Romantic Geek Girl

Danielle Monsch takes you through the softer side of geek

Fangirls! Tom Hiddleston as a Vampire! You’re Welcome.

The film is Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive, which is supposed to be releasing sometime this year. Our Mr. Hiddleston is a Vampire! Musician! with a One True Love! (Why don’t I just start sighing now to be in perfect practice for once the movie releases?)

Other actors include Tilda Swinton (below, pictured with TH) and John Hurt, both of whom I like as well. I’ve never seen a Jarmusch film before (though I highly approve of the last name) but with the cast and the storyline, I do believe this will be my introduction to his oeuvre.


Book Review – Beer and Groping in Las Vegas by Angela Quarles

Feierabend BierWhen I come across someone whose tagline is Geek Girl Romance Writer, well, you can see why I’d be interested, right? *Looks up at Title of Blog*

Angela Quarles is a proud Browncoat and namedrops Ada Lovelace. Right there I know her geek credentials are in order. And when I read the blurb for her book Beer and Groping in Las Vegas, I knew I had to check it out.

Can a djinn and a magic slot machine bring two geeks together?
Riley McGregor is a geek trapped in a Good Ole Boy body and as owner of a microbrewery, smart chicks never look at him twice.
Rejected by a geek who wanted to “trade up,” Mirjam Linna would rather immerse herself in work than be the girlfriend-of-the-moment. Stranded in a Vegas hotel, she makes a wish—a night of hot sex with the man of her dreams. It’s granted. She agrees to dinner, but afterward, she’ll say thanks, but no thanks, and see what’s on the SyFy channel. But when they meet, they’re surprised to find they had a shared connection in their past. Sparks fly as these two learn to be in the moment, be themselves and find love.
Fans of Star Trek, Star Wars, Monty Python, Firefly and Marvin the Martian will enjoy this romantic comedy.
I point out that this is a very short story. I make mention of this because after some consideration, I’m pretty sure all of the problems I have with this story circle back to that short length and the author needing to fit the story into a small wordcount.
You know how you’ll be reading and a character will do something or say something and it makes you cringe, and you’ll think to yourself, “No way. No one does that. I’m willing to do a little suspension of disbelief, but this is pushing it.” Then you realize, the character had to make those very awkward, out-of-character, no-one-does-that choices, because if they didn’t, there wouldn’t be a story! That’s the vibe I got at the beginning. The downside of this, of course, is instead of a fully realized character you are left with a 2D rendering. It makes it hard to get invested into the story.
Next problem is it takes awhile for the hero and heroine to meet. Even as quickly as the author tries to get through the set-up, it’s a decent percentage of the story, which leaves less time for us to get to know our happy couple AS a couple, which lessens the sexual  tension and the happy, squishy feelings – both of which are vital when reading a romance story.
Finally, while I very much appreciated the geek touches of the story (Guest appearance by George Takei!) and I ‘got’ the humor, once again it was an aspect that broke the romantic/sexual tension of the H/h. Now, this is fine in a longer story where we can ride those hills and valleys of love/lust and indeed, it ends up making it a better story. But for a story of this short length, it wasn’t hills and valleys as much as rollercoaster whiplash, and it meant I wasn’t invested in this couple and really couldn’t care less what happened to them – not the feeling you want at the end of a romance.
Now, the good points, because I don’t want to leave on a total downer, and indeed, I don’t think this author deserves that. I do think the author can write well. I enjoy the humor immensely, and in a longer story with a better balance between romance and humor, I see her killing it. And I do think with a couple stories under her belt, she’s going to settle into a very unique voice that will nicely combine geeky elements with romance, which is a very welcome development to those of us with the same nerdy leanings.

Bottom line – The length is what ultimately hurt this story. The (necessary) set-up kept the H/h apart for too long for such a short story, so they had no time to show the chemistry that really makes a romance work. There are geek references galore to make all of us nerdy-at-heart do imaginary leaps of delight, and enough humorous situations so you’ll have a smile on your face a few times while reading, but in the end it’s not enough to overcome the book’s romantic weaknesses. My Final Grade? C-

You can find Angela Quarles at her website, on twitter, her blog, and on facebook.

Dammit, Jim, why are you making me see Star Trek Into Darkness?

To be fair, let’s place blame where blame is warranted. Ever since I’ve gotten into fangirl mode over BBC’s Sherlock – and yes, Benedict Cumberbatch (There, I’ve admitted it!) – I must now search out and find all shows that feature the aforementioned Mr. Cumberbatch.

Problem is, most of the films BC has done are period pieces or other types of films I have no interest in seeing, not even for the chance of hearing his voice once again (Have I always been this lowbrow? Umm, probably.) I’d rather just rewatch Sherlock. So the chance to see him in a film that I might have a tiny bit of interest in is not something I’m willing to pass up.

