Book Releases, Book Review, Books!, Calendar Girls, Graphic Novel, Manga, Readathon, Signal Boost

August Wrap-Up and September TBR

Hey all, Dani here.

August is over already, and I have been 30 years old for a whole month now. Wow, time just keeps passing by so quickly. Where is my ability to pause time for a bit so I can catch up on all of this reading I need to do? Anyway, August was a pretty productive month, so that was nice.

Of course, when it comes to looking back over the past month, it also shows me just how lazy I have been when it comes to reviews. Over the last few months I have read quite a few books, and yet have only written a handful of reviews. So I need to try and get some more of those prepped up for all of you.

Let’s start with everything I read in the month of August.

Game of Secrets by Kim Foster – 4 stars

Beyond a Darkened Shore by Jessica Leake – 5 stars

My Hero Academia, Vol 14 by Kohei Horikoshi – 5 stars

Dawn of the Arcana, Vol 1 by Rei Toma – 4 stars

Blue Exorcist, Vol 1 by Kazue Kato – 5 stars

Avatar: the Last Airbender: North and South Part One by Gene Luen Yang – 5 stars

Avatar: the Last Airbender: North and South Part Two by Gene Luen Yang – 5 stars

Avatar: the Last Airbender: North and South Part Three by Gene Luen Yang – 5 stars

Blue Exorcist, Vol 2 by Kazue Kato – 5 stars

Blue Exorcist, Vol 3 by Kazue Kato – 5 stars

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows – 5 stars

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken – 3.5 stars

Black Clover, Vol 1 by Yuki Tabata – 4.5 stars

I’m in the middle of reading a book right now. I was hoping to finish it before August ended but that didn’t happen. Still, I’m pretty happy with the number of books I read.

Next up is what I watched in the month of August. I started my month watching Legally Blond while finishing up a costume for Gen Con. It is still a cute and fun movie, and I give it 4 stars. Then we all sat in our hotel room and watched Monsters University, which obviously still gets 5 stars. My fiance and I finished watching Legend of Korra, which I give 5 stars to as well. Then we watched Ready Player One again, and I still have to give the movie 5 stars. I’ll do a multi-format review for the book, audiobook, and movie soon. After that I got to see the Disney movie Bolt for the first time, and I give it 4 stars. Next up was Monty Python and the Holy Grail, which gets 4 stars. Then it was time to watch the cuteness that was To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, which definitely gets 5 stars from me. After that I finally got to see the new-ish Goosebumps movie, which I liked and gave 4 stars to. At the very end of the month I managed to watch The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (4 stars), so I will try to have my review of both book and film up fairly soon.

We are still keeping up with Critical Role Campaign 2, and as always, I am finding the storylines and character development to be really interesting. We are also keeping up with the current season of My Hero Academia, because we are both obsessed with it. Finally we are continuing to try and get me all caught up on Fairy Tail, which is going to take a lot more hours. We’re only on the second season right now, but I am really enjoying it. Oh, and my fiance decided to start watching Black Clover as well. It is an interesting premise, but we are both annoyed by the gratingly loud voice of main character Asta. He really doesn’t have to yell everything, but he pretty much does.

Okay, that’s all for what I watched over the month, so now let’s jump into the book haul and OwlCrate unboxing portions of this post.

img_20180826_1117437242009488125.jpg

Fun fact…my September book haul is already looking a bit crazy, because my fiance and I went to both Barnes & Noble and Half-Price Books on September 2nd. The deals were just too good, you guys. I regret nothing…but I may need to try and do another book unhaul sometime soon, or at least a reorganization of my bookshelves.

The last portion of this post is the TBR, and as per usual, I should really spend a little time staring at my bookshelves before I try to write these. I need to go figure out what books I’m going to try and read this month. Hmm… Okay, so I think I’ve found a pretty decent list.

And that is all I have for you guys today. Did you have a nice reading month in August? What books are you hoping to read in September? Let’s talk books in the comments. As always, I’ll be back soon with more bookish content.

Advertisements
Books!, Conventions, Graphic Novel, Manga, Signal Boost

Gen Con Wrap Up

Hey all, Dani here.

So you might be asking, “hey Dani, wasn’t Gen Con at the beginning of the month? Why do a wrap up now?” Well, I had one of my blog buddies say she would love to read about my time at Gen Con, especially as she wants to start trying to diversify her conventions, but she also wanted more information first.

