f0zKg0J4zFLYz-Yq0aednQVqREE Once Upon a Prologue: September 2012
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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Once Upon A Book Haul - #17

















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 Night of the Purple Moon by Scott Cramer.
I reviewed Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone (AMAZING READ!)
I discussed how to build relationships with publishers and request ARCS!
I listed ten series I have yet to finish, but want to!
I reviewed Amber House by Kelly Moore (CREEPY GOOD!)




In other news this week: I hit 1,200 followers!  THAT IS AMAZING.  THANK YOU, everyone!  That means a lot to me.






Books Mentioned


Defiance by CJ Redwine { Add it on Goodreads }
If I Lie by Corrine Jackson { Add it on Goodreads }
Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry { Add it on Goodreads }
Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter { Add it on Goodreads }


Your turn!  What books rocked YOUR mailbox this week? 

1200 Followers Appreciation Giveaway!










1200 Followers Celebration!

*dances*

*throws confetti*

*hands out cupcakes*

I recently realized that my number of GFC followers has surpassed 1200.  That's a HUGE deal to me.  There are 1200 of you!  I can hardly believe it.  So to say "THANK YOU" for coming back, visiting, and basically being amazing followers...have a giveaway! It's my little way of showing YOU GUYS how much I appreciate your comments, emails, and support!

 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, September 28, 2012

Review: Night of the Purple Moon by Scott Cramer







Night of the Purple Moon by Scott Cramer
Pages: 188
Published: March 25, 2012 (Train Renoir Publishing)
Source: E-book from the author in exchange for an honest review
Rating: Beam-worthy
Add it/Purchase: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Connect with the author: Twitter | Website

___

Abby Leigh is looking forward to watching the moon turn purple. For months, astronomers have been predicting that Earth will pass through the tail of a comet. They say that people will see colorful sunsets and, best of all, a purple moon.

But nobody has predicted the lightning-fast epidemic that sweeps across the planet on the night of the purple moon. The comet brings space dust with it that contains germs that attack human hormones. Older teens and adults die within hours of exposure.

On a small island off the coast of Maine, Abby must help her brother and baby sister survive in this new world, but all the while she has a ticking time bomb inside of her -- adolescence.





My Review

Night of the Purple Moon gripped me tightly immediately, with a fast-paced introduction that catapulted me into the premise Scott Cramer created.  As the world prepares for a comet sighting unlike no other, teenager Abby Leigh hopes it also means her world will return to normal - that her mother's visit will put her family back on the right track.  Instead, Abby wakes the following morning after the world turns purple to a nightmare: everyone past the age of puberty is either dead or dying.  

Trapped on the small island her father relocated them too, Abby has to dig deep inside of herself and find the strength to keep going, and to lead the surviving children.  I can't imagine that kind of character, pushing on despite her constant fear: that everyone is gone, including her mother, that no one is left to develop a cure, that if they do, it will be too late for her.  Cramer propels Night of the Purple Moon forward through occasional dual POV - Abby, her younger brother, Jordan, and a few other minor characters.  Each chapter covers a new month, and while in some cases, that might have been a fractured pacing, instead, it worked very well in this instance, as we see the surviving children and pre-teens starting to form a community.  

I have to say, reading Scott Cramer's novel was sobering and terrifying.  I can't even fathom knowing that your own body changing could lead to your death!  Even though the premise is a somewhat far-fetched, it is also still believable, because of the genuine fear and mystery Cramer interjects into this story.  This is still realistic science fiction.  

Night of the Purple Moon is a story full of equal measures of fear and hope.  There's a great deal of character growth for both Abby and Jordan, although not as much for the secondary characters.  This is a short novel, so Cramer didn't have as much of an opportunity to develop the supporting characters, although I definitely felt for several of them, like KK and Colby.  There's a definite sense toward the end that our main characters are literally racing against the clock, and I was hanging on every word, NEEDING to know how everything played out.  

Overall despite a few points that I would have loved to seen explored or explained more, and some characters that fell a bit flat for me, Night of the Purple Moon is a genuinely good story with a believable premise.  It's almost more of a middle grade story, since there isn't really any strong language or anything sexual - just mentions of kissing - so it's also incredibly sweet and tender in two or three moments.  I look forward to seeing what else Scott Cramer writes!


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Review: Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone






Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone
Pages: 384
Expected publication: October 9, 2012 (Hyperion Teen)
Rating: Swoon-worthy
Source: ATW ARC Tours
Add it/Purchase: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Connect with the author: Website | Twitter | Time Between Us Site
___

Anna and Bennett were never supposed to meet: she lives in 1995 Chicago and he lives in 2012 San Francisco. But Bennett’s unique ability to travel through time and space brings him into Anna’s life, and with him, a new world of adventure and possibility.

As their relationship deepens, they face the reality that time might knock Bennett back where he belongs, even as a devastating crisis throws everything they believe into question. Against a ticking clock, Anna and Bennett are forced to ask themselves how far they can push the bounds of fate—and what consequences they can bear in order to stay together.

Fresh, exciting, and deeply romantic, TIME BETWEEN US is a stunning and spellbinding debut from an extraordinary new talent in YA fiction.





