Friday, September 30, 2011

September RAK Wrap-up!

This month, once again I participated in Book Soulmates fantastic Random Acts of Kindness feature! This is such a fun feature, and a great way to spread a little sunshine among your fellow booklovers! The button below links to the Book Soulmates website, so you can get all the info and join in!!

Here's what I sent out this month:
To Michelle & Leslie at Michelle & Leslie's Book Picks:
Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini
(think i might have actually sent this in August, but it was received in September!)

To Alyssa (no blog, just a booklover! :D) :
Hooked by Catherine Greenman
Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

Here's what I received:
Angel Burn by L.A. Weatherly

Thanks so much, again, Michelle! :D

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Review: All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin

All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin

publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux

release date: September 6th, 2011

hardcover, 354 pages

intended audience: Young adult


source: from publisher for honest review

In 2083, chocolate and coffee are illegal, paper is hard to find, water is carefully rationed, and New York City is rife with crime and poverty. And yet, for Anya Balanchine, the sixteen-year-old daughter of the city's most notorious (and dead) crime boss, life is fairly routine. It consists of going to school, taking care of her siblings and her dying grandmother, trying to avoid falling in love with the new assistant D.A.'s son, and avoiding her loser ex-boyfriend. That is until her ex is accidently poisoned by the chocolate her family manufactures and the police think she's to blame. Suddenly, Anya finds herself thrust unwillingly into the spotlight--at school, in the news, and most importantly, within her mafia family.

Review: I think the synopsis of this one will really hit a chord with a lot of people. I mean, really...who out there can imagine their day without the morning cup of coffee or tea. Or even more horrid, who can imagine a day when that little nip of daily chocolate (writing this as I crunch, crunch on my frozen thin mint cookies!) is grounds for arrest?? But the outlawing of these little luxuries that we all take for granted daily is not what this story is really about. This story is about Anya. I absolutely loved this character. She was so genuine, not perfectly brave or perfectly admirable by any means---but just authentic; sometimes flawed but doing her best by the people she cared about. As the oldest daughter of the former crime boss of chocolate, the girl had a lot to deal with, that is for sure. A crazy ex-boyfriend that unwittingly becomes the victim of mysterious chocolate poisoning, a lovely new boy whose father is the new assitant DA that can think of nothing else but how her name will look next to his in the papers, a grandmother who is on her deathbed, and a brother and sister, whom she fiercely cares for and does what she can to protect. Oh, and a gaggle of relatives that are still in the "business" and trying to rope her older (but younger minded) brother in. For one teenage girl, I'd say that's quite a handful. In spite of that, I think making the story about a girl trying to live down an ugly reputation, protect her family, and juggle in mundane things like school, boys, and vying for a spot at an exclusive summer camp, made her all the more easy to relate to, despite her unusual situations.

I love how with just the banning of two little things like chocolate and caffeine, Zevin created a world that had almost a throw-back feel to prohibition and the 20's. The chocolate manufacturers have become the new gangsters and mafia families, there are hot little speakeasies where chocolate and coffee are served up in secret, and grandma's got a hidden safe full of chocolate bars and loaded guns. The whole concept made for such an entertaining read. It was also interesting to read a dystopia where things aren't so far in the future that our own recognizable world has been erased. Anya's best friend's grandma still remembers using the term "omg", though no one can remember what it means. We even get a surprising little glimpse at Lady Liberty. I'm not really sure I would call it world-building...after all, it's only 70 years into the future. It's more a speculation on how little tweeks in our society might change the way our world works.

This was a really great book. Read, enjoy...but keep a little chocolate close by! :)

Visit Gabrielle Zevin's site here.

Purchase All These Things I've Done at: AmazonBN.comBookDepositoryIndiebound


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

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.

When the Sea is Rising Red
by Cat Hellisen

hitting shelves February 28th, 2012 from Farrar, Straus & Giroux

In sixteen-year-old Felicita’s world, magic is strictly controlled—or so those in power like to believe. After her dearest friend, Ilven, kills herself to escape an arranged marriage, Felicita chooses freedom over privilege. She fakes her own death and leaves her sheltered life as one of Pelimburg’s magical elite behind. Living in the slums, scrubbing dishes for a living, she falls for charismatic Dash while also becoming fascinated with vampire Jannik. Then something shocking washes up on the beach: Ilven’s death has called out of the sea a dangerous, wild magic. Felicita must decide whether her loyalties lie with the family she abandoned . . . or with those who would twist this dark power to destroy Pelimburg’s caste system, and the whole city along with it.

