Monday, February 27, 2017

The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy by Sam Maggs

Buy here*
Publication date: 2015
Publisher: Quirk Books
Pages: 207
My rating: 3.5 stars
Ages: 15+

What does it mean to be a "fangirl"? How do you defend yourself as a geek? What is the most important things to know about cons? This and so much more are discussed in Maggs's guide for fangirls of all kinds.

This was a lot of fun to read. Maggs tries to be inclusive, which is a difficult thing to do, so I don't think I can fault the guide for not including some things that I believed should have been included or approached differently. People from different backgrounds will always have different ideas and approaches, which I think Maggs did a good job at acknowledging, especially with the interviews she conducted with famous geek girls.

My favorite parts was probably the "One of Us" chapter, the chapter on surviving conventions, and the lists of resources and fandoms of all kinds.

There were some editing/design things that made me cringe, as an editor, but they weren't necessarily wrong more than that they went against what I had been taught.

There is some mild language and references to sex.

*I do not receive compensation from Amazon.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham

Buy here*
Publication date: 2016
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Pages: 205
My rating: 4 stars
Ages: 14+

From auditioning with her butt to the Gilmore Girls revival, Lauren Graham shares the struggles and successes of her acting career. Her humor and honesty is as refreshing as the first smell of snow in Stars Hollow.

Graham writes the way she speaks, which I love. I love reading something and being able to hear in my head how the person would say it.

There was something refreshing about Graham's book, something different than the other celebrity memoir I've read. I think it was because Graham seemed to see everything in a positive light, or at least wrote of it positively. She also seemed to have a relatively normal life. I think we sometimes think that creative people are tortured eccentrics with drug and alcohol problems, so it's nice to read about someone from a loving family with relatively few problems.

It was also fun to hear her thoughts on the original Gilmore Girls series and the filming of the revival.

Very mild language.

*I do not receive compensation from Amazon.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Writing Magic: Creating Stories that Fly by Gail Carson Levine

Buy here*
Publication date: 2006
Publisher: Harper
Pages: 161
My rating: 4 stars
Ages: 12+

Best-selling author and Newbery Award winner Gail Carson Levine gives advice and writing techniques that work. From how to create a character to working through writer's block, she walks the beginner writer through each step of the process. Each topic has a writing activity to help the reader put what they just learned into action.

I'm a huge Levine fan, so getting this book was kind of a given. What I liked about this book is that each chapter was short and to the point, making it a lot more approachable than some other books. This makes it particularly good for young writers who are interested in getting better at writing.

I do have to admit, I didn't do any of the writing activities. I was usually reading the book during lunch at work or in bed before going to sleep, so I wasn't really interested in doing them. However, just reading through it is something that I think will help me in my writing.

*I do not receive compensation from Amazon.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story by Alexander Freed

Buy here*
Publication date: 2016
Publisher: Del Ray
Pages: 322
My rating: 3.5 stars
Ages: 13+

It's been nearly twenty years since the Empire took power over the universe. The Rebel Alliance has heard rumors of a new powerful weapon the Empire is building, but has been unable to find any proof. Jyn Erso has spent most of her life fighting, with no real loyalty to anyone or any side. Cassian Andor is an intelligence agent working for the Alliance. The two are thrown together on a task to learn more about the Empire's new weapon, putting them, and the Alliance, in danger as they travel across the galaxy, creating a rag tag group who is willing to do anything to hurt the Empire.

After seeing the movie, I couldn't stop thinking about it. I found out by looking things up on the Internet that the novelization included more information on each character and scenes that didn't make it into the movie. I immediately bought the book and anxiously waited for it to arrive.

I don't usually read novelizations, because they are basically everything you see on the screen put into print, which rarely makes a good novel. This was a pretty good novelization. Freed was able to take the story and add things to it that, for the most part, felt true to the characters presented on the screen. It provides context for the characters that we don't see in the film, though I think he did Jyn a bit of a disservice. In the film, she had strong opinions and her own moral code and a natural leader. In the book she seemed unsure, unfit for leadership, and without the nuances had made her such a great character in the film.

Several of the nuances from the film were lost, while others were added. There was also a liberal use of italics throughout the book, which were unnecessary and distracting.

In all, good for Star Wars fans, especially those teens who are reluctant readers.

There is no language or sex.

*I do not receive compensation from Amazon.