Book Review, Books!, Manga, Signal Boost

Manga Review: My Hero Academia Vol 11

Hey all, Dani here.

Okay, so I’ve been a little lax with my Manga Monday reviews, and for that I’m sorry. Once again I have a nice buildup of reviews to write, so I can safely say that this series of posts should be able to continue for a few more months, at least. Though probably longer since I do plan to continue reading manga in future.

Anyway, I will be reading Vol 15 of My Hero Academia very soon, so I am pretty close to catching up on reviews for these reads, which means I’ll have to get back around to some of my other manga series.

Oh, and at the beginning of this month, my fiance and I went to the movies and saw the new My Hero Academia movie, and it was just so darn good. This is an anime series I am probably going to end up buying on DVD, because I will definitely want to watch it again at some point. The movie takes place right before this current season starts, so I do recommend watching it then, or else watching the episodes and movies according to their release dates.

With that out of the way, let’s just go ahead and jump into the review.

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Summary

Bakugo’s abduction by the League of Villains was a carefully calculated move designed to draw out the heroes—All Might in particular—and destroy them. Midoriya and his friends set out on a rescue mission that eventually pulls in not only All Might but also several other heroes! The casualties mount, until at last the mastermind of the plot appears—All for One, the only villain powerful enough to take on All Might head-to-head and possibly win!

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

This was such a great and intense volume. After I first read this one I considered this particular story arc to be my favorite of the series thus far, with good reason. There was so much going on, not just action, but also seeing how all the students continue to keep handling these extreme situations with powerful forces that seem against them.

Plus that All Might vs All for One situation. We have been waiting for it for quite some time, and the tension has been building for it so now it is time to see what sort of fallout will come from this encounter.

This is going to be an interesting storyline to follow, and I am so glad that I am caught up with both the show and the manga series–well, at least the manga that has been released over here in the United States. Obviously I will never wholly be caught up with what has been released weekly in Japan. I mean, unless I learned how to read Japanese, and I’m afraid I don’t currently have enough free time to take on learning a new language.

I know I say this in pretty much each of my reviews for My Hero Academia, but if you like superhero based stories, especially if you also like stories with a school setting, then I definitely recommend checking this series out.

Where to Buy

You can pick up Volume 11 of My Hero Academia, or any of the rest of the series, from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local independent book store.

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

What I’m Reading (34)

Hey all, Dani here.

It has been a good week, but not a very productive reading week. Doctor Who came back on, and I’m liking the Thirteenth Doctor so far. And my fiance and I took my mom to the Renaissance Festival on Saturday–it was her first time there and she had a great time. It was Highland Weekend, so there were lots of kilts and a great deal of bagpipe music going on. Oh, and I met one of the most fierce and badass women, named Dame Jaclyn. She was one of the full-armored knights for the joust. On the first pass she took a poorly aimed lance that hit pretty much in the gut/ovary area. Then on the second pass she was unhorsed. But she got back up and mounted the horse again to go for the third pass. Dame Jaclyn said that in armor she weighs about 200 pounds and her opponent weighs more like 500 pounds in armor. It was an impressive showing, and I’m glad I got to talk to her and get her autograph after the joust was completed.

I read two books in the last week. Actually, I read both of these last night. But again, they are choose your own adventure books so they are pretty darn quick reads. With Big Trouble, I made a couple of bad decisions so it took about three tries to make it all the way through the adventure. Oddly enough, I made it through the first try with To Catch A Thief. So what did I learn from these four Endless Quest books (the fighter, the cleric, the wizard, and the rogue)? Well, apparently I have the easiest time surviving if I am in the mindset of a rogue. Which is weird to me because I tend to play clerics the most and I am generally pretty good at surviving in D&D.

Anyway, on to what I am currently reading.

Well, I’m still reading Access Restricted by Gregory Scott Katsoulis. I am really into the story, but I can admit that part of me is worried that this is the last book in the series or that it will leave off on a massive cliffhanger. Either way I don’t know that I’m ready for the book to end, which I think has slowed my reading speed a bit. Plus, obviously I got distracted by other books.

Okay, so I made it another 20 pages into Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon. Overall I’m not doing too bad with my progress on this, especially since I’ve been in a Highlander mood. Granted, this one doesn’t have nearly as many Scots in kilts in it, but it’s still a good read. If I keep this up then I should reach my goal of reaching at least page 400 by the end of the month.

I also started reading a poetry book I picked up at the end of last month and I am so loving it. The poems are definitely resonating with me, and I plan on having a gushing review of the book up shortly after I finish it. For now I’m a little over halfway finished and I can definitely say that I recommend Fierce Fairytales: Poems & Stories to Stir Your Soul by Nikita Gill.

What I plan on reading next is probably…hmm…I’m thinking the next book I’ll pick up is Rule by Ellen Goodlett.

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This book is giving me some Three Dark Crowns vibes, sort of. So I can definitely say that I am looking forward to diving into this read, and hopefully I enjoy it.

So what books are you reading? I’d love to know, so let’s talk books in the comments. I’ll be back soon with more bookish content.

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

What I’m Reading (33)

Hey all, Dani here.

Welcome back to another post in my series where I talk about books I have read recently, books I am currently reading, and books I plan to start reading soon. My reading plans for October are pretty extensive, so it will be an interesting month. Actually as I was adding in the book cover images for this post I realized that my current reads totally fit the October/Halloween mood. They are both orange books.

So…the only books I’ve finished reading in the past week are short reads, because they are choose your own adventure books. But they were pretty fun to read, and I look forward to grabbing the other books in the series.

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Obviously these are Dungeons and Dragons based stories, and they are both inspired by campaigns I am currently running or have recently completed. So I thought that I would be able to make it through these books easily since I already was familiar with the stories. Guess what? I was completely wrong. I made the wrong decisions multiple times and ended up dying, which was sad. But I started over each time and tried again. Eventually, after four or five tries, I managed to successfully reach the conclusion of the adventures. It was a fun time, especially since my fiance and I were sitting on the couch trying to survive these tales together. Well, we were each reading a different book, and then swapping them when we failed. Anyway, these books are aimed at ages 8-12, but I would recommend them to any fan of D&D.

For my current reads, I am working on two books–and by that I mean that I am focused on one and the other is an ongoing backburner read that I’m kinda in the mood for right now so I’m reading it more than I have in the past couple months.

The book I’m focused on is Access Restricted by Gregory Scott Katsoulis. Currently I am a little more than halfway finished with it, and so far it is totally meeting my expectations. I totally admit that I had set super high expectations on this book because of how much I loved the first one, and that had made me nervous to start it. That’s why I actually didn’t get around to reading this one last month. But I am pleased to say that it is just as intriguing and thought provoking as the first. So hopefully I will finish it soon and then get a review up.

My backburner read is still Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon. I’m around 250 pages in, and I suppose my goal for the month is to read up to around page 400. I’ve had this book on my currently reading shelf on Goodreads for something like six months now and I’d like to finish it so I can watch the second season of the show, as well as start reading the third book.

As for what I’m hoping to start reading soon…well, a few different books spring to mind.

Oh, wait, that’s my planned TBR for this month. I’m pretty much sticking to mood reading for October, so whichever of these books calls out to me loudest will be the one that I read next. Of course, I may also pick up more volumes of Fairy Tail, so we’ll see what happens.

Anyway, that is it for today. I will be back soon with more bookish content. Let me know in the comments what great books you’re reading; I’d love to know.

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.

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

Blog Tour Review: Kill the Queen by Jennifer Estep

Hey all, Dani here.

I am so happy to be posting this review today, as part of the blog tour for Jennifer Estep’s new fantasy novel, Kill the Queen. This book will be out in the world in just one week, on October 2nd, but I have had my eye on it for a few months now. So when I was offered the chance to sign up for the blog tour, I jumped on it, and thankfully I was approved.

Because of this I must give a huge thank you to Let’s Talk! Promotions for approving me to be on the book tour, and I must also thank Edelweiss, as well as the publisher Harper Voyager for granting me early access to this novel. As always, I need to say that being granted a galley (or being part of the blog tour) did not affect my rating or review in any way.

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I have read six of Estep’s Elemental Assassin series, plus the first novel in her Mythos Academy series. In all actuality I own about a dozen of her books that I haven’t read yet. She is an author whose work I follow, but I don’t desperately reach for the newest release as soon as it is available.

But this one sounded really interesting to me, and I wanted to see how a primarily urban fantasy and paranormal author took on a more epic fantasy style tale. Plus it is tagged as Gladiator meets Game of Thrones, so I was definitely intrigued.

Okay, let’s just jump into the review.

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Summary

The thrilling first novel in the Crown of Shards epic fantasy series combines magic, murder, and adventure when an unlikely member of the royal family suddenly becomes a contender in a clash for the crown . . .

In a realm where one’s magical power determines one’s worth, Lady Everleigh’s lack of obvious ability relegates her to the shadows of the royal court of Bellona, a kingdom steeped in gladiator tradition. Seventeenth in line for the throne, Evie is nothing more than a ceremonial fixture, overlooked and mostly forgotten.

But dark forces are at work inside the palace. When her cousin Vasilia, the crown princess, assassinates her mother the queen and takes the throne by force, Evie is also attacked, along with the rest of the royal family. Luckily for Evie, her secret immunity to magic helps her escape the massacre.

Forced into hiding to survive, she falls in with a gladiator troupe. Though they use their talents to entertain and amuse the masses, the gladiators are actually highly trained warriors skilled in the art of combat, especially Lucas Sullivan, a powerful magier with secrets of his own. Uncertain of her future—or if she even has one—Evie begins training with the troupe until she can decide her next move.

But as the bloodthirsty Vasilia exerts her power, pushing Bellona to the brink of war, Evie’s fate becomes clear: she must become a fearsome gladiator herself . . . and kill the queen.

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

I read this book so quickly, and honestly I did not want to put it down–though I had to because of things like work and food. Oh, speaking of food…I’m just going to say that I do not recommend reading this book on an empty stomach, because as with pretty much everything I’ve read by Jennifer Estep, her descriptions of food are just so vivid and realistic that I ended up being so darn hungry. There are so many details about the smell and the taste and the appearance that you feel like a banquet has been laid out in front of you.

Another comment I will make on this book is the writing style. Fantasy is a genre I read most frequently, and so I’m used to the differences in style and tone for epic fantasy versus urban fantasy versus historical fantasy, etc. This book has the scope of an epic fantasy, with a fascinating world, an intriguing magic system, and decent political intrigue, but written in the style I would expect from an urban fantasy. It is a sort of conversational style that makes you feel like the narrator is sitting in a lounge with you and telling you a story.

I guess if I had to have a complaint about the book, it is that there were times when I would have liked more elaboration in the gladiator training, but instead there were time jumps that propelled the story forward a week or two instead and progress in fighting ability had occurred during that time. But really, that isn’t a complaint that is going to reduce my rating or anything.

Oh, and the potential romance. Wow. I really want to say more, but frankly, I should just tell you all to grab the book and read all of this for yourself. Needless to say, I am absolutely counting down until the release of the second book in the trilogy.

Where to Buy

You can currently pre-order this fantastic read from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookseller. It will be released in just one week, on October 2nd.

JENNIFER’S BIO AND SOCIAL MEDIA

Jennifer Estep is a New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author prowling the streets of her imagination in search of her next fantasy idea. 

Jennifer writes the Crown of Shards epic fantasy series. Kill the Queen, book #1, will be released on Oct. 2.

The Crown of Shards series focuses on Everleigh Blair, a member of the royal family who is distantly in line for the throne of Bellona, a kingdom steeped in gladiator tradition. But when the unthinkable happens, Evie finds herself fighting for her life—both inside and outside the gladiator arena.  

Jennifer is also the author of the Elemental Assassin, Mythos Academy, Bigtime, and Black Blade fantasy series.  

For more information on Jennifer and her books, visit www.jenniferestep.com or follow Jennifer on FacebookGoodreads, and Twitter. You can also sign up for her newsletter.

Website: http://www.jenniferestep.com/

Blog: http://www.jenniferestep.com/blog/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JenniferEstepAuthor?fref=ts

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Jennifer_Estep  (@Jennifer_Estep)

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/580315.Jennifer_Estep

Newsletter signup: http://www.jenniferestep.com/contact-jennifer/newsletter/

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So thanks for checking out my review, and be sure to check out the other awesome bloggers involved in this blog tour. Some of them are even hosting giveaways so you don’t want to miss your chance to possibly win those.

That is it for me today, and I will be back soon with more bookish content.

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 Review, Books!, Manga, Signal Boost

Manga Review: Black Clover Vol 1

Hey all, Dani here.

Today for me is a day of relaxation before I head back to work. We spent the last two days at the Ohio Renaissance Festival, and that is a lot of fun, but by the end of it, I end up pretty tired as well. I can also say that it was a pretty productive weekend for reading as well, but I’ll cover that in my What I’m Reading post on Wednesday. Anyway, let’s get to the topic on hand, which is manga.

On this day I am going to be talking about the first volume for the Black Clover series, and this is a manga that I started buying after we watched the first couple episodes of the anime. Then, because I enjoyed what I read in the first volume, I have bought volumes two and three. Currently there are only around a dozen volumes out for me here in the U.S., and I imagine that catching up on the series shouldn’t take me that long.

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Summary

Asta is a young boy who dreams of becoming the greatest mage in the kingdom. Only one problem-he can’t use any magic! Luckily for Asta, he receives the incredibly rare five-leaf clover grimoire that gives him the power of anti-magic. Can someone who can’t use magic really become the Wizard King? One thing’s for sure-Asta will never give up!

Young Asta was born with no magic ability in a world where magic is everything. In order to prove his strength and keep a promise with his friend, Asta dreams of becoming the greatest mage in the land, the Wizard King!

My Thoughts

Rating: 4.5 stars

So this volume lends the story line for I think the first 8 or 9 episodes of the anime, which honestly is pretty impressive. There is so much that happens in this one, between establishing the world the story takes place in, to starting the story and development for several characters, and even leaving you to wonder where the story will go from here…because it is just getting started.

And the great thing with reading instead of watching is that I don’t have to listen to Asta’s speaking voice, which is really more of a yelling/screeching voice. Though I can admit to still hearing his voice in my head because of watching the show.

I am just so interested in the story of Asta and Yuno, and it is clear that we are mostly focusing on Asta, though I hope to learn more about Yuno’s training and such as well.

The magic system of this world is a pretty fascinating one, especially when we follow a character who has no magic, and is then selected to be the owner of the black clover grimoire, which grants him the power of anti-magic. What is really cool about Asta is that because his magical ability didn’t show up, he spent so much time physically training his body. Now that is working out in his favor because of the grimoire allowing him to wield this massive sword (which you can see on the cover of this volume).

I can already tell that I am going to be devouring this series as quickly as I can manage it, though buying anticipated release novels is a slightly higher priority to me than buying manga and/or graphic novels. Still, I have a number of volumes to look forward to reading before I am caught up and have to wait for releases. I’m excited to see where Asta’s journey will progress. I think the character development for this series has the potential to be amazing.

Where to Buy

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

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

August Wrap-Up and September TBR

Hey all, Dani here.

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

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

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

Game of Secrets by Kim Foster – 4 stars

Beyond a Darkened Shore by Jessica Leake – 5 stars

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

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

Blue Exorcist, Vol 1 by Kazue Kato – 5 stars

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

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

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

Blue Exorcist, Vol 2 by Kazue Kato – 5 stars

Blue Exorcist, Vol 3 by Kazue Kato – 5 stars

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

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken – 3.5 stars

Black Clover, Vol 1 by Yuki Tabata – 4.5 stars

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gen Con Wrap Up

Hey all, Dani here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Book Review, Books!, Manga, Signal Boost

Manga Review: Ancient Magus’ Bride Vol 2

Hey all, Dani here.

Welcome to another installment in my Manga Monday posts, where I try to catch up on my backlog of manga reviews by writing one each week. Though, I ended up skipping a couple weeks already this month. I have not been doing a good job with keeping up with my blog in August. Sorry, everyone. Today I am talking about the second volume of the Ancient Magus’ Bride, so let’s just get started.

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Summary

Great power comes at a price… 

Chise Hatori’s life has recently undergone shocking change. As a sleigh beggy–a person capable of generating and wielding tremendous magical power–she has transformed from an unwanted child to a magician’s apprentice who has been introduced to fae royalty. But Chise’s newly discovered abilities also mean a cruel fate awaits her.

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

So this volume also gets five stars from me, but it is a five star that is slightly below the five stars of the first volume. There was just so much that happened in the first volume, and this one felt a little slower. Not that slower is a bad thing. It was nice to sort of sit back and get to understand the world a little better. And it’s possible that not everyone feels that way about this volume, because a lot still happens within the pages, but that’s just how I felt.

The artwork is still gorgeously detailed. If it weren’t for the fact that I get sucked into the story and have this compulsion to keep flipping through the pages, I would probably spend at least a minute or two just processing all of the images.

Chise still has a lot to learn, and it seems like quite a bit of it she has to figure out on her own. I think she’s doing a pretty decent job of adjusting to the new life that has been given to her, and I can’t wait to learn even more about Chise and Elias and honestly, all of the magic of this world. It is pretty darn interesting to me. I may even need to give the anime a try, because this is a rather entertaining series.

Where to Buy

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