Tag Archives: new adult

Four Books About Convention Life That You Should Check Out

mitsuadaI love conventions, and they were a huge part of my life for many years. Video games, anime, cosplay, fanart, deal’s room, big scale guests, these were my favourite things to immerse myself in during the summer months. I adored cosplaying, even if my costumers were a bit more DIY than those with real sewing talents. Often we’d go in large groups, protraying characters from one favourite series. Some of the best memories and friendships I’ve made, are because of fandom and cons.

Becoming more of a working girl has made it more difficult for me to get out there and enjoy them over the last few years, but it hasn’t stopped me from loving stories that ineveniblity come out of them. Here are four books I absolutely ADORE that all focus on convention culture and waving your geek flag high and mighty. Definitely check out these books, they will make you smile.

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The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love by Sarvenaz Tash

The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love was a book I picked up on a whim while I was at work browsing our new arrivals section. The cover seems a bit corny, but the contents inside this book? Utterly delightful. This is the story of one guy’s quest to tell the girl he loves how he feels by taking her to Comic Con. However, nothing is ever as it seems, and shenanigans are afoot. I loved this book so much! It reminded me of my own con-romance that I had with my now-husband (which no, we didn’t meet at a con, we were lab partners in school, but we were reunited at a con). There is just so great entertainment and this book does an amazing job of painting the convention backdrop with a great amount of authenticity. If you want a book that depicts the fun in conventions, definitely look no further.

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Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

While Queens of Geek doesn’t release until next March, I had the chance to read this one and early, and my goodness is it a favourite. I am not a huge romance reader, but conventions really do lend themselves to the romance genre well. This book isn’t specifically about convention romances, but it does look at how deeply fandom runs in people and how far we are willing to go to follow our con-related dreams. This is another book that again authentically portrays convention life and how insane con weekends can really be. I thought both plot-lines in this book were just utterly fabulous and I think Charlie, Taylor and Jamie really do a great job of stealing the reader’s hearts.

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Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy by Sam Maggs

The only non-fiction book on this list but important none the less, Sam Maggs’ Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy is a handbook for the modern geek gal that offers a plethora of information from cosplaying to convention etiquette, to simply ‘how to survive cons.’ This book is written with charm and wit, and Sam Maggs knows how to deliver thoughtful information with quite the one-two punch. If you’ve never been to a convention, or are afraid to share your geek pride beyond your peers, this book offers a lot of great tips to discovering fandom and first time convention goers. This is an essential handbook for con-life, yo.

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One Con Glory by Sarah Kuhn

Last book on this list is the first book I had ever read that was set in an convention. This is a very sassy read about a young woman who is constantly forced to show her geek cred, how she combats it, and how she kicks major ass. This book is adorable, it’s clever, and Julie is just such a misanthrope with her fellow nerds (Think April Ludgate in Parks & Recreation and you have Julie). While this book is far from perfect, it was Kuhn’s first novel, and I still think even now it’s worth the read just show readers can see that rougher side to conventions. Seriously no one should have to constantly prove their geek cred, and those that do that? Shame on you!

I hope this list of recommendations helps to get you excited for the 2017 convention season. I am hoping to make it back to a convention of some kind in 2017, but we will see given that life works in mysterious ways. Definitely check these books out and let me know what you think of them down in the comments below.

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Late to the Party ARC Review – A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

16096824Title:  A Court of Thorns and Roses

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Rating:  ★★★

Synopsis: When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Huge thank you to Indigo Teen for sending me this ARC as part of a giveaway!

Sam’s Review:

This is probably going to be an unpopular opinion, but I thought this book was all right. Frankly, I had been putting it off since it released because the hype levels were just absolutely insane and I had a hunch that this book might have not been for me. Let’s just say, while I found this book engrossing, it was also kind of ridiculous as well.

Truthfully, I had a hard time with the romance in this book. It just read as melodrama, which I’m fine with actually. The amount of angst, tug and pull between Feyre and Tamlin was like popping candy. However, that rape-that-wasn’t-a-rape is something that did very much upset me, and I honestly wish fantasy authors would stop including that in a book to give their female protagonists agency. It’s just not acceptable and there are so many other ways to do that than resorting to rape.

Furthermore, I don’t like the men in this novel. With the except of Rhys, I found Lucian and Tamlin read in such a one-dimensional way. I couldn’t get over how many times the author used the word “growl” or “snarl” to describe Tamlin, especially when for a Beauty & the Beast retelling he is described as a super hot fae man. THAT’S NOT A BEAST. He’s just a grumpy fae man who SNARLS A LOT. I mean I guess hot guys can be ‘beasts’ but I just had such a hard time buying it in the story because Feyre was just so in love but tormented by him.

Oddly, I found I liked the female cast a bit more. I wanted to know more about Nesta and I liked what we learned about Feyre’s story and her life before becoming captive. In a lot of ways I wish there had been more backstory because those were the parts over the romance that I enjoyed. I actually thought the ending was pretty solid too. I appreciate that Feyre was comfortable with herself — she never seemed insecure, and she has quite a bit of sexual prowess which I think helped her personality in the story. I don’t think she’s a Katniss wannabe that some people peg her for, but I think she has just enough layers to counteract how much of a caricature her love interest is.

But here’s the thing about this book I WILL agree with: it’s candy, the kind of candy that you can just keep turning the pages and be completely glued to the story. You want to know why the story is ridiculous, you want to see if the characters are going to grow and mature (short answer: they don’t), and here’s the even bigger revelation: I can totally see the appeal of why people love this book, even if I disagree. It’s easy to get swept up in the melodrama and the sexual tension because there’s so much of it. Hell, I have to admit it happened on occasion to me when reading the story.

Admittedly, I am super sure I am going to read book two. Even though I found this book to be a ball of melodrama and candy page-turning, I enjoyed my time with it and I found it to be a great escape from reality. It wasn’t even mindless, it was just so easy to be invested in the drama that these characters face, even if at times it was rather silly. While I am not sold yet on Sarah J. Maas as a writer, I am interested to see how much melodrama gets ramped up in book two.

ARC Review – I Was Here by Gayle Forman

23362128Title: I Was Here

Author: Gayle Forman

Rating: ★★★★ 1/2

Synopsis: This characteristically powerful novel follows eighteen-year-old Cody Reynolds in the months following her best friend’s shocking suicide.
As Cody numbly searches for answers as to why Meg took her own life, she begins a journey of self-discovery which takes her to a terrifying precipice, and forces her to question not only her relationship with the Meg she thought she knew, but her own understanding of life, love, death and forgiveness.

Huge thank you to the publisher for this ARC!

Sam’s Review:

Wow, reading I Was Here was a surprisingly uncomfortable experience. The book is already on a tough topic and Forman takes it to some interesting, if unnerving levels. Cody wants to find out the truth behind her best friend’s suicide, especially because she feels that something isn’t quite right about it.

This book is very much a mystery novel wrapped up in a very emotionally charge prose. I found myself, like Cody, needing to know more about Cody’s death, especially given a lot of the suspicions surrounding it. Cody is obsessed to the point where Meg’s suicide consumes her every thought, to the point where he life problems from before feel somewhat insignificant, but just as nagging. Obsession is a huge theme in this book, especially when it comes to people we love and wanting the truth. Sometimes people go to dangerous lengths to find it, which is exactly what Cody does here.

At first I wasn’t sure about the romance that’s in this novel, but I actually appreciated that it was subtly done and not the focal point of the narrative. Ben was interesting, and you could tell how much concern he had for Cody, but he was difficult to connect with at times, though it’s pretty understandable why. I LOVED Harry, and I thought he was a fantastic character in the story, especially when paired with Cody. I loved that he was just as interested in the cat and mouse aspects of the mystery and he’s pretty darn charming.

This book is also a fast read. For such a depressing topic, the mystery element can really take hold and for me personally, I was hooked to the point where I had to know everything. I felt as obsessed as Cody did, which is kind of a scary thought. The moments of discomfort in this story, they felt so real and creepy. This book is important though, especially in its portrayal of suicide. It’s not a subject that gets any easier to read about, but I feel like Gayle Forman does it justice, because dammit, I cared. I cared the whole time reading this.

Book Review – A Love for the Pages by Joy Penny

22441497Title:  A Love for the Pages

Author: Joy Penny

Rating: ★★★ 1/2

Synopsis: Kiss. Marry. Kill. Nineteen-year-old June Eyermann has always known exactly which of her favorite Byronic heroes goes where. She’d kiss moody and possessive Rochester from Jane Eyre and marry prideful but repentant Darcy from Pride and Prejudice, leaving obsessive and spiteful Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights to be chucked off a cliff—but no. She couldn’t leave any of her heroes behind. She lives for her favorite fictional worlds.

But June is about to get a serious wake up call when she returns home for the summer after her college freshman year. Stuck somewhere between feeling like a kid again under her parents’ roof and being forced to start acting like an adult with worries about her future career, June looks at the library volunteer position offered to her as a way to keep her sanity for the next few months before she can go back to school.

What June doesn’t expect to find at the library is her favorite romantic heroes brought to life—all in the same man. Obstinate, prideful and even a bit rude, Everett Rockford shouldn’t exactly be “dating material,” even if June’s heart rate accelerates whenever she’s near him. But after discovering his enigmatic past and witnessing a few fiery moments of tenderness, June can’t help but see Rochester, Darcy and even Heathcliff in Everett. If she’s going to make it through the summer without becoming a tragic heroine in her own story, she has to separate the man from the ideals of fiction in her head. Because if there’s one thing she knows about Byronic love stories, it’s that they don’t always end happily ever after.

Huge thank you to Joy Penny for a copy of her book!

Sam’s Review:

I’ll admit, A Love for the Pages was a touch out of my comfort zone in the sense that I haven’t read a lot of New Adult and I’m not big on Byronic classics (although Jane Austen and I? We are buddies!). I’m happy I read this book though because I think it has a lot of honesty and heart, something I appreciate when I a read a contemporary story.

June doesn’t entire know what she wants to do with her life and she’s lost. She’s gets treated fairly poorly by people around her and yet, I appreciate that she’s someone whose willing to offer a second chance to make a mends and start over. She felt very real to me, and I loved her characterization because I could understand where she was coming from. Sometimes books are this wonderful escape from reality, but sometimes reality is something we need to face, whether we like it or not.

I think the thing that threw me with this book was how fast June and Everett fell for each other. There wasn’t much of a build in their romance, and yet Penny crafted this really solid friendship for them. So it goes from being friends to lovers lightning quick and it just didn’t entirely work for me. I did like that they got to know each other, but holy moley relationship, Batman!

However, I enjoyed the Austen aspects of this book. I loved that June comments on how her life has these Austen-esque qualities and any time she talked about her favourite books, I was just instantly connected. I think, however, I wished there was more personality from some of the secondary characters, because someone of them felt very one-dimensional, particularly Isla, Cooper, and even June’s friends. I wanted a bit more personality from the other characters because they were semi-important to the progress of the story and June’s development even.

However, regardless of my problems with the book, I did enjoy it a lot and I’d be interested to see what the author does next. I think it has a lot of promise and June really was a fantastic character to follow, and I appreciate that Penny captured her the way she did. June felt so real and her problems were easy to sympathize with. If anything, June is the real reason you read this book, because she’s wonderfully thought out and someone I think many of us can relate to. I’d be interested to see how a sequel could be spun from this, but I am equally content with how the story ending. Other then for poor Sinjin. My heart broke for him!

If you want to check out this book, you can purchase it on KoboAmazonNook and The Book Depository! Remember to support great independent authors!