Plus, when you get a little removed from an event (or a book/movie/etc), it is easier to distance yourself from any super happy or super upset feelings you might have had at the time, and you can write a more factual and balanced review of everything. Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself.

Gen Con is a gaming convention, and it features hundreds of game developers and companies, as well as business that sell game accessories. Now when I say gaming convention, the easy assumption is that I am talking about video games, but I don’t think I have seen any sort of video or console type game there. No, this is a gaming convention for tabletop gaming, which means board games, card games, dice games, and tabletop RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons.

This year was the 51st Gen Con and it was even bigger than the previous year. The photos don’t even come close to showing how large or crowded this convention is, because there are just so many wonderful geeks in the world, and events like this really help you to see how not alone in the world you are. It is currently held in Indianapolis, Indiana, and it is an amazing experience. The convention itself takes up the entire Indiana Convention Center, plus they have also spread out into several of the nearby hotels, and Lucas Oil Stadium (which is the arena where the local NFL team, the Indianapolis Colts, are based). What I love about having part of Gen Con in the football stadium is that they house the gaming library there, and if you have purchased a pass to use the library, then you can go there 24 hours a day through the four day convention and borrow a game to play. Yes, a bunch of lovely geeks swarm through this holy house of jock-dom for four whole days.

We actually went to Indianapolis a day early, on August 1st, so we wouldn’t have to wake up at 5am the next day to make the three hour drive. It ended up being the best decision we could have made. We were able to pick up all of our tickets that day, and also just relax a bit. Okay, so we also went to an Irish pub (O’Reilly’s Irish Pub) for my birthday, which then turned into the Irish pub and then a Scottish pub (MacNiven’s). So I had a Shepard’s Pie, and then we had bread pudding for dessert. At the Scottish pub we had Scotch Eggs. Then we went to a comic book store (Downtown Comics) too, so naturally I picked up a few things.

And that’s just all the fun from the day before the convention. Now let’s get to the actual first day of Gen Con. It was a mad house, and we went straight for the Critical Role booth, because there was some cool merchandise that we were hoping to get, and we waited for a good half-hour or so to actually make it to the booth. But I ended up with dice and shirts and even a map for the current campaign, so I am super pleased.

I’m not going to lie guys…we spent most of our money on day one. There are just so many cool games and accessories and costume pieces. It is a geek wonderland. The first day of the convention was also a cool day because we got to meet Joe Mangianello. Now most people will probably recognize Joe from being in the show True Blood, or possibly from the Magic Mike movies. What you may not know is that he is a massive geek, loves D&D, and actually has a really cool gaming dungeon in his home. We waited for almost an hour to meet him, but it was totally worth the wait…and I got him to sign my Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition Player’s Handbook, so that is also pretty awesome. Oh, and the game pictured below is A Song of Ice and Fire, and it is sort of a battlefield strategy game based on Game of Thrones. We watched it being playtested and it seemed pretty interesting. Of course neither my fiance nor our other buddy who went with us has seen the show (or read the books) so it was just a cool looking game to them.

Day two of the convention we spent a lot of time just running around and checking out some of the games. At most of the game developer booths, you can sit down and play the game before you buy it. Okay well if it is a shorter game you can play through the whole game, but longer games they pretty much prefer you to just play a few rounds to get an idea of how the game works. There are a lot of other people around who would also like to try playing the games. The highlight for day two of the convention for us was actually that evening after the convention center closed. We met up with the owners of our hometown game store and they actually bought us dinner at this bar (The Yard House). My fiance and I run a couple D&D campaigns for them and they wanted to thank us for everything we’ve done for the store. Free food is definitely the way to do that. But after that, we had tickets to go see Critical Role live. It was my second time going, but my fiance’s first, and I was so glad I got to share the experience with him. Oh, and there was a surprise guest star for the episode of Critical Role…Khary Payton, an actor some people may recognize from the Walking Dead.

We had an extremely lazy day for day three of the convention. Critical Role Live ended around 1 am, and then we had to walk back to the parking garage where our car was parked (only to discover that the parking garage had closed for the night, so we had to run around to figure out who to contact to get to our car). By the time we made it back to the hotel we were staying at, it was around 2:30 am. Because we were also low on spending money, we just decided to hang out at the hotel, enjoy the pool, watch some TV, and play some of the games we had purchased. The only convention event we had on our schedule for the day was going to Dungeon Master, which is a live interactive show. It ended up being a very entertaining show, but the real reason I got tickets for this particular show was that it was being opened with a concert by The Library Bards, and they are a geek parody band who makes covers of Top 40 hits by making them into geeky songs–for example “Zombie” by the Cranberries becomes a song about Deadpool and Harley Quinn cosplayers called “Black and Red”, and Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off” becomes a LOTR/Hobbit song called “Gandalf.”

img_20180804_182517433_ll1862124335.jpg

Finally, we made it to day four, the last day of the convention. We played a couple more games, and made a couple more purchases with the little spending money we had left. I will be completely honest everyone. I hate the last day of a convention. The last day means that I have to go home and return to my regular day-to-day schedule. It means leaving a place where I am surrounded by thousands of people who like a lot of the same stuff I do, and going back to a place where only a small percentage of people actually understand me. Leaving a convention after having such a great time is always difficult. But on our way back to our car before the three hour drive back home, I decided that we needed to get something to eat, and after walking past this pizza shop over a dozen times, we finally stopped into Giordano’s to get some Chicago Style Deep Dish pizzas.

I guess I should talk about this last picture. There are a lot of booths at Gen Con that give out these little ribbons that you can attach to your convention badge. For many attendees at the convention it becomes a scavenger hunt to collect as many as possible. I have seen people with enough ribbons hanging from their badge to make a long scarf or sash. It is impressive. We only went to Gen Con for one day in 2017, so I think we got one or two ribbons. Obviously this year I did much better, but I’m still hoping for a more impressive collection next year.

Next year I also plan to attend a few panels and/or workshops, because we didn’t really do that this year. There is a whole section of the convention that is a Writer’s Showcase, and they have some great industry professionals there to hold classes on worldbuilding or magic or editing, etc. The guests of honor this year were the duo behind S.A. Corey, author of The Expanse series. Previous years have had Patrick Rothfuss in attendance. Margaret Weis was there this year as well. So next year I definitely want to spend a little more time in the bookish side of Gen Con–though I did walk through that entire area on the show floor, and I will show off everything I purchased in my August Wrap-Up post.

Wow, okay, this post got pretty long. I hope you all enjoyed this look into our time at Gen Con. If you want me to talk more specifically on the games that we playtested and/or purchased, let me know. Because we found quite a few really fun games, and I like talking about more than just books. I’m your average geeky girl, with many geek hobbies.

Anyway, that’s all for today, and I will be back soon with more bookish content.

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.

34138306

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.

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

Manga Madness Readathon (Round 3)

Hey all, Dani here.

Today is Day Two of Gen Con, and when this post goes live, my fiance and I will be wrapping up our time at the convention center and be heading across the city to the theater where we will watch a live episode of Critical Role, and we are both very excited about it. Anyway, I am not here to talk about my convention fun (yet…I will have a con wrap up post coming after the weekend is over).

I guess I’m just really in a readathon mood lately. Plus, my fiance and I just bought a bunch more manga to add to our collection. So it seems appropriate to announce that we are participating in the upcoming round of the Manga Madness Readathon.

It will be taking place from August 10th-18th, and the goal is to read as many manga as possible in that time. Now, there are a couple more specific ways to participate, like trying to complete a bingo board of different types, themes, or genres of manga, or focusing your attention on one specific series, but I just want to read some manga instead of trying to find a specific TBR for the event.

You can find out all the details on Jade’s blog here.

As for what the two of us will be reading, well it will probably be something on these shelves, though we may have added more volumes since this photo was taken. Oh and the shelving of the manga is not my decision. This bookcase is my fiance’s and he has complete control over where they all go and how they are stacked. He’s still figuring out his shelving preferences.


That is a really vague TBR, isn’t it? Well, I personally want to read the rest of Ancient Magus’ Bride, read the newest volume of My Hero Academia, since it comes out on August 7th, and then I’ll start reading whatever sounds interesting. I believe my fiance will be trying to work on getting manga completed and reviews formulated so he can start posting. We’ve already figured out his bio blurb and his review policy, so those are both up on the blog. Now we just need content.

So really, I do believe that is all for today. I just wanted to announce that I am doing another readathon. Let me know if you plan on participating as well, or let me know if you have any manga recommendations. I will be back soon with more bookish content.

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.

img_20180712_1632574953184432.jpg

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.

img_20180729_1019288461726936533.jpg

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.

31363503

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.

20961689

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 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).

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.

nano-2017-participant-facebook-cover

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.