I did not enjoy the original Star Trek reboot – that was surprising. Going into it, I figured I’d really enjoy and hubby (who is not a trekkie, but does truly love the original series) would be meh on it. The opposite was what occurred. So this time around I figured I’d usher hubby out the door with his friends for a Star Trek day while I stayed with the kids. That way, he’d have a good time with the guys, I’d have pizza day with my girls AND have hubby owe me some “mommy” time later… win-win, right?

Instead, Benedict Cumberbatch ruined that plan for me. Now I need to find a babysitter and sit through Chris Pine’s portrayal of Kirk.

The problems of a fangirl.

You Want to Know Who Won, Right?

headshotsmall-579x640-271x300That lady on the left is Author Crista McHugh, she of the very generous nature who is giving away a signed copy of her book Tangled Web!  If you weren’t the lucky winner today (sorry 🙁 about that) I highly recommend you check out her other stuff. The lady has released a dozen books or so, lots of excellent stories for everyone! Happiness and Salutations all around!

Speaking of lucky winner, our lucky one today is… AMBER!  Congrats and confetti to you!

To all those who didn’t win, please come back and visit me again. I have lots of signed books and giftcards to give away in the future (that is called inducement – or bribery, but as long as it works.)

Book Giveaway! Tangled Web by Crista McHugh

TW-frontAnd because I’m cool like that, it’s time for another giveaway!

Crista McHugh is a friend, a talented award-winning writer, and the best chance I have of eventually knowing a NY Times Bestselling author.

Her newest release Tangled Web is book 1 of a new series and has been described as “Game of Thrones meets 50 Shades of Grey”.  The back cover copy reads thusly:

The deadliest assassin in the empire just got too close to her

Azurha, a former slave turned deadliest assassin in the empire,
has just been offered the ultimate challenge—seduce, then murder the new
Emperor. But Titus is not the tyrant his forefathers were, and his radical ideas
might be the glimmer of hope the empire needs.

Titus Sergius Flavus has
yet to master the powerful magic of his ancestors—magic he must wield if he’s to protect his people—but his father’s death has left him no choice. Rule the
Deizian Empire and attempt to right his ancestors’ wrongs, or watch her fall to
his greedy kin.

More than just Titus’ ideas hold Azurha captive. Night
after night, he awakens desires she thought lost, and uncovers the magic of her hidden lineage. As her deadline approaches, Azurha is forced to make an
impossible decision—complete her job and kill the man she loves, or fail and
forfeit both their lives.

Because we’re friends I can force her to sign books at any time, and I have recently done so. This means I have one book to give away to a lucky person. If you are interested, leave a comment telling me Happy New Year, Happy Birthday you old lady, why you think this book will rock, or any other thoughts you have. One person shall be picked at random to receive the book.

Winner will be picked at 5pm (pacific time) on Tuesday, January 15. Good Luck!

Small print – No purchase necessary, proclaiming your undying love for me won’t up your chances, you must live in the USA (no international or military addresses) and be at least 18 years of age. If you are picked as the winner you will need to give me your snail mail addy for me to send you the book, and I’m not responsible for books lost or mangled by the Post Office.

Movie Review – The Hobbit

Hobbit-Bilbo Of course I went to see The Hobbit. Me and hubby went on a Friday afternoon peoples. Friday afternoon! And we have two kids under the age of five! Do you have any clue how difficult the babysitter situation is on a weekday afternoon? That tells you how much we wanted to see this movie.

Hubby is a long time fan who has read all the books and has discussed the intricacies of Middle Earth often with his D&D game. Me, I have not read any of the books, either LOTR or The Hobbit (I know, I need to be kicked out of any reputable Comic-Con!) However, I did see that old Bass-Rankin cartoon… Do yinz remember that, from the same people responsible for the old Rudolph and Frosty cartoons? It’s been so many years I don’t remember many details, except I thought the elves were scary and I was not very impressed with Smaug’s voice. But I digress. No, I haven’t read The Hobbit, but the Lord of the Rings trilogy is easily in my top ten movie slots and I never read those books either. And I’m a huge fan of fantasy in general.

So with great joy, mild trepidation, and a well-compensated babysitter at the house, hubby and I saw The Hobbit.

Mr. Bilbo Baggins is a Hobbit, a race that despises all adventure. In fact, when he first meets the wizard Gandalf and discovers Gandalf is looking for someone to be part of an adventuring party, Bilbo says, “We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner!”

And yet Gandalf for some reason won’t take no for an answer. Later that night, Gandalf and a band of Dwarves make themselves at home in Bilbo’s dining room, causing mayhem and eating everything from the well-stocked pantry. And just when Bilbo looks to explode, in walks Thorin Oakenshield, the great deposed Dwarven king, and finally the details of this adventure are discussed. Thorin is setting out to reclaim the Dwarven kingdom of Erebor from the dragon Smaug, and though the dwarves are determined to make this journey, all of them know the chances of succeeding are slim.

Thorin and the other dwarves are dismayed that Gandalf wants to bring Bilbo. Bilbo is rather dismayed as well. But Gandalf is insistent, and the next day Bilbo is indeed travelling with the dwarves. However the path is treacherous, and on their way they encounter trolls, orcs, and a creature called Gollum, who has a very interesting ring…

A little meta data here. It has already been announced that The Hobbit is going to be split up into three movies, so you knew going in there wasn’t going to be a resolution, more like the end of Act 1. First problem, because as soon as I heard this I got a twinge in my stomach, that “Really?” gut reaction to head-scratching news. See, while J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth is a vast and intricate place (and why LOTR genuinely needed three movies to work) The Hobbit is actually a fairly straight-forward adventure story with little of the reams of history and backstory that categorize LOTR and other Tolkien writings (The Hobbit really is a kid’s book, around that 10+ age where kids are in love with fantasy and adventure.) Does such a story really need three movies to work?

I can’t answer that completely without seeing what the next two movies offer, but at this point, I’m going with no. While I never actively looked at my watch waiting for a scene to be over, the movie could easily have lost a half-hour and it wouldn’t have changed the flavor one bit.

If you’re a Hobbit purist you will have problems with the story, because not only does Jackson take parts from other Tolkien writings and place them in the movie, he also creates an entirely new subplot and enemy for the dwarves to fight which was not in the book (this knowledge given to me compliments of hubby). That story arc is unresolved so I can’t tell yet if it will stand up to scrutiny overall. The parts I saw I enjoyed, though the creature did come across just a little too CGI in a couple of scenes.

I guess I can’t talk about purists without mentioning the appearance of the dwarves. Jackson went in a different direction than the usual, making the dwarves look… well… not dwarvish, with only a couple exceptions (Gloin being one of those, and any LOTR fan gets that name).


Let me admit here and now, Thorin Oakenshield is a hotty – and when is the last time you heard that about a dwarf? Thoughts on the dwarves looks is decidedly split. Personally, I loved it. It made following the storytelling much easier, the dwarves personalities came through in their looks, and really, why should elves get all the good press in the looks department? Bravo I say, bravo.

The scenery and the world is spectacular, just as you would expect from Jackson. It’s quite stunning to see onscreen. But it does suffer from a little bit of the “Been here, seen that” syndrome, because anyone who has watched LOTR has already oohed and ahhed over it. Same thing with the score from Howard Shore, which reminds you quite often, “Hey, this movie is connected to LOTR! Don’t forget!” Same with Gandalf, and Galadriel, and Gollum, and kind of everything. The panoramic views and the chase scenes and the fights – all of them are reminiscent of LOTR, and The Hobbit just can’t escape the comparisons. They are well done – don’t get me wrong – but there is none of the wonder that accompanied watching LOTR. It’s old hat now. For that sense of wonder to make an appearance again I’m counting on Smaug and expect Jackson to hit it out of the park (Smaug is not in this with the exception of a small teaser, a quick shot of his eye at the end of the movie.) Seeing a DRAGON?! And he’s voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch?! OMG!!!

But in all honesty none of the above bothered me too much (can’t say the same for hubby, but I’m the one writing this review.) I do see the flaws, but the magic of the movie made glossing them over easy to do. The scenery is beautiful, and the acting is top-notch. I enjoy these characters tremendously. But that’s not to say there wasn’t the One Big Problem for me, and that was this – Why did Bilbo join the dwarves to begin with? This was an incredibly dangerous journey, Bilbo loved his creature comforts, and he had no personal stake in the outcome. So why would he go? There were some Gandalf ramblings about how Bilbo used to be so brave and comes from a line that includes some of the bravest hobbits, but the speech felt forced. It was up to Martin Freeman to sell me on Bilbo going (of his own free will mind, no blackmail or magical inducement.) I hate to say it, especially since I’m currently enjoying watching Freeman in the series Sherlock, but he never did. That was the main sticking point for me enjoying the movie, because I never believed for one moment this character would leave his hobbit hole for this adventure. Now, maybe once I’ve seen the other films and the complete character arc for Bilbo I’ll be more comfortable with this decision and buy it, but that doesn’t help me now with only this movie under my belt.

Bottom line – It’s hard to give a bottom line for The Hobbit, because the list for both what worked AND what didn’t are quite decently sized. So I’ll end it with this. I enjoyed the movie a lot. I’ll buy the DVD when it comes out, watch it occasionally at home after the little girls are asleep, and rewind and rewatch a couple favorite scenes.  But it’s not a go-to movie. It’s not a movie I’ll always be in the mood for. It’s a movie I’ll use the forwarding button on because really, that scene wasn’t needed. And it’s a movie that when talking to someone about Jackson’s take on Middle Earth, I’ll say, “That scene in Fellowship, wasn’t that awesome? And in the Two Towers, I still get chills seeing the March of the Ents. What? The Hobbit? Yeah, that was a pretty good movie too, glad Jackson was finally able to make it.”

My final Grade? B




Talking POISON PRINCESS over at Heroes and Heartbreakers

Yes, people DO like me, enough that they occasionally allow me to post my ramblings on their sites.

Case-in-point – over at Heroes and Heartbreakers today I’m talking a little bit about Kresley Cole’s newest book Poison Princess, the first book in the Arcana Chronicles series and her first YA release.

I used to say I never read YA. Then someone pointed out that 90% of my manga collection is shoujo. So now I say I never read YA novels. This story is probably only the third I’ve ever attempted and the first one I’ve in any way liked.

Review of this will be forthcoming on this site in the next few days, but for now, hear my first thoughts over at H&H!

The Princess Bride celebrates 25th Anniversary!

Put this under “Man, I think I’m getting old” BUT what is arguably the most quotable movie of all time, The Princess Bride is celebrating its 25th Anniversary!

I have yet to meet the person who doesn’t love this movie. What has always stood out to me though is everytime I get into a conversation about it, each person has their own favorite quote. Some movies have that “One Quote” where the second you mention the title, it’s the next line said. Not The Princess Bride. This movie has probably hundreds of quotable lines of dialogue, all of them sublime.

“My name is Inigo Montoya…”

“Have fun storming the castle.”

“Rodents of unusual size? I don’t think they exist.”

“When I was your age, television was called books.”

“Death can not stop true love. It can only delay it for awhile.”

“As you wish.”

Sigh…  I could go on and on, but I think I’ll leave it there.

My love for this movie has few contenders. It’s one of those movies where it might not be my go-to, but I am always in the mood to see it.

How about you? What’s your favorite quote?

Thor now available from Netflix Streaming

Sure, you can be cynical and say I only posted this news because it would give me an excuse to post pictures of Chris Hemsworth, but I’m appalled that anybody could have such a lack of faith in me. Quite frankly, I’m ashamed of you peoples out there.

I have just discovered that Thor is now available from Netflix streaming. It’s great news I’ve been waiting for. Yes, Thor had it’s disappointing aspects, such as the most pathetic romance I’ve had the displeasure of watching in quite some while (and while I usually enjoy her work, Natalie Portman was horribly miscast in this movie.) But Thor also has Loki (Tom Hiddleston). And… Chris Hemsworth’s arms.

Anyway, if you just want to enjoy the beefcake but don’t want to sit through the dialogue again, may I suggest the Thor Rifftrax, a very funny commentary from some of the same people who brought you Mystery Science Theatre 3000. I highly recommend their stuff.

Six Sentence Sunday – Loving a Fairy Godmother

Yay, Six Sentence Sunday time again!

If you’ve never heard of it before, Six Sentence is a rather simple concept. Authors share six sentences from one of their works. It could be a work in progress, a book not yet released, or a book that’s available for purchase.

Today I share a snippet from  Loving a Fairy Godmother. LFG is my recently re-released take on Cinderella and the first story in my series, “Fairy Tales and Ever Afters”.

This is the scene where we first meet our hero Tiernan, from our heroine Reina’s POV:

Under the trees and surrounded by his harem, Tiernan lounged in the grass, his relaxed demeanor proclaiming he didn’t have a care in the world.

The other Godmothers were gazing at him in dreamy adoration, as if every word that came from his mouth was a miracle. Though, to be fair, they might consider the miracle more what his shirt and breeches covered and less what came from his mind, considering how many glances Reina counted checking out those two areas.

He was a beautiful man. Even at her most annoyed, Reina could never deny that. Sandy blond hair, eyes the color of a summer sky, and dimples that made every woman who saw them start fanning herself.

Beautiful, but not perfect, with the nose that had been broken at least once and scars slashed into his skin, testifying about his life as a soldier as much as the broad shoulders and heavily muscled body did.

I adore Tiernan. He’s one of my favorite characters so far.

As an aside, while I did not base Tiernan’s looks on any individual, I recently came across a guy that – while not 100% – came pretty close to how I pictured Tiernan.

He’s an actor by the name of Josh Holloway and my understanding is he’s known from the television show “Lost” (which I never watched). Check out my boards on pinterest if you’re interested in seeing Reina or who may have inspired other characters in my books.

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