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.

Comic Review: Runaways Complete Collection Vol 1

Hey all, Dani here.

Recently I posted a graphic novel recommendations list, and in the comments, it was recommended that I try Runaways. It was already on my radar because of the Hulu series, but this solidified the decision that I was going to try it. Needless to say, I flew through the first volume and will have to pick up the next one sometime in the near future.

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Summary

They were six normal teenagers linked only by their wealthy parents’ annual business meeting…until a chance discovery revealed the shocking truth: their parents are the secret criminal society known as the Pride! For years, the Pride controlled all criminal acti vity in Los Angeles, ruling the city with an iron fist…and now, with their true natures exposed, the Pride will take any measures necessary to protect their organizati on – even if it means taking out their own children! Now on the run from their villainous parents, Nico, Chase, Karolina, Gertrude, Molly and Alex have only each other to rely on. COLLECTING: RUNAWAYS (2003) 1-18

My Thoughts

Rating: 4 stars

I’ve said it before and I know I’ll say it again many more times in the future: I love superpower stories and/or superhero stories. I have devoured them since I was a kid, and that fondness for them has only developed and grown in the years since. Nowadays I read books as well as comics and manga about superheroes and I watch superhero TV shows and movies. My Christmas tree has hero/geeky ornaments on it.

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So I already figured that I would enjoy the story of Runaways. Then add to all of that the fact that the series was created by Brian K Vaughan, who also created Saga, a comic/graphic novel series I also really enjoy. It seemed like a win-win for me.

I’m also super glad that this collection featured the entire first arc of the story. There was a definitive beginning, middle, and end to the main plot, and then the ending left you with the understanding that the characters were running off again and that would lead to more adventures.

There were a lot of characters and also a lot of plotting between different groups of characters. Sometimes it felt a bit too jumbled up, but I figured things out fairly well. The blend of personalities and abilities in the teenagers was wonderful and diverse, which I appreciate.

Oh…and can we talk about the fact that there are six main characters and FOUR of them are female? Unless it’s a group like the Amazons of Themyscira or the Birds of Prey, you don’t really see that many female dominated groups. I loved that aspect of this series.

I will say that the timeline felt a bit confusing to me. To me over the course of this collection it felt like maybe a couple of weeks, but based on some of the comments made by some of the characters I guess it was actually a couple of months.

It was cool to watch as the teens began to figure out there abilities and also started learning more about what their parents were up to. The teenage drama was pretty fun, and man…that betrayal. I should have figured out who the mole was before it was actually revealed. But I enjoyed that it was as much a surprise to me as it was to everyone else in the group.

So this was a fun adventure and I’m looking forward to giving the Hulu series a try. Based on the trailer it seems to be a pretty decent adaptation, and it looks like the casting choices are spot on.

Where to Buy

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

Manga Review: My Hero Academia Vol 2

Hey all, Dani here.

Obviously I’ve been reading quite a bit of comic books, graphic novels, and manga lately. I guess I’ve just been in the mood for them. They’re usually fun quick reads and sometimes we just need that. Plus it’s cool to give your mind’s eye a break from imagining every detail. I mean these kinds of stories do have lovely illustrations.

Anyway, today I’m here with the second volume for this series. You can find my review of the first volume here. Now, I will say that I love the anime for this series as well and am very much anticipating season 3 next year. Until then I can keep myself occupied with reading the manga series. Right now there are only 10 volumes out, with the 11th one expected to be released in Feb 2018.

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Summary

What would the world be like if 80 percent of the population manifested superpowers called “Quirks” at age four? 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?

Getting into U.A. High School was difficult enough, but it was only the beginning of Izuku’s long road toward becoming a superhero. The new students all have some amazing powers, and although Izuku has inherited All Might’s abilities, he can barely control them. Then the first-year students are told they will have to compete just to avoid being expelled!

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

I just love this series. Some of the Quirks are just so interesting, and it is fun to learn about all of the different characters. This particular installment starts to really show us more about Izuku Midoriya’s classmates.

One of my favorite parts about reading the manga is that there are behind the scenes details about the characters and how they developed. For example there are a couple Quirks given to the students that were originally planned for professional heroes, but it was changed to see how a person with a lot less training would handle things. Then there are characters like Tsuyu Asui, who was originally going to be a boy, but it was decided that more girl characters were needed. I can’t imagine Froppy being any other way.

