Amara's Eden
femslashficlets | prompt table challenge - shakespeare quotes | Skyrim
Find it here.


1. Beauty provoketh thieves sooner than gold - As You Like It
2. They had not skill enough your worth to sing - Sonnet 106
3. Love is a smoke raised with the fume of sighs - Romeo and Juliet
4. Hell is empty and all the devils are here - The Tempest
5. To die upon a kiss - Othello
6. Let not light see my black and deep desires - Macbeth
7. That I in your sweet thoughts would be forgot - Sonnet 71
8. For where thou art, there is the world itself, and where thou art not, desolation - Henry IV
9. Now is the winter of our discontent - Richard III
10. You have witchcraft in your lips - Henry V
11. Some Cupid kills with arrows, some with traps - Much Ado About Nothing
12. A dream itself is but a shadow - Hamlet
13. I had no judgment when to her I swore - A Midsummer Night's Dream
14. With groans that thunder love, with sighs of fire - Twelfth Night
15. The field's chief flower, sweet above compare - Venus and Adonis
16. Nothing can be made out of nothing - King Lear
17. Her passions are made of nothing but the finest part of pure love - Antony and Cleopatra
18. I am not bound to please thee with my answers - The Merchant of Venice
19. The fault… is not in our stars, but in ourselves - Julius Caesar
20. She's beautiful and therefore to be wooed - Henry VI
femslash100 Prompts

Note: The Remainder "prompt" is to denote remainder weeks at the comm, during which participants can write for any previous challenge prompts. You can find femslash100 here at livejournal.


Prompts 1 - 100

#1 - Awakening
#2 - Heartbreak
#3 - Surprise
#4 - Secrets
#5 - Goals
#6 - Mirror
#7 - Lessons
#8 - Regret
#9 - Discovery
#10 - Selfish

#11 - Forgotten
#12 - Boys
#13 - The End
#14 - Misunderstanding
#15 - Christmas
#16 - Shoes
#17 - Cars
#18 - Excuses
#19 - Cold
#20 - Conflict

#21 - Night
#22 - Kisses
#23 - Apologies
#24 - Wet
#25 - Brown Sugar
#26 - Careless
#27 - Homesickness
#28 - Socks
#29 - Summer
#30 - Remainder

#31 - August
#32 - Covers
#33 - Punishment
#34 - Second-Person
#35 - Double
#36 - Work
#37 - Play
#38 - Scars
#39 - Smut
#40 - Remainder

#41 - Supernatural
#42 - Three
#43 - More
#44 - Gluttony
#45 - Pride
#46 - Wrath
#47 - Envy
#48 - Sloth
#49 - Greed
#50 - Remainder

#51 - Lust
#52 - Old
#53 - New
#54 - Borrowed
#55 - Blue
#56 - Toy
#57 - Crack
#58 - Blood
#59 - Water
#60 - Remainder

#61 - Night
#62 - Day
#63 - Sight
#64 - Hearing
#65 - Smell
#66 - Taste
#67 - Tough
#68 - Dust
#69 - Texture
#70 - Remainder

#71 - Caffeine
#72 - Sugar
#73 - Salt
#74 - Alcohol
#75 - Cigarettes
#76 - Force
#77 - Control
#78 - Surrender
#79 - Mirror
#80 - Remainder

#81 - School
#82 - Strength
#83 - Weakness
#84 - Ring
#85 - Truth
#86 - Lies
#87 - Understanding
#88 - Hips
#89 - Costume
#90 - Remainder

#91 - Prudence
#92 - Hope
#93 - Faith
#94 - Charity
#95 - Temperance
#96 - Gift
#97 - Justice
#98 - Fortitude
#99 - Kindness
#100 - REmainderMIX

(show spoiler)


Prompts 101 - 200

#101 - Competition
#102 - Love
#103 - Hate
#104 - Class
#105 - Accent
#106 - Air
#107 - Fire
#108 - Earth
#109 - Spirit
#110 - Remainder

#111 - Zombie
#112 - Pirate
#113 - Vampire
#114 - Robot
#115 - Alien
#116 - Shark
#117 - Ghost
#118 - Ninja
#119 - Demon
#120 - Remainder

#121 - Seduce
#122 - Therapy
#123 - Lies
#124 - Music
#125 - Start
#126 - Fairy Tale
#127 - Cage
#128 - Adventure
#129 - Promise
#130 - Remainder

#131 - Red
#132 - Yellow
#133 - Green
#134 - Purple
#135 - Orange
#136 - Pink
#137 - Gold
#138 - Gray
#139 - Bronze
#140 - Remainder

#141 - Zodiac
#142 - Security
#143 - Technology
#144 - Drink
#145 - Military
#146 - Party
#147 - Bond
#148 - Reflection
#149 - Law
#150 - Remainder

#151 - Letters
#152 - Sun
#153 - Garden
#154 - Nostalgia
#155 - Expectations
#156 - Enchantment
#157 - Top
#158 - Apology
#159 - Voice
#160 - Remainder

#161 - Camera
#162 - Color
#163 - Home
#164 - Crime
#165 - Point of View
#166 - Queen
#167 - Hero(ine)
#168 - Guardian
#169 - Lover
#170 - Remainder

#171 - Atonement
#172 - Reverence
#173 - Derision
#174 - Anticipation
#175 - Action
#176 - Lemonade
#177 - Vision
#178 - Trigger
#179 - Question
#180 - Remainder

#181 - Costume
#182 - Optimism
#183 - Lost
#184 - Stone
#185 - Sea
#186 - Reason
#187 - Falling
#188 - Escape
#189 - Watch
#190 - Remainder

#191 - Chain
#192 - Crazy
#193 - Yesterday
#194 - Game
#195 - Hypnotic
#196 - Music
#197 - Mystery
#198 - Pretend
#199 - celebration
#200 - drabblethon!

