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

September Wrap-Up and October TBR

Hey all, Dani here.

September has come and gone, and now we have opened our calendars up to October. That is just such a crazy thought to me. How are we this close to the end of 2018 already? The weather is starting to cool down where I am and the leaves are beginning to change color.

What I love is that as it gets colder outside, all I want to do is to curl up under a blanket inside. Oh, and naturally I want to have that cozy beverage of hot tea or hot cocoa beside me while I’m enjoying all the extra reading time. This is definitely the time of year where I want to delve into longer fantasy reads, or just larger TBR stacks in general. The cold weather and I just do not get along.

Anyway, it is time once again to wrap up everything I both read and watched over the last month, before diving into my book haul, my monthly OwlCrate unboxing, and my tentative TBR for this lovely and spooky October. It has been a pretty good month, so I’m excited to talk about everything with all of you.

First up, let’s go over everything I managed to read in the month of September.

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco — 5 stars

Fairy Tail Vol 1 by Hiro Mashima — 5 stars

Heretics Anonymous by Katie Henry — 4 stars

Kill the Queen by Jennifer Estep — 5 stars

Fairy Tail Vol 2 by Hiro Mashima — 5 stars

Queens of Fennbirn by Kendare Blake — 4.5 stars

Captain Marvel: Earth’s Mightiest Hero Vol 1 by Kelly Sue Deconnick — 4 stars

Shadowblack by Sebastien de Castell — 4.5 stars

Two Dark Reigns by Kendare Blake — 5 stars

Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco — 5 stars

Endless Quest: Into the Jungle by Matt Forbeck — 4 stars

Endless Quest: Escape the Underdark by Matt Forbeck — 4 stars

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Next up is what I watched for the month. Now, I can’t exactly fully count some of my watches, because while we were at our hotel for our renaissance faire weekend, SyFy was doing a Star Wars movie marathon, and we ended up watching part of Episodes 2, 3, and 4, but not enough of any of them to fully count them as a watch.

The Emperor’s New Groove (5 stars), Princess Diaries 2 (5 stars), Robin Hood: Men in Tights (4 stars), The Princess Bride (5 stars), Scott Pilgrim vs the World (5 stars), My Hero Academia: Two Heroes (5 stars), Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (5 stars), Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (5 stars). As always we are continuing with watching Critical Role Campaign 2, as well as keeping up with My Hero Academia’s current season.  Oh, and we are continuing with our watch through of Fairy Tail, and have finished season three of the show. I am currently so obsessed with the characters and the world of this anime. So, expect to see me start reviewing the manga volumes that I have read very soon. The final watch I need to mention is the fact that I managed to get my fiance to watch A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning (5 stars) on Netflix, and he actually really enjoyed it; I believe we will be watching the rest of the series soon. Our main focus right now is Fairy Tail because the final season of the anime will be airing starting at the end of the month, and it would be really cool if I am caught up by then.

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Oh boy…now it is time for my book haul for the month. We went to Barnes & Noble twice this month, and made a trip to Half-Price Books as well. Pretty much that alone should tell you about my lack of self-control when it comes to adding to my library.

Wow, okay, that was a big haul. Let’s just move on to my OwlCrate unboxing. This month’s box was pretty cool too. I’m definitely happy about the fingerless gloves. Oh, and apparently the October box will have two hardcover books in it, so I am absolutely looking forward to getting this next box.

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Finally, I guess all that is left is my October TBR. I’m going to start with a smaller list, because I’m definitely in a bit of mood reader time right now. Also, October is when the next session of Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon is being held (Oct 20th), so I will be posting a TBR for that when we get a bit closer to that time.

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Clearly based on my September reading, I need to read Escaping From Houdini soon, and the same goes for Charmcaster. These are both series that I am enjoying so so much. Then I have a little fairy tale poetry collection, which I’m sure will be a pretty quick read, so that will be nice. Rule is about three illegitimate daughters fighting for the crown, and honestly I sort of get a little Three Dark Crowns vibe from it all. Finally, The Lost Queen is a story about the sister of the man who would come to be known as Merlin, and it is described as appealing to fans of Outlander, so I am willing to give it a shot.

Oh, and I do think that I have selected my TBR for Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon, but I’m just going to prep the post, and you all will see it in another week or so.

That should be all for today, but I will be back soon with more bookish content. Let me know in the comments what your favorite book purchase was in September.

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Book Releases, Book Review, Books!, Graphic Novel, Manga, Signal Boost

What I’m Reading (31)

Hey all, Dani here.

Okay, so I have quite a bit to talk about with today’s post, because I have had an excellent week of reading. And I was even pretty busy with traveling time and also time spent running around the Ohio Renaissance Festival. We were there for around 6 hours on Saturday and 8 hours on Sunday. It was so much fun. I’ll probably include a couple photos in my September Wrap-Up post.

First let’s start with everything I’ve read since my last update. Last Thursday I ended up picking up and reading all of Fairy Tail Vol 2, and I can honestly say that I’ll probably be reading volumes 3-5 pretty soon. I am very much in a mood for this series right now, so I just want to keep reading and watching.

Oh, and last Wednesday, before bed, I ended up reading the first 57 pages of Two Dark Reigns, but then I thought that it was probably not the greatest idea to continue reading it, because I actually hadn’t read either of the novellas, and in my experience whenever there are novellas with a series they tend to reveal something that will become relevant in the next story. So when I woke up early on Friday morning, I read the entirety of the Queens of Fennbirn novella bind-up. I can definitely say that I preferred the second novella of the book, “The Oracle Queen” to the first one “The Young Queens,” but I think they were both still worthwhile reads.

Then while relaxing at the hotel on Friday afternoon/evening, I ended up reading a whole graphic novel, Captain Marvel: Earth’s Mightiest Hero Vol 1. With the Captain Marvel movie coming in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I figured it would be a good idea for me to learn more about Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel. For the most part, I enjoyed the experience, though this particular series takes place after she has been a hero for a little while and she is just changing her mantle from Ms. Marvel to Captain Marvel.

After that, on Saturday, I ended up finishing off the rest of Shadowblack, which was also a really good read, though I don’t rank it as high as the first book. I’m still excited by the fact that the third book was re-released yesterday, so I’ll be able to continue on with the series very very soon.

Once I had finished that book, I picked up Two Dark Reigns again, and started to fly through it, reading about a hundred pages on Saturday night, and then another hundred or so pages on Sunday morning. Unfortunately that was all the reading time I had on Sunday. But I finished the book thanks to my recuperation day Monday and a little bit of reading time yesterday.

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So that brings me to my current read, which is Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco. I am really enjoying this series so far, which is why I am very glad that the third book was released into the world yesterday, so I’ll be adding it to my collection probably this weekend. I think my book haul for this month is going to be a bit ridiculous.

Finally, there are the books I am hoping to get to soon. I’m actually doing pretty decent on my September TBR, and I’m pretty optimistic that I’ll actually be able to finish the list for once. So that means I’m going to keep reading on those books. Though I admit to probably reading more manga in between my novel reads.

Well, that is all from me for today. What great books are you currently reading? I’d love to know. As always, 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.

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.

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Summary

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.

Books!, Inspiration, NaNoWriMo, Signal Boost, Writing

Are You Ready for NaNoWriMo?

Hey all, Dani here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Books!, Inspiration, Signal Boost, Writing

I Finally Got To Go To A Renaissance Festival

Hey all, Dani here.

So sometimes it’s fun to break away from the normal pattern of blog posts. I like to do this when I have to talk about some other wonderful and geeky event happens. Today I just have to talk about my adventure to the Ohio Renaissance Festival yesterday, because it was actually my first time.

To sum it up…I’m ready to go back again! I had such a lovely time.

And okay, so I started my time at Ren Fest wearing basically a peasant sundress I ordered off Amazon, but by the time I was done I had added a cloak and a staff to my outfit. Next time around I’ll skip the dress and be in pants and a tunic to continue building my ranger outfit. I can also say that it was a rather warm day, with a high of 88 degrees Fahrenheit, but surprisingly wearing a cloak did not overheat me. I may have actually felt cooler after putting on the cloak. I’m happy with my choice there anyway, because my cloak is reversible, so depending on the situation I can have either the black or the green side visible.

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My wonderful boyfriend also got me a boffer sword, a foam sword that is approved for most LARPs. Naturally he saw the Doctor Who one and had to get it for me. Then at the very end of the day he got me this really cool potion pouch that I can put on my belt.

Of course, he also built up his own outfit, though he’s going for more of rogue vibe. So he bought a shirt, pants, a cloak, a small potion case, gauntlets, and a pipe (just because it is a cool pipe–he plans to keep the pipe as decoration). We are talking about dyeing his shirt black to better fit his outfit concept. He is going for black attire with darker blue accents.

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We spent a great deal of our time exploring the shops, which were filled with wonderful hand-crafted clothes, weapons, jewelry, and more. Though, we did spend some time watching the jousting, which was really cool. Sadly, I was also eating lunch at that time so I did not manage to take any photographs of that. I will say that my bourbon chicken was delicious though. As was the giant dill pickle I bought shortly after that.

Anyway, I sadly also did not get any photos of myself or the rest of our adventuring party as we threw knives or axes. Surprisingly I actually did enjoy throwing knives, and I was pretty okay at it, though more practice will be necessary to ensure more consistency. The axes seemed a little more than what I was prepared to try. If I was going to put everything into a Dungeons & Dragons stat block, my Strength score is pretty much average, but I have a decent Dexterity score. So basically archery, knives, light swords and such are up my alley, but axes, hammers, and bigger swords are a bit out of my realm of specialization.

I did get a few photos of my boyfriend and a couple others at the archery range, which was fun.

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We only spent about six hours at the festival, but our day was a bit longer thanks to something like 4 and a half hours on the road getting to the festival and then driving home. It was a pretty long day, but I’m already planning on making the next trip to the Renaissance Festival next year a weekend trip.

Okay, one last photo to share…my boyfriend and I together in our outfits.

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All in all, it was excellent and I am already counting down until our next geeky excursion.