Also, I’ll just go ahead and say it…Tsuyu is one of my favorite characters.

Plus, I think I’ve mentioned before how much I enjoy superhero stories. There’s just something fun about stories with people who just happen to have unique abilities, especially when they decide to do something with them.

And I’m just curious to see how all the characters will develop. I want to see Todoroki reach a point where he embraces both sides of his power. I want to see more with Momo and Iida and Tokayami and Ochako. Oh, and I definitely want to see what happens with both Midoriya and All-Might as this journey continues.

I’m really glad my boyfriend and I decided to randomly try this series months ago. It has become one of our favorite shows…and I’m sure as soon as he starts reading these, he’ll love the manga too. I started reading them as soon as they arrived in the mail because I know I read much faster than he does.

Where to Buy

You can pick up a copy of My Hero Academia Vol 2 from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, Comixology, or your local independent book store.

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.

November Wrap Up

Hey all, Dani here.

I realize right now some of you may be thinking that I forgot to add the TBR portion for this post. Normally you would be right, but as I am participating in Books and Munches’ Diverse December, I already have my TBR posted so you can check that out here.

Which basically means that all I have to cover with today’s post is the books I read this month, my OwlCrate unboxing, my monthly book haul, and then a brief NaNoWriMo wrap-up.

The Accidental Quarterback by Charles Curtis (3 stars)

The Impossible Pitcher by Charles Curtis (4 stars)

Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman (5 stars)

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Illustrated Edition by Newt Scamander (J.K. Rowling) (5 stars)

All’s Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson (5 stars)

The Chronicles of Exandria, Vol 1: The Tale of Vox Machina by Matthew Mercer, the cast of Critical Role, and around 60 very talented Critter artists (5 stars)

The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty (5 stars)

My Hero Academia, Vol 1 by Kohei Horikoshi (5 stars)

Kat and Meg Conquer the World by Anna Priemaza (5 stars)

Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins #3 by Matthew Colville (5 stars)

Clifford the Big Red Dog by Norman Birdwell (5 stars)

Corduroy by Don Freeman (5 stars)

The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister (4.5 stars)

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown (5 stars)

Love You Forever by Robert Munsch (4 stars)

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. (5 stars)

Avatar: the Last Airbender: The Lost Adventures by Bryan Konietzko (5 stars)

My Hero Academia, Vol 2 by Kohei Horikoshi (5 stars)

Runaways, The Complete Collection, Vol 1 by Brian K Vaughan (5 stars)

The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden (5 stars)

I will have mini-reviews of the children’s books up soon, as well as a few more comic and manga reviews. Oh, and my review for The Girl in the Tower should be up on Monday.

Next up is my monthly OwlCrate unboxing, and I absolutely loved the November box.

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My favorite items in the subscription box this month are the Expecto Patronum hat and the lembas bread bar of soap. Though my Fabrikator pin from the Grishaverse is really cool as well. And I am really looking forward to reading the book; it sounds really interesting.

Now onto my monthly book haul, and everyone, I may have gone a teeny bit overboard with my haul this month. On the plus side, I don’t think there are that many books for me to worry about in December. That’s great because I already know that January is stuffed with books I want to get.

 

Oh, and then I did some Christmas book shopping for my boyfriend’s 5 month old niece. This little girl already has an impressive library, and it will only continue to get better with each birthday and Christmas we have. So, I might as well haul her books on here too, especially since I decided to reread them myself before wrapping them up for her.

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So I actually did pretty good with reading during November/NaNoWriMo. Speaking of NaNoWriMo, during my mid-month check in I reported that I wrote nothing the first half of the month because I couldn’t get the words to come out and I was in a bit of a writing slump. But I have yet to lose a NaNoWriMo, so I finally forced myself to get writing.

What I have now that the month is over, is roughly 51,000 words of a haphazard journal/diary of random words tossed on a page. It’s basically absolutely awful and will not be shown to anyone. But I plan to just open up a new document in the new year and start a second draft from scratch. Maybe now I will be able to write a better and more cohesive story. I’ll keep you all updated if the writing goes well, especially if I get to the point of publication.

So yeah, I succeeded for the 12th time with NaNoWriMo…and somehow still managed to read 20 books. (Okay, yeah, there were a handful of children’s books, plus all the comics and graphic novels, but still). Suddenly the idea to read 14 books in December doesn’t seem all that daunting.

How did your November go? Any great books read? Or did you buy some fantastic books that you can’t wait to read? Let me know in the comments.

Review: Kat and Meg Conquer the World by Anna Priemaza

Hey all, Dani here.

This book was nowhere near the top of my TBR, but is sounded fun and like a fast read, and I was just in the mood for a contemporary. So I picked it up and dove in…and I was not at all disappointed. It was fun and geeky, and it also handled two girls who become friends even while dealing with their anxiety and ADHD, and all the social hurdles that come with it.

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Summary

For fans of Nicola Yoon’s Everything, Everything, Emery Lord’s When We Collided, and Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, Anna Priemaza’s debut novel is a heartwarming and achingly real story of finding a friend, being a fan, and defining your place in a difficult world.

Kat and Meg couldn’t be more different. Kat’s anxiety makes it hard for her to talk to people. Meg hates being alone, but her ADHD keeps pushing people away. But when the two girls are thrown together for a year-long science project, they discover they do have one thing in common: They’re both obsessed with the same online gaming star and his hilarious videos.

It might be the beginning of a beautiful friendship—if they don’t kill each other first.

“Kat and Meg Conquer the World will hit home for anyone who has ever been waist-deep in fandom, doubt, or new relationships; Kat’s and Meg’s unique voices are outstanding, and their friendship brings this story to vibrant life.”—Francesca Zappia, author of Made You Up and Eliza and Her Monsters

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

I picked this up because I was in the mood for a fun and light geeky contemporary. The fact that this book focused on female friendship was definitely a pleasant bonus. What I didn’t expect was how emotionally attached I would get to both Kat and Meg, and how more serious topics would be handled towards the climax of the story.

Now, I will say that I do not have anxiety or ADHD, though I think there are times where we all get anxious or have issues focusing, so though I don’t fully understand where the girls are coming from, they are still very relatable.

I especially connected with Meg, who feels like everyone abandons her. All her friends seem to leave, she can’t keep a boyfriend, her bio dad left her and then actually died, and then her stepdad who she thought of as her dad, left as well. I know I’ve mentioned a few times over the course of this year that my parents were in the process of getting a divorce. Long story short, my dad cheated on my mom again and decided that he was really done with the marriage this time, and he moved out back in April. Since then I have had to watch him post on Facebook and message people and talk about how great his girlfriend and her children are…all while he ignores my brother and I. So all that emotion and abandonment Meg feels really resonated strongly with me.

What was really great with this story really was the female friendship. Kat and Meg may have been forced to do a science project together, but what truly bonded them was their shared love of YouTube gamer LumberLegs. Now for the first portion of the book, neither girl admits to the other their problems, but eventually Kat brings up her anxiety and then Meg brings up her ADHD…and what is great is that each girl understands and respects how those might affect their lives. When Meg sees Kat’s anxiety starting to affect her, she makes her get into basically a blanket burrito so she can feel safe and secure.

I was sincerely amazed by how great this book was, and I very much look forward to seeing what Anna Priemaza comes up with next.

Where to Buy

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

Manga Review: My Hero Academia Vol 1

Hey all, Dani here.

Hello everyone and welcome to the final Monday of November. This month has flown by. I can’t believe that we only have one month left in the year. Anyway, I recently bought a selection of graphic novels and manga because I enjoy having some quick fun reads around, and also my boyfriend wants to get back into reading manga, so this works for both of us. One of the series I decided to pick up to start reading is the one I’m featuring today. Clearly I enjoy superpowered individuals and their stories so I was expecting to enjoy this, and I was right. Let’s just jump into the review.

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Summary

What would the world be like if 80 percent of the population manifested superpowers called “Quirks” at age four? 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?

Middle school student Izuku Midoriya wants to be a hero more than anything, but he hasn’t got an ounce of power in him. With no chance of ever getting into the prestigious U.A. High School for budding heroes, his life is looking more and more like a dead end. Then an encounter with All Might, the greatest hero of them all, gives him a chance to change his destiny…

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

Oh, I suppose I should have started off by saying that my boyfriend and I also watch the anime of this one and we’ve already watched both seasons and are now waiting for news about the release of season 3. So really, reading this volume felt like starting the series over again. But you know what, I still greatly enjoyed it.

Also, it has been a number of years since I last picked up a manga, but the format didn’t slow down my reading at all. For those who aren’t aware, manga is bound up like a standard book, but you read from what is normally thought of as the back all the way up to the front. And you also start at the top right of the page and read to the left before going down to the next set of panels and continuing to read right to left throughout the book. So it can be a bit daunting or confusing in the beginning, but after a while, I think you really get used to it.

It was nice to be introduced to Midoriya again. He is such an adorable nerdy fanboy when it comes to superheroes and I can’t help but like him from the beginning. All he wants to do is to become a hero as well, but he was born without a quirk, which means that pretty much everyone believes that he won’t actually make it anywhere.

But Midoriya is not one to give up. I absolutely love his perseverance. He has been studying and preparing his whole life to become a hero, and one of the first steps is to get into U.A. High School. A random encounter with the top hero, All Might, is what truly sets Midoriya on his path.

Now he has to figure out this new quirk he has been given, all while navigating other issues, like his school nemesis Bakugo, and making friends, and oh yeah, dealing with some pretty powerful villain types.

Basically there is a lot going on in this series and I adore it. I need to start collecting the rest of the volumes so I can devour them as well. Right now there are only 10 volumes out, so I should be able to catch up in no time. And what was really cool about this volume is that in between each of the issues, there is a behind the scenes page where the author/creator talks about certain characters, how they developed, and what it’s like to draw them. I just think that is a really cool addition to toss in. It adds to the reading experience.

Where to Buy

You can pick this lovely volume up on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, Comixology, or your local indie bookstore or probably even your local comic book store.

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.

Review: All’s Faire in Middle School

Hey all, Dani here.

Today I bring you a Middle Grade review, because though I am 29 years old, I still enjoy reading MG books. Plus, this one was really good.

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Summary

The author of Roller Girl is back with a graphic novel about starting middle school, surviving your embarrassing family, and the Renaissance Faire.

Eleven-year-old Imogene (Impy) has grown up with two parents working at the Renaissance Faire, and she’s eager to begin her own training as a squire. First, though, she’ll need to prove her bravery. Luckily Impy has just the quest in mind–she’ll go to public school after a life of being homeschooled! But it’s not easy to act like a noble knight-in-training in middle school. Impy falls in with a group of girls who seem really nice (until they don’t) and starts to be embarrassed of her thrift shop apparel, her family’s unusual lifestyle, and their small, messy apartment. Impy has always thought of herself as a heroic knight, but when she does something really mean in order to fit in, she begins to wonder whether she might be more of a dragon after all.

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

Okay, so I have to start off this review by saying that this is a graphic novel, and I didn’t realize that when I bought it. I still would have bought it regardless, because I like to read comics and graphic novels, but it was a bit of a surprise to flip past the title page and see all the cute art and speech bubbles, etc.

The premise of the story intrigued me. We follow a girl who has been homeschooled her whole life, and her parents work at the Florida Renaissance Faire. Impy has been waiting for the day when she gets to become a squire and do more than just work in her mom’s shoppe. When the queen calls for her and asks what quest she will undertake to prove her bravery so that she may be a squire, Impy decides that it is time to give up homeschooling and try going to middle school.

There she feels a bit out of sorts, and I connected with her as she tried to navigate the school and the cafeteria, and as she tried to make friends. So many times this story made me smile or made me feel upset for certain decisions made by the characters. The pressure to fit in and the pressure to impress friends is one I understood. There is the struggle to keep up with all the schoolwork and the fashion trends and all of the schoolyard gossip. Plus bullying is definitely a factor in this story as well.

More than that is also the family element. Impy doesn’t just have her mom, dad, and little brother. A lot of the regular cast members of the Renaissance Faire are also like family, and I liked how they were around to give Impy advice and to help her with her education, and to scold her when she needed it, but they also supported her at the same time.

I would actually be totally fine if Victoria Jamieson decided to do a sequel to this book. Does Impy stick with middle school or go back to homeschooling? How have things changed after the end of the story?

Personally I thought this was a cute, wonderful, and somewhat geeky story and I devoured it in a little more than an hour. I’m really glad I picked it up, and I’ll definitely look for more reads I might enjoy by the author in the future.

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.