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.

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The End of the Year Book Tag

Hey all, Dani here.

I have a whole section in my blogging notebook with book tags I have either been tagged in or that I just decided I wanted to do, but just haven’t had the time to get them all answered and posted. I suppose that’s why today’s tag is one that I actually saw a whole month ago on Sofii’s blog (A Book. A Thought.) and am just now getting around to posting it myself.

I’m going to try and be a bit better with getting these tags completed in a more timely manner. Especially with NaNoWriMo coming up, I want to try and get as many of my November posts prepped ahead of time so I can just focus on novel writing.

Anyway, this is a fairly short tag, but let’s go ahead and jump in.

Are there any books you started this year that you need to finish?

So many! My currently reading list on Goodreads has like 20 or so books on it, which is just ridiculous. But for a few answers to this, I really need to finish Windwitch by Susan Dennard, because I love the Witchlands and really enjoy the story, King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard, which I’m honestly losing interest in but I’ve come this far in the series so I at least want to finish this book, and A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab, because I have this habit of not finishing series as I don’t want them to end, but it was announced that there would be more books in this world, so I think I can finish this now since there is more to come.

Do you have an autumnal book to transition into the end of the year?

Usually around this time of year I like to settle in with more epic fantasy reads. As the cooler weather tends to keep me inside more, having lengthy books to enjoy is always great. But, to answer this question, I have heard that The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding by Alexandra Bracken is a sort of spooky Halloween-y type read.

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Is there a new release you’re still waiting for?

Well there’s The Empress by S.J. Kincaid (Oct 31), Terminal Alliance by Jim C. Hines (Nov 7), and Immortal Reign by Morgan Rhodes (Dec 12).

What are three books you want to read before the end of the year?

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor, and Bonfire by Krysten Ritter. Plus so many others, but this question asked for just three.

Is there a book you think could still shock you and become your favorite book of the year?

Well, I had never heard of All Rights Reserved by Gregory Scott Katsoulis a few months ago and now it ranks up there as one of my favorite books, so of course there could be a book in the last couple months of 2017 that rockets to the top of my favorites of the year list.

Have you already started making reading plans for 2018?

Vague plans for now. I always start my Goodreads reading challenge at 75 books, even when I’ve had to increase it one or two times every year. I’m starting to make a 2018 book releases list, so some of my reading plans will be based on new books. And I’ll likely participate in the April and October sessions of Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon, plus who know what other readathons/reading challenges throughout the year.

Well, that’s about all for today. If you have not yet done this tag and you would like to, then consider yourself TAGGED!

Review: The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

Hey all, Dani here.

Okay fans of the Grishaverse…did you hear the latest news? I mean the news that Leigh’s next Grishaverse books will focus on one of my absolute favorite characters, Nikolai? Yeah, I’m super excited about that. What I’m not excited about…having to wait until 2019 to get my hands on the first book.

I guess at least for now I will talk about this lovely collection of fairy tales from the world, and then reread the Six of Crows duology because I need to find a way to stay occupied until I get more Nikolai in my life.

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Summary

Love speaks in flowers. Truth requires thorns.

Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid’s voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy’s bidding but only for a terrible price.

Inspired by myth, fairy tale, and folklore, #1 New York Times–bestselling author Leigh Bardugo has crafted a deliciously atmospheric collection of short stories filled with betrayals, revenge, sacrifice, and love.

Perfect for new readers and dedicated fans, these tales will transport you to lands both familiar and strange—to a fully realized world of dangerous magic that millions have visited through the novels of the Grishaverse.

This collection of six stories includes three brand-new tales, all of them lavishly illustrated with art that changes with each turn of the page, culminating in six stunning full-spread illustrations as rich in detail as the stories themselves.

My Thoughts

Rating: Can I give this anything but a 5 star rating? The answer is no. 5 stars!

