Comic Review: Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Lost Adventures

Hey all, Dani here.

Okay, so my boyfriend recently got me to watch Avatar: The Last Airbender and we managed to finish the entire series with just a few weekends, and we just started watching The Legend of Korra, but hearing that the comic books bridge the gap between the two series, I wanted to start reading them too.

This collection however, is a bunch of stories that were released while the show was originally airing, and they are just some fun quick little tales that expand on what happens during or in-between some of the episodes.

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Summary

For three years, millions of eager fans tuned in to watch new episodes of Nickelodeon’s hit animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender. Ever since, fans have been hungry for more, and now their wait is finally over!

This volume collects the long-out-of-print, fan-favorite comics previously published in Nickelodeon Magazine and with the Airbender DVDs, plus over seventy brand-new comics pages. That’s twenty-six stories set in Airbender continuity, by a host of top-notch talent, many of whom worked on the original animated series!

* A must-have for any Airbender fan!

* Twenty-six in-continuity stories, plus bonus content!

* The latest release in an ongoing partnership between Nickelodeon and Dark Horse, to bring you the very best in Airbender books!

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

So I enjoyed this collection of stories, and I even like that they divided them into three sections, one for each season of the show. It makes it easier to determine where each story takes place within the continuity of the episodes.

Honestly, I don’t know that they really added much to the viewing experience, but they were entertaining. And really, that’s all you can ask for with this, to be entertained.

One of my favorite stories had to be the one where Sokka pretends to be the Avatar, and Aang, Katara, and Toph help him with charade…at least until real danger from the Fire Nation arrives. I won’t spoil it for you but the ending was quite amusing.

Another fantastic story has Toph facing off against Bumi to see who is the greatest Earthbender, a fight that ends in a draw due to the strength of their bending and the destruction to the nearby area.

Both of these stories probably would have made for great episodes in the show, but I understand that not everything can be fit into the story arc of a season.

Basically, I definitely recommend this book and any of the other comics to fans of “Avatar: The Last Airbender.” It is a really quick read, but it’s also a nice way to revisit the characters and the world.

Where to Buy

You can pick up this collection of adventures from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, Comixology, or your local indie book store.


So, I have a question…I’m reading these Avatar comics pretty quickly, as well as volumes of manga for My Hero Academia, Fairy Tail, and Fullmetal Alchemist. Would you guys like to see reviews for each one or would you rather I combine a few volumes together? Right now I have enough tags, recommendations, and reviews to hold me over for the next couple of months. Honestly having a bank of reviews could be helpful as I transition into 2018 and find myself changing positions and shifts at work. I already know that I’m going to have to figure out a new reading, writing, and blogging schedule for 2018. Anyway, your opinion would be most helpful, so let me know your thoughts in the comments. Thanks everyone!

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Recent Acquisitions I’m Excited to Read

Hey all, Dani here.

I recently read a post from Alyssa Marie over at A Reader’s Journey, and at the end she asked if any of us had recently acquired books that we were really excited for, and I decided that it would be a whole lot easier just to write up a blog post to talk about some of the books I’m excited to read and review in the upcoming weeks and months.

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I guess I should start with this lovely ARC I won in a Goodreads Giveaway. The cover is so shiny and awesome, and it sounds like an interesting story. Plus, this is the first Goodreads Giveaway I have won in over four years, so I’m looking forward to starting The Hazel Wood soon. This book will be released January 30, 2018.

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Okay, so I got the e-ARC of Searching for Billy Shakespeare last Friday and it will be released very soon (December 26th). Technically I’ve already read this one because I finished it on Saturday, but I was super excited to read it, and my review will be up very soon.

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The Forgotten Book is an e-galley I received from NetGalley and I actually just started reading it today. It sounds really interesting and is actually inspired by Jane Austen. Plus, come on, look at that cover. This book will be released January 2, 2018, so I expect my review to be up probably next week.

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Reign the Earth has been on my radar since Book Expo, though I missed out on getting an ARC there. Thankfully I was approved for one on NetGalley, and I can’t wait to delve into this magical tale. It will be released January 30, 2018.

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I know I’ve raved multiple times about the first book in this series, Borderline, because it was such an interesting read and I loved the complexity of the characters. I’m reading the second book, Phantom Pains, this month, so I’m really excited that I have the third one to dive into as soon as I’ve finished. Impostor Syndrome will be released on March 13, 2018.

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I’ve read a lot of books published by 47North, and I have enjoyed every one of them. That is why I feel honored that I have been auto-approved on NetGalley for any of their books I’d like. A friend recommended that I pick up The Paper Magician and it was good, so I had to get the other two books of the trilogy. Well, it is a trilogy no more as the fourth book, The Plastic Magician, will be released on May 15, 2018.

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This one actually popped up in an e-mail from NetGalley about upcoming fantasy titles, and it sounded really interesting, so I’m lucky to have been approved for this story about five daughters of the king, each of whom is quite different. Daughters of the Storm will be released on March 6, 2018.

Now..the next book on my list hasn’t had a cover reveal yet, but I promise that as soon as I have been sent an image for it, I will have the cover reveal here on my blog, as well as all of the relevant release information and such. Of course I am talking about the next installment of the Colorworld series, Waterworld. Now this one is going to be a bit of an interesting story because there are six different narrators, but rather than release a hugely massive book, Rachel E Kelly has decided to split it up into separate volumes. So this first one, Waterworld Volume 1 will follow Ezra’s part of the story. I’m really excited about reading this one, so expect a lot more Colorworld-centric posts coming in the near future.

Finally, as I started typing this post, I actually got an e-mail from NetGalley informing me that I had been approved for another book, and this is one I have been anticipating since I finished reading the first one.

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More Than We Can Tell is the sequel/companion to Letters to the Lost and it follows Rev, so I am so pleased that I get to read this book early. It will be released on March 6, 2018.

Okay then, well that pretty much wraps up the recent book acquisitions I’m excited about. Let me know in the comments if you have recently received or purchased any books you’re excited to read. I’ll see you tomorrow with a comic review post.

Name in Books Tag

Hey all, Dani here.

So, I saw this tag over on Amber’s blog at Step Into a Book World and it seemed like a fun little post, so I pretty much had to give it a try. Considering the size of my library, I actually didn’t think it would be that difficult to do. The basic concept is to find a book that starts with each letter of your name.

That’s it. No other rules or anything, just choose a book for each letter of your name. Because I like to talk about books though, I also added in a little bit about the books.

Now where it gets fun for me is the decision of which name to choose. Obviously I start each post with the shortened version: Dani, but that seemed too easy for the challenge, and really I enjoy bookish challenges, so I went with the full name: Danielle Thamasa.

Okay, so I’m dividing this up into a few different images just because I can. Plus this way I can show off the books a bit more, which is always nice.

Let’s just get started.

D-A-N-I

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D: Dreamworld by Rachel E Kelly. This is seriously one of my favorite books and I need to give it a reread soon.

A: An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson. This was a beautifully worded and artistic tale, complete with the Fae. I rather enjoyed this read.

N: Now I Rise by Kiersten White. I am hoping to read the first book this month, but I have heard a lot of wonderful things about this series.

I: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. I loved the fun format of this story, and added to the plot, this was an incredibly fast story, especially for its length. I’m really looking forward to reading the final book next year.

E-L-L-E

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E: Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone. For this being a book about words and poetry, I still have difficulty describing just how wonderful this story is. It is just an incredible book, so I had to include it in this post.

L: Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare. I actually got around to reading this one finally this year, and it was pretty good. I look forward to reading Lord of Shadows sometime in the near future.

L: Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger. Another book I read and really enjoyed this year. Books about magical alcohol are just entertaining.

E: Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill. This was one of the first books I read this year and I flew through it; I’m hoping that I find the sequel just as good.

T-H-A-M

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T: Truthwitch by Susan Dennard. Wow…I read and loved this book and yet I never wrote a blog review for it. Hmm, I guess that means a reread and then a review is necessary. Speaking of…due to an unforeseen issue, the release of Sightwitch by Susan Dennard has been delayed three weeks. It will now be released FEB 13 2018. Mark your calendars or perhaps just go and preorder it now.

H: Heartstone by Elle Katharine White. I love this book so much. It came in a book subscription box and it is basically Pride and Prejudice with the addition of dragons. This was the book I didn’t know I needed in my life until I read it.

A: A Plague of Giants by Kevin Hearne. This was an interesting first epic fantasy book from the author of the Iron Druid Chronicles (which I really enjoy). The kennings (or magic abilities) were intriguing. I look forward to seeing what happens next.

M: Midnight Jewel by Richelle Mead. Another great book from one of my auto-buy authors. I found Mira to be an awesome protagonist, and now all that’s left is to bring the final book out, and with it Tamsin’s story. I can’t wait to read The Emerald Sea.

A-S-A

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A: Arcadia by Iain Pears. I actually still need to read this book, but it seems to have a Narna-esque concept to it, so I’m hoping it will be a good read.

S: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. Another book I need to read, and I have been hearing outstanding things about it. Hopefully I can read this one soon.

A: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. Hmm…I actually still need to see the movie. But I read this one during a 24 Hour Readathon and it was kind of a perfect choice for that. It is a short read but you get swept away into the story and read it so quickly. It was great.


And just for fun, let’s throw in one more picture, this time with all the books of my name put together.

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Well, I had a lot of fun with this, and it really didn’t take all that long to do. So, if you are reading this post and you would like to give this a try, you have now been TAGGED.

Purge that TBR #24

Hey all, Dani here.

Welcome back to another TBR purge post. I have the next 30 books from my to-read list on Goodreads to look through and decide what to keep and what to remove from the list.

Oh, and I’ll also say that I did decide to join in on the Readathon by Zoe 24 Hour Readathon that took place yesterday, December 9th, and I did pretty good for not really having a lot of reading time. I finished 4 books, though they were pretty short, and three of them were actually comics. I’ll talk about those more in upcoming reviews and my December wrap up.

Okay, well I guess it’s time to jump into this purge. Let’s get to it.

A World Without Princes, The Last Ever After, and Quests for Glory by Soman Chainani. This is a cute middle grade series and I enjoyed the first book, so I want to keep reading. I am keeping the second book on my list but for now it just makes sense to take books three and four off.

The Last True Hero by Bec McMaster. This is the second book in her Burned Lands series and I haven’t read the first one yet, so this one can go for now.

The Valiant by Lesley Livingston. I can’t believe that this one is still on my TBR. It is about a lady gladiator. I need to read this one soon, especially with the sequel coming out in a couple months.

The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr. I own this one and it does still sound kind of interesting, so if the mood strikes I’ll still pick it up, but for the moment, I’m going to pass on this one.

Given to the Sea by Mindy McGinnis. This one still sounds pretty interesting, and at some point in the future I’ll probably get a copy and read it, but I own a couple McGinnis books already and I should probably read those first to see if I like her writing style. For now I’m going to take this one off my TBR.

The Careful Undressing of Love by Corey Ann Haydu. I picked up a copy of this one because it sounds interesting and sometimes reading magical realism type stories is interesting, but I have to be in the right mood for them. This book will be taken off my TBR for now, but when the mood strikes, I’ll still probably pick this one up.

A Closed and Common Orbit and Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers. Okay, so technically I have Orbit on my Diverse December TBR, so it will be coming off the list soon, and then I’ll just be anticipating the release of the third book. But I absolutely loved the first book, so I’m hoping to feel the same with these.

Caraval by Stephanie Garber. Come on, of course I’m going to read this one (hopefully sometime soon). But I do tend to like circus type stories, and the reviews for this have been pretty decent, so hopefully I’ll enjoy this.

Heart on Fire by Amanda Bouchet. This is the third book and I haven’t even read the first one yet. I can say goodbye to this one for now.

The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich. Another book on my Diverse December TBR, so hopefully I’ll be able to read this one this month.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee. I have been putting off this book for months, yet hearing amazingly wonderful reviews about it. Also, I have this one on my Diverse December TBR. I really want to read this one before the end of the year.

Terminal Alliance by Jim C. Hines. First Hines is one of my favorite authors. Second, this is basically a story about janitors in space, and that just sounds amusing to me, especially since I enjoyed the web series “Space Janitors” on Geek & Sundry.

The Waking Land by Callie Bates. I still like the idea for this story, and at some point I may still pick it up, but I kind of need to be realistic with my massive TBR at the moment. For now I shall pass on this.

The Djinn Falls in Love & Other Stories edited by Mahvesh Murad. Okay, so technically this one I’ve read about half of it. So I don’t think it should actually be on the TBR list, but I do need to finish reading it.

Borrowed Souls by Chelsea Mueller. Yep, I am definitely still keeping this one on my to-read list.

Forget Tomorrow by Pintip Dunn. This book still intrigues me, so I still want to pick it up. Plus, the cover is really cool.

A List of Cages by Robin Roe. I have heard great things about this, and I do believe I have a copy sitting on my bookshelves, but for the moment, I’m going to pass on this one. I’m feeling more like I want awesome fantasy reads and light fluffy reads, so when the mood strikes I’m sure I’ll pick this one up.

Victoria by Daisy Goodwin. Sometimes I feel like I want to pick up more historical fiction, like when I stared watching the TV series based on this book. But I don’t know if/when I would actually pick it up. So for now it’s a pass.

Kings or Pawns and Heroes or Thieves by J.J. Sherwood. I picked these up at Cincinnati Comic Expo in 2016, and I also won a giveaway for book three, so I pretty much need to read these. I’ll keep the first on my to-read and take the second off for now.

Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman. Obviously I have this one on my most anticipated releases list. I can’t wait to read it.

Beast by Brie Spangler. I’m just not feeling like I want to read this one right now.

This Song is (Not) for You by Laura Nowlin. I think I just went through a list of books categorized as diverse reads and added a bunch of them to my to-read list without necessarily thinking about if I would be in the mood or have the time to really fit them into my reading schedule.

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo. Another book I added from the diverse reads list. I’m finding plenty of diverse reads these days that I really want to read, so ones I added to my TBR just for the sake of diversity don’t rank up there much.

Andromeda Cycle #1 by Jay Kristoff. I have a few other Kristoff books to read before I get around to this one, and technically this one doesn’t even have a title or anything yet. So it could pop back up on this list next year, but for now, I shall pass on it.

Spectacle by Rachel Vincent. This is the second book in a series and I still need to read the first one. It does follow a circus of sorts and the characters are all part of the freak show, so I am really interested in it.

RoseBlood by A.G. Howard. I am very intrigued by this book, a modern take on The Phantom of the Opera, and I’ve actually read almost half of it, so I don’t know that it necessarily qualifies as to-read anymore, but I do plan to finish it at some point so I will keep it on the list.


All in all today was a pretty good purge. I only kept 13 of the 30 books, so I feel pleased with that. There are just four more of these posts to go…maybe 5 with some of the recent additions to my to-read list, but still that’s not too bad.

Until next time, have a nice day everyone.

TBR Purge #23

Hey all, Dani here.

Welcome back to another TBR purge post. A few months ago I saw several people participating in a Down the TBR Rabbit Hole Purge meme, and I thought the idea sounded good, especially when your TBR has grown to unmanageable heights. But those posts had you look at 5 (or 10) books on your list each time and I knew that would make the process take far too long. So I decided to take on 30 books from my TBR with each post, and here we are.

Then, to finish the purge before the new year, I started doing two of these posts each weekend instead of just one each week. So we are nearing the end. Just two more weeks of my purge posts and I’ll be done. It’ll be nice to start my 2018 with a more organized list of books to read.

Okay, let’s just get started.

Mosaic by Sarah Fine. This is the final book of a trilogy I’ve really enjoyed. I guess I just stopped halfway through this one so it wouldn’t actually end. I will finish this one.

The Emperor’s Blades by Brian Staveley. I’ve read the first few chapters of this book and it is really interesting so far. I just need to finish it.

The Ferryman Institute by Colin Gigl. This book sounds so interesting and I need to find the time to read it.

Arcanum Unbounded by Brandon Sanderson. Do I really need to say anything to explain why I’m keeping this one? It’s Brandon Sanderson.

Gifted by J.A. George. Another book I read a few chapters of and then abandoned for no good reason. I do plan on finishing this one as well.

Steering the Craft: A Twenty-First-Century Guide to Sailing the Sea of Story by Ursula K LeGuin. This is one I feel like I need to buy and add to my writing books shelf, but I don’t feel the need to read it at this exact moment.

Bright Smoke, Cold Fire by Rosamund Hodge. This book sounds so good. I wish I had more time to read all the books that sound good. I will find the time for this one…at some point.

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco. I will read this one…soon.

The Reader by Traci Chee. This one is still on my radar, and I own it, but I’m just not seeing where I’ll be picking it up to read any time soon.

Genrenauts: Complete Season One by Michael R Underwood. I am actually reading and reviewing these as individual novella “episodes” so it doesn’t make sense to have the omnibus on my TBR as well.

Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris. I added this one to the TBR after seeing an early trailer for the TV series. I was intrigued and had to pick up a copy. I do plan on reading this one.

Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas. I own this book, and it sounds interesting, so I’ll probably get around to it at some point..just not right now. Bye.

How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather. Actually, this one isn’t on my TBR anymore. I read it. Yay, victory!

The Midnight Star by Marie Lu. I am still working on the first book so I don’t need the third one on here yet.

The Fate of the Tearling by Erika Johansen. I haven’t even started the first one yet, so goodbye for now.

Shadow Fall by Audrey Grey. I’m just not feeling in the mood for this one right now.

Gilded Cage by Vic James. Actually this one is probably more on the pile of “currently reading but also really sort of on hold.” I’m taking it off the TBR for now, but I am working on it.

The Cupid Reconciliation, The Substitute Sleuth, and The Failed Fellowship by Michael R Underwood. These are the remaining “episodes” for Season One of Genrenauts. This is why I removed the omnibus earlier. And I know these are fast reads so I should really just read them already.

The Heart of Betrayal and The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E Pearson. I loved the first book and need to figure out when I’m reading the rest of the trilogy. I’m keeping book two on this list but saying farewell to book three for now.

Forest of Memory by Mary Robinette Kowal. This is seriously like an 80 page story. Why haven’t I read it yet?

Long Way Home by Katie McGarry. I have several other McGarry books to read before I make it to this one. Goodbye for now.

The Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan. Reading this one soon.

Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. Just a few more months until a lot of us will be reading this one. I’m looking forward to it.

Rune of the Apprentice by Jamison Stone. This one sounded interesting so I bought a copy, but I have so many books I really want to read right now that I don’t know when I’ll be able to get around to this one. So it’s coming off the TBR, but I’m keeping it in my library.

Heartborn by Terry Maggert. Sounds interesting and it’s actually not that long of a read. Keep.

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones. I have owned this book for months; I still need to start reading it. Hopefully soon.

Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst. I definitely still want to read this one. Hmm…I might even try to squeeze this one in to my Diverse December reads.

Okay, so I only eliminated 11 books from my list this time around. It’s actually getting harder to do as I get towards the end of my to-read list.

Comic Review: Runaways Complete Collection Vol 1

Hey all, Dani here.

Recently I posted a graphic novel recommendations list, and in the comments, it was recommended that I try Runaways. It was already on my radar because of the Hulu series, but this solidified the decision that I was going to try it. Needless to say, I flew through the first volume and will have to pick up the next one sometime in the near future.

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Summary

They were six normal teenagers linked only by their wealthy parents’ annual business meeting…until a chance discovery revealed the shocking truth: their parents are the secret criminal society known as the Pride! For years, the Pride controlled all criminal acti vity in Los Angeles, ruling the city with an iron fist…and now, with their true natures exposed, the Pride will take any measures necessary to protect their organizati on – even if it means taking out their own children! Now on the run from their villainous parents, Nico, Chase, Karolina, Gertrude, Molly and Alex have only each other to rely on. COLLECTING: RUNAWAYS (2003) 1-18

My Thoughts

Rating: 4 stars

I’ve said it before and I know I’ll say it again many more times in the future: I love superpower stories and/or superhero stories. I have devoured them since I was a kid, and that fondness for them has only developed and grown in the years since. Nowadays I read books as well as comics and manga about superheroes and I watch superhero TV shows and movies. My Christmas tree has hero/geeky ornaments on it.

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So I already figured that I would enjoy the story of Runaways. Then add to all of that the fact that the series was created by Brian K Vaughan, who also created Saga, a comic/graphic novel series I also really enjoy. It seemed like a win-win for me.

I’m also super glad that this collection featured the entire first arc of the story. There was a definitive beginning, middle, and end to the main plot, and then the ending left you with the understanding that the characters were running off again and that would lead to more adventures.

There were a lot of characters and also a lot of plotting between different groups of characters. Sometimes it felt a bit too jumbled up, but I figured things out fairly well. The blend of personalities and abilities in the teenagers was wonderful and diverse, which I appreciate.

Oh…and can we talk about the fact that there are six main characters and FOUR of them are female? Unless it’s a group like the Amazons of Themyscira or the Birds of Prey, you don’t really see that many female dominated groups. I loved that aspect of this series.

I will say that the timeline felt a bit confusing to me. To me over the course of this collection it felt like maybe a couple of weeks, but based on some of the comments made by some of the characters I guess it was actually a couple of months.

It was cool to watch as the teens began to figure out there abilities and also started learning more about what their parents were up to. The teenage drama was pretty fun, and man…that betrayal. I should have figured out who the mole was before it was actually revealed. But I enjoyed that it was as much a surprise to me as it was to everyone else in the group.

So this was a fun adventure and I’m looking forward to giving the Hulu series a try. Based on the trailer it seems to be a pretty decent adaptation, and it looks like the casting choices are spot on.

Where to Buy

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

Recommendations: Contemporary

Hey all, Dani here.

Welcome back to another week of book recommendations. I have to say that this series of posts has been one of my most liked and commented on, so thank you to everyone who has liked, commented, shared, and recommended books in return. I truly appreciate it.

Today’s topic for recommendations is one that I pretty much need to be in the mood for, and that mood usually strikes in early summer and sometimes briefly in winter as well. Most of what I read tends to be fantasy or paranormal, but come on, every once in a while we all just need a contemporary. A lot of the time contemporary reads tend to fall in the cutesy romance or rom-com categories…or at least the ones I pick up and read do. But I have a couple options on here that are a bit more serious.

Let’s get started.

I’ve already talked about Queens of Geek a few times on this blog, but I just enjoyed this book so much. It was fun and relatable for me as it took place during a convention and I have been to quite a few comic-cons the past few years. Plus there were just so many awesome characters excitedly talking about the books, shows, and movies they love, and I think that is always fun to read about.

Speaking of movies, this next one follows two main characters who talk about movies all the time. Alex, Approximately was sort of a modern spin on the movie You’ve Got Mail, and I thought it was absolutely adorable.

Apparently I have a thing for mistaken identity or anonymous exchanges in books. Because Letters to the Lost starts with the characters exchanging letters in a cemetery. They eventually move on to e-mail exchanges but still, I thought it was an interesting story and there will be a sequel/companion novel out in 2018.

Then there is Eliza and Her Monsters, which follows Eliza, the creator of a massively popular web comic. She has many friends online but not so much in her real life. In fact, most people aren’t aware that she is the creator of Monstrous Sea. So things get interesting when the top fan-fiction writer of her series starts going to her school. Again this one features fandom and sort of a secret identity theme, plus deals with the anxiety that creative types feel when it comes to their creations. I loved this book.

Now we have a recent read that I just feel the need to keep talking about. I adored Kat and Meg Conquer the World. The focus on female friendship and fandom was fantastic, plus Kat has anxiety and Meg has ADHD, and we get to see both girls help each other with dealing with those a bit, and supporting each other too.

Okay, so I have another anonymous letter exchange story on here, but it was just so cute. Even when certain plot points were completely obvious, I still really enjoyed this story. P.S. I Like You makes a perfect fast, cute, and fun read.

Next on my list is The Unexpected Everything, and this was such a fast read for being like a 500 page book. It was just so fun and cute, and I loved watching the characters grow. Plus, come on, Clark is adorable and makes an excellent romantic interest for a story.

I had to throw a favorite from my youth in here, but to be fair, I did reread The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants in 2016 as well. Yes, compared to some more recent contemporaries, this one might not be on the same level, but I still think this series is a good one. Plus, again, female friendship.

Okay, so now I’m moving into the more serious recommendations. This first one surprised me. I picked up One of Us is Lying because it basically seemed like The Breakfast Club, but with a murder involved. I was quickly sucked into the story and needed to find out what would happen to each of the characters, and I really needed to know whodunnit.

Before I Fall is the one on this list that is kinda farthest from being a contemporary because of the reliving the same day over and over aspect. But, I read this book this year in anticipation of the movie release, and by the end I was so invested in Sam’s life.

This is Where it Ends follows a harrowing 54 minutes in the lives of several students in the moments leading up to and during a school shooting. It was a powerful and haunting read.

In the same vein, I also have to recommend a book I read during my Library Services for Young Adults course in grad school. Hate List not only has flashback scenes to the school shooting and numerous newspaper clippings throughout the book, but it mostly follows the school the next year after the event as people try to heal and forgive and move on. The primary focus of the story is the girlfriend of the shooter, and this is a book that has stuck with me since I read it.


Wow, why did I choose to put the more serious books at the end? It feels like I’m ending this post on a somber note.  Then again, I suppose with the way the world is these days that also makes a certain kind of sense. I appreciate that we have books that focus on issues like racism and sexism and sexuality and mental health and gun safety and all of this. Perhaps the existence of these types of books mean that we are making progress, as small as it might be, towards resolving these issues and creating a better society.

So, are there any contemporary books you’d recommend for me? Let me know in the comments!

Manga Review: My Hero Academia Vol 2

Hey all, Dani here.

Obviously I’ve been reading quite a bit of comic books, graphic novels, and manga lately. I guess I’ve just been in the mood for them. They’re usually fun quick reads and sometimes we just need that. Plus it’s cool to give your mind’s eye a break from imagining every detail. I mean these kinds of stories do have lovely illustrations.

Anyway, today I’m here with the second volume for this series. You can find my review of the first volume here. Now, I will say that I love the anime for this series as well and am very much anticipating season 3 next year. Until then I can keep myself occupied with reading the manga series. Right now there are only 10 volumes out, with the 11th one expected to be released in Feb 2018.

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Summary

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?

Getting into U.A. High School was difficult enough, but it was only the beginning of Izuku’s long road toward becoming a superhero. The new students all have some amazing powers, and although Izuku has inherited All Might’s abilities, he can barely control them. Then the first-year students are told they will have to compete just to avoid being expelled!

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

I just love this series. Some of the Quirks are just so interesting, and it is fun to learn about all of the different characters. This particular installment starts to really show us more about Izuku Midoriya’s classmates.

One of my favorite parts about reading the manga is that there are behind the scenes details about the characters and how they developed. For example there are a couple Quirks given to the students that were originally planned for professional heroes, but it was changed to see how a person with a lot less training would handle things. Then there are characters like Tsuyu Asui, who was originally going to be a boy, but it was decided that more girl characters were needed. I can’t imagine Froppy being any other way.

Also, I’ll just go ahead and say it…Tsuyu is one of my favorite characters.

Plus, I think I’ve mentioned before how much I enjoy superhero stories. There’s just something fun about stories with people who just happen to have unique abilities, especially when they decide to do something with them.

And I’m just curious to see how all the characters will develop. I want to see Todoroki reach a point where he embraces both sides of his power. I want to see more with Momo and Iida and Tokayami and Ochako. Oh, and I definitely want to see what happens with both Midoriya and All-Might as this journey continues.

I’m really glad my boyfriend and I decided to randomly try this series months ago. It has become one of our favorite shows…and I’m sure as soon as he starts reading these, he’ll love the manga too. I started reading them as soon as they arrived in the mail because I know I read much faster than he does.

Where to Buy

You can pick up a copy of My Hero Academia Vol 2 from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, Comixology, or your local independent book store.

The Liebster Award

Hey all, Dani here.

Thanks to a clever tag by Holly at Nut Free Nerd, I now have the pleasure of answering some fun questions for all of you today. I actually enjoy posts like this because I feel like they help us get to know each other for more than just our reading and review habits.

Rules

  • Thank the person(s) who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions they gave you.
  • Nominate 11 blogs and let them know they’ve been tagged.
  • Give them 11 questions to answer.

Q&A

Why did you start blogging?

I originally started book blogging back in college–around 2008–and I think I mostly did it because my book review column in the campus newspaper was a once a month thing, provided that there was space to fill in the paper. Obviously I read more than one book a month, so I wanted to do more. That blog failed and I ended up deleting it. I think I had just one follower back then.

With Mousai Books, I had thought about giving blogging another try, and had been writing up plans and ideas for a while. Then back in January 2016 I was on my three days bereavement from work because of my grandma passing away and I really needed something to focus on so I didn’t fall apart. So I took the plunge and wrote up my first blog post on here.

What’s your favorite thing about blogging?

My favorite thing about blogging has to be interacting with the community. It has been such a wonderful experience to talk to all of you and share our love of books and reading together.

What causes you the most pain (bookish related)?

Writing in books, dog earred pages, mismatched covers/formats for a series, when an author is unable to finish writing/publishing a series and I’m forever left wondering what could have happened…you know, just to name a few things.

What are the main reasons you’ll follow a blog?

It’s about books, primarily, though I have a bit of a preference towards people who share somewhat similar reading interests. And I like blogs with a little variety: reviews, tags & awards, discussions, etc.

What type of book covers do you like the most?

Umm…ones that catch my eye? I mean, I guess I like ones that don’t have people on them as much as ones without people, but I like books that give me an idea of what happens in the book.

What’s your favorite genre of books and why?

Fantasy, of course. I like magic and adventure and quests; I always have.

Why did you start reading?

That’s like asking me why I started breathing. Like honestly, I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t reading. My mom told me stories about her reading to me even before I was born. Books have always been a big part of my life.

What would happen if someone walked up to you and tried to fight you?

Depends…why are they trying to fight me? Obviously I would defend myself, and since I took both self-defense and karate classes in college, I feel decently confident in my ability to fight back.

What would your “happy place” include?

Books, D&D stuff, my boyfriend, food.

What would you do if you were stranded on an island?

Am I alone or are there others with me? What kind of supplies do I have? Like, if I found myself on an abandoned island that happened to have a massive library, I’d probably be all right with that.

What makes you bored?

Too much time alone.

My Questions For You

Sorry if some of these questions are a bit random. I decided to have a little fun with this and literally type up the first questions that come to mind.

  • If you could co-author a book with any author, who would it be and what kind of story would you write?
  • What is your favorite day of the week and why?
  • You are going on a D&D style quest and can pick three fictional characters to join your adventuring party. Who do you pick?
  • What is your least favorite color?
  • What book is at the top of your TBR right now?
  • Name 5 authors you think more people should read
  • What is your favorite show to watch over and over again?
  • What are you currently reading/watching/listening to?
  • Which book is/was your favorite read of 2017?
  • What is your favorite food?
  • What was the last book that made you cry?

Nominations

If you are reading this, then I tag YOU!

Review: The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

Hey all, Dani here.

Today I am here with an ARC review. I was lucky enough to be sent a physical ARC by the publisher since I had reviewed the first book, and since I didn’t know that was happening, I put the request in with NetGalley and they approved me as well. So, thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for granting me early access to this book. This act of kindness to a voracious bookworm in no way affected my rating or my opinion in any way.

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Summary

The magical adventure begun in The Bear and the Nightingale continues as brave Vasya, now a young woman, is forced to choose between marriage or life in a convent and instead flees her home—but soon finds herself called upon to help defend the city of Moscow when it comes under siege.

Orphaned and cast out as a witch by her village, Vasya’s options are few: resign herself to life in a convent, or allow her older sister to make her a match with a Moscovite prince. Both doom her to life in a tower, cut off from the vast world she longs to explore. So instead she chooses adventure, disguising herself as a boy and riding her horse into the woods. When a battle with some bandits who have been terrorizing the countryside earns her the admiration of the Grand Prince of Moscow, she must carefully guard the secret of her gender to remain in his good graces—even as she realizes his kingdom is under threat from mysterious forces only she will be able to stop.

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

First off, look at that cover. I love the colors used for it, and I think it has nice similarities in design to the first one, while also standing out as its own title.

One of the things I have to say that I loved about this book is that much like The Bear and the Nightingale, this one starts off with someone telling stories during a cold winter’s day/night. I actually like how the folklore storytelling helps to set the atmosphere of the book.

Also, I admit to liking stories where a young woman dresses up as a boy to go on an adventure. It’s always interesting to see how she navigates the world, and also how long she manages to keep her secret.

This trilogy does make me want to learn a bit more about Russian history and folklore. It all seems pretty interesting to me.

And much like the first book, I think this would be a perfect read for a cold winter’s day. Just curl up with a mug of your favorite hot beverage, maybe wrapped up in a nice blanket in your favorite reading place, and just spend some time on an adventure with Vasya.

All in all I enjoyed this read, and I look forward to seeing how the trilogy wraps up with the release of The Winter of the Witch, which is expected to be released in August 2018.

Where to Buy

You can pre-order The Girl in the Tower from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore. This title will be released tomorrow, December 5th.