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.

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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.

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.

Review: The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty

Hey all, Dani here.

I am so mad at myself for not reading this book back in June after I picked it up at BookExpo. Is that statement a good indicator of how I felt about this book? I hope it is, because this book was outstanding! I know I haven’t even really gotten into the review portion yet, but if you want to just jump down to the purchase links and get your copy of this right now, I won’t even mind. This book is so worth the read.

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Summary

Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles.

But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to accept that the magical world she thought only existed in childhood stories is real. For the warrior tells her a new tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire, and rivers where the mythical marid sleep; past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises, and mountains where the circling hawks are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass–a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound.

In that city, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, she learns that true power is fierce and brutal. That magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics. That even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences.

After all, there is a reason they say be careful what you wish for…

My Thoughts

Rating: ALL THE STARS! *ahem* 5 stars

This book is over 500 pages of awesome. I loved the descriptions, the setting, the magic, the politics, the mythology, the history, the culture…just the whole package all wrapped together is fantastic. It makes me so happy that this is the first book of a trilogy.

So, inside my ARC copy from BookExpo, it says that this book is as “thrilling, bewitching, and original as The Night Circus, The Wrath and the Dawn, An Ember in the Ashes, Uprooted, and The Queen of the Tearling.” Of those I have read all but the Tearling trilogy, and I agree with the assessment. I was swept away into this world, much in the way that I was with The Night Circus and The Wrath and the Dawn. I wanted to just keep reading and stay in the vivid and lush world that Chakraborty created with her expertly crafted phrases.

Basically, if it wasn’t for the fact that I had just finished a 12 hour shift and desperately needed sleep, I probably would have stayed up all night reading this. But I did the rational adult option and went to sleep and then read more of the book over the next couple days. What was nice about that was that I felt like I was really absorbing and understanding what was happening, instead of just blankly reading the words, which is what most likely would have happened if I was reading while really tired.

All in all, I loved this book. I definitely recommend it. And…can I have the sequel already?!?

Where to Buy

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

Most Anticipated Releases Winter 2017

Hey all, Dani here.

I can’t believe that I’m already posting my most anticipated releases for the winter months. Pretty soon we’ll all be writing 2018 for the date. Anyway, I have quite a few books to talk about today, all of them releasing in December, January, or February.

First up: December

Obviously I am excited for a couple graphic novel releases because they are series I try and keep up with. Then there’s the newest Kasie West contemporary release. I’ve only read two Kasie West books, both of them this year, and I enjoyed them, so I’m curious to see what other cutesy romances she’ll come up with. Finally, there’s a sequel to a Russian folklore story I read at the beginning of the year, and I’m so excited to read about what happens next. The first one was a surprise favorite of mine.

Lumberjanes, Vol 7 (Dec 12), Love, Life, and the List (Dec 26), Ms Marvel, Vol 8 (Dec 26), and The Girl in the Tower (Dec 5). Now, I will say that for The Girl in the Tower I was granted access to an e-galley through NetGalley and then I was sent an ARC from the publisher, so expect a review very soon.

Next up is January, and oh boy, I have a lot of anticipated releases. I guess it’s a good thing that I mostly get B&N gift cards for Christmas. I have a few sequels to books I enjoyed, the newest installment in one of my favorite graphic novels, a handful of awesome sounding fantasy reads, and a couple contemporary stories. The way this anticipated list is looking, I don’t think I need to worry about coming up with a TBR list. I’ll have plenty to read over the month.

Everless (Jan 2), Sightwitch (Jan 23), The Wicked + The Divine, Vol 6 (Jan 16), The Hazel Wood (Jan 30), Thunderhead (Jan 9), The Cruel Prince (Jan 2), Love, Hate and Other Filters (Jan 16), Don’t Cosplay with my Heart (Jan 2), Reign the Earth (Jan 30), Zenith (Jan 16), Gunslinger Girl (Jan 2), and The Forgotten Book (Jan 2). Currently I was approved through NetGalley for Reign the Earth and The Forgotten Book, and I have ARCs from BookExpo for Zenith and Gunslinger Girl, so expect reviews for those coming in December and early January. I’m still really hoping to be approved by NetGalley for Love, Hate and Other Filters so we’ll see what happens.

Whew, and finally there’s February. There’s yet another graphic novel release, as well as the conclusion to the Falling Kingdoms series. Then, considering my Hamilton obsession, I had to add the book about his friendship with Peggy Schuyler. Of course, who could say no to an awesome lady gladiator book. Oh, and considering how much I loved Ashley Poston’s Geekerella, her newest release is definitely an auto-buy for me. Finally Rachel Caine has teamed up with Ann Aguirre for a science-fiction story that I’m really looking forward to.

Lumberjanes, Vol 8 (Feb 20), Honor Among Thieves (Feb 13), The Defiant (Feb 13), Heart of Iron (Feb 27), Hamilton and Peggy! (Feb 13), and Immortal Reign (Feb 6).

All right, I think that does it for my post today. What upcoming releases are you looking forward to? Let me know in the comments.

Holiday Shopping for Your Bookish Friends

Hey all, Dani here.

So, the holiday season is upon us. Seriously, yesterday I went to Starbucks and had a peppermint mocha. Of course the holidays also mean it is time to do your Christmas shopping. Now if your life is anything like mine then people worry about trying to buy books for you. What if they buy something you already own? What if it’s something you aren’t interesting in reading? For me this means that my mom (and other people) just get me Barnes & Noble gift cards.

Don’t get me wrong. I am completely fine with getting gift cards. It means I can get what I want. Typically what I do is keep track of which books I buy with each gift card and then I’ll take a picture of them and tag the person on Facebook so they can see what their money got me.

But, if you don’t want to get a gift card, how do you choose gifts? Obviously you can always ask the person what they want. Doing that means that they’ll know exactly what you are getting them though.

What I know from my many years as a book lover is that book accessories are extremely helpful and always useful. And with all the creative shops and such open now, there are all kinds of other book related merchandise available. So I’m going to give you just a few options for some great gifts for the book lover in your life.

First up: Bookmarks! You absolutely cannot go wrong with a selection of bookmarks for the reader in your life. Some of us choose a bookmark to match what we’re reading. Some of us just misplace bookmarks constantly. Having a large stock of these is always great. And they come in a lot of varieties as well. There are standard paper/cardstock ones, wooden ones, magnetic ones, and even metal ones.

A quick search on Etsy reveals sooo many bookmark options, so I recommend starting there. Of course one of my favorite places to get bookmarks is Colorworld Books. Their bookmarks are made of metal and they feature comic, video game, and anime characters, so they are perfect for the geek in your life.

My next bookish gift recommendation is: Candles! Yes, that’s right. There are so many people doing book themed candles and it is wonderful. The scents are based on characters or locations or food/drink in books, and they smell wonderful. Again, searching Etsy for bookish candles is a good place to start. I recommend trying In the Wick of Time, Bookish Flame, Meraki Candles, Frostbeard Studios, Novelly Yours, and Geeky Candles Co.

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Of course, another bookish gift option is: shirts/apparel. For this one I really only have one store to recommend, but I’m sure an internet search will turn up other options. (I’m sure there are plenty of Etsy shops with this kind of merchandise). Anyway, I have to mention Litographs here. They take the text from books and use it to create fun art designs on shirts, scarves, tote bags, and even posters. It’s really cool.

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Going along the same lines as my previous recommendation, you can also get the bookworm in your life pillows or tote bags or a variety of other book inspired accessories. A store I definitely recommend is Evie Seo‘s. She has pillows and tote bags and clothing and stationary and phone cases and more, all with beautiful designs based around quotes from a variety of different popular books.

My fifth bookish accessory item that I would recommend as a gift is: a book light. Chances are the reader in your life likes to read at night or while traveling, and it isn’t always wise or possible for them to have a room light on. There are so many varieties of book lights out there, so finding the right one may take some in-store or online browsing, but trust me when I say that they are helpful. And if you do choose a book light as a gift, might I also recommend including some spare batteries.

The next item on my holiday shopping recommendations list is: bookish mugs. Seriously, I love having an assortment of mugs for drinking hot beverages, and having mugs that are geeky or that showcase books I love is just wonderful. Again, there are a lot of options out there, so be prepared to wade into places like Etsy, but it is so worth it.

To go along with those mugs, I should also recommend bookish beverages. Yes, people have created tea or coffee blends, or hot cocoa flavors, inspired by book characters or settings or food/drink. And the book lover in your life will appreciate having an assortment of hot beverages when they are curling up with a book in the winter months.

Finally, if all of those options sound great but you can’t decide which one to choose, might I recommend a mix of most/all of the above? Subscription boxes make great gifts and have a variety of items in them. Some boxes just have books, while others have an assortment of bookish accessories. Some subscription boxes are specialty one-time boxes, while others are a month-to-month subscription, or even a quarterly release. Many have options for a one month, three month, or even six month subscription, so you could really spoil the reader in your life. Some of my personal favorite boxes are: OwlCrate, Lit-Cube, FairyLoot, Quarterly, LitJoy Crate, and SpearCraft Book Box. But there are many options so I suggest looking for book boxes on CrateJoy.

Well, that wraps up my post for today. Are there any other book related items you would recommend for holiday gifts? Let me know about them in the comments. Also, feel free to share this with fellow readers, as well as your friends and family. Who knows, it might help them find the perfect presents for you and/or other readers in their lives.

Reviews: Weirdo Academy by Charles Curtis

Hey all, Dani here.

Today I am happy to share reviews for two middle grade books that feature kids with powers and who want to play sports. It should be mentioned that I was approached by a publicist for Georgia McBride Media Group, which is the home of Month9Books, Swoon Reads, Tantrum Books, and Tantrum Jr, about reviewing both of these books, and I received e-galleys of both. This did not affect my rating or opinion in any way. But thank you to Month9Books and Tantrum Books for allowing me to read The Accidental Quarterback and The Impossible Pitcher.

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Summary

Alexander Graham Ptuiac, the son of an inventor, dreams of playing football. But his dreams are thwarted by his lack of athleticism and overall lanky build. Like any kid with a dream, Alex tries out anyway, just in case. If nothing else, maybe he can win the role of water boy. So when Alex suddenly manifests superhuman powers during football tryouts, Alex can’t believe his good luck. He’s got game! But his new abilities can get him kicked off the team; unless Alex can keep it a secret long enough to find out how the heck he got this way. Enter Dex, a diminutive classmate who can somehow jump as high as ten feet in the air. Now, Alex isn’t the only one at school with a secret. Except, the boys have caught the attention of some pretty nefarious adults, intent on making sure neither Alex nor Dex make it through the season.The only thing stranger than Alexander Graham Ptuiac, accidental quarterback, is the shocking truth about himself and his parents. When truth is stranger than fiction and adults are out to get you, there’s only one thing to do. Play ball!

My Thoughts

Rating: 3 stars

This was a pretty fast read, and it was pretty interesting. I say this as someone who is not massively into sports. The idea of kids with abilities was a definite draw for me to read this. I liked Alex and Dex, and I enjoyed their outsiders to sports heroes story.

However, I do have to say that some of it felt a bit unbelievable. Now, I’m not talking about Alex or Dex’s super-powered skills. That was fine. But they were 7th graders and somehow playing football with 9th graders. I don’t know exactly how this school is set up, but where I live it is either 6th-8th grade at the middle school/junior high, or just 7th and 8th grade at the middle school/junior high, and that school has a 7th grade football team and an 8th grade team. Then 9th-12th grades are part of the high school, and there is typically a 9th grade team, then junior varsity team, and varsity team.

I get that it is a private school so some of the grades and sporting rules might be different, but it bothered me to the point where I was staring at my screen trying to process what had just happened.

Now, I should also say that the sports terminology, the player positions, the plays, etc. were all spot on, which shouldn’t be a surprise as the author is a sportswriter for ESPN. Again, I’m not an expert at sports, but my years of marching band and of watching my brother play in various sports has left me at least vaguely knowledgeable. This book read like someone who knows sports, so that’s great.

There were also a few minor spelling issues, but I don’t mark down for that unless there are too many or they make the story unreadable.

I will say that I read this whole book in just a couple hours, and overall I did enjoy it. Having kids who deal with being different and being bullied but still wanting to play sports is just nice.

Oh, and I also liked that there were discussion questions at the end. That would definitely help if teachers wanted to have students read and then discuss the book.

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Summary

Alex and Dex are local heroes. Suddenly, everyone wants to be friends with Alex, Dex and Sophi.

But someone more powerful than any of them lurks in the background, keeping a close watch until it’s time to swoop in and capture them. Still, Alex tries to maintain some semblance of normalcy — in the offseason, he wants to play baseball. As Alex becomes a formidable pitcher, his powers grow and so does his obsession with controlling them.

With Alex finding less and less time for Dex and Sophi, Dex discovers his cat-like abilities start to disappear soon after he starts spending time with a girl.

As the friends struggle to maintain their friendships, that mysterious someone gets closer and closer. Can the three friends find their way back to one another before it’s too late? Or will middle school tear them apart for good?

My Thoughts

Rating: 4 stars

Okay, so what I was able to piece together from both of these books is that for the purposes of this story, middle school is 7th-9th grades. That still feels odd to me, but fine, I’ve accepted stranger things as being true while reading.

This second book was better because Dex and Alex and Sophi had better grasps on their abilities. Plus we as readers are beginning to understand things more. The mysterious people who are looking for the super powered youth play more of a role. Also, things get more complicated: Alex is still learning what it takes to activate his powers, and Dex is trying to figure out why his seem to be disappearing when he is around Huma. Sophi forms a friendship with Kenny, who was on the rival football team, and it causes some jealousy issues for Alex.

Oh, and there’s a lot more sports going on in this one. It starts a few weeks after the end of the first book, and so many coaches are trying to get Alex to join their teams. He considers tennis for a brief moment, but then decides on his second sports love: baseball. And because of Huma’s status as the best basketball player on both the guys and girls teams, there’s also a lot of basketball in the book.

Again, I enjoyed reading this. I can see how these books will appeal to younger readers, whether they enjoy sports or are more interested in the super powers as a result of genetic manipulation.

Where to Buy

Both of these books are out in stores today, so feel free to pick up one for yourself.

The Accidental Quarterback: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository

The Impossible Pitcher: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository

October Wrap Up and November TBR

Hey all, Dani here.

Another month has come and gone. Wow. My October TBR had 8 books on it and I only managed to read 4 of those books, though I did read a number of other books, so I suppose that’s good. Oh, and I finally got all my books moved into my apartment. I’ll need a little more time to get everything organized the proper way, but my book tour post is coming soon. I already did that mini photo update a couple days ago, so nothing more until the book tour.

Anyway, let’s just jump into the wrap-up portion of this post. As always, if I’ve reviewed the book, I will leave the link in case you happened to miss it.

The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo (5 stars)

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson (4 stars)

A Plague of Giants by Kevin Hearne (4 stars)

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Illustrated Edition by J.K. Rowling and Jim Kay (5 stars)

The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur (5 stars)

Monstress, Vol 1 by Marjorie Liu (4 stars)

How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather (4.5 stars)

Vox Machina: Origins #2 by Matt Colville (5 stars)

The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love by Sarvenaz Tash (4 stars)

Justice Calling by Annie Bellet (4 stars)

Rat Queens Issue #16 by Kurtis J Wiebe and Tess Fowler (5 stars)

Rat Queens, Vol 4 by Kurtis J Wiebe and Owen Gieni (4 stars)

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (5 stars)

The Magician’s Keeper by Nicola E. Sheridan (5 stars)

Whew, that’s it for the wrap up. I think I did pretty good for the month, with a total of 14 books read. Let’s move on to the book haul, including my October OwlCrate unboxing.

Finally, my November TBR. I’m actually going to keep my TBR pretty short because of NaNoWriMo, but I like to have a few books I can read anyway.

That’s all I plan to read for the month, but if writing goes well then I may be able to read a few other books. I’m up to 109 books read for the year, which is pretty great, so I increased my Goodreads reading challenge goal from 100 to 120.

Review: The Magician’s Keeper by Nicola E. Sheridan

Hey all, Dani here.

I have been waiting for this book for sooo long, and I finally got to read it. Basically I have been a fan of Nicola E Sheridan’s for many years now. I first learned about her from my author friend Donaya Haymond, and decided to give her books a try. I have read them all and loved them all. In fact, I should really reread them and write up reviews for this blog.

I suppose I should also say thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for granting me early access to this book. I can’t wait to buy a copy on release day.

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Summary

A brand new steamy paranormal romance about learning to love all of yourself.

In a world where people judge one another by exacting standards of size and style, being a big girl like Eudora Splat was never going to be easy.

Though trouble is brewing between magic folk and human purists who would see them all destroyed, Dora, a half-giant, tries to eke out a quiet, unnoticed life for herself, but it’s hard to be subtle when you’re over seven feet tall.

Losing her job as a gardener due to human complaints, Dora is recruited as a prison guard, where she’s enlisted to protect the magician Evander “Bear” Gordon from human purist attack. Bear encourages her to embrace her power and celebrate her heritage, introducing her to a world where she can be extraordinary and not just weird.

But after years of hiding and shying away, can Dora find the strength to grab onto a new life — and hold on to the man she’s falling in love with?

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

What I love about Sheridan’s books is that they all take place in the same world, which is a version of our world where creatures like satyrs and magicians and genies and giants live. There are organizations that pledge to help magical beings, but then there are government agencies who set up registries and restrictions and more for them.

The first few chapters of following Dora around made me uncomfortable…and I don’t mean that as a bad thing. The way people look at her and treat her is supposed to feel off-putting. They talk about her size and the way she smells; there’s nothing she can do about it because she was born a half-giant, and inherited those traits from her mother.

Then there’s Bear, and he seems to be having a pretty rough time in prison. He’s pretty much kept in isolation and is nearly cut off from his magic, and any time he is able to/does use magic, he is severely punished for doing so.

So basically these two characters are dealing with similar issues of treatment, and obviously they are going to be about perfect for each other.

Being that this is a paranormal romance, you pretty much know the overarching story of Dora and Bear meeting and then falling in love. But as per usual with Sheridan’s books, there is so much more to it. I find the world, the setting, the magic to all be so interesting, and I hope there will still be more books in the future. Okay, that being said, I will say that you don’t need to read any of her other books to understand what is going on in this one. The only books somewhat dependent on each other are her genie books. But, I will say that all of them are worth the read and it will just heighten your overall reading experience as you understand more and more of the logistics of the world built by Sheridan.

Where to Buy

You can preorder The Magician’s Keeper on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-a-million. This book will be released on November 4, 2017.

Review: A Plague of Giants by Kevin Hearne

Hey all, Dani here.

And today is a wonderful Happy Book Birthday to author Kevin Hearne for his first epic fantasy novel. I’ve talked about Hearne before, mostly gushing about his Iron Druid Chronicles books. I would like to reread the first three books and then continue on with the series, so I’ll probably have reviews for the whole series up in the future. But today I am not here to talk about his wonderful urban fantasy series. Instead I am here to talk about a book I have been anticipating since the moment I first discovered it thanks to following Hearne’s social media accounts.

It’s time to dive into my review for A Plague of Giants.

Oh, and I should also thank the publisher and NetGalley for giving me the chance to read this book early. Being granted an e-galley did not influence my rating or opinion in any way. After all, I planned to buy this book long before I requested it from NetGalley.

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Summary

From the author of The Iron Druid Chronicles, a thrilling novel that kicks off a fantasy series with an entirely new mythology—complete with shape-shifting bards, fire-wielding giants, and children who can speak to astonishing beasts

MOTHER AND WARRIOR
Tallynd is a soldier who has already survived her toughest battle: losing her husband. But now she finds herself on the front lines of an invasion of giants, intent on wiping out the entire kingdom, including Tallynd’s two sons—all that she has left. The stakes have never been higher. If Tallynd fails, her boys may never become men.

SCHOLAR AND SPY
Dervan is an historian who longs for a simple, quiet life. But he’s drawn into intrigue when he’s hired to record the tales of a mysterious bard who may be a spy or even an assassin for a rival kingdom. As the bard shares his fantastical stories, Dervan makes a shocking discovery: He may have a connection to the tales, one that will bring his own secrets to light.

REBEL AND HERO
Abhi’s family have always been hunters, but Abhi wants to choose a different life for himself. Embarking on a journey of self-discovery, Abhi soon learns that his destiny is far greater than he imagined: a powerful new magic thrust upon him may hold the key to defeating the giants once and for all—if it doesn’t destroy him first.

Set in a magical world of terror and wonder, this novel is a deeply felt epic of courage and war, in which the fates of these characters intertwine—and where ordinary people become heroes, and their lives become legend.

My Thoughts

Rating: 4 stars

This was a complex story with so many perspectives to follow. Coming from someone who adores reading big epic fantasy books with complicated stories, it may be saying something that I had times where I struggled with this one.

I really enjoyed Fintan the bard, and his kenning–or magical ability–to project his voice over long distances and tell stories. That plus seeming stones that allowed him to look like the person whose story he was telling was really interesting. The problem is that the POV of Dervan is also in first person. So you jump from Dervan who is watching the bard, to the bard’s tales, which are also in first person. Sometimes it makes it difficult to remember which of the 11 characters you’re following in that moment.

Primarily this book is about the orations that Fintan the bard is giving. In fact, the story spans over 19 days as Fintan goes out to tell these stories, typically telling three smaller bits of the overall story each day, and rotating through the various people whose tales he has collected.

The world-building is great, and I loved the wide diversity of the world in general. Add into that the magic of the kennings and things get even more interesting. The people of the world commonly accept five different kennings, but through these tales it is suggested that there may be a sixth and perhaps even a seventh kenning.

Learning about these different people from all different lands in the world was an adventure, and while sometimes I felt like it was taking me a while to get through the book, I did overall like what I was reading.

This does not have the same feel as the Iron Druid Chronicles, which definitely have an easier urban fantasy flow to them. Instead, the first book in the Seven Kennings trilogy sets up a vast magical world with plenty of political complications and other issues. I may have to read this book again to fully grasp some of the developments and such, but I look forward to seeing what happens in the next book.

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. I ordered my copy from Barnes & Noble and it is a signed copy.