Book Releases, Book Review, Book Tag, Books!, Conventions, Cover Reveal, Graphic Novel, Manga, NaNoWriMo, NetGalley, Readathon, Reading Challenge, Recommendations, Signal Boost, TBR Purge, Writing

The Road So Far (2)

Hey all, Dani here.

Why mess with the tradition I started last year? I might as well keep using the awesome “Supernatural” reference for my retrospective over the last year. You can find my overview of 2016 here.

Today also happens to be my 2 year blogaversary. I started this blog in 2016 to help me cope with my paternal grandmother’s death. Well, technically that was the catalyst for starting it; I had been thinking of starting up a blog again for a while because I needed to talk about books with someone.

2017 was such a rollercoaster year for me, and yet, looking back I wouldn’t change any of the lows I went through. Not only because the highs really kept me afloat, but also because the lows allowed me to fully understand how great the highs were.

Anyway, in January I found out that I was approved for the vacation days from work that would allow me to go to Book Expo and BookCon. Though I knew I was going alone, I knew that I would have a fun time surrounded by other book lovers and getting to check out a bunch of upcoming releases.

Also in January, my parents separated after 30 years together, and started the process of getting a divorce. The drama and issues from this event would send shockwaves through roughly 2/3 of the year.

I lost myself in books, both reading them and buying them. I pushed myself to work more on my blog, and to start interacting more with other members of the book community. It was the start to me really feeling like a good book blogger. But in those early months it was also the way I had to cope with what was happening in my life. Well, my books and Dungeons & Dragons.

It was Dungeons & Dragons that introduced me to the man who I would start dating in April. As it turns out this would be the event that helped me get through everything else. Admittedly, I know some people in my real life got annoyed with how much I gushed about my guy and how great things were. I can’t help it that my life started to feel like I was part of a romance story.

After my trip to NYC for Book Expo and BookCon, my blog really started to take off. I reached 100 followers, and later in the year 200. I’m not sure when follower 250 came around, but it might have been just before 2017 ended. So thank you to each and every one of you who has joined me in this process. You are all amazing.

Even with my work and my relationship, I somehow managed to still keep up with all of my reading and blogging, and actually I started having posts go up every single day, something I never would have thought I would be able to do.

I participated in quite a few readathons over the course of the year, from both sessions of Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathons, to a few other assorted events. All in all I think those helped me connect with more of you, and to read a bunch more books. The 24 Hour events always seem much more successful to me than the week long events, but I still keep trying with them. Hey, any excuse to read more, right?

I rekindled my fondness for manga in 2017, and I can honestly say that I am devouring so many of them. My list of manga reviews waiting to be written up is getting decently long.

Oh, and my boyfriend and I were able to go to Indianapolis in August with another friend of ours for a one day pass to Gen Con, which is a gaming convention. There we were able to get a lot of books, dice, and games, as well as to meet the cast of Critical Role. It was a really fun day.

For the 12th time I participated in NaNoWriMo, and managed to earn my 12th win, but I realize that the novel that came out is mostly incoherent. With any luck I’ll be able to start from scratch and re-write the book in 2018. I’d actually love to be able to share it with the world. And it would be nice to really get back into writing (and possibly publishing) again.

And I managed to do a TBR purge and go through a list of well of 800 books on Goodreads, taking it down to just over 400 books. I imagine this will be something I’ll have to do again soon, but I still feel pretty good with where I’m at now.

But, the greatest event of 2017 was towards the end of December. On Friday, December 22nd, on a day when we thankfully had a shutdown day at work, my boyfriend and I went shopping at Barnes & Noble where he both bought more books than me and spent more money than me. You guys, that rarely happens. You’ve seen my typical book hauls. I usually get a heck of a lot of books.

After that shopping trip, we made our way to the zoo, where we walked around for a couple hours, looking at all of the animals and then also checking out the massive holiday light display they put up each year. And it was while sitting on a bench overlooking Conservation Lake at the zoo, that my wonderful boyfriend sank down on one knee and asked me to marry him. It was honestly just like a scene out of a Hallmark channel holiday movie, and I so look forward to seeing what our future will be like.

I hope you all had some moments of 2017 that were really nice as well, and I hope that we all have a very nice 2018.

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Book Releases, Book Review, Books!, Conventions, Cover Reveal, Self-Published Books, Signal Boost

Cover Reveal and Review: Waterworld Vol 1 by Rachel E Kelly

Hey all, Dani here.

I am super excited today to get to reveal the cover and give an early review for the next installment in one of my all-time favorite book series. It was at Wizard World Ohio Comic Con in Oct/Nov 2014 that I was first introduced to the Colorworld series. At the time they were only a couple months away from the release of the third book and they were still just getting started with the convention tour.

I was quickly pulled into the story and the adventures of the characters, and from that one of the best friendships in my life began to form. Since then I have worked two conventions with Colorworld Books, and have been lucky enough to read Shadoworld and Dreamworld early (and now Waterworld).

I will be completely honest right now when I say that I am a part of Team Colorworld and am one of the copy editors for the books. But I don’t let that get in the way of my thoughts and opinions of the books. But thank you to Rachel Kelly for allowing me to be a part of the Colorworld story and journey, and for sending me digital copies of the books to read for review.

You can find the rest of my reviews for this series at these links: Colorworld, Teleworld, Lumaworld, Shadoworld, and Dreamworld.

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Summary

At Soldier Field in front of sixty-thousand, Gabe Dumas of The Human Movement (THM) delivered a gripping charge against Wendy Whitley of the Guild. To everyone watching, she conceded more than just the stage that day when she waived her speaking slot. No one knew what had happened behind the scenes, that Gabe’s plan to aid California was a result of a private communication between him and Whitley. No one realized that what appeared to be a widening of the gap between Whitley and Dumas was actually both THM and the Guild’s first acts of concession.

This wasn’t the only game-changing event happening behind the scenes in Chicago. That same day, unbeknownst to Wendy or Gabe, Ezra Whitley was enacting his own plan, demonstrating a power that, until then, everyone had thought was impossible. Moments after Gabe Dumas spoke his closing words, “Let us show them and ourselves what can be accomplished when Humans move!” the skies opened and rain drenched everyone inside the stadium… but not a single person outside of it.

This is Ezra’s story.

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

First off, let’s talk about the cover. I was wondering what sort of cover we would get after the gorgeousness that was Dreamworld. I was hoping for some more white, because only Colorworld had that distinction and every other book has had slightly varied shades of black. So I was glad to see that this cover has some white and then I love the swirl of color from the bubble.

Second, let’s talk about how this particular book will be different from the others. Dreamworld was a massive book, and I loved every minute of it. But Waterworld probably would have been longer, as it covers 6 different POVs that interconnect a bit and everything will all converge by the end. But trying to get those individual stories positioned properly in one book can be difficult. So a decision was made, and now each one will come out as an individual volume. Then, after all six are out then a collected volume will be released known as The Six, and it will have all of them combined in one book.

So, basically, my Colorworld Books shelf in my library is going to expand greatly in the coming months. The Illustrated version of Dreamworld should be out this year, and I do believe the comic book should start being released sometime soon as well.

Wow, okay, so I’ve been blathering in this review section for a few paragraphs already and I haven’t actually started the review. This was a fun and interesting installment. It basically covers what Ezra was going through during the events of Dreamworld, and then the last several chapters take us past the end of the last book, which was really cool.

I like Ezra as a character; I have since the very beginning. He is such a wonderful geeky fanboy, and the way he supports Wendy’s “superhero” training and efforts is awesome. Also, he is known to have some clever and hilarious lines. But I don’t feel like he was as witty in this particular story…which honestly makes complete sense considering the situation he finds himself in. Though, I was highly amused whenever Ezra wanted advice from Gabe and so he started imagining what Gabe would say. Ezra did a rather good job at imitating Gabe.

This story is also heavily influenced by my absolute favorite character of this whole series. It has been a little while since I last read some of these books and I have missed the wisdom of Uncle Moby.

Oh, and watching Ezra’s math ability at work, as well as watching it grow and develop was pretty darn awesome. Yes, everyone, Ezra’s superpower is math, and I think that is wonderfully fantastic.

