Top 5 Wednesday: Fandoms I’m Not Really a Part of Anymore

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Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes and created by Lainey from Gingerreadlainey.

There are so many fandoms out there that, sometimes, a few might be outgrown or get left by the wayside or some other such thing. The point is, we can’t keep up with every fandom forever. New ones are springing up all the time with different characters and fascinating twists we hadn’t thought of before, or maybe updated classics that feel more comforting that the original.

Today’s topic got me to look back at some of the fandoms I was in at one point. I might still enjoy these from time to time, but definitely not to the level that I once did.

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Twilight

I remember going to the midnight showing of the first film, having read the book and waiting for the movie for ages. I remember reading casting rumors and speculating about what would be in it and what wouldn’t. I even stayed up two nights in a row to finish New Moon and Eclipse. However, by the time the Breaking Dawn films came around, I could feel my interest waning. I do kind of want to read the series again, just to remember, but I wouldn’t consider myself a Twihard anymore.

 

Laurell K. Hamilton’s Meredith Gentry series, Or:

The Sexy Faerie Books

There was a time that I could tell you everything there was to know about this series. I randomly found A Kiss of Shadows in the library one day and got it because I liked Hamilton’s Anita Blake series. Then, once I started dating my now husband, he would get me the next Meredith Gentry book every year. I forget when I started falling out of love with them, but I don’t really remember much about these books anymore. I know I never finished all of them and I don’t really feel a burning need to get back to them either, though I imagine I will someday, just to find out what happened to everyone.

(Also, he wanted me to call them the Sexy Faerie books because dear lord there’s a lot of sex in this series.) *lol*

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The Dragonriders of Pern

A friend introduced me to these books back in high school and, once she knew I liked them, got me into role-playing games based on the series. I remember thinking that was so much fun and having the best time. Now, though, it’s been years since I’ve read one of the Pern books and I haven’t played the RPG since high school. 😦

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Outlander

I had to cut back at some point on some things and Outlander, “sadly”, did not make the cut. Plus, the author was something of a nasty person online around the time I was clearing the air so I didn’t want that kind of negativity around. This was a fandom I was okay with letting go and don’t really anticipate going back to.

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My Little Pony

I remember getting up before school and watching early episodes, or getting home on a half day and watching later episodes. The point is, the original My Little Pony  was my favorite cartoon as a kid. I loved watching the flying ones and the unicorns and even the land ponies were cool because they could talk and look pretty and still be amazing.

While I’m still kind of into the general idea of the fandom (I can converse about Friendship is Magic a bit), I’m not nearly as much of a Brony/Pegasister/etc. as I once was.

 

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.
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Review: Crazy Is My Superpower: How I Triumphed by Breaking Bones, Breaking Hearts, and Breaking the Rules by AJ Mendez Brooks

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Amazon  –  Barnes & Noble  –  Goodreads

Published: 4 April 2017

Publisher: Penguin Random House

Category: Non-fiction/Autobiography

Three-time WWE Diva’s Champion A.J. Brooks’ Crazy is My Superpower is a literary memoir chronicling her unlikely rise from 100-pound nerd growing up in extreme poverty and enduring years of abuse to international sex symbol and professional wrestling champion (known as A.J. Lee). A.J. fought against stereotypes, forced the men in her industry to view her with respect, and inspired a huge fan base of over 2 million Twitter followers with her fierce independent streak.

Rating: 5 Stars

I knew nothing about AJ Mendez Brooks when I picked up this book. I hadn’t watched wrestling since the days of The Rock and Triple H. However, when I read the description and noticed that AJ had made her name with a Gamer Girl persona, I thought that this might be a book worth taking a look at.

I did not expect to like it as much as I did. AJ had a very real voice; her writing never veered toward the pretentious, both because I’m sure that’s not her style and mostly because I think she’d kick her own ass if she did.

Reading her story of growing up in a difficult household, one where the roof over her head was never guaranteed to be the same from night to night and food could sometimes be uncertain as well, was uncomfortable in it’s realness. It reminded me of how close to poverty a lot of families can trend and the line between poverty and safety can be a thin line.

AJ’s wrestling career was chock full of excitement, not only by fighting against the mold that people wanted to stuff her into, but with the status of superstar she attained before retiring. If her bold fight in the wrestling world were not enough to make me like her and get me interested, then learning about all the good work she’s done since leaving would. A frequent ASPCA adopter, she takes on the most severe of cases, a noble effort because how many of us can say we have what it takes to save these pups?

I learned a lot about this woman, not only about her career and what it was like to work in an industry where women are seen as eye candy, but about her personal life, what kinds of things we had in common and what she was able to accomplish in spite of constant evictions, injuries from siblings, etc. AJ Mendez Brooks makes me wish I’d been able to see her perform in the WWE because if it was anything like she described on the page, it must have been a sight to behold.

 

I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

 

 

 All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Top 10 Tuesday: Top Ten Most Anticipated Books For The Second Half of 2017

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Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. You can find the prompts here.

Looking forward to a book is almost as good as getting it in your own hands, though not quite I’ll admit. Today’s prompt from Top 10 Tuesday is all about those books I’m looking forward to in the later half of this year, the rest of summer all the way through fall and into the holidays. There will probably be a list from me closer to the holidays of the Top 10 Books on my holiday wish list, but for now these are the books I’ve got my eye on the calendar for.

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1. Because You Love to Hate Me: 13 Tales of Villainy

Leave it to the heroes to save the world–villains just want to rule the world.

In this unique YA anthology, thirteen acclaimed, bestselling authors team up with thirteen influential BookTubers to reimagine fairy tales from the oft-misunderstood villains’ points of view.

These fractured, unconventional spins on classics like “Medusa,” Sherlock Holmes, and “Jack and the Beanstalk” provide a behind-the-curtain look at villains’ acts of vengeance, defiance, and rage–and the pain, heartbreak, and sorrow that spurned them on. No fairy tale will ever seem quite the same again!

There are two reasons I want to check this out: 1) it’s all about re-imagined fairy tales from the villain’s perspective, something that sounds positively delicious, and 2) I’m curious to see what the work of famous authors and influential BookTubers will be like. How much will the BookTubers influence the writing of some of my favorite authors, like Renee Ahdieh or Adam Silvera?

Release date: 11 July 2017

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2. What Goes Up by Katie Kennedy

Action-packed and wildly funny, this near-future sci-fi features three teens on an inter-dimensional mission to save the world.

Rosa and Eddie are among hundreds of teens applying to NASA’s mysterious Multi-World Agency. After rounds of crazy-competitive testing they are appointed to Team 3, along with an alternate, just in case Eddie screws up (as everyone expects he will). What they don’t expect is that aliens will arrive from another dimension, and look just like us. And no one could even imagine that Team 3 would be the only hope of saving our world from their Earth-destroying plans. The teens steal the spacecraft (it would be great if they knew how to fly it) and head to Earth2, where the aliens’ world and people are just like ours. With a few notable exceptions.

There, the teens will find more than their alternate selves: they’ll face existential questions and high-stakes adventure, with comedy that’s out of this world.

I loved Katie Kennedy’s sense of humor in her novel Learning to Swear in America, so of course I was jazzed to learn she’d have another book out this summer. This time, her super bright if somewhat downtrodden teens (poor Eddie!) are the only hope Earth has against an alien race with Earth-destroying plans. What sucks even more about these aliens? They’re just like us.

Release date: 18 July 2017

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3. The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana

A romantic coming-of-age fantasy tale steeped in Indian folklore, perfect for fans of The Star-Touched Queen and The Wrath and the Dawn

No one is entirely certain what brings the Emperor Sikander to Shalingar. Until now, the idyllic kingdom has been immune to his many violent conquests. To keep the visit friendly, Princess Amrita has offered herself as his bride, sacrificing everything—family, her childhood love, and her freedom—to save her people. But her offer isn’t enough.

The unthinkable happens, and Amrita finds herself a fugitive, utterly alone but for an oracle named Thala, who was kept by Sikander as a slave and managed to escape amid the chaos of a palace under siege. With nothing and no one else to turn to, Amrita and Thala are forced to rely on each other. But while Amrita feels responsible for her kingdom and sets out to warn her people, the newly free Thala has no such ties. She encourages Amrita to go on a quest to find the fabled Library of All Things, where it is possible for each of them to reverse their fates. To go back to before Sikander took everything from them.

Stripped of all that she loves, caught between her rosy past and an unknown future, will Amrita be able to restore what was lost, or does another life—and another love—await?

Interesting point number one: it’s got “library” in the title, a legendary library where it is said to be possible to reverse one’s fate.

Interesting point number two: apparently the story is inspired by Indian folklore, which I don’t know much about. Getting to learn more about it should prove quite the experience.

Release date: 18 July 2017

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4. Wicked Like a Wildfire by Lana Popovic

Fans of Holly Black and Leigh Bardugo will be bewitched by Lana Popovic’s debut YA fantasy novel about a bargain that binds the fates—and hearts—of twin sisters to a force larger than life.

All the women in Iris and Malina’s family have the unique magical ability or “gleam” to manipulate beauty. Iris sees flowers as fractals and turns her kaleidoscope visions into glasswork, while Malina interprets moods as music. But their mother has strict rules to keep their gifts a secret, even in their secluded sea-side town. Iris and Malina are not allowed to share their magic with anyone, and above all, they are forbidden from falling in love.

But when their mother is mysteriously attacked, the sisters will have to unearth the truth behind the quiet lives their mother has built for them. They will discover a wicked curse that haunts their family line—but will they find that the very magic that bonds them together is destined to tear them apart forever?

Witches, of a sort, in a sea-side town that have to keep their powers a secret? Powers that allow them to manipulate beauty in different ways? This sounds like something I would have loved in high school and will love even now. I can’t wait to try this out and see what the mystery is behind the lives of the two sisters, Iris and Malina.

Release date: 15 August 2017

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5. Shimmer and Burn by Mary Taranta

To save her sister’s life, Faris must smuggle magic into a plague-ridden neighboring kingdom in this exciting and dangerous start to a brand-new fantasy duology.

Faris grew up fighting to survive in the slums of Brindaigel while caring for her sister, Cadence. But when Cadence is caught trying to flee the kingdom and is sold into slavery, Faris reluctantly agrees to a lucrative scheme to buy her back, inadvertently binding herself to the power-hungry Princess Bryn, who wants to steal her father’s throne.

Now Faris must smuggle stolen magic into neighboring Avinea to incite its prince to alliance—magic that addicts in the war-torn country can sense in her blood and can steal with a touch. She and Bryn turn to a handsome traveling magician, North, who offers protection from Avinea’s many dangers, but he cannot save Faris from Bryn’s cruelty as she leverages Cadence’s freedom to force Faris to do anything—or kill anyone—she asks. Yet Faris is as fierce as Bryn, and even as she finds herself falling for North, she develops schemes of her own.

With the fate of kingdoms at stake, Faris, Bryn, and North maneuver through a dangerous game of magical and political machinations, where lives can be destroyed—or saved—with only a touch.

Usually I’m reading books about magic saturated worlds, but now here’s one where magic is forbidden? People are addicted to it? Smuggling’s involved and it sounds like there’s some strong political machinations going on. It sounds intensely exciting. 😀

Release date: 8 August 2017

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6. The Arsonist by Stephanie Oakes

Molly Mavity is not a normal teenage girl. For one thing, her father is a convicted murderer, and his execution date is fast approaching. For another, Molly refuses to believe that her mother is dead, and she waits for the day when they’ll be reunited . . . despite all evidence that this will never happen.

Pepper Yusef is not your average teenage boy. A Kuwaiti immigrant with epilepsy, serious girl problems, and the most useless seizure dog in existence, he has to write a series of essays over the summer . . . or fail out of school.

And Ava Dreyman—the brave and beautiful East German resistance fighter whose murder at seventeen led to the destruction of the Berlin Wall—is unlike anyone you’ve met before.

When Molly gets a package leading her to Pepper, they’re tasked with solving a decades-old mystery: find out who killed Ava, back in 1989. Using Ava’s diary for clues, Molly and Pepper realize there’s more to her life—and death—than meets the eye. Someone is lying to them. And someone out there is guiding them along, desperate for answers.

I’ve been meaning to read Stephanie Oakes’s other book, The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly, because it had such a unique concept. This plot sounds no less interesting and the cover is eye catching as well. This book sounds like it’ll be chock full of secrets, maybe time travel? At the very least there’s a whopping big secret from the 80’s to be solved, not to mention the personal problems of the main characters (a girl with one parent due to be executed and a possibly dead mother, a boy with epilepsy and a useless but loveable service dog).

Release date: 22 August 2017

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7. Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

The highly anticipated coming-of-age story for the world’s greatest super hero: WONDER WOMAN by the # 1 New York Times bestselling author LEIGH BARDUGO.

She will become one of the world’s greatest heroes: WONDER WOMAN. But first she is Diana, Princess of the Amazons. And her fight is just beginning. . . .

Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law—risking exile—to save a mere mortal. Even worse, Alia Keralis is no ordinary girl and with this single brave act, Diana may have doomed the world.

Alia just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn’t know she is being hunted. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer—a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery.

Together, Diana and Alia will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. If they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war.

While I’m mostly a Marvel kind of person, I do like the DC female characters: Selina Kyle/Catwoman, Harley Quinn, and, of course, Diana/Wonder Woman. With the new series of YA novels about DC heroes and the new Wonder Woman film coming out, I knew this would be a great book to add to my list. I’d never be able to do half the things Diana can do, but I admire her as a character and can’t wait to see how Leigh Bardugo’s handles her story.

Release date: 29 August 2017

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8. Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows

Before

Mira Minkoba is the Hopebearer. Since the day she was born, she’s been told she’s special. Important. Perfect. She’s known across the Fallen Isles not just for her beauty, but for the Mira Treaty named after her, a peace agreement which united the seven islands against their enemies on the mainland.

But Mira has never felt as perfect as everyone says. She counts compulsively. She struggles with crippling anxiety. And she’s far too interested in dragons for a girl of her station.

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Then Mira discovers an explosive secret that challenges everything she and the Treaty stand for. Betrayed by the very people she spent her life serving, Mira is sentenced to the Pit–the deadliest prison in the Fallen Isles. There, a cruel guard would do anything to discover the secret she would die to protect.

No longer beholden to those who betrayed her, Mira must learn to survive on her own and unearth the dark truths about the Fallen Isles–and herself–before her very world begins to collapse.

I fell in love with Jodi Meadows when I read her collaborative work, My Lady Jane, with Cynthia Hand and Brodi Ashton. Now I’ve never read any of her individual works, but this book also sounds like it’s got an intriguing plot. An overburdened Chosen One who gets betrayed? Hm, how’s that going to work out? I mean, odds are things will work out, but how’s she going to break out of “the deadliest prison” in her homeland? Who betrayed her in a time of peace and why? So many questions!

Release date: 12 September 2017

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9. They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

When Mateo receives the dreaded call from Death-Cast, informing him that today will be his last, he doesn’t know where to begin. Quiet and shy, Mateo is devastated at the thought of leaving behind his hospitalised father, and his best friend and her baby girl. But he knows that he has to make the most of this day, it’s his last chance to get out there and make an impression.

Rufus is busy beating up his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend when he gets the call. Having lost his entire family, Rufus is no stranger to Death-Cast. Not that it makes it any easier. With bridges to mend, the police searching for him and the angry new boyfriend on his tail, it’s time to run.

Isolated and scared, the boys reach out to each other, and what follows is a day of living life to the full. Though neither of them had expected that this would involve falling in love…

I have OwlCrate to thank for introducing me to Adam Silvera. While it was an introduction that has lead to a great many tears, it’s also one that lead to great books (More Happy Than Not especially).  They Both Die at the End spells it right out for us in the title so I know this is going to hurt me, but Adam is such a good writer that I sort of trust my emotions in his hands, knowing I’m going to get a mess back at the end of his latest book.

Release date: 5 September 2017

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10. A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares by Krystal Sutherland

From the author of Our Chemical Hearts comes the hilarious, reality-bending tale of two outsiders facing their greatest fears about life and love one debilitating phobia at a time.

Ever since Esther Solar’s grandfather was cursed by Death, everyone in her family has been doomed to suffer one great fear in their lifetime. Esther’s father is agoraphobic and hasn’t left the basement in six years, her twin brother can t be in the dark without a light on, and her mother is terrified of bad luck.

The Solars are consumed by their fears and, according to the legend of the curse, destined to die from them.

Esther doesn’t know what her great fear is yet (nor does she want to), a feat achieved by avoiding pretty much everything. Elevators, small spaces, and crowds are all off-limits. So are haircuts, spiders, dolls, mirrors and three dozen other phobias she keeps a record of in her semi-definitive list of worst nightmares.

Then Esther is pickpocketed by Jonah Smallwood, an old elementary school classmate. Along with her phone, money and a fruit roll-up she d been saving, Jonah also steals her list of fears. Despite the theft, Esther and Jonah become friends, and he sets a challenge for them: in an effort to break the curse that has crippled her family, they will meet every Sunday of senior year to work their way through the list, facing one terrifying fear at a time, including one that Esther hadn’t counted on: love.

This has the potential to be really great or really scary. I mean, it’s all about nightmares and phobias and a big family curse. Will Esther find out what her “fear” is? What will Jonah be to her and her family by the end?

Release date: 5 September 2017

 

 

These are just ten of the releases I’m looking forward to in the second half of 2017. Are any of them on your TBR? Are there some titles I might have missed? Let me know in the comment section down below.

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Review: The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi

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Amazon  –  Barnes & Noble  –  Goodreads

Published: 28 March 2017

Publisher: Salaam Reads

Category: Middle Grade/Fantasy/Steampunk

A trio of friends from New York City find themselves trapped inside a mechanical board game that they must dismantle in order to save themselves and generations of other children in this action-packed debut that’s a steampunk Jumanji with a Middle Eastern flair.

When twelve-year-old Farah and her two best friends get sucked into a mechanical board game called The Gauntlet of Blood and Sand—a puzzle game akin to a large Rubik’s cube—they know it’s up to them to defeat the game’s diabolical architect in order to save themselves and those who are trapped inside, including her baby brother Ahmed. But first they have to figure out how.

Under the tutelage of a lizard guide named Henrietta Peel and an aeronaut Vijay, the Farah and her friends battle camel spiders, red scorpions, grease monkeys, and sand cats as they prepare to face off with the maniacal Lord Amari, the man behind the machine. Can they defeat Amari at his own game…or will they, like the children who came before them, become cogs in the machine?

Rating: 5 Stars

Legends of the Hidden Temple was one of my favorite game shows as a child and Jumanji was one of my favorite picture books. Both of these came to mind when I saw the cover and heard the synopsis for The Gauntlet, a novel in which Farah and her friends must rescue Farah’s little brother from the clutches of an insidious mechanical board game.

The visuals in this novel were amazing. There were terms I wasn’t wholly familiar with, particularly with regards to Farah and her family’s traditional clothing such as a salwar kameez, but a quick Google search helped me put these images into my mind and helped me visualize an even more beautiful story. I liked learning the different Bangladeshi terms for family as I read as well; Karuna Riazi made it easy to pick these up and learn how important these family members were to the main character, Farah.

The intricate details that described the buildings, the mosques and the minarets, the archways, were exquisite. Added to these mental images were the scents of the various foods and perfumes: the jasmine and bougainvillea on the third level of Paheli, the cinnamon, chili, clove, and roasted meat of the souk (an Arab marketplace, in this case within the Gauntlet). This attention to detail by the author made the world of the novel come even more to life and made my mouth water as well as my nose prickle with the mere thought of these scents.

Farah and her family were well introduced and fleshed out. They were introduced as a large and loving family, well versed in a great many board games. I envy that kind of closeness. At the beginning of the novel, Farah is at her birthday party, the first in her new home, and is celebrating with her two best friends from the old neighborhood and a crowd of unfamiliar faces. I was glad that these friends, while they didn’t have much characterization to them at first, began to open up once the game, The Gauntlet of Blood and Sand, made its move and presented itself to them.

The care for Ahmad was obvious and it was felt from the very first moment he was introduced. Farah talks about him, his ADHD, and what this means for her and her parents. It was easy to see how easily Farah could have been made into the kind of character that would lash out and resent her baby brother for needing more, but I never felt that in this case. She was an incredibly caring sibling that did everything in her power to make sure he was alright, including going into the Gaunlet to save him.

The pacing for this book impressed me because I’ve been finding a lot of books where I thought that, due to their adventure book nature, would be fast paced but ended up dragging and being boring. I did not experience this feeling with The Gauntlet and found it easy to breeze through it. It didn’t take long for the game to suck the participants in and, then, for the children to find the challenges and whatever allies or enemies lay in wait for them within the game.

I liked the little allusion to Labyrinth that Karuna Riazi included in this book, considering that The Gauntlet has at least a little in common (little brothers being whisked away to lands from which their sisters must rescue them) with this classic 80’s film:

For a second, Farah thought his disappearing wouldn’t be such a bad thing: calling down a goblin king to whisk him off into the deep, dark depths of a fairy labyrinth…

 This is a middle grade book, but I never felt like it would only be enjoyed by that target audience. I think that the adventure, the detail, the characters, all were written well enough to be enjoyed by readers of all ages. There may be some people that won’t enjoy it for whatever reason, but I don’t think it will be their age that gets in the way. If you’re looking for a good book to get lost in for awhile, whether it takes you a few hours or a few days to read, The Gauntlet is a stunning debut by Karuna Riazi that is a great addition to the literary world and hopefully means we will have more to look forward to from this author soon.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Internet Famous by Danika Stone: Interview with the Author!

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I’m happy to once again be teaming up with the Sunday Street Team. This time, we’re hosting the blog tour for Internet Famous, Danika Stone’s newest book, all about Madison Nakama, a pop culture blogger who seems to have it all, but has to face the possibility of her real life clashing with her online persona when an Internet troll appears on the scene.

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Goodreads

Preorder: Amazon (US), Amazon (UK), Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

High school senior and internet sensation Madison Nakama seems to have it all: a happy family, good grades, and a massive online following for her pop-culture blog. But when her mother suddenly abandons the family, Madi finds herself struggling to keep up with all of her commitments.

Fandom to the rescue! As her online fans band together to help, an online/offline flirtation sparks with Laurent, a French exchange student. Their internet romance—played out in the comments section of her MadLibs blog—attracts the attention of an internet troll who threatens the separation of Madi’s real and online personas. With her carefully constructed life unraveling, Madi must uncover the hacker’s identity before he can do any more damage, or risk losing the people she loves the most… Laurent included.

To celebrate my day on the blog tour, I have the pleasure of sharing my interview with Danika. I thought that, given this chance, talking about favorite pop culture fandoms and writing might be just the ticket!

The Hermit Librarian: If you had to pick one fandom to write about for the rest of your blogging career, which would it be? What kind of posts would you write? What do you want us to know about this fandom as it relates to you?

Danika: Ack! Why do I have to choose?!? There are SO many good fandoms (and I belong to a lot!) But if I had to choose just one, I’d go with the Star Wars universe simply because it’s got longevity and there are MANY new fans joining in.

I would totally write fanfic. No question. 🙂

As to how it relates to me, I loved Star Wars when I was a kid, and I’ve never lost that love. One of my favorite parts of that fandom – as it relates to me – is how much of a story it is about people, not just massive battles. (Though they happen too.) I love it!

THL: Fandom = convention! If you could tour the world and bring your books (Internet Famous, All the Feels, etc) to any video game/book/anime/etc. conventions, which would they be?

Danika: #FACT: I’m taking Internet Famous to San Diego Comic Con this July! I am not certain which panels I’m on yet, but I’ll definitely be at the Swoon Reads booth signing books and taking pics with fans. Come see me!

Last year, I launched All the Feels at Dragon Con which was the most AMAZING experience! It felt like my fandom life coming full circle.

THL: Five fandoms nearest and dearest to your heart

Danika:

  • The 100
  • The entire Marvel universe
  • The Walking Dead
  • Star Wars

  • Outlander

THL: Harry Potter: Your house and the best members of it

Danika: I am 100% Hufflepuff. Best members? Probably my friend Keith who tries to make everyone happy, Finn (The Force Awakens), and Laurent of course (Internet Famous). All of them are true cinnamon buns.

THL: 3 Best Pieces of Advice You’ve Gotten as an Author/You’d Give as an Author to Bloggers

Danika: Your job is writing first, promotions second.

A good job done now is better than a perfect job never finished.

Every step of the way is the ‘best’ place to be. Stop waiting to be happy about what you’ve accomplished. Celebrate it ALL!

About the Author

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Facebook  –  Twitter  –  Instagram  –  linkedin

YouTube  –  Tumblr  –  Pinterest

Danika Stone is an author, artist, and educator who discovered a passion for writing fiction while in the throes of her Masters thesis. A self-declared bibliophile, Danika now writes novels for both teens (All the Feels and Internet Famous) adults (Edge of Wild and Intaglio). When not writing, Danika can be found hiking in the Rockies, planning grand adventures, and spending far too much time online. She lives with her husband, three sons, and a houseful of imaginary characters in a windy corner of Alberta, Canada.

Ms. Stone is represented by Morty Mint of Mint Literary Agency.

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Chapter by Chapter Blog Tour Review: It Had to Be You by Lizzy Charles

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I’m happy to be teaming up with Chapter by Chapter Blog Tours & Promotions to share with you all today my review for the novel It Had to Be You by Lizzie Charles.

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Tour Dates: May 15-26, 2017

Amazon  –  BAM  –  Barnes & Noble  –  Chapters  –

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Published: 15 May 2017

Publisher: Entangled Publishing LLC: Teen Crush

Category: Young Adult/Romance

James Parson has a problem. His military dad is going to yank him out of his expensive boarding school if James doesn’t prove he’s no longer hooking up, pulling pranks, and charming his way out of consequences. What better way to show he’s now responsible than becoming the committed boyfriend of a U.S. diplomat’s daughter?

Level-headed, book-smart Edelweiss may have traveled the world thanks to her dad’s job, but when it comes to friends and boys, she knows exactly nothing. Newly enrolled in boarding school, Edel is now on a mission to learn it all. James says he’ll help her experience the ultimate high school life—if she’ll be his fake girlfriend. And fake is perfect, because he’s exactly the kind of player she’d never date.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains red-hot romance, all the feels, and a soul-mate bad boy.

Rating: 4 Stars

I got this book at just the right time! Last week as part of my Top 5 Wednesday post, I talked about what kind of Summer time reads I was looking forward to and I spotlighted contemporary novels. While this book doesn’t take place in the summer,  I think it’s just the right kind of lighthearted fare to read during the hot months ahead (if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere like me, though you should totally still read this if it isn’t summer).

Edelweiss and James are two students at Brockmore Academy, a boarding school that I wouldn’t be out of place comparing to Chilton from the television show Gilmore Girls. In fact, Edelweiss and her roommate Tuti talk about binge-watching this show and whose team they’re on more than once in the course of the book.

Edelweiss (shortened to Edel) and James are at Brockmore for different reasons and both want to stay there. Through a slightly complicated series of events, they come up with an arrangement: pretend to be dating to show that James is serious to his father and so Edel can have the normal high school experience after being home schooled by her diplomat parents.

This was a fast read that had all the hallmarks of a high school drama. It was a lot of fun to read and I didn’t find any slow points. I think there are some parts that could have been fleshed out a bit more, such as the friendships that Edel formed between herself and her roommate and some of the other girls in her dorm, or some of the smaller chats that she and James must have had that lead to them falling in real love.

There are some cliches in the book, such as the high school Mean Girl who we don’t learn too much about other than the cursory things (she’s James’s ex, she’s jealous of Edel, etc.). Maybe it’s because I don’t read too many of these books, but this didn’t bother me too much even though I know it’s happened a lot before. I am curious if we’ll learn more about her, though, her inner workings, that sort of thing.

The secondary characters introduced had the potential to be really great: Tuti, the YouTube celebrity that pays her bills by promoting her channel supremely well; Ainsley, the foster kid with a head for computers; Charlotte, Grant, Procter, and more. I learned just enough about each of them to be able to keep them separate in my head, but I wish I knew more. This book, however, was mostly true to Edel and James, so I understand in the end why we might not have heard as much as I’d have liked about the others.

I think this is only Brockmore Academy book #1, so there will hopefully be more adventures for all involved.. James still has half a year left as a senior at the school and Edel has her own senior year before the advent of college. Who knows what lays in store for these two? Will Emma, the school’s Mean Girl and James’s ex, come back with a vengeance? Will Ainsley, one of the friends Edel has made this year, find a resolution to her own familial questions? Lizzy Charles has authored a brilliant little book here and I hope to read more soon.

And, for the record, I’m with Edel on this Gilmore Girls opinion: #TeamLogan all the way!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author

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When Lizzy Charles isn’t scrambling to raise her two spunky toddlers or caring for premature and sick babies as a neonatal intensive care nurse, she’s in a quiet corner writing or snuggled up with a novel and a few squares of dark chocolate. Black tea keeps her constant and she loves guacamole. She married her high school sweet heart, a heart-melting musician, so it’s no surprise she’s fallen in love with writing contemporary YA romance novels.

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Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Supporting Characters in the Sailor Moon Manga

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Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes and created by Lainey from Gingerreadlainey.

Think about your favorite book, your favorite manga, your favorite movie. Who is the first character that comes to mind? Odds are, it’s going to be one of the main characters, like Harry Potter, Inu Yasha, or Tony Stark. While these characters are obviously very important, as the story revolves around them, there are other characters in the chosen work that support them. The book/manga/movie wouldn’t be the same without these supporting characters, whether they’re bad guys to support motivation or good guys that provide emotional assistance in times of stress.

For this week’s Top 5 Wednesday, I thought that I might go back to one of my favorite works: the Sailor Moon manga by Naoko Takeuchi. This was a relatively short series when you think about some of the other series out there (Bleach, Naruto), but it packed a lot of characters in that meant a lot to the series as a whole. Today I’ll share my favorite ones with you.

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Artemis, Diana, and Luna

Each of these characters represents a huge presence in their respective owner’s lives: Artemis to Minako, Diana to Chibiusa, and Luna to Usagi. They’re not only confidantes, but they serve as bearers of new equipment, such as the transformation compacts and wands used by the Sailor Soldiers.

Throughout much of the series we only see them in their feline forms; the human forms don’t appear until near the end of the series, when we’re dealing with Sailor Galaxia, Princess Kakyuu, and the False Soliders. However, in the animated movie Sailor Moon S: The Movie, we are treated to the only time in the anime we see Luna’s human form. It’s a heartbreaking story of unrequited love, but a beautiful one nonetheless because Luna gets a lot of screen time.

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Kou Taiki

While aesthetically Kou Yaten was the Sailor Starlight that I preferred (the white haired one), Kou Yaten was the Starlight that seemed more like the person that I would’ve been. S/he was also the kindest of the three of the Starlights, in my opinion, much more open to kindness rather than remaining islands unto themselves.

In the manga the Starlights were female that crossdressed as males when in their human forms, whereas in the anime they actually changed genders, so that’s something to keep in mind when viewing/reading Sailor Moon Stars.

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Ikuko Tsukino

 

Usagi Tsukino’s human mother, Ikuko is a hilarious mum and while we don’t get to see her much, she’s a vital part to the structure of the Tsukino family. She not only does her best to keep Usagi on the right path (which isn’t always easy, given how lazy that girl is!), but when characters like Chibiusa and Chibichibi show up she cares for them as well. Granted a bit of magic is involved, but still, her mothering instinct is there and I think she’d have done these amazing things even if she knew the whole story.

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Phobos and Deimos

These two are responsible for at least some of my interest in mythology when I was in high school. I even submitted their names in a knight naming contest (two suits of armor guarded our library, I don’t remember why). They’re the crow equivalent of Luna, Artemis, and Diana: protectors of Sailor Mars who reveal their names to her when she’s young and help her guard the Shinto temple she lives in with her grandfather. They’re not on a humorous level like Luna; they’re more noble and mysterious. The anime doesn’t do them justice and their manga story ends tragically. Actually, pretty much all of the story does once you hit Stars. ^^;

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Chibichibi

Chibichibi might have annoyed me when I first met her watching the anime, but after reading the manga, I learned so much about her character. Her backstory and place in the manga is different from the anime that I first encountered. I’m not sure if I’d quite call it more hopeful, but her anime identity, which is revealed to be the Star Seed of Sailor Galaxia, is in keeping with the feel of the past seasons of Sailor Moon. The time travel and hopelessness of Sailor Cosmos, her true identity in the manga, reminded me of Chibiusa’s own time travel ordeal earlier in the manga. The callbacks involved with Chibichibi’s story to traditional Sailor Moon story lines and feelings made this ending story arc feel, sad as it was, like it was true to what the series was.

 

 

 

Who are some of your favorite side characters? These characters are the support structures of our favorite stories, after all! Please share your favorite with me in the comment section down below.

 

 

 

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.