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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.

Monstacademy: The Halloween Parade by Matt Beighton – Blog Tour Book Review

Goodreads Link


It’s not every day that a vampire borrows your pencil. When was the last time you sat next to a werewolf in maths?

Meet Trixie Grimble, the newest pupil at Monstacademy. Unfortunately, in a school filled with monsters, she’s the only ordinary girl and when she’s asked to help prepare for the annual Halloween parade, everything starts to go wrong.

Oh, and she’s also been kicked out of her bedroom to make room for a cat circus.

Fans of Jill Murphy and Isla Fisher will adore the silly humour and loveable characters in this delightful modern classic.

About the Author

Matt Beighton was born somewhere in the midlands in England during the heady days of the 1980s and continues to spend most of his days in the same shire. He is happily married with two young daughters who keep him very busy and suffer through the endless early drafts of his stories.

When he’s not writing, he teaches primary school (Kindergarten to some of you), messes around on canals in his inflatable kayak and supports his beloved Leicester City.





What I Thought

This was lots of fun and perfectly captures the emotions of starting a new school. It’s ideal for kids to read at this time of year and especially if they are joining a new class where everyone already knows each other.

Trixie not only starts a new school but she is very much the odd one out and having to board there too. Not everyone welcomes ‘her sort’ at the school. Humans at a school for monsters, how very unusual!!!

Having just re-read all of The Worst Witch books by Jill Murphy, I can confirm the comparisons to them are well founded and luckily, like Mildred, Trixie eventually finds herself a couple of good friends to help her settle in … and save the day. There’s a nefarious plot that needs foiling and, can you believe that Monsters don’t like trick or treating?

There are some funny names included, especially for the teachers (Flopsbottom 😂) which will give readers something to giggle about. The illustrations by Amalia Rendon were great and really added to the story. I loved the picture of the school caretaker Grimsby and it was good to be able to visualise all of the teachers.

There is a subplot with Trixie’s mum and some cats, and it was good to see that this wasn’t all focused on school and I liked the hints at how their relationship developed that we got in the extra Christmas themed short story. Initially I would have compared Trixie’s mum to Mrs Wormwood!

Aimed at a slightly younger reader, I think this is the perfect gateway to Harry Potter and I highly recommend it as bedtime story material.

Author Matt is a primary school teacher and he’s included some fun activities in the back of the book too (a wordsearch and spot the difference – I’m still stuck on this btw Matt and there’s no answers 😱😂). I’m such a kid because I also loved the fact the book has its own ‘This Book Belongs to’ page.

The Halloween Parade has set things up well for an ongoing series and I’m looking forward to seeing how the characters develop. It looks like there are at least two more books in the pipeline including a choose your own adventure version (I used to love these).

Today is the last stop on the tour but do make sure you go and check out what everyone else thought. Thanks to Matt and Faye for my copy of the book which I read for the purposes of an honest review.

All of the Monstacademy series are available in both standard and dyslexia adapted format. To celebrate Dyslexia Awareness Week 2018, use the code DYSAWARE to get 15% of any Monstacademy orders at the Green Monkey Press Etsy store. Offer valid from Monday 1st October to Sunday 7th October 2018 at

Ordinary Wizarding Levels – #OWLSReadathon2018 by @Book_Roast

I saw this on #bookstagram earlier in the year and didn’t sign up. My mate Jay signed up for the catch-up month this week and I said, “No, I have too many reading challenges on”.


I took a look at my July TBR, and the challenge prompts, and they mostly fit so here I am.

Based on the Harry Potter classes for the Ordinary Wizarding Level Exams this is a reading challenge to sit and pass your OWLs. There are 12 categories. You can only move onto NEWTs in August for categories whose OWL you have passed. You only need to pass 5 for an outstanding grade. I’ve done one already. 😋

Here’s the video by booktuber @Book_Roast announcing the original challenge.

I’ve been following her on Instagram for a while and even bought her Nevernight Mia and Mr Kindly candle duo from her Etsy shop Burning Fiction. They smell divine.

Here’s what I’ve chosen – and they are all proper print books so you can have some pictures too 😘.

Ancient Runes

Book with a symbol on the cover – Eve of Man by Tom and Giovanna Fletcher (Also a YALC read)

I’ve really enjoyed Tom’s other books and am looking forward to seeing what the Fletchers can do together other than create gorgeous small humans and adorable YouTube videos.


Book with a number on the cover or in the title – The Ninth Rain by Jen Williams

I’m reading this one for … reasons. 🤫


A Science Fiction novel – The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers (Also a YALC read)

This has been on my TBR for ages. I’ve heard fantastic things about it. Becky is at YALC and the third book comes out the end of the month. What a perfect time to read it.

Care of Magical Creatures

Book including magical creatures or featuring one on the cover – White Rabbit, Red Wolf by Tom Pollock (Also a YALC read)

Now officially I have an ARC with ‘This Story is a Lie’ written on the front but the actual cover features a white rabbit which often pops out of a magician’s hat and wolves are pretty magical so although this is a contemporary read it totally fits the prompt. Ok 👌 This one features bingeing which may be a little triggering for me but it has had amazing reviews.


A fantasy book – The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green (Also a YALC book).

Received a stunning purple sprayed edged ARC in an illumicrate and I feel bad that I haven’t read Sally’s other series yet so I’m going to start with this as currently there’s only one out.

Defence Against the Dark Arts

Book featuring secret societies or clubs – Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (Also a YALC read)

Jay had this for this category on her list so I’m going with the fact that there are clans and secret magic doings, Dumbledore’s Army style. This has also been chosen for Jimmy Fallon’s book club for the summer.


Book featuring prophecies – The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross.

I have been urged my one of my groups of booky friends to read this and they confirmed it fits the prophecy trope so yay.


Book with a nature related word in the title – Sunflowers in February by Phyllida Shrimpton (Also a YALC read).

Sunflowers are very naturey and my friend Cath read and loved this. I believe tissues will be required.

History of Magic

Historical Fiction – Arabella of Mars by David D Levine.

I started reading this for book group and am halfway through. This is Historical/Steampunk Fantasy and I’m enjoying the Victorian era-ness of it.

Muggle Studies

A muggle non-fiction Book – How to be a Craftivist by Sarah Corbett.

This is on my list for this weekend and I’ll be sharing a blog post on my YALC craftivist activity next week so that those who are only coming on Sunday can join in. Then I’ll be taking a visit to my local Scrapstore and making packs up.


Book about or with Alchemy – Spare and Found Parts by Sarah Maria Griffen (Also a YALC read).

I’m using this definition of alchemy – A seemingly magical process of transformation, creation or combination. In this book main character Nell aims to build her own companion.


Book that deals with transfiguration/shapeshifting or a similar theme or has a cat on the cover – Theatrical by Maggie Harcourt.

This is the one I’ve already read and adored. It’s set in a theatre and there are some acting scenes described that totally epitomise transfiguring from one being into another.

Which of the 5 OWLs categories are you most likely to complete successfully this month?

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