Personal Thoughts: I’m going to be totally honest here- I was very skeptical of Geekerella before I started reading it. In theory, I love the idea of books about fandom but they can be SO hit or miss for me. And *usually* they’re misses. Plus, it has the word geek in the title so that was also going against it. But after seeing a couple of friends read and enjoy the story, I decided to give it a shot. Actually, the main point that sold me is that the main character, Elle, works at a vegan food truck called the Magic Pumpkin. I’m so happy that I didn’t allow my initial hesitation to keep me from reading this book because I ended up giving it 5 stars!
Plot Summary: Geekerella is a modern day Cinderella retelling following a girl named Elle who finds out that Starfield (aka her lifeblood) is being rebooted as a film franchise. But they’ve cast a good looking actor known for his work in a soap opera and his constant presence in the tabloids as Carmindor, the lead role. When he misses a simple Starfield trivia question on a morning show, Starfield fan everywhere are outraged and questioning whether Darien is a real fan fit for his role. Everything culminates in a cosplay competition at ExcelsiCon where the winner gets a meet and greet at a masquerade ball with Darien himself.
Critique: This tale is just as charming as the plot summary sounds. Danielle, or Elle, has been living with her stepmonster and evil stepsisters since her father passed away. All she has left of him are memories which are strongly tied to her love of Starfield so she has really high hopes that come crashing down when she finds out that Darien is cast as her beloved Carmindor. All plot points aside, my love of Geekerella comes from the fact that Ashley Poston is able to perfectly capture the feelings of how much a fandom can mean to one person. Elle’s love of Starfield = my love of Star Wars. Despite Starfield being more closely akin to Star Trek, I felt completely connected to this fictional fandom. From the believable catchphrases that fans quote from the series, the personal investment in the characters, the way Starfield fans pour over the old episodes and speculate hopefully about the prospect of something new and exciting, and most importantly, the amount of heart the characters display for their fandom, I felt like I was reading about my life with Star Wars. I also love the portrayal of the different types of fans that you’ll meet at conventions. From the accusatory “you’re not a real fan” fan to the welcoming “let me help you with your last minute cosplay” fans, Poston nailed it. And the fact that Elle runs a Starfield blog that gains popularity as the movie gets cast is so relatable for those of us who’ve loved and blogged about geeky things before they were in the mainstream. The one thing I wasn’t completely sold on was the romance, but I was completely here for all of the characters separately (Elle, Darien, Sage, etc) and for the fandom feels.
Do I Recommend?: If you’ve ever been a diehard fan of anything, I think you’ll be able to relate to Geekerella. I love this book so much more than I had anticipated and I’m pretty sure that if you’re reading my blog, you’re also the target audience!
Note: I was provided a copy of Dr. First, Dr. Fourth, Dr. Eleventh and Dr. Twelfth by Penguin Teen as a #PRHPartner to read and spotlight these books.
The countdown is upon us for Sarah Dessen’s thirteenth novel, Once and For All, which is being released on June 6th. I’m so excited for her newest book because wedding planning(!) but in the meantime, Penguin Teen put together a special blog tour, highlighting Sarah’s backlist books and encouraging readers to read or re-read everything during the countdown to Once and For All. Today I’m posting a Book Look for Dreamland. Dreamland is one of Sarah’s more serious books and the story is much darker than your typical summer contemporary. It follows a girl named Caitlin who’s sister ran away and she’s dealing with the feelings of missing her sister and a mother who’s withdrawn when she meets Rogerson Biscoe. From then on, it feels like Caitlin has entered a dreamland where nothing is quite real. Rogerson is compelling and magnetic, but his darker and more dangerous side starts coming out and suddenly, being with Rogerson becomes a larger problem than being without him.
Enter for a chance to win one (1) set of Sarah Dessen’s books in paperback (ARV: $132.00).
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on April 17, 2017 and 12:00 AM on May 29, 2017. Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about June 1, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.
KEEPING THE MOON
April 24 – In Wonderland
April 26 – Great Imaginations
April 26 – The Fox’s Hideaway
April 27 – Mary Had a Little Book Blog
April 27 – Confessions of a Book Addict
April 27 – Rants and Raves of a Bibliophile
April 28 – A Page with a View
April 24 – Tales of the Ravenous Reader
April 24 – Reed’s Reads & Reviews
April 26 – Grownup Fangirl
April 26 – SuperSpaceChick
April 27 – Girl in the Pages
April 29 – A Little Book World
Note: I was provided a copy of Dr. First, Dr. Fourth, Dr. Eleventh and Dr. Twelfth by Penguin Teen as a #PRHPartner to read and spotlight these books.
Penguin was kind enough to send me the first four books in the Doctor Who + Mr. Men mash up books and after flipping through and reading them, I knew I *had* to share them here. The series is written and illustrated by Roger Hargreaves’ son Adam and they’re retailing for only $6. These beautifully illustrated books are the perfect opportunity to convert any child in your life into the Whovian you know is laying dormant inside them, just waiting to be awoken (and they’re also a pretty adorable treat for adults, chock full of easter eggs from the television series). The first releases follow the First, Fourth, Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors (Eleven being my favorite of course!).
There are a ton of familiar faces as you read through each Doctor’s story. I was most excited to see River Song but you’ll also see familiar baddies such as the Cybermen, Daleks, Silurians and Weeping Angels. And each Doctor is illustrated with their signature accessories (and they totally nailed Twelve’s angry eyebrows).
Personal Thoughts: OH MY GOD I LOVED THIS BOOK. After adjusting to teenagers being privy to the happenings of the US Government, I ended up enjoying The Fixer which is book one in the series. I thought I would have similar feelings toward The Long Game but boy oh boy did the feelings this book inspired come out of nowhere! The Long Game is exponentially better than The Fixer. My only issue now is that the sales aren’t high enough and Disney hasn’t contracted Jennifer Lynn Barnes to write a third book (AND THERE NEEDS TO BE A THIRD BOOK, TRUST ME OKAY?!).
Plot Summary: In this follow up to The Fixer, Tess Kendrick embraces her role as Hardwicke’s resident fixer. Someone cashes in a favor and she ends up leading their campaign to become president of student council. Meanwhile, her guardian, Ivy, is working on cracking a terrorism case unfolding in the United States and chaos ensues when both issues intertwine.
Critique: The Long Game had much higher stakes than The Fixer which you might find hard to believe if you’ve already read book one. I came to appreciate Asher even more in this installment because his comic relief was a necessary addition to the otherwise intense situations. The Long Game is full of action in the best way possible. The story pulls you in and there’s such a sense of urgency for every issue that it’ll get your heart rate pumping. I also loved the parallels to the game of Chess which were prevalent in the story. But best of all are the characters who shine even more than they did in book one. The Long Game is overflowing with awesome female characters from Tess and Ivy, to Vivie, Emilia and Georgia, and as I mentioned above, the only disappointment is not knowing how their story will continue. The series was sold as a dulogy, but there is a CLEAR cliffhanger at the end of book two. It’s rather frustrating but I am still grateful that I was able to spend any time with these characters and I will forever hold out hope that a second duology or even just a final installment with some more closure will be on the horizon. Also, if you’re looking for romance, this series is almost completely devoid. It focuses much more on the politics and social issues.
Do I Recommend?: YES PLEASE READ THIS AND HELP MY DREAM OF A THIRD BOOK BE REALIZED THANKS.
Personal Thoughts: As I may have (definitely) mentioned, Katie Cotugno is one of my favorite contemporary YA authors. In fact, she’s definitely in the top three. I love her words to pieces so when I heard that her newest novel would be set in Orlando in the 1990’s during the boy band craze, I couldn’t possibly be more on board. And the cover! And the endpapers! While Fireworks didn’t end up being my new favorite of her’s (the number one spot still belongs to How to Love), I did thoroughly enjoy it, especially for the setting. And possibly the most exciting part (for me) is that a character in the girl band is named Kristin! Spelled the same way as me! I didn’t even care that she’s kind of a bitch because I’ve never read a book with a character that has my name and for it to have been in a Katie Cotugno book just amplifies my excitement.