My Review

Have you ever read a book that filled something inside you that you didn't even know was empty, opened your eyes to aspects of your own life that needed reexamining?  Have you ever sat for long moments after finishing a book, letting the emotions it brought to your surface swell inside you until they crash over you, like a wave?  Have you ever missed the characters you were reading about, because they meant so much to you?  If so, then you know what my experience reading Time Between Us was like.  

I knew I had to read this one from the first synopsis on Goodreads: "about a girl who meets a boy who can hold her hands and take her anywhere."  Then came the gorgeous cover, which I was in love with...and THEN, finally, the moment when I started Tamara Ireland Stone's novel, and was at once completely and totally invested in Anna and Bennett's story.  Although the story is only told from Anna's point of view, both she and Bennett are such amazingly beautiful characters - each flawed in their own ways, yet also incredible identifiable and relatable.  There was never a moment when I didn't feel like I KNEW Bennett and Anna.  While I was reading their story, they were as real to me as people I pass on the street.  Watching them interact, every minute between them pulsed with a heartbeat, with meaning, with love and longing and loss, and it was just fantastic.  

I've read several time travel novels (and I'm definitely the biggest Doctor Who fan - I - know) so it's safe to say that I adore all things time travel.  But Stone puts a new spin on what we think we know, and I really enjoyed Bennett's explanations of what he can - andn can't - do, as well as watching Anna try to piece it all together.  I felt like I was in Anna's head, figuring it out along with her.  The pacing of Time Between Us was so balanced, between revelations and slower moments with Anna and her family or friends, or Bennett.  Stone gave those various relationships time to develop sweetly, and it led to fuller characters, and a sense of belonging on my part, as a reader.  I felt like I was being given a glimpse into Anna's world, and I cherished that.  

I read Time Between Us in a matter of hours, at once wanting - needing - to know what happened next, yet also wanting to savor each word.  The characters were all real, as mentioned, and I loved watching Anna interact with those around her.  I can't even really put into words my love for Anna and Bennett.  From their auspicious beginning, which is beautifully explained later, to Stone laying the foundations for their friendship, and ultimately the deep sense of caring between them, I was falling for their relationship just as much as they were for one another.   Anna and Bennett are an extremely poignant example of a first, sweet love where two people are good for one another, though not without their failings.  My heart broke for each of them, separate and together, more than once, especially at the threat of time keeping them apart.  

What I liked best about Tamara Ireland Stone's magnificent debut novel was the character growth.  I'm a HUGE fan of characters who grow and change over the course of a novel, and both Bennett and Anna certainly did that.  I cried more than once for and with Anna as she struggled to see what was right in front of her, and to learn to be truly brave, and my heart went out to Bennett, too.  In the end, they both became incredibly strong people, and as I closed the last page of Time Between Us, I had tears drying on my cheeks, cherishing their love and their decisions and their courage.  

I won't soon forget Time Between Us, or the lasting impression Anna and Bennett's story made on me.  It's been about two weeks (at the time I'm writing this review in August) since I finished it, and I'm still wondering what Bennett and Anna will be up to next.  Stone's debut novel is a truly beautiful one, filled with heart-wrenching moments, and yet also, there is hope scrawled indelibly across the pages, too. 


You're sure to fall for:

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Hourglass by Myra McEntire 

 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Discussion Posts - ARCs: Building Relationships with Publishers










Earlier this year, you wrote a really helpful post about contacting publishers in regards to ARCs. Now my question is this: will they respond to me, or just send the ARC if they approve my request? If they respond, is the person who answers me the person I go to next time I want to request an ARC from that publisher? Do I have to send a formal request each time, or can I simply email the contact and say I'd like to request a book? Thanks!   - From Marie



Wonderful question, and something that I think is still a big mystery for beginning bloggers and/or bloggers who don't request ARCs.  I read some ARC etiquette type posts when I started sending requests, but I learned a lot as I went on, like how to craft an ARC letter, who to email, who NOT to email...and to not flood people's inboxes with ARC requests.  So let me see what I can do to shed some light on this topic.


Some publishers WILL respond to your ARC requests.  Spencer Hill Press, the first publisher I ever contacted, responded.  Even though I was a brand-new blogger (with only about 150 followers and three months blogging under my belt) they were impressed with my reviews and took a chance on me, and I've tried to champion them and their books ever since.  Harper Teen has also just spoiled me rotten and been awesome answering my ARC requests, thanking me when I send them links to my reviews of ARCs they sent me, and so forth.  I've worked hard to built a good relationship with them, as well as with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and St Martin's Press.

Some publishers are harder to get responses from.  For example, Simon & Schuster, and Scholastic are SO huge and so busy that they will send me the ARCs I request (sometimes), but I rarely, if ever, get a personal response.  And I don't take that as a snub, because they HAVE been extremely generous at times with me.

Here are a few pointers I've learned.

