Book Releases, Books!, Graphic Novel, Manga, Readathon, Reading Challenge, Signal Boost

What I’m Reading (26)

Hey all, Dani here.

Okay, so this week I am proud to say that I have made a lot of progress when it comes to reading. August is starting to look like a productive reading month. And I hope to continue this pace over the next few weeks, so we’ll just see what happens.

And since I have been doing these weekly reading updates, I probably won’t be doing a Manga Madness Readathon post. You’ll get part of my reading progress today and then the rest will be in next week’s post.

All right, and with that I think I’m ready to jump in and talk about all the books I’ve finished reading in the past week.

Whew…that was a lot of books. Okay, yes, so many of these are manga or comic book/graphic novels. But still. It has actually been a pretty busy week. My fiance and I ended up buying Diablo III for our PS4 and we have been spending a lot of our non work time playing the game. I am really enjoying it, but I wish we could find more similar games that are multiplayer (without us needing to buy another TV/PS4/etc). We like playing together but a vast majority of non-PvP games are single player.

Anyway, let’s just move on to my current reads. I’m still trying to squeeze in as many volumes of manga as I can before the readathon ends this Friday, so naturally I am reading more of that. But I also picked up a book at the grocery store and I have read about 70 pages of it over the past few days as well…just so I can watch the movie on Netflix, because it looks pretty good too.

Reading Blue Exorcist just makes me want to watch the anime again, which isn’t the worst thing, because I rather liked it, and I’m sure I would pick up on more of what’s going on this second time viewing it, but it will have to wait because my current anime watches are dedicated to Fairy Tail and keeping up with the newest season of My Hero Academia.

Finally, as for what I’m hoping to read over the next week…well,a bunch more manga, that’s for sure. I think I own through Volume 6 for Blue Exorcist, so I’m going to try and finish that, and then maybe I’ll try to finish reading the volumes of The Ancient Magus’ Bride that I have. Oh, and I just got the first volume of Black Clover in the mail, so perhaps I can squeeze that in to my reading schedule as well.

Then I suppose I’d like to finish reading Guernsey Society and then I’ll probably jump into a couple other books.

That’s all for today. Let me know what you’re reading and loving in the comments below, because I would love to know what else to add to my TBR. I’ll be back soon with more bookish content.

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Books!, Graphic Novel, Manga, Readathon, Reading Challenge, Signal Boost

What I’m Reading (25)

Hey all, Dani here.

As can be predicted, I actually did not accomplish a lot of reading over the last week. That tends to happen when it comes to going to conventions. But I did manage to finish one book and start a few others, so I’ll talk about all of those here.

But first, Gen Con was actually a lot of fun. I bought a lot of books, a few games, several sets of dice, and I just had a wonderful time hanging out with a bunch of awesome geeks. My fiance and I are already planning on attending again next year. If you’re interested in hearing more about my Gen Con experience, let me know in the comments and I can write up a post about the whole trip.

Okay, so for the book that I finished in the past week, it was a good read, and it didn’t take me all that long to actually finish it, so that was nice. I had hoped to finish it before we left for Indianapolis, but that didn’t happen. Still, I enjoyed reading Game of Secrets by Kim Foster. The concept was an interesting one and I’m glad I gave it a try.

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Then there’s the books I started while at Gen Con or over the past couple of days. Needless to say, I am in the middle of a good number of reads, but sometimes that just happens. With any luck I’ll finish most of these in the next couple of days and move on to the next books on my TBR…oh, and of course seeing how many volumes of manga I can read because the next round of Manga Madness Readathon starts very soon.

Anyway, here’s everything I’m currently reading.

The first book I started reading is the Looking for Group Omnibus, which contains Volumes 1-3 of the web comic print bind-ups. Back in college I read Looking for Group online for awhile, but it has been so long that I don’t remember specifics. I’ve only read about 20 or 30 pages, but it is fun being reintroduced to the characters. The second book is another gaming guidebook from Kobold Press. I love their worldbuilding book, and actually recommend it for not just game masters, but also authors. The great thing is that I don’t have to read this book all at once or anything since it is just a collection of essays, but I am really looking forward to reading most of the advice I’m sure to get from all these amazing gamers and writers. Finally, I just started Beyond a Darkened Shore on Monday as my work read, and I am really enjoying it. Actually, I think I should be able to finish it soon.

