Geekerella – Book Review

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Title: Geekerella
Author: Ashley Poston
Paperback: 319 pages
Published: April 4th 2017 by QUIRK BOOKS
My Rating: 5/5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): Anything can happen once upon a con…

When geek girl Elle Wittimer sees a cosplay contest sponsored by the producers of Starfield, she has to enter. First prize is an invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. Elle’s been scraping together tips from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck behind her stepmother’s back, and winning this contest could be her ticket out once and for all—not to mention a fangirl’s dream come true.

Teen actor Darien Freeman is less than thrilled about this year’s ExcelsiCon. He used to live for conventions, but now they’re nothing but jaw-aching photo sessions and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Federation Prince Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but the diehard Starfield fandom has already dismissed him as just another heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, closet nerd Darien feels more and more like a fake—until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise.

GUYS.

GUYS THIS WAS SO CUTE.

Oh, I loved this book so much. I finished it in a day.

I actually couldn’t care less about some of my smaller gripes about characterization; the plot and lead characters were so good they make up for it.

The plot does follow our very basic Cinderella story – Elle goes to the ball in a ‘coach’, with her punk fairy godmother and has to leave at 9 o’clock to get home, leaving her slipper on the steps.
She was relatable, a complete nerd with a Tragic Backstory – and I just, she appealed to me. I got SO angry on her behalf at her Evil Stepmother and one of her step-sisters. Elle is just one of those protagonists that I can’t help empathising with.
(Also, Elle is short for Danielle, which I found new!)

Her handsome prince? A teen actor by the name of Darien Freeman, who can’t seem to catch a break from the press, the poor sod. He also has a bit of a Tragic Backstory, and definitely parental issues. I could also relate to him; maybe not as strongly as I could to Elle, but I also got SO ANGRY on his behalf at THE WORLD.

The cast of supporting characters is stellar – my absolute favourite is Sage. She is Elle’s workmate and throughout the novel their relationship develops into friendship and I adore her crazy personality.
She fills the role of fairy godmother and I wish more books had characters like her in them – punk girls with piercings and hearts of gold.
I also loved Calliope, Elle’s other stepsister, who does a complete 180 throughout the book and ends up supporting her. (She also gets together with Sage, but their relationship is so downplayed and normalised, I love it.)

Gail is memorable, but I feel like she didn’t get enough screen-time (page-time? who knows) and deserves more credit. She has a crazy life, trying to keep Darien in check and on time, bless her. I would’ve liked to see their relationship developed a little more.
Same goes for Lonny, who is like a huge teddy bear. He made me laugh multiple times whilst reading and he’s like the big bro that every character needs.

Onto the main subject of the book: Geekery.

Fandoms. Cons. Nerd culture.

This is my CALLING.

This book is very much a “love letter to nerd culture” – there were so many references that made my heart sing. (My favourite was “On your left!”).
The fandom of this book is Starfield, a fictional TV programme that I believe is a bit like Star Trek with the special effects of Red Dwarf. If it was real, I can assure you that I would be watching it.

Reading about people’s love for fandoms and books is like wrapping up in a warm blanket and sipping hot chocolate; it feels like home. I have spent countless hours on Pinterest and Tumblr, read (and written) fanfiction for so many different series. This book manages to encapsulate all of that.

It’s also made me determined to attend ComiCon, at least once.

Also to cosplay. Any suggestions for a girl who’s 5’2?

Anyway, I ADORED this book and it warmed my heart. Highly recommended!

Holly xx

 

 

A Quiet Kind of Thunder – Book Review

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Title: A Quiet Kind of Thunder
Author: Sarah Barnard
Paperback: 307 pages
Published: January 12th 2017 by Macmillan Children’s Books
My Rating: 4/5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): Steffi doesn’t talk, but she has so much to say.
Rhys can’t hear, but he can listen.
Their love isn’t a lightning strike, it’s the rumbling roll of thunder.

