Book Releases, Book Review, Books!, Recommendations, Signal Boost

Review: Reign the Earth

Hey all, Dani here.

Happy Good Friday, and I hope everyone has a lovely Easter this weekend. Today I’m back with another review, this time for a recently finished book that I could not stop reading. It was so interesting. And in many ways I am now very grateful that I did not get an ARC of this last year at BookExpo, because it would have made the wait for book two even more frustrating.

Anyway, let’s get started.

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Summary

Shalia is a proud daughter of the desert, but after years of devastating war with the adjoining kingdom, her people are desperate for peace. Willing to trade her freedom to ensure the safety of her family, Shalia becomes Queen of the Bonelands.

But she soon learns that her husband, Calix, is motivated only by his desire to exterminate the Elementae—mystical people who can control earth, wind, air, and fire. Even more unsettling are Shalia’s feelings for her husband’s brother, which unleash a power over the earth she never knew she possessed—a power that could get her killed. As rumors of a rebellion against Calix spread, Shalia must choose between the last chance for peace and her own future as an Elementae.

This intense, richly drawn high-fantasy by the author of Scarletwill hold readers spellbound. 

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

Let’s just get this part out of the way first: I despise Calix. He is an awful human being, completely and utterly cruel and hateful. That’s a little obvious from the summary, but reading the book I felt this desire to reach through the pages and punch him–repeatedly. So, I guess I can give all sorts of compliments to author A.C. Gaughen for writing a character that makes me feel that way.

Speaking of, this is the first book by Gaughen that I have read, and it was fantastic. Now I find myself wanting to give Scarlet a try. I mean, I was intrigued by it anyway because it is a twist on Robin Hood, but now I really want to read it.

*Ahem* Anyway, back to this book. I enjoyed the worldbuilding. I didn’t think that this was a fantasy novel that overdid the descriptions of the land or the culture or the religion. It was just enough to highlight the differences between Calix’s people and Shalia’s people, and some of that came from the characters actually having discussions about how their cultures are different, which I rather liked.

The characters felt nicely developed too, like living and breathing people instead of words on a page. I liked Shalia and Galen and Danae and Kai and Kata. And I already talked about my feelings towards Calix.

I admit that there were a few things that I didn’t see coming and they surprised me, some in a good way and some in a not so good way. But I liked that I wasn’t trying to figure out what was going to happen. I just let myself soak in the experience of reading the book. Sometimes it is nice to just exist in the story as it unfolds instead of predicting what could occur later.

With everything that has happened in this book, and with how it ended, let me just say that I hope we get more information about the second book soon, because waiting for the next release will not be easy. Then again, I guess I do have a rather large TBR list so…maybe it won’t be that difficult after all. Still, my point is that I really want to know what happens next.

Where to Buy

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

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What I’m Reading (7)

Hey all, Dani here.

Welcome to the middle of the week all over again, and my weekly post where I talk about the books I’ve read recently, the books I am currently reading, and the books that I am hoping to start very soon.

I’ve actually accomplished some pretty decent reading since my post last week. I finished re-reading Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, and I flew through Chaotic Good by Whitney Gardner. I’ll probably end up doing a book/movie review for RPO fairly soon, and I’m already working on writing up a review for CG, so expect those and various other reviews in the next days/weeks/months (because my backlist of reviews will keep me busy for a while).

My current read is Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston. I have been waiting on this book for so long, and I even had to wait until a couple weeks after the release day because this book was the one included in my March OwlCrate, so expect photos of this beautiful book in my March Wrap Up post coming soon.

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And what I am hoping to start reading soon is probably The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw, though I might start Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi first. I’m not sure. I’ll see what kind of mood I’m in after Heart of Iron.

Well, that’s all for me today. I’ll be back soon with another post. Until then, what books have you read recently and what are you currently reading? Let’s talk about books in the comments.

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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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Review: The Paper Magician

Hey all, Dani here.

Since I’ll be reading and reviewing Charlie N Holmberg’s upcoming release, The Plastic Magician before its release day in May, I figured it was only fair that I share reviews for the previous three books in the series. Today is finally the time to give more than a mini-review for the first book.

I was told about this series by one of my friends (who I think of as more like a sister), and she talked about the interesting magical system and told me to read the trilogy. They are interesting books and they aren’t very long–less than 200 pages each–so they are pretty easy to read through, which makes them perfect for readathons.

Anyway, let’s just jump into the review.

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Summary

Ceony Twill arrives at the cottage of Magician Emery Thane with a broken heart. Having graduated at the top of her class from the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, Ceony is assigned an apprenticeship in paper magic despite her dreams of bespelling metal. And once she’s bonded to paper, that will be her only magic… forever.

Yet the spells Ceony learns under the strange yet kind Thane turn out to be more marvelous than she could have ever imagined — animating paper creatures, bringing stories to life via ghostly images, even reading fortunes. But as she discovers these wonders, Ceony also learns of the extraordinary dangers of forbidden magic.

An Excisioner — a practitioner of dark, flesh magic — invades the cottage and rips Thane’s heart from his chest. To save her teacher’s life, Ceony must face the evil magician and embark on an unbelievable adventure that will take her into the chambers of Thane’s still-beating heart—and reveal the very soul of the man.

My Thoughts

Rating: 4 stars

I read this book for the first time during one of Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathons, and because of its length, I read it in I believe just over an hour. It helped my readathon start off rather nicely. Starting readathons with shorter novels or with graphic novels or manga, I find to be rather helpful because then you feel rather productive and accomplished from the beginning.

The descriptions of paper magic were really cool. But from the beginning I found myself as upset as Ceony at not getting to choose her apprenticeship. As someone at the top of the class, she should have been able to pick her own path. Then again, there is a certain logic to having a top student purposefully placed in the smallest group of magicians.

And Thane’s teaching style is a bit odd, since he sometimes leaves for days. But he always expects Ceony to have finished all of the assignments by the time he returns.

Let’s be honest too, because Thane clearly needed Ceony there. The man has no clue how to cook or shop for groceries. That might have been one of the things that started to bring these two together.

Of course, there isn’t a lot of time to really work on any sort of potential romance, because an Excisioner comes and rips Thane’s heart out, and it was only by Ceony’s quick thinking of folding a paper heart that keeps him alive long enough to save him…which involves going into his real heart and traveling through its chambers.

It is that adventure that really makes Ceony fall for Thane, because she is in his heart and experiencing some of his memories. It is bound to make people closer. So this is a decently paced shorter read that I think would appeal to a number of people.

Where to Buy

You can get your own copy of The Paper Magician from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore.

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Review: Love & War by Melissa de la Cruz

Hey all, Dani here.

Today I am happy to bring you an ARC review. I received a copy of this book in the mail from the publisher, so thank you to Penguin Random House for sending this to me. As always, I need to state that being sent a copy of a book did not affect my rating or review in any way.

What may have affected my review, though, is my obsession with the Hamilton soundtrack, which yes, I did listen to at some points while I was reading this book.

Let’s just get started before I start gushing too much about Hamilton.

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Summary

1780. Albany, New York. 

As the war for American Independence carries on, two newlyweds are settling into their new adventure: marriage. But the honeymoon’s over, and Alexander Hamilton and Eliza Schuyler are learning firsthand just how tricky wedded life can be. Alex is still General George Washington’s right-hand man and his attention these days is nothing if not divided–much like the colonies’ interests as the end of the Revolution draws near. Alex & Eliza’s relationship is tested further by lingering jealousies and family drama.

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

First thing to mention with this is that it is not wholly historically accurate. To increase the jealousies and drama of Alex and Eliza’s relationship, the author decided not to follow actual events and give them their first child very early on in their marriage. So if you are expecting this to be exact with historical detail, this is probably not the book for you.

Then again, considering that de la Cruz was inspired to start this series because of the Broadway musical, there’s bound to be some changes to make for a more entertaining story. Hamilton changed events to make the story flow better as well.

What I rather enjoy about these books is that though they are historical fiction, they read like contemporary romance. Mostly this is because of the way the words flow. I find that contemporaries read rather quickly and smoothly, while historical fiction tend to be a little more dense and take just a tiny bit longer to read.

I still loved all the witty dialogue between characters. The intelligence of Alexander Hamilton, the Schuyler sisters, and others is just portrayed so well.

It was also interesting to see how Alex and Eliza dealt with the later years of the war, and then how they settled into domestic married life after getting their own place. So much of their early married life was spent apart, so it stands to reason that they have to make adjustments and figure out how to find a balance between work, social obligations, and each other.

I flew through this book, and I can honestly say that I’m already waiting for news about book three, because it is already on my anticipated releases list.

Where to Buy

You can preorder Love & War from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore. This book will be released on April 17, 2018.

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What I’m Reading (6)

Hey all, Dani here.

It’s Wednesday again already. Welcome to another post where I briefly talk about what I’ve been reading recently, what I’m currently reading, and what I hope to start reading very soon.

As for my recently finished reads, I have finished Reign the Earth by A.C. Gaughen, and I’ll be trying to get a review up for that sometime in the near future. This was a gripping story, and I am already awaiting news about the next book in the series.

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My current reads are Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young, and a re-read of Ready Player One by Ernest Cline since the movie will be out next week. I’m not trying to rush through Sky in the Deep, but the first few chapters were so easy to fly through because of all of the action already. And with Ready Player One, when I read it the first time I was actually mostly listening to the audiobook (which I really enjoyed). So this time I’m actually just reading the book. Though, I can honestly admit that I can still hear Wil Wheaton’s voice reading the book to me.

Finally there is what I am hoping to start reading soon, and for that I am probably going to say Chaotic Good by Whitney Gardner. I have been super excited about this book since I first learned of it. This book sounds like an adorable geeky contemporary story, hopefully with some romance in it as well. Plus the cover is really cute as well.

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I think that is all for my post today. Have you read anything interesting lately? Or is there a book you’re excited to be reading right now? Let me know in the comments.

Book Review, Books!, Readathon, Signal Boost

Review: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Hey all, Dani here.

Finally I have a review up for Middle Grade March. This is a book I read during the latest Readathon by Zoe, but I wanted to make sure I put up an actual review for it instead of just saying that I really enjoyed it. So, Neil Gaiman is just one of those authors that I continuously heard lots of great things about, and I eventually gave him a chance with the Sandman comics. A good friend of mine recommended that series, and I loved them all. Since then I’ve been wanting to read more Gaiman, and I’ve managed to read StardustThe Sleeper and The Spindle, and now The Graveyard Book. I’m really enjoying what I’m reading, and I definitely plan to continue making my way through all of Gaiman’s published works.

Let’s jump into the review now.

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Summary

After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own.

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod’s family…

Beloved master storyteller Neil Gaiman returns with a luminous new novel for the audience that embraced his New York Times bestselling modern classic Coraline. Magical, terrifying, and filled with breathtaking adventures, The Graveyard Book is sure to enthrall readers of all ages. 

My Thoughts

Rating: 4 stars

The first few chapters of this book were absolutely outstanding. I was pulled into the story very quickly, and the way things were described or the ways some of the characters spoke left me laughing. Several times I had to pause in my reading to read a passage to my fiance, and he found it all very interesting too. This book certainly has an interesting premise, and as always I love the way Gaiman describes things. Also, the realistic yet also otherworldly way that the atmosphere of the story makes you feel.

And yes, Bod does have a number of adventures as he grows up in the graveyard and learns from those around him. But I can admit that there were points where I felt like the story dragged a bit more than I’m used to with a Gaiman story. That doesn’t mean that it wasn’t interesting though. Perhaps my feelings were also partly due to reading this during a readathon.

All in all though, this is a lush world, with intriguing characters, and looking back I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to wanting to know more about the Jacks. The story switches from Bod and his life, to the man called Jack, the one who killed everyone else in Bod’s family. Jack has been looking for Bod this whole time because his job killing the whole family isn’t complete.

We get to see Bod grow up, from toddler to young boy, to middle grade young man, and it is interesting to see the friends he makes and the lessons they teach him. I did really enjoy this read, even if I didn’t give it the 5 star rating that seems typical with any Gaiman book I read. I definitely like how Gaiman can take a quirky concept and make it seem fairly normal.

Where to Buy

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

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Most Anticipated Releases Spring 2018

Hey all, Dani here.

Wow, I am somewhat failing here on my posts for 2018. I was doing so well for a couple years at having this particular post series up each season where I talk about my most anticipated releases each season. And my Spring post should have come out towards the end of February to cover the months of March, April, and May…but here we are halfway through March and I just now realized that I did not do this post.

But I am fixing that now. So, obviously, a couple of these books will have technically been released already, but I’m still going to mention them.

Let’s just jump into the post.

First up is the month of March. There are quite a few book releases I’m excited for this month, though I don’t think my bank account agrees with me, so it may take me a bit to collect all of these books, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not excited for them. There are some new releases from authors I enjoy, some that just sound interesting or cute, and there’s even one an old college friend of mine recommended because he knows the author. So March seems like a pretty good book month to me.

Obsidio by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff (March 6), Inkmistress by Audrey Coulthurst (March 6), Chaotic Good by Whitney Gardner (March 13), To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo (March 6), The Heart Forger by Rin Chupeco (March 6), Daughters of the Storm by Kim Wilkins (March 6), More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer (March 6), Impostor Syndrome by Mishell Baker (March 13), Weaver’s Folly by Sarah Madsen (March 15)

Next up is April. I’ve just finished reading one of these books and will have a review up soon, and I’ll be reading another one very soon. As for the other four, one is a rather hyped up fantasy, one is a second novel by an author I met at BookExpo and the debut novel was amazing so I’m expecting this one to be great, one is a contemporary by an author I rather enjoy, and one just sounds interesting and has a really cool cover. So I’m also very excited about April, and the books I’ll get to read.

Of course the other reason I’m excited for April is that it marks one year of being with my wonderful fiance, who totally supports my book addiction…and he’s been reading more again since we started dating, so that’s great too.

Beyond a Darkened Shore by Jessica Leake (April 10), Love & War by Melissa de la Cruz (April 17), Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young (April 24), Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian, Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody (April 10), Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett (April 3)

Finally we have May. There are not many releases I’m anticipating this time around, but I’m still hoping that they’ll be great reads. Now, I’ll be honest, I liked ACOTAR, loved ACOMAF, and found ACOWAR to be a slight let-down after the second installment, so I guess we’ll see what ACOFAS does for the series. I am more looking forward to seeing what the future installments bring as we focus on some of the other characters and their relationships. And I am absolutely looking forward to reading Furyborn. Sadly I couldn’t get an early copy through NetGalley, but that happens sometimes. I still really want to read this book because it sounds AMAZING. Plus there is a continuation to the Paper Magician series to look forward to reading, as well as the conclusion to the Ruined trilogy, so all in all, it should still be a really good month of reading.

A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J Maas (May 1), Allied by Amy Tinterra (May 1), Furyborn by Claire Legrand (May 22), The Plastic Magician by Charlie N Holmberg (May 15)

Well, I do believe that is all for today. If you are excited for these books, or for any others, feel free to let me know about them in the comments. I love talking about books, and sometimes it leads me to find even more great reads to add to my never-ending TBR. Have a great weekend everyone and happy reading!

Book Releases, Book Review, Books!, Signal Boost

What I’m Reading (5)

Hey all, Dani here.

Once again I am back to talk about what books I’ve read recently, what books I’m currently reading, and what books I hope to read soon.

In the past week I have finished four books: Vox Machina Origins Issue #5, The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One by Amanda Lovelace, My Hero Academia Vol 11, and, most recently Love & War: An Alex & Eliza Story by Melissa de la Cruz. I definitely need to get some more comic and manga reviews up, because that to-do list is actually longer than my other need-to-write-reviews list. Of course both lists are getting pretty long at this point. I need a couple free days to just write up all of my posts.

My current read is Reign the Earth by A.C. Gaughen, and I am really enjoying it so far. The world is intriguing and I’m enjoying learning about the characters, especially because of the cultures and the magic system and the politics.

Next on my reading list is probably going to be a middle grade read, but I’m also tempted to read The Master Magician by Charlie N Holmberg, just so I can jump into the upcoming fourth novel before it is released in May. Then again, I’m really starting to want to read Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young, and that has a publication date in April, so maybe I should read it before I worry about reading The Plastic Magician. Of course, The Waking Land‘s concept has intrigued me since I learned of it last year, so I’ll see what kind of mood I’m in after I finish my current read.

If I jump into a middle grade next, it will probably be either The Lost Rainforest or York, both of which I had on my TBR for Readathon by Zoe. They both just sound really cute.

So my reading life looks pretty good right now. I am still ahead of my Goodreads reading goal (by 1 or 2 books), and I’m mostly enjoying what I read.

Are you reading anything awesome right now? Or is there a book you are really excited to read soon? Let me know in the comments. I’ll be back soon with another post…maybe even a couple of these reviews or tags sitting on my to-write list.

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Comic Review: Vox Machina Origins Issue #5

Hey all, Dani here.

I am finally back with a review. I know that I’ve been very sporadic with posts lately, and I really need to do better with that. I will do better, because part of my issue is organizing and scheduling my time. We are doing a huge spring clean of our apartment, and then I won’t have any more excuses. Hopefully.

Anyway, as per my usual, I have to review the latest issue of this lovely comic, because I am sincerely hoping that Dark Horse gives the green light for more of the early adventures of Vox Machina. This current arc is only set to be 6 issues, so it is almost over.

Let’s just jump into the review.

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Summary

Vax—alone on the Myriad’s floating fortress galleon, The Mockingbird—fights his way to freedom with nary a weapon or ally around save his wits and agility to escape his captors.

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

For those who aren’t already aware, this is a prequel to the web series, Critical Role, which follows a group of nerdy voice actors as they sit around and play Dungeons & Dragons. Originally they played at home, but they were invited to start live streaming their sessions online, and 3 years ago yesterday the first episode aired. Since then, millions of ua have joined in to watch the adventures and discover what will happen next.

This comic series takes us back to before the characters were saviors of the world, back when they hadn’t even joined together as a group. We get to watch in the comics as they meet and their paths begin to intertwine. It is honestly fantastic.

One of my favorite characters joins the story in this issue, Vex’s bear companion, whose name is Trinket. He is an awesome bear.

Anyway, we get to see more of the characters interacting with each other and starting to band together to stop a town that is being poisoned.

I genuinely look forward to seeing what happens in issue 6, but it makes me sad as well, because I’m not ready for it to be over. I want more awkward Keyleth, and more Scanlan quips, and bumbling Tiberius. I really want to see both Percy and Pike in the story, and I know that Percy joins the group in a later adventure.

The artwork is still really cool. I like that they chose their artists from the Ceitter community. It just helps to showcase how truly amazing the fan base of this show/these characters/the actors are.

Where to Buy

You can pick up this issue, as well as all previous issues from Amazon, Comixology, or Dark Horse.