Blog Archives

Geekerella by Ashley Poston – Once Upon a Con Series Book Review/Once Upon a Cosplay


I first read Geekerella back in 2017, and after I had been attending Harry Potter and book conventions for 4 years (I came late to the game). A Cinderella retelling set in the world of convention goers and with a geeky heroine sounded right up my alley and I was right. I loved it.

Now, in the very strange year that is 2020, we are heading towards the release of the third book in the series (now delayed from June to August) so I have extra time to get everyone as excited as I am about this series.


Welcome to my Once Upon a Con Series of blog posts


May 4th – How fitting to be starting this on Star Wars day when the overarching series in the books, Starfield, slots nicely into the Star Wars, Star Trek Dyad (now Triad?!). Review of Book One – Geekerella/Once Upon a Cosplay


June 4th – Review of Book Two – Princess and the Fangirl/Once Upon the Dark Side


July 4th – Review of Book Three – Bookish and the Beast/Once Upon a Retelling


August 4th – Publication Day Starfield Special – Look to the Stars. Aim. Ignite.


Geekerella Synopsis


When geek girl Elle Wittimer sees a Cosplay contest sponsored by the producers of Starfield, she has to enter. First prize is an invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. Elle’s been scraping together tips from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck behind her step-mother’s back, and winning this contest could be her ticket out once and for all – not to mention a fan girl’s dream come true.


Teen actor Darien Freeman is less than thrilled about this year’s ExcelsiCon. He used to live for conventions, but now they are nothing but jaw-aching photo sessions and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Federation Prince Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but the diehard Starfield fandom has already dismissed him as just another heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, closet nerd Darien feels more and more like a fake – until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise.


Part romance, part love letter to nerd culture, and all totally adorbs, GEEKERELLA is a fairy tale for anyone who believes in the magic of fandom.


About the Author


Ashley Poston was born and raised in rural South Carolina, where you can see the stars impossibly well.When she’s not inventing new recipes with peanut butter, having passionate dance-offs with her cat Pepper 🐈 , or geeking out all over the Internet and at comic cons, she writes books and is the author of the Once Upon a Con series and Heart of Iron Duology.


What I Thought


Fresh off a third read and I’m beaming, Geekerella is good for my heart.


There are enough flavours of the original to satisfy those who want to recognise the book as a retelling and plenty of originality for those that want something fresh.


Elle and Darien are well drawn characters and, unlike in Disney’s Cinderella we get to delve much more into the Prince’s story and roles are more balanced. They both have faults and both go on a journey.

There is drama and obstacles galore in this book, parts that made me scowl at the injustice and swoon at the romance. There is also interesting family dynamics and loss is a prominent theme. And there’s a cute dog – what more could you ask for?


Fandom. That’s what. Starfield is a fictionalised TV series but this book draws you into that world. If you’ve ever been a fan of something and been able to share that passion with others this book will make you feel right at home. It explores the tremendous positive side of fandom, and touches on the dark side (more of that in the next post).


A Cosplay ball is the perfect set up for a Cinderella Tale but it’s what happens when hearts and not eyes connect that matter.


Once Upon a Cosplay

My main fandom is Harry Potter and I have partaken in the maybe not so subtle art of Cosplay. Dressing up as, and often becoming, fictional characters. Unfortunately like Elle in the story I also lack sewing skills but don’t let that stop you. My costumes may be bought, or may lack finesse but if you have fun making or wearing them that’s what counts. Below are some pictures of my Harry Potter Cosplays and one from Pierce Brown’s Red Rising.

Thanks to Quirk & Jamie-Lee and Stephen for hooking me up with an ARC of book three and giving me the opportunity to re-read this funtastic series. All opinions are my own.

Sanctuary by VV James – Blog Tour Book Review

It is my spot on the blog tour for Sanctuary by VV James which releases in paperback tomorrow (2nd April 2020).

About the book

Sanctuary. It’s the perfect town. . . to hide a secret. 


The star quarterback’s death was a tragic accident.

Those rumours about his ex-girlfriend? Local gossip.
Detective Maggie Knight thinks she has it all figured out.

She’s wrong.

The small town of Sanctuary is rocked by the death of its star quarterback. Daniel’s death looked like an accident, but everyone knows his ex-girlfriend, Harper, was there when he died. 

Then the rumours start. When Harper insists Dan was guilty of a terrible act, the town turns on her. So was his death an accident, revenge – or something even darker? 

As accusations fly and secrets are revealed, paranoia grips the town, culminating in a trial that the whole world is watching.

About the author


V.V. James is the author (as Vic James) of the contemporary fantasy trilogy Gilded Cage, Tarnished City, and Bright Ruin. Gilded Cage is a 2018 World Book Night pick and a Radio 2 Book Club selection. V.V. worked as an investigative producer for Channel 4 News and now directs documentaries for BBC1 and BBC2.

What I Thought


I had been really struggling with reading since the covid crisis so I put aside plenty of time to read this for the blog tour, but thankfully I ended up whipping through it.


The chapters were generally short and pacy which really helped but the premise was so good and the characters and plot intriguing. If you have any interest in the Salem witch trials and/or crime fiction you are going to want to read this.


Told in multiple points of view mainly from 3 adult women. Abigail – mother of the deceased, Sarah – town witch and mother of the accused and Maggie – detective.


In this world after the witch trials, witches were embedded into the fabric of America but under strict social control, having to register, banned from performing certain spells or using certain texts. The use of magic in a crime increases the severity of the punishment and evidence gained from magical means is inadmissible in trial.

The idea of a coven being between one witch and other non magical women who can loan their energy was fresh and added an extra layer to the uncertainty about what had happened. The secrets and lies between the women begin to unravel not only their friendship but society as a whole. The small town setting added to the claustrophobic atmosphere with everyone interconnected. The relationships were complex and nuanced.


There is an uneasy acceptance of witches in society, hate crime against witches being outlawed but clearly bubbling below. Trust is easily broken and fear stoked up and fuelled by the sorrow of losing a high school quarterback. Football being it’s own religion in certain quarters.

At its heart this was a murder mystery, a who or what done it and why, and I managed to guess at some aspects but not the whole. And this made it a hugely satisfying pay off. The gradual hints at and unfurling of a prior mystery were also so intricately plotted and made this a compelling page turner.


There was so much incidental diversity included. It was a breath of fresh air when a non binary character was introduced who was initially mis-pronouned. But once the character was corrected they simply used the correct pronouns without it being an issue at all.
Ironically towards the end of the book the town gets put into a quarantine because of a “sickness”. But don’t let that parallel with what’s going on in the world put you off. This is a clever and insightful take on a number of contemporary issues. I’ll leave you to learn the lessons of the witches. Something given for something gotten.

For fans of The Crucible, Practical Magic, Witches of East End and Asking For It. Trigger warning for rape and some grotesque moments. Adult.

Thanks to Orion for the paperback copy for the purposes of an honest review. The hardback edition came in Illumicrate. Do check out the rest of the stops on the tour.

The 24 – Hour Café by Libby Page – Blog Tour Book Review 

About the Book
Welcome to the café that never sleeps. Day and night Stella’s Café opens its doors for the lonely and the lost, the morning people and the night owls. It is many things to many people but most of all it is a place where life can wait at the door. A place of small kindnesses. A place where anyone can be whoever they want, where everyone is always welcome.

Meet Hannah and Mona: best friends, waitresses, dreamers. They work at Stella’s but they dream of more, of leaving the café behind and making their own way in life.

Come inside and spend twenty-four hours at Stella’s Café; a day when Hannah and Mona’s friendship will be tested, when the community will come together and when lives will be changed…

About the Author
Libby Page previously worked in marketing, moonlighting as a writer. She graduated from The London College of Fashion with a BA in Fashion Journalism before going on to work as a journalist at the Guardian. THE LIDO is her first novel. It was pre-empted within 24 hours of submission for six figures in the UK, pre-empted for six figures in the US, and will be published in 2018 by Orion UK and Simon & Schuster US, followed by eleven other territories around the world. 

Libby has been a leading campaigner for fairer internships and has spoken on TV and in parliament in support of fair pay for interns. Libby has been writing from an early age and when she was 16 she wrote an illustrated book called Love Pink to raise money for Breast Cancer Care.

After writing, her second passion is outdoor swimming. Libby lives in London where she enjoys finding new swimming spots and pockets of community within the city.

What I Thought


This book is such a slice of life. 24 hours (plus a jump forward) in a 24-hour cafe in London following Hannah and Mona, waitresses who long to be something more. But, who are already more to the customers who come through the doors into this refuge, and to each other. 
Bursting with humanity author Libby Page had me feeling for each individual she writes (I nearly used creates but it feels like she draws them from real life). At first the style felt a little distant like we were simply observers but this mix of point of views cleverly weaved us into each of the character’s lives. It’s like she draws us into a modern day version of the painting Nighthawks by Edward Hopper. 
There’s one character in particular that I was anxious to see again but we never really knew if they would come back. In some ways it might have been more realistic to have them not show back up, but that wouldn’t necessarily have been as satisfying to the reader. 
I love that the main focus is on friendship between women in its many complexities, from jealousy to true care, from forming to breaking. It was simply beautiful. 
Life in Stella’s cafe was peaceful and frantic, celebrated beginning and endings, saw heartbreak and joy. Above all it this is one those stories that reminds us to be kind because we never know what someone is facing. 
I did manage to get gifted a copy from #orionontour which Libby kindly signed but when I found out about the blog tour I waited to read it and it feels like it popped into my life as I needed it. There were aspects of the story that touched me very personally and I shed a tear or two. 
I would definitely recommend and am glad I now have Libby’s first novel The Lido lined up to read soon. 
%d bloggers like this: