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Zodiac ~ Romina Russell

December 12, 2017

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Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy

Publisher: Razorbill,

480 pages


Source: Barnes and Noble

If you know me in real life, you know that I have this sort of love/hate relationship with Zodiac signs. I am technically an Aries but I’m on the Pisces cusp and I kind of swing wildly between the two types.  Spacey and spiritual, wild and fiery, bookish and sporty. Basically, I’m a human with a wide range of stuff. (Yes, I get that we’re all like that. Stay tuned, because, I think that may eventually be the point of this series.) Anyway, this swing has pretty much landed me of the opinion that astrology is totally useless but it’s still so fun to bounce around and I’m mildly obsessed with the tropes even though I will loudly proclaim they have nothing to do with anything. Like I said, it’s a strange relationship. Passion and indecision. This is what I’m talking about, folks. But I digress.

With that out of the way, I should probably go ahead and warn everyone that I may get a little gooey and gushy about this because Zodiac was the snowflake the broke the tree branch and officially sent me back into blogging. A lot has changed in the decade since I started this blog in terms of the internet and books and author accessibility.  One thing that hasn’t changed? My obsession with a good escape.

Romina Russell (who is phenomenally entertaining and you should go find interviews with her on YouTube, right now. Go, I’ll wait.) is a Virgo, like my mom and, she mentions, often, that this has a lot to do with the detail that went in to her lay out of the galaxy in her Zodiac series.

Honestly? I’ll totally buy that because every detail of each house is divinely detailed and, if you’re going to believe one thing, believe that Virgos are good at this thing (again, hi, mommy!).

Her first book (in a four-book series I am quickly devouring) follows Rho, a 16 year old from House Cancer (think: kindness, nurturing, ocean waves, and family) through a galaxy-wide race against time and dark forces that I absolutely cannot tell you any more about without spoiling everything in this beautiful adventure. Just know that it is essentially this wonderful mashup of everything you think you know about astrology with a Star Trek-like approach to an old story. And it’s really so brilliant.

Even if you know nothing about Zodiac signs or attributes, this is a fantastic little romp through the stars and has absolutely stolen my heart.


Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda ~ Becky Albertalli

December 11, 2017

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Genre: Young Adult

Publisher: Balzer & Bray/Harperteen

336 pages

ISBN: 9780062348685

Source: Barnes and Noble

Coming out is hard to do.

In so many ways, it has gotten easier as time has gone on.

A few things, though, have made being a queer teen even more awkward.

I’m looking at you, internet.

High school, junior and resident drama kid, Simon, lives a pretty perfect teen existence. He has the requisite cluster of close friends, a jolly suburban family, and a carved-out piece of adolescent universe in the theater world. But despite being surrounded by close friends and family, Simon has managed to tuck away a little secret, only revealed to a single source in the form of an anonymous online pen pal.

With the misstep of one nosey, meddling classmate, Simon’s secret, and in turn, his entire inner world, threatens to unravel, bringing down his charming outward appearance with it.

After spending an entire semester up to my elbows in the darker realities of queer teen life, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda was an adorable breath of fresh air. It has been on my TBR list for a while and two of my very best friends ensured me that I would fall in love. As usual, they were dead on.  The voice is so painfully accurate, especially having been a somewhat closeted kid, tucked somewhere between the soccer kids and the theater kids.

Two fun bonus bits: The family dog is exquisitely drawn into random parts of the story to the point where the canine presence definitely accounts for one of the main characters. And, of course, as an Atlantan, there are fantastic local references that had me poking my boyfriend, squealing, “Oh! They’re in Midtown! Now they’re in Little Five Points!” Though, it should be said, that the story could be in Anytown, U.S.A..

If you haven’t read this, yet, I highly recommend it.  It’s just the perfect little read for cuddling up between the holidays.

Teaser Tueday: The Wicked Will Rise ~ Danielle Paige

April 28, 2015

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Suddenly someone else spoke: ‘The magic is returning’, Ozma said, like she was explaining the simplest thing in the world.
~ p.13, “The Wicked Will Riser” by Danielle Paige

Dorothy Must Die ~ Danielle Paige

April 27, 2015

Genre: Young Adult Adventure
Publisher: Harper Collins
480 pages
ISBN: 978002280688
Source: Barnes and Nobel

Everyone loves to hate a mean girl. We all know that. But what happens when America’s sweetheart, Oz’s sweetheart, is suddenly the most hated person on campus?

In Dorothy Must Die, Amy Gumm intends to find out

After the modern day, Midwestern misfit finds herself uprooted from a trailer park in Kansas, she ends up where all kids from Kansas end up. When her tin can of a mobile home crashlands in the fabled fantasy land, it is hardly the Technicolor dreamscape the books paint. Within minutes of tumbling out of a cliché tornado, Amy picks up on the dreadful reality that the once picture perfect land has been turned into something far more dark and sinister. If the locals are to be believed (and who’s to say they are?) the change of scenery is not due to wicked witches but rather to that sweet, double plaited, checkered skirted darling who allegedly saved everyone in the first place.

Gumm’s own trek down the famed brick road is stopped short when she is caught up in another whirlwind, this time, an impending battle between good and wicked, though which side is which remains to be seen. There is a new order, specifically The Revolutionary Order of the Wicked, and they want Amy on their side. Not a terrible option as they seem to have their act together. In a strange, frightening world, it’s tempting to take up with those who offer protection. Of course protection comes with a price. Amy simply has to take out the evil princess and her spot is safe with the coven.Dorothy must die.

It’s a little bit Hunger Games, a little bit Once Upon a Time, and a whole lot of fun. There’s even a little bit of addiction worked into the storyline which is near and dear to my own heart as well as tied into the history of the Oz franchise  Danielle Paige is new to me but she has apparently won some serious Emmy credit which is apparent in her plot and writing. My only warning is that you will need to have the second book in the series on hand the minute you finish the first.

Eternal – H. G. Nadel

February 26, 2013

Genre: Paranormal Teen Romance
Publisher: Sourced Media Books
260 pages
ISBN: 9781937458195
Source: Publisher via TLC Booktours

Let’s call this one: Romeo and Juliet and Frankenstein’s Monster.

Part epic love story, part science experiment gone haywire, Eternal has all of the plot elements of a fun, fantastic read. It doesn’t quite pan out perfectly but still a fun ride.

The curtain opens on recent grad Julia Jones, science whiz  and California cutie. She is playing assistant to the brilliant but delightfully batty Dr. Caleb Bertel on what appears to be a dangerous but undisclosed experiment of potential genius. They just so happen to be considering the science of life after death when lo and behold, Dr. Bertel accidentally offs himself only to be saved by Julia’s brilliance.

Great, right? Well, the trouble really starts when Bertel goes missing from the hospital, his disappearance followed immediately by someone following and harassing Julia with cryptic, esoteric messages. The police get involved, enlisting a hunk to match Julia’s hotness by the name of Austin Moore. We’re pretty much guaranteed some sort of love connection as Nadel repeats ad nauseam, that the two likely lovers seem to find the other familiar.

The writing was a little spotty, though that’s not to say hat it was bad; it just had moments of beauty and then moments of boredom. I also always have a bit of a problem when the protagonist is too perfect. Julia is California cute in a beautiful blonde way and extra, super duper smart. I always like a heroine with a bit of a social hurdle somewhere. Even though much of the plot and writing hit hard (albeit hardly surprising) the book was a fun read. I had to let go of my reader perfectionism and just enjoy the adventure.


About H. G. Nadel

H. G. Nadel was born in Paris and has spent most of her adult life in the United States. She began her professional career as a SAG/AFTRA agent and later started a successful acting school in Orange County, California. Nadel has written numerous screenplays, but her first love is novel writing. Her expertise in young adult drama has allowed her to write captivating coming-of-age stories in both English and French.

You can find Nadel onFacebook and Twitter.

Find out more about the characters in Eternal at

Check out her other tour stops, below:

Tour Stops

Thursday, January 31st: Sara’s Organized Chaos

Tuesday, February 5th: Books, Books Everywhere!

Wednesday, February 13th: Bibliophilia, Please!

Tuesday, February 19th: So Many Books, So Little Time

Monday, February 25th: Boekie’s Book Reviews

Tuesday, February 26th: Iwriteinbooks’s blog

Thursday, March 7th: A Dream Within A Dream 

Wednesday, March 27th: My Guilty Obsession


Proof of Guilt – Charles Todd

February 20, 2013

Genre: Adult Fiction/ Mystery
William Morrow
352 pages
ISBN: 9780062015686
Source: Publisher (for TLC Booktours)

There are few things in life that I enjoy better than wine and a good, old fashioned scandal. For those reasons, I am pleased to present you now with my new best friend, Charles Todd (who is actually a mother-son duo!) and their newest book Proof of Guilt.

Adding complexity to the run of the mill whodunit, Todd begins, not only with seeking out the murderer but also seeking out the victim. An unidentified body is dropped off on a London street with less than adequate leads pointing to his origin. As promised above, the only tie they are able to find, plummets them toward the deep, dark past of a rural winery with a few secrets of its own.

I was a little bit hesitant in receiving this book for the tour as it is the bookend of a fairly lengthy series in progress. Never fear, dear readers! Though there is a fair amount of office politics in play (that I am sure were built up in previous volumes), for all intents and purposes, they serve as stand alone plot pieces quite nicely.

Now, I’m sure that when I go back and read the entire string from the beginning (which I am sure to do promptly!) I’ll think that this last statement was absurd since Todd (who is actually a mother/son team!) has crafted, even in this book, such an intricate, well drawn world, that the rest of the package reads likewise. For those who have read the series up until now, this either follows his excellent writing or is the best book he’s written.

Check out the rest of the tour, below:

About Charles Todd

Charles Todd is the New York Times bestselling author of the Inspector Ian Rutledge mysteries, the Bess Crawford mysteries, and two stand-along novels. A mother and son writing team, they live in Delaware and North Carolina, respectively. Visit their website and like CharlesToddNovels on Facebook.

Check out the rest of the tour, below:

Tour Stops

Tuesday, January 29th: 5 Minutes for Books

Wednesday, January 30th: Bookfoolery and Babble

Thursday, January 31st: A Bookworm’s World

Monday, February 4th: Peppermint PhD

Tuesday, February 5th: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom

Wednesday, February 6th: No More Grumpy Bookseller

Thursday, February 7th: Between the Covers

Monday, February 11th: Dwell in Possibility

Monday, February 18th: Speaking of Books

Friday, Februay 20th: Iwriteinbooks’s blog

TBD: Short and Sweet Reviews

TBD: I Read a Book Once


Teaser Tuesday: Proof of Guilt – Charles Todd

February 19, 2013

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

proof of guilt

He couldn’t remember, later, what had taken him down to the harbor.

~ p.1, Proof of Guilt by  by Charles Todd