f0zKg0J4zFLYz-Yq0aednQVqREE Once Upon a Prologue: June 2012
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Friday, June 29, 2012

Giveaway: Over You by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Klaus






Harper Teen generously sent me an ARC of Over You by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Klaus, and I'd like to share it with one of you today in a giveaway.  It's a little too early for me to post my review, since Over You doesn't come out until August, but I'm going to give you a few reasons to think on as to why you HAVE to pick up this book...then it's on to the ARC giveaway.  One lucky reader will win my ARC.  Good luck to everyone! 



Over You by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Klaus
Expected publication: August 21, 2012 (Harper Teen)
Add it to your TBR


After the grand explosion of her relationship, seventeen-year-old Max Scott developed what every girl in the history of the world has been waiting for: a way to get over being dumped. Now Max is the go-to guru for heartbroken high-school girls all over NYC. 

But when her ex unexpectedly shows up in her neighborhood, Max’s carefully controlled world starts to unravel. With her clients’ hearts hanging in the balance, Max will have to do the seemingly impossible: get over him once and for all.

Brilliant at bringing humor to the trials and tribulations of the lovestruck, #1 New York Times bestselling authors Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus have crafted a tale that will resonate with any girl who has ever been in love or had her heart broken. It brims with smart observations, features a pitch-perfect teen voice, and will attract fans of Jenny Han, Sarah Mlynowski, and Lauren Barnholdt. Readers are sure to fall head-over-heels for this sharp spin on breaking up, making up, and getting even.










5 Reasons You WANT to read Over You

  • The characters.  Max is a fresh, funny heroine and I really loved her "voice" as written by the authors.  There are several amazingly real, down-to-earth secondary characters, including Zach and Phoebe, as well as others, all who kept me laughing with them, and learning with them.  
  • The boys.  Despite this being a book about how to get over being broken up with, even our jaded heroine has a love interest, in the form of Ben Cooper.  He's the guy who had in AP English, the guy who wanted to get to know better.  And then there's Hugh - the boy who broke Max's heart.  Hugo is that snobby rich kid you kept hoping would get beaned by a soccer ball during gym class.  These two guys couldn't be more different, but I enjoyed Max's interactions with them.  
  • The setting.  It's NEW YORK.  There was a teensy bit of a Gossip Girl feel to Over You, which I approve of (I loved the first two seasons a LOT.)  
  • The writing style.  I love books with co-authors, because I love trying to get inside the author's head and wondering: who created this character, who wrote that part, etc.  The writing was really easy to follow and made the story just flow.  
  • The premise.  It's JUST as awesome, funny, poignant, and full of adventure as it sounds!  



Thursday, June 28, 2012

Review: One Moment by Kristina McBride









One Moment by Kristina McBride
Expected publication: June 26, 2012 (Egmont USA)
Pages: 272
Source: E-ARC from the publisher
Rating: Beam-worthy
Further Info/Purchase: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Find the author online: Website | Twitter

This was supposed to be the best summer of Maggie’s life. Now it’s the one she’d do anything to forget.

Maggie Reynolds remembers hanging out at the gorge with her closest friends after a blowout party the night before. She remembers climbing the trail hand in hand with her perfect boyfriend, Joey. She remembers that last kiss, soft, lingering, and meant to reassure her. So why can’t she remember what happened in the moment before they were supposed to dive? Why was she left cowering at the top of the cliff, while Joey floated in the water below—dead?

As Maggie’s memories return in snatches, nothing seems to make sense. Why was Joey acting so strangely at the party? Where did he go after taking her home? And if Joey was keeping these secrets, what else was he hiding?

The latest novel from the author of The Tension of Opposites, One Moment is a mysterious, searing look at how an instant can change everything you believe about the world around you.



My Review

From the moment I read the synopsis for One Moment, and gazed adoringly at the cover, I was sure that this story would break my heart.  And it did, on several levels, but unfortunately, it also left me aching for something...more.   Kristina McBride's story of first love and first heartache is definitely a poignant addition to my bookshelf - from the start, I sympathized with Maggie, the main character, and I think that was largely due to McBride's clear, yet lovely writing style.  Maggie is just one of those characters - the girl that you knew in high school and were friends with, but always wanted to get to know better.  

For the majority of One Moment, I wanted to put an arm around her, or hug her.  She definitely went through a lot, and for the most part, she handled the trauma of Joey's death, and the aftermath, about as well as could be expected, with the help of her tight-knit group of friends.  I liked Pete, Adam, and the rest of Maggie's friends, but I felt like McBride could have - and should have - developed the characters more thoroughly.  Just because they all knew one another inside out, doesn't mean the reader does.  While that sense of them all being best friends carried across really well, it also left me feeling somewhat shut out from their world, so I had trouble connecting.  And I basically felt like the characters were flat - Shannon was the "bitch" who said what everyone else was thinking, but had little depth otherwise; Pete was the "artsy" friend who didn't add much to the story, and so on. 

One Moment is a fascinating look at the aftermath of a tragedy, and how in a different light, everything you thought you knew can unravel quickly.  I felt bad for Maggie as she began to weave her way through the web of secrets Joey and others had spun around her.  It was painful and heart-breaking, watching her dig deeper beneath the surface, and seeing her get hurt, along the way, yet I also thought that in some ways, Maggie was very naive.  The mystery aspect of One Moment was way too predictable - I had an idea of what was going on way before Maggie did; Kristina McBride definitely could have done that in a less obvious way.  

