Thursday, September 21, 2017

Deanna Plays: The Case for Mass Effect Andromeda

Deanna Plays is a monthly feature on this blog where every third Thursday of the month I talk about something related to video games. Sometimes reviews of the games themselves, sometimes about books to read if you play X, and anything in between!

This month I'm talking about Mass Effect Andromeda!

So if you have been following my blog for awhile you know how much I love the Mass Effect original trilogy. Like seriously a lot. In past Sci-Fi Novembers I even reviewed the first, second and third game separately. It's the reason that I got back into the gaming, so I have a real soft spot for it in my heart. Also Garrus Vakarian is the best awkward space boyfriend ever!

But today I'm not talking about the original trilogy, today I want to make the case for the new game set in the Andromeda galaxy, and why I think it's not as bad as everyone says. Take this with a grain of salt because I am a Bioware fangirl. Also since I'm new to gaming again a lot of things that might annoy other gamers about this game, didn't really annoy me all that much.

So if you didn't play the original game series, that's okay because this game exists so that you don't have to. I think it's fun if you have because there are little callbacks to the other games, but totally not necessary. I also think someone might enjoy this game more having not experienced the other three because then you don't have this high level of expectation. I think that is one of the problems a lot of people had with this game. There were a lot of high expectations and a lot of them weren't met. I think if you don't count the other three and you look at this game solely on it's own it's a solid game. I stand by that opinion. I had a lot of fun playing this game. It's pretty massive and took a lot of time, but in the end I was glad I put the time in with this game. I don't feel like it was wasted. 

There was also a lot of angry reviews about the facial graphics not being great, and I do agree with that but it wasn't a deal breaker for me. It was something I was willing to forgive, but not every gamer will agree with me and that's okay! There are definitely some issues with this game, but I don't think it's the worst game to come out like other people seem to think!

In the previous games you had to chose a set class and those determined what types of powers you could use, but in this game you start with a base class but later could set up profiles so you can switch back and forth between biotic powers or tech powers or however you set up your profiles. I actually loved this about this game, even though I mostly ended up just using the tech powers. 

If you liked going to different planets in the first ME game that you will probably enjoy this one, because that is literally the whole point to this game. You have to explore new worlds and find a place for your people. I love running around on different planes of existence in games and literally just picking up every rock or plant, so this was fun to me!

I will say that I don't know if I was completely compelled by the characters. I ended up romancing Jaal and he was fine, but he was no Garrus. I just think I have this mindset when it comes to this game to always romance the alien, because humans are boring, but I kinda regret not just romancing Reyes. I found him way more interesting.

At the end of the day, I enjoyed playing this game. I don't think it deserves the ire it got, but I also don't think it was the most amazing game to come out this year. It lands somewhere in the middle, and I think that was fine because I still had a fun time playing it.

What did you think? Do you absolutely hate this game and were disappointed? Did you love it? Or do you feel like me that it's kind of in the middle? I'm really interested in your thoughts on this one.

Happy Reads Everyone!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Audiobook Review: The Gunslinger by Stephen King

The Gunslinger: The Dark Tower 1 by Stephen King
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Release Date: January, 1st, 2016
Format: Audiobook narrated by George Guidall
Source: Audible
My Rating: ★★

Goodreads ★ Amazon  B&N  TBD
In the first book of this brilliant series, Stephen King introduces readers to one of his most enigmatic heroes, Roland of Gilead, The Last Gunslinger.

He is a haunting figure, a loner on a spellbinding journey into good and evil. In his desolate world, which frighteningly mirrors our own, Roland pursues The Man in Black, encounters an alluring woman named Alice, and begins a friendship with the Kid from Earth called Jake. Both grippingly realistic and eerily dreamlike, The Gunslinger leaves readers eagerly awaiting the next chapter.
Stephen King has always been my white whale. He's such a big writer and his catalog is so vast, that I just never could bring myself to finally read his work. I have heard such great things about his Dark Tower series, even my boyfriend remembers reading it and liking it a lot and he reads like maybe a book a year. I just never could will myself to read King, but since The Dark Tower movie was coming out, I decided I have to finally take the plunge! Although, I don't think I'm going to be watching the adaptation now. So I finally read myself some King, and I started with The Dark Tower series which was such a good idea!

I did the audiobook for the first book in The Dark Tower series, and I have to say George Guidall was a good choice. He has the kind of gruff voice that immediately put me into the mindset that this is a Western book. I think he really help me see the setting in my head.

The structure in this novel is a little harder to follow on audio, as it goes back and forth between past and present, so if you forget to pay attention for a minute you might get lost. I think if you actually read the book it's not as confusing.

Not too much happens in this book, but enough to make me question WHAT exactly is going on in this story. It also made me intrigued. I want to learn more about why Roland is the last Gunslinger and want to know more about the Man in Black. Also, what does this all have to do with Jake? and why was he pulled into this world? You can tell that Jake is written from a different modern time just in how he talks and thinks, but I don't think it really takes anything away from his character. I like that we have a character in this novel that is supposed to act as the mirror for the audience.

This book does feel a little bit more like an introduction, but the world building in this is so awesome that I am excited to read more. I actually heard from a friend that loves this series that the second book is better, so I  definitely want to continue this series.

Have you read this series? Which book is your favorite? Do you have any "white whale" authors?

Happy Reads Everyone!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Blog Tour Review: Cinderella, Necromancer

Today is my turn for a review stop on the Blog Tour for Cinderella, Necromancer. Props to Chapter By Chapter Blog Tours & Promotions for giving me the opportunity to promote this book on my blog today. Be sure to check out all the other stops on this tour! There's even a giveaway!

Cinderella, Necromancer By F.M. Boughan
Publisher: Month 9 Books
Release Date: September 5, 2017
Format: Egalley*
My Rating: ★★

Goodreads ★ Amazon  B&N  TBD
Cinderella, Necromancer is Chime meets Anna Dressed in Blood and was inspired by a real medieval grimoire of necromancy from 15th-century Germany.

Ellison lost her mother at an early age. But since then, her father has found love again. He's happy and doesn't quite notice that Ellison does not get along with his new wife or her mean daughters. When Ellison discovers a necromantic tome while traveling the secret passages of her father's mansion, she wonders if it could be the key to her freedom. Until then, she must master her dark new power, even as her stepmother makes her a servant in her own home. And when her younger brother falls incurably ill, Ellison will do anything to ease his pain, including falling prey to her stepmother and stepsisters' every whim and fancy.

Stumbling into a chance meeting of Prince William during a secret visit to her mother's grave feels like a trick of fate when her stepmother refuses to allow Ellison to attend a palace festival. But what if Ellison could see the kind and handsome prince once more? What if she could attend the festival? What if she could have everything she ever wanted and deserved by conjuring spirits to take revenge on her cruel stepmother?

As Ellison's power grows, she loses control over the evil spirits meant to do her bidding. And as they begin to exert their own power over Ellison, she will have to decide whether it is she or her stepmother who is the true monster.
So this was one of those books that didn't give me a good impression at first. When I started it I was thinking to myself, "oh, I don't know about this one." I thought the main character was kind of a brat at first, but I had read such great reviews that I had to press on. So I do think Ella starts out as childish and naive in the beginning of the novel, but she does go through a period of growth so we see her change as a person. So I'm really glad I was proven wrong.

I like a good fairytale retelling, and I think this novel did a really good job of sticking to the origin story. I also really felt like this book was something written in the time period that it was supposed to be set it. I could really feel that Ella was a German girl living during the 15th century. I think just even the tense and language used in this novel really cemented that feeling for me. I also think it was interested that religion was included in the storyline. Although Ella is pulling sprits from beyond, she still firmly believes in God. That was refreshing to read about, and I also think it was really accurate to the time period.

One thing that is different in this retelling from others is that Ella doesn't have a fairy godmother! Homegirl gets to the ball her own damn self. I think that was what really made me like this book. Ella wasn't helpless, and she was able to think things through to solve a problem her own self. I loved that about this book. It was really about a girl at her wits end trying to protect her family the only way she knew how. Although I did just want to shake her when she wouldn't tell the love interest who she really was when she was in disguise. I wanted them to kiss so much sooner! I wasn't totally in love with the love interest at first, but I did really like their witty rapport, so like Ella it really grew on me.

One thing that does still irk me about this novel was that I thought all the conflict with Celia and her stepsisters Charlotte and Victoria was a little TOO over the top. I was willing to look this over because I was more interested in Ella discovering the Book of Conjuring and how she was going to deal with this problem. This didn't bother as much as the novel progressed because you find out just how straight up EVIL her stepmother and stepsisters are!!

If you are a fan of fairytale retellings, I highly suggest you check this book out.

*I received an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review


F.M. Boughan is a bibliophile, a writer, and an unabashed parrot enthusiast. She can often be found writing in local coffee shops, namely because it’s hard to concentrate with a cat lying on the keyboard and a small, colorful parrot screaming into her ear. Her work is somewhat dark, somewhat violent, somewhat hopeful, and always contains a hint of magic.

Happy Reads Everyone!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

#TheReadingQuest Wrap-Up

The Reading Quest ended last Sunday, but I am just now getting around to posting my wrap up post about how I did in the challenge. I am happy to say that I completed the goal I set for myself!!!

I ended up choosing to do the Mage path, mostly because I had a lot of books that filled the categories and I was pretty confident that I could complete the task. I am very happy that I was able to complete these, but I was also able to add 3 of the side quests! I set my goals low because I know I am a slow reader and it's hard for me to get a lot of reading in (life and having a day job gets in the way sometimes). I was hoping to start working on The Rogue quest, but alas it just wasn't in the cards for this challenge as I ran out of time.



I only reached level 3 in the challenge, but I am totally okay with that. I know it's hard to feel like I didn't read enough when other bloggers filled the whole board, but I don't like to compare myself. I am happy that I was able to complete the goals I set out for myself.

I also had a lot of fun with this challenge, especially since this gave me the ability to connect with other book bloggers on twitter a lot more. I'm not the best at connecting with others on twitter, so it definitely gave me a reason to check the hashtag more. It was a really cool thing to participate in and talk with others in the book blogging community, and I discovered some new blogs in the process which is always my goal!

Now I just have to write all my reviews for these books, because I'm so behind now!!

Did you participate in #TheReadingQuest? What did you like the best about this challenge? What was your favorite book read during the challenge?

Happy Reads Everyone!

Friday, September 8, 2017

August Wrap-Up

Can you believe it is already September? That means it's time for fall and pumpkin spice lattes, and pumpkin beers!!! YAAYYY!!!

So I actually haven't posted a lot in August, which is disappointing, but to be fair it's because I was so busy reading books for the Reading Quest Challenge! I am pretty excited to annonuce that I completed the mage path! I'll be writing a wrap-up post later, but I am just excited that I could meet that goal!

In life news, I decided to chop off all of my hair and donate it. Well not all my hair, but we measured it and it was around 18 inches!!! I just need to mail it out. You might have seen it already if you follow me on Instagram

A post shared by Deanna Reads Books (@deannareads) on

Due to spending a lot of my time reading this month instead of posting reviews, I actually haven't written quite as many reviews this month. I only had 4 reviews this month. But I also introduced my new gaming feature Deanna Plays and I featured 88 cups of tea for Deanna Listens this month. I'm hoping to bring a lot of reviews to the blog in September, but I have to write them first. 




That's in for August, onto September where I am already very behind on my reviews. The struggle is real everyone!

What books did you read this week?

Happy Reads Everyone!

Monday, September 4, 2017

Deanna Listens: Get Booked

Deanna Listens is a monthly feature on the first Monday of every month I created to showcase some of my favorite podcasts. This month I am talking about another Book Riot podcast, this time I'm featuring the Get Booked podcast!

Okay, I have to admit that I wasn't 100% sure if this podcast was going to be for me, because I honestly DO NOT need to add anymore books in my TBR. I already have a list of 300+ books going but...then I started listening to this one...and now I have new books to add to my TBR. It is so very bad, but so good at the same time. ALL THE BOOKS!!!

So, if you ARE looking for recommendations I highly recommend this podcast. Even if you aren't there a lot of books I've heard from this podcast that I don't necessarily think I would have sought out myself. 

You might be wondering, but how is this a podcast about Personalized Book Recommendations?!? Well the hosts Amanda & Jenn choose from written in requests from Book Riot Readers, and they read those requests aloud and then give recommendations in the podcast. If you are not sure WHAT you are looking for, this is a good way to find some hidden gems. If you are interested in getting recommendations from these two, you can fill out their google doc on their current episode page. 

Through this podcast I have discovered books I never would have thought to look for. A lot of times when I listen to this podcast someone else is looking for something very specific, and Amanda or Jenn describe a book that sounds amazing that I've never heard of. So of course I have to write it down and look it up later, and usually add it to my TBR shelf on GoodReads. It's so bad, because I seriously do not need more books on my TBR, but I also love it because I get to hear about books that are new to me.

I also really like that the episodes are all titled something quirky, a few of my recent faves are:

I listen to these on itunes, but if you miss a book they talk about, I highly recommend going to the page on Book Riot's website. There's a page for each episode and all the books they mention are listed there! 

I like this podcast a lot, and if you are in the market for some new books, definitely check this one out. 

Got a great podcast you love? Give me a recommendation in the comments. No serious, please help, I'm running out of podcasts to listen to!

Happy Reads Everyone!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Graphic Novel ARC Review: Britannia, V.1

Britannia, V.1 : We Who Are About To Die
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
Release Date: September 26, 2017
Format: Egalley
Source: Netgalley
My Rating: ★★

Goodreads ★ Amazon  B&N  TBD
Valiant's critically acclaimed, 10-time sold-out magnum opus returns with a brand-new journey into myth and mystery, from comics master Peter Milligan (Shade, the Changing Man) and incendiary artist Juan Jose Ryp (Britannia!) 

Fifty thousand Romans stand on their feet, watching from the rafters of the coliseum with captured breath as Achillia, a Gladiator unlike any that Rome has seen before, faces incredible odds - one lone warrior against five of Rome's greatest. Such is the tradition, when a female gladiator enters the fray. When the carnage is complete, the coliseum roars its approval as Achillia stands victorious. Now only one match away from winning her freedom, she has begun to gain renown. 

The women of Rome, suppressed by their husbands and fathers, have noticed. The men of Rome, husbands and fathers to a growing horde of women entertaining ideas of independence, have noticed as well. On the other side of Rome, a strange mystery swirls through the Palatine Hill. In the dead of night, down winding alleys, Rome's elite swear that they see visions of a blood-soaked Apollo walking thecity...visions that are driving them mad. Even more are becoming sick with weird fever god-dreams. Panic ensues in the city. 

The Chief Vestal, Rubria, is arrested by Emperor Nero and threatened with crucifi xion unless the deadly curse that's fallen on Rome is lifted. She asks Antonius Axia, hero of Britannia and Rome's only detective, for help. She offers only one clue...the gladiator Achillia. 

I have been on a Roman society kick lately, so when I saw this was available to read I jumped at the chance. However, this is just one of those books that I just don't have a lot of feelings about. It wasn't bad, it wasn't amazing, I just feel "meh" about it.

I will say that I do love the art in this graphic novel. I think that's an important thing to note when you are looking for a graphic novel. If the art doesn't wow me, it has to take a lot for the story to wow me. This one was done in vibrant colors that made it really engaging. It was definitely done in a more tradition comic book style, which I liked it.

So the story is really about Antonius Axia, he is the first detective for Rome. He doesn't really believe in the Roman gods, but instead believes in reason and following the clues. I found his character interesting in these aspects, but it also felt like I was missing a lot about his background. I was very confused, was there another book I was supposed to read first? His relationship with his son also seems like there is more we need to know, but we don't get it. I guess for me, I just needed a little bit more from this character. He just read like a robot to me. I couldn't really feel his emotions in this story.

Axia ends up also teeming up with a female Gladiator, who is a former slave trying to win her freedom. I do really like that this story shows that all sorts of people of color also lived in Rome during the ancient times, not just white people. Achilla's storyline touches on this, and it also explains why she is fighting SO hard for her freedom. She's the most interesting character in the book, and I honestly wanted more of her.

Like most comics, the story ends on a cliffhanger, and you need to read the next one to find out what is going to happen. Usually, I am okay with that, but with this book it just annoyed me! I think I just wasn't that invested into this story. I think if you are interesting in a dectective story set in Ancient Rome this is a story for you. It just didn't completely work for me.

Happy Reads Everyone!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Liebster Award!

Darque Dreamer Reads nominated me for the Liebster Award a long time ago, but I am so very behind on my blog that I am just getting to posting about it now! Thanks so much for the nomination! Please also go show her some love, she's a blogger I recently connected with and a super cool person! And then as I was working on this post Haley from Beautifully Books also nominated me! It's very nice and humbling to be nominated twice!

I've been spending a lot of my free time just reading so I can complete my quest path for The Reading Quest. When you work full time and run a book blog sometimes it hard to find time to both read and write reviews. So I've sacrificed some of my blogging time so I can actually get some reading done. I have SO many reviews I need to write! SO MANY!!!

If you are a book blogger you probably have seen the Liebster Award, and I think it's awesome because I love discovering new blogs and making new connections!

  • Thank the person that nominated you
  • Give 11 random facts about you
  • Answer the 11 questions they gave you
  • Nominate 11 blogs
  • Give them 11 questions to answer
  • I've been a vegetarian for 8+ years. I originally did because of animals, but now it's just a part of me. When people ask me why now I just say I really hate plants
  • I live in Pennsylvania, in the the town where the ABC sitcom The Goldbergs is supposed to take place.
  • I've been with my current boyfriend for close to 7 years!! 
  • I've been working at my full time job for 4 years
  • I've never been outside of the country (USA)
  • I'm a huge hockey fan
  • I'm also on a fantasy hockey team with a bunch of dudes I used to blog about hockey with
  • I used to be a sports blogger
  • I only have one sibling; a brother 3 1/2 years older than me
  • I can do a pretty decent British accent
  • I'm a huge fanatic of the Star Wars Expanded Universe books. I read them in middle school, and have been a fan ever since!

  1. Have you read a book with a perfect ending? 
    HM...probably yes, but I can't think off the top of my head which books that would be.
  2. Does your favorite movie have a perfect ending?
    Well...not really. My favorite movie is Casablanca. It's a good ending, but not one we would call "perfect" 
  3. Why did you start your blog?
    I started it so I could talk about my writing, but it ended up becoming all about books.
  4. Do you have a follower goal in mind?
    Not really. I haven't been one that cares that much about followers and traffic. I'm pretty apathetic to it. This is for fun, so I shouldn't worry too much about it.
  5. What advice would you give to your beginner blog self?
    Network with other bloggers earlier, use social media more.
  6. Where is the best place you have visited?
    The Falls at Ricketts Glen National Park in my state.
  7. Who is the most inspirational person in your life?
    I'm not sure I really have one. This is a hard question. Maybe Meg Cabot because she gives really good advice about the writing craft. And she's my favorite author.
  8. What is your favorite book or movie genre?
    Definitely Sci-Fi
  9. If you could write yourself in to a book or movie, which one would you be a character in?
    Hmm...this one is tricky, but I have to say Star Wars!
  10. Do you like going to concerts?
    Yes! Recently saw The Flaming Lips in Feb, it was amazing!
  11. What is one food you absolutely hate?
    MUSHROOMS! Why does every vegetarian meal have to include it? WHY?!??

  1. How long have you been blogging?
    I have been blogging for 3 years!!
  2. If you could only read three books for the rest of your life, what would they be?
    Okay, probably Outlander, A Game of Thrones & The Princess Diaries. Are the first two cheating because they are so long?
  3. Do you prefer paperback or ebooks? Why?
    Hm...paperbacks, although ebooks are way easier to transport.
  4. What are your top three favorite genres for books?
    Scifi, Fantasy & murder mystery.
  5. What is your favorite book to movie adaption? Least favorite?
    Maybe, The Martian? As for least favorite there are a lot to chose from but I'm going to say The Golden Compass.
  6. If you enter any fictional world, which would it be?
    This is isn't book related, but Mass Effect. I want to fight the Reapers.
  7. If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
    For people to answer my emails!
  8. What fictional character would you spend the day with if you could?
    Jon Snow. 
  9. Do you like to go out of your comfort zone with genres?
    No, because every time I try it I hate the book!
  10. What's your favorite movie/tv show/book at the moment?
    I love the Wynonna Earp tv show, and I want to start the comics.
  11. Which of your all time favorite books do you recommend for your followers and fellow book bloggers to check out?
    Arena by Holly Jennings, especially if you are gamer like me. I also always recommend anything by Meg Cabot.

  1. Who would be your fictional bestie?
  2. Do you prefer hardbacks or paperbacks?
  3. What made you want to start a book blog?
  4. How do you keep up with your reading & writing posts? No seriously, I want to know!
  5. What do you love most about the book blogging community?
  6. What would you want to change about this community?
  7. What is your all time favorite book?
  8. What books have you read outside of your comfort zone that you loved?
  9. If you were transported into your favorite fictional world, what would you do first?
  10. What advice do you give to new bloggers?
  11. What book would you take with you if were stranded on a desert island?
I know that this award has been going around a bunch, so I did really try to nominate bloggers that haven't been nominated yet, because I really want people to check out all these blogs and give them some love. 

Happy Reads Everyone!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Deanna Plays: #PlayWarcross

I recently introduced a new gaming feature to my blog that I am calling Deanna Plays. I have decided that I'm going to make this a monthly feature, that will go up the third Thursday of every month. Not sure if I will actually stick to every month, but I thought if I tried to make this bi-monthly I would forget which month to actually post! 

So in honor of my first actual post about gaming, I decided to use it as my #PlayWarcross post. So Warcross is a book that I am very interested in, because it's about gaming! A lot of people have been sharing who they would choose if they had their own Warcross team. I've seen it done with both bloggers or book characters. I like the posts that choose book characters, so I am going to go that route for this post today. 

Warcross by Marie Lu
Publisher: G.P Puntam's Sons Books for Young Readers (Penguin)
Release Date: September, 12, 2017
Goodreads ★ Amazon  B&N  TBD
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu—when a game called Warcross takes the world by storm, one girl hacks her way into its dangerous depths.

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

In this sci-fi thriller, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu conjures an immersive, exhilarating world where choosing who to trust may be the biggest gamble of all.


This is a no brainer for me, Kali Ling from Arena is already a natural captain, so I would want her to be the captain of my team. She has her own struggles, but in this first novel she does really care for her team and wants to remind them that playing a game for a living is supposed to be FUN! Also you probably want a gamer on your side in this world!


I think for my shield, I am going to go with Elias Veturius from An Ember in the Ashes. Elias fights for what is right, no matter what, and he will have the team's back.


This one was hard for me to think of, but I think I have to say Tyrion Lannister from a Song of Ice and Fire. He is always one step ahead and always thinks before he acts. Tyrion is the brains one needs on their team. 


Sevro au Barca from Red Rising!  Everyone else is saying Kaz or another character from Leigh Bardugo's books, but since I have not read them I cannot say these characters would be good on my team. I do know that Sevro is a loyal thief to Darrow, and is the type of stealthy character you want on your team.


I have to go with Geralt of Rivia from The Witcher series.  Geralt is interesting since he exists in both books and the video gaming world. In both versions of himself, I think he is the best fighter to have on your team. He's a little cranky, but he will begrudgingly help those in need. He is also a beast with his swords and signs. You want this dude on your team!

Who would you put on your Warcross team? Why? Do you agree with any of my choices?

Happy Reads Everyone!