Book Review, Books!, Graphic Novel, Signal Boost

Comic Review: Vox Machina Origins Issues #3-4

Hey all, Dani here.

I know, what is this awesomeness…three posts in three days. I actually am starting to somewhat feel like a book blogger again. Hopefully I can keep going with more posts. Transitioning back to my old job has not been as easy as I had hoped it would be.

Anyway, obviously I have reviewed every issue of this comic series so far (find my reviews here: issue 1, issue 2, and issue 3–hmm, so apparently I didn’t review that one. I guess I’ll do that now too), so there was no way I was going to skip reviewing the latest installment.

Let’s just get started.

 

Summary

Keyleth and Tiberius find themselves in unsavory company, but that’s the only kind of company to be found in Stilben. Paid by the Clasp to stop the attack on the peasants, our heroes follow their noses and uncover an alchemical laboratory hidden in the city’s sewer.
They arrive to find a pair of half-elves fighting a gnome and a half-giant. With all the people tracking her in one place, the architect of the swamp curse springs her trap…
• Based on the hit show from Geek & Sundry!

The sinister Iselda has captured Vax, and Vex must swallow her pride to ask for aid from other heroes. But when they refuse, Vex decides to retrieve a friend outside of town … but not before Keyleth catches up to her and pledges to help.

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

These comics are just so darn good, especially since the new campaign has begun and we have started with a bunch of all new characters who are only at level 2. It pretty much makes you think back on the early days of Vox Machina, which we never got to actually see on the show, but these comics definitely cover those times.

They aren’t even a group yet. They are three separate groups, but I am really seeing the beginnings of them coming together to become the awesome heroes of Tal’Dorei that they eventually become.

Okay, for those of you who aren’t already aware, this comic series is based on the pre-campaign tales of the group Vox Machina from the web series Critical Role, which is a show where “a group of nerdy ass voice actors sit around and play Dungeons & Dragons.” It has been airing on Geek & Sundry for a couple years now, and it is probably the geek hobby/show/whatever that I’m most passionate about.

I could honestly say so much about what Dungeons & Dragons has done for me or meant to me the past couple years, but that is a whole separate post. Instead, I’ll say that this is a fun way to learn about the characters, and if you give these comics a try and you enjoy what you read, perhaps you should either check out the episodes on Geek & Sundry’s YouTube (there are now 118 of them, and they are typically 3-5 hours each), or you can also get them in a more condensed podcast form (I have heard they are more like 1 hour per episode) found wherever you can listen to podcasts.

Anyway, back to the comic. All the amazing, humorous, and witty dialogue just makes my day. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve chuckled at something one of them says (typically Scanlan, but he’s the bard so it makes sense that he would say some spectacular things). And I actually also really enjoy having Tiberius around; it has shown me how much I miss the early days of the show, though I love all the little story points that happen because Tibsy eventually left.

There are so many great moments in these issues, and then you partner that with fun writing, and wonderful art, and it just makes for a fabulous reading experience…for the roughly 25 pages or so of content that we get in each issue.

Issue #4 is absolutely my favorite of the group so far, but I feel like I say that each time a new one comes out. We get to see Keyleth wild shape into her Minxy form (seen on the cover of Issue #4), and there are some lovely moments with Scanlan and Vax, and Scanlan and Grog. Plus we finally get a wonderful mention of one of my favorite missing members of Vox Machina…namely Vex’s companion animal, who just happens to be a brown bear, though that hasn’t been revealed in the comic yet. It simply ends with her saying she needs to go out to the woods to pick up a trinket she left behind. What is clever about that is that her bear’s name is Trinket, and he is awesome.

So I’m really looking forward to Issue #5 because we’ll get Trinket involved. Though I’m still wondering if we’ll actually get to see Percy in this story arc, because he’s only really been in the intro part of like Issue #1.

I honestly hope that Dark Horse comics decides to give us more than just the 6 issue arc we’re in the middle of currently. There are so many more early adventures for Vox Machina that could be covered, and obviously we Critters will pretty much buy anything related to Critical Role.

Where to Buy

You can pick up this lovely single issue comic (or any of the previous issues) at Amazon, Dark Horse, and Comixology. After the whole 6 issue arc is completed, there will be a bound release available as well.

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Book Tag, Books!, Inspiration, Signal Boost

Sunshine Blogger Award (3)

Hey all, Dani here.

