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Friday, June 30

Recently Read | March + April 2017

Friday, June 30
I am a leeetle1 behind on updating this series, but I blame work, vacation, and being sick for the entire month of June.

What did I read during the months of March and April?

Top Read

Geekerella by Ashley Poston

Anything can happen once upon a con …

When geek girl Elle Wittimer sees a cosplay contest sponsored by the producers of Starfield, she has to enter. First prize is an invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. Elle’s been scraping together tips from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck behind her stepmother’s back, and winning this contest could be her ticket out once and for all—not to mention a fangirl’s dream come true.

Teen actor Darien Freeman is less than thrilled about this year’s ExcelsiCon. He used to live for conventions, but now they’re nothing but jaw-aching photo sessions and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Federation Prince Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but the diehard Starfield fandom has already dismissed him as just another heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, closet nerd Darien feels more and more like a fake—until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise.

I love a good retelling, and y'all know how I feel about geekery, so the whole idea of Geekerella appealed to me from the very start. I was hesitant going into it, however, thanks to my recent experience with fandom/geek books. (Spoiler alert: It hasn't been good.) Thankfully, Poston has written a novel that feels true in its examination of fandom. In my review for Forever Young Adult, I put it this way: It is an ode to fandom without an overabundance of name dropping or stereotyping, a celebration of geek culture that doesn’t resort to tropes, and a book that I’m excited to tell my fellow nerds about. (Sorry not sorry for quoting myself.)

Poston's characters are fun, real-feeling individuals who obviously love their fandoms as much as I love mine. They never felt like caricatures, which I appreciate so much. The relationship between Elle and Darien is sweet and funny, and although it's fictional and more than a little unrealistic, still felt like something that just maybe could have happened. And I love how Poston updated elements of the Cinderella tale to fit with her story, from turning the magic pumpkin into a food truck and having the prince only play one in the movies.

Geekerella's plot isn't anything too deep, but sometimes you just want to get lost in a flight of fancy.

Honorable mentions

Defy the Stars (Constellation #1) by Claudia Gray

She’s a soldier.

Noemi Vidal is seventeen years old and sworn to protect her planet, Genesis. She’s willing to risk anything—including her own life. To their enemies on Earth, she’s a rebel.
He’s a machine.

Abandoned in space for years, utterly alone, Abel has advanced programming that’s begun to evolve. He wants only to protect his creator, and to be free. To the people of Genesis, he’s an abomination.

Noemi and Abel are enemies in an interstellar war, forced by chance to work together as they embark on a daring journey through the stars. Their efforts would end the fighting for good, but they’re not without sacrifice. The stakes are even higher than either of them first realized, and the more time they spend together, the more they’re forced to question everything they’d been taught was true.

With her Firebird series and the Star Wars novel Lost Stars,  Gray has quickly become one of my "must-read" authors. Defy the Stars isn't my most favorite of her books that I've read so far, but it's no exception to the "I love Claudia Gray's books" rule.

Starring an android who's way too human for his own good and a rebellious young woman who's willing to do whatever it takes to bring peace to her world, the novel is an exciting adventure featuring a surprising amount of swoon—which is one of the reasons I enjoy Gray's books so much; she's very skilled at mixing these sometimes disparate ideas. I'm excited to see where the rest of the series takes us.

Rebel by chance. Traitor by choice.

Gunslinger Amani al'Hiza fled her dead-end hometown on the back of a mythical horse with the mysterious foreigner Jin, seeking only her own freedom. Now she’s fighting to liberate the entire desert nation of Miraji from a bloodthirsty sultan who slew his own father to capture the throne.

When Amani finds herself thrust into the epicenter of the regime—the Sultan’s palace—she’s determined to bring the tyrant down. Desperate to uncover the Sultan’s secrets by spying on his court, she tries to forget that Jin disappeared just as she was getting closest to him, and that she’s a prisoner of the enemy. But the longer she remains, the more she questions whether the Sultan is really the villain she’s been told he is, and who’s the real traitor to her sun-bleached, magic-filled homeland.

I really enjoyed the first book in Hamilton's series (Rebel of the Sands) and was glad to find that Traitor to the Throne didn't fall prey to the dreaded Bridge Book Blues (i.e., not serve any real purpose other than transition from the first in a trilogy to the last).

Hamilton's world-building is superb, and the books are a fascinating mix of middle eastern, western, and fantastical elements. The plot moves a bit slowly for much of the book, but the pace picks up with a gusto as the end nears. It'll be bittersweet to read the last in the trilogy when it's released given how much I've enjoyed spending time in this world.

Other reads


Beneath the Shine by Sarah Fine | Freya (Freya #1) by Matthew Laurence | Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World edited by Kelly Jensen | Places No One Knows by Brenna Yovanoff | The Ship Beyond Time (The Girl from Everywhere #2) by Heidi Heilig


Definitions of Indefinable Things by Whitney Taylor | Perfect (Flawed #2) by Cecelia Ahern | Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

If you've read any of these titles, I'd love to hear what you thought! And definitely let me know if you've read anything lately that you'd recommend. My TBR pile is laughably large, but that doesn't mean I don't love adding to it.

1 A lottle, actually. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Tuesday, June 27

Haiku Revieu | Wonder Woman

Tuesday, June 27
Wonder Woman

Amazon badass
She needs no man (except Steve ...)
So much girl power

Before she was Wonder Woman, she was Diana, princess of the Amazons and trained warrior. When a pilot crashes and tells of conflict in the outside world, she leaves home to fight a war to end all wars, discovering her full powers and true destiny.

Thanks to vacation and then a nasty cold, I didn't get to see Wonder Woman until more than a week after it came out. (That might seem like not a lot of time, but it's unusual for me with this sort of movie.) I tried my best to avoid spoilers, but couldn't help hearing the many, many positive feelings about the film, from both critics and friends. Those opinions bolstered my already high hopes for the movie, and—for the most part—I wasn't at all disappointed.

I really liked the way the movie was an origin story, but didn't feel completely removed from the rest of the DC movie universe (regardless of how I feel about those movies). Having Diana basically intro the story tied this movie, which is a historical piece, to Wonder Woman's intro in Batman v. Superman. Thankfully, because it was a historical piece, it stands on its own two, powerful feet. The WWI setting was also a pretty dang perfect backdrop for Diana's introduction to humanity, both its pros and cons. (Even though I've seen confusion over the whole Steve/Steve thing. 😜)

Gal Gadot was wonderful in the role of Diana. I'll totally admit to having reservations about her, but I also know when to admit that I was wrong. The way she played Diana as both fierce and more than a little naive was delightful. I found myself wanting to protect her from the evils of mankind at the same time that I was realizing she needed absolutely none of my help.

I loved seeing Themyscira, and the women who live there. They're unbelievably beautiful, and enviably strong, both physically and mentally. Their fight scene at the start of the film was jaw-dropping, and made me especially proud to be a woman (who might be capable of such skill and grace, given the opportunity).

Chris Pine's Steve Trevor was also fantastic. I've enjoyed Chris' past roles, but he's never been at the top of my Chris Ranking—until Steve Trevor. I appreciate how, even though he's a main character, he never overshadows Diana. (One of the many excellent feminist parts of the movie.) Although he begins the movie as a pretty typical dude, he's quick to realize how much he can step back and let her do her thing and offer support as she might need it.

My only complaints about the movie revolve around the villain, some of the CGI, and the fight scene at the end of the film. Working backwards: The fight scene felt overly produced, in a typical Zack Snyder sort of way. The CGI at times was really awful, particularly when Diana was leaping or fighting. She's a superhero, yes, but she can't stop time/pause mid-air for emphasis. And the reveal of the villain, although unexpected, felt strange. And—highlight for spoilers—David Thewlis' mustache was SUPER distracting. It was fine in WWII, but did Ares really sport that style of 'stache way back when? Methinks no.

Am I now waiting with baited breath for Justice League? Not at all. But I have a strong feeling that Wonder Woman will be the best part.

Check it out:

Tuesday, June 13

Nerd News | Black Panther teaser trailer

Tuesday, June 13

Hot. Damn.

I know practically nothing about the Black Panther comics, but this movie looks amazing. The mix of culture and technology already blows me away, and this is only the teaser trailer.

And how BEAUTIFUL is everyone in this cast? Ridiculous.

Also of note:

Thursday, June 1

Hey June | 2017 Man Calendar

Thursday, June 1

Download this page of the 2016 Man Calendar for personal use by clicking on the image; it will open in a new window. Right/control click to save it. Then print the page on letter-size cardstock, and trim it to 6"x9".

Desktop version:

Find the rest of the 2017 Man Calendar here.