Fangasm:Supernatural Fangirls – A Review

Fangasm: Supernatural Fangirls by Katherine Larsen and Lynn S. Zubernis.

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Ok, so at this point I think some of you must be rolling your eyes and saying “Another Supernatural book…Get a grip woman!” but honestly I’m enjoying the fandom and any fangirl out there knows when you fall for a fandom you fall hard. You want to be consumed in it, learn all about it, all the things related to it. So this book was perfect for me.

The book documents what happened when “two responsible college professors, Lynn the psychologist and Kathy the literary scholar, fell in love with the television show Supernatural.”  but what it really does is peels back the layers and asks lots of important questions about fandom, the rules of fandom, the dos and don’ts at conventions but above all it looks more specifically at females within a fandom and the way they are perceived by, not only the general public, but the stars of the show itself, their families and friends.

I knew as I soon as I started reading that this was going to be I need my sticky post its and my pencil handy. Lynn and Kathy start off by researching the psychology of fandom, why are we drawn to it.

“..watching or just thinking or talking about our favourite show can create an experience of belonging that makes us feel less lonely and buffers us against feelings of rejection.”  – Researchers at the University of Buffalo’s Center for Addictions.

Lynn and Kathy found that by retreating to a fictional world it helps people relieve stress and “shores up self-control” something I can completely relate to. After many a stressful day, my head loud with anxiety and exhausted, I’ve gone home put on my pajamas, tied my hair up in a messy bun, turned off all the lights and binge watched at least 4 episodes of Supernatural before retreating to bed.

Earlier on in the book they reference the incident involving the image of “Twilight Moms” that received online ridicule, the women receiving comments like “creepy” “unnattractive” and accusing them of being horrible parents. Thus showing already how “wrong” it is viewed for women to gush or objectify men in any fandom. The ladies look into this a bit more as the book progresses, they touch on the “flying fangirl” incident at the first Asylum convention in the UK, that saw Jensen Ackles being jumped on by a fan who proceeded to cling to him.

“Fanboys are no strangers to fan shame. But while male media fans fear being perceived as not sexual enough (the stereotypical fanboy virgin living in his mother’s basement) female fans seem fearful that being a fan makes them too sexual.”

As Lynn and Kathy say fangirls are viewed by the media/general public as crazy stalkers who can’t see the line between fantasy and reality. They propose that fan shame for females is linked to shame about sexuality. And I have to say I kind of agree with them. I’ve been around plenty of guys growing up (I have an older brother) and I’ve made friends with male colleagues over the years. I’ve been privy to plenty of conversations where a female celebrity has been the topic of discussion and I’ve heard plenty of explicit comments made about said celebrity, however the few times me and other women have discussed male celebrities in front of men and been nowhere near as explicit I have had men roll their eyes and actually look shocked and been like “Alright ladies, calm down!” I’ve even heard the phrase “pack of animals” used.  It’s a shame to say that in 2017 this is still the case. Women are objectified continuously by men and advertising companies, but goodness forbid that a man be objectified or woman objectify a man verbally. *rolls eyes* Anyway before I digress and pull out my soapbox, I will move on…

The ladies look at the role of fanfiction within the Supernatural fandom and the various types and what it means to the people who write it. Surprisingly, and again something I can relate to, they found that people who started reading fanfic and then writing it, made them feel more liberated and in touch with their desires and needs. It opened them up more sexually and made them realise that some of the kinks, they perhaps, hadn’t vocalised before, weren’t as strange as they thought because there were others out there with the same kink. When they asked various cast members about their opinion on the fanfiction the reaction was mixed, but generally it was something no one wanted their Mum or Grandmother to find.

Throughout the rest of the book, the ladies look at different things such as what happens when a fan “breaks the rules” or what happens when other fans become jealous of BNF (Big Name Fans) they look at the relationship between the powers that be and the people actually producing/writing the show and the fans. How, often, TPTB don’t seem to know or understand what the fans actually want or how to necessarily market a show or engage with the audience the right way. The ladies often found the answers to these questions through first hand experience, flying to conventions and meeting the cast and crew, even giving us an insight into how their experience of being fangirls impacted on their personal lives and the consequences of allowing themselves to indulge in their love of the show.

Needless to say I delved into this book thinking it was going to be one thing and then found it to be a variation of a lot of things. But I devoured it in no time, it’s provocative and insightful and whilst, for me anyway, it didn’t fully answer some of the questions, it certainly made me think about things differently and come to some realisations.

Star Rating out of 5: 4

“I felt like myself for the first time.”

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I’m actually attending my first con this year, and honestly I am already having low-key anxiety about it. I tend to dry up when I meet someone I admire and say nothing at all, wish me luck, although knowing the SPN Family, they’ve got my back! ❤

Happy reading.

G.

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Heart of the Dragon – Supernatural Book #4 – A Review

Supernatural Book #4 – Heart of the Dragon by Keith R.A. DeCandido.

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The fourth book is set during the fifth season of Supernatural and crosses generations. And honestly that’s one of the things I loved the most about this book. It opens in 1859 and shows the betrayal and death of a much respected Samurai at the hands of a demon. Moving forward to 2009 it shows the boys being alerted by Castiel (forever known as Cas by the fandom even though they will insist it’s spelt Cass) to the return of the Heart of the Dragon, the spirit of the samurai warrior from the beginning of the book. With the war between heaven and hell raging it’s important for the boys to stop the spirit before it can be controlled or manipulated by any demons.

When doing the research it seems that the Heart of the Dragon has been on their families hunting radar since 1969 when their Grandfather Samuel and their mother Mary hunted it. Through the use of flashbacks we see the dynamics between Mary and her father, the hunting dynasty and gain a better understanding of Mary (which is always nice considering her minimal yet present impact in the show) unfortunately the Campbells are unsuccessful in stopping the Heart of the Dragon completely and only end up banishing the thing for 20 seasons.

Which brings in John Winchester confronting the spirit, leaving both Dean and Sam with Bobby Singer whilst he does so. Again we’re offered more of an insight into the kind of man John Winchester was, the relationship between John and Bobby and a look at the boys as children separated from their father whilst he was off hunting. Now in 2009 the boys are faced with doing something their ancestors haven’t seemed capable of and as the body counts rise, it’s a race against time.

Although the ending was slightly anticlimactic and all seemed a bit too easy, I did really enjoy the flashbacks to Samuel and Mary, and John and Bobby’s strained relationship in regards to the boys. There’s not a WHOLE lot of the boys in this book, but it makes up for by giving us more insight into some of the key people from their past.

Star Rating out of 5: 4

Happy reading y’all.

G.

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Bone Key – Supernatural Book #3 – A Review

Supernatural Book #3 – Bone Key by Keith R.A. DeCandido

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I’ve fallen for this show pretty damn hard, and like most things you fall in love with you want to learn more about it, absorb yourself in it, learn more about it. So it made perfect sense to start buying all the tie-in books. I used to do the same with Buffy the Vampire Slayer when that was on, I have quite an extensive collection and still continue to buy titles to this day. Indulging my inner nerd, a guaranteed way to make me feel better when everything else seems to be going so wrong…Anyway, as per usual, I digress and find myself falling into some weird hole where I gush like a fangirl (which I am and proud) anyway moving onto the book.

Bone Key takes place a week after A Very Supernatural Christmas and sees the boys heading for Key West, Florida where ghostly activity seems to be rife. At this point in the TV show Dean’s time is running out before his soul is claimed by the Hellhounds, so there are some great moments of angst between the brothers, and of course humorous bravado from Dean. It also features their father figure Bobby Singer, which made me squee because I love the relationship he has with the boys.

The boys go around the place investigating, getting themselves into the usual interesting situations as they begin to realise the thing they face is hundreds of years old and will mean working alongside a demon to defend it.

Needless to say this is a great tie in and I really enjoyed the way the characters were written because they felt authentic, whereas I didn’t feel they were in book 2 (Witch’s Canyon) so Keith R.A. DeCandido did another great job.

Star Rating out of 5: 4.5

Happy reading.

G.