I feel so honored to have been selected for the Sunshine Blogger Award again, this time by Amanda over at Peaks and Pages. Honestly what is awesome about this tag is that you can do it multiple times because the questions change each time. Also, go check out Amanda’s blog because she is wonderful and has some awesome posts.

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What is the Sunshine Blogger Award?
This award is given to those who are creative, positive, and inspiring, while spreading sunshine to the blogging community.

How does it work?
-Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you and link back to their blog.
-Answer 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you.
-Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
-List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your blog.

1. What were your favorite books growing up?

Oh man, that is a tough question. I read soooo many books when I was growing up, and I’m sad that I can’t remember them all because I didn’t have something like Goodreads to keep track of my reading progress. I wish I had filled a notebook with what I read, but I didn’t think about wanting a record of everything I’d read.

Anyway, I absolutely was obsessed with the Animorphs series, and I still own every single one of them. Obviously Harry Potter was a staple of my time in high school-college. There are probably so many more answers that I’m just not thinking of right now, so I’m going to stop with those.
2. Where is your favorite place to read?

I suppose right now my favorite place to read is on my couch, all curled up with a blanket, with a drink and maybe some snacks on the side table.
3. Which genres do you read the most?

Fantasy is still my favorite genre, though paranormal and sci-fi are also good. I guess lately I’ve also been reading more contemporary than I used to.
4. Who is your favorite author?

Y’all know I don’t like picking favorites. There are so many amazing authors I love. Just to name some of my faves: Rachel E. Kelly, Jim C. Hines, Brandon Sanderson, Richelle Mead, Morgan Rhodes, Adam Silvera, Renee Ahdieh…the list could go on and on.
5. What’s a trope or cliché that you’re tired of seeing?

I’m tired of seeing love triangles, which mostly seem to consist of one person who can’t decide which of two others they like. How about more books that focus on strong relationships that don’t have the drama of one possibly cheating on the other? You can find the excitement/drama in other aspects of the story.
6. Who is your OTP?

Hmm…most of the time I’m good with who characters choose to partner with in stories, but I guess I’ll say that I’ve always wished that Neville Longbottom and Luna Lovegood had ended up together.
7. What is your favorite book-to-screen adaptation?

The Perks of Being a Wallflower, I suppose is the one I’ll say for this question. You don’t get a better adaptation than one that was written and directed by the book’s author.
8. What is your reading beverage of choice?

I really like drinking a good sweet tea. Though a nice caramel cappuccino (hot or frappuccino) is also good.
9. What’s the most disappointing book you’ve read this year?

Well, this year just started, so I haven’t really had any disappointing reads yet, but the lowest rated reads for me so far have been Between the Blade and the Heart by Amanda Hocking, and The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West, both of which I gave 4 stars to, so by no means disappointing.
10. What is a sequel you’re highly anticipating?

The Heart Forger by Rin Chupeco, More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer, Love & War by Melissa de la Cruz, The Emerald Sea by Richelle Mead, Access Restricted by Gregory Scott Katsoulis, The Towering Sky by Katharine McGee, and The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden, just to name a few.
11. What are some diverse books you’ve read and loved?

Why don’t you go check out my Diverse Reads recommendations post for the answer to that question. Of course, I can now absolutely add Love, Hate & Other Filters to that list.


My nominations

Okay, well now I’m supposed to nominate 11 people. Oh boy–I don’t think I’ll be able to rattle off that many right now. I guess here we go:


I guess that just leaves the 11 questions for me to ask you.

  1. What is a bookish goal you have for 2018?
  2. If you could have any 2018 ARC in your hands right now, what would you want most?
  3. What are your favorite kinds of posts to write?
  4. Do you plan out what posts you want to write in a particular week/month/etc or do you just write them up when you get an idea?
  5. How long have you been book blogging?
  6. How do you balance work/school/etc with reading and blogging?
  7. What is your favorite book to TV series adaptation?
  8. How often do you try and read?
  9. What is your reading and reviewing process like?
  10. I know it’s still really early in the year, but what has been your favorite read of 2018 so far?
  11. What are some books you want more people to read? (Give me your book recommendations!)

All right, well that’s all for today, and I’ll see you guys soon (hopefully) for another post.

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

Review: Love Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed

Hey all, Dani here.

My goodness, I have been a truly awful book blogger lately. I didn’t even get my regular recommendation post up last Thursday, so I’m sorry about that. I am currently working to try and get at least a couple posts up this week for all of you. Because it is completely true that I have a rather lengthy list of manga and comic reviews I can write up, and I also have a bunch of book tags that I can put together relatively quickly. It’s really just about sitting down and taking the time to write them up.

Anyway, today I just have to put up a review for one of the books I was most highly anticipating for the year of 2018. For the past few months I had heard so much about this book, from other bloggers and vloggers being excited about it, to hearing a few really good reviews.

So, let’s just jump into this.

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Summary

A searing #OwnVoices coming-of-age debut in which an Indian-American Muslim teen confronts Islamophobia and a reality she can neither explain nor escape–perfect for fans of Angie Thomas, Jacqueline Woodson, and Adam Silvera.

American-born seventeen-year-old Maya Aziz is torn between worlds. There’s the proper one her parents expect for their good Indian daughter: attending a college close to their suburban Chicago home, and being paired off with an older Muslim boy her mom deems “suitable.” And then there is the world of her dreams: going to film school and living in New York City—and maybe (just maybe) pursuing a boy she’s known from afar since grade school, a boy who’s finally falling into her orbit at school.

There’s also the real world, beyond Maya’s control. In the aftermath of a horrific crime perpetrated hundreds of miles away, her life is turned upside down. The community she’s known since birth becomes unrecognizable; neighbors and classmates alike are consumed with fear, bigotry, and hatred. Ultimately, Maya must find the strength within to determine where she truly belongs.

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

Oh my…this book was so good. Maya was such a fun protagonist, and by that I mean that her love of making movies and studying cinematography was just so clear and it just helped me enjoy her so much. I love seeing how people/characters just seem to light up when they talk about something they are passionate about.

I can also say that it was really cool that the crime mentioned in the summary of the book doesn’t happen until around the halfway point, so we get to spend a lot of time getting used to Maya, her friends, her family, and her normal life before everything is turned upside down.

There was also an interesting culture clash as Maya’s parents had immigrated to the United States and Maya was born there, so her parents and all their friends and such were still very much rooted in the culture of where they grew up, whereas Maya is pretty much the average American teen, so she ends up arguing with her parents about things on a somewhat frequent basis.

But you know what, it’s nice that we have a YA book where the parents are actually present, and they truly parent their child. Though after the terror attack I feel that they definitely head into very overprotective parent mode.

I guess the only part of the story that didn’t completely wow me was the romance plot, but I can say that I still liked it. The problem for me was that the one guy Maya liked was with someone else for most of the book, and when Maya thought that he had broken up with his girlfriend, others still saw them together and it made it seem like they weren’t actually broken up. Honestly though, I guess that does have a sense of realness to it, because when I was a teen (which was seriously a little over a decade ago, but still), there were a number of wishy-washy couples, where you weren’t sure if they were or weren’t together at any given time.

Okay, so I want to very briefly talk about a part that really impressed me with this book, but I’m going to have to be pretty vague, because I don’t want to spoil things. At the end of the book, Maya makes a decision about whether to stay at home according to her parents’ wishes, or head off to New York and film school like she would like. Her decision, and how others respond to her decision, did not go as I had thought it would, and I was actually really pleased with that.

So overall I am so glad I read this book, and it is definitely worth the read. It ranks higher than Dear Martin for me, but I still need to read The Hate U Give and see where it falls in the ranking. Having books that focus on issues of race and discrimination and different cultures is massively important for our world today, and I hope that all you lovely readers get a chance to pick up books like this one.

Where to Buy

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

Books!, Recommendations, Signal Boost

Recommendations: Card Games

Hey all, Dani here.

Today I’m changing up my recommendations post just a teeny bit. I still have a few more bookish options coming up in the future, but I mentioned before that I’m a bit of a geek and a gamer. Namely I get together with my friends and we play tabletop games (board games, card games, dice games, etc.), so I thought perhaps I would share some of my favorites with you lovely people.

I’m going to start off with card games, as in games played using cards. These games are fun and pretty simple to play. All you need is the deck of cards required to play. And yes, while games like Go Fish, or Euchre, or 500 Rummy, or UNO are all great games, they won’t be found on this list.

Oh, and I should say that when I list off the game, I will also include a link to a YouTube video for the Geek & Sundry web series TableTop, hosted by Wil Wheaton, where he plays a bunch of tabletop games with some awesome geeky friends. These videos are typically around a half-hour in length and give you a pretty decent idea of how the game is played. Plus they are just fun to watch.

Okay, let’s just jump into this.

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Munchkin

This game is like playing a RPG but without the hours of character creation and thinking up a backstory and all of that. It is a basic dungeon crawl type scenario where you want to be the person who reaches 10th level first. There are a number of versions of Munchkin, from Zombies to Cthulu, and so many expansions that it can occupy a number of hours. And since part of the fun of Munchkin is either teaming up with your friends or backstabbing them so you can level up faster, it also makes the game have pretty good replay value.

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Gloom

Why do I love this game? Well, because it is a card storytelling game and your goal is to make the other families happy while making your own family miserable and then killing them all. I know that it sounds a bit weird, but you when by having the biggest negative score. This is also a game with a few expansion sets, which allow you to add in extra families, unwanted guests, unhappy homes and more.

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Fluxx

Yes, the version I have of this particular game is Star Fluxx. Okay, technically I have Firefly Fluxx as well. Moving on. Anyway, what is fun about this game is that the rules are constantly in flux. What you need to do to win changes based on the cards played, and the number of cards you draw and play each turn are also based on the cards that are played. Star Fluxx has cards inspired by various sci-fi movies and TV shows, and Firefly Fluxx is obviously focused on the show Firefly. There are so many different Fluxx games out there, so I’m sure you can find one that would fit your interests.

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Chez Geek

The basic concept for this card game is that all the players are roommates, and you are trying to collect as many slack points as possible. You do this by drinking, sleeping, eating, getting nookie, etc. I play this with my regular game group quite a bit and it’s always fun to see what job you decide to get so you can afford to buy food, drinks, and entertainment.

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Dixit

I love this card game. It is a illustrated bluffing and guessing style game. On each player’s turn they will choose one of their own cards and then say a word or a phrase as a clue to what the card is. Then they place that card face down and every other player also chooses a card from their hand that they think best fits the clue. The pile of cards is shuffled and then the players try to guess which card belongs to the clue giver. Points are given based on correct answers, but beware, because if everyone guesses the correct card they get the points and not the clue giver. Dixit also has expansions that add extra cards to the deck for more variety in play and the clues.

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Once Upon a Time

Another storytelling card game, so these are best played with fellow book lovers or storytellers. Each player has a hand of cards that are character or plot elements of a story, as well as a happy ending card. When it is their turn they are the Storyteller and began to weave together a tale utilizing the cards in their hand. The goal is to be the person to manipulate the story so that you can play all of your cards, including your happily ever after card. The other players can interrupt the story and become the Storyteller by using on of their cards. It’s just a whole lot of fun.

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Love Letter

For a simple and easy to carry around game, look no farther than Love Letter. This game is so compact, and is designed for 2-4 players. Basically all the players are trying to get love letters to the princess and earn her love, which is measured by little square blocks. I will also say that this is a super fast game to play, so it works well if you are having a marathon game night and need something quick in between those longer board games.

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Sushi Go

I love this game so much. The artwork is adorable and it is so fun and quick and easy to play. Everyone has a hand of cards, they select one and set it down. Then the pass that hand to the next player. This repeats and continues until all the cards have been selected. Collecting certain combinations of sushi earns you a certain amount of points. After three rounds of play you count up the totals and the winner is the person with the highest score. It is simple and my friends and I generally enjoy playing it…though for some of us it makes us want to go out to eat sushi.


All right then, that is it for my recommendation post this week. If you have any card games you’d like to recommend, let me know in the comments.

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

Name in Books Tag–Take Two

Hey all, Dani here.

Okay, so about a month ago, I did this tag after seeing it over at my book blogger buddy Amber’s blog. And I had a rather fun time searching through my library to find the books to complete my name, choosing books that started with each letter in my name. Of course, this made me realize that I probably had enough books to at least do my name one more time.

After admitting that in a comment response to Amber, she actually did challenge me to do it again, so here we are now and I’m pleased to say that I was successful once more.

Well, okay, I gave myself an additional challenge and I didn’t quite succeed on that one, but I was very close. I wanted to see if I could spell my whole name using just books from my mass market paperback shelf.

So, anyway, let’s just jump into this.

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D: Dark Heir by Faith Hunter

A: Assassin’s Gambit by Amy Raby

N: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

I: Iron Crowned by Richelle Mead

E: Eric by Terry Pratchett

L: (The) Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

L: Lost Soul by Adam Wright

E: Elephants in Our Bedroom by Michael Czyzniejewski

—–As you can see, I had to go with a couple different sized paperbacks.

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T: Thin Air by Rachel Caine

H: Hounded by Kevin Hearne

A: A Conspiracy of Alchemists by Liesel Schwarz

M: My Lady Quicksilver by Bec McMaster

A: An Artificial Night by Seanan McGuire

S: Stone of Tears by Terry Goodkind

A: A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet


This is my second/bonus time of doing this tag, and again, I had a fun time browsing through my bookshelves trying to find titles to match the letters of my name. I’m not going to tag anybody this time around, but if you’d like to try this, then by all means, consider yourself tagged.

And if I’m being honest, I think I could maybe do this tag one more time from the books I have in my library currently.

Anyway, have a lovely day everyone and I’ll have another post up again soon.

Book Releases, Books!, Signal Boost

Book Mail is the Best Kind of Mail

Hey all, Dani here.

I actually wasn’t going to have a post today, because I was going to spend my evening reading so I could hopefully be prepared for writing a bunch of posts in the near future. Instead I arrived home to find a package waiting for me, one that I was not at all expecting.

The past month I have had this happen a couple times. Most recently it was when I received an ARC for The Heart Forger by Rin Chupeco, which is one of my most highly anticipated releases. My fiance was very amused by my excited flailing when I saw what was inside the package. Of course, that was because there was no return address label, so I didn’t know what to expect, aside from the assumption that it was a book based on the feeling of the item inside the package.

Well today I was definitely aware that it was a book from a publisher because the return address label said Macmillan. And then I opened the package to see this:

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So a huge thank you to Macmillan/Wednesday Books for sending me an ARC for Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young. Ever since I first heard of this book, I was excited about being able to pick it up. A Nordic inspired fantasy novel? Yes, please! Here is the book summary:

Seventeen-year-old Eelyn’s world is war. Raised to fight alongside her Aska clansmen in a generations-old blood feud against the Riki, her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield—her brother, fighting with the enemy—the brother she watched die five years ago. 

Faced with her brother’s betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki if she wants to make it back to the fjord after the thaw. But when she begins to see herself in the people she’s been taught to hate, the world Eelyn once knew begins to crumble. And after the village is raided by a ruthless clan many believe to be a myth, Eelyn is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend who has tried more than once to kill her. Together, they must end the blood feud between their clans or watch their people be slaughtered. 

A lush, Viking-age inspired fantasy about loyalty, forgiveness, and the definition of family.

That sounds so amazing! I can’t wait to start reading it. It’ll have to wait just a little bit though. I have a few other ARCs I need to read before this one.

Oh, and this book is set to be released on April 24, 2018.

Books!, Manga, Readathon, Reading Challenge, Signal Boost

Manga Madness Wrap-Up

Hey all, Dani here.

I went into this readathon with high expectations. Knowing that I read volumes of manga really quickly, I envisioned getting through most of what my fiance and I got for Christmas.

What I was conveniently not thinking about was the fact that I returned to my old job this past week after nine months on special assignment. That meant that I had to adjust from working basically an office job to a manual labor job–I work at a factory that builds laundry dryers.

So what happened was from Monday to Wednesday, I did no reading at all. My mind was exhausted and my body was just one aching mass of muscles.

Basically I did not read nearly as much as I had wanted to, but I still managed to get through a few volumes of manga to start my 2018 reading goal with a nice little boost.

Let’s just jump into the wrap up.

On Sunday, day one of the readathon, I started with My Hero Academia, Vol 7 while at the laundromat and managed to finish it. Thankfully I had brought a few volumes with me and so I immediately jumped into Vol 8. By the time I finished my laundry, I had reached around the halfway point.

And that’s where I stayed until Thursday morning. On Thursday we decided to call off work for the day because we were so tired and sore. This worked in my favor because I was able to do a little reading and a little work on some blog posts and trying to catch up on watching a few BookTube videos. Because of how draining work has been, I have fallen even more behind on reading all of your lovely posts. I’m beginning to feel like I’m going to have to pick and choose what posts to read in my backlog to catch up and then just make sure to schedule time every couple days to stay caught up. I will figure something out.

Anyway, on Thursday I finished My Hero Academia Vol 8 and then took a quick break to watch a couple BookTube videos while I ate breakfast. Then I made my way through Vol 9 before writing up a couple blog posts. Yes, I have figured out that I also have a massive backlog of various blog posts I need to find the time to write up. This process is not going to be as simple as I would have hoped a couple weeks ago.

Then we reached Friday. I was determined to read My Hero Academia Vol 10. Thankfully I am kind of an early riser, and my fiance and a friend of ours sleep a little later. So I closed myself off in my library and started reading…and working on the blog…and still trying to catch up on BookTube videos.

So pretty much, because my focus was divided amongst all the various tasks I felt like I needed to do…I ended up not accomplishing much at all.

I did finish My Hero Academia by the end of the readathon. So, I read 4 volumes of manga over the course of a week. Not really my greatest success story of readathons, but hey, 4 volumes is better than nothing, and I feel glad that I managed to finish off what I did.

I’ll keep rolling out manga reviews, but it may take a bit of time. I’m still trying to get my body used to my new work load. In the meantime, I am currently reading Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman, and I’m also trying to get some more tags and reviews prepped up for the blog. Sorry if my posts start to be a bit more sporadic. I’ll get a new post schedule figured out as soon as I can manage it.

Book Releases, Book Review, Book Tag, Books!, Conventions, Cover Reveal, Graphic Novel, Manga, NaNoWriMo, NetGalley, Readathon, Reading Challenge, Recommendations, Signal Boost, TBR Purge, Writing

The Road So Far (2)

Hey all, Dani here.

Why mess with the tradition I started last year? I might as well keep using the awesome “Supernatural” reference for my retrospective over the last year. You can find my overview of 2016 here.

Today also happens to be my 2 year blogaversary. I started this blog in 2016 to help me cope with my paternal grandmother’s death. Well, technically that was the catalyst for starting it; I had been thinking of starting up a blog again for a while because I needed to talk about books with someone.

2017 was such a rollercoaster year for me, and yet, looking back I wouldn’t change any of the lows I went through. Not only because the highs really kept me afloat, but also because the lows allowed me to fully understand how great the highs were.

Anyway, in January I found out that I was approved for the vacation days from work that would allow me to go to Book Expo and BookCon. Though I knew I was going alone, I knew that I would have a fun time surrounded by other book lovers and getting to check out a bunch of upcoming releases.

Also in January, my parents separated after 30 years together, and started the process of getting a divorce. The drama and issues from this event would send shockwaves through roughly 2/3 of the year.

I lost myself in books, both reading them and buying them. I pushed myself to work more on my blog, and to start interacting more with other members of the book community. It was the start to me really feeling like a good book blogger. But in those early months it was also the way I had to cope with what was happening in my life. Well, my books and Dungeons & Dragons.

It was Dungeons & Dragons that introduced me to the man who I would start dating in April. As it turns out this would be the event that helped me get through everything else. Admittedly, I know some people in my real life got annoyed with how much I gushed about my guy and how great things were. I can’t help it that my life started to feel like I was part of a romance story.

After my trip to NYC for Book Expo and BookCon, my blog really started to take off. I reached 100 followers, and later in the year 200. I’m not sure when follower 250 came around, but it might have been just before 2017 ended. So thank you to each and every one of you who has joined me in this process. You are all amazing.

Even with my work and my relationship, I somehow managed to still keep up with all of my reading and blogging, and actually I started having posts go up every single day, something I never would have thought I would be able to do.

I participated in quite a few readathons over the course of the year, from both sessions of Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathons, to a few other assorted events. All in all I think those helped me connect with more of you, and to read a bunch more books. The 24 Hour events always seem much more successful to me than the week long events, but I still keep trying with them. Hey, any excuse to read more, right?

I rekindled my fondness for manga in 2017, and I can honestly say that I am devouring so many of them. My list of manga reviews waiting to be written up is getting decently long.

Oh, and my boyfriend and I were able to go to Indianapolis in August with another friend of ours for a one day pass to Gen Con, which is a gaming convention. There we were able to get a lot of books, dice, and games, as well as to meet the cast of Critical Role. It was a really fun day.

For the 12th time I participated in NaNoWriMo, and managed to earn my 12th win, but I realize that the novel that came out is mostly incoherent. With any luck I’ll be able to start from scratch and re-write the book in 2018. I’d actually love to be able to share it with the world. And it would be nice to really get back into writing (and possibly publishing) again.

And I managed to do a TBR purge and go through a list of well of 800 books on Goodreads, taking it down to just over 400 books. I imagine this will be something I’ll have to do again soon, but I still feel pretty good with where I’m at now.

But, the greatest event of 2017 was towards the end of December. On Friday, December 22nd, on a day when we thankfully had a shutdown day at work, my boyfriend and I went shopping at Barnes & Noble where he both bought more books than me and spent more money than me. You guys, that rarely happens. You’ve seen my typical book hauls. I usually get a heck of a lot of books.

After that shopping trip, we made our way to the zoo, where we walked around for a couple hours, looking at all of the animals and then also checking out the massive holiday light display they put up each year. And it was while sitting on a bench overlooking Conservation Lake at the zoo, that my wonderful boyfriend sank down on one knee and asked me to marry him. It was honestly just like a scene out of a Hallmark channel holiday movie, and I so look forward to seeing what our future will be like.

I hope you all had some moments of 2017 that were really nice as well, and I hope that we all have a very nice 2018.

Books!, Recommendations, Signal Boost

Recommendations: Series

Hey all, Dani here.

This week has been a super rough one, everyone. This transition from my previous position to my current one at work is not going to be as easy or as smooth as I would have hoped. I have roughly 18 reviews that need to be written up, something like 10 book tag posts I need to write, and about 10 or so other posts where I have the ideas but haven’t had the time to actually write them up. So if I can find enough time then I can keep the blog going at a regular pace for a while.

Today is going to be an interesting recommendation post. Most of the time when I come on here and suggest books you may want to check out, they are limited to a certain theme or genre. Not today. Nope, this time the only thing I am sticking to is that these books are in a series.

Not a duology, not a trilogy, a series. Okay, so some may be quartets but I consider those to be series. Anything with four or more books is fair game with today’s post. In the future I will also have posts for duologies and trilogies and even standalones.

And because some series can get quite lengthy, I’m not going to restrict this list to completed series either. That wouldn’t be fair to some of my favorite series out there. But I am going to say that I need to have read a good number of the books in the series for them to qualify for this list. So you won’t see Dresden Files, the Seven Realms, or Outlander on here because I’ve only read the first book.

All right, let’s get started.

Falling Kingdoms series by Morgan Rhodes.

This series is so good. When I first gave it a try I heard people saying it was like a YA version of Game of Thrones, and I can understand why people say that. It is an expansive world with a lot of political moves and so many secrets, lies, and deaths,  and a cast of characters than is wonderfully complex. The sixth and final book will be out next month so now is a great time to jump into it all.

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Percy Jackson series and the Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan.

Basically anything by Rick Riordan is worth adding to a recommendation list, so I clearly can’t have this list without mentioning them. I first discovered The Lightning Thief when I was 18, almost 19, and I have been hooked ever since. I love stories that have a mythology theme to them, and these books certainly deliver. And I feel that they just keep getting better and better. I am really looking forward to the third book in the Trials of Apollo series.

Colorworld by Rachel E. Kelly.

Why yes, I am mentioning the Colorworld series yet again. I absolutely love these books, and Rachel–and her husband Brad–are just wonderful people. The characters are wonderfully developed and the story just gets more and more expansive as the series progresses. I think that for the moment the fifth book, Dreamworld, is my favorite, but there are still technically five more parts of the sixth book to be released, so we’ll see what happens. This is the series I recommend to every single person who will listen to me. It is fantastic.

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Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward.

Well, this is one of the newer series to find its way onto my recommended list. My boyfriend is the one who talked about this one several times before we actually started dating, and he seemed to love them so much that I had to give them a try. I very quickly devoured the first four books of the series. They are interesting vampires and the romances and the overall story are pretty compelling.

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Scott Pilgrim by Bryan Lee O’Malley.

I might as well toss some graphic content into this post as well. I read all six of these in one day and they were so fun and geeky and wonderfully action packed and pretty humorous. Scott was a cool character and I enjoyed reading this and watching the film in equal measure.

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Sandman by Neil Gaiman.

I love Neil Gaiman. He is a creative genius who can create wonderfully diverse and complex worlds and fascinatingly interwoven plots. I was finally able to finish the Sandman series, and it has definitely made me want to read a bunch more books by Gaiman. So hopefully I’ll be able to do that in 2018.

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Walker Papers by C.E. Murphy

Catie Murphy is one of my favorite authors, and I have actually been a backer to several Kickstarter campaigns for her books, but I think this was the first series of hers I discovered, and I totally need to do a reread of all of them. Main character Joanne is really awesome, and I love her approach to healing others. Jo is a mechanic by trade so she thinks of healing a person in the same way as fixing a car. It is also really cool that it takes Jo time to learn how to use her abilities and such instead of just magically knowing it all.


There are a number more great series I know I could add to this list, so I’m sure I’ll end up having a part two, part three, etc. to this particular topic in the future.

What series would you recommend?

Book Tag, Books!, Signal Boost

20 Questions Book Tag

Hey all, Dani here.

I have a fun time doing book tags, and I feel that they are nice for helping us get to know each other and to have a fun and creative way to talk about books we like and even some we didn’t. So when I was covered as part of a blanket tag by Holly at Nut Free Nerd for this one, I wanted to do it, and thankfully I was able to find a spot in my blog schedule to post it.

Without any further rambling, let’s just jump into it.

1. How many books are too many books in a book series?

As long as the characters and/or the world continue to provide interesting stories, I don’t think there are too many. The Legend of Drizzt series, which is a D&D based series, has over 30 books in it, and yet it is still wildly popular. Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series has over 40 books in the series (which technically consists of several smaller series in the overall world of Discworld, but still). So those work. But yes, there are some series, like the House of Night, where I felt like they started to drag or feel repetitive after book 8 or 9.

2. How do you feel about cliffhangers?

I love them, and yet, I hate them. Honestly, don’t we love the suspense of not knowing what is going to happen? Then again, I really don’t like when there is a massive cliffhanger at the end of a book and we have to wait a year or more to get the resolution. Chapter end cliffhangers are totally fine though.

3. Hardcopy or paperback?

Umm….just give me a book and let me read it. I really like how hardcovers look sitting on the bookshelves, but I will say that paperbacks are a bit easier to transport and read on the go.

4. Favorite book?

 

 

Come on, guys, how am I supposed to pick just one favorite? I could be really self-promotional and say Project Death: Resurrection by Danielle Thamasa. Just kidding. I only give my book a 3.5 out of 5 stars; it’s not my favorite book, but I love it because it is mine. One of my favorite books of 2017 was All Rights Reserved by Gregory Scott Katsoulis, so I guess I’ll say that for this question.

5. Your least favorite book?

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I feel like I’ve given this answer a few times, but I loathed reading The Awakening by Kate Chopin. Then again, last year I did DNF King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard so…

6. Love triangles, yes or no?

Very rarely do I find that a love triangle is done well, so I’m gonna have to say no for this one.

7. The most recent book you just couldn’t finish?

That honor goes to King’s Cage. I mean, there are times where I set a book down for a while, but I typically go back to them at some point. It is rare for me to truly DNF a book.

8. A book you’re currently reading?

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9. Last book you recommended to someone?

I’m going to have to say my last recommendations were probably in my Time Travel recommendation post.

10. The oldest book you’ve read? (Publication date)

Ummm….Beowulf…I think. Its publication date is 975.

11. The newest book you’ve read? (Publication date)

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Publication Date: May 15, 2018

12. Favorite author?

Again with the favorites. I mean, my standard answer here is Rachel Kelly, because I absolutely love Rachel as a person, and her Colorworld series is fantastic.

13. Buying books or borrowing books?

Definitely buying.

14. A book you dislike that everyone else seems to love?

Can I say Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake here? I mean, not that I hated it or anything, but I didn’t think it was as wonderful as so many people said. I liked it, but it was only a 3 star read for me.

15. Bookmarks or dog-ears?

BOOKMARKS!

16. A book you can always reread?

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Is there another choice I’m supposed to make here? Okay, yes, technically Percy Jackson/Heroes of Olympus/Magnus Chase/Trials of Apollo can go in here as well.

17. Can you read while hearing music?

Sure can.

18. One POV or multiple POV? (POV’ = Points of view)

Both. It really depends on the story.

19. Do you read a book in one sitting or over multiple days?

There are times where I read many books in one day, so one sitting is nothing. But some books I savor over multiple days.

20. One book you read because of the cover.

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Okay, so the book summary sounded amazing too…but come on, the cover is gorgeous. And when you hold the physical copy all that gold is nice and shiny. There’s a reason why this was one of my favorite reads of 2017. The book is fantastic inside and out.


Man, this is where I’m supposed to tag people so they can do this post. It’s my least favorite part of doing these tags, because you’re all so wonderful, and I feel like I’m always picking the same people and forgetting others.