Oh, I almost forgot about the books I want to start reading soon. Obviously my focus is going to switch to manga starting on Friday and going until next Friday. I imagine that I’ll be starting with Volume 14 of My Hero Academia, but I also definitely want to read the first volume of Dawn of the Arcana. After that I’m not sure what I’ll read, but hopefully I will have a lot of updates for next week.

Thanks for reading everyone. Let me know in the comments if you’ve recently finished or are currently reading something interesting. I think that is all for today, and I will be back soon with more bookish content.

Book Releases, Book Review, Books!, Conventions, Graphic Novel, Manga, Readathon, Reading Challenge, Self-Published Books, Signal Boost

July Wrap Up and August TBR

Hey all, Dani here.

Welcome to August. At the time this post goes live, I will probably be sitting in an Irish pub in Indianapolis, relaxing before the start of Gen Con. Why an Irish pub, you may ask? Well, as today is my birthday I got to choose where to eat dinner, and I just really wanted to hang out with my fiance and our nerd friends who came with us, and have a nice adult beverage…because I turned 30 today, so I can do that.

Also, heads up, sorry if I am not as quick at liking or responding to your comments over the next several days. Gen Con runs from Thursday through Sunday, and I will likely be soaking in all the nerd gear and books and gaming equipment, instead of playing on my phone. But I promise, I’m still here, and I will get back to you as soon as I am able.

Okay, let’s get started. First up, the books I read over the month of July. I feel like this past month was a pretty good one for reading. I participated in two different readathons and just generally was in a mood for devouring stories. As always, if I have a review up, I will include the link back to it, just in case you are interested or missed it.

The Emerald Sea by Richelle Mead — 5 stars

All of This is True by Lygia Day Penaflor — 4 stars

Save the Date by Morgan Matson — 4.5 stars

Little Do We Know by Tamara Ireland Stone — 5 stars

Little Moments of Love by Catana Chetwynd — 5 stars

My Hero Academia Vigilantes, Vol 1 by Hideyuki Furuhashi — 4 stars

And I Darken by Kiersten White — 5 stars

Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse — 4.5 stars

Blackened White by Brian W Foster — 4 stars

Terminal Alliance by Jim C Hines — 4.5 stars

Spellslinger by Sebastien De Castell — 5 stars

Kill the Farm Boy by Delilah S Dawson and Kevin Hearne — 5 stars

Game of Secrets by Kim Foster — 4 stars

Vox Machina Origins by Matthew Coville, Chris Northrop, Olivia Samson, and Matthew Mercer — 5 stars

All right, and then there were the other stories I consumed over the month, namely movies and TV shows. I kept track of them just in case anyone was interested, and I guess I enjoy having a record of what I’ve seen, so this segment of my monthly wrap up may be here to stay.

Pokemon: the series — Sun & Moon (season 1) — 4 stars, Kung Fu Panda 3 — 4.5 stars, Ant-Man and the Wasp — 5 stars, The Princess Diaries (again) — 5 stars, Ella Enchanted (again) — 4 stars, Happy Gilmore (again) — 5 stars, The Mummy — 4 stars, The Mummy Returns — 4.5 stars, Journey to the Center of the Earth — 4 stars

Also, as usual I am still watching “Critical Role” each week and things got really intense and emotional in July. I am so looking forward to seeing the show live and in person this weekend. My fiance and I also started watching a summer show on the CW called “The Outpost,” and it is really interesting so far. The show is created by the same people who did the Mythica series of movies, and those movies are what my fiance and I watched on our first date, so obviously we feel a special connection to all five films. This new series actually has a couple of the same cast members and has a similar feel to the magic as Mythica, so I’m excited to see where it goes from here. Finally, my fiance and I decided that we had taken enough of a break to separate Avatar from Korra, so we started watching The Legend of Korra. We finished Books One and Two, and are almost finished with Book Three, and I am really enjoying it so far. So many of the characters are either connected to characters from the original series or act in a similar manner, and it is really entertaining to watch.

