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Blog Tour Review: Kill the Queen by Jennifer Estep

Hey all, Dani here.

I am so happy to be posting this review today, as part of the blog tour for Jennifer Estep’s new fantasy novel, Kill the Queen. This book will be out in the world in just one week, on October 2nd, but I have had my eye on it for a few months now. So when I was offered the chance to sign up for the blog tour, I jumped on it, and thankfully I was approved.

Because of this I must give a huge thank you to Let’s Talk! Promotions for approving me to be on the book tour, and I must also thank Edelweiss, as well as the publisher Harper Voyager for granting me early access to this novel. As always, I need to say that being granted a galley (or being part of the blog tour) did not affect my rating or review in any way.

Kill the Queen Blog Tour Banner.jpg

I have read six of Estep’s Elemental Assassin series, plus the first novel in her Mythos Academy series. In all actuality I own about a dozen of her books that I haven’t read yet. She is an author whose work I follow, but I don’t desperately reach for the newest release as soon as it is available.

But this one sounded really interesting to me, and I wanted to see how a primarily urban fantasy and paranormal author took on a more epic fantasy style tale. Plus it is tagged as Gladiator meets Game of Thrones, so I was definitely intrigued.

Okay, let’s just jump into the review.

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Summary

The thrilling first novel in the Crown of Shards epic fantasy series combines magic, murder, and adventure when an unlikely member of the royal family suddenly becomes a contender in a clash for the crown . . .

In a realm where one’s magical power determines one’s worth, Lady Everleigh’s lack of obvious ability relegates her to the shadows of the royal court of Bellona, a kingdom steeped in gladiator tradition. Seventeenth in line for the throne, Evie is nothing more than a ceremonial fixture, overlooked and mostly forgotten.

But dark forces are at work inside the palace. When her cousin Vasilia, the crown princess, assassinates her mother the queen and takes the throne by force, Evie is also attacked, along with the rest of the royal family. Luckily for Evie, her secret immunity to magic helps her escape the massacre.

Forced into hiding to survive, she falls in with a gladiator troupe. Though they use their talents to entertain and amuse the masses, the gladiators are actually highly trained warriors skilled in the art of combat, especially Lucas Sullivan, a powerful magier with secrets of his own. Uncertain of her future—or if she even has one—Evie begins training with the troupe until she can decide her next move.

But as the bloodthirsty Vasilia exerts her power, pushing Bellona to the brink of war, Evie’s fate becomes clear: she must become a fearsome gladiator herself . . . and kill the queen.

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

I read this book so quickly, and honestly I did not want to put it down–though I had to because of things like work and food. Oh, speaking of food…I’m just going to say that I do not recommend reading this book on an empty stomach, because as with pretty much everything I’ve read by Jennifer Estep, her descriptions of food are just so vivid and realistic that I ended up being so darn hungry. There are so many details about the smell and the taste and the appearance that you feel like a banquet has been laid out in front of you.

Another comment I will make on this book is the writing style. Fantasy is a genre I read most frequently, and so I’m used to the differences in style and tone for epic fantasy versus urban fantasy versus historical fantasy, etc. This book has the scope of an epic fantasy, with a fascinating world, an intriguing magic system, and decent political intrigue, but written in the style I would expect from an urban fantasy. It is a sort of conversational style that makes you feel like the narrator is sitting in a lounge with you and telling you a story.

I guess if I had to have a complaint about the book, it is that there were times when I would have liked more elaboration in the gladiator training, but instead there were time jumps that propelled the story forward a week or two instead and progress in fighting ability had occurred during that time. But really, that isn’t a complaint that is going to reduce my rating or anything.

Oh, and the potential romance. Wow. I really want to say more, but frankly, I should just tell you all to grab the book and read all of this for yourself. Needless to say, I am absolutely counting down until the release of the second book in the trilogy.

Where to Buy

You can currently pre-order this fantastic read from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookseller. It will be released in just one week, on October 2nd.

JENNIFER’S BIO AND SOCIAL MEDIA

Jennifer Estep is a New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author prowling the streets of her imagination in search of her next fantasy idea. 

Jennifer writes the Crown of Shards epic fantasy series. Kill the Queen, book #1, will be released on Oct. 2.

The Crown of Shards series focuses on Everleigh Blair, a member of the royal family who is distantly in line for the throne of Bellona, a kingdom steeped in gladiator tradition. But when the unthinkable happens, Evie finds herself fighting for her life—both inside and outside the gladiator arena.  

Jennifer is also the author of the Elemental Assassin, Mythos Academy, Bigtime, and Black Blade fantasy series.  

For more information on Jennifer and her books, visit www.jenniferestep.com or follow Jennifer on FacebookGoodreads, and Twitter. You can also sign up for her newsletter.

Website: http://www.jenniferestep.com/

Blog: http://www.jenniferestep.com/blog/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JenniferEstepAuthor?fref=ts

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Jennifer_Estep  (@Jennifer_Estep)

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/580315.Jennifer_Estep

Newsletter signup: http://www.jenniferestep.com/contact-jennifer/newsletter/

——

So thanks for checking out my review, and be sure to check out the other awesome bloggers involved in this blog tour. Some of them are even hosting giveaways so you don’t want to miss your chance to possibly win those.

That is it for me today, and I will be back soon with more bookish content.

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What I’m Reading (30)

Hey all, Dani here.

I have been in a reading mood, and at this moment I am sure that I will be reading a bunch more in the upcoming days. Of course, I do wish I had just a little more time for reading. Actually this week I haven’t even managed to scrounge out time to prep up my blog posts either, so I apologize for that.

Okay, let’s just jump into what I’ve finished reading over the last week.

I was really feeling in a Fairy Tail mood, even though my fiance and I are currently watching the anime–we’re in season 3 currently–but I wanted more, so I picked up the first volume and started reading. I have the first five volumes, and even though I know the storyline already, I still really enjoyed reading it, and experiencing some of the early adventures all over again. So that was definitely a fun and fast read.

Then I finished off an ARC I was very excited to get. I have enjoyed reading Jennifer Estep’s urban fantasy books, and I was eager to see how she would take on a more epic style fantasy. Also, I was approved to be a part of the blog tour for the release of this book, which meant that I definitely had to bump this up my TBR list. I’m glad I read it and my review will be up on Sept. 25.

Finally I managed to finish reading Heretics Anonymous, which was funny, and not a slow read, but it didn’t quite reach my expectations. I’ll try to have a review up in the next couple weeks.

Now, as for what I am currently reading…only one book at the moment, but I may be starting a couple others in the next couple of days.

Obviously, my current read at the moment is Shadowblack and I am having a great time reading it right now. I’m also super glad that the third book will be out in the lovely matching new covers very soon.

Moving on to my upcoming reads. I’ll be honest, I’m probably going to read more Fairy Tail because I like picking up manga and finishing a volume in roughly 30-45 minutes. Hunting Prince Dracula is a book I need to start really soon, because I absolute loved the first book and want to continue the series. Of course that reasoning is also true for the Three Dark Crowns series, because I thought the second book was better than the first, so I’m hoping that the third installment will blow me away.

So, I guess that is all for today. Let me know what awesome things you’re reading, because I’d love to know what I should be adding to my TBR. I’ll be back soon with more bookish content.

Book Releases, Book Review, Books!, Signal Boost

What I’m Reading (29)

Hey all, Dani here.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful week so far. Mine hasn’t been too bad, and I’ve accomplished some reading (though not as much as I would really like to have completed). But I am very much looking forward to the books I’m hoping to read this month, so with any luck I will have a productive time of reading and have a really good wrap up here in a few weeks.

Basically, since my last update, I have only managed to finish one book. It was a really good book, and I’m now mad at myself for taking so long to read it, but I’m already guessing that I’m going to marathon the rest of the series very soon, so we’ll see what happens.

What is that book, you may be wondering? Well, it was Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco. I plan on writing up a review for it, so I don’t want to say too much here, but I was so drawn into the story from the beginning. Even though I figured out who Jack the Ripper was about 30-ish pages before the reveal, it still didn’t ruin any of the reading experience.

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As for my current reads, at the moment I am only focused on one book, but I am thinking I am going to fly through it, because it is just such an easy to read narration. Seriously, I am finding the narrator to be pretty darn amusing. So, with any luck, I’ll actually finish this book in the next day or so.

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Finally, let’s talk about the books I am definitely getting to very soon. Because, yes, while I really want to read Access Restricted by Gregory Scott Katsoulis, I’m worried that I’ve been hyping the book up so much in my head that I’ll disappoint myself. So I am making myself read a few other books first.

Also, I was recently selected to be a part of the blog tour for the release of Jennifer Estep’s Kill the Queen, which will be released on October 2nd. My post–a review–will be up on September 25th, so I definitely need to get to work reading the book. But I can also admit that right now all I want to do is start reading Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco, because I absolutely devoured the first one, and the third book will be out in just a couple more weeks. Of course, I am also super excited to get to continue the Spellslinger series by picking up Shadowblack by Sebastien de Castell, because I definitely loved the first book and am anxious to find out what is going to happen next.

Pretty much I’m just excited for all of the books I have planned to read in September. It is going to be such a lovely reading month.

Well, that is all from me today. Let me know what great books you have recently finished…or that you are currently reading…because I would love to know what books I should be adding to my TBR. As always, I will be back soon with more bookish content.

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

What I’m Reading (23)

Hey all, Dani here.

As predicted last week, I actually did finish Save the Date by Morgan Matson, approximately one or two minutes before my post went live on the blog. Oh well, I guess that means I’ll just count it for this week’s post.

Speaking of, let’s just go ahead and jump into everything. Welcome back to my weekly post where I discuss the books I’ve finished recently, the ones I am currently reading, and the ones I would like to start reading in the next week.

After I had finished the newest Morgan Matson summer read, I jumped into Little Do We Know by Tamara Ireland Stone, which I read pretty darn quickly. That was nice. I will have reviews for these books coming soon. Next I jumped into Little Moments of Love by Catana Chetwynd, which is a Catana Comics collection, so obviously it was a super fast read. I also have a review of Catana Comics coming soon, so stay tuned for that.

Those books alone would have been great, and pretty good for a week’s update, but I just kept on reading.

After those, I started diving into my books for the Summer Biannual Bibliothon, which is taking place right now. I am doing really well when it comes to completing my TBR for this week long event. I finished My Hero Academia Vigilantes Volume 1, before starting And I Darken by Kiersten White. Though that is an almost 500 page book, I read it in under two days, and now I am desperate to read the rest of the trilogy, so I guess I know what will be happening after the Bibliothon is over. Thankfully I managed to push past those desires to continue with my TBR by picking up Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse. It is a dark and gritty post apocalyptic story that will appeal to fans of the TV show “Supernatural.” Thankfully it also managed to hold my interest right after finishing the amazingness that was And I Darken.

It is currently the middle of the Summer Biannual Bibliothon, and so far I think I’m doing all right. I didn’t figure that I would be able to complete all of the reading challenges. Honestly, I didn’t even really think I would be able to complete my four-book TBR, but I am definitely surprising myself. So for my planned reads, obviously I will be trying to finish my TBR. Granted, the only other book actually on my TBR for this is City of Lies by Sam Hawke, so that is my current read. Though, I would also like to see if I can maybe finish reading Terminal Alliance by Jim C. Hines.

As for what I would like to read next, the obvious choices are Now I Rise and Bright We Burn by Kiersten White. Hopefully finishing this trilogy doesn’t threaten to put me in a slight reading slump. But I don’t exactly know what I’ll read after them…I mean, aside from the books I have ready for Dewey’s 24 Hour Summer Reverse Readathon coming up soon.

So I think that is all for today. Thanks for stopping by, and let me know down in the comments if you have read any of this books (or have them on your TBRs). If not, let me know what wonderful books you have recently finished or are currently reading. As always, I will be back soon with more bookish content.

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What I’m Reading (21)

Hey all, Dani here.

Happy Independence Day to my fellow citizens of the United States.

Okay, so on Monday, the place where I work announced that inventory was still too high and we needed to have a couple more shutdown days. They had already decided on a plant wide shut down for this Thursday and Friday (which just means Thursday for me because I work four shifts of 10 hours each week), but now they have added on next Monday and Tuesday as days off as well. This does not bode well for my paycheck (or my fiance’s, since we work at the same place), but thankfully we plan to spend our time wisely…by staying at home and reading and playing games instead of going out and spending money doing things. With any luck I will definitely kick this month off with a decent number of books finished.

So that means I may need to plan ahead for my reads for the next week. I am totally okay with this, because I am in a reading mood.

Let’s start with books I have finished since my post last Wednesday. I finished two more volumes of My Hero Academia, which means that I am all caught up with the series until the next volume is released in August. I also managed to finish Bookish Boyfriends: A Date with Darcy by Tiffany Schmidt, and I’ll have a review up for that soon.

My current reads are The Emerald Sea by Richelle Mead and A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers. Going is still slow on the latter book, but I am absolutely loving the newest release by Mead–though it is making me want to reread the other two in the trilogy to try and piece together other connections I may have missed.

Finally, as for what I’d like to start reading in the next week. Oh man, I can make an intimidating list right now because of all these days off work. Okay, I think I have it figured out. I would like to start reading (and hopefully finish) Save the Date by Morgan Matson, From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon, Little Do We Know by Tamara Ireland Stone, and All of This is True by Lygia Day Penaflor.

That looks like a pretty decent list, and they are all contemporary (ish), so I should fly through them pretty quickly. And that about does it for today. I hope you all have a lovely day, and I will be back soon with more bookish content.

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

Review: The Supervillain and Me by Danielle Banas

Hey all, Dani here.

Well, I didn’t really think ahead when I was planning my upcoming reviews and posts…because I have another superhero based tale to talk about. Oh well, what can I say? I enjoy superheroes.

Oh, and before I get too far into this post, I need to thank NetGalley and Swoon Reads for granting me early access to this book for review. As always, this privilege in no way affected my rating or review for The Supervillain and Me. And now, let’s just jump into the review.

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Summary

Never trust a guy in spandex.

In Abby Hamilton’s world, superheroes do more than just stop crime and save cats stuck in trees—they also drink milk straight from the carton and hog the television remote. Abby’s older brother moonlights as the famous Red Comet, but without powers of her own, following in his footsteps has never crossed her mind.

That is, until the city’s newest vigilante comes bursting into her life.

After saving Abby from an attempted mugging, Morriston’s fledgling supervillain Iron Phantom convinces her that he’s not as evil as everyone says, and that their city is under a vicious new threat. As Abby follows him deeper into their city’s darkest secrets, she comes to learn that heroes can’t always be trusted, and sometimes it’s the good guys who wear black.

My Thoughts

Rating: 4 stars

Overall, this was a pretty basic superpower hero/villain story. Some elements were very predictable. Honestly, that does not at all mean that this was a bad book, or that I didn’t enjoy it. Obviously I read and watch a bunch of hero/villain books and TV shows and movies. It is a tale I enjoy, no matter how many iterations of the same ideas and themes I take in.

Oh, and I can also say that I did like that Abby wasn’t treated as some super beautiful and awesome female protagonist. Nor was she some badass martial artist who could take care of herself. No, she is sometimes awkward and clumsy, and her dad–the mayor–tries to help by sending her a bunch of self-defense videos so she can learn some techniques and hopefully be able to protect herself on the dangerous streets of Morriston.

That being said, this book didn’t blow me out of the water either, despite the costumed heroes. Maybe it was experiencing it through someone who didn’t have any powers but was connected to the main powered individuals of the story. Maybe it was that I didn’t feel very invested in the characters. Maybe it wasn’t as action-packed as I might have wanted. It was a good read, but not a great one.

Still, I guess this is the first book in a series that will follow heroes in the fictional city of Morriston. That being said, this book gave me just enough of an idea about the city and its inhabitants to be prepared for more. And I’m hoping that more will mean more super-powered action and more overall development.

Where to Buy

You can pre-order this book now from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore. It will be available on shelves July 10, 2018.

Book Releases, Book Review, Books!, Manga, NetGalley, Signal Boost

June Wrap Up and July TBR

Hey all, Dani here.

We have officially made it halfway through 2018. And I have to say that I actually didn’t read as many books as I would have liked in June, but that’s okay. I had a bit of a weird work schedule, being sent to different departments and different areas to fill in. Some days it really wore me out, which led to my fiance and I watching TV or movies instead of doing a lot of reading. What I can say is that now that we have caught up on a couple of shows, we plan to take a little bit of a break from Netflix to read. I predict a better monthly wrap up for July.

Okay, let’s get started.

The Unbinding of Mary Reade by Miriam McNamara — 3.5 stars

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland — 5 stars —review coming July 6th

Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin — 5 stars

The Supervillain and Me by Danielle Banas — 4 stars — review coming July 3rd

My Hero Academia, Vol 12 by Kohei Horikoshi — 5 stars

My Hero Academia, Vol 13 by Kohei Horikoshi — 5 stars

I also want to take a little time right now to mention the TV shows and movies that my fiance and I devoured in the month of June, because that honestly helps to explain why I didn’t read as many books. Plus they are still stories to take in, so though they are not enjoyed in the same way as books, I think they will count. And if you like me including this as part of my wrap-ups, let me know, and I’ll continue keeping track of what we’re watching for future posts.

Love, Simon — 5 stars, Tomb Raider — 5 stars, The Last Airbender — 2 stars, The Incredibles 2 (twice) — 5 stars, Legends of Tomorrow (season 3) — 5 stars, The Flash (season 4) — 4.5 stars, Peter Rabbit — 5 stars, Black Panther (again) — 5 stars, Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant — 3.5 stars, John Carter — 4 stars, Batman: The Killing Joke — 4 stars, xXx — 4 stars, Warcraft — 4 stars, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb — 4.5 stars, Dungeons & Dragons — 3 stars, Mythica: A Quest for Heroes (again) — 4 stars

And now it is book haul time. It was a pretty good month for buying books. First up, we made a trip to Half Price Books, and I found three books in really good condition, including one I have been wanting to have a physical copy of for a while (Blood Bound). Other than that, every one of my books came from Barnes & Noble, except for the hardcover of Hounded by Kevin Hearne, which I got from Subterranean Press. It is an exclusive limited edition, and I absolutely love the cover. I can’t wait to see what they come up with for the rest of the series.

 

Next up is my monthly Owlcrate unboxing. It was such a fun box, and I am very much looking forward to reading the book, because it sounds like a great summer contemporary read. My other favorite item is that Mason Jar mug, and I will definitely be using that for my at home drinks while reading.

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Finally, I guess it is time to come up with my TBR. My friend Kathy over at Books & Munches is hosting Sci-Fi July, and while I am not dedicated myself solely to books in the science fiction genre, if I can read at least one of these books, I will consider my participation a success. Obviously, between the four sci-fi picks and the large stack of other books I’d like to get to, I don’t expect to get to all of these, but hopefully I’ll be able to read a decent number of them. Oh, and I’m also trying to read some of my Netgalley backlog as well, so I have a lot of books to choose from. Expect plenty of reviews to come after all of this.

That is all for today, I do believe. Well, I am off to read some more. I already started The Emerald Sea by Richelle Mead, and I am really enjoying it so far. Happy Reading everyone, and I’ll be back soon with more bookish content.

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

Mid Year Book Freakout Tag

Hey all, Dani here.

As we are at the halfway point of the year, this tag definitely seems appropriate to post up now. I was recently tagged by Katie from Never Not Reading, which is exciting because Katie is awesome, so you should definitely go check out her blog. Anyway, I’m happy to be doing this tag, especially right before I post up my top ten reads of 2018 so far post–which is coming next week.

Okay, the rules for this are simple: answer the prompts. That being said, let’s just get started.

Best Book You’ve Read so far in 2018

Man, this is such a spoiler for my upcoming post. Plus, I don’t like actually ranking my reads. But, if I have to give an answer, my choice is going to have to be Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi.

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Best Sequel You’ve Read so far in 2018

I have to go with The Heart Forger by Rin Chupeco for this one. I am such a huge fan of this series, and I am prepared to beg for an early copy of the third book, because I need to know what happens next.

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Most Anticipated Release for the Second Half of the Year

Hands down, this one goes to Access Restricted by Gregory Scott Katsoulis. It comes out at the end of August, a year after the first book. But I read the first book early thanks to getting an ARC at BookExpo, so my wait has been extra long, and the first book was my absolute top read of 2017, so I am ready to drop everything else I’m reading to dedicate myself to this release as soon as I have it in my hands.

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Biggest Disappointment

Oooh…um, well, I think I’m going to pick two different books for this one, sadly. Those books are Ship It by Britta Lundin and The Unbinding of Mary Reade by Miriam McNamara.

Biggest Surprise

I guess this prompt is going to Dread Nation by Justina Ireland. The concept sounded interesting, but the fact is that I’m still not really a fan of zombies in books/TV shows/movies. So this book ended up being an absolute favorite read of mine and I’m glad I just decided to dive in and see what happens.

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Favorite New Author (or new to you)

There have been so many new to me authors this year. For this one, I think I’m going to have to say either Claire Legrand or A.C. Gaughen. I absolutely loved both Furyborn by Legrand, and Reign the Earth by Gaughen.

Newest Fictional Crush

My fiance might take offense to this one. Actually, I jest, because he has known since the beginning of our relationship that I would always have new book boyfriends or book girlfriends popping up into my life. Fictional crushes are totally fine in our relationships. No judgment. Okay, so I haven’t really had many crushes this year, but I will say Eamon O’Brien from Now A Major Motion Picture by Cori McCarthy is probably the closest to being considered a crush.

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Newest Favorite Character

Some of these are tough. In the interest of talking about more books in this post, I try not to pick something for more than one category, so for this I’m going to pick Cameron from Chaotic Good by Whitney Gardner.

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Book That Made You Cry and Book That Made You Happy

Without a question, both of these go to the Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins comic series. I read issues #4-6 in 2018, and these characters will always make me super emotional. I have followed their adventures for a few years now, and I have posters for them in my apartment, and so so many Critical Role t-shirts. So yeah, I’m a huge fan.

Favorite Book to Film Adaptation

In 2018, definitely Love, Simon. I thought that the book was good but not as amazing as the hype made it sound, but I absolutely adored the movie.

Favorite Post You’ve Done This Year

This is a hard one. Most of my posts are wrap-ups or reviews. Well, I guess I’ll go with the Bookish Academy Awards post. I have a lot of fun going through my previous year’s reads, and selecting the winners for each category.

Most Beautiful Book You’ve Bought This Year

Hmm…I’d have to say the special hardcover release of Hounded by Kevin Hearne. Subterranean Press is doing a limited run special edition for the whole series. I pre-ordered this last year technically, but it just arrived in the mail a week or so ago, so I’m going to count it as a 2018 purchase. They should be doing the pre-order for book two very soon.

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New Release You Haven’t Read Yet But Want To

There are so many books that fit this one. I’ll just choose a few.

Book You Need to Read by the End of the Year

So very many books. Have you seen my book hauls and TBRs? I need more time to read all the books. Obviously all of the books I mentioned in the last prompt, plus…I guess I’ll just toss these ones in as well.


If you have not yet done this post, then consider yourself TAGGED. I’d love to see what your Mid Year Book Freakouts look like. That’s all for today, and I’ll be back soon with more bookish content.

Book Releases, Book Review, Books!, Manga, NetGalley, Signal Boost

What I’m Reading (20)

Hey all, Dani here.

Wow, it is Wednesday again already. Where is the time going? Seriously, the next time I do this post, it will be July. That is still pretty crazy to think about. Also, I can’t believe that I have been doing this post series for 20 weeks now. That is pretty good consistency. So anyway, let’s just go ahead and jump into my discussion of the books I have finished recently, the books I am currently reading, and the books I am hoping to start soon.

I actually had a pretty good week for finishing up books. I’m not going to actually have a full review up for Dragons Love Tacos, but I will say here and now that it was an absolutely adorable book, and I will be reading the sequel. The artwork was really fun, and the story itself was rather amusing. I already have a review up for The Unbinding of Mary Reade up on the blog, and I will have reviews up soon for both Dread Nation and The Supervillain and Me.  All in all, I’m pleased that I was able to start finishing up some books, because I was starting to feel a bit lazy for not having actual progress to report.

As for my current reads, I’m not making as much progress as I would like with these, but I am enjoying both. With A Closed and Common Orbit I am missing the majority of the cast from the first book, as this one is more of a companion sequel, and follows Lovelace the AI as she adjusts to being in a body instead of being an onboard ship AI. So it is slow going, but I am enjoying it. For my other read, I’m actually craving a bit more contemporary, and I also am trying to play catch-up on some of my NetGalley reads and reviews, so I’ve picked up Bookish Boyfriends, which follows a 15 year old girl who loves to read and thinks that romance in books (and boys in books) are better than reality. I’m only about 10 chapters in, and it is a cute read, but I’m waiting for stuff to really start happening.

Then comes what I am hoping to start reading soon. Obviously this is the end of the month, and I should be trying to finish up as many of my June TBR reads as I can. And considering I have actually only picked up one of the books I added to my TBR (that would be A Closed and Common Orbit), I have plenty to choose from. I think I will probably choose one of these two, but we’ll see how I’m feeling once I finish my current reads.

And I think that about does it for today. I hope you all are managing to fit some reading time into your lives, and I would love to know what you’re currently reading. Have a wonderful day and I’ll be back soon with another bookish post.

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

Review: The Unbinding of Mary Reade by Miriam McNamara

Hey all, Dani here.

Continuing on with reviews for books I’ve read for GLBT Book Month, today I actually bring a review for a book I was granted early access to through NetGalley. As always, I must state that this privilege of reading the book early did not affect my rating or opinion in any way. Of course, a huge thank you to both NetGalley and Skyhorse Publishing for approving me for this book.

I was intrigued for this book because it had a cross-dressing main character, the promise of a same sex romance, and above all, pirates.

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Summary

A clever, romantic novel based on the true story of a girl who disguised herself as a boy to sail with the infamous pirates Anne Bonny and Calico Jack—and fell in love with Anne Bonny.

There’s no place for a girl in Mary’s world. Not in the home of her mum, desperately drunk and poor. Not in the household of her wealthy granny, where no girl can be named an heir. And certainly not in the arms of Nat, her childhood love who never knew her for who she was. As a sailor aboard a Caribbean merchant ship, Mary’s livelihood—and her safety—depends on her ability to disguise her gender.

At least, that’s what she thinks is true. But then pirates attack the ship, and in the midst of the gang of cutthroats, Mary spots something she never could have imagined: a girl pirate. 

The sight of a girl standing unafraid upon the deck, gun and sword in hand, changes everything. In a split-second decision, Mary turns her gun on her own captain, earning herself the chance to join the account and become a pirate alongside Calico Jack and Anne Bonny.

For the first time, Mary has a shot at freedom. But imagining living as her true self is easier, it seems, than actually doing it. And when Mary finds herself falling for the captain’s mistress, she risks everything—her childhood love, her place among the crew, and even her life.

Breathlessly romantic and brilliantly subversive, The Unbinding of Mary Reade is sure to sweep readers off their feet and make their hearts soar.

My Thoughts

Rating: 3.5 stars

Here’s what I liked about this book: it started right in the middle of action, as pirates boarded the ship Mary/Mark was on. That was pretty cool, and I admit to being as intrigued as our main character was upon seeing a woman in a dress seemingly an equal with the rest of the pirate band.

But first impressions can sometimes be wrong, and nothing is really as it seems with this story. Honestly, in a number of ways I felt sorry for Mary, for the life she basically had forced on her because of her mother. Mary spent a majority of her life pretending to be Mark, and that constantly acting like a boy seemed to have altered how she thought and acted a great deal of the time.

Mary’s secret was revealed to the pirates rather early on in the book, and I was expecting that tension of keeping such a huge secret would have held out a bit longer, and the revelation left me wondering just what would happen for the rest of the pages.

Sadly, the deeper I got into the story, the less interested I became. Many of the characters felt fairly shallow to me, and I could not stand how whiny and wishy-washy Anne was. The relationship between Mary and Anne never felt like there was any sort of deep romantic connection, just two people who were together when they had no other options. Anne consistently went back to Jack, and Mary kept pining for her best friend Nat.

I wanted more action, more pirate-y adventure, and I certainly wanted a great romance. Sadly this book did not meet the expectations I had built up for it based on the summary. So I’m sure there will be people out there who really love this book, and who will connect with the characters and the story. I think overall it is worth a read, purely for the Mary/Mark story and portrayal. That was well done, and probably the most intriguing part of the story.

Where to Buy

This book is now available, so you can pick up your own copy from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore.