2017 Love-A-Thon Challenge: Book Spine Poetry

Logo for 2017 Love-A-Thon

The first challenge I’m participating in this year for Love-A-Thon is Book Spine Poetry. The goal is to create a poem using only the titles of books, and let me tell you – this is not easy. I’m not a great poet under the best of circumstances, let alone when limited to only a few specific phrases, but hopefully the end result isn’t too bad! My finished poem is shown below. You can also see my poems from last year’s challenge here.

The Hunt

Lady Midnight, hidden huntress, a great and terrible beauty.
Another day before I fall
And I darken;
A wicked thing, ruined.

Book Spine Poetry

Welcome to the 2017 Love-A-Thon!

Logo for 2017 Love-A-Thon

It’s finally here – the 2017 Love-A-Thon! Love-A-Thon is hosted by Alexa (Alexa Loves Books), Cee (The Novel Hermit), Kristin (Super Space Chick) and Mel (The Daily Prophecy) and is intended to build friendships and spread positivity and love. It’s time dedicated to visiting other bloggers/Instagrammers/BookTubers, leaving a comment or two, and fostering positivity among the members of the blogging community.

To kick off the Love-A-Thon, all participants were asked to introduce themselves by sharing their answers to the following questions.

Questionnaire

Introduction to Me and My Blog

Angela from Angelas Library1) What’s your name? Where in the world are you blogging from? I’m Angela, and I’m blogging from Pennsylvania in the United States.

2) Tell us your history with reading. My Gram is the person who made me fall in love with books; she read to me non-stop as a little girl. Also, I had really bad asthma when I was young and was very limited in what I could do. Reading was one activity that was always available to me.

3) How did you get involved in the online book community? I’m book obsessed and was desperate to find other people who shared that passion. I realized the Internet’s full of like-minded people and started my blog so I could interact with those people.

4) How did you choose your primary platform (blog, Instagram, Youtube, etc.)? How did you come up with your blog name?  It was a matter of my skill set, haha. Photography and videography aren’t my gifts, but I write/edit for a living, so a blog seemed like the best platform for me to start with. It took forever for me to figure out a name for my blog; my husband was the one who suggested Angela’s Library.

5) What’s your favorite thing about the blogging community? Connecting with people who get excited about the same books and authors that I do. It feels like being part of a family.

6) What sort of posts can readers expect from you? Up until this point I’ve mostly written reviews, as well as bookish playlists and Top Ten Tuesday posts (hosted by The Broke and The Bookish). I hope to do more author interviews, lists, and fun discussion posts this year.

7) What book genres do you talk about most? I focus on Young Adult fiction and tend to feature a lot of retellings. I love retellings of all kinds…fairy tales, myths, literary classics, and so on.

Favorites

1) Favorite food? Beverage? Mmm…I could eat pasta for every single meal, with a can of Dr Pepper to go along with it!

2) Favorite color? Red!

My husband and me in NYC to watch Les Miserables on Broadway

3) Favorite things to do apart from reading? I love going to the movies and going to see plays/musicals. My latest obsession is Hamilton: An American Musical. I’m dying to see it on Broadway, but since I don’t have a spare $500 lying around for tickets, I’ve contented myself with playing the album on repeat and driving my husband nuts. 🙂

4) Favorite TV shows? Outlander, Modern Family, The 100, The Royals

5) Favorite movies? Tangled, Dirty Dancing, Shrek, Hairspray

6) Favorite musical artists? My Chemical Romance, Linkin Park, Queen, Journey, Halsey, Florence and the Machine, Garth Brooks

7) Favorite places to shop? Barnes & Noble, Apricot Lane Boutique, New York and Company

Book Talk

1) Favorite childhood books? The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, The Boxcar Children series by Gertrude Chandler Warner, The Uncle Wiggly series by Howard R. Garis, and The Redwall series by Brian Jacques

Angela's photo with Pierce Brown and Morning Star

Book signing with Pierce Brown, author of the Red Rising trilogy

2) Favorite books you red in the last five years? The Captive Prince trilogy by C.S. Pacat, The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner, The Red Rising trilogy by Pierce Brown, and The Raven Cycle quartet by Maggie Stiefvater

3) Underrated book, series or author you love? I just finished reading Nora Sakavic’s All For The Game trilogy and really, really enjoyed it.

4) A book you want to see made into a film or TV show? I want to see Michael Grant’s Gone series turned into movies in the WORST way. I’m also really excited to see what the movie adaptation of Pierce Brown’s Red Rising will look like.

