Books · Fantasy · Favorites · Fiction · Young Adult

Twelve Days of Christmas Book Tag


In an attempt to try to get more into the Christmas spirit, I’m doing the Twelve Days of Christmas Book Tag. About halfway through I realized that this took entirely too long and that I’m probably insane for finishing it. So, um, enjoy!?

ON THE FIRST DAY OF CHRISTMAS, MY TRUE LOVE SENT TO ME: A PARTRIDGE IN A PEAR TREE. – The partridge stood alone in the pear tree. What is your favorite stand alone? 

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. I love the concept of the story and the main character, Bod. It’s so interesting to read about Bod’s life among the inhabitants of the graveyard and see how he learns so much about life through the dead. I love the variety of characters in the book, as well. Gaiman does an amazing job incorporating modern humans, ghosts from different historical periods, ghouls, and other paranormal beings together without it being too over the top.


ON THE SECOND DAY OF CHRISTMAS, MY TRUE LOVE SENT TO ME: TWO TURTLE DOVES. – Love is in the air! Who is your one true pairing?

Romeo & Juliet. I don’t care how cliche and cheesy the whole premise is. The hopeless romantic side of me adores the passion and dedication that Romeo & Juliet had for each other. (You can go ahead and roll your eyes now :-P)


ON THE THIRD DAY OF CHRISTMAS, MY TRUE LOVE SENT TO ME: THREE FRENCH HENS. – In the spirit of threes, what is the best trilogy you have read?

The Wendy Darling series by Colleen Oakes. I wouldn’t call it the best trilogy ever, but it’s definitely one of my favorites.


ON THE FOURTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS, MY TRUE LOVE SENT TO ME: FOUR CALLING BIRDS. – Since series usually consist of four or more books, what is your favorite series?

The Harry Potter series! You can read all about how much I love the series in multiple posts on my blog. (Like here and here)


ON THE FIFTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS, MY TRUE LOVE SENT TO ME: FIVE GOLDEN RINGS. – One ring to rule them all! Who is your Favorite Villain/Antagonist?

Cersei Lannister from Game of Thrones. She’s so horrible that it’s fascinating.


ON THE SIXTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS, MY TRUE LOVE SENT TO ME: SIX GEESE A LAYING. – Creation is a beautiful thing. What is your favorite world/world-building?

Any one where castles and magic exist.


ON THE SEVENTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS, MY TRUE LOVE SENT TO ME: SEVEN SWANS A SWIMMING. – Who needs seven swans when all it takes is one good animal sidekick? Who’s your favorite animal sidekick?

The 3 witches familiars in the Elsewhere series. It’s a middle grade series, but it’s adorable and the cats add so much character and humor to the story. (One of them is a little kooky and likes to pretend he’s random historical/fictional characters. It’s fantastic.)


ON THE EIGHTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS, MY TRUE LOVE SENT TO ME: EIGHT MAIDS A MILKING. – Milk is so 18th century. Which book or series takes beverages/food to a whole new level?

I love the food scenes in the Harry Potter series. The descriptions of the feasts laid out on the long tables in the Great Hall always made my mouth water. (The irony is that I’m not particularly fond of British food.)


ON THE NINTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS MY TRUE LOVE SENT TO ME: NINE LADIES DANCING. – Dancing is just one skill of a Lady! Who is your favorite kickass female lead?

Jane from Jane Eyre. She wasn’t the physically strong and rebel type of female, not compared to today’s standards, anyway. She definitely had feminist characteristics that were not common of women during her time. She stood up for herself when she needed to and she knew how to stay true to what she believed in. She endured many a hardship during her life, yet she didn’t let that slow her down. She didn’t let love or emotions cloud her judgement either. She was pretty badass.



It’s a toss up between Jamie from Outlander and Rhysand from the A Court of Thorns and Roses series.


ON THE ELEVENTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS MY TRUE LOVE SENT TO ME: ELEVEN PIPES PIPING. – What is your favorite book or bookish thing with musical influence? (It can be about music, reference music a lot etc.)

This is a tough one. I’m actually drawing a blank. Does the Hobbit count with all the Hobbits singing?


ON THE TWELFTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS MY TRUE LOVE SENT TO ME: 12 DRUMMERS DRUMMING. – Drum roll please…what is your favorite read of this year?

This question is so hard! I’ll probably have to go with A Court of Mist and Fury.



If you made it this far in the post I congratulate you. Consider yourself tagged! 

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 · Books · Fantasy

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

After finishing Age of Myth this weekend I picked up Poison by Sarah Pinborough. It’s a short, wicked re-telling of the Snow White story. I didn’t know anything about the book or the author when I purchased this, but I can never say no to new spins on a classic. This one is classified as “adult fantasy,” so I am hoping for something a little more sinister than the YA re-tellings I’ve been reading.



What are you reading at the moment? 

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.



‘Tis the Season 

I’ve never been  one for holiday-themed literature. I don’t mind books where a particular holiday is incorporated into the overall story, but I don’t do stories that are solely based on Christmas, Valentine’s Day, etc. I find books like this a bit too cheesy or lacking in substance. And, to be honest, I really don’t like Christmas enough that I would want to read an entire novel about it. Be that as it may, I cannot deny the amazing-ness that comes with the covers of some holiday-themed novels. I’ve seen quite a few of this popping up online and in stores lately, and I just can’t help but giggle each time.

Allow me to share some of my favorites with you:


(Is it weird to admit that I kind of want the zombie Christmas carol book?)


I can’t decide which one is the best. What do you guys think?


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 · Books · Fantasy · Sci-Fi · Young Adult

Top Ten Tuesday: Books on My Winter TBR List


This week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) is Top Ten Books On Your Winter TBR List. Between all the books I’ve purchased recently and the few that I’m still waiting to be released, I’m racking up quite a TBR list.

Here’s what I’m planning on reading over the next few months:

  1. Sand by Hugh Howey – I don’t know much about this one, but it sounds intriguing. Boyfriend has already read it and said that I have to hurry up and read it so we can talk about it.
  2. The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson – It’s been a while since I read this one. After reading Edgedancer I want to go back and start the series over. (This would be a good time, since the 3rd book was just released.)
  3. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black – This one isn’t even out yet, but it sounds like a fun read.
  4. Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust – This one came out pretty recently and I’ve heard good things. I’m always a sucker for any type of fairy tale re-imagining.
  5. Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson – A funny perspective on living with depression and anxiety? Sign me up. I could use a more humorous outlook on life.
  6. Doctor Who: The Pirate Planet by James Goss – This one isn’t out yet, but I already feel like it’s going to be a good one. I loved Goss’ other Doctor novel, City of Death.
  7. Poison by Sarah Pinborough – A short Snow White re-telling. It doesn’t have amazing reviews, but it was on sale, so we’ll see how it is.
  8. A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston – Another impulse Black Friday buy. (I have no shame!)
  9. Dune by Frank Herbert – My boyfriend has been telling me to read this one since we met, since it’s favorite book of all time.
  10. Throne of Glass by Sarah Maas – I absolutely adored the A Court of Thorns and Roses series, so I am interested to see what this series is like. I’ve heard lots of hype about it.