New Release: Gauntlet

31014644 Gauntlet
By: Holly Jennings
Release Date: April 4, 2016
Publisher: Ace
Series: Arena #2
Received From: Publisher
(All reviews are our own, honest opinions.)

Never have I seen a second novel in a series so completely outdo the first in nearly every way. I’ll be honest here. I probably wouldn’t have picked up Gauntlet by Holly Jennings if the publisher hadn’t sent me a digital copy. I found Arena, the first book in the series, disappointing. I could see the potential within the novel and desperately wanted to love it, but found it fell short of the mark. I was hesitant to start reading Gauntlet.

It is immediately obvious that author has grown as a writer. Gauntlet is an exciting, suspenseful, near future sci-fi that will have you rooting for Kali and Team Defiance all the way. I am eagerly awaiting the next book in the series. Because dear lord, people, that cliffhanger!

Review: It’s All Fun and Games

28331715 It's All Fun and Games
By: Dave Barrett
Release Date: August 2, 2016
Publisher: Nerdist
Received From: Publisher
(All reviews are our own, honest opinions.)

I’ve read quite a number of ‘trapped in a video game’, even more ‘trapped in another world’ books, and I’m always looking for more. It’s All Fun and Games by Dave Barrett is another trapped in a game book, but with a bit of a twist. This isn’t a video game. The main characters are LARPers. The world they wind up trapped in isn’t the video game they were playing, but a real life version on the scenario they were given during the LARP event weekend. It’s a different take on a growing theme in literature, and I was quite enthusiastic to read it.

Throwback Thursday: Heir Apparent

1045745 Heir Apparent
By: Vivian Vande Velde
Release Date: October 1, 2002
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
Series: Rasmussem Corporation #2
Award: Mythopoeic Fantasy Award Nominee for Children's Literature (2003), Rebecca Caudill Young Reader's Book Award Nominee (2005), Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Book Award for Grade 6-9 (2005), Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children's Book Award Nominee (2004), Sunshine State Young Readers Award for Grades 6-8 (2005), Abraham Lincoln Award Nominee (2008)

Heir Apparent by Vivian Vande Velde is the story of fourteen year old Giannine who becomes trapped within a game which shares the book’s title.

I actually read this book when it was first released way back in 2002. I’d found it on the new release shelf in the library, brought it home, and absolutely loved it. I loved it so much, in fact, that it’s been a mental marker on how well other books that play on the trapped in a video game plot were judged against, perhaps a bit unfairly as I was only fourteen at the time and haven’t reread the book until now.

Well, guess what I stumbled upon at a used book sale!

Review: Overlord, Vol 2: The Dark Warrior

29368708 Overlord, Vol 2: The Dark Warrior
By: Kugane Maruyama
Release Date: (Original) November 8, 2012; (English) September 27, 2016
Publisher: Yen Press
Series: Overlord, Book #2

Every time I go into a bookstore it’s the same. I chant “I just bought books; I will not buy more.” I’m not sure why I bother. It never works. This last trip to the bookstore was my best attempt yet. The last set of books I’d ordered had just arrived at my door that morning and I swore I wasn’t buying more. Then I saw Overlord, Vol. 2: The Dark Warrior sitting on a shelf with some recent manga releases, squee’d, and immediately bought it. Because I’m weak.

And I confused Vol. 3’s US release date with Vol. 2’s, but let’s not talk about that.

Review: Overlord, Vol. 1: The Undead King

overlord-vol-1-by-kugane-maruyama Overlord, Vol 1: The Undead King
By: Kugane Maruyama
Release Date: May 24, 2016
Publisher: Yen On
Series: Overlord, Book #1

When I saw Overlord, Vol 1: The Undead King by Kugane Maruyama sitting on the shelf at the book store I just had to have it. I couldn’t help myself. It isn’t every day you find a translated light novel with breathtaking artwork (and hardcover no less!) just sitting around in the wild like that. Not unless you’re at a specialty book store. Sure, they have manga most of the time, but they’re usually usually way in the back and resigned to only one shelf, two if you’re lucky. And even they usually only have the old standards.

Okay, so, first. For those who don’t know, light novel is a term for a Japanese novel which is more or less the length of a long novella or a short novel, and is almost always part of a series. Overlord is one of these. This is the first volume, and, as of the time of writing this review, the only one available in English. Now, on to the plot!