(show spoiler)


Prompts 201 - 300

#201 - Smile
#202 - Time
#203 - Fear
#204 - Fortune
#205 - Disaster
#206 - Occult
#207 - Imagine
#208 - Vacation
#209 - Perspective
#210 - Remainder

#211 - Doll
#212 - Horror
#213 - Intoxication
#214 - Sky
#215 - Light
#216 - History
#217 - Future
#218 - Fantasy
#219 - Memories
#220 - Remainder

#221 - Rain
#222 - Sunshine
#223 - Snow
#224 - Clouds
#225 - Hurricane
#226 - Heart
#227 - Dance
#228 - Spring
#229 - Fall
#230 - Remainder

#231 - Message
#232 - Song
#233 - Book
#234 - Picture
#235 - Movie
#236 - Flower
#237 - Damage
#238 - Comfort
#239 - Grace
#240 - Remainder

#241 - Exchange
#242 - Maps
#243 - Bright
#244 - Dark
#245 - Push
#246 - Simple
#247 - Complicated
#248 - Loyalty
#249 - Attack
#250 - Remainder

#251 - Ancient
#252 - Restless
#253 - Transparent
#254 - Conclusion
#255 - Outsider
#256 - Middle
#257 - Before
#258 - After
#259 - Test
#260 - Remainder

#261 - Slow
#262 - Fast
#263 - Radio
#264 - Structure
#265 - Print
#266 - Rise
#267 - Up
#268 - Save
#269 - Inevitable
#270 - Remainder

#271 - Trust
#272 - Fade
#273 - Shadow
#274 - Spark
#275 - Pretty
#276 - Ocean
#277 - Easy
#278 - Transformation
#279 - Invisible
#280 - Remainder

#281 - Window
#282 - Poison
#283 - Blush
#284 - Rush
#285 - Hush
#286 - Key
#287 - Story
#288 - Wish
#289 - Electric
#290 - Remainder

#291 - Confession
#292 - Gravity
#293 - Sharp
#294 - Free
#295 - Drive
#296 - Romance
#297 - Luck
#298 - Mouth
#299 - Connection
#300 - Remainder

(show spoiler)


Prompts 301 - 400

#301 – Fragment
#302 - Burn
#303 – Sweet
#304 – Curve
#305 – Strange
#306 – Dream
#307 – Late
#308 – Detour
#309 – Crush
#310 – Remainder

#311 – Smooth
#312 – Midnight
#313 – Wait
#314 – Smoke
#315 – Dress
#316 – Beginning
#317 – Enigma
#318 – City
#319 – Mask
#320 – Remainder

#321 – Balance
#322 – Fix
#323 – Temptation
#324 – Journey
#325 – Glass
#326 – Choose
#327 – Star
#328 – Tomorrow
#329 – Desire
#330 – Remainder

#331 – Quiet
#332 – Trap
#333 – Vanity
#334 – Delight
#335 – Chance
#336 – Call
#337 - Move
#338 – Please
#339 – Date
#340 – Remainder

#341 – Never
#342 – Always
#343 – Mistake
#344 – Gossip
#345 – Reveal
#346 – Ache
#347 – Safe
#348 – Wonder
#349 – Ardent
#350 - Remainder

#351 – Ready
#352 – Sign
#353 – Disguise
#354 – Peace
#355 – Impossible
#356 – Bloom
#357 – Stop
#358 – Whisper
#359 – Want
#360 – Remainder

#361 – Need
#362 – Torn
#363 – Clock
#364 – Navigate
#365 – Curse
#366 – Bless
#367 – Fly
#368 – Shiver
#369 – Boom
#370 – Remainder

#371 – Magic
#372 – Plan
#373 – Twist
#374 – Interior
#375 – Exterior
#376 – Bite
#377 – Elusive
#378 – Lock
#379 – Snapshot
#380 – Remainder

#381 - Orbit
#382 - Courage
#383 - Tear
#384 - Gather
#385 - Rally
#386 - Jealousy
#387 - Cry
#388 - Clandestine
#389 - Decision
#390 - Remainder

#391 - Amaze
#392 - Last
#393 - Ours
#394 - First
#395 - Fragile
#396 - Unbreakable
#397 - Maybe
#398 - Beyond
#399 - Stay
#400 - Remainder

(show spoiler)


Prompts 401 - 500

#401 - Close
#402 - Popular
#403 - Glow
#404 - Open
#405 - Performance
#406 - Transport
#407 - Portrait
#408 - Between
#409 - Guilt
#410 - Remainder

#411 - Destiny
#412 - Tense
#413 - Entice
#414 - Power
#415 - Naked
#416 - Experiment
#417 - Bruise
#418 - Beauty
#419 - Flirt
#420 - Remainder

#421 - Bang
#422 - Shelter
#423 - Stranger
#424 - Proposal
#425 - Bed
#426 - Skirt
#427 - Hands
#428 - Risk
#429 - Better
#430 - Remainder

#431 - Trouble
#432 - Cherry
#433 - Chemistry
#434 - Phone
#435 - Hair
#436 - Dare
#437 - Jewelry
#438 - Language
#439 - Season
#440 - Remainder

#441 - Bath
#442 - Cupcake
#443 - Moment
#444 - Tangle
#445 - Debt
#446 - Face
#447 - Hour
#448 - Road
#449 - Change
#450 - Remainder

#451 - Boundary
#452 - Warm
#453 - Pull
#454 - Click
#455 - Rose
#456 - Gentle
#457 - Glasses
#458 - Holiday
#459 - Match
#460 - Remainder

#461 - Squirm
#462 - Hello
#463 - Street
#464 - Hunger
#465 - Rhythm
#466 - Dead
#467 - Candy
#468 - Elation
#469 - Running
#470 - Remainder

#471 - Sticky
#472 - Critical
#473 - Apple
#474 - Reunite
#475 - Code
#476 - Consume
#477 - Autumn
#478 - Mend
#479 - Letter
#480 - Remainder

#481 - Bird
#482 - Alien
#483 - Split
#484 - Fireworks
#485 - Holiday
#486 - Unconditional
#487 - Tattoo
#488 - Satisfy
#489 - Doubt
#490 - Remainder

#491 - Atmosphere
#492 - Hotel
#493 - Chase
#494 - Forever
#495 - Expose
#496 - Name
#497 - Weekend
#498 - Conundrum
#499 - Obscure
#500 - Remainder

(show spoiler)


Prompts 501 - 520

#501 - Perfume
#502 - Pool
#503 - Spin
#504 - Spy
#505 - Legs
#506 - Tongue
#507 - Eyes
#508 - Teeth
#509 - Wrists
#510 - Remainder

#511 - Overwhelm
#512 - Chocolate
#513 - Epiphany
#514 - Venom
#515 - Caress
#516 - Switch
#517 - Treasure
#518 - Fearless
#519 - Puzzle
#520 - Remainder

(show spoiler)
My Book is My Baby! (Now pass me the wet wipes.) by KJ Charles

Author KJ Charles takes on the "book as baby" metaphor. Discovered via Mahala's BL.


Read the Post Here at Wordpress

!!! spoiler alert !!! Review
1 Stars
The Crossroads by Chris Grabenstein
The Crossroads - Chris Grabenstein

As a general rule, I don't DNF books. Sometimes I wish that wasn't the case, given how much time I've wasted on books I didn't enjoy, but that's just how I am. Most of the time, I at least have some desire to see how a book turns out, even if it's a book I'm not enjoying.


That was not the case with The Crossroads. It's been over two years since I've DNF'd a book, but I've finally found one I just couldn't force myself through. Trying to read The Crossroads--trying to pretend I was remotely interested in this absolutely ridiculous, utterly weird horror-mystery--was a goddamn painful experience. And so, of course, this review is going to be a big ol' bunch o' bitchin', and I'm not pulling punches on spoilers. If you don't want to be spoiled and would prefer to judge The Crossroads for yourself, don't read any further.


The Crossroads is an ensemble story that introduces a large (for MG) cast of ostensibly non-connected characters who are slowly revealed to be connected. It's supposed to be an intriguing, slowly unfolding mystery... and I could not be fucked to care. At no point was I presented with a single reason to be interested in these characters, let alone actively wonder how they were connected, and the mystery itself was almost entirely fueled by the arbitrary withholding of important details. It took--I shit you not--130 pages for the identity of the linchpin character, the man killed at the crossroads, to be revealed... in spite of the fact that his ghost became a POV character at page 80!


My lack of interest wasn't exactly helped by the ADD writing style of the story. I have no complaint about how the point of view shifted with the chapters in order to give screentime to all the characters at varying intervals. I am, however, annoyed at the absurd percentage of chapters that were only one or two pages long and far too short for anything to actually happen. It felt like every plotline and POV character was vying for my attention at all times yet doing nothing to earn it, or else that the book itself kept getting distracted and bouncing around from thread to thread with such frenzy that it never actually made any progress. This was perhaps the most frustrating reason behind why eighty freaking pages of this 325 page book passed before the plot even started to show up (and when it did make an appearance, it certainly went nowhere fast).


The primary main character of the story was Zack, an eleven-year-old boy who acted like a six-year-old and was literally identified by a bit character as "the chosen one". Really, Zack makes no sense all around. He has this paranoia of evil trees (you know, like most kids do...) and then just so happens to move in next door to an evil fucking tree that contains the ghost of a man with a grudge against his family. On top of that, he also has a subplot about a bully who calls him "Barbie" and beats the shit out of him, but that's resolved when Zack pantses the kid mid-beating, which reveals that the eleven- or twelve-year-old bully wears diapers. So of course the bully loses all his friends, who immediately give him a mean nickname and become Zack's friends instead! (What is this, some kind of screwy wolf pack? You just prove you're tougher than the alpha male and take all his friends for your own? Are we pretending that's how human relationships work now? And what's with the fucking diaper bit? Why exactly is this bullying subplot resolved with more bullying?)


But while the bullying/diaper bit (chapter 43) heavily contributed to my decision to DNF, it wasn't the final straw. The final straw was Chapter 44, which blended together my three biggest complaints about the story and its writing.


1) The dialogue was horrible, especially in Chapter 44, which contained an utterly ridiculous exchange between Billy and Clint.


2) The characters' actions are completely unbelievable, especially when it comes to the ghost. Zack, Mary, and the bit character who identifies Zack as "the chosen one" just know things. No one displays any significant reaction to the death of two different elderly characters--including the family members of the deceased. Everyone is super chill about talking to or even being possessed by a ghost. Zack's dad is mind-blowingly oblivious during the introduction of the bully, Kyle, and the entire scene involving Kyle's apparent comeuppance is completely, ridiculously nuts.


3) Which brings me to my last complaint: though the tiny chapters and stagnant plot utterly remove any chance of suspense, everything is extremely dramatic and exaggerated. A diaper-wearing bully is defeated by pantsing. A bit character shows up just to call a random kid "the chosen one", despite the fact that the plot itself hasn't even bothered to show up yet. An old woman is literally frightened to death by the spooky-scary ghostie she'd been fairly calmly talking to just a moment before. Okie dokie, then.


So, yeah. I'm going to give myself a pass on this one and just throw in the towel. The so-called mystery was boring, the characters were dull and frustratingly stupid, and the plot was both damn-near nonexistent and as slow as molasses. After spending a week trying to force myself to finish this, I'm ready to move on.


Hopefully the next book I read will be better.

3.5 Stars
The Haunted Playground by Shaun Tan
The Haunted Playground (Shade Books) - Shaun Tan

For a book that's only about seventy pages--with fairly huge print to boot--I was quite surprised how creepy this managed to be! With a "Scholastic Guided Reading Level" of M, it's intended for second graders, and if I'd read it at that age, I definitely would have loved it. Of course, the story is super simple and the extremely sudden ending is a bit disappointing... but it's several leagues better than I was expecting, making The Haunted Playground a pleasant surprise.

If you have a young child (four to eight, depending on their reading proficiency) who enjoys scary stories, I'd recommend giving this one a chance.

[Cover Characteristic] Bunnies and Rabbits


This Week's Characteristic: Bunnies & RabbitsCover Characteristic is a weekly meme hosted by Sugar & Snark.



From left to right, these books are Bunny Bonanza (Animal Ark Pets, #16) by Ben M. Baglio, Bunny on a Barge (Animal Ark) by Lucy Daniels, Bunny in a Basket (Animal Ark) by Ben M. Baglio, Rabbits on the Run (Animal Ark) by Lucy Daniels, and Bunnies in the Bathroom (Animal Ark, #15) by Ben M. Baglio.
3 Stars
Claudia and Mean Janine (The Baby-sitters Club, #7) by Ann M. Martin
Claudia and Mean Janine  - Ann M. Martin

Claudia and Mean Janine, the seventh book in The Baby-sitters Club, follows almost immediately from where the previous book, Kristy's Big Day, left off. Rather than the month or more time skips Martin's been delivering so far, there's only a week long gap here, and the plot of the book goes on to cover much of the rest of the summer. Now, I have to admit that kind of bums me a bit, as I know what's going to happen at the end of the summer. (Don't worry, this isn't a spoiler!) After the girls make it to the eighth grade, they're going to get lost in "not allowed to grow up" territory. Holidays are going to keep passing 'em by, but they're never going to make it out of the friggin' eighth grade. (Well, not for a few hundred books, at least.) That's one trope that really pisses me off, and I look forward to counting just how many Christmas vacations and Spring breaks they manage to squeeze into one infinite school year. It's gonna be rough.

But more on that when I get to it. For now, the BSC series has turned its focus to Claudia Kishi for one of its first "serious business" plotlines. While The Truth About Stacey, Mary Anne Saves the Day, and Dawn and the Impossible Three each dealt with serious topics (diabetes and its stigma in Stacey, responsibility and a minor health crisis in Mary Anne, and child neglect in Dawn), Claudia and Mean Janine offers up the most serious subject yet... though the title would have you believe this is just another book about bitchy sisters.

Claudia Kishi, the youngest of two sisters in a Japanese-American household, is a definite subversion of the oft-seen "Asian Genius" stereotype. Her older sister Janine, on the other hand, is every bit of a pressured overachiever and teen prodigy. Needless to say, these two girls don't exactly see eye to eye--hence the sisterly rivalry. Because while the Kishi parents are pressuring Janine to become a physicist and glowing with pride over her accomplishments, they're strict with their second daughter. They monitor her homework, and, apparently, they monitor her extracurricular activities and hobbies as well. There's a scene in this one that describes Claudia hiding Nancy Drew books from her parents, as they somehow don't approve of her reading these classic mysteries. (To which I have to ask, why? In what universe is Nancy Drew considered "guilty pleasure" material? What the hell is she supposed to be reading instead!?)

All of this is information we see through Claudia's eyes, of course, and I think anyone familiar with sisterly/brotherly rivalry tropes should know where I'm going with this. Janine's life isn't exactly any more joyous than Claudia's, but the younger Kishi spends the majority of the book ragging on her ostensibly perfect, "mean" older sister. And ignoring the fact that Janine never does a single mean thing in the book... wow, my perspective on the Claudia versus Janine rivalry has changed from when I first read these as a child!

My first experience with The Baby-sitters Club was when I was in elementary school, and at that point, I didn't totally mesh with Claudia, but I had no qualms taking her side against Janine. Reading this as an adult, though... damn, I feel bad for that poor girl. She doesn't do anything wrong, she's facing the full brunt of Claudia's envy and hostility at all times, she's quite obviously just as envious of Claudia, and she doesn't seem to have any idea of how to get close to her sister. It's pretty darn sad.

But with all that said... the rivalry between Claudia and Janine isn't the real issue of Claudia and Mean Janine. Not only is Janine not, in fact, mean, but the conflict between Claudia and Janine actually plays second fiddle to the much more serious plotline of the novel: that of Mimi's stroke.

Mimi is Claudia and Janine's grandmother, a Japanese emigrant who lives with the Kishi household. And she's the sweetest frickin' thing; she's a grandmotherly figure to the entire babysitter's club, but especially the two who grew up on the same street as the Kishis (Kristy and Mary Anne). It's impossible not to like Mimi... and Mimi's life falls apart right here, right now.

It's a great plotline with a lot of emotion, and I completely enjoyed reading it regardless of how sad and/or frustrated it made me at certain moments... but I think it suffers a bit for being in this book. I would have much preferred the "Claudia versus Janine" and "Mimi's stroke" plotlines to be disentangled. The Claudia/Janine conflict and reconciliation, despite being the subplot described in the title, got overshadowed and shortchanged by Mimi's plotline and ultimately served as a distraction. And since the series certainly isn't about to put the Kishi sister war behind it anytime soon, I really think it would've been a better idea to spend a different book focusing on the girl's interpersonal interaction and spend this one focusing on their reactions to their grandmother's situation.

Still, though, it's a great story, and I'm definitely looking forward to reading more of the series. So far, the balance between charm/frivolity and serious plotlines has been great, and I'm looking forward to more of both. I'd definitely like to be able to eventually say I've read every BSC universe book!

2015 Netgalley and Edelweiss Reading Challenge: I'm In!

This year, Falling for YA is hosting their Netgalley and Edelweiss Reading Challenge for the second year, and I'm taking the plunge. Since I have absolute mountains of books long overdue for a review from both Netgalley and Edelweiss, I'd like to make 2015 the year that I tackle those books.

Here's a brief run-down of how the challenge works; for more information or to join in yourself, check out the sign-up page here.

The challenge runs the entirety of 2015, and the goal is simple: read your damn eARCs! It doesn't matter if they're books you've requested this year or last or, gods forbid, even before that--if you got it from Netgalley or Edelweiss, it falls under the umbrella of acceptable books. Obviously, books must be reviewed in some sense to count for the challenge, but you need not be a blogger to participate.

There are five levels to the challenge, and these are Bronze with a goal of ten books, Silver with a goal of twenty five books, Gold with a goal of fifty books, platinum with a goal of seventy five books, and Diamond with a goal of one hundred books. I hope to read at least twelve eARCs this year (and would love to fly past that number if at all possible!), so I will be aiming for Bronze.

