Book Tag, Books!, Signal Boost

Hocus Pocus Book Tag

Hey all, Dani here.

Happy Halloween! When Katie over at Never Not Reading tagged me for this tag, I knew I had to do it, even if it meant moving around some of my other planned and/or scheduled posts. Hocus Pocus is one of my favorite movies, and was a big part of my childhood. So yes, I do own it on DVD, and yes, I do watch it somewhat regularly.

The rules of this tag are simple: there are no rules. Just, it would be nice if you could link back to Katie’s original post and then possibly even link back to the person who tagged you as well. Katie’s post used some GIFs from the movie, and you are welcome to use those in your post, and then Flavia made some graphics, and you can use those as well, if you’d like.

Anyway, let’s just get started.

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For this one I just have to go with the Shades of Magic trilogy by V.E. Schwab.

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I wanted to try and pick someone different from other people, but I just couldn’t really choose a female villain I despise more than Dolores Umbridge. Seriously, that woman is awful.

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For this one I have to go with Percy Jackson, or really anything by Rick Riordan…and hey, to me his books are good for children of all ages. I mean, I’m almost 30 and I will still obsess and fangirl over any MG book by Riordan that is announced or released.

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This book is just so ridiculously silly and such that I haven’t actually finished it yet. I can say that I’m more intrigued about the next Lady Janie book to come out, because it is apparently a Jane Eyre tale.

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I rather liked the first book, but the second book was just so slow and it felt like wading through quicksand to get through it. I had hoped that the third book would redeem the sophomore slump, but I’ve reached the point now where I’m accepting that I’m just not going to finish the book. I feel like this series is trying to be like other series that have been successful and the parts are just not coming together like they should.

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For this one I wanted to be able to answer with The Hate U Give or Dear Martin because of their focus on racial issues and issues of shootings and violence from the police, but I have not yet read either book. Then I thought about choosing All Rights Reserved because of the somewhat scary look at a potential future where every word and gesture is copyrighted and trademarked. And those are all valid answers for this prompt. Another valid answer is Pride and Prejudice. It is a classic novel that describes what life was like in those days (obviously from the observations/viewpoint of Jane Austen, but it still seems fairly accurate), and then let’s not forget both Lizzie and Darcy, who both just tell it like it is, even if it leads to errors in judgment and wrongful opinions on the character of the other.

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I refuse to add photos for this series, but come on people, just let it die already. Of course I’m talking about E.L. James and the Fifty Shades of Grey books. Because now she’s coming out with Darker, which is a retelling of Fifty Shades Darker but from Christian Grey’s POV. So obviously that means that soon enough we can look forward to the announcement that she’s working on Freed and we’ll have all the books from both main character’s POVs. I only read the first book because I was trying to cheer a friend up so I agreed to buddy read it for her. These are not good books and I will not read any more of them.

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I have to go with a classic here, Lenny from Of Mice and Men. But hey, dumb doesn’t have to mean a character lacking in personality, or a bad character.

I’ll mention Critical Role again here, and point you towards the monthly comic series. Issue #2 saw the adventures of Scanlan the bard and Grog the barbarian. Grog has a low intelligence, but I still think his character is amazing. You don’t have to be intelligent to be caring or compassionate or protective or anything else. I think characters like Lenny and Grog show us that.

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I devoured this book when I was granted an early copy of it through NetGalley, and then I went out at midnight on release day and asked my local store (Wal-mart) to dig out a copy from the boxes in the back, because I had to have a copy of it. I also devoured and obsessed over the second book, especially considering how the world unfolded and what secrets were revealed. And then I never heard anything about the third book. Apparently Richelle Mead still plans to finish it and release it someday, but I guess sales weren’t what the publisher expected so they dropped the series.

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I absolutely loved these books, but they only have a 3.2 star average on Goodreads. This series is also one I could have picked for The Black Flame Candle, because I’m sad I didn’t get a real conclusion. Okay, yes, book two has enough of an ending to be all right, but there is obviously more to say, and if I could afford to pay Catie Murphy to write the next one, I would. Sadly, I do not have that kind of money. If she ever decided to come back to the series and did a Kickstarter campaign, I would absolutely be one of the first backers.

