Books!, Calendar Girls, Signal Boost

Calendar Girls: November 2018

Hey all, Dani here.

Welcome back to another month of Calendar Girls. As always I’ll start this post by saying that Calendar Girls is a monthly blog event that was started by Flavia and Melanie, but is now being hosted by Katie and Adrienne. They are all wonderful ladies, and you should check out their lovely blogs. Oh, and if you go to either Katie or Adrienne‘s Calendar Girls post each month, they will have links to all the other wonderful book bloggers participating in this event. It’s a great way to find new bookish friends, and also possibly add some more books to your TBR.


First, more about the Calendar Girls. It is designed to ignite bookish discussions among readers, and was inspired by the 1961 Neil Sedaka song, Calendar Girl.

Just like the song, each month has a different theme. Each blogger picks their favorite book from the theme, and on the first Monday of the month reveals their pick in a Calendar Girls post. Make sure to post back to the hostess’s post, and both Katie and Adrienne will make a master list for the month. The master lists allow everyone to see the other Calendar Girls’ picks and to pop on over to their blogs. Thus, we all get to chat about books and even make some new friends!

Now it is time for the November theme…

Not Quite the End

Favorite Middle Book in a Series

Once again, this was a difficult choice for me. There are so many wonderful options. So, as per usual, I will be listing off a few honorable mentions before I get into my actual pick for this month. Oh, and there is a series that I could easily have picked for this month, but I’m really hoping the category I voted for as December’s theme wins, because then I don’t have to worry about what book to pick, because it is a book I recommend all the time.

Anyway, let’s jump into the honorable mentions.

First up: The Iron Traitor by Julie Kagawa. Now this one is the middle book of the spin-off trilogy for the Iron Fey series, so I’m still counting it as the middle book of a series, event though as part of the larger series it is next to the final book. But man, oh man. This book delivered the adventure and then the cliffhanger at the ending. I remember reading this book right after it was released, and I realized I had to wait a whole year just wondering how that ending was going to be resolved. It was fantastic. Also, torture. But mostly fantastic.

Then, I feel like I have to mention A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas, because that is the best book in the Feyre/Rhysand trilogy portion of the series. It did so well with character dynamics and development, and I so very much enjoyed exploring the Night Court.

Next, I absolutely have to talk about A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab. Now, I’ll be honest, this series was my introduction into Victoria Schwab, and I was blown away. Discovering all about the parallel Londons, and following Kell and Lila was just a fantastic adventure. And this second book introduces us to more of the world of Red London, and brings in a magic tournament that was just really darn cool. Plus, even more character development. Oh, and don’t forget the fallout from the events of the first book. Actually, talking about this right now is making me want to go re-read the books. If only I weren’t occupied with NaNoWriMo.

The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead also has to make my list of honorable mentions. This fourth book in the Bloodlines series was where things really got ramped up. Yes, the first three books were great, and I loved spending more time with Sydney and Adrian, but this book was absolutely amazing. It got me going not just with the romance, but also with the complications around them because of their relationship. It made the wait for the last two books even more intense for me. I love both the Vampire Academy series and the Bloodlines series.

Finally, my last honorable mention goes to The House of Hades by Rick Riordan. Now, don’t get me wrong. Uncle Rick’s books are all pretty much amazing. But there’s just something about this middle-ish book of The Heroes of Olympus series–yes, I know that The Mark of Athena is technically the middle book of this series–that was just completely outstanding. The last time I read through all of Rick Riordan, I was literally reading one book each day, and it led to a month where I read 31 books, which was ridiculous. But I am obsessed with all things Rick Riordan. Does it matter that I am a 30 year old woman and therefore not the target audience? Nope, not at all. I first discovered Rick Riordan’s books in my library in the summer of 2007, and I have been hooked ever since. Yes, I first read The Lightning Thief when I was turning 19 years old. It was shelved in the YA section (though it is Middle Grade), and it was based on mythology, which I will always be interested in reading.

Okay, now with all that gushing about a few other middle books in the series, I’m sure you’re wondering what book I have as my pick this month. Trust me, there will be a lot of gushing for this one as well.

All right, you’ve waited long enough.

My choice for Favorite Middle Book in a Series is….