Steffi has been a selective mute for most of her life – she’s been silent for so long that she feels completely invisible. But Rhys, the new boy at school, sees her. He’s deaf, and her knowledge of basic sign language means that she’s assigned to look after him. To Rhys, it doesn’t matter that Steffi doesn’t talk, and as they find ways to communicate, Steffi finds that she does have a voice, and that she’s falling in love with the one person who makes her feel brave enough to use it.

Whilst I loved this book, I’ve found myself knocking off a star for unresolved subplots and minor characters who only appear once.

Rhys’s friends, for example; they appear once, and are then never spoken of again. Also Meg. She seemed pretty cool and I wanted to see more of her.

Sadly, we didn’t get that.

What we did get though, was some brilliant character development through Steffi. Before reading this book, I only had a basic idea of what selective mutism is. It was interesting from that perspective; mutism isn’t a widely spoken of disability, and this book did a great job of explaining it.

She starts out shy and ends up still being shy and having social anxiety – however, she has found her voice. She can use her voice when she needs to. And that’s the main plot.

Also, I loved the relationship between Steffi and Rhys. Not gonna lie, it did feel a little bit like insta-love, but it was adorable and I felt that they genuinely loved each other. The love also started out as friendship, which earns bonus points!

At points, I did feel like the book revolved around the relationship – it felt like Steffi and Rhys were only interested in one another, and all of the other characters faded into the background. I get that in the early stages of a relationship, the couple do tend to focus on one another; this one felt like it was going a little overboard, but that’s just my personal feelings.

Steffi has a best friend, Tem (short for September), who feels a little bit like a token character and makes up the racial diversity of the novel. Actually, she does have a boyfriend, Karam, for a bit and he’s Asian, which is a little bit more diversity, but honestly, there wasn’t a whole load.

Steffi and Tem speak about things other than boys, I think – I don’t remember very well, it’s been a couple of weeks since I read the book! The conversations that I remember were about Rhys and Karam, however they did talk about other things – they pass the Bechdel Test!

Plenty of themes are explored in this book – I just think that maybe too many were taken on. Disability, racism, broken families, death, sex; a lot was covered in what is a relatively short book. It does all link together quite well, but I felt rushed when reading the novel.

In all, I did really enjoy this book – it just didn’t tie up enough loose ends for me. I will admit, I cried in the final scene at the graveyard, and smiled at parts and laughed out loud at parts. It just isn’t quite up there on my all-time favourites list (But it’s probably in my Top 30).

Any other thoughts on this one?

Holly xx

Hook – Book Review

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Title: Hook
Author: K.R. Thompson
eBook: 262 pages
Published: December 14th 2014 by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
My Rating: 4/5 stars

Summary (Goodreads): Archie Jameson sat in the dark corners of the print shop, dreaming of adventure. Today, it found him.
Caught in a chilly October storm, he ducked into a tavern, hoping to escape the rain. What he found, was a room teeming with pirates.
Shanghaied by the most elderly of the lot, Archie found himself serving on a ship captained by the fiercest pirate ever to sail the seven seas— the man known as Blackbeard.

Through a series of thrilling twists, Archie finds himself captain of another of Blackbeard’s ships, the Jolig Roger. In an attempt to flee danger, his ship becomes lost under stars never before seen.
Determined to save both his crew and the woman he loves, Archie will make decisions that will forever seal his fate. Discover the untold story of the man who became Captain Hook.

This was such a good retelling. Peter Pan is one of my all-time favourite books, in case you hadn’t noticed, and Hook does a brilliant job of bringing one of the most notorious villains in literature to life.

The story behind why Hook is…Hook, is well plotted and the reader experiences first-hand how he descends into his villainous form, from proper gentleman to dastardly pirate.

One of my favourite things is reading the villain’s side of the story, and seeing why they think that they are right – this one did just that, and it actually had me sympathising for Archie right to the end. I would’ve killed Peter myself for what he did, if I’m being totally honest.

Aside from Archie, there are a whole host of other characters that bring the story to life.
– Blackbeard the pirate captain (who actually disappears half-way through the book, never to be seen again) is an inspiration for Hook, by being intelligent and able to outwit any adversary.

– Harper, oh my poor kid. He’s the youngest guy on the ship and he’s actually my favourite character. All he wants is to get home to his beloved Mary (whom he has tattooed on his forearm.)

– Smee is straight-up terrifying. He’s the surgeon/cook/whatever he needs to be and he has a real dark side. At one point he actually just turns around and stabs someone, whilst maintaining a grandfatherly figure.

– Tiger Lily is given a storyline, but a part of me is annoyed that she’s basically there to be a love interest. Not my favourite book, concerning her, although she is still shown to be able to stand on her own two feet and be a decent huntress.

– The pirates are actually defined as different characters, but I’ll get their names mixed up if I try to write them down. They make the book, if I’m being honest and all of them have their own roles within the ship.

– The Lost Boys only show up once or twice, and they have different names to those from the original book (Beetle, Patch and Runt). They are quite sweet though.

Peter is…childish. This book really captures what a child he is, but also the incredibly dark side to him. He would be a genuinely terrifying person to come across in a dark forest without a weapon, I can assure you.

The plot is somewhat simplistic, but that allows for real character development, which is so, so, so good to see.
Also, there is an interesting take on why Hook has different coloured blood, which is explained my better than any others in my opinion (even if it’s blue in this version, rather than yellow, which I think is the canon colour? To be honest, it doesn’t really matter, as long as it’s not red.)

I think I’ll give the rest of this series a try! The other two books are from the POV of a mermaid and one of the younger pirates, so those should be pretty interesting.

Anyone else read these? Anyone got a good Peter Pan retelling recommendation?

Holly xx

Kill The Boy Band – Book Review

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Title: Kill The Boy Band
Author: Goldy Moldavsky
Paperback: 312 pages
Published: February 23rd 2016 by Point
My Rating: 3/5 stars

Summary (From Goodreads): Just know from the start that it wasn’t supposed to go like this. All we wanted was to get near them. That’s why we got a room in the hotel where they were staying.

We were not planning to kidnap one of them. Especially not the most useless one. But we had him—his room key, his cell phone, and his secrets.

We were not planning on what happened next.

We swear.

From thrilling new talent Goldy Moldavsky comes a pitch-black, hilarious take on fandom and the badass girls who have the power to make—or break—the people we call “celebrities”.

This book was a weird read for me. The plotline reads like a bad fanfiction, but the dark humour is its saving grace.

Let’s start with the negatives, for a change – as I’ve just stated, this reads like a bad fanfiction. You know the type; self-insert One Direction fics, where the Mary-Sueish OC somehow gets together with band-member-of-their-choice.

That literally happens in this book. I mean, seriously, the unnamed main character kisses her idol (although, she loses him and they never meet again). The plot is so unrealistic, it’s actually hilarious. Instead of finding this annoying, I found it more like a parody, which is new for me.

There are a couple of bigger issues I had with this book – namely sexual assault and fat shaming. Apple, one of the main character’s ‘friends’, winds up sitting on the lap of a band member that they have, tied up, with her shirt off, taking selfies and kissing him.

Um, no.

I get that fangirls can come across as crazy (come on, I’ve been there, just over fictional characters, not band members) but would they really go that far? In all fairness though, the protagonist does call her out on it.

The fat shaming is also iffy – Apple manages to knock a guy out by hugging him and apparently constantly posts about it on Twitter. It’s annoying.

Aside from that, I found the book to be one of those that’s so bad it’s good.

Let me give you the run-down: There is a boyband called The Ruperts. All of its members have the same first name. No prizes for guessing what it is.

There are four fangirls – Strepurs (Ruperts backwards) – that adore them. Our unnamed protagonist, her best mate Erin who is a Queen Bitch, Erin’s psychopathic best mate Izzy, and Apple.

The girls accidentally kidnap Rupert P, the one that nobody except Apple likes. He somehow dies (I won’t say who kills him – spoilers!) and they try to figure out who did it, as well as getting him out of their hotel room.

As I said, plotline is terrible, but if you have a sadistic streak, you might find this book is up your street. It definitely entertained me for a few hours.

Any thoughts?

Holly xx

Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment – Book Review

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Title: Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment
Author: James Patterson
Paperback: 454 pages
Published: April 10th 2006 by Headline
My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Summary (From Goodreads):
WELCOME TO MY NIGHTMARE
Do not put this book down. I’m dead serious – your life could depend on it. I’m risking everything by telling you – but you need to know.

STRAP YOURSELF IN for the thrill ride you’ll want to take again and again! From Death Valley, California, to the bowels of the New York City subway system, you’re about to take off on a heart-stopping adventure that will blow you away…

YOUR FAITHFUL COMPANIONS: Max, Fang, Iggy, Nudge, the Gasman and Angel. Six kids who are pretty normal in most ways – except that they’re 98% human, 2% bird. They grew up in a lab, living like rats in cages, but now they’re free. Aside, of course, from the fact that they’re prime prey for Erasers – wicked wolf-like creatures with a taste for flying humans.

THE MISSIONS: Rescue Angel from malicious mutants. Infiltrate a secret facility to track down the flock’s missing parents. Scavenge for sustenance. Get revenge on an evil traitor. And save the world. If there’s time.

I enjoyed this book waaay more than I thought I would.

At first, I found the writing style difficult to read and thought it felt kind of childish. Each chapter is about 2 pages long and they ended on the most ridiculously small cliff-hangers, but I soon got used to it and started to ignore each new chapter heading. (There is one that is literally half a page though, which was a bit anticlimactic).

I also found the narrative voice was very masculine (and, I’m ashamed to admit, it took me until page 56 to realise that Max was female. I’m not sure how, considering how her actions towards Angel are pretty motherly.)
The book makes use of first and third person narratives – first person for Max and third person for anyone else. I liked this, because it saved me getting totally confused about who was talking.

Max, I found, was actually a pretty cool heroine. I was expecting her to be Mary-Sueish and annoying, but actually she’s more of a female Percy Jackson. The sarcasm that she has is limitless. I did feel a couple of times that she was too mature for a 14 year old, but considering how she was brought up, that actually fitted her character.

Fang, I also loved. He was kind of the stereotypical, brooding character, but he did actually have some depth to him besides standing around and glowering at everyone. Considering that this book was written in 2006, there’s plenty of sarcasm from him too. One part in particular made me snort out loud (for context, Fang has just been beaten up pretty bad, like knocked unconscious and broken bones.)

“Jeez, what happened to you?” Directed at Fang.

“Cut myself shaving,” Fang said.

Nudge annoyed me, gotta be honest. She feels like a stereotypical chatterbox and I just…nah, I’ll pass. She’s not detestable, just not my favourite character.

Iggy was brilliant – for those not in the know, he’s blind, so representation! He is so skilled as a person, and whilst there’s references to his blindness, it doesn’t seem to hinder him. Rather, his other senses are enhanced and he makes use of them to make up for it.

Gazzy…was an overexcited eight year old. Don’t get me wrong, he was a sweet kid and basically the personification of ‘annoying little brother’, which was plenty realistic, but not my cup of tea.

Angel, I don’t know what to think about. Clearly, she’s pretty intelligent for a 6 year old, but something just feels…off about her. I’m not sure why, considering she acts like virtually every other 6 year old that I know. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see when I’m reading the next book.

This book was enjoyable – not the best in terms of writing style, which I’ve taken a star off for, but it kept me turning the pages and it kept me entertained. I think I’d actually read this one again!

Has anyone got different thoughts on this book?

Holly xx

The Darkest Part of the Forest – Book Review

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Title: The Darkest Part of the Forest
Author: Holly Black
Paperback: 324 pages
Published: February 5th 2015 by Indigo
My Rating: 2/5 stars

Summary (From Goodreads): Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for.

Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once.

At the centre of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.

Until one day, he does…

As the world turns upside down, Hazel tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?

My initial reaction to this book is that it is very simple.

The idea is good, and parts of it are interesting, but for me, this book is under-developed. This could be because I’ve literally just finished ACOMAF which is also about fae and is twice the size of this book, but I think the fault lies in the plot.

The book feels rushed, and I feel a little cheated. There are so many storylines that could have been explored further – Jack and his mother, Hazel’s other life, Ben’s music, the whole thing with Molly etc.
They were tied up badly, and the book felt…bland.

There were good parts, don’t get me wrong. Firstly, representation: Ben is gay and he also gets a happy ending, so I mean, that’s pretty good. I also loved the fact that Hazel becomes a knight, and gender roles become blurred into non-existence.

The Alderking was a pretty poor villain, as villains go. He didn’t seem to do much, aside from sit on his throne and rule. He was weak and didn’t feel like that much of a threat if I’m being honest.

Severin, whom I thought was going to be the novel’s main focus, ends up with maybe five scenes, I think? He faded into the background to make way for Hazel and Jack’s love story (which I found quite cute, actually) and just…he was there. He acted as he should and did everything that was expected of him, which made most of the plot predictable.

Hazel, as far as protagonists go, wasn’t insufferable. She’s not one of my all-time-favourites, but I do like her and find her compelling enough to read. Her thought processes were a little bizarre at times, but she was decent enough.

Jack was probably my favourite, because he is a real sweetheart. If Hazel wasn’t the knight, then he certainly would be.

Ben was also an interesting character, as he wants the same things as Hazel, but goes about the situations differently, which is what also caused some tension in the book.

To be honest, I actually quite liked all of the characters, alongside the first couple of chapters – after that, the plot just declines into a half-baked mess.

Some people love this book, but I think it just wasn’t for me. Thoughts?

Holly xx

A Court of Mist and Fury – Book Review

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Title: A Court of Mist and Fury
Author: Sarah J Maas
Paperback: 624 pages
Published: May 3rd 2016 by Bloomsbury Children’s Books
My Rating: 5/5 stars

Summary (From Goodreads): Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

Wow.

This book is infinitely better than its predecessor. I loved it so much more, not only for the characters but for the changes in scenery and the fact that Feyre wasn’t cooped up in a house for the entire book.

Feyre changed so much in this book – she really grew as a character, into her own skin and her role as a Fae. Gone is the helpless little human that she was at the beginning of A Court of Thorns and Roses – now she’s lethal.

If I liked Rhysand from the first book, then I love him now. He also changed in this one, to someone so much better. Well, that being said, all of the first book was technically an act. But he’s…perfect. Imperfectly perfect. He gives Feyre the space and freedom she needs and y’know actually cares about her.

Tamlin, I could do without.
As could the majority of the characters in the book.
I mean. I hate him. He hasn’t grown at all from the first book and is so possessive over Feyre it’s unreal. Despite everything she said to him, everything she pleaded from him, he locked her up in that house.

Lucien…Lucien, I think, can redeem himself. I like him as a character, and although he’s made mistakes, I think he can sort himself out, especially for the sake of Elain.

Nesta and Elain showed up again, and my opinions on them haven’t really changed. I like Elain, she’s sweet, and I love Nesta for being a Queen.

We also got a whole bunch of new characters! Rhys’s Inner Circle were fantastic and I love them all. Mor, Azriel, Amren and Cassian (especially Cassian) made me laugh time and again, and the way that they just took Feyre in is just…they’re her family. If any of them die in the last book, I will cry.
(Yes, Az is my favourite. Yes, I will cry if he dies.)

Speaking of crying, I came close to it in this book, but not quite. That could be because everyone who’s already read it told me I would cry, and  so I was expecting to. There was one part where I very nearly screamed because something shocking just happened, like BAM, but aside from that…nah.

We saw the Summer Court as well, which was fun. I did enjoy those scenes – Tarquin is so sweet, bless him. Poor guy.

The plot of this book was better too! It didn’t drag, it was fast paced, and was so much more gripping than whatever Tamlin was doing back in the Spring Court. I don’t really remember, if I’m being honest. We have an arcing storyline now, and the threat of war from the King of Hybern is engaging enough to make me desperate for the third book to come out.

I’m going to have to bring this up too – this book is graphic, and not in a violent way. There is heavy romance. If you are not into reading that, then I suggest you find a different book (or just skip those scenes), because there are at least three scenes of that nature that I can count of the top of my head.

Anyway – I loved this book and would highly recommend it to anyone over the age of 16.

Holly xx