Geek Girl Con ’15

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A Day (Or Two) in Seattle, Geek Girl Con 2015

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Hi guys! I haven’t posted in a while (because life happens). Well, today I plan to change that by blogging about one of the most enjoyable conventions I’ve been to, Geek Girl Con!

For those of you guys that don’t know what Geek Girl Con is, it’s like Comic-Con, but with more topics like theatre, anime, books, video games, and the celebration (as the name implies) of the female geek. Don’t worry, gentlemen, it’s also open to men, but the convention focuses more on girl power, and women’s rights in the geek world. All in all, it’s an event jam-packed with fangirls and fanboys alike, all gathering to share their experiences and passions with each other.

Being a book, anime, and video game enthusiast, Geek Girl Con was filled with a lot of activities to feed my fangirl-level expectations. I decided to make a list for you guys so you know what to expect if you do decide to go to this convention next year.

Here are some events and places I was able to go to (since I wasn’t able to go to every event, unfortunately):

  1. GeekGirl-Connections

These exhibits are filled with activities and organizations for you to discover and enjoy. It’s right next to the ticket booth, which made it my first stop during the convention. Organizations set up booths to introduce you to their cause and their very well made products (there was a squirrel basketball shooting machine at one of the exhibits). These are one of the places where you can meet new innovators and leaders. It’s a great place to expand your horizons, and maybe meet a Dalek or two.

2. The Artist Alley

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My beautiful bookmark from Artist Alley

To fellow stick-figure artists like myself: this is a place where artists from local areas show off their work, and sell them. We’re there to get our hands on those shiny new pieces of art and admire them. For my more artistically-inclined audience, you can participate in this enjoyable mini-art fair. Artists here have subjects that range from comics to LOTR. If you want to add a new edgy art piece to your home (or in my case, a pretty bookmark for my books), this place is a must-go for you.

3. The Exhibitors Hall (AKA where geeks are overloaded with fandom merch)

For those geeks who feel the need to replenish their fandom merch supply, or to discover more things to fangirl/boy over, this is the perfect place for you. Yes, things may seem overwhelming in this hall because of the big crowd, the dazzling shops, and the astounding amount of cosplayers in this area (I saw No-Face!), but let me tell you, it’s worth it. Shops vary from arts and crafts booths where artists display their crafts and artwork for us to ooh and aah over (and maybe even buy) to fandom-catering booths that sell merchandise from your favorite TV show to your favorite comic or book. Warning: I would suggest going there after watching panels, because just observing all the shops will take up a lot of your time.

4. Panels

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I loved the panels in the convention. The atmosphere in these panels were relaxed and welcoming, and everyone understood each other (there were some heated arguments about comics, but that’s normal). Another quick warning: parents, some panels’ topics might be a little inappropriate for your kids, so make sure to check the topics before you go to the panel itself.

Here are the panels that I attended (and thoroughly enjoyed):

  • Youtube vs. Real World – Speakers: Zach Peacock, Mallory Shoemaker, Kristina Horner, Joe Homes, Cupecake
  • The Sparkling World of Shoujo Manga – Speakers: Leah Zoller, Kathryn Hemmann
  • Beyond Fanfiction Live: Fandom in Performing Arts – Speakers: Stevi Costa, Sin de la Rosa, Rachel Jackson, Jeannine Clarke, Fairlith Harvey, Elicia Sanchez 
  • How to Write a Good Review (and Why it’s important)
  • Women, Diversity and Comics: A Non-Compliant Discussion        About the Comic Book Industry – Speakers: G. Willow Wilson, Heather Harris McFarlane, Sabrina Taylor

There are many more panels that I wanted to see, but wasn’t able to go to, but these five panels were truly enjoyable and informational. Not to mention, for those comic book-lovers out there, Ms. Marvel’s author and artist, G. Willow Wilson, was one of the panelists for Women, Diversity and Comics. May we please have a moment of thanks for letting Ms. Wilson grace us with her presence at GGC from all the way from New York.

And…that concludes my GeekGirl-Con ’15 experience! Hopefully next year, I’ll be able to attend and see one of you guys over there!

– Ravenna

Afternoon – Robert Lampros, A YA Religious Fiction

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Title: Afternoon

Author: Robert Lampros

Type: Religious Fiction, Young Adult

Rating: 4 stars

Afternoon Cover (5.5x8.5)

Blurb:

Afternoon is a novella for young adults about courage, faith in Jesus Christ, and growing up in a surreal and challenging world.

It’s been a while since I’ve read religious YA fiction, and I couldn’t ask for a better reintroduction to the genre. I usually don’t read these types of books, but this Afternoon made me want to read more! Just to tell you folks, if this genre isn’t really your cup of tea, go ahead and read this. You won’t regret it, I’m sure.

So what exactly did I enjoy about this book? There are many things, but the main reasons are:

  1. The writing was clear, I loved how the sentences were constructed.
  2.  The topic, and how the author writes about it. The main character’s meeting with Jesus was somehow relatable to me, since I’ve imagined meeting Him in a field of flowers too.
  3.  The storytelling was vivid, and you could easily relate to the events in the book.
  4.  The writing was soothing, and you feel like cheering the main protagonist on throughout the whole book.
  5.  I love how the writing tells us about the character’s love for God. It was heartfelt, and what the character tells Him when praying is really touching.
As you can see from the list here, I highly approve of this book. There are some things the author can work on, like making transitions between events more smooth, and creating an ending that would give readers a sense of closure.
Otherwise, this book was highly enjoyable, and I recommend this novel to any age who would enjoy a nice, soothing read about Him.

The Shadows (The Fianna)

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Title: The Shadows (The Fianna Trilogy)

Author: Megan Chance

Type: Fantasy, Historical, Romance

Rating: 3 stars

The Shadows

Blurb:

Grace Knox has grown up hearing the folktales of her Irish ancestors, especially about the warriors who fought for control of Ireland. In 19th-century New York City, however, these legends are far from Grace’s mind. She’s much more concerned with how to protect her family from debt collectors, and whether her childhood friend Patrick Devlin will propose. Patrick is a member of the Fenian Brotherhood, a group of young Irish American men intent on fighting for the independence of their homeland, whatever the cost. Patrick and the Brotherhood use ancient magic to summon mythical warriors to join their fight to protect Ireland. One of them, Diarmid, finds himself drawn to Grace, and she to him. When Diarmid discovers that, in their desperation, the Brotherhood has also summoned a rival group of ancient warriors, he warns Patrick that there will be bloodshed. Grace is caught in the middle of two men she loves, and discovers she alone holds the power to save Ireland?

I really liked the start of this book. There was magic, adventure, and a sense of suspense that made you want to keep reading. I also loved the main character, Grace, and the multiple POVs that kept the story interesting. There were so many points I loved when reading this book, although there were some things that the story may improve on (I loved the Irish theme of the book though!)

The protagonist of the book, Grace, is a poor girl who was once wealthy before the death of her father. Her mother wishes for riches, but doesn’t help at all in the house, and Grace’s brother is a drunkard who keeps on using their scarce resources. To also add to Grace’s problems, her grandmother is slowly dying, while losing piece by piece of her sanity. Grace’s situation is undoubtedly bad, and the only choice for her to elevate her status in society is to marry someone wealthy, whether sparks may or may not fly. I loved Grace’s character. She was strong and resilient, and had a reasonable head on her shoulders. I also couldn’t help but notice that unlike other heroines in other books, she also wished that she had some money, and some piece of her former status. This part of her character I admired, since she turned into someone human that readers can relate to. Let’s be real for a second. If you were in her shoes, you would wish you had money too :D. Later in the book, she has to make a difficult decision (I won’t spoil though), and that decision was something I did NOT expect. I don’t know about you guys, but that’s a plus in my book.

The plot of the story was intriguing, with not just a few secondary characters, but a LOT. I loved how the author actually made their decisions matter in the book, instead of letting them fade into the background. Also, the choices in the book was astounding! I loved how there were actually difficult decisions to be made, not just by Grace, but other characters like Patrick and Diarmid. These choices pushed the plot and made the story more fascinating, more than what I expected.

But not all stories are perfect, so here are the things I did not exactly like about the book:

  1. The plot was….s…l….o…w….

Okay, you’re probably thinking, she’s one of those people who are really impatient when reading a book. I’m sorry, but it is true. It is only because I wanted to know more about Grace and her powers that I finished the book. It was a long, uphill battle for me, since I’m more of a fast-paced book kind of gal. But, BUT, the end was worth it, so I’m glad I finished it.

2. The heroine did not end up with the guy I wanted her to end up with.

Yes. I didn’t really deduct a star because of this, but still, WHY?

3. There were times when I wanted to hit some of the characters on the head.

Remember when I said that Patrick and Diarmid had to make some important decisions? Some of those decisions I really didn’t like, (not going to spoil even though I really want to), which detracted from my reading experience.

Overall, I give this book 3 stars, and would definitely read another book by Ms. Megan Chance. This book is filled with suspense, Irish magic, and Gaelic galore. If you’re a fan of these genres, then go ahead, read it! Tell me if you enjoyed the book or not. 😀 See you next time!

*This ARC was provided by Netgalley*

Hollywood Witch Hunter

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Title: Hollywood Witch Hunter

Author: Valerie Tejeda

Type: Action, Paranormal, Romance

Rating: 3 stars

From the moment she first learned the truth about witches…she knew she was born to fight them.

Now, at sixteen, Iris is the lone girl on the Witch Hunters Special Ops Team.

But when Iris meets a boy named Arlo, he might just be the key to preventing an evil uprising in Southern California.

Together they’re ready to protect the human race at all costs. Because that’s what witch hunters do.

Welcome to Hollywood.

This action-packed book is definitely something you want to read if you’re in the mood for a quick, fun read with a little bit of seriousness in it to keep it interesting. This book also contains witches who eat spoiled, bratty, beautiful women, and a heroine who fights for her career in a workplace dominated by men.

Let’s start off with the main character, Iris. She is the first and only female witch hunter in existence, making her the target of many egocentric hunters who all think they are more skilled than her. She hates witches with a passion, and loves hunting them. At first, I really liked Iris. Despite being sent to a mental hospital by her parents because they tried to convince her that witches weren’t real, she still fought for what she believed in and finally landed a job as a witch hunter. She was really independent at the start of the book, but as I continued reading, she started becoming dependent on the men in her life. It also felt strange that after hating witches for most of her life, she started being friends with one incredibly quickly. Iris had her good points though, and she was willing to help her ‘enemies’ to protect the people she loves.

I loved the concept of the witches in this book. They had to kill women to stay beautiful and alive, but they only sacrificed the worst of the worst. This made me think whether the witches were really evil or not, and I loved how the author wrote about that dilemma.

Then of course, the plot twists. There was a surprising amount of them in the book, which made the read exciting and intriguing. Some of them though were expected, though, making the suspense less…well, suspenseful. Nevertheless, I still enjoyed reading through all the twists and turns in the book :D.

The reason why I only gave this book three stars was that it followed the paranormal-teenage trope too much. The writing was good, but not that great. There were times when the writing strayed to almost a middle-school grade level, which was the main reason why I deducted a few stars off my rating. Also, Iris’ constant character/personality changes were too frequent for my liking, which is also another reason why I deducted stars from the full rating.

Overall, I really liked Hollywood Witch Hunter. It had a great storyline, had interesting, complex characters, and was altogether a fun read.

*This ARC was provided by Netgalley*

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The Charismatics

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Title: The Charismatics

Author: Ashley R. Carson

Type: Fantasy, Adventure, Suspense, Action, Romance

Rating: 4 stars

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I can’t shake this feeling that I’ve been lied to, nor that I’m partly to blame. I’ve spent my life following orders, never questioning Legalia’s decisions for me, for the world. I had food, shelter, better living conditions than most-why rock the boat?

Because you can choose between doing what is comfortable, or doing what is right, answers the small voice within me.

I was afraid of that.

An arranged marriage. A corrupt government called Legalia. A forbidden spiritual realm.

Duchess Ambrose Killaher was just seventeen years old when exiled to Shinery-a city of snow and darkness-to marry a man who despised her, finding her only solace in an invisible companion named Roan.

Now as the poor starve in the streets below and rebellious acts become a frequent occurrence, Shinery holds its yearly celebration to commemorate Legalia’s rule. But when Ambrose stumbles into a hidden courtroom and witnesses a violent murder, she is thrust into a secret world of the supernatural-one that could endanger everyone she’s grown to care for. With the help of a handsome stranger, Ambrose learns of the past Legalia has covered up, and that she alone possesses the power to stop their unspeakable plans for the future.

This book made me feel ecstatic, anxious, enraged, and depressed, not necessarily good for my mental health. Reading this book turned out to be one hell of a roller coaster ride, and I seriously wanted to either hug the book, or throw it on the wall :D. If you enjoy books that make you feel, this is definitely a read for you.

The book starts off with Duchess Ambrose, who lives a privileged life in Legalia. She has riches, beautiful dresses, and is sheltered from the outside world. However, her husband hates her and she has an invisible friend that no one else could see. Truth to be told, I was a bit puzzled by the first chapter of the book, since I had no idea how the author will build upon the story from this point. But I stuck to the story, and so far that was the best decision I have ever made this month.

In the beginning of the book, I first disliked Duchess Ambrose because of her cluelessness of the struggles of her people. I revised my point of view of her later on and started cheering for her throughout the whole story. I soon loved her character, even though she had her less-than-pleasant moments (crying about Vasser). Out of all the characters in the book, she had the best character development, and when she started fighting back against the government instead of being a puppet, I was elated to say the least. Duchess Ambrose is certainly one of the main reasons why I love this book.

The other characters are well-written as well, and their personalities shone throughout the whole book. There was such contrast between the characters, and their interactions towards each other kept me at the edge of my seat the entire time I was reading. Add to that the steampunk setting, and heaps and heaps of suspense and political intrigue, it was safe to say I was hooked on the storyline. One more thing about the characters. Evelyn. If there was a character that I would choose to hate on for the rest of my life, it would be Evelyn. I hated her so much, that I loved her. If that did not make any sense, pick up this book and read it. You will understand.

There were a few things that I wanted to change in this book. The first and foremost thing I wanted to edit in this book was the pacing. The pacing…just no. The moment I was introduced to the Charismata and Roanie, I wanted to bust out of my seat and find out more about them. This was not to be the case. I waited for one half (one half!) of the book to get on with the plotline. I could wait for a little while, sure, to read more about them, but to wait for one half of the book? No. No. Not happening. Moving on, the second thing I wanted to change ties back to my first point. The writing gets off track sometimes, and that makes me feel confused about where the storyline is going.

Other than that, this book receives 4 whole stars from me, since it’s just that good (one star off because of the pacing). I would certainly recommend this to my friends and family, and will look forward to the continuation of the series.

The Last of the Firedrakes, Blog Tour

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The Author, Ms. Farah Oomerbhoy~

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Title: The Last of the Firedrakes

Author: Farah Oomerbhoy

Type: Fantasy, Adventure, Romance

Rating: 3.5-4 stars

When I first read the blurb, I was all like, “Epic fantasy!!! I need this!”. Thankfully, I wasn’t disappointed by this book ;D. The concept (although the names of the characters and places seemed borderline cheesy), and the relationships between the main characters are well-written. Also, the decisions made by the characters seemed realistic, although there were some questionable choices the characters made that detracted some of the characters good qualities.

The main protagonist, Aurora, is bullied in school and is verbally abused by her terrible aunt and cousin. Her uncle does not seem to care about her either, which is just another thing to add to the list of why her life is miserable. But when her uncle trades her for money, she is brought to a different and more magical world than ours, and finds out that she is the lone heir to an incredible kingdom.

Aurora, at first, seems like a pitiful human being at first, since she longs to be accepted by her adopted family and her classmates in school. This all changes when she realizes she doesn’t have to live in her perfect cousin’s shadow and that she has her own special power. After being transported into the new world, Aurora develops into an independent and strong character who knows what she wants and what her responsibilities entail. I really liked how Aurora admitted that she didn’t have the capabilities to rule a whole kingdom despite having loads of magical power. However, she stood up to her duties and didn’t let them overwhelm her. She had some bad moments too, like her infatuation to Rafe (I’m not a big fan of insta-love 😦 ), and she made some decisions that created bad outcomes. Still, I really liked her. 

The other characters in this book are also well-written. I really liked Snow, Aurora’s pegasus, and Aurora’s friends, Kalen, Vivienne, and Erien. The side characters weren’t swept to the side and completely ignored in the story, they actually had their own lives and their own responsibilities. I loved Erien and Vivienne’s relationship, they may be my favorite couple in the book despite not really being a couple. The grown-ups in the story are also mature and supportive, and they actually behave like actual grown-ups!

Then why did I give a 4 star rating? There were two reasons, first was that there was an overuse of fantasy names. There was a lot of things that was overused in fantasy books, like mages and being the savior of the whole universe gig. The second reason was that I really, really, really, didn’t like the love interest of Aurora, Rafe. It may be just me, but he seemed like a jerk to me as a person, even if he did some good things to help his kingdom. Maybe his attitude towards Aurora will change later in the series :).

Overall, I really liked this read. I would recommend this book to fantasy lovers, and people who just want to read a warm, feel-good book.

About the Author:

For Farah Oomerbhoy, writing is a passion and reading her solace. She is a firm believer in the fantastic and magical, and often dreams of living in Narnia, Neverland, or the Enchanted Forest.

Farah lives with her husband and three children in their family home in Mumbai, India. She has a Master’s degree in English Literature from the University of Mumbai. Her first novel, The Last of the Firedrakes, Book 1 of the Avalonia Chronicles will be published worldwide August 15th, 2015.

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A fantastic adventure story that will transport you to a dazzling world of myth and magic.

16-year-old Aurora Darlington is an orphan. Mistreated by her adopted family and bullied at school, she dreams of running away and being free. But when she is kidnapped and dragged through a portal into a magical world, suddenly her old life doesn’t seem so bad.

Avalonia is a dangerous land ruled by powerful mages and a cruel, selfish queen who will do anything to control all seven kingdoms—including killing anyone who stands in her way.  Thrust headlong into this new, magical world, Aurora’s arrival sets plans in motion that threaten to destroy all she holds dear.

With the help of a young fae, a magical pegasus, and a handsome mage, Aurora journeys across Avalonia to learn the truth about her past and unleash the power within herself. Kingdoms collide as a complicated web of political intrigue and ancient magic lead Aurora to unravel a shocking secret that will change her life forever.

Amazon | B&N | Apple | Kobo | Smashwords | Itasca Books | Goodreads

***This ARC was provided by Netgalley***

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Blog Tour Schedule:

August 14th – Reads All The Books – Review

August 15th – Dizneeee’s World of Books – Review / Guest Post

August 15th – Melissa Martin’s Reading List – Review / Top 5/10 Post

August 17th – Ya Fiction Queen – Guest Post

August 17th – Christine Abee – Review

August 18th – Books, Stars, Writing. And Everything In Between – Interview

August 18th – EndlessReading – Review

August 19th – Motif by Tanya – Author Interview

August 19th – Ramblings of a Perpetual New Girl – Review / Guest Post

August 20th – Ramblings of a Perpetual New Girl – Review / Guest Post

August 21st – Book Addict – Guest Post / Author Interview

August 21st – Author of The Not So Public Library – Review / Interview

August 24th – Miranda’s Book Blog – Review / Guest Post

August 25th – BookishFever – Review

August 26th – The Reader and the Chef – Review / Top 5 or 10

August 27th – The Power of Three Readers – Promo

August 27th – Ashley Martinez – Review

August 28th – Bookish – Review

August 31st – The Renegade Zombie Reviews – Review / Author Interview

September 1st – Beauty’s Library – Review / Guest Post

September 2nd – Pixie Vixen Reviews – Character Interview

September 3rd – Creatyvebooks – Review / Author Interview

September 4th –

September 7th – serenastone – Author Interview

September 8th –

September 9th – Read with Royella – Review

September 10th – Reading with AngelaRenea – Review / Author Interview

September 11th – Atomic Pirate Girl’s Book Worm Booty – Review

September 11th – Triple T Tots tweens and teens – Review / Teasers

September 14th – Anything but Vanilla Book Blog – Playlist

September 14th – Rockin’ Book Reviews – Review

As Red As Blood

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Title: As Red As Blood

Author: Sally Simukka

Type: Suspense, Mystery, Thriller

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

 In the midst of the freezing Arctic winter, seventeen-year-old Lumikki Andersson walks into her school’s dark room and finds a stash of wet, crimson-colored money. Thousands of Euros left to dry—splattered with someone’s blood.

Lumikki lives alone in a studio apartment far from her parents and the past she left behind. She transferred into a prestigious art school, and she’s singularly focused on studying and graduating. Lumikki ignores the cliques, the gossip, and the parties held by the school’s most popular and beautiful boys and girls.

But finding the blood-stained money changes everything. Suddenly, Lumikki is swept into a whirlpool of events as she finds herself helping to trace the origins of the money. Events turn even more deadly when evidence points to dirty cops and a notorious drug kingpin best known for the brutality with which he runs his business.

As Lumikki loses control of her carefully constructed world, she discovers that she’s been blind to the forces swirling around her—and she’s running out of time to set them right. When she sees the stark red of blood on snow, it may be too late to save her friends or herself.

 I was really surprised by this book. I wasn’t really expecting the detailed writing and the interesting plot in the book, which made the book much better in my opinion. There are some flaws in the writing of course, but the overall concept is admirable.

 The main character, Lumikki, is an enigmatic girl who likes to keep to herself and avoids all ‘useless and tiring’ interactions with others. She was an unexpected character in the book because unlike other protagonists in other books, she really treasures her peace. I felt like I can relate to her about some points, and disagree with her about others. Lumikki felt like a Sherlock Holmes character to me, she was smart and isolated, and was pulled into others’ affairs without wanting to be involved. Overall, I admired the main character’s role in the whole book.

 The side characters were also an unexpected treat. The three kids who brought Lumikki into their mess were surprisingly relatable and human. Elisa, despite being a rich kid, still wants company and her family be faithful to her, and Tuukka and Kasper were delinquents who didn’t understand the consequences of their foolish actions. I liked how the side characters were not perfect despite their importance to the story. The antagonists were also engaging. They admitted their own faults, but continued to commit crime anyway.

 The concept of the story was loosely based on Snow White and other fairy tales, with a mix of suspense and action. There were gang bosses, crime lords, and other shady characters in the book that made the fictional part of the story realistic, which, in my opinion, is a good mix for a mystery novel. I also liked the setting of the story, and how it stayed true to its origins (Lumikki had a Finnish name).

 After reading this book, I give the book four out of five stars. I would recommend this title to my friends who enjoy mystery and suspense books, with a dash of fantasy.