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.

Make Me Read It Readathon Wrap-Up

Hey all, Dani here.

I think the post today is going to be a little shorter than normal. So, the past week I participated in the Make Me Read It Readathon, and the order of my TBR was determined based on the number of votes you lovely readers gave to my options. I’ll have links to the books I’ve finished and reviewed throughout this post.

I started off strong…reading all 6 books in the Scott Pilgrim series on Sunday and about the first half of Monday. That meant my next book was The Dragons of Nova by Elise Kova. Now, I did read a few chapters of this book, and so far I am enjoying it as much as I did the first one, but I’ll be completely honest, reading it basically felt like a chore. Again, I’ll reiterate that I am enjoying it, but I guess it just wasn’t the book I really wanted to be reading just then.

So I switched off to Matilda by Roald Dahl, a switch that only lasted for the hour to hour-and-a-half that it took me to read the whole book.

At the same time I was trying to push ahead with my readathon TBR, so I was listening to the audiobook for The Black Prism by Brent Weeks. I figured I could listen to it while doing chores around the apartment or during my ten minute commute to work. So over the course of the week I’ve listened to about 7 hours of the audiobook and have about 14 hours left to go. It’s not as much progress as I would like, but it’s something.

I did also manage to finish reading the Sandman series. So I read Volumes 7-10.

Oh, and during the week I also finished reading Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo and wrote up my review for it. That wasn’t on my TBR so I shouldn’t exactly count it for this readathon, but it still was reading I accomplished during the week, so I’m actually going to count it.

Finally I also read an ARC for Click’d by Tamara Ireland Stone. That review will be up tomorrow.

I consider it a fairly productive week of reading. I finished 13 books in the week, and made progress in two other books. I’m happy with that, though part of me is starting to worry that pushing myself to keep up this crazy reading schedule is going to lead to reader/blogger burnout soon. Though I have enough plans and idea to literally have a post every day for the next couple months, I think I’m going to have to scale back a tiny bit, so for right now I’m going to give myself a couple days off each week…most likely those will be the weekends.

That’s also why I’m probably going to hold off on finishing the new Elise Kova book for now. I have some ARC reviews that I need to be sure I finish, and I want to make sure the bonus books I’m reading during the month are the ones my bookish heart truly wants to be reading.

I do hope to finish the audiobook of The Black Prism by the end of the month, though. We’ll just see what happens.

All right everyone, so let me know down below how your readathon went if you participated, or if you didn’t, let me know if there’s a great book you’ve finished recently.

Sandman Series Review

Hey all, Dani here.

Well I’m back with another review of a whole series, this time the Sandman comics by Neil Gaiman. I read the first five volumes in 2016, and really wanted to finish the series then but I had an influx of other books I needed to acquire and so these collected volumes had to wait. I recently bought volumes 6-10 and could barely restrain myself before diving in to finish them. For the summary and the links to purchase, I’ll be giving the information for the first volume only so as to avoid any potential spoilers.

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Summary

New York Times best-selling author Neil Gaiman’s transcendent series SANDMAN is often hailed as the definitive Vertigo title and one of the finest achievements in graphic storytelling. Gaiman created an unforgettable tale of the forces that exist beyond life and death by weaving ancient mythology, folklore and fairy tales with his own distinct narrative vision.

In PRELUDES & NOCTURNES, an occultist attempting to capture Death to bargain for eternal life traps her younger brother Dream instead. After his 70 year imprisonment and eventual escape, Dream, also known as Morpheus, goes on a quest for his lost objects of power. On his arduous journey Morpheus encounters Lucifer, John Constantine, and an all-powerful madman.

This book also includes the story “The Sound of Her Wings,” which introduces us to the pragmatic and perky goth girl Death.

Includes issues 1-8 of the original series.

My Thoughts

Ratings: 5 STARS for EVERYTHING!

This is such a wonderful and complex, diverse and expansive, sometimes whimsical, sometimes dark, sometimes absolutely lovely, series. Honestly, I have no idea why it took me so long to get these graphic novels. Weirdly enough, this was also my introduction to Neil Gaiman…well, unless you count seeing the movie Stardust years ago. But I had always heard about Neil Gaiman as this great storyteller, and this is an amazing example of his creative range.

I love the characters, and there are a lot of them. Some will only show up in one issue of one volume, but some are regularly occurring. Even the random tertiary characters seem to breathe on the page. I had no issues at all seeing them all as real people/creatures/etc. There is diversity in color and belief systems and sexuality and philosophy, which truly makes this a memorable reading experience.

Oh, and the artwork. Depending on the tone of each particular tale, the artwork changed to fit that mood. Some of the characters even have speech bubbles and speech font differences from everyone else. It is just a visual feast, a smorgasbord that you will want to devour whole.

Okay, I will say that Dream and Death are my favorite characters, but each of the Endless are fascinating in their own ways. Plus you run into other fun characters like Lucifer, you know, the same Lucifer that currently has a television show about his exploits on Earth, which is now heading into its third season? Yeah, the Sandman comics are where his storyline began, up to him leaving Hell to come up to our realm. Obviously the adaptation from comic to TV show made some changes but honestly they seem relatively minor (Lucifer is blond in the comics, but I think Tom Ellis is doing amazing in the show).

Anyway, back to the Endless. They are god-like, but they are older than the gods. There are seven of them and they are fascinating. We spend most of our time with Morpheus, otherwise known as Dream, though his older sister, Death, is also a frequent guest throughout the series. As it progresses you meet the rest of them: Destiny, Desire, Delirium, Destruction, and Despair.

Oh, and if you’re a fan of DC comics, you’ll note that a number of characters from there appear in Sandman as well, including but not limited to: John Constantine, Batman, and Hawkman. There are also numerous characters from biblical lore that pop up as well, including Cain, Abel, and Eve.

Basically I could gush about this for many more paragraphs but I don’t want to risk spoiling anything, and with the complete collection of ten volumes, there’s a lot of potential spoilers. I’ll just say that I highly recommend this amazing graphic novel collection.

Where to Buy

You can pick up Sandman in a number of different volume collections or other bound collections from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore. I should also point out that you could likely pick up any of the Sandman tales from a comic book store as well.

Review: Matilda by Roald Dahl

Hey all, Dani here.

Today I am here to review one of my most beloved stories from childhood, whether that was the book or movie version, because honestly both are great. I was able to re-read this fantastic children’s book thanks to my participation in the Make Me Read It Readathon. So far I’m doing quite well with my reading. I’ve finished the whole Scott Pilgrim series and Matilda, and am really close to finishing The Dragons of Nova. I can also say that I’ve been listening to The Black Prism whenever I have time for it. I’ll probably have to pick up my paperback copy and put in a few reading hours at some point this week, but so far I’m feeling good about being able to finish my entire TBR. Anyway, let’s just jump into the review.

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Summary

Matilda Wormwood’s father is a mean crooked crook. And her mother’s just plain stupid. They think Matilda is nuisance who should watch more TV and read fewer books! But her lovely teacher Miss Honey thinks Matilda is a genius. Matilda has a few extraordinary tracks up her sleeve, so her horrible parents and even more horrible headmistress had better watch out.

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars…obviously

I reread the book and watched the movie on the same day, and yes, there are some differences between the two, but I think the scenes the movie added in remained true to the heart of the story and only enhanced it. Both the book and the movie made me laugh and cry and have all the nostalgic feelings of a beloved tale. Matilda the book was released in 1988, the year I was born, and the movie came out the day after I turned 8 years old in 1996, so I have a close connection to this story.

Matilda is one of my all-time favorite little bookworms. The joy she gets from books and from learning is just adorable and infectious. Considering I have always been a lover of books, sweet little Matilda was one of the first characters I truly identified with.

Also, one of the joys of reading books by Roald Dahl is the artwork throughout. They are just so cute and really made the reading experience even more fun. I flew through my reread of this book, and yes, part of that is because this is a children’s book, but it’s also because you just want to follow Matilda’s story as she goes to school and gets involved with Miss Honey, all the while having to deal with the antagonists of this tale: her parents and Miss Trunchbull.

Part of the magic of Matilda is that most of it is based in reality, but then about halfway through the book, she discovers that she has the power to move things with her mind, or as it say in the book, with her eyes. Being that Matilda had basically raised herself on a large helping of great classical literature, she decided to use her power to help those around her.

This is a book I can’t wait to read to children, which right now means that I have to wait for my boyfriend’s niece to grow up a little bit. She’s only a month old right now. But I am definitely adding this book to her library.

Where to Buy

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

Scott Pilgrim Series Review

Hey all, Dani here.

Okay, so today I’m doing something a little different by doing an overall review for a series instead of doing six individual review posts. Besides, I read all of these books in such a short time period that this just makes sense to me.

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Summary

Scott Pilgrim is in love, but there are complications. Having to battle his new girlfriend’s evil exes was nothing he planned on, but love makes you do funny things. Follow his story in the complete Scott Pilgrim saga in this Scott Pilgrim set. This set contains all six graphic novels in one handy shrink-wrapped pack.

My Thoughts

Ratings: Vol 1 – 5 stars, Vol 2 – 5 stars, Vol 3 – 5 stars, Vol 4 – 5 stars, Vol 5 – 5 stars, and Vol 6 – 5 stars

Now, I will go ahead and get this admission out of the way…I saw the movie before I read these books. Typically this is not something I do, but my boyfriend really really wanted me to see it and as I love nerdy things and I enjoy seeing how excited he gets when it comes to these sorts of things, so I let up on my usual method. Of course after seeing the movie I knew I absolutely had to read the books.

And for once I may actually say that I preferred that I saw the movie first. I know that seems weird, but reading all of these after seeing the film just made all the scenes that didn’t make the movie feel like awesome bonus features at the end. I loved seeing what all expansions to the story and the characters were going to come in each respective volume.

I’ll also say that now I really want to watch the movie again, so I can do a compare/contrast of the books to the film. Obviously there was quite a bit that had to be cut out, and this becomes especially noticeable in the middle and later volumes.

But I had the greatest time binge-reading these the past day and a half. It was a fantastic romantic comedy adventure graphic novel with so many nerdy points to it. Oh, I especially loved how self-aware the characters were some of the time. Someone would ask Scott about his relationship with Ramona and he would tell them to read the first volume. Or someone would reference an earlier event by basically saying go check out volume three. It was just an amusing element to add to the story.

Okay, yes, a large number of the cast of characters seem to cheat on their romantic partners, and that’s something I’m not really a fan of, but several of them also ended up admitting that they messed up, or feeling sorry for what they’ve done and trying to change in the future.

There’s also a larger role for the parents in the graphic novels, including a rather amusing little storyline involving the family of Knives Chau, which I rather enjoyed. It was also nice to see some of the other characters get more of their own plot lines and more development.

Needless to say, this was the perfect way to start my week participating in the Make Me Read It Readathon. I’m glad I was able to jump into these first and now I can read a couple novels before reading a few more graphic novels. It should be a great week of reading.

Where to Buy

You can pick up this box set, or even the individual volumes (in either black & white or full color) from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore.

Make Me Read It Readathon

Hey all, Dani here.

I know, I know…another readathon, Dani? You guys, I really like doing readathons because they help motivate me to read a little more than normal. Now, I do tend to have better results with 24 Hour Readathons than I do with week-long events, but that’s not going to stop me from participating. Also, this one just sounds really interesting.

And I’ll need your help to participate so stick around to find out how you can help determine what I’m going to read.

Okay, so I just started following Nika (Bookster) and saw this post about an upcoming readathon. It is being hosted by Val (The Innocent Smiley) and Ely (Tea and Titles) and will be taking place August 6th through August 13th.

Now, I like the interactive component of this readathon because it makes for a slightly different experience from any other readathon. Let me explain by giving the details about the Make Me Read It Readathon as described by Val and Ely.

Look at the books you own, either physical, e-book or ones you’ve borrowed from the library and pick out a few you really want to read, or feel like you should read. It’s up to you how many you pick, personally I’d pick a few more than you expect to be able to read in a week. Example: if you think you’ll only read two, pick out five books or if you think you can read seven, pick out ten.

Make a list of these books on your blog, or make a video, or a Goodreads shelf or post a picture on Instagram—whatever is easiest for you. Then get friends, other bloggers/booktubers/bookstagrammers etc. to vote on which books you HAVE to read.

When the readathon comes along, you read the books in the order of most votes. For example, if one book gets 10 votes—you read that first, then the one that got 7 and so on. If there’s a tie, then it’s your preference. The goal is to read as many as possible.

So there you have it. I select options for books to read for this event and then you guys get to vote on those options and decide what order I read them in. This sounds like it’ll be fun. I instantly looked at my August TBR (I’ll have my post on that up in a couple days) and determined that having a few Middle Grade reads on my list meant that I could probably squeeze in a few fun reads.

Without further ado, here are my options for you to vote on:

Now I have this poll set up to be open until August 4th, so do me a favor and vote. Keep in mind that though I only have Sandman Vol 7 pictured above, my poll option is for Volumes 7, 8, 9, and 10. The reason I did this with both Sandman and Scott Pilgrim is because I know I have a tendency to fly through graphic novels, comic books, and manga, so bundling them together just makes sense to me.

Four Londons Book Tag

Hey all, Dani here.

Today I’m bringing you a book tag that I simply could not resist doing. I first saw it over on Rachael’s blog (rachaelrexds) so you can check out her post here, but it was created by Arkon and Annie so you can find the original post here.

Basically this tag was created in honor of V.E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic trilogy, which I think is an awesome trilogy and I definitely recommend it to my fellow fantasy lovers, particularly if you like alternate reality type books, because these ones allow you to travel between four different versions of London and they are just so interesting.

Anyway, let’s just jump into the tag.

Grey London: A Book That You Keep Going Back to Despite Trying to Quit It

– Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard

So I read the first one and it was pretty good, not anything where I found myself begging for the next book or anything, but I liked it. The second book definitely suffered through the sophomore slump in my opinion and I wanted to say goodbye to the series, but with the way book two ended I knew I would probably end up going back to pick up the next one. I bought book three shortly after its release and read half…and then put it aside. Again, the book is just okay to me. I mean, I like it, but it isn’t begging me to keep reading. I know I need to finish King’s Cage because I don’t like leaving books half read but it isn’t exactly a priority for me at the moment.

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Grey London: A Book/Series That You’ve Left Behind Forever

– Night World by L.J. Smith

I’ll be completely honest…I absolutely devoured the first nine books in this series. Were many of them fairly formulaic? Well, yes, but most paranormal romance tends to be that way and nevertheless I enjoyed the books. However, the series was first published in like 1996-1998…and we are still waiting on book 10, the final book in the series. Come on! I can’t just keep the books on my shelves and wait for a finale that may never come. It was time for me to walk away and give up.

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Grey London: A Majorly Bad Book/Series With Just One Beautiful Spark

– Beautiful series/Maddox Brothers series by Jamie McGuire

I don’t know if these count as having a beautiful spark in them…mainly they are just an intriguing guilty pleasure read. I haven’t finished the series, but there are so many issues in these books that just aggravate me. I find some of the character naming conventions to be pretty lazy, and some of the stories seem a bit far-fetched, and typically the characters make so many bad decisions that I wonder how they have managed to still be okay, but I sometimes still find myself thinking that I need to read the last couple books.

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Red London: A Book/Series That You Feel Blessed to Have Read. Aven

– The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

This was one of my top reads of 2016. I just can’t say enough about the awesome adventure and widely diverse cast of characters in this book. I still need to read the second book, especially since there should be a third one coming, but I want to savor the experience so for now I’m waiting. Plus, the covers are gorgeous…well, for the UK editions; I am wholly unimpressed with the US covers. And yes, technically the official cover for the third book hasn’t been revealed yet, but I bet it will be stunning.

Red London: A Book That Changes Every Time You Read It

-Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series by Ann Brashares

There is just something about this series. I grew up with it, and when the fifth book was released years after the original four concluded, I had aged right along with the Sisterhood. And every time I read these books–because I still own them and like to reread them every now and again–I spy something else in the pages, or I connect with a different character or a different plot in a way I hadn’t before.

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Red London: A Fictional World That Makes You Feel Love and Fear. Antari

-Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

Although really, I guess this one is only partly a fictional world as it takes place in the UK. Anyway, these books, these characters…you love them and you hate them. When I originally read the series I certainly was afraid of what would happen to everyone as the books got darker and more dangerous. But they just stick with you as well; Harry Potter is not a series that is easily forgotten.

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White London: Book/Series That Started Off Meh But Ended Up Being Great

-Vampire Academy/Bloodlines series by Richelle Mead

Don’t get me wrong, I love all of these books, but if I look at Vampire Academy objectively, it was pretty similar to a lot of other vampire literature of the time, but then the world developed more, as did the mythos of these particular vampires (Moroi and Strigoi) and the dhampirs, and I got more and more obsessed with it. That was even more apparent when the Bloodlines series came around and Sydney became the main character, because I related to her so much more than I did Rose.

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White London: The World is Dying. Save One Book

-The Complete Works of William Shakespeare

This is such a hard question. Honestly I would try to save as many books as possible; no way would I settle for just one. But for the purposes of this tag, I guess I’ll go with a piece of classic literature that contains quite a bit of material. With this large collection of plays and poems, this is a great choice with lots of reading options.

White London: A Book/Series That You Would Kill For

-Guardians of Time Book #4 by Marianne Curley

I don’t know the title of this book or the release date or anything except for the fact that Marianne Curley announced that there would be a fourth book coming. I absolutely adored the first three books and devoured them when I was in high school. They stuck with me since then…and I just really REALLY want this next book, like right now.

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Black London: Name a Book/Series That Has Utterly Consumed You

-Critical Role: Tal’Dorei Campaign Setting by Matthew Mercer

I feel like this one is cheating just a tiny bit, but the world of Exandria and the stories that take place therein have completely consumed me. I have watched over 100 episodes of this live streamed show where a bunch of nerdy professional voice actors sit around and play Dungeons & Dragons. Each episode is typically 3-5 hours long, so you can see that I’ve invested quite a bit of time in the world. And the campaign setting book is coming out very soon (I was able to immediately download the PDF when I preordered the hardcover) and I read through the book so fast. Now I have the ability to explore the continent of Tal’Dorei on my own and I am so happy about that.

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Black London: A Book/Series That You Refuse to Open

-Cthulurotica anthology, edited by Carrie Cuinn

This was a monthly book pick for Felicia Day’s Vaginal Fantasy Book Club basically five years ago. Tentacle porn was how it was tentatively described. I wasn’t interested in it then. I’m not interested in it now.

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Black London: An Author Who Controls Your Purse Strings a la Osaron

-Rachel E. Kelly, author of the Colorworld series

It wouldn’t be a book tag or a best of/favorites list or anything similar if I didn’t have at least one mention of the Colorworld series, which I am absolutely obsessed with. I have read the whole series (most of the books several times) and I have the privilege of knowing the author and getting to be a part of her creative journey. I have purchased three copies of each book (paperback, e-book, and illustrated editions), pledged to the Kickstarter for a monthly comic book series, and just in general donated money to help Team Colorworld with their book tour. Oh, and I don’t even know how many art prints and/or metal bookmarks I’ve purchased from them in the past couple years. It’s quite a few though.

Well, I suppose that’s all for today’s post. If you would like to do this tag, then by all means, consider yourself TAGGED! I’d love to see your answers if you do decided to do this.


Biannual Bibliothon Update

Okay, so I actually didn’t get much reading done yesterday. I read all of 70 pages in Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh, so I have some catching up to do if I want to complete my TBR before the end of the readathon. My plan is to finish this book today and hopefully get through a decent chunk of The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee.

Readathon totals

# books completed: 4

# reading challenges completed: 1.5

Review: Dead Poets Society by N.H. Kleinbaum

Hey all, Dani here.

As you are probably aware, I am participating in the summer session of the Biannual Bibliothon being hosted over on BookTube, Twitter, Bookstagram, etc. Today I offer up my first book review from my TBR for the event. Most of my reviews for the books I’m reading this week will be up in the next couple weeks, whenever I can squeeze them in due to my already scheduled reviews.

Anyway this covers reading challenge #5: Book to Movie Adaptation.

Yes, I am still counting this for the challenge even though I learned that the book is adapted from the screenplay.

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Summary

Todd Anderson and his friends at Welton Academy can hardly believe how different life is since their new English professor, the flamboyant John Keating, has challenged them to “make your lives extraordinary! ” Inspired by Keating, the boys resurrect the Dead Poets Society–a secret club where, free from the constraints and expectations of school and parents, they let their passions run wild. As Keating turns the boys on to the great words of Byron, Shelley, and Keats, they discover not only the beauty of language, but the importance of making each moment count.But the Dead Poets pledges soon realize that their newfound freedom can have tragic consequences. Can the club and the individuality it inspires survive the pressure from authorities determined to destroy their dreams?

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

This was a movie I watched for the first time, I believe, in high school, and it has stuck with me ever since. Dead Poets Society is one of my favorite films, and even though this book is merely an adaptation of the screenplay, it still stands strongly on its own. No matter how many times I watch this (or in future reread this) I feel that it will always resonate in me and there are certain lines and certain lessons that I will hold close to my heart for the rest of my life.

Some of my favorite lines from the book/movie:

  • “No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world”
  • “But if you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen, you hear it? – – Carpe – – hear it? – – Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary.”
  • “So avoid using the word ‘very’ because it’s lazy. A man is not very tired, he is exhausted. Don’t use very sad, use morose. Language was invented for one reason, boys – to woo women – and, in that endeavor, laziness will not do. It also won’t do in your essays.”
  • “To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”

In many ways I feel like some of those quotes explain why I do what I do, why I am so passionate about sharing my love of books and movies and television shows and RPGs and board games and so many other activities attributed to nerd/geek culture. It also is why I will continue to read and write and share my love of the written word.

It is also why I will continue to get emotional any time I approach the end of Dead Poets Society. The final classroom, showing the impact Mr. Keating had on the class, will continue to inspire me, as will Mr. Keating’s approach to learning and to life in general.

While yes there are some troubling acts in this tale, I think it is still an important one to tell. If you have not watched the movie (or read the adaptation novel), then I very highly recommend that you check it out. And you may want to have tissues handy, just in case the story resonates within you as well.

Where to Buy

You can pick up a copy of Dead Poets Society from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore. Of course you can probably also pick up the movie from those places as well.


Biannual Bibliothon Update

Wow, we are halfway through the Biannual Bibliothon. For those of you also participating (or those of you doing BookTube-a-Thon instead), I hope you are having a productive week of reading. I finished reading Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger yesterday, completing my challenge of reading a book that I bought because of the cover. And now I’m reading Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh, which is the Bibliothon group read pick.

Readathon totals

# books completed: 4

# reading challenges completed: 1.5

Review: Alex & Eliza: A Love Story by Melissa de la Cruz

Hey all, Dani here.

You know what…it has been a little while since I last talked about my obsession with Hamilton. I have been listening to the soundtrack non-stop again, and when I was grabbing possible books for the 24 Hourathon I just randomly reached over and grabbed this one. Then I started reading it the day before the readathon. So I only read the second half of this for the 24 Hourathon, but it made for a good book for me to start my day with because I already knew that I was hooked on the story.

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Summary

Their romance shaped a nation. The rest was history.

1777. Albany, New York.

As battle cries of the American Revolution echo in the distance, servants flutter about preparing for one of New York society’s biggest events: the Schuylers’ grand ball. Descended from two of the oldest and most distinguished bloodlines in New York, the Schuylers are proud to be one of their fledgling country’s founding families, and even prouder still of their three daughters—Angelica, with her razor-sharp wit; Peggy, with her dazzling looks; and Eliza, whose beauty and charm rival that of both her sisters, though she’d rather be aiding the colonists’ cause than dressing up for some silly ball.

Still, she can barely contain her excitement when she hears of the arrival of one Alexander Hamilton, a mysterious, rakish young colonel and General George Washington’s right-hand man. Though Alex has arrived as the bearer of bad news for the Schuylers, he can’t believe his luck—as an orphan, and a bastard one at that—to be in such esteemed company. And when Alex and Eliza meet that fateful night, so begins an epic love story that would forever change the course of American history.

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

I’ll admit it everyone. When I first heard about this book I was very judgmental about it. A YA historical romance story about Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Scuyler…I thought there was no way it would be able to do the kind of justice to the relationship that Hamilton did, or Alexander Hamilton’s actual writings did.

But I still bought a copy of this book, because…well, Hamilton.

So it sat in a pile for a few months. Now that I’ve read it, oh my goodness you guys, I was soo wrong to judge it before reading it. I’m sorry for doubting you Melissa de la Cruz.

This book had all the witty banter I could have asked for. The wit of Alexander Hamilton as well as the witty fiesty intelligence of the Schuyler sisters just absolutely shines in this book. And I was so happy about that.

While reading I laughed, I cried, I cheered for the characters, and I absolutely hugged the book a few times.

I’ll be completely honest, there was even a part when it seemed like things wouldn’t work out between Alex and Eliza and I was so upset about it because it was so obvious that they belonged together. And I thought this even while knowing that it would all work out. I was so invested in the story that my mind temporarily forgot that this was a historical tale based on actual events. My emotions were so wrapped up in the story.

So basically I loved this book and if you are a fan of Hamilton and you have not yet picked this up, just go buy it already.

Where to Buy

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


Biannual Bibliothon Update

I finished Dead Poets Society by N.H. Kleinbaum, and then I started Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger, a book I picked up because the cover was gorgeous, and so far I am really enjoying it. I am hoping to finish Nightshade Lounge today and then I’ll dive into Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh.

Readathon totals

# books completed: 3

# reading challenges completed: 1/2 (still need to watch Dead Poets Society)

Review: No Second Chances by Kate Evangelista

Hey all, Dani here.

Welcome to another contemporary book review. On the plus side this is the final book in the trilogy so I can say that I’m happy to have finished a series. When it comes to most of what I read I either fall behind by several books or I reach the last one and I just can’t finish it; I don’t want the story to be over. (Yes, I’m looking at you Shades of Magic trilogy by V.E. Schwab. I want to know what happens, but I also don’t want it to be over). Book nerd problems.

Anyway, I already have reviews up for the first two books in the Dodge Cove trilogy, the first No Love Allowed–featuring Caleb and Didi–and the second one, No Holding Back–featuring Nathan and Preston. This final book follows Nathan’s twin sister Natasha and her ex-boyfriend Jackson as he tries to win her back.

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Summary

Natasha was DEVASTATED when Jackson, her first love, disappeared without a word only to pop up months later as a famous DJ. But now she’s over it―over him!―and ready to move on with her life! Isn’t she?

Jackson thought he was leaving Dodge Cove behind forever when he set off to LA to start his career as a DJ. But the one thing he had never been able to leave behind was the memory of his first love, Natasha, and now that he’s proven his success, he’s coming home to win her back…

Get ready to stop time, defy gravity and bring down the stars in this final book in Kate Evangelista’s Dodge Cove Trilogy!

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

I read this during the 24 Hourathon and it was the first book I read completely for the day, and much like the previous installments, I flew through this book. Natasha is a great leading lady. She is smart and fiesty but she also has this vulnerability to her because of what she went through with Jackson.

I also love that Caleb, Didi, Nathan, and Preston all appear in this book too. The friendship between Didi and Natasha is cool, though I do wish there could have been more of it throughout the trilogy. All three of the books are relatively short; I believe that No Second Chances is the longest at 197 pages, so honestly we don’t get to delve too deep into the character development and relationships.

That doesn’t mean that these books aren’t good. I think they are perfect for a beach read or a vacation read, something where you need something shorter and easy to follow without worrying about getting too deeply wrapped up in plot or characters.

I’ll say that Jackson won me over a lot sooner than he did Natasha, and that’s understandable considering how their relationship ended to begin with. But come on, he is a Harry Potter nerd and watching him help out with that Entrepreneur Day project was just so cute.

So I’m glad to have read these books and though I liked them I don’t see me really needing or wanting to reread them in the future, so it’s very likely that I’ll take the whole trilogy to one of my area Little Free Libraries and drop them off. Hopefully someone else will also enjoy them.

Where to Buy

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


Biannual Bibliothon Update

So I am participating in this readathon all this week (July 23-29) and I’ll try to put mini status updates on all my review posts.

I read two graphic novels (Sandman Vol 6. and The Wicked + The Divine, Vol 5) on Sunday July 23rd. Neither of these were picked to complete any of the reading challenges but they still count as books read.

Currently I am in the middle of reading Dead Poets Society by N.H. Kleinbaum and then I’ll watch the movie to complete the book-to-movie adaptation challenge. Though, I did discover today that this book is actually adapted from the screenplay…I’m still counting it for this challenge.