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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Book Review | Geekerella

Title: Geekerella
Author: Ashley Poston
Publication: April 4th, 2017
Publisher: Quirk Books
Source: Received a finished copy from the publisher for review - Thank you Quirk!!
Series: No

Rating: 3.5 out 5 stars

 | Amazon

Synopsis |   Cinderella goes to the con in this fandom-fueled twist on the classic fairy tale. 

Part romance, part love letter to nerd culture, and all totally adorbs, Geekerella is a fairy tale for anyone who believes in the magic of fandom. Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic sci-fi series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball, and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck (and her dad's old costume), Elle's determined to win...unless her stepsisters get there first.

Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons - before he was famous. Not they're nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he's ever wanted, but the Starfield fandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake - until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise.

-From Goodreads

*Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for an honest review. This did not influence my feelings on the book. All opinions are my own.

Review |   When I heard about Geekerella, I was stoked. A re-telling of Cinderella centered around a con that is about a sci-fi show!? Yes, Please! There has been so much good hype around this book. So many people are loving it, and I see why. I didn’t love it as much as others, but that could have been partly because I’m cursed as a mood reader. 

This is a huge character driven story. And I really enjoyed reading about the characters. Ella is a fairly classic Cinderella character; working hard and overrun by her stepmother and stepsisters. But she also had this element of confidence about her that she knew she could do better even if she didn’t believe it all the time. A trait that’s really relatable to just about everyone. I really enjoyed Ella as a main character. There’s another character we follow through alternating view points, and that’s Darien. I wasn’t sure about Darien at first, but as I got to know him, he grew on me. This is an aspect that’s meant to happen, I don’t think you’re supposed to like what you first hear about Darien. What you see is often not what’s actually there. I loved that there were some side character story lines as well. Although they were small and sometimes I was wishing they would have been developed more, I was still happy to see the tidbits that we did get to see. It’s always great to see a diverse group of characters, I loved seeing that here. 

I liked the overall story; especially the plot. It was cool to see the story played out the way that it did and the way that the con and the sci-fi show, Starfield. I love the quotes that came from Starfield - “Look to the stars. Aim. Ignite”. I loved the nick-names that came from the show. It was so well done and put together that I was wishing the show was real and I could watch it. 

I also loved the bits of references of fandoms throughout the book. There are a ton referenced, I’m sure there’s plenty that I didn't catch. One of my favorites was this moment when Sage comes to pick up Ella and she says, “Get in loser we’re going…” A tribute to Mean Girls, and a quote that made me laugh out loud, literally, as it was placed perfectly. This is truly a book for fandoms and those that love to be a part of a fandom. 

The small qualms I had with the book were mostly in the telling of the story. I felt that the story was a little bit long. It felt like it was dragging along at points. There were parts that felt there was so much detail in what the characters were doing that I found myself falling out of the story. I also felt there were points that we were being told what characters are instead of being shown. 

Have you read this one and if so, what did you think of it? What was your favorite fandom mentioned in the story? If you haven't read this, what is your favorite book featuring a fandom you love?

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Book Review | Wintersong

Title: Wintersong
Author: S. Jae-Jones
Publication: February 7th, 2017
Publisher: Thomas Dunne
Source: Received an E-ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review -- Thank you!!
Series: No

Rating: 3.5-4 out 5 stars

Synopsis | Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell.
All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family's inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.

But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go - for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister's freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.

Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her - musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl's life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King's bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.

-From Goodreads

*Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for an honest review. This did not influence my feelings on the book. All opinions are my own.

Review: There's an atmosphere to this novel that completely took me in from the very beginning. There's something about the writing and the world that completely immersed me into the story. Jae-Jones did such an amazing job creating a world, with the rich descriptions and integration of the very culture that Liesl is a part of. Not only Liesl's world, but the Underground was also so rich in detail and livelihood that it felt real. This beautiful writing and elaborate descriptions were one of my favorite parts of Wintersong. 

Another aspect so well done was the characterization of each and every character in the book. Jae-Jones did such an incredible job with the characters. Every single character, even side characters were so well developed and alive in a way that I haven't encountered in a book for awhile. Even the side characters had their own arcs through the story as well done as the main characters. It gave an elevated realness to the story that made the characters feel real. This wonderful characterization was another element that made it easy to be transported into the story.

Speaking of the characters, I can't do this review without talking about the romance. The romance was so steamy and swoony. Which I wasn't really expecting, but was a part that I was definitely happy to see. I can't resist a good swoony romance. Just a note, that there are some details during some romance scenes that make this an older YA novel.

While the romance had some great aspects, there's also a part of it that felt a bit disjointed to me. It felt choppy at some parts. To explain, there would be some parts that felt like they were progressing in their relationship but then it would seem to jump back to square one with nothing in the plot implying that should have happened. I'm not sure if there were some parts I was missing or not connecting with but while I think the romance was swoony, I couldn't get completely past this disjointed feeling I had when reading it.

The story itself took me away every time I picked up the book. There were some slow parts, the middle of the book was a bit slow as it focused more on character development than plot. This slow feeling could have been me, since I'm a big mood reader. Although it felt a bit slow, it didn't keep me from reading or even thinking about putting the book down. The writing and richness and character development kept me going. And I loved the addition of music into the story. Music brings things alive, and this was yet another part of the book that really brought it to life for me.

Overall I highly recommend this if you like dark fantasy, swoony romance, wonderful world-building and writing full of richness.

Have you read this one and if so, what did you think of it? What was a favorite aspect of the book for you? Did you enjoy the musical aspect of the story?