Books!, Conventions, Graphic Novel, Manga, Signal Boost

Gen Con Wrap Up

Hey all, Dani here.

So you might be asking, “hey Dani, wasn’t Gen Con at the beginning of the month? Why do a wrap up now?” Well, I had one of my blog buddies say she would love to read about my time at Gen Con, especially as she wants to start trying to diversify her conventions, but she also wanted more information first.

Plus, when you get a little removed from an event (or a book/movie/etc), it is easier to distance yourself from any super happy or super upset feelings you might have had at the time, and you can write a more factual and balanced review of everything. Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself.

Gen Con is a gaming convention, and it features hundreds of game developers and companies, as well as business that sell game accessories. Now when I say gaming convention, the easy assumption is that I am talking about video games, but I don’t think I have seen any sort of video or console type game there. No, this is a gaming convention for tabletop gaming, which means board games, card games, dice games, and tabletop RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons.

This year was the 51st Gen Con and it was even bigger than the previous year. The photos don’t even come close to showing how large or crowded this convention is, because there are just so many wonderful geeks in the world, and events like this really help you to see how not alone in the world you are. It is currently held in Indianapolis, Indiana, and it is an amazing experience. The convention itself takes up the entire Indiana Convention Center, plus they have also spread out into several of the nearby hotels, and Lucas Oil Stadium (which is the arena where the local NFL team, the Indianapolis Colts, are based). What I love about having part of Gen Con in the football stadium is that they house the gaming library there, and if you have purchased a pass to use the library, then you can go there 24 hours a day through the four day convention and borrow a game to play. Yes, a bunch of lovely geeks swarm through this holy house of jock-dom for four whole days.

We actually went to Indianapolis a day early, on August 1st, so we wouldn’t have to wake up at 5am the next day to make the three hour drive. It ended up being the best decision we could have made. We were able to pick up all of our tickets that day, and also just relax a bit. Okay, so we also went to an Irish pub (O’Reilly’s Irish Pub) for my birthday, which then turned into the Irish pub and then a Scottish pub (MacNiven’s). So I had a Shepard’s Pie, and then we had bread pudding for dessert. At the Scottish pub we had Scotch Eggs. Then we went to a comic book store (Downtown Comics) too, so naturally I picked up a few things.

And that’s just all the fun from the day before the convention. Now let’s get to the actual first day of Gen Con. It was a mad house, and we went straight for the Critical Role booth, because there was some cool merchandise that we were hoping to get, and we waited for a good half-hour or so to actually make it to the booth. But I ended up with dice and shirts and even a map for the current campaign, so I am super pleased.

I’m not going to lie guys…we spent most of our money on day one. There are just so many cool games and accessories and costume pieces. It is a geek wonderland. The first day of the convention was also a cool day because we got to meet Joe Mangianello. Now most people will probably recognize Joe from being in the show True Blood, or possibly from the Magic Mike movies. What you may not know is that he is a massive geek, loves D&D, and actually has a really cool gaming dungeon in his home. We waited for almost an hour to meet him, but it was totally worth the wait…and I got him to sign my Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition Player’s Handbook, so that is also pretty awesome. Oh, and the game pictured below is A Song of Ice and Fire, and it is sort of a battlefield strategy game based on Game of Thrones. We watched it being playtested and it seemed pretty interesting. Of course neither my fiance nor our other buddy who went with us has seen the show (or read the books) so it was just a cool looking game to them.

Day two of the convention we spent a lot of time just running around and checking out some of the games. At most of the game developer booths, you can sit down and play the game before you buy it. Okay well if it is a shorter game you can play through the whole game, but longer games they pretty much prefer you to just play a few rounds to get an idea of how the game works. There are a lot of other people around who would also like to try playing the games. The highlight for day two of the convention for us was actually that evening after the convention center closed. We met up with the owners of our hometown game store and they actually bought us dinner at this bar (The Yard House). My fiance and I run a couple D&D campaigns for them and they wanted to thank us for everything we’ve done for the store. Free food is definitely the way to do that. But after that, we had tickets to go see Critical Role live. It was my second time going, but my fiance’s first, and I was so glad I got to share the experience with him. Oh, and there was a surprise guest star for the episode of Critical Role…Khary Payton, an actor some people may recognize from the Walking Dead.

We had an extremely lazy day for day three of the convention. Critical Role Live ended around 1 am, and then we had to walk back to the parking garage where our car was parked (only to discover that the parking garage had closed for the night, so we had to run around to figure out who to contact to get to our car). By the time we made it back to the hotel we were staying at, it was around 2:30 am. Because we were also low on spending money, we just decided to hang out at the hotel, enjoy the pool, watch some TV, and play some of the games we had purchased. The only convention event we had on our schedule for the day was going to Dungeon Master, which is a live interactive show. It ended up being a very entertaining show, but the real reason I got tickets for this particular show was that it was being opened with a concert by The Library Bards, and they are a geek parody band who makes covers of Top 40 hits by making them into geeky songs–for example “Zombie” by the Cranberries becomes a song about Deadpool and Harley Quinn cosplayers called “Black and Red”, and Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off” becomes a LOTR/Hobbit song called “Gandalf.”

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Finally, we made it to day four, the last day of the convention. We played a couple more games, and made a couple more purchases with the little spending money we had left. I will be completely honest everyone. I hate the last day of a convention. The last day means that I have to go home and return to my regular day-to-day schedule. It means leaving a place where I am surrounded by thousands of people who like a lot of the same stuff I do, and going back to a place where only a small percentage of people actually understand me. Leaving a convention after having such a great time is always difficult. But on our way back to our car before the three hour drive back home, I decided that we needed to get something to eat, and after walking past this pizza shop over a dozen times, we finally stopped into Giordano’s to get some Chicago Style Deep Dish pizzas.

I guess I should talk about this last picture. There are a lot of booths at Gen Con that give out these little ribbons that you can attach to your convention badge. For many attendees at the convention it becomes a scavenger hunt to collect as many as possible. I have seen people with enough ribbons hanging from their badge to make a long scarf or sash. It is impressive. We only went to Gen Con for one day in 2017, so I think we got one or two ribbons. Obviously this year I did much better, but I’m still hoping for a more impressive collection next year.

Next year I also plan to attend a few panels and/or workshops, because we didn’t really do that this year. There is a whole section of the convention that is a Writer’s Showcase, and they have some great industry professionals there to hold classes on worldbuilding or magic or editing, etc. The guests of honor this year were the duo behind S.A. Corey, author of The Expanse series. Previous years have had Patrick Rothfuss in attendance. Margaret Weis was there this year as well. So next year I definitely want to spend a little more time in the bookish side of Gen Con–though I did walk through that entire area on the show floor, and I will show off everything I purchased in my August Wrap-Up post.

Wow, okay, this post got pretty long. I hope you all enjoyed this look into our time at Gen Con. If you want me to talk more specifically on the games that we playtested and/or purchased, let me know. Because we found quite a few really fun games, and I like talking about more than just books. I’m your average geeky girl, with many geek hobbies.

Anyway, that’s all for today, and I will be back soon with more bookish content.

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Book Releases, Book Review, Books!, Signal Boost

What I’m Reading (28)

Hey all, Dani here.

It is that time of the week again, where I write up a little post talking about the books I have finished recently, the ones I am reading currently, and the books I am hoping to start very soon.

So I feel like today’s post is going to share a similar feel to several of these I have had before, you know, where I really don’t have much to share with you in terms of books finished. And that’s probably because I haven’t been doing much reading over the past week. My fiance and I have been playing quite a bit of Diablo III, and seeing what cool items we can get now that we’ve beat the story of the game and are now just doing fun little bounties and rifts and such. Honestly I’m not liking this part of the game all that much. I miss having a storyline to follow. We’ve also been watching more shows — at this moment I have him halfway through “Firefly,” and he is already trying to figure out why the show was canceled because he is really liking it. This led me to explain how the episodes were aired out of order, with a few never being aired at all, and how it was originally aired on FOX in the time slot commonly known as the Death Slot. Maybe I’ll have him tell me all of his thoughts about the show once we’ve finished “Firefly” and watched “Serenity.” That could be fun.

Anyway, back to books. I have read about 120-ish more pages of The Darkest Minds so I’m about halfway in. Honestly, it is still just an okay book to me. I can see how/why people liked it and speak so highly about it. Back when it came out and dystopian books were super popular, the elements of this story did make for a successful series. But I don’t know…it still isn’t really at that point for me, the point where I am so hooked and invested in the story and the characters and I want to read it all.

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I really want to finish this book soon so that I can move on to other books without feeling guilty about it. Plus, I have a couple books coming in the mail that I really really want to read. These books include a sequel to a series that I absolutely fell in love with when I read the first one like a month ago, and also my most anticipated release of all of 2018. Those books should arrive in the mail probably Friday, so I need to try and finish my current read by then.

What I want to start reading (and probably finishing if they are as good as the previous books in their respective series are Shadowblack by Sebastien de Castell, and Access Restricted by Gregory Scott Katsoulis. I should actually probably write up a review for the first book in de Castell’s Spellslinger series, but you can find my review for Katsoulis’ previous release, All Rights Reserved, here.

That is all for today, everyone. What great books are you reading and/or looking forward to reading? I’ll be back soon with more bookish content.

Book Releases, Books!, Cover Reveal, Graphic Novel, Manga, Signal Boost

Most Anticipated Releases Fall 2018

Hey all, Dani here.

How are we almost at fall already? Time is just flying by, and seriously, fall may have the most releases I’m looking forward to. There are just so many interesting sounding books coming out in the next few months. Because of that, I’m not actually going to spend a lot of time coming up with a fun or rambly introduction. Let’s just start talking about the book releases of September, October, and November that I’m looking forward to. Trust me, there are a lot of them.

First off is September. In September I have the third installment of a series that started off okay for me, but the second book was a definite improvement, so I’m excited to see where this next one leads. Then there is the conclusion to the Warcross duology, and I’m hoping it is as worthwhile as the first one. There is also a Pride and Prejudice retelling that has completely intrigued me, as well as a fantasy debut about three illegitimate daughters of the king fighting to inherit the crown, and of course the continuation of a series I recently discovered that is absolutely amazing (and the new covers are way better than the original ones).

Two Dark Reigns by Kendare Blake (Sept 4), Rule by Ellen Goodlett (Sept 11), Wildcard by Marie Lu (Sept 18), Pride by Ibi Zoboi (Sept 18), and Charmcaster by Sebastien de Castell (new cover edition: Sept 18)

Next up is the craziness that is October releases. There is no way I will be able to buy all of these right when they are released, because there are just so many. Plus, some of these covers are just absolutely stunning. Cover design is just getting so good; there are so many covers I’d love to have art cards for so I could hang them up on my book art wall.

Anyway, October has a great number of fantasy reads, as well as a few manga and graphic novel releases that I really really can’t wait for. Oh, and then of course a new special B&N edition release of a book, and another Illustrated Harry Potter book. No, it isn’t Goblet of Fire, which I had been expecting for this year, but hopefully that one will come out next fall.

The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee (Oct 2), Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor (Oct 2), Damsel by Elana K Arnold (Oct 2), Kill the Queen by Jennifer Estep (Oct 2), My Hero Academia Vol 15 by Kohei Horikoshi (Oct 2), My Hero Academia Vigilantes Vol 2 by Hideyuki Furuhashi (Oct 2), What If It’s Us by Adam Silvera and Becky Albertalli (Oct 9), The Wicked + The Divine Vol 7 by Kieron Gillen (Oct 9), The Tales of Beetle the Bard, Illustrated Edition (Oct 9), A Sorrow Fierce and Falling by Jessica Cluess (Oct 16), An Assassin’s Guide to Love and Treason by Virginia Boecker (Oct 23), Red Rising (Signed B&N exclusive edition, Oct 23), Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J Maas (Oct 23), and Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa (Oct 30)

Finally there is November, which is rather light after the release heaviness of October. Honestly, I am not complaining about that at all. And honestly one of the releases is just the screenplay, so it will be super fast to read.

Archenemies by Marissa Meyer (Nov 6), Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindewald by J.K. Rowling (movie screenplay, Nov 16), The Mortal Word by Genevieve Cogman (Nov 27)

Okay then, well I guess that is about all from me for today. Let me know in the comments if any of these books are on your anticipated release list. Or, tell me some books that are on your list that didn’t make it on mine. I’d love to find more books to add to my never-ending TBR. All right, everyone, I’ll be back soon with more bookish content.

Book Review, Books!, Manga, Signal Boost

Manga Review: Ancient Magus’ Bride Vol 2

Hey all, Dani here.

Welcome to another installment in my Manga Monday posts, where I try to catch up on my backlog of manga reviews by writing one each week. Though, I ended up skipping a couple weeks already this month. I have not been doing a good job with keeping up with my blog in August. Sorry, everyone. Today I am talking about the second volume of the Ancient Magus’ Bride, so let’s just get started.

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Summary

Great power comes at a price… 

Chise Hatori’s life has recently undergone shocking change. As a sleigh beggy–a person capable of generating and wielding tremendous magical power–she has transformed from an unwanted child to a magician’s apprentice who has been introduced to fae royalty. But Chise’s newly discovered abilities also mean a cruel fate awaits her.

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

So this volume also gets five stars from me, but it is a five star that is slightly below the five stars of the first volume. There was just so much that happened in the first volume, and this one felt a little slower. Not that slower is a bad thing. It was nice to sort of sit back and get to understand the world a little better. And it’s possible that not everyone feels that way about this volume, because a lot still happens within the pages, but that’s just how I felt.

The artwork is still gorgeously detailed. If it weren’t for the fact that I get sucked into the story and have this compulsion to keep flipping through the pages, I would probably spend at least a minute or two just processing all of the images.

Chise still has a lot to learn, and it seems like quite a bit of it she has to figure out on her own. I think she’s doing a pretty decent job of adjusting to the new life that has been given to her, and I can’t wait to learn even more about Chise and Elias and honestly, all of the magic of this world. It is pretty darn interesting to me. I may even need to give the anime a try, because this is a rather entertaining series.

Where to Buy

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

Book Releases, Book Review, Books!, Graphic Novel, Manga, Signal Boost

What I’m Reading (27)

Hey all, Dani here.

So before I start talking about all of the books I’ve finished, or started, or want to read very soon, I first need to say that I watched the Netflix film adaptation of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and I thought it was so cute. I technically have only read like half of the book (I set it aside so I could read something else and accidentally forgot about it–that was months and months ago), but I could very well see myself picking up the book again because I adored the film. I liked the casting, the characters were pretty fun, and I’m honestly hoping they decide to adapt the rest of the trilogy.

Okay, enough of that. Let’s talk about books. Welcome back to my weekly post where I talk about the books I finished reading in the past week, what I am currently in the middle of reading, and what I’m hoping to start reading very soon. Let’s just jump into it then.

Here we go with the books that I’ve finished reading in the past week. Obviously I finished reading Blue Exorcist Vol 3, and then I finished reading The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society, which was delightful. I hope to watch the film on Netflix pretty soon. Books with a letter format to them are just a nice change of pace from standard novel format. Then again, most of my reading lately has been manga, which is a graphic format.

Anyway, I am still really enjoying reading the Blue Exorcist series, and probably sometime pretty soon either myself or my fiance will buy more of the series, since we only own up to volume 6…I think.

I’m trying to decide if I will write a review for Guernsey Literary or not. Maybe I should do a combination book and film adaptation review? What do you guys think?

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As for my current reads, I am in the middle of The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken. No, I have never read this series before. I’m only about a quarter of the way through it so far, and while it is good, it is also like a great many other dystopians released around the time this book came out. I do really like these new covers though, so I guess I’m glad I waited until now to pick this one up. I’ll have to wait until I finish the book before I decide whether or not I’ll continue to the next book.

Finally, let’s talk about what I’m hoping to start reading in the next week. When I was sitting down to write this post, I realized that we are getting pretty close to the end of the month already. So I clearly need to get to work on my August TBR some more. Granted, I didn’t give myself that big of a to-read list because I knew this month would be a bit crazy. That being said, I’ve only read two out of the five books I planned on reading.

Obviously I still really want to read Now I Rise by Kiersten White, but it is a longer book, and I know that next week my most anticipated book release of 2018 will arrive. I don’t really want to get in the middle of the book and then have to set it aside. Then again, I read the first book really quickly, so maybe I could get away with fitting it in. I guess we’ll see.

But there’s a part of me who wants to jump into some of my other recent purchases. I am trying to ignore that part, but that stack of books from my latest haul is just staring at me, begging to be read. Hopefully I can have those books at the top of my September TBR. That is probably the smart plan.

I just need more free time so I can read more.

Well, I do believe that is all for today. Let me know what awesome books you have read recently–or what awesome books you are currently reading. I’d love to know what I need to add to my never-ending TBR. I’ll be back soon with more bookish content.

Book Review, Books!, Manga, Signal Boost

Manga Review: My Hero Academia Vol 10

Hey all, Dani here.

Wow, I just realized that I have been really lazy this month when it comes to blog posts. I am sorry. Between starting the month with a vacation, and then work, and life, I have just been really tired the past couple of weeks. I think we’ve eaten more fast food or pizza delivery than anything else, because I wasn’t even up to doing the dishes. But we actually did some adulting over the weekend, and my dishes are clean, so cooking meals can continue again finally.

Which means I should also be trying to get back into the swing of writing up posts. So here we are at the review for the 10th volume of My Hero Academia. I recently read Volume 14, so I’m almost caught up with reviews for this series. Of course, I’m still planning on tackling a reread of Fullmetal Alchemist, and then I’d like to read all of Fairy Tail, so I have plenty more manga to get through.

Anyway, let’s just jump into the review.

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Summary

Midoriya inherits the superpower of the world’s greatest hero, but greatness won’t come easy.

What would the world be like if 80 percent of the population manifested superpowers called “Quirks”? 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?

The League of Villains has grabbed Bakugo, and the resulting negative publicity has thrown U.A. into a huge uproar. With the public’s trust in heroes threatened, the faculty convene to figure out what to do. But Midoriya and the students of Class 1-A have plans of their own, even if their operation to rescue Bakugo could get them thrown out of school!

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

The villains have Bakugo and everything is getting pretty intense in the lives of the class 1-A students. Of all of the students the villains could have taken, I find it ridiculous that they took one of the most volatile. Now, fine, I get that they think his personality means that he will be potentially an easy sway to the dark side, but they don’t have the privilege of knowing this character like the reader does. While he is brash and egotistical and all, he is very much of the mindset of being a hero.

Then we have the rest of the 1-A class, and this volume really leads to conflict between them. Some very much want to rush in and try to find a way to save Bakugo. Others remember what they were told after previous encounters with villains and are adamant about letting the professional heroes and the police do their jobs. It is interesting to see which characters side which way, and how they present their arguments to the others. The character development with this volume is outstanding.

I actually just watched this part in the anime as well, and it was just so well done. This is definitely one of my favorite series, and I cannot wait to see what happens as it all continues.

Where to Buy

You can pick up this (or any other) volume from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore.

Book Releases, Books!, Graphic Novel, Manga, Readathon, Reading Challenge, Signal Boost

What I’m Reading (26)

Hey all, Dani here.

Okay, so this week I am proud to say that I have made a lot of progress when it comes to reading. August is starting to look like a productive reading month. And I hope to continue this pace over the next few weeks, so we’ll just see what happens.

And since I have been doing these weekly reading updates, I probably won’t be doing a Manga Madness Readathon post. You’ll get part of my reading progress today and then the rest will be in next week’s post.

All right, and with that I think I’m ready to jump in and talk about all the books I’ve finished reading in the past week.

Whew…that was a lot of books. Okay, yes, so many of these are manga or comic book/graphic novels. But still. It has actually been a pretty busy week. My fiance and I ended up buying Diablo III for our PS4 and we have been spending a lot of our non work time playing the game. I am really enjoying it, but I wish we could find more similar games that are multiplayer (without us needing to buy another TV/PS4/etc). We like playing together but a vast majority of non-PvP games are single player.

Anyway, let’s just move on to my current reads. I’m still trying to squeeze in as many volumes of manga as I can before the readathon ends this Friday, so naturally I am reading more of that. But I also picked up a book at the grocery store and I have read about 70 pages of it over the past few days as well…just so I can watch the movie on Netflix, because it looks pretty good too.

Reading Blue Exorcist just makes me want to watch the anime again, which isn’t the worst thing, because I rather liked it, and I’m sure I would pick up on more of what’s going on this second time viewing it, but it will have to wait because my current anime watches are dedicated to Fairy Tail and keeping up with the newest season of My Hero Academia.

Finally, as for what I’m hoping to read over the next week…well,a bunch more manga, that’s for sure. I think I own through Volume 6 for Blue Exorcist, so I’m going to try and finish that, and then maybe I’ll try to finish reading the volumes of The Ancient Magus’ Bride that I have. Oh, and I just got the first volume of Black Clover in the mail, so perhaps I can squeeze that in to my reading schedule as well.

Then I suppose I’d like to finish reading Guernsey Society and then I’ll probably jump into a couple other books.

That’s all for today. Let me know what you’re reading and loving in the comments below, because I would love to know what else to add to my TBR. I’ll be back soon with more bookish content.

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

What I’m Reading (25)

Hey all, Dani here.

As can be predicted, I actually did not accomplish a lot of reading over the last week. That tends to happen when it comes to going to conventions. But I did manage to finish one book and start a few others, so I’ll talk about all of those here.

But first, Gen Con was actually a lot of fun. I bought a lot of books, a few games, several sets of dice, and I just had a wonderful time hanging out with a bunch of awesome geeks. My fiance and I are already planning on attending again next year. If you’re interested in hearing more about my Gen Con experience, let me know in the comments and I can write up a post about the whole trip.

Okay, so for the book that I finished in the past week, it was a good read, and it didn’t take me all that long to actually finish it, so that was nice. I had hoped to finish it before we left for Indianapolis, but that didn’t happen. Still, I enjoyed reading Game of Secrets by Kim Foster. The concept was an interesting one and I’m glad I gave it a try.

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Then there’s the books I started while at Gen Con or over the past couple of days. Needless to say, I am in the middle of a good number of reads, but sometimes that just happens. With any luck I’ll finish most of these in the next couple of days and move on to the next books on my TBR…oh, and of course seeing how many volumes of manga I can read because the next round of Manga Madness Readathon starts very soon.

Anyway, here’s everything I’m currently reading.

The first book I started reading is the Looking for Group Omnibus, which contains Volumes 1-3 of the web comic print bind-ups. Back in college I read Looking for Group online for awhile, but it has been so long that I don’t remember specifics. I’ve only read about 20 or 30 pages, but it is fun being reintroduced to the characters. The second book is another gaming guidebook from Kobold Press. I love their worldbuilding book, and actually recommend it for not just game masters, but also authors. The great thing is that I don’t have to read this book all at once or anything since it is just a collection of essays, but I am really looking forward to reading most of the advice I’m sure to get from all these amazing gamers and writers. Finally, I just started Beyond a Darkened Shore on Monday as my work read, and I am really enjoying it. Actually, I think I should be able to finish it soon.

Oh, I almost forgot about the books I want to start reading soon. Obviously my focus is going to switch to manga starting on Friday and going until next Friday. I imagine that I’ll be starting with Volume 14 of My Hero Academia, but I also definitely want to read the first volume of Dawn of the Arcana. After that I’m not sure what I’ll read, but hopefully I will have a lot of updates for next week.

Thanks for reading everyone. Let me know in the comments if you’ve recently finished or are currently reading something interesting. I think that is all for today, and I will be back soon with more bookish content.

Books!, Calendar Girls, Signal Boost

Calendar Girls: August 2018

Hey all, Dani here.

So, at the end of last year I told myself that in 2018 I was going to join the Calendar Girls, because I loved the posts, and had found some great new blogs because of the monthly meme. But then Calendar Girls went on hiatus, so it changed up a few of my planned posts for the year. Now though, Calendar Girls has found a new home, and today is the first month  of the meme. This was originally created by Flavia and Melanie, and is now being hosted by Katie at Never Not Reading and Adrienne at Darque Dreams Reader. So, feel free to go check out all of their blogs, because they are all wonderful ladies.

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First, more about the Calendar Girls. It is designed to ignite bookish discussions among readers, and was inspired by the 1961 Neil Sedaka song, Calendar Girl.

Just like the song, each month has a different theme. Each blogger picks their favorite book from the theme, and on the first Monday of the month reveals their pick in a Calendar Girls post. Make sure to post back to the hostess’s post, and I will make a master list for the month. The master lists allow everyone to see the other Calendar Girls’ picks and to pop on over to their blogs. Thus, we all get to chat about books and even make some new friends!

Dog Days of Summer
Best Novel Set in Summer

The theme for August is Dog Days of Summer, and we are supposed to select our best/favorite novel set in summer.

Before I get into my choice for this month, I first want to include a couple honorable mentions, and both are actually series. First is The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series. These books came around while I was in high school, so I related to them quite a bit, and they were nice quick summer reads. And then the fifth book was released years later while I was in grad school, so once again, I really felt like I understood all of the characters. I still own these books, and talking about them now makes me want to reread the whole series.

My second honorable mention is the Percy Jackson series. With the exception of I believe one book, these all start at the end of the school year and then lead Percy to his summer at Camp Half-Blood. I discovered these books in the summer after my first year of college, but I couldn’t help but be sucked into the story thanks to all of the wonderful mythology and adventure within the pages. The fact that I am still a huge Rick Riordan fan (at the age of 30) is a testament to how great his books are, regardless of your age.

All right, I guess now it is time to reveal my actual choice for Best Novel Set in Summer. This one took a little bit of thought and debate, but in the end, I couldn’t help but pick this fun contemporary read that I flew through, even though it was over 500 pages long.

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My choice is The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson, and I talked about this book as one of my favorite reads in 2016, as well as in my Contemporary Recommendations post. But I guess I never actually wrote a review post for this one. Hmm…I may have to reread it so I can refresh my memory on the book before I write up a nice review.

But anyway, this story follows Andie, who has everything all planned out for her summer, including a nice internship that will help her with preparing for her future. But then a political scandal around her dad changes everything and she has to scramble to figure out a new plan for the summer. This ends up including a job as a dog walker, and meeting the adorable geek Clark.

I flew through this book, and I enjoyed the way the relationship developed between Andie and Clark, as well as watching the growing and changing relationship dynamic between Andie and her dad. Plus, in true Morgan Matson fashion, there are little cameos from her previous books in this one, because all of the books take place in the same area. (Andie and Clark end up making an appearance in Matson’s newest book release, Save the Date).

But when it comes to books set in summer/released in summer/read in summer, I tend to go for ones that are quick reads. Sometimes they are cutesy contemporary reads like this one, and sometimes they are filled with magic and adventure.


I do believe that is all for today. The announcement of the September Calendar Girls theme should be up on Katie’s and Adrienne’s blogs next week. Thanks for reading and I’ll see you soon with more bookish content.

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

Manga Madness Readathon (Round 3)

Hey all, Dani here.

Today is Day Two of Gen Con, and when this post goes live, my fiance and I will be wrapping up our time at the convention center and be heading across the city to the theater where we will watch a live episode of Critical Role, and we are both very excited about it. Anyway, I am not here to talk about my convention fun (yet…I will have a con wrap up post coming after the weekend is over).

I guess I’m just really in a readathon mood lately. Plus, my fiance and I just bought a bunch more manga to add to our collection. So it seems appropriate to announce that we are participating in the upcoming round of the Manga Madness Readathon.

It will be taking place from August 10th-18th, and the goal is to read as many manga as possible in that time. Now, there are a couple more specific ways to participate, like trying to complete a bingo board of different types, themes, or genres of manga, or focusing your attention on one specific series, but I just want to read some manga instead of trying to find a specific TBR for the event.

You can find out all the details on Jade’s blog here.

As for what the two of us will be reading, well it will probably be something on these shelves, though we may have added more volumes since this photo was taken. Oh and the shelving of the manga is not my decision. This bookcase is my fiance’s and he has complete control over where they all go and how they are stacked. He’s still figuring out his shelving preferences.


That is a really vague TBR, isn’t it? Well, I personally want to read the rest of Ancient Magus’ Bride, read the newest volume of My Hero Academia, since it comes out on August 7th, and then I’ll start reading whatever sounds interesting. I believe my fiance will be trying to work on getting manga completed and reviews formulated so he can start posting. We’ve already figured out his bio blurb and his review policy, so those are both up on the blog. Now we just need content.

So really, I do believe that is all for today. I just wanted to announce that I am doing another readathon. Let me know if you plan on participating as well, or let me know if you have any manga recommendations. I will be back soon with more bookish content.