And again, if you're interested in participating in this challenge, you can sign-up here.

Top Ten 2014 Releases I'd Hoped to Read

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

[Cover Characteristic] Sand

This Week's Characteristic: Sand

Cover Characteristic is a weekly meme hosted by Sugar & Snark.



Top Ten Most Anticipated 2015 Debuts

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.


Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman


For twelve-year-old Emily, the best thing about moving to San Francisco is that it’s the home city of her literary idol: Garrison Griswold, book publisher and creator of the online sensation Book Scavenger (a game where books are hidden in cities all over the country and clues to find them are revealed through puzzles). Upon her arrival, however, Emily learns that Griswold has been attacked and is now in a coma, and no one knows anything about the epic new game he had been poised to launch. Then Emily and her new friend James discover an odd book, which they come to believe is from Griswold himself, and might contain the only copy of his mysterious new game.


Racing against time, Emily and James rush from clue to clue, desperate to figure out the secret at the heart of Griswold’s new game—before those who attacked Griswold come after them too.



The Spider Ring by Andrew Harwell


A powerful ring. A dangerous web.


When Maria inherits a strange, spider-shaped ring from her grandmother, she doesn't realize she's also inheriting a strange power -- the power to control spiders and have them do whatever she wants. This is a pretty cool thing when it comes to fetching objects from another room . . . or if Maria wants to use the spiders to get back at some mean kids in her class.


But the power comes with a price. Maria has attracted the attention of the Black Widow -- who is trying to collect all the spider magic for herself. The Black Widow is not going to let anything stand in her way -- especially not Maria.


The story of the ring is being woven like a web -- and Maria is going to have to do everything she can to not get trapped within it.



Mothman's Curse by Christine Hayes


Josie may live in the most haunted town in America, but all she wants is to earn enough money to go with her brothers Fox and Mason to the state fair in Columbus, Ohio, at the end of the summer. But when they discover a Polaroid camera that prints pictures of the ghost of local recluse John Goodrich, Josie and her brothers are drawn into a mystery that goes back over a hundred years. Haunted houses, cursed jewelry, Victorian duels, natural disasters, and the horrible specter of the Mothman all weave in and out of the puzzle that Josie must solve to break the curse and save her own life.



Ferals by Jacob Grey


A sinister threat. A city in danger. A boy with the power to command the crows. Ferals is the first book in a dark, action-packed trilogy that's part The Graveyard Book, part Batman, and all high-octane adventure.


Blackstone was once a thriving metropolis. But that was before the Dark Summer--a wave of violence and crime that swept through the city eight years ago, orchestrated by the fearsome Spinning Man. Now the Spinning Man is on the move again, and a boy named Caw is about to be caught in his web.


Caw has never questioned his ability to communicate with crows. But as the threat of a new Dark Summer looms, Caw discovers the underground world of Blackstone's ferals--those with the power to speak to and control animals. Caw is one of them. And to save his city, he must quickly master abilities he never knew he had...and prepare to defeat a darkness he never could have imagined.



The Dreamsnatcher by Abi Elphinstone


Twelve-year-old Molly Pecksniff wakes one night in the middle of the forest, lured there by a recurring nightmare - the one with the drums and the rattles and the masks. The Dreamsnatcher is waiting. He has already taken her dreams and now he wants her life.


Because Moll is more important than she knows… The Oracle Bones foretold that she and Gryff, a wildcat that has always been by her side, are the only ones who can fight back against the Dreamsnatcher's dark magic. Suddenly everything is at stake, and Moll is drawn into a world full of secrets, magic and adventure.



Hoodoo by Ronald L. Smith


Set amidst the red soil and sweltering heat of small town Alabama in the 1930s, HOODOO tells the story of twelve-year-old Hoodoo Hatcher, who is born into a family with a rich tradition of practicing folk magic, or Hoodoo, as most people call it.


They use foot-track powder that can go up through your foot to make you sick, a black hen’s egg for getting rid of evil spirits, nutmeg seeds for good luck at gambling and all kinds of other things.

But even though his name is Hoodoo, he can’t seem to cast a simple spell.


When a mysterious man called the Stranger shows up in town—all wrapped in black like some kind of holy roller preacher—Hoodoo starts having dreams of a dead man rising from the grave. Even worse, he soon learns the Stranger is looking for a boy. Not just any boy. A boy named Hoodoo.


Can he summon the magic to save his town and family?



Shutter by Courtney Alameda


Micheline Helsing is a tetrachromat—a girl who sees the auras of the undead in a prismatic spectrum. As one of the last descendants of the Van Helsing lineage, she has trained since childhood to destroy monsters both corporeal and spiritual: the corporeal undead go down by the bullet, the spiritual undead by the lens. With an analog SLR camera as her best weapon, Micheline exorcises ghosts by capturing their spiritual energy on film. She's aided by her crew: Oliver, a techno-whiz and the boy who developed her camera's technology; Jude, who can predict death; and Ryder, the boy Micheline has known and loved forever.


When a routine ghost hunt goes awry, Micheline and the boys are infected with a curse known as a soulchain. As the ghostly chains spread through their bodies, Micheline learns that if she doesn't exorcise her entity in seven days or less, she and her friends will die. Now pursued as a renegade agent by her monster-hunting father, Leonard Helsing, she must track and destroy an entity more powerful than anything she's faced before... or die trying.



None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio


What if everything you knew about yourself changed in an instant?


When Kristin Lattimer is voted homecoming queen, it seems like another piece of her ideal life has fallen into place. She's a champion hurdler with a full scholarship to college and she's madly in love with her boyfriend. In fact, she's decided that she's ready to take things to the next level with him.


But Kristin's first time isn't the perfect moment she's planned--something is very wrong. A visit to the doctor reveals the truth: Kristin is intersex, which means that though she outwardly looks like a girl, she has male chromosomes, not to mention boy "parts."


