Review: The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins by the McElroy family & Carey Pietsch

Rating: 5 stars
Release Date: July 17, 2018
Publisher: First Second
Genre: fantasy graphic novel, humor
Format/Source: paperback, library
Status: book 1 of The Adventure Zone series

Welcome to the Adventure Zone!

SEE! The illustrated exploits of three lovable dummies set loose in a classic fantasy adventure!

READ! Their journey from small-time bodyguards to world-class artifact hunters!

MARVEL! At the sheer metafictional chutzpah of a graphic novel based on a story created in a podcast where three dudes and their dad play a tabletop role playing game in real time!

Join Taako the elf wizard, Merle the dwarf cleric, and Magnus the human warrior for an adventure they are poorly equipped to handle AT BEST, guided ("guided") by their snarky DM, in a graphic novel that, like the smash-hit podcast it's based on, will tickle your funny bone, tug your heartstrings, and probably pants you if you give it half a chance.

With endearingly off-kilter storytelling from master goofballs Clint McElroy and the McElroy brothers, and vivid, adorable art by Carey Pietsch, The Adventure Zone: Here There be Gerblins is the comics equivalent of role-playing in your friend's basement at 2am, eating Cheetos and laughing your ass off as she rolls critical failure after critical failure.

Listmania Monday: Pirates & Mermaids

One subgenre that has absolutely stolen the show in YA for the past couple years is that of the high seas adventure! Whether based in history or set in a more fantastic lands, books starring pirates and mermaids are sweeping bookshelves all over! For this list, I've collected books that contain something seaworthy, although for some, it's a small part of the plot overall.

The Abyss Surrounds Us duology - Emily Skrutskie
Airborn (Matt Cruise series) - Kenneth Oppel
The Aquathari duology - Amalie Howard
"The Assassin & the Pirate Lord" - Sarah J. Maas (part of The Assassin's Blade bindup)
The Assassin's Curse duology - Cassandra Rose Clarke
Atlantia - Ally Condie

Blackhearts duology - Nicole Castroman
Bloody Jack series - L.A. Meyer
The Buccaneer's Apprentice - V. Briceland

The Celestial Globe - Marie Rutkoski

Daughter of the Pirate King duology - Tricia Levenseller
The Dust of 100 Dogs - A.S. King

Fathomless - Jackson Pearce (book 3 of the Retold Fairytales series)
Forgive My Fins trilogy - Tera Lynn Childs

Gentleman's Guide to Vice & Virtue duology - Mackenzi Lee
The Girl from Everywhere duology - Heidi Heilig

Hook's Revenge duology - Heidi Schulz

In Other Lands - Sarah Rees Brennan

Jane Unlimited - Kristin Cashore

The Language of Thorns - Leigh Bardugo
Lies Beneath Trilogy - Anne Greenwood Brown
Lost Voices trilogy - Sarah Porter

The Mermaid, the Witch and the Sea - Maggie Tokuda-Hall (2019)
Midnight Jewel - Richelle Mead
Monstrous Beauty - Elizabeth Fama

The Necromancer's Song series - Caitlin Seal
Never Never - Brianna Shrum

Over Raging Tides - Jennifer Ellison

Pacifica - Kristen Simmons
Passenger - Alexandra Bracken
The Pirate Captain's Daughter - Eve Bunting
Pirates! - Celia Rees
Princess Bride - William Goldman

The Reader - Traci Chee
Real Mermaids series - Helene Boudreau
The Runaway King - Jennifer A. Nielsen

Salt & Storm - Kendall Kulper
Sea Change - Aimee Friedman
Sea Witch - Sarah Henning
The Seafarer's Kiss series - Julia Ember (HECK yeah this series has BOTH mermaids AND badass girl pirates)
Seafire trilogy - Natalie C. Parker
Siege & Storm - Leigh Bardugo
Siren - Michelle Zink
The Siren - Kiera Cass
Song of the Current duology - Sarah Tolcser
Stardust - Neil Gaiman
Steel - Carrie Vaughn
Stream Raiders series (These Rebel Waves) - Sara Raasch
Syrena Legacy trilogy - Anna Banks

Teeth - Hannah Moskowitz
Tempest trilogy - Tracy Deebs
Tiger Lily - Jodi Anderson
To Catch a Pirate - Jade Parker
To Kill a Kingdom - Alexandra Christo
The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle - Avi - Not so much pirates as an awesome sea voyage book, but I can't leave it off. Charlotte Doyle is, like, OG girl pirate
A Tyranny of Petticoats: "Mother Carey's Journey" - J. Anderson

The Unbinding of Mary Reade - Miriam McNamara

Water Tales duology (Aquamarine!!!) - Alice Hoffman
Waterfire Saga - Jennifer Donnelly
Watersong series - Amanda Hocking
Witchlands series - Susan Dennard

What do you think of my seafaring list? Which of these are your faves? Did I leave anything off? Let me know in the comments!

Blog Tour: Star-Touched Stories by Roshani Chokshi

Rating: 4 stars
Release Date: August 7, 2018
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Genre: young adult fantasy short stories
Format/Source: ARC, from the publisher
Status: Book 2.5 of the Star-Touched series

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review as part of the blog tour. This does not affect the content of my review.

Three lush and adventurous stories in the Star-Touched world.

Death and Night
He was Lord of Death, cursed never to love. She was Night incarnate, destined to stay alone. After a chance meeting, they wonder if, perhaps, they could be meant for more. But danger crouches in their paths, and the choices they make will set them on a journey that will span lifetimes.

Poison and Gold
Now that her wish for a choice has come true, Aasha struggles to control her powers. But when an opportunity to help Queen Gauri and King Vikram's new reign presents itself, she is thrown into the path of the fearsome yet enchanting Spy Mistress. To help her friends, Aasha will have to battle her insecurities and perhaps, along the way, find love.

Rose and Sword
There is a tale whispered in the dark of the Empire of Bharat-Jain. A tale of a bride who loses her bridegroom on the eve of her wedding. But is it a tale or a truth?

Blog Tour: Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson

When I was asked to participate in the blog tour for Dance of Thieves, I was given the opportunity to ask Mary Pearson one question about the books. One thing that fascinated me about The Remnant Chronicles is the world itself. There are all these kingdoms that were formed by several very different groups of people for various reasons, and the books in TRC and now Dance of Thieves explore the very complicated relationships between the kingdoms and a few individuals living in them. At this point, we are very familiar with Morrighan and the Komizar's Venda with a splash of Dalbreck thrown in... but now it's time to see NEW lands (and a splash of Venda under new management). So check out my question to Mary-the-author and be sure to enter my giveaway for a SIGNED copy of Dance of Thieves, the start of an all-new series set in the world of The Remnant Chronicles.

PS Anyone who has not yet read The Remnant Chronicles: YES, you can read Dance of Thieves without reading TRC first! It will definitely spoil the ending of the series (a couple deaths & some relationships), and I LOVE TRC so I absolutely recommend you read them, but you can totally jump right on board with Kazi & Jase in Dance of Thieves.

Rating: 4 stars
Release Date: August 7, 2018
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co
Genre: young adult fantasy
Format/Source: ARC, from the publisher
Status: Book 1 of the Dance of Thieves duology
(spin off series from The Remnant Chronicles)
Links: The Heart of Betrayal review (book 2 of TRC)

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review as part of the blog tour. This does not affect the content of my review.

A new novel in the New York Times–bestselling Remnant Chronicles universe, in which a reformed thief and the young leader of an outlaw dynasty lock wits in a battle that may cost them their lives—and their hearts.

When the patriarch of the Ballenger empire dies, his son, Jase, becomes its new leader. Even nearby kingdoms bow to the strength of this outlaw family, who have always governed by their own rules. But a new era looms on the horizon, set in motion by a young queen, which makes her the target of the dynasty's resentment and anger.

At the same time, Kazi, a legendary former street thief, is sent by the queen to investigate transgressions against the new settlements. When Kazi arrives in the forbidding land of the Ballengers, she learns that there is more to Jase than she thought. As unexpected events spiral out of their control, bringing them intimately together, they continue to play a cat and mouse game of false moves and motives in order to fulfill their own secret missions.