Book Review, Books!, Manga, Signal Boost

Manga Review: Fairy Tail Vol 2

Hey all, Dani here.

Welcome back to another Manga Monday. I hope you all are having a wonderful day. As this post goes live, I will just be getting off work for the day, and then I hope to be going home and prepping up a bunch more posts for the coming weeks. Seriously, I am already working on writing down my blog schedule for January, as well as working on my reading and writing goals.

But obviously I just need to finish out 2018 first. So I have a nice list of reviews to write, and I think there may be a few tags that I still want/need to do. Plus I still have a pretty decent stack of books I would like to read as well.

For now though, let’s just jump into the review.

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Summary

THE BOOK OF SECRETS 

Beautiful celestial wizard Lucy has teamed up with the crazy fire wizard Natsu and his bizarre flying cat, Happy. Their job: to steal a book from the notorious Duke Everlue. But the eccentric Everlue has killed wizards before, and Lucy’s team is walking right into his death trap!

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

This is the volume that introduces Erza, which automatically makes it one of my favorites. Erza is one of my favorite characters, because I just find her to be pretty darn awesome, and a bit of a badass.

But it is also nice to see Lucy starting to settle in at Fairy Tail, and to have her teaming up with Natsu and Happy. Honestly, it is just really great to start really getting to know a bunch of the members of the guild, because learning about how connected this guild is, and how willing they are to fight for each other and fight with each other. It’s fantastic. I feel like the world would be better if more of us had the heart and determination of the guildmates in Fairy Tail.

Okay everyone, I’ll be honest and say that I’m trying to write this review when I read this particular volume a couple months ago, so I can gush about the characters, or how this series makes me feel, but talking the particulars of this volume is a bit of an impossibility…unless I took the time to reread the volume again.

All I can say is that this story and these characters can sometimes be ridiculous, or over-the-top, or frustrating, but at the same time they are entertaining and they make you feel things. This show makes you hope and dream and wish. There is so much friendship and love and strength and drive.

The more I read and/or watch, the more I find to love. I don’t know what I’m going to do when I finish the series. Probably watch it and read it over again.

Where to Buy

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

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Book Releases, Book Review, Books!, Diverse December, NetGalley, Readathon, Reading Challenge, Signal Boost

What I’m Reading (42)

Hey all, Dani here.

As it turns out, all of my reading plans changed last Wednesday, just a few hours before my What I’m Reading post went live. My author friend Rachel E Kelly sent me her latest book for copy editing, and Wednesday Books approved me for an e-galley of Wicked Saints by Emily A Duncan.

So I set aside my current reading and upcoming reading plans to start on both of those books.

But I haven’t had a lot of reading time overall, so currently I have no books to report as finished in the last week.

By the time this post goes live, I should be around 60% through Wicked Saints, so I imagine that I will finish it in the next couple of days. My big debate is that this book won’t be released until the beginning of April 2019. Should I just prep up a review and schedule it for closer to release day, or should I have the review up before the end of the year even though it will be a very early review?

It shouldn’t take me a whole lot of time to finish Waterworld Volume 2 either, because I tend to fly through all of Rachel’s books.

Which means that I will absolutely be jumping into new books within the next couple of days. The only question is what I will pick up next.

These are my top options for my next books to read. It will just really depend on my mood after I finish my current reads. Will I be in a contemporary mood? Because both From Twinkle, With Love and Pride both fit the bill for that, or perhaps fantasy with Phoenix Unbound or Empire of Sand.

Obviously right now I am focusing on tackling some of my diverse reads I have on my bookshelves, as we have started Diverse December, a reading challenge hosted by my blogger buddy Kathy from Books and Munches. I have so many great books I am hoping to read before 2018 is over, so we’ll see how many books I’ll finish and review in the coming days.

Frankly there are just so very many books I want to read and I don’t have as much free time as I would like to read them all closer to their publication dates. So I just have to settle with reading as many as I can in the free time I can find in my schedule.

I hope you are all having a great reading week, and I will be back soon with more bookish content.

Book Review, Books!, Diverse December, Graphic Novel, Manga, Readathon, Reading Challenge, Signal Boost

November Wrap Up and December TBR

Hey all, Dani here.

It is the last month of the year. Holy moly. Where has 2018 gone? Well, I can say that it has been a pretty productive year for me overall. My Goodreads Reading Challenge goal was originally 100 books, then 120, and currently 130, a goal I will absolutely be beating within the next couple of days. But I’m not changing it again so we’ll see where I end up in another month.

But before I truly focus on December, it is time to reflect on everything I read in November, as well as what I watched. Then let’s not forget my Owlcrate unboxing and my monthly book haul.

Oh, and I should also say THANK YOU SO MUCH! Yesterday I reached 500 followers on this blog, and it is honestly something I never would have expected when I started my blog. Thank you for following me and joining me on this journey to talk about books. I will be having a 500 follower giveaway post up soon, so stay tuned for that.

All right, let’s start off with what I read. As always, if I have a review up for the book the link will be included just in case you’d like to check it out.

Amazing Fantastic Incredible – A Marvelous Memoir by Stan Lee — 5 stars

Seasons Turning by Donaya Haymond — 5 stars

Escaping from Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco — 5 stars

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindewald Official Screenplay by J.K. Rowling — 3.5 stars

The ABCs of D&D by Ivan Van Norman and Caleb Cleveland — 5 stars

The 123s of D&D by Ivan Van Norman and Caleb Cleveland — 5 stars

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White — 4.5 stars

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan — 5 stars

Heartstone by Elle Katharine White — 5 stars

Of course, now that I’ve talked about what I’ve read–and I think I did pretty decent for the month as a couple of the books were longer ones–it is time to talk about what I watched.

Fantastic Beasts The Crimes of Grindewald (3.5 stars), Ralph Breaks the Internet (5 stars), Galaxy Quest (5 stars), Firefly series (5 stars), Serenity (5 stars), Doctor Who series 2 (5 stars), The Princess Switch (4 stars), A Christmas Prince (re-watch 5 stars). I’m in the middle of the third season of Daredevil, and I’m continuing the watch through of Doctor Who with my fiance, and of course we are keeping up with the second campaign of Critical Role and loving it.

So it has been a pretty busy month of reading and watching.

Up next: book haul time. I picked up a decent number of books from Book Outlet at the beginning of the month, and I couldn’t pass up the newest release from my buddy Donaya. The bound Illustrated collection of Earthsea novels is absolutely stunning and I am so glad to have it in my collection. Finally there are the books I bought during Black Friday weekend. The final picture in this is technically the books I’ve purchased for Christmas presents, though the Miles Morales book was one I bought for my fiance so it is pretty much mine as well.

And the OwlCrate unboxing. I loved this month’s box of goodies. My fiance really enjoyed making the wishing bracelet, and the wax seal is pretty awesome. I might honestly use it for my wedding invitations, once we set a date, that is. The skull planter is interesting, and that Dumbledore and Fawkes sticker as well as the art print will be heading to my bookish art wall very soon. That pillowcase is awesome as well, but my favorite thing from the box is the book. It is a fantastic read and I definitely recommend it (though content warning for sexual assault if that would trigger you).

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Finally it is time to talk about my December TBR. Most of my reading plans for the month have already been documented in my post about Diverse December and the Short-a-thon, but I also would really like to finish reading Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon before the end of the year.

Also, my writer friend Rachel E Kelly sent me Waterworld Part 2: Charlotte for copy edits. I think the book is scheduled to be released at the very end of the year, so I will definitely be reading that ASAP.

Finally, I was lucky enough to be approved for an e-galley of Wicked Saints by Emily A Duncan, a book that will be released in April 2019, and I am currently absolutely obsessed with it.

So those are the books on my TBR for December. What reading plans do you have to finish up 2018? Let me know in the comments!

I will be back soon with more bookish content.

Book Review, Books!, Calendar Girls, Signal Boost

Calendar Girls: December 2018

Hey all, Dani here.

Welcome back to another month of Calendar Girls! I have been having such a great time with all the lovely guys and gals participating in this monthly post. The themes have been fantastic and have introduced me to a few books, while also allowing me to gush over other books that I have already read and enjoyed. It’s great to have even more of an excuse to digitally meet up with other book lovers and talk about books.

