Waiting on Wednesday: Stronger, Faster, And More Beautiful by Arwen Elys Dayton

Waiting on Wednesday 

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Stronger, Faster, And More Beautiful
Release Date: December 4th 2018
Publisher: Delacorte Press | Random House
For fans of television shows Black Mirror and Westworld, this compelling, mind-bending novel is a twisted look into the future, exploring the lengths we'll go to remake ourselves into the perfect human specimen and what it means to be human at all.

The future is curious.


Today our bodies define us. We color our hair; tattoo our skin; pierce our ears, brows, noses. We lift weights, run miles, break records. We are flesh and blood and bone.


Tomorrow has different rules. The future is no longer about who we are--it's about who we want to be. If you can dream it, you can be it. Science will make us smarter, healthier, flawless in every way. Our future is boundless.


This is a story that begins tomorrow. It's a story about us. It's a story about who comes after us. And it's a story about perfection. Because perfection has a way of getting ugly.
“An alternately charming and horrifying exploration of what it means to be human and how far we'll go in pursuit of personal and societal 'perfection.'Dayton's newest is imagination at its best and most terrifying. I devoured this book.” —Kiersten WhiteNew York Times bestselling author of And I Darken

“A deep and suddenly necessary exploration of the beautiful and terrible futures we face. Every story leaves you desperate for more. Somehow, the further from today Dayton travels, the more real it becomes.” —Hank Green, author of An Absolutely Remarkable Thing

Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful is a remarkable book, visionary and very hard to put down. The characters live in compelling, personal stories that have relevance to the future of the human race itself.” —Kevin J. AndersonNew York Times bestselling author of The Dark Between the Stars

“A work of unforgettable vision and imagination. This book is everything I love about science fiction.” —Jay KristoffNew York Times bestselling coauthor of the Illuminae Files

“Haunting, challenging and provocative--this is an extraordinary book. I can't stop thinking about it.” —Amie KaufmanNew York Times bestselling coauthor of the Illuminae Files
"This speculative, thought provoking novel will take readers on a frightening, remarkable journey through humanity's past, present, and possible future." Bookliststarred
"Imaginative and incisive." Kirkus Reviewsstarred 

New York Comic Con Recap of Friday 10/5/18 - #NYCC

New York Comic Con Friday, 5 October 2018

Once Upon a Twilight had the opportunity to attend the most recent New York Comic Con. This year, the experience afforded the opportunity to experience different types of panels; workshops, screenings, panel discussions, static displays and the general splendor of the convention floor.

New York Comic Con provided a workshop concept at at a venue called “The Studio @ NYCC”. The workshop was a Master Class at the Studio with Producer, Ron Moore (Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Outlander fame), hosted by Sony Executive Chris Parnell, and Television historian, and writer, Mark A. Altman. The Workshop venue allowed a small audience to listen and learn about Ron Moore’s history. Part interview, part Master Class on writing for television, Mr. Parnell and Mr. Altman talked with Ron Moore about his student days at Cornell University leading to the structure of his television career (his early days as a Star Trek Next Generation script writer), how Ron Moore came into the writers room for Star Trek and his growth as a writer throughout the later Star Trek shows (Deep Space Nine, Voyager), and his journey to Battlestar Galactica, The Outlander Television Series and his upcoming work for Apple Television (coming in 2019).

Some of Mr. Moore’s memories shared in the context of the interview were how entranced he was with the Moon landing of Apollo 11, and how that led to him becoming a life-long Star Trek fan, and how the Star Trek ethos shaped his worldview. Ron relayed that writing has always been there for him, but as a student, he viewed writing as a fantasy and not something like a real job.

Ron Moore also imparted his first impressions of being on the set of Star Trek Next Generation. He received a tour of the set, and stated to himself “he would work on this show”. That self-belief became a reality a few episodes later. Ron relays that his acceptance into the Writers room of the writing staff of Star Trek Next Generation enabled him to learn the craft of writing for television.

When discussing his writing process, Ron referred to 2004 as the Peak Year for Television. He attributes that year to being the year where television changed to more of a story arc, than single episodes in a television series without a connecting plot line (examples used were Lost and Battlestar Galactica). 

When discussing Battlestar Galactica, Ron stated that he was motivated to write his version of the show in a post 9/11/2001 world. He believes the show has resonated so much with the fans because it looked at the world around us in the present day, through the lense of science fiction. He discussed the religious aspects of the show in that the protagonist characters on the show worshiped many gods, and the antagonists worshiped on single god.

In the last segment of the workshop, the Moderators, Chris and Mark walked Ron Moore through a discussion about Outlander. Ron stated that Outlander was not just a romance, it was also an adventure story, and an adventure story about a woman named Claire. In a more technical aspect of television writing, Ron walked the audience through the process of dramatizing a show from a book that is told in “first person narrative”, and how he dramatized Claire’s voice (character on the show, played by Catriona Balfe), and not make the show too repetitive, or weigh down the pacing of the show with too much explication and voice over.

As a souvenir from the workshop, Writer Mark Altman and his writing partner, Edward Gross had signed copies of their book “So Say We All.” A complete, uncensored unauthorized oral history of Battlestar Galactic. The copy of the book is available via a contest to Once Upon A Twilight subscribers

Waiting on Wednesday: Last Seen by Sara Shepard - #TheAmateurs

Waiting on Wednesday 

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Series: The Amateurs #3
Author: Sara Shepard
Release Date: November 6th 2018
Publisher: Freeform | Disney Book Group
At first, the mystery they’re tasked with seems to have nothing to do with Aerin or her kidnapper. But as Seneca, Maddox, and Madison hit the Jersey Shore to gather clues, they begin to uncover the true background of the killer and the horrors that shaped him into who he is. The scavenger hunt leads them to the family of a recently kidnapped boy, a serial child-snatcher, and dark secrets they could never have seen coming.

As Aerin struggles to play nice with the person who killed her sister in order to buy herself time, her friends work feverishly against the ticking clock that could mean her life, and every clue they uncover leads Seneca to suspect she's more connected to the killer's history than she ever realized.
SARA SHEPARD is the author of the first and second book in this series, The Amateurs and Follow Me, as well as two New York Times bestselling series, Pretty Little Liars and The Lying Game, and the series The Perfectionists. She graduated from NYU and has an MFA from Brooklyn College. Visit her online at @sarabooks on Twitter and Snapchat, and @saracshepard on Instagram. 

Praise for The Amateurs:
“Chilling and romantic and full of surprises.”
—Cecily von Ziegesar, New York Times best-selling author of the Gossip Girl series

“A delicious and suspenseful page-turner. I want more!”
—I. Marlene King, Executive Producer, Pretty Little Liars

Giveaway: The Brightest Stars by Anna Todd - #TheBrightestStars

The Brightest Stars
Published by Frayed Pages, Inc.
In Stores September 18, 2018
Internationally bestselling author Anna Todd returns with a gripping novel about a young woman’s quest to keep her family together, despite the lies that are tearing them apart.

Karina knows the harsh realities of military life. And like anyone who has grown up around an army base, she knows the background noise that follows a soldier home from war. That’s why she’s forging her own quiet life in her own little house. But she hasn’t turned her back on her family. She’s the glue that holds them together—when her father is deployed, when her brother, Austin, has another brush with the law.

Karina knows that she has to look after herself, that she can’t always fix what’s broken. But when Austin’s behavior worsens and her father’s reactions grow more extreme, Karina feels her own edges beginning to fray. That’s when she meets him—a closed book she’s desperate to open.

At just twenty, Kael is a handsome, brooding soldier struggling with the aftermath of two tours in Afghanistan. He’s emotionally damaged and closed off. Quiet doesn’t begin to describe him. But as Karina gets used to his stable presence, she finds it hard to ignore the way he makes her feel. In their time together, she finds the stillness she has always wanted and never found. She lets down her guard. And she lets herself fill in the blanks about this mysterious man.

But illusions quickly made are quickly shattered. That’s when Karina has to find her own courage—to untangle the truth from the lies, and decide what she’s going to do about it.

A riveting story about the love and lies, THE BRIGHTEST STARS will stay with you long after the last page has been turned.

About the Author
Anna Todd is the New York Times bestselling author of the After series, The Spring Girls and the upcoming The Brightest Stars. Always an avid reader, she began writing stories on her phone on Wattpad, the reading and writing multiplatform for original stories, with After becoming the most read series on the platform with over 1.5 billion reads. The print edition was published in 2014. It has been published in over 30 languages, with more than 11 million copies sold worldwide, and is a #1 bestseller in Italy, Germany, France and Spain. The film adaptation, which Anna is co-producing, is set to be released in early 2019. Anna and her husband currently live in Los Angeles.

Find her at AnnaTodd.com, on Twitter at @imaginator1d, on Instagram at @imaginator1d, and on Wattpad as Imaginator1D.

Get A Sneak Peek!
Click here to download chapter 1 of The Brightest Stars

Social Media
Visit the Official Website
Follow the author on Twitter and Instagram
Find the author on Wattpad

Anna Todd, is partnering with me for a giveaway.

Shine bright! One (1) winner receives: 

Giveaway open to US addresses only.
Prizing and samples provided by Anna Todd.

Book Review: The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox

The Witch of Willow Hall
Author: Hester Fox
Reading Level: Adult Fiction
Genres: Gothic | Historical | Mystery
Released: October 2nd 2018
Review Source: Graydon House via Netgalley

For fans of The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman, A Secret of Witches by Louisa Morgan and The Haunting of Maddie Clare by Simone St.James comes an addictive historical debut about strange power, fierce love, family secrets, and how the past haunts us in ways that demand to be seen.

When a scandal sends the affluent Montroses fleeing from their home in Boston and into rural seclusion at the stately Willow Hall, daughter Lydia resents the move. Especially when it becomes obvious that Willow Hall hides dark secrets that no one in the Montrose family anticipated. And when tragedy strikes, the sinister presence lurking in the house and its surrounding woods starts encroaching on the Montrose’s lives. Summoning powers she barely understands, Lydia must engage the forces around her to keep her family safe, while protecting the blossoming love she has with her father’s handsome business partner, John—who has secrets of his own.

The Witch of Willow Hall is a gripping historical fiction with the elements of a classic Gothic novel including thrills, chills, magic and drama. It reminded me of mash-up between The Scarlet Letter and Jane Eyre with the magic of Harry Potter or The Raven Boys thrown in. I truly enjoyed this book.

The Witch of Willow Hall takes place in the 1800s, after the Salem witch trials. When scandal surrounds Lydia Montrose's family, they is forced to flee Boston, and while it's her sister's fault she feels as if she is branded too, like Hester Prynne tarnished those who associated with her in The Scarlet Letter. In the country she discovers a new part of herself, something she thought she left buried as a child, something that scares her. It was really Lydia and her willful obtuseness which frustrated me the most while reading. She would acknowledge her powers or something that happened then turn around and make excuses, pretend it never happened and act surprised when someone else doesn't ignore them as she does. I'm a big fan of character development and I felt that besides Lydia and her sister, John Barret is the only other character with any sort of development. All others seemed static and shallow in comparison.

I loved the mystique of Willow Hall and John Barrett (tall, dark, handsome and brooding...yes, please!) and the overall story was very engaging, but it also felt more like a book to the beginning of a series or duology and many things were left unanswered or open as the book was quickly ended after a long build-up. But there was a great romance in the story which reminded me of those found in the classics like Austen or Brontë novels. The Witch of Willow Hall is a quick and engaging read for anyone who like historical novels with a Gothic and magical twist that keeps you guessing.

“Hester Fox's THE WITCH OF WILLOW HALL offers a fascinating location, a great plot with history and twists, and characters that live and breathe. I love the novel, and will be looking forward to all new works by this talented author!" --Heather Graham,New York Times bestselling author

"Beautifully written, skillfully plotted, and filled with quiet terror, readers will devour this absorbing, Gothic tale of romance and suspense. Perfect for fans of Simone St James and Kate Morton." -- Anna Lee Huber, the national bestselling author of the historical Lady Darby Mysteries

"Beautifully written, with an intriguing plot full of suspense and mystery, The Witch of Willow Hall will cast a spell over every reader." -- Lisa Hall, author of Tell Me No Lies and Between You and Me

"I was entranced by this intriguing and spellbinding novel with its messages of love and loyalty and being true to who you really are. I hope Hester Fox goes on to write many more such novels--I for one will be buying them." -- Kathleen McGurl, author ofThe Girl from Ballymor 
"With its sense of creeping menace and chilling undertones, this compelling story had me gripped from the first page. The vividly drawn characters cast their spell so convincingly, I couldn't stop reading until I discovered what happened to them. A wonderful debut novel.”--Linda Finlay, author of The Flower Seller

Giveaway: The Storm Runner by J.C. Cervantes - #TheStormRunner

A Storm Runner Novel, Book 1
By J.C. Cervantes
Published by Rick Riordan Presents, an imprint of Disney Book Group
In Stores September 18, 2018
Recommended for ages 10-14
How can one boy with a limp stop the Maya god of death, disaster, and darkness from destroying the world?

Zane has always enjoyed exploring the dormant volcano near his home in New Mexico, even though hiking it is challenging. He'd much rather hang out there with his dog, Rosie, than go to middle school, where kids call him Sir Limps a Lot, McGimpster, or Uno – for his one good leg.

What Zane doesn't know is that the volcano is a gateway to another world and he is at the center of a powerful prophecy. A new girl at school, Brooks, informs him that he's destined to release an evil god from the ancient Maya relic he is imprisoned in--unless she can find and remove it first. Together they return to the volcano, where all kinds of crazy happens. Brooks turns into a hawk, a demon attacks them in a cave, and Rosie gives her all while trying to protect Zane. When Zane decides to save his dog no matter the cost, he is thrust into an adventure full of surprising discoveries, dangerous secrets, and an all-out war between the gods, one of whom happens to be his father.

To survive, Zane will have to become the Storm Runner. But how can he run when he can't even walk well without a cane?

About Rick Riordan Presents
The Rick Riordan Presents imprint is dedicated to providing entertaining middle grade fiction based on various world mythologies. Rick Riordan is involved in the selection, editing, and promotion of these books, working with great authors to tell exciting stories inspired by the mythologies of their own heritages. Learn more about the imprint and its current and upcoming titles on their official site

About the Author
J. C. Cervantes is the author of Tortilla Sun, which was called "a beautiful and engaging debut" by Kirkus, an "imaginative, yet grounded novel" by Publishers Weekly, and "lean and lightly spiced with evocative metaphor" by School Library JournalTortilla Sun was a 2010 New Voices pick by the American Booksellers Association and it was named to Bank Street's 2011 Best Book List. When Jennifer isn't reading or writing, she helping her husband with his gubernatorial campaign.

Learn more about the book at ReadRiordan.com

The purchase-page of your choice!

Hashtag #TheStormRunner
Tag @ReadRiordan on Twitter | Facebook | Instagram
On Twitter, additionally tag @DisneyHyperion and @jencerv

On Instagram, additionally tag @DisneyBooks and @authorjcervantes
Disney Book Group, sent me a copy to check out, and is partnering with me for a giveaway.

One (1) winner will receive a trio of introductory mythology tales from a variety of cultures, including:
  • The Storm Runner by J.C. Cervantes;
  • Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi;
  • and The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan!

Giveaway open to US addresses only.
Prizing and samples provided by Disney Book Group.

Book Review: Presidio by Randy Kennedy

Author: Randy Kennedy
Read By: George Newbern
Reading Level: Adult Fiction
Genres: Mystery | Suspense | Thrillers
Released: August 21st 2018
Review Source: Simon & Schuster Audio

Set in the 1970s in the vast and arid landscape of the Texas panhandle, this darkly comic and stunningly mature literary debut tells the story of a car thief and his brother who set out to recover some stolen money and inadvertently kidnap a Mennonite girl who has her own reasons for being on the run.

Troy Falconer returns home after years of working as a solitary car thief to help his younger brother, Harlan, search for his wife, who has run away with the little money he had. When they steal a station wagon for the journey, the brothers accidentally kidnap Martha Zacharias, a Mennonite girl asleep in the back of the car. Martha turns out to be a stubborn survivor who refuses to be sent home, so together these unlikely road companions attempt to escape across the Mexican border, pursued by the police and Martha’s vengeful father.

The story is told partly through Troy’s journal, in which he chronicles his encounters with con artists, down-and-outers, and roadside philosophers, people looking for fast money, human connection, or a home long since vanished. The journal details a breakdown that has left Troy unable to function in conventional society; he is reduced to haunting motels, stealing from men roughly his size, living with their possessions in order to have none of his own and all but disappearing into their identities.

With a page-turning plot about a kidnapped child, gorgeously written scenes that probe the soul of the American West, and an austere landscape as real as any character, Presidio packs a powerful punch of anomie, dark humor, pathos, and suspense.

Presidio is the story of a car thief named Troy who is returning home to help his brother Harlan track someone down. Turns out Harlan’s wife has run off with all of his money, and Troy feels an obligation to help out after years of being off on his own. I enjoyed getting to know Troy through his journal entries mixed into the book. It is a bit strange to remember that there was a time without surveillance everyone and someone could just hop from motel to motel, stealing cars and clothes and whatever else. The descriptions of the small towns in the Texas desert were so vivid and accurate I felt like I was back in one. 

I felt the story was very well written and moved right along, and I really enjoyed it as an audio book. The narrator, George Newbern, has just a hint of a Texas accent, which sounded perfect for the characters. There was enough of a difference in each character voice to tell them apart as well. I was a little sad when the story was over as I wanted it to just keep going.

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