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

November Wrap Up and December TBR

Hey all, Dani here.

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

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

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

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

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

Seasons Turning by Donaya Haymond — 5 stars

Escaping from Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco — 5 stars

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

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

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

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

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan — 5 stars

Heartstone by Elle Katharine White — 5 stars

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I will be back soon with more bookish content.

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

Most Anticipated Winter Releases

Hey all, Dani here.

Wow, well, it is definitely heading towards winter where I live. It has snowed a couple times, the weather is pretty cold, and all I want to do is curl up with a hot drink and a stack of books. Thankfully there are a good number of books coming over the next few months that I am looking forward to. So let’s talk about the December, January, and February book releases I am excited about.

First up, it’s the month of December. Actually, I don’t have too many for this month, which is great. It means that I can spend my Christmas Barnes & Noble gift cards that I get for all the January releases. That definitely works for me.

Once a King by Erin Summerill (Dec 4), Soulbinder by Sebastien de Castell (Dec 4), My Hero Academia Vol 16 by Kohei Horikoshi (Dec 4)

Next up, let’s talk about January. There’s nothing like having a giant stack of books to get me through the chill at the beginning of the year. Thankfully there are plenty of releases that should keep me busy. Now three of the books in this list I’ve been approved for on NetGalley, so I hope to have reviews up for them soon-ish–The Winter of the Witch, In An Absent Dream, and Sisters of the Fire, which all release on the same day. I’ll have to figure out how to schedule those reviews too.

The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden (Jan 8), In An Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire (Jan 8), A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer (Jan 29), Sisters of the Fire by Kim Wilkins (Jan 8), Imprison the Sky by A.C. Gaughen (Jan 22), King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo (Jan 29), Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus (Jan 8), Circle of Shadows by Evelyn Skye (Jan 22), The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty (Jan 22)

Finally, let’s talk about February, which also has quite a few of my anticipated releases. For this month, I have been approved by NetGalley for Warrior of the Wild, and I’m still waiting to hear back on Crown of Feathers, so we’ll see what happens.

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon (Feb 26), Terminal Uprising by Jim C. Hines (Feb 12), Courting Darkness by Robin LaFevers (Feb 5), Bloodwitch by Susan Dennard (Feb 12), My Hero Academia Vol 17 by Kohei Horikoshi (Feb 5), Black Clover Vol 14 by Yuki Tabata (Feb 5), Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto (Feb 12), Warrior of the Wild by Tricia Levenseller (Feb 26)

All right, well that is all from me today. What upcoming releases are you excited about? Let me know in the comments. I’ll be back soon with more bookish content.

Book Review, Books!, Graphic Novel, Signal Boost

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

Hey all, Dani here.

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

Anyway, let’s jump into this review.

Summary

Unrest in the Fire Nation!

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

What is the secret of the Kemurikage? 

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

The identity of the Kemurikage revealed! 

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

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

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

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

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

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

Where to Buy

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

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

Review: Amazing Fantastic Incredible – A Marvelous Memoir

Hey all, Dani here.

The great Stan Lee passed away on Monday, November 12, and I have been pretty much a mess since then. I curled up on the couch and cried. I scrolled through social media and read all the posts and comments, and looked at wonderful fan art from people’s memories or experiences with Stan. And then I went into my library, pulled this book down, and hugged it to my chest for an hour or so while my fiance and I watched TV.

On Tuesday, my Facebook memories revealed that I had actually read this memoir exactly two years earlier. A quick browse on the blog revealed that I had never actually done a review. So I sat down after work and read the book over again.

Before I jump into the review, I need to talk about my experience with Stan Lee. I feel fortunate in that I got to meet him twice. The first time I could only manage to get his autograph. This was a few years ago, and he looked so old and frail even then. But he was still pretty spirited. As he was signing his photo for me, I told him “Thank you very much,” and he replied in his adorable old man voice “You’re welcome very much.” He was just such a sweet old man, and he was honestly there because he loves his fans.

Then he was the featured guest at Cincinnati Comic Expo in 2016, and I knew I had to get a photo with him. It was so worth the long long wait in line.

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Stan Lee’s creations have been such a big part of my life. My first fandoms were pretty much Power Rangers and X-Men. My geekery has only expanded since those days. Now I’m into so very many superheroes, many of whom are popular today because of Stan. He created some and took over others. His characterizations and his ideas have honestly been an inspiration to me. I have looked forward to seeing his cameos every time I go to the movies to see the latest Marvel superhero movie. And I think there are still a couple more cameos that we’ll get to see. But I knew that he was getting old, and I knew that someday in the near future, we of the geek community would go to the movies and there would be no more cameos. That instead we would get text that would say “In Loving Memory of Stan Lee.” He was 95 years old; obviously he couldn’t live forever. Thankfully his stories will continue on.

But I’m still sad right now. (Also, the universe had better protect Betty White for at least a few more years.) Anyway, thank you for all of the great characters and the great stories, Mr. Lee. Excelsior!

Okay, thanks for listening to me. Let’s jump into the review now.

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Summary

In this gorgeously illustrated, full-color graphic memoir, Stan Lee—comic book legend and cocreator of Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Avengers, the Incredible Hulk, and a legion of other Marvel superheroes—shares his iconic legacy and the story of how modern comics came to be.

Stan Lee is a man who needs no introduction. The most legendary name in the history of comic books, he has been the leading creative force behind Marvel Comics, and has brought to life—and into the mainstream—some of the world’s best-known heroes and most infamous villains throughout his career. His stories—filled with superheroes struggling with personal hang-ups and bad guys who possessed previously unseen psychological complexity—added wit and subtlety to a field previously locked into flat portrayals of good vs. evil. Lee put the human in superhuman and in doing so, created a new mythology for the twentieth century.

In this beautifully illustrated graphic memoir—illustrated by celebrated artist Colleen Doran—Lee tells the story of his life with the same inimitable wit, energy, and offbeat spirit that he brought to the world of comics. Moving from his impoverished childhood in Manhattan to his early days writing comics, through his military training films during World War II and the rise of the Marvel empire in the 1960s to the current resurgence in movies, Amazing Fantastic Incredible documents the life of a man and the legacy of an industry and career.

This funny, moving, and incredibly honest memoir is a must-have for collectors and fans of comic books and graphic novels of every age.

My Thoughts

Rating: 4 stars

Okay, so when I read this last year I gave it a 4 star rating. Obviously considering my mental/emotional state right now, my second read-through is a 5 star rating. But for honesty’s sake, I’m leaving the rating as 4 stars.

I absolutely adored the fact that this memoir was written in a comic book style. It made it such a quick book to read through. And it is filled with details about Stan’s life and career and more. It was great to see the inclusion of narrator Stan breaking the fourth wall to speak to the readers, and it was amusing to watch narrator Stan interact with his younger self as he was telling little stories about his life. It was so meta, but I greatly enjoyed it.

Yes, I realize that there is some controversy around Stan Lee because he was so often given all of the credit for the comics, instead of the artists also being acknowledged. And Stan mentions that in this book, and he gives credit to several of the artists he had the privilege to work with over the years.

Much like the characters he created or wrote about, he was not perfect. But you know what, none of us are. But it was so cool to see how he kept pressing forward, and kept thinking and imagining and creating and writing. Seeing how he changed the rules for the superhero stories and comic book publishing in general was just super interesting to me.

I just think that this was a fascinating read. I’m glad that I sat down and read through this again.

Where to Buy

You should be able to pick up a copy of this memoir from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore.

Book Releases, Book Review, Books!, Graphic Novel, Manga, NaNoWriMo, NetGalley, Signal Boost, Writing

October Wrap Up and November TBR

Hey all, Dani here.

I had to mostly pre-write this post, because it is now (or will be when this post goes live) November and I need to prioritize writing my novel over writing my blog or reading for fun. So I don’t know if I’m going to have a huge TBR for this month. But that’s okay, because my wrap-up for October should show that I did plenty of reading.

Endless Quest: Big Trouble by Matt Forbeck (5 stars)

Endless Quest: To Catch A Thief by Matt Forbeck (5 stars)

Fierce Fairytales: Poems and Stories to Stir Your Soul by Nikita Gill (5 stars)

Wild Embers: Poems of Rebellion Fire and Beauty (4 stars)

My Hero Academia, Volume 15 by Hideo Horikoshi (5 stars)

My Hero Academia Vigilantes, Volume 2 by Hideyuki Furuhashi (5 stars)

Fairy Tail Zero by Hiro Mashima (5 stars)

Fairy Tail, Volume 3 by Hiro Mashima (5 stars)

Rule by Ellen Goodlett (4.5 stars)

The Girl from the Other Side: Siuil a Run, Volume 1 by Nagabe (5 stars)

The Girl from the Other Side: Siuil a Run, Volume 2 by Nagabe (5 stars)

The Girl from the Other Side: Siuil a Run, Volume 3 by Nagabe (5 stars)

The Girl from the Other Side: Siuil a Run, Volume 4 by Nagabe (5 stars)

The Girl from the Other Side: Siuil a Run, Volume 5 by Nagabe (5 stars)

All the Feels by Danika Stone (5 stars)

Black Clover, Volume 2 by Yuki Tabata (5 stars)

Black Clover, Volume 3 by Yuki Tabata (5 stars)

Estranged by Ethan M Aldridge (4 stars)

The Cardboard Kingdom by Chad Sell (4 stars)

The Monster of Selkirk: The Duality of Nature by C.E. Clayton (4.5 stars)

Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa (5 stars)

Black Bird of the Gallows by Meg Kassel (4 stars)

Make a Nerdy Living: How to Turn Your Passions Into Profit, with Advice from Nerds Around the Globe by Alex Langley (4 stars)

Whew…that was a nice list of books finished this month. I am also trying to prep up a bunch of reviews from all of these reads so they can be posted throughout the month and beyond. I actually have a huge list of reviews I need to write, so I may have quite a few posts coming for the rest of the year.

Okay, now onto what I’ve watched this month. Honestly, not nearly as much as everything I’ve read. So let’s just jump into the list: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl — 4.5 stars, The Magicians, season 2 — 5 stars, Hocus Pocus — 5 stars, Halloweentown — 5 stars, Halloweentown II: Kalabar’s Revenge — 5 stars, The Spiderwick Chronicles — 4.5 stars.

Obviously I have my usual ongoing watches, namely Fairy Tail and Critical Role Campaign 2. The Fairy Tail watch has slowed down a little bit, because I watch it with my fiance and he has recently been distracted by the new Spider-Man video game.

It’s book haul time!

Oh, and if I’m talking about my book haul from October, I guess I should also briefly mention my unhaul from October as well. I ended up removing 94 books from my library.

Now this is where my wrap-up post usually features my monthly Owlcrate unboxing…but my post office delivered my Owlcrate to another apartment in my building, and the package was apparently stolen from that other apartment’s doorstep. I was so excited about the October box too. It featured exclusive Owlcrate editions of both Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa and Pride by Ibi Zoboi. So I have filed a stolen package claim because the package was insured, but since the box was sold out, I’m betting I won’t be able to get the lovely signed editions anymore.

Finally, it is time for my November TBR. This is definitely a tentative TBR, because I should spend more time focusing on writing than reading. But the next round of the Manga Madness readathon is coming up next week, and I still have a decent stack of books I’d really like to read, so…these are books that I may or may not get around to this month.

Okay, well that is all for today, but I’ll be back soon with more bookish content.

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

September Wrap-Up and October TBR

Hey all, Dani here.

September has come and gone, and now we have opened our calendars up to October. That is just such a crazy thought to me. How are we this close to the end of 2018 already? The weather is starting to cool down where I am and the leaves are beginning to change color.

What I love is that as it gets colder outside, all I want to do is to curl up under a blanket inside. Oh, and naturally I want to have that cozy beverage of hot tea or hot cocoa beside me while I’m enjoying all the extra reading time. This is definitely the time of year where I want to delve into longer fantasy reads, or just larger TBR stacks in general. The cold weather and I just do not get along.

Anyway, it is time once again to wrap up everything I both read and watched over the last month, before diving into my book haul, my monthly OwlCrate unboxing, and my tentative TBR for this lovely and spooky October. It has been a pretty good month, so I’m excited to talk about everything with all of you.

First up, let’s go over everything I managed to read in the month of September.

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco — 5 stars

Fairy Tail Vol 1 by Hiro Mashima — 5 stars

Heretics Anonymous by Katie Henry — 4 stars

Kill the Queen by Jennifer Estep — 5 stars

Fairy Tail Vol 2 by Hiro Mashima — 5 stars

Queens of Fennbirn by Kendare Blake — 4.5 stars

Captain Marvel: Earth’s Mightiest Hero Vol 1 by Kelly Sue Deconnick — 4 stars

Shadowblack by Sebastien de Castell — 4.5 stars

Two Dark Reigns by Kendare Blake — 5 stars

Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco — 5 stars

Endless Quest: Into the Jungle by Matt Forbeck — 4 stars

Endless Quest: Escape the Underdark by Matt Forbeck — 4 stars

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Next up is what I watched for the month. Now, I can’t exactly fully count some of my watches, because while we were at our hotel for our renaissance faire weekend, SyFy was doing a Star Wars movie marathon, and we ended up watching part of Episodes 2, 3, and 4, but not enough of any of them to fully count them as a watch.

The Emperor’s New Groove (5 stars), Princess Diaries 2 (5 stars), Robin Hood: Men in Tights (4 stars), The Princess Bride (5 stars), Scott Pilgrim vs the World (5 stars), My Hero Academia: Two Heroes (5 stars), Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (5 stars), Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (5 stars). As always we are continuing with watching Critical Role Campaign 2, as well as keeping up with My Hero Academia’s current season.  Oh, and we are continuing with our watch through of Fairy Tail, and have finished season three of the show. I am currently so obsessed with the characters and the world of this anime. So, expect to see me start reviewing the manga volumes that I have read very soon. The final watch I need to mention is the fact that I managed to get my fiance to watch A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning (5 stars) on Netflix, and he actually really enjoyed it; I believe we will be watching the rest of the series soon. Our main focus right now is Fairy Tail because the final season of the anime will be airing starting at the end of the month, and it would be really cool if I am caught up by then.

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Oh boy…now it is time for my book haul for the month. We went to Barnes & Noble twice this month, and made a trip to Half-Price Books as well. Pretty much that alone should tell you about my lack of self-control when it comes to adding to my library.

Wow, okay, that was a big haul. Let’s just move on to my OwlCrate unboxing. This month’s box was pretty cool too. I’m definitely happy about the fingerless gloves. Oh, and apparently the October box will have two hardcover books in it, so I am absolutely looking forward to getting this next box.

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Finally, I guess all that is left is my October TBR. I’m going to start with a smaller list, because I’m definitely in a bit of mood reader time right now. Also, October is when the next session of Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon is being held (Oct 20th), so I will be posting a TBR for that when we get a bit closer to that time.

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Clearly based on my September reading, I need to read Escaping From Houdini soon, and the same goes for Charmcaster. These are both series that I am enjoying so so much. Then I have a little fairy tale poetry collection, which I’m sure will be a pretty quick read, so that will be nice. Rule is about three illegitimate daughters fighting for the crown, and honestly I sort of get a little Three Dark Crowns vibe from it all. Finally, The Lost Queen is a story about the sister of the man who would come to be known as Merlin, and it is described as appealing to fans of Outlander, so I am willing to give it a shot.

Oh, and I do think that I have selected my TBR for Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon, but I’m just going to prep the post, and you all will see it in another week or so.

That should be all for today, but I will be back soon with more bookish content. Let me know in the comments what your favorite book purchase was in September.

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

What I’m Reading (31)

Hey all, Dani here.

Okay, so I have quite a bit to talk about with today’s post, because I have had an excellent week of reading. And I was even pretty busy with traveling time and also time spent running around the Ohio Renaissance Festival. We were there for around 6 hours on Saturday and 8 hours on Sunday. It was so much fun. I’ll probably include a couple photos in my September Wrap-Up post.

First let’s start with everything I’ve read since my last update. Last Thursday I ended up picking up and reading all of Fairy Tail Vol 2, and I can honestly say that I’ll probably be reading volumes 3-5 pretty soon. I am very much in a mood for this series right now, so I just want to keep reading and watching.

Oh, and last Wednesday, before bed, I ended up reading the first 57 pages of Two Dark Reigns, but then I thought that it was probably not the greatest idea to continue reading it, because I actually hadn’t read either of the novellas, and in my experience whenever there are novellas with a series they tend to reveal something that will become relevant in the next story. So when I woke up early on Friday morning, I read the entirety of the Queens of Fennbirn novella bind-up. I can definitely say that I preferred the second novella of the book, “The Oracle Queen” to the first one “The Young Queens,” but I think they were both still worthwhile reads.

Then while relaxing at the hotel on Friday afternoon/evening, I ended up reading a whole graphic novel, Captain Marvel: Earth’s Mightiest Hero Vol 1. With the Captain Marvel movie coming in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I figured it would be a good idea for me to learn more about Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel. For the most part, I enjoyed the experience, though this particular series takes place after she has been a hero for a little while and she is just changing her mantle from Ms. Marvel to Captain Marvel.

After that, on Saturday, I ended up finishing off the rest of Shadowblack, which was also a really good read, though I don’t rank it as high as the first book. I’m still excited by the fact that the third book was re-released yesterday, so I’ll be able to continue on with the series very very soon.

Once I had finished that book, I picked up Two Dark Reigns again, and started to fly through it, reading about a hundred pages on Saturday night, and then another hundred or so pages on Sunday morning. Unfortunately that was all the reading time I had on Sunday. But I finished the book thanks to my recuperation day Monday and a little bit of reading time yesterday.

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So that brings me to my current read, which is Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco. I am really enjoying this series so far, which is why I am very glad that the third book was released into the world yesterday, so I’ll be adding it to my collection probably this weekend. I think my book haul for this month is going to be a bit ridiculous.

Finally, there are the books I am hoping to get to soon. I’m actually doing pretty decent on my September TBR, and I’m pretty optimistic that I’ll actually be able to finish the list for once. So that means I’m going to keep reading on those books. Though I admit to probably reading more manga in between my novel reads.

Well, that is all from me for today. What great books are you currently reading? I’d love to know. As always, I’ll be back soon with more bookish content.

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!, Conventions, Graphic Novel, Manga, Signal Boost

Gen Con Wrap Up

Hey all, Dani here.

So you might be asking, “hey Dani, wasn’t Gen Con at the beginning of the month? Why do a wrap up now?” Well, I had one of my blog buddies say she would love to read about my time at Gen Con, especially as she wants to start trying to diversify her conventions, but she also wanted more information first.

Plus, when you get a little removed from an event (or a book/movie/etc), it is easier to distance yourself from any super happy or super upset feelings you might have had at the time, and you can write a more factual and balanced review of everything. Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself.

Gen Con is a gaming convention, and it features hundreds of game developers and companies, as well as business that sell game accessories. Now when I say gaming convention, the easy assumption is that I am talking about video games, but I don’t think I have seen any sort of video or console type game there. No, this is a gaming convention for tabletop gaming, which means board games, card games, dice games, and tabletop RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons.

This year was the 51st Gen Con and it was even bigger than the previous year. The photos don’t even come close to showing how large or crowded this convention is, because there are just so many wonderful geeks in the world, and events like this really help you to see how not alone in the world you are. It is currently held in Indianapolis, Indiana, and it is an amazing experience. The convention itself takes up the entire Indiana Convention Center, plus they have also spread out into several of the nearby hotels, and Lucas Oil Stadium (which is the arena where the local NFL team, the Indianapolis Colts, are based). What I love about having part of Gen Con in the football stadium is that they house the gaming library there, and if you have purchased a pass to use the library, then you can go there 24 hours a day through the four day convention and borrow a game to play. Yes, a bunch of lovely geeks swarm through this holy house of jock-dom for four whole days.

We actually went to Indianapolis a day early, on August 1st, so we wouldn’t have to wake up at 5am the next day to make the three hour drive. It ended up being the best decision we could have made. We were able to pick up all of our tickets that day, and also just relax a bit. Okay, so we also went to an Irish pub (O’Reilly’s Irish Pub) for my birthday, which then turned into the Irish pub and then a Scottish pub (MacNiven’s). So I had a Shepard’s Pie, and then we had bread pudding for dessert. At the Scottish pub we had Scotch Eggs. Then we went to a comic book store (Downtown Comics) too, so naturally I picked up a few things.

And that’s just all the fun from the day before the convention. Now let’s get to the actual first day of Gen Con. It was a mad house, and we went straight for the Critical Role booth, because there was some cool merchandise that we were hoping to get, and we waited for a good half-hour or so to actually make it to the booth. But I ended up with dice and shirts and even a map for the current campaign, so I am super pleased.

I’m not going to lie guys…we spent most of our money on day one. There are just so many cool games and accessories and costume pieces. It is a geek wonderland. The first day of the convention was also a cool day because we got to meet Joe Mangianello. Now most people will probably recognize Joe from being in the show True Blood, or possibly from the Magic Mike movies. What you may not know is that he is a massive geek, loves D&D, and actually has a really cool gaming dungeon in his home. We waited for almost an hour to meet him, but it was totally worth the wait…and I got him to sign my Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition Player’s Handbook, so that is also pretty awesome. Oh, and the game pictured below is A Song of Ice and Fire, and it is sort of a battlefield strategy game based on Game of Thrones. We watched it being playtested and it seemed pretty interesting. Of course neither my fiance nor our other buddy who went with us has seen the show (or read the books) so it was just a cool looking game to them.

Day two of the convention we spent a lot of time just running around and checking out some of the games. At most of the game developer booths, you can sit down and play the game before you buy it. Okay well if it is a shorter game you can play through the whole game, but longer games they pretty much prefer you to just play a few rounds to get an idea of how the game works. There are a lot of other people around who would also like to try playing the games. The highlight for day two of the convention for us was actually that evening after the convention center closed. We met up with the owners of our hometown game store and they actually bought us dinner at this bar (The Yard House). My fiance and I run a couple D&D campaigns for them and they wanted to thank us for everything we’ve done for the store. Free food is definitely the way to do that. But after that, we had tickets to go see Critical Role live. It was my second time going, but my fiance’s first, and I was so glad I got to share the experience with him. Oh, and there was a surprise guest star for the episode of Critical Role…Khary Payton, an actor some people may recognize from the Walking Dead.

We had an extremely lazy day for day three of the convention. Critical Role Live ended around 1 am, and then we had to walk back to the parking garage where our car was parked (only to discover that the parking garage had closed for the night, so we had to run around to figure out who to contact to get to our car). By the time we made it back to the hotel we were staying at, it was around 2:30 am. Because we were also low on spending money, we just decided to hang out at the hotel, enjoy the pool, watch some TV, and play some of the games we had purchased. The only convention event we had on our schedule for the day was going to Dungeon Master, which is a live interactive show. It ended up being a very entertaining show, but the real reason I got tickets for this particular show was that it was being opened with a concert by The Library Bards, and they are a geek parody band who makes covers of Top 40 hits by making them into geeky songs–for example “Zombie” by the Cranberries becomes a song about Deadpool and Harley Quinn cosplayers called “Black and Red”, and Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off” becomes a LOTR/Hobbit song called “Gandalf.”

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Finally, we made it to day four, the last day of the convention. We played a couple more games, and made a couple more purchases with the little spending money we had left. I will be completely honest everyone. I hate the last day of a convention. The last day means that I have to go home and return to my regular day-to-day schedule. It means leaving a place where I am surrounded by thousands of people who like a lot of the same stuff I do, and going back to a place where only a small percentage of people actually understand me. Leaving a convention after having such a great time is always difficult. But on our way back to our car before the three hour drive back home, I decided that we needed to get something to eat, and after walking past this pizza shop over a dozen times, we finally stopped into Giordano’s to get some Chicago Style Deep Dish pizzas.

I guess I should talk about this last picture. There are a lot of booths at Gen Con that give out these little ribbons that you can attach to your convention badge. For many attendees at the convention it becomes a scavenger hunt to collect as many as possible. I have seen people with enough ribbons hanging from their badge to make a long scarf or sash. It is impressive. We only went to Gen Con for one day in 2017, so I think we got one or two ribbons. Obviously this year I did much better, but I’m still hoping for a more impressive collection next year.

Next year I also plan to attend a few panels and/or workshops, because we didn’t really do that this year. There is a whole section of the convention that is a Writer’s Showcase, and they have some great industry professionals there to hold classes on worldbuilding or magic or editing, etc. The guests of honor this year were the duo behind S.A. Corey, author of The Expanse series. Previous years have had Patrick Rothfuss in attendance. Margaret Weis was there this year as well. So next year I definitely want to spend a little more time in the bookish side of Gen Con–though I did walk through that entire area on the show floor, and I will show off everything I purchased in my August Wrap-Up post.

Wow, okay, this post got pretty long. I hope you all enjoyed this look into our time at Gen Con. If you want me to talk more specifically on the games that we playtested and/or purchased, let me know. Because we found quite a few really fun games, and I like talking about more than just books. I’m your average geeky girl, with many geek hobbies.

Anyway, that’s all for today, and I will be back soon with more bookish content.

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

Most Anticipated Releases Fall 2018

Hey all, Dani here.

How are we almost at fall already? Time is just flying by, and seriously, fall may have the most releases I’m looking forward to. There are just so many interesting sounding books coming out in the next few months. Because of that, I’m not actually going to spend a lot of time coming up with a fun or rambly introduction. Let’s just start talking about the book releases of September, October, and November that I’m looking forward to. Trust me, there are a lot of them.

First off is September. In September I have the third installment of a series that started off okay for me, but the second book was a definite improvement, so I’m excited to see where this next one leads. Then there is the conclusion to the Warcross duology, and I’m hoping it is as worthwhile as the first one. There is also a Pride and Prejudice retelling that has completely intrigued me, as well as a fantasy debut about three illegitimate daughters of the king fighting to inherit the crown, and of course the continuation of a series I recently discovered that is absolutely amazing (and the new covers are way better than the original ones).

Two Dark Reigns by Kendare Blake (Sept 4), Rule by Ellen Goodlett (Sept 11), Wildcard by Marie Lu (Sept 18), Pride by Ibi Zoboi (Sept 18), and Charmcaster by Sebastien de Castell (new cover edition: Sept 18)

Next up is the craziness that is October releases. There is no way I will be able to buy all of these right when they are released, because there are just so many. Plus, some of these covers are just absolutely stunning. Cover design is just getting so good; there are so many covers I’d love to have art cards for so I could hang them up on my book art wall.

Anyway, October has a great number of fantasy reads, as well as a few manga and graphic novel releases that I really really can’t wait for. Oh, and then of course a new special B&N edition release of a book, and another Illustrated Harry Potter book. No, it isn’t Goblet of Fire, which I had been expecting for this year, but hopefully that one will come out next fall.

The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee (Oct 2), Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor (Oct 2), Damsel by Elana K Arnold (Oct 2), Kill the Queen by Jennifer Estep (Oct 2), My Hero Academia Vol 15 by Kohei Horikoshi (Oct 2), My Hero Academia Vigilantes Vol 2 by Hideyuki Furuhashi (Oct 2), What If It’s Us by Adam Silvera and Becky Albertalli (Oct 9), The Wicked + The Divine Vol 7 by Kieron Gillen (Oct 9), The Tales of Beetle the Bard, Illustrated Edition (Oct 9), A Sorrow Fierce and Falling by Jessica Cluess (Oct 16), An Assassin’s Guide to Love and Treason by Virginia Boecker (Oct 23), Red Rising (Signed B&N exclusive edition, Oct 23), Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J Maas (Oct 23), and Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa (Oct 30)

Finally there is November, which is rather light after the release heaviness of October. Honestly, I am not complaining about that at all. And honestly one of the releases is just the screenplay, so it will be super fast to read.

Archenemies by Marissa Meyer (Nov 6), Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindewald by J.K. Rowling (movie screenplay, Nov 16), The Mortal Word by Genevieve Cogman (Nov 27)

Okay then, well I guess that is about all from me for today. Let me know in the comments if any of these books are on your anticipated release list. Or, tell me some books that are on your list that didn’t make it on mine. I’d love to find more books to add to my never-ending TBR. All right, everyone, I’ll be back soon with more bookish content.