Review: Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee

Hey all, Dani here.

I’m back with another review for GLBT Book Month. Today’s review also happens to be for one of my most anticipated releases of 2017, so I’m excited to share this with you all. A couple of my favorite shows on YouTube are modern adaptations of classic novels (Lizzie Bennet Diaries and Emma Approved) so having a book that features a character who is creating an adaptation of Anna Karenina interested me as a lover of literature. And this book’s main character, Tash, identifies as aesexual, which is something I feel like we don’t see a lot of in books.

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Summary

After a shout-out from one of the Internet’s superstar vloggers, Natasha “Tash” Zelenka finds herself and her obscure, amateur web series, Unhappy Families, thrust into the limelight: She’s gone viral.

Her show is a modern adaptation of Anna Karenina—written by Tash’s literary love Count Lev Nikolayevich “Leo” Tolstoy. Tash is a fan of the forty thousand new subscribers, their gushing tweets, and flashy Tumblr GIFs. Not so much the pressure to deliver the best web series ever.

And when Unhappy Families is nominated for a Golden Tuba award, Tash’s cyber-flirtation with Thom Causer, a fellow award nominee, suddenly has the potential to become something IRL—if she can figure out how to tell said crush that she’s romantic asexual.

Tash wants to enjoy her newfound fame, but will she lose her friends in her rise to the top? What would Tolstoy do?

My Thoughts

Rating: 4 stars

This was an enjoyable read. I like stories with this sort of content, you know literary adaptations and such. It’s always fun to see how someone might adapt a beloved classic to the modern era. I have seen this done rather well with shows like the Lizzie Bennet Diaries and Emma Approved, both of which I have watched all the way through multiple times.

I have read several fandom related books this year, so this book also fit in with what I seem to be enjoying lately. As someone who enjoys conventions and most things geek and/or nerd, it just makes me happy to see the culture represented so much in books and shows and movies.

Of course, I also really appreciated the discussions Tash had with people about her aesexuality. They just seemed so true to life, or what I imagine a true to life situation would be like. Lately I’ve been appreciating the theory that sexual identity is fluid and can change based on where we are in our lives. I related to Tash quite a bit in this book, because for the longest time I felt no sexual attraction to anyone…well, at least anyone who wasn’t a fictional character (I read a decent amount of smutty romance books). So to see a character who still had romantic feelings towards others but just didn’t see them in a sexual manner was really cool.

I’m glad we’re starting to see more representation in books and media these days. The more it happens, the more I feel like the culture shifts towards acceptance. Yes, I think there will likely always be those with more radical beliefs around, but hopefully someday they will be in the vast minority.

My reasoning for the lower rating is because I wasn’t as obsessed with this book as I thought I would be. I suppose I can actually blame that on the fact that I have not read Anna Karenina, nor have I watched any of the movies or mini-series that have been released. That lack of familiarity made me care just a little less about the adaptation.

Still, I really liked this book, and I’m sure if I read it again in the future–after becoming familiar with the source material–my review will probably change.

Where to Buy

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

Discovery @ BookExpo

Hey all, Dani here.

Yes, I realize that we are nearing the end of the month and BookExpo was at the beginning of the month, but there are just a few books I really want to talk about that I learned about while at the event. That’s why I am writing up this post today.

Okay, I’m just going to run through these books in order of their release dates. I’ll also be sure to link to the book’s page on Goodreads in case you want to learn more about it.

First up… All Rights Reserved by Gregory Scott Katsoulis (August 29, 2017). Now, I’ve already read this book, mostly because it just sounded so interesting and I couldn’t help myself. Having read it, I can now say that I am sad that I have not heard more talk about this upcoming debut because it is outstanding and the topics and themes are highly appropriate considering how our world is nowadays.

Next, Zero Repeat Forever by Gabrielle Prendergast (August 29, 2017). This sounds like an interesting post-apocalyptic tale which puts two people–I’m assuming young adults–who are technically on opposite sides in a position where they only way they survive is by working together and trusting each other. I don’t know. You have a male character named Eighth who was meant to protect his Offside until a human kills her. Then you have a female character named Raven who was at a summer camp when the invaders came and she was going to stay safe and hidden but then a Nahx kills her boyfriend. I’m curious to see what happens in this one.

Next is a middle grade novel, The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding by Alexandra Bracken (September 5, 2017). I didn’t know about this book until I arrived at the Javits Center and saw a huge poster in the entryway showcasing it. And then I didn’t know anything about it until I picked it up at the Disney booth and read the back cover. It follows a family who made a deal with a malefactor and now that the deal has been broken, the fiend is possessing young Prosper Redding with the intent of destroying everything the Reddings have. It sounds like a sort of dark middle grade novel, but I’m intrigued.

