Review: Queens of Geek

Rating: 5/5 stars. 

First, don’t you just LOVE this cover?? I saw this book all over Instagram and read rave reviews so I thought, “What the hell?” I bought it.

As I was recently at Book Con, I felt right at home reading Queens of Geek. Jen Wilde did an excellent job at portraying the crowds, cosplaying, meeting strangers, and how you feel when you see your heroes in the flesh.

Queens of Geek, by Jen Wilde, follows two BFFS, Taylor and Charlie, who are graduating from high school in Australia. They all want to move to LA where “Supacon” is held with their other friend Jamie. The story is told from the points of view of both Taylor and Charlie.

“We’re all messy. What kind of friends would we be if we demanded you only show us your prettiness? This isn’t Instagram—-it’s real life. And real life is messy.” -Queens of Geek 

Taylor has social anxiety and is secretly in love with her best friend Jamie and is scared of change. But quickly, she develops acquaintances at SupaCon that make her realize she isn’t alone in her fears and that encouragers her to enter a Queen Firestone contest.

Charlie is a prominent Youtuber who became a movie star. She regrettably dated her douche-bag co-star Reese Ryan and has trouble getting out of the limelight of her “shippers”. She’s afraid this will effect her future relationships, like with fellow celebrity Alyssa Huntington.

These developments effect the characters during the duration of SupaCon as they come out of their own personal shells and continue to break the mold.

Things I loved about this book?!

  • The representation of types of females + diversity.
  • The believability and how relatable the characters are.
  • The adorkableness and unapologetic geekiness.
  •  Showing that girls can be both into nerdy things and traditionally girly things.
  • The strong, but vulnerable and flawed female characters.
  • The mentions of actual fandoms like Supernatural and The Vampire Diaries.
  • Of course, the overall setting of a big convention.

This book was fairly short but managed to capture so much truth about dealing with anxiety or not living up to what society’s expectations of who you should be. At one point, Taylor is called fat behind her back because she isn’t skinny enough to portray her favorite character.  I thought the way Taylor handled the situation was amazing, especially since while she doubts herself sometimes she knows that her size doesn’t matter.

Queens of Geek is the book every geek girl or nerd deserves. It was delightful, had cheesy dialogue at times, but also had a positive message to young geek girls everywhere. I had a fun time reading it and would highly recommend it!

 

Review: A Court of Wings and Ruin

I read the entire series in the span of the last couple months.

  • A Court of Thorn and Roses: 5 stars
  • A Court of Mist and Fury: 5 stars
  • A Court of Wings and Ruin: 4 stars

Wow! I can’t even begin to describe how much these books spoke to me. Feyre is a nineteen year old woman when we first meet her in ACOTAR. I felt she acted her age in the situations she was in. I also related more because this wasn’t just another teeny-bopper romance (*ahem* Twilight).

“When you erupt, girl, make sure it is felt across worlds.”

If the Harry Potter series was my childhood then the ACOTAR series speaks to my adulthood. I have not read a series in the last 5 years that was as strongly and beautifully woven together and was on the same maturity level as me.

The reason why I love this series is because Sarah J. Maas wrote Feyre with so much self-empowerment, something I didn’t have as a teenager but I have only just recently begun to learn in my adulthood. In the first book, Feyre hunts to help her family survive and after breaking the Law she is swept away into a Beauty and the Beast re-telling in which love and sacrifice are the initial theme. While there is a love interest, there is so much character growth when it comes to her soul and how her choices either tarnished or healed it. Eventually, she learns to accept her new soul flaws and all. There is a significant turning point that occurs to solidify that later on in A Court of Wings and Ruin.

SPOILERS!! SPOILERS!! SPOILERS!! SPOILERS!!

It would take too long to summarize the entire series so without further ado…

In A Court of Wings and Ruin, Feyre is taken by her ex-lover back to the Spring Court. She pretends she was under Rhys’ mind control to infiltrate Tamlin’s Court. Tamlin has allowed Hybern to take up residence in his home to find ways to take down the wall as a deal with the King. He literally makes a deal with the devil to everyone’s dismay. Tamil betrayed Pythian and put everyone he loves at risk just to get Feyre back. But Feyre is the Night Court’s High Lady and at equal standing as Rhys, meaning she is a wolf in the chicken coop. In other words, the Spring Court is screwed.

Thoughts: This feels very out of character for Tamlin. But I also wonder if it’s absolutely in his character considering his and Rhy’s history. I just feel like waging war directly with Rhys would have made much more sense.

Eventually, Feyre escapes with Lucien in tow leaving Tamlin’s Court in pieces. It turns out Feyre’s fae-turned sister, Elaine, is Lucien’s mate and he’d do anything to see her, including leaving Tamlin and the Spring Court behind. At some point we learn Hybern’s plans to destroy the wall, Nesta may have taken some of the power of the Cauldron wth her, and that the Queens transformation wasn’t successful.

We can’t trust Ianthe. We can’t trust Jurian. We can’t trust Tamlin. They all have alternative motives. The motives help to drive the drama and direction of the novel. It gets very interesting.

Feyre is back at the Night Court and she reunites with Rhys and her friends. However, her sisters are very not okay. They were turned immortal and have suffered a lot. This puts even further strain on Feyre’s family.

A  lot of plotting, planning, and surprise attacks occur. Alliances are being forged, even with hesitant parties. We see first hand how Pyrthian must come together if they want to defeat Hybern.

It’s in Part 3 of A Court of Wings and Ruin that things start to slow down. The battle field scenes are incredible and epic. We see even more character development and even more surprises coming from characters that we didn’t expect to have a shining moment. Right when I thought things were slowing down again, there would be another twist. However, the very end left something to be desired.

I expected to have a book hangover and be bawling for the next several hours. While there were some tear-jerking moments in between, I felt like something was missing. I appreciate that the last book especially was not focused on the love interests, but I would have loved if it were lengthened at the end. I feel like the journey with Rhys and Feyre had just begun only to end in one final chapter. I needed needed more of their relationship. Someone else pointed out that they wished there was more witty banter toward the end, too. This isn’t to say it was a bad ending, but definitely a rushed one.  I didn’t mind that there were all these plots open because I know Maas is planning to extend the series. I just won’t ever get as much Rhy and Feyre again and that makes me the most sad.

THINGS I LOVED ABOUT THIS BOOK:

  • An aspect I loved about this book is how pro-consent it is. At one point, Lucien is cornered and is taken advantage of by Ianthe. Feyre finds them. She says to Ianthe, “You will never touch another person against their will. You will never convince yourself that they truly want your advances; they they’re playing games. You will never know another’s touch unless they initiate, unless it’s desire by both sides.” 
  • How much Azriel and Cassian mean to Rhys. How much Mor and Amren mean to Feyre. FRIENDSHIP GOALS.
  • I thought Jurian was such an interesting and well-written “villain”.
  • How uplifting and real Feyre is as a character. If I was still going through the things I did in my early adulthood, I think I would have come out better reading these books.
  • I didn’t love Suriel’s death, but that scene made me cry.
  • The ships Feyre’s father named after all his daughters made me cry.
  • Lucien’s real father… WHAT. Lucien is too good for this world.
  • “Be happy, Feyre.”  CRYING.
  • None of the House of Wind/Night Court clan died. I wanted more death, but I’m so happy they were kept alive. Finally, a book that doesn’t have a shocking death just for the heck of it!

It’s crazy to me that some people claimed this book was homophobic, antifeminist, and racist. I personally didn’t find these as issues at all even before the improvements. I felt was nothing inherently lacking with A Court of Thorns and Roses. Apparently, Maas was trying to answer criticisms of lack of diversity with making Mor bisexual and some people thought it was forced in. I don’t think a single author can make hundreds, and in some cases, millions of people happy. By not having characters of other sexualities, she was criticized and by having them she still is. Anyway, that’s a discussion for another time.

I gave A Court of Wings and Ruin 4 out of 5 stars because I cared more about the relationships than the wars and battles and politics. I’m glad the politics were there to weave together a more interesting and unique story, but I wanted the FEELS. Give me more FEELS!

 

Quotes I loved:

“My goal was bigger than revenge. My purpose greater than personal retribution.” (pg. 80)

“I see all of you, Rhys. And there is not one part that I do not love with everything that I am.” (pg. 402)

“Remember that you are a wolf. And you cannot be caged.”  (pg. 565)

“It’s a rare person to face who they truly are and not run from it-not be broken by it.”(pg. 607)

 

Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

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Image source: @lisa_lostinlit

Rating: 5/5 stars

“It took 7 years for me to get the letter right.” 

Caraval 

It took me 7 years to get this dang review right. 

Just kidding! But it did take me quite awhile because I felt like I was on a carousel ride of my life. Also, this is my very first review that I’ve written out since starting Through Prose Tinted Pages. Yay, me!

RECAP:

       Caraval (2017) by Stephanie Garber is about two sisters who live with their abusive father. They dream of attending a legendary and magical game that only performs once a year, known as Caraval. Scarlett, the eldest writes to the Master Legend for 7 years until he finally invites both she and Tella to the game. However, Scarlett is betrothed to a man she never met and is torn between family duty and setting off on an adventure she’ll never forget. Scarlett loses that choice once Tella has her kidnapped by a mysterious, but handsome sailor. Once on the isle that Caraval is on, Tella goes missing and Scarlett is on a whirlwind hunt to get her back. As it turns out, Tella is a crucial component to this year’s game. If Scarlett doesn’t find her before the game is over, she may never see her sister again.  During her journey, she uncovers many truths about her family and herself. Caraval is captivating story of love, magic, and adventure that will leave you breathless by the end.

THOUGHTS:

Let’s start with my teensy, little problem initially. Early on, the story was a bit repetitive because Scarlett took a very long time adjusting to her situation. I get that she’s just a bit timid, but if I read the words ‘my fiancé’ ONE more time, I was going to rip my heart out. I was truly concerned that there would be an ongoing dialogue the entire 400 pages about how she had to get back to her fiancé because it got reiterated about a thousand times. Stephanie Garber made a classic, newbie writing mistake: Repeating the same thing over and over again as if she didn’t trust her readers to understand. In the beginning, there was more telling than showing, but fortunately that was remedied right away.

Now that we got that out of the way… wow! There are so many aspects of this story that are worth talking about.

  • Scarlett and Tessa’s storyline: It wasn’t as in depth as it could have been. I kept hearing that this story was about sisters. Though I REALLY liked this book, even the sister’s relationship felt a tad shallow.
  • The love story: Also, not as in depth as it could have been, but I liked Julian. Some people might say it was a bit too insta-lovey but so many classic fairytales have the love interests fall in love within a week. So if I let down my snobbery for just a second, then I didn’t let that be a flaw in the story.
  • I loved Caraval and it’s magic and history. It was oh-so intriguing. It was dark and twisted. I’m beginning to think I like my fairytales eery.
  • I loved Stephanie Garber’s way with immersing readers into the story with her words and luscious details. Some people didn’t like her descriptions of people or the environment, but I think it worked. It felt more magical than literary. There was a lot of sensory image and flowery prose. Example: “He tasted like midnight and wind, and shades of rich brown and light blue. Colors that made her feel safe and guarded.” The whole dang point of this book was the visual and sensual details. Get a grip!
  • I can’t remember the specifics but the roses had significant meaning. I don’t normally care for roses (mainly because I like all flowers), but for the book it symbolizes adventure and change.

“Do you always focus on what you’re giving up, rather than what you’ll be gaining? Some things are worth pursuit regardless of the cost.”

I see validity to the criticisms of the book, but this book meant something to me, personally. The quote above is one of the reasons why I enjoyed Caraval. There was so much about being daring, taking risks, and changing your fate that spoke to me.

Allow me to fill you in on a few the cons. Besides my rant about Scarlett’s obsession with the stupid fiancé Scarlett had never met, there are some “problematic” things. There is a child abuse situation that is normalized and not really addressed at all early on. And this is more or less a SPOILER so be WARNED but there is content related to suicide. Hopefully, you are a smart human and know that these things are NOT okay.

Moving on.

I finished Caraval within a few days. If you don’t take it too seriously, it’s just a super fun read. I never read The Night Circus by Erin Morgensten, so I didn’t draw any comparisons. However, I read some reviews of people who liked this book more than The Night Circus. This book had all the elements I needed to give it 5 stars.

Other quotes I liked:

       “She imagined loving him would feel like falling in love with darkness, frightening and consuming yet utterly beautiful when the stars came out.”

     “She remembered thinking falling for him would be like falling in love with darkness, but now she imagined he was more like a starry night: the constellations were always there, constant, magnificent guides against the ever-present black.”

 

Have you read Caraval yet? Are you shying away because it seems over-hyped? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below! I promise I don’t bite (;

– V

       Personal Note: I’m not a, “Let me criticize as I read” kind of person. If a book sweeps me up until I forget about reality and it’s well-written, I’ll enjoy it. I read for enjoyment —- not to ban, bash, or hate books. I actually don’t mind criticism of even popular books, but sometimes I think people are harsh critics for attention or for click-bait. I don’t care if you read this review and still hate the guts out of this book. I just don’t like when people hate books just to be cool, or whatever. I’m not a mindless robot if I happen to consume and enjoy content that hundreds of other people like; it just means the author had to do something right. I just feel like people love to hate things to prove they’re different, you know??

Read. What. You. Like.