Around The Internet #20

Hello!  I hope you had a great Christmas.  Here are some of the cool things I’ve found recently.

Have a great day!

Book Review: Living Dead In Dallas by Charlaine Harris

Book: Living Dead In Dallas by Charlaine Harris

Published March 2002 by Penguin USA|196 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: Sookie Stackhouse #2

Genre: Adult Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse is having a streak of bad luck. First her co-worker is killed, and no one seems to care. Then she comes face to-face with a beastly creature that gives her a painful and poisonous lashing. Enter the vampires, who graciously suck the poison from her veins (like they didn’t enjoy it).

The point is: they saved her life. So when one of the bloodsuckers asks for a favour, she obliges – and soon Sookie’s in Dallas, using her telepathic skills to search for a missing vampire. She’s supposed to interview certain humans involved, but she makes one condition: the vampires must promise to behave and let the humans go unharmed. But that’s easier said than done, and all it takes is one delicious blonde and one small mistake for things to turn deadly….

The Sookie Stackhouse stories are delightful Southern Gothic supernatural mysteries, starring Sookie, the telepathic cocktail waitress, and a cast of increasingly colourful characters, including vampires, werewolves, and things that really do go bump in the night.

I liked Living Dead In Dallas!  I needed something light and fluffy and this book was a good choice for that.

Sookie finds herself in some interesting situations in this book, and some of it is traveling to Dallas.  I wonder if she’ll have to do more work for Eric, and if something will ever happen with them.  I know she’s with Bill, but I can’t help but feel like there’s the possibility she’ll be with Eric at some point.  Maybe I’m reading a lot into it but I get the impression he’s really interested in her.  Whether it’s romantic or not, I just want to know where things stand with them.

We really see Sookie use her abilities in this one, and I am kind of curious to see if it’s something she can hone or develop more, and if there are different ways to get what she needs.  Assuming she’s asked to get information from people in future books.  It seems like there are ways to turn it off, or at least mute it, so it’s not overwhelming or horrible.

As Sookie spends more time in the supernatural world, we see different groups and creatures.  The world she lives in is opening up to both her and to us, and I have no doubt that it will continue to open up.  She lives in an interesting world, and the South is the perfect setting for all of the weird happenings.  It makes a perfect backdrop for the vampires and shapeshifters we see.

Like the first book, this is one that I don’t have a lot to say about.  It’s an enjoyable read, and good for this time of year, when I don’t want to read anything heavy.  It’s a fun, quick read.

3 stars.  I liked Living Dead In Dallas, and I can’t wait to see what adventures Sookie has.

Adventures In Park Hopping: The Theme Park Recap

I recently mentioned I had a trip to Disneyland planned, and it is time to take about my trip!  It’s been quite a while since I’ve taken a vacation (or any significant period of time off), and it’s been really fun so far.  I did a bit of parkhopping- between Disney, California Adventure and Universal Studios, I’m pretty theme-parked out.

Let’s start off with Disney!

I spent quite a bit of time at Disneyland, which is always fun.  It’s so pretty this time of year, because everything is decorated for Christmas.  Christmas decorations are everywhere, from It’s A Small World, to a gigantic Christmas tree to poinsettias planted everywhere…this is a great time of year to go, especially if you’ve never been to Disneyland before.

I think we set some sort of ride record, because my family and I were at the park around 8, and did Indiana Jones, Pirates, Haunted Mansion, Splash Mountain, Thunder Mountain and the Mattherhorn in about 2.5-ish hours.  We pretty much walked on to Indiana Jones, Pirates, Haunted Mansion and Splash Mountain, which I’ve never done before, and I’ve been to Disneyland a few times over the years.

The Haunted Mansion and Pirates are easily my favorite rides, and The Haunted Mansion is cool this time of year because The Nightmare Before Christmas is incorporated into the ride.  It’s one of my favorite Christmas movies, and it was fun to see Jack and Sally on the ride.  Even cooler was the fragrance you got in the ballroom.  It was unexpected but also really cool and a nice touch.  I got to do all of the rides I wanted, and the lines weren’t too bad- the Matterhorn and the Millennium Falcon were the longest lines I had to wait in.

Star Wars Land was pretty cool!  There’s a lot to look at, and the Millennium Falcon ride was really fun.  Standing in line wasn’t horrible at all, and it didn’t feel like I was in line for just under an hour because there was a lot to look at.  Even if virtual reality rides aren’t your thing, standing in line is cool enough to just stand in line.  I can’t believe I said that, but it’s true!  It’s pretty much just the one ride, at least for now, but there’s still a lot to look at, and they did pretty well with making you feel like you’re in Star Wars.

Then there’s California Adventure…

It was my first time at California Adventure, but we didn’t spend a lot of time there.  The roller coaster was really fun, and so was the Guardians Of The Galaxy ride.  All of the rides I went on were fun but I don’t know that I would go back.  Don’t get me wrong, I liked walking around and seeing everything- there is a lot to look at, and I had fun, but if I had to choose Disney or California Adventure, my choice is Disney all the way.  California Adventure is new-ish, especially when compared to Disneyland, and I just don’t have the same level of attachment to California Adventure.  I grew up going to Disneyland, and that is where my heart lies.  Still, I think it’s a cool park to check out at least once, even if it isn’t the park for me.

And my final theme park adventure was Universal Studios!

I’m not going to lie, I went solely for the Wizarding World Of Harry Potter.  It might be fun to go back and see everything else, but at that point, I hit my limit with theme park adventuring.  I was fine with doing some shopping, heading into Ollivander’s and going on a couple of rides.

 

No trip to Hogsmeade is complete without butterbeer.  It was actually delicious, and if I were actually hungry, I would have stopped at the Three Broomsticks for some food and warm butterbeer.  It’s decked out for Christmas, which wasn’t a surprise, considering the time of year.  A lot of the shops were connected, so I ended up making my way through all of them.  It was cool, because each section had its own entrance/storefront, but wandering around led you to each store.

Since it’s Universal Studios, I knew this would be the perfect opportunity to grab some Hufflepuff merch, because Hufflepuff is pretty underrepresented as far as house merch goes.  I was bummed they didn’t have any Hufflpueff Christmas stockings, but I was fine with a Ravenclaw one since I’m pretty sure I’d be a Ravenclaw if I weren’t such a Hufflepuff.

Right now, I feel like I’m setting a record for how many times I can say Hufflepuff in one paragraph, but it was nice to actually feel like I had a lot of options for what I wanted to get.  I wanted all the Hufflepuff things, of course, but there was no way that was going to happen, so I settled for a few things.

It wasn’t a big section of the park, but I loved wandering around Hogsmeade for a couple of hours, just taking everything in.  Honestly, a lot of the fun was just walking around and looking at everything.  I was a happy camper but after I was done walking around, I was ready to hit the road and go home.

I had a lot of fun, and I’m looking forward to just hanging out for a few days.  Have a great day!

Book Review: Burn For Me by Ilona Andrews

Book: Burn For Me by Ilona Andrews

Published October 2014 by Avon|382 pages

Where I Got It: I own the paperback

Series: Hidden Legacy #1

Genre: Adult Paranormal Romance

#1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews launches a brand new Hidden Legacy series, in which one woman must place her trust in a seductive, dangerous man who sets off an even more dangerous desire…

Nevada Baylor is faced with the most challenging case of her detective career—a suicide mission to bring in a suspect in a volatile case. Nevada isn’t sure she has the chops. Her quarry is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, who can set anyone and anything on fire.

Then she’s kidnapped by Connor “Mad” Rogan—a darkly tempting billionaire with equally devastating powers. Torn between wanting to run or surrender to their overwhelming attraction, Nevada must join forces with Rogan to stay alive.

Rogan’s after the same target, so he needs Nevada. But she’s getting under his skin, making him care about someone other than himself for a change. And, as Rogan has learned, love can be as perilous as death, especially in the magic world. 

I liked Burn For Me!  Nevada and Rogan are interesting, and I really liked the magic system.  Their world is one I wanted to stay in just a little bit longer.  It’s also one I wanted to know more about.

This book felt pretty light on the romance- there was a point where I thought Adam was going to completely change and end up with Nevada, but I realized that wouldn’t work, because things were set up so she’d end up with Rogan.  It felt more about trying to find Adam, then their attraction to each other, but maybe I was so interested in everything else that was going on that the romance went over my head.

Honestly, I think it’s because of the cover.  I haven’t read a lot of paranormal romance/urban fantasy but based on what I have read, I think I went in with the expectation there would be a lot more romance.  Part of me is hoping we’ll see more of that in the books to come, but even if it doesn’t happen, I still want to keep reading to see what happens to Nevada, her family and Rogan.

The magic is really cool, and it’s interesting how magic can get more powerful, or less powerful, depending on the generation, and how powerful their parents are.  The dynasties that each family creates based on their powers was something I wanted to know more about.

Especially because Nevada gets dragged into this world she doesn’t want anything to do with.  She’s dedicated to her family, and would do anything to protect them, even though it won’t end well for her.  I wanted to see more of her family, because they seem like a close-knit group who work really well together.  She also seems to be the main provider for them, and I’m glad she survived, if only to take care of them.  Her family is colorful and I loved that.  I wanted more with them because of it.

I like that Nevada is practical.  She has to be, but she is this practical, smart person in a world very different than the one she is used to.  She clearly didn’t want to work with Rogan but did because she had to in order to protect her family and the family business her father worked hard to build up.

Nevada had some great one-liners as well, and there’s an interesting dynamic between her and Rogan.  I am curious to see if this series will follow them, or if other characters will be the focus of the other books.  I’ll have to read to find out but their story feels far from over.

3 stars.  I liked Burn For Me, especially Nevada’s family, and the world they live in.  I do want to see what happens next.

Book Review: Gravemaidens by Kelly Coon

Book: Gravemaidens by Kelly Coon

Published October 2019 by Delacorte Press|416 pages

Where I Got It: I own the hardcover

Series: Gravemaidens #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

The start of a fierce fantasy duology about three maidens who are chosen for their land’s greatest honor…and one girl determined to save her sister from the grave.

In the walled city-state of Alu, Kammani wants nothing more than to become the accomplished healer her father used to be before her family was cast out of their privileged life in shame.

When Alu’s ruler falls deathly ill, Kammani’s beautiful little sister, Nanaea, is chosen as one of three sacred maidens to join him in the afterlife. It’s an honor. A tradition. And Nanaea believes it is her chance to live an even grander life than the one that was stolen from her.

But Kammani sees the selection for what it really is—a death sentence.

Desperate to save her sister, Kammani schemes her way into the palace to heal the ruler. There she discovers more danger lurking in the sand-stone corridors than she could have ever imagined and that her own life—and heart—are at stake. But Kammani will stop at nothing to dig up the palace’s buried secrets even if it means sacrificing everything…including herself.

I really liked Gravemaidens!  I was drawn in by the cover, which is really pretty.  And it sounded like something I’d like to read.

I loved how Kammani just wanted to save her sister.  I also loved that she sees the selection of her sister to be a death sentence.  Everyone- or most everyone- sees it as an honor but Kammani wasn’t one of them, and that was nice to see.  She really does everything she can to save the ruler of her country, though it seems to be to save her sister from dying, and not because he’s a good ruler or anything like that.

She’s definitely trying to figure things out, even though it ends up being pretty dangerous for her.  Things go in a completely different way than she expected, and things weren’t what they seemed.  The book stands on its own pretty well, though I’m curious to see how the second (and final) book goes.

Gravemaidens does have a lot of elements that I’ve seen in other fantasy books, so nothing was particularly surprising as far as characters or plot goes.  It didn’t get in the way of me enjoying the book at all, because I did like Kammani and how she was willing to figure things out.  You could tell she cared about her sister, and they do have a really great moment towards the end of the book.

Something about going into the afterlife made me think of Greek mythology.  Maybe it’s because Netherworld was mentioned frequently, and paying the Boatman coin came up several times.  I know the afterlife isn’t a concept solely related to Greek mythologies, because it comes up in a lot of religions.  But I did finish Outrun The Wind recently, and that’s a Greek mythology retelling, so maybe I just have Ancient Greece/Greek mythology on my mind.  Now, I’m curious to know if she was inspired by any kind of mythology.

Still, I wanted to know more about Kammani’s world.  You get an idea of what it’s like, and I hope we see more of it in the next book.

I liked Kammani but I didn’t love her.  I’m not sure why I didn’t love her but you could tell saving her sister was important.  I wasn’t a big fan of her sister, Nanaea, who came across as spoiled for most of the book.  She did make more sense and I understood her better by the end of the book, but I still haven’t warmed up to her.

Speaking of liking or not liking characters, I wasn’t a fan of Dagan.  Something about how much he wanted to be with Kammani was off-putting to me, and even though he said he didn’t want to push her, he also seemed much more interested in her than she was in him.  I wasn’t interested in anything romantic between Dagan and Kammani but I was intrigued by the possibility of Naru and Kammani.  I feel like anything romantic has been set up for Dagan and Kammani, but if it does, it’ll take a lot of convincing to get me on board.

4 stars.  I really liked Gravemaidens and considering that things seemed to be wrapped up pretty well, I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Book Review: Outrun The Wind by Elizabeth Tammi

Book: Outrun The Wind by Elizabeth Tammi

Published November 2018 by Flux|302 pages

Where I Got It: I own the paperback

Series: None

Genre: YA Fantasy/Re-Telling

The Huntresses of Artemis must obey two rules: never disobey the goddess, and never fall in love. After being rescued from a harrowing life as an Oracle of Delphi, Kahina is glad to be a part of the Hunt; living among a group of female warriors gives her a chance to reclaim her strength, even while her prophetic powers linger. But when a routine mission goes awry, Kahina breaks the first rule in order to save the legendary huntress Atalanta.

To earn back Artemis’s favor, Kahina must complete a dangerous task in the kingdom of Arkadia— where the king’s daughter is revealed to be none other than Atalanta. Still reeling from her disastrous quest and her father’s insistence on marriage, Atalanta isn’t sure what to make of Kahina. As her connection to Atalanta deepens, Kahina finds herself in danger of breaking Artemis’ second rule.

She helps Atalanta devise a dangerous game to avoid marriage, and word spreads throughout Greece, attracting suitors willing to tempt fate to go up against Atalanta in a race for her hand. But when the men responsible for both the girls’ dark pasts arrive, the game turns deadly.

I thought Outrun The Wind was just okay.  I wanted to like it more, but I had a really hard time getting into it.

I was bored the entire time I was reading the story.  If you’re looking for any action, this is not the book for you.  It moved at what felt like a snail’s pace, and I had a hard time staying interested in the book.  I wanted something more to happen, and it didn’t.

I liked the setting, though.  Kahina’s world is one where gods and goddesses roam the earth, and are living, breathing people.  It’s too bad we only got a glimpse of Artemis, but this book wasn’t about her- it was about Kahina and Atalanta.  I’ve heard of Atalanta, but I don’t know her story, so I can’t speak to this book as a re-telling of her story.  I felt like I was in Ancient Greece the entire time, and though the setting didn’t feel like an additional character, I think the world was still one I wanted to spend more time in.

I don’t know how I feel about Kahina or Atalanta.  I didn’t feel particularly interested in their stories or what happened to them, and I wish their backstories felt a little more clear.  Their pasts felt really muddled, and we get some tidbits about what happened, but it seemed a little fuzzy to me.  Maybe I just wasn’t paying enough attention.

It seemed like it was supposed to be a romance, but I didn’t pick up on that at all.  The description made it seem like there was going to be romance involved, but it felt like they went from enemies to friends and never quite made it beyond friends.  Unless I’m massively missing out on something, and I’m completely and utterly clueless.  Maybe I just need to be hit over the head with it, because any romantic connection that was in this book went over my head.

Kahina and Atalanta just didn’t feel completely fleshed out to me, though I felt like we knew Kahina a little bit better.  Atalanta felt a little more guarded and closed off, but I still feel like we didn’t get to know them as much as we could have.  Maybe that’s why I felt like they never moved past the friends stage.

2 stars.  Outrun The Wind was okay, and I wanted to like it more than I really did.  It wasn’t for me, but if you like Greek mythology, this might be worth checking out.

The NaNoWriMo 2019 Post

Hello and welcome the official, stand-alone NaNoWriMo post for 2019!  I talked about NaNoWriMo in my Currently Obsessed With post, but while writing that post, I decided I needed to do a recap post.  I really wanted to talk about my writing adventures this year, but I also wanted to give myself a break between reaching 50,000 words and writing this post.  I wanted it to sink in a little bit.

It’s funny.  I’ve been doing NaNo for a really long time- this is my 14th year doing it, and not only have I done it every year since 2006, I’ve reached the word count every year, sometimes with multiple novels.  This last month, I’ve been thinking a lot about NaNo, and what I’ve learned since that very first year.

But first, this year.

I wrote this sci-fi/apocalyptic story.  I had this idea for an apocalyptic take on the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse, but I didn’t really know what to do with it.

But then I had this dream where the end of the world happened and everyone was really happy about it.  There are a lot more details to this dream, but for some reason, I decided the ideas would go great together.

So the elevator pitch is an alien invasion meets the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse.

Except there are more aliens then 4 horsemen.  They didn’t really show up, and what they represent didn’t really happen.  It ended up being more about these two sisters who are on opposing sides- one working with the aliens, and the other working in the resistance.

This was one of those novels that I went with only a vague idea of what I wanted to do.  It wasn’t vaguely planned or outlined like previous years.  All things considered, it went a lot better than I thought it would, considering the lack of planning, and the complete and total pantsing of this novel.

It’s an idea I wouldn’t mind coming back to, now that I’ve written 50,000 words of it.  I feel like I have a better idea of what I want to do with it.  I don’t know if the 4 horsemen would factor into it at all, but I love the idea of two sisters on opposing sides of the alien invasion.

Maybe this 4 horsemen idea could be shelved for a different idea that comes along.  There’s no telling what I’ll come up.  It could be an interesting combination but you never know where things will take you.  That’s the nice thing about being a pantser.  Things end up going in a different direction then you expected.

I did have fun with it though, and I really did like that I wasn’t completely sure where it was going to go.

One thing I want to go back to for next year is having another project to work on.

I’m not talking multiple, 50k novels, because I barely have enough energy for one, much less two or three.  But there were quite a few times this year where I just needed a break from this particular project, and I felt like I needed to write something else.  I caught up on blog posts, and I did some of the prompts from The Severed Moon.

They didn’t spark any ideas but it was good to do some writing prompts.  The cover is really pretty, and there’s something witchy about it,  There’s a mix of questions and quotes from the her books.  I did a lot of questions, and maybe that’s why it didn’t spark any ideas.  I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind for the quotes, but maybe I’ll give those a try.

It really makes me want to do more guided journaling.  I’m not the best at keeping up with it, since I’m excited at first and I lose interest after a while, but maybe I need to get in the habit of doing it.  Even a crochet project might help.  I haven’t been in a big crocheting mood lately, but maybe I will be next year.

Still, I think having some sort of background project will be good.  It’s nice to have something else to work on, and it’s a good way to reset myself.  At least I have almost a whole year to figure it out!

I think I may get a little more creative with how I plan my novels.

Either I completely wing it, or I have a vague outline in Scrivener.  I might have some notes in one of my 50 million notebooks too.

But I have a bunch of art supplies and sketchbooks at home, so it could be fun to terribly draw out my ideas, or…well, I’m not quite sure really.  I don’t have a set idea for how I would do it.  I just know I have a ton of brush pens and sketchbooks, and right now, it seems really fun to write out my notes and thoughts and ideas in a completely different way.

Depending on what ideas I come up, or with some ideas that I end up revisiting, we’ll see how this goes.  I’m definitely not going to guarantee I’ll do this next year, because I might not even be interested in doing this a year from now.  If I do, then I’ll go for it,  If not, maybe I’ll give it a try another year.

Here’s an interesting thought.

I love NaNo,  I’ve done it for years, and my life would not be the same without it.  I can’t see myself not doing, and I love the writing 50,000 word novel in one month thing.  But right now, I’m curious to see what a November would look like if I did 50,000 words of blog posts, writing prompts and other ideas?  I’ve been tempted to try to the blog post thing for a few years, but since I do mostly reviews, I don’t know how well that would work.  Usually, the longer I wait to write them, the harder it is for me to write a review, especially if I don’t have strong opinions either way.

But this blog did start out with me writing about my NaNo adventures, so I could talk about that.  And I could write non-review posts too.  That’s something to keep in mind.

I’m not the biggest planner, and my planning ranges from “very vague idea” to “detailed notes that guide me along the way but aren’t so detailed that there’s no room for the unexpected.”  But this is something to consider as well, either as a side project or a main project.  I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself but I could easily reassess in, like, July or August to see how I’m feeling and what I might want to work on.

Honestly, I’m feeling a little rambly and all over the place.

Is rambly even a word?  If it’s not, that’s fine, because it seems like the right thing to say.  I think I’m going to stick with it.

I do feel like I’ve said everything I wanted to say about NaNo 2019, and I’m glad there’s some distance between when I reached 50k and when I’m writing this.

I hope everyone has a great day!

Book Review: The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White

Book Review: The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White

Published November 2019 by Delacorte Press|352 pages

Where I Got It: I own the hardcover

Series: Camelot Rising #1

Genre: YA Fantasy/Re-Telling

There is nothing in the world as magical and terrifying as a girl.

Princess Guinevere has come to Camelot to wed a stranger: the charismatic King Arthur. With magic clawing at the kingdom’s borders, the great wizard Merlin conjured a solution — send in Guinevere to be Arthur’s wife… and his protector from those who want to see the young king’s idyllic city fail. The catch? Guinevere’s real name — and her true identity — is a secret. She is a changeling, a girl who has given up everything to protect Camelot.

To keep Arthur safe, Guinevere must navigate a court in which the old — including Arthur’s own family — demand things continue as they have been, and the new — those drawn by the dream of Camelot — fight for a better way to live. And always, in the green hearts of forests and the black depths of lakes, magic lies in wait to reclaim the land. Arthur’s knights believe they are strong enough to face any threat, but Guinevere knows it will take more than swords to keep Camelot free.

Deadly jousts, duplicitous knights, and forbidden romances are nothing compared to the greatest threat of all: the girl with the long black hair, riding on horseback through the dark woods toward Arthur. Because when your whole existence is a lie, how can you trust even yourself?

From New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White comes a new fantasy series reimagining the Arthurian legend, set in the magical world of Camelot.

I really enjoyed The Guinevere Deception!  One, it’s Kiersten White, and I love her, and two, she did a King Arthur re-telling.  How could I not like this book?

I really liked Guinevere.  She’s pretty awesome, and even though I’m not super-familiar with all of the King Arthur stories, I have a vague sense of the characters and the story.  I loved the idea of Guinevere as a changeling, and seeing her navigate Camelot and water was a pretty different but cool take on the story.

White really made the story her own- Guinevere as protector of Arthur against magic, what she did with Lancelot and the appearance of Brangien and Tristan from the Tristan and Isolde story…it’s a really cool re-telling.

Seeing Guinevere on her journey was one of my favorite things about the book.  She had a lot to figure out, and I loved taking that journey with her.  Things weren’t what she thought they were, but if there’s anyone who can keep Arthur and Camelot safe, it’s her.  There’s a lot of gaps in time for her, and I hope she’s able to get those memories back.  I don’t know if she will, but she did the best she could with the information she had.

Things between Arthur and Guinevere got my attention.  They’re definitely friends, and even though they’re married, I can’t help but wonder if they’ll move past the friends stage into something more.  Honestly, I thought there might have been something between her and Mordred, which would have been a little weird because Arthur is his uncle.  I know Arthur and Guinevere are fake married and all, but still.

I liked Lancelot, and I can’t wait to see how things go as a knight for Lancelot.  Lancelot was not who I expected them to be, though I liked seeing Lancelot fight, and go through the tournament.  I think Lancelot will be a great knight, and friend, for Guinevere.

There’s a lot to like about this book, and it’s hard to talk about it because I don’t want to spoil anything.  There are some interesting twists and turns, and I want to know what happens next!

4 stars.  I really liked this take on King Arthur, and Guinevere is a great character!  I loved going on this journey with her.

Book Review: Not Even Bones by Rebecca Schaeffer

Book: Not Even Bones by Rebecca Schaeffer

Published September 2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt|368 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: Market Of Monsters #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

Dexter meets This Savage Song in this dark fantasy about a girl who sells magical body parts on the black market — until she’s betrayed.

Nita doesn’t murder supernatural beings and sell their body parts on the internet—her mother does that. Nita just dissects the bodies after they’ve been “acquired.” But when her mom brings home a live specimen, Nita decides she wants out — dissecting living people is a step too far.

But when she tries to save her mother’s victim, she ends up sold on the black market in his place — because Nita herself is a supernatural being. Now Nita is on the other side of the bars, and there is no line she won’t cross to escape and make sure no one can ever capture her again.

Nita did a good deed, and it cost her everything. Now she’s going to do a lot of bad deeds to get it all back.

I really liked Not Even Bones!  I was intrigued by the plot, and I went through this book pretty fast because I wanted to keep reading.

I thought Nita was interesting.  I don’t know if I like her- I haven’t quite decided on that yet- but her character was an interesting one.  I mean, she can heal herself, in a world that doesn’t look kindly upon people with unnatural abilities.  Yes, she helps her mother by dissecting magical creatures so her mother can sell them on the black market, and yes, she realizes that there is no line she won’t cross to get her life back to normal.

She had lines she wouldn’t cross, and ends up throwing all of that out the window once she ends up on the black market.  I don’t know if I like her but I really want to see what she’ll do to get her life back to where she wants it.

I really want to know more about Fabricio and her mom.  Fabricio pops up at the beginning and the end, so who knows what he’s doing for most of the book?  What’s he really up to?  Whatever it is, I hope we find out.

As for her mom, selling her to the black market seems like something she would do.  What happened to her mom, and will we ever find out if she’s dead or alive?  We definitely find out what happened to her dad, but her mom?  What’s she been doing since Nita got taken?  I have so many questions about her, and I hope at least some of them get answered.

I did like Kovit, though.  I wasn’t sure about him for a while, but he’s a pretty cool character.  I like that he won’t hurt friends or family, and I want him to be okay.  He definitely grew on me, and he and Nita have a pretty interesting but understandable agreement/relationship.

I’m hoping there isn’t a love triangle.  There isn’t one in this book, but I feel like this book is setting one up for the rest of the series.  At the beginning of the book, I thought that Nita and Fabricio might end up together, but knowing what I know now, I do not want them to end up together, should romance come up.  I don’t know what would change my mind about him, but at this point, it’s going to take a lot to get me to change my mind.

4 stars.  I really liked Not Even Bones, and I can’t wait to read the next one, if only to see what happens with Nita and Fabricio.

Book Review: The Princess And The Fangirl by Ashley Poston

Book: The Princess And The Fangirl by Ashley Poston

Published April 2019 by Quirk Books|320 pages

Where I Got It: I own the hardcover

Series: Once Upon A Con #2

Genre: YA Contemporary

The Prince and the Pauper gets a modern makeover in this adorable, witty, and heartwarming young adult novel set in the Geekerella universe by national bestselling author Ashley Poston.

Imogen Lovelace is an ordinary fangirl on an impossible mission: save her favorite character, Princess Amara, from being killed off from her favorite franchise, Starfield. The problem is, Jessica Stone—the actress who plays Princess Amara—wants nothing more than to leave the intense scrutiny of the fandom behind. If this year’s ExcelsiCon isn’t her last, she’ll consider her career derailed.

When a case of mistaken identity throws look-a-likes Imogen and Jess together, they quickly become enemies. But when the script for the Starfield sequel leaks, and all signs point to Jess, she and Imogen must trade places to find the person responsible. That’s easier said than done when the girls step into each other’s shoes and discover new romantic possibilities, as well as the other side of intense fandom. As these “princesses” race to find the script-leaker, they must rescue themselves from their own expectations, and redefine what it means to live happily ever after.

I loved The Princess And The Fangirl!  I wasn’t sure what to think about because I did like Geekerella, but I ended up loving this book.

Something I thought was interesting, and was one of my favorite things about the book, was seeing the girls step into each other’s shoes.  They learn so much about each other, and I loved seeing how much they change.  They see a side of fandom they never considered before.

This book is narrated by both Imogen and Jess, and it worked so incredibly well for this book.  With Imogen, we see how much Amara means to her, and why she wants to save her favorite character.  The campaign she put together was absolutely amazing.  But you also see her realize why Jess wouldn’t want to be Amara anymore.  I certainly wouldn’t want to be in a fandom like Starfield with everything Jess has to put up with.

Imogen, masquerading as Jess, sees the ugly side of things, and I think she realizes that things aren’t easy for Jess.  Yes, she wants to #saveAmara, but it comes at a price for the person playing her.

With Jess, she starts to see why people love Amara.  For Jess, she starts to find joy in life again, and she starts to see the part of Starfield she never got to see because of horrible people who think she’s not their Amara.  Unfortunately, it was a little true to life, and I’d be surprised if what happened to Jess didn’t happen to other actresses.

I’m not going to lie, I was crying by the end of it.  The crying made it a not good choice for a laundry mat read, but at least there were only a couple of other people in there, and they were pretty busy, so I guess it worked out.  But it did get me more emotionally than Geekerella.

Don’t get me wrong, I liked Geekerella, but there’s just something about this book.  I have not been to a con, so that part goes way over my head.  But there was something about seeing Jess and Imogen switch places and learn a lot about themselves and each other.  I loved seeing them pull off this insane plot to figure out who leaked the script of the next Starfield movie.  I especially loved seeing them work together to figure this out and to save Amara.

And even though this book is part of a series, you really don’t need to read the first book to read this one!  I read Geekerella a few months ago for book club, but didn’t re-read before reading this one.  Some of what happens in that book is mentioned in this one, and it’s nice to see what happens to some of those characters, but this is definitely a book that stands on its own pretty well.

5 stars.  I loved The Princess And The Fangirl so much, and Imogen and Jess are great characters.  I don’t think I’ve loved character names as much as I loved Imogen Lovelace and Jessica Stone.