My thoughts: While the cover and cool title are nearly enough to sell me on this on their own, the description sounds just as amazing! So this is definitely one I'll be waiting on!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Review: Circle of Fire by Michelle Zink

Circle of Fire by Michelle Zink

publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

release date: August 1st, 2011

hardcover, 352 pages

intended audience: Young adult


Other books in the series:

Prophecy of the Sisters (
ardian of the Gate (review)

source: received from publisher for honest review

Warning! Description and review may contain slight spoilers for the previous books in the series. If you haven't read those, stop here!)

description: With time dwindling but her will to end the Prophecy stronger than ever, Lia sets out on a journey to find the remaining keys, locate the missing pages of the Prophecy, and convince her sister Alice to help--or risk her life trying. Lia has her beloved Dimitri by her side, but Alice has James, the man who once loved her sister--and maybe still does. James doesn't know the truth about either sister, or the prophecy that divides them. And Alice intends to keep it that way.

There are some secrets sisters aren't meant to share. Because when they do, it destroys them. This stunning conclusion to Michelle Zink's Prophecy of the Sisters trilogy will make saying good-bye bittersweet for readers.

Review: There are hardly words for how I feel about this one! I have loved this series from the beginning--- I was immediately drawn into the lush Victorian setting, the harsh dilemma of two twin sisters pitted on opposite sites of the fate of the world, all the amazing twists and turns that the story took. It was breathtaking. I literally put off reading this one a few times because I just didn't want it all to end, but the ending just blew me away. I'm looking forward to reading this whole series again.

One of the really unique things about this series is that while the common theme runs throughout and the main characters are all consistently compelling, each book was it's own adventure and each one had such a different feel from the others. With Circle of Fire, the first parts of the book have sort of a quiet feel, while Lia & company are doing what they can to locate the last pieces that they need to complete the prophecy . On top of that, she has this internal battle going on about who she can trust among her friends and also begins really feeling the loss of her sister. There is also a tension there when her sister announces her engagement to Lia's ex, James---who, of course, has been completely kept in the dark about the prophecy. You can feel Lia's emotions, all her self-doubt and confusion, her sadness as she starts to say goodbye because the possibility that she could fail becomes more and more real. The whole story moves along with a kind of underlying hum of urgency and intensity as the time before the gate must be closed runs out.

One of my favorite things is that among all this seriousness, there is Dimitri. He is solid and dependable, protective, and completely devoted to Lia and helping her in any way he can. He is right there with support, both emotionally and physically. Best of all, his easy sense of humor was exactly what the story and Lia's character needed to keep things from getting too tense and feeling completely hopeless.

The ending is explosive! It could just be me (I can't say I try too hard to guess endings of books as I'm reading---I like to let things unfold themselves), but the turn of events completely took me by surprise, left me gasping in shock and wiping away tears. I don't think I ever could have imagined a more gratifying conclusion to this wonderful series. I'll definitely be counting the days to the release of Michelle Zinks's next series, Temptation of Angels, in 2012!

Visit Michelle Zink's site here.

Purchase Prophecy of the Sisters at: AmazonBN.comBookDesositoryIndiebound


Saturday, September 24, 2011

In My Mailbox {85}

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren, where we all share what we got during the week!

Just one for me this week---but one that I am absolutely excited about! I was very good girl today and even went to Barnes and came out empty handed (although I went there hoping to spot early copies of Lola and the Boy Next Door and The Faerie Ring and would have totally snagged them if they'd been there, throwing "being a good girl" to the wind! But hey...).

For review:
Incarnate by Jodi Meadows
Love the cover of this one, love the concept of old souls/new souls, love that its a 2012 debut! :D
Thank you, HarperTeen!

So what fantastic things graced your mailbox this week??

Friday, September 23, 2011

Book Trailers: Liesl & Po and The Faerie Ring

Two new beautiful trailers to share this week! Uh...think The Faerie Ring might have been around for awhile, so it may just be me that it's new to LOL, but oh's lovely and I want to show it off! :D Both of these make me even more excited to read these!

First up: Leisl & Po, featuring and exclusive song called "A Train with Wings".

Be sure to check out the awesome website for Liesl & Po, too! HERE!

And The Faerie Ring (which I don't think I'll be able to resist buying this week!):

So,..who's as excited about these two as me???

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

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.

The Vanishing Game
by Kate Kae Myers

hitting shelves February 14th, 2012 from Bloomsbury USA

Jocelyn's twin brother Jack was the only family she had growing up in a world of foster homes-and now he's dead, and she has nothing. Then she gets a cryptic letter from "Jason December"-the code name her brother used to use when they were children at Seale House, a terrifying foster home that they believed had dark powers. Only one other person knows about Jason December: Noah, Jocelyn's childhood crush and their only real friend among the troubled children at Seale House.

