December Book Wrap Up!

Books Pledged to Read in 2013: 200 Books

Did I Reach My Goal: Yes!

How Many Total Books Read: 203

Total Books For December: 20

Remember to click on the book title for the review. If there is no link, buy information pills there is no review. I got really lazy in reviewing toward the end of the month haha.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

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Teen Idol by Meg Cabot (Re-Read)

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Nicola and the Viscount by Meg Cabot (Re-Read)

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Something Blue by Emily Giffin (Re-Read)

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Blood Promise by Richelle Mead

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Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead

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Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead

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The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings

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Bloodlines by Richelle Mead 

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The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead

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The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead

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The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead

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Fan Art by Sarah Tregay

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My Life Next Door by Huntley FItzpatrick

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The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith 

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This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith 

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Penguin in Love by Salina Yoon

This totally counts. My boyfriend got this for me for Christmas, pills because I’m obsessed with penguins and we’re in love, pharm duh! And he also got me this behind-the-scenes experience with penguins, so it all makes sense. And it counts

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What to Buy the Shadowhunter Who Has Everything by Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan

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The Last Stand of the New York Institute by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan and Maureen Johnson 

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Unbreakable by Kami Garcia

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So that was 2013 folks! Stick with me in the new year, as I delve into even more books!

How did you do on your own GoodReads challenge? Share in the comments!

Fan Art Book Review

Fan Art by Sarah Tregay  

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This review is based on an ARC granted to me through the website Edelweiss, more about in exchange for an honest review. This is no way, more about shape or form had any impact on my actual review. This book is due to release in June of 2014. 

 

 

You Can Find the Books At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

Author Website

GoodReads Summary:

Senior year is almost over, viagra 40mg and Jamie Peterson has a big problem. Not college—that’s all set. Not prom—he’ll find a date somehow. No, it’s the worst problem of all: he’s fallen for his best friend.
As much as Jamie tries to keep it under wraps, everyone seems to know where his affections lie, and the giggling girls in art class are determined to help Jamie get together with Mason. But Jamie isn’t sure if that’s what he wants—because as much as Jamie would like to come clean to Mason, what if the truth ruins everything? What if there are no more road trips, taco dinners, or movie nights? Does he dare risk a childhood friendship for romance?

This book is about what happens when a picture reveals what we can’t say, when art is truer than life, and how falling in love is easy, except when it’s not. Fan Art explores the joys and pains of friendship, of pressing boundaries, and how facing our worst fears can sometimes lead us to what we want most.

My Review:

After the absolute mental and emotional breakdown that I went through while reading the first four of the Bloodlines novels, I needed a break, and I wanted something that would hopefully be quick, easy and fun. I checked out my Edelweiss and this one popped up, and it sounded good so I read it all last night. I actually stayed up fairly late to finish it.

The thing that jumped out at me about this book is that it follows Jamie, a young boy struggling with his sexuality in high school. He knows he is gay, and he’s come out to his family, but he’s afraid to come out to his friends, especially his best friend, Mason, who he is in love with. But despite that, its not a “gay” book, if you know what I mean. The story is so familiar. How many of us have had a crush on a friend, especially a best friend, and have been scared to say something in fear of losing the friendship? I know I have. That was my relationship with my boyfriend. I was terrified to tell him that I was crazy about him because we were so close and I thought it would ruin our friendship. So this part in the story was familiar. It was more than just a boy struggling with his sexuality, but a boy struggling with his feelings for his friend. Its very comfortable. It made that connection between heterosexual and homosexual relationships; they are the same!

But what I also love about it too, was that it had the ability to address LGBT themes without making it an overly emotional, dramatic novel. Its fun, light, it made me laugh and I was rooting for Jamie and Mason the entire book. It was a bit predictable in its endings but I enjoyed that. I like reading books that don’t end in tragedy or me sobbing into my pillow for the rest of the night. It was a light, quick read and it was just fun. It reminded me of my own high school experiences, like prom and graduation and senior skip day and all that. The crushes, and all that fun stuff. Sarah has a way of addressing LGBT themes into her novel, with Jamie coming to terms with his sexuality and fighting to keep a homosexual relationship comic into his literary magazine, but in a way that its relatable to everyone, and its a fun and quick read. Sometimes I forgot that Jamie and Mason were two guys, I just wanted them to get together. I wanted them to figure it out and have an epic make out scene.