Plot Summary: Best friends Dana and Olivia leave their small Georgia town and head to Orlando where Olivia is going to be auditioning to become a pop star in a new all girl band being formed and Dana is there as her moral support. During the audition, Dana gets picked out of the crowd to show off her skills and both girls end up being chosen to move to Orlando to start rehearsing. But things get complicated when Dana’s lack of formal training start inhibiting what has always been Olivia’s dream and the girls start to become each other’s competition.
Critique: Fireworks is yet again, another messy and complicated story from the brain of Katie Cotugno. I love the way she tackled the evolution of Dana and Olivia’s friendship as the girls begin to grow up and their circumstances change. It’s so easy to fall into a routine and to believe that one person is your be all and end all when you haven’t experienced anything else and Orlando really opens up both of their eyes about what else is out there in the world. There’s also an adorable love interest named Alex who’s a member of Hurricane State, a boy band similar to N’SYNC who’s just starting to make waves in the industry. Alex is honest and supportive and quite honestly, he put up with a lot for someone just starting a relationship. The best part of the novel is hands down the setting. I love the little nods to the 90’s and just Orlando in general. I felt like I was reliving my own early childhood while reading and I could perfectly picture myself running around in jean shorts and eating ice cream cones on hot summer nights.
Do I Recommend?: Yes! Especially if you are a fellow fan of the Britney Spears / Christina Aguilera and Backstreet Boys / N’SYNC era.
Personal Thoughts: To be completely honest, I had no intention of reading Thirteen Reasons Why. I had the book on my Amazon wish list for years without ever purchasing it and I just felt like I got to the point where I lost interest and wouldn’t ever get to it. Then Penguin Teen was kind enough to mail me the cutest promotional package in celebration of the Netflix adaptation of Thirteen Reasons Why (which actually airs today March 31st!). It came with a plastic popcorn container (I’ve always wanted one of these for some irrational reason), a box of Mike & Ike’s (my deceased uncle’s favorite candy), a pack of tissues (because have you read the premise?!) and a copy of the TV-tie in edition of the book. After one of those brief crises where I’m incapable of choosing what to read next, I remembered that the show would be releasing in just four days and so the book called to me.
Plot Summary: Thirteen Reasons Why follows Clay Jensen, an average teenage boy who returns home from school one day to find a mysterious unmarked package waiting for him. The package is full of seven cassette tapes and when he begins playing the first one he instantly recognizes the voice as that of Hannah Baker, a classmate of his who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons that contributed to why she made her decision and whoever receives the tapes is one of the reasons. Clay spends the entire night following a map that Hannah left and listening to each tape, anxious to discover how he was a contributor to such a tragic end for a girl he really liked.
Critique: It’s hard to say that I enjoyed Thirteen Reasons Why because of the sensitive subject matter, but I can say that I am very happy I chose to read it. It was heartbreaking to hear Hannah’s narrative explaining the reasons that snowballed into her reaching her eventual end. I liked that Clay’s internal commentary is given to us in real time instead of having to wait for pauses to understand what he’s thinking or how his viewpoint differed from Hannah’s. It really makes the reader think about such seemingly little moments in our own lives and how they can affect others in ways that we would never foresee ourselves. There were definite wrongs committed by the people Hannah places blame upon and I like to imagine that many of them would’ve acted differently had they known what would happen, (even though it’s doubtful because so many of these high school boys she interacted with are garbage humans). The book talks about very important issues like rape culture, underage drinking and of course, suicide (including signs and prevention tactics). There are so many pivotal moments in Hannah’s narrative that could’ve changed and prolonged her life if only anyone had been persistent about offering help. I’m so curious to see how faithful the adaption is, even though it’s going to be difficult to relive Hannah’s story two times in one week.
Do I Recommend?: I do. Thirteen Reasons Why covers incredibly important subject matter and I think all teenagers should be required to read this as part of their school curriculum. If it could impact even half of the kids in a way that makes them more sensitive to their peers, I would argue that it’s worth it. I’ve since finished watching the Netflix adaptation and I actually think I liked it better than the book. The changes they made worked really well to modernize the story and I appreciated that we’re given insight into the other characters that have effected Hannah.
Super Space Chick’s weekly round up is a new blog series in which I’ll be chatting to you about what’s going on in my life, what I’ve been posting on YouTube and my blog, some favorite instagram photos of the week, and such. So basically just general life happenings and feelings! I looooooove writing book reviews but I also love reading more personal blog posts so I want to make an effort to share more of my full life here and not just my reading life.
For my first weekly recap, I’m actually going to be recapping the past two weeks. I had every intention of starting this blog series last weekend but things have been crazy around here and I just didn’t have the time. Right after I had the idea, I was so excited to begin writing and then my mom ended up in the hospital again so naturally, that took priority. Even today as I’m writing this on Easter Sunday, Andrew and I are about to start getting ready to take a train into NYC and head over to Sloan Kettering to see my mom. But do to some pre-planned events, I do have other things to share as well. Last weekend, my sisters and I planned the most fun weekend ever! My sister-in-law Kristin (yup! same first and last name, spelled the same way!) and I drove into Brooklyn to meet up with Brittany and Molly at their Williamsburg apartment. We briefly stopped at Barcade where Andrew and his brothers Joe (Kristin’s husband) and Greg were hanging out as part of the weekend Andrew and Joe planned for Greg’s bachelor party (Molly had extra game tokens to give them). Then we continued on our way to Smorgasburg which I’ve always wanted to go to! We got giant mozzarella sticks from Big Mozz, way too many french fries with garlic lemon aoili sauce from Home Frite, and churro ice cream sandwiches with sea salted caramel ice cream. Which is WAY too much food for any one person but so worth it. I really want to plan a trip back to try more!
Then we went to a cute little dive bar on Bedford Avenue where you get a free personal pizza which each drink you order. We also saw a really cute pig in a sweater named Franklin at the local hardware store before heading home to meet up with our future sister in law Moira. I also saw She’s the Man starring Amanda Bynes and Channing Tatum for the first time ever and I could not stop laughing. I’m so sad that I missed out on this wonderful movie during my younger years but I’m so happy it’s in my life now. And I love that it’s based on Shakespeare! The next day we all had brunch together and Brittany shared her White Girl Rose with us which was delicious. And we played some Cards Against Humanity with all 6 of the siblings I’ve gained in marrying Andrew before driving back home. There’s so many of us so it’s always a blast when we all get together!
Then we spent our next couple of nights at the hospital with my parents and my brother (side note, my brother got to interview Axel Alonso of Marvel, how cool is that?!) But later in the week, Andrew and I already had tickets to Broadway shows on both Thursday AND Friday. We went to the W Hotel in Times Square for some pre-show drinks (I had rose with bubbles and Andrew had Dark and Stormy’s). I love it there. It’s such a fun atmosphere- there are lots of neon lights and the table set up makes you feel a bit like your in a spaceship. Actually, the ladies room even had a giant poster slide show of Star Wars images which I was not at all expecting. We saw Waitress starring Sara Bareilles (she’s playing the starring role of Jenna for 10 weeks only!) and we really loved it. I got a mini key lime pie and they actually infuse the scent of pies into the theater before the show and during the intermission. We had previously seen half of Waitress when Jesse Mueller was in it because we made the mistake of eating at a sketchy Asian restaurant beforehand and we both needed to leave at intermission. This time around we got to see the full thing and I thought Sara was amazing! My favorite characters are Dawn and Ogie though. They’re basically the cutest couple ever.
Then on Friday night we saw Bandstand with Kelly and Gil! Unfortunately, my mom was in her fifth surgery of the week and before the show was starting, I still hadn’t heard an update from my dad or brother. I think that combined with the false report of an active shooter near Penn Station and being seated in the middle of the row, feeling like I couldn’t get out without disrupting anyone if my dad was going to call triggered a major anxiety attack. I didn’t get to enjoy the show as much as everyone else because I was mostly trying to calm myself down and tell myself that everything would be okay. Even after hearing that everything went well from my dad, I still was having trouble calming myself down. I did really love the music in the show and I was able to pay attention enough to understand the story but I do wish I could’ve gotten more lost in it. The play was really sad and the music was all 40’s style, taking place right after World War II ended. It’s a very accurate portrayal of what soldiers experience once they get home (it’s actually the only Broadway play approved by “Got Your 6 which highlights projects that depict veterans both accurately and responsibly.”- a piece of trivia Kelly told us after the show). Once the play ended and we left the theater, I felt almost instantly better and calmer. Then on Saturday morning, Andrew and I went to the local high school and jogged around the track. When I told my dad he was like wait YOU were running though? I’ve always hated running so this is a pretty big deal. It ended up being really good for me and despite being completely sore in every place you can imagine today, it also feels really good. When we got home, I made pizza with a cauliflower crust for the first time and I’m definitely adding it into our weekly dinner rotation. Anyway, these will be much shorter in the future but I wanted to highlight the good things in the past couple of weeks because it’s been EXHAUSTING. We’ve been getting home from the hospital between 11-12AM each night and then we get up between 5-6AM for work so it’s been a lot.
Reading: I finished reading: The Titan’s Curse (Percy Jackson #3) by Rick Riordan which I enjoyed much more than the first two books, The Long Game (The Fixer #2) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes and I’m DYING for a third book so everyone please buy the first two so she can write and publish a third, Fireworks by Katie Cotugno which takes place in Orlando in the 90’s during the boyband craze and once again Katie wrote an incredibly messy and addicting story, and Princess Jellyfish volume 3 which went in a different direction than I was expecting but I’m still enjoying this series very much!
Watching: We finished watching: 13 Reasons Why which is such an important story and will hopefully help teens realize how much our actions can affect other people, Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid which I really hope gets a second season because this anime has a very special place in my heart and we continued watching iZombie season 2 which seems to keep getting better, and our usual shows: New Girl, Fresh Off the Boat and we started Powerless which is pretty funny!
I posted a bit less over the past two weeks. I did happen to bulk film a bunch of videos right before my mom went into the hospital so I was able to post regularly for the first week but last week when the exhaustion kicked in, I only managed to get one video up. But I should be back to normal shortly!
- We’ll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han (Summer #3)
- My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
- Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare (The Dark Artifices #1)
- Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel (The Themis Files #1)
This month Cassie and I finally coordinated our schedules to discuss Caraval by Stephanie Garber for the Spines With Wines book club! Caraval was supposed to be our February book of the month, but we just couldn’t get it together for our liveshow until the first weekend of April. So we’ve decided to skip March (since it’s over already anyway) and we’ll be resuming with our April book of the month. You can view the full video below:
April Book of the Month:
Personal Thoughts: To say I’d been putting off reading We’ll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han would be an understatement. Being my last currently published unread work of Jenny’s, I found myself unable to pick it up because I was so not ready to say goodbye to Cousins, Belly, Jere and Conrad nor to the prospect of having another book of hers to read should the mood strike. Since Always and Forever Lara Jean is releasing in just over a month, I finally decided to go for it. I can also say that my subconscious fully backs up the above reasoning because the night that I finished We’ll Always Have Summer, I had a dream that I was vacationing at Zoella’s house, eating an ice cream cone and perusing her bookshelves when I found a never before seen Jenny Han YA book (the cover had a boy and a girl laying in the grass- the girl was wearing a red polka dot dress and heart sunglasses) and I was in all my glory. Imagine the disappointment when I awoke to find that I had no ice cream, nor the new Jenny book that my mind invented to fill a deep need.
