Books!, Graphic Novel, Reading Challenge, Recommendations, Signal Boost

Recommendations: Diverse Reads

Hey all, Dani here.

Today’s post may include books I’ve mentioned before, but I’m going to bring them up again anyway, because I think we need more diverse books out in the world. Oh, and I should also once again say that I am participating in Diverse December, hosted by Kathy over at Books & Munches, so you can find my TBR post here, and also go and check out Kathy’s original post about the reading challenge.

And now let’s just jump into my book recommendations.

Okay, so I know that the Captive Prince trilogy isn’t for everyone, especially as it does start out as a master-slave romance, but what develops from that is a rather interesting m/m partnership that I honestly devoured so quickly.

Obviously I have talked about the Rat Queens a few different times, but that’s because they are awesome. Also, it doesn’t really seem like anyone even cares that the people in these comics are of different races or that they are LGBTQ+. It’s almost like there is a world where people just accept the diverse nature of the world and that’s fine.

Then there’s the Lumberjanes, and these girls are from different walks of life, but they all support each other and the differences they each have. Plus in later volumes a f/f relationship really starts to develop and it’s just great.

And I know I’ve talked about the Arcadia Project series before, because of how much the first book impressed me. I loved that basically each of the main cast of characters was dealing with a different mental health issue, such as our main protagonist being a double amputee who deals with borderline personality disorder. It is something I feel we don’t see enough in books.

With The Wicked + The Divine series, there are different races, religions, sexual orientations and more. What do you expect when you toss in various mythological gods? Their standards are much different from those of modern society.

Then there’s the Wayfarers series, and I’m hoping to read the second book next month, but the first one definitely rocketed up my list of favorite reads last year. Set in space, there are a lot of different alien races. There’s also different sexualities, religions, philosophies, lifestyles, etc. Oh, and I obviously recommend getting the UK edition because the starry sky cover is–in my opinion–far superior to the US cover.

Next is the Nemesis series, which features transgender superhero Dany Tozer. I know I’ve raved about this book before, but what Dany goes through in this book really showcases some of the ways people seem to respond when someone identifies in a different manner.

Speaking of transgender reads, I also have to mention this book, The Art of Being Normal, because it was a really interesting read. This was a lovely book about being true to yourself, and friendship, and there were hints of romance but that wasn’t the focus of the story. From the beginning main character David makes it clear that though born male, she wants to be a girl. It takes making a new friend named Leo to really get David to open up and speak out about the life that she wants.

I’m relatively new to the Bitch Planet series, but man it features a diverse cast of women. All different body types and mentalities, as well as different different sexual orientations and racial and religious differences.

I read Autoboyography a couple months ago and loved it. I think the handling of bisexuality and homosexuality while also showcasing some of the issues with religion make this a read I definitely recommend. Plus, I have to give a wonderful shout-out to main protagonist Tanner’s family for how wonderfully supportive they were of him.

Finding a book with an aesexual main character feels all too rare (at least to me), but definitely in more mainstream or popular book publications, but that’s exactly what Tash Hearts Tolstoy does. Plus for those of us in the book community, I think we will connect with Tash making a modern adaptation web series of Anna Karenina.

Then there’s any book by Adam Silvera. I discovered his books last year and then met him at Barnes & Noble’s Teen Book Fest at my local store, and he is just an awesome guy. And I think his books are fantastic and usually include nice racial and sexual diversity, and his books take you on an emotional roller coaster ride so…win-win, right? I mean, unless you don’t like books that make you cry.


Absolutely any of Rick Riordan’s books, but especially from the Heroes of Olympus series to the Magnus Chase trilogy or The Trials of Apollo. Uncle Rick includes a wide variety of races, genders, sexualities, religions, and even different forms of mental health or physical ability. And he does it so well. Seriously, his books may be aimed towards 10-14 year olds, but I am almost 30 years old and if I see a new Rick Riordan book in the works, it is automatically added to my TBR.

I think that’s about all for now. Obviously there are a lot more diverse reads out there, and I’m hoping to highlight many more next month as I participate in Diverse December, which is being hosted by Kathy over at Books & Munches. You can find my TBR for the month here.