I definitely recommend this book. It was a really quick and easy read, it was funny and genuine and the characters are easy to like. I think its a good book for those who want to read books with LGBT themes but are wary about jumping in. Its a sweet story, a bit predictable but still fun. This book comes out this summer, and is one to watch for!

My Rating:

4 out of 5 stars

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Exclusive Interview with Artist Cassandra Jean!

I am very pleased to share this interview with you today. As a huge Shadowhunter Chronicles fan, case I have enjoyed the artwork that Cassandra Jean has produced for the fandom, and am excited about the new things coming, like the calendars and The Secret Treason graphic novel.

For those of you who don’t know, Cassandra Jean is an artist. She works on many things, like original graphic novels, and does artwork for other YA novels, like Beautiful Creatures, The Lynburn Legacy, Shades of London and The Raven Boys. You can check out her website, and her artwork, here.

Cassandra Jean became known to me when she started doing the artwork for the Shadowhunter tarot card series.

Here are some examples:

There are SO many more of these, and you should check them out, because they are SO cool.

After this, I decided to check out Cassandra’s website, where she does a multitude of artwork, all of it so talented and beautiful. I enjoy any time she does work, and especially when its from the Shadowhunter Chronicles. Occasionally she does “sneak peek” or “spoiler” work for City of Heavenly Fire, or to celebrate a holiday and such.

Just recently, she unveiled the Men of the Shadowhunter Chronicles calendar, featuring all of our favorite hotties from the series. You can see all those by clicking here.

Now, I’ve had the awesome opportunity to interview the lovely Cassandra. Enjoy!

Sara: What is your background in art? When did it become something that you were really passionate about?

Cassandra: I’ve pretty much always wanted to be an artist since I was a child. I think there might have been a year in elementary school where I considered being a veterinarian (animals!) but that didn’t last long. I have always wanted to draw. I come from an artistic family so they’ve been a big influence on me and have always encouraged my artistic side. My mother writes, my father paints, my grandparents were art teachers, photographers, writers, seamstresses… so, yeah, I’ve basically always been into art. I majored in Illustration in college and started working on graphic novels straight out of school.

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Sara: How did you get involved with doing artwork for Cassandra Clare and the Shadowhunter Chronicles?

Cassandra: Through my fanart actually! She liked a drawing I had done of Will Herondale and approached me about working on the Shadowhunter Codex. I said YES (of course!) and the rest is history! Since then I’ve had the pleasure of illustrating a lot of things for her, she’s so much fun.

Sara: How do you approach a piece of artwork based on something that has already been written?

Cassandra: Working on something that someone else has written is a lot different from creating your own story from scratch. While working on an original artwork, you are using a character who is unknown and you have complete control over who they are and how they look. But while working on something that has already been written, you’re interpreting something that already exists. Neither one or the other is better, but both processes have their own pros and cons. When I work on something already written, I get to skip the whole script writing stage! But, there is a lot of pressure to get things right. Because these are characters that people have already read about and fallen in love with, and the fans will notice if you mess something up. So in order to get things right, I read the book, and while reading, I take careful notes about the characters. I write down their names, their family, their appearances (hair, eyes, facial structure, fashion sense, quirks, habits, etc) so that when I draw them later, I can consult my notes.

Sara: So many people know you as the artist behind the Shadowhunter tarot cards, the City of Heavenly Fire sneak peeks and now the Shadowhunter Men calendar, but what other art do you do?

Cassandra: Well! At the moment my life is pretty Shadowhunter-ed up! But I work as an illustrator for YenPress. I’ve done the graphic novel adaptations of “Beautiful Creatures” and “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” and a short comic titled “Something Wikkid”. And I have more books lined up!

Sara: What is your process like? What sort of mediums do you use?