  • If you get a response from a person at a publisher, the BEST thing to do is thank them politely for their email and then don't be afraid to ask them if they can accept ARC requests from you in regards to other books.  Some publicists handle only a small amount of authors, while others are higher up in the ranks, so to speak, and they may be able to become your biggest asset with said publisher.  
  • If the publisher is nice enough to send you an ARC...email them a "thank you" note via email with a link or brief text from your review once it is posted on your blog, Amazon, Goodreads, etc.
  • Once you've started building a relationship with a publicist, some formalities do not apply.  The next time you see that awesome book you want to request from them, send them a polite email; ask them how they are, and update them on your blog stats (ie. so many followers, unique page views, etc) then tell them which book you're interested in.  ALWAYS thank them for their time and their help.  Just use common sense.  Don't send them a "yo, what's up joker?" email.  ; )  Here's an example of an email I've sent to a publicist I've worked with for awhile. As you can see, you don't strictly HAVE to go through introducing yourself and your blog every time.  You might include a line with something like, "I've requested from [publisher] before."

[Name of Publicist]

Hello there!  I hope you're doing well today.  


I wanted to request an ARC of Darynda Jone's upcoming YA novel, DEATH AND THE GIRL NEXT DOOR.  I've heard amazing things about her adult paranormal romance series, and I am sure her entrance into YA will be just spectacular.  I'm drawn to this novel from the synopsis - the mystery surrounding Lorelai's parent's disappearance, plus the addition of not one, but TWO mysterious guys who may have answers for her.  This book sounds really fun, but with a touch of darkness to it! 

An update on my blog stats: approximately 70, 000 page views, 789 GFC followers, and around 760 Twitter followers, so I can definitely get the word out about Darynda's novel if you have an
ARC available.  I prefer physical ARCs but will also accept e-ARCS for sure!  Here's my mailing address if you are able to send a physical ARC.

Molli Moran

123 Anywhere Road

Anywhere, TN 12345

Thanks as always for your time!  I'll have a few review links for you soon! 



Hopefully this post clears up a few of the mysteries surrounding ARCs.  I want to share as much information as I can.  Too often, the book blogging community at large tends to cabbage up our information, so I'm hoping to change that.  I figure the more we ALL know, the more we can work together, and the more awesome we can become.


Have a question about blogging?  Was there something in this post I didn't cover?  Ask me here and I'll answer it soon!  

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Top Ten - #33: The Time Will Come









{ ++ } 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!









September 25
Top Ten Series I Haven't Finished (because either you didn't like them, you just have procrastinated, etc.




Note: I adore ALL of these series, and do plan to get back to them...just too many books, too little time!


{ 1 } The Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R. Ward.  The FIRST EVER paranormal romance (adult) that I read, and fell for.  Post-Twilight I was looking for something different and a friend of mine suggested these books.  I adore them, but with reading so much else, I fell behind.  I'm hoping to start a series re-read soon. 


{ 2 } The Lords of the Underworld series by Gena Showalter.  This was the second PNR series I tried, and I immediately fell HARD for all the tragic Lords.  I can't wait to dive back into this series, especially because my favorite character's book is coming out next year!


{ 3 } The Final Prophecy series by Jessica Andersen.  This series is still kinda PNR but a bit different; it's actually based around the theory that the world is ending on December 21st, 2012, and that a group of Mayan descendants might be able to stop it.  It's good, but when I started reading more YA for the blog I put this series down for the time being and just haven't gotten back to it.


{ 4 } The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon.  Time-travel/sci-fi/romance/historical fiction that is AH-MAH-ZING.  These books are LONG though, and I just haven't been in the mood to really dive into historical fiction in the last few years.  I bought this WHOLE series after I read the first book.  It's THAT good.


{ 5 } The Hush, Hush series by Becca Fitzpatrick.  Last year I started Crescendo and got about 50 pages in before I got overwhelmed with reading for the blog.  I definitely want to get back to this series because....PAAAATCH!


{ 6 } The Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa.  *hangs head in shame*  I made it about halfway through the first book then had to put it aside to concentrate on ARCs/review requests for the blog.  I REALLY want to dive into this series when time allows!


{ 7 } The Body Finder series by Kimberly Derting.  Again, I read a bit of the first book when I bought it and man, it was GOOD!  It's one of my top TBR's when I reach that mythical land I've heard is called "Caught Up" on my reading...


{ 8 } The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson.  When Robert Jordan died, I was a bit heart-broken and couldn't bring myself to read any of the books that were penned after.  The ghost-writer the family chose, Brandon Sanderson, has just finished the final book, which made me cry buckets reading his post about it, so hopefully in a few years I can do a series re-read then read the ending.


{ 9 } The Women of the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong.  I don't think it will surprise anyone to know that I ADORE Kelley Armstrong.  I read the first two books in this series, and picked up most of the rest at a used bookstore about a year ago.  I SO DEFINITELY intend to get back to this series soon!  Kelley writes FABULOUS characters and romances.


{ 10 } The Nightshade series by Andrea Cremer.  *hides*  I haven't read Bloodrose.  I bought it the week it published, but it just keeps sitting on my shelf, begging to be read.  SOMEDAY.  Someday SOON, I hope.

Your turn!  What made YOUR Top Ten this week?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Review: Amber House by Kelly Moore, Tucker Reed, and Larkin Reed





Amber House by Kelly Moore, Tucker Reed and Larkin Reed
Pages: 368
Expected publication: October 1, 2012 (Arthur A. Levine)
Source: ATW ARC Tours
Rating: Squee-worthy
Add it/Purchase: Goodreads | B&N | Amazon
Connect with the authors: Twitter | Amber House Trilogy Website
___

"I was sixteen the first time my grandmother died . . ."

Sarah Parsons has never seen Amber House, the grand Maryland estate that's been in her family for three centuries. She's never walked its hedge maze nor found its secret chambers; she's never glimpsed the shades that haunt it, nor hunted for lost diamonds in its walls.

But all of that is about to change. After her grandmother passes away, Sarah and her friend Jackson decide to search for the diamonds--and the house comes alive. She discovers that she can see visions of the house's past, like the eighteenth-century sea captain who hid the jewels, or the glamorous great-grandmother driven mad by grief. She grows closer to both Jackson and a young man named Richard Hathaway, whose family histories are each deeply entwined with her own. But when the visions start to threaten the person she holds most dear, Sarah must do everything she can to get to the bottom of the house's secrets, and stop the course of history before it is cemented forever.




My Review

The mark of a good book, to me, is when after you've finished, you're still wondering about the characters, and dying to know how everything plays out.  That happened to me when I read Amber House.  Although at times I felt that the writing could have used some polishing, authors Kelly Moore, Tucker Reed, and Larkin Reed have crafted a spine-tingling story about family history, loss, scandal, secrets, and the hope that history does not have to repeat itself.  Combining the paranormal with a dash of sci-fi, Amber House is many things: romantic, genteel, and above all, scary.  I LOVE to be scared, yet it very rarely happens...but Amber House actually left me afraid the night I finished it.  

The Parsons family has a troubled past that Sarah, the main character, sees and experiences in glimpses, called "echoes."  I enjoyed this aspect of Moore's story, because the house, recently vacated by Sarah's deceased grandmother, is full of family heirlooms, each one with a different, sad and sometimes, horrifying story to tell.  I couldn't help but feel for Sarah and for her adorable younger brother, Sammy.  They were both amazing characters, and Jackson and Richard were wonderful additions to the plot; each boy served a purpose other than being a love interest - they actually each furthered the story being told. 

Amber House has a great deal to offer fans of mysteries.  There's a decidedly Gothic, spooky feel to Moore's book, including two twists I didn't see coming, but enjoyed.  I've heard this is part of a trilogy, so I'm excited to see what the next book holds.  There is a LOT of potential in the characters and in the storyline, which really took off for me about halfway through Amber House.  If authors Moore and the Reeds want to write more about these characters and the imposing, mysterious Amber House, I will definitely continue reading!  I enjoyed the writing style, the elegance, and the period feel to this book, and will be anxiously awaiting news of a sequel. 



You're sure to fall for:

The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer: My Life at Rose Red (I kept thinking of this movie while reading Amber House!)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Author Interview + Giveaway: Jennifer L Armentrout





Today I'm thrilled to have the fabulous Jennifer L Armentrout on the blog!  Jennifer rocketed into the world of YA lit in early 2011 and I've been fortunate enough to get to read all of her books so far (although I DO need to get my hands on a copy of ONYX.)  I recently read and loved CURSED, and gave away two ARCs.  There was a lot of interest in that book, and since we ALL love Jennifer, I decided to invite her here to answer a few questions.  So read what she had to say, and then enter the giveaway to win a JLA book of your choice!  This ranges from Half-Blood to Obsidian, to Deity - ANY one JLA book, even if it's a pre-order. Never read a JLA book?  Here's your chance!

Thanks so much to Jennifer for being amazing and taking the time to do this interview with me!







1) If you could spend a day with any one of your characters, who would it be and why?  What would you want to do with him/her?

I'd probably spend the day with Aiden from the Covenant Series and honestly just watch him play the guitar. There's nothing hotter than that.

2) Which character is the most challenging for you to write and why?  Do you enjoy writing for this character?


Several of my characters are hard for me to write. Aiden--because he's really like an onion and you have to peel back the layers. Ember from Cursed is another hard character because she hasn't had an easy life. The hardest is Samantha from Don't Look Back (Hyperion 2014).

3) It's a rainy day, good for nothing but reading.  What book would you most want to curl up with?

Either Soul Screamers or the Black Dagger Brotherhood.

4) Is there any kind of a book you want to write but haven't?  (ie. contemporary YA, or adult and a different genre than you've written, etc)

I've pretty much have written something in every kind of genre that I've wanted to write.

5) What advice, if any, would you give your "younger writing self" from the standpoint of where you are at now in your writing career?

Don't allow yourself to get so distracted and forget what its like to write and create something. I wish I hadn't for those years I wasn't writing.


Isn't Jennifer awesome?!

USA TODAY Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you've heard about her state aren't true. When she's not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russel Loki.

Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories....which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She also writes adult romance under the name J. Lynn.  


Connect with Jennifer: Blog | Website | Twitter 




To enter the giveaway, just be a follower, and don't forget the extra entries! 


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Blog Tour - Review: Quarantine by Lex Thomas







Quarantine by Lex Thomas
Published: July 10, 2012 (Egmont USA)
Source: ARC from Kismet ARC Tours in exchange for an honest review
Rating: Beam-worthy
Add it/Purchase: Goodreads | B&N | Amazon
Connect with the authors: Website | Twitter 
___

It was just another ordinary day at McKinley High—until a massive explosion devastated the school. When loner David Thorpe tried to help his English teacher to safety, the teacher convulsed and died right in front of him. And that was just the beginning.

A year later, McKinley has descended into chaos. All the students are infected with a virus that makes them deadly to adults. The school is under military quarantine. The teachers are gone. Violent gangs have formed based on high school social cliques. Without a gang, you’re as good as dead. And David has no gang. It’s just him and his little brother, Will, against the whole school.

In this frighteningly dark and captivating novel, Lex Thomas locks readers inside a school where kids don’t fight to be popular, they fight to stay alive.





My Review

As soon as I began Quarantine, I knew I was in for a wild, heart-pounding ride, with non-stop action and an easily detectable current of danger that constantly dragged me under and into the story being told.   Author Lex Thomas (a writing team made up of Lex Hrabe and Thomas Voorhies) takes readers into a world like our own, yet different.  There's truth in the tagline, "graduate or die."  In Quarantine, the stakes are high from the beginning, and never lessen.  Whereas for most of us, high school is about finding out who we are, for these characters it's about surviving the epidemic that caused the government to seal them into their high school.  While I at first found that part difficult to believe - that the government would abandon so many people, and only send in food and basic supplies every two weeks - the authors convinced me.  I was quickly drawn in to the battleground that once was McKinley High.  

The characters are all well-developed, and they feel real; they're the kids you went to school with, only now they're fighting for their lives.  Brothers David and Will were opposites, yet fiercely loyal to one another.  Each of the gangs that the kids devolve into were startlingly pragmatic and real.  I was fascinated by the trading system, almost like a black market, that was established, and it was shocking to see how much some characters changed from who they were at the start.  I never knew who to trust, or how to predict what might happen next!

This type of story isn't normally my cup of tea; however, even though I found a few parts of Quarantine to be too convenient, I did enjoy the story being told.  The story definitely kept my attention, but I wish I had been able to connect with the characters more.  I'm not sure if I'll read the following novels, since to me, this felt more like a stand alone.  However, Lex Thomas knows how to write a tense nail-biter of a story, how to electrify a reader's darkest fears for humanity, and how to keep readers turning pages!    


Author Guest Post: The Best Kept Secret of McKinley High...

Every locker holds a surprise. In one you might find a forgotten jacket or backpack or school supplies still there from the first day of school. If you’re enterprising, you might trade that stuff in the market for food. In another locker, you might find someone’s secret stash of food, weapons and goodies that they’ve been squirreling away in case they fall on hard times. But then there’s always the chance that the next locker you open is a grave. There have been a lot of deaths in McKinley, and those bodies have to go somewhere. Good thing the halls are lined with coffin-sized metal boxes....

And PS - always remember that if you’re being chased, a locker makes for a quick and easy hiding place. Just avoid the ones that say RIP.



a Rafflecopter giveaway





Check out the previous and upcoming stops on the tour!

Monday, September 10th - Wastepaper Prose
Tuesday, September 11th - Bewitched Bookworms
Wednesday, September 12th - Novel Novice
Thursday, September 13th - The Bookish Brunette
Friday, September 14th - The PageTurners
Monday, September 17th - MundieMoms
Tuesday, September 18th - Forever 17 Books W
Wednesday, September 19th - Evie Bookish
Thursday, September 20th - Once upon a Prologue
Friday, September 21st - The Bookswarm
Monday, September 24th - Reading Angel
Tuesday, September 25th - Fire and Ice
Wednesday, September 26th - Emily's Reading Room
Thursday, September 27th - Fiktshun
Friday, September 28th - Hypable

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday - #32: Splintered by A.G. Howard









{ ++ }  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...



This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence. Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.

When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.


Splintered by A. G. Howard
Expected publication: January  2013 (Amulet Books)
Add it to your TBR


Why It's Worth Waiting On:  Uh.  I think it's time for a true confession: I ADORE ALL THINGS ALICE IN WONDERLAND, from the Disney cartoon to Once Upon a Time's Jefferson/Mad Hatter to the Hatter from the Sci-Fi channel's mini-series, ALICE.  (Okay, so mostly I just love the Hatter...but...that's another story for another time.)  I even used to watch that 90's show Adventures in Wonderland and had the theme song memorized.  So this book?  It's like ALICE geek heaven for me.  I. Can't.  WAIT.  I actually just got an e-arc of this one from NetGalley and waiting to read it until I'm a bit more caught up is gonna be TORTURE!



Your turn!  What are YOU waiting on?  

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday - #32: I'd Love to Meet...












{ ++ } 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!













September 18: 
Top Ten Bookish People You Want To Meet (Authors, Bloggers, etc.) 


Ooh, this one is going to be FUN!

Bloggers 

{ 1 } Marie from Ramblings of a Daydreamer.  Marie is SUPER awesome and supportive of my writing, plus we're LONG overdue for a Buffy marathon.  She's become a true friend in the last year and a half!

{ 2 } Suz from A Soul Unsung.  What can I say about Suz?  She's been one of my BFF's for almost five years now, and I'm hoping to FINALLY make it down her way this fall for a meet-up.  I adore this girl!

{ 3 } Kay from Twirly Reads.  Kay has seen me through some of the best parts of my life in recent years, as well as some of the worst.  She's the Katniss to my Gale.  She's one of the people I am truly, truly grateful to have in my life.  I love her more than I can say and it's a CRIME we live so far apart.

{ 4 } Jess from Thoughts at One in the Morning.  Really, I just need to make a trip to Canada so that Jess, Marie and I can all hang out.  Jess's blog is awesome and she's a ton of fun, and I think I owe her a Castle marathon!  

{ 5 }  I can't pick just 5 so... Mimi from Mimi Valentine, Anna from Literary Exploration, Evie from Bookish!

Authors

{ 6 } Anne Bishop.  She wrote the Black Jewels trilogy, and those books changed me, and the way I read books, and inspired me to always challenge myself in my reading and in my writing. 

{ 7 } Suzanne Collins.  The Hunger Games made me take notice of YA lit for the first time in years, other than being a casual reader.  If I hadn't read THG I don't think I'd have started my blog, or read as many AMAZING YA books as I have. 

{ 8 } Stephen King.  I'm not certain I've cried harder at ANY book than I did at a few of his.  I haven't read any of his newer books for years now because he broke me with his Dark Tower series.  In some ways, nothing will EVER compare to my experiences reading those books, and a few others. 

{ 9 } Jodi Picoult.  Even though if I met her, I'd probably bust out crying... I admire her SO much.  She's such a BRAVE author.  I feel ALL THE FEELINGS when I read her books. 

{ 10 } Lauren Oliver.  Ever since I read Before I Fall, I've been trying to think about how I treat others, and myself.  Nothing will ever come my way quite like that book, and I just wish I could meet her and thank her for writing it.


Your turn!  What made YOUR Top Ten this week?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Review: Send Me a Sign by Tiffany Schmidt







Send Me a Sign by Tiffany Schmidt
Published: October 2, 2012 (Walker Children's)
Source: E-ARC from the publisher
Rating: Swoon-worthy
Add it/Purchase: Goodreads | B&N | Amazon
Connect with the author: Twitter | Website

___

Mia is always looking for signs. A sign that she should get serious with her soccer-captain boyfriend. A sign that she’ll get the grades to make it into an Ivy-league school. One sign she didn’t expect to look for was: “Will I survive cancer?” It’s a question her friends would never understand, prompting Mia to keep her illness a secret. The only one who knows is her lifelong best friend, Gyver, who is poised to be so much more. 

Mia is determined to survive, but when you have so much going your way, there is so much more to lose. From debut author Tiffany Schmidt comes a heart-wrenching and ultimately uplifting story of one girl’s search for signs of life in the face of death.







My Review
  
Send Me A Sign is one of those extremely rare books that took me beyond the mere act of reading a story, and actually propelled me into the story itself, until I felt like I was living the events taking place.  I clicked immediately with Mia; who of us hasn't searched for a sign to tell us which direction to go, how to make the right decision?  My heart went out to Mia as she struggled to understand what having cancer would mean to her, her family, and her friends, and ultimately, decided to keep the truth from those most important to her.  Mia was a sympathetic character who made some mistakes throughout Send Me a Sign, but I adored her, as well as this heart-felt, heart-wrenching, poignant story about life, death, and courage.  

Author Tiffany Schmidt brings Mia and her family to life with clarity and a wonderfully told story.  From Mia's fact-obsessed father to her image-obsessed mother, and the boy next door who cares so unabashedly for her, and the friends who love, but don't understand her, I found something to like in most of the characters.  I enjoyed the evolution of Mia's relationships with her parents, and loved watching her become her OWN person.  I didn't always understand their reactions and motivations, but what I DID love was the way Mia interacted differently with each of them.  She played so many roles, and while most of them were genuine: daughter, friend, girlfriend, the one that stood out most to me was her relationship with Gyver.  

Of all the signs Mia searched so ardently for, she missed every single one pointing her to this sweet, steadfast, loyal boy, choosing instead to pursue a relationship with her crush, Ryan.  Ryan turned out to be an amazing supporting character, but it was painful, watching his devotion to Mia, and the ramifications of how their relationship was tested by Mia's illness.  I kept praying for Mia to make the right decisions in several aspects, but especially when it came to Ryan and Gyver.  Both boys had a lot to offer her, and both had a lot to teach her about life, and about how to be truly brave.  I won't say how it all turned out, but I WILL say I shed a lot of tears, some sad and some happy!

Send Me a Sign is a spectacular, heart-breaking look at what cancer means and does to people.  It's a story about family coming together.  It's a story about friendships being broken, and repaired.  It's a story about choosing: life over death, hope over fear, love over isolation.  It's a story I will never, ever forget. 
** Tiffany is donating $1 for EVERY pre-order of Send Me A Sign to cancer charities.  PLEASE consider pre-ordering a copy of this touching book, then emailing confirmation to Tiffany.  ** 





I lost my amazing Grandma Jean on October 23, 2008.  (I lost my Grandpa Tom the previous year.)  I miss them both all the time and I think of my grandma when I need to make a hard choice.  Her voice is my conscious.  If cancer didn't exist, she might still be with me.  Cancer research is very important to me.  

Finally, I wanted to share the song that I listened to during some of the hardest parts of Send Me a Sign:



Other books by this author:

Bright Before Sunrise (Walker Children's, 2014)


You're sure to fall for:

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Once Upon A Book Haul - #16















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 Speechless by Hannah Harrington!  (I LOVED IT)
I posted a Top Ten Tuesday on books that made me think a lot on life/etc.
I posted a cover reveal for The Game Changer by Marie Landry!
I wrote a discussion on how to get/keep followers!
I reviewed Mark of the Loon by Molly Greene!
I offered up 3 FAB ARCs for giveaway!
I posted a review of Counting Backward by Laura Lascarno.




For Review

The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron {Add it on Goodreads}
Meant To Be by Lauren Morrill {Add it on Goodreads}
Quarantine by Lex Thomas {Add it on Goodreads}

Gifted

The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagaway {Add it on Goodreads}

Thank you to Asher at Paranormal Indulgence, Paper Lantern Press, and Scholastic for the BEAUTIFUL finished copy.   


Your turn! Be sure to leave me a link to YOUR book haul/wrap up!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Fall ARCs Giveaway!






I've spent the last week reading - make that DEVOURING - a few ARCs I was lucky enough to receive recently.  And since I'm a big believer that EVERYONE should be able to experience books themselves, and since my poor book shelves are already overflowing...I want to share these ARCs with one lucky winner!


Here's what you can win:
(one winner takes home ALL THREE!)




 

The rules are simple.  Just be a follower (or become one), and if you want extra entries, go for it!

Review: Speechless by Hannah Harrington






Speechless by Hannah Harrington
Pages: 288
Published: August 28, 2012 (Harlequin Teen)
Rating: Squee-worthy
Source: E-ARC from NetGalley
Add it/Purchase: Goodreads | B&N | Amazon
Connect with the author: Twitter | Website
___

Everyone knows that Chelsea Knot can't keep a secret.

Until now. Because the last secret she shared turned her into a social outcast—and nearly got someone killed.

Now Chelsea has taken a vow of silence—to learn to keep her mouth shut, and to stop hurting anyone else. And if she thinks keeping secrets is hard, not speaking up when she's ignored, ridiculed and even attacked is worse.

But there's strength in silence, and in the new friends who are, shockingly, coming her way—people she never noticed before; a boy she might even fall for. If only her new friends can forgive what she's done. If only she can forgive herself.






My Review


Last year I read and fell hard for Saving June, Hannah Harrington's first novel; so, from the moment I saw she had a second book coming out, I wanted and NEEDED to read it.   After I received Speechless from NetGalley, I just wasn't in the mood to read a contemporary for awhile, but when I finally sat down with this one, I read it in a matter of hours.  It's THAT good.  Once again, Hannah has written a stellar group of characters, even going so far as to humanize the secondary characters, which I really liked.  I was hesitant at first, reading this story, because I wasn't sure if I'd feel anything other than scorn for the main character, Chelsea, but I surprised myself when I ended up liking her.  

Having the main character take a vow of silence after she spills a secret that changes several people's lives forever is a wonderful plot device; it really gave me, as a reader, time to get to know Chelsea better than though dialogue.  As Chelsea dealt with the consequence of her gossiping ways, she started to really SEE the people around her for who they were, as well as herself for who she is, has been...and can be.  Throughout Speechless, Chelsea grew so much as a person, and that really surprised me pleasantly.  She realized the people she thought were friends perhaps weren't, and discovered that when you stop talking and start listening...you can hear, see, and learn so much.  

I enjoyed the relationships in Speechless.  As usual, Hannah Harrington writes these characters and relationships that feel REAL: flawed, yet possible.  I loved that so much thought was poured into the interactions between the characters - from Chelsea's relationship with her parents, to her tentative romance with Sam, to her new friendship with Asha.  My only complaint is that Speechless felt, to me, a bit short - I'd have liked to have seen Chelsea's transformation take a little longer.  But as usual, Harrington is a gifted story-teller, and Speechless definitely GOT to me.  I shed a few tears for Chelsea and in the end, was very pleased with this novel!


Other books by this author:

Saving June

You're sure to fall for:

Live Through This by Mindi Scott

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Review: Mark of the Loon by Molly Greene






Mark of the Loon by Molly Greene
Pages: 294
Published: May 14, 2012
Source: E-book from the author in exchange for an honest review
Rating: Squee-worthy
Add it/Purchase: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Connect with the author: Twitter | Website
___

Madison is a skilled property “flipper” who renovates distressed homes in addition to her busy real estate sales career. She struggles with the inability to put down roots years after the sudden death of her beloved parents. Madison and her three wise, hilarious friends all wonder if she uses her busy, work-centric lifestyle as an excuse to avoid connection with anyone but them.

When Madison checks out a probate sale outside Healdsburg, California, she falls in love with the European-style house on a private tract of land overlooking Lake Sonoma. In fact, she likes the place so much she climbs in the window for a private tour. With help from lawyer and friend Genevieve Delacourt, Madison soon learns that the estate’s corrupt attorney has manipulated the sale and is attempting to steer the purchase to an anonymous client in a deceitful plan for personal gain.

Good fortune enables her to purchase the Blackburne’s property, but far more than a new home and lush gardens await discovery during this renovation. As Madison works on the remodel, she’s drawn into an old love story with dangerous consequences. In the process, she discovers herself as she unearths buried secrets. The series of events both endanger Madison and lead her to love – and a permanent home. Mark of the Loon is the skillful combination of history, mystery, and romance in a novel that explores deep friendship, choices, and how individuals cope with loss.



My Review

Serial house flipper Madison Boone caught my interest in the opening chapters of Mark of the Loon; Madison buries her grief over losing her parents in renovation and selling homes, and in her closest friends.  Since I can understand the urge to hide from that kind of heartache, I immediately connected with Madison - in her, author Molly Greene has created a sympathetic character who makes her own share of both good and bad decisions, surrounded by a terrifically developed group of female friends.  Part women's fiction, part mystery, part contemporary, Mark of the Loon is a fantastic and heart-felt novel!

Greene's debut novel has so much going for it, from the deep and genuine friendships between Madison, Gabi, Gwen, and Anna, to the next layer down - Madison's issues and how they're explored -, not to mention the tentative and sweet romance that organically develops for Madison and Cole Welles.   Not only was I never bored, I was absolutely fascinated as Madison pulled back the curtain on the couple who owned the house before her and filled it with their stories and their love.  I enjoyed learning about Mallory, the woman who shared Madison's initials, and her husband.  I didn't expect the mystery surrounding them, but it was a delightful addition to Loon! 

As Molly Greene's novel slowly unfolded, I fell deeper into the story being told.  I wasn't merely reading about Madison's life; I felt like I was there - discovering the quaint old home and impulsively buying it, falling for Cole amidst being terrified of doing so, digging into the enigma of the past owners of Madison's new home.  I definitely was as surprised as Madison was by how everything worked out in the end!  

With supportive and amazing friends any girl would be lucky to have, an exploration of healing from old grief, a truly swoon-worthy and steadfast love interest, and side characters who, even though they aren't in Mark of the Loon very often, nevertheless were a hugely felt presence, Greene's novel is a truly heart-felt and poignant read.  Whether you're looking for a mystery, a romance, a contemporary, something with humor, or even a touch of the paranormal, Mark of the Loon has something for everyone!


You're sure to fall for:

Treasure Me by Christine Nolfi

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Cover Reveal: The Game Changer by Marie Landry








Today I'm delighted to feature an exciting cover reveal for Marie Landry's second novel, THE GAME CHANGER!  Marie is an extremely talented author and blogger, not to mention a friend.  I'm so psyched that she's written a new novel, and am anxious to get my hands on it and devour it; I adore Marie's writing and her characters.  So...let's have a look at this GORGEOUS cover, shall we?



Melody Cartwright has never had a problem with change, but for the first time in her life the changes are beyond her control—she suddenly has a niece she never knew, but has to prove herself to; her best friend is making huge life changes of her own; and she has to deal with her ex and his crazy new girlfriend who has stalker tendencies.

When Melody meets confident, sexy Julian, she’s not interested in a relationship. He tells her it’s possible for a man and a woman to just be friends, and despite his ultra-charming ways there’s something about him that makes Melody believe he could be right.

During a time of change and turmoil, it doesn’t take long for Julian to become everything Melody never knew she needed in her life. But is it possible for them to remain ‘just friends’ or will Melody be a game changer for Julian the playboy?


Add it to your TBR!
Connect with Marie: Twitter | Author Blog | Book Blog









To celebrate her cover, Marie is doing something AMAZING!  Her debut novel, BLUE SKY DAYS is .99 on Kindle for a limited time!  Haven't read BLUE SKY DAYS?  Don't know what it's about?  Let me give you a nudge in the right direction...

I shed tears of happiness, and tears of fear for the characters.  For a short novel, Blue Sky Days was brimming with emotion, and it never felt fake.  I've rarely come across a novel that clicked with me so powerfully; in some ways, I felt almost overwhelmed from how much I cared about the characters, especially Emma and Nicholas, by the end, but it was in a good way.  Marie Landry made me FEEL something for her characters, and when I read the last page, I felt like I was saying not goodbye, but "see you when I see you" to friends.  It's a rare gift, to be able to accomplish that over the course of a novel, but Marie did it.  I won't forget Emma, Nicholas, or Blue Sky Days anytime soon. 

 - Read my full review here



So what are you waiting for?  Go grab BLUE SKY DAYS, then add THE GAME CHANGER to YOUR To-Be-Read!