I do believe that is all for what I saw this month.

Next up is the book haul and OwlCrate unboxing portions of this post. This month is a little special because I am separating my fiance’s haul into its own section. There was a manga sale on Barnes & Noble and he decided to stock up on some reads and start prepping posts, because he is getting really excited about joining me here on this blog. He has figured out what name he wants to go by, because he doesn’t want to use his real name, so like me he has come up with a pen name, and now we are just figuring out his review policy and rating system. So his debut should be soon. Okay, let’s just get into his haul already.

There are a few of these manga volumes that I plan to check out as well, so we may see me switch to mini reviews on the manga when he starts doing his reviews.

Next up is my haul, and I also purchased some manga because that deal was too good to pass up. Plus I got a few other books I was pretty excited about. And I am so happy with the OwlCrate for July, though it was a book I had recently purchased, so I now have two copies. I actually do prefer the OwlCrate cover, so I may end up unhauling the original.

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Finally, there is my August TBR to announce. And I can honestly say that I haven’t exactly planned out a TBR really just yet for this one. Oh boy, I guess I need to go stare at my shelves and figure that out. Hold on a moment.

Okay, so the next volume of My Hero Academia will be released in August, as will the fifth volume of Rat Queens. I will most likely be getting and reading both of those. My most anticipated release of the year will be out in August, but not until the 28th, so I don’t exactly think I can include it on my TBR, but you can definitely expect Access Restricted by Gregory Scott Katsoulis to be on my September TBR. Oh, and the next round of the Manga Madness Readathon is taking place in August as well, so I will probably be reading quite a few volumes, but I’ll have a TBR announcement post up for that one soon.

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There, that seems like a decent TBR, though I could always change those up or add more, depending on how the month goes. And I do believe that is all for today. Thanks for reading and commenting and being awesome bookish friends. I’ll be back soon with more bookish content.

Book Releases, Books!, Graphic Novel, Manga, Signal Boost

Most Anticipated Releases Summer 2018

Hey all, Dani here.

I can’t believe it is already time to talk about the books I am really excited for this summer. I feel like I just wrote up the spring post and yet, here we are. As per the usual, these posts are set up to cover a particular season, and this one will go through the books in the months of June, July, and August, that I am highly anticipating the release of.

Now, I will just go ahead and say this…the book release schedule I keep in my blogging notebook has several more books than I will talk about here. This is because some of them are sequels to books I haven’t read. I am still excited about them, but they aren’t books that I’ll be trying to read pretty much as soon as they’re released. This post is for the ones that I need to get my grabby little hands on so I can read them.

Honestly, this season includes my #1 most anticipated book release of the year. And I try not to rank books, but it is the sequel of my absolute favorite book from last year, and I would love to have this particular book in my hands right now. I have a signed ARC of the first book from BookExpo last year, and I bought a first edition hardcover on release day as well.

Okay, let’s just get this party started.

First up, let’s talk about the month of June.

Release Dates: Save the Date by Morgan Matson (June 5), Smoke in the Sun by Renee Ahdieh (June 5), Little Do We Know by Tamara Ireland Stone (June 5), My Hero Academia Vol 13 by Kohei Horikoshi (June 5), Final Draft by Riley Redgate (June 12), The Emerald Sea by Richelle Mead (June 26).

So, clearly for the month of June there are a few contemporary books I’m looking forward to. Technically, I have actually read Final Draft already, so I should have a review up for that soon. But I have enjoyed every Morgan Matson book I’ve read, so I’m eager to see how cute this one will be. Of course I am so ready for the next volume of My Hero Academia because things are getting really good and I need to know what happens next. And of course I need the finale of The Glittering Court trilogy. Hmm…actually, I might need to do a Glittering Court re-read in preparation for this release.

And now let’s move on to the month of July.

Release Dates: Smoke and Iron by Rachel Caine (July 3), One Punch Man Vol 14 by ONE (July 3), Bright We Burn by Kiersten White (July 10), Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik (July 10), European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman by Theodora Goss (July 10), Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers (July 24)

I absolutely adore The Great Library series, so this fourth book naturally had to be on this anticipated list. When it comes to One Punch Man, it technically breaks my rule of needing to be caught up on a series to anticipate an upcoming release, but I read volumes of manga super quickly so I will definitely be caught up before this one is released. When I read Uprooted by Naomi Novik, I was pretty much hooked on the book, and this new release has a similar cover design, and also seems to be sort of a folklore/fairy tale reimagining, so I am so ready to read it. Last year I read the first book of Theodora Goss’ series and I enjoyed following the daughters of some famous gothic/horror characters, so give me the next one already. Especially with that cover. Seriously, the July releases have some great covers. Honestly, I think Record of a Spaceborn Few might be my favorite cover of the Wayfinders series so far, though they are all stunning–well, the UK covers are stunning; I can’t stand the US covers.

Finally, let’s talk about August.

Release Dates: Dance of Thieves by Mary E Pearson (August 7), These Rebel Waves by Sara Raasch (August 7), My Hero Academia Vol 14 by Kohei Horikoshi (August 7), Access Restricted by Gregory Scott Katsoulis (August 28).

Okay, so Dance of Thieves is the start of a new series that takes place in the same world as the Remnant Chronicles series. I still need to finish that trilogy, but I’m still really excited about this one. I’m just a bit worried about potential spoilers, so this probably won’t be a book I read immediately after release. Plus I own the Remnant Chronicles in paperback and this is a hardcover release. And I guess I don’t need to talk about My Hero Academia in this section of the post, because you guys already know that I love the series. Then there is The Towering Sky, which is the final book in the Thousandth Floor trilogy. This series was not one I normally would have picked up, but I am legitimately trash for these books.

The final book I’m looking forward to in August is Access Restricted, which is my #! most anticipated release of 2018. The first book, All Rights Reserved, was my favorite read of 2017, and I will just continue to rave about how amazing it was and how everyone should pick it up. I read All Rights Reserved as an ARC, so this wait for book two has seemed extra long for me. I am so ready to devour this book already.

Okay, well, that is all I have for today. What books are you looking forward to this summer? Let’s talk books in the comments, and I’ll be back soon with more bookish content.

Books!, Graphic Novel, Manga, Readathon, Reading Challenge, Signal Boost

What I’m Reading (11)

Hey all, Dani here.

First thing to mention in this post…please help me decide on my TBR for Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon. I have a poll attached to my post here, and it will be open for two more days.

Next up, let’s jump into what I’ve read recently, what I’m currently reading, and what I’m hoping to read soon.

First up, today was laundry day, so I actually did manage to do some reading today. I read all three volumes of Avatar: the Last Airbender – Smoke and Shadow and it was wonderful. I’ve really missed Aang and Katara and Zuko and Sokka. It was missing Toph, but it was still a great story.

Oh, I also managed to read the first volume of The Ancient Magus’ Bride, which I was really intrigued by. It was a strong first volume, and I plan to read more of it soon.

As for current reads, I’m still working on Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett. I will blame my recent illness for me not accomplishing a lot of reading in the past couple weeks. Hopefully I am actually on the mend and will be getting back into the swing of writing up more posts and reviews and such now.

Finally, in the column of what I’m hoping to read soon, I am planning on a lot of reading this weekend on account of Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon. In the past, 24 Hour Readathons have been typically very productive for me, so I am super hopeful that it will be a great weekend. Plus my fiance is planning on reading a bunch of manga, and my best friend–Signy Cullen–is also coming to visit and will be reading as well. I am actually pretty excited about hosting a reading party.

Okay, well I think that is about all for today. I’ll be back soon with another bookish post.

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

Review: Lumberjanes – Unicorn Power by Mariko Tamaki

Hey all, Dani here.

Welcome to another Middle Grade March review post. Was this a book I read in March? Well, no. Technically this isn’t even a book I read in 2018, but it is still a Middle Grade book, and I’ve also been trying to play catch up on a rather large stack of to be written reviews, so this will help me out with all of that.

Technically I read this book during Diverse December, a reading event hosted by my buddy Kathy over at Books & Munches. As always, I recommend checking out her blog because she is awesome, and the munches photos she puts on her posts always make me hungry.

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Summary

Welcome to Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types. The five scouts of Roanoke cabin—Jo, April, Molly, Mal, and Ripley—love their summers at camp. They get to hang out with their best friends, earn Lumberjane scout badges, annoy their no-nonsense counselor Jen . . . and go on supernatural adventures. That last one? A pretty normal occurrence at Miss Qiunzella’s, where the woods contain endless mysteries.

Today is no exception. When challenge-loving April leads the girls on a hike up the TALLEST mountain they’ve ever seen, things don’t go quite as planned. For one, they didn’t expect to trespass into the lands of the ancient Cloud People, and did anyone happen to read those ominous signs some unknown person posted at the bottom of the mountain? Also, unicorns.

This hilarious, rollicking adventure series brings the beloved Lumberjanes characters into a novel format with brand-new adventures.

My Thoughts

Rating: 4.5 stars

I saw another blogger I follow review this book around the time of its release, and I remember that she raved about how great it was. Even with that glowing review, I was still a bit wary going into the book. Honestly, as someone who loves the comics/graphic novels, I worried that this novel format with the same characters would try to alter them in some way for the middle grade novel.

I don’t know why I worried. It had the same diversity and the same weirdness that I’ve come to expect and love from the Lumberjanes. Not to mention, actually, the adventure the group goes on in this book references earlier adventures from the comics. So this isn’t a reboot or anything like that. No, this is just another way to enjoy the world and the characters, which I really loved and appreciated.

Now for me it was a bit of an adjustment to get used to the format, because I’m so used to the visual experience of a comic, but I think it would still be a fun story for someone who doesn’t already read Lumberjanes, and perhaps this would inspire them to check out the previous adventures as well.

I enjoyed that Ripley was still the fun wild child she typically is–to be honest, Ripley may be my favorite, though I like all of them. And I love how wonderfully distinct each girl is. They all have their own style, their own interests and specialities, their own fears and hopes, etc.

So pretty much I will be waiting to read the next Lumberjanes novel installment, because the second book isn’t set to be released until May. Of course there’s always the graphic novels to keep me busy until then…plus all the non-Lumberjanes reads I have waiting for me.

Where to Buy

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

Book Releases, Book Review, Books!, Graphic Novel, Signal Boost

What I’m Reading

Hey all, Dani here.

Today’s post is going to be a shorter one, but that’s because I pretty much want to spend my afternoon/evening reading. I have a couple books I’m reading right now and I’m really enjoying them, and I have a couple ARCs that I really want to get to soon.

So I’m going to talk about the books I’ve finished recently, the books I’m reading currently, and the books I’m hoping to start next.

My most recent reads were both comic books. One was Saga, Volume 8 by Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples, and the other was The Wicked + The Divine, Volume 6 by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, and Matt Wilson. I’ll have to do a comic review for them soon, but I really enjoyed them.

I am currently reading a few books right now. The book I’m currently taking with me to work is Homeland by R.A. Salvatore. It is the first book in the Legend of Drizzt series of books (you know, because 20 hours of D&D each weekend isn’t enough for me apparently. I need to read fiction set in the D&D universe as well).

The other books I am currently focusing on are The Heart Forger by Rin Chupeco, and Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. I loved reading The Bone Witch last year so I was extremely excited to receive an ARC of the sequel, and I will totally have an early review up soon. As for book two of the Illuminae Files, I paused halfway through reading it because I had heard from so many people that the cliffhanger was a big one…and I didn’t want to have to deal with that wait. As the third book is out next month, I think I can finally finish reading it.

Finally, for the books I’m really hoping to read next: well, I have Daughters of the Storm by Kim Wilkins to read thanks to early approval from NetGalley, More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer, also because of NetGalley, and then Phantom Pains and Impostor Syndrome by Mishell Baker.

So pretty much I have a lot of great books to read and review coming up for all of you.

And now I’m off to work on reading some more. I’ll see you tomorrow for my next recommendations post.

Book Review, Books!, Graphic Novel, Signal Boost

Comic Review: Vox Machina Origins Issues #3-4

Hey all, Dani here.

I know, what is this awesomeness…three posts in three days. I actually am starting to somewhat feel like a book blogger again. Hopefully I can keep going with more posts. Transitioning back to my old job has not been as easy as I had hoped it would be.

Anyway, obviously I have reviewed every issue of this comic series so far (find my reviews here: issue 1, issue 2, and issue 3–hmm, so apparently I didn’t review that one. I guess I’ll do that now too), so there was no way I was going to skip reviewing the latest installment.

Let’s just get started.

 

Summary

Keyleth and Tiberius find themselves in unsavory company, but that’s the only kind of company to be found in Stilben. Paid by the Clasp to stop the attack on the peasants, our heroes follow their noses and uncover an alchemical laboratory hidden in the city’s sewer.
They arrive to find a pair of half-elves fighting a gnome and a half-giant. With all the people tracking her in one place, the architect of the swamp curse springs her trap…
• Based on the hit show from Geek & Sundry!

The sinister Iselda has captured Vax, and Vex must swallow her pride to ask for aid from other heroes. But when they refuse, Vex decides to retrieve a friend outside of town … but not before Keyleth catches up to her and pledges to help.

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

These comics are just so darn good, especially since the new campaign has begun and we have started with a bunch of all new characters who are only at level 2. It pretty much makes you think back on the early days of Vox Machina, which we never got to actually see on the show, but these comics definitely cover those times.

They aren’t even a group yet. They are three separate groups, but I am really seeing the beginnings of them coming together to become the awesome heroes of Tal’Dorei that they eventually become.

Okay, for those of you who aren’t already aware, this comic series is based on the pre-campaign tales of the group Vox Machina from the web series Critical Role, which is a show where “a group of nerdy ass voice actors sit around and play Dungeons & Dragons.” It has been airing on Geek & Sundry for a couple years now, and it is probably the geek hobby/show/whatever that I’m most passionate about.

I could honestly say so much about what Dungeons & Dragons has done for me or meant to me the past couple years, but that is a whole separate post. Instead, I’ll say that this is a fun way to learn about the characters, and if you give these comics a try and you enjoy what you read, perhaps you should either check out the episodes on Geek & Sundry’s YouTube (there are now 118 of them, and they are typically 3-5 hours each), or you can also get them in a more condensed podcast form (I have heard they are more like 1 hour per episode) found wherever you can listen to podcasts.

Anyway, back to the comic. All the amazing, humorous, and witty dialogue just makes my day. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve chuckled at something one of them says (typically Scanlan, but he’s the bard so it makes sense that he would say some spectacular things). And I actually also really enjoy having Tiberius around; it has shown me how much I miss the early days of the show, though I love all the little story points that happen because Tibsy eventually left.

There are so many great moments in these issues, and then you partner that with fun writing, and wonderful art, and it just makes for a fabulous reading experience…for the roughly 25 pages or so of content that we get in each issue.

Issue #4 is absolutely my favorite of the group so far, but I feel like I say that each time a new one comes out. We get to see Keyleth wild shape into her Minxy form (seen on the cover of Issue #4), and there are some lovely moments with Scanlan and Vax, and Scanlan and Grog. Plus we finally get a wonderful mention of one of my favorite missing members of Vox Machina…namely Vex’s companion animal, who just happens to be a brown bear, though that hasn’t been revealed in the comic yet. It simply ends with her saying she needs to go out to the woods to pick up a trinket she left behind. What is clever about that is that her bear’s name is Trinket, and he is awesome.

So I’m really looking forward to Issue #5 because we’ll get Trinket involved. Though I’m still wondering if we’ll actually get to see Percy in this story arc, because he’s only really been in the intro part of like Issue #1.

I honestly hope that Dark Horse comics decides to give us more than just the 6 issue arc we’re in the middle of currently. There are so many more early adventures for Vox Machina that could be covered, and obviously we Critters will pretty much buy anything related to Critical Role.

Where to Buy

You can pick up this lovely single issue comic (or any of the previous issues) at Amazon, Dark Horse, and Comixology. After the whole 6 issue arc is completed, there will be a bound release available as well.

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.

Book Review, Books!, Graphic Novel, Signal Boost

Comic Review: Avatar: the Last Airbender – The Search

Hey all, Dani here.

Wow, can you believe that we’re almost a whole week into the new year already? And here I am still with a huge stack of books from 2017 that I want to review. So I’ll be scattering these review posts throughout the next couple months, sometimes pre-scheduled, and sometimes to fill a gap when necessary. I’m changing shifts and jobs at work starting next week so I’m going to need to figure out a new schedule for reading and blogging.

Having a buffer of posts makes me feel a little better about it all.

Anyway, I’m pretty sure most of you have heard me raving about not just the anime for Avatar, but also this comic book continuation that bridges the gap to Korra. This story arc was the one I was most looking forward to because it focused on Zuko looking for his mom.

So let’s just jump into this.

Summary

For years, fans of Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra have burned with one question—what happened to Fire Lord Zuko’s mother? Finding a clue at last, Zuko enlists the aid of Team Avatar—and the most unlikely ally of all—to help uncover the biggest secret of his life.

Enter the Forgetful Valley

As Fire Lord Zuko continues his quest to uncover his mother’s fate, a shocking revelation causes him to question everything he knows. It’s an opportunity that his sister, the deadly and insane Azula, will not fail to take advantage of as she joins Zuko and his friends, Aang, Katara, and Sokka on their journey into a mysterious forest from which some people never reemerge…

The Fate of the Fire Lord!

Avatar Aang travels to the spirit world to parlay with an ancient power, bringing Fire Lord Zuko ever closer to discovering the truth about his mother’s fate—and his own past. Yet Zuko’s sister Azula is becoming increasingly dangerous, threatening to ruin everything that Zuko, Aang, Katara, and Sokka have struggled to achieve on their search!

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

Okay, so again, I got this story in the set of paperback volumes, though you can get a hardcover bind up that has all three together. But seeing as how I feel a need to have matching sets, I had to go with paperback to match my copy of The Lost Adventures. So this story picks up right after The Promise, and features Fire Lord Zuko learning some more information about his mother and asking Team Avatar to help him find her.

Now obviously with Zuko now in charge of the Fire Nation, he can’t just leave his people without leadership. So while he goes on this search, Zuko puts one of my favorite characters, Uncle Iroh, in charge. If you know anything about the show/comics, then you can probably guess what Iroh’s first act is. And if you said to create a Fire Nation Tea Appreciation Day, then you would absolutely be correct. What made that even better is that by the end of this little trilogy/story, it turns out that Tea Appreciation Day was a success. I love that Iroh is such a fan of tea, and I even like that after this is all over, he returns to his tea shop in the Earth Kingdom.

But that is just a tiny little moment in the grand scheme of this tale. I actually really enjoyed that the comics gave us flashback scenes so we could get more information about Zuko’s mom’s past. That was really cool and I liked what it added to the story. And oh man, all the ups and downs of this arc. Whew.

The end of part one left me shocked at a certain revelation, and I had no choice but to immediately grab the second one. Not only were there twists and turns, ups and downs, but there were a number of secrets and lies as well.

I don’t want to say too much more, but I think this was definitely my favorite trilogy from the comics (though I still have two of the trilogies to read, so that statement could change). If you are a fan of Avatar and Korra, then I absolutely recommend that you pick up this series.

Where to Buy

You can pick up Avatar: the Last Airbender – The Search from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, Comixology, or your local independent book store (or maybe even comic store).