Cassandra: I work almost entirely on a computer. Sometimes when I’m sketching up thumbnails for comic pages or trying to decide on the layout for an illustration I will use pencil and paper, but most all of my process is done on the computer these days. I use a tablet so that I can draw digitally into programs like SAI and photoshop.

Sara: What is sort of your goal when you are doing a piece of work? How do you work to capture the essence of a character?

Cassandra: Uhm… hard question! Well, I read the book first and foremost. Since that’s the best way to get to know a character. When I draw them, I try to keep in mind their personality. If they are sexy and flirty, or shy, or quiet and moody. Our personalities, and the character’s personalities, effect how they dress or how I would pose them. Often when I draw a picture I try to focus on the overall mood. Like if I’m in the mood to draw something sad, or happy, or sweet. Then I try to pick characters to draw that suit the mood I’m in. It seems to work out more naturally that way.

Sara: You’ve worked on so many different projects besides The Mortal Instruments like mangas, and Beautiful Creatures and Raven Boys artwork. Are there ever any challenges in doing so many different things or do you like the challenge of that?

Cassandra: I like the challenge. In fact, I kind of need it. No matter how much I love something, I can get exhausted drawing it over and over without any variety. That’s the sort of thing that can send me into a slump. So that’s why I draw so many different subjects. It’s refreshing, and I feel like it keeps me on my toes. Especially when it comes to comics. A comic can take me 8-9 months to finish, and every page is filled with tons of drawings of the same characters. So working on a variety of fanart and projects at the same time prevents me from falling into a rut.

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Sara: What are some projects that you’ve worked on that some people don’t know about but you’d really like them to?

Cassandra: I used to illustrate an online comic called Land of Lions! I haven’t been able to work on it for several years now, since Yen Press started hiring me for work, and these days I’ve improved a lot so the artwork in it is a bit old. But I’m still pretty proud of what I did with it. If people were interested I’d be flattered if they took a look at it. It’s up on a website called MangaMagazine.net In fact that website has a lot of awesome stuff you should check it out some time if you’re interested in reading original works online.

Sara: What are some of your hobbies besides artwork? Do you read, and have you read the books that you’ve done the artwork for?

Cassandra: Art kind of eats up my life. It’s my work AND my hobby. But I do read a lot too. I have of course read all the books I’ve done artwork for. I try not to draw characters for things I haven’t read because I think that if I didn’t, they wouldn’t turn out right. I wouldn’t have a very good grasp on what the characters looked like, how they acted or dressed… (with the exception of the Dark Artifices and TLH which have not been written yet, but Cassandra describes the characters to me in detail so that I get them right) So yeah! All the series I’ve done drawings of, I’ve read, and I’ve read plenty that I haven’t done art for either, sometimes I like to just read. I also play a lot of video games when I get the chance. And rearranging my book shelves. Does that count as a hobby? Because I love doing that.

Sara: What are you working on now and what can we expect from you in the future?

Cassandra: Lately, I’ve been trying to slowly hash out an original story that I’d like to illustrate. But I think it will be quite some time before that’s ready to show off. I’m also drawing the Shadowhunter Calendars still.You can also expect the “Miss Peregrine” graphic novel to be in stores in October along with the Shadowhunter Codex (some of my illustrations are in there, though I haven’t seen the book yet myself so I’m not sure which ones made the cut!) Also the next book I’m working on, which was leaked a few days ago, is The Secret Treasons with Cassandra Clare. So please look forward to it!

 Sara: What can you tell us about The Secret Treasons, and what and when can we expect that? 

Cassandra: I can’t tell you much about it other than what you already know. It follows Valentine and the Circle back in their younger days. I’m looking forward to drawing not only the younger versions of Valentine, Jocelyn and Luke, but also drawing the characters that we never got to meet in the books because they had already passed away. Stephen, Michael… I’m so excited about working on a Shadowhunter comic. Hopefully soon, the publisher (Yen Press) will release more information about it for you guys to feast on.

Sara: A nice little fun question that I ask all the people I interview: who is your fictional crush?

