Saturday, April 22, 2017

Look to the Stars. Aim. Ignite. // Geekerella by Ashley Poston Review

Geekerella by Ashley Poston Review

Well that was a good book, a very, very good book. It's been a while since I handed out a 5 star rating without much hesitation (I generally agonize about ratings, 5 stars in particular, so something like this only happens once upon a blue moon).

Synopsis & Details:

Part romance, part love letter to nerd culture, and all totally adorbs, Geekerella is a fairy tale for anyone who believes in the magic of fandom. Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic sci-fi series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a read more... cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball, and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck (and her dad’s old costume), Elle’s determined to win…unless her stepsisters get there first.

Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons—before he was famous. Now they’re nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but the Starfield fandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake—until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise.

Title: Geekerella
Series: N/A
Author: Ashley Poston
Publication Date: April 4th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Retellings, Romance, Young Adult
Source: I received an arc from the publisher for review consideration (thanks Quirk!) this in no way affected my review, cross my heart.

It's also been a while since I've stayed up way too late reading.

1:00 am Cassidy, much to the chagrin* of 7:00 am Cassidy, decided reading was more important than getting a good night's sleep and not feeling like crap the next morning. So, you know, read at your own risk, sleep deprivation may be an unfortunate side effect.

*Hehe, new favorite word! You'll probably be seeing it quite a bit.

I was in love from the very first page, the writing is fluid and captivating, and the familiar elements of the Cinderella story make you feel right at home (is that a weird thing to say?).

Speaking of Cinderella, Geekerella is one of the most unique retellings I've read so far.

My love for all things fandom (well not the nasty shipping wars) combined with my adoration of retellings, makes this book absolutely perfect for me. Ashley Poston turns the beautiful dress from the original story into a cosplay, the ball becomes ExcelsiCon, and last but not least, the role of the famous pumpkin carriage is fulfilled by the Magic Pumpkin food truck (all this is just too clever!). While the plot is a bit predictable at times, because you kind of already know what's gonna happen with the Cinderella bit, there are plenty of new details and plot lines to keep you guessing and the story fresh.

With this book, Poston has pretty much inducted me into the Starfield fandom.

Whenever I see the phrase "Look to the stars. Aim. Ignite.", I get fangirl chills* (haha go Federation Prince Carmindor!!!). Every word of Geekerella is infused with pure geekiness and so much love for fandoms, that I can't help but adore it. White-washing is also brought up, which is great, because it's an issue and topic which I've seen discussed a lot within my various fandoms, so it made the Starfield fandom feel that much more real.

*Are those even real, or am I making stuff up again?

My only real complaint is that the side characters were rather flat; however, I was so enamored with the main characters, Elle and Darien, that it didn't end up having a huge effect on my reading experience.

Some Cover Thoughts:

Geekerella's cover perfectly represents the book, as it incorporates many elements of the story, including the Magic Pumpkin food truck, Elle's cosplay, and even Franco, a completely adorable dachshund, in a tiny coat. The minimalistic design, combined with the color block style of the art results in a very eye-catching cover. I've been seeing more illustrated YA covers lately, and am loving this apparent new trend. On the other hand, the dress on the cover doesn't really match the one in the book, I believe it was described as a darker shade of blue. Instead, the one on the cover is reminiscent of the dress in Disney's version of Cinderella.

After reading both Geekerella and Queens of Geek, I now really, really want to go to a con, be it BEA or San Diego Comic-Con.

Maybe I'll see you guys at one of them someday... (shhhh, let me dream and ignore the fact that being stuck in the American school system for the next eight years, lowers the possibly of this scenrio to about a .001 (AKA très tiny))*.

*Punctuation inception!!!

Before I go, here's a quick Ted Talk video about cosplay that's pretty interesting:

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Are you a fangirl? If so, which fandoms are you a part of? Do you have a favorite?
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Saturday, April 15, 2017

Not a Book You Should Read on an Empty Stomach // A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi Review

A Crown of Wishes Review

A Crown of Wishes is a delectable read, simply scrumptious.... Roshani Chokshi once again shows how much of a magical wordsmith she is, the way she puts words together just amazes me. The Star-Touched Queen, the first book in this series, was one of my favorite books of 2016, so I had high exceptions, and I'm happy to say that A Crown of Wishes did not disappoint.

Synopsis & Details:

She is the princess of Bharata—captured by her kingdom’s enemies, a prisoner of war. Now that she faces a future of exile and scorn, Gauri has nothing left to lose. But should she trust Vikram, the notoriously cunning prince of a neighboring land? He promises her freedom in exchange read more... for her battle prowess. Together they can team up and win the Tournament of Wishes, a competition held in a mythical city where the Lord of Wealth promises a wish to the victor. It seems like a foolproof plan—until Gauri and Vikram arrive at the tournament and find that danger takes on new shapes: poisonous courtesans, mischievous story birds, a feast of fears, and twisted fairy revels. New trials will test their devotion, strength, and wits. But what Gauri and Vikram will soon discover is that there’s nothing more dangerous than what they most desire.

Title: A Crown of Wishes
Series: The Star-Touched Queen #2
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Publication Date: March 28th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Source: I received an arc from the publisher for review consideration (thanks St. Martin's Griffin!) this in no way affected my review, cross my heart.

First things first, let's talk characters....

Vikram was probably (don't ask me to make up my mind, I'm terrible with decisions) my favorite. It took me approximately 3 sentences and five seconds to fall in love with him. I mean, just look at all this fabulous sassiness:

Vikram had tired bribing them. At one point, he offered Gauri's hand in marriage, which earned him two sharp jabs in the ribs. For equality's sake, he offered his own hand in marriage, but that ended all bargaining negotiations on the spot.

Vikram's eyes widened. "What's this? Praise from Her Beastliness in the morning? Are you under a curse that makes you friendly before noon? If so, how do we make it permanent?"

While it did take me a bit to warm up to her, once I did, Aasha quickly claimed a spot in my heart. Her curiosity and hunger for knowledge and life won me over. Last but not least of our three narrators is Gauri, the Jewel of Bharata, she is such a badass, and her love and devotion for her country is beyond admirable.

A Crown of Wishes is not a book you should read on an empty stomach.

The descriptions of food throughout the novel made me so damn hungry. Read the following quote and tell me you aren't suddenly and inexplicably starving:

Split guavas sprinkled with cane sugar filled a crystal bowl. Saffron rice, buttery naan, savory onion and potato dishes, cold yogurt studded with pomegranate seeds like rubies and silver cups of spicy dal waited for us.

And if your mouth still isn't watering, here's another one:

When we sat, a lavish feast appeared on the table. I eyed it suspiciously. There were fragrant biryani with saffron rice, hard-boiled eggs white as moonstones in a thick curry, apple and mint chutneys in glass bowls, globes of gulab jamun drenched in cardamom syrup, and bright orange jalebis coiled like gold bangles.

Chokshi truly has a way with words doesn't she? Speaking of that, her portrayals of magic are equally lavish (though they do make me feel significantly less hungry).

Her beautiful writing makes the magic and the world that much more vibrant.

I must've reread the scene where Lady Kauveri was introduced at least 50 times, it's too pretty for words.... (okay that statement makes like no sense, I mean the scene is made of words, how can it be too pretty for words? Pfft, I need to stop overanalyzing my own logical fallacies.) Anyways, here's that scene I was talking about for all you curious peeps:

The Lady Kauveri smiled at us. She wore a sari of rushing water, and in her elaborate braids, small streams and pebbles, tortoises and crocodiles no larger than a thumbnail clambered through her hair. No immortal being betrayed any flaw, but there was something restless about her, a kind of anxious energy that belonged to someone expecting tragedy.

And since this review is already like 50% quote, I might as well share another. This one's my absolute favorite bit from the entire book, and I assure you it had a tonnn of competition, after all this book is literal quote candy.

She reached for the wispy wish, curling it between her fingers and bringing it to her lips. She uttered her wish without words— a wish for control and choice, for curiosity and courage.

If I had to pick one quote to describe the entire novel, I'd probably pick the one above. It wraps all the magic and beauty of A Crown of Wishes into a pretty two-sentence package. (And I'm off with the weird lingo again.)

There were so many wonderful and thought provoking quotes such as this little gem:

“You see,” said Kubera. “Nothing is yours. Not even a story is yours, though you may lay claim to it with the teeth of your mind.”

And this one:

“The world moves to the tune of logic, even if it wears the face of chaos."

While reading A Crown of Wishes, I did have the occasional bout of confusion, as, admittedly, the story lost me a couple times. Though, I haven't heard any similar complaints, so it could just be me. The plot also came off as a bit disjointed at places. The story is divided into two major parts, Gauri and Vikram's respective conflicts back home and the Tournament of Wishes, which takes up most of the book. For me, these two didn't always feel completely cohesive, unfortunately.

If I'm honest, I definitely didn't like A Crown of Wishes as much as The Star-Touched Queen,

it just never managed to entirely suck me in like it's predecessor. Though that could've just been because I read the two books at totally different times. I picked up Star-Touched in the summer and read it straight through in one sitting, while I read Crown of Wishes during school and in small bursts because I had like zero time.

Some Cover Thoughts:

The second I saw A Crown of Wishes' cover, I was in love. The color scheme is one of my favorites, the shades of purple and green go perfectly together and really help evoke a magical feeling. While I don't recall Gauri ever mounting a brown horse and riding across a field wearing a mile-long dress in the book, and even though I'm usually a huge stickler for story accurate covers, I think it's the perfect touch. On the other hand, I could probably do without that border, and I'm not a fan of the title font.

Luscious and vibrant, A Crown of Wishes is filled to the brim with exquisite imagery and Hindu mythology.

The Jewel of Bharata and the Fox Prince of Ujijain both live up to their names, and make an entertaining and compelling duo. If you adored The Star-Touched Queen or are just looking to add some magic to your life, Chokshi's new novel is a must read.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

When it comes to writing styles, do you prefer simple and sweet or beautiful and prosey?
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Saturday, April 8, 2017

Burning Books for Bookstagram: Yea or Nay?

Burning Books for Bookish Photos

When I first came across the bookstagram photos of burning books, my initial reaction was horror, after all the idea of burning a book makes my heart want to weep. However, despite my shattered heart, I did what I usually do with a debate or argument, which is research the heck out of it. My opinion is still a little shaky, this is one of those issues where I'm in the gray area, but I thought I might as well lay down both sides of the debate. Note: I don't necessarily agree 100% with all the arguments down below, I just think they're worth some pondering.

First up, the defense (AKA: pro-burn).

The Right To Burn:

If you own the book your burning, you have the right to burn it because it's your's, whether you do so or not is your business.

Not All is Sacred:

In today's society there are millions and millions of books, their roles in the exchange and spread of knowledge have changed in many ways, especially since many books today are wholly for entertainment purposes. As a result, you could argue that not all books are "sacred" anymore (*cough* Fifty-Shades of Gray *cough*) and that they don't all hold the prestige they used to, so therefore, burning one no longer holds the same weight as it has historically.

For the Sake of Art:

Photography is a form of art, so, by extension, bookstagram is too. The destruction of books allows for the creation of art. There are also many crafters who cut up or destroy books to create something new, like an origami flower or a pendent, and people seem relatively fine with that, so what's the difference?

Last but not least, the prosecution (AKA: pro-preserve).

A Waste of Resources:

When books are burned they generally can no longer serve their original purpose, which is to be read. Even if the original owner doesn't find a book to be helpful or enjoyable, if they donate it or pass it on, someone else might.

Negative Symbolism:

Throughout history, various groups, from the Nazis to the Qin dynasty, have employed the tactic of burning books with the intention to censor and/or to suppress. Book burnings are encapsulated by a dark and troubling past, and therefore, the act of burning a book shouldn't be taken lightly.

You're Destroying Someone's Work:

Authors put blood, sweat, tears, and heart into their books, and for many, their books are their pride and joy. Can you imagine seeing something of so much value to you being burned?

Some of those arguments were definitely weaker then the rest, but I tried to present both view points as equally and levelheadedly as possible. Anyways, time to share my opinion....

As I said before, I'm somewhere in the middle.