So basically, I yet again enjoyed reading the latest installment in this series and I cannot wait to see what other POVs we get. I’m betting one of them will be Kaylen and that is a story I have immensely been looking forward to.

Where to Buy

Right now you can pre-order Waterworld Vol 1 directly from Colorworld Books. This book is expected to be released on December 31, 2018.

On or after release day, you will be able to buy the book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

I will always recommend buying from Colorworld Books, because then you can have lovely signed editions on your shelves.

Book Review, Books!, Conventions, Signal Boost

Review: The Geek’s Guide to Dating by Eric Smith

Hey all, Dani here.

This book was an impulse buy for me while I was at BookExpo this year. The cover looked cool and the concept sounded interesting. Did it matter that at the time I saw this book I was already two months into an amazingly geeky romance with my boyfriend? Not at all. I thought he would be amused by the book as well. It is all sorts of tidbits and advice for a player one looking for that compatible player two.

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Summary

You keep your action figures in their original packaging. Your bedsheets are officially licensed Star Wars merchandise. You’re hooked on Elder Scrolls and Metal Gear but now you’ve discovered an even bigger obsession: the new girl who just moved in down the hall. What’s a geek to do? Take some tips from Eric Smith in The Geek’s Guide to Dating. This hilarious primer leads geeks of all ages through the perils and pitfalls of meeting women, going on dates, getting serious, breaking up, and establishing a successful lifelong relationship (hint: it’s time to invest in new bedsheets). Full of whimsical 8-bit illustrations, The Geek’s Guide to Dating will teach fanboys everywhere to love long and prosper.

My Thoughts

Rating: 4 stars

Now I’ll start this review off by stating that this book is more specifically targeted towards a geek guy looking for a girl (geek or non-geek), but honestly I feel like most of the tips could be applicable to geek girls looking for a guy as well. The obvious exception being the tip about trimming up the beard, but anyway. The beginning of this book even acknowledges that the author is a man and so is writing from that perspective and he wouldn’t want to assume how a woman would think or feel in each situation so that is why it is not written as a more gender neutral book.

Still, I thought the format was cute, and the 8-bit graphics throughout were adorable. I highly recommend getting the hardcover and taking the dust jacket off, because it is a beautiful naked hardback.

There are sections about approaching and starting conversation with this potential player two, planning for the first date, planning beyond the first date, and even a leveling up the relationship section (which also includes a brief segment on dealing with heartbreak should the relationship end).

Considering where I am in my life and my relationship, most of this book did not apply to me, but I can see merit in the clean simple way the information is presented. And yes, several of the tips also talk about a respectful reining in on your geeky passions so as not to overwhelm or scare off your date. Luckily I found someone just as geeky as myself who actually enjoys seeing how love of a fandom excites me. Granted, I also enjoy seeing him geek out over things as well. So if you’re lucky enough to be able to let your geek pride fly free, then you have really hit the jackpot.

So yes, I would have liked there to have been more about the intricacies of inter-geek relationships, because a lot of the book seemed to imply that the partner you find wouldn’t be quite so geeky, but otherwise I enjoyed this.

At BookExpo I may have also bought a similar book, but geared towards geek parenting. So thank you Quirk Books for having titles that called out to me, just wanting to be read. I appreciate that you have several geeky titles in your arsenal. It makes my geek girl heart very happy.

Where to Buy

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

Book Review, Books!, Conventions, Inspiration, Signal Boost, Writing

Review: Writing With Style: An Editor’s Advice for RPG Writers by Ray Vallese

Hey all, Dani here.

Today’s review is an interesting one, because it is a non-fiction book that is actually a grammar/style guide for writing up books for role playing games. Considering that I spend a lot of time with my boyfriend brainstorming and planning out the world and magic and overall story for our campaigns for both D&D 5th Edition and for Pathfinder, this seemed like a book that could be helpful for us.

