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

What I’m Reading (25)

Hey all, Dani here.

As can be predicted, I actually did not accomplish a lot of reading over the last week. That tends to happen when it comes to going to conventions. But I did manage to finish one book and start a few others, so I’ll talk about all of those here.

But first, Gen Con was actually a lot of fun. I bought a lot of books, a few games, several sets of dice, and I just had a wonderful time hanging out with a bunch of awesome geeks. My fiance and I are already planning on attending again next year. If you’re interested in hearing more about my Gen Con experience, let me know in the comments and I can write up a post about the whole trip.

Okay, so for the book that I finished in the past week, it was a good read, and it didn’t take me all that long to actually finish it, so that was nice. I had hoped to finish it before we left for Indianapolis, but that didn’t happen. Still, I enjoyed reading Game of Secrets by Kim Foster. The concept was an interesting one and I’m glad I gave it a try.

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Then there’s the books I started while at Gen Con or over the past couple of days. Needless to say, I am in the middle of a good number of reads, but sometimes that just happens. With any luck I’ll finish most of these in the next couple of days and move on to the next books on my TBR…oh, and of course seeing how many volumes of manga I can read because the next round of Manga Madness Readathon starts very soon.

Anyway, here’s everything I’m currently reading.

The first book I started reading is the Looking for Group Omnibus, which contains Volumes 1-3 of the web comic print bind-ups. Back in college I read Looking for Group online for awhile, but it has been so long that I don’t remember specifics. I’ve only read about 20 or 30 pages, but it is fun being reintroduced to the characters. The second book is another gaming guidebook from Kobold Press. I love their worldbuilding book, and actually recommend it for not just game masters, but also authors. The great thing is that I don’t have to read this book all at once or anything since it is just a collection of essays, but I am really looking forward to reading most of the advice I’m sure to get from all these amazing gamers and writers. Finally, I just started Beyond a Darkened Shore on Monday as my work read, and I am really enjoying it. Actually, I think I should be able to finish it soon.

Oh, I almost forgot about the books I want to start reading soon. Obviously my focus is going to switch to manga starting on Friday and going until next Friday. I imagine that I’ll be starting with Volume 14 of My Hero Academia, but I also definitely want to read the first volume of Dawn of the Arcana. After that I’m not sure what I’ll read, but hopefully I will have a lot of updates for next week.

Thanks for reading everyone. Let me know in the comments if you’ve recently finished or are currently reading something interesting. I think that is all for today, and I will be back soon with more bookish content.

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Book Releases, Book Review, Books!, Conventions, Graphic Novel, Manga, Readathon, Reading Challenge, Self-Published Books, Signal Boost

July Wrap Up and August TBR

Hey all, Dani here.

Welcome to August. At the time this post goes live, I will probably be sitting in an Irish pub in Indianapolis, relaxing before the start of Gen Con. Why an Irish pub, you may ask? Well, as today is my birthday I got to choose where to eat dinner, and I just really wanted to hang out with my fiance and our nerd friends who came with us, and have a nice adult beverage…because I turned 30 today, so I can do that.

Also, heads up, sorry if I am not as quick at liking or responding to your comments over the next several days. Gen Con runs from Thursday through Sunday, and I will likely be soaking in all the nerd gear and books and gaming equipment, instead of playing on my phone. But I promise, I’m still here, and I will get back to you as soon as I am able.

Okay, let’s get started. First up, the books I read over the month of July. I feel like this past month was a pretty good one for reading. I participated in two different readathons and just generally was in a mood for devouring stories. As always, if I have a review up, I will include the link back to it, just in case you are interested or missed it.

The Emerald Sea by Richelle Mead — 5 stars

All of This is True by Lygia Day Penaflor — 4 stars

Save the Date by Morgan Matson — 4.5 stars

Little Do We Know by Tamara Ireland Stone — 5 stars

Little Moments of Love by Catana Chetwynd — 5 stars

My Hero Academia Vigilantes, Vol 1 by Hideyuki Furuhashi — 4 stars

And I Darken by Kiersten White — 5 stars

Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse — 4.5 stars

Blackened White by Brian W Foster — 4 stars

Terminal Alliance by Jim C Hines — 4.5 stars

Spellslinger by Sebastien De Castell — 5 stars

Kill the Farm Boy by Delilah S Dawson and Kevin Hearne — 5 stars

Game of Secrets by Kim Foster — 4 stars

Vox Machina Origins by Matthew Coville, Chris Northrop, Olivia Samson, and Matthew Mercer — 5 stars

All right, and then there were the other stories I consumed over the month, namely movies and TV shows. I kept track of them just in case anyone was interested, and I guess I enjoy having a record of what I’ve seen, so this segment of my monthly wrap up may be here to stay.

Pokemon: the series — Sun & Moon (season 1) — 4 stars, Kung Fu Panda 3 — 4.5 stars, Ant-Man and the Wasp — 5 stars, The Princess Diaries (again) — 5 stars, Ella Enchanted (again) — 4 stars, Happy Gilmore (again) — 5 stars, The Mummy — 4 stars, The Mummy Returns — 4.5 stars, Journey to the Center of the Earth — 4 stars

Also, as usual I am still watching “Critical Role” each week and things got really intense and emotional in July. I am so looking forward to seeing the show live and in person this weekend. My fiance and I also started watching a summer show on the CW called “The Outpost,” and it is really interesting so far. The show is created by the same people who did the Mythica series of movies, and those movies are what my fiance and I watched on our first date, so obviously we feel a special connection to all five films. This new series actually has a couple of the same cast members and has a similar feel to the magic as Mythica, so I’m excited to see where it goes from here. Finally, my fiance and I decided that we had taken enough of a break to separate Avatar from Korra, so we started watching The Legend of Korra. We finished Books One and Two, and are almost finished with Book Three, and I am really enjoying it so far. So many of the characters are either connected to characters from the original series or act in a similar manner, and it is really entertaining to watch.

I do believe that is all for what I saw this month.

Next up is the book haul and OwlCrate unboxing portions of this post. This month is a little special because I am separating my fiance’s haul into its own section. There was a manga sale on Barnes & Noble and he decided to stock up on some reads and start prepping posts, because he is getting really excited about joining me here on this blog. He has figured out what name he wants to go by, because he doesn’t want to use his real name, so like me he has come up with a pen name, and now we are just figuring out his review policy and rating system. So his debut should be soon. Okay, let’s just get into his haul already.

There are a few of these manga volumes that I plan to check out as well, so we may see me switch to mini reviews on the manga when he starts doing his reviews.

Next up is my haul, and I also purchased some manga because that deal was too good to pass up. Plus I got a few other books I was pretty excited about. And I am so happy with the OwlCrate for July, though it was a book I had recently purchased, so I now have two copies. I actually do prefer the OwlCrate cover, so I may end up unhauling the original.

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Finally, there is my August TBR to announce. And I can honestly say that I haven’t exactly planned out a TBR really just yet for this one. Oh boy, I guess I need to go stare at my shelves and figure that out. Hold on a moment.

Okay, so the next volume of My Hero Academia will be released in August, as will the fifth volume of Rat Queens. I will most likely be getting and reading both of those. My most anticipated release of the year will be out in August, but not until the 28th, so I don’t exactly think I can include it on my TBR, but you can definitely expect Access Restricted by Gregory Scott Katsoulis to be on my September TBR. Oh, and the next round of the Manga Madness Readathon is taking place in August as well, so I will probably be reading quite a few volumes, but I’ll have a TBR announcement post up for that one soon.

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There, that seems like a decent TBR, though I could always change those up or add more, depending on how the month goes. And I do believe that is all for today. Thanks for reading and commenting and being awesome bookish friends. I’ll be back soon with more bookish content.

Books!, Readathon, Reading Challenge, Self-Published Books, Signal Boost

What I’m Reading (24)

Hey all, Dani here.

So this past week…not as productive for reading as the previous week. Last week, I was needed for a different job/position at work, but it also required me to leave first shift for a week and go to second shift. The first half of that week I was doing great, getting a lot of reading done while at work, and I was feeling good. But then I started to get really tired because of completely wrecking my sleep schedule, and not really getting to see my fiance for more than perhaps 30 minutes or so a day.

To be honest, my sleep schedule is still completely off, but I’m hoping to adjust it back to normal before next week, so we’ll see how that goes.

Anyway, in my last update, I was in the middle of the Summer Biannual Bibliothon, and I was talking about how I had finished three of my planned reads, and was starting the fourth one. Well, that isn’t exactly true. I meant to start the fourth one, but like I mentioned, I was also really tired. I didn’t read anything.

My current read is still Terminal Alliance by Jim C Hines, because I have made no progress at all on this read since last week.

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This also means that I haven’t even picked up Now I Rise by Kiersten White yet, but I do plan to read the rest of the trilogy very soon. It’s just that I had some anticipated releases and new book purchases that I really want to read as well, so those might take priority for now.

One of the books I’m hoping to start and finish very soon, possibly even tonight is Blackened White by Brian W Foster. I want to read it before I go to GenCon next week, and it is supposed to be a rather short book, so that shouldn’t be an issue. Plus, it is a lot of poems and essays and short stories. But Brian W Foster will be at the convention with the cast of “Critical Role,” so if I’m very lucky, maybe I can get him to sign his book. That would be pretty cool.

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Well, I guess that’s all for today. Hopefully I have a better post next week, especially since Dewey’s Summer Reverse Readathon is this weekend. I’ll be back soon with more bookish content.

Book Review, Books!, Signal Boost

Review: Ship It by Britta Lundin

Hey all, Dani here.

I love being a fangirl. I love going to comic conventions. And I love reading books that feature nerdy characters. So I was pretty excited when I heard about this book, because it seemed destined to become a favorite, like some other geek-centric reads I’ve enjoyed in the past couple years. Perhaps considering all that, I put too much pressure on this book to be amazing. It was good, but not my favorite.

Let’s just jump into the review.

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Summary

Claire is a sixteen-year-old fangirl obsessed with the show Demon Heart. Forest is an actor on Demon Heart who dreams of bigger roles. When the two meet at a local Comic-Con panel, it’s a dream come true for Claire. Until the Q&A, that is, when Forest laughs off Claire’s assertion that his character is gay. Claire is devastated. After all, every last word of her super-popular fanfic revolves around the romance between Forest’s character and his male frenemy. She can’t believe her hero turned out to be a closed-minded jerk. Forest is mostly confused that anyone would think his character is gay. Because he’s not. Definitely not.

Unfortunately for Demon Heart, when the video of the disastrous Q&A goes viral, the producers have a PR nightmare on their hands. In order to help bolster their image within the LGBTQ+ community-as well as with their fans-they hire Claire to join the cast for the rest of their publicity tour. What ensues is a series of colourful Comic-Con clashes between the fans and the show that lead Forest to question his assumptions about sexuality and help Claire come out of her shell. But how far will Claire go to make her ship canon? To what lengths will Forest go to stop her and protect his career? And will Claire ever get the guts to make a move on Tess, the very cute, extremely cool fanartist she keeps running into?

My Thoughts

Rating: 3.5 stars

First off, let me start by saying that I loved the difference between fans, like Claire and Tess are both huge fangirls of “Demon Heart,” but their philosophies about being fans are different. To me, this is great and realistic representation. I honestly have a friend who is that sort of intense fangirl that Claire is, which might explain why I had such issues with her as a character. She felt very real to me.

I think I’m more of a Tess type of fangirl. I love my shows/movies/etc and I am very passionate about them, but I’m not going to go to the lengths that Claire does trying to get my OTP to go canon.