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I’ve seen it mentioned in numerous reviews for this one that it is somewhat lacking in plot. Well, I enjoy it for the atmosphere more than anything, though I can see the loose plot throughout. Anyway, this book was started as a NaNoWriMo project, and from my own experience, I know those stories can sometimes really take on a life of their own, much like how the circus takes on its own life and growth in this book.

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When I first saw this tag on Katie’s blog and I reached this prompt, I instantly knew what book I would pick for this one. And as I saw more and more other people post, it seemed like quite a few people blanked on books that would qualify.

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In Demon Hunts there is a lovely cameo for all fans of the TV show Supernatural. This book mentions a well-known Impala and two men: the tall one and the cute one…AKA Sam and Dean Winchester. So that is my pick for cameo in a book.

As it is Halloween, I don’t know if anyone would want to keep doing this tag after the holiday, but if you still want to celebrate books as well as the greatness that is Hocus Pocus, then by all means, you have now been TAGGED.

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Book Tag, Books!, Inspiration, Reading Challenge, Signal Boost

Creatures of the Night Tag

Hey all, Dani here.

I found this tag on Kristin’s page over at Kristin Kraves Books, and I could not resist giving it a try. The rules are simple enough: Name a book that features the following creatures.

For some of them though, that seemed a bit too easy for me, so I’m going to name off as many of them as I can think of. But I’m only going to give myself about two minutes per creature, because why not?

Let’s get started.

Vampire

Midnight Texas trilogy by Charlaine Harris

Vampire Academy series and Bloodlines series by Richelle Mead

The Old Races novels by C.E. Murphy

Strange Practice by Vivian Shaw

Levees by Night by Vince Moore

Jane Yellowrock series by Faith Hunter

Kiss of Steel by Bec McMaster

Blood Kin by M.J. Scott

Den of Shadows quartet by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

Morganville Vampire series by Rachel Caine

The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

Blood of Eden trilogy by Julie Kagawa

Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R. Ward

Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice

Werewolf (okay, so some of these are shapeshifters but still)

Heart of Iron by Bec McMaster

The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews (lion, wolf, bear, etc shifters)

Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs

Jane Yellowrock series by Faith Hunter

Beauty and the Werewolf by Mercedes Lackey

Zombie

iZombie by Chris Roberson and Michael Allred

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

The Walking Dead series by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard

Ghost

Mediator series by Meg Cabot

How to Hang a Witch and Haunting the Deep by Adriana Mather

Ghost Talkers by Mary Robinette Kowal

Roaring Twenties novels by Jenn Bennett

The Raven Boys quartet by Maggie Stiefvater

Angel

Fallen series by Lauren Kate

Fallen series by Thomas E Sniegoski

Remy Chandler series by Thomas E Sniegoski

The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

Witches/Warlocks (also Wizards)

The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

Echo Park Coven novels by Amber Benson

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

The Crown’s Game duology by Evelyn Skye

Dresden Files by Jim Butcher

Fae

The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa

The Arcadia Project series by Mishell Baker

October Daye series by Seanan McGuire

Shadow Reader series by Sandy Williams

A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J Maas

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

Worldwalker duology by C.E. Murphy

Demon

The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

Georgina Kincaid series by Richelle Mead

Alien

Wayfarers series by Becky Chambers

Janitors of the Post-Apocalypse series by Jim C Hines

The Expanse series by James S.A. Corey

Super Powered Human

Heroine Complex series by Sarah Kuhn

Gold Seer trilogy by Rae Carson

Lightbringer series by Brent Weeks

Colorworld series by Rachel E Kelly

Weather Warden series by Rachel Caine

Elemental Assassin series by Jennifer Estep

Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind

Study series and Glass series by Maria V Snyder

Midnighters trilogy by Scott Westerfeld

Grishaverse novels by Leigh Bardugo

Witchlands novels by Susan Dennard

Magic Ex Libris series by Jim C Hines

The Reckoners trilogy by Brandon Sanderson

The Darkest Minds novels by Alexandra Bracken

Nemesis novels by April Daniels

Elemental series by Brigid Kemmerer

All right, well that’s it for today. If this is a tag you’d like to do, then please consider yourself TAGGED. I’ll be back tomorrow with  another book tag.  Have a Happy Halloween everyone!

Book Releases, Book Review, Books!, NetGalley, Recommendations, Signal Boost

Review: The Magician’s Keeper by Nicola E. Sheridan

Hey all, Dani here.

I have been waiting for this book for sooo long, and I finally got to read it. Basically I have been a fan of Nicola E Sheridan’s for many years now. I first learned about her from my author friend Donaya Haymond, and decided to give her books a try. I have read them all and loved them all. In fact, I should really reread them and write up reviews for this blog.

I suppose I should also say thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for granting me early access to this book. I can’t wait to buy a copy on release day.

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Summary

A brand new steamy paranormal romance about learning to love all of yourself.

In a world where people judge one another by exacting standards of size and style, being a big girl like Eudora Splat was never going to be easy.

Though trouble is brewing between magic folk and human purists who would see them all destroyed, Dora, a half-giant, tries to eke out a quiet, unnoticed life for herself, but it’s hard to be subtle when you’re over seven feet tall.

Losing her job as a gardener due to human complaints, Dora is recruited as a prison guard, where she’s enlisted to protect the magician Evander “Bear” Gordon from human purist attack. Bear encourages her to embrace her power and celebrate her heritage, introducing her to a world where she can be extraordinary and not just weird.

But after years of hiding and shying away, can Dora find the strength to grab onto a new life — and hold on to the man she’s falling in love with?

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

What I love about Sheridan’s books is that they all take place in the same world, which is a version of our world where creatures like satyrs and magicians and genies and giants live. There are organizations that pledge to help magical beings, but then there are government agencies who set up registries and restrictions and more for them.

The first few chapters of following Dora around made me uncomfortable…and I don’t mean that as a bad thing. The way people look at her and treat her is supposed to feel off-putting. They talk about her size and the way she smells; there’s nothing she can do about it because she was born a half-giant, and inherited those traits from her mother.

Then there’s Bear, and he seems to be having a pretty rough time in prison. He’s pretty much kept in isolation and is nearly cut off from his magic, and any time he is able to/does use magic, he is severely punished for doing so.

So basically these two characters are dealing with similar issues of treatment, and obviously they are going to be about perfect for each other.

Being that this is a paranormal romance, you pretty much know the overarching story of Dora and Bear meeting and then falling in love. But as per usual with Sheridan’s books, there is so much more to it. I find the world, the setting, the magic to all be so interesting, and I hope there will still be more books in the future. Okay, that being said, I will say that you don’t need to read any of her other books to understand what is going on in this one. The only books somewhat dependent on each other are her genie books. But, I will say that all of them are worth the read and it will just heighten your overall reading experience as you understand more and more of the logistics of the world built by Sheridan.

Where to Buy

You can preorder The Magician’s Keeper on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-a-million. This book will be released on November 4, 2017.

Book Review, Books!, Recommendations, Signal Boost

Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Hey all, Dani here.

I’ll just preface this review by saying that this is a book I’ve been wanting to reread for a while, and the magical circus atmosphere just seemed perfect for October. It should also be said that the last time I read this book was three or four years ago, so in some ways it felt brand new to me, though I am still quite familiar with the story.

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Summary

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway – a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love – a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

All right, so I know there are some people out there who are not exactly fans of this book because of the slow moving plot or what they consider to be a lack of plot. I think this is more of an atmospheric experience read. Yes, I do think there is a plot, that of this competition between two magicians, where they try to show off their skills within the circus venue, and the competition continues until one is named the victor.

But the world of the circus, the descriptions of sights and sounds and smells just transport me somewhere else. It makes me feel as if I am visiting Le Cirque des Reves myself, which is obviously helped by the 2nd person POV interludes scattered throughout the novel.

I own this book in hardcover, in e-book, and in audiobook, and I have enjoyed reading it each way. The audiobook narrator does such a great job with both male and female voices, as well as utilizing different accents, which makes it easy to distinguish between the somewhat large cast of characters.

Most every time I read this, I find myself feeling as if my reading time is much like being transported into a dream, and when I close the book, I am jolted back into my waking life. And honestly, I feel like that is sort of the point of the book. After all, the story does make us visit the Circus of Dreams.

I missed Celia and Marcus and Poppet and Widget and Bailey and Herr Thiessen and Chandresh and Tsukiko and Isobel and all of the other characters we are introduced to over the course of the story. To get to experience the story again in a like-new way was wonderful. Obviously I still had a positive emotional connection to the book based on the few times I’ve read it before, but I found myself as swept away as any previous reading. I love when I find books that feel just as memorable and just as lovely with each reread.

Where to Buy

This book has been out for a while. You can pick it up wherever books are sold: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore.

Book Review, Books!, Signal Boost

Comic Reviews: Rat Queens

Hey all, Dani here.

Today I’m back with a couple more comic reviews, this time both are from the same series. One is a single issue and the other is a bind-up volume. Oh, and I’ll just say it right here and now…the Rat Queens are violent and vulgar. These comics contain a lot of blood, alcohol, drugs, and sex. Let’s jump into the reviews.

 

Summary

(Issue #16): “WHEN BEARDS COLLIDE” Part One. The Rat Queens return to Palisade to find that the world has moved on without them. The tavern is infested with would be heroes, drinking all the ale and getting in all the fights. What’s a warrior girl to do?

(Vol 4): The Queens are back! Palisade is still a rat-infested hell hole, and Violet, Hannah, Dee, Betty, and the brand-new Queen, Braga are the only hope of saving it! It’s been a long time since they’ve done a good slaughter, so join them as they get back to the basics of killing monsters and drinking away the profits! This is a fresh, hilarious new take on the RAT QUEENS with new artist OWEN GIENI! Collects RAT QUEENS, VOL. 2 #1-5

My Thoughts

Rating: Issue #16 – 5 stars, Vol 4 – 4 stars

First up is Issue #16. This was supposed to be the first of a new story arc, but after its release the comic went on hiatus, and when it finally returned they just decided to start with a new storyline and ignore the most recent release. What is sad about that to me is that Issue #16 is no longer canon to the overall story, and it is the issue that includes the characters in Vox Machina from Critical Role. (And you all know how I feel about Critical Role). But honestly, if it weren’t for the inclusion of some of my favorite fictional characters, I probably would have given the issue a 3.5 or 4 star rating. It just felt a little disjointed and confusing at times.

Moving on to Volume 4. So this one starts in a similar manner to Issue 16, with the Rat Queens returning to Palisade after a nice sailing adventure abroad. Now back home they are ready to jump back into business as usual with taking contracts in order to pay their rent and such. But Palisade is not exactly the same as they remembered. A lot of the other adventuring groups are gone or have disbanded, and several people are acting strangely. The Rat Queens get right back into partying, fighting, drinking, and for my favorite character, Betty the smidgen, the indulging of psychedelic mushrooms. They then take a job that will nicely cover their rent, but another party (the Cat Kings, led by Violet’s twin brother Barrie) is on the same task, but are woefully unprepared. Shenanigans ensue, and an amusing adventure is had. Honestly what I love about this comic series is that it reminds me of some of my D&D adventures, and it’s just entertaining. I love the differences and complexities of each character, as well as how well they can work together, and that they accept each other, flaws and all. I just really enjoy reading this series.

Where to Buy

Rat Queens #16: Amazon, Comixology

Rat Queens, Vol 4: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, Comixology

 

Books!, Recommendations, Signal Boost

Recommendations: Romance

Hey all, Dani here.

Unlike last week when I had to use the last four years worth of reading to have enough books for a good recommendation post, this week I was able to stick to the restrictions I’m trying to adhere to for this series…as in, only books I’ve read since starting this blog. My genre this time around is romance, and I have some contemporary romance, some fantasy romance, some paranormal romance, and some historical romance, so there should hopefully be something that appeals to just about everybody.

Let’s just jump on into the recommendations.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. Okay, so yes, this one is an emotional story, but I can’t help but say that I liked Louisa Clarke, and I enjoyed seeing how she developed through the story. I thought the movie adaptation was pretty good too.

Captive Prince by C.S. Pacat. Technically I am recommending the whole trilogy, but I’ll first preface this with saying that yes, this is a m/m romance, and even more than that it is sort of a hate-to-love, slave/master type romance. So if that is something that would bother you, maybe skip this one. But I devoured the whole trilogy in just a few days, so I can absolutely say that I was drawn into the world and the characters and the story.

Reliquary by Sarah Fine is the first in a contemporary fantasy trilogy, and the romance takes a little while to actually start because of the main lady actually being in a relationship already, but the tension and chemistry between the two main characters is so tantalizing. This story has an interesting magic system too, so I’d definitely recommend it.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. It took me a while to actually finish this one. The first time I read it I wasn’t in the right mindset so how Claire was treated by Jamie aggravated me and I stopped reading about halfway through. I’m glad that I convinced myself to try again at a later time, because I was swept away by this historical romance with just a hint of time travel. I’ll also admit that I am only a few chapters into the sequel, but this is definitely a series I enjoy (and also take my time with).

Heartstone by Elle Katharine White. I will just keep talking about this historical fantasy romance story because it is fabulous. It is basically a reimagining of Pride & Prejudice if dragons and wyverns and hobgoblins existed. This is a story that gripped me right from the start and I am so glad that I read it.

Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson. This was a sweet romance, and in some ways it was predictable considering the historical setting and all, but sometimes we need a romance that isn’t dripping with sex and lust and more. The locales in this book were lovely and I enjoyed the couple hours I spent reading the story.

Lover Revealed by J.R. Ward. Yes, I realize that this is technically the fourth book in the series. I don’t care, because it is my favorite one so far. This particular book is focused on Butch, who I didn’t like much when we first met him in the first book, but his character development has been extraordinary, and I so loved his story. I actually paused in reading the Black Dagger Brotherhood series after finishing this book, but I will start back up again soon because I want to read them all.

Alex & Eliza by Melissa de la Cruz. Originally I didn’t plan to pick this book up at all. I worried that the YA angle on it would somehow diminish the love story of Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schulyer. I’m glad I was finally convinced to pick it up, and I’m even more glad that I was wrong in my assumption. Historically speaking, both Alex and Eliza were known for their wit (actually Eliza’s sisters Angelica and Peggy were as well) and that shone through in this book. I definitely recommend this book for fans of history, and especially for fans of the musical Hamilton, because you get so much more Schulyer sister awesomeness in this book.

Whew, all right, I think that is all for my recommendations today. Come back next week for some Science Fiction recommendations. But I should be having a few book reviews and book tags coming over the next several days as well, so thanks for stopping by everyone, and hey, if you have any romance recommendations, feel free to mention them in the comments.

Books!, Signal Boost, TBR Purge

TBR Purge the 11th

Hey all, Dani here.

So a while back I saw a number of bloggers doing Down the TBR Rabbit Hole posts and working on purging out their TBRs. Those posts had rules like looking through 5-10 books on your TBR and then deciding if you would keep it on the list or say bye to it. Considering that my TBR list was over 800 books at the time, I knew 5-10 books with each post would take me far too long. So I went rather ambitious and decided on 30 books with each post.

Even with 30 books per post, I’m still looking at a total of 28 purge posts. So, here I am with post #11 out of 28. Let’s just jump into it.

My Lady Quicksilver by Bec McMaster. This is the third book in her Steampunk London series, after Kiss of Steel and Heart of Iron. I definitely plan to read this soon. Keep.

Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger. I am so behind on Carriger’s books so it will be a while before I can get around to this one. I will be taking it off my list, but the book will stay on my bookshelves, because eventually I do want to read it.

Heavy Metal and Sunroper by Natalie Damschroder. I read and really enjoyed the first book in this series, plus it sort of takes place in Ohio, so I’d like to finish them. Keep.

Terminated, Black Dawn, Fall of Night, Bitter Blood, Daylighters, Morganville Vampires Vol 1, Morganville Vampires Vol 2, Morganville Vampires Vol 3, and Morganville Vampires Vol 4 by Rachel Caine. Of all of these the only one I’m going to keep on the list is Morganville Vol 1. Technically I already read the first two books in the series, but it has been quite some time so if I want to read the whole series, I’m going to have to start over.

Of Poseidon by Anna Banks. I’m just not really interested in reading this book now. Goodbye.

A Soul for Vengeance by Crista McHugh. I read the first book in this series and it was all right, and I had intended to continue on because I was trying to read every book by McHugh, but I’m just not really feeling like I want to continue on with this series right now.

Gathering Darkness and Frozen Tides by Morgan Rhodes. Okay, so I plan to reread this series in time for the release of the final book here in a few months (because they pushed the release back to like February now–I’m disappointed because I got a new book in this series each year for Christmas), so obviously keep.

The Forever Song by Julie Kagawa. I need to read this trilogy, and I will. I just need to find a matching set of covers first.

Sky Pirates by Liesl Schwarz. This is the third and final book in The Chronicles of Light and Shadow, and I really enjoyed the first two books. I’d like to be able to add this to my completed series list, so keep.

Summoning the Night, Binding the Shadows, and Banishing the Dark by Jenn Bennett. After I read and enjoyed the first book in this series, I had intended to continue on, but found it rather difficult to find copies of the rest of the series. Then last year I won a Twitter giveaway by the author and actually got a signed set of the series. I’m going to keep book two, Summoning the Night, on my to-read list, but take the others off so I don’t over-clutter the list.

Firelight, Moonglow, and Shadowdance by Kristen Callihan. I have been wanting to get into this series for a long time, and I still want to read it. Keeping the first book only until I know if I want to continue on with the series.

Taste of Darkness by Maria V. Snyder. I need to reread Touch of Power and then finish this trilogy. I love Snyder’s works so this is an easy keep.

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Writers…I’m going to keep this with my writing books, but I’m just not feeling like I need to read it right now, so bye.

Red Hot Fury by Kasey MacKenzie. This book does still sound interesting, but I just don’t know if I’ll be in the mood to read it any time soon. I’ll keep it on my bookshelves, but for now I shall take it off the list.

The Guild: Fawkes by Felicia Day and Wil Wheaton. This is a part of the Guild comics series, but it wasn’t included in the two original bind up releases. I think they recently put it into the new deluxe Guild Library Edition Bind-Up so I’ll finally get to read it.

Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan. He’s an Ohio author, I met him and bought signed hardbacks from him, and the concept of the Powder Mage series intrigues me. I really need to find the time to fit this into my reading schedule. Keep.

Okay, so I managed to get rid of 17 books off my list today (okay technically 20 if you consider that the Morganville bindups are two books in one). I think I’m doing pretty good with my TBR purge.

Oh, and now a library update. I now have all of the bookcases in the library assembled. I just need to get the rest of my books packed up and moved over, and then get everything sorted, but it’s starting to look really nice. Here is another in progress photo update.

Book Review, Books!, Recommendations, Signal Boost

Review: How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather

Hey all, Dani here.

I bought this book shortly after it was released last year because it sounded interesting and perfect as a fall/October/Halloween read. Then I just never picked it up. This happens a lot to me, because there are just so many books coming out that I can’t honestly keep up with all of the releases I want to read in a timely manner. So fast forward to this year, and I start seeing book trailers for the sequel…and I knew I just had to find a way to read the first book, just so I would be able to read the second one if I liked it.

I’m glad I finally was able to fit How to Hang a Witch into my reading schedule.

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Summary

It’s the Salem Witch Trials meets Mean Girls in a debut novel from one of the descendants of Cotton Mather, where the trials of high school start to feel like a modern day witch hunt for a teen with all the wrong connections to Salem’s past.

