Adult · Book Reviews · Books · Fantasy

Book Review: Poison by Sarah Pinborough


My Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

I’m going to keep this review short and sweet: This book sucked major monkey butt.

I was under the impression that this was a more twisted telling of the original Snow White story. If you call mostly the same story with some random sex scenes and profanity thrown into it, then sure, I guess that description applies.

The story was the same as the original Snow White. There was a twist at the end that was a tad unexpected, but by the time I even reached that point I wanted to literally set the book on fire. The wicked stepmother was a evil, as expected. Snow White was a little more interesting, as she was a more rough-and-tumble, outdoorsy type of princess. What drove me nuts though was that Pinborough was telling the story and then randomly felt the need to make a scene lustful or erotic. Most of the time it was oddly placed and just seemed ridiculous.

For example (Don’t read if you don’t want spoilers): After fucking the wicked Queen, whom he had only met 5 mins earlier, the huntsman goes off to search for Snow White in the woods. After he finds her he decides to spare her life. Rather than being grateful for his decision or being outraged that her stepmother tried to have her killed, Snow White decides that she wants the huntsman to fuck her the same way he fucked her stepmother.


Then there was the addition of a few random fairy tale characters who didn’t belong in the story and were glaringly out of place.

Overall, this was a giant NOPE.

Adult · Book Reviews · Books · Fantasy

Book Review: Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan


My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Since the beginning of time, humans, or Rhunes, have been taught to fear the Fhrey. The Fhrey are invincible. They posses strong battle tactics and weaponry, mystifying powers, and can’t be killed. As long as they keep away from each other peace can be maintained. 

When a Fhrey is suddenly killed by a human blade the rules of the game change. Raithe, the proclaimed “God Killer,” struggles to figure out where his destiny lies. Suri, the young mystic, warns the Rhunes of the impending doom that she sees in their future. Persephone, recently widowed, tries to figure out how to keep her people safe from harm. 

Danger is coming. Rebellion has begun. 

I was pleasantly surprised by how easy this book was to read. I find that with lengthy epic fantasies, they can sometimes lag in the middle. This wasn’t the case at all here. The story was rich with detail and the plot moved at an even pace.

All of the characters were fantastic. There was a huge divide between the different factions of Rhunes and Fhrey at the beginning, but by the end those lines were all blurred. I absolutely loved this aspect of the story. It was so much fun to see how so many different personalities and talents could work together for the same cause.

While all of the characters were great, the females definitely took center stage. (Persephone and Suri both kick some major ass!) It’s refreshing to see women being at the forefront of a fantasy novel, rather than being side characters.

There was one thing that I found mildly disappointing: There was a lot of reference to the Art, which was the form of magic that the Fhrey used. I really wanted to learn more detail about the Art and how it all worked. I had so many questions! Hopefully this will be discussed further in one of the other books in the series.

Overall, this was a great book. Highly recommended for anyone who likes fantasy and needs to get lost for a while.


Blogging · Book Reviews · Books

Blogger Recognition Award

I’ve been nominated by the lovely Lee Ann of Cabbage Blossom Review for the Blogger Recognition Award. (Thank you, Lee Ann! I am very excited to discover your blog and find out that you are also an animal lover.) The award is to recognize other bloggers for the hard work they put into maintaining their blogs and to be supportive of each other’s creative efforts.


Once you are nominated, if you wish to accept your nomination, you must follow these rules:

  • Generate a post about the award.
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you, and provide a link to their blog.
  • Write a brief story about how your blog began.
  • Provide two pieces of advice to newbie bloggers.
  • Select 15 blogs to nominate.
  • Comment on each nominee’s blog and provide a link to the post that you created about the award.

About Once Upon a Spine

I started this blog last year while I was in the midst of a divorce. After getting separated, changing jobs, moving into my own apartment, and making various other changes to my life I felt like all of creativity had gone out the window. Progress on the book I had been working on came to a halt and I had a really hard time getting back my writing flow. I had pretty much stopped reading for a while at that point, as well. I started this blog as a way to motivate myself to get back into the habit of writing and to encourage myself to read more. I’m so glad I did, because my obsession with all things books came  back pretty quickly. Plus, I’ve been able to connect with so many other like-minded people, which is super awesome.

Advice for Newbies

  1. Don’t compare yourselves to other bloggers. I’ve read so many posts from other people saying that they don’t know if they should blog anymore because they don’t have many followers, or saying they don’t feel like their blogs are good enough, or apologizing for not getting to post every single day. Don’t do this. Trust me, I know it’s easier said than done, especially when you’re starting out. Doing this will only cause stress and take all the pleasure away from blogging. Try to remember why you started blogging in the first place. Was it because you just wanted to talk about books with other people? Was it because you liked sharing your book reviews? Was it just for the enjoyment of writing? Don’t let yourself get so wrapped up in followers and post counts. Do it for you.
  2. Show your real self. At the end of the day, my blog is essentially a place to talk about books, but at the same time I feel like it’s important for my readers to get a glimpse of the person behind the blog, too. I don’t hide my dorky/silly side when I am excited about things. Sometimes I talk about real, serious stuff, like my mental health issues. I share pictures of things other than books, like my craft projects and my animals. You might not be completely comfortable sharing info about your personal life on the internet and that’s totally fine. Just let your personality shine through in your writing. People will feel like they can relate to you better and find your blog more interesting that way.