5) Book boyfriend/girlfriend? Book family? Will Herondale from Cassandra Clare’s The Infernal Devices trilogy will always be my book boyfriend. As for my book family, I actually did a post on this for Thanksgiving!

6) Books you want to read in 2017? ALL OF THE BOOKS! But especially The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee, The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich, and Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts.

Blog Tour, Excerpt, and Giveaway: In A Gilded Cage by Mia Kerick

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for In A Gilded Cage, hosted by Xpresso Book Tours! As a fan of fairy tale retellings, I’m happy to be able to share an excerpt from Mia Kerick’s modern twist on the story of Rapunzel, which is set in present day and features a male/male romance. Following the excerpt, at the bottom of the post, you’ll see a Rafflecopter form to enter a giveaway for a $25 Amazon gift card. Enjoy!

About the Book

In a Gilded Cage
Mia Kerick
(Evernight Publishing)
Publication date: October 21st 2016
Genres: LGBTQ+, New Adult, Romance

Lucci Grimley is indeed alluring—crowned with a mane of long blond hair, and blessed with an enchanting musical talent that draws a brave rescuer to a high tower hidden in the forest.

However, this modern-day Rapunzel is a young man, sold as a child to the wealthy and childless Damien Gotham for the price of a fast car and a pile of cash. And Lucci’s heroic prince is William “Prin” Prinzing, a handsome college student and star soccer player, hired to care for the grounds of the lavish Tower Estate. Prin climbs an extension ladder rather than a long golden braid to gain access to Lucci’s second floor bedroom window, ultimately penetrating the secrecy surrounding the cloistered young man.

Friendship, and soon romance, blooms. The tower captive eagerly gives his loving innocence to his brave rescuer, which sends the strict and reclusive Gotham into a frenzy of jealous rage. With Prin, Lucci gets a taste of real life, and he wants more. Together, the young men must face Gotham’s ruthlessness and pay the price of liberating Lucci.

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Excerpt

Father pushes forward his untouched plate of eggs, toast, and sliced melon. It is rare that he does not break his fast with enthusiasm, and I am further perplexed. “Last night, when I held you, I did not miss the stiffening of your back. You did not relax against me … your hands did not curl into mine.”

He is correct.

“Your behavior … insulted me.” His glare burns the skin of my face. I keep my eyes averted, as is expected.

Again, I am unsure how to reply so I do not.

“Your diet will be severely restricted until I feel that you have changed your attitude.”

Guilt floods my mouth with illicit strawberry sweetness. I swallow deeply. “My attitude, Father?”

“Yes. You will improve your response to … to me … in the same manner you improved your attitude toward your music.” He looks distinctly uncomfortable. “I will provide proper motivation to help you accomplish this.”

We are moving onto disturbing new ground in our relationship. Where controlling my behavior has satisfied Father to this point, he is now making an attempt to manage my emotions. I am shaken by a cruel premonition of what I will be forced to endure in his effort to correct my apathy.

“Can you think of several words of affection to start us on our path toward increased emotional intimacy, son?”

I am literally unable to speak. My throat is dry and parched, and I reach for my glass of water.

“No water. I will tell you when it is time to drink.”
“Yes, sir,” I croak.
“I believe I requested a verbal expression to prove that you are open to making this necessary change in our future interaction.”

I swallow deeply and scramble for words to express that I am eager to be emotionally extorted.

Shall I tell him I missed him when he was away? I did not.

I could assure Father that I enjoy our physical closeness while we sleep. A blatant lie that would likely encourage more of the same.

I search the dark corners of my mind, but come up with nothing that will not further my suffering. My hands tremble on my lap.

“You are finished with breakfast, Lucas.” This is no loss. My plate is nearly full, but I have no appetite for eggs. “Return to your suite and consider what we have discussed.”

A tiny voice in my mind suggests that we had no discussion at all. It tells me that once again, Father has attempted to impose his will upon me, and I have failed to respond appropriately, for which I will pay a high price.

“Yes, Father. Am I excused?”


He nods, but refuses to look at me. I have disappointed him. 

Author Bio

Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—all named after saints—and five nonpedigreed cats—all named after the next best thing to saints, Boston Red Sox players. Her husband of twenty years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about that, as it is a sensitive subject.

Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled young men and their relationships, and she believes that sex has a place in a love story, but not until it is firmly established as a love story. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with romantic tales of tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to Dreamspinner Press for providing her with an alternate place to stash her stories.

Mia is proud of her involvement with the Human Rights Campaign and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of marital equality. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.

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Giveaway

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Review: Alice and the Fly by James Rice

Alice and the Fly Book Cover Alice and the Fly
James Rice

A spellbinding debut novel by an exceptional new young British talent.

This is a book about phobias and obsessions, isolation and dark corners. It's about families, friendships, and carefully preserved secrets. But above everything else it's about love. Finding love - in any of its forms - and nurturing it.

Miss Hayes has a new theory. She thinks my condition's caused by some traumatic incident from my past I keep deep-rooted in my mind. As soon as I come clean I'll flood out all these tears and it'll all be ok and I won't be scared of Them anymore. The truth is I can't think of any single traumatic childhood incident to tell her. I mean, there are plenty of bad memories - Herb's death, or the time I bit the hole in my tongue, or Finners Island, out on the boat with Sarah - but none of these are what caused the phobia. I've always had it. It's Them. I'm just scared of Them. It's that simple.

Review:

I received a free copy of this book from the author via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I’m hard-pressed to express my feelings regarding Alice and the Fly. If I were to rate this book purely on enjoyability, I would only be able to grant it 2 stars – it’s definitely not a cheery novel, and I wouldn’t classify it as a pleasant reading experience. In fact, I’m not sure I can even say that I liked this book. That said, I have to credit James Rice for his storytelling abilities – this book is original, surprising, and boasts a thought-provoking plot.

Alice and the Fly is narrated by Greg, a young man who suffers from a crippling phobia and extreme social awkwardness. Nicknamed “Psycho” by his peers, Greg is an outcast at school and at home. The only bright spot in his miserable world is his classmate Alice, to whom the book is addressed in the form of a letter/journal.

Alice and the Fly gets major points for being completely unexpected. I confess that, at first, I thought I had a pretty good idea of where the story was going. The book has a distinct The Perks of Being A Wallflower vibe, and I couldn’t help comparing the two stories at every turn. There are lots of parallels between the two: an epistolary format, a lonely narrator on the fringes of the social scene, a concerned teacher who tries to guide him through life, a childhood friend who’s passed away, etc. Also similar to Perks is the feeling that there’s some sort of buried trauma, though you don’t know what it might be.

The more I read, though, the more I realized that Alice and Perks are two very different books. One major difference is that Charlie, the protagonist in Perks, is endearing; Greg is harder to feel close to. Even though the majority of the book is written from his perspective, I always felt like he was a million miles away. And, though I sympathized with Greg, I can’t say that I empathized with him. In fact, at times he made me downright uncomfortable. He fixates on Alice, secretly following her around, lurking outside her home, and relying upon proximity to her (without her knowledge) for comfort. There’s one scene where Greg picks up Alice’s discarded cigarette butt and puts it in his mouth in order to feel close to her, then holds the smoldering nub of the cigarette in his hand until it burns a crater in his palm, because he’s unwilling and unable to let it go.

Another big difference between Alice and Perks is the family dynamic. The characterization of Greg’s parents is masterful, one of my favorite things about Rice’s book. The best words to describe them would be “preoccupied” and “self-absorbed.” Greg’s dad, a plastic surgeon, is a workaholic who’s so immersed in his work that he brings pre- and post-operative photos to the dinner table, and eats with only one hand so he can shuffle through his paperwork with the other. Greg’s mom is even more fascinating. She’s an anxiety-ridden social climber who’s constantly redesigning and renovating the house, fussing over gourmet coffees, and perfecting her charred salmon entrée to impress her hoity-toity, high society friends.

I would go so far as to say that Greg’s mom is one of the book’s biggest testaments to Rice’s talent as a writer. She’s got all the elements of your typical rich, appearance-obsessed housewife, but without being a cliché; Rice rounds out the stereotypical characteristics with other traits that show the complexity of the mother’s character. Her positive attributes are pronounced, as are her flaws and vulnerabilities. She’s surprisingly tender at times, shockingly fragile at others. I’d happily read an entire book about Greg’s mom, just to learn more about what makes her tick.

Something else I liked about Alice is that Rice does a great job of keeping you guessing up until the end. Given how distant Greg is, you get the feeling that you’re missing pieces of the narrative, or at least pieces of what you should know about his life. There are his frequent allusions to the unnamed “Them,” as well as hints about something that happened to his sister at some place called Finner’s Island. Interspersed with Greg’s narration to Alice are transcripts of worrisome interviews with Greg’s family, which build a sense of mystery and anticipation, giving you the impression that the story’s leading up to something big.

My biggest rub with Alice and the Fly is its bleakness. I get that novels can’t – and shouldn’t – be rainbows and sunshine all the time, but the ugliness and grimness in this particular book were oppressive and unrelenting. There’s little to no brightness to mitigate the awfulness, and because of how distant Greg is, you can’t even turn to him for comfort or solidarity.

This bleakness, coupled with how hard it was for me to connect with Greg, made me hesitate before I finally gave Alice and the Fly a 4-star rating. To be perfectly honest, I don’t see myself ever rereading this book, and I admit I’d be happy to put it behind me. That said, I can’t deny that it’s fantastically plotted and written. The story is admirably crafted by a very talented author, and I did not see the ending coming (I’m always pleased when a book can surprise me that way). My suggestion is that if you’re at all intrigued by my review of Alice and the Fly, you should give the book a shot. It may not make you feel good, but it will keep you thinking about its characters and plot long after you put it back on the shelf.

Book Blitz, Excerpt, and Giveaway: Blue Tide by Jenna-Lynne Duncan

Blue Tide
Jenna-Lynne Duncan
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: January 9th 2017
Genres: Adventure, Dystopian, Young Adult

An award-winning YA adventure-packed romance steeped in Middle Eastern culture and set in the Asian Pacific amongst dangerous oceans and tropical islands.

Seventeen-year-old refugee Lux plots her escape from the island where her family is stranded, denying that her home was lost in the Floods. Lux is determined to get her old life back by any means possible. But before her feet even leave the sand, she’s taken hostage by a vengeance-driven pirate nearly as young as she is.

Her capture is the key to his freedom…

Captain Draven’s scarf veils more than his face. Underneath, he struggles between morality and survival. When Lux sees deeper into his motivations, she’s torn. She can commit mutiny to escape to a home that may no longer exist, or she can try to help Draven escape the clutches of the person responsible for the deaths of half the world. Staying would mean entrusting her life to a pirate. Helping Draven would mean losing her heart to one.

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EXCERPT:

“You will help him, if it’s the last thing you do.”

He had to be bluffing. Lifting my chin, I met his icy gaze straight on. “You can threaten my life, but there is nothing more you can take from me that you haven’t already.”

“Oh, really?”

He stepped forward, towering over me. Wow, he was tall. I resisted every instinct to cower or curl into a small ball. His hand shot out so quickly, I hardly felt the pull around my neck. My hands flew to my chest. My necklace!

The captain held up the chain, his eyes wide with victory. It was clear he was waiting for a reaction, but, except for that first jolt of surprise, I was paralyzed.

Everything fell silent except the slap of waves against the hull and the drum of his boots as he walked to the railing. I clutched my arms to my chest. My heart sped up so fast I couldn’t tell if it was still beating. He held his hand over the side of the ship. The back of my throat ached with a pain so great I thought it would tear out.

“Stop!” One hand still clutched my chest, the other reached out toward the necklace.

“Still think I have nothing I can take from you? There is always something, Princess.”

Desperation replaced all courage. “Please stop. I can help him.”

He shrugged.

“Wait!”

He opened his palm, one finger at a time. The gold chain slid down, dipping closer to the waters below.

“Please, I’ll do anything!” I pressed my fists to the sides of my head.

He drew his fingers in, closing them around the chain. The necklace dangled safely.

I dropped my arms in relief. “Thank—”

With one slow, deliberate move, he opened his palm.

The chain slipped through his fingers.

“No,” I cried, running to the railing. My necklace had disappeared into the roaring waters below. Lost forever.

I choked on the air I strove to inhale. “That was… that was the only thing…” The sound of my heartbeat thrashed in my ears before every emotion was washed away. Every muscle in my body tightened and my eyes twitched as they narrowed. I turned mechanically to face the heartless brute. My face expressionless, my feelings numbed. He would pay for what he’d done.

“You are in no position to negotiate. Make no more requests or the next thing I drop in the water will be prisoners. One. By. One.” He dictated to me without one ounce of regret for what he’d just done. Turning just as easily, he shouted orders behind him. “Ahmed, bring her.”

 

Author Bio:

Jenna-Lynne Duncan likes to write heart-stopping, page-turning, haunting romance in all YA genres. Her current Young Adult releases are titled Hurricane, Tempest, and Aftermath (Divertir Publishing) and the forthcoming BLUE TIDE (Winter, 2017). Jenna graduated with degrees in Middle Eastern Studies, Political Science, and International Studies. BLUE TIDE was the recent winner of RWA’s Romancing the Lake contest. Besides writing, she loves traveling and children. Preferably together. She welcomes readers to contact her on social media or at JennaLynneDuncan@gmail.com.

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