That was my main problem with this book. Claire took things way too far, and honestly, to me this book shows the dark side of fandom. Yes, we all have our pairings for characters, canon or otherwise, and yes we all have ideas for plot points we would love to see become reality in our favorite shows or books. And there are some amazing fanfictions out there (as well as some just okay ones–but there is nothing wrong with that).

I should probably also mention that both Tess and Claire fall on the LGBTQIAP+ spectrum, though Claire hasn’t figured out her identifier really. At the beginning of the story Claire thinks of herself as straight, and she hates it when people assume that she is something else because of the way she dresses or acts or whatever. But then she gets super upset when one of the lead actors as well as the producers of “Demon Heart” don’t accept her theory that the two main characters are gay. She then goes on to write up all sorts of posts online and to try and push her belief/pairing on them, trying to get them to see that they should make this perceived gay context canon in the show.

And I guess that is realistic too, because so very many of us are hypocritical. Claire doesn’t like others assuming that she isn’t straight, but then turns around and tries to convince a group of others that two characters are gay.

This was an interesting book, and the concept certainly drew me in. It really does show how much social media can influence and affect a creative endeavor like making a television show. It also does a lot for exploring labels and perception (how we are perceived and how we perceive others). So I enjoyed it for that. I just feel like Claire became too much of an unlikeable protagonist for me to become a true fangirl of this book.

Where to Buy

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

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!, Inspiration, NaNoWriMo, Readathon, Signal Boost, Writing

Goals for 2018

Hey all, Dani here.

Well, here we are, a whole week into the new year already, and I am just now getting a post up where I talk about my goals for the year. Normally I would have had the post up already, but with the schedule I had figured out a month or so ago, this was the best I could do.

Last year I had a similar post, but I called it my 2017 Bookish Resolutions. So it seems fitting that I just continue that trend and talk about things I want to continue doing or improve on over the next twelve months.

First up: Reading. Obviously this is a big and important part of my life each and every year, which is probably why I list it first. Typically I started my reading goal at 75 books, but the past few years I have always increased the goal a couple times or so after reaching it with months left in the year. I still think this is a very doable goal, and I look forward to sharing my reading experiences with all of you. And part of sticking to this goal will be doing readathons. Right now I am already doing the Manga Madness Readathon, which is happening this week. I also plan to keep an eye out for 24 Hour Readathons from both Zoe Herdt (@readbyzoe on Twitter and YouTube), and @24Hourathon on Twitter. Then, of course, there is Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon in both April and October.

Second: Blogging. Another big part of my life the past couple of years is this blog. 2016 may not have been a super popular year for my blog, but I felt like I grew a lot in 2017 and I started posting a lot more and interacting even more than that. So I look forward to seeing what is to come in 2018. I’m working on creating a book tag, and I hope you will all enjoy that. Plus, I am continuing my weekly recommendation posts, and as always, throw out more suggestions for themes/topics/etc for these posts. Also, I have a nice backlog of book tags and other post ideas that I’m hoping to get to, so I’m hoping to continue having lots of nice content on here for all of you.

The third item on my list of goals is: Writing. This has been the hardest resolution or goal to stick to the past couple years. Yes, I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo and continued to win, but I know I could and should be doing more. There is a book inside of me that I’ve been wanting to get out for the past year, so I’m honestly hoping I can get a decent draft of it finished in 2018. I’ll keep you guys posted on how I’m doing though. And honestly, a little motivation could help me out too. So, if you think about it randomly throughout the year, ask how the writing is going for me in the comments. I used to do some of my most regular writing back when I posted it online chapter by chapter using fictionpress. And it goes without saying, though I will say it now anyway, that I will definitely be participating in NaNoWriMo again this year.

Finally: Bookstagram. I only posted to Instagram a handful of times in 2017, and I feel really bad about that. Taking photos, particularly of books, is something I have enjoyed, so I need to try and get back into that again. Though, I suppose part of that would include bringing some of my Bookstagram photo props to my apartment instead of abandoning them at my mom’s house. I will start to post more on there; I promise. You can find me @danielle.thamasa on Instagram.