I don't personally agree with burning books because of the historical context, and well, I just don't like the idea of books being burned. However, if other people burn books, I'm not about to go on a witch hunt, unless of course, the burnings are for censorship or suppression purposes. This is a very interesting issue, and it led me to closely re-examine my values, even though I haven't really picked a side per se.

Sorry this post is late as hell, but I hope you still found it intriguing or helpful. I'm curious, where do you stand on this issue, and why?
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Monday, April 3, 2017

Magical Emotion Powers and Math Geniuses // Zenn Diagram by Wendy Brant Review

Zenn Diagram by Wendy Brant Review

The second I read the synopsis for this novel, I knew I had to read it. The main character, Eva Walker, can see/feel other people's emotions and memories with the touch of her hand. This is such an interesting idea, and I particularly appreciated the way this book shows how that skill complicates her life. The emotions and memories appear to her in the shape of fractals. Go check these fractals out, they're really cool.

Synopsis & Details:

Eva Walker is a seventeen-year-old math genius. And if that doesn’t do wonders for her popularity, there’s another thing that makes it even worse: when she touches another person or anything that belongs to them — from clothes to textbooks to cell phones — she sees a vision of their read more... emotions. She can read a person’s fears and anxieties, their secrets and loves … and what they have yet to learn about calculus. This is helpful for her work as a math tutor, but it means she can never get close to people. Eva avoids touching anyone and everyone. People think it’s because she’s a clean freak — with the emphasis on freak — but it’s all she can do to protect herself from other people’s issues.

Then one day a new student walks into Eva’s life. His jacket gives off so much emotional trauma that she falls to the floor. Eva is instantly drawn to Zenn, a handsome and soulful artist who also has a troubled home life, and her feelings only grow when she realizes that she can touch Zenn’s skin without having visions. But when she discovers the history that links them, the truth threatens to tear the two apart.

Title: Zenn Diagram
Series: N/A
Author: Wendy Brant
Publication Date: April 4th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Fantasy, Romance
Source: I received an arc from the publisher for review consideration (thanks KCP Loft!) this in no way affected my review, cross my heart.

If you have no clue what a fractal is, then let me explain. Well, actually, I'll let Google do the heavy lifting, cause fractals are a bit complicated. Here's the definition:

A curve or geometric figure, each part of which has the same statistical character as the whole. Fractals are useful in modeling structures (such as eroded coastlines or snowflakes) in which similar patterns recur at progressively smaller scales, and in describing partly random or chaotic phenomena such as crystal growth, fluid turbulence, and galaxy formation. (source)

Now this fractal business might feel a bit out of nowhere, but it makes a ton of sense.

Fractals are pretty mathematical stuff, and Eva Walker is a math genius (teach me your ways). She lives and breathes the stuff, basically the ultimate nerd. (I'm more of a history nerd myself, but I would kill to be a math genius like Eva.)

When I first started Zenn Diagram, the book gave me more of a MGish feel,

however, towards the end, the story begins feeling a lot more like the YA novel it's marketed as. The plot starts off looking like your typical YA contemporary, however, by the end, the book is dealing with a complicated character dynamic between the mother and mc, and provoking interesting questions concerning the unusual connection Eva and Zenn share.

Some other smallish details I enjoyed about Zenn Diagram included: the title,

I'm always a sucker for a clever title (even better if it's referenced in the book), and this quote:
"Oh, lordy. He's using math analogies. I think I'm in love."

My biggest conundrum with Zenn Diagram was a small bit of the romantic plotline,

either way it wasn't too major and didn't really disrupt my enjoyment of the book too much overall. (view spoiler)But still, that obligatory break-up scene, I've just see it a couple times to many. The cursing in the novel also felt a little forced upon occasion, however, as with before, it wasn't a big deal.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

What's your favorite school subject? Least favorite?
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Monday, March 27, 2017

Bad Ass Women Bombing Nazi Butt // Night Witches by Kathryn Lasky Blog Tour + Review + Giveaway

Night Witches Review Night Witches Tour Banner

I grew up on Lasky's books, her's are among the ones that that I've had since childhood, a bit bent and a little tattered from being read over and over again. I haven't picked up a book of her's in a while, I don't reread that much anymore and I've pretty much moved away from middle grade, the genre she predominates. Nevertheless, when the opportunity to review her upcoming novel came along, I immediately jumped at the chance. Reading Night Witches was a bit like revisiting my childhood, so if I start getting terribly nostalgic, oops.

Synopsis & Details:

From bestselling and award-winning author Kathryn Lasky comes an explosive adventure following the teen girl fighter pilots who took on Hitler's army... and won. Fifteen-year-old Valya knows what it feels like to fly. She's a pilot who's always felt more at home soaring through the sky read more... than down on earth. But since the Germans surrounded Stalingrad, Valya's been forced to stay on the ground and watch her city crumble.

When her mother is killed during the siege, Valya is left with one burning desire: to join up with her older sister, a member of the famous and feared Night Witches -- a brigade of young female pilots.

Using all her wits, Valya manages to get past the German blockade and find the Night Witches' base . . . and that's when the REAL danger starts. The women have been assigned a critical mission. If they succeed, they'll inflict serious damage on the Nazis. If they fail, they'll face death... or even worse horrors.

Historical fiction master Lasky sheds light on the war's unsung heroes -- daredevil girls who took to the skies to fight for their country -- in an action-packed thrill ride that'll leave you electrified and breathless.

Title: Night Witches
Series: N/A
Author: Kathryn Lasky
Publication Date: March 28th 2017
Genres: YA, Historical
Pages: ^224
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, Audiobook
Source: I received an arc from the publisher for review consideration (thanks Scholastic!) this in no way affected my review, cross my heart.

As I remembered, Kathryn Lasky's writing is clear and precise, a great style for younger readers.

Night Witches is in a bit of a weird spot between MG and YA. I ended up categorizing it as YA because some of the language used (ie. the word shit) and some of the events in the novel, though I'd still say it's aimed at the younger end of the demographic.

I read quite a number of Lasky's historical novels as a kid, specifically her Royal Diaries books. Each one always introduced me to a new, intriguing piece of history, and Night Witches is no exception. We (or at least us Americans) rarely hear about the Soviet side of World War II, so naturally, I knew zlich about the Night Witches, who were formally knowns as the 46th "Taman" Guards Night Bomber Aviation Regiment. In case you're clueless like me, here's a short paragraph about them:

The regiment flew harassment bombing and precision bombing missions against the German military from 1942 until the end of the war. At its largest, it had 40 two-person crews. The regiment flew over 24,000 missions and dropped 23,000 tons of bombs. It was the most highly decorated all-women unit in the Soviet Air Force, each pilot having flown over 800 missions by the end of the war and twenty-three having been awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union title. Thirty of its members died in combat.

Aren't they so cool??? Speaking of history.... When ever I read historical fiction, I always end up hungrily devouring random articles about obscure topics from time period the book is based upon. In this case, I took an hour detour to look into the lives of Stalin's wives and children. Turns out pretty much all of their lives were terrible, and to my great surprise, Stalin was pretty much the reason behind all of their miseries (oh he was quite the swell guy, I'm sure). Anyways, I'm getting off topic....

Our main character Vayla loves planes and flying,

she excels at it, and it's one of the few things she does better than her talented older sister. By the end of the book, the marvelous descriptions had me loving flying (almost) as much as her. Don't just take my word for it, here's a quote to prove it:

As we walk, the ghost of the rubber pedals brushes the soles of my feet, as if I'm about to initiate a turn. I love that feeling of slipping beautifully into a turn, finding that curve in the geometry of air and speed. One becomes a sculptor, carving the air like a bird, an eagle, an owl, a gull.

The story didn't really have a set purpose, the plot didn't feel connected all the way through, and it meandered at times.

Night Witches reminded me a lot of the Royal Diaries books, which chronicled the day to day life of a certain historical person of royal blood, and often didn't have an overarching plot. There's nothing wrong with this approach, but some people might not like it.

There was a miniscule romantic element in Night Witches, and I really could've done without it.

I mean the sorta love interest was cute and all, but it never went anywhere, and I'm just not a fan of plot lines that never do anything.

The relationship between Vayla and her previously mentioned big sister, Tatyana, could've been developed more.

It later becomes a focal point of the story, and because of it's under development, the end falls a little flat.

If your looking for a quick historical, an interesting new perspective of the second world war, or just wanna see some brave women kick nazi ass, then you might wanna stick Night Witches into your hulking tbr, though if you love books with iron-strong plot backbones, then it's probably not for you.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Are you a history nerd? If so, do you favor a particular time period?
About Kathryn Lasky
Kathryn Lasky is the American author of many critically acclaimed books, including several Dear America books, several Royal Diaries books, 1984 Newbery Honor winning Sugaring Time, The Night Journey, and the Guardians of Ga'Hoole series.
She was born June 24, 1944, and grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana, and is married to Christopher Knight, with whom she lives in Massachusetts.

Book 15, The War of the Ember, is currently the last book in the Ga'Hoole series. The Rise of a Legend is the 16th book but is a prequel to the series. Lasky has also written Guide Book To The Great Tree and Lost Tales Of Ga'Hoole which are companion books.

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Sunday, March 26, 2017

A Heads up & Apology to All My RSS Feed Readers // You Should Consider Dropping Bloglovin' Pronto

You Should Consider Dropping Bloglovin' Pronto

EDIT: Bloglovin' has fixed the canonical URL problem, and I have since then reverted my RSS feeds. They've claimed that this was a coding mistake, but whether that's true or not is up for debate. Either way, this debacle has brought to my attention just how dependent I am on Bloglovin', something I'd like to change, just in case something like this happens again, and unlike this time, is here to stay.

If you follow my blog through email, Bloglovin', or any other feed based service, then you have probably already noticed something different about this post. It's truncated. In light of recent events (Bloglovin' is apparently stealing blog posts and claiming them as their own, read Ashley's post to find out more),

I've decided I have to truncate my feed.

Because I'm on Blogger, I don't really have any other choice, it's either: let Bloglovin' steal my content and maybe even rank higher than Quartzfeather in search engines*, or shorten all my feeds, something I personally despise.

*Yes, this actually happens, see for yourself:

Bloglovin' Search Results

If it's possible, I'd urge you all to move to Feedly, email, feedburner, etc.

Even if the canonical URL/stealing posts thing is an accident, they're still doing some other things (i.e. adding a comment section), that can't possibly be mistakes, and point in a direction that isn't beneficial for bloggers.

The pesky thing about Bloglovin' is that you can't remove your blog.

Anyone can add it, and once it's added, it's added for good. There has been some speculation about whether you could sue them for copyright infringement, but there's no concrete answer.

Either way, I'm sorry for any inconvenience caused by this decision,

but unless Bloglovin' changes something, or the bulk of my following moves elsewhere, there's really no much else I can do. Thank you for your understanding.

What do you guys think of Bloglovin'? Know any good alternatives?
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Monday, March 20, 2017

Blogiversary Numéro Deux // All the Promised Sappy and Reminiscent Stuff

Quartzfeather is two, can you believe it? I can't. I don't even know where to begin... I've been blogging for two years, Quartzfeather has been a part of this world for two years. I can't imagine a life without Quartzfeather anymore, can't imagine a life without the online bookish community. So much has changed over the last two years, but at the same time, so much hasn't.

Quartzfeather has gone through many, many changes.

It's practically unrecognizable from the little blog that popped up two years ago on this day. It's had a name change, a url change, a blog topic change, multiple design changes (thank god... if you've been here from the beginning, you know how much of a pink monstrosity Quartzfeather used to be. To be honest, it still kinda is, but it's a less embarrassing pink monstrosity. Though, who knows, in two years I might be writing a blog post about how terrible my current design is. Haha, okay, this is getting too long so I'll cut it off here....), and countless other minuscule changes that I'm too lazy to mention.

I'm happy with where my blog is today, it's evolution, though not always beautiful, was a wonderful thing to experience.

(Yes, even it's awkward teenager phase, where it wasn't quite sure what it was.) Quartzfeather has become a huge part of my life and a huge part of me as a person, I have met so many amazing people, discovered so many awesome authors, and fangirled over so many phenomenal books because of it, because of you.

To the people who read my blog... thank you, thank you, thank you so very, very much.

I still can't believe that people read my posts, that people take the time out of their day to leave a comment. Comments, oh comments, those lovely things. Every single time I open my inbox and see a little comment notification sitting there, my heart fills with so much joy, and my face splits into such a broad smile.

To everyone who reads my blog, to Molly, to Tasya, to Mahriya, to Jord, to Lori, to Geraldine, and to anyone I had the ineptness to miss, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I am so grateful for every single one of you, and I hope to continue with you on this journey for many, many years to come.

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Diversity for the Win! // Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde Blog Tour + Review + Giveaway

First things first, let's talk about the glorious amount of diversity Queens of Geek has. Charlie is Chinese-Australian (when it was first mentioned, I literally squealed. Finding characters who share my cultural heritage is rather rare, unfortunately), plus she's also bisexual! (I've seen an increase in the amount of novels that include gay and lesbian characters recently, but sadly, very few bisexual ones so far. PS: If you have any recs leave 'em in the comments please.)

Synopsis & Details:

When BFFs Charlie, Taylor and Jamie go to SupaCon, they know it’s going to be a blast. What they don’t expect is for it to change their lives forever. Charlie likes to stand out. SupaCon is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star, Jason Ryan. When Alyssa read more... Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought.

While Charlie dodges questions about her personal life, Taylor starts asking questions about her own. 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 Jamie—no matter how much she may secretly want it to. But when she hears about the Queen Firestone SupaFan Contest, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.

Title: Queens of Geek
Series: N/A
Author: Jen Wilde
Publication Date: March 14th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, YA
Source: I received an arc from the publisher for review consideration (thanks Swoon Reads and Xpresso Blog Tours!) this in no way affected my review, cross my heart.

Taylor, our other main character, is on the Autism Spectrum.

She has Asperger's, which affects one's ability to socialize and communicate. The third guy in the trio, Jamie, is of hispanic descent. I didn't know about any of this going into the book, so it was a wonderful and welcome surprise.

Queens of Geek was a fairly effortless and quick read.

I picked it up while attending a Chinese New Year celebration and had pretty much finished 50% of the book by the night's end. I'm not sure if it's just me (and my overthinking brain), but I'm getting the nagging feeling that effortless is a bit of an odd descriptor to use in a review, so I'm gonna lay down a quick explanation.... Recently, I've been reading a lot of books that are rather prosey and purpley, and with that type of writing, I typically have to reread some sentences a couple times before they actually make sense and settle in. I love a good, beautifully written book as much as the next person, but occasionally it gets tiring, so a light fluffy read, like Queens of Geek, was exactly what I needed.

There were definitely a couple of shortcomings though, particularly with characterization.

While Charlie and Taylor did get a couple good moments of development here and there, pretty much all of the characters ended up feeling rather flat, and consequently, the romantic relationships also came off as a bit underdeveloped. In my opinion, the romances moved a little too quickly, we just didn't have enough time to get to know the characters before we jumped into the relationships.

On the other hand, the POVs were fairly distinct.

I don't recall ever having to check who's chapter was who's while reading (which I generally have to do a lot due to my poor memory). The two narrators, Charlie and Taylor, both had clear and easily distinguishable voices.

Queens of Geek also touched on some pretty interesting issues by tackling the flip side of fame.

Being famous notoriously comes with a lack of privacy, something which we see Charlie, a rising star as a result of her role in the indie hit "The Rising" (ha), deal with countless times throughout the novel. Her fans, while generally well meaning, also stir up some trouble. The fandom fervently ships her with her co-star, Jason Ryan, a boy she wants nothing do with as a result of their nasty and very public breakup. While the fandom desperately wants them to get back together, Charlie couldn't want it less. This leads to some conflict between her and some of her fans.

Fandom references are to be expected, after all this is a novel that takes place in a convention, and it's literally titled "Queens of Geek."

The references fit in well with the story and don't feel forced at all, thank thor (brownie points if you can name the fandom). However, I must admit that many of them went over my head, like at least two miles above my head. Though, the ones I did get were extremely enjoyable (hey, I'm but a simple fangirl, mention my fandom and I shall screech in delight).

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

So, what fandoms are you in? I bet you all know which ones I'm in... I'm pretty obvious when it comes to my obsessions.
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