Plot Summary: I think this goes without saying but as this is the third and final book in the series, there will be spoilers ahead. We’ll Always Have Summer picks up two years after It’s Not Summer Without You ends. Belly and Jere have been dating and attending college together and Conrad’s been off at med school in California. After Belly and Jeremiah’s relationship hits a really rough patch, things between them start accelerating and then Belly must decide once and for all which brother her heart belongs to.
Critique: This book definitely won’t be for everyone. Heck, if Jenny Han hadn’t written it, chances are it that it wouldn’t have been for me either. It’s hard to get behind a series that leans on the angsty side of teen romance and who’s plot revolves around a love triangle. As if that weren’t enough, it’s a sibling love triangle to boot. But nonetheless, Jenny Han has once again gotten me invested in the characters she crafts. No matter how immature Belly may act, how self destructive Conrad can be or how possessive Jere is, I had to read their story through to the very end. There were a ton of moments where I wanted to slap each one of them, especially in this final installment, but still, I needed to know the outcome of their story. I don’t want to get into the plot of this final book because there’s an event that sets the whole thing in motion and I don’t feel right spoiling either the trigger or the actions taken afterward for you. I can tell you that this is the most satisfying conclusion I could’ve hoped for. My ship has sailed!
Do I Recommend?: I thoroughly enjoy Jenny Han’s characters and storytelling so if you’re in the same boat I would recommend you give this series a try. As I mentioned above, the Summer series revolves around a sibling love triangle for all three books so this book is definitely not for everyone.
Personal Thoughts: I made it a goal of mine to read at least one book from several different authors this year (I actually made a video about it if you’re interested!) and Huntley Fitzpatrick was one of the names I planned on crossing off my author bucket list. I think it’s good to branch out and try new authors because you never know if you’ll find a new favorite which is what happened to me with Huntley when I finished reading My Life Next Door. I decided to read her books in publication and after finishing, I found out that her second novel, The Boy Most Likely To is actually a companion novel (following one of my favorite characters!!!!) so now I’m even more thrilled to have more to look forward to.
Plot Summary: Samantha Reed is the daughter of a politician with a seemingly perfect life, and yet, she takes nothing for granted. Despite money being no object, Samantha works several jobs, studies hard and always follows the rules her mother has set forth. But still, Samantha has spent a lot of her time sitting outside her window watching the family next door, the Garretts, with their many children live life in a way that her own mother has always deemed irresponsible. Still Samantha, yearns to get to know them and everything changes for her when Jase Garrett climbs her roof and the pair start falling deeply in love with one another. Samantha keeps Jase at arms length from everything and everyone in her life but she has no issue falling into Jase’s. And as most stories go, once everything seemed perfect, tragedy strikes and Samantha is torn between Jase’s family and her own.
Critique: This book is just full of swoons. Samantha is a really likable protagonist. She always tries to do the right thing, plus she’s responsible, caring and trusting. When Samanatha’s sister leaves for the summer and her mother hires a new campaign manager / much younger boyfriend, she finally opens up to the incredibly handsome boy next door about her life. Jase is such a sweetheart- the quintessential nice guy- who does everything he can for the people he loves. Jase is great with his younger siblings and he works hard and trains hard to make college an attainable future path for himself. Despite how different Jase and Samantha are, they form such an incredible bond and it is a pleasure to see their love for each other grow. Sam also has twins Nan, a nut about getting into the perfect college, and Tim, an addict who is basically a ticking time bomb to contend with. What I loved most about this book is the big family aspect. Every member of Jase’s family has such a distinct personality and I love how open and accepting they are of everyone. Their house might not be the tidiest, but there’s just so much love there! Each character had an intriguing story arc- whether on a personal level or as a contributing factor to the overall story- and there were some really high stakes conflicts that I did not see coming. While this may seem like a cute fluffy contemporary, do not be fooled! There is depth galore and some really high stress moments.
Do I Recommend?: Yes! I really and truly loved this book and I cannot wait to read the companion novel! The Garretts are not a family that I’ll be letting go of anytime soon.