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Cassandra: Crush? As in just one? UH…Ragnor Fell! My big cranky green lima bean. What’s that? No, he’s not dead! He’s just…hibernating!! [sound of gross sobbing in the distance]

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I hope you all enjoyed this interview with this awesome, awesome artist and super cool person. This was a super fun interview to do, and Cassandra had a lot of new stuff to share with us all.

I hope you all will check her out. You can find her at:

Her Website

Her Tumblr

Her Deviant Art Site

Her Twitter

Happy Reading everyone!

 

Handmade Fandom Merch!

One thing that is really awesome about books and fandoms and all that is the stuff that comes out of that: fan art, this fan fiction, information pills fan merch, all of it. I love the creativity that pours out of people when they read these books or watch these shows. I seriously admire it. I just tend to drool over fictional characters, and curl up in a ball and cry when the authors torture us with sad parts and cliffhangers.

But, really, I admire so much the amount of awesome that comes from fans. I think its fantastic and I love to admire things like that and I love to BUY things from all these cool people.

And I know a few people, personally, who are part of this, and a couple people who I don’t know personally but I want to talk about anyway.

So I’m going to talk a bit about some shops where you can buy some really cool, handmade things, based on some of the fandoms we love!

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Ellie’s Quirky Creations

The first person that I am going to feature is my own mother, Ellie, who runs Ellie’s Quirky Creations. 

Ellie’s Quirky Creations mostly focuses on custom made dolls, of various people in different fandoms. She has made several Harry Potter characters, the 10th and 11th Doctors, and more. She does custom orders, of course, and I’ll let you in on a secret: She’s working on some TMI dolls! Check out some pictures!

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Amy Pond and the 11th Doctor

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Severus Snape

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Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, Harry Potter and Severus Snape.

She takes custom orders, and ships internationally and her dolls are absolutely awesome. They are made with sturdy fabrics and are super durable. I have a Luna Lovegood, Amy Pond and 11th Doctor and they are constantly on my bed, being tossed around and they are in perfect condition.

She also dabbles in other crafts as well, such as handmade wreaths (her Angels one is to DIE for), and cosplay costumes as well!

Check out her Facebook page for more pictures and how to order!

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FanGirlFeeels Fangirl Design

The next person I am featuring is Sylvia from FanGirlFeels, who just started her own shop, FanGirlFeels on Etsy!

So far, Sylvia is working on over the shoulder bags, with fandom symbols, but she hopes to expand to more, because she is incredibly talented. Check out some of the Divergent bags she has already worked on!

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Dauntless bag

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Amity bag. My personal favorite but I could be COMPLETELY biased because I’m Amity ;)

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Erudite, Candor, Amity and Dauntless. She also has Abnegation bags available as well.

All of these are handpainted and handsewn and are WONDERFUL. I can’t wait to get my hands on them. Each one is individually made, and super sturdy and can hold a good amount of stuff! She also ships internationally as well!

You can check out Sylvia’s Etsy Store, and look out for more things from this creative girl coming soon!

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Bittersweet Stories Designs

Next, I am featuring Natasha and Delilah of Bittersweet Stories Designs!

Natasha and Delilah are BIG fangirls, with some serious creative awesomeness. They mostly are working Mortal Instruments bags, with custom fabric, as well as custom Divergent fabric as well. I know they also are working on blankets and all sorts of super cool things. Check out some pictures!

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Handmade TMI bag, featured on their site. (Photo credit to Bittersweet Stories Designs)

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Divergent fabric (credit/photo to Bittersweet Stories Designs)

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my good friend Victoria from Novel Reality, with her handmade bag.

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myself with my handmade TMI bag (photo credit to Bittersweet Stories Designs)

These girls are fantastic, and their bags and some seriously high quality. They are a little pricier than others you may find, but they are unique and they are worth it. I can tell this bag is going to last a VERY long time. I also love that they take the time to design each bag individually, that they send “proofs” of the design before making it, and all of that. They are amazing!

Check out their website here, and also their Facebook page! Don’t be afraid to contact these awesome ladies for their custom designs! They even gave some of their custom work to Cassandra Clare, Jamie Campbell Bower, Lily Collins and Kevin Zegers!

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SugarDukes Magical Sweets

The next person I am going to feature is my friend Suzanne, and her company is Sugardukes Magical Sweets!

Suzanne gets her inspiration from the Harry Potter series and makes her way across the country, building up her business and coming up with new products all the time! She has the traditional Chocolate Frogs, Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans, Sugar Quills, but also fun ones like Dill Pickle Barrels (like root beer barrels; they’re delicious!), Sugar Plums and Ticklish Pears. Check it out!

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Sugar Quills

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Sugar Plums. THESE ARE SO GOOD! I love these!

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Ticklish Pears! Also super delicious!

She makes appearances often at Los Angeles Dumbledores Army events, and at the various Harry Potter conventions, like Misti-Con and this weekend’s Leaky Con!

You can check her out on Facebook and Etsy!

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Hebel Design

The next person being profiled is Viviane Hebel of Hebel Design.

Vivi might be very familiar to you, especially if you are a fan of The Mortal Instruments/Infernal Devices series, The Lux Series, the Grisha trilogy, the Lynberg Legacy, The Syrena Legacy and more. She works with jewelry mostly, but also bookmarks, keychains and more. Its hard to choose what photos to share but here you go!

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Faerie ear cuffs for the Modern Faerie series by Holly Black

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Customizable bookmarks :) Mortal Instruments is shown

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Quote bracelet featuring a quote from the Lux series

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My own personal Clockwork Princess pendant that was given to me by Cassandra Clare :)

There is SOOOO much more on that website. Vivi does absolutely beautiful work and each piece is made so well. Her stuff is absolutely gorgeous, I can’t even begin to describe it. Her stuff is a little pricey but I’m telling you, its worth it, definitely. Her stuff is made super sturdy and for long wear. I wear mine quite often.

Definitely check out her site for more pictures, because you want to get your hands on some of this awesome work.

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Karen Hallion

The last person I am going to feature is my favorite fan artist, Karen Hallion.

Karen Hallion’s claim to fame tends to be her Disney/Doctor Who mash-ups, but she also does a lot of Disney, Doctor Who and other fandom in Art Nouveau style. She does prints, paintings, cards, stationary, stickers, and you can get her shirts on various sites like TeeFury, etc, if you pay attention. Here are some examples of her art.

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Art Nouveau of Elizabeth from Bioshock Infinite

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Note card with a Doctor Who and Nightmare Before Christmas mash-up

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Art Nouveau bookmark of The Princess Bride characters, Buttecup and Wesley

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One of the MANY Disney Princess and Doctor Who mash-ups, this one featuring Cinderella. My favorites are the ones featuring Belle and Rapunzel!

You can check out her Facebook page here, and her Etsy page here. She also travels a lot to various different conventions so look out for her :) Also! If you check Day of the Shirt daily, you can catch her designs on various sites, if you look carefully as well!

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I hope you enjoyed checking out all this super cool, handmade fandom merchandise. All of these are super fantastic, made well, and are super creative and beautiful. I hope you all are able to buy some of these!

If you, or someone you know, has their own shop set up, please contact me, send them my way! I would love to feature them, and I’d probably love to buy their stuff too!

WhataNerdGirlSays Hits Comikaze 2012!

Hello everyone! Hope that you are having a wonderful week and that you enjoyed my first ever Book of the Week post yesterday. Look for those posts every Thursday or Friday :D

Now, pill as it is Tuesday, viagra normally this would be my Tuesday Three post. Instead, drug I’d rather review a convention I just went to.

As some of you may know, I recently went to Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo in Los Angeles at the Los Angeles Convention Center.  This is the second year of the convention and though of course there are still kinks to work out as with any new conventions, it was definitely a super fun time.

Now, I’ve gone to San Diego Comic Con a few times and always had a good time. However, I haven’t been in a few years because of how insanely crowded its gotten lately. You can hardly move through the crowd; it’s like sardines in a can. And forget about panels, unless you’re willing to wait in line all day long.

