Geekarella
Book Review / February 14, 2018

Title: Geekarella Author: Ashley Poston Genre: Retelling Publisher: Quirk Books Release Date: April 4th, 2017 Format: eBook Pages: 320 Source: Library Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic science-fiction series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a 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 has ever wanted, but 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. But when she disappears at midnight, will he ever be able to find her again? Part-romance, part-love letter to nerd culture, and all totally adorbs, Geekerella is a…

Annihilation
Book Review / January 28, 2018

Title: Annihiliation Series: The Southern Reach, #1 Author: Jeff VanderMeer Genre: Science Fiction Publisher: Blackstone Audio Release Date: February 14th, 2014 Format: Audiobook Pages: 195 Source: Library Narrator: Carolyn McCormick Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; all the members of the second expedition committed suicide; the third expedition died in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another; the members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within months of their return, all had died of aggressive cancer. This is the twelfth expedition. Their group is made up of four women: an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and our narrator, a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain and collect specimens; to record all their observations, scientific and otherwise, of their surroundings and of one another; and, above all, to avoid being contaminated by Area X itself. They arrive expecting the unexpected, and Area X delivers—they discover a massive topographic anomaly and life forms that surpass understanding—but it’s the…

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
Book Review / January 8, 2018

Title: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine Author: Gail Honeyman Genre: Contemporary Fiction Publisher: Viking – Pamela Dorman Books Release Date: May 9th, 2017 Format: Audiobook Pages: 327 Source: Library Narrator: Cathleen McCarron Meet Eleanor Oliphant. She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully time-tabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy. Then everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living–and it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one. (via Goodreads) Goodreads Amazon You might have noticed a few weeks ago when I was in the middle of reading Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine I listed it as one of my top reads of 2017. I was wrong. It is THE top read of 2017 for me! I finished reading this novel so…

Gregor the Overlander
Book Review / December 15, 2017

Title: Gregor the Overlander Series: Underland Chronicles, #1 Author: Suzanne Collins Genre: Adventure Publisher: Scholastic Release Date: May 1st, 2005 Format: Audiobook Pages: 326 Source: Library – OverDrive First Published: 2003 When Gregor falls through a grate in the laundry room of his apartment building, he hurtles into the dark Underland, where spiders, rats, cockroaches coexist uneasily with humans. This world is on the brink of war, and Gregor’s arrival is no accident. A prophecy foretells that Gregor has a role to play in the Underland’s uncertain future. Gregor wants no part of it — until he realizes it’s the only way to solve the mystery of his father’s disappearance. Reluctantly, Gregor embarks on a dangerous adventure that will change both him and the Underland forever. (via Goodreads) Goodreads Amazon   I have a weak spot in my heart for middle-grade literature. I love how simple the writing is, how realistic the characters are for their ages, and what wonderful messages they carry. Unfortunately, I find that most middle-grade literature I read is lacking. Part of that, I’m sure, the lack of middle-grade aged children in my life. But, honestly, it’s harder to find solid middle grader literature than children’s,…

The Summer That Melted Everything
Book Review / December 1, 2017

Title: The Summer That Melted Everything Author: Tiffany McDaniel Genre: Literary Fiction Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin Release Date: July 4th, 2017 Format: Paperback Pages: 320 Source: From Author First Published: July 26th, 2016 Fielding Bliss has never forgotten the summer of 1984: the year a heat wave scorched Breathed, Ohio. The year he became friends with the devil. Sal seems to appear out of nowhere – a bruised and tattered thirteen-year-old boy claiming to be the devil himself answering an invitation. Fielding Bliss, the son of a local prosecutor, brings him home where he’s welcomed into the Bliss family, assuming he’s a runaway from a nearby farm town. When word spreads that the devil has come to Breathed, not everyone is happy to welcome this self-proclaimed fallen angel. Murmurs follow him and tensions rise, along with the temperature as an unbearable heat wave rolls into town right along with him. As strange accidents start to occur, riled by the feverish heat, some in the town start to believe that Sal is exactly who he claims to be. While the Bliss family wrestle with their own personal demons, a fanatic drives the town to the brink of a catastrophe that will change…

Ringworld
Book Review / October 24, 2017

Title: Ringworld Series: Ringworld, #1 Author: Larry Niven Genre: Science Fiction Publisher: Del Ray Ballantine Random House Format: Paperback Source: Library First Published: October 1970 Pierson’s puppeteers, three-leg two-head aliens find immense structure in unexplored part of the universe. Frightened of meeting the builders, they send a team of two humans, a puppeteer and a kzin, eight-foot red-fur catlike alien. Ringworld is 180 million miles across, sun at center. But the expedition crashes, and crew face disastrously long trek. (via Goodreads) Goodreads Amazon   Well. This book taught me something I can’t believe I didn’t know about myself until reading this book: I don’t like hard science fiction. Hard Sci-Fi waves technically accurate science into informed speculation by using intricate details to back-up the writer’s speculations.  While reading, when I found that I was incredibly engrossed in some parts and not others, I started to question why. I discovered two reasons I didn’t adore this: 1) I don’t care about the actual science and 2) I need you to respect female characters. Based on those two statements alone, you think I’d more-or-less avoid science fiction. But, that’s a topic of conversation for another day. Today is about Ringworld. The gods…

Attachments
Book Review , Buddy Read / October 2, 2017

Title: Attachments Author: Rainbow Rowell Genre: Contemporary Publisher: Plume Release Date: March 27th, 2012 Format: Paperback Pages: 323 Source: Library “Hi, I’m the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you…” Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It’s company policy.) But they can’t quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives. Meanwhile, Lincoln O’Neill can’t believe this is his job now- reading other people’s e-mail. When he applied to be “internet security officer,” he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers- not writing up a report every time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke. When Lincoln comes across Beth’s and Jennifer’s messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can’t help being entertained-and captivated-by their stories. By the time Lincoln realizes he’s falling for Beth, it’s way too late to introduce himself. What would he say . . . ? (via Goodreads) Goodreads Amazon   I am a HUGE Rainbow Rowell fan. I am drawn to realistic characters, character-driven stories, and character/relationship development over the course…

All-American Boys
Book Review / September 28, 2017

Title: All-American Boys Author: Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely Genre: Contemporary Publisher: Atheneum Books Release Date: September 29th, 2015 Format: Hardcover Pages: 316 Source: Library Rashad is absent again today. That’s the sidewalk graffiti that started it all… Well, no, actually, a lady tripping over Rashad at the store, making him drop a bag of chips, was what started it all. Because it didn’t matter what Rashad said next—that it was an accident, that he wasn’t stealing—the cop just kept pounding him. Over and over, pummeling him into the pavement. So then Rashad, an ROTC kid with mad art skills, was absent again…and again…stuck in a hospital room. Why? Because it looked like he was stealing. And he was a black kid in baggy clothes. So he must have been stealing. And that’s how it started. And that’s what Quinn, a white kid, saw. He saw his best friend’s older brother beating the daylights out of a classmate. At first Quinn doesn’t tell a soul…He’s not even sure he understands it. And does it matter? The whole thing was caught on camera, anyway. But when the school—and nation—start to divide on what happens, blame spreads like wildfire fed by ugly words like…

Dumplin’
Book Review / September 17, 2017

Title: Dumplin' Series: Dumplin, #1 Author: Julie Murphy Genre: Contemporary Publisher: Harper Collins Release Date: September 15th, 2015 Format: Audionook Source: Library Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back. Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all. With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly…

Snow Crash
Book Review / September 3, 2017

Title: Snow Crash Author: Neal Stephenson Genre: Science Fiction Publisher: Bantam Books Release Date: August 2nd, 2000 Format: Paperback Pages: 470 Source: Library First Published: June 1992 In reality, Hiro Protagonist delivers pizza for Uncle Enzo’s CosoNostra Pizza Inc., but in the Metaverse he’s a warrior prince. Plunging headlong into the enigma of a new computer virus that’s striking down hackers everywhere, he races along the neon-lit streets on a search-and-destroy mission for the shadowy virtual villain threatening to bring about infocalypse. Snow Crash is a mind-altering romp through a future America so bizarre, so outrageous…you’ll recognize it immediately. (via Goodreads) Amazon   I am both in love and completely over Snow Crash at the same time. Talk about confusing. Snow Crash reads like watching The Matrix for the first time– it’s mind blowing, action-packed, brilliant, and annoying all simultaneously. That said, I couldn’t put it down. Stephenson rebooted the cyberpunk genre with this novel, and for good reason.  But it runs you over a bit like a steamroller. So, instead of my traditional review, I am giving you a loves/hates list. Because… my brain cannot really comprehend this whole this: All information looks like noise until you break the…

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