Okay, so this book of fairy tales from the Grishaverse contains a story from the Zemeni, three Ravkan stories, a Kerch story, and a Fjerdan story. The three tales from Ravka were the ones included in the sampler I read a couple months ago.

The artwork around the edges of the pages and then the full page art at the end of each story was just lovely to stare at. They also captured the essence of the story they accompanied as well.

Some of the stories were familiar, basically the author’s take on tales such as Hansel & Gretel.

I was mesmerized by the tales for the brief time they gave me to escape reality. Returning to this complex world that Bardugo has created was a wonderful experience, and I can just imagine some of the Dregs or any other characters growing up listening to tales such as these.

Honestly, the couple hundred pages of this collection flew by so quickly, and I would love to have future installments with more fairy tales, because they just build on a world that we have gotten to know.

And yes, these can be read even if you have not read the Grisha trilogy or the Six of Crows duology. However, I feel as if you’ll appreciate them more if you have a basic understanding of the world in which these stories take place.

I’d definitely recommend this book. I’m glad I have a lovely finished product in my hands now, and I’m rather happy that I picked my copy up from Barnes & Noble because I can add it to my signed books collection.

Where to Buy

You can pick up this wonderful addition to the Grishaverse from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore. Oh, and in case anyone would like to know, the Barnes & Noble book is a signed copy.

Review: Life is Like a Musical: How to Live, Love, and Lead Like a Star by Tim Federle

Hey all, Dani here.

Today I am pleased to present a slightly early review. This book is not one I had even heard of until I saw it while walking the show floor at BookExpo, and all I had to do was see the title and the author’s name to know that I had to get myself a copy.

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Summary

From the author of the hit cocktail books Tequila Mockingbird and Gone with the Gin comes a guide to getting ahead in life, love, and leadership-Broadway style! Before Tim Federle became a beloved author (his award-winning novels include Better Nate Than Ever, which Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda declared as “highly recommended” in the New York Times), Tim worked in the showbiz trenches as a Christina Aguilera back-up dancer, Radio City Polar bear, and card-carrying chorus boy on Broadway. Along the way, he discovered that the hard-earned lessons he was learning onstage could be applied to his life, too. Life is Like a Musical features 50 tips and anecdotes, with chapters such as “Let Someone Else Take a Bow,” “Dance Like Everyone\\’s Watching,” and “Save the Drama for the Stage.” This charming and clever guide will appeal to all ages and inspire readers to remember that they\\’re the stars of their own life story.

My Thoughts

Rating: 4 stars

This was a lovely little sort-of self-help book. The only other book I’ve read from Tim Federle is Tequila Mockingbird, which is primarily a recipe book for literary cocktails (Recently I learned that he has another literary cocktail book called Gone with the Gin). Basically that was all I needed to know before I got in line for this book at BookExpo. And I have a signed copy, which is awesome.

Most of this book is advice I would expect. I was not a theater kid, but I spent a very large portion of my life in band, and I had/have several friends who are theater people, so I’m familiar with a number of shows and show tunes, etc.

What I didn’t expect, but enjoyed nevertheless, is that this book is really part guide book and part memoir. Federle fills the pages with little anecdotes from his life, from some of the theater productions of his youth, to his time on Broadway, and even after he left that career to start being a writer. These were the parts that inspired me, made me smile, or made me nod my head in agreement. It shows that the advice he gives is stuff he has learned from his life and career.

Each chapter is nice and short as well, only two or three pages, so this is perfect if you want something in small doses. Also, I feel like you can jump around this book as needed. I read it straight through though, and it was a quick read (only 146 pages long).

It is also pretty clear from the title and the summary that there are numerous references to theater productions, from “Oliver!” to “Gypsy” to “Cats” and even “Hamilton.” So theater geeks are going to enjoy this book–Oh, and Federle likes to name drop several actors and actresses and producers he has worked with over his career, but he does not do this in any sort of obnoxious way.

There is a lightness and a sort of humor to how everything in the book is presented. It doesn’t really get too in depth on the topics, which can sometimes make for an enjoyable read.