Oh, and let me know some of your diverse reading recommendations down in the comments.

Book Review, Books!, Signal Boost

Review: Kat and Meg Conquer the World by Anna Priemaza

Hey all, Dani here.

This book was nowhere near the top of my TBR, but is sounded fun and like a fast read, and I was just in the mood for a contemporary. So I picked it up and dove in…and I was not at all disappointed. It was fun and geeky, and it also handled two girls who become friends even while dealing with their anxiety and ADHD, and all the social hurdles that come with it.



For fans of Nicola Yoon’s Everything, Everything, Emery Lord’s When We Collided, and Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, Anna Priemaza’s debut novel is a heartwarming and achingly real story of finding a friend, being a fan, and defining your place in a difficult world.

Kat and Meg couldn’t be more different. Kat’s anxiety makes it hard for her to talk to people. Meg hates being alone, but her ADHD keeps pushing people away. But when the two girls are thrown together for a year-long science project, they discover they do have one thing in common: They’re both obsessed with the same online gaming star and his hilarious videos.

It might be the beginning of a beautiful friendship—if they don’t kill each other first.

“Kat and Meg Conquer the World will hit home for anyone who has ever been waist-deep in fandom, doubt, or new relationships; Kat’s and Meg’s unique voices are outstanding, and their friendship brings this story to vibrant life.”—Francesca Zappia, author of Made You Up and Eliza and Her Monsters

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

I picked this up because I was in the mood for a fun and light geeky contemporary. The fact that this book focused on female friendship was definitely a pleasant bonus. What I didn’t expect was how emotionally attached I would get to both Kat and Meg, and how more serious topics would be handled towards the climax of the story.

Now, I will say that I do not have anxiety or ADHD, though I think there are times where we all get anxious or have issues focusing, so though I don’t fully understand where the girls are coming from, they are still very relatable.

I especially connected with Meg, who feels like everyone abandons her. All her friends seem to leave, she can’t keep a boyfriend, her bio dad left her and then actually died, and then her stepdad who she thought of as her dad, left as well. I know I’ve mentioned a few times over the course of this year that my parents were in the process of getting a divorce. Long story short, my dad cheated on my mom again and decided that he was really done with the marriage this time, and he moved out back in April. Since then I have had to watch him post on Facebook and message people and talk about how great his girlfriend and her children are…all while he ignores my brother and I. So all that emotion and abandonment Meg feels really resonated strongly with me.

What was really great with this story really was the female friendship. Kat and Meg may have been forced to do a science project together, but what truly bonded them was their shared love of YouTube gamer LumberLegs. Now for the first portion of the book, neither girl admits to the other their problems, but eventually Kat brings up her anxiety and then Meg brings up her ADHD…and what is great is that each girl understands and respects how those might affect their lives. When Meg sees Kat’s anxiety starting to affect her, she makes her get into basically a blanket burrito so she can feel safe and secure.

I was sincerely amazed by how great this book was, and I very much look forward to seeing what Anna Priemaza comes up with next.

Where to Buy

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

Book Tag, Books!, Signal Boost

The Book Blogger Test Tag

Hey all, Dani here.

Wow, just a couple more days left in November. Now I’ll be completely honest and say that I might scale back my posting schedule a bit in December. There are a lot of books I’d like to read and that is so much easier if I’m not spending so many hours writing up posts. But, as those of you who have followed this blog for awhile might realize, I’m not good at sticking to a scaled back schedule, so it’ll basically be posts whenever I feel inspired. Currently I have posts planned out for roughly half of December, and if the reading goes well then I’ll have a bunch of reviews up as well. I suppose we’ll just see what happens.

Anyway, today I have another tag for all of you. I tagged myself in this one after seeing it on Katie’s blog at Never Not Reading. So thanks Katie for the “tag yourself if you want to do this” and I’m looking forward to answering the questions.

But first: the rules.

  • thank the person who nominated you and add a link to their blog
  • answer the ten questions asked on this post
  • nominate at least five people to do it also

Okay, well let’s dive into the questions.