A Fangirl on Fangirl – A Review.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

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The first book I read of Rainbow Rowell’s was Eleanor & Park (review can be found here) and I loved it, loved it, loved it. So many times whilst I have been waiting for the train I have perused the bookshelves of WHSmith’s (other book shops available) and so many times I picked up Fangirl, read the blurb, stroked the cover, smelt the pages (do not judge me) and put it back, until one day I just bought it.

This year I was fortunate enough to get a week’s holiday in Cornwall (which is probably one of the most beautiful places in the UK) and I decided to read Fangirl whilst there, on the beach and just see how much I could relate to it. You see, you may not think it to look at me, and it’s not something that I tend to publicise but for once I am going to have the strength to admit that I am a FANGIRL. Not a fangirl that just buys the merch or never misses an episode/book/film but an actual fangirl that writes…you know…fanfiction! Yes, that’s me!

I post my stories under a pseudonym in a secret place away from prying eyes of the general public and by general public I mean family/friends/work colleagues. Writing fic gives me so much life, it helps me breathe and deal with the trickier aspects of my anxiety. Being able to escape into a world of much beloved characters and manipulate them to act out my stories, my thoughts, my ideas just makes me breathe in a way I can’t even describe. So I could REALLY relate to Cath and this book, like in ridiculous way. I gushed about it so much to poor Rainbow Rowell on twitter that I’m surprised she didn’t block me!

Anyway I digress, back to the book. Fangirl follows the story of twins Cath and Wren who are heading off to college, but Wren surprises Cath by saying she want’s do her own thing, something Cath can’t quite wrap her head around considering they’re usually pretty inseparable. Throw into the mix Cath’s worries about her father being alone, Cath’s anxieties about having to live with a stranger and the general day to day worries that going to college throws up and you have one hell of a story.

The moments in the book that really stuck out for me, were how easy and attached Cath felt to her writing (have I mentioned how easy I could relate) the moments where she felt hurt and conflicted by Wren’s behaviour and I just LOVED Levi (like seriously I think he’s the first literary fiction character in a LONG time that I have fallen in love) **SPOILER ALERT HERE** The way Rainbow Rowell wrote the first kiss between Cath and Levi made me melt into a puddle, it was just so…perfect and honest.

I did adore this book, truly. It highlighted the internal dialogue anxiety sufferers have, the things we do to avoid certain situations. It highlighted a love and respect for fanfiction which, I feel, tends to get laughed at and criticised by most people, which is another reason I could relate to Cath being reluctant to be open about writing it. The relationships were sincere and believable and some of themes like parental abandonment were dealt with perfectly. Sometimes, just sometimes a book comes along that speaks to you on a whole new level, and for me, this was that book.

Thank Rainbow, I found my passion for fic writing came back after reading this.

Star Rating out of 5: 5

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“There are other people on the Internet. It’s awesome. You get all the benefits of ‘other people’ without the body odor and the eye contact.” 

Happy reading!

Georgina

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Nevermore – Supernatural Book #1 – A Review

Supernatural Book #1 – Nevermore by Keith R.A. DeCandido

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What can I say, when I become passionately obsessed with a TV show then I LOVE to look for tie in novels and recently my life has been all about Supernatural. A TV show that numerous people over the years have told me I would like but I just never seemed to get round to watching, anyway to cut a long story short I started watching it around mid-June and I’m currently half way through Season 9. Needless to say I am ADDICTED and I have no shame. I already feel part of the Supernatural Family and I love it (and breathe it) on a daily basis. But before I start snorting and getting breathless about the show, I’ll get back to my original point.

I was SO happy to see that SPN had books that go alongside it, the only danger is with books like this is the characters not being written the right way, but thankfully that wasn’t the case with this one. The Winchester Brother’s travel to New York to check out the house of a local rock star who claims his house is haunted by a woman. Whilst they’re there they also look into strange deaths that resemble something straight out of the stories of Edgar Allen Poe. The boys have their hands full, but as usual they deal with it with aplomb.

The story line involving the Poe like killings, although clever, didn’t stand out for me as much as the haunting at the rockers house. I was genuinely intrigued to discover who the woman was, plus the moments where Dean and Sam are watching the band destroy some of Dean’s most treasured songs, made me laugh as I could see his face clearly in my mind. Nevermore isn’t a bad tie in at all, with Keith giving believable voices to both of the brothers, the story line was bizarre and believable enough too.

Star Rating out of 5: 4

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An additional plus I loved about this book was the author’s recommended soundtrack.

Happy reading nerds!

x

 

Facebook – Book Nomination

I was recently nominated by a friend on Facebook to select the 10 Books that have ‘stayed with me’ – So I thought it would be nice to share them here too (you will notice some repeats from my previous posts and lists) but here it goes, in no particular order.

1) The Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling – I know it’s not a singular book, but the whole series captivated my imagination and gave me an incredibly immersive reading experience. I felt that Hogwarts was my home and I will always love Jo for giving me, and many others like me, a truly amazing book series with some of the best characters created.

2) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – This is a book I read at High School and I remember falling in love with it straight away. It was easy to imagine the surroundings, the characters and the tensions. It’s probably one of the first books I read that made me feel heartbroken at the injustices and ignorance of society.

3) Matilda by Roald Dahl – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, minus the horrible parents and scary Miss Trunchbull, I felt that Matilda was a reflection of myself when I was younger. I found more contentment and happiness in books and powered through as many novels as I could get my hands on. It warms the heart.

4) Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfield – The copy I own is literally falling apart, I’ve had to cello tape the spine together and have to be very careful with the pages, as some of them are loose. I adore this book, about three very different girls, who become sisters at an early age because of various tragedies. But each one with a different life ambition to the other. This book taught me that it’s ok to be different from other girls and that no matter where you come from, you are capable of achieving great things.

5) The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath – A book, I sadly, only read this year and one I regrettably wish I would had read a lot sooner. It takes an unflinching look at living day-to-day life with depression, and the painful journey to recover some normality and become you again. Quite heart-breaking but incredibly poignant and well written.

6) 4.48 Psychosis by Sarah Kane – Technically this a play, but again it deals with loss and depression and was written after Sarah Kane’s partner passed away. It’s quite a harrowing read as Kane reflects on her incredibly personal experiences of dealing with grief. It’s quite fragmented as a read, but it provides an insight into subject matters that are usually pussyfooted around. A fine piece of writing and theatre.

7) Dracula by Bram Stoker – Incredibly atmospheric, well written and one of the first vampire novels I read. This is an absolute classic and is partly responsible in my life long fascination with vampires, much better than Twilight and the book to film adaptation by Francis Ford Coppola is an absolute feast for Gothic Horror fans everywhere.

8) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – It is a truth universally acknowledged, that I adore this book. It was the first book by Austen that my dad gave to me. And I became absorbed in the time period, I thought, and still do think, that Elizabeth Bennet is one of the strongest female literary characters ever written. So intelligent, headstrong and outspoken. A classic book, which I will never tire of re-visiting time and time again.

9) A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens – Not only have I always loved Christmas more than anything, but also this book has so many morals and lessons to teach. A book that can save the soul and give a whole new perspective to just how beautiful and lovely life can be, if only you step back and stop being so self involved.

10) King Lear by William Shakespeare – This tragedy is probably one of Shakespeare’s finest pieces of work and yet doesn’t seem to be as favoured as other work. Truly heart-breaking but incredibly well written and filled with plenty of drama. If the ending doesn’t have you sobbing, I don’t know what will (Psst! I’m referring to the bit where Lear carries in Cordelia) Feel free to share your Top 10 in the comments section below.

Happy reading fellow bookworms!

x

Book Treat.

So as I already have a beautiful copy of Pride and Prejudice, signed by amazing daddy who is, sadly no longer with us, I thought it would be nice to try and get a full collection of Austen’s work. I spotted this on Amazon a while back and thought I’d treat myself to it.

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It arrived today and I have fallen quite in love with it, so I am going to collect the others (minus Pride and Prejudice) in this collection. It’s Vintage Classics Austen Collection, for those of you who are lovers of all things Austen.

Happy reading fellow book nerds.

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