I was also very bothered by the romances in One Moment.  I won't go too into details, since I don't want to spoil anyone, but the way a certain romantic element was handled felt absolutely cheesy and tacked-on as an afterthought, or a failed attempt to add further depth to the story.  At times I was confused about what the story really was - a mystery, or a flawed character study.  There wasn't enough of either aspect to tip the balance in either direction, and the romance was just really unbelievable - another instance of an author telling us, but not showing us, that these two certain characters are in love.  That's all well and good, but I want to BELIEVE that they're in love, not just swallow what I'm spoon-fed.  

Even though I quite enjoyed several aspects of One Moment, it was too predictable, and lacked that something special that I was so hoping it would have.  I liked it okay enough to finish it, but I didn't have the emotional response that I wanted to have.  



Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday - #26: Dualed by Elsie Chapman








{ ++ }  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...


Dualed by Elsie Chapman
Expected publication: February 26, 2013
Add it to your TBR!
Connect with the author: Twitter | Website

 You or your Alt? Only one will survive. 

"Dualed" is a thrilling high-concept YA where citizens must prove their worth by killing their Alts--twins raised by other families. 


The city of Kersh is a safe haven, but the price of safety is high. West Grayer has trained as a fighter, preparing for the day when her assignment arrives and she will have one month to hunt down and kill her Alt. Survival means advanced schooling, a good job, marriage--life. But then a tragic misstep shakes West's confidence. Stricken with grief and guilt, she's no longer certain that she's the best version of herself, the version worthy of a future. If she is to have any chance of winning, she must stop running not only from her Alt, but also from love . . . though both have the power to destroy her. 


Elsie Chapman's suspenseful debut weaves unexpected romance into a novel full of fast-paced action and thought-provoking philosophy. When the story ends, discussions will begin about this future society where every adult is a murderer and every child knows there is another out there who just might be better.




Why it's worth waiting on: WOW.  I MEAN...WOW!  Between the AMAZING synopsis - just the bone-chilling idea of there being another you...and having to best that "alt" is creepy!  Plus, Elsie is fabulously sweet and friendly.  I cannot WAIT to read this one!



Your turn!  What are y'all waiting on this week? 

 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday - #21: Characters Who Remind Me Of Myself






{ ++ } 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!







Top Ten Tuesday - June 26, 2012
Characters Who Remind Me of Myself




{ 1 } Anna from Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins.  Anna is a little more of a "good girl" than I am - at times, even I was wondering if she was for real, yet I instantly fell for her, because even if I have my moments where the devil wins out over the angel, I try to at least somewhat maintain my reputation as a sweetheart.  

{ 2 } Haven from Illuminate by Aimee Agresti.  Haven is a total brain and also has a HUGE heart when it comes to the people that she cares about.  I clicked with her within the first few pages of Illuminate, and throughout the book, I just grew to love her more and more.  

{ 3 } Allie from Mercy by Jodi Picoult.  While she grows a lot over the course of the novel, when Mercy starts, Allie is that character who does for others before she thinks of herself.  While I'm not THAT selfless, I do tend to try to put others ahead of me when I can.  I connected a lot with Allie, because she was in a relationship in the book where her partner took her for granted, and I read Mercy around the time I was ending that sort of a relationship, and realizing I deserved better.

{ 4 } Becky from the Shopaholic books by Sophie Kinsella.  Okay, so, I've never frozen a credit card to hide it from myself, but I HAVE been known to fall into ecstasy over a perfect scarf, purse, or pair of shoes...or a GREAT deal on a book or books!  

{ 5 } Mac from Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock.  Mac cares a heck of a lot about her family and friends, and even if she sometimes makes rash decisions to try to help them, or in defense of them, it's because she wants the best for them.  I fell hard for Mac instantly, and I think it's because I saw a lot myself in her. 

{ 6 } Alina from Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo.  Alina is a sweet, self-aware girl, who nevertheless is in THAT place with a guy...she's the one in love with someone who she feels doesn't even see her in THAT way.  I've been there a few times and reading S&B took me right back there, but I cheered for Alina as she found her way and found her merit and strength.  It reminded me of my own journey.  

{ 7 } Eleanor from Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard.  Eleanor cracked me up with her feisty manner and her spirit.  I think anyone who knows me well would definitely say that I've got some sass to me and that I am NOT as innocent as I look, and neither is Eleanor.   

{ 8 } Leigh from Web of Dreams by VC Andrews.  Leigh was sweet and trusting, dreamy, and a bit ethereal...fragile in some ways, but very strong in others.  I fell in love with her in her book, even though it was finished by a ghostwriter when the original author passed on.  I gravitated directly to Leigh and even now, I adore her.  

{ 9 } Jo from Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.  I know I'm not alone in that I see a bit of myself in each of the March sisters, but I am SO a Jo.  Stubborn, a writer, a dreamer, far too opinionated, never able to not speak up, wishing to be better.  Oh, Jo. 

{ 10 } Katy from Obsidian by Jennifer L Armentrout.  Awww, Katy.  I adored her SO MUCH.  I know a lot of us identified with her because she's a book blogger and a wonderfully awesome nerd.  I also loved her fight and her spirit and saw some of me in her!



Your turn!  What characters did you choose that remind you of you in real life?  Or, what characters remind you of people you know?  

Monday, June 25, 2012

Review: Team Human by Sarah Rees Brennan and Justin Larbalestier











Team Human by Sarah Rees Brennan and Justine Larbalestier
Pages: 344
Expected publication: July 3, 2012 (Harper Teen)
Source: ATW ARC Tours
Rating: Beam-worthy
Add it/Purchase: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Connect with the authors online: Justine's website | Sarah's website


Just because Mel lives in New Whitby, a city founded by vampires, doesn't mean she knows any of the blood-drinking undead personally. They stay in their part of town; she stays in hers. Until the day a vampire shows up at her high school. Worse yet, her best friend, Cathy, seems to be falling in love with him. It's up to Mel to save Cathy from a mistake she might regret for all eternity

On top of trying to help Cathy (whether she wants it or not), Mel is investigating a mysterious disappearance for another friend and discovering the attractions of a certain vampire wannabe. Combine all this with a cranky vampire cop, a number of unlikely romantic entanglements, and the occasional zombie, and soon Mel is hip-deep in an adventure that is equal parts hilarious and touching.

Acclaimed authors Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan team up to create a witty and poignant story of cool vampires, warm friendships, and the changes that test the bonds of love.



My Review

True story: I almost didn't want to read this book.  I'll go ahead and admit it: I didn't think I'd like a book that so clearly parodies all things vampires, even, at many points, directly spoofing Twilight.  But co-authors Sarah Rees Brennan and Justine Larbalestier absolutely changed my mind with the first few chapters of this hilarious inside look at the life of one level headed girl - Mel - caught between her swoon-y best friend and the vampire she loves.  


Mel is an amazingly practical, out-spoken, and fierce heroine, one that I loved.  There was never a moment in Team Human where I felt ambivalent about her.  Larbalestier and Brennan developed her SO well, and she was the perfect choice to narrate this tongue-in-cheek vampire spoof.  Mel is the character that was missing from Twilight!  Living in a vampire-heavy town is a challenge for Mel, who has a strictly "live and let live" policy when it comes to vampires, but when the refined Francis shows up to attend her high school, all bets are off.  I laughed out loud SO often at Mel and Francis's exchanges.  I'm not sure which author brought that brand of humor to the table, or if it was both of them combined, but it was genius, watching Francis struggle to remain a gentleman toward Mel (whom he obviously didn't know what to do with) and watching Mel get in her little digs.  

The characters were all stand-outs in Team Human, from Mel's scatter-brained mother to her caring dad and her younger brother, Lancelot (yes, that's his real name, and no, Mel's is NOT Melanie.)  I really liked Ty, Mel and Cathy's friend, and actually found myself cheering for him throughout the book - there was just something irresistible about him.  I fell hard for Kit, a secondary character and possible love interest for Mel, and in fact, was far more interested in the friendship developing between him and Mel than I was the gooey, over-done "relationship" between Cathy and Francis.  They were insta-love to the nth degree, which of course was very deliberate, and I knew that...and yes, I STILL wanted to shake them both, especially poor, dopey Cathy.  

Watching her fall for Francis was almost painful.  I hate to bring up the T-word again, but it was VERY a la Edward and Bella, which is one of my most hated pairings ever (and a long, rant-y story I will not go into today!)  But I still enjoyed the parody aspects of Team Human, and in fact, I actually liked these vampires a lot.  They were weird and totally marching to the beat of their own drum, and several, like Francis and some of his other "family members" were really kind of fascinating.  Ironically, I would have loved to have gotten to know a few of them better! 


Team Human is a side-splitting story, for sure.  I read it in a matter of hours, because I just couldn't put it down.  I found the plot at times to be a bit weak, but this is not a deep or new story, and I don't mean that in a negative way.  Larbalestier and Brennan have crafted a very funny, witty, sardonic tale of love between a vampire and a human, and the voice of reason stuck in the middle.  If you read Team Human for what it is, you will find that that is a very enjoyable read. It didn't resonate emotionally with me, but it DID make me laugh, and cheer for Team Human. 





Saturday, June 23, 2012

Once Upon A Book Haul - #7















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...)





  
Books Mentioned


For Review

Temptation by Karen Anne Hopkins { Add it on Goodreads }
Reunited by Hilary Weisman Graham { Add it on Goodreads }

Gifted

The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind by Meg Medina { Add it on Goodreads
Stealing Princes by Tyne O'Connell  { Add it on Goodreads

Bought

Timepiece by Myra McEntire { Add it on Goodreads
Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris { Add it on Goodreads

* Thanks to ATW ARC Tours, DAC ARC Tours, and Michelle at Book Briefs!  

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday - #20: My Top Ten Summer TBR!










{ ++ } 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!



June 19: Top Ten Books On My Summer TBR List







{ 1 } My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick.  I feel like I've been waiting on this book for FOREVER.  It just...does it sound silly to say it CALLS to me?   Ever since I first read the title, gazed at the beautiful cover, and read the gorgeous synopsis, I've known that I NEED this book in my life.  I've read a few glowing, early reviews and I cannot wait to purchase a copy of it.

{ 2 } Something Like Normal by Trish Doller.  Again, with the books that just...reach out to you and say, "Molli, you HAVE TO READ ME."  Do books talk to y'all like that?  No?  Wait, why are you looking at me so strangely?  But seriously, this one seems SUPER emotional and I just, I need it.  I need to read it for myself.  I adore YA contemporary and I cannot wait for this one. 

{ 3 } Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry.  This one sounds totally intense - definitely a bit of a forbidden love going on, not to mention all that the two characters are struggling with.  Ever since I read the synopsis, and the chill-inducing title, I've been really excited for this one. 

{ 4 } If I Lie by Corrine Jackson.  How can I describe my need to read this one?  Quinn's struggle sounds so heart-wrenching.  YA contemps - for me - are usually incredibly emotional reads and this one just looks amazing.

{ 5 } While He Was Away by Karen Schreck.  Another contemporary read (seeing a pattern here?) that sounds FABULOUS: incredibly poignant and moving.  I've read several guest posts from Karen at other friend's blogs and she seems so amazing, and I cannot wait to meet her characters.

{ 6 } Defiance by C.J. Redwine.  Another instant love affair once I saw the cover and read the synopsis, which sounds absolutely amazing.  And how FIERCE does the main character, Rachel, sound?  I have an ARC of this one sitting on my desk and absolutely cannot WAIT to start it soon.

{ 7 } Starling by Lesley Livingston.   For some reason, I just LOVE the look, feel, and sound of this one.  There is someone called Fenrys Wolf, I mean, REALLY, do you even have to wonder if I'm going to love him?  (Hint: I will.)  I love that there are all sorts of Norse legends tied in to this novel, apparently.  CAN'T.  WAIT.

{ 8 } In Honor by Jessi Kirby.  (I'm seeing another trend here: military books.)  I haven't read many "road trip" books, but the ones I HAVE read, I have really loved.  (SAVING JUNE!)  In Honor sounds really gripping, with the potential to have a huge emotional impact.  I NEED IT.

{ 9 } When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle.  Funny story about this one.  I downloaded an e-ARC through Galley Grab.  Then I won a physical ARC in a giveaway.  Then my awesome friend Suz at A Soul Unsung sent me an e-copy.  So you would think I've read this book, right?  Wrong.  SIGH.  I have let it slip through the cracks more than once.  BUT.  It is DEFINITELY on my summer TBR, considering Suz loved it enough to send it to me!   

{ 10 } Scorch by Gina Damico.  I know I'm cheating a bit since this one doesn't come out until September, but I'll likely be reading it in July/August in order to do an ARC giveaway after so I WILL read it this summer.  I ADORED Croak - it was VERY quirky and reminded me of a cross between Dead Like Me and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, so I REALLY cannot wait to devour Scorch.  


Well, that's MY Top Ten can't-wait-to-read-them OMG IS IT SUMMER YET list.  What about y'all?  This was one of the most fun Top Ten's for me - I got to squee over all the upcoming books I can't wait to read....and I realized (again) how much I love YA contemporary fiction!

Be sure to leave me links to YOUR Top Ten, or just let me know in the comments what they are! Happy reading, y'all!


Review + Giveaway: Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson








Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Pages: 304
Expected publication: July 3, 2012 (Harper Teen)
Rating: Swoon-worthy
Source: ARC from the publisher
Add it/Purchase: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Connect with the author: Twitter | Website

Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair...  Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily doesn't believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan in the forbidden woods of Neverland and immediately falls under his spell.

Peter is unlike anyone she's ever known. Impetuous and brave, he both scares and enthralls her. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland's inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. Soon, she is risking everything—her family, her future—to be with him. When she is faced with marriage to a terrible man in her own tribe, she must choose between the life she's always known and running away to an uncertain future with Peter.

With enemies threatening to tear them apart, the lovers seem doomed. But it's the arrival of Wendy Darling, an English girl who's everything Tiger Lily is not, that leads Tiger Lily to discover that the most dangerous enemies can live inside even the most loyal and loving heart.





My Review

As soon as I saw the synopsis for Tiger Lily, I knew two things: that I had to read it, and that I would love it.  I was thrilled beyond belief when I received an ARC, and I could hardly wait to start it, with good reason; I fell hard, fast, and deeply in love within the first few pages of Jodi Lynn Anderson's breath-taking beautiful and haunting story.  I am a HUGE fan of all things Peter Pan - ranging from the Disney cartoon to the Broadway-inspired musical with Mary Martin in the title role, to the 2003 version, to the recent twist Sci-Fi put on this timeless tale.  (I even watched Peter Pan and the Pirates in elementary school!)  I've always found JM Barrie's story of a boy who didn't want to grow up to be whimsical, mysterious, and heart-warming, and Tiger Lily was a lovely addition to the original story.  

First, I want to talk about Jodi's gorgeous writing style.  It is just as memorable as the characters are, because even now, several days after I finished Tiger Lily, it is still haunting me.  From the first sentence: "She stands on the cliffs near the old crumbling, stone house," I was hooked on the way the writing just flowed so naturally.  In Anderson's words, you could sense the wildness of Tiger Lily and the other Indians, the feral yet vulnerable nature of Peter and the Lost Boys, the untamed beauty of Neverland, and the air of menace to Hook, Smee, and the other pirates.  Every single character was stitched lovingly and genuinely into the pages; I cheered for them, wept for them, laughed at them, or raged at their actions.  Tiger Lily opened my eyes and my heart, and reminded me of a simpler time, when I was younger, when magic was the easiest thing in the world to believe in.  

I expected to love Tiger Lily; what I didn't expect was to fall IN love with Anderson's Peter Pan and Tiger Lily.   Long before the orphaned Indian, taken in by her tribe's shaman as his daughter met Peter, she knew of him and his Lost Boys.  Everyone had heard stories of their violence, but through Tiger Lily's eyes - seen through narrator Tinkerbell's point of view - we, like Tiger Lily, saw the  Lost Boys for what they really were: rough, lonely, orphans, abandoned, searching, loving.  Something in my heart melted, broke, and then was knitted back together as Tiger Lily made a place for herself with them, and with Peter.  I had a permanent smile on my face as I watched Peter and Tiger Lily's first, tentative interactions, and that smile became a fierce joy as I watched them fall in love.

Jodi Lynn Anderson takes the story we THINK we know and adds her own twists, her own turns.  Several of the characters are different from their Disney versions - becoming instead more sinister.  Instead of being its own world, Neverland is a remote island few ever come to, where the various Indian tribes shy away from Englishers in fear of catching their "aging disease."  I loved the additions, and the changes - it all made Tiger Lily feel more real.  Tiger Lily's father, shaman Tik-Tok was a delightful character, and I am so glad he was included, as well as her friends, loyal Pine Sap and gentle Moon Eye.  Of course, some parts DID remain the same - Captain Hook is still a fearsome pirate, there are still mermaids and that wily crocodile, and Wendy Darling still arrives in Neverland.  But every time I thought I knew what would happen next, I was wrong - and I loved that.  

Tiger Lily is a magical, winsome story, and even though I thought I knew how it would end, I was still in tears at the emotional, gripping conclusion.  The only point of view we see is Tinkerbell's, but that idea was genius on Jodi Lynn Anderson's part, for in the fairy's eyes, everything takes on a new light, becomes more meaningful.  Peter and Tiger Lily's relationship - the childlike innocence to it, the deeper love - brought tears to my eyes on more than one occasion, as did her devotion to Tik-Tok and Tinkerbell's love for Peter Pan.  Everything about Anderson's story struck a nerve with me, and when I closed Tiger Lily, I did so with a respect for the title characters - fierce, loyal, and courageous - and an ache in my heart. 



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Monday, June 18, 2012

Review: Wake by Amanda Hocking









Wake by Amanda Hocking
Pages: 309
Expected publication: August 7, 2012 (St Martin's)
Source: ATW ARC Tours
Rating: Beam-worthy
Add it/Purchase: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Connect with the author: Twitter | Blog


Beautiful. Fearless. Dangerous. They're the kind of girls you envy; the kind of girls you want to hate. Strangers in town for the summer, Penn, Thea, and Lexi have caught everyone's attention, including the eye of practical Harper. But it's her sister, Gemma, they've chosen to be part of their group.

Sixteen-year-old Gemma seems to have it all - carefree, pretty, and falling in love with the boy next door. But her greatest passion has always been the water. She craves late night swims under the stars, where she can be alone yet belong to the sea. Lately she's had company. Penn, Thea, and Lexi spend their nights dancing, singing, and partying on the cove--and one night Gemma joins them. When she wakes up groggy on the beach the next morning, she knows something has changed.

Suddenly Gemma is stronger, faster, and more beautiful than ever. As she uncovers the truth about her new mythical powers, Gemma is forced to choose between staying with those she loves or entering a dark world brimming with unimaginable secrets.





My Review

After finishing Wake, the first book in sucessful author Amanda Hocking's new Watersong series, despite extremely high hopes, I have incredibly mixed feelings about this novel.  While I liked it enough to want to read the next book in the series, I also had some problems connecting with the characters, or really delving beneath the surface layer of this story about three beautiful, dangerous girls.  This one also felt entirely TOO rushed, like Hocking wrote it without taking a breath to pause.  I feel as if I had barely met the characters when the action started, and never stopped.  I closed Wake feeling as if perhaps I was not the target audience.  

I found the main character, Gemma, to be very flat; in fact, I found myself wishing that Wake had been told from her sister, Harper's point of view.  Harper was a fascinating character, and she was the one I clicked with immediately.  Gemma seemed TOO perfect, and honestly, a bit spoiled.  Harper took over the role of Mom after an accident left their mother incapacitated, and it was her I wanted to know more about.  Yes, Gemma had it hard, too, but I felt like she had everything handed to her - the awesome boy next door (more on him in a minute), being the star of the swim team, etc - and I felt like she didn't really appreciate any of it.  

Luckily for Wake, there were several minor characters who saved the story for me - including Alex (the boy next door) who was so sweet and amazingly supportive, and Daniel, who lives and works at the marina where Harper and Gemma's father works.  Daniel was mysterious and fascinating - the type of layered, complex character I adore.  I really loved watching his interactions with Harper.  She's very dedicated and practical, and he's very NOT practical, and they just absolutely were oil and water in the most delightful way.  Their chemistry was one of my favorite parts of Wake.  

Normally I love Amanda Hocking's books but this one fell flat; instead of being drawn to Penn, Lexi, and Thea, I was repulsed by them.  Their actions were incredibly selfish, and they never took into consideration what Gemma wanted or didn't want.   I did enjoy the glimpses into their pasts, and the mythology that Hocking spun into Wake, but again, the pacing felt incredibly like going 0 - 60 in about a minute. There was, however, a cliffhanger ending, which left me on the edge of my seat to know where the series goes next.

Overall, with the shaky, jumpy pacing, and the fact that I didn't connect with the main character, and didn't get enough time with the characters I DID like, I can't rate Wake as high as I would like to, but I do encourage you to read it for yourself and see what you think!


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Once Upon A Book Haul - #6









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...)











Books Mentioned

For Review
Team Human by Sarah Rees Brennan and Justine Larbalestier { Add it on Goodreads
Scorch by Gina Damico { Add it on Goodreads
If I Lie by Corrine Jackson { Add it on Goodreads
Burn Marks by Laura Powell { Add it on Goodreads


Bought
Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin { Add it on Goodreads


* Thanks ever so much to Around the World ARC Tours, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Bloomsbury, and Simon & Schuster!


This Week at Once Upon a Prologue  

I reviewed TIMEPIECE by Myra McEntire!  I've been waiting on this one for FOREVER!  (Rating: Swoon-worthy) 
I posted a giveway of SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY as well as a character interview with the two main characters.
I reviewed ANGEL EYES by Shannon Dittemore - a fresh look at angels and demons.  (Rating: Squee-worthy)

Kind of a slow week but I'm hoping to be back in full swing soon!  Life is so busy these days, sheesh.  I can barely keep up with everything.  

Be sure to leave me links to your book hauls/recaps/etc so that I can swing by and show your blog some love!  



Introducing Twirly Reads!









Remember that feeling when you were a brand-spankin'-new blogger and were getting your blog off the ground?  Remember the thrill of that first follower, or when the number hit 50, and then the high of seeing it climb to 100?  Maybe it was a year, or a month, or a week ago.  I know I'm still learning, and always looking to teach others and take advice.  Some days I STILL feel brand new to this wonderful community.

Today, I have the incredibly awesome honor of introducing one of my BEST friends, Katie, to the book blogging community.  She's amazing and I think she's going to have a great time here with us.  If anyone has just a few minutes, I'd be thrilled if you'd drop by her blog, maybe check out a post, or leave her a comment so that she can start getting to know the same generous, fantastic people I've met as a book blogger.

Thanks, y'all!


Friday, June 15, 2012

Review: Angel Eyes by Shannon Dittemore









Angel Eyes by Shannon Dittemore
Published: May 29, 2012 (Thomas Nelson)
Pages: 320
Rating: Squee-worthy
Source: ARC from the publisher
Further Info/Purchase: Goodreads | Barnes & Noble | Amazon
Find the author online: Twitter | Website

Once you’ve seen, you can’t unsee. Everything changes when you’ve looked at the world through...  ANGEL EYES

Brielle’s a ballerina who went to the city to chase her dreams and found tragedy instead. She’s come home to shabby little Stratus, Oregon, to live with her grief and her guilt . . . and the incredible, numbing cold she can’t seem to shake.

Jake’s the new guy at school. The boy next door with burning hands and an unbelievable gift that targets him for corruption.

Something more than fate has brought them together. An evil bigger than both of them lurks in the shadows nearby, hiding in plain sight. Two angels stand guard, unsure what’s going to happen. And a beauty brighter than Jake or Brielle has ever seen is calling them to join the battle in a realm where all human choices start.

A realm that only angels and demons—and Brielle—can perceive.




My Review 

When I first started Angel Eyes, I was hesitant: here was another book about angels; however, shortly into Shannon Dittemore's debut novel, I was happily devouring Brielle's story.  Ballerina Brielle has returned home to her small town after a few years away at a school where she pursued her love of dancing.  Following the death of her best friend, Brielle is shocked and grief-stricken, and I thought that Dittemore portrayed Brielle's heart-ache very poignant and realistically.  I connected instantly with Brielle because of this, knowing that if I were to lose one of my best friends, I would be right there with Brielle.  She doesn't stop living, but she does have her issues, fears and doubts that go a long way to humanize her.  Brielle is sad, but very likeable - she's independent and curious and the kind of girl I'd like to know.  I liked Brielle, and I really liked her father, and was really glad to see a supportive parental figure in a YA novel. 

When Brielle meets Jake - the only person who has made her feel warm, comfortable, or safe in some time - sparks fly, but in an absolutely heart-melting way.  From their unorthodox first few meetings, to their growing relationship, to the revelation of what Jake can do, and who he becomes to Brielle, I adored them.  (And personally, I was glad to FINALLY read a book without a love triangle.  I'd forgotten how amazingly awesome it was just to get to watch one girl fall in love with one boy.)  Normally I would label a couple like this as "insta love," considering that in some ways, they did move fast, yet there was something so appealing, so fantastically believable about Jake and Brielle, that I couldn't help but fall for them.  There is a question further into Angel Eyes that makes you wonder: can Fate really bring two people together?  For Jake and Brielle, there weren't any easy answers - nothing was easily wrapped up with a bow for them, and you definitely got the sense that these two people will have to fight for their happiness...but are prepared to go about that fight together, stronger for having known one another.  

Shannon Dittemore has a lovely writing style, and a way of leaving the reader with questions.  She doesn't over-explain; rather, she gives you clues enough so that you aren't lost, but  makes you work for answers.  And I liked that.  Angel Eyes is told in various points of view, and while sometimes it switched too fast for me, I also thought for the most part, that worked for this book.  Largely because of the different view points - including one of the villains - the sense of danger is magnified in a heart-pounding way. There's a great deal at stake, and I absolutely adored all the angel mythos and look forward to seeing where it all goes in the sequel. 

Finally, yes, there are religious overtones in Angel Eyes.  I was somewhat wary of that aspect of this book, yet I knew I HAD to read it, and I am very glad that I did.  Some authors make the mistake of becoming "preachy," and yet, Dittemore doesn't.  Instead, there is a peace to Angel Eyes that made me want to wrap my arms around this book.  Personally, I know I struggle with religion, as do many people I know.  But somehow, you could feel an intense sort of love in this book, a light that yearned to break through and combat the dark, a sense that somehow, someday good WOULD triumph over evil.  And yes, good, evil, God, and angels are all scattered across the battlefield here, and it's clear that a fight is coming, but it's equally clear that Jake and Brielle are on the right side.  Bravo to Shannon Dittemore for daring to put forth such a brave story, and I cannot wait to read the sequel, Broken Wings.    

With a phenomenal cast of characters - both major, and secondary - and a love story you won't soon forget or dismiss, Angel Eyes isn't a debut novel that you want to miss. 


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Author Interview & Giveaway: Something Strange and Deadly





Please welcome Susan Dennard to the blog today!  She's here to give us a few insights into two of the main characters from her upcoming zombie steampunk YA novel, SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY.  If you haven't heard about her novel, be sure to add it to your Goodreads to-be-read after reading this character interview with Eleanor and Daniel, and then enter the giveaway below to win my lovingly read ARC of SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY - a spine-tingling debut that I absolutely fell in love with.  Susan is a sweetheart and I've really enjoyed squee'ing over her characters and watching them fight zombies and necromancers, and fight their attraction to each other!  Both Eleanor Fitt and Daniel Sheridan are such incredibly strong, feisty characters that I simply HAD to interview them. 

I’m a 28-year-old reader, writer, lover of animals, and eater of cookies. I used to be a marine biologist, but now I write novels. And not novels about fish either, but novels about kick-butt heroines and swoon-worthy rogues (I really like swoon-worthy rogues).


Connect with Susan online: Website | Twitter | Goodreads









Eleanor, you live in terrifying times.  What do you think of the Dead roaming Philadelphia?

Well, I can't say that I gave it much thought until that corpse shambled into the train depot. Afterall, it's not as if the Dead have never risen before--why else would we have casket bells in our coffins? Or iron bars around our cemeteries? But now that I've seen enough rotting bodies and skeletons to fill the entire Centennial Exhibition, I think it's something the city ought to be a bit more careful with.

Honestly, why hire the Spirit-Hunters to "save you" if you won't actually give them any money or help? The mayor really oughtn't have acted so surprised when the Dead overran the city--he could have been better prepared, you know.


 Eleanor and Daniel, what did you each think of the other when you first met?  How have your opinions changed now?

Eleanor: He ought to invest in gloves--and a tie. All that exposed flesh around his forearms and neck is appaling. Not to mention his incredibly crude behavior. Blazes, what a ruffian.

While I still think a pair of gloves won't hurt...he isn't as rough as I once thought. There is a softer--even kind--side to him. Of course, it's nigh impossible to get that side to show itself.

Daniel: "I'm Eleanor Fitt of the Philadelphia Fitts"--was she jokin'? Saying it like she's the Queen of Sheba? Why, there's nothin' I hate more than a gal concerned with money and society. It didn't help either that she ruined my experiment.

'Course...she ain't as concerned with all that as I once thought. It's not just any girl who'll put on trousers and blow up a dynamite factory. And it's not just any girl who'd risk her neck for mine...



 If there was one thing you both could change about your life, what would it be?

Eleanor: I...I'm not sure I can answer that. I'd wish for so many things--for my father's death and downfall to never have happened, for more money in the bank, for a society that didn't care who I was or what I wore. I suppose, if I were forced to choose one thing, I'd wish that my older brother, Elijah, had never gone abroad all those years ago. If he had only stayed home, then maybe none of this would have ever happened.

Daniel: That's easy. There's a black spot on my conscious--black as ancient, crusted blood--and I'd do anything to make that disappear.


What are the three words you would use to describe one another?

Eleanor: He's a scalawag, for one. An incredibly dashing scalawag. An incredibly dashing and infuriating scalawag.

Daniel: She's a snooty empress...but she's got a lot of grit. I can't deny that. I guess I'd call her a stupidly brave, overly curious empress. Wait--this won't get back to her, will it? I can just imagine her eyes flashin' if she heard what I'd said.

Eleanor, what are your hopes for your future?  (Once this problem with the Dead is over…)

I don't know. I honestly can't say I've thought far ahead. I always thought Elijah would be here to help me plan my life--to help keep our mother in line. I know Mama would like nothing more than to marry me off to some eligible bachelor, but I can't say I see myself as anyone's biddable wife.

Who knows? Perhaps I'll travel the world next--I'd like that very much, I think.

Why do you think that the two of you infuriate one another so much?

Eleanor: He always assumes he knows best, but does he? Most certainly not. It doesn't help that he's constantly scowling. A few smiles never hurt anyone, you know.

Daniel: Because she never thinks! She just acts, and then I'm left cleaning up the mess--or rescuin' her from the Dead for the hundredth time.


Thank you very much for Eleanor and Daniel (*sighs* I love those two) and to Susan for spending some time with me today!





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Monday, June 11, 2012

Review: Timepiece by Myra McEntire









Timepiece by Myra McEntire
Pages: 336
Expected publication: June 12, 2012 (Egmont)
Source: E-ARC from the publisher

Rating: Swoon-worthy
Series or stand-alone: Hourglass (2)
Further info/purchase: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Find the author online: Twitter | Blog | Pinterest



A threat from the past could destroy the future. And the clock is ticking...

Kaleb Ballard's relentless flirting is interrupted when Jack Landers, the man who tried to murder his father, timeslips in and attacks before disappearing just as quickly. But Kaleb has never before been able to see time travelers, unlike many of his friends associated with the mysterious Hourglass organization. Are Kaleb's powers expanding, or is something very wrong?

Then the Hourglass is issued an ultimatum. Either they find Jack and the research he's stolen on the time gene, or time will be altered with devastating results.

Now Kaleb, Emerson, Michael, and the other Hourglass recruits have no choice but to use their unusual powers to find Jack. But where do they even start? And when? And even if they succeed, it may not be enough...

The follow-up to Hourglass, Timepiece blends the paranormal, science fiction, mystery, and suspense genres into a nonstop thrill ride where every second counts.



My Review 

After reading and falling - hard - for Myra McEntire's debut novel, Hourglass, I couldn't help but feverishly anticipate Timepiece, the sequel.  Hourglass was heart-breaking, fast-paced, romantic, and unexpected, so I had high hopes for the follow-up - and in no way did Myra disappoint.  Timepiece is told from Kaleb Ballard's point of view, and I think anyone who's been around my blog since I reviewed Hourglass knows that I adore Kaleb.  Kaleb is the perfect choice to narrate Timepiece, which I absolutely devoured.  McEntire builds on the time-travel mythos she introduced readers to in Hourglass, expanding the foundations with new lore, and raising the stakes with new dangers.  Sinister organization Chronos catapults into the scene with an ultimatum for Kaleb, Emerson, Michael, and the rest of the Hourglass family: if they don't find and stop Jack Landers before October 31st, Chronos WILL step in to neutralize him, which means timelines could be eradicated.  Jack has reversed and changed the course of several of the member's lives, so the thought of Chronos doing as they've threatened is understandably frightening, and adds a fantastically realistic element of danger that threads woven throughout Timepiece.  

What I like the best about Myra McEntire's books is her characters.  Her writing style and story-telling ability are both outrageously superb.  Myra absolutely knows how to tell the kind of story that leaves you on the edge of your seat, heart-pounding, desperate for more, more, more.  But it's her characters that are larger than life in an incredibly appealing way. And in Timepiece, we see all of them in a new light...through Kaleb's eyes.  Kaleb is an empath, and so along with his narration, he also terrifically and unintentionally reads and conveys the character's emotions.  

I loved watching Kaleb explore his abilities and I fell for him all over again.  Kaleb.  Is.  Amazing.  He doesn't see himself as anything more than broken parts and pieces, but luckily, Kaleb is surrounded by people who care about him and who try throughout Timepiece to help him see the good in himself.  I am not ashamed to say that as often as I laughed with Kaleb or at his antics, I cried for him, and my heart definitely broke more than once.  There is SO much more to Kaleb than we see in Hourglass; beneath the surface is a man searching for home and acceptance, struggling to find himself.  I wanted to wrap him up in a hug and just not let go.  I enjoyed the chance to see Kaleb's point of view, and the chance to rediscover the characters I already loved.  


Timepiece is an action-packed book, full of twists, turns, secrets, and a definite sense of racing against the clock that's ticking toward disaster.  Rips - ripples in time - are appearing at random and more frequently then ever, and the scariest part is...more and more Hourglass members can see them.  And they're more difficult in Timepiece to distinguish from reality, throwing doubt into everyone - and the reader's - minds of what's real and what isn't.  Myra McEntire doesn't hold anything back, and I absolutely found myself holding my breath a time or two.  By the end of Timepiece, I still had questions, yet enough was answered - in often heart-wrenching ways - to satisfy my curiosity.  


I also loved the way all the various relationships were explored in Timepiece.  Even with danger surrounding them, Myra still believably highlighted Emerson and Michael's relationship, to which Kaleb's point of view gives a new depth, and Kaleb's relationships with both Michael, and his father, Liam, as well as his depth of emotion for his mother, Grace.   We get the privilege of seeing Kaleb and Lily, Em's best friend meet and develop a unique relationship, full of several tentative steps forward, and ultimately a beautifully unfolding beginning of something amazing.  My heart ached for everyone involved in these interactions, and like Kaleb, I was so frustrated and hurt at times for him and for the others.  These characters go through so much, yet everyone is so strong.  I really admire Myra's characters - their heart, their fierceness, their loyalty and determination.  


Timepiece is the perfect sequel to Hourglass, full of all manner of excitement, and scattered, quiet moments that will touch your heart in a way you will not forget anytime soon.  It's also an incredibly brave story that takes chances.  I didn't want to be done, because I didn't want to leave Myra's world.  I'm not sure if there will be another book in the series, but I already know that Timepiece is the sort of amazing book that will leave its mark on you.  

 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Once Upon A Book Haul - #5











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...)














Books Mentioned

Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock { Add it on Goodreads }
Lover Unleashed by J.R. Ward { Add it on Goodreads
Lover Mine by J.R. Ward { Add it on Goodreads }

For Review

Wake by Amanda Hocking { Add it on Goodreads
Shut Up by Anne Tibbets { Add it on Goodreads }

* Thank you to Around the World ARC Tours and Anne Tibbets!

This Week at Once Upon a Prologue
(I am adding a wrap-up section, for now.  This idea is inspired by Asher at Paranormal Indulgence...who rocks!)

I reviewed Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolf.  (Rating: squee-worthy)
I introduced myself in Armchair BEA 2012!
I told y'all what my "best of" books of 2012 were for Armchair BEA!
I wrote a discussion post on authors who changed me and the way I read (would LOVE y'all to check that one out as I was really proud of it.)
I reviewed Dead Reckoning by Mercedes Lackey.  (Rating: beam-worthy)
I talked about my love of writing for Armchair BEA!
I reviewed Unbreak My Heart by Melissa C Walker.  (Rating: squee-worthy.)
I talked about how book blogging has changed me over at A Soul Unsung.  
I gave tips for avoiding blogging slumps, and a few tips/tricks for new bloggers for Armchair BEA.

Wow!  Thanks again to everyone who visited my Armchair BEA posts.  This was an amazing week and made me love the book blogging community even more!  I enjoyed every minute of writing my posts and participating in the Twitter parties.  I'm super happy to have met some awesome new bloggers, too.  

Thanks in advance to anyone who is able to take a few minutes to stop by.  I'll be out of town from tomorrow morning - Sunday afternoon but that evening I'll be coming around to y'all's blogs and showing the love!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Help Literary Exploration celebrate 1500 followers!










Today, one of the most awesome bloggers around, Anna, is celebrating 1, 500 followers on her AMAZING blog, Literary Exploration.  She's throwing a heck of a party, with not one but FOUR signed ARCs of these 2012 debuts:

  • Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
  • Of Poseidon by Anna Banks
  • Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne
  • Struck by Jennifer Bosworth

I've personally read and can vouch for SHADOW AND BONE and STRUCK and can say that they are both great reads; in fact, SHADOW AND BONE is tied with HEMLOCK for my favorite debut this year.  And I'm insanely excited over the other two.  So if you have a free minute, head on over and show Anna some love!