Monday, May 11, 2015

ARC Mini Reviews: The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy and The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest

Title: The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy: A Handbook for Geek Girls
Author: Sam Maggs
Published: May 12, 2015 by Quirk Books

Synopsis: 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 for everything from starting an online fan community to planning a convention visit to supporting fellow female geeks in the wild 

*** I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This fact has not changed my opinion.***

What I Liked: I don't often read a lot of non-fiction and I almost never read self-help books. But I really loved how empowering and helpful this book is towards women of the nerdy or Fangirl persuasion. As a member of this online Internet community, one whose uniting factor is around books, I definitely found a little of myself in this book. If you are looking to break into the nerd girl community or looking to get more involved this book has some great advice for you. Everything from how to interact on Twitter or Tumblr to cosplay it's all there and all interesting. This is also a really fast read. I finished it in a few days and just flew straight through it. The writing was fun and engaging for all ages. You can tell that Sam Maggs has a great love of this community and it's many facets.

What Didn't Work: It was almost too short. The fact that I flew through it was kind of because it felt a little superficial. It was an all-encompassing look at the community but it sort of went with the "know a little bit about a lot of things" format. Now don't get me wrong, that's why I kill at Pub Trivia (which was mentioned in the book) but I was hoping for a little more. I wanted the book to go a little more in-depth. I felt a little bit like this is geared toward fangirl n00bs.

 I give The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy by Sam Maggs 7.5 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Borrow/Buy. This would be the perfect gift for that young woman in your life who loves nerd culture and wants to let it take over her life. But if you are already immersed in it you may not get as much out of it. Though you will feel like she's probably talking about you, which is kind of fun!

Title: The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest
Author: Melanie Dickerson
Published: May 12, 2015 by Thomas Nelson
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: "Swan Lake" meets Robin Hood when the beautiful daughter of a wealthy merchant by day becomes the region's most notorious poacher by night, and falls in love with the forester.

Jorgen is the forester for the wealthy margrave, and must find and capture the poacher who has been killing and stealing the margrave's game. When he meets the lovely and refined Odette at the festival and shares a connection during a dance, he has no idea she is the one who has been poaching the margrave's game.

Odette justifies her crime of poaching because she thinks the game is going to feed the poor, who are all but starving, both in the city and just outside its walls. But will the discovery of a local poaching ring reveal a terrible secret? Has the meat she thought she was providing for the poor actually been sold on the black market, profiting no one except the ring of black market sellers?

The one person Odette knows can help her could also find out her own secret and turn her over to the margrave, but she has no choice. Jorgen and Odette will band together to stop the dangerous poaching ring . . . and fall in love. But what will the margrave do when he discovers his forester is protecting a notorious poacher?

*** I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This fact has not changed my opinion.***

What I Liked: The historical setting. The book takes place in Germany during the Middle Ages and it has a very Tangled type vibe. From the clothing, to the food, to the culture it was interesting and immersive. The retelling angle. I'm not really familiar with the Swan Lake story so I didn't pick up on those references but I loved the Robin Hood angle. The male characters. They were well-rounded and interesting. There were more men than women featured here and that may have been an advantage.

What Didn't Work: The female characters. Being that the book takes place in the Middle Ages the female characters sort of succumbed to the cultural idea of the time saying that the only way for a woman to be happy and successful is with a husband, so I didn't totally love the female protagonist she just didn't come off as the strong female I was expecting. The narrative style. I went into this book thinking it was adult but it is YA and on the younger side. That's find but I just felt like the narrative here was a little basic. There was no poetry or flow to it. The plot. That was the biggest disappointment. Some things worked, like the dramatic irony, but in general I felt like the plot was predictable in a way that I struggled to keep reading. It also reached the climax entirely to soon and I ended up skimming the last fifty pages because I couldn't see how anything else would happen with so much falling action.

 I give The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest by Melanie Dickerson 5 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Bypass. I think there are much more complex and interesting YA novels set during the Middle Ages. There are definitely more interested fairy tale retellings. Maybe borrow this one from the library if you are really interested in it.

Have you read The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy or The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts.


  1. Interesting books but those ratings are not that compelling. Great reviews though!

    1. Yeah, they weren't my favorite reads. Not bad just didn't work for me.