Ashley Poston: Geekerella

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. Now they’re nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but 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. But when she disappears at midnight, will he ever be able to find her again?

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.

Who needs fluffy Doctor Who Cinderella fan fiction?

I NEED FLUFFY DOCTOR WHO CINDERELLA FAN FICTION.

YES I DO YES I DO.

This book is GLORIOUS, people. The story follows a fangirl blogger and the incoming lead on a sci-fi serial in a You’ve Got Mail sort of situational romance. It has all of the traditional Cinderella elements we know, but modernized and nerdified.

HOORAY FOR DIVERSE CHARACTERS! One of the leads is POC, and there’s also LGBTQIA+ people. It is a Cinderella story, so there is emotional abuse, but that is to be expected.

I read Geekerella in a matter of hours. Once you start this, you won’t put it down. It’s just the right amount of fluff and substance. And if you’re part of the world of geekdom, you’ll find this instantly relatable. And who can resist the bright purple cover?

NetGalley and Quirk Books provided this ARC for unbiased review. This post contains affiliate links.

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Review: The Magicians

Quentin Coldwater is brilliant but miserable. A senior in high school, he’s still secretly preoccupied with a series of fantasy novels he read as a child, set in a magical land called Fillory. Imagine his surprise when he finds himself unexpectedly admitted to a very secret, very exclusive college of magic in upstate New York, where he receives a thorough and rigorous education in the craft of modern sorcery.

He also discovers all the other things people learn in college: friendship, love, sex, booze, and boredom. Something is missing, though. Magic doesn’t bring Quentin the happiness and adventure he dreamed it would. After graduation he and his friends make a stunning discovery: Fillory is real. But the land of Quentin’s fantasies turns out to be much darker and more dangerous than he could have imagined. His childhood dream becomes a nightmare with a shocking truth at its heart.

At once psychologically piercing and magnificently absorbing,The Magicians boldly moves into uncharted literary territory, imagining magic as practiced by real people, with their capricious desires and volatile emotions. Lev Grossman creates an utterly original world in which good and evil aren’t black and white, love and sex aren’t simple or innocent, and power comes at a terrible price.

I’ve heard so much about The Magicians, and most of it has been summed up in one sentence. “If you love Harry Potter, you will love this one too!”

…ok…well…I kind of see the resemblance, in that there is a magical school that normal people can’t get into, and there ARE three friends that get into trouble…but that’s really where the similarities end.

As far as the school goes, it is college vs junior/senior high. The result is a super fratty feeling, instead of Griffindor vs Slytherin. Everyone is drunk the entire goddamn book. And I do mean the.entire.goddamn.book. Also, sexsexsexsexsexsexsexsexsexsexsex.

Please don’t tell your middle schooler that if they liked Harry Potter they should read The Magicians. This is not the book for them.

Once they graduate, all semblance to HP disappears and it becomes pretty much CS Lewis fanfiction. Fillory is Narnia and it almost feels like this is set generations after Lucy and her siblings rule.

I didn’t hate it. I didn’t love it. I probably won’t continue on with the series. To read it as fanfiction of two of my favorite fantasy sets–completely entertaining–but I have a hard time seeing it as anything other than that.

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I won this book in a Twitter contest.

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Review: Eragon

One boy. One dragon. A world of adventure.
When Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the forest, he thinks it is the lucky discovery of a poor farm boy; perhaps it will buy his family meat for the winter. But when the stone brings a dragon hatchling, Eragon realizes he has stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself.

Overnight his simple life is shattered, and he is thrust into a perilous new world of destiny, magic, and power. With only an ancient sword and the advice of an old storyteller for guidance, Eragon and the fledgling dragon must navigate the dangerous terrain and dark enemies of an Empire ruled by a king whose evil knows no bounds.

Can Eragon take up the mantle of the legendary Dragon Riders? The fate of the Empire may rest in his hands.

This one has been on my shelf for a long time. I tried to read it when I first picked it up, but it was back before I was really into fantasy–there’s a reason it took me so long to read Harry Potter–and so I think I read 50 pages and quit. Saphira has been staring angrily at me from the shelf ever since.

Now that I do love fantasy, I figured it was time to finally give this one a second chance.

I honestly don’t know how to rate this. It was an entertaining book to read, but I feel like I’ve read it before. While searching for fan art last night (because, dragons), I saw one post about this being Star Wars fan fiction. I can see the resemblance, but the whole time I was reading it, I felt like I was reading Lord of the Rings/Hobbit all over again. Sure, other stories have elves and dwarves, but this was SO SIMILAR. The quest across nations, the threads of old magic, the war at the dwarves’ mountain. There’s even a ring–though I’m not sure what the symbolism is there quite yet. It’s weirdly similar.

Still, I didn’t hate it, and the story IS unique enough to stand alone. If the rest of the books made their way into my hands, I would probably read them too, but I’m not going to actively seek them out or add them to my TBR. But, if they show up on my library’s feature shelf or something, or hit the $1 shelf at Half-Price, sure.

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Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

I might be one of the last people to read this play–at least of those who preordered it. I thought I’d never get my copy! Ya’ll know I’m a mega Harry Potter fan, so of COURSE I had to read it.

There have been a lot of mixed reviews from the fandom. Many think it feels like fanfiction, but the overall consensus was that it was good, even if it wasn’t the story we had hoped for. (HELLO–MAURAUDERS!) Either way, I knew I would have strong feelings.

But…I…um…HUH??

The only real feeling I have is confusion. And disappointment?

I know what this play was trying to do. It tries to bring the wonderful wizarding world to the stage. IT isn’t a novel, and so characterization and staging is limited. It can’t be the same expansive THING that are the first seven books.

However–this almost did too much in the other direction. So much of the magic of this world is Hogwarts itself–the castle, the feasts, the sortings, the Quidditch. The play had almost none of that. In fact, we hardly spend any time at all at the school; Ravenclaw isn’t even mentioned, and Hufflepuff gets one very quiet nod.

Instead, the play focuses on yet another wizarding war, and Albus becomes just one more Potter clone–and he was supposed to be the one set apart. The time turning plot gets confusing, jumping back and back and back. Maybe it comes across better on stage, but I really just miss the rest of Hogwarts.

I can see why people see this as inauthentic. It feels like it’s trying to hard–and maybe it is. I don’t think I’ve talked to a single Harry Potter fan that actually likes the epilogue, and to build a play upon it just makes it that much more uncomfortable.

I had a feeling that this is how I would feel, when I was reading the previews for the show. There was no doubt I would buy it for my collection, and read it right away. I hoped that I would be as in love with it as the rest of the books–but this will probably grow dusty on my shelf, and never get as worn as the other seven.

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Carry On

It’s real. I mean…I know it’s technically a different world, and Rainbow has done a good job of separating Watford from Hogwarts. But she actually did it.

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Rainbow Rowell published Drarry fanfiction in book form. We can put Carry On on our shelves and look at it and not have to squint over bright tablets in the middle of the night! Sure, it’s not NC-17…It’s hardly even PG, but DRARRY FANFICTION IN BOOK FORM.

Reading Fangirl really kickstarted my addiction to fanfiction. I’d read a few things, mostly Johnlock, mostly on Tumblr, and yeah it was cool, but I didn’t really get why people were so obsessed with it. I was more entertained by fanart. But then I read about Cath and her obsession with Watford and Simon x Baz and it sounded so much like my love of Harry Potter. Wait a minute…you mean there are people writing whole new stories about this world I love? I HAVE TO GET IN ON THAT. And of course Harry and Draco are in love. Duh.

And, well, you see where that has gone.

Tumblr basically exploded when Rainbow announced she was writing Cath’s Carry On fic from Fangirl. OF COURSE we exploded. GIVE US THE FANFIC PLEASE. But we all wondered…how different would this be? I mean, Watford did sound pretty similar to Hogwarts, Simon and Baz are basically Harry and Draco…right?

Sort of. There are definitely similarities. Simon at his base is a powerful orphan taken under the wing of the school’s headmaster, The Chosen One. And Baz is the rich, sultry deviant with minions who can’t help but push Simon’s buttons. But Rainbow actually created a pretty complex world of her own outside of Watford–a Coven of Mages, a completely different villain (two actually), spells based on pop culture references…because, heLLO, this is Rainbow Rowell we are talking about here.

You could read Carry On without reading Fangirl first.You don’t necessarily NEED Cath to give you context for this, but I think you’ll appreciate it more. Also, if you know you’re planning on reading Fangirl at some point….read it first, then this one. Gotta add this to my shelves this year for sure. FOUR BOOK DRAGONS!

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The Scarlet Letter

Guys, I DID IT.

Even bigger than the size of my white whale was the difficulty I had in finishing The Scarlet Letter. I HATE THIS BOOK. HATE IT. I have tried to finish it probably 6 times. I never make it past the first few chapters.

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Have I mentioned how much I HATE THIS BOOK?!

First of all, Nathaniel Hawthorne has the most pretentious writing style of anyone I have ever read in my life. Oh my god. It’s torture. Seriously, if I am every captured by terrorists, all they would need to do is force me to listen to Nathaniel Hawthorne for hours on end and I would talk so hard. (Not that I know any state secrets or anything…but if they needed to know the secrets of Harry Potter fanfiction? I’m so screwed. SHIT.)

And then there’s the plot. THIS IS CALLED A ROMANCE. If you pull this up on Wikipedia, that’s how it’s listed:  “The Scarlet Letter: A Romance is an 1850 work of fiction in a historical setting…” Ummmmm NO. What ROMANCE? You mean the husband who is set on revenge, or the priest who brands his past lover with a big red A for adultress?

I honestly wasn’t even going to do a review for this. I was going to post a review and move on. Buuuuut I can’t help it. My brain just can’t help but rant about Nathaniel Hawthorn and my loathing for his most famous work.

AdultBooklr…you made me do it.

 

If I HAVE to give Book Dragon points for this book, it gets only one. I don’t think it even deserves that many.

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BUY HERE…I guess…

Dark Corners

So, I have a bit of a treat for you today. It’s like nothing I’ve ever posted on the blog before, and I’ll be honest, I’m a bit nervous about publishing it. I posted a rough draft on my Tumblr this morning, writing as I was inspired, but the tenses were a mess, and it was just what I woke up with out of my dream. I’ve rewritten it, fixed everything, added some. I’ve never written anything like this before, but I quite like it. For those of you unfamiliar with fanfiction, Drarry is a combination of Draco and Harry from Harry Potter. It’s a pretty common mashup, and one I’ve recently begun following.

This isn’t to everyone’s taste, but read on if your interested! Oh, and it’s pretty mellow. No R rated stuff here.

OK. Deep breath. Here goes.


 

“Look, let’s just get this over with, ok? I’m about as thrilled about this study partner thing as you are.”

“Deal. I can’t believe old McGonagall is making us do this.”

Harry and Draco find a quiet spot deep in the library stacks, settle down, and start passing books back and forth. They definitely aren’t happy about it, and fight the whole time at first. Not much gets accomplished besides quarreling, as per the usual.

Then something cruel is said about families, and Harry gets really upset and quiet. Draco, used to him fighting back, is concerned, so he makes some asshole comment about Harry giving up the fight.

Harry looks up with wet cheeks and said, “My parents are dead, Draco. Don’t you ever remember that?”

He gets up to leave, and as he’s gathering his things, Draco takes his hands and pulls him close. “I’m sorry, I’ve been an idiot.”

Harry is stiff at first, but then just sort of sags into Draco with relief and even though there is no music, they sort of sway together in the dark corner of the stacks.

“Draco, what are we doing?” Harry asks after a moment, pulling away slightly. This is nice, but he realizes what he’s doing, and with whom…and suddenly he feels…odd.

“Dancing in the stacks after curfew.” Draco dares, his lip slightly curled.

“No, I mean…we hate each other. We’ve always hated each other…” Harry trails off, feeling slightly silly now, but he doesn’t know what else to say.

“Have we though? Or has it just been easier to keep fighting like we were still kids, pretending we don’t care about every single look?”

Harry looks at Draco, his arch nemesis since they were boys. There’s always been such a strange pull, but yet… “We are on opposite sides of this war, Draco. You’re playing a very dangerous game.”

The smirk disappears from Draco’s face and it turns suddenly serious, a crease forming between his brows. “…dangerous game indeed…”

Draco pulls Harry hard toward him, and covers Harry’s mouth with his.

Harry feels all the breath go out of him at once, the way he did when the dementors attacked, and for a moment he fears he’s about to lose his soul.

But it isn’t a dementor. It is Draco. And it’s not his soul that Harry loses, it’s his heart, all at once, and completely. He grasps the back of Draco’s neck and kisses back hard, until they both need air, and when they stop, it’s Draco who has tears on cheeks.

Harry, short of breath, tries to hang onto him, knowing Draco is going to slip away. “You have to try and get out. He doesn’t need you. I need you. Don’t do whatever He’s asked you to do.”

Draco lays his head, just for a moment, on Harry’s shoulder, and whispers, “It’s too late.”

And then he’s gone. And Harry is alone.

The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy: A Handbook for Geeks

HEY! HEY! HEY! HEY!

JUMPS UP AND WAVES ERRATICALLY AT ALL MY FELLOW GIRL GEEKS, NERDS, OBSESSIVE LOVERS OF EVERYTHING.

I HAVE FOUND THE FANGIRL FEMINIST BIBLE.

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*phew* Ok. I’m tired now. Sometimes being that enthusiastic can be exhausting, but this book gave me ALL THE FEELS. Because ladies, it is all about us! And it’s amaaaaazing. I’m not kidding, I was internally screaming the whole time I was reading, like FINALLY someone stood up and said HEY! We need this. We deserve this. This is ours.

I basically want to post myself at the doorway of every high school and just hand out copies of this book. Because girls need to read it. It would change so many young girls’ attitudes about so many things.

I should probably tell you about it, huh? *deep breath* Ok. Calming down. Just a little bit though.

Sam Maggs is a fan girl. And like many of us, she’s gotten all of the resistance from the patriarchy about being a “fake geek girl.” What even is that anyway? Ugh. So, she’s written a book about how to fly our fan girl flag so high that the guys can have absolutely nothing to say about us being fake. Because we are pretty freaking awesome, ladies, and we should show it.

This book covers all the bases of geek–from cosplay to Tumblr, cons to YA lit. But the real underlying theme is confidence and feminism. It’s time to believe in ourselves and stop letting the world outside tear us down and stop us from being who we really want to be. The most wonderful thing about being a geek is that we love something with everything we have, which makes us different than anybody else. Why not show everyone what that one thing is?

If you couldn’t tell, I really loved this book. It’s coming out on May 12, and you bet I’m going to have this one on my shelf. Are you a fan girl? FLY THAT FLAG!

 

Fulfills PopSugar #24:  A book based entirely on its cover

NetGalley provided this ARC for an unbiased review.

Jane Eyre

I keep seeing this post floating around on Tumblr about how Charlotte Bronte fell in love with Jane Fairfax from Emma, and so she wrote a fanfiction about her as a governess. I don’t know if it’s true or not, but that post was enough to get me to read both Emma and Jane Eyre somewhat back to back!

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This is my second read-through (I listened to the audiobook when I was in college), and I love Jane Eyre even more now than I did the first time. Of course I always get more from a book by actually reading than listening.

Jane is such a prim, proper, plain-looking character. If you look up an images search of the way she’s been portrayed over the years, she always looks so delicate. But Jane Eyre is anything but soft. She maybe a woman with very strict ideals–but she fights for those ideals with conviction and a steady conscience. Not much can sway her.

This book is so much more than a love story. Of course, the romance is there, but that really isn’t the important part of the narrative. What else do we have?

  1. Child abuse
  2. Poverty
  3. Epidemic
  4. Feminism
  5. Mental Illness
  6. Importance of family ties and friendship
  7. Hypocrisy
  8. Disability

And the list could go on and on, but this is the major stuff that I noticed. All this from a Victorian/Gothic novel. You don’t see that happen to often.

I did have one question to pose, maybe someone out there can answer it for me.

One thing I am always curious about with 1800s women’s literature is why they never give the names of places (and sometimes dates). It’s always –shire or S(…setting). Is it a lack of creativity regarding places, or was there some unspoken rule about listing where the setting was? London is always mentioned, and Bath, but anywhere else is left to mystery. It’s always so frustrating to me, and I can not help but wonder why this is!

Written in Red

Fanfiction of fairy tales is the “it” thing right now, and I am loving it! For some reason Red Riding Hood especially seems to be popular. She was never my favorite character growing up, but I do love the modern day remixes.

Book Club Fiction is reading Written in Red this month, and while it’s been awhile since I’ve participated in one of their readalongs–I was able to get this one from my library in time. I am so glad I did!

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I will say that at first, I wasn’t too sure about it. The prologue really doesn’t explain what the Others are very well, and so the whole time I was thinking “Oooook….so you’re saying if Native Americans just would have been evil cannibals, the white men wouldn’t have come in and taken over?” It just seemed a little…off. Once I got into the story and realized the author wasn’t talking about people at all, it made perfect sense, but at first, I was more than a little concerned.

Don’t let the prologue scare you like it did me. The Others are actually ancient earth natives. Terra Indigene. Their basic form is a pumped up form of animal (Wolf, Crow, Coyote, Bear, even Vampire), but they have adapted to be able to shift into human shape as necessary. However, they hate humans, and see them as just another form of meat that they somehow have to live with.

Meg, however, doesn’t smell like prey for some reason. She’s different, and they don’t know why. But she is scared and needs shelter, so they hire her on. Suddenly things get super complicated.

I loved this story. It was both scary and also gentle. There was friendship, but not exactly romance. I kept expecting it to break off into romance, because, you know, that’s what always happens in books like this. But it never came, and it was a nice change.

I do want to give you a trigger warning. There is quite a bit of discussion and a couple of scenes with cutting. Meg was in a cult type culture before she came to The Others where the girls were cut to induce prophecies. If that will trigger you, please don’t read this book, or proceed with caution, as it is a big part of the story. Please take care of yourself!

Two books in a row that I couldn’t put down? Maybe my slump is finally over! *fingers crossed*

 

Fulfills Popsugar #37:  A book with a color in the title