September Wrap-Up and October TBR

Hey all, Dani here.

Wow, I can’t believe that September is over already. I’ve had a weird couple of months. Both August and September saw me dropping the ball on getting up my regular blog posts, and I apologize for that. I’m going to try and get back to the minimum of one post each week, with bonus posts when I have book reviews I just have to share or if there’s another fun topic that pops up.

September for me was supposed to be about focusing on self-published and indie authors because I feel like we need to highlight them more, and I did manage to read a few indie novels. I’m hoping to have some reviews up on those books soon, but for now I’ll just do my usual quick overview of what I read in the month of September.

The King’s Imposter by C.A. McHugh 4.5 stars

The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee 4.5 stars

Empire of Storms by Sarah J Maas 5 stars

Sacred Light by Simone Pond 4 stars

Keeper of Knowledge by Keifer Duncan 3 stars

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon 4.5 stars

I don’t think six books is all that bad for a month of reading, especially when you consider that EoS was over 600 pages long, and so is Outlander.

Next up is my September Book Haul. Now, I had to break this down a bit because I had my standard monthly haul, and then I had my haul from Cincinnati Comic Expo. Also, I received a package yesterday from author Jenn Bennett, which included a complete set of her Arcadia Bell series. I won a giveaway she hosted on Twitter so that was exciting.

Okay, so the top left is my haul from Cincinnati Comic Expo, with the photo on the top right being the selection of metal bookmarks I picked up from Colorworld Books (where I worked the whole weekend). The bottom left is the rest of my September book haul, and on the bottom right is the contents of my giveaway prize package from Jenn Bennett.

Finally, I need to share my October TBR list. I’m trying to be a little bit conservative for this next month, but there are some recently releases and some upcoming releases that I really want to read so we’ll just have to see what happens.

wp-1475177033971.jpgNot included in this photo is Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo, Like a River Glorious by Rae Carson, and Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan. Oh…and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Illustrated Edition by J.K. Rowling.

October should be a good month. Happy Reading everyone!

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Coffee Book Tag

Hey all, Dani here

Happy National Coffee Day! In honor of today, I have decided to do the Coffee Book Tag. Originally started by BookTuber BangadyBangz over on YouTube, this tag has grown to include more categories, and has also spread over to a number of book blogs. I most recently saw this tag over on Flavia’s blog, so here we go.

Black: a series that’s tough to get into but has hardcore fans

Okay, so for this I’m actually going with the Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer. I have heard so much about these books from so many people and I own the first three but I just haven’t started reading them yet. I’m sure I’ll enjoy it when I start reading but right now it’s just tough for me to open the books. I guess I’m just always a little wary when it comes to fairy tale retellings.

Peppermint Mocha: a book that gets more popular during the winter or a festive time of year

I had such a hard time figuring out something for this. I don’t often go for seasonal-type books, but I eventually decided on the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, merely because there is such a great focus on festivities such as Halloween or Yule, etc. But really, Harry Potter can be read at any time.

Hot Chocolate: favorite children’s book

There were so many books I read as a child that it is difficult to pick favorites, but I really loved reading the Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and I also greatly enjoyed The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis.

Double Shot of Espresso: a book that kept you on the edge of your seat from start to finish

This may have been the easiest category for me to select a book, and I just had to go with Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. When I read this book, I technically listened to the audiobook which was narrated by Wil Wheaton, but when I wasn’t listening I was thinking of what had happened and what I thought could happen next. I was basically obsessed with finding more listening time so I could finish the book.

Starbucks: a book you see everywhere

Right now I totally see A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir everywhere. It’s weird because my local grocery stores aren’t even carrying Empire of Storms right now; I’m a little flabbergasted about that. Of course Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is also everywhere currently.

That Hipster Coffee Shop: give a book by an indie author a shoutout

My go-to shoutout book is Colorworld by Rachel Kelly. I’ve written up reviews for all four books out currently, and I’m anxiously awaiting the digital copy of Dreamworld, the fifth book in the series, since I am one of Rachel’s copy editors. I absolutely LOVE this series and think everyone should read them.

Oops! I Accidentally Got Decaf: a book you were expecting ore from

For this one I had to pick Soundless by Richelle Mead. I have loved every book of hers I have read, and I just felt like this book was just a bit short. I would have enjoyed it more if there was more expansion on the world and the mythology, and a deeper exploration of the characters.

The Perfect Blend: a book or series that was both bitter and sweet, but ultimately satisfying

Watching the Lizzie Bennet Diaries was such a great adaptation with plenty of heart and I enjoyed it enough to get The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet, which expanded on things that happened in between episodes and such. But what was really amazing was how much the show and book made me care about Lydia Bennet and wonder what would happen to her next. Thankfully, they decided to write The Epic Adventures of Lydia Bennet, which was just that. It was that perfect blend of emotion and fun and growth, and I was just so satisfied with how Lydia’s story wrapped up. Now I kinda want a book with Jane Bennet, just because.

Green Tea: a book or series that is quietly beautiful

The Glamourist Histories by Mary Robinette Kowal has to be my choice for this category. This series is sort of a magical retelling of Jane Austen’s works but is still quite original and the description and execution of the books is just stunning. I was completely drawn into the magic of the story and into the lives of these characters. I still need to finish the series (I don’t own the last book yet), but these books are just beautiful.

Chai Tea Latte: a book or series that makes you dream of far off places

Or not so far off places. For this category I chose the Stravaganza series by Mary Hoffman, which jumps between modern London and an alternate version of Italy known as Talia. There’s a little bit of magic/time travel/etc in this series, but I just loved getting to know the cities in Talia, which was made even more special since I did a spring break trip to Italy and I could easily see some of the elements of Florence and Venice that were altered for their alternate versions. It was really cool and it makes me want to do a Stravaganza vacation where I travel to the real world locations for each book; it would be kind of fun to explore the books in a tangible way.

Earl Grey: your favorite classic

Based on a couple of my previous answers this choice should come as no surprise to anyone…my favorite classic has to be Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. It is a book I reread probably more than any other.


So, there you have it…the Coffee Book Tag.

If you would like to do this tag yourself, then please consider yourself tagged. And if you do decide to participate, let me know. I would love to see your answers to each category.

Banned Books Week 2016

Hey all, Dani here.

Today is the first day of Banned Books Week. It is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read, and is an event I wholeheartedly support. This year it takes place September 25-Oct 1

So many books are challenged and banned in schools and/or libraries nowadays and the sad truth is that a lot of times the adults who make the requests to remove certain materials from circulation have never even opened the book themselves.

Books are wonderful items that transport us somewhere else and often times have wonderful lessons behind them. As a massive reader I have grown close to so many characters within the pages of some of my favorite books. I journey with them, befriend them, and sometimes develop a crush on them–there are many swoon-worthy characters out there.

I love books because they help me travel to faraway places and experience people, places, and cultures I might not ever experience in person.

So when people try and take those experiences away from others, it stings. I can accept that a parent might not want their child to read a certain subject matter but other parents might not see that as an issue.

I know that my mom was very open about me reading whatever sounded interesting to me. When I was a kid I read through most of the children and juvenile sections and needed more reading material. This was before YA really grew popular as a category of books. So I needed parental permission to check out books from the adult area. My mom happily signed the permission slip, knowing that if I actually had any questions I would ask her. Even then I was in love with fantasy and science fiction.

I can admit now that there were probably some topics that I didn’t fully comprehend, particularly when it came to romance and violence, but still. Nobody tried to tell me that I wasn’t allowed to read a book because of my age or because of their personal predilections or beliefs.

Banned Books Week strives to share the harm of censorship and brings together the literary community (book readers, bloggers, teachers, librarians, BookTubers, etc) to speak out against the restrictions and removal of books available to the public.

You can learn more about Banned Books Week, including looking at lists of books that have been challenged and banned here.

Banned Books Week is sponsored by the American Booksellers AssociationAmerican Library AssociationAmerican Society of Journalists and AuthorsAssociation of American Publishers;Author’s GuildComic Book Legal Defense FundDramatists Legal Defense FundFreedom to Read FoundationNational Coalition Against CensorshipNational Council of Teachers of EnglishPeople for the American WayPEN America and Project Censored.  It is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.

Review: The King’s Imposter by C.A. McHugh

Hey all, Dani here.

Let’s start this off with a disclaimer. I became a fan of Crista (C.A.) McHugh several years ago when I won one of her books in a Goodreads giveaway. Since then I have become a huge fan of hers, even becoming a part of her fan group on Facebook. As such, I often have the opportunity to receive advance copies of books in exchange for a review. That being said, getting an early copy does not alter my rating or opinion of the book. I always end up buying the book as soon as it’s released anyway.

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Summary

She’s not what she seems.

He’s determined to uncover the truth.

After nearly being assassinated a few weeks ago, King Aerrin has reason to be on edge. The Raven Bringer has returned, and Aerrin knows he’s the fiend’s top target. So he’s naturally suspicious about the new student at the Academy of Arcane Magics. She’s too good, too advanced, and too polished to only be a young student learning her craft. Hellbent on discovering Seroney’s secret, Aerrin sets out to investigate her.

King Aerrin is perceptive–and right. She’s not who she claims to be. Pretending to be a student, the half-elf master mage, Seroney, has been placed at the Academy on a covert mission. The closer Aerrin comes to uncovering the truth about her, the more danger they are both in. But when the Raven Bringer retaliates against her, Seroney must decide what’s more important: duty or revenge.

My Thoughts

Overall a 4.5 stars. The Raven Bringer Saga is actually a sequel/spin-off of the Elgean Chronicles, though you honestly do not need to read them to understand or follow anything in The King’s Imposter. Reading A Thread of Magic and the Tears of Elios will just give you a richer understanding of the world, and of the distant ancestors of some of the current characters.

This was a fairly quick read–something I say about basically all of Crista McHugh’s books, and this series marks her return to fantasy. Most recently she wrote the Kelly Brothers romance series and the Queen B* trilogy, which was a contemporary YA. I’m glad to be back in the fantasy realm, because that’s what got me into reading her books in the first place.

Now, for this book…I liked the characters and the overall concept of the story, but I felt like I could have used just a bit more depth to the story and the characters themselves. Also, I understand why Seroney is pretending to be a student and trying to get close to Aerrin for protection purposes, but I feel like she and Aerrin wouldn’t have had so many issues if everyone would have just been honest with the young King about who she was.

I’m hoping to get a lot more with Nyssa in the next book because I want to see more elaboration on her character; I think she could turn into one of my favorites in the series if she’s expanded more. Actually, I think that’s true with a lot of the characters and such. On my NOOK this book was all of 180 pages so for a fantasy story it is actually pretty short. Then again, I’m used to reading the massive epic fantasy books that are 500-900 pages each, and it gives you such a detailed glimpse into the world. While it is nice to have a light quick fantasy read every now and again, I think at the moment I’m more in the mood for massive fantasy world exploration.

All that being said, I am looking forward to the next book in this series. Oh, and I should point out that I recommend readers check out Resurrection first; it is a prequel story to this one and details an assassination attempt on young King Aerrin that is mentioned several times within this book.

What did not effect my rating (because receiving ARCs means that there is usually at least one more editing pass to go through) were the few typos I spotted in the book, but they were fairly easy to decipher. One that I greatly recall is spelling camaraderie as camaradery instead, but at least I understood what was meant to be said.

Where to Buy

You can buy this e-book at: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Kobo

Most Anticipated Releases of Fall 2016

Hey all, Dani here.

Hopefully you’ll think this is a fun little post. I read a lot of books; in fact, I’m already up to 103 books read in 2016 and we’re only 2/3 of the way through the year. Because of this I have to keep track of book news, particularly when it comes to publication dates. This is helpful for planning my book hauls, though I do try to leave myself space for browsing and impulse buys.

Mostly I keep a list of titles I’m interested in as well as their publication dates. Then I tend to highlight the titles based on which month they’ll be out. That makes it easier for me to do a quick scan of my list, which evolves and grows as the year progresses and I hear about more new books.

So today I would like to share 13 of the books I’m really excited about that will be released in the months of September, October, and November.

Let’s start with September.

  1. Empire of Storms by Sarah J Maas. This is the fifth book in the Throne of Glass series and I can’t wait to have this behemoth sized continuation of an epic fantasy series that I greatly enjoy reading. Also, I simply devour Sarah J Maas’s writing, so this will also be a relatively quick read for me. Empire of Storms will be released September 6th.
  2. The Masked City by Genevieve Cogman. This is the sequel to The Invisible Library, which honestly reminded me a bit of the TV show “The Librarians,” but was also a bit like “Doctor Who.” I love books that center on either libraries or librarians with fun magical twists and this series definitely has those elements. The Masked City will also be released September 6th.
  3. A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess. The cover is gorgeous and the premise seems really interesting. I have had this fantasy YA book on my B&N wishlist for a couple months now and the publication date is drawing near. This book will be released September 20th.
  4. Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake. Three sisters who must all fight over the same crown, which is interesting in and of itself, but then throw in the fact that each sister is supposed to have control of a different magic and it becomes even more interesting. I don’t exactly know what to expect with this one but I am really looking forward to it. This lovely book will also be released September 20th.
  5. Frost Like Night by Sara Raasch. This is the third book in the Ice Like Fire series and I just love the covers for these books. The world is interesting and I don’t really know what else to say except that clearly I want to read a lot of fantasy books this fall. September 20th is going to be a good day for little bibliophile me.
  6. Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. This is the conclusion to the Six of Crows duology and I wish I had this book in my hands already. I loved Six of Crows so much more than the Grisha trilogy, and I need more of the world and the characters. I’m curious to see how the story will wrap up, and I want to know what will happen to the group. This amazing book–the hardcover will have red edged pages–will be released September 27th
  7. Like a River Glorious by Rae Carson. This is the second book in the Gold Seer trilogy, and once again I am in love with a book cover. I really liked the cover for Walk on Earth a Stranger, but LaRG is even more stunning. Plus I enjoy this historical YA that has just the smallest dash of magic in it. It is definitely worth a read. This little beauty will also be released on September 27th.

Now onto October:

  1. The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan. This is the second book in the Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series, which is basically a spin-off of the Percy Jackson series. It follows Annabeth’s cousin Magnus, who is affiliated with Norse Gods, whereas Annabeth is clearly a demigod from the Greek pantheon. I love the sarcasm of Magnus, and the rest of the Norse demigods are pretty interesting too. I think this book will go a little deeper into the mythology and what exactly is going on. Magnus Chase kicks off the month of October with an October 4th release date.
  2. Replica by Lauren Oliver. This will be my first Lauren Oliver book, but it sounds really cool and I like that it can be read a few different ways. You can start the book from Gemma’s perspective and read all the way through before flipping it over to read Lyra’s perspective, or you can start with Lyra and then read Gemma, OR you can read a chapter of Gemma followed by a chapter of Lyra and so on and so forth. It’s an incredibly cool concept. Replica will be released October 4th. (However, I received a copy of an ARC from Barnes & Noble’s Teen Book Fest so I’ll be reading it soon.
  3. The Librarians and The Lost Lamp by Greg Cox. This is the first book in what will hopefully be a lengthy series of media tie-in novels that give us bonus adventures for the show “The Librarians.” It is one of my favorite shows on television right now so I’m excited to get more information about the characters and see some of their quests that don’t make it onto the show. This book will be released October 11th.
  4. Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. This is the second of the Illuminae Files series, and I am really excited about it, despite the fact that Illuminae is still sitting on my TBR. I will read it, guys. I promise. And probably before this sequel is officially out, which will be on October 18th.

Finally we have November, and I’m kinda glad that I don’t have a lot of new books on my radar for November. The month is already crazy enough thanks to NaNoWriMo.

  1. Curse on the Land by Faith Hunter. This is the second book in the Soulwood series that follows Nell Ingram. It is a spin-off of the Jane Yellowrock series, and gives us a new perspective on the world and some characters we may have encountered before. Plus, I really like the covers for these books, so I can’t wait to add it to my collection. This book will be out November 1st.
  2. Heartless by Marissa Meyer. I’m a bad bookworm, you guys. The Lunar Chronicles are still on my TBR list, but this still sounds like an awesome Alice in Wonderland retelling, so I’m really looking forward to its release, which will be on November 8th.

So, there you have it…the books I am most eagerly anticipating in Fall 2016. If there are any books you are really looking forward to, let me know in the comments.