Dealing with her body is difficult enough, but when her diagnosis is leaked to the whole school, Kristin's entire identity is thrown into question. As her world unravels, can she come to terms with her new self?



Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty


Never go into the deep parts of the forest, for there are many dangers there, and they will ensnare your soul.


Serafina has never had a reason to disobey her pa and venture beyond the grounds of Biltmore Estate. There's plenty to explore in her grand home, but she must take care to never be seen. None of the rich folk upstairs know that Serafina exists; she and her pa, the estate's maintenance man, have secretly lived in the basement for as long as Serafina can remember.


But when children at the estate start disappearing, only Serafina knows who the culprit is: a terrifying man in a black cloak who stalks Biltmore's corridors at night. Following her own harrowing escape, Serafina risks everything by joining forces with Braeden Vanderbilt, the young nephew of Biltmore's owners. Braeden and Serafina must uncover the Man in the Black Cloak's true identity before all of the children vanish one by one.


Serafina's hunt leads her into the very forest that she has been taught to fear. There she discovers a forgotten legacy of magic, one that is bound to her own identity. In order to save the children of Biltmore, Serafina must seek the answers that will unlock the puzzle of her past.



The Well of Midnight by Andy Brumbach


It is the summer of 1929. Cousins Maxine and William arrive at Battersea Manor, the home of their grandfather, Colonel Horatius Battersea, where they soon discover that Colonel Battersea isn’t the sort of grandpa who spends his afternoons napping on the porch swing. When an ancient cult known only as the Hashashin descends on Battersea Manor, the cousins are swept up on a current of intrigue that leads from the hidden passages of the manor to the criminal underground of New York City. Maxine and William must navigate an adult world of mobsters and flappers, swindlers and vagabonds in a desperate bid to recover the elusive parcel and rescue their grandfather from the Hashashin.

[Cover Characteristic] Sidewalks
This Week's Characteristic: Sidewalks 
Cover Characteristic is a weekly meme hosted by Sugar & Snark.


From left to right, these books are Murder is Binding (Booktown Mystery, #1) by Lorna Barrett, Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus (Junie B. Jones, #1) by Barbara Park, Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein, IT by Stephen King, and Mick Harte Was Here by Barbara Park. Click the covers to check the books out on Goodreads!
2015 Snagged @ the Library Reading Challenge: I'm In!


I read a lot of library books. Well, I suppose it's more accurate to say I check out a lot of library books. See, I have this bad habit of letting books that I've checked out sit around in my room... and sit and sit and then sit some more... only to go back to the library, unread, at the end of their check-out periods. I've long since realized it's become something of a problem.

But even with that said, I do read a lot of library books. More than most people, I'd wager. My budget doesn't exactly have room for any book buying--at least not at book stores (yard sales, I'm all over)--so the library is my best friend. Whether it be the local library's shelf of used books for sale, the statewide catalog, or the Overdrive site, most of what I read come from the library in one sense or another. So the Snagged @ the Library Reading Challenge, co-hosted by The Geeky Blogger's Book Blog and The Book Nympho, is right up my alley. This is one I should be able to pass with flying colors!

Here's a brief run-down of the rules. To read more about the challenge, check out the sign-up page here.

The goal of the challenge is to read at least twelve library books during 2015, whether those be physical books, audiobooks, or ebooks. The only requirement here is that they come from the library. If you're rereading a book or reading it for another challenge, it can count, too!

This challenge has four levels: Dewey Decimal with a goal of twelve books, Thrifty Reader with a goal of twenty-four books, Overdrive Junkie with a goal of thirty-six books, and Stalking the Bookstacks with a goal of fifty or more books. I will be aiming for  Dewey Decimal, but I fully expect to move past it. I'm hoping to make it to Stalking the Bookstacks!

If Snagged @ the Library sounds like something you're interested in participating in, or if you'd like to learn more about the challenge, you can find more information and the sign-up page here at The Geeky Blogger's Book Blog.

And here's what I've read for this challenge so far!


  1. Spaniel in a Stocking (Animal Ark) by Ben M. Baglio
  2. Hamster in the Holly (Animal Ark) by Ben M. Baglio
  3. Terrier in the Tinsel (Animal Ark, #34) by Ben M. Baglio
  4. Aliens Don't Wear Braces (The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids, #7) by Debbie Dadey and Marcia Thornton Jones
  5. The Blessing Way (Joe Leaphorn, #1) by Tony Hillerman
  6. Lizzie at Last by Claudia Mills
  7. The Haunting at Stratton Falls by Brenda Seabrooke
  8. Who Could That Be at This Hour? (All the Wrong Questions, #1) by Lemony Snicket
  9. Power to the Purple! (The Ultra Violets, #2) by Sophie Bell
  10. The Doll in the Garden by Mary Downing Hahn
  11. Something's Wicked in Those Woods by Marisa Montes
  12. Christina's Ghost by Betty Ren Wright
  13. The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall by Mary Downing Hahn
  14. Deep and Dark and Dangerous by Mary Downing Hahn
  15. Sweet Miss Honeywell's Revenge by Kathryn Reiss
  16. The Haunted Playground by Shaun Tan
  17. All the Lovely Bad Ones by Mary Downing Hahn
  18. The Old Willis Place by Mary Downing Hahn
  19. The Monsters Next Door (The Bailey City Monsters, #1) by Debbie Dadey and Marcia Thornton Jones
  20. Cam Jansen and the Spaghetti Max Mystery by David A. Adler
  21. Amy, Number Seven (Replica, #1) by Marilyn Kaye
  22. The Ghost of Raven Hill (Raven Hill Mysteries, #1) by Emily Rodda
  23. The Sorcerer's Apprentice (Raven Hill Mysteries, #2) by Emily Rodda
Level Progress:
  1. "Dewey Decimal" reached February 7
2015 Bookish Resolutions

Resolutions aren't really my thing, I guess. For all I'm an expert procrastinator, I think my procrastination skills are still beat by my ability to outright forget things. Add to that my tendency in recent years to be easily overwhelmed and distracted, and the resolve aspect of New Year's Resolutions kind of flies right out the window.

So here's what I meant to do in 2014, compared to what I actually did.

Catch up on my ARCs.

Despite hoping to make this my "#1 priority" for the beginning of 2014, this didn't happen. I certainly got a few read, but nowhere near as much as I wanted. The biggest hurdle here is being overwhelmed; I still have too many and that, coupled with my tendency to view them as one huge thing to be tackled instead of a bunch of little things, makes me anxious and, by extension, disinterested when I think about getting back to them.

This will be something that stays on my list for 2015.

Read at least fifty books I actually own.

Well, after double-checking, I actually did much better than I thought on this one! I read twenty nine books I own this year. Admittedly, a good 95% percent of those were rereads, but... still better than I expected.

I'll be keeping something similar to this on my list for 2015, I think. I own so many damn books!

Finish Sparrow.

This is kind of a weird one. I set Sparrow aside at the beginning of August 2014, having written a total of one hundred and twenty thousand words. Despite the rambling nature of the story, I quite enjoyed writing it--which I did, as a NaNoer would say, as a "pantser"--but it just wasn't sustainable.

After setting it aside in August, I took what I had and wrote up a much more concise outline to use for the second draft. I don't think that's going to be my project for 2015, but I intend to get to it at some point in the future. Could be this year, could be next. Who knows?

Write a cumulative 250,000 words.

I haven't actually finished tallying my words yet; it's a project I'm still slowly chipping away yet. Right now, though, I'm hovering at just beneath 200,000 words, and I've got at least another thirty thousand to add. I don't, however, expect to reach 350,000... maybe 300,000 by the time I'm finished counting?

Read at least two hundred books.

I fell short again this year, unfortunately. I read only one hundred and fifty nine books in 2014, and a third of that was rereads.

I think I'll aim for two hundred again, but at this point, I'll just be happy to see my count go up for once instead of down.

Comment on other book blogs.

Yeah, this had a chance of actually being accomplished. /s

Empty out my Pocket.

I don't think I read a single thing from my Pocket this year. I mean, I'm sure I probably did, but if I did, I can't remember what.

Publish a blog post every weekday.

I did extremely well with this for the first few months of the year, but my drive fizzled out sometime in May, I think. But for several months, I was publishing something every day of the week, which was pretty awesome.

I'd like to try this one again in 2015, but I'd like to try to make sure I'm scheduling in advanced this time around.

Procrastinate less when it comes to reviewing.

Nope! I mean, if you want to count those first few months, then sure, but there's still a lot of stuff that I meant to do in 2014 that I pushed back and back and right into the New Year. I'm lame.

Catching up on my backlog of reviews to write should be a 2015 resolution, I suppose.

Procrastinate less when it comes to reading.

Not on your life. This one times in with the ARC one, I guess, since those are the only books I actually feel obligated to read (though one could easily argue that I have some degree of an obligation to read books I own, too...). But since I barely managed to read anything this year, I'd hardly say I stopped procrastinating this year.

This is one I'm not going to be reattempting for 2015, as I think "read more" and "read your damn ARCs" kind of cover the gist.

Anyway, that's 2014. What about 2015?

  1. Catch up on my ARCs. (And by extension, get my Netgalley up to 80%.)
  2. Focus on reading books that I own; I have so many that they've long since overflowed my shelves, so I'd like to read enough of them that I can feel comfortable passing those I no longer want on to other readers. Since I'm an eternal dork, I'm going to be calling this "Project Get Shit on Shelves".
  3. Write a cumulative 250,000 words (including book reviews, blog posts, journal entries, and fiction).
  4. Read two hundred books.
  5. Stick to my planned posting schedule here at Amara's Eden. I have specific things planned for specific days, and I'd like to stay on top of that for as long as possible. The whole year, ideally.
  6. Complete both Camp NaNoWriMo 2015 sessions and NaNoWriMo 2015.
  7. Complete at least the lowest level of all reading challenges I've signed up for.
  8. Complete the transition from Goodreads to Leafmarks (i.e., finish transferring books, shelves, and reviews once and for all).
  9. Read (and watch?) more horror this year. Horror is far and away my favorite genre, but I don't intake anywhere near as much of it as I'd like. I think I'd like to make 2015 the year I really delve into the genre!
  10. Read five books published in 2015. I'm always excited when the GR Choice Awards come around, except that always involves me staring at a screen full of books I've never heard of, let alone read. I'd like to try to keep up with some trends this year, I think. Maybe check out some 2015 Listopia lists for ideas?
So that's what I'm hoping to do in 2015. Do you have bookish resolutions of your own for this year? Let me know in the comments below, and Happy New Year, everybody!
2014 End of Year Book Survey
This survey is the idea of Jamie at Perpetual Page Turner.
Wanna participate? Check her post out here!

Number of Books Read: 159
Number of Rereads: 59
Genre You Read the Most Of: Mystery (37) and Picture Books (37)
Best Book I Read in 2014: What Do You Do with an Idea? by Kobi Yamada
Book I Was Most Let Down By: Mick Harte Was Here by Barbara Park
Most Surprising (In a Bad Way): Full Blooded (Jessica McClain, #1) by Amanda Carlson
Book I Recommended Most: The Forests of Silence (Deltora Quest, #1) by Emily Rodda
Best Series: Deltora Quest by Emily Rodda
Best SequelDragon's Nest (Dragons of Deltora, #1) by Emily Rodda
Best Series Finale: Changes for Kirsten: A Winter Story (American Girl: Kirsten, #6) by Janet Beeler Shaw
Favorite New Author: Tony Abbott, for his The Secrets of Droon series. I'm not far into it, so there's always the possibility that it'll lose my interest or I'll eventually decide that Abbott's writing isn't for me after all, but of all the new authors I read this year, he's the only one whose book pleasantly surprised me and whose other books I expect to eventually read. Runner up here would be Kobi Yamada, whose book I loved but didn't inspire me to seek out more of his work.
Best Book Outside My Comfort Zone: Destiny, Rewritten by Kathryn Fiztmaurice
Most "Unputdownable" Book of the Year: Moonlight Secrets (Fear Street Nights, #1) by R.L. Stine
Favorite CoverShadow Breakers (Shadow Runners, #1) by Daniel Blythe
Most Memorable Character: Jasmine of Deltora Quest, Deltora Shadowlands, and Dragons of Deltora. She's an abrasive, stubborn action heroine survivalist, and she's freakin' awesome. You'll find no Faux Action Girl or Chickification here. As far as kidlit fantasy goes, Jasmine (and the series she comes from) stands above the rest.
Most Beautifully Written Book: The Girl and the Bicycle by Mark Pett*
Most Thought-Provoking Book: What Do You Do with an Idea? by Kobi Yamada
Book I Can't Believe I Didn't Read Sooner: The Hidden Stairs and the Magic Carpet (The Secrets of Droon, #1) by Tony Abbott
Favorite Quote: This passage from The Reptile Room (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #2) by Lemony Snicket, which I used in my one and only Quotable Thursday post of 2014.
Longest Book: The Book of Cthulhu II at 426 pages
Book That Shocked Me the Most: The Book of Cthulhu II
OPT of the Year: Spike and Drusilla of Spike and Dru: Pretty Maids all in a Row by Christopher Golden
Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship of the Year: Kirsten Larson and Singing Bird of Kirsten Learns a Lesson (American Girls: Kirsten, #2) by Janet Beeler Shaw
Favorite Book by an Author I've Read Before: The Castle Crime (A to Z Mysteries Super Edition, #6) by Ron Roy
Best Book Found Via Recommendation: Thanks, Grimlock for Spike and Dru: Pretty Maids All in a Row by Christopher Golden
Newest Fictional Crush: Nope!
Best 2014 Debut: You think I'm up to date on debuts? Noooope!
Best Worldbuilding: Deltora Quest by Emily Rodda
A Book That Made Me Smile: The Third Wish (Fairy Realm, #3) by Emily Rodda
A Book That Made Me Cry: Nothing this year!
Hidden Gem of the Year: Traitor in the Shipyard: A Caroline Mystery by Kathleen Ernst
Book That Crushed My Soul: 
What soul?
Most Unique Book: The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak (It's a "picture book" with no pictures, FFS!)
Book That Angered Me the Most: Full Blooded (Jessica McClain, #1) by Amanda Carlson
New Favorite Blog: expect me to pick?
Favorite Review: How about my American Horror Story: Coven review? (Spoiler alert!)
Best Event: #BookBlogWriMo, hosted by Book Bumblings during November 2014
Best Blogging Moment: Successfully completing #BookBlogWriMo after months of stagnation was pretty great!
Most Popular Post This Year: How about a top ten instead?
Post I Wish Got a Little More Love: Is all of them a valid answer? It's obviously my fault for not being more social myself, but...
Best Bookish Discovery: Readgeek
Pushed Back to #1 Priority of 2015: Spirits of Christmas
Most Anticipated Book of 2015: The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, #1) by Rick Riordan
Most Anticipated Debut of 2051: Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman
Most Anticipated Sequel of 2015: The Winds of Winter (A Song of Ice and Fire, #6) by George R.R. Martin (I have no doubt that this isn't actually going to be coming out in 2015, but I do think it'd be hilarious if he managed to shock everyone by revealing it is! Not that I'm caught up with this series anyway...)
One Thing I Want to Accomplish in 2015: Honestly, I'd like to finish a first draft of one of my own projects this year. I'm hoping to do that during NaNo '15, but... procrastination and I are very good friends. Or worst enemies. However you want to look at it.
2015 Release I've Read and Can Recommend: Aw, you think I'm caught up with my ARCs? How cute!

*This is kind of a joke entry. The Girl and the Bicycle is a wordless picture book that manages to tell a really sweet, charming story with illustrations alone.
3 Stars
Baby Santa and the Gift of Giving by M. Maitland DeLand
Baby Santa and the Gift of Giving - Maitland Deland

This eARC was downloaded for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Baby Santa and the Gift of Giving
 is the most recent installment of medical doctor M. Maitland DeLand's Baby Santa series, which I'll admit I didn't realize when I downloaded it. So I'll admit up front that there may be a teensy bit of context I'm missing here, given that it's the fifth book in the series; on the other hand, they're picture books, so I don't imagine there's too terribly much to miss.

In any case, The Gift of Giving is a cute Christmas story about Santa and Mrs. Claus's young son, Baby Santa. It follows the titular character on his journey to New York City to "spread good will and cheer" with a family that sent his Father Christmas a rather atypical letter, offering to help him help others during the holiday season. So Baby Santa and the family in question, the Bonds, spend the course of this short, rhyming picture book volunteering at a community center kitchen, giving gifts to children in the hospital, donating to an animal shelter, singing carols at a senior center, and helping build a house--while, of course, also enjoying their vacation by taking in a show at Radio City Music Hall, seeing The Nutcracker, and getting some gifts of their own.

All in all, it's a pretty cute story with a pro-charity moral, and I'd recommend it as holiday picture book reading for that reason alone. Other things it has going for it include the positive representation of a minority family, as the Bonds are likely intended to be African American (though I will note that it seems a bit tokenish, as all the unnamed background characters are fair-skinned) and a refreshing balance between the oft-anvilicious charity aspect of the holiday and the less selfless relaxation/enjoyment aspect. And for those readers who experience Christmas as a religious holiday, there's a small rhyme and picture involving a Nativity scene, though parents who only celebrate Christmas in a secular fashion and haven't introduced their children to the religious aspects and/or do not wish to do so may find it's not for them.

I think Baby Santa and the Gift of Giving would be a nice, quick holiday read for a young child or beginning reader. It's nothing fascinating, of course, and the poetry isn't exactly Poe, but I imagine it'd be a good way to help get a young, Christmas-celebrating family in to the holiday spirit, at the very least, and there are four more Baby Santa books to check out if you find the need.

currently reading

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2015 I Love Library Books Reading Challenge