Friday, August 18, 2017

The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones {blog tour review + giveaway}


 I'm so excited to be taking part in the Rockstar Book Tour for this entertaining & surprising book,
~THE HEARTS WE SOLD~

Today I'm sharing my thoughts on this book, and be sure to enter the tour-wide giveaway for three finished copies down below!

• ABOUT THE BOOK•

by Emily Lloyd-Jones
♦pubslisher: Little, Brown BYR
♦release date: August 8th, 2017
♦hardcover, 400 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦stand-alone
♦source: from publisher for honest review
When Dee Moreno makes a deal with a demon—her heart in exchange for an escape from a disastrous home life—she finds the trade may have been more than she bargained for. And becoming “heartless” is only the beginning. What lies ahead is a nightmare far bigger, far more monstrous than anything she could have ever imagined.

With reality turned on its head, Dee has only a group of other deal-making teens to keep her grounded, including the charming but secretive James Lancer. And as something grows between them amid an otherworldy ordeal, Dee begins to wonder: Can she give someone her heart when it’s no longer hers to give?

•REVIEW•
The Hearts We Sold immediately drew me in to it's crazy world where Demons have revealed their presence on Earth and will happily offer up your wildest dreams in exchange for body parts.  Dee's home life has hit a boiling point and she's suddenly finds herself at risk for losing her only escape: her boarding school education.  In her desperation to find a way to pay for it, she seeks out a demon and is surprised to find he doesn't want an arm or a leg like other deals she's heard of, he wants her heart.

From the first time meeting the many characters in the "heartless" crew, I was curious to know more about each one, especially James, and the little flashbacks to their own deal-making day satisfied that.  I love that James isn't immediately this heart-throb that she can't take her eyes off of---Dee actually thinks he's a homeless person when they first meet.  And almost all of the characters take surprising turns throughout the story. They all have their little secrets and working for a demon will stretch them all their moral and emotional limits, bonding some of them closer together---and tearing some of them apart. 

The story itself takes some interesting turns---one in particular that I thought was completely unexpected and really turns the whole story on it's head. And while the twist made sense, it opened up a whole other slew of questions, some that were answered and others that left me scratching my head. But despite that, it still proved to be an entertaining ride, a sometimes-heartfelt, sometimes-funny story about a girl learning that she doesn't always have to stand on her own, learning when to cut ties for the better, and learning to let herself love. 

•ABOUT THE AUTHOR•


Emily Lloyd-Jones grew up on a vineyard in rural Oregon, where she played in evergreen forests and learned to fear sheep. After graduating from Western Oregon University with an English degree, she enrolled in the publishing program at Rosemont College just outside of Philadelphia. She currently resides in Northern California, working in a bookstore by day and writing by night. 



WEBSITE    TWITTER    INSTAGRAM    GOODREADS

Purchase  THE HEARTS WE SOLD:
 Indiebound   •  Amazon  •  Book Depository

*GIVEAWAY*
3 winners will receive a finished copy of THE HEARTS WE SOLD, US Only.

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Be sure to stop by all of the tour stops for more great reviews and features!
Week One:
8/7/2017- Owl Always Be ReadingExcerpt
8/8/2017- When Books Defy GravityReview
8/9/2017- YA Books CentralInterview
8/10/2017- Take Me Away To A Great ReadReview
8/11/2017- Angelic Book ReviewsInterview

Week Two:
8/14/2017- The Layaway DragonReview
8/15/2017- Two Chicks on BooksGuest Post
8/16/2017- Book BriefsReview
8/17/2017- Adventures of a Book JunkieInterview
8/18/2017- Stories & SweetiesReview


Tuesday, August 15, 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.

*A little note*
 I decided to throw a linky down below for anyone who'd like to use it to hop around to other WoW posts.  The Waiting on Wednesday meme is still very much credited to Jill @ Breaking the Spine, but with the current linky at her site stretching to well over 1300 links, I thought it might be nice to have a fresh one.  This is just for the time being, and I'll do it weekly if it's something people want to use. And of course, I'll discontinue as soon as Jill returns!
by  Sophie Cameron

hitting shelves May 15th, 2018
from Roaring Brook Press
Sometimes, I imagine alternate endings to the story: last-minute miracles, touches of magic. I picture how things might have gone, if I wasn’t there. If I’d left just a few minutes later. If I hadn’t been alone. It doesn’t make any difference. One way or another, the crash always comes.

Ten days after Jaya Mackenzie’s mum dies, angels start falling from the sky. Smashing down to earth at extraordinary speeds, wings bent, faces contorted, not a single one has survived.

Hysteria mounting with every Being that drops, Jaya’s father uproots the family to Edinburgh intent on catching one alive. But Jaya can’t stand this obsession and, struggling to make sense of her mother’s sudden death and her own role on that fateful day, she’s determined to stay out of it.

When her best friend disappears and her father’s mania spirals, things hit rock bottom and it’s at that moment something extraordinary happens: An angel lands right at Jaya’s feet, and it’s alive. Finally she is forced to acknowledge just how significant these celestial beings are.

Set against the backdrop of the frenzied Edinburgh festival, OUT OF THE BLUE tackles questions of grief and guilt and fear over who we really are. But it’s also about love and acceptance and finding your place in this world as angels drop out of another.

My thoughts: Ok, so...apologies ahead of time for picking a book that is soooo far from publication. But I just came across this one today and OMG, this sounds completely amazing. And heart-wrenching. With Angels. And SCOTLAND. And gorgeous cover to boot. The wait may kill me. LOL  



Wednesday, August 9, 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.

*A little note*
 I decided to throw a linky down below for anyone who'd like to use it to hop around to other WoW posts.  The Waiting on Wednesday meme is still very much credited to Jill @ Breaking the Spine, but with the current linky at her site stretching to well over 1300 links, I thought it might be nice to have a fresh one.  This is just for the time being, and I'll do it weekly if it's something people want to use. And of course, I'll discontinue as soon as Jill returns!
by  Alice Broadway

hitting shelves January 2nd, 2018
from Scholastic Press
There are no secrets in Saintstone.

From the second you're born, every achievement, every failing, every significant moment are all immortalized on your skin. There are honorable marks that let people know you're trustworthy. And shameful tattoos that announce you as a traitor. 

After her father dies, Leora finds solace in the fact that his skin tells a wonderful story. That is, until she glimpses a mark on the back of his neck . . . the symbol of the worst crime a person can commit in Saintstone. Leora knows it has to be a mistake, but before she can do anything about it, the horrifying secret gets out, jeopardizing her father's legacy . . . and Leora's life.

In her startlingly prescient debut, Alice Broadway shines a light on the dangerous lengths we go to make our world feel orderly--even when the truth refuses to stay within the lines. This rich, lyrical fantasy with echoes of Orwell is unlike anything you've ever read, a tale guaranteed to get under your skin . . .

My thoughts: Ah, this sounds so interesting!  As much as tattoos are just part of everyday culture these days, I can't wait to hear more about this story's concept. Plus family legacy, mystery, and a really gorgeous cover! 

What book are you eagerly anticipating this week?

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moïra Fowley-Doyle {blog tour review + giveaway}

Hey everyone! I'm honored to be taking part in the blog tour for the beautiful
Spellbook of the Lost and Found 
today! Check out my review below and then be sure to enter to win a copy and  visit all the rest of the stops for some great features!

• ABOUT THE BOOK•

by Moïra  Fowley-Doyle
♦publisher: Kathy Dawson Books
♦release date: August 8th, 2017
♦hardcover, 368 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦stand-alone
One stormy Irish summer night, Olive and her best friend, Rose, begin to lose things. It starts with simple items like hairclips and jewelry, but soon it's clear that Rose has lost something much bigger, something she won't talk about, and Olive thinks her best friend is slipping away.

Then seductive diary pages written by a girl named Laurel begin to appear all over town. And Olive meets three mysterious strangers: Ivy, Hazel, and her twin brother, Rowan, secretly squatting in an abandoned housing estate. The trio are wild and alluring, but they seem lost too—and like Rose, they're holding tight to painful secrets.

When they discover the spellbook, it changes everything. Damp, tattered and ancient, it's full of hand-inked charms to conjure back things that have been lost. And it just might be their chance to find what they each need to set everything back to rights.

Unless it's leading them toward things that were never meant to be found...

•REVIEW•

Once again, Moira Fowley-Doyle sends my head spinning with her bizarre and atmospheric storytelling.  While I have to admit that I didn't love this one quite as much as her debut, The Accident Season, I did still find myself very much enchanted by this story and all of its magic and grit and mystery.

What shines most in this story, like in Accident Season, is the writing. Its absolutely beautiful. Even when the story turns a little gritty and wild,  each word, each phrase just feels like it's not just written, it's orchestrated.  You visualize all the weirdness, feel all the losses, shiver at every eerie moment. 

The story is told in three POVs, but tells the tale of several more characters and, honestly, sometimes it was just plain hard to keep them all straight, both in remembering who was who and also who was talking in each chapter. And because the parallel stories are so similar, it was sometimes tricky to keep track of which was which---a little confusing at times but also lent itself to a strange dreamlike atmosphere, a foggy daze that keeps the reading guessing what could possibly be going on. Is it really magic? Is it all a trick? Are these characters all who they say they are? Or all having drunken hallucinations? ;)

The many characters that make up this story---Olive, Rose, Hazel, Rowan, Ivy, Holly, Ash, and Laurel---are all quite interesting in their own way, though some of their distinctions don't really shine until that ending when a few good twists knock the feet out from under you. I loved all their different strengths, their diversities, their faults, and their relationships, whether to each other or their families, or their pasts.  I  was intrigued by each one's need to find their own definition of home and family and love. 

All in all, another captivating, mind- and heart-bending, mystical story from this author.  


•ABOUT THE AUTHOR•

Moïra Fowley-Doyle is half-French, half-Irish and lives in Dublin with her husband, their young daughters, and their old cat. Moïra's French half likes red wine and dark books in which everybody dies. Her Irish half likes tea and happy endings. Moïra started a PhD on vampires in young adult fiction before concentrating on writing young adult fiction with no vampires in it whatsoever. She wrote her first novel at the age of eight, when she was told that if she wrote a story about spiders she wouldn't be afraid of them anymore. Moïra is still afraid of spiders, but has never stopped writing stories. She is the author of The Accident Season and Spellbook of the Lost and Found.


WEBSITE    TWITTER    INSTAGRAM    GOODREADS

Purchase  Spellbook of the Lost and Found:
 Indiebound   •  Amazon  •  Book Depository

*GIVEAWAY*
Enter for a chance to be one (1) of three (3) winners to receive a hardcover copy of Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moïra Fowley-Doyle. (ARV: $17.99 each).
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on August 7, 2017 and 12:00 AM on August 28, 2017.  Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about August 30, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

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More great blog tour stops to visit!
Week One:
August 7 – ButterMyBooks – Book Photography
August 8 – Stories & Sweeties – Review
August 9 – Folded Pages Distillery
August 10 – Bibliophile Gathering – Review 
August 11 – A Page With a View – Bookish Spells
 
Week Two:
August 14 – Icey Books – Spotlight & Book Photography
August 15 – The Fandom – A History of Mystical Objects in YA (and whether or not they can be trusted)
August 16 – Here’s to Happy Endings – Author Q&A
August 17 – Two Chicks on Books – Excerpt
August 18 – Ex Libris – Bookish Spells
 
Week Three:
August 21 – Once Upon a Twilight – Favorite Quotes
August 22 – Lost In Lit
August 23 – The Book Wars – Review
August 24 – Fiction Fare – Author Q&A
August 25 – Tales of the Ravenous Reader – Bookish Spells

Friday, August 4, 2017

Geekerella by Ashley Poston {audiobook review}


Geekerella
♦publisher: Quirk Books
♦audiobook publisher: Blackstone Audio
♦release date: April 4th, 2017
♦hardcover, 320 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦stand-alone
♦source: Hoopla Digital/Library
Anything can happen once upon a con…When geek girl Elle Wittimer sees a cosplay contest sponsored by the producers of  Starfield, she has to enter. First prize is an invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. Elle’s been scraping together tips from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck behind her stepmother’s back, and winning this contest could be her ticket out once and for all—not to mention a fangirl’s dream come true.Teen actor Darien Freeman is less than thrilled about this year’s ExcelsiCon. He used to live for conventions, but now they’re nothing but jaw-aching photo sessions and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Federation Prince Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but the diehard Starfield fandom has already dismissed him as just another heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, closet nerd Darien feels more and more like a fake—until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise.

Review: OH this adorable book. What a fun perfectly spun retelling of Cinderella. A perfect mix of touching and hilarious moments, familiarity, and pure nerdiness.  This story spoke to me on so many levels, on fandoms and blogging and connecting with people you've never met in person, on loss and feeling alone sometimes and on feeling like you are part of something so much bigger and amazing. 

True to its inspiration, the story introduces us to Elle, a girl whose lost her beloved father and is left at the mercy of her garish, cruel stepmother and stepsisters. My favorite spin of the story is that her father was a huge figurehead in the world of cosplay and geek culture, even having started a major convention. His favorite show, Starfield, is what brought him and the love of his life together, and they dutifully raised their only daughter to love it, too. ♥  Now Elle is alone, with Starfield being all she has left of her parents. She runs a small blog that goes wildly viral the day she posts her feelings on the casting of the Starfield remake. Elle is determined to escape her home life and she pulls from her love for her father and the legacy he left her to help her get there.

Enter Darian's side of the story. Darian is the soap opera actor graced with the job of bringing Starfield's most iconic character to life. Can he do it? Most people don't think so--but what they don't know is that Darian is also a huge fan of the original show. And he's just as terrified as everyone else that he won't be able to pull it off.  

Elle and Darian cross paths by a fluke of fate and this immediately becomes a Cinderella story with all the charm of You've Got Mail. There is great spark in their anonymous connection, and a great fire between these two characters when they do cross in real life. And while I loved watching their interactions, I loved even more watching Elle find other great friendships in surprising places, making her realize that she is not alone at all. 

In regards to the audiobook, specifically, I have a few things to say LOL. While I did enjoy it for the most part, I will say that the voices were just a little off for me...a little overdone.  The stepsister's voice was absolutely grating and the stepmother was loud and dramatic---which was awful to listen to, but in hindsight maybe got me hating the characters even more, so I guess that's appropriate. :) Also, almost the entirety of the conversation between Elle and Darian is texting, so that makes for a challenge, audio-wise. My one big gripe was with the actors mispronouncing words from other fandoms. I mean, if you're reading a story that is ALL about fandom and nerd culture, don't you think you ought to make absolutely sure that you know how to pronounce everything? Two of my favorites: Dalek (from Doctor Who) was pronounced "Day-lick" and Elphaba (from Wicked) was "El-FOB-uh".  My little nerdy heart gave a definite snicker.  xD  Lastly, (and this was more a production problem than performance) there were several spots in the book where lines were read twice. As if the actor tried the line two different ways and it was never edited out. That was a first for me!

But even with a few audio quirks, I loved this one. Such a cute and fun contemporary retelling. Definitely give it a read!

Book rating:

 Audiobook rating:


•ABOUT THE AUTHOR•

Ashley Poston’s fangirl heart has taken her everywhere from the houses of Hollywood screenwriters to the stages of music festivals to geeked-out conventions (in cosplay, of course). When she is not inventing new recipes with peanut butter, having passionate dance-offs with her cat, or geeking out all over the internet, she writes books. She lives in small-town South Carolina, where you can see the stars impossibly well.

WEBSITE    TWITTER    INSTAGRAM    GOODREADS

Purchase GEEKERELLA:
 Indiebound   •  Amazon  •  Book Depository

Wednesday, August 2, 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.

*A little note*
 I decided to throw a linky down below for anyone who'd like to use it to hop around to other WoW posts.  The Waiting on Wednesday meme is still very much credited to Jill @ Breaking the Spine, but with the current linky at her site stretching to well over 1300 links, I thought it might be nice to have a fresh one.  This is just for the time being, and I'll do it weekly if it's something people want to use. And of course, I'll discontinue as soon as Jill returns!
by Gwendolyn Clare

hitting shelves February 20th, 2018
from Macmillan/Imprint
Can she write a world gone wrong?

A certain pen, a certain book, and a certain person can craft entirely new worlds through a branch of science called scriptology. Elsa comes from one such world that was written into creation by her mother—a noted scriptologist.

But when her home is attacked and her mother abducted, Elsa must cross into the real world and use her own scriptology gifts to find her. In an alternative 19th-century Italy, Elsa finds a secret society of pazzerellones—young people with a gift for mechanics, alchemy or scriptology—and meets Leo, a gorgeous mechanist with a smart mouth and a tragic past. She recruits the help of these fellow geniuses just as an assassin arrives on their doorstep.

In this thrilling debut, worlds collide as Elsa unveils a deep political conspiracy seeking to unlock the most dangerous weapon ever created—and only she can stop it.

My thoughts: I was trying to be patient and wait for the final cover, but I just don't have it in me. And to be honest, the final cover could probably be a blank black and I would still want to read this just based on this amazing synopsis.  She writes worlds into existence??? Lost mothers, assassins, in an alternate 19th century Italy??? Uhh, yea. I don't need a cover. Just hand it over please. 

What book are you eagerly anticipating this week?



Tuesday, August 1, 2017

What's New: August YA Release List & Giveaway!

Good gracious, people, is summer break almost over already?? Which mean the great luxury of sleeping in (sometimes haha) goes with it...sigh.  A great sadness for school kids and mommies alike, I'm sure.  As a habitual night owl, I value a good "stay-in-bed-til-10" morning. ;)

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 international giveaway. At the end of each month, one lucky winner will get to choose any new release as their prize!



First things first! The winner of June's giveaway is Jen F.!  Congrats!    
July 2017 Releases:

 I've put a little lve by those books that I'm really excited for!
(sorry for the lack of cover pics this month, all! Goodreads was giving me attitude lol. I'll add them in later.)

{1}
All Things New by Lauren Miller
Black Light Express by Philip Reeve
Blight by Alexandra Duncan
Follow Your Heart by Tasha Nathan
Genius: The Con by Leopoldo Gout
Just Friends by Tiffany Pitcock
Kissing Max Holden by Katy Upperman
Love is Love by Mette Bach
Miles Morales: Spider Man by Jason Reynolds & Kadir Nelson
Nice Girl Endure by Chris Sruyk-Bonn
Of Jenny and the Aliens by Ryan Gebhart
Omega by Jus Accardo
Project Pandora by Aden Polydoros
Same Love by Tony Correia
The Secret History of Us by Jessi Kirby
Sleeper by Mackenzie Cadenhead
Solo by Kwame Alexander & Mary Rand Hess
Sparks of Light by Janet B. Taylor 
Strange Alchemy by Gwenda Bond
These Things I've Done by Rebecca Phillips
Truthers by Geoffrey Girard
Venturess by Betsy Cornwell
The Way It Hurts by Patty Blount
When I Am Through With You by Stephanie Kuehn
The Wood by Chelsea Bobulski 

{2}
Freshers by Tom Ellen & Lucy Ivison

{8}
The Authentics by Abdi Nazemian
Bad Girl Gone by Temple Mathews
The Bakersville Dozen by Kristina McBride
Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee 
The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones 
In Some Other Life by Jessica Brody
League of American Traitors by Matthew Landis
Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert
Our Broken Pieces by Sarah White
Piglettes by Clementine Beauvais
Sasquatch, Love, and Other Imaginary Things by Betsy Aldredge & Carrie Dubois-Shaw
Shimmer and Burn by Mary Taranta 
Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moira Fowley-Doyle 
This is Not the End by Chandler Baker

{15}
The Art of Feeling by Laura Tims
The Crystal Blade by Kathryn Purdie
Darkest Days by N.W. Harris
Ferocious by Paula Stokes
The Hawkweed Legacy by Irena Brignull 
How to Disappear by Sharon Huss Roat
A Map for Wrecked Girls by Jessica Taylor
Wicked Like a Wildfire by Lana Popovic 

{17}
The Color Project by Sierra Abrams

{22}
After the Game by Abbi Glines
The Arsonist by Stephanie Oakes
The Dire King by William Ritter 
Dress Codes for Small Towns by Courtney Stevens
Orphan, Agent, Prima, Pawn by Elizabeth Kiem
Mr. 60% by Clete Barrett Smith
The Rattled Bones by S. M. Parker 

{29}
All Rights Reserved by Gregory Scott Katsoulis
Backfield Boys by John Feinstein
The Big F by Maggie Ann Martin
The Broken World by Lindsey Klingele
The Dazzling Heights by Katharine McGee
The Keep of Ages by Caragh M O'Brien
Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller
Red Dirt by Anna Jarzab
Thirteen Rising by Romina Russell
Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo
Zero Repeat Forever by G.S. Prendergast


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


Giveaway Details: 
One winner will win a YA August 2017 release of their choice! *see note below
• Contest ends August 31th
, 2017 at 11:59 PM
• Must be 13 or older.
• Open internationally. *International winners will be required to choose a book that is available through BookDepository.com or Fishpond.com up to $20 value.
•Extra entries can be earned by commenting on 
any July or August reviews, and can be done once per review. Come back throughout August whenever you comment on my reviews and get your extra points!

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