Wonder Women and Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge

Quick reviews of Wonder Women and Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge. #spon | Book reviews by NewberyandBeyond.com
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Note: I received both of these books from a BEA giveaway. The publisher did not ask for a review in return.

Wonder Women

Ever heard of Allied spy Noor Inayat Khan, a Muslim woman whom the Nazis considered “highly dangerous”? Or German painter and entomologist Maria Sibylla Merian, who planned and embarked on the world’s first scientific expedition? How about Huang Daopo, the inventor who fled an abusive child marriage only to revolutionize textile production in China?

Women have always been able to change the world, even when they didn’t get the credit. In Wonder Women, author Sam Maggs introduces you to pioneering female scientists, engineers, mathematicians, adventurers, and inventors—each profile a study in passion, smarts, and stickto-itiveness, complete with portraits by Google doodler Sophia Foster-Dimino, an extensive
bibliography, and a guide to present-day women-centric STEM organizations. (Summary via Goodreads.com)

I so wanted to love this book! You know I like reading about smart, strong women, so I was super excited to pick up this book (written by author Sam Maggs, whose previous book I really enjoyed). And it does have interesting stories of amazing women, but it is written in such a flippant way that I couldn’t take it seriously. This could have been so much better. Disappointing.

Rating: Meh

Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge

A sharp and funny urban fantasy for “new adults” about a secret society of bartenders who fight monsters with alcohol fueled magic.

College grad Bailey Chen has a few demons: no job, no parental support, and a rocky relationship with Zane, the only friend who’s around when she moves back home. But when Zane introduces Bailey to his cadre of monster-fighting bartenders, her demons get a lot more literal. Like, soul-sucking hell-beast literal. Soon, it’s up to Bailey and the ragtag band of magical mixologists to take on whatever—or whoever—is behind the mysterious rash of gruesome deaths in Chicago, and complete the lost recipes of an ancient tome of cocktail lore. (Summary via Goodreads.com)

This book had such a fun, unique idea. The characters were a bit cliche at times (if you’re a recent college grad, you’ll recognize these stereotypes), but that doesn’t keep the story from being an enjoyable urban fantasy. The “excerpts” from the book of magical mixology are probably the best part–so funny! But be forewarned–there is a fair amount of language in this book.

And of course, because all my posts this month tie in with my Lovely Words series, here’s my favorite quote from Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge:

Those who read on will learn how to do the impossible: To fade from sight. To exert control over distant objects with only one’s mind. To justify the existence of the olive, which is the most loathsome of all fruits.

Rating: Good but Forgettable

This post is part of the Write 31 Days series, Lovely Words. You can see all the posts in this series here.

ARC: The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy

The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy is a great guide for fans of comic books, Doctor Who, Harry Potter, anime, and much, much more. #spon | A book review by Newbery and Beyond
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Note: I received a free galley of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Fanfic, cosplay, cons, books, memes, podcasts, vlogs, OTPs and RPGs and MMOs and more—it’s never been a better time to be a girl geek. The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy is the ultimate handbook for ladies living the nerdy life, a fun and feminist take on the often male-dominated world of geekdom. With delightful illustrations and an unabashed love for all the in(ternet)s and outs of geek culture, this book is packed with tips, playthroughs, and cheat codes, including:

• How to make nerdy friends
• How to rock awesome cosplay
• How to write fanfic with feels
• How to defeat Internet trolls
• How to attend your first con

And more! Plus, insightful interviews with fangirl faves, like Jane Espenson, Erin Morgenstern, Kate Beaton, Ashley Eckstein, Laura Vandervoort, Beth Revis, Kate Leth, and many others. (Summary via Amazon.com)

Doesn’t this book just sound delightful?  And let me tell you–it is!  Whether you’re an experienced fangirl or a newbie, Sam Maggs will fill you in.  Not even sure if you belong in a fandom–or even what a fandom is?  You can discover that here.  Confused about terms like shipping and squee that take over Tumblr posts?  That’s in here, too.  Never been to a con and wanting to know where to start?  Your complete guide is here!

I don’t consider myself a huge fangirl; I don’t obsess over niche TV shows or comic books.  But even I have fandoms–think Doctor Who, Sherlock, Harry Potter, and anything YA.  Whether you’re already into fanfic and cosplay, or whether you’re more like me, interested in looking at cool fan art and funny memes on Pinterest and unsure if you want to dive deeper, this book has what you need.  How-tos, descriptions and definitions, and even interviews with famous fangirls, this book has a little bit of everything geeky.

What I loved most about this book was how it celebrates fangirls.  Many times, females who get super excited by their fandom are looked down upon, especially when their loves start invading typically male-dominated realms such as video games and comic books.  I love how the author talks about this (and about how to defend yourself!), but never lets the bad stuff overcome the joy of fangirling.  Check this book out if you have any interest at all in what are known as fandoms, or if you’re just interested in discovering what all those Superwholock pins on Pinterest are about.

Rating: Pretty Darn Good

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