Blogger Spotlight-Jackie from Seeking Bazinga

One of the best parts about running this blog is having the ability to meet some really cool people, this web and some of the coolest people that I have met have led me to really cool blogs. I’ve said it before, no one’s blog is 100% original but everyone’s voices are different so there are blogs that I love to read because I love the writer, and I love the passion that they show for what they are writing. They are fun and interesting to read and they inspire me to get better and better in my blog.

So I decided to do a feature (inspired by Megan at the Nerdy Girlie’s Geek Girls Gab), where I profile the bloggers that I love. Not only do I get to find out more about them, but I also get to share them with you guys! Most of the bloggers that I follow are like me, nerd girls, fan girls and they enjoy the same things as me, and you! Every blogger that I profile is one that is super important to me and I urge you to check them out!

If you are interested in being featured on the Blogger Spotlight, feel free to contact me, please! I would love to hear from you, to feature you on the blog and to help spread the word about it!

Today is a special one for me, as this is the first blog I really started to read and it was the blog that inspired me to start my own blog!

*      *      *      *      *

Screen Shot 2013-09-02 at 5.36.06 PM

This week’s blogger is Jackie a.k.a. Bazingirl from Seeking Bazinga!

She also goes by her author name, J.J. Zwirn.

Her Twitter

Her Tumblr

Hott Damned Premier

Sara: Tell me a Little Bit About Yourself:

Jackie: I’m a geek. I love almost everything about being a geek. I love connecting with other geeks and going totally fangirl over the awesomeness of the fandom we are talking about, be it True Blood, Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, The Big Bang Theory, Star Trek, Star Wars…it doesn’t matter. Talking geek is what I like to do.

I also love to write, which is why I quit my dead end day job to start writing novels. As soon as I finish one, I hope to be a PUBLISHED author, as all authors do. My writing influences range from J.K. Rowling to Stephen King to Carlos Ruiz Zafón to Shakespeare. I am also a HUGE music nerd. I’ve been singing classical and choral music since the ripe old age of 4, when I joined The Carol Lombard Singers. I’ve sung opera for many years, though was never able to make a career out of it. I also sang with one of the most amazing groups in the history of ever, The Los Angeles Choral Artists, lead by my good friend and mentor Tony Thornton. So that’s me, a card carrying, pong level geek who loves to write and sing.

Book Nerds Having High Tea

Sara: Tell me about your blog: 

Jackie: Seeking Bazinga was inspired by one of my favorite TV shows, The Big Bang Theory. I wanted the site to be a place where readers and bloggers alike could come and get their geek on, and be proud, awesome nerds. There are many sites which also inform the public about the happenings in the geek world, which I follow and reference often, but I wanted to put my own spin on it and talk about geek things that matter to me. I will also be starting a vlog with some AMAZING nerd girls of mine called Nerds In Heels, which will be a YouTube channel soon and featured on Seeking Bazinga as well!

Sara: What inspired you to start your blog?

Me at HP Bowling

Jackie: I’d written a blog for several years about sex, which well, tanked to be honest. I’ll admit the idea started out super fun and became completely LAME. Then, one day I felt the need to write an article about Harry Potter. I had just read an article about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter coming to Los Angeles, and felt I needed to write about it. So, I started Seeking Bazinga, so I could inform and basically fangirl about all the fandoms I love.

Sara: What is your favorite nerd memory?

Jackie: My favorite nerd memory? That’s HARD. But I’d have to say that the one that sticks in my head and makes me laugh every time I remember it is when my sister-in-law and I took her daughter to see Ella Enchanted with Anne Hathaway. My sister-in-law had just introduced me to a comic called Sluggy Freelance, which if you haven’t read….you should. From the first strip. Seriously. Go now. Www.sluggy.com. Now, because of the character Bun-Bun, the switchblade wielding bunny, when an attack bunny showed in the movie, I leaned over to my sister-in-law and very quietly said, “ca-click.” She damn near had to leave the theater because she was laughing uncontrollably.

Sara: What are you most looking forward to, as far as new books/movies/etc?

Jackie: The books I am most looking forward to right now is the sequel to Libba Bray’s The Diviners and just this Sunday being told I should read Stephen King’s Dark Tower series by another epic author/nerd girl. Movie wise? MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING DIRECTED BY JOSS WHEDON. OMG, I need to see this so much!!!!! And Man of Steel. I adore Henry Cavill for being hot and British, and now Superman? Yeah. However, I was a DIE HARD Chris Reeve’s fan so, I am trying to go in to seeing it with an open mind. :) Oh, and CITY OF BONES. OMG. Can that movie come out now, please???

Me and Prof McGonnagall

Sara: As my blog is mostly about books and reading, what are some of your favorite books or authors to read? 

Jackie: ANYTHING by Stephen King, Harry Potter (always), John Green, Libba Bray, Diana Gabaldon (zomg swoon), Cassandra Clare (yeah, I know people either LOVE her or HATE her, but I read her before I knew any of the internets crazy drama, so, I LIKE her books.), also I enjoy the dilectable works of Jane Austen and Shakespeare. Also, my new favorite book is Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. Read this book. Seriously. Then read The Diviners.

Sara: What are some of your favorite blogs to follow? 

Jackie: Well, I religiously follow What a Nerd Girl Says, of course, because you’re one of my most favorite people in the world, Sara! I also follow The Mary Sue, Geek and Sundry (not a blog but an entire geek home base), Smart Bitches-Trashy Novels, Krypton Radio, RyannPrice.com, to name a few. And I’m always open to new suggestions!

Sara: Who is your fictional crush (what, we’re nerd girls, we all have one!)

Jackie: I have a couple fictional character crushes. When it comes to books, the first one, who will always be my number one is Jaime Fraser from Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander Series. He is the embodiment of Scottish, kilt-wearing sex me up now HUNK! My second is from Larrisa Ione’s Demonica series and is a delicious character by the name of Shade. He’s pretty epic, but then so are his two brothers Wraith and Eidolon. It’s kind hard to pick which one I like the most. However, my absolute NUMBER ONE fictional crush has been and ALWAYS WILL BE: Captain Tight Pants Himself: Malcolm Reynolds. And he is followed a VERY close second by the delicious bad-boy with a heart of gold, Dean Winchester from Supernatural.

Rockin the Huffle

*      *      *      *      *

Hope you enjoyed this Spotlight on Jackie, and come back soon for more Blogger Spotlights!

 And check out last week’s Spotlight on Shaina of The Urge to Write

 

Book of the Week: The Name of the Star

So a month ago when I met Cassandra Clare, store I also met Sarah Rees Brennan and Maureen Johnson, this who are besties with my Cassie. And they all had this great chemistry and you could tell they were super good friends and Sarah and Maureen were just cutting Cassie off all the time and making me laugh and running around like crazy and…

Okay the point is, side effects I totally fell in love with them and so I knew I had to read their books.

I haven’t read any of Sarah’s yet but I’m working on it! Being a poor college student usually means not being able to afford enough books to keep up with my ridiculous reading habits (I’m on book 53 of 2013 remember?)

I had already read Maureen Johnson’s 13 Little Blue Envelopes and I liked it but it wasn’t my cup of tea. But after meeting her, I felt like…all right, I need to give Ms Johnson a second chance and I picked up this week’s book of the week so enjoy :)

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

nameofthestar

Genre:
Young adult, paranormal, romance

Part of a Series?:
it is the first in the Shades of London series

You May Like if You Liked:
The Diviners by Libba Bray or the Abandon trilogy by Meg Cabot

Plot Summary:

Rory Deveaux is about to be a senior in high school in Lousiana when her professor parents decide to go on a sabbatical and let Rory pick where she wants to go…and she picks London. She even lives the ultimate British dream: boarding school (Damn you, Harry Potter, for making us all want to go to boarding school). And sure, the place is covered in Jack the Ripper tourists but things can only go well; she’s making friends, learning the British ways and even getting on fairly well with the British boys.

Then a murder occurs, in an almost identical manner as the very first murder of Jack the Ripper, in the same spot, mere walking distance from Rory’s school. Suddenly, the entire world is watching and when Rory sees a man that no one else can see when the second murder occurs, she begins to think she’s going crazy. Then she gets a new roommate, Boo, who starts to show her that she has a new talent, that she can see ghosts, and that the copycat Jack the Ripper is a ghost, a ghost that Rory has seen and that will be going after Rory next.

The Bad:

Honestly, there wasn’t a lot of bad in this novel, if any at all. I was very thoroughly impressed with this novel.

I would say only this: it was very slow to get to the point. I think I’m used to most books just jumping into the story, and getting going. Maureen sort of built things up first, but I actually ended up liking that. But as I was reading it, it was slow to begin. I was kind of like, okay, Rory left Lousiana, she’s in London now, she’s in boarding school and there’s a cute guy and she’s making friends and school is kind of hard…what is going on? Is anything actually going to happen? And things DO happen but you don’t really recognize them until later. Then there is also kind of a lead up to the shock of the first murder. Rory is living a mundane, normal teenage life and suddenly her world is rocked when a brutal murder occurs. It makes sense.

The Good:

There was so much good about this novel. First off, Maureen is a great writer. I say this over and over again: there are a lot of bad writers in the young adult genre. I believe that mostly comes from the fact that it is THE genre to be in right now so for every great author, there are five mediocre ones. But Maureen Johnson is a fantastic author. She takes what could be a typical cheesy teenage paranormal romance and turns it into a dark, sexy and heart-pounding novel. She spins a great story, and she really did her research on this (hey…did she go on a trip with Cassie when Cassie was researching the Infernal Devices? Hmmm).

I literally was…not scared but I was creeped out. We’re talking about ghosts, and a ghost that is killing and killing in the manner of Jack the Ripper. And if you don’t know anything of the killings of Jack the Ripper, they were brutal and disgusting. He didn’t just kill his victims, he mutilated them. He ripped them apart. To be experiencing that kind of terror, and basically in your own backyard…I can’t even imagine. And the fact that Rory sees the killer and no one else does and she thinks she’s going insane…that’s a lot for one person to handle. And I’m reading this in the dark, at 2 in the morning when I’m the only one awake in my house…I was pretty freaked out.

I also really commend Maureen Johnson for doing her research with Jack the Ripper, and twisting it just enough to fit her own story. Because we don’t KNOW who Jack the Ripper was and probably never will, but she really keeps you guessing…could she make a stab at who he is or is it a copycat? And the straight out brutality that comes with it…these are not simple murders that are occurring in the books, they are near exact replicates of the original murders. Injuries that occur aren’t simple ones, they are life threatening ones. I hate when books sugar coat things…in worlds like these, confronting killers like these.

And The Name of the Star made me want to read the next book, The Madness Underneath. The Name of the Star didn’t leave off with any burning questions or heartbreaking cliffhangers but Maureen Johnson makes you care about Rory (and Jerome and Jazza and Stephen and Callum and Boo…) and you want to know what happens to them next. There IS something that happens to Rory thats really surprising and pretty scary, and without spoiling anything, I really, really wanted to know how it had happened and what would happen next. I’ve read books before and been like, meh, I’ll read the sequel eventually. This one…I wanted the sequel right away. Unfortunately, money held me back but I have it now and I am (checks Kindle) 53% of the way through it. And I’m already loving it.

Maureen spins a good story. I admit, I was ready to write her off as another young adult author that just didn’t quite have it, and was going to get lost in the overload of young adult literature that is literally taking up all the shelves at bookstores nowadays. But I was very, very wrong. While 13 Little Blue Envelopes didn’t overly impress me. But her short story in the “Let it Snow” collaboration with John Green and Lauren Myracle impressed me and she was SO funny and awesome at the Mission Viejo Library and I just had to give her one more try…and I am SO glad I did. These are genuinely really good stories. She presents developed characters, a complex but familiar story and does her research…her world is real. I believe its real and that’s the mark of a good author.

I’m afraid to finish The Madness Underneath though…I’m not fond of waiting for another book… :)

Rating:

4 out of 5 Stars

Recommended or Not?:

Definitely. Definitely, definitely, definitely. I know that its normal to get lost in the young adult literature section and its hard to know whats good and bad because they are a lot of good books and they are a lot of bad ones as well. But Maureen Johnson’s The Name of the Star is a GREAT one that I am SO glad that I picked up. Definitely click the link above, and grab yourself a copy!

*       *       *       *       *

Maureen Johnson will be at the Festival of Books this Sunday, at a panel at 130 pm and autographing immediately after. I hope I am able to catch her so she can sign my copy of The Name of the Star!

What did YOU guys think of The Name of the Star? As always, share in the comments!