But when Jocelyn returns to Seale House and the city where she last saw Noah, she gets more than she bargained for. Turns out the house's powers weren't just a figment of a childish imagination. And someone is following Jocelyn. Is Jack still alive? And if he is, what kind of trouble is he in? The answer is revealed in a shocking twist that turns this story on its head and will send readers straight back to page 1 to read the book in a whole new light.

My thoughts: This sounds like a fun and spine-tingling story! Love twin stories and old creepy houses with mysterious powers. Fantastic, unique cover, too!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Review: The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann

The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann

publisher: Aladdin

release date: August 30th, 2011

hardcover, 390 pages

intended audience: Middle grade (9-12)


source: from publisher for Kismet book tour


Every year in Quill, thirteen-year-olds are sorted into categories: the strong, intelligent Wanteds go to university, and the artistic Unwanteds are sent to their deaths.

Thirteen-year-old Alex tries his hardest to be stoic when his fate is announced as Unwanted, even while leaving behind his twin, Aaron, a Wanted. Upon arrival at the destination where he expected to be eliminated, however, Alex discovers a stunning secret—behind the mirage of the "death farm" there is instead a place called Artime.

In Artime, each child is taught to cultivate their creative abilities and learn how to use them magically, weaving spells through paintbrushes and musical instruments. Everything Alex has ever known changes before his eyes, and it's a wondrous transformation.

But it's a rare, unique occurence for twins to be separated between Wanted and Unwanted, and as Alex and Aaron's bond stretches across their separation, a threat arises for the survival of Artime that will pit brother against brother in an ultimate, magical battle.

Review: Positively enchanting, and every bit the wonderful work that I have come to expect when I pick up a book by this author. I loved Lisa McMann's Dreamcatcher series and Cryer's Cross, so I was excited to see what she would do for a middle grade audience. I was certainly not disappointed. I love the premise of this, and I especially love how this story was conceived---it came about when the author found out that several art programs were going to be cut out of her kids' school. I hate how often I hear about this kind of thing happening everywhere, but love that it became a story sparker for McMann!

The Unwanteds certainly has a dark and hopeless feeling at the beginning. You first meet the main character and his twin brother as they are basically sent to a sort of "judgement" ceremony to decide who will be a useful addition to the society of Quill...and who will be disposed of. Literally. Those who are rejected are sent the Death Farm to be thrown into a lake of boiling oil. Yikes. Needless to say, one twin is excepted and the other is not. As soon as the rejected children are sent away, the rest of Quill, including their families are ordered to forget all about them. Harsh. Especially harsh is the fact that the reason these children are disposed of is because they showed some sign of creativity and imagination.

Thankfully, the kids are all shocked when they find themselves, not boiling in a lake of oil, but secretly transported to a hidden land called Artimè, where creativity and imagination are encouraged. The kid are taught to enhance whatever their individual strengths are, and are ultimately taught to use their gifts along with magic to both create and defend themselves in the event that their world is ever discovered.

The whole story was such great world-building: the wonderful layered characters that you never quite knew where their loyalties would lie in the end, the many quirky and mysterious teachers, the cold, unfeeling conditioning of the people of Quill, and the many surprises that popped up throughout. It was heartbreaking at moments, especially where the two brothers were concerned, and I loved the little hints of young love thrown into the mix. While I don't like to make the comparison---I would definitely say that this as close to the feel of Harry Potter as I've read yet. A similar feeling of wonderment is there: the magic of finding this whole new world that was right out outside your door, the intense, unpredictable relationships and wonderful characters that are learning to be themselves and appreciate their different gifts. Yet the Unwanteds is, without a doubt, an amazing and unique tale that deserves to be appreciated in it's own right. This is definitely a great start to a series that I'm excited to continue!

Visit Lisa McMann's site here.

Purchase The Unwanteds at: Amazon BN.comBookDepitoryIndiebound


Saturday, September 17, 2011

In My Mailbox {84}

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren, where we all share what we got during the week!

So excited for everything I got this week!! Night Circus has been on must-have-asap list for ages, so I ran out as soon as I could and snagged a copy. Everneath looks gorgeous and sounds amazing, too--so Yay for that little surprise! You Against Me---well, it's funny, I never really had much interest in reading this one, but when I got it I read the first couple chapters and I am pretty much hooked; great authentic voice, super intense storyline! I can't wait to get back to it now! Destined looks absolutely amazing, so excited to take a look at this one---beautiful cover, mythology-based story. Good stuff. :D

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

For Review:
Everneath by Brodie Ashton
You Against Me by Jenny Downham

New on My Nook:Destined by Jessie Harrell

Many thanks to Balzer & Bray, Random House, & Jessie Harrell for the review copies!

What did you get in you're mailbox? Feel free to link me up!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Interview with P.T. Michelle & Brightest Kind of Darkness Giveaway!

I'm so happy to have an amazing author here to answer a few question today...P.T. Michelle! As you guys might have seen earlier this week, I reviewed her newest book, Brightest Kind of Darkness. I absolutely loved it (check out my review). So I asked her to come by for a visit at Stories & Sweeties!

Welcome, Patrice!

Describe Brightest Kind of Darkness
in your own words?

Brightest Kind of Darkness is a story about choosing your own path despite seemingly overwhelming obstacles. It’s about falling in love and forging a deep connection. And how that connection can redefine who you thought you were, helping you understand life doesn't have to be a lonely trip down a one-way highway, but instead a journey with many avenues and possibilities.

Is there a planned release schedule for the following books in the series?

The next story will be a novella (LUCID), which will bridge the gap of time between book 1 and book 2.

Can you tell a little about how you got interested in writing?

I’ve been an avid reader since I was a teen. It was after I’d spent a summer reading book after book (probably 60 or so) that I realized I wanted to be the person writing stories that made people sigh when they finished the book.

Tell us about your ideal writing space.

My ideal writing space is either my couch or bed. Anywhere comfortable, where I can open my laptop and start typing.

As a previously published author, what made you decide to self-publish this time around?

The industry changing is what made me decide to self-publish this time around. I’ve been published with small press publishers as well as by one of the biggest NY publishers, so I definitely went into this with my eyes wide open. Self-publishing is more upfront work, but I have to say…I love the freedom. I love being able to create my own cover—have it fit the vision I wanted. I like the ability to publish when the story is ready, and the total control over the price and the formats the book is available in.

Who are your favorite authors? What are you reading right now?

In YA, I love the work by my critique partners: Jeri Smith Ready (Shade series) and J.A Templeton (The Deepest Cut) as well as Lauren Oliver and Gayle Forman’s books. In adult, I just recently finished Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series. Really loved those books. I’m currently reading Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes.

What kind of books did you love to read as a teenager?

First it was fantasy novels, like Madeleine L'Engle's Wrinkle in Time series, then the entire Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis. Later, as an older teen, I found romances. I devoured historicals like crazy…until I discovered paranormals.

Which of the characters that you've written is your favorite? That’s a hard question.

Each character I write is my favorite while I’m writing them. I get so immersed in their world…that’s all I think about 24/7.

In your book, Nara fights against Fate. What about you…do you tend to leave things to fate?

Haha, no. I fight fate every step of the way. Nara’s need to control what’s happening around her…I’m not OCD about it like Nara, but I can definitely relate.

A Few Fun questions :)

Favorite snack while writing? Dark Chocolate (Ghirardelli Intense Dark Twilight Delight)

Favorite movie? I love the love story in Practical Magic—how the little girl, who’s mother died of a broken heart, didn’t ever want to feel the kind of hurt her mother had, so she cast a spell, wishing for her true love to be a man with a combination of skills so improbable, he couldn’t possibly exist. Except he did.

Favorite color? Purple

Favorite band and song right now? Adele. The whole 21 album. Her voice is so breath-catchingly soulful.

Favorite teacher from your school years? You know what’s funny…I don’t remember a favorite teacher. I've had several great teaches over the years. What I do remember was my high school English teacher snorting in disbelief when I told her I’d won the school’s poetry contest. After that, I was more determined than ever to become a writer. LOL!

And everyone who visits Stories & Sweeties answers this one: Do you like cupcakes? :) Frosting or cake better? I love cupcakes. For me, it takes BOTH the sugary-sweet frosting and the soft cake to make it truly enjoyable.

* * * * * * * *


One winner is going to receive an ebook of

Brightest Kind of Darkness!

Just fill out the ENTRY FORM HERE!
  • Open internationally
  • Must 13 or older
  • Enter by 11:59 PM (PST) on September 30th, 2011

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

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.

Life is But a Dream
by Brian James

hitting shelves March 27th, 2012 from Feiwel & Friends

Alec and Sabrina are crazy in love. Problem is: Sabrina’s really crazy.

Sabrina, an artist, is diagnosed with schizophrenia, and her parents check her into the Wellness Center. There she meets Alec, who is convinced it's the world that's crazy, not the two of them. They are meant to be together; they are special. But when Alec starts to convince Sabrina that her treatment will wipe out everything that makes her creative, she worries that she'll lose hold of her dreams and herself. Should she listen to her doctor? Her decision may have fatal consequences.

My thoughts: Gorgeous, and slightly disturbing cover, and the description has me intrigued and curious to see how a subject like this will be handled. I've always been drawn to stories about mental illness---Splendor in the Grass, Lisa Bright & Dark, Mad Love (the movie, not the recent book)---wonder what that says about me LOL. Anyhow, this looks great, possibly one get the kleenex out for.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Review: Brightest Kind of Darkness by P.T. Michelle

Brightest Kind of Darkness by P.T. Michelle

publisher: self-published (Patrice Michelle)

release date: June 27th 2011

Ebook (book will be in print this fall!)

intended audience: Young adult


source: purchased for Nook

Nara Collins is an average sixteen-year-old, with one exception: every night she dreams the events of the following day. Due to an incident in her past, Nara avoids using her special gift to change fate…until she dreams a future she can’t ignore.

After Nara prevents a bombing at Blue Ridge High, her ability to see the future starts to fade, while people at school are suddenly being injured at an unusually high rate.

Grappling with her diminishing powers and the need to prevent another disaster, Nara meets Ethan Harris, a mysterious loner who seems to understand her better than anyone. Ethan and Nara forge an irresistible connection, but as their relationship heats up, so do her questions about his dark past.

A funny little thing happened with this book that rarely happens to me: I bought this after seeing a good review of it on another blog (typical me, can't remember where exactly) and was furthermore drawn in by that breathtaking cover. Downloaded it, opened it up quickly to read the first few pages, you know, just to get a taste of the story and the voice. Well, after those first pages, I couldn't put it down. It went with me everywhere, got opened up in grocery store lines, at the pharmacy, even snuck in a few pages on the desk at work (shhhhh!). I was engulfed in Inara's story from start to finish.

Inara is a great character---pretty normal teenager except for the fact that she sees the events of her next day in her dreams the night before. She's had this gift for years and has become pretty dependent on her ability to keep on top of everything from homework, to friends, to soccer. She learned the hard way not to intervene---one attempt when she was little ended up with some pretty ugly repercussions, so she just lets the day play out as she foresees it. Until she dreams of a bomb going off at her school and can't stand by to let people die. So she calls in an anonymous tip about the bomb...and suddenly her dreams start to disappear almost completely. Really eerie things start to happen every time she tries to interfere from then on.

The day after the bomb-threat, she meets Ethan, a boy whose life she inadvertently saved by calling in the bomb. He's got a sketchy rumor-riddled past and he's a bit antisocial, but he's drawn to Nara, seems to know whenever she needs anything, and seems to be able to read her every thought almost before she has it. And yet, not the typical jump-in-and-save-the-girl Hero, either; Nara was bright and could hold her own. I fell for their relationship head over heels---it was addictive to watch it unfold and find out the what's and why's of all the bizarre things happening between them, but it was also just a pleasure to read...they had such an ease and comfort with each other. A few emotional moments here and there with Inara's father issues and I will tell you that the quick glimpse we get of Ethan's backstory had me in tears.

Michelle did a fantastic job of giving the reader a satisfying closure on this chapter of the story, but also leaving us wanting more, more, more of Nara & Ethan and Creepy Mr. Fate! I know there is more to come, and I got the feeling that there might be some really epic, ancient origins behind Nara's fight with Fate and Ethan's role in all of it. A fantastic read!

Visit P.T. Michelle's website here!

Purchase Brightest Kind Of Darkness at: Amazon BN.comSmashwords

Click to read an excerpt!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

In My Mailbox {83}

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren, where we all share what we got during the week!

My goodies for the week: Loved Halo, so I'm really looking forward to delving into that world again. I still need to read Dark Heart Forever, but my daughter really liked it, so it's great to have the second---now I can read the two consecutively. The last three here, I bought at my final sad trip to Borders. When I went it was packed and I kept thinking it's so sad they couldn't get that kind of steady business when the company was still alive and kicking (but also squealing a bit inside at the great deals I was nabbing---so bad, I know.)

For review:
Hades by Alexandra Adornetto

Dark Heart Rising by Lee Monroe

Angel Burn by L.A. Weatherly
Chime by Franny Billingsley
The Poison Diaries by Maryrose Wood

New On My Nook:

Dark Companion by Maria Acosta (review)
Slumber by Samantha Young (bought)

Thanks to Macmillan, Marta Acosta, and a fond farewell to Borders Books.

What's in your mailbox this week?? :)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Review: Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

publisher: TorTeen

released: August 30th, 2011

hardcover, 360 pages

intended audience: Young adult


source: received from publisher for honest review

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.

So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father's mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn't expect anything outside of the ordinary: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he's never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

But she, for whatever reason, spares Cas's life.

Review: In one word: Awesome!

