My Go To Book Recommendations

Hey all, Dani here.

So today at work I was talking with a friend about books, and he mentioned that he needed to find something new to read. But he wanted something where the series was already complete so he wouldn’t have to worry about waiting between installments and forgetting what happened. I immediately told him about this great fantasy trilogy that recently released its final book.

This of course got me thinking more about my go-to recommendations, the books I will always be glad to suggest to other people. So, I thought I would share those with all of you.

First up, I of course have to mention the Colorworld series by Rachel E. Kelly. This will be a seven book series, and five have already been released (Colorworld, Teleworld, Lumaworld, Shadoworld, and Dreamworld). I’ve talked about these a lot, but the great thing right now is that you can jump in from the beginning with Colorworld, or you can actually start with book 5: Dreamworld. Warning: starting with book 5 will probably leave you wanting to go back and read the rest of the series anyway. These books are just so good! I love them so much. You can find my reviews at the links above.

Next up on my list of book recommendations: the Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo (Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom). I love these two books so darn much. The cast of characters is fantastic and diverse, and following their adventures through this impossible heist and the aftermath is just vastly entertaining. This is set in the same universe as the Grisha trilogy, but you do not need to read them in order to follow this series. There are a few secondary characters who appear in both series, so you would appreciate that more if you read the Grisha trilogy as well, but you can still follow along otherwise.

My third pick for this list is Borderline by Mishell Baker. Now this is the first book in the Arcadia Project series, and the second book will be coming out soon, but the diversity of the cast and a narrator who is a double amputee just make this worth the read. Seriously, I cannot say enough great things about Millie and the adventures she gets into when she joins the Arcadia Project and finds herself having to deal with the fey.

A new addition to my list, my next go-t0 recommendation is Heartstone by Elle Katharine White. This is a sort-of retelling of Pride & Prejudice, but in a world where dragons and dragon riders exist, along with wyverns, hobgoblins, and many other creatures. I absolutely loved this book and definitely plan to make it one I reread over and over. This was the adaptation I didn’t know I needed in my life until I started reading it.

Okay, next up is one that I own in multiple formats (hardcover, e-book, and audio book), and I just really enjoy reading it. This is a book I pick up when I want to go off into a magical land and forget about life. When I read it, I just feel like I have been transported to this beautiful setting. Of course, I am talking about The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I just love the descriptions of the circus, and hearing about all the different tents created by the two main characters. Speaking of…I think I’m totally overdue for a reread of this wonderful story.

Anyway, from the circus, I’m traveling far far away for this next recommendation. The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers was a very complex and awesome science fiction read featuring a diverse cast of characters as they voyage across space on a job. The cast features various aliens and humans, with differing beliefs and romantic inclinations and it is just a breathtakingly beautiful story.

The seventh selection for my recommendations list is the Captive Prince trilogy by C.S. Pacat. All right, so I know that some don’t like this trilogy because there is a master/slave romance/relationship and also there are some sort-of sex slaves who have not quite hit puberty. I’ll just say that I thought the world was an interesting one, and I actually thought the relationship that formed between our two main men was quite fascinating. I was hooked and devoured the whole trilogy in like a week. I enjoyed the political aspect of it and was seriously hoping for a happy ending for the couple.

Next up I have another duology, this time a retelling of Arabian Nights. I’m talking about The Wrath & The Dawn and The Rose & The Dagger by Renee Ahdieh. Shazi was just an awesome and strong female main character, and I was desperate to find out what would happen with Shazi and Khalid.

My nine pick is actually a standalone, and it is currently being made into a movie and I cannot wait to see it. Again, this is a pick where I own the paperback and the audiobook, and I kind of recommend both reading the book and listening to it. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline is a fantastic geeky adventure tale that throws out a mountain of ’80s pop culture references. The audiobook is read by Wil Wheaton and it is just a pure explosion of awesome. This is another book I need to reread soon.

Finally, I have a trilogy–the trilogy from the intro to this post–and I actually still need to read the concluding novel, but I’m just going to include it anyway as I’m sure it will be epic. The Shades of Magic trilogy by V.E. Schwab (A Darker Shade of MagicA Gathering of Shadows, and A Conjuring of Light) was one I was introduced to by a couple BookTubers and I devoured the first two books pretty quickly. We follow Kell, who is a Traveler, and can travel to alternate versions of London, and Lila, who is a thief. Their paths cross and shenanigans happen, and this short little paragraph is not enough to do this trilogy justice, but just go pick it up.

All right, there we go…my current go-to list of book recommendations. This is probably as close as you’ll get to me actually choosing favorites. I’ll have my February wrap-up posted tomorrow, and then hopefully I’ll have a couple reviews up for you all this weekend.

Oh, and feel free to let me know some of your go-to book recommendations in the comments. I’d love to hear what books you suggest that other people check out.

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Most Anticipated Releases Spring 2017

Hey all, Dani here.

Goodness, we are already at that time already. I feel like I just wrote up a Most Anticipated Releases post, but here we are at another one. This time I’m focusing on spring releases, that is books coming out in the months of March, April, and May.

First up, March. This is actually a pretty light month for me. But the reason some months have few anticipated releases is because I don’t include the release of sequels to series where I haven’t read the previous book, or to authors who I’m considering giving a second chance. For example, Laini Taylor’s new book, Strange the Dreamer, is set for release on March 28, but when I read Daughter of Smoke & Bone I didn’t like it. I’ve decided to give it a second chance, so I bought a copy from Book Outlet, but until I do that I’m probably not going to pick up this newest book, though I might cave on that because this one sounds like a better premise to me.

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco (March 7)

Okay, so I guess this one is technically cheating, because I was granted an e-galley from NetGalley for this one, but I’m still really looking forward to its release. I’ll have the review up very soon, so keep an eye out for that. Also, can I say that the cover for this looks really nice, because it is pretty cool.

Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde (March 14)

Like so many people, I am trying to make an effort to read more diversely, and this lovely little contemporary set at a convention sounds awesome. It definitely has some LGBTQIA vibes to it, and as a fan of Comic Conventions and such myself, this sounds like something I absolutely have to read.

Phantom Pains by Mishell Baker (March 21)

Speaking of diverse reads, I have been anxiously awaiting this book since I devoured the first one last year. There are multiple ethnicities within this book, and the main character is a double amputee. Plus, many characters are dealing with mental health issues. Oh, and throw in standard urban fantasy creatures such as the fey and this book is definitely one I’m looking forward to. You can read my mini-review on the first book here.

Next we have April. Like March, April has a few books I’m not really including because they are part of a series I haven’t read yet, or I have other books by the author I need to read first before I pick up another one. These books include: Brimstone by Cherie Priest (April 4) and Within the Sanctuary of Wings by Marie Brennan (April 25).

Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer (April 4)

I’ll just say that I love Brigid Kemmerer’s work. I was obsessed with her Elemental series, and this book just sounds awesome: a girl who leaves letters at her mother’s grave and then one day she starts getting replies. How cool is that? Of course the letters are being written by a boy in the middle of serving court-ordered community service, so I’m looking forward to seeing how their lives intertwine and what complications arise from this letter exchange.

Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer (April 11)

I have been hearing about this book for like a year. So many BookTubers have talked about it, and a few authors have gushed about it as well. It’s a duology that is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty, and it sounds so good. Plus, I’ve always liked stories where humans interact with faeries. Oh, and the cover is gorgeous.

Midnight Jewel by Richelle Mead (April 25)

More Richelle Mead? Yes, please! I really enjoyed the first book of this trilogy…if you can call it a trilogy. All three books take place at the same time, but each follows a different girl through her adventures, romance, etc.

The Librarians and the Mother Goose Chase by Greg Cox (April 25)

This is another book I’ve been granted access to because of NetGalley, so look for a review in April (during National Library Week, because that seems fitting). I absolutely love The Librarians show, and I loved the movie trilogy as well. So the fact that I also get books is exciting.

Finally, we have May, and it’s going to be a pretty busy month for book releases I’m excited about. Seriously, didn’t anyone tell them that not all books have to come out on May 2nd? I’m going to be drowning in books. Let’s be honest, there are some awesome books coming out in May. Bonus books I want to mention include: Borrowed Souls by Chelsea Mueller (May 2), Cold Reign by Faith Hunter (May 2), Legion by Julie Kagawa (May 4), The End of Magic by Amber Benson (May 16), Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare (May 23), White Hot by Ilona Andrews (May 30), and Spectacle by Rachel Vincent (May 30).

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas (May 2)

I think most of us in the book community are looking forward to this one. After the way ACOMAF ended, we need to know what is going to happen next. Needless to say, this will probably be the first of the May 2nd releases I read.

The Trials of Apollo: The Dark Prophecy by Rick Riordan (May 2)

Hey look, another diverse book. This is the second book following Apollo in his adventures as he tries to earn back his godhood. I love that this series doesn’t shy away from Apollo’s bisexuality, or other characters with their different races, religions, sexualities, etc. It is fabulous.

Noteworthy by Riley Redgate (May 2)

More diversity! Yay! Also, musical. This story follows Jordan, who is a female at a Performing Arts school. Because she’s an Alto-2, she keeps getting denied for parts in musicals and more. Then a spot opens up in the Sharpshooters, an all male a cappella group. Jordan dresses as a guy and auditions. This book was mentioned on a list of upcoming LGBTQIA books, so I’m assuming there will be more than just Jordan masquerading as a guy. Either way, this book sounds fun and I’m really looking forward to it.

Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh (May 2)

Renee Ahdieh became one of my auto-buy authors after I read her duology based on The Arabian Nights last year (The Wrath & The Dawn/The Rose & The Dagger) and now she’s tackling a Mulan inspired tale, and I am so very much looking forward to it!

Avenged by Amy Tinterra (May 2)

This was a late addition to my list, but mostly because I didn’t read Ruined until this year, but I thought it was a really good book and I can’t wait to read the sequel to find out what happens next.

The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein (May 2)

Well, I have have a pretty diverse anticipation list here. Quite a few fantasy, a few contemporary, and a couple historical. This is yet another historical book by Elizabeth Wein and I have enjoyed every one I’ve read (my favorites being Code Name Verity and Rose Under Fire). And this one is actually a prequel to Code Name Verity, so I’m excited to have another story with some very interesting characters I already know.

The Crown’s Fate by Evelyn Skye (May 16)

I devoured The Crown’s Game and thought it was a fun magical story, and I just need to know what happens after that ending. I loved Nikolai and Pasha and Vika, and I’m eager to see what sort of complications and magic happen next.

The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich (May 16)

A YA espionage story, this is yet another diverse read. It follows a spy organization that specializes in getting close to people by becoming their romantic interest. Caden is a Nice, you know the boy next door type. Dylan is a Bad, brooding and dangerous. They are both tasked to compete for the same girl, and it’s serious because the guy who isn’t picked will die. So what happens when Caden and Dylan begin to have feelings for each other? Just give me this book now.

All right, well that’s it for the spring releases. Are there any in here you would like to read? Let me know in the comments.

Review: Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza

Hey all, Dani here.

So, I owe you guys a couple more reviews. I’ve been sticking to at least one post each week, but I’ve been reading quite a bit so…I’m going to probably have a few extra posts in the next couple weeks.

Anyway, today I want to talk about a book I was really looking forward to reading. The cover is beautiful and the premise sounded pretty intriguing. Also, I’ve been trying to branch out a tiny bit more, which means reading outside of fantasy more. This lovely book is technically a sci-fi story and includes different planets and races, as well as some interesting technology.

empressofathousandskies

Summary

CROWN PRINCESS RHIANNON TA’AN WANTS VENGEANCE.

The only surviving heir to an ancient Kalusian dynasty, RHEE has spent her life training to destroy the people who killed her family. Now, on the eve of her coronation, the time has finally come for Rhee to claim her throne – and her revenge.

ALYOSHA is a Wraetan who has risen above his war refugee origins to find fame as the dashing star of a DroneVision show. Despite his popularity, Aly struggles with anti-Wraetan prejudices and the pressure of being perfect in the public eye.

Their paths collide with one brutal act of violence: Rhee is attacked, barely escaping with her life. Aly is blamed for her presumed murder.

The princess and her accused killer are forced to go into hiding – even as a war between planets is waged in Rhee’s name. But soon, Rhee and Aly discover that the assassination attempt is just one part of a sinister plot. Bound together by an evil that only they can stop, the two fugitives must join forces to save the galaxy.

In this exhilarating debut for fans of Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles and Pierce Brown’s Red Rising trilogy, RHODA BELLEZA crafts a powerful saga of vengeance, warfare, and the true meaning of legacy.

My Thoughts

I had to give this one a 3.5 star rating. I liked it but it didn’t exactly blow me away.

The summary mentions this is perfect for fans of the Lunar Chronicles or the Red Rising trilogy. Now, I haven’t read the Lunar Chronicles, but I have read Red Rising and while fans of such science-fiction stories will probably enjoy this, I wouldn’t try to compare the two. I feel like I wanted just a bit more from Empress of a Thousand Skies. The premise was interesting and I would have enjoyed the setting more if I had more information about the world.

There was some world-building but I really wanted more. There are several different planets and races, and I’m sure there’s a rich history and culture and more, but I feel like we were only given the tip of the iceberg so to speak.

Oh, also, I guess I should mention that the summary is a bit misleading (at least to me). It made me think that Rhee and Aly were going to meet up and interact and work together. They don’t. The only connection the two have is that Aly has been blamed for Rhee’s assassination.

I will say that I enjoyed that some of the characters were presented one way and it was later revealed that it wasn’t true. We are given the perspectives of Rhee and Aly throughout the story, so naturally the narrative is a little biased based on their own thoughts and beliefs, which is cool.

This was still an enjoyable, though a tiny bit predictable, read. With everything that was happening and was revealed towards the end, I’m left to believe that the next book will probably be a great deal better, as things have become a bit more interesting and complex. So, I’m glad I read this, and I did like it, so I am absolutely going to be reading the next one.

Where to Buy

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

Review: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Hey all, Dani here.

Wow, can you believe we are almost at the end of February already? This year seems to be going by so quickly. On one hand, that means I’m closer to BEA and BookCon. On the other hand, why does life seem to be flying by faster with each passing year?

Anyway, today I am reviewing a book that actually surprised me. Initially I didn’t even have this book on my radar but the movie trailer intrigued me so I caved and picked up a copy…and I was not at all disappointed. Also, the movie comes out next week, so I don’t have to wait long to see it, because if the trailers are any indication this should be a pretty good adaptation. I’m pretty excited about it.

Enough of that. Let’s just jump into it.

beforeifall

Summary

What if you had only one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?

Samantha Kingston has it all: the world’s most crush-worthy boyfriend, three amazing best friends, and first pick of everything at Thomas Jefferson High—from the best table in the cafeteria to the choicest parking spot. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life.

Instead, it turns out to be her last.

Then she gets a second chance. Seven chances, in fact. Reliving her last day during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death—and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.

My Thoughts

First, yes, I got the movie tie-in edition, because I liked the cover better than the original. This edition also came with some movie behind the scenes bonuses in the back, which was pretty cool.

As I started this book, I thought that Sam’s voice was very conversational and easy to follow, which made this nearly 500 page book seem shorter. Sam is pretty and popular…and if I’m being honest she’s a bit of a mean girl at times. Seriously, she sometimes annoyed me with how she spoke to or about others, especially when she thought back to her own past when she wasn’t popular and had been taunted by others.

I persisted through the story, and I was glad to see that with each repeated day, Sam developed into a character I really cared about. Whenever she did something different and it changed how the day progressed, she saw that her actions can also have ripple effects through the lives of others.

Days five, six, and seven were my favorite, even though day seven was an emotional ringer.

On day five, Sam skips school and just spends the day with her little sister, and it was such a cute day. I really wish that Izzy could remember that day happening. Then on day six, I feel like Sam really started to get her life on track, especially in the boyfriend area. It was just pretty great.

Finally, I’m not going to spoil anything, but day seven was about as perfect a day as a person could hope for in the end. Sam has completely changed and I absolutely loved that. She was nice and good. She helped out others and she made the day count for something, mean something. In the end she took everything she had seen, experienced, and learned in the past repeat days and did whatever she could to be a positive force.

In the end I found myself torn between a 4.5 star and 5 star rating, so I ended up giving this book 5 stars. It was definitely a story to make you think about how you treat people and making each day count. I am so glad I read this.

Where to Buy

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

Middle Grade March TBR

Hey all, Dani here.

Okay, so yes I do realize that we still have just over a week left in February and that means that posting about my plans for reading in March might seem like it’s a bit early. But, the fact is that I am making March sort of a themed month and I want to give people the opportunity to join me if they want.

Basically for the month of March, aside from a couple ARCs I have to read, I plan on focusing on reading books that are classified as middle grade reads. I’ve been accumulating more and more of these books over the past months and they haven’t made it to my TBRs yet, and I want to change that.

I really enjoy middle grade books. Yes some of them still have inklings for romance, but they mostly focus on friendships and families. They are cute and clever and typically just fun. Middle grade books are also pretty fast reads for me so I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to read quite a few books in March.

All right, so I guess now I’ll just jump into the books I’m hoping to get around to in the next month.

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House of Secrets by Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzini

This book seems like a fun little adventure, and the front cover blurb was written by J.K. Rowling, so I’m hoping I’ll enjoy this.

Hollow Earth by John Barrowman and Carol Barrowman

I have been wanting to read this trilogy for a while. I’m a huge fan of John Barrowman’s acting, and I wonder how well that entertainment translates to a book.

The Balance Keepers: The Fires of Calderon by Lindsay Cummings

I picked up this book based on the recommendation of Sasha Alsberg (@abookutopia on social media). Okay, yes, this may be a bias on Sasha’s end since Lindsay is her co-author, but the concept of the story sounds interesting, so I’m willing to give it a shot.

The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima

Last year (I think), I read The Demon King, which is the first book of this series, and I really enjoyed it…but for some reason I didn’t pick up the sequel. I can’t wait to find out what happens to these characters in this world next.

The Search for WondLa by Tony Diterlizzi

Here’s another book I picked up thanks to a recommendation on BookTube, this time by Regan (@PeruseProject). I like the idea for this book because it is a bit more of a science fiction middle grade story, and I trust Regan’s recommendations. Our reading tastes are fairly similar.

Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty

This book sounds fun and a tiny bit spooky, and I’ve heard a lot of good things about it from several different bookish friends on social media.

A School for Good and Evil: A World Without Princes by Soman Chainani

I greatly enjoyed the first book in this trilogy, and had actually planned to pick up this one a few months ago, but then I heard a few mediocre reviews about it and so I put it off while I read some other books I really wanted to. Now I’d like to actually just push aside the reviews of others and formulate one of my own.

Fablehaven by Brandon Mull

Regan talks about Brandon Mull quite a bit on her YouTube channel, and I was able to pick up this book at a nice discount through Book Outlet, so I’m hoping it will be a fun fantastical adventure.

The Missing: Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Years ago I was a huge fan of Margaret Peterson Haddix; I even have a couple autographed copies from her Shadow Children series. I heard about this series by her and purchased the first book but haven’t read it yet.

Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi

I have been hearing about this book since a few months before its release last year. It sounds fun and whimsical and I look forward to finally reading it.

Riverkeep by Martin Stewart

The cover for this book is so lovely to look at, and I liked the concept for the story as well. I tried to get an early copy through NetGalley but was rejected, and so I bought my own copy. Somehow though I got distracted and this book has just been sitting on my shelves. It’s time to pick it up.

All right. Well, there you have it, all the books I’m planning on reading in March. It’s a pretty big list so I’ll have to keep to a reading schedule to finish them all. I think I can make it through all of them though.

And if you decide to join me for Middle Grade March, let me know. I’d love to follow your progress on your blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or wherever you talk about your reading.

Review: Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson

Hey all, Dani here,

Well, it’s that time of year again…you know February, Valentine’s Day, and its focus on romance. I’m certainly not immune to wanting to be swept away in a swoon worthy story of a couple that ends in happily ever after, which is why my February TBR had quite a few romances in it.

Today I’m here to talk about this sweet historical romance I finished a few days ago.

blackmoore

Summary

Kate Worthington knows her heart and she knows she will never marry. Her plan is to travel to India instead—if only to find peace for her restless spirit and to escape the family she abhors. But Kate’s meddlesome mother has other plans. She makes a bargain with Kate: India, yes, but only after Kate has secured—and rejected—three marriage proposals.

Kate journeys to the stately manor of Blackmoore determined to fulfill her end of the bargain and enlists the help of her dearest childhood friend, Henry Delafield. But when it comes to matters of love, bargains are meaningless and plans are changeable. There on the wild lands of Blackmoore, Kate must face the truth that has kept her heart captive. Will the proposal she is determined to reject actually be the one thing that will set her heart free?

Set in Northern England in 1820, Blackmoore is a Regency romance that tells the story of a young woman struggling to learn how to follow her heart. It is Wuthering Heights meets Little Women with a delicious must-read twist.

My Thoughts

Overall rating: 4 stars

Okay, so this was a cute historical romance story, and I really enjoyed reading it. I will say that if you have read Regency era romances before (or any romances really) then it will probably be a bit predictable in most aspects, but it is still worth a read.

You know how there are those books out there where you basically already know the plot but it’s still fun to get lost in them for a couple of hours to escape the reality of your own life? Yeah, I’d say that Blackmoore fits that category.

I mean, I knew from the beginning that Kate and Henry were in love and meant to be together. But I also loved that this wasn’t one of those insta-love stories, because Kate and Henry have known each other for most of their lives.

Add in Kate swearing never to marry, Henry’s obligations to his family name and ancestral home of Blackmoore, and the scandalous actions of Kate’s mother and her sister Eleanor, and this is a delightful tale that will just make you smile due to the adorable little moments.

Where to Buy

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

Review: Dreadnought by April Daniels

Hey all, Dani here,

I was approved for an e-galley of this book by NetGalley just a few days before its release, so my schedule didn’t quite work out to finish it all before release day, but I am pleased to say that I can review it now. As always, my thoughts, opinions, and rating were not affected due to receiving the galley.

Okay, so basically I’ve been trying to focus on diverse reads as much as I possibly can, while still continuing with all of my lovely fantasy and sci-fi reads, so when a novel pops up with a transgender superhero, I kinda have to read it. Dreadnought was an interesting read, and I’m glad to have read it.

dreadnought

Summary

Danny Tozer has a problem: she just inherited the powers of the world’s greatest superhero. Until Dreadnought fell out of the sky and died right in front of her, she was trying to keep people from finding out she’s transgender. But then her second-hand superpowers transformed her body into what she’s always thought it should be. Now there’s no hiding that she’s a girl.

It should be the happiest time of her life, but between her father’s dangerous obsession with curing her girlhood, her best friend suddenly acting like he’s entitled to date her, and the classmate who is secretly a masked vigilante, Danny’s first weeks living in a body that fits her are more difficult and complicated than she could have imagined.

She doesn’t have much time to adjust. Dreadnought’s murderer, a cyborg named Utopia, still haunts the streets of New Port City. If Danny can’t sort through the confusion of coming out, master her powers, and stop Utopia in time, humanity faces extinction.

My Thoughts

The first thing I want to say is that it took me a little bit to get invested in this story. Not because it wasn’t interesting or good, but because Danny has a habit of info dumping in the beginning. There were times when she would go on and on about the history of a superhero or a significant event, and it pulled me out of the story a bit.

But that settled down as the action really picked up. And like many superheroes, Danny has to deal with more than just saving the world and defeating the bad guys; she has her own issues in her civilian life. See, Danny was born a boy but has always seen herself as a girl. So when Dreadnought dies in front of her and she inherits the mantle of Dreadnought, the transfer of power actually changes her into her physical ideal. And that really brings out the negative personality traits of people like her dad and her best friend.

Thankfully Danny is able to form a friendship with Calamity, who is another cape…though Calamity is what is known as a gray cape, so she sometimes will lie, cheat, or steal to get her way. But I like the friendship between the two girls.

This book is brilliant at highlighting the different ways that people think about and treat people they see as other. From Danny’s dad and best friend, to some of the white capes in the Legion, Danny has to deal with a lot of prejudices and preconceived notions on who she should be, and who should be behind the cowl of Dreadnought.

Oh, and to top it all off, Danny is only fifteen years old. This is a beautiful coming of age story of acceptance and coming into one’s own, and just happens to have superheroes and supervillains thrown in.

And when the pieces of the puzzle started coming together and the big reveals and big boss battles happened at the end, all I could do was fly through the remaining pages because I was that invested in the story.

Okay, so this isn’t really a spoiler, but might actually be a little spoiler, but Danny has a press conference at the end of the book where she comes out as Dreadnought, a transgender woman, and also a lesbian. It kinda reminded me of the press conference Tony Stark had at the end of the first Iron Man movie. I liked that it was a moment of complete acceptance of her place in the world now. It really made me excited for the next book in the series, which will be coming in July 2017.

Overall, I gave Dreadnought a 4 star rating.

Where to Buy

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

Review: Heartstone by Elle Katharine White

Hey all, Dani here.

Today I am here with a review of a book that I absolutely devoured. It actually came in both my January Lit-Cube box and my January Novel Tea Club box, so I’m guessing it’s going to be a hit with the book crowd.

Of course, I’m talking about Heartstone, which is basically a retelling of Pride and Prejudice in a land where creatures such as dragons, wyverns, and hobgoblins exist. And I’m just going to go ahead and admit this here and now…I loved this book so much and will probably be gushing about how wonderful it was, and also recommending that everyone pick up a copy as soon as possible.

Okay, so let’s get this started.

heartstone

Summary

A debut historical fantasy that recasts Jane Austen’s beloved Pride and Prejudice in an imaginative world of wyverns, dragons, and the warriors who fight alongside them against the monsters that threaten the kingdom: gryphons, direwolves, lamias, banshees, and lindworms

They say a Rider in possession of a good blade must be in want of a monster to slay—and Merybourne Manor has plenty of monsters.

Passionate, headstrong Aliza Bentaine knows this all too well; she’s already lost one sister to the invading gryphons. So when Lord Merybourne hires a band of Riders to hunt down the horde, Aliza is relieved her home will soon be safe again.

Her relief is short-lived. With the arrival of the haughty and handsome dragonrider, Alastair Daired, Aliza expects a battle; what she doesn’t expect is a romantic clash of wills, pitting words and wit against the pride of an ancient house. Nor does she anticipate the mystery that follows them from Merybourne Manor, its roots running deep as the foundations of the kingdom itself, where something old and dreadful slumbers . . . something far more sinister than gryphons.

It’s a war Aliza is ill-prepared to wage, on a battlefield she’s never known before: one spanning kingdoms, class lines, and the curious nature of her own heart.

Elle Katharine White infuses elements of Austen’s beloved novel with her own brand of magic, crafting a modern epic fantasy that conjures a familiar yet wondrously unique new world.

My Thoughts

First of all, can we just talk about that cover? Seriously, it is a wonderfully lovely cover and I actually enjoy just staring at it.

Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, I’ll also admit to being a bit of a fan of Jane Austen’s works. I’ve read them numerous times, and I usually get excited when I hear that something (book/TV series/web series/movie) is an adaptation of an Austen novel, or even better is simply inspired by them. Of course, I’m also a little leery too because some just miss the mark.

I am so pleased to say that this one did not disappoint me at all. From the first person perspective of Aliza Bentaine, to the initial meeting of Alastair Daired (who kicked a poor little hobgoblin), and continuing on through the beloved tale we all know, this was just a delightful experience.

Obviously with the dangers of this world’s creatures, there are some deviations from the original tale, but they all work beautifully. It is not at all a spoiler to mention here that Aliza’s sister Katarina has been killed by gryphons even before the story begins (seriously, this fact is mentioned in the summary), so we aren’t juggling as many sisters, which is nice, but all the other characters are present. Oh, and I’ll also say that I enjoyed Leyda’s story too–ever since watching The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and reading the accompanying books, I admit to being more invested in Lydia’s part in the plot.

I have to say this here: I loved the character of Charis Brysney. In most adaptations of Pride and Prejudice I am not that much of a fan of Caroline Bingley, but here she was a character I truly cared for and respected. I can’t say much more than that because I really try to avoid revealing something that might be spoilery.

So basically, this tale is a great blend of a narrative we are familiar with and original elements that create a truly magical story. I will definitely be reading this book over and over again. I smiled, I worried about the characters, and I wondered what would happen next. I especially wondered how the main plot elements would be handled in this new setting, and I was nothing less than impressed.

Elle Katharine White’s writing was entrancing, and I feel that Heartstone is a beautiful and fabulous adaptation. Basically, I can say that this was a rather strong debut novel, and I am eagerly looking forward to what the future holds for this new writer.

Obviously, my rating is 5 stars, but I wish I could give it more. Honestly, if you are at all a fan of Jane Austen and fantasy, please pick up a copy of this book. You will not be disappointed.

Where to Buy

Pick up a copy yourself from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Books-a-million, or your local indie bookstore.

January Wrap Up and February TBR

Hey all, Dani here.

Wow, here we are on the first day of February. Fun fact: today is my half birthday. And what better way to celebrate than to talk about books? I can’t think of anything better.

All right, so I had a pretty decent month of reading to start off 2017. I read 10 books in the month of January. Okay, fine…so I didn’t quite read everything I wanted to. There’s a few books I’m still in the middle of, but I’m hoping to finish them up this week.

Anyway, let’s just jump into this. If I’ve written up a review of the book, I will link it in case you want to know more.

January Wrap Up

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Sleeping with Earth by Ben Ditmars — 5 stars

The Alchemists of Loom by Elise Kova — 5 stars

Ruined by Amy Tintera — 5 stars

Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill — 4 stars

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden — 4.5 stars

Scythe by Neal Shusterman — 5 stars

The Magicians by Lev Grossman — 4 stars

Infinity by Jus Accardo — 5 stars

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard — 5 stars

Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth — 4 stars

I read some pretty good books in January and I was so glad to have read or re-read some of these lovelies. I still need to buy a copy of The Alchemists of Loom, because honestly it is worth getting right now in hardcover.

Oh, and I guess I should say that I am still reading Windwitch by Susan Dennard and The Black Prism by Brent Weeks. I’m enjoying both of them but I feel like I need to take my time and absorb them properly.

January Book Haul

You guys…I bought so many books this month. I really was going to try and rein it in but I couldn’t resist a couple of the good deals on Book Outlet. At least using Book Outlet I was able to buy a lot of books without spending an outrageous amount of money. Seriously, I recommend the store if you want wonderfully discounted books. They have both bargain books and scratch and dent; bargain are in like new condition and scratch and dent have some markings, dents, or dings, but are otherwise perfectly readable.

I used to list off each individual title I purchased each month, but my lists got a bit ridiculous, so now I just give you a photo and move on.

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Do you see any books you love (aside from Harry Potter, because I bought another edition of them because they were pretty; I’ve obviously read HP a few different times)? Are there any you think I should bump to the top of my TBR?

Hey, speaking of TBRs, I guess I should probably announce my tentative list of books to read in the month of February. There are actually two that I can’t include in my photo, because they haven’t been released yet. Those are: King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard and Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza, both will be out on February 7th.

Here’s the rest of my February TBR:

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As you can see, February is basically a romance month. Heartstone is a Pride and Prejudice inspired tale with dragons so that sounds awesome. Blackmoore is a historical romance, RoseBlood is a Phantom of the Opera retelling, The Bronze Horseman is also a historical romance that is apparently full of delightful drama and is super addictive, and obviously Dragonfly in Amber is the sequel to Outlander and it’s about time I read this so I can watch season two of the show. (Yeah, I’m trying not to spoil myself so I read the book first and then watch).

All right, so I think that is all for now. I’m hoping February is going to be just as great as January was.