I liked this book, and I think the advice can be helpful, whether you are on an artistic career path or not.

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. This book will be on shelves tomorrow, October 3rd.

Comic Mini Reviews: Vox Machina Origins and Bitch Planet

Hey all, Dani here.

So, I don’t do a lot of mini reviews on here, but I’m making a bit of an exception today. Though I could probably rave and ramble on about both of these intriguing stories, if I did so who knows when I would be able to squeeze them onto this blog. I’m supposed to only be posting 5 days each week, giving myself basically weekends off, but I’ve had a lot of things I’ve wanted to talk about lately, so bonus posts are happening. Anyway, let’s just jump into these reviews.

Summary (Vox Machina Origins)

Roguish twins Vax’ildan and Vex’ahlia investigate a curse afflicting the impoverished citizens of the port city of Stilben. Things are not what they seem for the adventurous siblings…between fighting shark-riding fish men and black-clad assassins, they meet an antlered half-elven druid with her own theory about the curse.

Summary (Bitch Planet)

Eisner Award-nominated writer Kelly Sue DeConnick (Pretty Deadly, Captain Marvel) and Valentine De Landro (X-Factor) team up to bring you the premiere volume of Bitch Planet, a deliciously vicious riff on women-in-prison sci-fi exploitation.

In a future just a few years down the road in the wrong direction, a woman’s failure to comply with her patriarchal overlords will result in exile to the meanest penal planet in the galaxy. When the newest crop of fresh femmes arrive, can they work together to stay alive or will hidden agendas, crooked guards, and the deadliest sport on (or off!) Earth take them to their maker?

Collects BITCH PLANET #1-5.

My Thoughts

Rating: Vox Machina Origins (5 stars) Bitch Planet, Vol 1 (4 stars)

Here’s a fun fact…there is actually a connection between both of these comics, and it happens to be actress Ashley Johnson. She plays gnome cleric Pike Trickfoot in the web series Critical Role, which I have gushed about on this blog a couple times already, and then when she did an episode of Signal Boost on Geek & Sundry, Ashley recommended Bitch Planet as something to read.

As a huge fan of Critical Role because of the epic storyline (seriously I have watched all 113 episodes of the show and they are typically 3-5 hours long each–so basically I’ve invested a lot of time for this), the announcement of a prequel comic greatly excited me. This was a fantastic story detailing part of an early adventure before Vox Machina truly formed. This particular issue focuses on Vex and Vax, though there is a decent amount of Keyleth in it as well. Go Team Half-Elf. The artwork was great, and it was actually done by a Critter (what we fans of the show call ourselves), so that’s even cooler. Matt Colville manages to capture the personalities and attitudes of the characters so well, and this 27 page comic issue was over too quickly. There will be 6 issues in this original run, with one issue being released each month, so I am eagerly awaiting the next installment.

Moving on to Bitch Planet. First off, please note that this graphic novel is tagged as for mature (age 16+ readers). There is violence and nudity and more within the pages. This one takes place on a prison planet where women who are considered non-compliant are sent. If a woman is too fat, too outspoken, too ugly, etc. etc. she gets sent out to this prison to live and work, and they are not treated well here. But man, the diversity within this graphic novel is outstanding. The variety of sizes and shapes and colors and everything displayed by the group of women we follow is absolutely wonderful. In some ways this feels like a sci-fi version of “Orange is the New Black”…kind of. Add in the politics of something like The Handmaid’s Tale and you’re probably pretty close to what is portrayed within the pages. I am greatly intrigued by this series, and I’m hoping to learn more about the core group of women, because so many of them were introduced in the first few issues that I actually had to reread some parts to make sure I knew who was who. Thankfully I already purchased Vol 2, so I’ll be reading that very soon.

Where to Buy

Vox Machina Origins: Amazon, Dark Horse, Comixology

Bitch Planet, Vol 1: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository

Review: One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake

Hey all, Dani here.

Last year the hype around Three Dark Crowns was massive…with so many people gushing about how utterly amazing and dark the story was. And yes, while I enjoyed the book and read it fairly quickly, I was not quite as excited. The concept was interesting and the final chapter was outstanding, but most of the book just felt a bit flat and uneventful to me. I talk about it a little in this post. Thankfully, I was still intrigued enough to continue with the series–and I’m so glad that I did.

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Summary

The battle for the Crown has begun, but which of the three sisters will prevail?

With the unforgettable events of the Quickening behind them and the Ascension Year underway, all bets are off. Katharine, once the weak and feeble sister, is stronger than ever before. Arsinoe, after discovering the truth about her powers, must figure out how to make her secret talent work in her favor without anyone finding out. And Mirabella, once thought to be the strongest sister of all and the certain Queen Crowned, faces attacks like never before—ones that put those around her in danger she can’t seem to prevent.

In this enthralling sequel to Kendare Blake’s New York Times bestselling Three Dark Crowns, Fennbirn’s deadliest queens must face the one thing standing in their way of the crown: each other.

My Thoughts

Rating: 4.5 stars

With the first book I thought that the first 85% of it was rather uneventful and I didn’t connect with the characters. I am so pleased to say that with this one I was just pulled into the story and I didn’t want to stop until I reached the final page. There was more plotting and planning yes, but also actual moves were made.

The triplet Queens seemed a little darker and more prepared to do what they needed to do. I liked Mira a little more in this book, and Katharine got intriguingly dark, but I still think Arsinoe is my favorite of the three.

Speaking of favorites, Billy totally won me over in this book. I believed the connection he had with Arsinoe, and I even appreciated the time he spent with Mirabella.

Arsinoe figuring out more about her poisoner gift was interesting, and I liked that it brought up complications, like when she forgot about poison coating objects or that she just ingested something. And since only a couple others knew her secret, they worried about a potential poison attack from Katharine.

Oh, and I’m also excited about what is happening with Jules, and I am so looking forward to seeing how this particular plot line develops through the next book.

So basically this was a huge improvement over the last book, at least for me. I devoured it so quickly and am now sad that I have to wait a whole year for the next installment. I can safely say that if you loved the first book, then this one will also be a great read. And if you were like me and thought the first book was just okay, I am telling you, give this one a chance, because it’ll probably impress you.

Where to Buy

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

Review: Autoboyography by Christina Lauren

Hey all, Dani here.

I was going to post up my review of Invictus today, but I started reading this book and I felt a desperate need to get my review up ASAP…which means pushing the ARC review back to Thursday.

So, I guess I was craving a cutesy contemporary romance read. Or maybe the concept of this book just intrigued me. Or I was just obsessed with this cover and so I had to know if the inside was as wonderful as the outside. Whatever the reasoning, I devoured this book so quickly. Whenever I put it down I just wanted to pick it right back up and keep going.

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Summary

Three years ago, Tanner Scott’s family relocated from California to Utah, a move that nudged the bisexual teen temporarily back into the closet. Now, with one semester of high school to go, and no obstacles between him and out-of-state college freedom, Tanner plans to coast through his remaining classes and clear out of Utah.

But when his best friend Autumn dares him to take Provo High’s prestigious Seminar—where honor roll students diligently toil to draft a book in a semester—Tanner can’t resist going against his better judgment and having a go, if only to prove to Autumn how silly the whole thing is. Writing a book in four months sounds simple. Four months is an eternity.

It turns out, Tanner is only partly right: four months is a long time. After all, it takes only one second for him to notice Sebastian Brother, the Mormon prodigy who sold his own Seminar novel the year before and who now mentors the class. And it takes less than a month for Tanner to fall completely in love with him.

