AMA Answer Time!

Hey all, Dani here.

Thank you so much to Michelle and Elaina, who each asked me a question over the past few days. I really appreciate it. Let’s not waste any time with introductions. I’m jumping into the answers right now.

michelleltaylor94 asked: What are your must reads right now?

I think there’s two possible answers here: the must reads I can recommend for you all to read, and the must reads meaning books that I desperately need to read right now. For the first part, my go-to recommendations include: Dreamworld by Rachel E. Kelly, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, and The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers. To answer the second part: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee, The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell, and The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss are all books that I really want and need to read soon.

Elaina Lucy asked: What is the number one book that you’ve read that has the deepest emotional hold on you? It could be either that the book itself is amazing, or for other reasons (a gift from someone special, the first book you ever read, etc).

Wow, this is a fabulous question, and I’d love to know how all of you would answer it as well. Okay, so I’m going to try not to constantly answer with the same books, so I’m actually going to go with a non-fiction choice: You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day. This book was so lovely and inspirational for me. Follow that up with getting to meet her during her book tour for the paperback release (Yes, I own a first edition hardcover, and a first edition paperback of this book) and this book will always hold a special place in my heart. Meeting Felicia Day, considering how long I’ve followed her awesome nerdy career and how much I loved the book, is definitely one of the top moments of my life. You can read more about my fangirling and the signing at these links.

This was a fun idea, and I’ll probably try this again in the future, but if at any time you have a question, feel free to ask. I’m pretty much an open book.

Just for fun though, I’ll also throw in a few random fun facts about me, because I know sometimes people probably wonder about it.

Danielle Thamasa is a pen name. I chose it by taking all the letters from my legal birth name and rearranging the letters. (Okay, fine. I had to add in an extra ‘l’ and ‘e’ or else I would have been Daniel). I’ve been using this name for book related things on the internet for around a decade now so I answer to Dani as easily as I do my birth name.

Some of my other hobbies include board games, RPGs (like D&D, Pathfinder, Fantasy AGE, etc), LARPing, comic and gaming conventions, photography, ghost hunting, and traveling (though I don’t do as much as I’d like).

I’ve started watching anime and I’m enjoying it so far. I’m into My Hero Academia, Fairy Tail, Death Note, Trigun, and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. When I was younger I watched Sailor Moon, Cardcaptor Sakura, and Fullmetal Alchemist, and in college I watched Inuyasha because of my roommate.

I’ve already surpassed my original reading challenge goal on Goodreads. I started the year with a goal of reading 75 books, but now my goal is 100 because I have finished 77 books so far.

Okay, well that’s all for now. Tomorrow I’ll be talking about my time in Indianapolis over the weekend for Gen Con 50.

Review: Click’d by Tamara Ireland Stone

Hey all, Dani here.

I’ll be honest and admit that I have several middle grade book reviews coming in the next couple weeks. There were quite a few at BookExpo and BookCon that just sounded really cute. Now, today’s review is for an author that first came on my radar because of her time travel duology, but it was her YA contemporary that I truly loved. Her next release is her first middle grade book and I made sure that I made it to her signing so I could get a signed ARC for Click’d.

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Summary

Allie Navarro can’t wait to show her best friends the app she built at CodeGirls summer camp. CLICK’D pairs users based on common interests and sends them on a fun (and occasionally rule-breaking) scavenger hunt to find each other. And it’s a hit. By the second day of school, everyone is talking about CLICK’D.

Watching her app go viral is amazing. Leaderboards are filling up! Everyone’s making new friends. And with all the data Allie is collecting, she has an even better shot at beating her archenemy, Nathan, at the upcoming youth coding competition. But when Allie discovers a glitch that threatens to expose everyone’s secrets, she has to figure out how to make things right, even if that means sharing the computer lab with Nathan. Can Allie fix her app, stop it from doing any more damage, and win back the friends it hurt-all before she steps on stage to present CLICK’D to the judges?

New York Times best-selling author Tamara Ireland Stone combines friendship, coding, and lots of popcorn in her fun and empowering middle-grade debut.

My Thoughts

Rating: 4 stars

This was a cute book, and a fast read. I like that it has a focus on girls interested in STEM fields of study; we need more of that in the world.

However, this book just didn’t grip me as fully as Stone’s previous novel. Every Last Word has had a lasting impact on my heart and mind. I still find myself thinking of it, and I only read it the one time. And yes, this is Stone’s first middle grade novel, and I think the next installment will probably still be a good read, but I could not rate it higher than 4 stars.

I need to talk about Allie and Nathan and the Games for Good competition. This book covers a week of time leading up to this contest. And basically on the first day back to school their teacher has them present their projects to the rest of the computer technology/coding class. Nathan’s project/game is set up so that you can build virtual homes and while doing that, sponsors for the game will end up donating money to build real homes for Habitat for Humanity. Then Allie presents her game and it is a scavenger hunt to make new friends. While yes, friendship is admirable and can do good for the world, I definitely feel like Nathan’s game does tangible good in the world.

I will say that I liked the idea of this story, and I liked that a decent portion of it focused on Alli and her friends, and how this game affected their friendship. The friendships and drama of middle school can be so volatile and changing, so it was nice to see that portrayed in the book.

Overall, I would recommend this book, and I did enjoy it, but I have read a number of really great stories this year and that does tend to affect ratings.

Where to Buy

You can pre-order Click’d from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore. It hits shelves on September 5, 2017.

Review: Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

Hey all, Dani here.

I’ve seen the Wonder Woman movie twice, and I loved it. This made me very excited about the book I’m reviewing today, especially after I heard that one of my favorite authors was the one writing the book. But I’ll just start this off with a warning: if you’re expecting this book to follow the basic timeline and/or story of the movie, then you’ll be disappointed. This tale stands completely apart from what we saw in theaters.

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Summary

She will become one of the world’s greatest heroes: WONDER WOMAN. But first she is Diana, Princess of the Amazons. And her fight is just beginning. . . .

Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law—risking exile—to save a mere mortal. Even worse, Alia Keralis is no ordinary girl and with this single brave act, Diana may have doomed the world.

Alia just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn’t know she is being hunted. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer—a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery.

Together, Diana and Alia will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. If they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war.

My Thoughts:

Rating: 4 stars

Let me just say that yes, I really enjoyed this book. It was cool to look at a different take on the girl who will become Wonder Woman. This tale takes place in the modern day but Diana is still a younger girl, a teenager. So obviously this book does not at all fit in with the timeline of the film.

There were a few chapters in the beginning spent on Themyscira, and learning about the Amazonian way of life, which I rather like learning about. It is just such an interesting culture of badass women warriors. I’d probably be okay reading a whole novel spent on the island.

Diana has all the makings of someone who will someday become an amazing superhero. From the beginning after she met Alia, all Diana wanted to do was protect her and help her. It was fun to partner the isolated young Amazon with a modern girl, because their ideologies were so different. But they also complemented each other fairly well.

It was exactly the kind of adventure you would expect for a not-quite-superhero. Diana takes on this mission, this quest, to save someone that she believes in turn will save the world and help prevent future wars.

If you are a fan of Diana/Wonder Woman, or if you are a fan of Leigh Bardugo, I recommend this book. The only reason I lowered the rating for this is because I didn’t feel as compelled to devour this adventure tale as I have in past Bardugo books, nor did it hold my interest quite as well as the Wonder Woman film. Yes, I know I shouldn’t compare the book to the film, as there have been numerous iterations of basically every superhero, but as they both came out about the same time, I found I couldn’t help myself.

Where to Buy

You can pre-order Wonder Woman: Warbringer from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore. This book hits shelves on August 29, 2017.

Review: Sovereign by April Daniels

Hey all, Dani here.

I so enjoyed the first book of this series, so I jumped at the chance for an early copy for the sequel. Thankfully the publisher and NetGalley granted my request, and I got to continue the adventures of Dany Tozer, a transgender superhero. As always, receiving this book did not influence my rating or review. I will say that I’m sorry it took me so long to get my review up. I’ve been juggling a lot of books and a lot of blog posts lately.

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Summary

Only nine months after her debut as the fourth superhero to fight under the name Dreadnought, Danny Tozer is already a scarred veteran. Protecting a city the size of New Port is a team-sized job and she’s doing it alone. Between her newfound celebrity and her demanding cape duties, Dreadnought is stretched thin, and it’s only going to get worse.

When she crosses a newly discovered supervillain, Dreadnought comes under attack from all quarters. From her troubled family life to her disintegrating friendship with Calamity, there’s no trick too dirty and no lever too cruel for this villain to use against her.

She might be hard to kill, but there’s more than one way to destroy a hero. Before the war is over, Dreadnought will be forced to confront parts of herself she never wanted to acknowledge.

And behind it all, an old enemy waits in the wings to unleash a plot that will scar the world forever.

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

Starting this book off on the way to a superhero convention made my nerdy little heart happy. I love going to conventions and it was clear that Danny was excited to go. Being that she basically is a fangirl, her getting to see all sorts of heroes and such just roaming around this hotel/convention center in Antarctica was just amusing. Then again, that pleasant mood did not last for too long.

This was a book that I was looking forward to reading, because I knew there would be some interesting issues explored in the story. Having a transgender superhero as our leading lady allows us to follow her life and see firsthand how her life has changed and how she is affected by the treatment of those around her.

It is also interesting and from my perspective is fairly unique to have a superhero who struggles with rage and violence issues. Numerous times Danny refers to how much she enjoys beating up the bad guys, and how she sometimes holds back in the fights so they’ll last longer and she can fight more. I am so used to most of the heroes being such moral upstanding characters that this is actually a refreshing angle to explore. And considering everything Danny has gone through in her life, especially the past several months, it is actually a bit understandable why she acts this way. I just hope that April Daniels continues to explore this and also have Danny find a way to work through her issues and find some resolution in the future.

Basically this book did what I wanted it to do. There was action and complication, and character development I could understand. There were a couple characters that we met at the convention that I would have liked to be in the story more, but there’s always hope for the future.

Needless to say, I am looking forward to reading the next installment.

Where to Buy

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

Review: All Rights Reserved by Gregory Scott Katsoulis

Hey all, Dani here.

Today is the last day to vote for my reads for the Make Me Read It Readathon. The poll closes at midnight so please go here and vote now.

I am so excited about today’s review. This book blew me away, and I had not even heard of it before going to BookExpo. I guess I’ll start this post with a quick little storytime. It was the first full day of BookExpo and I had just gotten out of Maggie Stiefvater’s line and made my way to the other side of the hall to get in line for Zenith by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings. I was lucky enough to get ticket #98 out of 100. Well, seated at the signing table before I reached Sasha and Lindsay was Mr. Katsoulis with his book, and I was asked if I would like a copy of his book as well. Still knowing nothing about it I said sure and was quickly given a nice signed ARC. Upon checking out the book a few minutes later, man, did the book synopsis sound so darn interesting. To the point where I read this book in June despite it having a late August release date.

So there, that’s my random little storytime for you. This book is so good and it definitely ranks as one of my top reads of 2017.

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Summary

In a world where every word and gesture is copyrighted, patented or trademarked, one girl elects to remain silent rather than pay to speak, and her defiant and unexpected silence threatens to unravel the very fabric of society.

Speth Jime is anxious to deliver her Last Day speech and celebrate her transition into adulthood. The moment she turns fifteen, Speth must pay for every word she speaks (“Sorry” is a flat ten dollars and a legal admission of guilt), for every nod ($0.99/sec), for every scream ($0.99/sec) and even every gesture of affection. She’s been raised to know the consequences of falling into debt, and can’t begin to imagine the pain of having her eyes shocked for speaking words that she’s unable to afford.

But when Speth’s friend Beecher commits suicide rather than work off his family’s crippling debt, she can’t express her shock and dismay without breaking her Last Day contract and sending her family into Collection. Backed into a corner, Speth finds a loophole: rather than read her speechrather than say anything at allshe closes her mouth and vows never to speak again. Speth’s unexpected defiance of tradition sparks a media frenzy, inspiring others to follow in her footsteps, and threatens to destroy her, her family and the entire city around them.

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

I’ll be completely honest. This world absolutely terrified me. As someone who is a reader and a writer, having that massive disconnect from words is just something I never want to try and wrap my mind around. The fact that starting at the age of 15 you are charged for every single word you say and every gesture you make, is just an absolute tragedy.

This is a world where basically everything has been copyrighted and trademarked and so you have to pay the rights holder for using their word or gesture or whatever. Also, starting at 15 everyone wears a wrist cuff that keeps track of your words and gestures and charges you accordingly.

I think what is most horrifying is that practically every single person in this world is so sue crazy. Oh, someone said something you don’t like or they did something that you don’t approve of. No problem. You can send out an instant lawsuit via your cuff. The reality is that I see so many articles online in the current day with people suing others or suing companies left and right. This is a future that could happen, and I hope I never see it come about. I would not want to live in a world where I am billed for smiling or holding hands or hugging or kissing. I would not want to exist in a world where our freedom of speech has been stripped away and replaced with paying for every word.

So for me this felt like a scary possible future, and yet I was so interested in Speth’s story and how she found this tiny loophole in the system that ended up starting something nobody expected at first. It was interesting to read a book where the main character stops having dialogue after the first chapter or two. Everyone else tries to talk to her but because of her vow to not speak and because she can’t even use gestures to communicate, it is difficult for Speth to navigate the world. She can’t get into certain buildings; she can’t hold a job. So many activities in the world require a person to accept the terms and conditions, which of course requires verbal consent.

It was fascinating to follow this story and to see how everything unfolded.

This book was outstanding and it kind of makes me sad that I did not see this pop up in more BEA/BookCon book hauls from BookTubers. This is a story I think everyone needs to read; it would definitely make an interesting addition to school curricula across the nation. Just do yourself a favor and read this book.

Where to Buy

You can pre-order your own copy of All Rights Reserved from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore. This amazing book hits shelves on August 29, 2017.

Review: They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

Hey all, Dani here.

Today I am pleased to bring you an early review for one of my most highly anticipated book releases of 2017. I love Adam Silvera’s books, and after hearing about this book I absolutely had to know just how true the title was.

So naturally as soon as I got my hands on an ARC during BookExpo, I had to read it…as in I had finished this book before BookCon wrapped. That would have been too early for a review so here we go. Yes, I wrote and then scheduled this post back in mid-June.

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Summary

New York Times bestselling author Adam Silvera reminds us that there’s no life without death and no love without loss in this devastating yet uplifting story about two people whose lives change over the course of one unforgettable day.

On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure—to live a lifetime in a single day.

In the tradition of Before I Fall and If I Stay, They Both Die at the End is a tour de force from acclaimed author Adam Silvera, whose debut, More Happy Than Not, the New York Times called “profound.”

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

Adam Silvera’s books just draw me in and I can’t put them down…or if I do put them down it does not take that long before I have to pick it up to read more. In 2016 when I received an ARC for History is All You Left Me in June, despite the book coming out in January 2017, I intended to only read a couple chapters and then put the book aside for a few months so it would be closer to the release day. Instead I had the book finished within a day.

It was basically the same with this latest novel. I wrote down all the ARCs I received at BookExpo and BookCon and pretty much decided to read them in order of publication date, just to make things simple. Yeah, right. I could not help myself. I was pulled towards They Both Die at the End, and so I just ignored the rest of my massive new TBR stack and dove in.

I was not at all disappointed by this book. It made me smile, and get cute little warm fuzzies, but there were also times where I was worried for the characters, and yes, of course there were also some points where I cried. Following Mateo and Rufus on the day they receive their call from Death-Cast was a roller coaster ride of emotions. And okay, fine, I admit it that I was already tearing up at the very beginning of the book when I read a letter from Adam about the writing of this book.

This was a beautiful tale and both boys had such unique voices. I also liked that there were interludes where we were given glimpses of rather minor characters who might have interacted briefly with the young men or just happened to be in the same vicinity at that particular time. It made for a different kind of story layout and I very much enjoyed it.

I really don’t want to say too much about this book because I don’t want to risk spoilers, but I will just say that it was a phenomenal read. There were a couple times where I thought I had figured out an intriguing possible plot twist, only to later learn that I was completely wrong.

So do both Mateo and Rufus die at the end? Now why would you expect me to answer that question. Go order a copy of this book for yourself and then you can find out how appropriate or inappropriate the title is. Seriously, I just highly recommend this book. Adam Silvera has definitely made it onto my auto-buy author list.

Where to Buy

You can pre-order a copy of They Both Die at the End from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore. This book will be released September 5th, 2017.

New Release: Between Heaven and Hell

Hey y’all! For the first time, I think, it’s Signy here!

I’m not a great reviewer, and I also don’t read nearly as much as Dani because I’m awful, but hopefully I can change that in the future (the reviewing, I mean. I’ll never read as much as her!).

So I’m here to talk about my newest release, Between Heaven and Hell. This is a sort of follow-up to my first novel, Farther Side of Away. Between Heaven and Hell is a collection of short stories that take place before and during the events of Farther Side of Away. It includes 12 short stories from as short as about 900ish words to around 7,000 words.

I am intending this to be Vol.1 and hope to release a Vol.2 in the future. Originally, Farther Side of Away was to be a trilogy. As I was writing it I decided to condense it into just one book. But since I smushed it into one book, I had so many extra stories I wanted to tell, to further explain and expand on the world I created.

And so that is where Between Heaven and Hell comes in. While the majority of Farther Side of Away is from the POVs of Adam and Eve, several of the short stories in Between Heaven and Hell follow many of their children. I tried to show as many different perspectives as I could. When I get around to Vol.2, we’ll see the perspectives of humans as well during the long war.

For those unfamiliar with Farther Side of Away, it imagines the world in a slightly different. What if Adam was a werewolf and Eve was a vampire? The book follows the events of a long fated 7-year war between the werewolves and vampires to crown a winner who would rule the world for eternity. But Adam and Eve have a secret that only God and Lucifer know.

I released Farther Side of Away in 2013 and now 4 years later, Between Heaven and Hell is finally here.

You can buy the paperback through the Mousai Books Store. You can even buy a Farther Side of Away and Between Heaven and Hell bundle if you don’t already have the first book. I really wouldn’t recommend reading Between Heaven and Hell until you’ve read Farther Side of Away, otherwise you’ll be properly spoiled and probably confused. As always, you can also buy signed copies of any of our books for just a couple of bucks more.

You can also buy the paperback through Createspace.com or Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com.

And for now, you can get it on Kindle. I’ll hopefully have it on Nook soon.

I will have a giveaway on Goodreads that starts July 28th. I’ll only be doing 2 copies, but if you’re interested, be sure to head over and check that out on the 28th.

I do hope y’all will check it out and if you do, please leave a review!

Review: No Good Deed by Kara Connolly

Hey all, Dani here.

Happy book birthday to Kara Connolly for this lovely book I’m reviewing today. I was lucky enough to receive an e-galley of this by the publisher through NetGalley, so thank you for that. I was especially lucky that I was able to squeeze this into my reading calendar just in time for the release. As always, receiving a copy of this book in no way influenced my rating or opinion.

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Summary

Fans of Dorothy Must Die will love this reimagining of the legend of Robin Hood. Girl power rules supreme when a modern girl finds herself in the middle of a medieval mess with only her smart mouth and her Olympic-archer aim to get her home.

Ellie Hudson is the front-runner on the road to gold for the U.S. Olympic archery team. All she has to do is qualify at the trials in jolly old England. When Ellie makes some kind of crazy wrong turn in the caverns under Nottingham Castle—yes, that Nottingham—she ends up in medieval England.

Ellie doesn’t care how she got to the Middle Ages; she just wants to go home before she gets the plague. But people are suffering in Nottingham, and Ellie has the skills to make it better. What’s an ace archer to do while she’s stuck in Sherwood Forest but make like Robin Hood?

Pulled into a past life as an outlaw, Ellie feels her present fading away next to daring do-gooding and a devilishly handsome knight. Only, Ellie is on the brink of rewriting history, and when she picks up her bow and arrow, her next shot could save her past—or doom civilization’s future.

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

I really enjoy the tales of Robin Hood, okay? When I first heard about this book I knew I had to read it. Come on, an archer gunning for a spot on the Olympic team ends up somehow in medieval England and basically ends up becoming the legendary character of Robin Hood? That sounds like a fantastic story. Now make it one step better by this character actually being a girl. Heck yes, I am so in.

Now the summary says this is perfect for fans of Dorothy Must Die. As I have not read that book, I can’t speak to that statement. But if you like competent, fairly intelligent, and capable characters who happen to be talented with a bow and also a bit prone to landing in one problem with medieval law after another, then you’ll probably enjoy this story.

We get to see characters like the Sheriff of Nottingham, Much, Will Scarlet, Little John, Friar Tuck, and more in this tale. And it made my soul happy.

Okay, yes, so it took me a few chapters to really get into the story, but I felt a bit of a kinship with Ellie as there are references made to lovely nerd things like Doctor Who and Indiana Jones.

Will I admit that I was annoyed with the fact that Ellie felt the need to mention multiple times throughout the book that she sets a couple arrows up next to her so she is ready to grab them and just shoot quickly? Well, yeah that was a tad aggravating, but not so much that it took me out of the story or anything.

I enjoyed the sometimes humorous interactions between Ellie and Much or Will or Little John. It just highlighted the fact that she is a modern girl in a medieval world. Also, I liked that several of these characters were quite aware that she was female but they maintained the ruse that she was a boy and they didn’t seem to look down on her or treat her any differently from anyone else around. That was really cool.

While masquerading as a boy, Ellie decides to use her brother’s name, Robert…which makes her name Robert Hudson, or as some say in that time, Robert son of Hood. There are also those who shorten Robert to Rob, therefore Rob Hood. So the nice tale of Robin Hood comes to pass with a modern girl archer as the famous character.

She takes an outlaw’s stand to help those in the area while also trying to figure out how she is going to make it back to her own time. Does that happen? And even more, does Ellie make it back in time for the qualifiers for the Olympics? Well, you’re just going to have to pick up your own copy of this book to find out. Seriously, it’s worth it.

Where to Buy

You can pick up a copy of No Good Deed from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore.

Review: Strange Practice by Vivian Shaw

Hey all, Dani here.

I’m back with another early review on a book I received at BookExpo/BookCon. Of course, I was also approved for an e-galley of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. Obviously this is where I state that receiving a copy did not influence my opinion on this book. Oh, and when I received the ARC at BookCon I had waited in line and was able to get it signed by Vivian Shaw.

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Summary

Meet Greta Helsing, fast-talking doctor to the undead. Keeping the supernatural community not-alive and well in London has been her family’s specialty for generations.

Greta Helsing inherited the family’s highly specialized, and highly peculiar, medical practice. In her consulting rooms, Dr. Helsing treats the undead for a host of ills – vocal strain in banshees, arthritis in barrow-wights, and entropy in mummies. Although barely making ends meet, this is just the quiet, supernatural-adjacent life Greta’s been groomed for since childhood.

Until a sect of murderous monks emerges, killing human and undead Londoners alike. As terror takes hold of the city, Greta must use her unusual skills to stop the cult if she hopes to save her practice, and her life.

My Thoughts

Rating: 4.5 stars

I’ll just start off with why this book was not a 5 star rating for me. It took about 15-20 pages for me to get used to the writing style, and I didn’t really start getting invested in the story until around page 30. After that, I was eagerly following all of the characters in trying to figure out this murderous cult and stopping them.

The reason why it took a little bit to adjust to the story is that the phrasing and description feel more like something I would read in a classic piece of literature or a historical type novel, but it is actually set in modern day. Fairly early on we see Greta driving her Mini, and there’s also use of fancy coffee machines and cell phones, oh and mass spectrometers. So it’s a modern tale that feels a bit old fashioned. Considering the number of mummies, vampires, demon-ish creatures, etc., that actually felt appropriate to me…after I got used to it anyway.

I didn’t mind Greta as the protagonist, but the standout characters had to be the friends and patients she has. Ruthven and Fastitocalon and Dez and Cranswell…they were just so interesting. Some of them were members of the supernatural community and some of them were humans who were aware of the existence of such creatures. Either way, I enjoyed learning about them and would actually be glad to read more tales following them.

I also loved that there’s nice connection to literary mentions of vampires and such in this book. Also, with the setting of the story being in London, and the book starting after a series of murders in the Whitechapel area, that there are references to Jack the Ripper and such, though these current murders also involve cheap rosaries and therefore people are referring to the culprit as the Rosary Ripper. I like that those details help to ground this series firmly as an urban fantasy.

So I am glad I was granted the opportunity to read this book early, and I look forward to reading Dr. Greta Helsing’s next adventure.

Where to Buy

You can pre-order Strange Practice from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore. This book will be released on July 25, 2017.

Review: Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody

Hey all, Dani here.

Today I’m here to talk about a book I picked up at BookExpo this year. I was lucky enough to meet author Amanda Foody and get my ARC signed, and I’ll just say right now that she was so nice. I really loved how she wanted to collect the business cards of us book bloggers and vloggers and such. It’s nice to see a debut author actively engaging with the book community. So that made me really excited to read her book. Still, I should also say that receiving a signed ARC did not influence my rating or review.

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Summary

A darkly irresistible new fantasy set in the infamous Gomorrah Festival, a traveling carnival of debauchery that caters to the strangest of dreams and desires.

Sixteen-year-old Sorina has spent most of her life within the smoldering borders of the Gomorrah Festival. Yet even among the many unusual members of the traveling circus-city, Sorina stands apart as the only illusion-worker born in hundreds of years. This rare talent allows her to create illusions that others can see, feel and touch, with personalities all their own. Her creations are her family, and together they make up the cast of the Festival’s Freak Show.

But no matter how lifelike they may seem, her illusions are still just that—illusions, and not truly real. Or so she always believed…until one of them is murdered.

Desperate to protect her family, Sorina must track down the culprit and determine how they killed a person who doesn’t actually exist. Her search for answers leads her to the self-proclaimed gossip-worker Luca, and their investigation sends them through a haze of political turmoil and forbidden romance, and into the most sinister corners of the Festival. But as the killer continues murdering Sorina’s illusions one by one, she must unravel the horrifying truth before all of her loved ones disappear.

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

You guys…I need the finished copy of this book right now. There are pages in the ARC where it mentions that there are illustrations to come, and those illustrations have notes on them from Sorina, but also notes from the killer…and I just really want to see what the final version looks like.

So basically, this book was absolutely fascinating. I enjoy reading circus books. I was hooked on Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, and I adored The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I still need to read Stephanie Garber’s Caraval but I’ll get to it hopefully sometime this year.

The descriptions of the sights and smells and sounds just always get me. Then there’s the foods and the various circus acts. It’s all just so magical. Learning about Gomorrah and Sorina and the family she made for herself was just such an interesting experience for me. I can definitely put this on my list of favorite atmospheric reads, much like I do with The Night Circus.

Also, can I say that I was totally invested in this story from the beginning? Seriously, I was as upset as Sorina and her illusions when the first illusion murder happened…and that was like in chapter two. I love when a story grabs hold of my emotions that early in. It makes me want to read more and to read faster, so that was excellent. I wanted, no, I needed to know who was targeting Sorina’s illusions, and why.

Normally I’m not the biggest fan of mystery/thriller type stories, at least not in written form. I’ll watch plenty of police procedural shows, though. So I’m glad that I’m finding stories that make me change my mind on that. Basically, I’m saying that this is definitely a book I would recommend, and I am definitely looking forward to reading Amanda Foody’s next book.

Now, I will say that my ARC had some printing flaws in it where it seemed as if the printer was running low on ink. I had numerous pages where two or three words were missing from each line all the way down the page. Thankfully I was mostly able to work out what words filled in those blank spots. This is something that was a bit annoying for my reading process, but it did not affect my rating.

Where to Buy

You can pre-order a copy of Daughter of the Burning City from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore. This book will be released on July 25, 2017.