Format: eARC

review of queens of geeks

Posted May 25, 2017 by Hillary in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

I received this book for free from netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

ISBN: 9781250111395
review of queens of geeksQueens of Geek by Jen Wilde
Published by Feiwel & Friends on March 14th 2017
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Loners & Outcasts, Romance, Contemporary, LGBT, Social Themes, Mental Illness
Pages: 288
Format: eARC
Source: netgalley
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads

Three friends, two love stories, one convention: this fun, feminist love letter to geek culture is all about fandom, friendship, and finding the courage to be yourself.
"Full of irreverent humor and in-jokes, it’s geeky and funny, with a heavy dose of self-discovery. . . . . Seeing girls and women uplifting, protecting, and loving each other is extremely powerful especially in the context of fandom." Teen Vogue
"This is the geeky, queer book of our dreams." —SeventeenCharlie likes to stand out. She’s a vlogger and actress promoting her first movie at SupaCon, and this is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star Reese Ryan. When internet-famous cool-girl actress Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought.
Taylor likes to blend in. Her brain is wired differently, making her fear change. And there’s one thing in her life she knows will never change: her friendship with her best guy friend Jamie—no matter how much she may secretly want it to. But when she hears about a fan contest for her favorite fandom, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.
Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde, chosen by readers like you for Macmillan's young adult imprint Swoon Reads, is an empowering novel for anyone who has ever felt that fandom is family.
Praise for Queens of Geek:
"Seeing girls and women uplifting, protecting, and loving each other is extremely powerful especially in the context of fandom. The book deals head on with issues of mental health, body shaming, sexuality, and internet celebrity, handling them with a delicate and skillful touch." —Teen Vogue
"This is the geeky, queer book of our dreams. . . . This fluffy, nerdy book is perfect for cosplayers and convention-lovers." —Seventeen"Jen Wilde's book about two best friends—one a bisexual young woman of color, the other a young [autistic] woman . . . dealing with anxiety—will be a favorite of anyone who is a fan of geek culture. . . . This fun book about fierce friendships gives voice to a group of diverse female characters who are so defined by so much more than just their mental health and sexuality." —Bustle
Queens of Geek is an emotional, lively story full of characters that leap off the page and slip their hands into yours, inviting you into a world where the geeks and nerds are royalty and fandom is court. Richly realized and defiantly affirming, Queens of Geek reminds us that adventures and romances aren't limited to archetypes but are, in fact, for all of us.” —Katherine Locke, author of Second Position, moderator of #GayYABookClub
"The characters’ diversity provides natural opportunities to explore a number of contemporary teen issues, including race, sexual orientation, feminism, and body image. Some of the most compelling chapters are told from the point of view of Taylor, who fears change, hates crowds, and is on the autism spectrum. . . . Part of Macmillan’s crowdsourced imprint, this celebration of geek culture and fandom promotes diversity and being true to oneself." —School Library Journal
"Queens of Geek is full of book and movie references and is a fun look at the fandom convention phenomena. Taylor's anxiety and experience with Asperger's are treated with sensitivity. . . . Queens of Geek is a fun, quick read that will appeal to romance readers and self-proclaimed geeks." —VOYA
Praise from the Swoon Reads community:
"[Queens of Geek] was an incredibly compelling read, just because it contained a storyline I ABSORBED, and characters so diverse they were a pleasure to read! . . . Mix that with the romance, self-discovery of self-worth, and all the geeky references, this made for a perfect read! I honestly couldn't put it down, reading late into the night to see what happened next! " —Zoie K, reader on SwoonReads.com
"I love how interesting the story was and how the author addressed the characters' diversity without glossing over it or making it all about that. . . . It reminded me a little of Fangirl." —Lizzie, reader on SwoonReads.com

 

When I first saw this on NetGalley I had no idea that it was gonna be such a huge hit in book blogging circles. All I saw was geek in the title and I was all like

fandoms and other nerdy things.

A girl with anxiety HEY THATS ME!!