Okay, okay, so I guess technically I have a fifth category and that is goals for my non-bookish life. Because, let’s be honest, 2017 was a pretty good year for me away from this blog as well. My guy and I met, started dating, and moved in together. Now we are making more and more plans for the future, and it is kind of awesome. Right now we are definitely planning to attend all four days of Gen Con in August 2018, so that will be fun (it will also be my 30th birthday weekend so yay!), and we may even be going to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter this fall. We have to see if it will fit in the budget. So I am looking forward to a year of more board games, anime, video games, Dungeons & Dragons, and just cuddling up on the couch with my favorite guy.

I know there’s not a whole lot of concrete goals for this post. I’m not saying that I’m going to post a certain number of times each week, or that I’m going to write a certain number of words or for a certain length of time each day for my novels. I’ve been doing pretty good at having around 5 posts each week on the blog, but there could be times when work or life keep me from posting that much. At the very least I know that I will have a post or two up each week, but as much as possible I’m going to try and maintain my current posting schedule. Hopefully. And for my writing, I think it’s enough to say that I would like to have a whole draft finished for the book I’ve been wanting to write. It doesn’t set me up with a word count goal, but I still have a general idea of how much work I need to put in to achieve it.

What about you guys? What goals do you have for 2018? I would love to hear all about them in the comments, or even a link back to your own post (if you’ve already written one up).

Book Releases, Book Review, Books!, Conventions, Cover Reveal, Self-Published Books, Signal Boost

Cover Reveal and Review: Waterworld Vol 1 by Rachel E Kelly

Hey all, Dani here.

I am super excited today to get to reveal the cover and give an early review for the next installment in one of my all-time favorite book series. It was at Wizard World Ohio Comic Con in Oct/Nov 2014 that I was first introduced to the Colorworld series. At the time they were only a couple months away from the release of the third book and they were still just getting started with the convention tour.

I was quickly pulled into the story and the adventures of the characters, and from that one of the best friendships in my life began to form. Since then I have worked two conventions with Colorworld Books, and have been lucky enough to read Shadoworld and Dreamworld early (and now Waterworld).

I will be completely honest right now when I say that I am a part of Team Colorworld and am one of the copy editors for the books. But I don’t let that get in the way of my thoughts and opinions of the books. But thank you to Rachel Kelly for allowing me to be a part of the Colorworld story and journey, and for sending me digital copies of the books to read for review.

You can find the rest of my reviews for this series at these links: Colorworld, Teleworld, Lumaworld, Shadoworld, and Dreamworld.

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Summary

At Soldier Field in front of sixty-thousand, Gabe Dumas of The Human Movement (THM) delivered a gripping charge against Wendy Whitley of the Guild. To everyone watching, she conceded more than just the stage that day when she waived her speaking slot. No one knew what had happened behind the scenes, that Gabe’s plan to aid California was a result of a private communication between him and Whitley. No one realized that what appeared to be a widening of the gap between Whitley and Dumas was actually both THM and the Guild’s first acts of concession.

This wasn’t the only game-changing event happening behind the scenes in Chicago. That same day, unbeknownst to Wendy or Gabe, Ezra Whitley was enacting his own plan, demonstrating a power that, until then, everyone had thought was impossible. Moments after Gabe Dumas spoke his closing words, “Let us show them and ourselves what can be accomplished when Humans move!” the skies opened and rain drenched everyone inside the stadium… but not a single person outside of it.

This is Ezra’s story.

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

First off, let’s talk about the cover. I was wondering what sort of cover we would get after the gorgeousness that was Dreamworld. I was hoping for some more white, because only Colorworld had that distinction and every other book has had slightly varied shades of black. So I was glad to see that this cover has some white and then I love the swirl of color from the bubble.

Second, let’s talk about how this particular book will be different from the others. Dreamworld was a massive book, and I loved every minute of it. But Waterworld probably would have been longer, as it covers 6 different POVs that interconnect a bit and everything will all converge by the end. But trying to get those individual stories positioned properly in one book can be difficult. So a decision was made, and now each one will come out as an individual volume. Then, after all six are out then a collected volume will be released known as The Six, and it will have all of them combined in one book.

So, basically, my Colorworld Books shelf in my library is going to expand greatly in the coming months. The Illustrated version of Dreamworld should be out this year, and I do believe the comic book should start being released sometime soon as well.

Wow, okay, so I’ve been blathering in this review section for a few paragraphs already and I haven’t actually started the review. This was a fun and interesting installment. It basically covers what Ezra was going through during the events of Dreamworld, and then the last several chapters take us past the end of the last book, which was really cool.

I like Ezra as a character; I have since the very beginning. He is such a wonderful geeky fanboy, and the way he supports Wendy’s “superhero” training and efforts is awesome. Also, he is known to have some clever and hilarious lines. But I don’t feel like he was as witty in this particular story…which honestly makes complete sense considering the situation he finds himself in. Though, I was highly amused whenever Ezra wanted advice from Gabe and so he started imagining what Gabe would say. Ezra did a rather good job at imitating Gabe.

This story is also heavily influenced by my absolute favorite character of this whole series. It has been a little while since I last read some of these books and I have missed the wisdom of Uncle Moby.

Oh, and watching Ezra’s math ability at work, as well as watching it grow and develop was pretty darn awesome. Yes, everyone, Ezra’s superpower is math, and I think that is wonderfully fantastic.

So basically, I yet again enjoyed reading the latest installment in this series and I cannot wait to see what other POVs we get. I’m betting one of them will be Kaylen and that is a story I have immensely been looking forward to.

Where to Buy

Right now you can pre-order Waterworld Vol 1 directly from Colorworld Books. This book is expected to be released on December 31, 2018.

On or after release day, you will be able to buy the book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

I will always recommend buying from Colorworld Books, because then you can have lovely signed editions on your shelves.

Books!, Inspiration, Signal Boost

End of a Journey: Vox Machina

Hey all, Dani here.

My post today is somewhat related to books, but mostly pertains to storytelling and creativity. Stories have an impact on all of us. This is something we know as readers. We connect with these tales and these characters, and for the stories that impact us the most, it all feels completely real. Sometimes the characters in these tales, these adventures, start to feel like friends, and when the journey ends it is bittersweet. Hopefully everything worked out and they had a relatively happy ending, but we’re also sad because it is over.

This is what I have been dealing with for the past week. I have been watching the web series Critical Role for two years now. Every week I would spend 3-5 hours watching the newest episode. It is a Dungeons & Dragons show, where a group of nerdy voice actors have moved their home game into a studio at Geek & Sundry and are streaming it so we can all watch it.

Critical Role, following the journey of adventuring party Vox Machina, came into my life at the perfect time. Things were tense at my house with my ailing grandmother living with us and the tension that caused between my parents. I didn’t have any sort of social life aside from my coworker friends who I basically only saw at work. My only refuge from the negative aspects of my life was books…and then this show.

And after 115 episodes, the story of Vox Machina came to a close. For episode 114, which was the big boss fight, and then episode 115, which was the recovery from the fight and then the epilogues of the characters, I stayed up until the early hours of the morning to watch. I laughed, I cried, I worried, and I absolutely cried some more. I’m sure I could actually look up how many hours the show has run for total, but it is roughly somewhere between 350-600 hours. That is a lot of time to spend with a group of characters.

I really felt like I knew them. And of course, I have met them…twice. I went to a live show of an episode in August 2016, and then my boyfriend and I went and saw them this year at GenCon.

I own so much merchandise for the show: shirts, and dice, and Major Arcana Tarot cards, and an apron, and posters, and pencils, and the campaign setting book for the world created in the story.

This show is what really got me to talk to my friends and start playing Dungeons & Dragons. And because of playing D&D, I met my boyfriend.

So to say that Critical Role has made my life so much better, so much richer, and so much happier is truly an understatement.

Here we are a week later and I’m still watching recap videos of the final episodes. I’m still staring at the amazing fanart that other Critters have drawn. Obviously I’m also reading the new Vox Machina origin comic series–which issue #2 came out this week, and naturally I’ve already read it. I have a couple more comic mini reviews coming very soon.

I’ve also started to rewatch it all from the beginning.

I know that a new campaign will be starting soon and the cast of voice actors are creating new characters for it. I realize that the new campaign will be in the same world roughly a generation later, and so some of Vox Machina could show up in the future.

But I still feel like I’ve had to say goodbye to some dear friends. I’ll never forget their stories, their legend. I’ll never forget how much all of this means to me. Some days, though, I’ll just have moments where it hits me that the story is over (for now). I don’t like goodbyes. It is why I have several book series where I haven’t finished the final book, because I’m not ready to let go.

It all has me thinking about the stories that connected with us and impacted us the most. What book/series did that for you? Or maybe it was a movie, or a TV series, or a music album. Let me know what stories you hold near and dear to your heart.

Books!, Inspiration, NaNoWriMo, Signal Boost, Writing

Are You Ready for NaNoWriMo?

Hey all, Dani here.

National Novel Writing Month is right around the corner, and boy have I missed it. Honestly, aside from these blog posts, I have not done much writing lately, and I certainly have not done a whole lot of creative writing. And I really miss it. I’ve told myself that I need to set up a schedule and block out some time for writing every day and then I just don’t hold myself to it.

Thankfully I have the month of November to get me back into the rhythm of writing regularly.

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Okay, firstly, for those of you who don’t know, NaNoWriMo is an event where each November participants attempt to write 50,000 words on a novel over the course of 30 days. Sounds pretty intense right? Well, honestly, sometimes it can be. Thankfully there are thousands of other writers attempting the same feat so you never really feel alone. You can even join regional forums based on where you live and you’ll be connected with other writers near you. Typically this also includes a person (or people) called Municipal Liaisons (MLs). These lovely people are the ones who organize meet-ups, a kick-off party, write-ins throughout the month, and a wrap party once it is over with.

I have been participating in NaNoWriMo since 2006, and it has just been such an enriching experience. In 2008 I became a Municipal Liaison, and I was one of the many founding donors for the Camp NaNoWriMo program, which is basically NaNoWriMo but in the summertime. I have written so many words and learned so much these past years and I’m so glad that I get to keep going.

This year would have been my tenth year as an ML, but sadly because of so much stuff happening in my real life, I missed the sign up deadline, something I never came close to missing before. So this year I get to watch as my co-ML runs the region on her own…well, officially anyway. Everyone knows that I’m not going anywhere, and am more than happy to answer questions and offer up advice and inspiration to any who need it.

But in some ways I’m actually glad that I just get to focus on my writing, instead of planning write-ins and pep talks, and spending a lot of time on the regional forums or on my region’s Facebook page.

In basically every previous NaNo, I wrote a fantasy or paranormal story, typically with just a hint of romance in it. But this year another story wants to be told, and it means a bit more of a challenge for me. See, events of my life this year have inspired me. At the beginning of this year I went to a friend’s house to start a new Dungeons & Dragons campaign, and there I met the amazingly wonderful and geeky man who has become my boyfriend.

So I want to write a geeky romance story, a story of two people who met while playing D&D and then bonded over board games and movies and other nerdy hobbies.

But I also know that I want the D&D campaign within the book to play a significant role too…so I plan on intertwining a fantasy story through the novel. It should be interesting at the very least.

I have basic sketches of most of the characters already finished and a general idea of the contemporary plot. I’m still thinking about the fantasy campaign story. Over the years I have learned that I can’t do a lot of writing down ideas and such because then I’ll struggle with writing the actual story in November. So I just come up with a few loose ideas and then fly by the seat of my pants the rest of the way. It works for me. Some people spend all of October drafting up elaborate outlines, and that’s fine too.

What I’m trying to do now is to come up with a good title I can use during this first draft process. I told my boyfriend that I don’t want something that is too ridiculous or cheesy, but the only thing that keeps coming to mind is “Roll for Romance.” He laughed and told me that was a perfect title and I should use it.

I guess unless something better comes along, that’s my title. I plan to draft up a quick book summary soon, and then I’ll be ready to write.

And look guys, I’m making more progress with my library/study. I should have it all finished just in time for NaNoWriMo to start, so that’ll be nice. Having a dedicated writing space can sometimes help the mind focus on the task at hand. I’ll just say here that my books aren’t fully in order yet, because I still have about half of my library to move from my mom’s house, and I still have a few more bookcases to assemble.

So are any of you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? If so, let me know, and good luck! And if you have any suggestions for my book title (or if you really like Roll for Romance, let me know those as well.

Book Review, Books!, Conventions, Signal Boost

Review: The Geek’s Guide to Dating by Eric Smith

Hey all, Dani here.

This book was an impulse buy for me while I was at BookExpo this year. The cover looked cool and the concept sounded interesting. Did it matter that at the time I saw this book I was already two months into an amazingly geeky romance with my boyfriend? Not at all. I thought he would be amused by the book as well. It is all sorts of tidbits and advice for a player one looking for that compatible player two.

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Summary

You keep your action figures in their original packaging. Your bedsheets are officially licensed Star Wars merchandise. You’re hooked on Elder Scrolls and Metal Gear but now you’ve discovered an even bigger obsession: the new girl who just moved in down the hall. What’s a geek to do? Take some tips from Eric Smith in The Geek’s Guide to Dating. This hilarious primer leads geeks of all ages through the perils and pitfalls of meeting women, going on dates, getting serious, breaking up, and establishing a successful lifelong relationship (hint: it’s time to invest in new bedsheets). Full of whimsical 8-bit illustrations, The Geek’s Guide to Dating will teach fanboys everywhere to love long and prosper.

My Thoughts

Rating: 4 stars

Now I’ll start this review off by stating that this book is more specifically targeted towards a geek guy looking for a girl (geek or non-geek), but honestly I feel like most of the tips could be applicable to geek girls looking for a guy as well. The obvious exception being the tip about trimming up the beard, but anyway. The beginning of this book even acknowledges that the author is a man and so is writing from that perspective and he wouldn’t want to assume how a woman would think or feel in each situation so that is why it is not written as a more gender neutral book.

Still, I thought the format was cute, and the 8-bit graphics throughout were adorable. I highly recommend getting the hardcover and taking the dust jacket off, because it is a beautiful naked hardback.

There are sections about approaching and starting conversation with this potential player two, planning for the first date, planning beyond the first date, and even a leveling up the relationship section (which also includes a brief segment on dealing with heartbreak should the relationship end).

Considering where I am in my life and my relationship, most of this book did not apply to me, but I can see merit in the clean simple way the information is presented. And yes, several of the tips also talk about a respectful reining in on your geeky passions so as not to overwhelm or scare off your date. Luckily I found someone just as geeky as myself who actually enjoys seeing how love of a fandom excites me. Granted, I also enjoy seeing him geek out over things as well. So if you’re lucky enough to be able to let your geek pride fly free, then you have really hit the jackpot.

So yes, I would have liked there to have been more about the intricacies of inter-geek relationships, because a lot of the book seemed to imply that the partner you find wouldn’t be quite so geeky, but otherwise I enjoyed this.

At BookExpo I may have also bought a similar book, but geared towards geek parenting. So thank you Quirk Books for having titles that called out to me, just wanting to be read. I appreciate that you have several geeky titles in your arsenal. It makes my geek girl heart very happy.

Where to Buy

You can pick up this geeky guide from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore.