Diverse December TBR

Hey all, Dani here.

I think I’m ready for all the food I’m going to eat tomorrow. I have two, possibly three, Thanksgiving meals to attend. But before I can enjoy the holiday and then my weekend, I have to make it through this last work shift. Naturally I pass the time by thinking about books.

Anyway, my buddy Kathy over at Books & Munches is hosting this fun reading challenge in the month of December called Diverse December. The basic concept is to read as many diverse books as you can in the month. What’s fun for me with this idea is that my recommendations post next week actually is about diverse reads.

Now, I absolutely do not believe that I will make it through all of these books in December, but this is an idea of some of the books I’m hoping to read next month. Obviously I do also have some NetGalley review copies to read and all that, but I’m hoping to finish my year off strong and really boost my total number of books read for 2017. This may be fairly easy considering that I am off work the whole last week of the year and plan to read as much as possible in that time.

Let’s just go ahead and list off the books I might be reading next month.

First off, The Librarian of Auschwitz sounds like such an important and interesting read. I think it qualifies as a diverse read because I am not Jewish, so it is a different culture for me to read about. Mask of Shadows follows a gender fluid main character and it has been high on my TBR for months. Then there’s And I Darken, which I’ve heard amazing things about and apparently there is a potential gay relationship, though I’ve heard that has a greater focus in the sequel.

Okay, so Phantom Pains has a diverse cast of characters, most of whom are dealing with some sort of psychological diagnosis. For example, the main protagonist is a double amputee who deals with borderline personality disorder. I’ve been wanting to read Heroine Complex for a few months now but keep putting it off. Well, it features a main character who is an Asian-American, so it definitely fits the qualifications for Diverse December. And The Upside of Unrequited has at least a girl-girl romance and possibly more. Plus I’ve been wanting to give Becky Albertalli another try because while I liked Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda, it didn’t quite meet my expectations.

Two teenage secret agents sent to seduce one teenage girl and they end up falling for each other instead. Yeah, I’ve been wanting to read The Love Interest for a while. Next is a John Green book, and honestly I hadn’t originally planned on reading this. Then I read some wonderful reviews, ones that praised the mental health representation in the book, so I’m going to give it a try. Of course, I also still need/want to read The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue. I have heard so many wonderful things about this story, and I need to stop putting it off.

In this final batch of TBR possibilities, I have When Dimple Met Rishi, which I’ve heard is a cute contemporary read, and the two main characters are Indian-American. Next is the middle grade novel for Lumberjanes. Now I love the graphic novels and I’ve heard great things about this story too. And I know that a couple of the Lumberjanes start a relationship together, so we’ll see if that ends up in the books too. The Hate U Give is a story I have been hearing about all year, and I think its focus on police brutality and the black lives matter movement is important. Actually, I should probably have Dear Martin on this list for the same reason. Finally, my last option is A Closed and Common Orbit. I have gushed repeatedly about the wonderful political, racial, religious, and sexuality diversity in the first book of this series, so I’m expecting this one to be more of the same. We’ll see what happens.

Okay, that is all for my TBR possibilities in December. Hmm…adding Dear Martin to this list, I have almost challenged myself to read 14 books. Will I succeed? So long as I read a few books then I’ll consider it a success, but if I could read all of these, that would be an amazing end to 2017. I suppose if all goes well I’ll have a lot of book reviews coming soon enough.

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Awesome Blogger Award

Hey all, Dani here.

Thanks to a clever blanket tag by Holly at Nut Free Nerd, I was tagged/nominated for this award last month. What’s also nice is that I purposefully chose a lot of tags anyway to help fill up my blog schedule for November so I could spend more brain power on writing. Anyway, Holly is awesome herself so please go check out her blog. She has been posting some fantastic updates about her experience as she studies abroad at Oxford University (can I say that I’m pretty jealous of her for that?) I’m glad she’s been doing all these Holly Goes Abroad posts because it means I get to live vicariously through her blog.

Ahem, well now that I have all that out of the way, let’s move on to this award post. The Awesome Blogger Award is described as: “This is an award for the absolutely wonderful writers all across the blogging world. They have beautiful blogs, are kind and lovely, and always find a way to add happiness and laughter to the lives of their readers. That is what truly defines an awesome blogger.”

The Rules

  1. Thank the person who nominated you.
  2. Include the reason behind the award.
  3. Include the banner in your post.
  4. Tag it under #awesomebloggeraward in the Reader.
  5. Answer the questions your nominator gave you.
  6. Nominate at least 5 awesome bloggers.
  7. Give your nominees 10 new questions to answer.
  8. Let your nominees know that they’ve been nominated.

Q&A

  1. What’s at the top of your bucket list?
    Well, I know this is a bit generic, but traveling. There are so many places I’d love to visit, and so many sites to explore and foods to try.

  2. What’s your favorite podcast?
    To be honest, I don’t listen to podcasts, at least not right now. But for a while I was listening to Sword & Laser, which is a podcast book club that reads fantasy and science fiction books and discusses other news in the SFF book world. Oh, and I suppose I should mention that they’ve been going through the Critical Role web series and condensing the 3+ hour long episodes into hour long podcast episodes. They have 70 episodes out of the 114 condensed already, so that’s worth a try. Oh, and I have a coworker who has a geek/nerd news podcast called Nerd Overload, and that’s pretty cool too.

  3. Do you have any pets?
    Sadly, I do not. But my brother has a six year old German Shepard named Jager, and my boyfriend has an adorable Pit Bull named Roxie. Oh, and my brother’s ex (who is my mom’s neighbor three doors down) is someone we still think of as part of the family and she has two Australian Shepards named Austin and Kolby. 
  4. What was your favorite game to play when you were a kid?
    Make believe? Do you guys consider that to be a game? I spent a lot of time playing make believe and acting out all sorts of adventures, either by myself or with a few friends. Or, if that doesn’t count…I guess Rummy or Parcheesi or Yahtzee or Go Fish.

  5. What was the last restaurant you went to?
    Well I’m writing this post up a few days early, but I did go to Taco Bell after I finished doing my laundry, but it was just a drive thru purchase. If you mean actually going into a restaurant and eating then I guess it was Mi Jalepeno, this Mexican restaurant near where I live.

  6. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?
    Ireland or Italy.

  7. What’s your favorite musical artist/band?
    Hmmm….my favorite band is probably Epica. I listen to their music quite a bit while I’m writing.

  8. What TV series did you most recently finish?
    Well, I’m almost finished with Avatar: The Last Airbender, so I’ll just go ahead and count it for this question. I’ll be starting The Legend of Korra soon. Oh, and I guess The Punisher just dropped on Netflix so I’ll be watching that soon too.

  9. What book would you recommend to EVERYONE?
    There are so many to recommend. Have you looked at my series of recommendation posts? But, if I have to choose one book, that book is Dreamworld by Rachel E Kelly. Yes, technically it is the fifth book in a seven book series, but it is written in a way so that you can be a longtime fan or brand new and you’ll still enjoy it. Plus, once you’ve read it, I’m pretty sure you’ll want to go back and read the rest of the series.

  10. Do you prefer dark, milk, or white chocolate?
    Milk chocolate, followed by white. I only rarely eat dark chocolate.

Nominations

As it has been basically all November, if you would like to answer the questions then I am nominating YOU for this award. I think all of you following my blog are awesome bloggers as well, so why not share the awesomeness around.

My Questions

  1. What is your dream job?
  2. If you had to live in a book/book series for one year, which would you want to live in?
  3. What is a book that you absolutely need to read by the end of 2017?
  4. Here’s a random question: what’s your favorite color?
  5. Would you rather live in a city or in the country?
  6. Do you prefer coffee, tea, or cocoa?
  7. What is your reading goal for 2018?
  8. Sunrises or sunsets?
  9. What book do you think everyone should read?
  10. How are you doing today?

Okay, well that’s all for today. Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll see you tomorrow with another bookish post.

Review: The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty

Hey all, Dani here.

I am so mad at myself for not reading this book back in June after I picked it up at BookExpo. Is that statement a good indicator of how I felt about this book? I hope it is, because this book was outstanding! I know I haven’t even really gotten into the review portion yet, but if you want to just jump down to the purchase links and get your copy of this right now, I won’t even mind. This book is so worth the read.

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Summary

Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles.

But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to accept that the magical world she thought only existed in childhood stories is real. For the warrior tells her a new tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire, and rivers where the mythical marid sleep; past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises, and mountains where the circling hawks are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass–a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound.

In that city, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, she learns that true power is fierce and brutal. That magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics. That even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences.

After all, there is a reason they say be careful what you wish for…

My Thoughts

Rating: ALL THE STARS! *ahem* 5 stars

This book is over 500 pages of awesome. I loved the descriptions, the setting, the magic, the politics, the mythology, the history, the culture…just the whole package all wrapped together is fantastic. It makes me so happy that this is the first book of a trilogy.

So, inside my ARC copy from BookExpo, it says that this book is as “thrilling, bewitching, and original as The Night Circus, The Wrath and the Dawn, An Ember in the Ashes, Uprooted, and The Queen of the Tearling.” Of those I have read all but the Tearling trilogy, and I agree with the assessment. I was swept away into this world, much in the way that I was with The Night Circus and The Wrath and the Dawn. I wanted to just keep reading and stay in the vivid and lush world that Chakraborty created with her expertly crafted phrases.

Basically, if it wasn’t for the fact that I had just finished a 12 hour shift and desperately needed sleep, I probably would have stayed up all night reading this. But I did the rational adult option and went to sleep and then read more of the book over the next couple days. What was nice about that was that I felt like I was really absorbing and understanding what was happening, instead of just blankly reading the words, which is what most likely would have happened if I was reading while really tired.

All in all, I loved this book. I definitely recommend it. And…can I have the sequel already?!?

Where to Buy

You can pick this book up at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore.

The 18th TBR Purge Post

Hey all, Dani here.

Happy Sunday! Everyone, I’m starting to get really excited. We’re only a few days away from Thanksgiving here in the US, and I already know that I am going to eat WAY TOO MUCH FOOD. Okay, so Thanksgiving is my mom’s favorite holiday, and it’s also important to my boyfriend’s stepmom. So we have to make appearances at both meals. Thankfully my mom prefers to eat around 1 pm, while my boyfriend’s stepmom is more of a 7pm or so mealtime. But my boyfriend is also talking about stopping by his aunt and uncle’s place, and that means I’ll probably end up eating three big holiday meals. It will be interesting.

Anyway, you aren’t here to listen to me ramble on about holidays and food. We’re here to talk books, or rather discuss the overwhelmingly large TBR list that I was drowning under. The more I purge out the to-read list, the better I feel. It is dropping to a much more manageable number.

Okay, well on to the next 30 books from my list.

Brighter Than the Sun by Darynda Jones. I’ve established before that I have a lot of catching up to do with this series, because I’ve only read the first three books. Until I’m in the mood to read them again, and even more than that, until I read the books between where I am and where this one falls in the series, I don’t need it cluttering up my list. Goodbye for now.

Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson. Now here’s where my bookish sensibilities might seem odd, seeing as how I just eliminated a book from my list because it is later in the series and I’m not there yet. Because I’m still reading the original Mistborn trilogy, and this book is part of the second trilogy. But, I do love Sanderson’s writing and worldbuilding, and no matter what I will read all of his books, so this one is staying on the list.

Between the Blade and the Heart by Amanda Hocking. This is going to be the first book in a Valkyrie duology, and I do enjoy Hocking’s writing, so I’m going to give this one a try.

Lion’s Share and Hunt by Rachel Vincent. Hunt is the bridge between the Shifters series and the Wildcats spin-off series. I still have most of the Shifters series to read, if I ever get in the mood to read them, so for now these can go.

Crystal StormImmortal Reign, The Darkest Magic, and The Cursed Heir by Morgan Rhodes. I need to try and do a series re-read/binge read at the end of this year through the beginning of next year so I can be refreshed on everything when Immortal Reign, the final book, releases in February. Plus, I need to actually read the spin-off books as well.

Soldier, Legion, and Inferno by Julie Kagawa. I am a big fan of Julie Kagawa so the rest of her Talon Saga that follows both dragons and dragon hunters is still a must-read for me.

Bloodwitch and Witchlands #4 by Susan Dennard. I’m already looking forward to reading her next release, Sightwitch, so clearly I enjoy the world of the Witchlands.

Frost Like Night by Sara Raasch. I really need to get around to finishing this trilogy.

Forsaken by S.J. Harper. I’ve basically decided that the first book was okay, but I’m not feeling inspired to continue this series anymore. Goodbye.

If Found, Return to Astropop by Lucas Hargis. This is a friend of mine and one of the writers in my NaNoWriMo region. I so cannot wait for the release of his first book, so obviously I am keeping this one on my to-read list. I suppose this is where I should also ask for you lovely readers to go check out this book on Goodreads and if it looks interesting, add it to your to-read lists. Thanks everyone.

The Younger Gods by Michael R. Underwood. I’ve really enjoyed his Ree Reyes series and his Genrenauts stories, but I’m not really feeling in the mood to read this one just now.

Sweep in Peace by Ilona Andrews. I haven’t read the first book in this series yet, so this one can leave the list until I’m sure I like the previous installment.

Proposal by Meg Cabot. This is the novella that takes place right before Remembrance, which I currently assume is the actual conclusion to the Mediator series. While I’m sure I should read this, right now I’m going to remove it from my list, at least until I actually reach the point where I want to finish this series.

The Forbidden Heir by M.J. Scott. I adored the first book and anticipated this one’s release, which was delayed a couple times. But it is out now and I hope to read it soon.

The Writer’s Guide to Weapons: A Practical Reference for Using Firearms and Knives in Fiction by Benjamin Sobieck. I own this book and I’ll be keeping it on my writing reference shelves, but I’m not feeling the desire to read it cover to cover. Probably I’ll just look up the relevant information when I need it.

Now Write! Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Horror: Speculative Genre Exercises from Today’s Best Writers and Teachers by Laurie Lamson. Again, I own this and have it on my writing reference shelves, but I don’t see myself reading the whole book in one go.

Radiance by Catherynne M Valente. Yes, this one still sounds fascinating. I’m going to read it at some point.

The Dirt on Ninth Grave and The Curse of Tenth Grave by Darynda Jones. The same reasoning I gave at the beginning of this post applies to these ones. It’s going to be a while before I get close to being ready to read these.

Shadow Rites by Faith Hunter. I really need to binge-read the rest of the Jane Yellowrock series. I just keep pushing it off. I am going to read them all eventually.

Blood of the Earth by Faith Hunter. This is the first of the Soulwood novels, a spin-off to the Jane Yellowrock series, and honestly, as much as I enjoy Jane, Nell’s adventures just sound more interesting to me. I can’t wait to read this one.

Grave Visions by Kalayna Price. I’ve only read the first of this series, and this is the fourth. At this point, I have no idea when/if I’ll get around to continuing on with this…so for now, goodbye.

Bitter Blue by Jennifer Estep. Previous experience has taught me that I cannot binge-read this series. If I read one of these books then I have to wait a month or two before I pick up the next one. Gin Blanco, the main protagonist, is fond of repeating the same phrases and giving the same information over and over again, and that gets annoying if you read those details too often, so I need breaks. I will make it up to this book at some point, but I think I’m currently on book six or seven, so it will be a while. Goodbye.

Okay, well that is all for today. I kept 17/30 books, but several of those books I’m hoping to get moved over to my read list soon enough.

TBR Purge #17

Hey all, Dani here.

Is it just me or has this year flown by? How are we halfway finished with November already? Of course, I can say that 2017 has been a pretty great year and I’m really looking forward to seeing what will happen in 2018. Part of my planning for 2018 is that I want to get my TBR list cleaned out so I can start next year a bit more organized and such. So today I’m sorting through the next 30 books on my to-read list and then tomorrow I’ll be back with another 30 books.

Let’s get started already.

Silver on the Road by Laura Anne Gilman. The Wild West. A girl who starts working for the devil in this territory. He’s basically a crossroads deal-making demon/devil, and I so want to give this book a try.

Citadel of the Sky by Chrysoula Tzavelas. I got this book from a Kickstarter campaign because it sounded interesting, and my copy is a signed one, so I still want to read it.

Healer’s Touch by Amy Raby. I own this, and I’ve read the trilogy of traditionally published books set in this world; I just never continued on with the books Raby released later. I’ll probably still read it at some point, but I don’t know when so this one can leave the list for now. The same can be said for The Fire Seer and Her Quradum, also by Raby. The first book was all right but I have no idea when I’ll decide to pick up this second one.

White Hot by Ilona Andrews. I need to read the first book to determine if I’ll move on to this one, so I can take it off my list for now.

City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett. Yeah, this one still sounds fascinating. Definitely keeping it.

Zero World by Jason M Hough. Hmm…maybe at some point I’ll get in the right mood to pick this one up, but for right now it’s a pass.

Endsinger and Godsgrave and Nevernight #3 by Jay Kristoff. I still need to read the second book in the Lotus War trilogy so I can get rid of Endsinger for now, but I need a reread of Nevernight so I can get around to its sequel. For now the third book in that series can be taken off my list.

Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone. I’m just not interested in this one right now.

Revisionary by Jim C. Hines. I really need to finish the Magic Ex Libris series, so this one has to stay on my list.

The Weeping Books of Blinney Lane by Drea Damara. The first time I tried to read this, I couldn’t focus on it properly so I gave up halfway through. But I met Drea at Chicago Comic Con and she was a really nice person, so I am definitely giving this one another try.

Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh. This book has been delayed indefinitely while Allie deals with some personal issues and such. But I thought her first book was fantastic, so this one will continue to stay on my list.

City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennett. Obviously this one can be taken off my list until I read City of Stairs. Also, have we noticed just how many books there are out there with the title “City of ________”? There are soo many of them.

The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan and Maureen Johnson. Umm…it’s a collection of stories about Magnus Bane. Of course I want to read it still.

Fables, Volumes 6-10 by Bill Willingham. Obviously, I just discussed this series in my graphic novel recommendations, so I really need to work on finishing this series. Maybe that will be a goal for 2018.

Princeless, Vol 1: Save Yourself by Jeremy Whitley. I love the idea of this: a princess who is tired of waiting to be rescued so she teams up with a dragon and some friends to go on an adventure. Yes, please. I need to read this.

Chartile: Prophecy by Cassandra Morgan. This is another of my purchases from comic con, and I do want to try and read all of my con purchases, so keep.

Teammates by Ray Wenck. Ray had the booth next to me for the first con I went to as an author. Even though he writes books that aren’t exactly something I would normally pick up, he was a really cool guy, and I bought this to support him, so I need to read it.

The Last Dream Keeper by Amber Benson. I still need to read the first book in this trilogy, so this one can be taken off the list for a while.

Guardian’s Secret by Amy Raby. This one is going for the same reason that Healer’s Touch did earlier in this post.

Queen of Wands and Queen of Pentacles by Katee Robert. I did like the first book in this space-y romance series, and I may come back around to read these at some point in the future, but for now it’s a pass.

Rising Fire and Raging Sea by Terri Brisbin. Yep, I still really want to read this whole trilogy. Keeping both of these.

Okay, so I’m only getting rid of 12 of the 30 books this time around. Still, it’s progress. I’ll be back tomorrow with another set of titles for possible purging from my to-read list.

Most Anticipated Releases Winter 2017

Hey all, Dani here.

I can’t believe that I’m already posting my most anticipated releases for the winter months. Pretty soon we’ll all be writing 2018 for the date. Anyway, I have quite a few books to talk about today, all of them releasing in December, January, or February.

First up: December

Obviously I am excited for a couple graphic novel releases because they are series I try and keep up with. Then there’s the newest Kasie West contemporary release. I’ve only read two Kasie West books, both of them this year, and I enjoyed them, so I’m curious to see what other cutesy romances she’ll come up with. Finally, there’s a sequel to a Russian folklore story I read at the beginning of the year, and I’m so excited to read about what happens next. The first one was a surprise favorite of mine.

Lumberjanes, Vol 7 (Dec 12), Love, Life, and the List (Dec 26), Ms Marvel, Vol 8 (Dec 26), and The Girl in the Tower (Dec 5). Now, I will say that for The Girl in the Tower I was granted access to an e-galley through NetGalley and then I was sent an ARC from the publisher, so expect a review very soon.

Next up is January, and oh boy, I have a lot of anticipated releases. I guess it’s a good thing that I mostly get B&N gift cards for Christmas. I have a few sequels to books I enjoyed, the newest installment in one of my favorite graphic novels, a handful of awesome sounding fantasy reads, and a couple contemporary stories. The way this anticipated list is looking, I don’t think I need to worry about coming up with a TBR list. I’ll have plenty to read over the month.

Everless (Jan 2), Sightwitch (Jan 23), The Wicked + The Divine, Vol 6 (Jan 16), The Hazel Wood (Jan 30), Thunderhead (Jan 9), The Cruel Prince (Jan 2), Love, Hate and Other Filters (Jan 16), Don’t Cosplay with my Heart (Jan 2), Reign the Earth (Jan 30), Zenith (Jan 16), Gunslinger Girl (Jan 2), and The Forgotten Book (Jan 2). Currently I was approved through NetGalley for Reign the Earth and The Forgotten Book, and I have ARCs from BookExpo for Zenith and Gunslinger Girl, so expect reviews for those coming in December and early January. I’m still really hoping to be approved by NetGalley for Love, Hate and Other Filters so we’ll see what happens.

Whew, and finally there’s February. There’s yet another graphic novel release, as well as the conclusion to the Falling Kingdoms series. Then, considering my Hamilton obsession, I had to add the book about his friendship with Peggy Schuyler. Of course, who could say no to an awesome lady gladiator book. Oh, and considering how much I loved Ashley Poston’s Geekerella, her newest release is definitely an auto-buy for me. Finally Rachel Caine has teamed up with Ann Aguirre for a science-fiction story that I’m really looking forward to.

Lumberjanes, Vol 8 (Feb 20), Honor Among Thieves (Feb 13), The Defiant (Feb 13), Heart of Iron (Feb 27), Hamilton and Peggy! (Feb 13), and Immortal Reign (Feb 6).

All right, I think that does it for my post today. What upcoming releases are you looking forward to? Let me know in the comments.

Recommendations: Graphic Novels

Hey all, Dani here.

It’s Thursday again, and that means that it is time for another round of book recommendations. I have topics planned for these through the end of the year, and I’ve started to create some more options so I can keep this series going in the new year.

The recommendation posts I’ve done so far are: banned books, LGBTQ+, fantasy, paranormal, romance, sci-fi, and historical.

Right now I have these topics scheduled for the rest of 2017: classics, diverse reads, contemporary, memoir/biography/non-fiction, urban fantasy, and poetry.

So far for 2018, I have: time travel, standalones, duologies, trilogies, and series. If there are any other recommendation list topics you’d like to suggest, please let me know in the comments.

Okay, so now I’m going to jump into my recommendations. To be clear for this I am including comic bind-ups as well, as they are commonly referred to as graphic novels as well.

Sandman by Neil Gaiman. I finally finished this series this year and it is so wonderful and complex. Seriously, there are so many diverse characters, an interesting mythology, and a wide variety of story types. This can sometimes be seen with the difference in art styles as well. There are some story arcs that fit more into a historical genre or mystery or fantasy, etc. Each member of Dream’s family is fascinating, and this is a 10 volume collection I know I will read again, and I’m sure I’ll pick up details I missed the first time around.

Fables by Bill Willingham. This is a series I would absolutely recommend to people who like fairy tales, especially people who are fans of the TV show Once Upon a Time. I was recommended this series from a friend at work and I’m glad I gave it a shot. My favorite character is Bigby Wolf, otherwise known as the Big Bad Wolf. Let me tell you, the relationship that develops between him and Snow White is awesome. I’m not going to lie; I made a werewolf stuffed animal at Build-a-Bear and named it Bigby Werewolf. Basically, I’m saying that these are a fun take on fairy tales in the modern world and they are fantastic. I need to finish this series. It is certainly on my to-do list.

Rat Queens by Kurtis J Wiebe. I’m pretty sure I’ve gushed about these foul-mouthed and violent female adventurers many times already, but I’m going to mention them again here. If you like fantasy adventures, particularly a D&D-esque quest style story, this may be the series for you. To quote the description for the Volume 1 bind-up, Sass and Sorcery, this series follows: “Hannah the Rockabilly Elven Mage, Violet the Hipster Dwarven Fighter, Dee the Atheist Human Cleric and Betty the Hippy Smidgen Thief.” Let me just say that I would absolutely love to go on an adventure with these ladies. (Actually I think it would be awesome and probably hilarious if Betty ran into my lawful nice dwarven life cleric). Anyway, just give this series a shot. It is so worth it.

Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson. This series also follows a group of female adventurers, but they are more girl scouts than a crass adventuring party. Instead we follow Jo, April, Mal, Molly, and Ripley, as they spend the summer at camp and have all sorts of grand adventures, running into merfolk, bear people, and all sorts of other supernatural mischief. Really it is a fun story of friendship and is absolutely a worthwhile read.

Saga by Brian K Vaughan. So this recommendation works for fans of fantasy, fans of science fiction, and fans of romance. This is a Romeo and Juliet type story following a woman from a planet called Landfall and a man from Landfall’s moon called Wreath. The war between the two races has moved and expanded and has consumed what seems like most of the galaxy. But Alana and Marko end up falling in love and having a baby together, which makes them both targets from both sides of the war. What’s really fun about this space adventure that features technology and magic and ghosts (and sex and violence) and so much more, is that the narrator of this story is Alana and Marko’s daughter, Hazel. Come on, it’s a science fantasy romance adventure story. What more do you need?

The Wicked + The Divine by Kieron Gillen. Are you a fan of gods and mythology? Well then this series might be the one for you. “Every 90 years 12 gods incarnate as humans. They are loved. They are hated. In two years, they are dead.” Why do they incarnate every 90 years? Why do they die in two years? Which gods appear in the series? This is such a fascinating story, where these god incarnates are celebrities, but just because they are powerful, it doesn’t mean that they will live forever. I don’t want to say anything to spoil any of the plot lines, but this is definitely one of my favorite series.

Scott Pilgrim by Bryan Lee O’Malley. Everything on this list is something I have been introduced to at some point in the last few years. Scott Pilgrim is the newest (to me) of all of these. I saw the movie and read all 6 volumes for the first time this year thanks to my boyfriend. It is a fun geeky somewhat video-game inspired adventure tale, following Scott Pilgrim as he takes on all of Ramona Flower’s exes for the right to date her. Yes it is sometimes absurd, but I really enjoyed the humor and fun of it all. This is also one of the few times in my life where I saw the movie before I read the source material. Turns out that I like both of them, so I’d say they are both worth checking out.

Well, that’s about all for today. I’m currently about an hour into a 12 hour shift at work, so I think I’m going to see how much reading and/or writing I can get done before I go home. Hopefully I read enough to get another book review up tomorrow. If not then I’ll have a book tag up.

NaNoWriMo Update

Hey all, Dani here.

Perhaps this should be titled something more appropriate…like “I’m Completely Failing at NaNo This Year” or “How to Catch Up When You’re Behind.” Basically, I am really really behind on my word count this year.

To put this in perspective…I finally started working on my novel yesterday, so my word count is nothing too exciting.

In comparison, I have written 12,432 words on this blog so far this month. Oh, and that does not include the words written on today’s post.

Now, you may be wondering what my NaNoWriMo word count is. I’ll tell you, but you have been warned that it is low. My current word total is barely 1000 words. Yep, that’s right. I still haven’t even reached the goal for day one yet.

What that means is that I have a lot of catching up to do. But I know I can do it. I’ve been this far behind before, in several sessions of NaNo actually. In a majority of the last few years I have written 20-30K words in the final three or four days of the month. In my past 11 years of NaNo participation, I can honestly say that I have had several days where I wrote anywhere from 10-14K in a single day.

So, while catching up could be difficult, I also know that it is possible. I suppose what I mean this to highlight for any of you falling behind on your word count is that you are not alone, and you can still come out victorious by the end of the month.

Today I’m going to share just a few online writing tools that can help you increase your writing productivity.

First up: 750 words. This is a helpful site for year round writing. It technically has a site wide goal of writing 750 words each day, but I still find the reward system to be helpful for NaNo. Basically there is a scoring system based on bowling. For each day you achieve the goal of 750 words you earn a strike for the day, and for every day where you write something but don’t reach 750 words, you earn a spare. But more than that you can earn badges for writing several days in a row, for writing in the morning or the evening, for writing without stopping, and more. Sometimes working to earn badges can keep you motivated.

Next is for people who like positive reinforcement and rewards. Try Written? Kitten!  Don’t let the super simple site design scare you off. This can be a super helpful resource. Okay so you set a goal of 100, 200, 500, or 1000 words, and every time you hit that goal amount, you are rewarded with a picture of a cute little animal. The site has options for kittens, puppies, or bunnies, but there are also directions if you would like to choose a different animal.

Finally, for those of you who need that little jolt of panicked adrenaline if you stop writing, my favorite writing resource is Write or Die. I can’t even say how many words I’ve written because of this site. Actually, using this site was what started getting me in the habit of writing 10,000+ words in a day. I have purchased the desktop versions for the original Write or Die and Write or Die 2, and apparently Write or Die 3 is out now. But for the people who don’t want to pay like $10 for the desktop app, you can use the web version for free any time. Write or Die lets you set up either a time limit or a word goal, and also a grace period before any consequences begin. You can set it for annoying sounds, having your screen turn red, or even a mode that starts randomly deleting vowels (at least those were options with version 2). Write or Die 2 also saw the release for reward based writing instead of just consequence based, but I like that the negative reinforcement of the red screen or the nails on a chalkboard sound effects to keep me writing. Simply put, I don’t want to see or hear those things and so I just write and write and write until I’ve reached my goal.

So can I reach the 50,000 word goal by the end of November? Well there’s only one way to find out. I need to get a lot more writing in. So I’m off to put in a few sessions on Write or Die. Hopefully I can start catching up now that I’m finally ready to write.

Review: All’s Faire in Middle School

Hey all, Dani here.

Today I bring you a Middle Grade review, because though I am 29 years old, I still enjoy reading MG books. Plus, this one was really good.

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Summary

The author of Roller Girl is back with a graphic novel about starting middle school, surviving your embarrassing family, and the Renaissance Faire.

Eleven-year-old Imogene (Impy) has grown up with two parents working at the Renaissance Faire, and she’s eager to begin her own training as a squire. First, though, she’ll need to prove her bravery. Luckily Impy has just the quest in mind–she’ll go to public school after a life of being homeschooled! But it’s not easy to act like a noble knight-in-training in middle school. Impy falls in with a group of girls who seem really nice (until they don’t) and starts to be embarrassed of her thrift shop apparel, her family’s unusual lifestyle, and their small, messy apartment. Impy has always thought of herself as a heroic knight, but when she does something really mean in order to fit in, she begins to wonder whether she might be more of a dragon after all.

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

Okay, so I have to start off this review by saying that this is a graphic novel, and I didn’t realize that when I bought it. I still would have bought it regardless, because I like to read comics and graphic novels, but it was a bit of a surprise to flip past the title page and see all the cute art and speech bubbles, etc.

The premise of the story intrigued me. We follow a girl who has been homeschooled her whole life, and her parents work at the Florida Renaissance Faire. Impy has been waiting for the day when she gets to become a squire and do more than just work in her mom’s shoppe. When the queen calls for her and asks what quest she will undertake to prove her bravery so that she may be a squire, Impy decides that it is time to give up homeschooling and try going to middle school.

There she feels a bit out of sorts, and I connected with her as she tried to navigate the school and the cafeteria, and as she tried to make friends. So many times this story made me smile or made me feel upset for certain decisions made by the characters. The pressure to fit in and the pressure to impress friends is one I understood. There is the struggle to keep up with all the schoolwork and the fashion trends and all of the schoolyard gossip. Plus bullying is definitely a factor in this story as well.

More than that is also the family element. Impy doesn’t just have her mom, dad, and little brother. A lot of the regular cast members of the Renaissance Faire are also like family, and I liked how they were around to give Impy advice and to help her with her education, and to scold her when she needed it, but they also supported her at the same time.

I would actually be totally fine if Victoria Jamieson decided to do a sequel to this book. Does Impy stick with middle school or go back to homeschooling? How have things changed after the end of the story?

Personally I thought this was a cute, wonderful, and somewhat geeky story and I devoured it in a little more than an hour. I’m really glad I picked it up, and I’ll definitely look for more reads I might enjoy by the author in the future.

Where to Buy

You can pick up a copy of this book from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore.

The Sunshine Blogger Award

Hey all, Dani here.

Happy Monday everyone! Okay, so there are so many tags and awards that can be done multiple times, either because your answers change each season/year/whatever or because the person tagging you this time asks different questions than the last person who tagged you. This particular set of Sunshine Blogger Award questions comes from Marty over at The Cursed Books. I enjoyed her questions so much and she said if anyone wasn’t tagged but wanted to answer her questions anyway, they could, so here we are.

Let’s just go ahead and jump into the rules and then the questions.

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Rules

The Sunshine Blogger Award is given to bloggers who are creative, positive and inspiring. Once nominated, the blogger is required to write a post in which they

  1. Thank the person(s) that nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog
  2. Answer the 11 questions set by the people who nominated you
  3. Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions
  4. List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your page.

Questions

What is the most beautiful book cover you’ve ever seen?
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Come on, how could I not pick this stunning edition of The Name of the Wind? Then again, I know of several other beautiful covers I could probably mention on here. Maybe I’ll do a favorite book covers post in the future.

What is your favourite quote?

“Whatever you think you are, you are more than that” – Chris Baty, creator/founder of NaNoWriMo

What are some of your favourite bands/singers?

I have somewhat eclectic tastes in music sometimes, but some favorites include The Library Bards, Epica, Kamelot, Nightwish, Within Temptation, Amaranthe, Carrie Underwood, Evanescence, and Paramore.

What is your most hated book trope?

I don’t know about hated, but I dislike when a character is granted powers/abilities and can wield them with no issues and no training, and I dislike love triangles (mostly). The problem I have with love triangles is that a majority of the time it is quite obvious that the author and/or the main character has a preference for one of the romantic interests over the other. If you’re going to have a “good” love triangle then I want the candidates to be evenly matched; I want to struggle to decide which I like better the whole time I’m reading.

Any favourite hobbies besides reading?

D&D, cooking, bowling, board games and card games, binge-watching TV/movies

A book that you absolutely hated and everyone else loved it?

The list of books out there that I severely dislike is relatively short, but a couple books I’ve thought were just okay when others really seem to love them are the Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard, and Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli.

On what social media platform do you spend most of your time?

Here on WordPress? If that doesn’t count then probably Facebook, Twitter, or Goodreads.

What do you like the most about blogging?

I love being able to connect with the bookish community over our shared enjoyment of books and reading.

Who is your favourite female character? (you can pick more than one)

There are so many awesome female characters out there that this is a difficult question. Hermione Granger and Luna Lovegood (Harry Potter), Wendy (Colorworld), Diana Prince (Wonder Woman), Sydney Sage (Vampire Academy/Bloodlines), Hayley and Freya (The Originals), and Isabelle Lightwood (Shadowhunters), just to name a few.

What underrated book you’d want everyone to read?

Well, I always want more people to read the Colorworld series by Rachel E Kelly, but for underrated books to read, I’ll have to go with the Age of X books by Richelle Mead and the Inheritors Cycle books by C.E. Murphy.

Your top five favourite authors.

  • Rachel E Kelly
  • Jim C Hines
  • C.E. Murphy
  • Brandon Sanderson
  • Richelle Mead

Man, I hate trying to narrow down authors on a favorites list.

Nominations

I am seriously behind on NaNoWriMo, so if you’d like to answer my questions, then I am nominating you for this award.

My Questions for You

  1. What has been your favorite read of 2017?
  2. What is your most anticipated release for 2018?
  3. Are there any shows you are binge-watching right now or shows that you would recommend for binge-watching?
  4. What is your favorite holiday?
  5. Have you reached your reading goal for 2017 yet? If not, how close are you?
  6. What is your current favorite song?
  7. Who are some of your favorite bookish community members? (book bloggers, BookTubers, Bookstagrammers, etc)
  8. Are you a morning person or a night owl?
  9. Who are some of your auto-buy authors?
  10. If a genie gave you just one wish, what would you wish for?
  11. What authors would you like to meet in person?

That’s it for today. I’ll see you tomorrow with a book review.