Books!, Calendar Girls, Signal Boost

Calendar Girls: October 2018

Hey all, Dani here.

Welcome back to another month of Calendar Girls. 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. It’s a great way to find new bookish friends, and also possibly add some more books to your TBR.

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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!

Now it is time for the October theme…

Hocus Pocus

Favorite Book with Witches

Oh man…these themes continue to be so wonderful and yet at the same time, that makes it so difficult to choose a top pick.

Again, it is so obvious to think of Harry Potter, but I don’t think it is actually my favorite book with witches, and I have totally read so very many books with magic users in my life. That is another reason why this became such a difficult choice.

So I thought about The Magicians by Lev Grossman, and I thought about Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman. For a brief moment I thought about The Secret Circle by L.J. Smith and Sweep by Cate Tiernan, but they aren’t my favorite book with magic users.

Eventually I had to land on one of my favorite atmospheric reads, a book that is perfect for this time of year. The book I am talking about is one that I own in hardcover, e-book, and audiobook. I have read it a few times, and there is just something about it.

Yes, I know the book I’m about to name is one where some people don’t like it that much. It really seems to be an either love or hate sort of reaction. But this book was simply magical and enchanting to me. The descriptions whisked me away into the tale and I was utterly entranced.

What book am I talking about? Well, here we go. It is time for me to announce my choice for this month’s theme.

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I just love The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Actually, just writing up this post makes me want to go pick up the book and read it again.

Okay, yes, I know that technically the magic users in this book aren’t called by the term witches, but I’m still going to say that it counts. In many fantasy novels and such, the terms of witch, wizard, mage, sorcerer, magus, magician, etc, seem to be used interchangeably.

The format of this story is pretty interesting to me, as it follows both the creation of Le Cirque des Reves, as well as a time many years later, after the circus has been grown and developed quite a bit. I loved exploring the various tents that were created as part of this magicians challenge. Every time I got to open the pages and walk through the Night Circus, I just wanted to keep reading, because I wanted to stay in the world.

Even listening to the audiobook, I was sad when I reached my destination and needed to pause in my listening. Jim Dale does an excellent job narrating the story. For those who don’t know, Jim Dale also narrates the Harry Potter audiobooks. He even does a good job with both British and American accents. It is fantastic.

If you want more of my rambling gushing about this book, feel free to visit the link to my review from my re-read of this book last year.

Anyway, I do think that is all from me for today. Please check out the rest of the Calendar Girls posts to see what they chose, and feel free to join us. This group is not just for ladies; we welcome all kinds of book lovers. I am looking forward to seeing what the theme is for November, and that should be announced in the next week or so.

Thanks for reading everyone. I will be back soon with more bookish content.

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Book Releases, Book Review, Books!, Calendar Girls, Graphic Novel, Manga, Readathon, Signal Boost

August Wrap-Up and September TBR

Hey all, Dani here.

August is over already, and I have been 30 years old for a whole month now. Wow, time just keeps passing by so quickly. Where is my ability to pause time for a bit so I can catch up on all of this reading I need to do? Anyway, August was a pretty productive month, so that was nice.

Of course, when it comes to looking back over the past month, it also shows me just how lazy I have been when it comes to reviews. Over the last few months I have read quite a few books, and yet have only written a handful of reviews. So I need to try and get some more of those prepped up for all of you.

Let’s start with everything I read in the month of August.

Game of Secrets by Kim Foster – 4 stars

Beyond a Darkened Shore by Jessica Leake – 5 stars

My Hero Academia, Vol 14 by Kohei Horikoshi – 5 stars

Dawn of the Arcana, Vol 1 by Rei Toma – 4 stars

Blue Exorcist, Vol 1 by Kazue Kato – 5 stars

Avatar: the Last Airbender: North and South Part One by Gene Luen Yang – 5 stars

Avatar: the Last Airbender: North and South Part Two by Gene Luen Yang – 5 stars

Avatar: the Last Airbender: North and South Part Three by Gene Luen Yang – 5 stars

Blue Exorcist, Vol 2 by Kazue Kato – 5 stars

Blue Exorcist, Vol 3 by Kazue Kato – 5 stars

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows – 5 stars

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken – 3.5 stars

Black Clover, Vol 1 by Yuki Tabata – 4.5 stars

I’m in the middle of reading a book right now. I was hoping to finish it before August ended but that didn’t happen. Still, I’m pretty happy with the number of books I read.

