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Banned Books Week 2018

Hey all, Dani here.

Once again we find ourselves at the time of year to celebrate Banned Books Week, and like every previous year, I like to write up a little post to talk about the occasion. You can find out a lot more information by checking out the Banned Books Week site or by checking out the Banned Books Week section of the ALA(American Library Association)’s site.

Banned Books Week is the annual celebration by libraries, publishers, booksellers, authors, and readers, to celebrate the Freedom to Read. There are a number of different events being held all over at libraries and bookstores, so check out your local ones to see what might be going on near you. Banned Books Week was started back in the 1980s, in response to the increased challenges and protests, including a 1982 Supreme Court case (Island Trees School District v. Pico) which ruled that school officials can’t ban books simply because of their content.

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Each year a list is released of the top 10 most challenged books for the previous year. Take note of the reasons these books are challenged. I feel like most of these books are challenged by a small yet very vocal group of people, and the sad fact is that for a vast majority of these challenges, the person asking for the removal of the book from libraries and/or schools actually has not picked up the book. They are going off of the summary and/or what they might have heard about the book.

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There are a lot of popular books that find themselves on this challenged/banned list, and I have talked about them in a previous post. This topic is one that I feel like I need to talk about each year, so you can find my posts from 2016 and 2017 at these links. I also have a Banned Books Recommendations post, which I definitely recommend.

And the ALA’s Banned Books Week Web site also includes a bunch of handy dandy infographics, which I think are cool to include. They give a quick glimpse at why books are challenged, where they are challenged, and more.

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So this might not be my longest post, but I still think it is absolutely an important one. As members of the book community, we pretty much have a responsibility to fight against censorship. If a book has content you don’t want to read, then that’s fine. The sensible solution is to just not buy/borrow/read that book. Don’t ruin the reading fun for others just because you don’t agree with the content of a book.

That’s like saying that because you don’t like hamburgers that nobody else should have access to hamburgers. Not cool.

On another somewhat unrelated note, I am getting pretty near to 500 followers on my blog –THANK YOU ALL–and I have always had it in mind that I will be doing a giveaway when I reach that point. So when I reach 500 followers I will be uploading a post with details on how one of you awesome people can win $25 worth of books from Book Depository.

I do believe that is all from me today. Thanks for reading and I’ll be back soon with more bookish content.

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Book Releases, Book Review, Books!, Signal Boost

What I’m Reading (29)

Hey all, Dani here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Calendar Girls: September 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.

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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!

The September theme is…

Back to School
Best Novel Set in a School

Can I just say that I actually miss going back to school around this time of year? I pretty much finished up my schooling at the end of 2011–at least until I can find some way to get my finances in order so I can go back for my doctorate. So I’ve been out of the world of academia for quite a few years now and I just really miss it. I was so much more productive with writing back then.

An obvious choice for this month’s theme would be Harry Potter, so I guess that series will be my first honorable mention. And I suppose I should also say that a part of me wanted to name the Animorphs series, because so much of it does revolve around their school.

Oh, and right now I’m just going to go ahead and toss a couple manga options into the mix. Because they are both series that I really enjoy, and the school portion of the story is actually rather important for both of them. The manga honorable mentions for this theme are My Hero Academia and Blue Exorcist. They are both great series and I definitely recommend them. One follows a school that trains professional superheroes, and the other is a school for exorcists.

Now we come down to the part we’ve all been waiting for…the novel I have selected as my pick for “Best Novel Set in a School.” This was actually a difficult choice for me. There are so many great books out there with schools in them, but I wanted to pick something where the school setting was a huge part of the story.

I spent a good fifteen minutes or so scanning all the books on the shelves of my home library, trying to narrow down my options so I could figure out which novel to select. I was tempted to choose Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead, or The Magicians by Lev Grossman. But ultimately, I decided on something else.

Though many of these have interesting school settings, or have a spotlight on learning or being at school, over all there was one book that I read last year that felt so much like being in school for me, so it has to be my choice for this month’s theme.

That book is Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia.

