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

Review: Lumberjanes – Unicorn Power by Mariko Tamaki

Hey all, Dani here.

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

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

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Summary

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

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

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

My Thoughts

Rating: 4.5 stars

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

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

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

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

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

Where to Buy

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

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Book Review, Books!, Readathon, Reading Challenge, Signal Boost

Readathon by Zoe Wrap Up

Hey all, Dani here.

I’ve already read as many books in March as I did in the entire month of February, so I’m feeling pretty good about my reading so far. On Saturday, my fiance had a guys only hangout with his friends, which left me free to participate in a 24 Hour readathon, hosted by Zoe Herdt (readbyzoe on YouTube).

Anyway, though the readathon was scheduled to start at midnight in each time zone, I decided that getting a good night’s sleep in was more important. So I woke up a little before 7:00 am, grabbed my stack of books and something to drink, and settled in on the couch to read.

I decided this time around to randomly decide what I was reading, so each time I was ready for a book, I would grab one of the dice I typically use for Dungeons & Dragons, and roll it. The number rolled would be the one I read, starting at the top of my stack of books and counting down the spines.

So my first read of the day was The Master Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg…or at least I thought it was. I made it all of one chapter in before getting the feeling that I was missing something. A quick Goodreads search revealed that I had somehow mis-shelved my books, and I needed to be reading The Glass Magician instead. Thankfully I didn’t really notice anything spoilery, so it worked out all right.

I finished that book at 9:15 am, and then decided to make up a quick bite to eat before diving into my second book, which ended up being A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle.

I finished my second book of the day at 11:00am, so I can honestly say that the readathon was really working for me. Both books I read were pretty good, and I was feeling like I could possibly make it through a few more books with the pace I was keeping.

The dice gods then decided that my third read would be The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, and I started reading that at 11:15am. Honestly this is about when the readathon started to slip away from me.

First I had to drop my fiance off at his friends’ apartment, so we wouldn’t have to worry about any chance of driving under the influence of alcohol–we’re both pretty responsible about that. But, after making a quick Starbucks trip, and then dropping him off, I decided to grab lunch from Chipotle.

Then it became pretty difficult for me to focus on my reading. The apartment started to feel quiet and empty, even when I had Netflix playing in the background. So I didn’t finish my Neil Gaiman book until 3:45pm.

I still thought maybe I could get back on track, and at 3:55pm,  I started Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. I watched the movie several years ago, but the book had just sat on my TBR.

Not anymore. I will say that I did at least manage to get through the book…but it took most of the rest of the evening, with breaks to go to our local nerd store and get new miniatures for Dungeons & Dragons, and then I took a break to do a mini ghost hunt in the apartment, and then I made myself an adult milkshake (which was delicious), and then a couple hours after that I went and picked up my fiance.

Overall though I am pretty pleased with how I did with the readathon. I finished four books, for a total of 1179 pages read, in less than 24 hours. I’m going to try and have proper reviews up for some of these reads pretty soon.

Did any of you participate in Zoe’s 24 hour readathon–and how did you do? If not, did you read anything great recently? Thanks everyone and I’ll be back with another post again soon.

Book Releases, Book Review, Books!, Readathon, Reading Challenge, Signal Boost

What I’m Reading (3)

Hey all, Dani here.

I guess I’m just going to make this my regular Wednesday thing…to just briefly talk about what I have finished reading, am currently reading, or will be starting to read in the upcoming days. It is an easy post to put together, and it means I’m at least having some sort of regular content.

Obviously, what is weird about the post today is that it is the end of the month and my wrap up post will be coming tomorrow.

Oh well. It happens sometimes.

Anyway, let’s just jump into my reading discussion.

I am still currently reading Daughters of the Storm by Kim Wilkins. It is a good read, but I’m not feeling like I want to read it every free chance I get, so I’m only about 40% or so finished right now. So maybe I’ll finish this week.

My other current read is Phantom Pains by Mishell Baker. I absolutely loved the first book, and with the third one out in just a couple more weeks, now is the perfect time to read this. Expect a review coming soon.

I really want to try and squeeze More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer in this week so I can have a review up by release day.

And if you haven’t checked out my post from Monday, it will give you an idea of all of the books I may or may not read this weekend.

But I am adding one more book to that readathon TBR…because I had an ARC waiting at my door when I got home from work on Monday.

I loved the first book and now I get to read book two early. Yay! I love being a reader and a book blogger.

That’s all for today. Happy reading everyone!

Books!, Readathon, Reading Challenge, Signal Boost

Readathon by Zoe TBR

Hey all, Dani here.

I’m sure by now most of you know that I love 24 hour readathons. I feel like they are usually so productive for me, so I look forward to them whenever I find out about them. Well, now is that time, because Zoe Herdt (readbyzoe on YouTube) just announced her next readathon date, and as it turns out, I’m actually going to be available to read.

It turns out that my fiance is going to go hang out with his buddies on Saturday, so that leaves me alone at our apartment and I can totally read while he’s gone. Of course that also means that I need to go to the store and get snacks and coffee/tea to keep me fueled for a reading marathon.

Anyway, you can find Zoe’s announcement video about the readathon here.

So this readathon will take place on Saturday March 3rd, from midnight to 11:59, and yes, it is that time for your time zone. Now, I don’t think I’ll be starting to read at midnight, but I’ll still be able to do some pretty good reading by waking up around 6 or 7 am.

The hard part for this is trying to decide what I’m going to read for this event, so I’m just going to choose a few books that I’d like to try reading, and then I’ll read from those books based on my mood during the readathon.

Now, since this is taking place in March, I’ll also say that I’m once again doing Middle Grade March, so I may have a few MG books on the TBR. I don’t know.

Okay, I’m going to pause in writing this and go look at my bookshelves to figure out what I might want to read.

Wow, that took a little longer than I thought it would, but I found eight books that I want to try and read during the readathon. Realistically I know that I’m not going to read all of them, but we’ll see what happens.

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I have a decent blend of books: Middle Grade, Young Adult, and Adult. They are all fantasy, but I’m just kind of in the mood for those right now.

Obviously with the movie coming out, I feel like it is the perfect time to read A Wrinkle in Time. I think I read it when I was much younger so I don’t really remember the book, but the movie trailers look great so I’m going to enjoy reading this.

Speaking of book to movie adaptations, I have never read Howl’s Moving Castle, but I saw the movie in college and I remember it being really interesting. Well, since my fiance and I recently bought a few Studio Ghibli films, including Howl’s, now seems like the time to read it, finally.

I read Stardust during a previous readathon, and I have been wanting to read more Neil Gaiman (aside from the Sandman comics that I absolutely loved), and with The Graveyard Book also being a Middle Grade, it will work for the readathon as well as Middle Grade March.

The Waking Land is a fantasy book I heard about last year in a B&N article about upcoming fantasy releases and it sounded really interesting, but I just now got around to adding it to my library. With the sequel coming out later this year, this will be a good time to read it.

I’m trying to reread the books in the Paper Magician series in anticipation of the upcoming release of the fourth book, so it is time to read the second one, The Master Magician. These are shorter books, so they are perfect for readathons.

I saw The Lost Rainforest in my local grocery store and it sounded so cute that I could not help but pick up a copy.

Now York is a book that came in I believe an OwlCrate Jr box last year, so I saw a bunch of BookTubers talking about it, and the concept just sounded so interesting that I went and bought my own copy.

Finally is new release Reign the Earth and I have been excited about it since I learned about the book last year at BookExpo.

So I do believe that is all for today, and I will definitely have a readathon wrap up.

Book Review, Books!, Diverse December, Inspiration, Reading Challenge, Signal Boost

Review: The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe

Hey all, Dani here.

So the book I’m reviewing today is one I read back in December as part of Diverse December, and it was such a powerful read, especially as it is a true story. I was sold on the book based on the title, then the cover, and finally the summary. Because it is so easy to get me to read books if it is about libraries or bookstores, etc.

Anyway, let’s just jump into the review.

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Summary

Based on the experience of real-life Auschwitz prisoner Dita Kraus, this is the incredible story of a girl who risked her life to keep the magic of books alive during the Holocaust.
Fourteen-year-old Dita is one of the many imprisoned by the Nazis at Auschwitz. Taken, along with her mother and father, from the Terezín ghetto in Prague, Dita is adjusting to the constant terror that is life in the camp. When Jewish leader Freddy Hirsch asks Dita to take charge of the eight precious volumes the prisoners have managed to sneak past the guards, she agrees. And so Dita becomes the librarian of Auschwitz.

Out of one of the darkest chapters of human history comes this extraordinary story of courage and hope.

My Thoughts

Rating: 4.5 stars

As I mentioned before, the title of this book caught my interest, and the summary drew me in even more. I appreciate stories like this, and getting to learn more about some of the experiences of those who lived through the Holocaust is something I consider to be important.

To read about Dita, who risked her life to protect just a few well used and battered books was nothing short of inspirational to me. It is also worthwhile to note that the author of this book actually had the opportunity to sit down with the real Dita and hear her tell her story, and to get details to help expand the story that he was writing. I appreciate that there was so much attention to detail, and I honestly feel like I am getting a story that is more like a biography in a partially fictional format.

Honestly the only reason I marked the rating down a little bit is because I think the book’s writing felt a bit distanced, but that is likely because it is a translated text. It is still a worthwhile read, and I definitely recommend it to those who enjoy historical reads as well as those who appreciate books about books.

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.

Book Tag, Books!, Inspiration, Reading Challenge, Signal Boost

Name in Books Tag–Take Two

Hey all, Dani here.

Okay, so about a month ago, I did this tag after seeing it over at my book blogger buddy Amber’s blog. And I had a rather fun time searching through my library to find the books to complete my name, choosing books that started with each letter in my name. Of course, this made me realize that I probably had enough books to at least do my name one more time.

After admitting that in a comment response to Amber, she actually did challenge me to do it again, so here we are now and I’m pleased to say that I was successful once more.

Well, okay, I gave myself an additional challenge and I didn’t quite succeed on that one, but I was very close. I wanted to see if I could spell my whole name using just books from my mass market paperback shelf.

So, anyway, let’s just jump into this.

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D: Dark Heir by Faith Hunter

A: Assassin’s Gambit by Amy Raby

N: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

I: Iron Crowned by Richelle Mead

E: Eric by Terry Pratchett

L: (The) Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

L: Lost Soul by Adam Wright

E: Elephants in Our Bedroom by Michael Czyzniejewski

—–As you can see, I had to go with a couple different sized paperbacks.

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T: Thin Air by Rachel Caine

H: Hounded by Kevin Hearne

A: A Conspiracy of Alchemists by Liesel Schwarz

M: My Lady Quicksilver by Bec McMaster

A: An Artificial Night by Seanan McGuire

S: Stone of Tears by Terry Goodkind

A: A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet


This is my second/bonus time of doing this tag, and again, I had a fun time browsing through my bookshelves trying to find titles to match the letters of my name. I’m not going to tag anybody this time around, but if you’d like to try this, then by all means, consider yourself tagged.

And if I’m being honest, I think I could maybe do this tag one more time from the books I have in my library currently.

Anyway, have a lovely day everyone and I’ll have another post up again soon.

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

Manga Madness Wrap-Up

Hey all, Dani here.

I went into this readathon with high expectations. Knowing that I read volumes of manga really quickly, I envisioned getting through most of what my fiance and I got for Christmas.

What I was conveniently not thinking about was the fact that I returned to my old job this past week after nine months on special assignment. That meant that I had to adjust from working basically an office job to a manual labor job–I work at a factory that builds laundry dryers.

So what happened was from Monday to Wednesday, I did no reading at all. My mind was exhausted and my body was just one aching mass of muscles.

Basically I did not read nearly as much as I had wanted to, but I still managed to get through a few volumes of manga to start my 2018 reading goal with a nice little boost.

Let’s just jump into the wrap up.

On Sunday, day one of the readathon, I started with My Hero Academia, Vol 7 while at the laundromat and managed to finish it. Thankfully I had brought a few volumes with me and so I immediately jumped into Vol 8. By the time I finished my laundry, I had reached around the halfway point.

And that’s where I stayed until Thursday morning. On Thursday we decided to call off work for the day because we were so tired and sore. This worked in my favor because I was able to do a little reading and a little work on some blog posts and trying to catch up on watching a few BookTube videos. Because of how draining work has been, I have fallen even more behind on reading all of your lovely posts. I’m beginning to feel like I’m going to have to pick and choose what posts to read in my backlog to catch up and then just make sure to schedule time every couple days to stay caught up. I will figure something out.

Anyway, on Thursday I finished My Hero Academia Vol 8 and then took a quick break to watch a couple BookTube videos while I ate breakfast. Then I made my way through Vol 9 before writing up a couple blog posts. Yes, I have figured out that I also have a massive backlog of various blog posts I need to find the time to write up. This process is not going to be as simple as I would have hoped a couple weeks ago.

Then we reached Friday. I was determined to read My Hero Academia Vol 10. Thankfully I am kind of an early riser, and my fiance and a friend of ours sleep a little later. So I closed myself off in my library and started reading…and working on the blog…and still trying to catch up on BookTube videos.

So pretty much, because my focus was divided amongst all the various tasks I felt like I needed to do…I ended up not accomplishing much at all.

I did finish My Hero Academia by the end of the readathon. So, I read 4 volumes of manga over the course of a week. Not really my greatest success story of readathons, but hey, 4 volumes is better than nothing, and I feel glad that I managed to finish off what I did.

I’ll keep rolling out manga reviews, but it may take a bit of time. I’m still trying to get my body used to my new work load. In the meantime, I am currently reading Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman, and I’m also trying to get some more tags and reviews prepped up for the blog. Sorry if my posts start to be a bit more sporadic. I’ll get a new post schedule figured out as soon as I can manage it.

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

The Road So Far (2)

Hey all, Dani here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Manga Madness Readathon TBR

Hey all, Dani here.

I know, I know. Another weekend post already. But this was not something I was originally planning, but I needed to get my TBR up for this because it takes place this upcoming week: January 7-13, 2018. I found out about this post thanks to Kathy over at Books & Munches because she is awesome and she also remembered that I got a lot of manga for Christmas.

Manga Madness is being hosted by Jade at Drink Coffee and Read Books. There are two ways to do this challenge: complete the bingo board challenge for the readathon, or just read whatever you want. Now Jade is planning on holding this readathon every couple of months, so if you can’t participate this time around, keep an eye out and perhaps you can jump in next time. You can even follow @MMReadathon on Twitter for updates.

Considering I A) just learned about this readathon on Friday, and B) just got a bunch of manga for Christmas, I’m not going to be attempting the bingo board this time around. I’m just going to focus on reading as much as I can.

So, okay, this is going to be a decently short post, but here are some of the volumes on my potential TBR. I’m going to see how many of them I can get through in the next week.

That’s all for today. Happy Reading everyone!

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

Review: Dear Martin by Nic Stone

Hey all, Dani here.

I am finally getting around to posting some of my Diverse December book reviews. I did a lot of reading at the end of November and it made the first couple weeks of December pretty interesting for my post schedule. So look for more Diverse December reviews scattered through the rest of this month and continuing into January.

Anyway, Diverse December was created by Kathy over at Books & Munches, and the goal is to read as many diverse books in the month of December as possible. These can be diverse in terms of race, religion, sexuality, mental health, etc.

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Summary

Raw, captivating, and undeniably real, Nic Stone joins industry giants Jason Reynolds and Walter Dean Myers as she boldly tackles American race relations in this stunning debut.

Justyce McAllister is top of his class and set for the Ivy League—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. And despite leaving his rough neighborhood behind, he can’t escape the scorn of his former peers or the ridicule of his new classmates. Justyce looks to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. But do they hold up anymore? He starts a journal to Dr. King to find out.

Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up—way up, sparking the fury of a white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. Justyce and Manny are caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it’s Justyce who is under attack.

My Thoughts

Rating: 4.5 stars

The only reason I marked this one down a .5 star was because the format just threw me off throughout the book. I was fine with just dialogue during the debate portions of the story, but in person or on the phone, it would have been nice to have descriptors and observations of body language and movement.

Otherwise I think this was a pretty powerful read, especially with its short length. I know there were many actions and words spoken that grated on me or made me feel a bit uncomfortable because of how blatantly and racially charged some of them were.

There were characters all across the spectrum, from white kids who recognized their privilege and tried to speak up for minorities, and privileged white kids who thought there was no racial divide, even as they spoke blatantly racially charged statements. You had characters of color who were frustrated and upset for some of the situations they were put in simply because of the color of their skin, and there were characters of color who tried to let racist remarks slide because reacting would not have helped their situation at all.

I appreciate how varied the characterizations were, and how much of an impact this story had with so few pages. I’m also glad for the changes a couple characters went through by the end of the story. It was nice to see that living through these situations did have an impact on them.

Overall I would definitely say this covers an important topic and it is something I recommend for people to pick up and read.

Where to Buy

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