 

 

And I was so overjoyed when I got approved for it. Then I forgot about it until I saw it popping up on alllll the book blogs and I looked on my kindle and I was all like I HAVE IT yay! So I started reading and this book..was…so..good. I read it all in one sitting.

 

Those of you who know me know that I suffer from anxiety. It can be debilitating at times and it is so infuriating when an author trivializes that actual disorder.  I have read a book where they make it seem if I just set my mind to it then I can overcome the attacks and that is just not true. Trust me no one WANTSan anxiety disorder. It is annoying and it can keep you from being truly happy

 

it is like you WANT to do things, like in the book she wanted to enter the fan contest to meet the author of her favorite book but her anxiety was so high that the very thought of it freaked her out. I can so relate to that, I mean sometimes I can’t even get up the gumption to leave my apartment. Like her, I also have to prepare for stuff. Like if a friend calls me up wanting to go out THAT VERY MINUTE well it ain’t happening.  Have to have at least 24 hours to mentally prepare me.

 

I loved all of the geeky stuff in it too. I am a big geek. Although my fandoms seem less cool than the people in the book. Like I am obsessed with Zombies. Anything Zombie and I want it. I even have the Zombie Couch to 5K thingie on my phone so I can pretend to be running for an actual reason than to mindless go nowhere on the treadmill. I could so relate to the comic thingie too I have only recently gotten into the whole Comic Scene but I love it. I used to even play games but I had to quit that or I would never get out of the apartment. Hours and hours I used to spend in the land of World of Warcraft.

 

I loved the diversity in this book. It is hard to find the book this well was written that has believable diversity in it. These were not just walking diagnoses but rather people that happened to HAVE anxiety and be on the autistic spectrum. They had a bi person in the book and it was so refreshing not to have the person be all like what is wrong with me but rather view it as a natural and normal part of who she was. I loved that.

 

This is going onto one of my top ten reads this year for sure. In fact, so far this is my favorite read this year. I hope the author writes more soon!

 

Book Review: Chernobyl Strawberries: A Memoir by Vesna Goldsworthy

Posted June 25, 2015 by Hillary in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

I received this book for free from netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

ISBN: 9781843544142
Book Review: Chernobyl Strawberries: A Memoir by Vesna GoldsworthyChernobyl strawberries by Vesna Goldsworthy
Published by Atlantic on 2005
Genres: Great Britain, Serbs, Social life and customs, Television journalists, Yugoslavia, Yugoslavs, Biography & Autobiography, General, Social Science, Customs & Traditions
Pages: 290
Format: eARC
Source: netgalley
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
three-stars

How would you make sense of your life if you thought it might end tomorrow? Vesna Goldsworthy's formative years were a breeze - a pampered child of the Serbian middle class, a top student at Belgrade University, a presenter of a fashionable radio programme and a poet who performed her work to a crowd of thirty thousand people. At the age of twenty-four she left Yogoslavia for London, confident that she would be just as good at being English. But then, more than a decade later, illness invaded. In prose that is exquisite in its precision, Vesna tells the story of herself, her family and her lost country. Although purportedly an account of forty years in the life of a passionate woman, Chernobyl Strawberries traffics in the births and deaths of whole worlds. Vesna Goldsworthy's captivating memoir about exile, love and motherhood marks the emergence of a gorgeous new literary talent.

why I read this book

I was browsing NetGalley when I saw this title. I thought it was going be a gritty memoir about what I have no idea. The aftermath of a nuclear fallout, maybe?

my review

 

I must admit that I went into this expecting a gritty memoir. I did not get it. It is a memoir where nothing much happens. She says that she wrote this book for her son when she was diagnosed with cancer. I have no problem with that but still. She had a normal happy childhood in Yugoslavia, and she talks at lent about that. I had a more  growing up in the Appalachian Mountains but ok. It was hard to get into this book. I would have DNF’ed it but as a review book I felt obligated to finish it. It did pick up steam when she talks about the war for her BBC radio show. I really liked that part. The rest of it meh. I finally made me a tall glass of a hurricane drink to plow through it. Once properly inebriated I found some sort of poetic beauty in her words. I saw what she was trying to do. Paint a picture of what everyday communism was really like. We hear horror stories about it every day but this was like a sweet gentle lullaby. Until the war part but even that as she was in England it was sort of a detached vibe. Maybe if I went into it with no expectations it would have been different but alas.

it-was-ok

three-stars

Detour from Normal

Posted February 2, 2015 by Hillary in book review / 0 Comments

ISBN: 9781491248638
This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Detour from NormalDetour from Normal by Ken Dickson
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform on December 12th 2013
Genres: Biography & Autobiography, Personal Memoirs
Pages: 372
Format: eARC
Source: netgalley
Goodreads
three-stars

Before April 14, 2011, Ken Dickson lived a life indistinguishable from those of other residents of his Phoenix suburb. The normally healthy fifty-five year-old held a regular job, and lived with his loving wife, two teenage daughters, and an assortment of pets. On that mid-April day, though, the course of his life forever changes when he learns he must undergo surgery to remove a damaged portion of his lower intestine.The life-saving surgery and associated medications become catalysts for an unbelievable chain of events that cause the formerly mild-mannered man to spiral into the chaotic mental illness known as mania. Dickson is then subjected to a whirlwind of trips to emergency rooms, hospitals and ultimately, psychiatric facilities where he finds himself deep in an inescapable abyss of mental illness.Part medical mystery, and part psychological thriller, Dickson's creative nonfiction memoir, Detour from Normal, demonstrates how even the most seemingly normal life can implode in an instant. It is a riveting account of undying love and brutal anguish, of lies and arrogance, and of unforgettable characters and desperate actions.In an age when there is utmost concern about the quality of mental health care, the timing couldn't be better for this informative and inspirational memoir. Told from the real-life perspective of someone with mental illness, readers will observe first-hand the adverse reactions to medications, misdiagnoses, improper treatment, and other factors that work together to send Dickson spiraling into a seemingly inescapable hell.Despite overwhelming obstacles, Dickson struggles bravely to reclaim the life he has lost. His journey proves to be a perilous one of unexpected discovery, and from its foretelling opening pages to its unpredictable climax, it never ceases to be fascinating, enlightening and thought provoking.

why I read this book

I have experienced mania from Bipolar and I am always curious when some one else experiences something like mania or depression.

my review

First of all I have to be honest and admit that the writing was not the best in this book. However I was curious about how he handled his mania episode so I ignored that and read on.

He first details the illness that had preceded the mania episode then details his decent into mania. Aside form not sleeping I have to say we had two very different experiences. I liked reading about how describes his decent into mania. At first I was sure that he had undiagnosed bipolar and almost every book I have read by someone with bipolar the prose sings. It is like a cursed gift. You get words from the angels but you pay a dark price for it and this…well it was mostly choppy and disjointed.

I felt kinda bad that it seemed that no Dr were really able to help him. In hindsight I can see why. He had no history of mental illness and no family history so it probably never even entered their minds. I have to be honest, I kept waiting for the diagnoses of bipolar to come and I was more than a little irked when he refused to take his medication. I wanted to reach through my kindle and shake him and tell him, honestly the sooner you take it the sooner your nightmare will be over. So yes I had my jugdey glasses on.

At the end when he has recovered from the ordeal I was shocked to find out the real cause of his mania. I have never heard of this cause even though I have read memoirs like this since 2007.

The story was good but like I said the writing was choppy and disjointed. It made it hard to read at times. Other than that it is an interesting memoir.

it-was-ok

three-stars

Book Review: The Awkward Human Survival Guide: How to Handle Life’s Most Uncomfortable Situations

Posted December 11, 2014 by Hillary in Uncategorized / 0 Comments

I received this book for free from edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

ISBN: 9781454911647
Book Review: The Awkward Human Survival Guide: How to Handle Life’s Most Uncomfortable SituationsThe Awkward Human Survival Guide by Adam DachisErica Elson
Published by Sterling Publishing Company, Incorporated on 2014
Genres: Etiquette, General, Humor, Reference
Pages: 159
Format: eARC
Source: edelweiss
Goodreads
four-stars

Hope for the best  . . .  but prepare for the worst! From personality clashes and tongue-tied conversations to all those painfully embarrassing moments, The Awkward Human Survival Guide offers a roadmap through life's most uncomfortable situations. Humorously and smartly written by two popular bloggers who've lived through it all, it explains how to call out a friend's BS, handle that accidentally blurted “I love you,” confront a kitchen thief at work, and much, much more!

My Review 2

I first read this because it was written by some of my favorite bloggers. Then I thought I have lots of awkward moments maybe this book will have some useful tips for me.

This book actually provides a lot of tips on how to survive the most embarrassing stuff. I thought I had some really awkward and embarrassing moments but after reading this book I have decided that I have lived a really tame life. I was unaware of how many awkward moments you could have during sex but this book enlightened me.

You will find really good information in this book such as how to recover from putting your foot in your mouth (I do this a lot) to other situations. I read this book back in the summer and I have found use for some of the info that was covered in this book.

four-stars

The Rise of the Thing Down Below

Posted December 3, 2014 by Hillary in book review / 0 Comments

I received this book for free from netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

ISBN: 9781626392076
The Rise of the Thing Down BelowRise of the Thing Down Below by Daniel W. Kelly
Published by Bold Strokes Books on 2014-10-13
Pages: 264
Format: eARC
Source: netgalley
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
five-stars

The boys and bears of Comfort Cove are counting the days until the opening of the sexually charged boardwalk attraction SandMen Strip. But before the naked fun in the sun can begin, the mutilated bodies of a few burly dockworkers wash up on the sand. Suspicion falls on the cute young owners of SandMen Strip, but local paranormal investigator Deck Waxer has to look at all the possibilities, including new faces in town. There's the cocky two-and-a-half foot tall artist named Little Larry Long. The city's mayor is hiding some unnaturally large life form in his mansion. And even trusted religious leader Father Merrin has been keeping a troubled young psychic a secret from the public. As the body count rises, the angry and scared dockworkers target Deck's crew of sex-loving friends, unaware of the real terror that has surfaced in Comfort Cove: a grotesque evolutionary mutation from deep down below.

My Review 2

Sometimes you just need a good book to take you away and forget about the cruel hard world. I admit I requested this book from NetGalley because I like books that have a supernatural element to them. I had no idea that this book was a campy, horror gay sex book. I mean I was reading and I was all like

wtf

I even asked my gay friend if some of the sex scenes were real or did the author have an over active imagination. My friend told me they were real. OOOKKK. WOW.

Aside from learning a lot about gay sex I really enjoyed the plot of this book. The world building was excellent and it reminded me in a good way of the campy horror stuff you would find in the 70’s. The plot was really believable. The Rise of the Thing Down below was written in such a way that you did not have to make giant leaps with the plot to fall into the story like you do with some books. When I read this I was wanting to get lost in another world and forget about reality for a few hours. This book accomplished this and more.

I also really enjoyed the supernatural elements to the story. It was really creative and believable and I even had a fun, good time with it. You know how some books with supernatural elements leave you with the feeling of having to remind yourself that this is just part of the authors imagination and wont REALLY happen…You hope. Well this book is such that even if it REALLY DID HAPPEN you could deal and you wont be turning it over and over in your head hoping that God does not have such an active imagination.

The characters were all fully formed with emotions and actions that real people would have. I could relate to the characters (well not the gay part as I am straight) but like when one dude finds puppies and gets all happy I could feel the excitement along with him.

The ending felt kinda flat. I would have liked more info on the “Thing” but other wise I felt like the story wrapped up pretty well.

This book is part of a series which I did not know about before I started reading. There are events that are related to events in earlier books so I would recommend reading them in order. I did not feel totally lost but I did feel that I would have gained more from the story had I read the earlier books.

liked-it

five-stars

The World Split Open

Posted November 25, 2014 by Hillary in book review / 0 Comments

The World Split OpenThe World Split Open by Margaret AtwoodWallace Earle StegnerEdward P. JonesUrsula K. Le GuinMarilynne Robinson
Published by Tin House Books on 2014-11-11
Genres: Essays, Literary Collections
Pages: 272
Format: eARC
Source: netgalley
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
five-stars

Since 1984, Literary Arts has welcomed many of the world’s most renowned authors and storytellers to its stage for one of the country’s largest lectures series. Sold-out crowds congregate at Portland’s Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall to hear these writers’ discuss their work and their thoughts on the trajectory of contemporary literature and culture. In celebration of Literary Arts’ 30-year anniversary, A Literary Arts Readers collects highlights from the series in a single volume. Whether it’s Wallace Stegner exploring how we use fiction to make sense of life or Ursula K. Le Guin on where ideas come from, Margaret Atwood on the need for complex female characters or Robert Stone on morality and truth in literature, Edward P. Jones on the role of imagination in historical novels or Marilynne Robinson on the nature of beauty, these essays illuminate not just the world of letters but the world at large.

My Review:

I have always been fascinated with writers and their writing process. When I read a story I often wonder what went through the writers minds while they were composing. As readers we often glean what we think the writers meant. Are they making a political statement? What hidden meanings are underlying the words that are on the page?

The World Split Open is a book of essays by different writers. In this book they talk about the writing process and how they get their ideas among many other things. This book had some of my favorite writers in it and I was super excited to get a “look behind the scenes” so to speak. One writer who I was sure wrote her book to make a political statement said that she was surprised when people took her book that way. That she was just making up a story based on events that fascinated her. I was somewhat taken aback by this but it makes sense. Writers  dont always set out to make any kind of statement but rather to make sense of things in their world.

There are many authors represented here covering a multitude of topics ranging from feminism to handling criticism and such. I found a lot of useful information in this book. We don’t often see authors as humans with feelings but this book brings to life the whole picture of authors.

 

 

 

five-stars

Whiskey Tango FoxTrot

Posted November 8, 2014 by Hillary in Uncategorized / 0 Comments

ISBN: 9780316252638
Whiskey Tango FoxTrotWhiskey Tango Foxtrot by David Shafer
Published by Little, Brown on 2014-08-05
Genres: Espionage, Fiction, General, Humorous, Mashups, Political, Satire, Thrillers
Pages: 432
Format: eARC
Source: netgalley
Goodreads
five-stars

Three young adults grapple with the usual thirty-something problems--boredom, authenticity, an omnipotent online oligarchy--in David Shafer's darkly comic debut novel.The Committee, an international cabal of industrialists and media barons, is on the verge of privatizing all information. Dear Diary, an idealistic online Underground, stands in the way of that takeover, using radical politics, classic spycraft, and technology that makes Big Data look like dial-up. Into this secret battle stumbles an unlikely trio: Leila Majnoun, a disillusioned non-profit worker; Leo Crane, an unhinged trustafarian; and Mark Deveraux, a phony self-betterment guru who works for the Committee.Leo and Mark were best friends in college, but early adulthood has set them on diverging paths. Growing increasingly disdainful of Mark's platitudes, Leo publishes a withering takedown of his ideas online. But the Committee is reading--and erasing--Leo's words. On the other side of the world, Leila's discoveries about the Committee's far-reaching ambitions threaten to ruin those who are closest to her. In the spirit of William Gibson and Chuck Palahniuk,Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is both a suspenseful global thriller and an emotionally truthful novel about the struggle to change the world in- and outside your head.

My Review:

I LOVED this book. Well until I got to the end and it just ended with no real resolution. I thought maybe it is a series! I checked GoodReads and no it was an ending in the same way as David Foster Wallace. I am not smart enough to make heads or tails of authors such as David Foster Wallace. I had an English Professor attempt to explain postmodernism in college and I told the dude straight up. This stuff is bullshit, why would you write a story and not finish it? Can I write my final halfway and still get an A? Ok I UNDERSTAND it I guess, I just don’t like it. BUT I did like this book even though it ends right in a climatic scene. I mean seriously it ends so suddenly that I thought NetGalley had fucked up THEN I checked Goodreads. OK then.

That was the only thing that I did not like. It starts out as three different stories and you wonder how it will all tie in together. Now that I think of it there were a couple of stories that had no resolution but again the plot that does happen makes up for it.

It is a mash-up of several genres. I thought it was brilliantly done. It does require at some points to ignore some  laws of time and space but nothing like enlarging your brain, right? In another way it was spooky. I mean what if it REALLY happened? What if some dude was out there saving all your data then tried to sell it back to you? It looks like the author did know either as that’s where the story ends. Ok can you tell that this ending is bugging me?

I will still give it 5 stars for plot and dialogue and creativity. And guts. Extra points for guts. I mean it had to take guts not to finish the story and still publish it. Postmodernism be damned.

Am I the only one who hates books with no real ending?


liked-it

five-stars

Book Review: He Texted

Posted November 6, 2014 by Hillary in Uncategorized / 0 Comments

My Review

I have to be honest. I requested this book because I heard that It was in the same vein as He’s Just Not That Into You. At 21 I thought it was a great book. However I think at 34 I am a completely different person. I wanted to like this book but I have out grown stuff like this. It was entertaining to say the least but at 34 I am not the kind of person to wonder what he meant by this or this or blah blah blah. HOWEVER if I was still 21 I would have given this book 5 stars.

I really think that this book depends on where you are at in your life stage. If you are a teenager or in your 20’s go for it but for people who don’t wonder what a text means or why that hot guy wont friend you on Facebook then skip this book.

one-star

Otherhood

Posted November 4, 2014 by Hillary in non-fiction / 1 Comment

ISBN: 9781580055215
Otherhood by Melanie Notkin
Published by Seal Pr-feminist on 2014
Genres: Gender Studies, General, Personal Growth, Self-Help, Social Science, Women's Studies
Pages: 291
Format: eARC
Goodreads
two-stars

More American women are childless than ever before—nearly half those of childbearing age don’t have children. While our society often assumes these women are “childfree by choice,” that’s not always true. In reality, many of them expected to marry and have children, but it simply hasn’t happened. Wrongly judged as picky or career-obsessed, they make up the “Otherhood,” a growing demographic that has gone without definition or visibility until now. In Otherhood, author Melanie Notkin reveals her own story as well as the honest, poignant, humorous, and occasionally heartbreaking stories of women in her generation—women who expected love, marriage, and parenthood, but instead found themselves facing a different reality. She addresses the reasons for this shift, the social and emotional impact it has on our collective culture, and how the “new normal” will affect our society in the decades to come. Notkin aims to reassure women that they are not alone and encourages them to find happiness and fulfillment no matter what the future holds. A groundbreaking exploration of an essential contemporary issue, Otherhood inspires thought-provoking conversation and gets at the heart of our cultural assumptions about single women and childlessness.

My Review:

I liked the idea about this book. A women who is in here mid thirties (like me) who wants to have children and is afraid that she will never find “the one” (unlike me). It also talks about women who are infertile due to not being able to find a man. Ok I am over generalizing a bit but that is the basic theme of this book.

The author  Melanie Notkin takes us through a tour of herself and friends who for whatever reason is childless, not by choice, but because they can’t or havent found a man to impregnate them. I got through about 50 pages and liked it ok but then it started talking about how woman who are 35 and up become desperate to find a man and true love to be able to pop out kids. I have to admit that part did not sit with me well. I even asked other friends about what Notkin was discussing and responses ranged from why can’t she have a one night stand, to why not just marry whoever then have kids? One thing to keep in mind is that Notkin is an observant Jew so that puts an interesting spin on things. My IRL friends and I practice no religion so maybe that’s why we were all like if you want a baby so much why not take alternative means?

I am in no way putting down OtherHood. It is a good book and a discussion that needs to happen as women are focusing more and more on their lives and waiting until later to settle down and have children. I am just saying that I had a hard time on relating to her and the lens through which she sees the world.If you are religious though you may have a different viewpoint than mine. didnt-like-it

 

 

two-stars