I Have Officially Moved Blogs!!

Hey guys!

This will most likely be my very last post at Once Upon a Time. It’s both a sad and very exciting time for me as I am ready to announce that I have launched my brand new blog, Dragons & Whimsy!! This blog will combine all of my geeky loves into one place, including my bookworminess, but I’ll also talk about my gaming, tv loves, anime, my life, all sorts of things I’m into. This way, my blogging should have less dry seasons and more blogging love. Please check it out, follow and subscribe, share the news and read my launch post. I have moved all Once Upon a Time content over there.

Love you all and I hope to see you over there! x

A New Chapter

Hey guys! It’s been quite a while, hasn’t it? So time for a personal update. I guess the Summer of Anxiety last year (it was bad guys) and trying to force through it just burnt me out completely, so when I started my job in the petrol station in September, I just found myself too tired a lot of the time to read and write. Then in Spring I went ahead and had a mental breakdown and had to quit my job and I turned to (online) gaming because I could healthily escape and socialise with minimal effort on my exhausted mind. I found a nice bunch of friends in a couple of MMOs I’ve been playing over the past few months while going through some other life issues, and I started to recover. Then I finished watching the most recent series of Supernatural and found myself craving an immersive story. So I settled on the Hunger Games trilogy. Having already read book one a long time ago, I started on Catching Fire and moved on to Mockingjay and now I just want more stories. I missed that feeling so much, guys.

Life Currently

I’m currently volunteering in a local charity shop with a fantastic group of ladies (and only lovely lad) where I focus on till-work as I have such good customer service skills (and I’ve had enough training for it in my past couple of jobs – oy), and of course, the book area, as I’m so keen on my books, I’m trusted to sort out displays and prices also. I also like to keep an eye out for books that may be high sellers so that we don’t undervalue things. I love it, guys.

We moved flats around April time, also. Only went down the road but we’re finally away from the terrible buskers and noisy tourists and drunkards. We now live in a basement flat with a little outdoor area, a guest bedroom next door to a bowling green. It’s nice and peaceful and Operation Panther has had some progress… but not very much. This place feels much more like home and I’m more relaxed which is wonderful for my anxiety, but I’m still getting out and about which is great for my depression. I’m not out of the woods, but I’m in the right place to recover well.

Potential Plans

I’m hoping to return here, so much so that I decided to redesign the place. I didn’t like how busy and overcrowded the blog was looking so I thought I’d change the colour scheme and fiddle around with some bits to make it feel more open and inviting, and reeled in the lovely Ravven to help out with the header and button design – once again – to suit both the theme and my focus, but keeping my lovely golden dragon chappie. I think she’s done a perfect job! Don’t you? And I’ve been fiddling around with codes and plugins to pretty the place up also. I’m very happy with it so far.

Ideally, I’d like to work through the list I claimed I’d be working on before but never got around to, though I have made myself a new list which I’ve been steadily working through, it’s just the writing and blogging part I need to work on now, mostly, which I’m finding a little tricky as I don’t seem to be wanting to write very much right now and I’m still not reading quite as much as I’d like. However, the passion is returning so once I have written out a few posts I can start scheduling, I’ll give this returning thing a try.

If I don’t come back right away, I will be back at some point, so stick around. And if I do return sooner rather than later, see you soon!

Jackie Gamber’s Top 5 Dragon-Related Goodies


I saw that Tomorrow Comes Media were hosting Jackie Gamber’s Reclamation blog tour through Facebook and had to jump in. I still haven’t read this series (go ahead, slap my hand), but I’ve only heard good things and come on – dragons. So in I squeezed at the very last minute to share this wonderful lady and her books with you all.

And now I shall hand you over to Jackie! :)

Top 5 Dragon Related Goodies

Reclamation_Illustration1PursuitI’ve been a genre girl since before I knew science fiction and fantasy were called “genre” and set aside as something different from other books. I read all books as a kid (and a grown-up), but always, as long as I can remember, I liked monsters and ghosts and aliens and fairies and dragons the best.

Since writing the Leland Dragon series, and most recently, the final installment as “Reclamation”, book three, lots of folks ask me, “Why dragons?”

The quick answer is, “Why not dragons?” The longer version is a complicated mixture of “the characters at the time, my deep love for all things fantasy, and I don’t exactly know.”

What I do know is that the road to the Leland Dragon Series has been paved by dragons that have come before, that have either influenced me a great deal, or enhanced my enjoyment because they are dragon-related. I’ve compiled a list of them, as the top dragon-related goodies I have personally enjoyed over the years.

  1. Book: “My Father’s Dragon” by Ruth Stiles Gannett, Random House Children’s Book.

This is very likely the book that started it all, for me. I have cherished this book since I first laid hands on it as a child. The version still on my bookshelf, worn and loved, is the Weekly Reader Book Club edition, copyright 1948.

  1. Movie: “Pete’s Dragon”, Disney, 1977.

If I could hug a movie, it would be this one. I think it was my first introduction to the concept of a friendly dragon. Call me silly, but I like friendly.

  1. Movie: “Dragonslayer”, 1981.

I’m not against bad guy dragons, however. This film has a bad dragon. Much of what I enjoy is more than just the dragon, though, such as a clever maiden trying to disqualify herself for a dangerous lottery by…no longer being a maiden, if you know what I mean. How is she the first girl to think of this?

  1. Movie: “Dragonheart”, 1996.

Sean Connery as the voice of Draco. A misunderstood dragon who allies with the knight sworn to kill him. It’s worth seeing past the really, really bad redhead wig worn by Dina Meyer. I love this movie so much, I just can’t even. I just can’t.

  1. Video Game: “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim”, 2011.

It’s an action role-playing game, open world, where you’re free to roam wide and far, and where your choices (within certain framing) affect outcomes in a ripple. It’s more questing than shoot-‘em-up fast action; for people like me with less-than-lightning fast reflexes. And another fine example of dragons with noble intentions, as well as destructive.

There are more, of course. Many more dragon-related items, stories, docufictions, and the like, many of which I’ve forgotten, but have nevertheless made it into my subconscious where they feed and form my imagination.

What are some of yours?

Jackie Gamber is the award-winning author of many short stories, screenplays, and novels, including “Redheart”, “Sela”, and “Reclamation”, Books one through three of the Leland Dragon Series. For more information about Jackie and her mosaic mind, visit http://www.jackiegamber.com

And meet Jackie elsewhere on the world wide web at: Seventh Star PressAmazonFacebookTwitter – Allotrope Media


Reclamation is the third and penultimate book in the Leland Dragon series, a young adult fantasy trilogy about a dragon named Kallon Redheart’s friendship with a young woman in the Leland province where tensions between dragons and humans are high. Check the series out on Goodreads for reviews of the books!


Tour Schedule and Activities

2/24                A Book Vacation                                            Tour Wide Contest

2/24                Azure Dwarf                                                   Promo/Spotlight

2/24                Come Selahway With Me                             Guest Post

2/24                Jellowquake Productions                             Review

2/25                Creating Estelan                                            Promo/Spotlight

2/25                Workaday Reads                                           Review

2/25                Alexx Momcat’s Gateway Book Blog           Promo Spotlight

2/25                Jorie Loves a Story                                        Character Post

2/25                I Smell Sheep                                                 Character Post

2/26                Kentucky Geek Girl                                        Guest Post

2/26                Deal Sharing Aunt                                         Review

2/26                Book in the Bag                                             Interview

2/27                Sheila Deeth                                                   Character Interview

2/27                John F. Allen Writer                                      Promo/Spotlight

2/28                Jorie Love a Story                                          Review

2/28                Azure Dwarf                                                   Review

2/28                Vampires, Witches, and Me, Oh My                 Guest Post

2/28                MichaelSciFan                                                            Interview

3/1      Elizabeth Delana Rosa ~Book Lover & Creator of Worlds~   Post on Art of Reclamation

3/1                  Coffintree Hill                                                            Guest Post

3/1                  Once Upon a Time                                                    Guest Post

3/2                  Jorie Loves a Story                                        Author Interview/Reader Questions

3/2                  Bee’s Knees Reviews                                      Review

3/2                  Jess Resides Here                                           Guest Post

3/2                  Book and Movie Dimension Blog                 Review

[Review] The Emperor’s Knife by Mazarkis Williams

16155037-194x300Series: Tower and Knife #1
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Size: 388 pages
Paperback, Hardback, Ebook, Audiobook
Received free copy from Jo Fletcher in exchange for an honest review. Thanks!

A plague is attacking the Cerani Empire: as the geometric patterns cover the skin, so the victims fall under the power of the Pattern Master.

Only three people stand in his way: a lost prince, a world-weary killer, and a young girl who once saw a path through the waving grass.

Please bear with me as this is my first written book review in months. Exciting! But also a little scary. I have on the other hand continued blogging in some form or another so I hope that my writerly-side is still intact.

Right, so, The Emperor’s Knife. I’m calling it grimdark in my tags as I found it to be fairly gritty with very little in the way of comic relief. You are, of course, welcome to disagree. The Empire is quite dystopian in nature, particularly with the spread of the Pattern which can strike anybody at any time. It tattoos a person’s body and once complete either kills or enslaves their mind so once discovered, a patterned person is put to death. You’re not even safe if you’re a noble or a royal and it is definitely unclear who has the real power. So it’s not a cheerful place to live which can definitely be quite a slog to read through if you’re in the wrong frame of mind for it, but fortunately I was not at the time I read it.

There is a lack of a clear protagonist. When it began, I was sure it would be a story about a mad Prince emprisoned in a tower who tries to escape, falls in love, and brings down the Empire in the process. It is not quite that simple. We actually experience several viewpoints, which isn’t a new thing in epic fantasy by any margin, but in The Emperor’s Knife it was definitely refreshing. Especially around that midway point which I will get to in a second.

I was initially drawn to The Emperor’s Knife because of its’ Middle Eastern influence. The story is mainly set in the Empire which is very ancient Middle Eastern in nature with its’ constant danger and desert culture. I particularly loved the fact that people ride camels in this series and only very high-ranking men ride horses but even then, riding isn’t easy in the desert sands. On occasion I found the desert setting to grate on me a little. I love it, but at the same time there’s not much going on in a desert, just sand, sand, and more sand with the odd surprise thrown in for good measure. Although I did feel like the story lost some excitement about halfway through. There was a lot of desert and moving forward, but very few bumps in the road that made me sit up and take notice, just a whole lot of sand. I’m not sure if this was down to a low point in me, or the novel, so we shall leave that one on a peg for now, especially considering how it broke through that for the climax which sped off in all sorts of directions I never saw coming.

The Emperor’s Knife is a great read which I felt was masterfully written, for sure. The world feels alive and Mazarkis has perfected the ‘show don’t tell’ side of novel writing, which is a very difficult thing to master. The ending was spot on, I felt, and could have satisfactorily ended here as a standalone. However, I’m glad there will be more in the Tower and Knife series as I enjoyed reading this book immensely and look forward to seeing where the characters take things next and hope that there is less lacking at the midway point.

Purchase: Amazon Paperback – Amazon Kindle – Book Depository

Other reviews of The Emperor’s Knife can be found on Jet Black Ink and The BiblioSanctum.

The Tower and Knife series:

1. The Emperor’s Knife
2. Knife Sworn
3. The Tower Broken

Showcase Sunday: Can’t Stop, In A Hurry!

It’s been a week? Have an incoming post! :)


I picked up 1st To Die from the library. I’d forgotten I reserved this because I had the urge to read a James Patterson novel. I always hear good things about him so why not start somewhere? It’ll be my first thriller novel too, if I get to it. I also received Little Beach Street Bakery which made me squeal with glee and I think made Jenny Colgan a little jealous as well? (Sorry!) I was having an awful week then this showed up, it’s as though Sphere knew what I needed.

16124927 18801616 18871477

And a small handful of Kindle books. The Immortal Circus was a Kindle Daily Deal so I nabbed that for 99p. Circus fantasy is win, after all. The other two are actually free today so go get yours! Book covers link to their respective Goodreads pages.

Right, I’m off to work. Happy Sunday, folk!

Operation Panther: Critical Mass

It’s time to initiate Operation Panther – the super secret operation to clear out and tidy my book collection which has most definitely reached critical mass. I can neither confirm nor deny the influence of Operation Cobra from the Once Upon a Time tv show. Also? Please don’t judge the mess!


The single stacked


The floor stacked


The double stacked


The over-spill

I know you guys won’t judge me for my book hoarding but I’m told elsewhere that it’s a bit much. And honestly, I can’t say I’m all that interested in reading a lot of them. Whether I grabbed them from a charity shop “just incase” when I spied them quite cheap or they were sent over for review unsolicited or maybe something else I can’t currently think of, they do build up and it’s time to fix that. Even if only to make space for future lovelies.

What I’m thinking is to really go through them all. First, sort them into categories:

  • Read
    • Loved
    • Liked
    • Won’t re-read
  • Not read
    • Really want to read
    • Would very much like to read
    • Hmm.. maybe
    • Not too bothered

Then make sure I neatly shelve and arrange those that I’d like to read or re-read at some point. Next, put aside the books that I know I don’t need to keep. Then the tough part. The books that sound interesting but I’m not sure if they could be potentially amazing reads or general hoggers of precious book space. Once I’ve managed to sort them all out in this way I can work out what I can sell (we’re low on cash so this has to be a priority, I’m afraid, for non-ARCs of course), what I can swap, and whatever’s left over can be donated to a local charity shop. I know swapping isn’t a way to solve a space problem, but at the very least replacing an unloved book with a potentially loved one is more worthwhile than ignoring the problem.

As you can see, this is going to be a long and arduous and ultimately messy task! The two shelves nearer the bottom of my set of pictures are both double stacked, the top one single. And there are more elsewhere not pictured as well. So any tips? I need to be ruthless without throwing away something I might want to read in the future and kick myself for getting rid of now, and I need to be efficient, not spending weeks on Operation Panther and littering the bedroom floor for too long in the process.

Do you guys ever go through bookish Spring cleaning or are you more like me and prefer to cover your eyes and pretend that you don’t have a problem? ;)

Cover Lover: A Slightly Steamy Cover Reveal

Yesterday afternoon I received an intriguing email about a cover reveal from the lovely Lucie from Pan Macmillon, in it she details: “…four books by the author Kylie Scott – each book focuses on a different member of a rock band *ears prick up*. Each book focuses on one member of the band and their life, from romantic liaisons to fun filled nights!”

I am mostly focused on fantasy right now but I have a bit of a soft spot for rockstar lifestyle. *pets Dave Grohl* And I know some of my readers over here are interested in romantic liaisons so why not, hey?

Play cover

I must be honest, at first glance I thought the drumsticks were chopsticks and it has more of a boudoir than rockstar feel, but if it is “romantic liaisons” you are looking for.. well.. *fans self* Yum. Drummers are hot. ‘Nuff said.

I see that this is part two in a series of four – though I presume as each is about each individual band member, they can be read as standalones or in any order. I also see that it is a New Adult which isn’t really my thing, but maybe Mal the drummer with the lion tattoo can be the exception to the rule.

Play (Stage Dive #2)

Mal Ericson, drummer for the world famous rock band Stage Dive, needs to clean up his image fast – at least for a little while. Having a good girl on his arm should do the job just fine. But he didn’t count on exactly how much fun he could have being with the one right girl.

Anne Rollins has money problems. Big ones. But being paid to play the pretend girlfriend to a demented drummer was never going to be a good idea. No matter how hot he is. She’s had her sights set on her male bestie, Reece, for years. And now that she’s supposedly taken, he’s finally paying attention. If only the chemistry between her and her rock star would stop hitting new heights.

Find Kylie Scott: WebsiteGoodreadsFacebookTwitter

Review Copy Cleanup 4.0


My first act as returning book blogger is to sign up for the beloved community event: Review Copy Cleanup. Why? Because I love me some Vicky and Celine and my TBR pile is pretty much review books so it’s really a win/win situation right there.

I shan’t presume that you know what this particularly blogger event is so here you go:

The Review Copy Cleanup is a month long event in which book bloggers the world over set themselves to the epic task of cleaning up their unwieldy review piles somewhat. Many of us end up with way too many review books and too little time, so Celine and Vicky came up with the Review Copy Cleanup in which we sign up to cheer each other on and have a bit of fun with the task. Not that it’s not fun, we wouldn’t have accepted these books if they weren’t potentially awesome, right?


(From Vicky’s blog)

  • The Review Copy Cleanup 4.0 runs from 1 to 28 February
  • It starts and ends at midnight according to your local timezone to avoid confusion
  • To sign up, just fill in the linky below. Link to your sign up post directly, please! The linky is the same on both of our blogs, so you only have to sign up once
  • The linky will close on the 15th, so make you sign up before then
  • When you post your sign up post on your blog, either include the challenge button with your post or link it back to this article so that people know where to sign up. Thanks! (:
  • Every book you received for review counts towards the challenge, both e-books and hard copies (even audiobooks for review, if you have those), including all genres and lengths
  • Feel free to use the #RCCleanup hashtag on Twitter for your RCC related tweets or join in the Twitter party at http://tweetchat.com/room/RCCleanup and meet lots of awesome bloggers (:
  • At the end of every week we will post our personal updates, and we’ll include a linky for you to add yours!

So I shan’t be setting myself a goal of a particular amount of books to read as I’m still verry slowly getting back into the reading groove and struggling to work the time in around gaming, work, various sleep schedules, tiredness, and so on, but I will leave you a picture of the pile I’ve got sat on my desk purely for the sake of taunting me into reading more.


Come join in too! Is much fun and no pressure. :)

Honey, I’m Home!

So I woke up with The Bug. No, not that one. The blogging one. Yes, I’m aware that I’ve been on/off at Tea in the Treetops and also been fairly active on my gaming blog for a while as well, and I love them both. The opportunity to write alongside such lovely ladies and chat in our secret Facebook group, and get to know some amazing people in the world of MMO gaming as well, are both wonderful experiences.. but they lack the Once Upon a Time (I decided to start being grammatically correct with my title, deal with it) experience. The readers and friends I’ve made over here, the memories, the love and passion that has gone into the blog, and the free reign to make the space my own. I’m not saying I want to abandon the other two blogs, I’m just saying I want to come back.. gulp

Sure, keeping up with multiple blogs, Twitter accounts, to-do lists and so on hasn’t worked so well for me before but things are different now. I have a job that provides me with stability – monetarily (for the most part) and mentally (also, for the most part). I’ve also learnt from past experiences not to put too much pressure on myself. Giving myself regular posts which must be written and scheduled in a certain timeframe is a surefire way to cause stress, as is coming up with huge events like the steampunk one I ran in the Autumn. That’s not to say I will never do either of these things but while I find my feet once more I am not going to put any unecessary stress upon myself.

Good. So now that’s clear, I’d like to show you my lists! I’m totally a list maker. My memory sucks, my organisational skills suck, so I make lists. Lists are good. You can also tick off tasks on a list which give a great sense of achievement. I know full well a whole bunch of you are the same, don’t deny it.

Content Ideas:

ouat_list01 ouat_list02



Obviously I will begin with writing and scheduling content and working out what to post here, what to post on Tea in the Treetops, and what can be crossposted without causing too much repetition for folk who follow both blogs. I will also have to seriously work on my reading schedule as I’m still hardly reading and I do like to stick to a goal of 100ish pages read per day when I’m actively blogging.

So yeah. I’m back. Love given for word-spreaders. Expect a nice steady pacing and a focus on my kind of fantasy (NB: all of it). Very soon my lists will make much more sense!


Helloooo! Long time no see. I’ve not been reading much at all. Or blogging. So thus I’ve not been around this area very much but just a few days ago I posted over on Tea in the Treetops about the recent Patrick Rothfuss AMA and thought I’d just remind you guys that I’m around.. sometimes. ;)

So what have I been doing? Working. And gaming. I love MMORPGs (Massively Multiplayer Online RolePlaying Games – think World of Warcraft) and over the past few months I’ve been really exploring a few of these and even started my gaming blog back up with a new lease of life. You can find me at Jaedia’s Menagerie and @jaedia if interested, but if not, don’t worry. I’m very much hoping to get back into reading soon. No promises, I’ve been saying this since Spring 2013, after all, but I’m in the right place to do so now at the very least. So do make sure you’re following Tea in the Treetops! Though I may cross-post to here as I don’t feel right leaving Once Upon a Time to the tumbleweeds.

Anyways, short but sweet. See you around! :)

Ironskin Blog Tour: Tina’s Top 5 Fantasy Retellings

I’m sure you’ve all heard of Ironskin, the YA Steampunk Paranormal Romance novel with hints of a Jane Eyre story retelling, or perhaps not. Either way, it finally has a UK release as a series of ebooks with a fabulous cover on November 7th. Woohoo for Constable & Robinson! Today I am featuring Tina Connolly’s top 5 fantasy retellings. Don’t forget to visit the other blogs on the tour as well, and a big thank you to Tina for the great post! :)

Tina’s Top 5 Fantasy Retellings

Oh, what a fun topic! I spent billions of hours in the fairy tale section of our library growing up, and I was always fascinated with the way certain tales would pop up over and over with slight variations. So it makes sense that I love a lot of fantasy retellings—and also, that I would want to do my own. Which is how I ended up with Ironskin, a very loose retelling of Jane Eyre.

Five of my favorites:

1. Pamela Dean, Tam Lin – People have been telling me to read this for years! I finally read it shortly after my first child was born a couple years ago, and adored it. It’s really only the teensiest bit speculative—most of the story is about the joy of studying English literature at a small liberal arts college (I believe the college in the book is loosely based on one in Minnesota, here in the US.) So in that sense, it’s a book for readers.

2. Diana Wynne Jones, Fire & Hemlock – I would be super remiss if I didn’t mention my absolute favorite Tam Lin retelling – one of my favorite books ever – Fire & Hemlock. What I love so much about this book is the way that Jones deftly illustrates Polly’s shifting memories. Things slowly change over the course of the book as Polly tries to figure out where her memories are misleading her, and what really happened when.

3. Gregory Maguire, Wicked – Yeah, I suppose you’ve all heard of this already! I was a huge Wizard of Oz fan growing up—all 14 L. Frank Baum books, all the Ruth Plumly Thompsons I could acquire in the brief windows they were in print, etc, etc—and I loved the way Maguire reworked the source material to make a densely political story. Before the musical came out and everyone had heard of it, I kept describing it to people as, “Imagine The Wizard of Oz is only the children’s version of a dark, complex, true story . . . ”  Also, special mention to his book Lost, which has echoes of A Christmas Carol and is neat and twisty.

4. Robin McKinley, Deerskin – McKinley has a number of retellings out, of course! But my favorite is her book Deerskin. The original fairy tale of Donkeyskin is dark and grim, and McKinley deals with the horrifying subject matter in such a careful and keen way. Lissar’s journey is painful and believable. Also, special mention to Spindle’s End, a Sleeping Beauty retelling which I have really come to love the more I re-read it.

5. Alethea Kontis, Enchanted – And a recent one! This YA book blends together a whole bunch of different fairy tales in a lovely and above all, fun way. Enchanted is about Sunday, the youngest daughter of seven. And the sequel Hero just came out, which is about her next-older sister Saturday—I’m really looking forward to picking this up.

Thanks so much for having me on the blog, Hannah! And to everyone reading—what favorite retellings of yours did I miss? Let me know—I’m always on the lookout for more!

Ironskin by Tina Connolly

Jane Eliot wears an iron mask.

It’s the only way to contain the fey curse that scars her cheek. The Great War is five years gone, but its scattered victims remain — the ironskin.

When a carefully worded listing appears for a governess to assist with a “delicate situation” — a child born during the Great War — Jane is certain the child is fey-cursed, and that she can help.

Teaching the unruly Dorie to suppress her curse is hard enough; she certainly didn’t expect to fall for the girl’s father, the enigmatic artist Edward Rochart. But her blossoming crush is stifled by her own scars, and by his parade of women. Ugly women, who enter his closed studio…and come out as beautiful as the fey.

Jane knows Rochart cannot love her, just as she knows that she must wear iron for the rest of her life. But what if neither of these things is true? Step by step Jane unlocks the secrets of her new life — and discovers just how far she will go to become whole again.