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Summary

A Style Guide with Style

Writing With Style: An Editor’s Advice for RPG Writers presents 45 pages of concise tips on simple ways to make your roleplaying game writing cleaner and clearer. This guide doesn’t show you how to structure adventures, build stat blocks, or create worlds. Instead, Ray Vallese looks at some of the most common and easily fixable grammar and style issues he’s encountered in over twenty years of editing RPGs.

Rookie freelancers, industry veterans, and self-publishers alike can benefit from this (mostly) jargon-free guide, which addresses such topics as:

Recasting passive voice into active voice (and when you might not want to)
Dangling participles and other misplaced modifiers
Gender-specific and gender-neutral language
Commonly confused words, empty words, and clichés to avoid
Choice and possibility in player character actions
Final things to check before submitting your manuscript
Tighten and polish your text with these quick and easy tips!

My Thoughts

Rating: 4 stars

This book gave me serious flashbacks to school. It was a whole 45 pages of grammar logistics. There were basically four pages alone going over common word swaps and homonyms. You know, the kind of mistakes that won’t be caught by the spelling and grammar check in Microsoft Word because the “misspellings” are actually words as well.

I can see this being a very helpful resource for attempts at writing up any of our stories into an RPG format. And again, as it is only 45 pages, it did not take long at all to read it. Now, I will say that most of the book was not quite as useful for me, especially when it reminded the reader to look at the style guides used by each company you plan to pitch your idea to. Having a degree in literature and also having worked for four years on my university’s newspaper, I am quite familiar with the popular style guides: MLA, APA, Chicago, AP. Also, being a writer and researching traditional publication paths, I already know that you should research a company before approaching them with a query or submission so you know what requirements they have. But for the average person these bits of advice are very helpful.

I actually appreciate the concise nature of this book though. After writing out an entire book or a campaign for an RPG, the last thing a writer would want to do is struggle through a lengthy and/or complicated book on writing and editing for RPGs.

What I think will be useful for me now is a book about the actual writing and plotting of a campaign book, as that seems to be something my boyfriend and I might be interested in attempting soon. So, if you have any recommendations on that topic, feel free to share them with me in the comments below.

Where to Buy

You can pick up a copy of this book from Open Gaming Store or RPG Now.

Books!, Conventions, Inspiration, Signal Boost

Gen Con Wrap Up

Hey all, Dani here.

This past weekend was a crazy yet fun weekend of reveling in being a geek. Okay, I guess I should be specific and say that Saturday was a day filled with thousands of other geeks all trying to stock up on games and more in Indianapolis for Gen Con.

For those who don’t know, Gen Con is a gaming convention that started back in 1967 and was originally held in Wisconsin. Since 2003 though, it has been held in Indy and is scheduled to remain there at least through 2021. It brings together many companies and designers and such to celebrate gaming. There are panels and demos and such at the Indianapolis Convention Center, but there are also events going on in hotels and other buildings around the city, so that it is actually 4 complete days of gaming. Yes, you can find wonderful geeks playing games any time of day or night during the convention.

While I was in Indy during the weekend of Gen Con in 2016, I was there for a Dungeons & Dragons live stream, not for the convention itself. So this year was my first experience at this particular Con, and I was lucky enough to attend with my boyfriend and one of our other geek friends.

We woke up at 6:00 am on Saturday morning, loaded our things into our rental car and set off for the 3.5 hour drive to Indianapolis. After a pit stop at an IHOP for breakfast, and checking in at our hotel, we drove towards the convention center, parked the car at one of the many parking garages, and headed into the Con.

It was packed! Seriously, getting around the exhibitor hall was sometimes a bit of a struggle. Then again, this was the big 50th year of Gen Con. We did manage to see quite a few awesome booths, and collected a few business cards for the places we plan to shop from in the coming months, and of course we did buy quite a few supplies for D&D and Pathfinder. (And yes, I bought myself 7 new sets of dice. Did I need them? Not really. I already owned like 14 sets. But I wanted them and they looked really cool. Also, the one set is actually gemstone, turquoise to be specific).

When we were at the Lone Wolf Development booth, which also featured displays for Syrinscape and Kobold Press, we were actually approached by one of the new guys on the crew and he told my boyfriend and I that if we had any ideas for a book or a campaign to get in contact with him and pitch the idea. That naturally led to he and I exchanging business cards. So that was pretty cool.

We also made sure to stop at the booth for Green Ronin Publishing, and grabbed our pre-ordered copies of the Tal’Dorei Campaign Setting book based on the show Critical Role.

After several hours of wandering the floor and hauling bags that got heavier as we added more and more merch, it was time for us to go to Lucas Oil Stadium for the Critical Role signing. So we dropped our bags off at the car, grabbed a quick drink at Starbucks, and then headed over to a football stadium to wait in line for a few hours.

Waiting in line actually wasn’t that bad, honestly. Because we had purchased tickets in advance, the three of us were able to sit in the stands, and the Gen Con staff brought us down one row at a time to go through the signing line.

I know a bit about sports, but obviously I am not a huge follower of them. But I will say that it was so awesome to see the home of the Indianapolis Colts filled with geeks playing board games and talking about geeky things.

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Now, I had met most of the Critical Role cast last year during my trip to the live show, but Liam O’Brien was absent then. This year he was there, but Ashley Johnson wasn’t due to filming for the show “Blindspot.” So I was able to get Liam’s signature in my Player’s Handbook, completing my set. I also was able to get everyone to sign my Tal’Dorei Campaign Setting book.

And because the cast are amazing people and actually spent a minute or so talking with each of us, I was able to tell Matthew Mercer, the Dungeon Master for the show the story of my boyfriend and I getting together. You see, we met playing Dungeons & Dragons, with me as a player and my boyfriend as the Dungeon Master. But more than that, when we had our first date, I introduced him to the Mythica series of movies, and we watched all five of them on that date. This is relevant because Matthew Mercer played Szorlok, the villain in the series. And Matt being the amazingly big-hearted geek that he is, feels so touched when he hears stories like that.

Oh, and when I talked to Sam Riegel (who plays bard Scanlan Shorthalt in the show) again, I actually gave him a copy of a book I thought he’d enjoy. The book in question: Pop Sonnets. It is a collection of popular songs that have been turned into Shakespearean sonnets. What was really cool about that interaction was that Sam said he would use it for inspiration. See, bards have an ability where they can inspire other characters by playing music, singing songs, reciting poems, etc. And in the past Sam has used poetry books and books of jokes, so it’s entirely possible that he might use my gifted book on the show.

The cast (from left to right): Travis Willingham, Laura Bailey, Sam Riegel, Liam O’Brien, Marisha Ray, Taliesin Jaffe, and Matthew Mercer.

Needless to say it was an absolutely wonderful and geeky day, and myself, my boyfriend, and our friend are already planning to go for all 4 days of the convention in 2018.

Book Releases, Book Review, Books!, Conventions, Inspiration, NaNoWriMo, NetGalley, Reading Challenge, Self-Published Books, Signal Boost, Writing

AMA Answer Time!

Hey all, Dani here.

Thank you so much to Michelle and Elaina, who each asked me a question over the past few days. I really appreciate it. Let’s not waste any time with introductions. I’m jumping into the answers right now.

michelleltaylor94 asked: What are your must reads right now?

I think there’s two possible answers here: the must reads I can recommend for you all to read, and the must reads meaning books that I desperately need to read right now. For the first part, my go-to recommendations include: Dreamworld by Rachel E. Kelly, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, and The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers. To answer the second part: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee, The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell, and The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss are all books that I really want and need to read soon.

Elaina Lucy asked: What is the number one book that you’ve read that has the deepest emotional hold on you? It could be either that the book itself is amazing, or for other reasons (a gift from someone special, the first book you ever read, etc).

Wow, this is a fabulous question, and I’d love to know how all of you would answer it as well. Okay, so I’m going to try not to constantly answer with the same books, so I’m actually going to go with a non-fiction choice: You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day. This book was so lovely and inspirational for me. Follow that up with getting to meet her during her book tour for the paperback release (Yes, I own a first edition hardcover, and a first edition paperback of this book) and this book will always hold a special place in my heart. Meeting Felicia Day, considering how long I’ve followed her awesome nerdy career and how much I loved the book, is definitely one of the top moments of my life. You can read more about my fangirling and the signing at these links.

This was a fun idea, and I’ll probably try this again in the future, but if at any time you have a question, feel free to ask. I’m pretty much an open book.

Just for fun though, I’ll also throw in a few random fun facts about me, because I know sometimes people probably wonder about it.

Danielle Thamasa is a pen name. I chose it by taking all the letters from my legal birth name and rearranging the letters. (Okay, fine. I had to add in an extra ‘l’ and ‘e’ or else I would have been Daniel). I’ve been using this name for book related things on the internet for around a decade now so I answer to Dani as easily as I do my birth name.

Some of my other hobbies include board games, RPGs (like D&D, Pathfinder, Fantasy AGE, etc), LARPing, comic and gaming conventions, photography, ghost hunting, and traveling (though I don’t do as much as I’d like).

I’ve started watching anime and I’m enjoying it so far. I’m into My Hero Academia, Fairy Tail, Death Note, Trigun, and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. When I was younger I watched Sailor Moon, Cardcaptor Sakura, and Fullmetal Alchemist, and in college I watched Inuyasha because of my roommate.

I’ve already surpassed my original reading challenge goal on Goodreads. I started the year with a goal of reading 75 books, but now my goal is 100 because I have finished 77 books so far.

Okay, well that’s all for now. Tomorrow I’ll be talking about my time in Indianapolis over the weekend for Gen Con 50.

Books!, Conventions, Self-Published Books, Signal Boost, Writing

Ask Me Anything!

Hey all, Dani here.

I have been posting to this blog for almost two years now, which is awesome and a little crazy. In that time I’ve shared a lot of posts about books and other nerdy interests. And in the past few months I have watched as my comment counts and my follower counts rise and rise. Thank you for joining me here.

Anyway, I feel like sometimes it is good to take a step back and just chat. The book community is great and we spend a decent amount of time talking to each other.

With that in mind, I’m going to offer you lovely people the chance to ask me anything at all…about me, my writing, my reading, my hobbies, literally anything. Have you wondered how I came up with my pen name? How I choose books to read? Here’s your chance to ask whatever you’d like.

I’ll take questions from now until end of day Sunday, August 20th. Then I’ll have my answer post up on Monday the 21st.

Let’s spend some more time getting to know each other.


Oh, and this weekend I’m traveling to Indianapolis with my boyfriend and another friend of ours, to attend Gen Con. Sadly we can only make it for one day on Saturday, but it should be a great time, and I’ll be picking up a couple gaming books and some other gaming accessories and such, plus I’ll be getting the Critical Role cast to sign my new hardcover copy of the Tal’Dorei Campaign Setting book. So I’ll have a fun little convention wrap up post coming as well.

Book Releases, Book Review, Books!, Conventions, Signal Boost

Review: Click’d by Tamara Ireland Stone

Hey all, Dani here.

I’ll be honest and admit that I have several middle grade book reviews coming in the next couple weeks. There were quite a few at BookExpo and BookCon that just sounded really cute. Now, today’s review is for an author that first came on my radar because of her time travel duology, but it was her YA contemporary that I truly loved. Her next release is her first middle grade book and I made sure that I made it to her signing so I could get a signed ARC for Click’d.

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Summary

Allie Navarro can’t wait to show her best friends the app she built at CodeGirls summer camp. CLICK’D pairs users based on common interests and sends them on a fun (and occasionally rule-breaking) scavenger hunt to find each other. And it’s a hit. By the second day of school, everyone is talking about CLICK’D.

Watching her app go viral is amazing. Leaderboards are filling up! Everyone’s making new friends. And with all the data Allie is collecting, she has an even better shot at beating her archenemy, Nathan, at the upcoming youth coding competition. But when Allie discovers a glitch that threatens to expose everyone’s secrets, she has to figure out how to make things right, even if that means sharing the computer lab with Nathan. Can Allie fix her app, stop it from doing any more damage, and win back the friends it hurt-all before she steps on stage to present CLICK’D to the judges?

New York Times best-selling author Tamara Ireland Stone combines friendship, coding, and lots of popcorn in her fun and empowering middle-grade debut.

My Thoughts

Rating: 4 stars

This was a cute book, and a fast read. I like that it has a focus on girls interested in STEM fields of study; we need more of that in the world.

However, this book just didn’t grip me as fully as Stone’s previous novel. Every Last Word has had a lasting impact on my heart and mind. I still find myself thinking of it, and I only read it the one time. And yes, this is Stone’s first middle grade novel, and I think the next installment will probably still be a good read, but I could not rate it higher than 4 stars.

I need to talk about Allie and Nathan and the Games for Good competition. This book covers a week of time leading up to this contest. And basically on the first day back to school their teacher has them present their projects to the rest of the computer technology/coding class. Nathan’s project/game is set up so that you can build virtual homes and while doing that, sponsors for the game will end up donating money to build real homes for Habitat for Humanity. Then Allie presents her game and it is a scavenger hunt to make new friends. While yes, friendship is admirable and can do good for the world, I definitely feel like Nathan’s game does tangible good in the world.

I will say that I liked the idea of this story, and I liked that a decent portion of it focused on Alli and her friends, and how this game affected their friendship. The friendships and drama of middle school can be so volatile and changing, so it was nice to see that portrayed in the book.

Overall, I would recommend this book, and I did enjoy it, but I have read a number of really great stories this year and that does tend to affect ratings.

Where to Buy

You can pre-order Click’d from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore. It hits shelves on September 5, 2017.

Book Releases, Book Review, Books!, Conventions, Signal Boost

Review: All Rights Reserved by Gregory Scott Katsoulis

Hey all, Dani here.

Today is the last day to vote for my reads for the Make Me Read It Readathon. The poll closes at midnight so please go here and vote now.

I am so excited about today’s review. This book blew me away, and I had not even heard of it before going to BookExpo. I guess I’ll start this post with a quick little storytime. It was the first full day of BookExpo and I had just gotten out of Maggie Stiefvater’s line and made my way to the other side of the hall to get in line for Zenith by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings. I was lucky enough to get ticket #98 out of 100. Well, seated at the signing table before I reached Sasha and Lindsay was Mr. Katsoulis with his book, and I was asked if I would like a copy of his book as well. Still knowing nothing about it I said sure and was quickly given a nice signed ARC. Upon checking out the book a few minutes later, man, did the book synopsis sound so darn interesting. To the point where I read this book in June despite it having a late August release date.

So there, that’s my random little storytime for you. This book is so good and it definitely ranks as one of my top reads of 2017.

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Summary

In a world where every word and gesture is copyrighted, patented or trademarked, one girl elects to remain silent rather than pay to speak, and her defiant and unexpected silence threatens to unravel the very fabric of society.

Speth Jime is anxious to deliver her Last Day speech and celebrate her transition into adulthood. The moment she turns fifteen, Speth must pay for every word she speaks (“Sorry” is a flat ten dollars and a legal admission of guilt), for every nod ($0.99/sec), for every scream ($0.99/sec) and even every gesture of affection. She’s been raised to know the consequences of falling into debt, and can’t begin to imagine the pain of having her eyes shocked for speaking words that she’s unable to afford.

But when Speth’s friend Beecher commits suicide rather than work off his family’s crippling debt, she can’t express her shock and dismay without breaking her Last Day contract and sending her family into Collection. Backed into a corner, Speth finds a loophole: rather than read her speechrather than say anything at allshe closes her mouth and vows never to speak again. Speth’s unexpected defiance of tradition sparks a media frenzy, inspiring others to follow in her footsteps, and threatens to destroy her, her family and the entire city around them.

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

I’ll be completely honest. This world absolutely terrified me. As someone who is a reader and a writer, having that massive disconnect from words is just something I never want to try and wrap my mind around. The fact that starting at the age of 15 you are charged for every single word you say and every gesture you make, is just an absolute tragedy.

This is a world where basically everything has been copyrighted and trademarked and so you have to pay the rights holder for using their word or gesture or whatever. Also, starting at 15 everyone wears a wrist cuff that keeps track of your words and gestures and charges you accordingly.

I think what is most horrifying is that practically every single person in this world is so sue crazy. Oh, someone said something you don’t like or they did something that you don’t approve of. No problem. You can send out an instant lawsuit via your cuff. The reality is that I see so many articles online in the current day with people suing others or suing companies left and right. This is a future that could happen, and I hope I never see it come about. I would not want to live in a world where I am billed for smiling or holding hands or hugging or kissing. I would not want to exist in a world where our freedom of speech has been stripped away and replaced with paying for every word.

So for me this felt like a scary possible future, and yet I was so interested in Speth’s story and how she found this tiny loophole in the system that ended up starting something nobody expected at first. It was interesting to read a book where the main character stops having dialogue after the first chapter or two. Everyone else tries to talk to her but because of her vow to not speak and because she can’t even use gestures to communicate, it is difficult for Speth to navigate the world. She can’t get into certain buildings; she can’t hold a job. So many activities in the world require a person to accept the terms and conditions, which of course requires verbal consent.

It was fascinating to follow this story and to see how everything unfolded.

This book was outstanding and it kind of makes me sad that I did not see this pop up in more BEA/BookCon book hauls from BookTubers. This is a story I think everyone needs to read; it would definitely make an interesting addition to school curricula across the nation. Just do yourself a favor and read this book.

Where to Buy

You can pre-order your own copy of All Rights Reserved from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore. This amazing book hits shelves on August 29, 2017.

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Review: They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

Hey all, Dani here.

Today I am pleased to bring you an early review for one of my most highly anticipated book releases of 2017. I love Adam Silvera’s books, and after hearing about this book I absolutely had to know just how true the title was.

So naturally as soon as I got my hands on an ARC during BookExpo, I had to read it…as in I had finished this book before BookCon wrapped. That would have been too early for a review so here we go. Yes, I wrote and then scheduled this post back in mid-June.

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Summary

New York Times bestselling author Adam Silvera reminds us that there’s no life without death and no love without loss in this devastating yet uplifting story about two people whose lives change over the course of one unforgettable day.

On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure—to live a lifetime in a single day.

In the tradition of Before I Fall and If I Stay, They Both Die at the End is a tour de force from acclaimed author Adam Silvera, whose debut, More Happy Than Not, the New York Times called “profound.”

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

Adam Silvera’s books just draw me in and I can’t put them down…or if I do put them down it does not take that long before I have to pick it up to read more. In 2016 when I received an ARC for History is All You Left Me in June, despite the book coming out in January 2017, I intended to only read a couple chapters and then put the book aside for a few months so it would be closer to the release day. Instead I had the book finished within a day.

It was basically the same with this latest novel. I wrote down all the ARCs I received at BookExpo and BookCon and pretty much decided to read them in order of publication date, just to make things simple. Yeah, right. I could not help myself. I was pulled towards They Both Die at the End, and so I just ignored the rest of my massive new TBR stack and dove in.

I was not at all disappointed by this book. It made me smile, and get cute little warm fuzzies, but there were also times where I was worried for the characters, and yes, of course there were also some points where I cried. Following Mateo and Rufus on the day they receive their call from Death-Cast was a roller coaster ride of emotions. And okay, fine, I admit it that I was already tearing up at the very beginning of the book when I read a letter from Adam about the writing of this book.

This was a beautiful tale and both boys had such unique voices. I also liked that there were interludes where we were given glimpses of rather minor characters who might have interacted briefly with the young men or just happened to be in the same vicinity at that particular time. It made for a different kind of story layout and I very much enjoyed it.

I really don’t want to say too much about this book because I don’t want to risk spoilers, but I will just say that it was a phenomenal read. There were a couple times where I thought I had figured out an intriguing possible plot twist, only to later learn that I was completely wrong.

So do both Mateo and Rufus die at the end? Now why would you expect me to answer that question. Go order a copy of this book for yourself and then you can find out how appropriate or inappropriate the title is. Seriously, I just highly recommend this book. Adam Silvera has definitely made it onto my auto-buy author list.

Where to Buy

You can pre-order a copy of They Both Die at the End from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore. This book will be released September 5th, 2017.