The Heart Forger by Rin Chupeco

Yes, this is the middle book of a trilogy, and the third book will be out March 5, 2019. The first book is The Bone Witch, and I absolutely raved about it after I read it, and the same is definitely true for The Heart Forger.

I was able to read an early copy of the first book thanks to NetGalley, and then for the second book, I was sent a very lovely print ARC a couple months early. It was a complete surprise when it showed up on my doorstep one day.

The world created for this trilogy is a fascinating one. I enjoy the culture of it all, and the descriptions are absolutely wonderful. Then there is the magic system. Now look, generally I am not much of a fan of either zombie stories or necromancy, and this story pretty much has both. The main character is a Bone Witch, and at the beginning of the trilogy, her brother dies and she brings him back to life. But just the way the story is written, with the main character telling her story to a bard and how it jumps between the current story, and then the past where she is still learning and growing, I was just enraptured by it all. Oh, and the way it jumps back and forth really helps to add to the suspense of figuring out what exactly happened to make Tea this way, and also figure out which guy is her true love.

The second book brings in journeys or dealings with several other countries, which means even more hua designs, more lush descriptions of zivars, and learning even more about how different ashas wield their abilities. Plus there is even more interaction with the powerful daeva creatures, and so much more intrigue and action. And the character development as you get pulled even farther into the story. Seriously, both of these books have landed on my favorite reads lists, and I’m pretty sure the third book will as well. There’s just a few more months to wait. Thank goodness.

Whew, that was a lot of gushing about books for one post. Please check out the links to both Katie’s and Adrienne’s blogs, and they will have the links for the other Calendar Girls posts for this month. I’m really looking forward to seeing what everyone else chose.

That is all for today, and I’ll be back soon with more bookish content.

Book Review, Books!, Signal Boost

Book Review: Flurry the Bear-The Granted Wish

Damian Trypp here with my first review on this blog. Starting off with a lovely little find I came across whilst my fiance and I attended back in August. I don’t have a schedule set yet on how often I will post but I will be posting about an assortment of different things. Most of these things will probably be manga, anime, and video games.



Life for a cub is not always easy, as Flurry would attest. All Flurry has ever known is a simple carefree life in the arctic north. In his home village of Ursus, Flurry has very little responsibility. The region is protected by warrior elves and ruled by Christopher Kringle. Flurry has a knack for finding trouble, and find it he does. To keep Flurry from further turmoil, Christopher gives Flurry a special assignment. Little do either of them know that fate has something else in mind for the little bear cub.


Flurry finds himself in a strange and distant world named Earth. Intent on getting home, Flurry struggles against numerous obstacles. Yet, his greatest challenge is himself.


As he wrestles with his own pride and vanity, Flurry embarks on his new life. Will Flurry learn humility and make it back home, or has his life gone down a new path – a course that can never be reversed?


Rating: 4 stars

I quite enjoyed this cute story as it has a lot of unique characters and references to tales and folklore of the holidays. Definitely a book series I will want to continue. The cute characters and the constant mischief Flurry manages to get himself into without meaning to. This is the type of story that’s easy to follow for the most part. Hints of other stories to come and possible enemies that our young hero will encounter leave the kid in me in edge as I want to keep reading until the end.

Book Releases, Book Review, Books!, Signal Boost

March Wrap Up and April TBR

Hey all, Dani here.

Wow, where did March go? Seriously. I am trying to figure out how we are 25% through 2018 already. Time is flying by so quickly now, and that is crazy to me.

Anyway, let’s just jump into what I read in the month of March. As always, if I have a review already posted on my blog, I will include the link to that post just in case you missed it or want to check it out. I’m working on clearing out my backlog of reviews so expect many more in the upcoming months.

The Glass Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg (4.5 stars)

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle (4 stars)

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (4 stars)

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones (4 stars)

Vox Machina Origins Issue #5 by Matthew Colville, Matthew Mercer, Olivia Samson, and Chris Northrop (5 stars)

The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One by Amanda Lovelace (3 stars)

My Hero Academia Vol 11 by Kohei Horikoshi (5 stars)

Love & War by Melissa de la Cruz (5 stars)

Reign the Earth by A.C. Gaughen (5 stars)

Chaotic Good by Whitney Gardner (4.5 stars)

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (5 stars)

Overall not a bad month, though I probably could have and should have read more Middle Grade novels.

All right. Well with the wrap up complete, it is time to move on to my March book haul. There were a lot of great releases in March, so obviously I ended up getting quite a few books, but overall I didn’t go overboard and have a massive haul, which is nice. This is the part where I share my book haul photos and then show off my monthly OwlCrate unboxing–and spoiler alert: I loved this month’s box.

Seriously, I managed to get through the month only buying a handful of books. That is pretty impressive.


I’ve always wondered if I would like an infinity scarf or not, and now that I have one, I can honestly say that I rather like it. Oh, and this OwlCrate edition of Heart of Iron is so lovely. I mean, did you see the purple stained pages? So awesome. I got the Hanna Donnelly candle, but apparently there was a Kady Grant one as well. The mug is pretty great too; I’m excited to have another mug in the same size/style as the Harry Potter one from a couple months ago. Oh, and the book is actually signed this month, instead of just being a signed book plate. OwlCrate, you guys are doing wonderful things with your subscription box. I’m glad to be a subscriber. And I’m looking forward to the April box as well, because yet again the book is one on my highly anticipated list, which is excellent.

Finally, I suppose it is time to share my April TBR. Now I’ve done okay with my TBRs so far this year, reading typically around half or so of the books I mention, so I’m feeling decent about continuing to share the books I’d like to read in the month. Plus, the next session of Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon will be taking place on April 28th, so I’m thinking it should be a pretty good month of reading. But as usual, the readathon TBR will be up closer to the event, because I may change my mind on what I’m reading for the day. Actually I’m kind of hoping I can convince my fiance to participate in Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon with me.

Anyway, here is my tentative April TBR.

Of course the TBR can always change, grow, and/or shrink based on my reading mood. But there are a few of these that I really want to read, so I’m hoping I’ll be able to do it.

Then again, I’m also trying to get back into writing, so I am doing Camp NaNoWriMo in April as well. I’ve set a really low goal of writing 10,000 words on my novel over the course of the month, and hopefully I’ll be able to accomplish that while also keeping up with my reading.

I hope you all had wonderfully productive reading months in March. And if you feel like talking books with me in the comments, let me know what book you are most looking forward to reading in April.

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

Review: Lumberjanes – Unicorn Power by Mariko Tamaki

Hey all, Dani here.

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

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



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

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

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

My Thoughts

Rating: 4.5 stars

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

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

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

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

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

Where to Buy

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

Book Review, Books!, Readathon, Signal Boost

Review: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Hey all, Dani here.

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

Let’s jump into the review now.



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

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

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

My Thoughts

Rating: 4 stars

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

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

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

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

Where to Buy

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

Book Releases, Book Review, Books!, Signal Boost

What I’m Reading (5)

Hey all, Dani here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Book Review, Books!, Recommendations, Signal Boost

Review: All’s Faire in Middle School

Hey all, Dani here.

Today I bring you a Middle Grade review, because though I am 29 years old, I still enjoy reading MG books. Plus, this one was really good.



The author of Roller Girl is back with a graphic novel about starting middle school, surviving your embarrassing family, and the Renaissance Faire.

Eleven-year-old Imogene (Impy) has grown up with two parents working at the Renaissance Faire, and she’s eager to begin her own training as a squire. First, though, she’ll need to prove her bravery. Luckily Impy has just the quest in mind–she’ll go to public school after a life of being homeschooled! But it’s not easy to act like a noble knight-in-training in middle school. Impy falls in with a group of girls who seem really nice (until they don’t) and starts to be embarrassed of her thrift shop apparel, her family’s unusual lifestyle, and their small, messy apartment. Impy has always thought of herself as a heroic knight, but when she does something really mean in order to fit in, she begins to wonder whether she might be more of a dragon after all.

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

Okay, so I have to start off this review by saying that this is a graphic novel, and I didn’t realize that when I bought it. I still would have bought it regardless, because I like to read comics and graphic novels, but it was a bit of a surprise to flip past the title page and see all the cute art and speech bubbles, etc.

The premise of the story intrigued me. We follow a girl who has been homeschooled her whole life, and her parents work at the Florida Renaissance Faire. Impy has been waiting for the day when she gets to become a squire and do more than just work in her mom’s shoppe. When the queen calls for her and asks what quest she will undertake to prove her bravery so that she may be a squire, Impy decides that it is time to give up homeschooling and try going to middle school.

There she feels a bit out of sorts, and I connected with her as she tried to navigate the school and the cafeteria, and as she tried to make friends. So many times this story made me smile or made me feel upset for certain decisions made by the characters. The pressure to fit in and the pressure to impress friends is one I understood. There is the struggle to keep up with all the schoolwork and the fashion trends and all of the schoolyard gossip. Plus bullying is definitely a factor in this story as well.

More than that is also the family element. Impy doesn’t just have her mom, dad, and little brother. A lot of the regular cast members of the Renaissance Faire are also like family, and I liked how they were around to give Impy advice and to help her with her education, and to scold her when she needed it, but they also supported her at the same time.

I would actually be totally fine if Victoria Jamieson decided to do a sequel to this book. Does Impy stick with middle school or go back to homeschooling? How have things changed after the end of the story?

Personally I thought this was a cute, wonderful, and somewhat geeky story and I devoured it in a little more than an hour. I’m really glad I picked it up, and I’ll definitely look for more reads I might enjoy by the author in the future.

Where to Buy

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

Book Releases, Book Review, Books!, Signal Boost

Reviews: Weirdo Academy by Charles Curtis

Hey all, Dani here.

Today I am happy to share reviews for two middle grade books that feature kids with powers and who want to play sports. It should be mentioned that I was approached by a publicist for Georgia McBride Media Group, which is the home of Month9Books, Swoon Reads, Tantrum Books, and Tantrum Jr, about reviewing both of these books, and I received e-galleys of both. This did not affect my rating or opinion in any way. But thank you to Month9Books and Tantrum Books for allowing me to read The Accidental Quarterback and The Impossible Pitcher.



Alexander Graham Ptuiac, the son of an inventor, dreams of playing football. But his dreams are thwarted by his lack of athleticism and overall lanky build. Like any kid with a dream, Alex tries out anyway, just in case. If nothing else, maybe he can win the role of water boy. So when Alex suddenly manifests superhuman powers during football tryouts, Alex can’t believe his good luck. He’s got game! But his new abilities can get him kicked off the team; unless Alex can keep it a secret long enough to find out how the heck he got this way. Enter Dex, a diminutive classmate who can somehow jump as high as ten feet in the air. Now, Alex isn’t the only one at school with a secret. Except, the boys have caught the attention of some pretty nefarious adults, intent on making sure neither Alex nor Dex make it through the season.The only thing stranger than Alexander Graham Ptuiac, accidental quarterback, is the shocking truth about himself and his parents. When truth is stranger than fiction and adults are out to get you, there’s only one thing to do. Play ball!

My Thoughts

Rating: 3 stars

This was a pretty fast read, and it was pretty interesting. I say this as someone who is not massively into sports. The idea of kids with abilities was a definite draw for me to read this. I liked Alex and Dex, and I enjoyed their outsiders to sports heroes story.

However, I do have to say that some of it felt a bit unbelievable. Now, I’m not talking about Alex or Dex’s super-powered skills. That was fine. But they were 7th graders and somehow playing football with 9th graders. I don’t know exactly how this school is set up, but where I live it is either 6th-8th grade at the middle school/junior high, or just 7th and 8th grade at the middle school/junior high, and that school has a 7th grade football team and an 8th grade team. Then 9th-12th grades are part of the high school, and there is typically a 9th grade team, then junior varsity team, and varsity team.

I get that it is a private school so some of the grades and sporting rules might be different, but it bothered me to the point where I was staring at my screen trying to process what had just happened.

Now, I should also say that the sports terminology, the player positions, the plays, etc. were all spot on, which shouldn’t be a surprise as the author is a sportswriter for ESPN. Again, I’m not an expert at sports, but my years of marching band and of watching my brother play in various sports has left me at least vaguely knowledgeable. This book read like someone who knows sports, so that’s great.

There were also a few minor spelling issues, but I don’t mark down for that unless there are too many or they make the story unreadable.

I will say that I read this whole book in just a couple hours, and overall I did enjoy it. Having kids who deal with being different and being bullied but still wanting to play sports is just nice.

Oh, and I also liked that there were discussion questions at the end. That would definitely help if teachers wanted to have students read and then discuss the book.



Alex and Dex are local heroes. Suddenly, everyone wants to be friends with Alex, Dex and Sophi.

But someone more powerful than any of them lurks in the background, keeping a close watch until it’s time to swoop in and capture them. Still, Alex tries to maintain some semblance of normalcy — in the offseason, he wants to play baseball. As Alex becomes a formidable pitcher, his powers grow and so does his obsession with controlling them.

With Alex finding less and less time for Dex and Sophi, Dex discovers his cat-like abilities start to disappear soon after he starts spending time with a girl.

As the friends struggle to maintain their friendships, that mysterious someone gets closer and closer. Can the three friends find their way back to one another before it’s too late? Or will middle school tear them apart for good?

My Thoughts

Rating: 4 stars

Okay, so what I was able to piece together from both of these books is that for the purposes of this story, middle school is 7th-9th grades. That still feels odd to me, but fine, I’ve accepted stranger things as being true while reading.

This second book was better because Dex and Alex and Sophi had better grasps on their abilities. Plus we as readers are beginning to understand things more. The mysterious people who are looking for the super powered youth play more of a role. Also, things get more complicated: Alex is still learning what it takes to activate his powers, and Dex is trying to figure out why his seem to be disappearing when he is around Huma. Sophi forms a friendship with Kenny, who was on the rival football team, and it causes some jealousy issues for Alex.

Oh, and there’s a lot more sports going on in this one. It starts a few weeks after the end of the first book, and so many coaches are trying to get Alex to join their teams. He considers tennis for a brief moment, but then decides on his second sports love: baseball. And because of Huma’s status as the best basketball player on both the guys and girls teams, there’s also a lot of basketball in the book.

Again, I enjoyed reading this. I can see how these books will appeal to younger readers, whether they enjoy sports or are more interested in the super powers as a result of genetic manipulation.

Where to Buy

Both of these books are out in stores today, so feel free to pick up one for yourself.

The Accidental Quarterback: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository

The Impossible Pitcher: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository

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

Purging That TBR Pile

Hey all, Dani here.

I’m trying to finish reading some books and write up a few more reviews and book tag posts and such, but right now there are so many books that I really want to read that I can’t decide which to read first and it may be somewhat putting me in a tiny bit of a slump. I’m going to try and push through it though. We’ll see what happens.

To be fair though, I have read something like 19 or 20 books in August already, which is quite a lot.

Anyway, I’ve been seeing people joining the Down The TBR Rabbit Hole bandwagon and going through their TBR piles to cleanse it of books that you just aren’t interested in anymore or don’t see yourself reading, and while I wish that I could actually read all of the books I have marked as to-read on Goodreads, I realistically know that isn’t possible…you know, unless I could get paid to read/review full-time.

So, I’m going to do something similar. Now, the actual post/tag/whatever you’d like to call it has you put your TBR in ascending order by date and then look at the first 5 (or 10 if you’re adventurous) and decide to keep it or ditch it. This means you’re looking at the ones that have been on your list the longest.

At the current moment my Goodreads “Want to Read” shelf has 826 books on it. I think I’ll look at those first 20 (or maybe 26, why not?) and see if I can weed out this list a little bit.

And excuse the poor images I’m about to include here. When I decided to do this post I was already at work and ended up just taking photos of the computer screen so they are not the best quality. Anyway, let’s get started.


Okay, so Sea Glass by Maria V. Snyder. I loved the original Study trilogy and I really want to read the newest Study trilogy, but the Glass trilogy stands in the middle. I read the first one a while ago and it was just okay. I didn’t like Opal as much as I did Yelena, but I want to understand whatever part this trilogy might play in the newer books, so I’m going to have to read this one and the third in the trilogy at some point. I’m keeping this one.

Succubus Heat and Succubus Shadows by Richelle Mead. I do enjoy this series and I have no idea why I haven’t finished it yet. I loved the first three. Have I been putting these off because I’m disappointed about the incomplete nature of Mead’s Age of X series? Maybe. I still want to read these though.

Iron Crowned by Richelle Mead. Why is the 3rd book of the series so high on the list? I haven’t even read the 2nd one yet. Weird. Again, I love Richelle Mead so I’m gonna keep this one. Eventually I do plan on reading it.

Cry WolfSilver Borne, and Hunting Ground by Patricia Briggs. Do I own these books? Yes. Am I super behind on all things Patricia Briggs? Absolutely. I think I’ve only read two Mercy Thompson books and that’s it. At this point I’m thinking that maybe it is time to just admit that I just don’t have enough time to catch up on either of these series. I’m going to cut them from my TBR. But I still own the books, so if my desire to read these comes back then I’ll be ready.

The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson. Now, this one I’ve actually read the first couple hundred pages. I greatly enjoy all the books I’ve read by Sanderson. I just really miss one of the characters from the first Mistborn book so this one just isn’t bringing that same feeling. I will get back around to this one at some point.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. I NEED to read this book. I bought a copy a few months ago so I could read it. Definitely keeping it. I want to read it and then watch the series.

The Once and Future King by T.H. White. I believe I added this during a phase when I was definitely wanting to indulge in my love of Arthurian legends. But then I never picked up the copy sitting on my shelves. I’ll maybe at some point be in the mood to read this, but for now I think I can take it off my Goodreads list.


Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe. I think this was a book that I read back in elementary school, but don’t remember well so I put it on here for a reread. I mean, it is a classic. But, since it is a reread I don’t have it as that much of a priority.

Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift. Another idea of a classic piece of literature that I read in childhood and thought of rereading. Ah, the idealized fantasy of being able to devour all of these classics. That was sort of still while I was in school and had quite a bit more free time than I do now. This may be another reread that I take off my Goodreads list.

Fallen by Lauren Kate. Hmm…I bought this back in the time when the Twilight craze was still pretty big and all these similar books were coming out and being talked about. It’s sat on my shelf ever since. I did watch the movie a couple weeks ago; it was as bad as I thought it would be. I don’t know. I just don’t see myself picking this one up anytime soon. I may be pulling it from my bookshelves at home too.

The Gunslinger by Stephen King. I really want to read this series, and go see the movie. I mean, I have read some of the graphic novels. This is a definite keep.

The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan. This one is also a reread. I made it like 5 or 6 books into the series years ago and then stopped. I want to reread the early books and then finish the series. I may try something like reading one a month until I finish the series. Maybe? If that sounds like something you’d like to join me for, then we can figure that out…perhaps start in 2018 and go until we’re done in 2019.

A Clash of Kings, A Storm of SwordsA Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin. Obviously I’m keeping these. I want to read them all (only read A Game of Thrones so far). I just need to be in the mood for them first.

Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter. I really enjoyed the first book in this series and wanted to read the rest of them, but I think now maybe it’s been too long since I read the first one and I’m not really in the mood for this type of story right now. This one will come off my Goodreads list, but I may pick it up someday if I want a fun cute and easy to read story.

Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews. I have so many unfinished urban fantasy series on my TBR list. I want to read this series, but much like with Mercy Thompson, I feel so behind. Unlike with Patricia Briggs though, I enjoyed this one more. I’ll keep the Kate Daniels series for a while longer. I’m not ready to give up just yet.


Magic Strikes and Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews.

On the Edge and Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews. Unlike with the previous series by Andrews, I have not read anything in this particular series, so though I own the books, and I may eventually pick them up, for now I can safely remove these from my Goodreads TBR.

Fang by James Patterson. I liked Fang as a character when I read the Maximum Ride series in my high school years, but I just lost interest in the series, so I don’t think I’ll be getting around to this anytime soon. Bye.

Torment by Lauren Kate. Much like with the first book in the series, I can easily say goodbye to this one.

Don’t Judge a Girl by Her Cover by Ally Carter. Again, I like Ally Carter’s writing and I enjoyed the first book, but for now I think I’m going to pull this series off my want to read list.

Being Nikki and Runaway by Meg Cabot, and Hunter’s Moon by Meg Cabot. I spent several years being a huge Meg Cabot fan and trying to read every single thing she wrote. The concept of the first Airhead book was interesting, so I’m inclined to want to finish the rest of the trilogy, but I don’t know if/when that will happen. With this other series though, a graphic novel spinoff of Avalon High, it just really didn’t impress me as much as the original novel. So for now I think I can take these books off my list, but if the mood strikes I may read Being Nikki and Runaway.

Whew, okay, well that was quite a list, and man, this was a bit longer of a post than I had originally planned on. I eliminated 16 books from my Want to Read list on Goodreads, and kept 13. That’s actually a lot better than I thought. This may be something I do again in the future. Like I mentioned earlier, this list is over 800 books long.