As always I’ll start this post by saying that Calendar Girls is a monthly blog event that was started by Flavia and Melanie, but is now being hosted by Katie and Adrienne. They are all wonderful ladies, and you should check out their lovely blogs. Oh, and if you go to either Katie or Adrienne‘s Calendar Girls post each month, they will have links to all the other wonderful book bloggers participating in this event.

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First, more about the Calendar Girls. It is designed to ignite bookish discussions among readers, and was inspired by the 1961 Neil Sedaka song, Calendar Girl.

Just like the song, each month has a different theme. Each blogger picks their favorite book from the theme, and on the first Monday of the month reveals their pick in a Calendar Girls post. Make sure to post back to the hostess’s post, and both Katie and Adrienne will make a master list for the month. The master lists allow everyone to see the other Calendar Girls’ picks and to pop on over to their blogs. Thus, we all get to chat about books and even make some new friends!

Okay, and now it is time for the December theme, which is…

Let It Snow

Best Book Set in Winter

So, most months I have a section where I go over my honorable mentions. Typically I do this because from the time the theme is announced, so many different books pop up as options and I have difficulty choosing which one is my top pick. With the theme I wanted, and this theme that actually won, I only had one book pop up in my mind as my top choice.

I’m not typically a seasonal reader. In the winter months I tend to be more of a fan of longer reads, particularly fantasy ones. Though I also like a good cutesy contemporary read. And because of the timeline length of most of the books I read, sometimes a book can span years. So I don’t pay as much attention to the seasons in a story.

I mean, I suppose I could mention the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, considering the oncoming winter is certainly a major part of the book.

And Harry Potter is almost always an option, because Christmastime at Hogwarts is sort of a big deal.

Oh, and I guess that The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis also spends most of its time in a winter setting.

In the same vein, The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman also has a focus on a wintery setting, what with all those glorious armored bears.

And there are classics like A Christmas Carol, or The Polar Express, or The Snowy Day.

But none of those immediately came to mind and then stuck there. No, my pick for this month is technically a whole trilogy, and the second book was mentioned numerous times as part of last month’s Calendar Girls choices and discussion.

Another book I could mention, that I definitely couldn’t choose for this month is Wicked Saints by Emily A Duncan, a book that will be released in April 2019. I’ve only read the first 15% of the book but so far it is cold and wintery in weather, though there is so much other amazingness happening in the story. I will definitely be gushing about this book for at least the months leading up to its release.

So I suppose that now I should just announce my choice. Here we go.

 

My choice for this month’s theme is…The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden, though the whole trilogy applies.

From the moment I started reading these books, It was as if I could just feel the cold seeping into my bones. These books are just so darn atmospheric. You can find my review for the first book at the link above, and my review for The Girl in the Tower is up as well. I’m happy to say that I was approved on NetGalley for the third book, so I will be reading it very soon with a review to follow.

With one of the major characters being pretty much the Russian folklore/myth version of Jack Frost, cold and winter is just super important to the story. Both of the books start with storytime on a cold winter’s night around a fire, and frankly, that is the perfect way to enjoy these books. Pick them up on a cold wintery day or night, fix up your favorite hot beverage (tea, cocoa, coffee), and curl up in a chair, on the couch, or in bed with a blanket and just read. I’ve actually done that with these books and it is perfect.

Just talking about these makes me debate about doing a re-read of both books out already before I pick up the third one. But considering all of the other books I’d like to read before year’s end, I don’t think it will happen. A re-read will happen for this trilogy, probably sometime in the next few months. I definitely recommend them.

All right, that is it from me today, and I’ll be back soon with more bookish content.

Book Review, Books!, Diverse December, Readathon, Reading Challenge, Signal Boost

What I’m Reading (41)

Hey all, Dani here.

We have almost reached the end of November. There is seriously only one more month before we are celebrating a whole new year. So I hope everyone is doing well with their reading goals. I know that with the stress of the holidays coming, I’m trying to plan ahead when it comes to reading and blogging so I don’t have to disappear or anything. I’m also trying to get my end of year posts and beginning of the year posts started. Every year I do a post on my underwhelming reads for the year, and of course the second part of my top ten reads for the year. Then there’s the goals for the new year and my blogaversary post. So definitely a lot to look forward to.

But today we can look forward to talking about the books that have been read in the last week, the books currently being read, and the books that we hope to start reading soon.

Let’s get started.

It was a pretty decent week for me. I managed to read The ABCs of D&D and The 123s of D&D, both by Ivan Van Norman and Caleb Cleveland. These are cute nerdy educational books, and I definitely recommend them for the nerdlings in your life. I also read Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, which yes, was a re-read for me, but it has been a long time. It is also technically a Christmas present for my niece, but I can’t resist reading the books I get her before I wrap them. Then while at work the past couple days, I managed to finish Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan and a reread of Heartstone by Elle Katharine White. Because guess what everyone? I didn’t realize there was a sequel coming out, and by coming out, I mean that it was released on November 20th. So I will be buying it very soon. Because Pride and Prejudice plus dragons is a combination I didn’t know I needed in my life.

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As for current reads, I am currently in the middle of a reread of Shadoworld by Rachel E Kelly, specifically the Illustrated Edition of the story. I’m doing this so that I can also re-read Dreamworld, hopefully before Rachel sends me the early copy of her next book. I like to be refreshed on everything that has happened.

Finally it is time to talk about what I’m hoping to start reading soon. Well, there are only two more days left in November, so I don’t know that I’ll be able to start and finish anything before the end of the month. I suppose that means that the next books I pick up will probably be for Diverse December, though I’m not sure which one I’m going to pick up first. Then again, perhaps I could read a few volumes of manga to finish up the month. So we’ll see what happens. It honestly all depends on how quickly I finish my current read. Though, I should probably spend some more time working on Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon as well; I want to finish reading it by the end of this year.

Book Review, Books!, Manga, Signal Boost

Manga Review: Smokin’ Parade Vol. 1

Hey guys once again throwing out another manga review for your viewing pleasure. Its been a crazy holiday so far and the shopping has been ridiculous. However I managed to get most of my shopping done this weekend. Okay so this is another one i picked up on a whim as has been the case with most of the ones I’ve started reading recently trying to expand on the my reading list a bit. Though I doubt my list will ever be as expansive as my fiance’s. Anyway I picked up a couple of books I am looking forward to reading  so I’ll get started with the review of Smokin’ Parade Vol. 1.

 

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Summary

Youkou has spent much of his young life caring for his wheelchiar-bound sister, Mirai. But now the revolutionary new medical techniques developed by Amenotori company have given Mirai not only a new pair of legs but also her freedom- and perhaps something more…Rare but serious side effects may include mindless acts of extreme, grotesque violence! Enter the Jackalopes, an elite squad fighting to expose Amenotori’s secrets and rescue its victims! But even if Youkou joins the mercenaries, can anything be done to save his sister?

 

Review

Rating: 4 stars

This one was a very interesting read that left me, quite honestly not sure whether I wanted to continue. Now this is not because it was bad, but the violence in this manga may not be for the faint of heart. I simply did not expect it to go from 0 to 9000 when it came to what happens to these people because of this Amenotori company. What happens to though gives me a “5 Nights at Freddie’s” vibe and though I’ve never played those games, just watched reaction video’s and live stream play. Just like the back cover says, this is a manga that is intended for Mature audiences only. I usually have a stomach for violence, at least in movies but this one goes above and beyond a bit and I can say I think it was the surprise of how grotesque and extreme the violence got so quickly in the story was what threw me off. It is not at the top of my list of manga to continue, however I will indeed be purchasing the next ones at later dates.

 

 

 

Book Review, Books!, Manga, Signal Boost

Manga Review: My Hero Academia Vol 13

Hey all, Dani here.

We’re almost completely caught up on reviews for My Hero Academia! But don’t worry, I still have plenty of other manga reviews to catch up on. Oh, and I do need to review the MHA spin-off series: Vigilantes, though that won’t take long as there are only two volumes out at the moment.

All right, let’s just jump into the review.

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Summary

Midoriya inherits the superpower of the world’s greatest hero, but greatness won’t come easy.

What would the world be like if 80 percent of the population manifested superpowers called “Quirks”? Heroes and villains would be battling it out everywhere! Being a hero would mean learning to use your power, but where would you go to study? The Hero Academy of course! But what would you do if you were one of the 20 percent who were born Quirkless?

The students of Class 1-A have reached another milestone—the Provisional Licensing Exam. After making it through the first part of the test, they ready themselves for the next phase, which takes place in a simulated disaster area. Midoriya and his friends have to rescue as many victims as they can, and although the students of rival Shiketsu High are technically supposed to be helping, competition between them is fierce and even dangerous! As the scenario unfolds and actual villains arrive to shake things up, the UA students will have to find new ways to work with each other and make use of their Quirks.

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

We are in the middle of the Provisional Licensing Exam, which will determine whether or not the students of Class 1-A will be able to use their Quirks in public to help save lives and stop villains during a crisis. It is a pretty big deal for all of them. Of course, all of the characters we have been following throughout this series have targets on their backs from all of the other schools. This makes sense considering that the school produces great heroes, and even more so because our students are all still first years.

The rivalries actually lead to some interesting encounters between characters from UA and other schools, and these encounters are ones that could risk everything they have been working towards.

While I do really enjoy the characters and the storylines here, I can also admit that it is getting a little tired and overusing the plot device of being in the middle of an important training event or test and having real villains show up. Seriously, I think it has happened in every single story arc.

But seeing even more new to us Quirks, and watching as the UA students grow and develop even more, even in the face of seemingly overwhelming odds, is part of what makes this series so addictive.

Where to Buy

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

Book Review, Books!, Signal Boost

Review(s): Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Hey all, Dani here.

Happy Thursday! Or Happy Thanksgiving if you’re in the USA.

Okay, so today’s review is going to be a slightly different format than what I typically put out, and that is for one simple reason: I have experienced three different versions of this story–the audiobook, the book, and the movie. So I will have my standard review, but also ratings for each format. As per my usual reviews, this will be kept spoiler free. Then, after I’ve concluded my “Where to Buy” section that you are all used to, I will go into a more spoiler filled compare/contrast. So if you have not seen the movie yet and/or read the book, I recommend not reading that section.

All right, let’s just do this.

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Summary

In the year 2045, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

My Thoughts

Book Rating: 5 stars

Audiobook Rating: 5 stars

Movie Rating: hmm…okay, the movie on its own, without thinking of the source material: 5 stars, but when thinking of the source material probably a 3 star.

The first time I experienced this story, I listened to the audiobook for about 70% of it and read the other 30% because I was a little impatient. Let me tell you, I was completely swept away by the story. All of the 1980s pop culture references were amazing, and I did understand most of them, so that was pretty cool.

All of the searching and challenges and keys and gates were just so darn fascinating. Plus, hey, being an Ohio girl, it was cool that my home state was pretty important in the overall story. Fun fact: I used to spend a couple weeks every summer in Middletown, Ohio. If you’ve read the book, then you know why that location is important. It was just cool for me to connect so easily with the setting of the book, even if it is set in the near-future.

There was so much to geek out about in this book. What amazed me is how many non-geeks seem to enjoy the story as well. For instance, my brother. The book had apparently come up in conversation with a couple of his friends and he got super excited when he found out that I had a copy and he could start reading it immediately. He apparently enjoyed it so much that he went and borrowed Ernest Cline’s other book from my library without asking. So hey, that’s cool. My brother isn’t typically much of a reader. So it was cool to see him get so excited about reading a book.

There is so much going on in Ready Player One: action, humor, romance, intrigue/mystery, geekery and gaming, danger…the list could just go on and on. Actually, writing this up now makes me want to read the book again.

Okay, so let me take a moment and talk about the audiobook. I am so happy that they hired Wil Wheaton to do the narration. I feel like having a geek read the book just adds to that authenticity. Oh and there’s a part where Wil is having to read about himself, because he is mentioned a couple times in the story. Would it have been nice to have a female voice for Art3mis? Well, sure, but Wil does a fine job, so it would be a bit of a nit-pick to complain about it. I still greatly enjoyed listening to this adventure.

Then there’s the movie. Oh man, I don’t even know what to say about that version of the story without devolving into what could potentially be a spoilery rant. So I’ll just say that if you ignore the source material and just concentrate on the film, it was entertaining, action-packed, and geeky. So it did a fine job. But as soon as you start looking at the book as well, you realize how much had to be redone or removed entirely. I know that a lot of it had to do with licensing issues, but still. It bothers me. The casting was pretty much spot on, so that was a yay moment for me. But even aside from the licensing issues, there were a couple other plot points they changed and I don’t understand why. Oh well. There are few movie adaptations that can actually hold their own in comparison to the source material.

Where to Buy

You can pick up RPO from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore. The audiobook can be purchased from Audible or any bookseller who stocks audiobooks. The movie is available on DVD, Blu-Ray, etc.

Adaptation Review

This is where the SPOILERS are going to start, so stop reading now if you want to avoid those. Seriously. You have been warned. SPOILERS AHEAD. Otherwise, let’s do this.

. . .

. . .

. . .

. . .

I’m mad about the first key challenge. Okay, fine, the race was pretty cool. But I really wanted to see the Tomb of Horrors, and even more than that, I really wanted the Joust match with Acererak. Maybe this is even more true since I just played through the 5th edition campaign of Tomb of Annihilation, which is an updated Tomb of Horrors, and I had to face the aforementioned lich. Come on, Wizards of the Coast, why didn’t you let them have that scene? It would have been awesome, and only added to the fantastic resurgence of D&D that has been happening lately.

I understand not being able to do the movie play-thrus in the “Ready Player One” film, but I still missed them.

Oh, and why was it necessary to have Parzival and Art3mis meet IRL so early on in the movie? Part of what I really enjoyed about their relationship is the wait for them to actually see each other in person.

One change I was okay with was Aech having the workshop instead of the Basement chat room. That was fine and pretty cool, and it was honestly a similar feel, so whatever.

Also, why in the heck was it necessary to have Art3mis be the one who was indentured to IOI, instead of it actually being Parzival. They took what was this grueling experience and turned it into a much shorter scene. Like, I get that there are certain time constraints for a film, but a passing of time can be covered fairly easily by a montage or something.

The effects were pretty cool. And I feel like they did a good job with Sorrento. Oh, and I was actually mostly okay with the changes they made in regards to Ogden Morrow. He still ended up being a pretty important character.

That is probably enough ranting for now. I held off on writing this post for a few months so I could decompress and process my thoughts and feelings without my raving and ranting becoming utterly ridiculous. Obviously I have strong feelings about this adaptation. I feel a bit sorry for my fiance for having to put up with my reactions when we initially saw the movie in the theater. I’m pretty sure I sighed loudly many times and also muttered under my breath quite a bit. Sorry, I get that way when I feel passionately about a particular story.

Book Releases, Book Review, Books!, Signal Boost

What I’m Reading (40)

Hey all, Dani here.

I’ve read some books! Woohoo! Now I realize that overall I’ve actually read quite a few books–hence why I am a book blogger. But so far this month I’ve been feeling like I’m not really reading as much as I normally would in a month, and it has been frustrating me. But I’ve actually made some progress with books, and that makes me happy.

Anyway, welcome to my weekly post where I talk about what I’ve read in the past week, what I’m currently reading, and what I’m hoping to start reading soon. Honestly, I’m somewhat thinking about changing the title of this series of posts and expanding it a little bit. Because I want to talk about some of the other stuff I’m doing and trying in my life. So I might change it to Weekly Round-Up or something like that. If anyone wants to shout out any series title ideas, I will welcome suggestions.

For now, let’s just talk about what I’ve been reading.

Last week I talked about starting Seasons Turning by Donaya Haymond. As it turns out, I actually had a couple hours of downtime at work, so I read the whole dang book. And this was Wednesday, so I technically finished the book before my last post went live. I felt like I was in an awesome reading groove finally. And then all I managed for the next couple days was 50ish pages of Escaping From Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco. Then, on Friday, I read the screenplay for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindewald by J.K. Rowling. In the moment that I finished reading it, I was still lost in the nostalgia glow of being back in the wizarding world, but after seeing the movie on Saturday, and processing things even more, overall I’m actually a little disappointed with it. Oh, and I finally managed to finish reading Kerri Maniscalco’s latest release. So yay, I finished three books in a week. That is fantastic.

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Okay, now it’s time to talk about what I’m currently reading (and loving), and that is Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan. I’m about 80 pages in at the time of writing this post (aka Tuesday evening), and I have a feeling that I will finish this book pretty quickly. Oh, and I guess I’ll also mention that I’m still working my way through Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon, but I’ve only read like 10 or so pages since my last update. I think I’ll actually make it a focus to finish this before the end of the year.

As for what I’m hoping to start reading next…well, I’m not exactly sure at the moment. I may pick up The Monster of Selkirk Book Two: The Heart of the Forest by C.E. Clayton. I just learned on Goodreads that the fourth book was just released, so I have a bit of catching up to do still. But I may pick up Charmcaster by Sebastien de Castell next. I’ll just have to see what mood I’m in once I finish my current reads.

Well, I suppose that is all for now. I’ll be back soon with more bookish content.

Book Review, Books!, Graphic Novel, Signal Boost

Comic Review: Avatar: the Last Airbender – Smoke and Shadow

Hey all, Dani here.

Well, it’s been a while since I talked about Avatar, but I’ve read all of the comics out following Aang, and sometime soon I’ll need to pick up the first trilogy of Korra comics. I totally had to rewrite this whole intro paragraph, because when I started to prep this post I hadn’t read the final Avatar trilogy–though it isn’t final anymore, as they announced more are coming– and I hadn’t watched “The Legend of Korra.” Oh, and apparently there will be a couple novels coming next year that follow Avatar Kyoshi, so that is pretty darn exciting too.

Anyway, let’s jump into this review.

Summary

Unrest in the Fire Nation!

Returning with his family after the events of The Search, Zuko discovers that not everyone in the Fire Nation celebrates their homecoming. Believing that the young Fire Lord is not fit to succeed his father–and spurred on by the Kemurikage, menacing spirits long thought to be only myths–an undergroundorganization called the New Ozai Society plots to assassinate Zuko and restore Ozai to power! 

What is the secret of the Kemurikage? 

The shadowy spirits known as the Kemurikage are abducting children throughout the Fire Nation Capital, sowing widespread fear and panic in their wake. Desperate to determine what has angered these spirits, Aang and Zuko search for clues deep in the Dragonbone Catacombs underneath the Fire Sages Capital Temple. Can they uncover the hidden history of the Kemurikage and solve the mystery in time, or will more children be taken?

The identity of the Kemurikage revealed! 

When Azula is discovered to be the ringleader of the shadowy Kemurikage, Aang and Zuko will stop at nothing to chase her down and rescue the children–even if it means turning on each other! As Zuko locks down the capital to find her, riots erupt in the streets and the citizens are on edge. An unexpected clue from Mai and Ty Lee will help Team Avatar uncover Azula’s plot, which is more sinister than they could have imagined. Will they stop her in time? 

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

What I love about these comics is that the creative team behind the show are the ones creating the storylines. So they are consistent with the characterization of everyone from the series, and they answer some questions that I’m sure many of us were asking. It makes sense that there are those in the Fire Nation who don’t approve of Zuko as their ruler, especially considering everything that has happened in the previous comic trilogies.

Still, I love circling back to characters like Azula, and having a reappearance of Mai and Ty Lee. Plus, of course, we get more Team Avatar, which is always nice. I absolutely fly through these books. I have them all in paperback, so it divides the story into three parts, but the story is also available in an omnibus hardcover. All told, I think I read the whole trilogy in less than an hour.

I get so sucked into these stories, and it makes me so sad that I wasn’t a fan of Avatar back when it aired; I never watched a single episode until my fiance sat me down to start watching them last year. Now I am pretty much obsessed. It is why I have the next comics on my radar, and Kyoshi’s novels, and the live-action Netflix series…which I’m hopeful about since the creative team of Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, creators of both Avatar and Korra, are on board with this version of the show. Hopefully it will be better cast and better written. All we’ve seen so far is a promotional photo of Appa, but that looked pretty good, so we’ll see.

Anyway, I adore these, and I definitely recommend them for fans of the show.

Where to Buy

You can pick up these delightful comics from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore.