August Book Haul/Wrap Up and September TBR

Hey all, Dani here.

Where did the month of August go? I feel like it just started a couple days ago and yet here we are on the final day of the month. It’s almost fall, which means snuggling up indoors with a warm beverage and a nice stack of books…well, if you’re a big reader like me anyway. In fact, I’m probably going to post a Most Anticipated Book Releases of Fall 2016 post very soon.

But today I’m here to go over my bookish accomplishments for the month of August. I guess I should start off by saying that in the month of August I had to increase my Goodreads Reading Challenge, again. Originally my goal was 75 books but I changed it to 100. I passed the 100 book mark in August so I have increased my goal to 130 books.

First though, I should get through my August Book Haul.

Okay, the image on the left is my Wizard World Chicago Book Haul, which I shared in my wrap up for the convention, but I picked up 10 books and 10 graphic novels there, and I’ve read most of the graphic novels already so yay!

The middle image shows books I purchased from Booksamillion and Barnes & Noble, though I did pick up Nerve at my local grocery store. And finally the picture on the right is a haul I got from Book Outlet during their recent sale. There was a coupon code for $5 off an order of $35 or more, and the code also gave you a free Book Outlet Bear, which is just so cute.

So, basically this month I purchased 10 graphic novels, and 27 books. I think at this point, if I had the space to add another bookcase to my room, it would be full as soon as I set it up because I have so many unshelved books right now.

Moving on to my monthly wrap-up. This month I managed to read 12 books, though honestly, most of those are graphic novels so they are super quick reads for me. I’m just going to do a quick overview of the books and the rating I gave them.

Book I read in August:

Splinter by Sarah Fine, 5 stars

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares, 5 stars (reread)

The Wicked + The Divine, Vol 1: The Faust Act by Kieron Gillen, Illustrated by Jamie McKelvie, Colorist Matt Wilson, and Letterer Clayton Cowles, 4 stars

Ms Marvel, Vol 2: Generation Why by G. Willow Wilson, Art by Adrian Alphona and Jacob Wyatt, 5 stars

Ms Marvel, Vol 3: Crushed by G. Willow Wilson and Mark Waid, Illustrated by Humberto Ramos, Art by Takeshi Miyazawa and Elmo Bondoc, 5 stars

The Wicked + The Divine, Vol 2: Fandemonium by Kieron Gillen, Illustrated by Jamie McKelvie, Colorist Matt Wilson, and Letterer Clayton Cowles, 5 stars

The Wicked + The Divine, Vol 3: Commercial Suicide by Kieron Gillen, Illustrated by Jamie McKelvie, Colorist Matt Wilson, and Letterer Clayton Cowles, 5 stars

Ms Marvel, Vol 4: Last Days by G. Willow Wilson, Illustrated by Adrian Alphona

Ms Marvel, Vol 5: Super Famous by G. Willow Wilson, Art by Takeshi Miyazawa, Adrian Alphona, and Nico Leon

Black Spark by Al K. Line, 4 stars

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff, 4 stars

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne (technically a new play by Jack Thorne, 2 stars

Now let’s talk about my September TBR. I have a few books I just really want to read in September, but then I also have the books I’m planning on reading and reviewing because I felt like doing a month dedicated to self-published authors.

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If I can read the rest of the Dark Magic Enforcer series by Al K. Line (Evil Spark, New Spark, Guilty Spark, and new release Neon Spark) then that will be awesome, and I have The Silver Portal by David J Normoyle arriving in the mail soon.

As for the other books I’d ideally like to read: A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir, The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee, and then maybe start on one of my recent epic fantasy purchases. I honestly have to see what happens in September.

Well, that’s it for today. I’ll see you guys soon with another post.

 

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Review: Shadoworld by Rachel E Kelly

Hey all, Dani here once again.

Today I bring to you my review for the fourth book in the brilliant Colorworld series by Rachel E Kelly. Now, I’ll go ahead and toss a little disclaimer on here: yes, I was asked to be a copy editor/beta reader for this book. However, that does not alter how I review books. I will say that I am thrilled to have been asked to be a CE/beta for the upcoming fifth book, Dreamworld, because reading book four dragged me all over the emotional spectrum and left me desperate for more (especially more Mike).

ahem.

I should also probably state right now that the summary for this book actually has spoilers for the earlier books in the series, so if you haven’t read the rest of the series you’ll probably want to stop right now and come back to this later (or jump past the summary section to my review section, which I will keep as spoiler free as possible). Of course, you could also say oh well and just read on, allowing yourself to be spoiled. The choice is yours.

Anyway, let’s jump into this review, shall we?

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Summary

After facing the dangers of a death-touch, marital separation, and even terminal cancer, Wendy thought she could handle anything. But losing her supernatural abilities has turned out to be much harder to adapt to than she thought. Now Wendy is pregnant, and the prospect of being a mother has Wendy fearing she’ll never find “normal”.

With Robbie’s birth, Wendy finds renewed determination to love life the way she once did.

Her new found faith is shaken, when she learns that Robbie’s life will be cut short by a genetic disease.

In the midst of mourning for the life her son won’t have, Wendy finds that Mike, Gabriel’s brother, has been incommunicado for many months. Immediately following the news of Mike, Wendy receives cryptic instructions from Robert, her Uncle, that just might be the key to saving her son.

The answer to both Mike and Robbie take Wendy to Los Angeles. But within an hour of her plan landing Wendy is taken, and Robbie isn’t the only one whose life is on the line.

My Thoughts

Oh my goodness, you guys! This book ripped out my heart…metaphorically speaking anyway. There was a lot of emotional meat to this story and it kept me reading into the wee hours of the morning. Plus there was also some action, because the “bad guys” are getting serious.

Actually I read this book about a week before the publication date, and it was while I was working with Rachel at Wizard World Ohio Comic Con in September 2015. We talked about the book on Saturday and then I went home that night and finished the book. When I made it to the convention center Sunday morning, I told Rachel that I had ended up crying in my bed for an hour thanks to an event concerning one of my favorite characters. I understood why it had to happen, and in hindsight, there are clues that it is coming, but it dragged me through the emotional ringer. I was devastated.

One of the main focuses of this book is Wendy going out to Los Angeles to try and find out why Gabe’s brother Mike hasn’t contacted anyone in several months. The other reason Wendy goes to Los Angeles concerns a health issue for a family member, but I won’t say any more than that because it is a bit spoilery if you haven’t read the rest of the series. –and if that’s the case, please go pick up copies of the whole series. You can find my reviews for the other three books here: 1, 2, 3.

Rachel has described the series as the first three books being Wendy in training and learning about who she is and what she can do. In Shadoworld the training wheels are off and everything gets more serious and complex.

That is an understatement.

In the first three books we follow Wendy as she learns about her abilities and harnesses them, but in this book she is “normal” and it is fascinating to see her try to navigate the world now that she has actually grown used to connecting to the colorworld and using her abilities in day-to-day life. It’s like watching somebody who had perfect sight have a serious accident that renders them nearly blind. She has to relearn how to interact with others and how to act in certain situations since she had begun to rely on her particular super-skills.

A lot of the book pairs Wendy with Mike, and I think they make a pretty cool team when they have to work together. And man, we finally find out why Mike acts the way he has for the past three books…and that revelation is what made me fall in love with him.

This is absolutely, without question, the best book in the series to date, and I’m not sure how Rachel Kelly is going to top this amazing page-turner, but I don’t doubt that she will. Especially since she has said that book five will have more Mike. Oh, and apparently book five also clocks in at nearly double the length of the first book. It’s going to be massive and amazing, and I cannot wait to read it.

I also can’t wait to get my hands on the Illustrated Edition, which should be coming soon. I will definitely announce when both Shadoworld Illustrated and Dreamworld are available.

Obviously this book was a 5 star read for me.

Where to Buy

As with the rest of the series, you can find the books on Barnes & Noble or Amazon, or you can buy your copy straight from Rachel Kelly via the Colorworld store and have a signed copy sent to you.

Review: Lumaworld by Rachel E. Kelly

Hey guys, Dani here.

Okay so I’m finally back with my review for the third book in the Colorworld series by Rachel E Kelly, a fantastic series that I literally tell everyone about whenever I can. Seriously, this series is my go-to recommendation whenever someone needs something to read. The third book is Lumaworld and it definitely raises the stakes for Wen and her family and friends.

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Summary

Every kid dreams of having superpowers. Wendy has the power to give them, and the wrong people know.

Now that Wendy has Gabriel back for good, and her brother and adopted sister are by her side, she’s not worried. She has lived with a death touch long enough to know that there are worse things than being on the run from a few crazies.

But when Carl, Wendy’s long-lost father, turns up unexpectedly, he shatters her new found happiness with a warning:

Wendy’s skin is not the only thing about her that’s lethal.

This time, however, Wendy isn’t running scared. She can share the colorworld with the people who can touch her, and she’s hell-bent on winning against the odds.

But Wendy soon learns that all miracles come with a price.

My Thoughts

I ended up giving this book a rating of 5 stars. Everything gets so twisted in this third installment and yet it is still so incredible to read. Looking back at my status updates from Goodreads, here are a few comments I made:

pg 63: I’m still unsure how I feel about Mike. Why is he being such a jerk? Hopefully the truth will come out soon enough.

pg 149: This series keeps getting more and more complex and fascinating. The depth of the characters and the story is amazing.

pg 268: Seriously, I’ve read some good books the past few years, but this series may blow the rest of them out of the water. These are so addictive.

pg 292: Utterly fascinating. It seems like progress is actually being made. I have no doubt that the think-tank that is Wendy, Gabriel, Ezra, Kaylen, and Uncle Moby will find a solution to their dilemma.

haha…the truth about Mike does come out, but not in this book. That little revelation is in book four and it was well worth the wait, let me tell you. My first read-through of the first three books was before I really started talking to and hanging out with Rachel and Brad Kelly on Facebook and at conventions so they maintained their unbiased fangirl opinions…not that my opinions of book four or any of the forthcoming books will be altered by my knowing the people behind the books.

Honestly, knowing Rachel and Brad sort of helps bring the books to life because they are a real life Wendy and Gabriel, and that’s absolutely amazing. If you listen to the story of Rachel and Brad’s relationship, it has several similarities with Wen and Gabe, particularly in the rather brief dating-to-engagement-to-marriage aspect. But they are a fabulous dynamic duo and so darn inspiring.

Anyway, Wen has a lot to deal with in this book after the revelation made at the very end of book two (I’m trying really hard not to spoil that for those of you who haven’t read this series yet–though if you are reading this review and you haven’t yet read the books, just do yourself a favor and go buy them).

With Wen’s father Carl showing up, there are a couple more revelations about Wen, the colorworld, and her death touch that seriously complicates not just Wen’s life, but the lives of Gabe, Ezra, and Kaylen as well.

Oh man, and the revelation/cliff hanger ending of this book will leave you desperate for the fourth book, which thankfully was released last year so you guys can just go pick up a copy for yourself.

Also, like the previous books, Lumaworld can be picked up in an Illustrated Edition too. Again, it is done in a different art style from the previous books and I think that makes the collection pretty unique. It was a little difficult to choose which illustration to share because most of them were kind of spoilery in regards to the first couple books, but here you go.

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Guys, I am so looking forward to getting my hands on the Illustrated Edition for book four: Shadoworld. I saw the early sketches for the art last year, but it’ll be really cool to see them finished and colored. Hopefully I’ll be able to announce the release dates for both Shadoworld Illustrated Edition and regular edition book five, Dreamworld pretty soon.

My review for book four will be posted tomorrow. I’m trying to catch up on my blog posts before I jump into Self-Publish September reviews…though I guess technically these books would qualify as the are published by Colorworld Books AKA the author.

I cannot recommend these books enough. They are wonderful. There is a reason I own them in e-book, print, and Illustrated. I love the characters and the world and the story, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Where to Buy

You can get the book in both e-book and print from Barnes & Noble or Amazon, but I recommend that you just go to the Colorworld books store and buy your copy straight from Rachel. That way you’ll get a signed copy and honestly an author makes a bigger profit if you buy straight from them. Also, you can check out the selection of paper and metal art prints available, including the amazing metal bookmark collection. I am obsessed with these bookmarks. They are fabulous and shiny and are actually better for readers than those flimsy paper bookmarks that get all worn out. Just go check them out. I’ll leave you with this picture of my set of Sandman metal bookmarks.

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Self-Publish September

Hey all, Dani here.

My TBR pile is so large that I can’t even fit all of the books in a picture anymore. So I’ve written down all the titles onto slips of paper and put them in my d20 coffee mug, which is now my TBR mug. Basically the plan is to randomly select which books to read next.

Sometimes though, it is fun to deviate from a plan. For example, I have a lot of books in ky collection that are by self-published authors. So I thought it would be fun to focus my attention on those books for the month of September.

Now I do have a couple ARCs to be reviewed in September too, and I will still post them as planned, but every other review post will be sharing will be a book by a small press author or a completely self-published author. These reviews might include the following books but may also include some other purchases as well.

It should be a super fun month where I can showcase some books and authors who could use some more hype surrounding their books and them. 

As a self-published author myself, I know how important reviews can be, and how wonderful it is when someone talks up books, so I try to support others as much as I can. Other authors are my friends, my inspiration, my support system, and my companions in our chosen career path. I cannot and will not think of other writers as my competition. There is room in this world for all of our books.

So if anyone is interested in joining me to spread the word about some of the amazing books out there by self-published authors, I would love that. Let me know below if you plan to join in and I will follow your reviews, whether you blog, vlog, or just post on Goodreads.

Wizard World Chicago Recap

Hey all, Dani here.

I love being a geek, and a huge bit of of my geek life is going to Comic Conventions. As I expand and grow as a writer, some of these Cons are work weekends for me, but Wizard World Chicago is my fun Con. It is where I can run around and meet celebrities, get photo ops and autographs, and enjoy panels, plus all of yhe great books and artwork I can pick up in Artists’ Alley.

Wizard World Chicago this year was held August 18th-21st and I had a blast. I don’t want to load this post up with dozens of pictures but I’ll just share a few with all of you.

First up: my book haul. No Con is complete without me buying a bunch of wonderful things to read. This year that meant 10 books and 10 graphic novels. 


And of course if I’m going to buy a lot of books then I need bookmarks to use while reading. Luckily my friends at Colorworld Books make these awesome metal bookmarks, so I picked up the Sandman set as well as a Gambit bookmark and a Winter Soldier one.


Oh and I should mentiom that I actually picked up some jewelry too. I’m not typically someone who buys necklaces or rings or bracelets but I absolutely could not resist this awesome charm bracelet.


Isn’t that awesome?

I only made it to a few panels this year: Christian Kane, Rose McIver, and a concert by the Library Bards. Still, I enjoyed them and the concert was pretty fun.

I won’t share my autographs with you since they are signed to me personally (my birth name, not my pen name of Danielle) but I will share a few of the photo ops.




Oh…and I actually got my picture taken with a replica of Baby from Supernatural, which was so freakin’ cool. I ended up doing the VIP photo package which included 3 photos and a Samulet but I’ll just share one of the images.


Anyway, it was such a fun weekend and I’m already looking forward to going next year. I met some new friends and we have all planned to meet up there and go out for drinks. Wizard World Chicago 2017 will be held August 24th-27th.

Signal Boost: Inkshares

Hey all, Dani here.

I am writing this from my hotel room in Chicago while I wait for Wizard World Chicago Comic Con to start for the day. There’s about a half-hour until the show floor opens today and I’m excited. Yesterday I only managed to make it through Artists’ Alley and that’s it. My flight was delayed four times so by the time I got to my hotel and checked in, the Con had been going for almost an hour.

Still, I can say that I’ve already done some book and graphic novel shopping. I have 3 new books and 6 new graphic novels so far and will probably pick up some more today. We’ll see what happens. And I got to see my friends at Colorworld Books too, so I’ll probably (definitely) hang out with them some more over the weekend.

Anyway, back to the post, which is partially a self-promotion Signal Boost. Geek & Sundry is hosting a writing contest in a partnership with Inkshares. They’ve also run a science fiction contest, but this current contest is a fantasy based contest, and the winners are the three stories with the most pre-orders by November 1st One (or more) stories in this contest will be part of the Geek & Sundry collection and will be published with the G&S logo on it and everything.

Sounds pretty cool, right?

I’ve actually signed up for this contest, with my current work-in-progress: Tale of Blood and Mourning. I’ve set myself a goal of writing at least 1,000 words a day on the novel so I should finish the rough draft by the contest deadline of November 1, 2016. But you can pre-order it now, and I have the first two chapters posted online if you want a little taste of whar the story could be.

This is a project I have been working on as a side project for months, doing all sorts of worldbuilding and planning and it has been a very interesting experience for me. I have never really been a huge planner; most of my plotting and planning is loose and allows for a great deal of improvisation and just going with the flow. With this story I’ve had to do so much work on the world and the religion and the politics and the history that I can’t just fly by the seat of my pants.

The shocking part is that I have actually really enjoyed all this planning. So much so that I’m actually planning to start up a D&D group with some friends where they will get to adventure in this world I’ve created. It’s pretty cool.

I’ve talked about Tale of Blood and Mourning a bit before, and you can find the summary and my world map in my post here.

Anyway, you can find the link to my Inkshares page here, and I would really really appreciate your support. In some ways Inkshares does operate like Kickstarter or Indiegogo, so if my project doesn’t reach the pre-order goals, you pay nothing.

BUT, if it does reach the goals then I get a little bit of help with the cover and the marketing and other cool things that just doesn’t happen as much with the self-publishing process.

There are two benchmarks for publication on Inkshares, and the first is the Quill collection. Books qualify for this if they reach 250 pre-orders. This collection includes an ISBN for the book, light editing, limited distribution (including physical and digital on Amazon), and signed print-on-demand copies to all backers.

And that’s a really cool benchmark to reach, but I’d love to reach the 750 preorder mark because that’s where it gets awesome. At 750 preorders the book qualifies for the whole traditional process: full editorial services, design, an offset print run, marketing, and distribution into bookstores nationwide.

It’s just an amazing opportunity, and I’m curious to see if Inkshares would be a viable option for my future in writing and publication. So thanks for checking out my project, and if you decide to pre-order, I may come up with some goodies, bonuses, and swag to send out should the project be a success.

Thanks everyone! And now I’m heading off to another fun day at Comic Con.

Critical Role LIVE Recap

Hey all, Dani here.

One week ago, I made a 3 hour drive from my home to Indianapolis, IN, to attend a live show event for Critical Role, a Dungeons & Dragons show, where a bunch of nerdy voice actors get together and continue a three-year long campaign. I have been obsessively watching this show for well over a year now, and as soon as I learned that they would be coming near enough to me, I absolutely had to attend.

The drive actually wasn’t that bad, and when I reached Indy, wow…was I impressed with how lovely the city is. I actually ended up telling my mom that I want to take a long weekend trip there to explore the city more.

Let’s be honest, I didn’t exactly have time for sightseeing last Saturday. The tickets for the show were not assigned seating. It was first come, first served, and I wanted to have a good spot, so I showed up around 4pm, and the doors didn’t open until 7pm, with the show starting at 8pm.

But I got to sit on the sidewalk, against a wall, with a ton of other fans of the show–who are known as Critters–and it was absolutely AMAZING. I had such a great time talking with these wonderful people. It did not matter at all that I went there by myself, because I made new friends. We were all bonded by our love for the show, the actors and the characters they portray.

Oh, and I may have helped to start a Twitter war while we waited in line. People who did not arrive quite as early found themselves waiting in line in the alley around the back of the theater, and it apparently did not smell the greatest. The started posting on Twitter with the hashtag #CriticalAlley, and upon learning this I told my companions that we should respond with our own hashtag, so we came up with #CriticalCircle, and I have to say that it was pretty fun.

Sadly, when the doors opened, and we all went inside, I was separated from my new friends because they only had general admission seats and I had paid for VIP. It just meant I got to meet even more people. I chose a seat in the third row, where I could have a nice view of both player tables and the DM’s table, and then waited in the merchandise line to buy a set of Critical Role patches, a button, and a poster.

Then it was time for the show, and the level of excitement in the theater was overwhelming….and our cheers and screams as each member of Vox Machina stepped out onto the stage just grew louder and louder. Even now, a week later, thinking about being in that theater and being a part of such an awesome crowd of people and being able to sit just a few feet away from people I’ve watched on my computer screen for so many months was just…such a powerful experience.

I won’t talk about the details of the episode, because it was the 62nd episode of the show and there would probably be spoilers, but there was some humor, some combat, and some interesting encounters. One of my favorite parts was when Scanlan, the gnome bard of the group decided to recite a limerick to inspire one of his companions, and the limerick was actually about seeing all of us Critters. It was a great shoutout breaking-the-fourth-wall type of moment.

Finally, after the show itself ended, they stopped livestreaming it on Twitch and we got to have a Q&A session…which included one of the fans singing a version of “You’ll Be Back” from Hamilton, but with lyrics that pertained to events of the campaign. It was amazing, and yes, you can find the video on Twitter.

Then, as if that wasn’t amazing enough, after all of that, the VIP ticket holders got to go to a room upstairs for a Meet-and-Greet with the cast. Guys, the fangirling was real. I had such a great time meeting them, getting them to sign my D&D 5e Player’s Handbook, and of course getting pictures with them.

It was an experience I will never forget, and it’s one I can’t wait to have again. Going to see Critical Role LIVE was breathtaking and so worth the long drive and wait out in the sun and the cost. It’s funny because even now the cast of the show talks about how they never imagined the show would get this kind of response, but I sat in a theater with 1500 other people and saw that the stream viewership was up around 20,000…so yeah, the fandom of this show is vast and amazing and filled with some of the greatest people I’ve had the privilege of chatting with on social media and meeting in real life.

Thank you Matt Mercer, Marisha Ray, Liam O’Brien, Laura Bailey, Travis Willingham, Ashley Johnson, Sam Riegel, and Taliesin Jaffe for the world, the characters, and the story you all present to us week after week. Thank you Felicia Day and Geek & Sundry for deciding to bring Critical Role to your Twitch channel. Thank you fellow Critters for just being fantastic.

Critical Role airs Thursdays at 7pm Pacific Standard Time, and episodes appear on the Geek & Sundry web site on Mondays before being uploaded on YouTube a month later.

Signal Boost: Novel Tea Club

Hey all, Dani here.

Welcome back to Signal Boost and I’m sorry I missed you last week. I was excited to share this boost with you too, since my newest subscription box arrived last Friday. But I ended up spending the day sleeping and then I went to see a production of Beauty and the Beast.

Oh, but a quick little bonus Boost, if you enjoy these sorts of posts, and you’ve already watched all of the episodes of Geek & Sundry’s show Signal Boost, you can also hop onto social media and search for #BoostersBoost and find a whole bunch of other wonderful geeks and nerds who are also sharing things they love.

Anyway, on to the main Boost for today. I know a few weeks ago I did a Signal Boost for the bookish subscription box, LitCube, and now I’m going to share with all of you the other bookish subscription box I subscribe to, and that is Novel Tea Club.

Much like the name suggests, in this subscription box you will always find a book and some tea. But then they’ll also throw in a snack and then something like a candle or a bath bomb or something else to help you have a relaxing night in.

I absolutely LOVE this idea. Plus it allows me to try all sorts of delicious tea that I might not have tried before.

There are three different options for your Novel Tea subscription box: Fantasy, Young Adult, and Romance. And the great thing is, you can change which box you receive each month if you’d like. Plus there are different options for your subscriptions as well: you can do a month-to-month subscription or a 3-month prepay subscription.

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The exterior of the subscription box is simple but I still like it. And nothing beats that eager anticipation of wondering what will be inside.

For the month of July, both the Fantasy box and the Young Adult box had the same book, but I’m happy because it was a book I had debated buying for a little while now. It is a fairy tale retelling, a style of book that has become quite popular in recent years. I remember vampires being uber popular, and then the dystopian craze, and a brief fairie phase as well as the short-lived (for now) mermaid period. Now apparently re-tellings are “in.”

I think I’ve made you wait long enough. Here’s what came in the July box:

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The book is: Once Again by Liz Braswell and Cameron Dokey. It is actually a bind-up of two novels: Snow, and Beauty Sleep. One is a retelling of Snow White and the other is Sleeping Beauty. I’m looking forward to a relaxing evening in with this book at some point. (I had to stop utilizing a TBR pile and instead have written all the book titles on slips of paper and put them into a TBR mug and I just randomly select what book(s) to read next.

The tea is Tega Organic Rooibos tea, with six bags of red tea and six bags of green tea included. It is a Canadian tea company and the tea is organic and free trade. According to the “What’s Inside” paper this tea is supposed to be light, refreshing, and caffeine free. I’m looking forward to making some.

The snack included in this month’s box is Koukla Delights Matcha Tea Macaroons, which are made in Quebec, Canada, and they are vegetarian, organic, gluten free, and healthy. I tried them and they are actually pretty good, though I have decided I’m not a huge fan of macaroons, because I just have to be in the mood for coconut to eat it. Still, I’m glad I got to try these.

Also included in this box is a Wedderspoon Lavender and Lemon Organic Honey lip balm, made in BC, Canada, and it smells really nice. I’m typically not a big user of lip balms, but with summer heading towards its end, I know lip balm will be handy as the temperature cools and the winter air brings chapped lips, so this is great.

And did you see those cute fruity pineapple bookmarks? They are so adorable. As a book lover, I know that you can never have too many bookmarks, so these are a welcome addition to my collection.

Finally there is the relaxation item, which this month is two bath bombs from Natural Soul Skincare, which is located on Vancouver Island, BC, Canada. These bath bombs are in two scents: lavender and eucalyptus, and I look forward to trying them out as soon as I can find a bathtub I can actually soak in.

Oh, and I should probably say that the August box from Novel Tea Club has a theme, and it is Night Owl. I don’t exactly know what that will mean in regards to the book and/or the other contents of the box, but I can’t wait to find out.

Novel Tea Club boxes start at $35.99, but may cost more depending on where you live. They also have a few specialty boxes which go to benefit Canadians affected by the Fort McMurray fires, so when you buy a box for $34.99, Novel Tea Club also donates a book to a family in need. Possibly book donation options include: a Kids Activity Book, a Kids Reading Book, a Young Adult Book, or an Adult Book. I bought one of the boxes a few months ago, and I’m glad to see a company that participates in charitable institutions and also looks for great small businesses and local businesses to support by including them in these boxes.

So, if Novel Tea Club sounds like a box you would be interested in, hop on over to their Web site and purchase your first box today. If you use the code NOVELTEACLUB at checkout you’ll also receive 10% off your order. What are you waiting for? Grab your own subscription box today!

Review: Splinter by Sarah Fine

Hey all, Dani here.

First I have to apologize for only having one post up so far in August. I had intended to keep up with my schedule of three posts a week but my time at Wizard World Ohio Comic Con July 29-31 and then my trip to Indianapolis for the Critical Role LIVE event on August 6th really drained me and…now I feel bad about not keeping up with my blog.

I’m going to make up for that though. I have rescheduled the blogs I was supposed to have up August 2nd through now and I should have a post up just about every day for the next week or so.

Today’s post is a review I meant to have up on August 2nd, a review of a wonderful book I received an e-galley of thanks to NetGalley and 47North…Splinter by Sarah Fine, which is the sequel to Reliquary (my review for that can be found here).

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Summary

Mattie Carver has relinquished the world of magic, with all its dark temptations. In six weeks, she’ll marry Ben Ward and claim the safe, small-town life she craves. But Mattie’s talents as a reliquary—someone able to smuggle magic within her body—make her a valuable commodity, even to those she trusts the most. Forced out of retirement by a painful betrayal, she must seek the help of the man she’s tried desperately to stay away from: Ben’s estranged brother, Asa.

Asa, a sensor and magic dealer, may have saved Ben months ago, but he’s complicated Mattie’s life beyond imagining. Trailed by lethal mobsters through Chicago’s seamy magical underbelly and an eerie traveling carnival, Mattie struggles to endure the priceless magic she’s holding and her feelings for Asa. Once, she thought she’d chosen her path. Now the only option may be to succumb to the destiny that’s choosing her, and hope she’s strong enough to survive.

My Thoughts

Let me just say that this book had me falling for Asa Ward even more than I had in the first book. Likewise my absolute disgust…mmm, that may be too strong a word, my dislike of Ben Ward only grew. Which of course because of her devotion to Ben made me get so frustrated with Mattie through a majority of this book.

It seemed like no matter how many awful things Ben did, even when she told him she didn’t want to do them, Mattie forgave him and ignored all the logic that was practically screaming that this relationship wasn’t working AT ALL anymore.

Whereas, on the other side, we have Asa, who actually respects Mattie for who and what she is and doesn’t try to force her into things she doesn’t want to do. Plus, come on, Asa also has his devotion to his dog, Gracie, and that just makes him even more endearing.

The driving plot in this book is mostly an unforeseen complication/consequence from an event in the first book, added to the fact that Mattie and Asa had ticked off a couple very powerful people.

We meet some new characters and dive further into this world of sensors and reliquaries and magic as this great power and addictive drug. Watching as Mattie and Asa navigate through the world, filled with sensilo magic and knedas magic and everything else is frankly impressive. They make a great team and I’m very eagerly looking forward to getting my hands on Mosaic soon and seeing exactly what happens now that Mattie and Asa have legitimately formed a business partnership to smuggle magic pulled from relics. It’s certainly going to be fun.

It’s not all that easy to review this while avoiding spoilers, but I definitely recommend this series. And if you’ve read it, and want to talk with me about more spoilery details, find me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, and we can chat.

I gave Splinter a 5/5 rating.

Where to Buy

You can find this book at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Booksamillion, and Book Depository.

Review: Teleworld by Rachel E Kelly

Hello all, it’s Dani again.

I’m having a pretty good birthday so far guys. I had breakfast with my best friend Signy Cullen, and then I went and finally bought my own copy of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Now, it’s time for me to once again share a review for a book series that I dearly love.

Last week I posted a review for Colorworld, and this week I am turning my attention to book two, Teleworld.

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Summary

After a month of living a semi-normal life with her condition, Wen would rather not think about scary things like the fact that her ability became more powerful all on its own. Or that Louise is still roaming free. Or that she’s about to be married to Gabriel and she has no idea how they’ll manage being unable to touch each other. But the questions won’t leave her alone and she’s desperate for answers.

Wen believes those answers begin with Subject Number Three, the only person known to have survived touching her lethal skin. When her Uncle Robert finally locates the woman, Wen is sure that an end to her problems is within her grasp.

She’s wrong. They’ve only just begun.

Now, hope for a cure to Wen’s condition is crumbling, Kaylen is missing, and a horrifying accident with her brother leaves Wen desperate and terrified. Just when she thinks she can’t take much more, Gabriel, the one person Wen thought she could count on, suddenly becomes the one person she fears the most.

My Thoughts

This book was an absolutely amazing read. As much as I loved Colorworld, this book was just so much better. I love the depth of the characters and their emotions. They really drive the story/plot forward, not a bunch of random action sequences or anything. Sometimes I actually find character driven stories to be so much more entertaining than plot driven tales, though both are still good.

In many ways this is a difficult book for Wendy and Gabriel. They have to deal with a lot together and apart, and it makes them grow in so many ways, making them even stronger in the end. This book is like that stage in most romantic type movies and such where the speed bumps, detours, and road blocks threaten to ruin the happiness of the couple. Plus, they still have a lot to learn about each other since they’ve only known each other for a few months.

Also, Ezra is a lot more present in Teleworld, now that we aren’t spending most of the time at the compound, and we even get some more action-y type scenes thanks to Kaylen’s telekinetic ability. Ezra and Kaylen are wonderful secondary characters and I love what they add to the story. Ezra’s love of comic book superheroes continues to be adorable and something I greatly enjoy. And Kaylen is proving just how capable she is as both a friend to Wen as well as when it comes to her own abilities.

So many secrets and revelations fill this book and it honestly leaves me wondering what could possibly happen next. Books three and four continue to amaze and it leaves me desperate for book five, but I’ll leave the discussion of Lumaworld until next week, and Shadoworld has to wait until the week after that.

Oh, and this book is also available in an Illustrated Edition and it is fabulous, because it sort of allows us to see into the Colorworld like Wen does.

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All I can say is that I am so incredibly glad that I found these books at Comic-Con, and I will continue to recommend these books to absolutely everyone I know.

Where to Buy

Again, this can be picked up from Amazon or Barnes & Noble, but I highly recommend just going to the Colorworld store and buying there. Not only does this give the author a bigger profit margin, but the book will also come signed and you can even pick up some awesome metal bookmarks, paper art prints, or metal art prints, to go along with your already fantastic order.