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Eliza is the creator of a massively popular web comic, but nobody at school knows. That is, until the number one fanfiction writer of her comic transfers to her school and they become friends because of their shared fondness for the web comic. Of course the fanfiction writer has no idea that Eliza is the creator.

To me, this book just reminded me so much of being a student in school. Yes, I love academia, and I pretty much always enjoyed my classes. But in many ways I didn’t exactly feel like I fit in or that I belonged. Yes, I had some friends from band, and most of my friends were geeks too. But I didn’t start being an open and proud geek until just a few years ago, when I decided to just be myself and not care if people found me odd. So I relate to Eliza on a number of levels.

Plus, when I was in high school, not only did I spend a lot of time reading, but I also spent a lot of time writing stories and posting my chapters up on fictionpress. So this book is near and dear to my heart, and I feel like sometimes escaping into a fantasy world is all you can do to endure the social aspect of school.

You can find my review of this book here, and I definitely recommend it if you haven’t read it already.

Whew, okay. Now I just have to wait until the October theme is announced…and then I can once again stare at all the books in my library and try to figure out which ones are just honorable mentions, and which one will be my pick for the month. Oh, and wait for the Calendar Girls Twitter chat and all the other fun social media interactions.

That is all for today. Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll be back soon with more bookish content (specifically my August Wrap-Up and September TBR tomorrow).

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Calendar Girls: August 2018

Hey all, Dani here.

So, at the end of last year I told myself that in 2018 I was going to join the Calendar Girls, because I loved the posts, and had found some great new blogs because of the monthly meme. But then Calendar Girls went on hiatus, so it changed up a few of my planned posts for the year. Now though, Calendar Girls has found a new home, and today is the first month  of the meme. This was originally created by Flavia and Melanie, and is now being hosted by Katie at Never Not Reading and Adrienne at Darque Dreams Reader. So, feel free to go check out all of their blogs, because they are all wonderful ladies.

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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 I 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!

Dog Days of Summer
Best Novel Set in Summer

The theme for August is Dog Days of Summer, and we are supposed to select our best/favorite novel set in summer.

Before I get into my choice for this month, I first want to include a couple honorable mentions, and both are actually series. First is The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series. These books came around while I was in high school, so I related to them quite a bit, and they were nice quick summer reads. And then the fifth book was released years later while I was in grad school, so once again, I really felt like I understood all of the characters. I still own these books, and talking about them now makes me want to reread the whole series.

My second honorable mention is the Percy Jackson series. With the exception of I believe one book, these all start at the end of the school year and then lead Percy to his summer at Camp Half-Blood. I discovered these books in the summer after my first year of college, but I couldn’t help but be sucked into the story thanks to all of the wonderful mythology and adventure within the pages. The fact that I am still a huge Rick Riordan fan (at the age of 30) is a testament to how great his books are, regardless of your age.

All right, I guess now it is time to reveal my actual choice for Best Novel Set in Summer. This one took a little bit of thought and debate, but in the end, I couldn’t help but pick this fun contemporary read that I flew through, even though it was over 500 pages long.

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My choice is The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson, and I talked about this book as one of my favorite reads in 2016, as well as in my Contemporary Recommendations post. But I guess I never actually wrote a review post for this one. Hmm…I may have to reread it so I can refresh my memory on the book before I write up a nice review.

But anyway, this story follows Andie, who has everything all planned out for her summer, including a nice internship that will help her with preparing for her future. But then a political scandal around her dad changes everything and she has to scramble to figure out a new plan for the summer. This ends up including a job as a dog walker, and meeting the adorable geek Clark.

I flew through this book, and I enjoyed the way the relationship developed between Andie and Clark, as well as watching the growing and changing relationship dynamic between Andie and her dad. Plus, in true Morgan Matson fashion, there are little cameos from her previous books in this one, because all of the books take place in the same area. (Andie and Clark end up making an appearance in Matson’s newest book release, Save the Date).

But when it comes to books set in summer/released in summer/read in summer, I tend to go for ones that are quick reads. Sometimes they are cutesy contemporary reads like this one, and sometimes they are filled with magic and adventure.


I do believe that is all for today. The announcement of the September Calendar Girls theme should be up on Katie’s and Adrienne’s blogs next week. Thanks for reading and I’ll see you soon with more bookish content.

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

Review: Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

Hey all, Dani here.

We all have certain themes, tropes, or story elements that generally turn us off from picking up certain books/movies/shows. For me, I am not a big mystery or thriller reader, though I am okay with watching those kind of stories. I also typically don’t reach for zombie stories. But I will say that as long as a story sounds interesting, I am totally willing to give it a try. And that is totally the case for the book I’m talking about today.

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Summary

Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville—derailing the War Between the States and changing America forever. In this new nation, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.

But that’s not a life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn’t pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose. But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies. And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems.

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

Let’s start with the cover. I love how badass Jane looks holding her sickle and that is a cool and powerful stance. It gave me expectations for how the story within the covers was going to go. Thankfully the story matched up with beauty of the outside.

Jane has spirit. Her spunk was great, even though her sass quite regularly got her in trouble. But she did also go out of her way to help others, even ones who hadn’t been the nicest to her at school.

The alternate history laid out in this book was well done and so interesting. It really makes you look at the sanitization of history, how often we try and bury the unfair treatment and blatant racism of the past. Actually if we’re being honest many in society today don’t seem to recognize the racism of modern times. Based on the notes in the back of the book, there were industrial schools where Native children were sent and “civilized” based on the accepted white culture of the times. Many of the comments made by white characters towards people of color in this book made me cringe; it was pretty atrocious and despicable.

Jane handles it in stride, though. Sometimes she even uses their expectations against them, by pretending to be less intelligent or civilized. Even Jane’s classmates don’t expect Jane to be as smart as she is, though she can read and write, while most of them can’t.

But this was a pretty adventurous story, and I am so glad that I gave it a chance. The zombies, or shamblers as they are known in the book, are not really romanticized in any way. They are mindless savages and a group of them approaching can be a terrifying situation.

Where to Buy

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

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Top Ten Reads of 2018 — So Far

Hey all, Dani here.

The wait is over. My list of favorite reads from the first six months of the year is here at last. Before I jump into which books made it, I first want to go over the rules that I set for myself when it comes to what can or cannot be considered for this list. As a book blogger, I do receive early copies of books for review, but it wouldn’t be fair to include books that have not been released to the general public. I also don’t include rereads on this list, because obviously I enjoyed the book enough to read it again, so those books have an unfair advantage.

The ten books that make up this list are ones that I read in the months of January through June in 2018. Overall I ended up reading 59 books in that time, so narrowing down to ten was something I thought was going to be difficult…but I read some books that just really stood out for me. As always, I am placing these books in the order I read them in, not any sort of last to first ranking order or anything. Oh, and if I have a review up for the book, I will also include the link, in case you would like to check out more of my thoughts.

Let’s get started.

  1. The Heart Forger by Rin Chupeco
    I am so glad that I was able to read an ARC of this book, because this series continues to blow me away. I love diving into Tea’s world, and seeing how her story unfolds. Overall I did not want to put this book down, and I am so looking forward to the third book.
  2. Love & War: An Alex & Eliza Novel by Melissa de la Cruz
    Well, the first book of this series made my list last year, so is it any surprise that my Hamilton obsession is still going strong? This YA version of Alexander Hamilton’s romance and relationship with Eliza Schuyler Hamilton continues to keep me hooked…even when certain elements of history have to be altered slightly to make for a better story. I’m not reading this for a 100% historically faithful tale. I can read Hamilton’s writings or any number of nonfiction books on Hamilton if I want the facts.
  3. Reign the Earth by A.C. Gaughen
    Now that I have read this book, I am so sad that I didn’t try and snag a copy in 2017 at BookExpo. It was completely outstanding. I loved the magic system and the overall setup. Plus the characters were so interesting…even the ones that were so awful that I hoped for their death. I am very much looking forward to the second book.
  4. Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young
    Based on the way this book was described, I was sure I was going to enjoy it, but it ended up completely sucking me in, and I didn’t want to stop reading until I reached the end. I enjoyed the descriptions, the action, the character development…it was all so good. The only thing that upset me is that I feel like the ending wrapped up a bit too quickly. But there is apparently a companion novel coming (probably next year), so we’ll see what happens next.
  5. Now a Major Motion Picture by Cori McCarthy
    I need to get a review written for this one, so I am adding that to my to-do list. But this was such a cute contemporary story, with a nice dash of fantasy since it was based on a movie adaptation of a beloved book series…and a romance between one of the film’s stars and the grand-daughter of the series’ author.
  6. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
    Why haven’t I written a review for this one yet? I read it during a 24 Hour Readathon, but I would have read it super quickly anyway. It was such a deeply fascinating series, with an amazing set of characters, a cool adventure, and an intriguing magic system. Needless to say, I am already counting down until the release of the sequel.
  7. The Brightsiders by Jen Wilde
    Jen Wilde makes my list again, with another cute and diverse contemporary novel, one that features cameos from characters who were in her debut novel. I loved following the three members of the band The Brightsiders, and seeing all the drama and issues that seemed to follow their lives. And the romances were pretty cute too.
  8. Furyborn by Claire Legrand
    Another fantasy book with great world-building and magic systems. This was also another book that I absolutely flew through. I admit that the cover design caught my eye, and then I read up on the book. I am so glad that I did, because it was an outstanding read, even at the hefty number of pages it contained. Seriously, I loved it.
  9. Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody
    Amanda Foody has written another wonderfully atmospheric and interesting fantasy read, and I can say that I also flew through this book. I read The Brightsiders, Furyborn, and Ace of Shades all in one weekend, and I’m so glad that they were all so interesting that I easily could have landed in a book slump, but they all stood wonderfully on their own merits. Amanda Foody’s characters and writing style have definitely placed her up on my list of favorite new fantasy authors.
  10. Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
    The review for this book will be up tomorrow, but this was kind of a surprise favorite for me. While I do like the occasional historical fiction story, I am not as into books (or shows or movies) with zombies in them. But I was immediately drawn in by the narrative voice of our main protagonist, Jane. She was one awesome and spirited young lady, and I loved following all of her mishaps and adventures, all while fighting off the shambler plague.

So far it has been a pretty great year for reading, and I am looking forward to seeing what the rest of 2018 brings. Thanks for reading. I hope you are enjoying some great reads of your own, and I’ll be back soon with more bookish content.

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

Mid Year Book Freakout Tag

Hey all, Dani here.

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

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

Best Book You’ve Read so far in 2018

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

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Best Sequel You’ve Read so far in 2018

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

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Most Anticipated Release for the Second Half of the Year

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

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Biggest Disappointment

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

Biggest Surprise

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

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Favorite New Author (or new to you)

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

Newest Fictional Crush

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

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Newest Favorite Character

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

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Book That Made You Cry and Book That Made You Happy

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

Favorite Book to Film Adaptation

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

Favorite Post You’ve Done This Year

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

Most Beautiful Book You’ve Bought This Year

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

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New Release You Haven’t Read Yet But Want To

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

Book You Need to Read by the End of the Year

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


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

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

Review: Furyborn by Claire Legrand

Hey all, Dani here.

It is review time once again, and today I can actually admit that I’m glad I didn’t get an advance copy of this book, because it would have made the wait for the sequel that much more difficult. This was such a good read and I finished it in a day because I needed to know what was going on and what would happen next.

Let’s just jump into the review.

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Summary

Follows two fiercely independent young women, centuries apart, who hold the power to save their world…or doom it.

When assassins ambush her best friend, the crown prince, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing her ability to perform all seven kinds of elemental magic. The only people who should possess this extraordinary power are a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light and salvation and a queen of blood and destruction. To prove she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must endure seven trials to test her magic. If she fails, she will be executed…unless the trials kill her first.

A thousand years later, the legend of Queen Rielle is a mere fairy tale to bounty hunter Eliana Ferracora. When the Undying Empire conquered her kingdom, she embraced violence to keep her family alive. Now, she believes herself untouchable–until her mother vanishes without a trace, along with countless other women in their city. To find her, Eliana joins a rebel captain on a dangerous mission and discovers that the evil at the heart of the empire is more terrible than she ever imagined.

As Rielle and Eliana fight in a cosmic war that spans millennia, their stories intersect, and the shocking connections between them ultimately determine the fate of their world–and of each other.

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

The way that this story is weaved together just keeps you intrigued. It jumps back and forth from Rielle’s story to Eliana’s, and both narratives slowly start to weave together as you learn more details and begin to figure out the connections between the characters. Okay, to be fair, yes, I did figure out the connection between the two ladies quite a bit before it was actually revealed, but that did not make it any less enjoyable.

The characters were rather interesting, and both main ladies have their issues and struggles, despite living in completely different circumstances. And both Rielle and Eliana are strong and powerful in different ways, though they both have the same hint of rage issues. But I loved how complex they were because they felt so incredibly real. Their romances and friendships and alliances were all so engaging for me. I did not want to stop reading.

I enjoyed the world-building, especially considering that Legrand had to envision the same word a thousand years apart. It was fascinating to see what changes happened to the politics, the magic, the economy, and the people. This attention to the details is also what made the magic system and the trials so compelling.

Basically, I loved this book and I look forward to reading the rest of the trilogy in the next couple of years.

Where to Buy

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

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

GLBT Book Month is coming!

Hey all, Dani here.

What I love about the online book community, about so many of you amazing readers/reviewers/bloggers/vloggers, is that we have seen this increase in the past couple of years of a desire to read more diversely and to expand our reading habits. We try books outside of our preferred genres and we try books with characters we might not have otherwise picked up on our own. We read more books about different cultures or races and certainly we have seen more books coming out with main characters who are POCs or who have a different gender or sexual identity. And that is great. I love that we can expand our world by taking in the stories of people who are different from us (or the same as us).

It is fantastic, and so once again, I plan on for the most part, focusing my reviews in June to GLBT book month, and highlighting reads that have characters and/or authors who fall on the LGBTQIAP+ spectrum. GLBT Book Month started in the early 1990s as National Lesbian and Gay Book Month. Starting in 2015, the American Library Association branded it as GLBT Book Month, though honestly that name doesn’t quite do the month justice as it excludes many in the community.

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The main point is that it is a celebration of the authors and writings that reflect the lives and experiences of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community. I expand that out to aesexual, pansexual, intersex, queer, those who are questioning their identity, and more.

Right now I have two books that I have read in May where I am setting up the reviews to be released in June, as they feature characters who are questioning their sexuality and I think they will be great stories to highlight for GLBT Book Month. And I have a few other books already planned for my June TBR that should also be in the spotlight a bit more.

If you are looking for books that fall on the LGBTQIAP+ spectrum, you can always look up the Rainbow Book List, or the Over the Rainbow Books. There are a lot of great suggestions and recommendations there. I made a recommendations post of my own last year, so you can check that out as well if you’re interested.

Now, to make sure we are all on the same page with my June blog posts, I will still be doing my Manga Mondays review posts, and my What I’m Reading posts on Wednesdays. You’ll just find that at least one day a week–probably Fridays–I’ll be posting reviews for GLBT Book Month reads. I know the reviews for Ship It and Final Draft will be coming on Tuesday June 5th and Friday June 8th.

Other books I’m hoping to get to in the month of June include:

Of course, I will also take any recommendations from all of you wonderful book friends for books that also fit in this amazing and diverse category of reads.

And I do believe that is all I have to say for today. Have you read any great LGBTQIAP+ books this year? Are you planning on reading some in June? Let me know in the comments. Have a fantastic weekend everyone, and I’ll be back soon with more bookish content.

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.

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Summary

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

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

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

My Thoughts

Rating: 4.5 stars

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

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

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

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

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

Where to Buy

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