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

I guess I’ll start off by saying that a lot of this book deals with the LDS church, and I know very little about Mormon views and teachings, so I can’t speak to how factual all the details are in the book. All I know is that in my opinion it felt as if it was handled in a realistic yet respectful manner. Yes, a lot of this book revolves around the LDS not exactly being pro-homosexuality, but I feel as if I understood the positions of the various characters as they discussed this.

I was entranced by Tanner from the very beginning, and I always seem to enjoy books where the main character is writing a book. They just make me happy…though they also remind me that I have been in a horrible writing slump and really should get back to writing soon.

Reading the story from Tanner’s point of view, I loved how he described when he first saw Sebastian; it was exactly the kind of tidal wave of feelings you basically expect from young adults, when everything just feels so new and raw and overwhelming.

But I admit that I found myself a bit perplexed when the book mostly focused on the building relationship of Tann and Seb…at least until near the end, when I realized why. I don’t really think it is a spoiler, but in case you don’t want to know, I’ll change the text color to white for a minute. You’ll have to highlight it if you want to read it. As it turns out, we are reading Tanner’s manuscript, which is why it glosses over those bits. I thought that was a clever way to format this book, so I am definitely a fan.

Now let’s talk about Tanner’s bisexuality. Again, I myself am not bi so I can’t really speak to the authenticity of the representation, but as one of the authors of this book, Lauren, actually is bisexual, I believe it is fine. Besides, Tanner was fond of saying that he was into a person, not their parts.

I just have to talk about one of my favorite aspects of the book: Tanner’s family. His parents are so wonderfully understanding and accepting of his queer identity, and make sure to celebrate that fact, even if now they can only do that within the confines of their home. I also so loved hearing Tanner’s dad talk about his romance with Tanner’s mom all those years ago. Having a nice, healthy, supportive, and stable relationship in a YA novel is fantastic. All so often in YA it seems like the parents are barely present or one or both of them are already gone.

Basically, I adored this book, and I am so glad that it kept calling out to me to read it. I devoured it in only two sittings and I think this will definitely be on my Top Ten Reads of July-Dec 2017.

Where to Buy

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

Review: Warcross by Marie Lu

Hey all, Dani here.

Happy Book Birthday to Marie Lu for the release of her newest book, which I thankfully was able to read early (though not too early due to life changes and a pseudo reading slump). Anyway, today I am so happy to be posting up a review to this book. Oh, and it should be said that I received a signed copy of Warcross this year while at BookExpo, but that does not affect my rating or review at all. In fact, this is the first Marie Lu book I’ve finished–I only made it a few chapters into Legend, and I’ve read about half of The Young Elites. I do plan on finishing TYE…I just got distracted by other books.

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Summary

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

My Thoughts

Rating: 4.5 stars

I was craving something with Ready Player One vibes and this book delivered for me, which was awesome. But it delivered in a different way and I liked that because I didn’t want to read the same book or be let down by expecting it to be more similar. Both stories do follow a young person who get involved with a hunt in a virtual reality space, though Wade is on a scavenger hunt and Emika is a bounty hunter looking for someone known as Zero.

The cover design really begins to make sense as Emika gets to Tokyo and while wearing the glasses or lenses sees a kaleidoscope of colors, so that made me appreciate the cover even more. (And really, I can’t wait to see what the cover actually looks like on a finished copy. I’ll be buying one of those soon).

What was interesting to me was that the other Warcross competitors were high level players and many judged Emika because she’s listed as being much lower at level 28. But since they don’t know that she is a hacker and bounty hunter who logs far more hours into a dark account not linked to her personal details, many of them seem to underestimate her.

There were times where I was getting a tiny bit lost as they were describing actions in Warcross, or talking about different worlds in the different levels and such, but that was okay because we are reading the book from Emika’s point of view and she was just as clueless since she had never focused that much on the game.

I liked Asher and Hamilton and Roshan and Hideo. Ash, Hammie, and Roshan were cool veteran Warcross players and great teammates, and I liked how they each had their own skills but that they also knew how to use the strengths of others and how to utilize those for better results as a team. The Warcross training was interesting, and also sounded exhausting.

Hideo was not your typical billionaire businessman, and it was really cool to see how he handled his company and his technology. The fact that he upgraded the glasses used for Warcross so they could be contact lenses instead, and then shipped out countless boxes of them to people for free makes him a character I wanted to know more about. And of course you can’t miss the clear attraction between him and Emika.

Then there was Ren, and from the beginning it felt like there was something off about him. But that got me thinking and wondering, and then I wondered if this would be set up as yet another YA love triangle. Thankfully that doesn’t really seem to be the case. And anyway, I think Emika and Hideo are a cute couple.

As Emika investigates her teammates as well as other Warcross competitors she gets led down a path that reveals a lot more and things get more chaotic and a bit more dangerous.

I’m not going to say much more, but I will say that I’m glad I read this book and I look forward to reading the sequel. Because man, the ending of this book was great, and now I have to wait like a year to get the sequel. Of course, I guess I can always go back and finish The Young Elites while I wait.

Where to Buy

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

ARCs and E-galleys I’m Excited to Read

Hey all, Dani here.

So, between my experience at BookExpo and BookCon and all of the e-galleys I am approved for thanks to NetGalley, there are a lot of books I am really excited to read. Today I figured I would just talk about some of the ones that I am super excited to read in the near future.

First up, is Invictus by Ryan Graudin, and this book will be released on September 26th. This is the next book I plan to read so expect a review for this probably next week. I picked up an ARC of this back at BookExpo and I really wanted to read it back then but I told myself to hold off. Well now is the time to go on a time traveling adventure.

Next is A Plague of Giants by Kevin Hearne, which will be out on October 17th. I have loved reading Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles, so I’m definitely excited to see how he handles an epic fantasy novel. Thankfully I have been granted a galley from NetGalley and I’m going to dive into this book as soon as I can.

The third book I want to mention is The Empress by S.J. Kincaid, which is coming out October 31st. When I read The Diabolic last year, I absolutely loved it, but I had heard that it was a standalone. Imagine my excitement when it turns out that a surprise sequel just happened to come out. I was very recently approved for a galley for this from NetGalley and you know I’ll be devouring it very soon.

Now I have to talk about the upcoming release from one of my favorite authors. This book was originally supposed to come out on my birthday, but it was then pushed back two months. Thanks to NetGalley, I no longer have to wait to read Terminal Alliance by Jim C. Hines, which will be out on November 7th. Come on, guys, it’s about space janitors. like janitors on a space ship. The idea just sounds awesome and rather funny.

After that I simply must talk about Bonfire by Krysten Ritter, out on November 9th. Yes, this is the same Krysten Ritter who plays Jessica Jones in the Marvel Netflix series. And yes this book does sound like it is very Jessica Jones in tone, so I’m excited to read this detective novel. I’m glad I managed to grab a copy at BookExpo.

Coming out on November 14th, I have to mention City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty. The cover for this is beautiful and is said to be something that fans of The Golem and the Jinni would like. This follows a con woman in 18th century Cairo who doesn’t believe in magic, until she accidentally summons a djinn warrior to her side. It just sounds like a novel that is going to be wonderful.

Wrapping up the 2016 ARCs I’m really excited for is The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden, which will be released on December 5th. This is the sequel to The Bear and the Nightingale, which I read at the beginning of the year (or was it the very end of last year? Either way, excellent book). I was approved for this by NetGalley, but then I was also contacted by the publisher since I had reviewed the first book and they offered me a print ARC for this release. I am very excited to continue on with Vasya’s story.

Then I have two books with January releases, and I have already read half of one of them before telling myself that I needed to put it down.

First there is Gunslinger Girl by Lyndsay Ely, which will be out on January 2nd, 2018. I have been in a bit of a western mood here recently, and I need to start reading some of the western/fantasy books I have, as well as this lovely ARC I snagged at BookExpo.

Finally there is Zenith by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings, which will be released on January 16th, 2018. Yes, I am halfway finished with this book already, and I can totally tell what improvements were made between the first segment released when it was a serial novel, and what was bound together in the signed ARC I received at BookExpo. Needless to say, I’m excited about reading the rest of this book.

Are there any ARCs and/or e-galleys that you’ve received and are really excited about reading? Let me know in the comments. I know I’m working on purging my TBR, but I’m always looking for new and interesting books to read anyway.

Review: The Dazzling Heights by Katharine McGee

Hey all, Dani here.

This book just came out last week but I could not wait to start reading it. I went to my local Walmart and Meijer in the hopes that one of them would actually have new book releases, but yet again they failed me, something that happens far too often. And I didn’t want to wait the few days for it to come in the mail, nor did I want to make a 2 hour round trip to go to Barnes & Noble…so I just bought this one as an e-book and I’ll get the hardcover later.

I was pleasantly surprised by how addicted I was to the first book in this series, and so the wait for this book felt like an eternity.

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Summary

New York City, 2118. A glittering vision of the future, where anything is possible – if you want it enough.

Manhattan is home to a thousand-story supertower, a beacon of futuristic glamour and high-tech luxury… and to millions of people living scandalous, secretive lives.

Leda is haunted by nightmares of what happened on the worst night of her life. She’s afraid the truth will get out – which is why she hires Watt, her very own hacker, to keep an eye on all of the witnesses for her. But what happens when their business relationship turns personal?

When Rylin receives a scholarship to an elite upper-floor school, her life transforms overnight. But being here also means seeing the boy she loves: the one whose heart she broke, and who broke hers in return.

Avery is grappling with the reality of her forbidden romance – is there anywhere in the world that’s safe for them to be together?

And then there’s Calliope, the mysterious, bohemian beauty who’s arrived in New York with a devious goal in mind – and too many secrets to count.

Here in the Tower, no one is safe – because someone is watching their every move, someone with revenge in mind. After all, in a world of such dazzling heights, you’re always only one step away from a devastating fall….

My Thoughts

Rating: 4.5 stars

We get to delve deeper into the lives of Avery, Rylin, Leda, and Watt, plus we get to know new character Calliope. Normally I am not the type of person who likes stories that are really about the drama of relationships and friendships and such. This is what I would imagine from a show like Gossip Girl or Pretty Little Liars or something. (For the record I have not seen either of those shows).

But I find the concept to be so interesting, and the structure of the supertower society is just fascinating to me. New York of 2118 is glitzy and treacherous and purely addictive, or at least that’s how I felt.

Every time I put this book down I found myself thinking about what I had read, and wondering what would happen next. I wanted to know what secrets would be revealed, how all the characters stories would entertwine, and which character would end up dead by the end.

Because yes, this book also starts with a mysterious death, and a bit of a description of a girl all dressed up and obviously dead. Then we jump back two months and pick up the story about a month after the events of The Thousandth Floor.

Obviously all of the characters are still dealing with what happened in the last book, and they are all dealing with the ramifications in different ways. Though there is a lot of secret keeping and blackmail involved.

Okay Avery’s romantic plotline continues to be something that annoys me. And Leda’s thinking that everyone is out to get her gets aggravating at times. I continue to root for Rylin and hope that things go well for her. I also like following Watt and I hope everything works out with his dream of going to MIT and that nothing goes wrong because of Nadia. Calliope was an interesting new addition to the cast, and I loved that she was actually connected to it all through Atlas. Plus having a con artist in the group was entertaining.

I’m not going to say more about the characters or the plot because I don’t want to risk spoilers. I will say that I liked that we got to leave the Tower a bit more this time around. Yes, in the first book there was a trip to Paris, but in this book we get to see Los Angeles and Nevada as well.

So this series is pretty much a guilty pleasure read for me and I’m actually really glad I was convinced by the book community to give it a try.

Where to Buy

You can pick up The Dazzling Heights from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore.