The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy

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The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy Book Cover The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy
Sam Maggs
Non-fiction, fangirl-style
Quirk Books

Fanfic, cosplay, cons, books, memes, podcasts, vlogs, OTPs and RPGs and MMOs and more—it’s never been a better time to be a girl geek. The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy is the ultimate handbook for ladies living the nerdy life, a fun and feminist take on the often male-dominated world of geekdom. With delightful illustrations and an unabashed love for all the in(ternet)s and outs of geek culture, this book is packed with tips, playthroughs, and cheat codes for everything from starting an online fan community to planning a convention visit to supporting fellow female geeks in the wild.

The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy is a book I’m, well, fangirling over (is that how you spell it?). The author, Sam Maggs, is clearly an expert in the matter. Riddled throughout the entertaining and thorough book are one-page interviews with professional fangirls (but, then again, aren’t we all profs at fangirling…yes, even you male fangirls).

I love that Sam Maggs speaks in a language all of us geek-girls and boys speak. She addresses things like speech (“I can’t even”) and provides a field guide for all types of fangirls–from Trekkies to Potterheads–and beyond. It doesn’t matter your fandom what matters is that it matters to you and it makes you happy. She isn’t able to brush on every fandom out there, being that there are so many. (For instance, one of my major fandom is Stargate but it’s not mentioned. Doesn’t mean it’s any less valid than Trekkies, which I am also a part of.)

While she does focus on the positive parts of being a fangirl, she also addresses the unfortunate parts of being a fangirl such as being a girl…. Being a girl on teh interwebs… Being a IRL and online. I absolutely love that she validates our geek-i-ness and the fact that it’s okay to dress in the slutty outfits the creators of all fandoms have forced us women in. Come on, if we’re going to be true to the character we’re going to show some skin and NO, that does not mean we are posers, that we’re just doing it for attention. We’re doing it because that’s the image we’re given and some of us (I) don’t care if we show skin.

I’ve never been to a convention, though it is my ultimate goal to be able to attend Book Expo America (BEA). Before I delve into how to survive conventions, it’s interesting to note that she provides a list of conventions for a lot of the popular fandoms (squee!).  While, obviously, she couldn’t include everything, it was still super cool exploring what she was able to provide (Dragoncon, GeekGirlCon, YALLfest to name a few lesser-and more-well-known cons).

In the section titled, “Geronimo! How to Survive Conventions”, Sam Maggs outlines everything from a guide for “Flying (Han) Solo” (get it lolol get it) to hunting down tickets and the importance of following the con’s Twitter feeds.

I am so happy Sam Maggs wrote this book to validate girls and women all around the world and teh interwebs. We need some lovin’ among all the hate and personal, sexist, and woman-hating attacks. To Sam Maggs, I form a “V” with four fingers and an outward thumb and say, “Live long and prosper…and please write more books.” The end.

Thank you Quirk Books for sending me The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy: A Handbook for GIRL GEEKS. It was my pleasure.

 

September 20, 2016

Tarot Gothica Deck Review

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tarot-gothicaLikes:

  • Beautiful graphics
  • Life-like pictures that make it feel “real”
  • Clear, concise meanings in the booklet w/ an additional two sentences exploring the meaning of the individual cards

Dislikes:

  • Cheap paper
  • Large pixels
  • Not durable–will most likely be damaged in, say, a purse

When I first peeled away the Tarot Gothica booklet that is common with Tarot decks I was thrilled. The graphics were vibrant and real but, unfortunately, as soon as I (gracefully) tipped  the deck into my hand I was disappointed. The paper was thin, so thin that it almost immediately ruined the deck for me. Tarot is many things: an art form, it’s a form of divination and a tool to explore your life and answer the questions you struggle with. If you’re going to invest $25 into a Tarot deck you should be getting quality cards that won’t bend if you drop them, or hold them wrong.

I’m big into graphics. Tarot of the Knight had subpar graphics but was on excellent, thick paper, well-deserving of the craft. It was this that compelled me to give a rather positive review, even though the graphics were Sims 3-styled. Tarot decks are meant to be used and used again and Tarot Gothica isn’t going to hold up for frequent use. In my case, that has the potential to be a problem. I like to carry my decks with me in a muslin bag to make the deck as light and portable as possible. This decks just won’t hold up in my purse unless it’s in the sturdy box it comes in; my purse is heavy as-is without a full Tarot deck in a heavy box.

There was another huge problem with this deck: the pixels. Tarot Gothica is incredibly pixelated. It was as if I were viewing the deck on an older TV screen, where the pictures weren’t smooth and therefore weren’t as realistic. However, because of the poor quality of the paper on which they were printed, this deck is the least heavy deck I own, which is could be a positive aspect. The characters on the cards are the main feature of this deck, not the environment around them. Some decks, like the Housewives Tarot Deck for instance, have backgrounds that are intricate and are part of the story that the decks tell; it is not so with the Tarot Gothica. The humans depicted on the card are the main story, though there are various degrees of how intense the backgrounds are.

For instance, the 9 of Swords depicts a woman in a gothic/Western dress that is holding her severed head above her neck. The background is incredibly simplistic and has nothing but a door at first glance. If you were to look at the background in more detail, there is a grim reaper hiding in the background. The first few times I explored this card I didn’t see it and when I wasn’t aware of it, it was still plenty true to the 9 of Swords. As the booklet says, “Horror,” which describes the card with or without the knowledge that the Grim Reaper hides in the far right corner.

The deck reads well but the quality of the deck, even though the pictures are amazing, detract from the experience of using them, though not necessarily of owning them. The box itself is quite beautiful, the quality is significantly better than the cards themselves. The graphics on the box are significantly better though more simplistic than the cards themselves.

This deck may be for you if…

You don’t intend on using them on a regular basis, or if you don’t plan on carting them around in anything other than the box in which they came. They’re a great addition to a collection, for those of us who can’t get enough of artsy Tarot, and the cheap paper and large pixellation should not necessarily be a deterrent to these cards.

Thank you Schiffer Publishing for sending me this deck. Reviewing it was my pleasure and I hope to continue to review for you in the near and distant future.

September 18, 2016

The Sleeping Prince (Book) Review

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The Sleeping Prince Book Cover The Sleeping Prince
The Sin Eater's Daughter
Melinda Salisbury
YA Fantasy
Scholastic Press
May 31st, 2016
Hardcover
336
Publisher

Return to the darkly beautiful world of The Sin Eater's Daughter with a sequel that will leave you awed, terrified . . . and desperate for more.

Ever since her brother Lief disappeared, Errin's life has gone from bad to worse. Not only must she care for her sick mother, she has to scrape together rent money by selling illegal herbal cures. But none of that compares to the threat of the vengeful Sleeping Prince whom the Queen just awoke from his enchanted sleep.

When her village is evacuated as part of the war against the Sleeping Prince, Errin is left desperate and homeless. The only person she can turn to is the mysterious Silas, a young man who buys deadly poisons from Errin, but won't reveal why he needs them. Silas promises to help her, but when he vanishes, Errin must journey across a kingdom on the brink of war to seek another way to save her mother and herself. But what she finds shatters everything she believed about her world, and with the Sleeping Prince drawing nearer, Errin must make a heartbreaking choice that could affect the whole kingdom.

I loved that this story was set in the same universe as the first Sin Eater’s Daughter book was. It was wild to find out that the main character has such a close connection to Twylla through her brother. Because I read the first book so long ago I vaguely remembered that there was a boy named Lief, though I couldn’t remember what his significance was. I pulled out book #1 and flipped through the book until I reached the last chapter. Boom. There he was and the story made a bit more sense.

It took me a while to catch on to the fact that Twylla was not the main character in this book. I went into it expecting the book to follow her story in the after-math of her crazy adventure, so it took me about two chapters to realize that this was not Twylla. Now, I swear I’m intelligent but for the life of me I could not remember who the MC was in the first book. I had to revisit The Sin eater’s Daughter in order to orient myself.

This is a series that would best be marathoned. I still don’t remember everything that happened in The Sin Eater’s Daughter, however, I can tell you that it lacks the love triangle that the first book has, though there is a tad bit of romance that does not overshadow the plot and the strength of Errin as a young woman. She is hell-bent on saving her mother and that is an immense display of strength for a woman so young (compared to me, at least…).

The plot was fast-paced in hindsight, but the slow reading progress was a bit off-putting. I kept waiting for more to happen and it did–in the final third of the book. It was so worth the wait, though, because the ending was crazy good, what with the plot twists and all that. Almost all of the twists in the final third bit of the book were unexpected. Now, I’m quite good at reading into things, but I wasn’t good enough for this book; something which I appreciated very much. I had some suspicions but I hadn’t made up my mind that my assumptions could very well be true.

I haven’t mentioned Errin’s mother’s illness because I don’t want to give to much away, however, it makes me wonder, how far would you go to protect your family, especially when they’re dangerous? Thinking about it, I’m not sure of my answer. It’s a hard decision to make.

TL;DR?

Set in the same universe I absolutely loved in The Sin Eater’s Daughter, I was surprised at every turn and pleased to find that I was following the story of someone so connected to the MC in the first book, without the young woman, Errin, even realizing that.

 

September 1, 2016

Tarot of the Night Deck Review

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17760227My first reaction to this deck was excitement. Tarot of the Night comes in a large, sturdy box
that opens when a ribbon is pulled.This box is clearly meant to be kept along with the deck, a box that I won’t be throwing out in favor of a muslin bag that I store most of my decks in. Inside the box is a thick 256 page book; a book larger than any that has come with the decks I have thus far.

The box is what drew me into this deck. Instead of a booklet that brushes over the different meaning of the card in bullet form, this book told a vivid story of what each card could mean when drawn for the querent–the same was true with the spreads included in the back. I found that if I wanted to get the quick meaning of each card, if, for instance, I didn’t have time to read the story, I was better off going to my Tarot for Life or Tarot for Dummies book to refresh my memory quickly.

This deck worked with what it got: graphics on par with the Sims 2, not a “plus” in my book (or should I say deck?). While there is realistic shadowing for the rough shapes, there are too few facial expressions for my liking. The cards differ from each other in the sense that some card place all the focus on an individual, living or dead, while many others use the background to tell a story in the card.

I absolutely loved that there were so many ghosts in this deck. I’ve been dying to get my hands on a deck that incorporates ghosts and the like but I didn’t expect it in this deck, though in hindsight it makes perfect sense that a “Tarot of the Night”. There are some cards that seem out of place, like the King of Swords, for instance, that highlights a man standing with his hands on his hips, looking at the artist and, quite frankly, I’m not totally sure what to do with that.

The back of the cards are hard to decipher. At first glance I just thought the back of the card depicted a burning hourglass, which is true, but I didn’t see the skeleton on fire within the hourglass. It’s a clear indication, in my book, that it’s to remind us that we only have so long in this life so we must take advantage of what we’ve been given.

Each Tarot card has the number of both the major and minor arcana, as are court cards. There is no way to mistake which 10 card belong with the “swords” and which 10 card is a wand. The benefit of this is that it’s easy for a beginner to learn how to read this deck, as it is for the advanced readers as well. I appreciated the ease of the reading of each card.

True to my belief is what the author says is the purpose and application of the Tarot, The Tarot cards won’t get you there; you will, but insight into possibilities is a valuable tool if it is properly applied. Frankly put, you can’t sit on your ass all day expecting the love of your life to find you. Rather, it may give you some indications of what to look for and suggestions on how to make your future turn into one that pleases you.

Likes:

  • Sturdy paper that won’t bend easily
  • Small pixels so that the illustrations are smooth
  • Most were simplistic
  • Beautiful story for each card, something I’ve never experienced before

Dislikes:

  • Graphics weren’t well done
  • Very few facial expressions, unlike other decks like the Happy Tarot or Tarot Gothic, also by Schiffer Publishing
  • Graphics were on par with the Sims 2

Buy this deck if you like dark fantasy. The cards are literally dark in the sense that each is highlighted with a black background and also because most of the cards are dominated by death of some sort, whether it’s a collection of skeletons or ghosts interacting with the living.

August 24, 2016

Books for Trade! ~Or~ Give me thy books and I shall give thy mine

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Hey peeps, it’s time to clean out my bookshelves…and then get more! Below are the books that I want to trade, and there will be more on the way. I’m open to suggestions from you about what you have to trade with me. I’ll be working on a wishlist but come at me, bro, with all of the books you may want to get rid of. You can follow the progress of my #BooksForTrade on Twitter where there will be many an update as the books disappear.

Looking forward to trading with you!books for trade 1books for trade 3

August 23, 2016

Review: My Best Friends Exorcism

Published Post author

My Best Friend's Exorcism Book Cover My Best Friend's Exorcism
Grady Hendrix
YA Horror
Quirk Books
May 17th, 2016
Hardcover (like a yearbook)
336
Quirk Books for Review

Abby and Gretchen have been best friends since fifth grade, when they bonded over a shared love of E.T., roller-skating parties, and scratch-and-sniff stickers. But when they arrive at high school, things change. Gretchen begins to act . . . different. And as the strange coincidences and bizarre behavior start to pile up, Abby realizes there’s only one possible explanation: Gretchen, her favorite person in the world, has a demon living inside her. And Abby is not about to let anyone or anything come between her and her best friend. With help from some unlikely allies, Abby embarks on a quest to save Gretchen. But is their friendship powerful enough to beat the devil?

My Best Friend’s Exorcism: A Story of True Friendship and Fear

I reviewed a book by this author through Quirk Books some time ago. It wasn’t my fave but it was still plenty creative and entertaining. This book, however, is now one of my faves. My Best Friend’s Exorcism‘s title doesn’t look serious at all; however, this book is scary as fudge. If I’m going to read a horror book, I expect it to be plenty scary. It’s one of my favorite genres and I want to be so scared I have to carry the dog when I go to the bathroom at night.

My Best Friend’s Exorcism‘s title says it all. It follows the story of two friends, Abby and Gretchen, through childhood, and high school and the love they have to each other. The MC doesn’t give up on her friend, even when the demon possessing her tries to ruin the Abby’slife and those around her. This story is about true friendship in spite of terrible things one does.

I’m going to split this book review up in a few sections now to make this an easier read:

The plot:

It starts out slow, really really slow. So slow I almost considered putting the book down, if Quirk Books hadn’t given it to me for review, of course. But I kept trudging along and soon it got scary enough to make me fear having to take the long trek next door to the kitchen. While the demon in Gretchen starts out as just a terrible person, a phone call gave me chills.

The plot accelerates quickly enough after Gretchen changes and ends with a conclusion that I didn’t expect. After reading the other book by this author, Horrorstor, I was not expecting a story like this. It made me want to re-read the first book, and once I finish my ARCs, I think I’ll do just that.

The Characters & Character Development:

The story begins with the start of Gretchen and Abby’s unlikely friendship and goes throughout the years quickly, leading up to the present. The title gives away the fact that Abby’s best friend will go through an exorcism, so it’s no surprise that Gretchen goes through the changes that take place. What got me in the feels is that Abby stuck fast by her friend, never giving up on the friend she cared so deeply about.

The Writing Quality of My Best Friend’s Exorcism:

The writing quality was exponentially more pleasing than the first.. The author’s voice developed since Horrorstor and was easy to follow. I’m not a huge fan of books where the author forces complexity into their writing and so this book was easy to follow. It wasn’t full of “big words”, nor did it leave too much to the imagination. Sometimes that’s nice, not having to work when you’re reading. In fact, that’s the type of reading I prefer.

You’ll note about the details of the book, and my rating, which is quite high. Do check out Horrorstor, if only for the comical effects of the book, after reading this one. Thank you Quirk Books for le book. It was my pleasure reading for you and my followers. <3

 

August 16, 2016

The Infernal Devices by Cassie Clare

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Clockwork Angel, Clockwork Prince, Clockwork Princess Book Cover Clockwork Angel, Clockwork Prince, Clockwork Princess
The Infernal Devices Trilogy
Cassandra Clare
YA Steampunk
Simon & Schuster
2010, 2011, 2013
Paperback (new covers)
A LOT
Barnes and Noble

Welcome to my first review of an entire series vs individual books! You may have noticed that I haven’t reviewed for a while, because work and life 🙁 But I’m back and trying something new. Let me know what you think of the formatting of this post so I know what works for you and what doesn’t. I read for me and I review for you so it’s important to me that you get something out of this.

Let’s start this out right by telling you that I. LOVE. THIS. SERIES. It’s super awesome. So here’s how it works: you read book 1-3 of The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare STOP Switch to The Infernal Devices series then resume The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare. Way cool dudes and dudettes. Way cool. I was hesitant to pause The Mortal Instruments because I was having a blast but I ended up absolutely loving The Infernal Devices more so than The Mortal Instruments. I can’t give a final judgement about The Mortal Instruments yet because I picked up book 4 and then put it down but, as of now, The Infernal Devices is what slapped me in the feels.

The Infernal Devices book #1-3 (Thank you, Cassandra Clare!)

Clockwork Angel of The Infernal Devices introduces the main characters of the trilogy that are the relatives of the peeps from The Mortal Instruments. It’s amazing following the ancestors, knowing how their children will grow up, eerily similar to their own. Cassandra Clare shows us how the characters from The Mortal Instruments are connected to The Infernal Devices and slaps you in the face with it.

The way Cassandra Clare wrote The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices is absolute genius. I’ve never read a series that is interrupted by the ancestors of that series. It flows naturally, a Steampunk novel within a modern-day series that explodes among SIX books from another series set in the same world as each other.

This series hit me in the feels way more than The Mortal Instruments did, which made me fall in love with this trilogy. There’s the regular love triangle that so many YA novels have and I’ll never tire from them. That’s how I roll, one woman between two gorgeous men. I’ve been told that many people are sick of the love triangles. Personally, I never will feel that way and you don’t have to worry about being annoyed about this. The way Cassandra Clare handles it is insanely genius and unlike anything I’ve ever read.

The Twist

is wild. Truly wild. I didn’t see any of it coming and that’s how I like it. Cassandra Clare covers everything that is in The Mortal Instruments and ensures that the story will carry on in books 4-6.

I’m so bummed that it’s over because I want the world to keep spinning but rumor has it that Cassandra Clare will be coming out with more in the time period of The Infernal Devices. 

Have you not read anything by Cassandra Clare?

WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH YOU. Fix that. Fix that now. If you’re trying to decide which series to read next, choose this one even if you don’t follow the pattern Cassandra Clare intended.

 

August 3, 2016