The Blogs I’m Nominating

  1. The Introverted Book Nerd
  2. Darque Dreamer Reads
  3. Kristin Kraves Books
  4. Captain’s Quarters
  5. Literary Dust
  6. adoptabookaus
  7. Spine Cracker
  8. Book Princess Reviews
  9. Adventures of a Bibliophile
  10. CJRtheBrit
  11. Caitlin Stern Writes
  12. Bookworm Ink
  13. Ally Writes Things
  14. YA and Wine
  15. Naty’s Bookshelf


Adult · Book Reviews · Books · Fantasy

Book Review: Edgedancer by Brandon Sanderson


My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

This is a short story about Lift, a teenage Knight Radiant, granted the gift of never growing older. She quickly learns that time never stands still, not while the Darkness is out there hunting people with special powers like hers. 

I’m not even sure what possessed me to pick this up, given that I haven’t finished the Stormlight series yet. It was entertaining, but nothing that blew me away. The protagonist is supposed to be young and inexperienced. I found her so naive at times that she simply got on my nerves. I imagine this story about her is meant to be a set up for the third novel in the series (her character has only played a small role up until now). While the events surrounding her were quite interesting, it was her complete disinterest in everything that was disappointing. She didn’t care much other than filling her stomach throughout 90% of the book. Sanderson set up potential for her, however, so I’m hoping there will be more to her in the next book.

Book Reviews · Books · Fantasy · Favorites · Fiction · Young Adult

Book Review: War of the Cards by Colleen Oakes


My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Dinah’s whole world was turned upside down the night her brother was murdered. Since then she’s been on the run, hiding among the Twisted Wood and the Yurkei Mountains, planning her next move. With the help of the Yurkei, the rogue Cards, and the man she now calls her father, Dinah is plotting to take back the crown that is rightfully hers. 

Dinah quickly learns that trying to be a ruler is not that simple, especially when you’re contending with a broken heart and an unbridled rage growing deep inside you. 

I was SO freaking excited when this book arrived on my doorstep this week. It’s been 2-3 years since the second book in the series was released and I have been waiting for the final book ever since. After all the hype I built up in my head, I was pleased that this book did not disappoint.

The series has always had an overall dark tone to it, but this book was by far the darkest. We got to see a side of Dinah that was on par with Lewis Carroll’s Queen of Hearts. At the same time, despite all her fury, it was easy to sympathize with Dinah. She had been a pawn in a very corrupted political game for her entire life and is now trying to figure out how to put all the pieces together.

The wicked deception and plot twists were fantastic. (I would love to go into more detail about this, but I don’t want to give away any spoilers.) The supporting characters in the story are rich with personality and intrigue. There isn’t a single character in the story that I didn’t love.

The only reason I’m rating this one a 4.5 and not a 5 is because of a few details that bugged me. A few times Oakes alluded to things/people from the original Alice in Wonderland that didn’t feel necessary or critical to the story. I appreciated her attempt to incorporate as much of the original story into her take, but some of them felt a little sloppy.

Overall, I enjoyed this book as much as the previous two. I loved the way the story played out and Dinah’s character. Even the ending, which wasn’t quote so happy, felt perfect.


I have finished another beloved series. Let the withdrawal begin…

Adult · Book Reviews · Books · Sci-Fi

Mini Book Review: City of Death by James Goss


My rating: 4 out of 5 stars 

The Doctor and his companion, Romana, plan on enjoying their holiday in Paris and relaxing as much as they can. But, as is inevitable, they land smack in the middle of trouble. The pair get wrapped up in a plot to steal the Mona Lisa. tailed by an undercover detective who seems to think they’re responsible. But who’s really to blame? Is it the crack in time that’s causing so many strange things to happen? Or does the super wealthy Count and his basement laboratory have something to hide? 

If they don’t figure it out quickly, the Mona Lisa won’t be the only thing that’s in danger. 

I’m not sure why I was so hesitant to read this book when I first picked it up, but I’m glad I did because I really enjoyed it. (Class, today’s lesson: Don’t judge a book by inexplicable preconceived notions…Joey, stop kicking the back of Sarah’s chair.)

This was such a fun book. It takes place during the Tom Baker era, complete with his scarf, sidekick Romana, and robotic dog K-9. All the elements of the show were there: the sticky situations,  the Doctor’s silly quirks, the plot twists, the alien threat to destroy the planet. Anyone who is a fan of the tv show would love this book.

Book Reviews · Books · Fantasy · Fiction · Middle Grade

Book Review: The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi


My rating: 3 out 5 stars

When Farah, Essie, and Alex stumble across “The Gauntlet of Blood and Sand” they think it’s just an ordinary board game. Much to their surprise, the game is anything but. The trio get trapped inside the game and become pawns of the mastermind, referred to as The Architect. The only way out is to play the game and win the challenges, lest they want to remain there forever. 

This was a fun middle grade read, reminiscent of Jumanji and The Hunger Games. Farah was an interesting main character. It was refreshing to see a main character with a different ethnic (Indian) background, for once. I don’t typically feel like you see a lot of diversity in middle grade fiction, so this was pretty cool. I also enjoyed the close, albeit complicated, relationship between her and her little brother, Ahmad.

The game itself brings the characters to the clockwork city of Paheli, which again was brimming with Indian culture. The game and it’s rules were pretty simple. I would have liked for it to be a little more complicated than it was, but I imagine that may have made things too confusing for young readers. The city was really interesting, as it was laid out in layers rather than being flat and horizontal. Again, I wouldn’t have minded reading more about Paheli itself.

The supporting characters were entertaining and unique, I particularly liked Henrietta Peel, leader of the lizard Resistance.

Overall, the book didn’t blow me away. It was a nice way to kill a few hours though. I’d definitely recommend it to younger readers and anyone who appreciates games.