I really loved this one. It was a little of everything: tense, funny, sentimental, adventurous, terrifying, gory, romantic. All of that and more. Let me tell you, I normally steer clear of anything gory, which is why you don't find too many zombie books on this blog...I just don't have the stomach for it. Anna Dressed in Blood had moments of sheer gore, blood everywhere, people getting ripped in half---and yet I was so wrapped up in the wild story, it didn't bother me. Some of the terrifying moments were so intense and the monsters so creepy, they snuck into my dreams, but I enjoyed the characters and their dilemmas too much to stop.

The beginning hits the ground running and never stops. We don't get told what Cas does for a living, we step right into the passenger seat and get shown first hand this boy in action. Cas was far from a normal everyday guy. Yet I found him completely relatable. He was funny, so clever, wickedly brave, and had made a fine art out of keeping people at arms length. Confidence that bordered on cockiness once in a while, but that made it all the more entertaining to see him knocked off his game by the mysterious Anna.

The big surprise: This book, Anna's story specifically, had me in tears. The last thing I expected when I cracked open this book, was to need to reach for the kleenex. It was that complex, that intense...that good.

Scary, thrilling, fun, and more than a little stomach-turning...but Anna Dressed in Blood is so worth it.

Final note: Upon finishing this, I completely thought this would be a stand-alone. But a sequel has recently been announced! No details yet, but this will be high on my wishlist for 2012!

Visit Kendare Blake's site here.

Purchase Anna Dressed in Blood at: Amazon BookDespositoryIndiebound


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

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.

Of Poseidon
by Anna Banks

hitting shelves May 22nd, 2012 from Feiwel & Friends

Emma and her friend Chloe are spending vacation in Florida. When Emma (literally) runs into a hot guy named Galen on the beach, little does she know he’s a prince of the Syrena. Galen and Emma both feel something strange – is it attraction? – and Galen suspects that Emma might well be the girl he’s heard of – a human who can communicate with fish.

What follows is a deadly scene with a shark in which Galen witnesses Emma’s gifts. He must know more about her, and follows her back to New Jersey, and high school, to find out for sure if she’s the key to saving his kingdom. Soon, Emma can’t deny her feelings for him, but can’t explain them, either – and both she and Galen must learn more about where she comes from and what her powers are before they can trust one another and their feelings.

My thoughts: Mermaids, awesome cover, and girl who can talk Well, what the heck are the fish saying, I want to know! This one definitely has me intrigued, but more than anything I am completely smitten with that gorgeous cover. Definitely on my wishlist.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

In My Mailbox {82}

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren, where we all share what we got during the week!

Got some cool goodies this week! Some nice indies that I've been looking forward to, and lovely finished copies of two recent favorites!

For Review:
Jenny Pox by J.L. Bryant
I've seen some of my fave reviewers just fall in love with this one! So excited to finally read it myself!

Witch Eyes by Scott Tracey
This was a total surprise on my doorstep! Looks good!

Half-Blood by Jennifer Armentrout
Another that I've heard is amazing. I love the covers of this series, too. So unique and beautiful!

Minder by Kate Kaynak
This one looks interesting! I've seen some great reviews of it, too!

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
I loved this book, so I was incredibly happy to get a nice finished copy this week!

The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann
Almost done with this one and loving it. Lovely finished copy arrived for the Kismet tour!

Many thanks to J.L. Bryant, Flux Books, Spencer Hill Press, TorTeen, and Simon & Schuster!

New on My Nook:
(cover links to goodreads)
I saw this one raved about at one of my favorite blogs recently, so between that, the great description and a really gorgeous cover, I had to have this! :D I've been reading it when I can and usually on my phone's Nook app, but I love it so far!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Review: Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier

Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier

publisher: Henry Holt & Co

released: May 10, 2011

hardcover, 324 pages

intended audience: Young adult


source: from publisher for honest review

Gwyneth Shepherd's sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era!

Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon--the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.

Review: I really ended up enjoying this one, although it took a few chapters for me to really settle into it. The story is fantastic, the twists are good, historical fashion galore (which I completely loved) and the pacing of the relationship that grew between Gwyneth and Gideon was perfect. I often wondered if they would ever even become friends!

The few hitches here are these: the dialogue style took a little getting used to. At times, it seems a little awkward, seemed to run on---kind of like when you're watching subtitles in a foreign movie and the dialogue doesn't quite flow right in english. I was willing to overlook this, though. Once I got into the story, and kept in mind that it was, in fact, translated from German, it wasn't distracting. Secondly, there were some parts where Gwen and her friend, Lesley, seemed younger than their seventeen years of age. That may have been in part, because of the dialogue as well.

Other than that, this was really fun read! Most of the characters are complex and interesting. It was easy to feel for Gwen, being thrust into this uncontrollable situation with no warning or training, all the training having been wasted on her spoiled, self-entitled cousin, Charlotte, secrets coming out the woodwork, and blame being thrown on her shoulders from her cruel aunt. The best friend, Lesley was smart and resourceful and a rock for Gwen to lean on. I loved Mr. George and the seamstress, Madam Rossini (she was brilliant and I wish there had been drawings of the wonderful fashions she was creating!). I hope there are no surprising twists further on the make a bad guy of Mr. George, he is such a sweet man---I think it would break my heart. :) I can't wait for the next books to hear more about Lucy and Paul's part in the story.

The ending is a bit torturous...extreme cliffhanger warning!! The very last pages included the beginning of the next book, which helped a bit, but still. Pretty abrupt and left me dying for more. Sapphire Blue comes out Spring 2012!!

Visit Kerstin Gier's site!

Purchase Ruby Red at: BookdepositoryIndiebound


Friday, September 2, 2011

The Unwanteds: Blog Tour Stop & Giveaway!!

Welcome, everyone, to the next stop on The Unwanteds Blog Tour! I hope you're all enjoying all the cool videos so far, and are excited as I am about Lisa McMann's newest book! I'm about 100 pages into the book right now and it is so excellent! Something completely different from this fabulous author after her Wake Trilogy (which I also loved!)---The Unwanteds is her first foray into middle-grade territory.

So, for the blog tour, we each got to pose a question to Lisa and she answered us in a vlog! For my stop, I asked her if we could get a quick tour of where the magic happens! I love seeing where authors hole up to write their stories, what inspiring little corners they chose to "do their stuff!" Take a look:

Wasn't that awesome! The bookcase is to die for and I can see how that would be an inspiring place to write. Comfy chairs and lots of amazing books all around! Thanks for that tour, Lisa!

* * * * * * * *
On to the Giveaway!!
Contest Info: Are you Unwanted? Enter to win the grand prize book club class pack (up to 20 books!) by explaining which camp you’d be in: Wanted or Unwanted:
  • leave a comment +1entries
  • provide a picture of you that shows what you'd be (be creative) +2 entries
  • provide a video and tell us what you would be! +5 entries
Link can be provided in the comments of this post, on the Kismet Book Touring Facebook page or on Lisa's Facebook page. Open US/Canada. Contestants under 18 years of age must have parental consent to enter.

Be sure to visit all the stops on the tour:
Monday August 29th - Danny and Pushy, Bewitched Bookworms
Tuesday, August 30th (The Unwanted's Book Birthday!) - Katie, The Mundie Moms
Wednesday, August 31st - Alyssa, Teens Read and Write
Thursday, September 1st - Heidi, YA Bibliophile
Friday, September 2nd - Becky, Stories & Sweeties
* * * * * * * *
Monday September 5th - Jill, The O.W.L
Tuesday, September 6th - Mary, Book Swarm
Wednesday, September 7th - Reading Teen
Thursday, September 8th - Melissa, I Swim For Oceans
Friday, September 9th - Sab, YA Bliss
* * * * * * * *
Monday September 12th - Cynthia, A Blog About Nothing

Tuesday, September 13th - Nancy, Amusing Reviews
Wednesday, September 14th - Michelle and Leslie, Michelle and Leslie's Book Picks
Thursday, September 15th - Darkfallen and Greta, Paranormal Wastelands
Friday, September 16th - Alice, Alice Marvels
* * * * * * * *
Tuesday, September 20th -Grand prize announcement on Lisa McMann's blog!

About Lisa McMann: website, facebook, twitter
Lisa McMann lives and writes in the Phoenix area. Her books include the NYT bestselling paranormal WAKE trilogy, CRYER’S CROSS, and the dystopian fantasy series beginning with THE UNWANTEDS (coming Aug. 30, 2011).

About The Unwanteds:
Every year in Quill, thirteen-year-olds are sorted into categories: the strong, intelligent Wanteds go to university, and the artistic Unwanteds are sent to their deaths. Thirteen-year-old Alex tries his hardest to be stoic when his fate is announced as Unwanted, even while leaving behind his twin, Aaron, a Wanted. Upon arrival at the destination where he expected to be eliminated, however, Alex discovers a stunning secret—behind the mirage of the “death farm” there is instead a place called Artime. In Artime, each child is taught to cultivate their creative abilities and learn how to use them magically, weaving spells through paintbrushes and musical instruments. Everything Alex has ever known changes before his eyes, and it’s a wondrous transformation. But it’s a rare, unique occurrence for twins to be separated between Wanted and Unwanted, and as Alex and Aaron’s bond stretches across their separation, a threat arises for the survival of Artime that will pit brother against brother in an ultimate, magical battle.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

What's New: September Releases & Giveaway

September is here, and with it comes the first day of FALL!! Yay! I love fall :) Summers are really hot here, so I am ready for some cooler weather, and hopefully a little rain to cuddle up indoors and read a book by!

So if you're new to Stories & Sweeties, here's a little run-down of this feature: at the start of each month, I do a little thing called the "What's New List & Giveaway" where you'll find a full list of the new releases in YA for the month, and entry to the giveaway. At the end of each month, one lucky winner will get to choose any new release as their prize! TONS of great releases this month, so lets get to the list!!

First off, the winner for August is: Indigo @ Shattered Prose!! Congrats, Indigo!!

September Releases:
Just like last month, I've put a little lve by those books that I am really anticipating! So glad you guys liked this idea!

Bronxwood by Coe Booth
The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsh
The Predicteds by Christine Seifert
Unwelcome (Archangel's Academy #2) by Michael Griffo
Torrent by Lisa Bergren
The Yo-yo Prophet by Karen Krossing

The Shattering by Karen Healey
Shut Out by Kody Keplinger
Velvet by Mary Hooper

All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin
Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick
The Beginning of After by Jennifer Castle
Dear Bully: 70 Authors Tell Their Stories by Megan Kelley Hall & Carrie Jones
End of Days (Fallen #5) by Thomas E. Sniegoski
Following Christopher Creed by Carol Plum-Ucci
The Hidden by Jessica Verday
Isle of Night by Veronica Wolff
Shelter by Harlan Coben
Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs
The Taker by Alma Katsu
Vanish by Sophie Jordan

Bloodborn (Others#2) by Karen Kincy
Damage by Anya Parrish
Pure Red by Danielle Joseph
Skyship Academy: The Pearl Wars by Nick James
Stay With Me by Paul Griffin
Witch Eyes by Scott Tracey

Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall

Picturing Alyssa by Alison Lohans
Precisely Terminated by Amanda L. Davis

After Obsession by Carrie Jones & Steven E. Wedel
All the Earth, Thrown to the Sky by Joe Lansdale
Blood Wounds by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Bluefish by Pat Schmatz
Burnout by Adrienne Maria Vrettos
Calli by Jessica Lee Anderson
Circle 9 by Anne Heltzel
Dark Passage by Mary Jo Putney
Dreamland by Alyson Noel
Drink Slay Love by Sarah Beth Durst
Empire of Ruins (Hunchback Assignments#3) Arthur Slade
Every You, Every Me by John Levithan
Fateful by Claudia Gray
First Descent by Pam Withers
Frost by Marianna Baer
Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan
Going Underground by Susan Vaught
The Isle of Blood (Monstrumologist #3) Richard Yancy
Modelland by Tyra Banks
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern ♥!
Perfect by Ellen Hopkins
A Plague Year by Edward Bloor
The Shadowing: Hunted by Adam Slater
So Silver Bright by Lisa Mantchev
Wisdom's Kiss by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
You Have Seven Messages by Stewart Lewis

As I Awake by Elizabeth Scott
Away (The Line #2) by Teri Hall
Born Ugly by Beth Goobie
Ladybird, Ladybird by Abra Ebner
Tankborn by Karen Sandler
Wolf Mark by Joseph Bruchac

Beautiful Days by Anna Godbersen
Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey
Dark of the Moon by Tracy Barrett
Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
Goliath (Leviathan #3) by Scott Westerfeld
Monster High 3: Where There's a Wolf, There's a Way by Lisa Harrison
Pregnant Pause by Han Nolan
Sacrifice by Laura J. Burns & Melinda Metz
The Slayer Chronicles: First Kill by Heather Brewer

Abarat: Absolute Midnight by Clive Barker
Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies
The Blood Lie by Shirley Reva Vernick
Blood by Kevin Wignall
Cosmic Storm by Dom Testa
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton
If I Die (Soul Screamers #5) by Rachel Vincent
Juliet Spell by Douglas by Rees
Lost in Time (Blue Bloods #6) by Melissa De La Cruz
Mephisto Covenant by Trinity Faegan
Mister Creecher by Chris Priestley
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness & Jim Kay
My Beating Teenage Heart by C.K. Kelly Martin
My Brother's Shadow by Monika Schroder
Shifting by Bethany Wiggins
Slayers by CJ Hill
Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Unforgettable by Loretta Ellsworth
The Vision (The Mark #2) by Jen Nadol

If Jack's in Love by Stephen Wetta
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins ♥♥!
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

(links go to Goodreads)
Please feel free to email me if you notice any YA titles missing! :)

Giveaway Details: One winner will win a September Release of their choice! *see note below
• Contest ends at 11:59 PM, PST on September 30st, 2011.
• Must be 13 or older
• Open internationally. *International winners will be required to choose a book that is available through
• Please enter one time only for each monthly giveaway.