1. Top 3 Book Pet Hates

  1. I hate it when they change cover designs in the middle of a series. I have to have matching sets and so this drives me crazy
  2. I cannot stand getting a used book and finding writing scribbled in the margins. Or highlighting. It just bothers me so much. There were a couple times in university where one of the books for class was only available in used format through the bookstore, and I would sit there and go through the stack book by book, looking for the one that had no writing, or if that wasn’t possible then the least amount of writing. Actually, my favorite professor (who was also my academic adviser) used to tease me for being a book purist. Her books have so many notes in the margins from the many many times she has read them.
  3. I don’t actually know if this is really a pet peeve/hate on par with the first two, but I don’t like when a cover is misleading. Like if there is a badass looking female holding weapons on the front, I expect some kind of warrior character inside the pages, not an indecisive whiny damsel in distress type.

2. Perfect Reading Spot

Umm…anywhere I can read is a good reading spot, but I guess the perfect reading spot is a big comfy chair with blankets, and a table nearby to hold whatever I’m drinking, a snack, and probably another book or two in case I decide to have a marathon reading day.

3. 3 Book Confessions

  1. I am super picky about who I let borrow my books. I keep a list of who has borrowed books and what books they have, and the standard rule is that if you return the book damaged then you have to buy a replacement copy. I guess I’m like a library that way; I just don’t have due dates/late fees.
  2. I do judge books by their covers. An attractive cover or a catchy title will get me to read the book summary, and that summary lets me know if I’m buying the book or putting it back down.
  3. I sometimes think that I treat books better than I do people, but I’ve been working on that. It’s just that I can trust books to be there when I need them and I know that when life gets tough I know I have my books to help me through. Of course now I get that kind of support from my boyfriend too, but thankfully he understands just how important books are to my life.

4. Last Time You Cried Reading a Book

I mean the last time I teared up a little bit was while reading Kat and Meg Conquer the World by Anna Priemaza. But the last time I full on cried was probably reading Rupi Kaur’s poetry.

5. Number of Books on Your Bedside Table

ZERO. I don’t really get the chance to read in bed right now because my boyfriend goes to sleep a couple hours before I get off work.

6. Favorite Reading Snack

Something easy to grab like pretzels or gummi bears or something. Basically I have to be able to grab at it with only one hand while my face is buried in the book. And I prefer for it not to be greasy or cheese covered, nothing that will risk damaging the pages.

7. 3 Books You’d Recommend to Anyone

  1. Colorworld by Rachel E Kelly
  2. Mistborn: the Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson
  3. All Rights Reserved by Gregory Scott Katsoulis
  4. (bonus book) The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty

8. A Picture of Your Favorite Bookshelf

I can’t pick a favorite. I love so many books and I have them organized alphabetically so my favorites are scattered all over.

9. How Much Books Mean to You (in 3 words)

My Happy Place

10. Biggest Reading Secret

I don’t know that I actually have reading secrets. I’m pretty much an open book when it comes to reading habits or preferences, etc.

Oooh…tag time. I have no idea who all has done this tag already, because I do believe it is an older one. So if you would like to do this tag, then I TAG YOU!

Book Review, Books!, Manga, Signal Boost

Manga Review: My Hero Academia Vol 1

Hey all, Dani here.

Hello everyone and welcome to the final Monday of November. This month has flown by. I can’t believe that we only have one month left in the year. Anyway, I recently bought a selection of graphic novels and manga because I enjoy having some quick fun reads around, and also my boyfriend wants to get back into reading manga, so this works for both of us. One of the series I decided to pick up to start reading is the one I’m featuring today. Clearly I enjoy superpowered individuals and their stories so I was expecting to enjoy this, and I was right. Let’s just jump into the review.



What would the world be like if 80 percent of the population manifested superpowers called “Quirks” at age four? Heroes and villains would be battling it out everywhere! Being a hero would mean learning to use your power, but where would you go to study? The Hero Academy of course! But what would you do if you were one of the 20 percent who were born Quirkless?

Middle school student Izuku Midoriya wants to be a hero more than anything, but he hasn’t got an ounce of power in him. With no chance of ever getting into the prestigious U.A. High School for budding heroes, his life is looking more and more like a dead end. Then an encounter with All Might, the greatest hero of them all, gives him a chance to change his destiny…

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

Oh, I suppose I should have started off by saying that my boyfriend and I also watch the anime of this one and we’ve already watched both seasons and are now waiting for news about the release of season 3. So really, reading this volume felt like starting the series over again. But you know what, I still greatly enjoyed it.

Also, it has been a number of years since I last picked up a manga, but the format didn’t slow down my reading at all. For those who aren’t aware, manga is bound up like a standard book, but you read from what is normally thought of as the back all the way up to the front. And you also start at the top right of the page and read to the left before going down to the next set of panels and continuing to read right to left throughout the book. So it can be a bit daunting or confusing in the beginning, but after a while, I think you really get used to it.

It was nice to be introduced to Midoriya again. He is such an adorable nerdy fanboy when it comes to superheroes and I can’t help but like him from the beginning. All he wants to do is to become a hero as well, but he was born without a quirk, which means that pretty much everyone believes that he won’t actually make it anywhere.

But Midoriya is not one to give up. I absolutely love his perseverance. He has been studying and preparing his whole life to become a hero, and one of the first steps is to get into U.A. High School. A random encounter with the top hero, All Might, is what truly sets Midoriya on his path.

Now he has to figure out this new quirk he has been given, all while navigating other issues, like his school nemesis Bakugo, and making friends, and oh yeah, dealing with some pretty powerful villain types.

Basically there is a lot going on in this series and I adore it. I need to start collecting the rest of the volumes so I can devour them as well. Right now there are only 10 volumes out, so I should be able to catch up in no time. And what was really cool about this volume is that in between each of the issues, there is a behind the scenes page where the author/creator talks about certain characters, how they developed, and what it’s like to draw them. I just think that is a really cool addition to toss in. It adds to the reading experience.

Where to Buy

You can pick this lovely volume up on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, Comixology, or your local indie bookstore or probably even your local comic book store.

Books!, Signal Boost, TBR Purge

My 20th TBR Purge Post

Hey all, Dani here.

Wow, here we are at my 20th purge post. By the time this post is finished I will have gone through 600 books from my to-read list. That is crazy to think about. How did I let my TBR get so large? Really, how do any of us get that point? Obviously so many books sound interesting and so we add them to our list thinking that eventually we’ll get around to them, but we can only read so many books each year and then we end up neglecting a large number of our to-read books.

The problems of being a bookworm.

Ghost Talkers by Mary Robinette Kowal. I started reading this one last year and made it through a few chapters before I set it down and forgot about it. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy what I read. I did, but other new releases started begging for attention. I need to get around to finishing this one.

Moon Chosen by P.C. Cast. I’ve read a lot of Cast books and I’ve enjoyed pretty much all of them. The sequel to this one is out now as well, so I really need to get around to reading this.

The Impostor Queen by Sarah Fine. Book one of a trilogy and the concluding novel will be out very soon. I still really want to read this one.

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde. I have heard several people tell me I would enjoy this series, and I picked up the first book because it sounds fascinating. I definitely still mean to read it.

City of Miracles by Robert Jackson Bennett. I still need to read book one, and then book two, before I can read this one. Farewell for now.

The Aeronaut’s Windlass and The Olympian Affair by Jim Butcher. For now I shall keep the former and eliminate the latter. Obviously I need to read the first book first, and also the second book hasn’t been released yet.

A Grave Magic by Bilinda Sheehan. I started reading this and I guess I wasn’t trying to read it at the right time because I gave up halfway through. However I do like to support indie authors so at some point I’ll probably read this but for now I’m saying so long.

Mission: Improper by Bec McMaster. I absolutely adore everything I’ve read so far from Bec McMaster, so I have to keep this on my to-read list.

Air Awakens by Elise Kova. I read and loved The Alchemists of Loom so I said I wanted to give her other series a chance, especially since so many people seem to praise the series.

The Seduction of Phaeton Black by Jillian Stone. I still think this one sounds interesting but I have a number of other similar titles I’d like to read first. Goodbye.

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor. While a good friend recommended this book to me, I’m just not feeling in the mood for it right now.

Golden Son, Morning Star, Iron Gold, Red Rising #5, and Red Rising #6 by Pierce Brown. Obviously I have only read Red Rising so far, but I loved it so much. I’m keeping Golden Son on my list for now, and hopefully soon I’ll be able to get around to Morning Star and then Iron Gold when it is released.

The Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley.  I feel like this is still a collection of essays that I want/need to read. Keep.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer. Everyone keeps gushing about the Lunar Chronicles so I know I need to get around to reading them.

Arena by Holly Jennings. While this does sort of have a Ready Player One or Warcross vibe to it, I’m not feeling like it is a book I want to read right now.

Arcadia by Iain Pears. This still sounds so interesting. Keep.

The Named, The Dark, and The Key by Marianne Curley. Okay, yes these are on my to-read list, but that was because I wanted to read them again. I still do, but I don’t need to have them shelved as to-read when I read them years ago.

Armada by Ernest Cline. Despite my absolute love for RPO, I still have yet to pick up this one. I know I need to.

The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima. The main character lives in Ohio like me (so does the author actually) and there is a fantasy adventure involved. Plus, the one Chima book I have read was soo good. I definitely want to read this one.

River of Ink by Paul M.M. Cooper. I’m not really feeling like I want to read this right now.

The Glass Magician and The Master Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg. I know these will be quick reads, and I’m hoping to get an early review copy for the upcoming book four release, so I need to read both of these already.

Phantom Pains by Mishell Baker. Well, I have this one on my TBR for December, so I’ll be moving it off the list very soon–hopefully it will be quickly followed by the third book, since I was approved for it via NetGalley.

It’s an even split today, keeping 15 and eliminating 15. That is still really good considering that these are books I’ve added to my list in the last 12-18 months. The next few weekend purge posts are probably going to be more difficult. I just hope I can be better at monitoring my TBR list in the future; I’d rather not have it get this unruly again.

Books!, Signal Boost, TBR Purge

TBR Purge #19

Hey all, Dani here.

These purge posts get harder and harder the closer I get to the end of my list. I’m getting to the point where I’ve added the books more recently and so I’m more likely to want to keep them. Thankfully I also have many books on here where I am so behind on the series that it will take me a long time before I get to them, which honestly does help me with clearing off this list.

The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson. No matter how long my list is or how many books behind I might be, I will only take a Brandon Sanderson off my to-read list if I am currently reading it or I’ve just finished it. Some time in the future I will catch up with all of his novels.

Eleventh Grave in Moonlight by Darynda Jones. I like the Charley Davidson books, but I have so many to read before I get to this one. Honestly I’m back at book three, I think, so this one is just taking up space at the moment.

The Darkest Torment by Gena Showalter. I greatly enjoy this series and the books are easy to binge-read, something I need to try and do soon-ish. Keep.

Bright Blaze of Magic by Jennifer Estep. I still need to read the first book in this trilogy so I certainly don’t need the third one on my list.

Imprudence by Gail Carriger. This is a sequel to a spinoff series and I haven’t even finished the main series. Goodbye for now.

Day Zero by Kresley Cole. I’ve just lost interest in this series, to be honest.

Walk the Edge by Katie McGarry. I love Katie McGarry contemporary books, but I still need to read the first book in this particular series before I can read this one. So I will read it, but for now it can leave my list.

Grave Ransom by Kalayna Price. Another series where I enjoyed the first book but haven’t continued on with the series since. I have a couple other books in the series that I need to read before I can add this one to my list again.

Roadside Magic by Lilith Saintcrow. This is a sequel and I haven’t even touched the first book yet. So long.

Steal the Sky by Megan E O’Keefe. This book still has an interesting concept and I’ve heard a lot of great things about it, so I still want to give it a try.

A Darkness Strange and Lovely and Strange and Ever After by Susan Dennard. So I read and really enjoyed the first book in this trilogy. I gave it a try when book one was on sale. Now they have updated the covers and I actually like the new ones more, so I plan on buying them and then finally completing the trilogy.

Eidolon by Grace Draven. I loved the first book and really need to get around to reading this one. Keep.

War Storm by Victoria Aveyard. After DNF’ing book three about halfway through, I’ve decided I’m done with this series. It just isn’t keeping my interest anymore.

The Art of Language Invention: From Horse-Lords to Dark Elves, the Words Behind World-Building by David J. Peterson. This is probably going to be a very useful guidebook at some point when I want to try creating a language for a fantasy novel, but I’m not currently feeling the urge to read it for fun. I’ll keep it on my writing resources shelf though.

Cibola Burn, Nemesis Games, Babylon’s Ashes, Persepolis Rising, Expanse #8, and Expanse #9 by James S.A. Corey. I have only read the first book in the series, so I think books 4-9 can leave the list for a while. I do want to try and read more sci-fi though.

Magic Stars by Ilona Andrews. This is a novella pseudo spin-off to the Kate Daniels series, and it takes place after the 8th book in the series. I’ve only read the first book so for now I can say farewell to this one.

The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman. I am still very much interested in this, even though I’m sad they changed the covers. The original cover was so cool.

Thief of Lies by Brenda Drake. Library and magic…do I need any other reason to keep this on my to-read list. Nope, not really. I can’t wait to read it.

The Last Days of Magic by Mark Tompkins. Magical history of Ireland. Yep, I’m keeping it.

Blazing Earth by Terri Brisbin. I have a feeling I’m just going to binge-read this trilogy. Keep.

Rise by Cain S. Latrani. This book was written by someone who also happens to be a Critter, a fan of the show Critical Role. And it sounds interesting too. I’d just rather have a physical copy of the book and it’s pretty pricey at the moment.

Firstlife by Gena Showalter. I enjoy her Lords of the Underworld series so I’d like to see what Gena Showalter can do with a YA series.

Starflight by Melissa Landers. This does sound like an interesting YA sci-fi tale, so keep.

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders. I really need to read this book. It is described as science fantasy, blending scientific details with magical ones. That is a trope/concept/genre that I really enjoy. Science Fantasy has basically everything I want in a story.

Whew. Okay so I kept 13 and got rid of 17. Not bad at all. There’s just a few more weekends of these posts and then my TBR will be greatly reduced. I love it.

Books!, Recommendations, Self-Published Books

Recommendations: Classics

Hey all, Dani here.

Happy Thursday everyone, and Happy Thanksgiving to those of you in the US. Also, welcome back to another post in my series of book recommendations. We have made it to a topic that I haven’t really read much of the past couple years, at least by my definition of the term. Anyway, let’s get started.

First of all, when it comes to books, how do we define what is and is not a classic? Technically speaking, from a literary standpoint, a classic is a book that is generally accepted as noteworthy or exemplary. But the definition of a classic has shifted and evolved and been reassessed many times over the years. Some say that a classic is something we assume everyone has read. Others have said that classics are books that people want to say they have read, but they actually don’t want to read.

For those of us who have taken many literature courses in school, classics probably defined our existences for a while. We read them, discussed them, watched adaptations of them, analyzed them, compared them to other works of the time…and just when we thought we were done, we’d have to do it all over again with another book, another story, another poem, or just another class. I enjoyed about 95% of my assigned reading in college, and I’ve kept all of my literature textbooks in case I want to reread anything.

So, while this list could probably include some more recently published books that I could suggest as modern classics, for the moment I’m going to stick to some of my favorite literary classics from 30ish years ago or more. Basically nothing that has come out in my lifetime.

All right, let’s get started.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Obviously I have to start my list here. This book is still taught in a large number of schools. It has also made it on the banned books list many times. But obviously the issues of race contained within this book are still relevant today. Maybe we’d be a better society if we took the advice of understanding someone by walking a mile in their shoes.

1984 by George Orwell. Of course, Animal Farm could just as easily be on this list. Honestly, I think the portrayal of governments, politics, and power in these books are what makes them so important and relevant. Actually, I haven’t read either in quite some time. I think I’m very overdue for a reread.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding. On the other side of things, I think this book is important because of what it shows about not having proper rules of society, or technically not having consequences or punishments for wrongdoing. I remember reading this one back in school and then watching an old VHS film version of it. I think the movie was in black and white too. But it’s a story that sticks with you.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. This series was obviously a big part of my childhood, and I desperately need a reread of them all because it has been far too long. I loved visiting Narnia, even with the obvious issues and turmoil in the land. Plus they were just fun adventure stories. And how many of us started exploring every closet/wardrobe we came across in the hopes that the path to Narnia would reveal itself? I know I did.

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White. A classic staple of childhood, the tale of spider Charlotte and Wilbur the pig. Despite being two completely different creatures, it is clear that they looked out for one another and helped each other. This is another story I need to reread. Thank goodness I can just buy a copy and read it before donating it to my boyfriend’s little niece’s library collection. She may only be 5 months old, but I’ve made sure that she will have a good collection of books to appreciate for years to come. This will have to be one of them.

The Odyssey by Homer. I have to include this one. Come on, Odysseus has the longest trip ever trying to get back home, but he doesn’t give up. And he has to face a number of hurdles and roadblocks along the way. Patience and determination and perseverance can really help a person survive though. And hey, this is about as classic as you can get with a story.

The Color Purple by Alice Walker. How could I not include this book? I have had to read it a couple times for school and it is such a valuable read. There are so many issues covered in this book, and you can’t help but connect with Celie and hope for her to keep fighting and to find a better life for herself.

Matilda by Roald Dahl. This is about as close to my personal restrictions as you can get. Technically this book was released in 1988, which also happens to be the year I was born. I said I was just going to limit myself by not having books from my lifetime..but this is Matilda. It is the classic tale of an adorable bookworm who faces neglect and bullying and still manages to handle it all in a really cool way. How could I not recommend my favorite reader from literature?

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell. Another staple of my childhood. I don’t know how many times I read this book over the years, partly due to my obsession for horses. This book is important for its treatment of animals. Black Beauty is good to the people who are good to him, but does not do so well with those who are cruel or neglectful. And yet even when in not so good conditions, Black Beauty trudges on, and eventually things do get better.

Honorable Mentions

Okay, so I have a few others that aren’t quite high enough on my list to be full recommendations, but I still feel that they are worth mentioning.

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls. It may be obvious by now that I rather liked books with animals in them. This tale of a boy and his two hunting dogs has really stuck with me, but not in the way to where I could rattle off the details or events of the story. It’s more what I recall feeling when I read it. But I still think it’s a worthwhile read.

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry. This book did not make the list for one reason only–it was published in 1989. However, I read this book in 4th or 5th grade and it has stuck with me ever since. The tale of two girls, one who is Jewish while the other girl’s family is protecting her, during WWII was something that has been cemented in my mind for the past two decades. I definitely recommend this book. It isn’t very long, but I still think it’s important.

A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K Le Guin. I had to include this one. I just think reading the classics of fantasy and science fiction can be truly beneficial to us in the modern day. Plus following around Ged as he learns magic and gets into all sorts of trouble and adventure is just rather entertaining.

Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Okay, yeah, another obsession of my childhood. I loved the family dynamics in this series, and I don’t feel like we see that as much at all in books. It’s sad how often a YA or MG book will just push parents etc into the background as if they don’t play a role in the lives of children and teens.

Anyway, those are just a few classic recommendations. I’m sure I could list off a whole lot more though. Notice how I did not include any Austen or Shakespeare, Doyle or Poe, or so many other authors we accept as being classic.

What about you guys? Do you have any classic books you’d like to add to my list? Let me know in the comments.


Books!, Reading Challenge, Signal Boost

Diverse December TBR

Hey all, Dani here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Book Tag, Books!, Signal Boost

Awesome Blogger Award

Hey all, Dani here.

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

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

The Rules

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

My Questions

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

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

Book Releases, Book Review, Books!, Signal Boost

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

Hey all, Dani here.

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



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

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

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

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

My Thoughts

Rating: ALL THE STARS! *ahem* 5 stars

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

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

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

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

Where to Buy

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