is tainted…by magic. When a shocking accident forces Tory to demonstrate her despised skill, the secret she’s fought so hard to hide is revealed for all to see. She is immediately exiled to Lackland Abbey, a reform school for young men and women in her position. There she will learn to suppress her deplorable talents and maybe, if she’s one of the lucky ones, be able to return to society.
But Tory’s life is about to change forever. All that she’s ever
known or considered important will be challenged. What lies
ahead is only the beginning of a strange and wonderful journey
into a world where destiny and magic come together, where true
love and friendship find her, and where courage and strength of
character are the only things that determine a young girl’s worth.
My thoughts: Ooooh, this one looks good. I love how they make it crystal clear that magic is undesirable by using razor-sharp but beautiful words like 'deplorable' and 'tainted'. :) I love words like that! That last paragraph of the description clinches it for me...this is bound to be a gripping and magical journey!
Monday, December 27, 2010
And just for fun: the 5 yet untitled or uncovered books that I am most excited for:
Supernaturally (Paranormalcy #2) by Kiersten White
Untitled Caster Chronicles #3 by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
In the Forest of the Night (Goblin Wars #2) by Kersten White
Passion by Lauren Kate
Hourglass by Myra McIntyre
So...what are you anticipating in 2011?
Thursday, December 23, 2010
released: March 16, 2010
hardcover, 336 pages
intended audience: Young adult
source: purchased copy
description: Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton and her morbid secret ability. While the sixteen-year-old is confused by her new feelings for her best friend since childhood, she is more disturbed by her "power" to sense dead bodies—or at least those that have been murdered. Since she was a little girl, she has felt the echoes the dead leave behind in the world . . . and the imprints that attach to their killers.
Violet has never considered her strange talent to be a gift; it mostly just led her to find dead birds her cat left for her. But now that a serial killer is terrorizing her small town, and the echoes of the local girls he's claimed haunt her daily, Violet realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.
Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet find the murderer—and Violet is unnerved by her hope that Jay's intentions are much more than friendly. But even as she's falling intensely in love, Violet is getting closer and closer to discovering a killer . . . and becoming his prey herself.
Review: Since I read The Body Finder so late in the game, I'd obviously heard things about it. Wonderful things. From my fellow bloggers. From my best friend who borrowed my copy ages ago. Everyone raved. So needless to say. I cracked open this books with some very high expectations. And guess what? It lived up to every one of them. A few posts ago, I posted a list of my favorite debuts of 2010...this one is officially added.
Kimberely Derting knows how to write. She knows how to make your skin crawl by making you look through the eyes of a killer. She knows how to give a reader a make-out scene that will bring color and heat to her (or his!) cheeks. She's given us the sweetest friendship around with years of history behind it. And she's given us a new kind of paranormal gift mixed with the typical teenage dilemmas and emotional conflict that made our protagonist a perfect balance of bravery, determination, youth, and vulnerability. There were several amazing moments where the suspense and fear would build and I swear, while reading, my eyes would get bigger and bigger and I would catch myself holding my breath until the scene became clear. Your suspicions would be drawn one way and then the other. This book was quite an experience...an experience that I absolutely loved! I could go on and on, but probably not without saying something that would ruin the suspense. I will say it's probably the most deserving book of the "paranormal romance" title out there, as it's heavy on both! I could see this appealing to both readers of paranormal romance and readers of contemporary romance who tend to shy away from a majority of the paranormal stuff, because the story of Violet and Jay is just so amazingly swoon-worthy!
So if you haven't already, get yourself a copy and read this right away!
The second installment in this series is due out February 11, 2010!! I can't wait!
Purchase The Body Finder at: Amazon • BN.com • BookDepository
(If you'd like to see my reviews for these, go to the Reviews tab at the top...all reviews are listed alphabetically!)
Find out more about Persnickety Snark's FIVE Challenge here!
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
This post is all about the EYE CANDY. Enjoy!
A few runner's up:
A Blue So Dark by Holly Schindler
Knight Angels by Abra Ebner
Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman
2011 is going to be a fabulous year in Hyperion sequels---not only do we have Demonglass coming out (which I already gushed over a few WoWs ago!) but we have these two to look forward to as well:
From Bad to Cursed (Bad Girls Don't Die #2) by Kate Alender
releasing June 30th, 2011 from Hyperion CH
Alexis is the last girl you’d expect to sell her soul. She already has everything she needs–an adorable boyfriend, the perfect best friend, and a little sister who’s finally recovering after being possessed by an evil spirit, then institutionalized.
Alexis is thrilled when her sister joins a club; new friends are just what Kasey needs. It’s strange, though, to see how fast the girls in The Sunshine Club go from dorky and antisocial to gorgeous and popular. Soon Alexis learns that the girls have pledged an oath to a seemingly benevolent spirit named Aralt. Worried that Kasey’s in over her head again, Alexis and her best friend Megan decide to investigate by joining the club themselves. At first, their connection with Aralt seems harmless. Alexis trades in her pink hair and punky clothes for a mainstream look, and quickly finds herself reveling in her newfound elegance and success.
Instead of fighting off the supernatural, Alexis can hardly remember why she joined in the first place. Surely it wasn’t to destroy Aralt…why would she hurt someone who has given her so much, and asked for so little in return?
My thoughts: Bad Girls Don't Die was a recent favorite of mine---it was visual and creepy and just plain amazing. I can't wait to step back into Alexis's world of cool photography and creepy little sisters! :) As you can see, this cover is not final, but I think it compliments the first book's cover perfectly so I'm hoping they keep it!
Queen of the Dead (Ghost and the Goth #2)
by Stacey Kade
releasing June 7th 2011 from Hyperion CH
After being sent back from the light, Alona Dare–former homecoming queen, current Queen of the Dead–finds herself doing something she never expected: working. Instead of spending days perfecting her tan by the pool (her typical summer routine when she was, you know, alive), Alona must now cater to the needs of other lost spirits. By her side for all of this, ugh, “helping of others” is Will Killian: social outcast, seer of the dead, and someone Alona cares about more than she’d like.
Before Alona can make a final ruling on Will’s “friend” or “more” status, though, she discovers trouble at home. Her mom is tossing out Alona’s most valuable possessions, and her dad is expecting a new daughter with his wicked wife. Is it possible her family is already moving on? Hello?! She’s only been dead for two months! Thankfully, Alona knows just the guy who can put a stop to this mess.
Unfortunately for Alona, Will has other stuff on his mind, and Mina, a young (and beautiful) seer, is at the top of the list. She’s the first ghost-talker Will’s ever met—aside from his father—and she may hold answers to Will’s troubled past. But can she be trusted? Alona immediately signs her name in the “clearly not” column. But Will is, ahem, willing to find out, even if it means leaving a hurt and angry Alona to her own devices, which is never a good idea.
My thoughts: Loved Ghost & The Goth...just the cutest story ever, despite the fact that it starts with a girl getting hit by a bus. Stacey Kade's writing is so spot on that this unique story goes from hilarious to spooky seamlessly. I can't wait to see what is in store for this series!
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Today's top 5 is about GREAT DEBUTS of 2010! And, man, were there a lot of great debuts this year. Paring this list down was hard, but here are my top five:
Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus
This one is in my top five books of the year, debut or not. I loved this book with it's hint of mystery, it's unique take on the paranormal and Anastasia's amazing writing style. See my full review here.
Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
Even before this one came out, I couldn't wait to read it because a)the cover is to-die-for gorgeous, and b) I'd already gotten hooked on Kiersten White's hilarious blog posts. In my mind, someone who writes such an entertaining blog couldn't possible put out a book that was less than amazing! Which it was! See my review here.
Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
This book was such a fun one...it had a little of everything: an intriguing storyline, fun well-written characters, lots of good spooky moments, and the perfect amount of romance. I have the second book sitting here on my shelf and I can't wait to get to it!!
See my full review here.
Jane by April Lindner
Jane was amazing. I went in blind---having never read Jane Eyre before, but this one completely enthralled me. The characters were complex and fascinating. The way Lindner brought the age-old story so seamlessly into the modern age was perfect. If you haven't read this already, do so asap, I tell you! See my full review here.
Tyger Tyger by Kersten Hamilton
I just read this one recently so it's still fresh in my mind, but honestly---I think it will stay that way for awhile! Amazing storytelling, a sweet romantic undercurrent, danger, Irish mythology,...but my favorite part of the story was the relationship between the main character, Teagan, and her little brother, Aiden. Brilliant stuff! See my full review here.
Monday, December 20, 2010
publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
released: December 14, 2010
hardcover, 421 pages
intended audience: Young Adult
Jazz . . . Booze . . . Boys . . . It’s a dangerous combination.
Every girl wants what she can’t have. Seventeen-year-old Gloria Carmody wants the flapper lifestyle—and the bobbed hair, cigarettes, and music-filled nights that go with it. Now that she’s engaged to Sebastian Grey, scion of one of Chicago’s most powerful families, Gloria’s party days are over before they’ve even begun . . . or are they?
Clara Knowles, Gloria’s goody-two-shoes cousin, has arrived to make sure the high-society wedding comes off without a hitch—but Clara isn’t as lily-white as she appears. Seems she has some dirty little secrets of her own that she’ll do anything to keep hidden. . . .
Lorraine Dyer, Gloria’s social-climbing best friend, is tired of living in Gloria’s shadow. When Lorraine’s envy spills over into desperate spite, no one is safe. And someone’s going to be very sorry. . . .
From debut author Jillian Larkin, VIXEN is the first novel in the sexy, dangerous, and ridiculously romantic new series set in the Roaring Twenties . . . when anything goes.
Review: This books was a completely surprise to me. When I received this one for review, I hadn't given it much thought, and it definitely wasn't one that I was really excited about. Despite my love of the flapper era, the cover and the synopsis didn't grab me. With that said, I couldn't be more grateful that this one was sent to me out of the blue---or I would have missed out!
Jillian Larkin's writing draws you so completely into both the glamorous and the gritty side of the twenties. You can practically smell the booze and smoke and feel the sway of the room of an underground speakeasy. You squirm in your seat at the snobbery and lofty expectation of the rich high society set. It was all there---the romance, the glittering gowns, the scandal, and the danger of living in a time that was also known for it's gangsters and prohibition.
Vixen follows the stories of three girls: Gloria, her best friend Lorraine, and her cousin Clara. All very different, but all struggling to figure out their lives. Each wants something more than the hand they've been dealt, whether that be a suffocating, loveless marriage, or constantly living in the shadow of someone else, or carrying around a big scandalous secret and a broken heart. The way each story unfolds and intertwines had me glued to the page.
The story touches on some pretty serious themes and I think that is what surprised me the most. It's not all cattiness and dresses and dancing. It's about loyalty, friendship, living in fear, living up to expectations, and trying to turn your life around. One of the most interesting things about this story was the love story between Gloria, a white, rich girl, and Jerome, a black jazz pianist. This whole thing was beautifully, beautifully written. Because while in this day and age, people normally don't bat at eye about interracial couples(thank goodness), back in the twenties this would have been a very BIG deal.
You have to read this book to find out how it all plays out, but be prepared for a very steep cliffhanger!! I loved it and will be anxiously awaiting the next installment, Ingenue, due out in August 2011.
Random House has put together a fun website for Vixen...check it out here.
Purchase Vixen at: Amazon • BN.com • BookDepository
Trailer (seriously love this trailer!) :
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Here's what I got this week!
The Ancillary's Mark by Daniel Cohen
The author contacted me to review this one, and I'm so glad he did..the story sounds amazing. Seriously, amazing. Excited to start it.
Death Cloud (Sherlock Holmes, The Legend Begins #1) by Andy Lane
Excited for this one, too! It's the first teen series endorsed by the Arthor Conan Doyle estate! How cool is that??
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
Will be reading this one soon---right after I stock up on a few more boxes of kleenex.
A Time of Miracles by Anne-Laure Bondoux
Might have to save a few boxes of tissue for this one, too.
Wonder (A Thief of Life Novel) by Christi Watson
One more from another awesome indie author, sent in ebook form---this one really looks interesting and sounds like a new take on vampires? Curious...
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
And after I read those two tear-jerkers above, this one will be sure to cheer me up. It looks so cute and, of course, everyone is raving about it, so I'm curious to see what all the buzz is about! :)
So that's all for me this week!! :) What's in your mailbox?
Thursday, December 16, 2010
The Lost Saint releases in just less than two weeks, and I can't wait to get my hands on it!! I loved The Dark Divine---it was the very first book I reviewed here on Stories & Sweeties! :D
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
by Carolyn Turgeon
releasing on March 3rd, 2011 from Crown Publishing (Random House)
The story of two very different women, one mortal, one mermaid, and the clash between worlds best kept apart... It is a cold day at the end of the world when a young woman, a princess in hiding, looks out across a Northern sea and sees something she could not have seen. It looks...it can't be. It looks like a mermaid's tail. And, as she looks more closely, she sees that the mermaid is dragging a drowning sailor in her arms. Because, only hours before, another princess, the daughter of the sea queen, has decided to risk everything and take a look at the world above the sea: the world of mortals. And there she finds a storm, a shipwreck, a sailor, and sets in train events which will change both women's worlds forever.
My thoughts: Isn't this cover stunning? And the story, I'm not sure if it's based on a fairy tale or not, but it certainly sounds like a fairy tale to me! This sounds like its going to be a quick, fun, very exciting read! I can't wait!
release date: December 28, 2010
hardcover, 208 pages
intended audience: Young adult
source: from publisher for review
Kate Tapert sees her life in paintings. Yet one place she never sees her life is in the work of the famous and reclusive artist Dalton Quinn—her father, whom she hasn’t seen or heard from in nearly ten years. Now Kate has an art dream of her own, and a scholarship to art school to help make it a reality. The last piece to the puzzle is staying with her father, which means it’s time for Kate to work her way into Dalton’s life, into his mind, and into his heart, whether he likes it or not.
Review: This is the first book that I've ever sat down with, dove into the first pages and before I knew it, it was 3 hours and 200 pages later. I closed it with a heavy sigh. I held it in my hands for few minutes after and had to literally wait for the hypnotic grip it had on my senses to pass. While it was a short read---a little over 200 pages is quite short by normal standards, it was completely intriguing all the way through.
The main character, Kate, is an artist. The first-person present tense that the story is written in really puts you right into her world and lets you see things through her eyes. What makes this even more interesting is that she seems to look at the entire world around her with the eyes of a painter. Colors are described by the acrylic color she would use to capture them in a painting. Trees and places and buildings are taken in with the consideration of how she would portray them. It's a completely unique way to see through the eyes of a character and makes it easy to get a sense of who Kate is.
Its a story about a broken family, about a girl and her dreams, and keeping a tight hold on those dreams even when sacrifices have to be made. This was not always an easy read. Her father was cruel and angry and I often wondered how she found the strength to stay near him. My heart would break for her every time she would get glimpses of hope and then be dumped on almost in the same breath. Yes, I even shed a tear or two while reading this one.
While I found the ending a little predictable, it was how the story needed to end. All in all, a powerful and satisfying story---one that is definitely worth a read.
Favorite quote: I force myself to sit quietly in my seat as everything familiar disappears. I have qualms and wonder what a qualm would look like if you painted it, probably like a bowl of melting ice cream or a dish of Jell-O just before it sets.
Visit Gloria's site here.
Purchase See What I See at : Amazon ~ BN.com ~ Indiebound
Monday, December 13, 2010
publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
released November 9, 2010
hardcover, 322 pages
intended audience: Young adult
source: From publisher through Netgalley
Teagan Wylltson's best friend, Abby, dreams that horrifying creatures--goblins, shape-shifters, and beings of unearthly beauty but terrible cruelty--are hunting Teagan. Abby is always coming up with crazy stuff, though, so Teagan isn't worried. Her life isn't in danger. In fact, it's perfect. She's on track for a college scholarship. She has a great job. She's focused on school, work, and her future. No boys, no heartaches, no problems.
Until Finn Mac Cumhaill arrives. Finn's a bit on the unearthly beautiful side himself. He has a killer accent and a knee-weakening smile. And either he's crazy or he's been haunting Abby's dreams, because he's talking about goblins, too . . . and about being The Mac Cumhaill, born to fight all goblin-kind. Finn knows a thing or two about fighting. Which is a very good thing, because this time, Abby's right. The goblins are coming.
Review: I'm always game for a good jaunt into the world of fairies, goblins, and other fantastical creatures. I've read all kinds of these books, there are ton of them out there in YA and MG fiction. Tyger Tyger, however, was exceptional. I loved it. The story has it all: action, heartbreak, Irish mythology, lots of danger, and a somewhat subdued love story that I'm sure we'll get to indulge in more in the follow-up books to this series! I can't wait!
I love how the story unfolded. First you meet Teagan; she is just a normal girl with a strong sense of where she wants to go in life, hard-working and focused on her goals. The relationship between her and her little brother, Aiden, was one of the best parts of the book. I really loved how they spoke sign language to eachother, and it definitely came in handy in dangerous times! The truth about who they are and who Finn is, and why they are all mixed up in this dangerous legendary world reveals itself at such a perfect pace that this book never dropped my attention. I was engaged all the way through!
I became endeared to so many characters in this book, the kind of characters you never forget: Teagan, Aiden, Finn, Mamieo, Raynor Shine, even Mrs. Santini...by the end of the book, each one had won a special place in my heart. They each had their strengths and weaknesses, but all knew what had to be done to make it through this adventure and it was done with bravery and selflessness, without a second thought.
As you can tell, I cannot recommend this book enough! If you haven't picked this one up, run out and get it now!! :)
Visit Kersten's website here.
Purchase Tyger Tyger at: Amazon • BN.com • BookDepository
Sunday, December 12, 2010
18 Nilla Wafers
1 bag frozen peaches, unsweetened (thawed)
1/2 cup apple juice or cider
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp sugar
2-8oz packages of cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
For crumb topping:
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup cold butter (don't use margarine for this!)
Dice peaches and dry slightly with a paper towel. In a small saucepan, whisk together apple juice, cornstarch, sugar, and cinnamon until completely dissolved. Bring to a full boil while stirring constantly and remove from heat when it starts to thicken. Fold this into peaches in a bowl and set aside.
Put a vanilla wafer at the bottom of each cupcake liner. In a medium bowl, beat together cream cheese, egg, sugar, and vanilla. Pour into cupcake liners, about 3/4 of the way full. This should give you about 18 tarts.
Bake at 350○ F for ten minutes. Remove from oven. Tarts should be just barely starting to firm up. Drop a spoonful of peach mixture over each tart and return to oven. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes until cheesecake is firm.
Bake the crumb topping: Mix all ingredients together ( I use my hands for this) until a small crumb forms. Spread mixture onto a foil-lined cookie sheet, lightly sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake for 15 minutes. Let cool completely and then break up into small crumbs. Top cheesecake tarts with crumbs and place in refrigerator until to serve.
Most people will tell you to refrigerate for an hour---I say, these are darn good served just a little bit warm. :)
First off, sorry about the lack of posts this week! Man, December hits and it's just busy, busy, busy around here...generally things don't slow down until the end of January (after hubby and I do our birthday celebrating---his is the day before mine)! Eek, no reviews posted this week, but I just finished Tyger, Tyger (so good!!) so I'll be reviewing that this week. Also later today, look for some yummy peach crumble cheesecake tarts for Sweetness on Sunday!! :P
So, this week in my mailbox, I got:
Black Radishes by Susan Lynn Meyers
Human Blend by Lori Pescatore
The Demon Trapper's Daughter by Jana Oliver
(thanks to Random House, Lori Pescatore, and LibraryThing Early Reviewers for these!)
Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton
Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
(Thanks to Mary from Sparkling Reviews!! Very excited to read both of these!!)
So that was my fabulous book week! Show me what you got in your mailboxes!!
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
by Laura Jane Cassidy
releasing May 5th, 2011 from Puffin Books
Jacki King is fifteen and adjusting to her new life in a small village. She's missing Dublin but she's making new friends: artistic Colin, feisty Emily - and Nick, gorgeous yet unavailable. But no sooner is Jacki settled than the torturous headaches and nightmares begin - followed by strange visions, voices and signs...Jacki refuses to believe that something paranormal is happening. But then she discovers the unsolved murder that occurred in the village years before ...
A story set in Ireland, paranormal wierdness going on, and a "gorgeous yet unavailable" guy with an Irish accent. YEAH, this book has my attention . ;P And that cover..so cool, like someone's trying to taking a picture but a ghost walks in front of the camera. Not sure if this is going to be released in the US---anyone know? May have to head to BookDepository to snag a copy of this one. Oh, but I will!
Monday, December 6, 2010