Comikaze is a breath of fresh air. It has everything that you want for a comic convention. It had the awesome cosplays, great celebrity guests, fantastic vendors and great panels. And the best part? It had that great nerdy, geeky feel to it without having to pay a lot (tickets ran anywhere from 10 to 20 dollars, depending on where you bought them) and without having to navigate insane crowds.

The Good: 

1. Cosplays

Cosplays are always my favorite part about cons and other nerd events. The time and effort that people go to to represent the fandoms they love is just amazing. I always feel kind of like a little kid at Disneyland, but instead of seeing all the DIsney characters, I see all my favorite characters from various fandoms.

I see Jedis, and Russell from Up, and Disney Princesses, zombies, and Wall.E and R2D2, The Doctor and the Tardis, and even Darth Helmet.



There were so many more that I couldn’t even begin to take pictures of them all.

2. The Guests:

There were great guests for this being such a new convention. First off, Elvira was there. She was one of the biggest guests but she did several stints for autographs and, according to my friend Lavonne, was super sweet and nice. Stan Lee was a guest as well…and this is STAN LEE we’re talking about it. He’s is the god of comics and the guy is no spring chicken anymore; he’ll be turning 90 in December. He was amazing though, signing about a million autographs, taking pictures with fans and being there for the fans. One of the coolest things I liked about Stan was that instead of having a panel for his Q and A, he did it on the main stage, where anyone could watch and anyone could ask questions. What a man. There’s a reason people literally worship this guy.

3. Zombies and Quidditch: 

There were two ongoing events going on both days of Comikaze:

One was a Zombie Apocalypse obstacle course. This was held in a room off the side of the main floor and looked awesome! There were various obstacles, like climbing walls, and it was dark with strobe lights everywhere. The best part was all the people in amazing make-up, walking around, acting like zombies. Some of those guys were pretty creepy, and there were even kids too. It was fairly cheap, only about twenty dollars, and it looked like a ton of fun. If they continue to do this next year, I’ll definitely do it.

There was also Quidditch going on. Anyone could sign up to learn and play, and this was sponsored by Whimsic Alley, a Harry Potter shop in L.A., and was right across the way from my good friends, the Los Angeles Dumbledore’s Army. The game is so much fun (of course, I’ve played!) and it was a good chance for anyone to try it out, especially since there are a few club teams here in Southern California and teams at various high schools and colleges.

The Bad (and there’s not a lot)

1. The Lines

I only attended on Sunday (I had a wedding to go to on Saturday) so this is only by word of mouth. Apparently the lines on Saturday to pick up your badges and get inside the convention were ridiculous. Think HOURS of waiting in line, outside, in horrible heat. The heat obviously isn’t controllable, just a huge inconvenience. The lines do really suck though. Waiting hours in line to get badges is a real letdown, especially when you could miss out on autograph sessions or panels that you really wanted to see. The good part of this though was that they definitely learned from it and getting in on Sunday was extremely quick. The line moved super quickly and my sister and I got into the convention really fast. Its only their second year and they are bound to have mishaps. The fact that they did notice it and tried to do something about it is awesome in my book.

2. Balance of Panels

One thing that wasn’t a HUGE deal but should be noted, when a convention is going on, the panels should be balanced on the different days. I mean, obviously the bigger panels are going to be on Saturday, with the big names and whatnot. It just makes sense. But the other days of a convention shouldn’t be neglected and I felt a little bit of that on Sunday. I felt like the bigger names were on Saturday and there weren’t a lot of BIG panels on Sunday. This wasn’t a huge deal, I’m definitely not crying over. Like I said, it’s a newer con and they have mistakes to make and lessons to learn and I’m sure that the panels will get better and better.

So all in all, it was a great panel. The price was great (have you seen how expensive San Diego Comic Con is?) and the atmosphere was familiar and welcome. There were awesome vendors there (check out Elizabeth Wu and Jeremy Rathbone for some amazing fan art) and some really great ideas, with the Quidditch matches and the zombie obstacle course. This is a convention that I feel like is only going to get better as the years go by and its definitely one I would go to again.

Was anyone there? What did you think? As always, tell me in the comments!

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