Next up is what I watched in the month of August. I started my month watching Legally Blond while finishing up a costume for Gen Con. It is still a cute and fun movie, and I give it 4 stars. Then we all sat in our hotel room and watched Monsters University, which obviously still gets 5 stars. My fiance and I finished watching Legend of Korra, which I give 5 stars to as well. Then we watched Ready Player One again, and I still have to give the movie 5 stars. I’ll do a multi-format review for the book, audiobook, and movie soon. After that I got to see the Disney movie Bolt for the first time, and I give it 4 stars. Next up was Monty Python and the Holy Grail, which gets 4 stars. Then it was time to watch the cuteness that was To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, which definitely gets 5 stars from me. After that I finally got to see the new-ish Goosebumps movie, which I liked and gave 4 stars to. At the very end of the month I managed to watch The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (4 stars), so I will try to have my review of both book and film up fairly soon.

We are still keeping up with Critical Role Campaign 2, and as always, I am finding the storylines and character development to be really interesting. We are also keeping up with the current season of My Hero Academia, because we are both obsessed with it. Finally we are continuing to try and get me all caught up on Fairy Tail, which is going to take a lot more hours. We’re only on the second season right now, but I am really enjoying it. Oh, and my fiance decided to start watching Black Clover as well. It is an interesting premise, but we are both annoyed by the gratingly loud voice of main character Asta. He really doesn’t have to yell everything, but he pretty much does.

Okay, that’s all for what I watched over the month, so now let’s jump into the book haul and OwlCrate unboxing portions of this post.

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Fun fact…my September book haul is already looking a bit crazy, because my fiance and I went to both Barnes & Noble and Half-Price Books on September 2nd. The deals were just too good, you guys. I regret nothing…but I may need to try and do another book unhaul sometime soon, or at least a reorganization of my bookshelves.

The last portion of this post is the TBR, and as per usual, I should really spend a little time staring at my bookshelves before I try to write these. I need to go figure out what books I’m going to try and read this month. Hmm… Okay, so I think I’ve found a pretty decent list.

And that is all I have for you guys today. Did you have a nice reading month in August? What books are you hoping to read in September? Let’s talk books in the comments. As always, I’ll be back soon with more bookish content.

Books!, Calendar Girls, Signal Boost

Calendar Girls: September 2018

Hey all, Dani here.

Welcome back to another month of Calendar Girls. 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. It’s a great way to find new bookish friends, and also possibly add some more books to your TBR.

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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!

The September theme is…

Back to School
Best Novel Set in a School

Can I just say that I actually miss going back to school around this time of year? I pretty much finished up my schooling at the end of 2011–at least until I can find some way to get my finances in order so I can go back for my doctorate. So I’ve been out of the world of academia for quite a few years now and I just really miss it. I was so much more productive with writing back then.

An obvious choice for this month’s theme would be Harry Potter, so I guess that series will be my first honorable mention. And I suppose I should also say that a part of me wanted to name the Animorphs series, because so much of it does revolve around their school.

Oh, and right now I’m just going to go ahead and toss a couple manga options into the mix. Because they are both series that I really enjoy, and the school portion of the story is actually rather important for both of them. The manga honorable mentions for this theme are My Hero Academia and Blue Exorcist. They are both great series and I definitely recommend them. One follows a school that trains professional superheroes, and the other is a school for exorcists.

Now we come down to the part we’ve all been waiting for…the novel I have selected as my pick for “Best Novel Set in a School.” This was actually a difficult choice for me. There are so many great books out there with schools in them, but I wanted to pick something where the school setting was a huge part of the story.

I spent a good fifteen minutes or so scanning all the books on the shelves of my home library, trying to narrow down my options so I could figure out which novel to select. I was tempted to choose Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead, or The Magicians by Lev Grossman. But ultimately, I decided on something else.

Though many of these have interesting school settings, or have a spotlight on learning or being at school, over all there was one book that I read last year that felt so much like being in school for me, so it has to be my choice for this month’s theme.

That book is Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia.

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Eliza is the creator of a massively popular web comic, but nobody at school knows. That is, until the number one fanfiction writer of her comic transfers to her school and they become friends because of their shared fondness for the web comic. Of course the fanfiction writer has no idea that Eliza is the creator.

To me, this book just reminded me so much of being a student in school. Yes, I love academia, and I pretty much always enjoyed my classes. But in many ways I didn’t exactly feel like I fit in or that I belonged. Yes, I had some friends from band, and most of my friends were geeks too. But I didn’t start being an open and proud geek until just a few years ago, when I decided to just be myself and not care if people found me odd. So I relate to Eliza on a number of levels.

Plus, when I was in high school, not only did I spend a lot of time reading, but I also spent a lot of time writing stories and posting my chapters up on fictionpress. So this book is near and dear to my heart, and I feel like sometimes escaping into a fantasy world is all you can do to endure the social aspect of school.

You can find my review of this book here, and I definitely recommend it if you haven’t read it already.

Whew, okay. Now I just have to wait until the October theme is announced…and then I can once again stare at all the books in my library and try to figure out which ones are just honorable mentions, and which one will be my pick for the month. Oh, and wait for the Calendar Girls Twitter chat and all the other fun social media interactions.

That is all for today. Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll be back soon with more bookish content (specifically my August Wrap-Up and September TBR tomorrow).

Books!, Calendar Girls, Signal Boost

Calendar Girls: August 2018

Hey all, Dani here.

So, at the end of last year I told myself that in 2018 I was going to join the Calendar Girls, because I loved the posts, and had found some great new blogs because of the monthly meme. But then Calendar Girls went on hiatus, so it changed up a few of my planned posts for the year. Now though, Calendar Girls has found a new home, and today is the first month  of the meme. This was originally created by Flavia and Melanie, and is now being hosted by Katie at Never Not Reading and Adrienne at Darque Dreams Reader. So, feel free to go check out all of their blogs, because they are all wonderful ladies.

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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 I 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!

Dog Days of Summer
Best Novel Set in Summer

The theme for August is Dog Days of Summer, and we are supposed to select our best/favorite novel set in summer.

Before I get into my choice for this month, I first want to include a couple honorable mentions, and both are actually series. First is The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series. These books came around while I was in high school, so I related to them quite a bit, and they were nice quick summer reads. And then the fifth book was released years later while I was in grad school, so once again, I really felt like I understood all of the characters. I still own these books, and talking about them now makes me want to reread the whole series.

My second honorable mention is the Percy Jackson series. With the exception of I believe one book, these all start at the end of the school year and then lead Percy to his summer at Camp Half-Blood. I discovered these books in the summer after my first year of college, but I couldn’t help but be sucked into the story thanks to all of the wonderful mythology and adventure within the pages. The fact that I am still a huge Rick Riordan fan (at the age of 30) is a testament to how great his books are, regardless of your age.

All right, I guess now it is time to reveal my actual choice for Best Novel Set in Summer. This one took a little bit of thought and debate, but in the end, I couldn’t help but pick this fun contemporary read that I flew through, even though it was over 500 pages long.

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My choice is The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson, and I talked about this book as one of my favorite reads in 2016, as well as in my Contemporary Recommendations post. But I guess I never actually wrote a review post for this one. Hmm…I may have to reread it so I can refresh my memory on the book before I write up a nice review.

But anyway, this story follows Andie, who has everything all planned out for her summer, including a nice internship that will help her with preparing for her future. But then a political scandal around her dad changes everything and she has to scramble to figure out a new plan for the summer. This ends up including a job as a dog walker, and meeting the adorable geek Clark.

I flew through this book, and I enjoyed the way the relationship developed between Andie and Clark, as well as watching the growing and changing relationship dynamic between Andie and her dad. Plus, in true Morgan Matson fashion, there are little cameos from her previous books in this one, because all of the books take place in the same area. (Andie and Clark end up making an appearance in Matson’s newest book release, Save the Date).

But when it comes to books set in summer/released in summer/read in summer, I tend to go for ones that are quick reads. Sometimes they are cutesy contemporary reads like this one, and sometimes they are filled with magic and adventure.


I do believe that is all for today. The announcement of the September Calendar Girls theme should be up on Katie’s and Adrienne’s blogs next week. Thanks for reading and I’ll see you soon with more bookish content.