After that is Invictus by Ryan Graudin (September 26, 2017). Okay, so I have not read a single of Ryan Graudin’s books, which means I had no idea about this upcoming release. The basic pitch on the back of the book was Doctor Who meets Guardians of the Galaxy. So it’s about a group of people and they are involved in time travel. I really didn’t need to know more than that, really. I snatched up a copy and I look forward to reading it soon. This is also apparently a standalone novel so…

Then there’s The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli (October 3, 2017). Another book I had not heard of until I saw it in the daily show guide. But female dragon hunter was all I needed to sell me on this book. Basically we follow Asha as she goes on a mission to free herself from a betrothal she does not want. What does she have to do? Oh, only kill the most feared dragon in the lands. I have a feeling it will become more complicated than that, but I’m looking forward to reading this one.

There is a reason why this post talks about book discovery. None of these books were ones I knew about at all before going to BookExpo. Next up is an adult novel, The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty (November 14, 2017). First, the cover is really pretty. Second, it is pitched as an alchemical combination of The Golem and the Jinni, The Grace of Kings, and One Thousand and One Nights. A conwoman accidentally summons a djinn warrior to her side, and yep, just let me add this to my TBR. It sounds great.

This is the last discovery with an actual ARC available at BookExpo, but sadly I was unable to snag a copy for myself. Nevertheless I am excited to add this book to my TBR list. Reign the Earth by A.C. Gaughan (January 30, 2018) which apparently follows a young woman who becomes Queen of the Bonelands in order to save her people. But she struggles because her husband wants to destroy the Elementae, and she is developing feelings for her husband’s brother. And naturally along the way she discovers that she is Elementae. I love fantasy books with elemental powers.

Finally, I have a book that I found out about while talking with a wonderful employee at one of the publisher’s booths while she was selling books during BookCon. I read Brigid Kemmerer’s Letters to the Lost earlier this year and loved it. I even commented that I would love to see a sequel/companion novel with some of the other characters. As it turns out, that is happening. More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer (March 6, 2018) will follow Rev and I am so darn excited about this. But man, March is so far away.

Okay, well that’s it for today. Thanks for stopping by. If you have learned of any exciting book announcements, I would love to know as well. Please leave the details in the comments.

Camp NaNoWriMo July 2017 Session

Hey all, Dani here.

Wow…that’s kind of a dull post title. I’ll just say that I’m saving my creative thoughts for my upcoming writing project. Right? That sounds reasonable.

Anyway, I am preparing for yet another session of this wonderful event. I really need to get back into a rhythm with my writing; I haven’t managed to accomplish much on that front this year and it makes me a bit sad.

But I think I have an idea for a story I want to write, and it’s actually a bit of a deviation from the normal stuff I come up with. If you’ve been following me for any amount of time, you may have realized that I really like fantasy and paranormal stories. Those are primarily what I write and I enjoy doing that.

However, the current story that is in my mind and my heart is a contemporary romance. I have no idea how well I’ll do with this, but I’m willing to give it my best shot. I really like the story and the characters that I’ve developed so far. This might partly be on account of this story being loosely based on real events.

I don’t want to say too much about it because I’m trying to see if I can actually write more if I don’t just tell everyone most everything about what I’m doing or plan to be doing. All I can say is that it will hopefully be a cute nerdy romance story. Plus a lot of my friends from Dungeons & Dragons have been gracious enough to let me use them and/or their characters as inspiration for characters in my novel. So that’s great.

So far I’ve managed to come up with a number of possible chapter titles, so that will make parts of the writing process easier. What I’m still missing is the novel title. For now I have it saved as ‘Untitled Nerd Romance,’ which is not an inspiring title at all…kind of like the title of this post. They let you know what the following text is about but they don’t really make you really want to dive into what follows.

Anyway, for those who aren’t aware, Camp NaNoWriMo is a branch of big sister event NaNoWriMo which takes place every November. Camp takes place twice a year, typically in April and July. But Camp takes a slightly different path than NaNo, making it a more flexible event.

For NaNoWriMo the challenge is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. Camp allows you to write and/or edit. And you aren’t bound to a set 50K word goal. No, you can set your goal for a word count of your choosing, or even a goal of so many hours of editing, or so many pages written if you’re working on a play, or even so many lines written if poetry is more your thing.

Also instead of being in regional groups you are placed in smaller cabins where you and up to 11 other writers will get to chat and support each other through the month. Your cabin mates can be randomly assigned based on age and/or genre criteria, or you can create a private cabin and invite your closest writer pals to join in.

I myself am a fan of the private cabin, but since many of my friends opt out of one or both Camp sessions, I often find myself with a few open slots. So, if you think Camp NaNoWriMo sounds interesting, or if you’re already signed up as a Camper and are looking for a cabin, I have some open bunks. Let me know a bit about you and your writing project in the comments (including your username) and I’ll send you an invitation to the cabin.

Let’s have a wonderful month of writing (or editing, if that’s your focus) in July. It’s going to be a fun time.

Review: The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss

Hey all, Dani here.

Happy Book Birthday to the book I’m reviewing today. Yes, today is a bit of a deviation from my GLBT book month reviews. Oh, and also, I do need to mention that I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Okay, well, here we go.

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Summary

Based on some of literature’s horror and science fiction classics, this is the story of a remarkable group of women who come together to solve the mystery of a series of gruesome murders—and the bigger mystery of their own origins.

Mary Jekyll, alone and penniless following her parents’ death, is curious about the secrets of her father’s mysterious past. One clue in particular hints that Edward Hyde, her father’s former friend and a murderer, may be nearby, and there is a reward for information leading to his capture…a reward that would solve all of her immediate financial woes.

But her hunt leads her to Hyde’s daughter, Diana, a feral child left to be raised by nuns. With the assistance of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Mary continues her search for the elusive Hyde, and soon befriends more women, all of whom have been created through terrifying experimentation: Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherine Moreau, and Justine Frankenstein.

When their investigations lead them to the discovery of a secret society of immoral and power-crazed scientists, the horrors of their past return. Now it is up to the monsters to finally triumph over the monstrous.

My Thoughts

My rating:

The concept of this story alone intrigued me. I was excited by the prospect of following the daughters of some of literature’s classic men. Plus, look at that cover. I love all the tiny details on it.

I think my favorite part of this novel is actually the format. It is written as if the girls are telling this story after the fact, and that includes numerous interruptions by the girls to clarify something or just make commentary on a scene. The format is a unique one and it made the reading experience more enjoyable for me.

And really the story is more about all of these young women. Yes there is this search for Mr. Hyde, and then this secret society of scientists later on, but the reason you care about all of that is because you get to know Mary Jekyll, Diana Hyde, Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherine Moreau, and Justine Frankenstein.

So whether or not you are a fan of classic literature, I think this book is enjoyable, but if you are a literature aficionado, I definitely recommend that you pick up this inventive tale.

Where to Buy

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

Review: No Holding Back by Kate Evangelista

Hey all, Dani here.

Welcome to another review for GLBT book month. I was excited to read this book because it featured my favorite character from the previous book in the trilogy, and I wanted to see him get his happy ending. This is where I guess I should tell you that you can find my review for the first book, No Love Allowed, here.

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Summary

A romantic European vacation is the perfect excuse to let go in this highly anticipated sequel to No Love Allowed by Kate Evangelista.

Everyone knows that Nathan is in love with his best friend, Preston…Everyone except Preston. Nathan has always accepted that Preston was too focused on his swim training to worry about love. But Preston is heading off to train for the Olympics soon, so if Nathan wants his chance at love, he has to speak up now. But saying “I love you” is surprisingly difficult, even for someone as confident as Nathan. Maybe a whirlwind vacation in Europe could help? But… what if it doesn’t work out and he loses the best friend he’s ever had?

My Thoughts

Rating: 4 stars

I did enjoy this book but it wasn’t amazing or outstanding. It was a nice cute contemporary and perfect for a summer beach read or whatever. That’s one thing I can say about all three books in this trilogy: their length makes them good quick reads. This one starts shortly after the first one ended, though our focus has shifted from Caleb and Didi to Nathan and Preston. I did also like that this book introduces the male protagonist for the third book, Jackson, who is Natasha’s ex.

The characters still remain the best part of these books for me. I love the idea of being able to travel and do all the fun touristy things, and Nathan and Preston had a chance for that in this book. I was looking forward to enjoying Europe with them, but I feel like we missed out on some awesomeness there. Which I get. The focus really was on Nathan trying to figure out how to tell Preston that he loved him.

That aspect took forever. And it took so long for Preston to figure it out as well. Then just when you think the two boys will get their acts together and be able to go on a proper adorable first date, one of them acts like a dunce and does something stupid, which puts the whole potential relationship in jeopardy.

I don’t really want to spoil anything for anyone so I won’t say more on this, but it was a cute read. If you’re looking for a light contemporary read that you can finish fairly easily in one sitting, then I would definitely recommend this trilogy.

Where to Buy

You can pick up a copy of No Holding Back from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore. The final book in the trilogy is also available in stores now.

Review: Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire

Hey all, Dani here.

Happy Book Birthday to the lovely book I will be reviewing today. Okay, so first thing I need to say because disclaimers are important. I received an e-galley of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. As always this does not affect my rating or review of the book.

The next thing I need to say is that this is the second book of a series, but they are both relatively short, so I think it would be easy for you to catch up if you’re interested. Also, this one is technically more of a prequel as it follows the story of Jack and Jill before they appeared in the first book.

Anyway, let’s just get into today’s review of Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire.

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Summary

Twin sisters Jack and Jill were seventeen when they found their way home and were packed off to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.

This is the story of what happened first…

Jacqueline was her mother’s perfect daughter—polite and quiet, always dressed as a princess. If her mother was sometimes a little strict, it’s because crafting the perfect daughter takes discipline.

Jillian was her father’s perfect daughter—adventurous, thrill-seeking, and a bit of a tom-boy. He really would have preferred a son, but you work with what you’ve got.

They were five when they learned that grown-ups can’t be trusted.

They were twelve when they walked down the impossible staircase and discovered that the pretense of love can never be enough to prepare you a life filled with magic in a land filled with mad scientists and death and choices.

My Thoughts

Rating: 4 stars

I love that this series is basically short and fairly quick reads. But don’t think that means they don’t pack a punch; they still manage to fit a lot of action, adventure, and development into such a limited number of pages.

This book really does explore and bring about an interesting discussion on gender norms, which is nice. You have more of a girly girl and then a tom boy, and it is perfectly acceptable to be either/or or a blend of the two.

I will say that having this book contain several time jumps was frustrating…in the sense that I was enjoying myself and would have liked to have more with the story. Still, the adventures of Jack and Jill was an entertaining one.

Now, the reason why this review also works for my celebration of GLBT book month is that there is a little bit of a lesbian romance. Also, the first book of the series–Every Heart a Doorway–follows a main character who is aesexual. So there’s some decent representation in these books.

I like that we are getting more information on the mythos of this world…er technically worlds. This is why portal fantasy can get really interesting; there are so many possibilities and such.

And I’ve also heard that there are more books in the series to come, at least a third and fourth, with the possibility of more if they do well. I’m looking forward to following the adventures of some of the other characters.

Where to Buy

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

Review: Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Hey all, Dani here.

Welcome to another GLBT Book Month review. Today’s book is one I have heard wonderful things about, and I have had it on my TBR list for quite some time. No longer. Now it joins the massive list of books I have read in my lifetime (or technically just since I joined Goodreads back in 2010).

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Summary

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

My Thoughts

Rating: 4 stars

Maybe it was all the hype I’ve heard about this book, but I was mildly disappointed with it. Yes, it was cute, but I didn’t connect with it as much as I have with some other reads of 2017. I feel like I’ve read a few books this year that feature two characters exchanging messages, where the characters are unaware of who each other is. And just like with those other books, it doesn’t take all that long before one of the two in this anonymous exchange discovers who the other is.

I can also say that figuring out the identity of Blue was not all that difficult, as he made it a bit obvious in his real life interactions. Even with the attempt to make readers think that Blue was a not so nice character instead, it was obvious that the assumption was wrong.

Simon felt like a real person to me, though I can also say that sometimes I didn’t like him much. The way he treats, technically ignores, Leah is very aggravating. Speaking of annoyances from characters–am I the only one who felt like Martin’s blackmail felt sort of awkward and forced?

I did like Simon and Blue’s e-mail exchanges though. It was easy to see their relationship develop. Speaking of that, this didn’t affect my rating, but having all the characters refer to Tumblr as “the Tumblr” was annoying.

Okay, I will say that I can understand why this book is raved about and why it has won so many awards. I just wanted more from it. But the story was a decent one and for the most part I enjoyed the character interactions, which is why I gave the book a 4 star rating instead of a 3 star one.

Where to Buy

You can pick up Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore.

Review: Perfect Ten by L. Philips

Hey all, Dani here.

Welcome to my first GLBT Book Month review. I believe that most of the books I’m reviewing this month will fit under the LGBTQIA+ banner, but there might be a couple extra posts that sneak in, because I plan on reading a lot of books in the coming months. Oh, and I should also give a happy book birthday to this book because it hits shelves today.

Anyway, I received a copy of this book through Penguin’s First to Read program. Please know that this does not have any affect on my rating or opinion of the book. Now that that is out of the way, let’s get into the review portion of this post.

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Summary

Who is Sam Raines’s Perfect Ten?

It’s been two years since Sam broke up with the only other eligible gay guy in his high school, so to say he’s been going through a romantic drought is the understatement of the decade. But when Meg, his ex-Catholic-turned-Wiccan best friend, suggests performing a love spell, Sam is just desperate enough to try. He crafts a list of ten traits he wants in a boyfriend and burns it in a cemetery at midnight on Friday the 13th.

Enter three seemingly perfect guys, all in pursuit of Sam. There’s Gus, the suave French exchange student; Jamie, the sweet and shy artist; and Travis, the guitar-playing tattooed enigma. Even Sam’s ex-boyfriend Landon might want another chance.

But does a Perfect Ten even exist? Find out in this delectable coming-of-age romcom with just a touch of magic.

My Thoughts

Rating: 3 stars

This was a good read, but it didn’t really blow me away or anything. I thought the concept of performing a love spell and then being pursued by all these guys was an interesting one, but it sort of fell flat to me. Probably because I didn’t really connect with the characters really. Sam pretty much annoyed me with how wishy-washy he was with all of these guys.

Now, for what I did love with this book: Sam’s parents were wonderfully supportive about Sam’s sexual orientation. It was probably the strongest aspect of the book for me.

I also enjoyed all the creativity within the book. Sam’s dad is an author, Sam is a writer, Jamie is an artist, Travis is a musician. The appreciation of the arts was something I greatly appreciated myself.

After the love spell, when Gus transferred to the school out of the blue, something didn’t feel right with him. And then Sam sort of flirts with Jamie, while he’s sort of dating Gus. Then, after Gus is out of the picture, and Sam is starting to date Jamie, he also meets Travis and starts messing with him too. It just didn’t sit well with me that Sam was being so disloyal in his relationships, especially as he criticized Meg for being with her boyfriend who was awful and had cheated before. Yes, hypocrisy is something that does actually happen but it rubbed me the wrong way in this situation.

So basically this was a book that felt too shallow for me. I wanted more from it. And while I’m sure that there are times when a person could maybe be pursued by multiple “gorgeous” individuals, I really had to suspend my disbelief to stick with this story.

Where to Buy

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

BEA/BookCon Book Haul and Wrap Up

Hey all, Dani here.

Whew…it has been a crazy week. I am going to be recovering for a while from BookExpo and BookCon. There were so many books and I met so many wonderful bookish people. Plus I did a heck of a lot of walking…like everywhere. But it was a wonderful experience and I picked up a lot of books that I’m looking forward to reading over the next several months.

Okay, first up, when I arrived in New York, I had to wait a few hours for my hotel room to be ready, so I checked my bag and walked about a mile to go to Barnes & Noble. It was Tuesday, aka Book Release Day, and there was a book I really wanted to pick up.

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So the new release I had to have was Royal Bastards, and I picked up Mayim Bialik’s book because I knew she would be at BookCon (though sadly I was unable to meet her). Then I picked up The Last Wish and Blood of Elves because my boyfriend suggested that I might like to play the Witcher video games. I found out that they were based on a book series, so here I am, reading the books before I play the game.

Anyway, on to the rest of the week. The first day of BookExpo was Wednesday, but all that was open was a few panels, most of which seemed to apply to librarians, booksellers, and publishers, so I spent a few hours taking a bus tour of the city. It was really nice.

On Thursday is where all the book collecting really began. I had a lot on my schedule, and thankfully I met a few awesome booksellers and such in line and we were all able to talk books together. It helped me to feel a little less alone in the massive convention center. I managed to get in on several signings and found myself grabbing several other books during ARC drops. At the end of the day I looked over the books I had collected and thought there was no way I could match that on the final day. (Spoiler alert: yes, I could).

Signed books: The Naughty NinetiesZenithAll the Crooked SaintsClick’dInvictusAll the Birds in the SkyThe Glass Town GameNull StatesEnlightened, and All Rights Reserved

Unsigned: Zero Repeat ForeverHunting Prince DraculaGunslinger GirlThe Dreadful Tale of Prospero Redding: A Fiendish ArrangementBonfireThe Adventurers Guild

Friday was the last day of BookExpo, and I continuously heard from some of my new book buddies that BookCon would be a lot crazier. Take everything going on around the convention center and then add hundreds of screaming fangirls. It turns out that a lot of them don’t like to go to BookCon. What was nice about BookExpo is that they limited who was allowed to go in. There were only a few minors, and they were older teenagers accompanying a parent. So there was some civility and organization and consideration on the show floor. I really enjoyed BookExpo for my first experience, and I am looking forward to attending again in the future.

Signed books: Daughter of the Burning CityWarcrossWonder Woman: WarbringerRenegades (sampler), Mary McScary

Unsigned: The Last CastleUnearthedCaroline: Little House, RevisitedThe Last NamsaraForest of a Thousand LanternsThe City of BrassThings I’m Seeing Without YouNevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan CrowFirebloodLucky in LoveThe Legend of Shadow HighNyxiaThe Nowhere GirlsThey Both Die at the EndThe Language of Thorns (sampler), Jane, UnlimitedThere’s Something Inside Your House

Somewhat related to BookExpo, I guess I can put in my wrap up that I went and saw “Wonder Woman” on Friday night. It was awesome and I’m looking forward to seeing it again. When I got back to my hotel room afterwards, I grabbed my copy of Leigh Bardugo’s Wonder Woman: Warbringer and read about a chapter before I fell asleep. The book is good so far, too. I was just really tired from all the running around and lugging around books.

Finally came Saturday, the first day of BookCon, and the only day I could attend. Because I had already picked up a lot of the books I wanted, including some I had penciled into my BookCon schedule, I actually had very little to do. That, plus the swelling crowds of readers, made the lines longer and the likelihood of getting books a lot harder. I completely understood why some people aren’t huge fans of BookCon. Yes, it is a large gathering of very excited readers, and it’s always nice to see that yes, there are still lots of readers in the world. But the chaos can be difficult to maneuver.

I managed to walk away with a signed ARC for Strange Practice, and I picked up a couple books that sounded interesting as well. Later I discovered that they too were signed: The Geek’s Guide to Dating and Geek Parenting: What Joffrey, Jor-El, Maleficent, and the McFlys Teach Us About Raising a Family. And of course I picked up several tote bags and other bookish swag, including a Carve the Mark power charging pack, and a desktop Skeeball game.

Basically it was an incredibly fun time and I’m glad I was able to go. Now I just have to figure out where to put all of these books because my bookshelves are already bursting at the seams. I guess I can go on a slight book ban for a while…not a full ban, but just keep my book buying limited to my most anticipated list.

Review: Eliza and her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

Hey all, Dani here.

Today’s book for review is one I absolutely devoured. It was one I connected with on so many levels and I am so glad to have received it in my May OwlCrate box. So, the cover I have shared on this review is the OwlCrate

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Summary

Eighteen-year-old Eliza Mirk is the anonymous creator of Monstrous Sea, a wildly popular webcomic, but when a new boy at school tempts her to live a life offline, everything she’s worked for begins to crumble.

In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, smart, and friendless. Online, Eliza is LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of a popular webcomic called Monstrous Sea. With millions of followers and fans throughout the world, Eliza’s persona is popular. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves her digital community. Then Wallace Warland transfers to her school, and Eliza begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile. But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart. With pages from Eliza’s webcomic, as well as screenshots from Eliza’s online forums, this uniquely formatted book will appeal to fans of Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona and Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl.

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars!

 I loved Eliza as a leading lady. As a writer myself, particularly someone who used to post her stories chapter by chapter online, I related to her creative side and her connection to online friends. And as Eliza started to spend more time with Wallace and their relationship developed, I related to the cute geekiness of it all, because again I happen to be in a relationship with a wonderful geeky guy myself.

There’s also the doubts and the anxiety and the creative blocks Eliza faces in the book. I think these are things any of us who create anything, whether it is art or writing or crafts, can understand and connect with.

The characters were probably the strongest part of this story for me. This was pretty character driven. The basic plot was how Eliza’s online life (and real life) was affected when she started having a life offline.

Anyway, this book made me laugh and tear up and fangirl internally as the story unfolded, both the plot for Eliza’s web comic, and Eliza’s offline experiences.

It was a beautiful tale, one I will be glad to recommend to the creative geeks in my life. And probably the non creative geeks too so that they might understand us a little better. This was just a worthwhile read.

Where to Buy

You can pick up Eliza and her Monsters from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore.