Review: A Plague of Giants by Kevin Hearne

Hey all, Dani here.

And today is a wonderful Happy Book Birthday to author Kevin Hearne for his first epic fantasy novel. I’ve talked about Hearne before, mostly gushing about his Iron Druid Chronicles books. I would like to reread the first three books and then continue on with the series, so I’ll probably have reviews for the whole series up in the future. But today I am not here to talk about his wonderful urban fantasy series. Instead I am here to talk about a book I have been anticipating since the moment I first discovered it thanks to following Hearne’s social media accounts.

It’s time to dive into my review for A Plague of Giants.

Oh, and I should also thank the publisher and NetGalley for giving me the chance to read this book early. Being granted an e-galley did not influence my rating or opinion in any way. After all, I planned to buy this book long before I requested it from NetGalley.

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Summary

From the author of The Iron Druid Chronicles, a thrilling novel that kicks off a fantasy series with an entirely new mythology—complete with shape-shifting bards, fire-wielding giants, and children who can speak to astonishing beasts

MOTHER AND WARRIOR
Tallynd is a soldier who has already survived her toughest battle: losing her husband. But now she finds herself on the front lines of an invasion of giants, intent on wiping out the entire kingdom, including Tallynd’s two sons—all that she has left. The stakes have never been higher. If Tallynd fails, her boys may never become men.

SCHOLAR AND SPY
Dervan is an historian who longs for a simple, quiet life. But he’s drawn into intrigue when he’s hired to record the tales of a mysterious bard who may be a spy or even an assassin for a rival kingdom. As the bard shares his fantastical stories, Dervan makes a shocking discovery: He may have a connection to the tales, one that will bring his own secrets to light.

REBEL AND HERO
Abhi’s family have always been hunters, but Abhi wants to choose a different life for himself. Embarking on a journey of self-discovery, Abhi soon learns that his destiny is far greater than he imagined: a powerful new magic thrust upon him may hold the key to defeating the giants once and for all—if it doesn’t destroy him first.

Set in a magical world of terror and wonder, this novel is a deeply felt epic of courage and war, in which the fates of these characters intertwine—and where ordinary people become heroes, and their lives become legend.

My Thoughts

Rating: 4 stars

This was a complex story with so many perspectives to follow. Coming from someone who adores reading big epic fantasy books with complicated stories, it may be saying something that I had times where I struggled with this one.

I really enjoyed Fintan the bard, and his kenning–or magical ability–to project his voice over long distances and tell stories. That plus seeming stones that allowed him to look like the person whose story he was telling was really interesting. The problem is that the POV of Dervan is also in first person. So you jump from Dervan who is watching the bard, to the bard’s tales, which are also in first person. Sometimes it makes it difficult to remember which of the 11 characters you’re following in that moment.

Primarily this book is about the orations that Fintan the bard is giving. In fact, the story spans over 19 days as Fintan goes out to tell these stories, typically telling three smaller bits of the overall story each day, and rotating through the various people whose tales he has collected.

The world-building is great, and I loved the wide diversity of the world in general. Add into that the magic of the kennings and things get even more interesting. The people of the world commonly accept five different kennings, but through these tales it is suggested that there may be a sixth and perhaps even a seventh kenning.

Learning about these different people from all different lands in the world was an adventure, and while sometimes I felt like it was taking me a while to get through the book, I did overall like what I was reading.

This does not have the same feel as the Iron Druid Chronicles, which definitely have an easier urban fantasy flow to them. Instead, the first book in the Seven Kennings trilogy sets up a vast magical world with plenty of political complications and other issues. I may have to read this book again to fully grasp some of the developments and such, but I look forward to seeing what happens in the next book.

Where to Buy

You can pick up a copy of this book from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore. I ordered my copy from Barnes & Noble and it is a signed copy.

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September Wrap-Up and October TBR

Hey all, Dani here.

How are we already at the start of October? I think this is the fastest a year has gone by for me. It’s crazy to think that in just a couple months it will be time to start putting 2018 in the date instead of 2017.

This month was not as productive as other recent months when it comes to reading, but I still think I did all right. This is also a month where I was occupied with cleaning, packing, and moving from one apartment to another, so understandably I was a bit distracted. I hope to be able to read more in October. I’m sorry I didn’t have that many review posts and instead had to resort to numerous posts regarding my ongoing TBR purge.

Warcross by Marie Lu (4.5 stars)

Love and Other Things: Poetry and Prose by Michael Tavon (3.5 stars)

Autoboyography by Christina Lauren (5 stars)

Invictus by Ryan Graudin (4 stars)

P.S. I Like You by Kasie West (5 stars)

Critical Role- Vox Machina: Origins, Issue #1 by Matthew Colville (5 stars)

One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake (4.5 stars)

Bitch Planet, Vol 1 by Kelly Sue Deconnick (4 stars)

A Poison Dark and Drowning by Jessica Cluess (5 stars)

Life is Like a Musical by Tim Federle (4 stars)

Next up is my September book haul. Now, September was a pretty good month for book releases, but I only allowed myself to get ones that I didn’t already have an ARC or e-galley of…well, mostly. I made an exception for All Rights Reserved. I’m trying to be picky about my book buying until I’m confident with the new budget. Living with my boyfriend means a higher rent than when I was still living with my mom. I have to make sure that I have all of my bills covered before I can splurge on books.

 

So all in all it was a pretty good month for books, and I think I might be able to mostly be on a book buying ban in October. I can only think of a few books that I might buy. The only absolute buy in October is A Plague of Giants by Kevin Hearne. So expect a shorter haul section next month (I hope). Let’s see if I can actually stick to a ban for once.

I’ll also toss my September OwlCrate unboxing photo up here as well. The theme was Mythical Creatures and I rather enjoyed the box, especially that bookmark. It’s just beautiful.

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Finally, I guess it is time to announce my October TBR. I’m going to go a bit conservative here with my reading plans, mostly because I plan to try and do two 24 Hour Readathons this month. The first is being hosted by Zoe Herdt (readbyzoe on YouTube and Twitter) and that will be October 14th, and then there is the next session of Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon, and that will be on October 21st. So, I will try and have tentative TBRs up for both of those events as we get a little closer to them.

 

 

 

Books I Need to Finish!

Hey all, Dani here.

While in the middle of scouring my Goodreads TBR, I realized that I have quite a few books that have been sitting on my Currently Reading list for some time. I don’t like leaving books unfinished and yet I seem to be doing it quite a bit this year.

So I think I’m writing up this post as a way of calling myself out and also hoping for some accountability on future reading goals. I need to clear out this list and I’m going to start doing that in between some of these ARCs and e-galleys I need to read as well.

Let’s jump into this list then.

I have literally had Windwitch on my Currently Reading list since it was released at the beginning of the year. This is so bad, because I made it halfway through the book and I was so enjoying it. I don’t know why I set it aside.

King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard has also been on this list for a long while, but I know why. The first book was great and the second book was just okay, only redeeming itself in the last couple chapters. It was just enough to make me want to read this third book. But I’m still struggling with this series. It had potential, but it just isn’t living up to it for me. I do still plan to finish it, just so I know if I will continue with the series or not.

The Black Prism is a wonderful and nicely sized epic fantasy story. This is taking me a while because I’m listening to the audiobook, and I only really listen to books sporadically. Really I need to just pull my paperback copy off the shelf and finish this book. Because I am enjoying the world and the magic system, and I want to know what’s going to happen.

Next up is Dragonfly in Amber. I basically just like to take my time with these books. But I also know I want to continue watching the show, and I won’t watch season 2 until I’ve finished the book. So that needs to happen. And I was just telling my boyfriend a couple days ago that I haven’t read a nice romance (or smut romance) in a while, so between this and the fifth book of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, I should have my romance bases covered.

I know why I’ve halted in my read of Gemina as well. This book is entertaining and I am enjoying the story, but I don’t want to deal with the inevitable cliffhanger and have to wait too long for Obsidio, so I set the book down. I will pick it up again…when I think that I can take the wait for the finale.

Here’s another audiobook on the list, and really I have no reasoning for this one because the narration is done by one of my favorite people: Matthew Mercer. The Punch Escrow is an interesting tale and I love listening to Matt’s portrayal of all of the different characters. And I really can’t say anything about the length of an audiobook here because I listen to Matt for 3-5 hours each week when I’m catching up on Critical Role, my favorite D&D show.

Lord of Shadows…so I’ve only read like one chapter of this. But, to be fair, I just read Lady Midnight for the first time a few months ago. I plan on finishing this before the end of 2017, but it isn’t the highest priority for me.

Next is one of my most highly anticipated books: A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab. I have adored the first two books of the trilogy and was so looking forward to seeing how it all wrapped up. But then I was struck by the thought that once I read it, that was it. It would be over. Now that V.E. Schwab has announced that there will be more books set in this world, I think I can finally get back to it and finish the book.

The Dragons of Nova is a book I started to read during a readathon and though I was enjoying it, I could tell that I just wasn’t in the right mood to read it, so I set it aside. I will read it, and probably soon. That way I can put in a request for the third book from NetGalley when it becomes available.

Finally, I have To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, another book that I’m about half-finished with and what I read I’ve quite enjoyed. I picked it up because I wanted a fun quick contemporary read but by the time I reached the halfway point I was really craving a fantasy read…so I put this book down and just haven’t picked it back up yet.

So, there you have it everyone. Some books that I have not quite finished yet and need to get back to reading at some point in the near future–certainly I need to finish these before the end of the year.

Are there any books that have been on your currently reading list for just a bit too long? Let me know in the comments.

August Wrap Up and September TBR

Hey all, Dani here.

Wow, another month is finished. I started the month off rather strong with reading, and participating in a readathon really helped bolster my book count for the month. But then in the middle of August I found myself struggling to choose what to read next. So many books sounded good, and I wanted to read them all, and the indecision led to me not really reading at all.

Still, I had a pretty darn good month of reading…21 books total for the month. Let’s just jump into the books I read in the month of August. As always, I will include links to reviews in case you missed them.

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur (5 stars)

The ABCs of RPGs by Ivan Van Norman (5 stars)

Sovereign by April Daniels (5 stars)

Scott Pilgrim, Vol 1: Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life by Bryan Lee O’Malley (5 stars)

Scott Pilgrim, Vol 2: Scott Pilgrim vs the World by Bryan Lee O’Malley (5 stars)

Scott Pilgrim, Vol 3: Scott Pilgrim & the Infinite Sadness by Bryan Lee O’Malley (5 stars)

Scott Pilgrim, Vol 4: Scott Pilgrim Gets it Together by Bryan Lee O’Malley (5 stars)

Scott Pilgrim, Vol 5: Scott Pilgrim vs the Universe by Bryan Lee O’Malley (5 stars)

Scott Pilgrim, Vol 6: Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour by Bryan Lee O’Malley (5 stars)

Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo (4 stars)

Matilda by Roald Dahl (5 stars)

Sandman, Vol 7: Brief Lives by Neil Gaiman (5 stars)

Sandman, Vol 8: Worlds’ End by Neil Gaiman (5 stars)

Sandman, Vol 9: Kindly Ones by Neil Gaiman (5 stars)

Sandman, Vol 10: The Wake by Neil Gaiman (5 stars)

Click’d by Tamara Ireland Stone (4 stars)

The Glass Town Game by Catherynne M. Valente (4 stars)

Writing With Style: An Editor’s Advice for RPG Writers by Ray Vallese (4 stars)

The Geek’s Guide to Dating by Eric Smith (4 stars)

the princess saves herself in this one by Amanda Lovelace (4 stars)

The Dazzling Heights by Katharine McGee (4.5 stars)

And now moving on to my August book haul. Also included in this is my OwlCrate unboxing for the month of August. I have to say that those Poe-lka dot socks are basically my favorite thing ever. And my boyfriend is the coffee drinker, but he and his mom both think that the Dark Arts blend coffee is good. Plus my boyfriend has taken the fountain pen so he can use it to write up things for Dungeons & Dragons. Oh, and not included in these pictures is The Dazzling Heights by Katharine McGee as I have purchased it on my NOOK.

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Finally, I guess it’s time to announce the books I’m hoping to read in the month of September.

There will probably be some more books I’ll read in the month, but I’ll just let those be books I choose based on my mood.

Well, I think that’s all for now. Have a nice weekend everyone! Ooh…I just remembered that this is a long weekend. I will still try to get a post up for Monday, probably another TBR purge post.

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.

Review: Sovereign by April Daniels

Hey all, Dani here.

I so enjoyed the first book of this series, so I jumped at the chance for an early copy for the sequel. Thankfully the publisher and NetGalley granted my request, and I got to continue the adventures of Dany Tozer, a transgender superhero. As always, receiving this book did not influence my rating or review. I will say that I’m sorry it took me so long to get my review up. I’ve been juggling a lot of books and a lot of blog posts lately.

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Summary

Only nine months after her debut as the fourth superhero to fight under the name Dreadnought, Danny Tozer is already a scarred veteran. Protecting a city the size of New Port is a team-sized job and she’s doing it alone. Between her newfound celebrity and her demanding cape duties, Dreadnought is stretched thin, and it’s only going to get worse.

When she crosses a newly discovered supervillain, Dreadnought comes under attack from all quarters. From her troubled family life to her disintegrating friendship with Calamity, there’s no trick too dirty and no lever too cruel for this villain to use against her.

She might be hard to kill, but there’s more than one way to destroy a hero. Before the war is over, Dreadnought will be forced to confront parts of herself she never wanted to acknowledge.

And behind it all, an old enemy waits in the wings to unleash a plot that will scar the world forever.

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

Starting this book off on the way to a superhero convention made my nerdy little heart happy. I love going to conventions and it was clear that Danny was excited to go. Being that she basically is a fangirl, her getting to see all sorts of heroes and such just roaming around this hotel/convention center in Antarctica was just amusing. Then again, that pleasant mood did not last for too long.

This was a book that I was looking forward to reading, because I knew there would be some interesting issues explored in the story. Having a transgender superhero as our leading lady allows us to follow her life and see firsthand how her life has changed and how she is affected by the treatment of those around her.

It is also interesting and from my perspective is fairly unique to have a superhero who struggles with rage and violence issues. Numerous times Danny refers to how much she enjoys beating up the bad guys, and how she sometimes holds back in the fights so they’ll last longer and she can fight more. I am so used to most of the heroes being such moral upstanding characters that this is actually a refreshing angle to explore. And considering everything Danny has gone through in her life, especially the past several months, it is actually a bit understandable why she acts this way. I just hope that April Daniels continues to explore this and also have Danny find a way to work through her issues and find some resolution in the future.

Basically this book did what I wanted it to do. There was action and complication, and character development I could understand. There were a couple characters that we met at the convention that I would have liked to be in the story more, but there’s always hope for the future.

Needless to say, I am looking forward to reading the next installment.

Where to Buy

You can pick up a copy of Sovereign from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore.

Review: No Good Deed by Kara Connolly

Hey all, Dani here.

Happy book birthday to Kara Connolly for this lovely book I’m reviewing today. I was lucky enough to receive an e-galley of this by the publisher through NetGalley, so thank you for that. I was especially lucky that I was able to squeeze this into my reading calendar just in time for the release. As always, receiving a copy of this book in no way influenced my rating or opinion.

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Summary

Fans of Dorothy Must Die will love this reimagining of the legend of Robin Hood. Girl power rules supreme when a modern girl finds herself in the middle of a medieval mess with only her smart mouth and her Olympic-archer aim to get her home.

Ellie Hudson is the front-runner on the road to gold for the U.S. Olympic archery team. All she has to do is qualify at the trials in jolly old England. When Ellie makes some kind of crazy wrong turn in the caverns under Nottingham Castle—yes, that Nottingham—she ends up in medieval England.

Ellie doesn’t care how she got to the Middle Ages; she just wants to go home before she gets the plague. But people are suffering in Nottingham, and Ellie has the skills to make it better. What’s an ace archer to do while she’s stuck in Sherwood Forest but make like Robin Hood?

Pulled into a past life as an outlaw, Ellie feels her present fading away next to daring do-gooding and a devilishly handsome knight. Only, Ellie is on the brink of rewriting history, and when she picks up her bow and arrow, her next shot could save her past—or doom civilization’s future.

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

I really enjoy the tales of Robin Hood, okay? When I first heard about this book I knew I had to read it. Come on, an archer gunning for a spot on the Olympic team ends up somehow in medieval England and basically ends up becoming the legendary character of Robin Hood? That sounds like a fantastic story. Now make it one step better by this character actually being a girl. Heck yes, I am so in.

Now the summary says this is perfect for fans of Dorothy Must Die. As I have not read that book, I can’t speak to that statement. But if you like competent, fairly intelligent, and capable characters who happen to be talented with a bow and also a bit prone to landing in one problem with medieval law after another, then you’ll probably enjoy this story.

We get to see characters like the Sheriff of Nottingham, Much, Will Scarlet, Little John, Friar Tuck, and more in this tale. And it made my soul happy.

Okay, yes, so it took me a few chapters to really get into the story, but I felt a bit of a kinship with Ellie as there are references made to lovely nerd things like Doctor Who and Indiana Jones.

Will I admit that I was annoyed with the fact that Ellie felt the need to mention multiple times throughout the book that she sets a couple arrows up next to her so she is ready to grab them and just shoot quickly? Well, yeah that was a tad aggravating, but not so much that it took me out of the story or anything.

I enjoyed the sometimes humorous interactions between Ellie and Much or Will or Little John. It just highlighted the fact that she is a modern girl in a medieval world. Also, I liked that several of these characters were quite aware that she was female but they maintained the ruse that she was a boy and they didn’t seem to look down on her or treat her any differently from anyone else around. That was really cool.

While masquerading as a boy, Ellie decides to use her brother’s name, Robert…which makes her name Robert Hudson, or as some say in that time, Robert son of Hood. There are also those who shorten Robert to Rob, therefore Rob Hood. So the nice tale of Robin Hood comes to pass with a modern girl archer as the famous character.

She takes an outlaw’s stand to help those in the area while also trying to figure out how she is going to make it back to her own time. Does that happen? And even more, does Ellie make it back in time for the qualifiers for the Olympics? Well, you’re just going to have to pick up your own copy of this book to find out. Seriously, it’s worth it.

Where to Buy

You can pick up a copy of No Good Deed from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore.

Review: Strange Practice by Vivian Shaw

Hey all, Dani here.

I’m back with another early review on a book I received at BookExpo/BookCon. Of course, I was also approved for an e-galley of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. Obviously this is where I state that receiving a copy did not influence my opinion on this book. Oh, and when I received the ARC at BookCon I had waited in line and was able to get it signed by Vivian Shaw.

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Summary

Meet Greta Helsing, fast-talking doctor to the undead. Keeping the supernatural community not-alive and well in London has been her family’s specialty for generations.

Greta Helsing inherited the family’s highly specialized, and highly peculiar, medical practice. In her consulting rooms, Dr. Helsing treats the undead for a host of ills – vocal strain in banshees, arthritis in barrow-wights, and entropy in mummies. Although barely making ends meet, this is just the quiet, supernatural-adjacent life Greta’s been groomed for since childhood.

Until a sect of murderous monks emerges, killing human and undead Londoners alike. As terror takes hold of the city, Greta must use her unusual skills to stop the cult if she hopes to save her practice, and her life.

My Thoughts

Rating: 4.5 stars

I’ll just start off with why this book was not a 5 star rating for me. It took about 15-20 pages for me to get used to the writing style, and I didn’t really start getting invested in the story until around page 30. After that, I was eagerly following all of the characters in trying to figure out this murderous cult and stopping them.

The reason why it took a little bit to adjust to the story is that the phrasing and description feel more like something I would read in a classic piece of literature or a historical type novel, but it is actually set in modern day. Fairly early on we see Greta driving her Mini, and there’s also use of fancy coffee machines and cell phones, oh and mass spectrometers. So it’s a modern tale that feels a bit old fashioned. Considering the number of mummies, vampires, demon-ish creatures, etc., that actually felt appropriate to me…after I got used to it anyway.

I didn’t mind Greta as the protagonist, but the standout characters had to be the friends and patients she has. Ruthven and Fastitocalon and Dez and Cranswell…they were just so interesting. Some of them were members of the supernatural community and some of them were humans who were aware of the existence of such creatures. Either way, I enjoyed learning about them and would actually be glad to read more tales following them.

I also loved that there’s nice connection to literary mentions of vampires and such in this book. Also, with the setting of the story being in London, and the book starting after a series of murders in the Whitechapel area, that there are references to Jack the Ripper and such, though these current murders also involve cheap rosaries and therefore people are referring to the culprit as the Rosary Ripper. I like that those details help to ground this series firmly as an urban fantasy.

So I am glad I was granted the opportunity to read this book early, and I look forward to reading Dr. Greta Helsing’s next adventure.

Where to Buy

You can pre-order Strange Practice from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore. This book will be released on July 25, 2017.

Review: First Watch by Dale Lucas

Hey all, Dani here.

Today I’m here to bring you a slightly early review, and by that I mean that this book will be released tomorrow, July 11. I was lucky enough to receive a digital copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, but it should be noted that this in no way affected my opinion or rating of this book. The premise alone made me want to read it, and I have already purchased a copy because I greatly enjoyed this story and I am looking forward to the rest of the series.

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Summary

Humans, orcs, mages, elves, and dwarves all jostle for success and survival in the cramped quarters of Yenara, while understaffed Watch Wardens struggle to keep its citizens in line.

Enter Rem: new to Yenara and hungover in the city dungeons with no money for bail. When offered a position with the Watch to compensate for his crimes, Rem jumps at the chance.

His new partner is less eager. Torval, a dwarf who’s handy with a maul and known for hitting first and asking questions later, is highly unimpressed with the untrained and weaponless Rem.

But when Torval’s former partner goes missing, the two must consort with the usual suspects — drug dealing orcs, mind-controlling elves, uncooperative mages, and humans being typical humans — to uncover the truth and catch a murderer loose in their fair city.

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

For some reason when I first read the synopsis of this book, I thought it was going to be more of an urban fantasy, and yes, it has that sort of feel to it, especially as it is a fantasy book set in the city of Yenara. But this isn’t a contemporary-esque story; it is just a legit fantasy, and man have I been craving a good fantasy read.

From the beginning this story just made me think of so many sessions I’ve played of Dungeons & Dragons. It has so many of the races I’ve become accustomed to encountering during a campaign, and frankly I felt like I was sitting on the sidelines and watching as Rem and Torval tried to figure out who this murderer in their city was and bring them to justice.

Actually if you are a fan of D&D and/or fantasy in general, you’ll likely notice a number of common tropes and themes within this story. Having a diverse racial cast makes for some interesting inter-racial interaction. Torval the dwarf has some serious issues with the orcs. And there is only one elf in the Watch.

I’m not going to lie, while reading this I sent several texts to my boyfriend about how much I was enjoying the book because it reminded me of D&D (which is how the two of us met) and he just laughed and called me a nerd. So guys, just listen to my nerdy little self, and if you are a fan of fantasy adventure tales with some interesting character dynamics and a murder mystery to solve, just do yourself a favor and pick this up.

It’s like a buddy cop show…but completely set in a fantasy world. It was just an enjoyable read.

Where to Buy

You can buy a copy of First Watch from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore. This book will be released tomorrow, July 11, 2017.

Review: The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss

Hey all, Dani here.

Happy Book Birthday to the book I’m reviewing today. Yes, today is a bit of a deviation from my GLBT book month reviews. Oh, and also, I do need to mention that I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Okay, well, here we go.

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Summary

Based on some of literature’s horror and science fiction classics, this is the story of a remarkable group of women who come together to solve the mystery of a series of gruesome murders—and the bigger mystery of their own origins.

Mary Jekyll, alone and penniless following her parents’ death, is curious about the secrets of her father’s mysterious past. One clue in particular hints that Edward Hyde, her father’s former friend and a murderer, may be nearby, and there is a reward for information leading to his capture…a reward that would solve all of her immediate financial woes.

But her hunt leads her to Hyde’s daughter, Diana, a feral child left to be raised by nuns. With the assistance of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Mary continues her search for the elusive Hyde, and soon befriends more women, all of whom have been created through terrifying experimentation: Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherine Moreau, and Justine Frankenstein.

When their investigations lead them to the discovery of a secret society of immoral and power-crazed scientists, the horrors of their past return. Now it is up to the monsters to finally triumph over the monstrous.

My Thoughts

My rating: 4 stars

The concept of this story alone intrigued me. I was excited by the prospect of following the daughters of some of literature’s classic men. Plus, look at that cover. I love all the tiny details on it.

I think my favorite part of this novel is actually the format. It is written as if the girls are telling this story after the fact, and that includes numerous interruptions by the girls to clarify something or just make commentary on a scene. The format is a unique one and it made the reading experience more enjoyable for me.

And really the story is more about all of these young women. Yes there is this search for Mr. Hyde, and then this secret society of scientists later on, but the reason you care about all of that is because you get to know Mary Jekyll, Diana Hyde, Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherine Moreau, and Justine Frankenstein.

So whether or not you are a fan of classic literature, I think this book is enjoyable, but if you are a literature aficionado, I definitely recommend that you pick up this inventive tale.

Where to Buy

You can pick up a copy of this lovely book today from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore.