f0zKg0J4zFLYz-Yq0aednQVqREE Once Upon a Prologue: October 2012
Click Here For Free Blog Backgrounds!!!
Blogaholic Designs

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday - #35: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke

{ ++ }  This weekly event/feature is graciously hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine. You know that feeling you get when you're browsing upcoming books on Goodreads or Amazon and one strikes your fancy?  Maybe you squee.  Maybe you giggle to yourself.  Maybe you bounce in your seat. We all get excited (I do a combination of all three of the previous choices...) about new books, be it a favorite author you're familiar with, or someone whose work you'll be reading for the first time.  Jill's meme gives us the chance to spotlight what we are anxiously awaiting this week.

I'm Waiting On...

You stop fearing the devil when you’re holding his hand…

Nothing much exciting rolls through Violet White’s sleepy, seaside town…until River West comes along. River rents the guesthouse behind Violet’s crumbling estate, and as eerie, grim things start to happen, Violet begins to wonder about the boy living in her backyard. Is River just a crooked-smiling liar with pretty eyes and a mysterious past? Or could he be something more? Violet’s grandmother always warned her about the Devil, but she never said he could be a dark-haired boy who takes naps in the sun, who likes coffee, who kisses you in a cemetery...who makes you want to kiss back. Violet’s already so knee-deep in love, she can’t see straight. And that’s just how River likes it.

Blending faded decadence and the thrilling dread of gothic horror, April Genevieve Tucholke weaves a dreamy, twisting contemporary romance, as gorgeously told as it is terrifying—a debut to watch.

Expected publication: April 2013 (Dial/Penguin)
Connect with the author:  Website 

Why It's Worth Waiting On: OH YOU GUUUUYS.  First of all, the title - gorgeous.  The COVER? GIVES ME CHILLS.  The couple on the cliff?  *swooooons*  The synopsis!  I LOVE a good Gothic novel - they make me all tingly.  I CANNOT WAIT for this book.  

Your turn!  What are YOU waiting on this week? 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

100,000 Page Views Giveaway!

SO.  You guys are AWESOME, and Once Upon a Prologue recently surpassed 100,00 page views.  That's a HUGE milestone for me, so I just wanted to say "thank you," from the bottom of my heart!  I love y'all, and just really appreciate your coming back to visit, and commenting.  Please KEEP visiting, and watch soon for a follower/reader survey for how YOU can help improve my blog!

In the meantime...have a giveaway as my way of saying thank you!  Entering is easy - just be a follower.  Old AND new followers welcome.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, October 29, 2012

Review + Giveway: Deity by Jennifer L Armentrout

Deity by Jennifer L Armentrout
Expected publication: November 6th, 2012
Source: ARC from the publisher
Rating: Swoon-worthy
Add it/Purchase: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N 
Connect with the author: Twitter | Website


History is on repeat, and things didn't go so well the last time. 

Alexandria isn't sure she's going to make it to her eighteenth birthday--to her Awakening. A long-forgotten, fanatical order is out to kill her, and if the Council ever discovers what she did in the Catskills, she's a goner... and so is Aiden.

If that's not freaky enough, whenever Alex and Seth spend time "training"--which really is just Seth's code word for some up-close and personal one-on-one time--she ends up with another mark of the Apollyon, which brings her one step closer to Awakening ahead of schedule. Awesome.

But as her birthday draws near, her entire world shatters with a startling revelation and she's caught between love and Fate. One will do anything to protect her. One has been lying to her since the beginning. Once the gods have revealed themselves, unleashing their wrath, lives will be irrevocably changed... and destroyed.

Those left standing will discover if love is truly greater than Fate..

My Review

Like always when I finished a JLA book, I am speechless.  I finished Deity yesterday and my emotions are still all over the place, while I struggle to find a way of EVER talking about what this book did to my heart, and what it means for the Covenant series.  Deity brings us back into the world of our beloved characters Alex, Aiden, and Seth, and then turns everything you think you know on its head, ending in a breath-taking cliff-hanger that made me literally screech with frustration.  Everything here is heightened - the characters, the relationships, the emotions, and the stakes.  With Deity, Jennifer L Armentrout has set herself apart from any other YA author in the industry these days, with a book I will never forget, for what it did.  It made me fall in love with the characters all over again, and it broke my heart.

I feel like I read Deity by holding my breath, because something was always happening to put these characters that I adore in new peril.  Not only is her 18th birthday looming over Alex - she also has her connection to Seth to deal with, not to mention a few key players in her world who have it out for her.  And then there's always the mystery of her feelings for Seth, and for Aiden.  JLA's feisty heroine takes it all in classic Alex stride, but the scenes where she gave in to her emotions and admitted her fears really broke my heart.  We saw a new, vulnerable side of Alex in Deity, and I have to say: I want more.  I admire JLA SO much for showing us that Alex isn't just all spirit and fire - she's also very, very human, loving, courageous, and at her core, a girl facing so much more than she's ready for.

I connected emotionally with Deity on so many levels, because I've come to really care about Alex.  But by far the most profound bond was with Alex and Aiden.  There were times in Pure where I waivered and found myself liking Seth, but Deity changed ALL OF THAT.  Aiden finally showed that he DOES care about Alex, and just...the two of them make my heart beat faster in EVERY scene.  The wealth of affection, trust, and respect between them is so beautiful, and it doesn't even compare to the bond between Alex and Seth. And oh, Alex and Aiden had some gorgeous, steamy scenes but none of that ever felt anything other than genuine.  I found myself falling in love with Aiden all over again, even as I felt that sense of impending danger, and knew the sanctuary Alex and Aiden found wouldn't last. 

The ending of Deity shocked me into silence, then an outraged "What?!," and then just a sense of being heart-broken beyond words.  Prepare yourselves because this is a wild, no-holds-barred ride that will jolt your heart in the end.  I have a few theories on what the next book will hold, but ultimately, I'm just going to end this review by begging you to read Deity.  It's intense, it's crazy, it's perfect.  You'll laugh, cry, and swoon.  You'll shake your head in denial, all the while reading faster.  You NEED this book in your life.

Bonus:  Want one of TWO ARCs of Deity?!  Just enter the super easy giveaway below - be a follower, then go for the extra entries!
Other books by this author:

You're sure to fall for:

Storm by Brigid Kemmemer

 Check back later this week for my stop on the DEITY tour sponsored by Val at Stuck in Books!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Review: Valkyrie Rising by Ingrid Paulson

Valkyrie Rising by Ingrid Paulson
Published: October 9, 2012 (HarperTeen)
Source: ARC from the publisher
Rating: Squee-worthy
Add it/Purchase: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N 
Connect with the author: Twitter | Website


Nothing ever happens in Norway. But at least Ellie knows what to expect when she visits her grandmother: a tranquil fishing village and long, slow summer days. And maybe she’ll finally get out from under the shadow of her way-too-perfect big brother, Graham, while she’s there.

What Ellie doesn’t anticipate is Graham’s infuriating best friend, Tuck, tagging along for the trip. Nor did she imagine boys going missing amid rumors of impossible kidnappings. Least of all does she expect something powerful and ancient to awaken in her and that strange whispers would urge Ellie to claim her place among mythological warriors. Instead of peace and quiet, there’s suddenly a lot for a girl from L.A. to handle on a summer sojourn in Norway! And when Graham vanishes, it’s up to Ellie—and the ever-sarcastic, if undeniably alluring Tuck—to uncover the truth about all the disappearances and thwart the nefarious plan behind them.

Deadly legends, hidden identities, and tentative romance swirl together in one girl’s unexpectedly-epic coming of age.

My Review

I'm not familiar with Norse mythology so when Valkyrie Rising arrived in my mailbox, I dug into it eagerly.  As I read further, I discovered a heart-pounding, pulse-tripping story about whispered dangers that are in fact very, very real - led by a fantastic cast of well-written characters.  No one in Ingrid Paulson's debut novel is what they seem; each character is made up of several layers, and wrapped in their own shadowed enigma. 

The characters stuck with me after finishing Valkyrie Rising - from Ellie, who has spent her entire life in  her brother's shadow, to Graham, mindlessly bent on protecting Ellie without realizing the damage he's doing to their relationship, to Tucker, whose flirtatious ways mask a caring and devoted guy and friend.  Throughout Paulson's novel, each character is tested as rumors of disappearances in the small Norway town where Ellie's grandmother lives give ways to real-life menacing Valkyries, and an age old battle, all of which spirals around Ellie, calling to her and waking up part of her she never dreamed existed.  

I found myself cheering for the characters as often as I wanted to hug or shake them.  I wanted Ellie and Graham to work out their issues, and I NEEDED Ellie and Tucker to take a leap together.  I fell hard for Tucker and continued to fall for him in every scene he appeared in; it was so clear there was more to him than met the eye.  I enjoyed the tinges of romance to Valkyrie Rising, but I loved the sense of camaraderie, devotion, and friendship even more.  

At a very few avenues, Paulson's novel felt a bit too predictable, but the fresh, awesome characters kept the story alive, and moved the action forward.  And there were certainly a LOT of action, with Ellie realizing who and what she was!  I loved that no one was safe and no one was who they seemed, and I enjoyed the addition of a few interesting foils to Ellie.  Valkyrie Rising is a fierce story that introduced me to a talented new author!

You're sure to fall for:

Starling by Lesley Livingston

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Discussion Post - Authors & Reviewers - The Great Debate

Why do authors tend to go off on the deep end when it comes to one starred reviews? And do you think that giving an author anything less than a three star rating is considered bullying?  - From Anonymous

I'm going to try to answer this in two parts; the first as a writer (which I am) and the second as both a writer AND a blogger.  I've been writing, first short stories, then one or two full length attempts, and finally, an ongoing YA contemporary with a friend for some time.  I first started writing when I was 12, and began writing seriously, realizing it was what I WANTED to do, when I was 17.  I imagine self-publishing some day, when I'm ready, and I get the heebie-jeebies and shakes.  But I know I'd love to take that step.  

I live my character's lives when I'm writing.  I laugh and cry with them.  I GO PLACES.  I create these families, these dreamers, these lovers...these sparks that leap off the embers of my imagination, and they mean so much to me.  They're extensions of me; they're my hopes, my creativity.  In a way, every piece I write is a breath I've held, then exhaled, and watched it become what it will.  

So I imagine reviews of my work.  I imagine the high that would come from a positive review, and the crushing blow that would stem from a negative review.  And I'm sure ALL authors, self-published, or traditionally published do the same thing. 

Here's where the line is, the line that as an author, you CANNOT cross.  A reviewer has ONLY their words and their thoughts JUST LIKE YOU DO.  

Their word is their credibility.  Their integrity is a blogger OR a writer's currency.  If you attack that reviewer, if you threaten them?  You have nothing.  And the same goes for a reviewer if THEY mistreat an author.  I think some authors toe past this line because their feelings are hurt because a negative review.  They don't realize what they're doing.  (If they do...that's a whole other story.)  They feel like someone is insulting their creation, their baby.  And that's understandable to feel that way.  But you CAN'T do it, you can't take it to that level.  You HAVE to detach a bit, to breathe around the hurt of knowing someone didn't like your book.  You have to be graceful even under pressure.  

Now for the second part of that question, which is a great one by the way!

I stopped starring books awhile ago, and chose instead to start a rating system that spoke more to how the book made me FEEL: did I love it?  Just like it?  Did I cry and laugh a lot?  That's how I sorted my categories, though I still have categories for those books that either just weren't anything special, or that I disliked. 

I think that as long as a blogger is honest and truthful in their review, WITHOUT GOING OUT OF THEIR WAY TO ANTAGONIZE AN AUTHOR, that NO rated review is bullying.  As bloggers, like I said above, our words are our bond!  ANY time we receive a book - be it an ARC, library book, or review request, our reviews need to be honest, never glossed or padded.  I've written reviews I felt bad about receiving, but you know what?  EVEN THEN, the authors in question did something amazing: they THANKED me for my review.  That review meant I had at least read their book.  

I saw a quote on Twitter today; I'm paraphrasing, but it basically said, "the only author who has never received a negative review is an unread author."  And that's true.  

So read those books.  Star/rate them however YOU see fit.  Be truthful.  Tell the world what you liked and disliked.  Try, even if it was a book you hated, to point out one thing you genuinely liked about the book, but DON'T sugar-coat it.  Be true to YOUR words and YOUR thoughts.  And while you're doing it...

Stay classy.

 Have a question I didn't answer?  Want to know something about blogging, reading, etc?  Ask me here and I'll answer ASAP!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Review: Inbetween by Tara Fuller

Inbetween by Tara Fuller
Published: August 28, 2012 (Entangled Teen)
Source: E-ARC from the publisher
Rating: Squee-worthy
Add It/Purchase: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Connect with the author: Website | Twitter


Since the car crash that took her father’s life three years ago, Emma’s life has been a freaky — and unending — lesson in caution. Surviving “accidents” has taken priority over being a normal seventeen-year-old, so Emma spends her days taking pictures of life instead of living it. Falling in love with a boy was never part of the plan. Falling for a reaper who makes her chest ache and her head spin? Not an option.

It’s not easy being dead, especially for a reaper in love with a girl fate has put on his list not once, but twice. Finn’s fellow reapers give him hell about spending time with Emma, but Finn couldn’t let her die before, and he’s not about to let her die now. He will protect the girl he loves from the evil he accidentally unleashed, even if it means sacrificing the only thing he has left…his soul.

My Review

I wanted to read Inbetween for some time; I love paranormal books, and there was something special about this one, or so I hoped.  Immediately upon starting author Tara Fuller's debut novel, I realized I was falling for the story and for the characters.  Inbetween is one of those books that you just want to hug, because it's full of emotions, and "feel-good" moments, despite the various perils the characters are in; there's definitely something incredibly sweet and touching about this novel. 

I'm not sure what to rave about first: the characters or the author's writing style.  Fuller writes beautifully - the writing is both easy to follow, and also vividly descriptive.  The characters are awesomely genuine - teenage boys and girls who would fit in anywhere, but they're all unique, too.   They have their own burdens, but they bear them well.  Emma doesn't let her father's death crush her; Cash doesn't let his home life get the best of him.  And Finn is honorable despite his situation and surroundings.  I never expected to find so many gems in a book about death.   Emma, Finn, Cash, and even Easton (who I wanted more of!) all stand out in Inbetween.  

I also enjoyed the attention and thought given to the Inbetween and to the rules for reaping, as well as that there were consequences for everyone's actions, and that the characters knew it.  Inbetween was a difficult book at times because of Finn and Emma's pasts, and Finn's line of work.  But every sad moment was balanced out by a happier one, as we saw how many people Emma had around her who cared about her.  I loved the progression of her relationship with Finn - TOO CUTE.

Inbetween is fast-paced, but not TOO much so; Fuller strikes the right pace and delivers a breath-taking, enjoyable novel of first love, and life after death.  Some powerful secrets were revealed in Inbetween when it came to Finn and Emma, and the ending definitely surprised me in a good way - so bring on the sequel!

Other books by this author:

Perigee Moon

You're sure to fall for:

The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Once Upon A Book Haul - #19

Inspired by all the book-haul memes I've seen floating around (and mostly accredited to Stacking the Shelves) Once Upon A Book Haul is my own version of a book haul/round-up here at Once Upon A Prologue.  It's a fun way for me to show off the books I've begged, borrowed, or stolen - and in a rare case, actually bought!  I love showing off my pretty new books, be they ARCS I'll pass on or books I'll keep just as much as I do seeing what y'all have added to YOUR collection, so be sure to leave me a link to YOUR haul in the comments so we can squee together over our new books!  (It's totally not embarrassing if we're squee'ing together in case y'all didn't know...)

Recently at Once Upon a Prologue

I reviewed My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris! 
I posted a Top Ten Tuesday talking about my favorite YA authors
I Waited On Let the Sky Fall!
I reviewed Crewel by Gennifer Albin (and adored it!) 


Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone


The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa

* Thanks to Marla at Starting the Next Chapter, and Harlequin Teen! * 

Oh, and y'all see that GORGEOUS finished copy of Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone?  You NEED this book.  You WANT this book.  It.  Is.  Amazing.  Beautifully, achingly written, with believable characters and the kind of romance I've been WAITING for in YA novels.  Just...buy it, please?  For me?  For Tamara?

Your turn!  Leave me a link to YOUR book haul / wrap up posts!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Review: Crewel by Gennifer Albin

Crewel by Gennifer Albin
Published: October 16, 2012 (Farrar, Straus and Giroux BYR)
Source: Won in Armchair BEA
Rating: Squee-worthy
Add it/Purchase: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Connect with the author: Twitter | Website


Incapable. Awkward. Artless.  That’s what the other girls whisper behind her back. But sixteen year-old Adelice Lewys has a secret: she wants to fail.

Gifted with the ability to weave time with matter, she’s exactly what the Guild is looking for, and in the world of Arras, being chosen as a Spinster is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to embroider the very fabric of life. But if controlling what people eat, where they live and how many children they have is the price of having it all, Adelice isn’t interested.

Not that her feelings matter, because she slipped and wove a moment at testing, and they’re coming for her—tonight.

Now she has one hour to eat her mom’s overcooked pot roast. One hour to listen to her sister’s academy gossip and laugh at her Dad’s stupid jokes. One hour to pretend everything’s okay. And one hour to escape.

Because once you become a Spinster, there’s no turning back.

My Review

Crewel was on my radar for some time before I was lucky enough to win an ARC, and even now that I've finished it, it's one of those rare books that I wish I had the time to re-read once everything has settled a bit after reading the final page.  Crewel is a richly woven tapestry - a story of hope, obedience, fear, secrets, and revolution.  As a reader, I clung eagerly to every bit of information I could get my hands on, and was happy to wait for my answers - instead of the classic and unfortunate info-dump, Albin reveals things over time.  Between the underlying struggles between the male dominated society, and the females who want power, mixed in with the science-fiction elements, and the beautiful, if fleeting romance that develops, there is something for everyone in Gennifer Albin's debut novel.

Led by a fantastically self-aware heroine, Adelice, Crewl isn't like anything I've ever read before.   Living in a segregated community, Adelice was taught to carefully hide her abilities, and it's led to her becoming sheltered.  But there's also a LOT of strength in this girl, strength and grit that she shows throughout Crewel.  I applauded when Adelice stood up for herself, and I for one cannot wait to see who she becomes in the sequel.  In a cast of ruthless characters, like power-hungry Maela and Ambassador Cormac Patton, everyone has their own agenda, but Adelice holds her own.  

Her innocence is definitely stripped away, but in the wake of that, we see a lovely romance burgeoning between Adelice and one of my other favorite characters.  And no, I won't tell you who - but trust me, you will WANT to find out for yourself because although there was a small hint of a love triangle, it was SO clear to me who Adelice belongs with.  Both of the guys that come to care for Adelice are perfectly swoon-worthy in different ways, but the particular one I fell for really swept me off my feet.  He and Adelice moved a little too fast for my taste, but found their own unique way to spend a good deal of time together getting closer. 

Crewel touched me on many levels.  I found reasons to laugh and reasons to cry.  The actual premise is only barely touched on in the synopsis - there's a great deal more going on that I discovered as I read.  Gennifer Albin brings several layers to the story, beyond the surface description of what the Spinsters do.  We learned along with Adelice, and discovered the various agendas and politics behind the scenes - and that not everyone called to serve lives a glamorous life.  Albin cleverly reveals just enough to spin my head around as I feverishly turned the pages, needing MORE - more answers, more of these characters.  Concepts of weaving, ripping, and cleansing had me begging for more explanations!  By the time I finished Crewel, I realized the wait for the sequel is going to be an extremely long one, during which I'll probably need to buy my own copy of Crewel to re-read to pass the time!  If you're going to read Crewel, I'd advise you to set aside a whole day of un-interrupted reading, and be prepared to have your mind blown!

You're sure to fall for:

There's nothing else like this book so dudes, just READ IT! 


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday - #34: Let The Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger

{ ++ }  This weekly event/feature is graciously hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine. You know that feeling you get when you're browsing upcoming books on Goodreads or Amazon and one strikes your fancy?  Maybe you squee.  Maybe you giggle to yourself.  Maybe you bounce in your seat. We all get excited (I do a combination of all three of the previous choices...) about new books, be it a favorite author you're familiar with, or someone whose work you'll be reading for the first time.  Jill's meme gives us the chance to spotlight what we are anxiously awaiting this week.

I'm Waiting On...

A broken past and a divided future can’t stop the electric connection of two teens in this “charged and romantic” (Becca Fitzpatrick), lush novel. Seventeen-year-old Vane Weston has no idea how he survived the category five tornado that killed his parents. And he has no idea if the beautiful, dark-haired girl who’s swept through his dreams every night since the storm is real. But he hopes she is.

Seventeen-year-old Audra is a sylph, an air elemental. She walks on the wind, can translate its alluring songs, and can even coax it into a weapon with a simple string of commands. She’s also a guardian—Vane’s guardian—and has sworn an oath to protect Vane at all costs. Even if it means sacrificing her own life.

When a hasty mistake reveals their location to the enemy who murdered both of their families, Audra’s forced to help Vane remember who he is. He has a power to claim—the secret language of the West Wind, which only he can understand. But unlocking his heritage will also unlock the memory Audra needs him to forget. And their greatest danger is not the warriors coming to destroy them—but the forbidden romance that’s grown between them.

Let The Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger 
Expected publication: March 5, 2013 (Simon Pulse)
Add it to your TBR!

Why It's Worth Waiting On: I LOVE the premise to this one, the cover, and just the entire feel of it.  Sylphs are creatures we don't see very often in books, especially in YA literature.  I can't wait to read Shannon's story, and meet Vane and Audra!  

Your turn!  What are YOU "waiting on" this Wednesday?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday - #36 - Top Ten Favorite YA Authors

{ ++ } Hosted by the girls over at The Broke and the Bookish, this meme features a different theme every week, and hey, it's Tuesday - we've got the rest of the week ahead of us.  We all need a little fun, and who doesn't love the challenge of ranking their top 10 anything...especially when it comes to books?!  I know I do, hence why I thought it'd be fun to participate, and spice things up a little!

October 16, 2012:
Top Ten Favorite Authors In X Genre 

{ 1 } Myra McEntire.  Probably NO surprise to anyone who visits my blog regularly.  Myra writes AMAZINGLY realistic and true-to-life characters, plus just swoon-worthy guys.  I'll take Michael or Kaleb ANY DAY.  No, seriously.  If she wants to loan one of them out to me for a day...  *coughs*  But her books are legitametly solid and wonderful, so do yourself a favor and check them out, okay?  Because they're addictive.  

Myra's novels:  Hourglass | Timepiece 

{ 2 } Leigh Bardugo.  Again, no surprise here.  Leigh has only written one book but it was a beautiful book.  Every word was meaningful, and every character interaction mattered and loaned something to the story.  And just, the characters were so inspiring and so strong.  And do I REALLY need to go into my epic love for Mal/Alina?  Okay, you convinced me.  Just look at the last picture here

Leigh's novel: Shadow and Bone

{ 3 } C.J. Redwine.  CJ's debut novel, Defiance rocked my world.  Defiance is dual narrative and BOTH of her lead characters are just made of awesome.  Rachel is SO SO strong and she just keeps enduring and growing and she's one of THE BEST examples today of an amazing YA heroine.  And Logan?  *SWOOOOONS* 

C.J's novel: Defiance

{ 4 } Stephanie Perkins.  Wow, if you guys don't know her novels...well.  *grins* Both ANNA and LOLA are just ten kinds of fabulous.  Stephanie does the teenage voice SO SO well and just has a way of completely drawing you in, heart and soul, into her novels and into her character's lives.  And. WELL.  ETIENNE, you guys.  

{ 5 } Suzanne Young.  These books that Suzanne writes...they make me cry.  And they make me shudder.  And they make me smile.  And they make me HOPE.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE Charlotte/Harlin.  I can't even go into the words to describe my experience reading this duology but I'll say after reading them, I'm a Suzanne fan for life.   

{ 6 } Tahereh Mafi.  Okay so truth: I've only read one of Tahereh's books but it was, well.  Are there REALLY any words at all to describe the gorgeousness that is Shatter Me, OR the amazing that is Adam and Juliette?  Nope.  Didn't think so.  Just read this book because...GAH.  

Tahereh's novels: Shatter Me | Destroy Me (novella) | Unravel Me (Jan 2013)

{ 7 } Kathleen Peacock.  Again, Kathleen has only had one novel out because she's a debut novelist but Hemlock.  Hemlock, Hemlock.  Oh how I LOVED this novel so so so much.  I cried my eyes out reading it and got incredibly attached to two of the characters, and one of the possible couples.  I've said it once and I'll say it again: this book blows Twilight out of the water and WILL make you forget about any other werewolves before these.  And coming from a person that believes Jacob Black was one of only two good things to come out of Twilight...that's sayin' a lot.  

Kathleen's novel: Hemlock

{ 8 } Andrea Cremer.  Confession: I have not yet read Bloodrose.  But I HAVE read Nightshade and Wolfsbane.  And I respect Andrea SO MUCH.  She writes intelligent, kick-ass lead females and she tells the story that NEEDS to be told, not the story her fans want.  That takes guts and I just, I admire her a lot.  

Andrea's books: Nightshade | Wolfsbane | Bloodrose

{ 9 } Lauren Oliver.  Again, not a surprise.  My FAVORITE Lauren book is always, always, always going to be Before I Fall, but her Delirium trilogy is so ground-breaking.  I adore her writing style and that she writes about things that REALLY REALLY matter.  Lauren is just fantastic.

Lauren's novels: Before I Fall | Delirium | Pandemonium | Requiem (upcoming)

{ 10 } There are so many others, so this is going to just be a bunch of honorable mentions: Wendy Higgins, Becca Fitzpatrick, Corrine Jackson, Jess Rothenberg - ALL worth a read, y'all!

Your turn!  What made YOUR Top Ten this week?  If you don't participate...who are YOUR favorite authors? 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Review: My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris

My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris
Published: September 11, 2012 (Entangled Teen)
Rating: Squee-worthy
Source: E-ARC from the publisher
Add it/Purchase: Goodreads | B&N | Amazon
Connect with the author: Twitter | Website


On the precipice of her sixteenth birthday, the last thing lone wolf Cat Crawford wants is an extravagant gala thrown by her bubbly stepmother-to-be and well-meaning father. So even though Cat knows the family’s trip to Florence, Italy, is a peace offering, she embraces the magical city and all it offers. But when her curiosity leads her to an unusual gypsy tent, she exits . . . right into Renaissance Firenze.

Thrust into the sixteenth century armed with only a backpack full of contraband future items, Cat joins up with her ancestors, the sweet Alessandra and protective Cipriano, and soon falls for the gorgeous aspiring artist Lorenzo. But when the much-older Niccolo starts sniffing around, Cat realizes that an unwanted birthday party is nothing compared to an unwanted suitor full of creeptastic amore.

Can she find her way back to modern times before her Italian adventure turns into an Italian forever

My Review

I was excited to read My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century for several months before its release, so when I received an E-ARC, I dove excitedly into the pages and discovered a thoroughly enjoyable, light-hearted story.  Combining familiar elements of using time travel to teach the main character - a delightfully realistic girl - life lessons, even though some parts of Rachel Harris's debut novel are familiar to me, that doesn't mean that I loved the story being told any less.  Between the setting, which teemed with atmospheric details, and the larger-than-life characters, Super Sweet is a sweet, coming-of-age story.

There was just something undeniably charismatic about Cat Crawford,and I liked her immediately.  She has a strong voice as a narrator, so consequently, was right there with her as she stepped out of a gypsy's tent and into Renaissance Italy and into an adventure she'd never expected.  Cat carries the story well, because Rachel Harris imbues her with both a sense of wonder at what's happening around her, as well as a sense of independence that marks her as unique in her surroundings.  I felt for Cat and also cheered her on, whether it was her exploring the city, meeting historical figures, or fighting and finally giving in to her attraction for handsome Lorenzo.  He was a fantastic love interest - there was so much more to him than met the eye, and even though Cat didn't get to spend a great deal of time with him, the attraction between them definitely felt very genuine.

My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century is a lovely story, filled with moments of tenderness and humor as Cat navigates her way through her ancestor's Italy.  What easily could have been a run-of-the-mill time travel tale instead took on a life of its own, largely thanks to Harris's flowing writing style, as well as the other secondary characters, like Alessandra, and Cat's "aunt" and "uncle."  I also really loved that Cat grew and transformed as a character - I'm  a BIG fan of character growth in novels.  I read this book eagerly and am definitely very much looking forward to the sequel, A Tale of Two Centuries!

Other books by this author:

A Tale of Two Centuries (My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century #2 - Entangled Teen, 2013)
Rearview Mirror (Entangled Teen, 2013)

You're sure to fall for:

Venom by Fiona Paul

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Review: Scorch by Gina Damico

Scorch by Gina Damico (Croak #2)

Expected publication: September 25, 2012 (Graphia)
Source: ARC from the publisher
Rating: Squee-worthy
Add it/Purchase: Goodreads | B&N | Amazon
Connect with the author: Website | Twitter


Sixteen-year-old Lex Bartleby is a teenage grim reaper with the bizarre ability to damn souls. That makes her pretty scary, even to fellow Grims. But after inadvertently transferring her ability to Zara, a murderous outlaw, Lex is a pariah in Croak, the little town she calls home.

To escape the townspeople’s wrath, she and her friends embark on a wild road trip to DeMyse. Though this sparkling desert oasis is full of luxuries and amusements, it feels like a prison to Lex. Her best chance at escape would be to stop Zara once and for all—but how can she do that from DeMyse, where the Grims seem mysteriously oblivious to Zara’s killing spree?

My Review

I was thrilled to return to the small, eccentric town of Croak to revisit my favorite characters: Lex, Driggs, Uncle Mort, and the various other townspeople.  Author Gina Damico's zany cast of characters kept me laughing as the plot moved along, through both triumphs and tragedy's.  Scorch is a deeper book than I originally thought it would be, because for Lex, the stakes are higher.  She's an outcast in Croak now that Zara, a fellow Reaper, is on the loose.  I thought in so many ways, Damico's second book was brilliant, because even though there were touches of her trademark humor and sarcasm, it's clear the characters have more to lose.  

Once again, the characters in Scorch are absolutely a joy to read about.  Each of them - down to the most minor of characters - comes alive under Damico's pen.  Despite the many dangers - Zara's string of murders, Lex's new, odd powers, and so much more - all the characters stayed true to themselves.  I loved the progression of Lex and Drigg's relationship, and how real it felt - perfectly awkward at times, serious or tender at others.  I laughed out loud as often as I gasped with fear for my favorites.  Gina Damico has a true talent at creating memorable characters.  

With bodies piling up and the mystery of Lex's powers growing stranger every day, no place is safe for Lex and her friends.  I read Scorch quickly because I HAD to know what happened next.  Damico kept me guessing and kept me interested!  I have a few mixed feelings on some of the plot twists, but overall, I enjoyed this one and will definitely be on the edge of my seat for the final book in the trilogy! 

Other books by this author:

Croak (Croak #1)
Untitled (Croak #3, 2013)

You're sure to fall for:

Undeadly by Michele Vail

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Discussion Post - Staying Organized

How do you stay organized? - From Anonymous

When I first started blogging, I was a pantser.  I was writing posts on a whim, because I was finding my schedule, my stride.  I knew I wanted to write reviews, but to be honest, I didn't put ANY thought into planning posts out, writing notes about reviews, or thinking farther ahead than one day.  Which, to be honest, was a disaster.  By the time I wrote my review or my meme, fixed dinner, and folded laundry I had NO time to visit blogs.  Everything I did felt hurried, rushed, thrown together at the last minute.  

Then I discovered the ability to schedule posts with Blogger and that SAVED me.  I started experimenting with the feature, which is SUPER simple - as you're writing your post, you click "Schedule" then "set date and time" and THANK GOODNESS for this! 

I'm off every Sunday, so along with being "catch up on cleaning" days, Sundays are my blogging days.  I visit blogs for IMM/book hauls, and then I sit down and write and schedule my posts for the week ahead, including reviews, memes, etc.  The end result?  Every day the next week (sometimes there is one day I just can't find something to post) at 8am,  a post goes live.  It's amazing. Sometimes this takes me an hour...sometimes four or five, but when I'm done, I have a whole week's posts done and THAT means that through that week, I can spend more time commenting on YOUR posts instead of writing my own.

Now in terms of what I'm reading...oh Lordy, that's a whole other story.  

I have an excel spreadsheet that I use to list the books I need to read each month, be it a review request, an ARC, or whatnot.  (I long ago gave up on reading anything from my actual bookshelf of TBR books! LOL).  I also use my Calendar on my BlackBerry and set up reminders for myself a few days in advance of this tour review being due, or to set up a giveaway/etc.

Finally, my Gmail account probably looks like a Post-It ad with all the labels and folders I have.  I have a folder JUST for "publicity" emails (ie ARC requests/etc), a specific folder for each tour site I'm involved in, a folder for correspondences with authors, and so forth.  I use my labels like crazy, and I'll mark things for follow-up and so forth. 

Being organized as a blogger is a LOT of work, but it is so, so worth it in the end!  I'm free to visit my favorite blogs, and hop on over to YOUR blogs when y'all comment here.  So...how do YOU guys stay organized with your blogs? 

Have a question about blogging?  Was there something I didn't cover in this post that YOU want to know about?  Ask me here and I'll do my best to answer ASAP!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday - #35: Top Ten Rewind!

{ ++ } Hosted by the girls over at The Broke and the Bookish, this meme features a different theme every week, and hey, it's Tuesday - we've got the rest of the week ahead of us.  We all need a little fun, and who doesn't love the challenge of ranking their top 10 anything...especially when it comes to books?!  I know I do, hence why I thought it'd be fun to participate, and spice things up a little!

October 9, 2012:
Top Ten Fictional Crushes (from books)

This week is a rewind, where you get to pick an older Top Ten topic.  I never got the chance to do this one, so...here goes!  (At least, I don't think I did.  But you know what?  Even if I did, here we go again!)

{ 1 } Gale Hawthorne.  (The Hunger Games series.)  Yeah so if you know me at all?  This probably isn't a surprise.  Gale/Katniss are my OTP.  Gale makes me ugly cry when I read about him.  I adore him, and his story, and I'm ALWAYS going to be in denial about some things in The Hunger Games series.  I know (in my head) exactly how it should have ended...  GAH.  Gale is loyal, strong, and caring and I ADORE him.  He fights for what he wants, and he puts his convictions into actions.  He's fiercely devoted to those that he cares about.  Is he perfect?  Hell no.  But Gale is REAL.  He's an alpha male and he makes me smile EVERY TIME I read about him. 

{ 2 } Eddie Dean.  (The Dark Tower series.) Ohhhh, Eddie.  He's so...brave, and a survivor.  He triumphed over a hell of a lot and won a place in my heart FOREVER.  

{ 3 } Mal Oretsev.  (Shadow and Bone.)  Uh, so do I NEED to tell y'all why I love Mal?   Mal: protective, daring, adventurous, loyal, bit of a flirt...but at his core, he's devoted to Alina.  Still not convinced?  Okay, perhaps this quote will help.  This is Mal, talking to Alina during S&B...taken out of context so as not to spoil too badly... (You can read my review here.)

I missed you every hour. And you know what the worst part was? It caught me completely by surprise. I’d catch myself just walking around to find you, not for any reason , just out of habit, because I’d seen something that I wanted to tell you about or because I wanted to hear your voice. And then I’d realize that you weren’t there anymore, and every time, every single time, it was like having the wind knocked out of me. 

{ 4 }  Kyle Harper.  (Hemlock.)  Oh Kyle.  What to say about this boy?  He is fiercely loyal to those that he cares about, especially his friends, and Mac.  Kyle tends to take his role as protector very seriously, and he's sort of the lighthouse keeper of the group.  I just, I want to hug him forever.  He has a huge, huge hearts and cares A LOT about Mac.  It's no wonder I fell for him immediately when reading Hemlock.  (You can read my review here.)

"Kyle took a deep breath, like he had picked up on the question I hadn't asked. That was one of the differences between him and Jason: Kyle always gave just as much weight and consideration to the things I didn't say as to the things I did."  

{ 5 } Daemon "Sadi" SaDiablo.  (The Black Jewels trilogy/series.)  I...can't say anything about Daemon that I haven't already said.  He's...amazing.  He'll take your breath away.  He'll make you weak in the knees.  Daemon is sensual and sexual and loyal.  Daemon is my book boyfriend forever.  Seriously, just read these books.  

* Considering how much I've rambled, I'm only doing 5 this week.  :D  I may do another stand-alone book boyfriends posts in the future!

Your turn!  What made YOUR Top Ten this week?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Books In Need of a Home Giveaway - #2

It's that time again, you guys.  The time when I eye my bookshelves and can actually HEAR them groaning under the weight of the books I have that I need to send on to their second home.  I have a book buying addiction and so I'd love to share a few with y'all.  Last time I did this it was a HUGE success, but this time I'm going to make it easier on myself AND on you guys.  I'm going to list what's up for grabs, and all you have to do is comment on this post with what you want plus your email address (ex: me (at) gmail (dot) com) and then I'll randomly pick people.  Sound fun?  Awesome.

Crewel by Gennifer Albin (ARC)
Quarantine: The Loners by Lex Thomas (finished copy)

That's it for this time - hopefully there will be a few more this fall/winter as I start in on my TBR!  Remember, just comment and leave your email address and I'll pick a random winner for each these three books!

Review: Death and the Girl Next Door by Darynda Jones

Death and the Girl Next Door (Darklight #1) by Darynda Jones
Published: October 2, 2012 (St Martin's Press)
Pages: 320
Source: e-ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Rating: Beam-worthy
Add it/Purchase: Goodreads | B&N | Amazon
Connect with the author: TwitterWebsite


Ten years ago, Lorelei's parents disappeared without a trace.  Raised by her grandparents and leaning on the support of her best friends, Lorelei is finally beginning to accept the fact that her parents are never coming home.  For Lorelei, life goes on.

High school is not quite as painful as she thinks it will be, and things are as normal as they can be.  Until the day the school's designated loner, Cameron Lusk, begins to stalk her, turning up where she least expects it,  standing outside her house in the dark, night after night.  Things get even more complicated when a new guy—terrifying, tough, sexy Jared Kovach—comes to school.  

Cameron and Jared instantly despise each other and Lorelei seems to be the reason for their animosity.  What does Jared know about her parents?  Why does Cameron tell Jared he can't have Lorelei?  And what will any of them do when Death comes knocking for real? 

My Review

When I received my copy of Death and the Girl Next Door, I was expecting a fun, sexy thrill ride; however, what I got was something quite different - a book that, despite a fabulous premise, never delivers anything beyond a mediocre read.  While I did enjoy some of the characters, and thought parts of the plot were really interesting, overall Darynda Jone's first YA book was a let down for me.  

Main character Lorelei starts off promising - she's sassy around her friends, yet melts into the mold seen too often in a YA lead female - uninteresting and insecure, who makes consistently rash decisions in order to have the guy she knows isn't good for her.  I was really disappointed in Lorelei, but still willing to give her a chance.  But as soon as Jared (the love interest) entered the picture, she went weak-kneed and never recovered.  The flashes of spirit and vivaciousness were gone, and Lorelei lacked anything, any character trait, to set her apart. Her romance with Jared, while definitely forbidden, felt cardboard and stereotypical.  I never cheered for them, never feared they wouldn't overcome their obstacles; they're THAT  vanilla romance that you know, unfortunately, will prevail.  They had a great deal of conflict, but it was just forced, fast, and undeveloped, just like their feelings for each other.  The one good thing I can say is, at least there was no love triangle; ironically, I felt Lorelei was SO much better matched with the one guy who WASN'T falling all over her. 

The plot held some originality, which I really liked, but over the course of Death,  faded into familiar tropes, and the big "reveals" were things I could have predicted.  And while there were some great, witty portions of this novel, by the end, I had to refrain from sighing in disappointment.  For such a short novel, I felt like the climax was really rushed.  I did like the secondary characters - Cameron, Brooke, and Glitch, and look forward to finding out more about them.  I'll read the sequel...but I hope it's a library book.  
Other books by this author:

You're sure to fall for:

Velveteen by Daniel Marks