6.14.2016

Book Review: THE GEEK'S GUIDE TO UNREQUITED LOVE

It's been a stretch since my last book review, but I am SO EXCITED to share my thoughts on Sarvenaz Tash's newest book because it's about something near and dear to my heart - geeks!



THE GEEK'S GUIDE TO UNREQUITED LOVE is OUT TODAY, and if you get it this week, you can get a geeky swag pack, including a signed book plate! Details here.

Anyway, on to the review!


Disclaimer: Won an ARC through a Twitter giveaway held by the author. Twitter friends with the author. I am not part of the blog tour and am reviewing this book of my own accord.

PROS: Quick read, good representation of geek life, strong narrative voice, funny

CONS: non-POV characters are a little lightly sketched, pop culture references could be overwhelming to the non-initiated

Intellectual Rating: 7 out of 10
Emotional Grade: A

Goodreads blurb: John Hughes meets Comic Con in this hilarious, unabashedly romantic, coming-of-age novel about a teenager who is trying to get his best friend to fall in love with him from the author of Three Day Summer.

Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy...
Archie and Veronica...
Althena and Noth...
...Graham and Roxy?

Graham met his best friend, Roxana, when he moved into her neighborhood eight years ago, and she asked him which Hogwarts house he’d be sorted into. Graham has been in love with her ever since.

But now they’re sixteen, still neighbors, still best friends. And Graham and Roxy share more than ever—moving on from their Harry Potter obsession to a serious love of comic books.

When Graham learns that the creator of their favorite comic, The Chronicles of Althena, is making a rare appearance at this year’s New York Comic Con, he knows he must score tickets. And the event inspires Graham to come up with the perfect plan to tell Roxy how he really feels about her. He’s got three days to woo his best friend at the coolest, kookiest con full of superheroes and supervillains. But no one at a comic book convention is who they appear to be...even Roxy. And Graham is starting to realize fictional love stories are way less complicated than real-life ones.


REVIEW

Getting right to it, I loved this book. It was everything I hoped it would be - a love letter to being a geek and a sweet teen romance about grand gestures and friendship. The plot revolves around Graham and his epic plan to confess his love to his best friend (and comics co-creator) Roxy at NYCC. There is just enough drama to keep things interesting - because let's face it, nothing ever totally goes right when it comes to Comic Con - and more geeky references than you can shake a stick at.

One of my biggest concerns going into this book, actually, was how geek life might be portrayed. We've all read or seen portrayals of geeks that might've felt forced or ultimately seemed to denigrate the culture, and while I didn't think Tash would have that problem (I know her to be a big geek herself), there was still that slight fear. I was quickly reassured that I was in good hands. I recognized so much of what I've lived and what I've witnessed in terms of being a geek in both Graham and Roxy. They both felt like my people, in love with their fandoms and unabashedly proud of it.

Tash also wonderfully captures the heady but also frustrating experience of geek convention-going. NYCC is an unexplored land for me, but I've been to San Diego Comic Con (this year will be my 4th!), and let me tell you, some of the nerd rage moments in this book are so, so real (two words: line drama). Of course, Tash shows us some of the random but truly magical moments and connections that can happen at big conventions too, and she really gets what it's like to be immersed in a fandom, which shows in the characters.



The book also briefly touches on a number of deeper issues regarding geek/pop culture ("fake" geek attitudes, how women are treated as fans and creators, etc.), which I didn't really expect from such a light book, especially since it was focused on Graham's attempts to confess his feelings. So I appreciated that these topics weren't ignored and were acknowledged in a way that felt natural and didn't veer us away from the main story. I also appreciate that Graham is realistic enough to sometimes have problematic reactions and thoughts about certain people and situations, but that the character reflects on these feelings and grows from the self-assessment.

I do wish I got to know Roxy better, but the time span covered by the book is so short (3 days!) and we spend all of it deeply in Graham's POV that I understand why it would be hard to give us an accurate or even deeper portrait of Roxy. I also wanted a little more from the minor cast, but again, there are a lot of limitations inherent in the premise of this book. What I did get was good though. You get a firm sense of Graham and Roxy's friends, so much so that I want to know more about them.

Also, while I loved all the nerd references sprinkled throughout the book (and it indeed is what makes Graham's character feel so real), I imagine it can be a little overwhelming for readers who aren't super into geek or pop culture. That doesn't mean non-geek readers won't enjoy the book - I truly think they will - but Graham and his friends speak in pop culture references, which would obviously be less enjoyable if you don't get the reference. That said, they're very accessible references that I imagine most readers will know and a good chunk of their references is about the in-book-invented fandom, so all the info for that is provided in text. But the sheer volume of the other references did make me think of this as something to point out so readers can be prepared.

All in all, this book was delightful! It was a quick and fun read: proudly geeky, heartfelt, funny (can we talk about the chapter headings? So good.), and satisfying. It is the perfect pre-Comic Con (and summer) read, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to all of you - my geek friends. Tash did us a solid, and I'm so excited for you to read this book!

...

Again, the book is out NOW! If you want a swag pack of nerdy stickers & a signed book plate, be sure to get yours before JUNE 19, and follow the instructions here: Geek's Guide Swag Pack.


If you read this book or have read it, I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!


Q4U: What's the best "geek life" book you've read?

5.24.2016

Currently... (20)


"Currently..." updates will be every 2 weeks or so. Going to try to update on Tuesdays when Katy Upperman posts hers.

I found the Currently post at Kate Hart's blog, who got the idea from Amy Lukavics, who found it here. Please join in and link me in the comments if you do!


LOVING
  • Celebrating Star Wars Day aka May the Fourth (be with you)! My last post was actually an Outfit of the Day post featuring some of my favorite new Star Wars gear. Do check it out if you haven't yet!
  • Captain America: Civil War! We were lucky enough to watch it a few days early because we won tickets from a local radio station to see it at IMAX HQ, which is pretty dang cool. (The Sister and I saw Age of Ultron here too.) Bet you can't guess whose team we're on. ;)
    • Our second viewing of the movie was with some of our Comic Con Hall H line buddies and "Chris Evans." And all this fun stuff aside, yes, I loved the movie. They handled the large cast incredibly well, and I really liked how they handled the character arcs and themes.
A photo posted by @mylifewithchrisevans on

  • Brunching with my Founding ladies. I wish I had a catchier name for this, but here we are. I'm so lucky to have found my people so relatively early in life and to have kept them in my life.
  • Brunching for birthdays - specifically for my Con Squad sister Jenn's birthday this past weekend. Obviously, it was a fun time but it was also cool to see how everyone knew everyone else. It's incredible to me that a year ago, Comic Con squad did not exist, and now look at us!

  • Blackmilk Sample Sale haul. Sadly, Blackmilk has closed their Los Angeles location, but the bright side is they had a sample sale as a last hurrah and we bought all the things. I am most pleased with our LOTR and Harry Potter lucky finds! Map dresses! Daily Prophet legs!
  • Yallwest goodies: I scored an ARC of Garth Nix's upcoming GOLDENHAND, which is a BIG DEAL to me because it is an actual sequel to his original Old Kingdom trilogy. I love the Old Kingdom books A LOT, and I can't wait to see where some of the characters are now!! And I didn't even think I'd have a chance at Victoria Schwab's THIS SAVAGE SONG ARC, but thanks to an amazing friend who also went to the fest, I NOW HAVE A COPY. *cue freak out*

WATCHING
  • The Night Manager: So much beautiful Tom Hiddleston.
  • Game of Thrones: this season is exciting. I need more reunions and Tormund x Brienne, lol.
  • TURN: it's the Benedict Arnold betrayal season and I love it.

ANTICIPATING
  • Writing a special blog post for a friend's project.
  • NOLA - in about 2 weeks, I will going to New Orleans for the first time!!! So let me know if there's anything I MUST do and/or eat!

THINKING ABOUT

Beyoncé. I wouldn't call myself a member of the Beyhive, but that all changed when I saw her 2 weeks ago on her Formation World Tour. I can't even begin to explain the experience of being at her show because it was incredible, and I don't think I exaggerate when I say it was like a religious experience. I totally get why Queen B is the queen and why her fans are so intense about her. Yes, she's a consummate performer, talented and that beautiful in real life, but there was just something electric about the entire show.

A video posted by alice (@akangaru) on


I think I also found it strangely moving (I actually teared up at the show because I was so overwhelmed, and that is so not me) because it was such an empowering night. Like it was all about the strength of women and loving yourself.



MAKING ME HAPPY
  • Always, seeing online friends. The Yallwest book festival was actually perfect for that. I finally was able to meet Erin Bowman, who I've known a while on Twitter and who was the one who convinced me to read The Scorpio Races, which is one of my favorite books ever now. We also love Harry Potter, and she makes an amazing Luna Lovegood.

    • The bonus, of course, was also meeting so many authors I admire and fangirl over, as well as Twitter/author friends. I had such a great time actually putting faces to Twitter handles and chatting and eating over-priced truffle fries. Oh, and I wore my Marauder's Map dress, which was the best decision because I don't think I've ever been complimented so much on it in my life.
  • Speaking of the serendipity of making friends on the interwebs... I was so lucky to be able to make Sarah Maas' signing earlier this month, mostly thanks to some help from Sarah, and she was as funny and delightful as she always is. The big surprise though was while I was starting to read A COURT OF MIST AND FURY, I was amazed and really touched to find myself in the acknowledgments.
  • My contributor's copy of THE 2016 RHYSLING AWARD anthology! My poem is in a book-shaped thing with so many, truly magical poems. I am so humbled and happy.

  • My newest Jordandené tank, which is a collaboration between Jordan and Megan aka The Nerdy Girlie. Oh and if you want one of these for yourself OR even the Hamilton design which is back for a limited time (!), don't forget you can get 25% off through the end of May with my code: workwork!


Q4U: What's up with you?

5.04.2016

Geekchic OOTD: May the 4th Be with You!

For those of you of the geeky persuasion, you'll know today is something of a geek holiday. It's STAR WARS Day! To celebrate, I put together 3 more geek chic outfits all featuring Star Wars pieces from awesome lady geeks.

One of them is actually the debut of the newest Poe Squadron shirt! So let's start with that. You might recall that my friend Gennia designed shirts for our little Poe Dameron-loving squad after we saw The Force Awakens.


Outfit details: SHIRT (TEEPublic)

Well, Gennia designed another Poe Dameron shirt featuring a quote of his from the movie! We just got ours, and I thought it would be perfect to debut it on Star Wars Day.


AS LONG AS THERE'S LIGHT - I originally was going to accessorize the shirt with my gold stars necklace since you know, space, but I bought this amazing bandana while I was at Coachella. It has bears IN SPACE on it.




Outfit details: SHIRT (TEEPublic) // SHORTS (Forever 21- similar) // SHOES (Jeffrey Campbell Starburst - similar) // BANDANA (Coachella)
(I bought the tee in black, Medium size, V-neck.)


MATT THE RADAR TECHNICIAN - Of course, I had to feature a Jordandené design, and this Kylo Ren tank is one of my all-time favorites from Jordan's shop. I tapped into the Dark Side for inspiration and layered the tank over a drapey, hooded top and my Hamlet leggings.



Outfit details: TANK (Jordandene) // 2ND TANK (Blackmilk) // LEGGINGS (Blackmilk) // SHOES (Miista)
(I'm wearing the Jordandene tank in XS, all the Blackmilk in Small.)


KYLO REN IS A PUNK BITCH - And my third outfit was inspired by the Rebel Alliance and the X-Wing pilot flight suits - hence the orange blazer. The Rebel emblem necklace was made for me by Alz - yes, my sometimes co-blogger here! She's a fabulous jeweler (commission her!)

This was actually the first time I wore the tank a few months ago, and Gennia and I accidentally matched when we met up for brunch. Photos had to happen. The Resistance will not be intimidated!




Outfit details: TANK (Jordandene) // BLAZER (Tahari N/A) // JEANS (Uniqlo) // SHOES (Eeight) // NECKLACE (Sparkling Rampage)


Hope you enjoyed those outfits!! MAY THE FOURTH BE WITH YOU!


Oh hey, and REMEMBER, my Jordandené code is still good for 25% off the entire shop through MAY 31. So if you love this Matt the Radar Technician/ Kylo Ren shirt as much as I do, you can get one with a discount! The code is workwork.



Q4U: How are you celebrating Star Wars Day? Which outfit is your favorite? I'd love to hear about it in the comments!

4.26.2016

Currently... (19)


"Currently..." updates will be every 2 weeks or so. Going to try to update on Tuesdays when Katy Upperman posts hers.

I found the Currently post at Kate Hart's blog, who got the idea from Amy Lukavics, who found it here. Please join in and link me in the comments if you do!


LOVING
  • My second trip to Coachella~! This time, I was more prepared to have my allergies destroy me, so I took the appropriate medication. It was also windier than last year, which made taking a fashion cue from Star Wars' Rey kinda prudent. Oh and the reason we ended up going to Weekend 1 when we hadn't bought tickets? The Sister won tickets! I think this must be her super power...

A video posted by Alice (@girlontheroam) on



  • Being able to share this poem with you for National Poetry Month! I'd written the poem for a contest/challenge in February, and I really liked how it turned out. It was written during my February flurry of poetry writing. In any case, when the poem came back to me, I didn't really think about sending it elsewhere and since I wanted to share it, I did. :) If you haven't read it, I'd be delighted if you took a look: "Well-Met"
  • Poe Dameron Day / The Force Awakens - this was at the beginning of the month, but obviously, we bought all the comics, wore our T-Shirts, and watched the Force Awakens again - with our (sphero) BB-8! BB is actually not a good person to watch the movie with. He beeps at all the most dramatic moments but is so cute! And yes, we still love TFA a lot!

  • Meeting up with Tweeps - especially the writing kind. As I mentioned last time, I got to see long-time Twitter friend Lydia Kang when she was in town for a conference. It was also great finally meeting Jessica Love in person! (We now have matching Hamilton-Schuyler Sisters shirts.) Bonus! Seeing Elizabeth Briggs again and commiserating about Comic Con Hotelpocalypse. :P


READING

The HAMILTOME! This book, guys!!! It is BEAUTIFUL. Great content aside, I just love everything about the design of Hamilton: The Revolution. It's bound like a history book, has deckle-edged pages, and the inner layout - the photos, how they're presented with the lyrics and text - is just gorgeous. I love it so much, and I'm loving all the stories about how this crazy thing came about.




WATCHING

The Jungle Book - so beautifully done and a classic family film.

The Night Manager - only one episode has aired as of my writing this, and I can't tell how much I like it in terms of plot so far. BUT my goodness is Tom Hiddleston just wonderful to look at and listen to, and basically, however this show turns out, it is still a gift to me because I get to see TH on the small screen once a week for 6 episodes.

Game of Thrones - Yes, this show continues to upset me with how it chooses to handle certain characters and story lines, but I still desperately want to know what happens - and there are still aspects of the show I enjoy. So really show, stop pushing me away!

Lemonade - I wouldn't say I'm part of the Bey Hive, but Beyoncé's visual album for her new album Lemonade was all kinds of amazing. It's visually stunning, but her music and choice of visual is so powerful. It's intimate, gorgeous, political, introspective, and moving.


ANTICIPATING

  • YALLWEST! It's the West Coast companion to the much loved book-fest YALLFEST that takes place in South Carolina. Anyway, this is Yallwest's second year, but it'll be my first year going! I'm excited because I'll get to meet up with some blogger and author friends AND there's a Hamilton sing-along.
  • Also, it is almost time for Captain America: Civil War - and given how much I loved Winter Soldier, I am so excited for this.
  • TURN: Washington's Spies - we're getting really into the Revolutionary spy game now. This season? Benedict Arnold's betrayal! (Also, I hear we're finally getting some Hamilton!)
  • Roshani Chokshi's debut The Star-Touched Queen, which is out today! I've read her poetry and short stories online, and her writing is so beautiful! It's vivid, rich, and lyrical. I cannot wait to read an entire book by her!
  • And, of course, today is the release day of THE RAVEN KING by Maggie Stiefvater. It's the final book in the Raven Cycle series, which has arguably been my favorite on-going series these past few years. I'm already so sad to have to part ways with this magical world and amazing, amazing characters. I love them all so much! I'm so excited to find out what happens.

A photo posted by alice (@threadedpages) on


THINKING ABOUT

What new Annotations posts I'm going to do next. Don't know what this is? It's a blog supplement to my new bookstagram Instagram account, Threadedpages. The first post is here: Annotations.


MAKING ME HAPPY

  • Hanging out with the Founders squad this weekend. We watched the boy-band zombie-Western flick Dead 7 (it was...really bad. Eck!), listened to Hamilton on vinyl (absolutely incredible - like the violins are in the room with you), and then re-enacted part of the opening number when we realized our friend's house kind of mimicked the stage. Here's a gif from our efforts.


  • Seeing Years & Years perform last night at The Fonda. We missed them at Coachella, so we were so glad we'd gotten tickets for "localchella." Every show with them is a party. Love it.

A video posted by Catherine (@catherine) on


Q4U: What's up with you Currently? Also, if any of you are going to YALLWEST, please let me know! I'd love to see you! :D

4.13.2016

Geekchic OOTD: Looking for a Mind at Work

April somehow conspired to be a great month for my Hamilton interests. This month marks one year since I wrote this emotional and somehow coherent review of my experience of Hamilton at the Public in February 2015, and the Hamiltome is finally out in the world! (Deliver my book to meeee quickly, BN!)



And last but not least, one of my favorite geek ladies, Jordan of Jordandené, is offering a Hamilton-themed shirt (or tank) for her April Shirt of the Month. It features a quote from the song "The Schuyler Sisters," which is the show's introduction to the eponymous sisters - amazing women of the Revolution.

So in honor of all things Hamilton musical, I am making my first Outfit of the Day post, featuring Jordan's "Looking for a Mind at Work" shirt. (Stick around to the end for a surpriiiiiise~!)



A little background:

I'm an unabashed fan of Jordan's simple-chic, hand-lettered geeky shirt designs, and I love the Shirt of the Month feature because it means getting a new design on a monthly basis. So when Jordan reached out to me for Hamilton quotes for the April shirt, I didn't hesitate to, frankly, bombard her with quotes. Anyone who has listened to the musical can sympathize; it is brimming with quotable lines.

But I ultimately pushed for something from the Schuyler Sisters because I love these resilient, brilliant women and thought they ought to be represented on more Hamilton merch. I couldn't be happier that Jordan went with the quote "Looking for a mind at work!"





Full disclosure, Jordan sent me an early preview of the shirt for helping, and I was so excited about it that I resolved to do an outfit post for fun. And then once I started, I felt like I had to do 3 different outfits - you know, one for each of the sisters. :)

Note: The shirt I'm wearing in these pictures is an XS. I normally order T-Shirts in S for a looser fit. In the tanks, I usually order in XS because the S tends to run a bit big on me.


ANGELICA - I know her dress isn't really pink, but it's a warm and vibrant color. Angelica is a lady, but she's independent and strong too, so I thought this feminine floral skirt paired with bold lips and the sassier cat-eye frames would represent that well.



Outfit details: SHIRT (Jordandene) // SKIRT (Forever 21 N/A; Modcloth-similar) // SHOES (Eileen Fisher) // SUNGLASSES (HotTopic) // NECKLACE (Forever 21 N/A) // LIP COLOR (Bite Beauty custom coral; similar in 'pickled ginger')


ELIZA - Eliza's color palette is soft blues and greens, and her personality is more subdued than Angelica's. Hers is a quiet, honest strength. So I went with a sweeter look.



Outfit details: SHIRT (Jordandene) // SHORTS (Dear Creatures N/A ; asos- similar) // CARDIGAN (Target- similar) // SHOES (Forever 21- similar) // FAUX LACE COLLAR (vintage) // LIP COLOR (Bite Beauty custom nude; similar in 'meringue')


& PEGGY - The youngest Schuyler sister has become something of a fan favorite as perhaps the sassiest sister (and if you read about her, you'll find she was badass too - like saved her family by lying through her teeth to Redcoats & scaring them off). So I stuck with her yellow color palette and gave her my most youthful and work-work outfit.




Outfit details: SHIRT: (Jordandene) // SKIRT: (Forever 21-similar) // TIGHTS (Blackmilk) // SHOES (Nike N/A) // NECKLACE (Forever 21- similar) // BRACELET (BombDotComGeekery - similar) // SUNGLASSES (Ray Ban) // LIP COLOR (ColorPop in 'Beeper')


And as a gift to my wonderful internet friends for putting up with my endless Hamilton obsession, Jordan has given me a discount code to share with you!

You can get 25% off the entire Jordandené site, including the Hamilton shirt with my code workwork. The code is good through May 31st, but remember, the Hamilton Schuyler Sisters shirt will only be available until the end of April!


Already have the Hamilton shirt? No worries because there are other great options - like my other favorite, the Matt the Radar Technician/Kylo Ren tank.

HAPPY SHOPPING! (And special thanks to Jordan Ellis!) Huzzah!


Q4U: Which of these outfits was your favorite? What Jordandene goods are you getting?