Salem, Massachusetts is the site of the infamous witch trials and the new home of Samantha Mather. Recently transplanted from New York City, Sam and her stepmother are not exactly welcomed with open arms. Sam is the descendant of Cotton Mather, one of the men responsible for those trials and almost immediately, she becomes the enemy of a group of girls who call themselves The Descendants. And guess who their ancestors were?

If dealing with that weren’t enough, Sam also comes face to face with a real live (well technically dead) ghost. A handsome, angry ghost who wants Sam to stop touching his stuff. But soon Sam discovers she is at the center of a centuries old curse affecting anyone with ties to the trials. Sam must come to terms with the ghost and find a way to work with The Descendants to stop a deadly cycle that has been going on since the first accused witch was hanged. If any town should have learned its lesson, it’s Salem. But history may be about to repeat itself.

My Thoughts

Rating: 4.5 stars

First off, you can find the book trailer for How to Hang a Witch here, and the book trailer for Haunting the Deep is here.

Okay, so the Salem Witch Trials is a period of history that rather fascinated me back when I was in high school, and I admit to still being interested in what happened there. So to have a book written by an actual descendant of Cotton Mather with a focus on Salem, though with a nice paranormal filter on top, definitely piqued my interest.

I found the writing to be very easy to read and I was quickly absorbed into the story. Sam is an interesting character, even when dealing with the standard YA trope of the protagonist being the new kid/loner type. Oh, and then throw in a curse and some spirits and also witches. This book has the right atmosphere for a Halloween read.

Following as Sam begins to explore more of her new home and the history of the town as well as her family was really interesting. I also liked the flashback scenes of Sam’s childhood as she remembers times with her dad, who before the start of the book fell into a coma. When Sam learns about the curse, she worries that it will hurt her dad, and that really motivates her to hunt for the truth. I loved that you could tell just how close she was to her dad, so her motivation was wholly believable.

This book just has an interesting premise and I’m glad that I finally got around to it because I really enjoyed reading it. I’m also excited that the sequel should arrive in the mail tomorrow, because I’m pretty sure I’m just going to read it as quickly as I can.

Where to Buy

You can pick up your own copy of this book from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore. The sequel, Haunting the Deep is also available now.

Book Review, Books!, Readathon, Signal Boost

Readathon Wrap Ups

Hey all, Dani here.

Because of having two 24 hour readathons two weekends in a row, I thought it would be easiest to just do one wrap up post to cover everything. This is probably actually going to be slightly shorter than my normal posts, but that’s because I don’t have a lot to really talk about. But let’s just go ahead and get started.

Okay, first up, on October 14, I participated in Readathon by Zoe. I may have mentioned before that my plan originally was to read while my boyfriend went off to the regular Pathfinder session he has with his friends, but then the session was cancelled, and so the plans changed. Instead it was decided that we would go paintballing and then that evening we would have a D&D session.

So I picked up my first book shortly after I woke up, and that was Monstress, Vol 1 by Marjorie Liu. I figured graphic novels would be a good way to start the day. Well, between reading, eating breakfast, and cuddling up on the couch with my boyfriend, it took me a little longer to read than normal, but I finished my first read just before we had to leave to go paintballing. I have my review up for this read here.

On the way to paintball and then on the way home, I managed to read my second book of the day/readathon: The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur. Again, this was one that I knew I could read quickly, which makes it perfect for a readathon. Plus, it had just been released. I already have a review up for it here.

So, of the 6 books I had selected for my Readathon by Zoe TBR, I only managed to read two during the day because of all the other activities I did. Still, I guess two books is pretty good.

Then, this past weekend, I once again participated in Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon. Originally I had thought I would do pretty well with reading, even with having work scheduled on Saturday. But then the mandatory Saturday was cancelled and it was decided that I would run a session of my D&D campaign. So I knew I would be once again limited in my reading. But I thought with D&D starting at 2pm that I would be able to read probably two books before the session, and then I thought we would play until around 8pm, and then I would still have several hours left to read.

That…did not happen the way I planned in my mind.

So I did wake up a little bit before my alarm clock and took a quick shower. Then I brewed myself a large mug of tea before taking a few prep photos to post on Instagram periodically.

My first read for the day was The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love by Sarvenaz Tash. I made it about halfway through my book before my boyfriend was up and ready for breakfast. Not feeling like we wanted to cook, we made a quick trip to Taco Bell. Okay, and then we sat and watched some Netflix for an hour or so. I finished up my book and it was an okay read. I enjoyed the geeky references, but the whole unrequited romance pining did get a tiny bit annoying. I still give it 4/5 stars.

Next I picked up The Twenty Sided Sorceress, Vol 1: Level Grind by Annie Bellet. This is an omnibus collection of the first four stories in the series. I knew with the time I had remaining, I could maybe read the first story. And I did. It’s a solid geeky start to a paranormal romance/urban fantasy series. But it felt a bit short to me (spoiler alert: it was only 83 pages). So I gave it 4/5 stars as well.

I had hoped to either read another of the Twenty Sided Sorceress stories or pick up something else after D&D…but, D&D ended up going from 2pm until 2am, and by the time everyone left I was tired and ready for bed. I also knew that I would not wake up before the readathon ended for me at 8am Sunday morning, so I just called it quits at two books.

So, there you have it. Over the course of two weekends, I read 4 books. I plan to have a review up for Level Grind, but not until I read all four stories in the omnibus. So look for that in a few weeks.

Oh, also, I think I have all of my hardcovers up on my bookshelves, though there is still some reorganization to come. I still have a few more bookcases to assemble and then I can decide how I really want to organize the library. But I figured I could give you guys another photo update.

Book Review, Books!, Inspiration, Recommendations, Signal Boost

Review: The sun and her flowers by Rupi Kaur

Hey all, Dani here.

Okay, so I’m back with another review for a book I read while participating in Readathon by Zoe, which was last weekend on October 14th. This is a book I was eagerly looking forward to, and I knew it would be perfect for a readathon because it is a collection of poetry.

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Summary

From Rupi Kaur, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of milk and honey, comes her long-awaited second collection of poetry. A vibrant and transcendent journey about growth and healing. Ancestry and honoring one’s roots. Expatriation and rising up to find a home within yourself.

Divided into five chapters and illustrated by Kaur, the sun and her flowers is a journey of wilting, falling, rooting, rising, and blooming. A celebration of love in all its forms.

this is the recipe of life
said my mother
as she held me in her arms as i wept
think of those flowers you plant
in the garden each year
they will teach you
that people too
must wilt
fall
root
rise
in order to bloom

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

I read and reviewed Rupi Kaur’s first collection of poetry a couple months ago, and I really enjoyed it. A number of the poems resonated with me, and several others I thought would be beneficial to my mom, especially considering what she has gone through this year. So after finishing it, I passed it on to her, and then she ended up passing the book on to another person who she thought would benefit from it.

So basically knowing that Kaur’s second collection of poetry was coming out, I had expectations that it would also resonate with me, and I can say that I was not disappointed. Now, I don’t believe I had as many “wow” moments with this collection as I did with Milk and Honey, but I still definitely thought that it is a well put together selection of poems.

What is so interesting to me with Kaur’s poetry is that the ones that hit me the most powerfully are not the poems that are a page long or a couple pages long. No, it seems the ones that pack the most punch to me are the ones that are only a few lines long. The fact that she can say so much in so few words is remarkable.

Much like with Milk and Honey, I found myself bookmarking certain poems so I could read them…usually to my boyfriend. Of course those were poems that typically had to do with love, romance, relationships, etc. They were poems that in some ways made me think of him, so I had to share.

But I definitely think that Kaur is a poet worth reading. This collection continued with similar style, structure, and art as before. And it was a bit longer, which was awesome, but still read rather quickly. As I mentioned before, there are a number of poems that are only a couple lines long. I am trying to read more poetry, and I’m glad this is an author who was recommended to me.

Where to Buy

You can pick up this lovely collection of poetry from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore. I actually got my copy at my local grocery store so it’s basically anywhere books can be found.