Ontario Teen Book Fest Blog Tour: Spotlight on Mary Elizabeth Summer

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I am so pleased to be bringing you the Ontario Teen Book Fest blog tour once again! This is one of my absolute favorite events of the year and I’m honored to help promote it as much as I possibly can. There are a ton of wonderful authors this year and an equally wonderful batch of bloggers to help me spotlight them.

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When: March 21st, advice 9 am to 5 pm

Where: Colony High School
3850 E. Riverside Drive
Ontario, CA 91761

This event is a completely free and un-ticketed event! Priority seating WILL be given to teens, but come one, come all! There will also be giveaways and raffles at the Fest, also free! Also, keep scrolling to find a giveaway held by us bloggers!

You can visit the website, to see the full schedule of the day by visiting the official Ontario Teen Book Fest website.

Books WILL be available for purchase at the event, available from Once Upon a Time Bookstore :) They are an amazing company so definitely bring your books from home, but try and support Once Upon a Time by purchasing a book!

Its going to be an incredible event and I’m honestly counting down the days! I hope you can come along for the ride, in the days leading up to the event.  Check out the full blog tour here!

Official Blog Tour Schedule

February 28th: Spotlight on Kasie West — Adventures of a Book Junkie

March 1st: Spotlight on Melissa Landers — What A Nerd Girl Says

March 2nd: Spotlight on Brad Gottfred — Recently Acquired Obsessions

March 3rd: Spotlight on Catherine Linka — Read Now Sleep Later

March 4th: Spotlight on Debra Driza — Read Now Sleep Later

March 5th: Spotlight on Katie Finn — Fearless Kurt Reads YA

March 6th: Spotlight on Claudia Gray — A Bookish Escape

March 7th: Spotlight on Shannon Messenger — People Like Books

March 8th: Spotlight on Lauren Miller — The Thousand Lives

March 9th: Spotlight on Mary Elizabeth Summer — What A Nerd Girl Says

March 10th: Spotlight on Anna Carey — The Reader’s Antidote

March 11th: Spotlight on Sherri Smith — Movies, Shows and Books

March 12th: Spotlight on Elizabeth Ross — Kid Lit Frenzy

March 13th: Spotlight on Jessica Khoury — The Consummate Reader

March 14th: Spotlight on Maurene Goo — The Windy Pages

March 15th: Spotlight on Cecil Castellucci — Nite Lite Book Reviews

March 16th: Spotlight on Jessica Brody — The Romance Bookie

March 17th: Spotlight on Gretchen McNeil — Movies, Shows and Books

March 18th: Spotlight on Aaron Hartzler — Fangirl Feeels

March 19th: Spotlight on Michelle Levy — The Consummate Reader

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Today’s spotlight is on:

Mary Elizabeth Summer

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Taken from her Website:

Mary Elizabeth Summer contributes to the delinquency of minors by writing books about unruly teenagers with criminal leanings. She has a BA in creative writing from Wells College, and her philosophy on life is “you can never go wrong with sriracha sauce.” She lives in Portland Oregon with her wife, their daughter, and their evil overlor—er, cat.

Her Website / Her Facebook / Her GoodReads / Her Twitter / Her Instagram / Her Tumblr

Her Book

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Julep Dupree tells lies. A lot of them. She’s a con artist, a master of disguise, and a sophomore at Chicago’s swanky St. Agatha High, where her father, an old-school grifter with a weakness for the ponies, sends her to so she can learn to mingle with the upper crust. For extra spending money Julep doesn’t rely on her dad—she runs petty scams for her classmates while dodging the dean of students and maintaining an A+ (okay, A-) average.

But when she comes home one day to a ransacked apartment and her father gone, Julep’s carefully laid plans for an expenses-paid golden ticket to Yale start to unravel. Even with help from St. Agatha’s resident Prince Charming, Tyler Richland, and her loyal hacker sidekick, Sam, Julep struggles to trace her dad’s trail of clues through a maze of creepy stalkers, hit attempts, family secrets, and worse, the threat of foster care. With everything she has at stake, Julep’s in way over her head . . . but that’s not going to stop her from using every trick in the book to find her dad before his mark finds her. Because that would be criminal.

Find Her Books at Your Local Bookstore of the Following Links:

Amazon / Barnes and Noble / iBooks / Book Depository

The Interview

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Nerd Girl: Trust Me, I’m Lying is your debut novel. Talk about what it was like to find out your novel was going to be published? 

Mary: I believe the first words I said when my agent called to tell me about my first offer were: “I think I’m going to puke”. She very calmly told me to not do that until after we finished discussing the details. As it turned out, I had a couple additional offers after that initial one, so there was a whirlwind of editor calls and figuring things out. When the dust finally settled, and I had officially accepted an offer, I walked around with wings on my feet for weeks. The only thing that gave me an equivalent feeling was seeing the finished book on a shelf in my favorite bookstore. Its euphoric. And slightly frightening. But mostly euphoric.

Nerd Girl: Where did the idea for Trust Me, I’m Lying come from? 

Mary: I got the idea for the Trust Me series one night while watching back-to-back episodes of White Collar and Leverage. I thought, “Man, I’d love to read a book about a teenage con artist, but I don’t think there are any.” (It turns out there are several, I just didn’t know about any of them.) Then I didn’t think any more about it till I woke up the next morning with Julep’s snarky voice in my head, demanding to be written. As you’ll discover reading the book, Julep doesn’t take no for an answer. So I spent the next year with her poking me until I finished.

Nerd Girl: Julep is a unique character in her own, a little more anti-hero than straight up hero. Is there a reason(s) that you created a character like this and can we expect more characters like this in your future?

Mary: Oh, yes. I have always loved the villains-turned-sort-of-heroes trope. There was a storyline in the original animated Voltron where the son of the Big Bad had a thing for the Princess, and he would often mess up his father’s plans (against his own best interest) to save her. And in He-Man, my favorite episodes were always the ones where Skeletor and He-Man had to team up to defeat a common foe. And then Firefly happened, which just had my villain/hero-loving heart all in a pile of mush for every episode. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for a tender-hearted villain. So the answer to your second question is a resounding YES — all of my protagonists in every book I write will be at least half evil.

Nerd Girl: What are some of your own favorite books to read? 

Mary: I love sci-fi. I could read sci-fi every day of the week. My favorite sci-fis I’ve read recently are Alienated by Melissa Landers, Illusive by Emily Lloyd-Jones, Run to You by Clara Kensie and Beyond Our Stars by Marie Langager. I also like paranormal and fantasy — Cracked by Eliza Crewe was one of my favorite books I read last year. And of course, myster: Nearly Gone by Elle Cosimano, Far From You by Tess Sharpe, The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie E. Hall and Tabula Rasa by Kristsen Lippert-Martin are all amazing.

Nerd Girl: What made you want to write for teens as opposed for adults? 

Mary: I like writing for teens, because I like writing about teens. I like how cagey they have to be, how observant and opportunistic, just to get a ride to the mall. I like how vulnerable they have to stay in order to keep their lives in order and their loved ones happy. They’re the ultimate martyrs, really, and oh, how I love to sacrifice them on the alter of…er, *cough*, I mean, bring to light the inner depths they’re capable of when their lives get turned upside down.

All joking aside, YA is a powerful genre. It challenges us to grow up before our time and yet be strong enough to hold onto our innocence and belief in magic. No other genre can say that.

Nerd Girl: Have you ever had a fangirl moment and who was it with?

Mary: I’ve had a lot of fangirl moments at book signings (because authors! :-D) But my favorite story is when I had Margaret Stohl sign my copy of Beautiful Creatures. I told her how my wife read it to me aloud while I was in labor with our daughter, and she jumped out of her seat and asked one of the other authors there to take our picture with her camera, as if were the celebrity. LOL I loved it.

Nerd Girl: Because this is for the Ontario Teen Book Fest, all about the teens, what is one of your favorite memories from when you were a teen? 

Mary: Several good moments come to mind — musical solos, murder mystery parties, a popular senior guy (who didn’t know me) asking me if I went to the Starfleet Academy because I had the sticker on my car (there was much laughter and an ‘I wish’ on my part). But if I’m being honest, my favorite memories all happened in books. I was a book addict, and every story was another set of best friends and another opportunity to save the world.

Nerd Girl: Last question, who is your fictional crush? 

Mary: This is a tough one for me because I like girls, but not the kind of girls that usually get written about. So I’m going to plead lack of options to choose from here. If I were into boys, though, I’d say my fictional crush would be Chuck from Chuck. He’s such a woobie. Or maybe Seth from The O.C. (for the same reason). I prefer smart, sensitive dudes.

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The Giveaway 

Two Prizes, Two Winners!

Each winner will receive an official Ontario Teen Book Fest poster signed by ALL attending authors!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Event Recap: The DUFF Screening Presented by Tumblr with Mae Whitman and Robbie Amell!

Last week, prescription I was all gearing up to go on a date (yes, viagra a date AGH) when I got an email from a super cool lady named Christina from Tumblr, order inviting me to an exclusive screening of The DUFF, with some of the cast in attendance.

And I freaked out a little. I had already seen the movie and some of the cast but you guys know me, I was NOT going to turn down another chance at meeting my number one celebrity crush (besides Mike Trout), Robbie Amell. What a conundrum and confusion on what to do!

Luckily, it all worked. My date decided to hang out with me at the screening for the day, so I got to hang out with a super cool guy AND see The DUFF and Robbie Amell again.

This was possibly the coolest screening I have ever been to, and I’m not just saying that. I’ve been to a ton of screenings and this one just took the cake.

First off, it was put on by Tumblr, who gave us a TON of swag. I got a tumblr bag, all these buttons and stickers, a DUFF shirt (which I proudly wore this past weekend at Gallifrey One) and a Tumblr sweater that I literally keep wearing because its so massively comfortable.

We then were escorted into the theater, where my jaw basically dropped. This theater was BEAUTIFUL. Super large, reclining seats with pillows and blankets and these little tables and personal tablets to order food on. I was like, I seriously can’t see a movie at any other theater ever again. Ever again.

Then came MORE free stuff. We got free drinks, either strawberry lemonade or watermelon lemonade. I got the watermelon lemonade and it was something new and absolutely delicious. They also had a candy bar (mmm, gummy bears) and handed out free popcorn before the movie. I also ordered a pizza because I just couldn’t resist ordering something from the super fancy tablet thing. Seriously, this theater blew my mind.

Then it was movie time :) I loved the movie just as much as I did the first time, if not more. I know they changed a lot about the movie but the fact that they really kept the core message, that meant a lot to me. The DUFF is all about realizing that there are always going to be people that you think are prettier or smarter or whatever than you, but you have to be confident and happy with the person that you are and things will be okay and I’m glad they kept that part in. If you’d like to read my recap of the last screening AND a spoiler free review of the movie, check it out.

After the movie, they brought out Robbie Amell and Mae Whitman who play the two main characters in the movie to do a short Q and A. It was fun to see them talk about the movies, focusing on the self-confidence part of the story. I also liked hearing them talk about other projects, and about teens and all of that. This is a YA book so it meant a lot that the questions stayed geared toward YA themes and issues. It was awesome. Plus, I spent most of the time drooling over Robbie, much to the amusement of my wonderful date haha.

Then they lined us up and we were able to get our professional photo op with Robbie and Mae. I absolutely LOVE when they do this. They did this with Vampire Academy too and I think that’s great when they do. They know this is an experience for the fans and they do what they can to make it a great experience and I seriously appreciate that. I’m more likely to write about an event with high praise when it feels like I matter and I definitely felt like I matter.

I’m especially happy with the way the picture turned out, because these are two of my favorite people and they were SO nice. I was going to stand in between them but it was like my body had a mind of its own and I just went straight for Robbie haha, and Mae just laughed and was like  “its all good, I know he’s hotter than me.” Which made me laugh. Then I was able to say that I loved them in Arrested Development and The Tomorrow People, which is SO very true, and I squealed a bit, again, to the amusement of my date.

All in all, great night. I would seriously do another screening through them again, easily. It was a ton of fun, I enjoyed the movie, enjoyed meeting part of the cast, and the whole movie experience was just fantastic.

And I have the most comfortable Tumblr sweater ever so there’s that too ;)

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Make sure to go see The DUFF in theaters this Friday! Remember, every single YA adaptation needs YOUR support so that more movies with our favorite characters get made so head to the theater this weekend and watch the movie! Even if its only just see Robbie Amell’s beautiful abs ;)

Event Recap: Gallifrey One 2015 – The 26 Seasons of Gallifrey One!

HELLO EVERYONE!!! How are you doing this fine fine fine week? I hope you all had such a wonderful weekend and that you had a great Valentine’s Day whether you’re with someone or not. This weekend was my first Valentine’s Day solo in…7 years? Something like that…and you know what? I had an awesome time. Life is what you make of it!

This weekend I spent time at my FOURTH Gallifrey One Convention…the all Doctor Who convention taking place in Los Angeles every February for the past 26 years!

This is my favorite convention, information pills easily, ambulance of all time. I love everything about it. I love that its all about Doctor Who. I love that its personal and small and you get to interact with the guests all the time. I love that there are always super great guests and that everyone, from the big stars, to the sound people or costume designers, are all SO awesome to talk to. I meet a ton of people, sing karaoke til five am most nights, and just have a blast. I love that I get to see old friends that I don’t see very often or that I only get to see at Gallifrey One and I also get to make new ones as well. I literally look forward to this weekend all year long, I just have too much fun.

Day Zero

Yay for Lobby Con/Day Zero/Let’s Party Too Hard So We’re Sick the Rest of the Weekend. Sort of.

The con officially starts on Friday morning with programming and that such but there’s an unofficial Lobby Con, where people show up, check in to their hotel rooms, exchange ribbons, hang out, eat food, attend the ice cream social and karaoke to the break of dawn (but no, really…) My friends basically did all of the above, because we are all STOKED to finally be there!

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The look that the registration lady gave me when I said I wanted this to be my name haha…

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Its not Gallifrey One until we do karaoke. And Spice Girls karaoke. With our dear good friend, Richard Dinnick.

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My friend Ana and I :)

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Richard Dinnick with me, and my friends Crystal and Ana

Day One

Its officially time for Gallifrey One! I was tired, maybe a tad bit hungover (but just a little!) but totally ready for the first day!

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This year’s Gallifrey One was HEAVY on Torchwood, the Doctor Who spin off show centered around Captain Jack Harkness. Above you see, Naoko Mori, who played Tosh on the show. She also played Nicola in Spice World, which made me fangirl a little ;)

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The lovely and somehow incredibly incredibly sexy Burn Gorman, who played Owen on Torchwood.

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Yes, this is me creeping up on Naoko. I’m awesome like that.

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Now creeping up on Eve Myles, who played Gwen Cooper on Torchwood. She also had an appearance on Doctor Who with the 9th Doctor and Rose Tyler back in series 1.

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Well I’m in trouble….or I’m apparently the Dalek’s DUFF…

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I’m ready for an adventure in the TARDIS. Always.

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Don’t ask me if I know what I’m doing. I might have to lie to you and you know how I feel about lying.

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Another night of karaoke. Not sure when this was taken but probably around the silly part of the night because we all look absolutely ridiculous!

Day Two

YES. Day 2!

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I had brought my Ten dress (from Her Universe) but wasn’t sure I was going to wear it. I wore it last year and felt super ugly the whole time, and fat…but I decided to put it on and was SO SO glad I did. :) Sometimes its nice to feel cute in a little dress.

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K-9!!!!!

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Today was allllllll about John Barrowman, his sexiness, his dirtiness, his humor and just….hold on, I lost my train of thought because I started drooling again…

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Just a  Minute! The half time show of the Masquerade (and honestly my favorite part), where a group of con guests get up and play a game called Just a Minute. They’re given a minute to speak on a particular subject without hesitation, deviation or repetition. Its HILARIOUS, and this year’s game was awesome.

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The MASSIVELY adorable Sophie Aldred who played the companion Ace, in the 7th Doctor’s series.

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Another night of super fun karaoke. We needed another picture with Richard in front of the TARDIS and this year…we got a little creative. I’m MASSIVELY in love with this photo.

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Getting sleepy. But still having a TON of fun in karaoke.

Day Three

Last day :( Very sad but lots of exciting stuff including more John Barrowman AND pictures with John and Eve.

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John Barrowman being awesome ;) He plays Captain Jack Harkness as a companion to the Doctor in Doctor Who and as the head of Torchwood in…Torchwood.

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Yes. I am a creep. Get over it.

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Oooh yay, creeping on Burn Gorman.

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And while we’re at it, let’s creep on Nichelle Nichols, from Star Trek. *squeeeee*

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So I went to go get my picture with John and Eve (which I was super nervous for, which made NO sense because I meet people all the time!) and I asked them if they could fight over me and this is what ensued. However, John was like, “We can do this better…” and the next picture was just…beautiful haha.

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the best part is I got to keep BOTH of the pictures. I asked them both for a hug and they said yes and then John stops and goes, “Can I ask you a question?” and I say, sure, and he says “If I were to push you forward, would you bounce back up?” I kid you not. I had to take a couple seconds of laughing before I said,  “YES!” Boob jokes. I expect nothing less of John Barrowman.

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Me and my dear friend Katie, who had an epic Donna Noble cosplay for the weekend!

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My super awesome group for the weekend. We have all met through our love of Harry Potter and our membership in the Los Angeles Dumbledore’s Army and now we’ve taken that to our love of Doctor Who.

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Now, I’m home and taking some time to relax and recover. I’m sad that its over but I’m glad to be home as well. Its always such a fun weekend and even though this is over, I’m already eagerly awaiting til next year.

A few notes about next year, that were talked about in the closing ceremonies, for those of you who are interested and maybe would like to attend!

Gallifrey One 27 will be taking place in February 12th, 13th and 14th of 2016 at the Mariott Hotel at LAX. Thank goodness. I know a lot of people were afraid they would be changing that part of the convention but thank goodness they aren’t.

Badges will go on sale on May 1st, 2015, and will remain at 90 dollars per weekend badge.

They will be eliminating the ability to transfer badges. Just too much work for them. However, you can buy badges that are “Guest of” and the name can be filled in at the actual con. Interesting change, not sure how I feel about it. I’ll be nervous when badges go on sale in May (though thankfully it gives me time to get the MONEY for the badge).

They also will be cutting the amount of weekend badges by a few hundred in order to reintroduce one day badges. I’m okay with this, I think it’ll be pretty awesome, though I plan on sticking with a full weekend badge.

Either way, so long Gallifrey One 2015, I had a blast as per usual. Each year I think, there’s no way next year will be better and I’m always proven wrong. I got to see old friends, meet new friends, cross off some Gallifrey One bucket list items and just had a ton of fun and created a ton of memories. I’m ready for Gallifrey One 2016.

Until then, I’ll just enjoy all the other super nerdy events that are coming my way soon ;) See you all soon!

Ontario Teen Book Fest 2015 Authors Revealed!

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My favorite event is JUST around the corner and I am bursting with excitement to finally release the list of authors that will attending.

The Ontario Teen Book Fest will be taking place Saturday, viagra March 21st from 9:30 am to 5 pm at Colony High School. More details of events, information pills and all of that will come in February as I host the Ontario TBF blog tour! Yay!

Check out their official website here.

For now, viagra its time to announce all the AMAZING authors that will be in attendance this year. Brace yourselves!

Make sure to click their names to head to their website, to find out more about the authors and their books!

Jessica Brody

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Anna Carey

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Cecil Castellucci 

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Debra Driza

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Katie Finn (Morgan Matson)

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Maurene Goo

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Claudia Gray 

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Aaron Hartzler 

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Jessica Khoury

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Melissa Landers

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Shannon Messenger

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Lauren Miller

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Elizabeth Ross

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Sherri Smith 

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Mary Elizabeth Summer

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Kasie West

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Also included in this WONDERFUL list of attending authors are the three moderator/authors that will be in attendance as well:

Gretchen McNeil

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Catherine Linka

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Brad Gottfred 

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I’m SO excited about this year’s list of authors and I canNOT wait for this event. I hope you all can join me in March! Stay tuned for more as the blog tour, and giveaways and all sorts of fun stuff comes in the future!

Weekly Fangirl Round-Up!

Nerd Girl News

Doctor Who, look Series 8 has a premiere date AND a teasing teasing teasing teaser trailer!

The first chapter of Marie Lu’s new book, The Young Elites, has been revealed!

Debut novel, Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira, has been optioned for film!

Stephanie Leigh Schlund, Cashmere in Catching Fire, confirmed that she joined the cast of Insurgent, as a yet to be revealed member of Amity.

Alfonso Cuaron has been confirmed as NOT directing Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

More promotional images for The Maze Runner have been shared!

Mockingjay Filming continues in Berlin, check out some photos!

Two More People have Been Cast for Insurgent!

More Dragons are coming our way! Netflix confirms a How to Train your Dragon spin-off TV series!

Watch the new trailer for Daniel Radcliffe’s rom com, What If!

Pixar’s 2015 film “Inside Out” has an official synopsis.

Some news of True Detective, season 2, has been revealed: it will have THREE main characters.

Emma Watson, queen bee, and our Hermione Granger, has graduated from Brown University!

One Direction fan fiction “After” has officially gotten a publishing deal.

Robbie Amell, my future boyfriend, has been cast in a role in the movie adaptation of The DUFF.

Secrets about the could-have-been season 2 of Starcrossed were revealed.

Posts and Vlogs

Happy 2nd Blog Birthday What A Nerd Girl Says and HUGE HUGE Giveaway! (One more week to enter!)

Monday Missions Vlog

City of Heavenly Fire Vlog Review (Spoilers!)

Book Review: City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare (No Spoilers!)

Book Review: All Lined Up by Cora Carmack

Ontario Teen Book Fest Recap!

Why The Mortal Instruments is Important to Me!

Book Review: Broken Hearts, Fences and Other Things to Mend by Katie Finn

Vlog: Ontario Teen Book Fest Authors!

So as some of you may have known, view this past weekend was the Ontario Teen Book Fest. You probably know because I promoted it like crazy and it was an event that I was SO highly looking forward to!

Sylvia from Fangirl Feeels and I were the official bloggers for the event which meant that we did a lot of promotion and really got to spend some awesome time with the authors.

We asked all fifteen awesome YA authors two questions and got it all on video for you guys. The answers were all super awesome, generic and we are so glad to share this vlog with you!

A recap video of the actual event is coming VERY soon, but for now, enjoy learning about all the authors from the Fest!

Ontario Teen Book Fest-Author Spotlight on Jessi Kirby and Giveaway!

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Hello everyone, visit this site and welcome to my second stop of the blog tour for the Ontario Teen Book Fest :) You can read my previous stop with Jessica Brody and all other previous stops by clicking the links further down in this spotlight. But let’s jump and start talking about this wonderful event happening next weekend!

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When: May 17th, sickness 9 am to 5 pm

Where: Colony High School
3850 E. Riverside Drive
Ontario, cialis 40mg CA 91761

This event is a completely free and un-ticketed event! Priority seating WILL be given to teens, but come one, come all! There will also be giveaways and raffles at the Fest, also free!

You can visit the website, to see the full schedule of the day by visiting the official Ontario Teen Book Festwebsite.

Books WILL be available for purchase at the event, available from Mrs. Nelson’s Book Fair Company :) They are an amazing company so definitely bring your books from home, but try and support Mrs. Nelson’s by purchasing a book!

Its going to be an incredible event and I’m honestly counting down the days! I hope you can come along for the ride, in the days leading up to the event. I’ve got some great bloggers helping me out to profile these amazing authors. Check out the full blog tour here!

May 2nd: Spotlight on Jessica Brody — What A Nerd Girl Says
May 3rd: Spotlight on Elana K. Arnold — Nite Lite Book Reviews
May 4th: Spotlight on Catherine Linka — Fangirl Feeels
May 5th: Spotlight on Livia Blackburne – The Thousand Lives
May 6th: Spotlight on Lauren Kate — She Reads She Blogs

May 7th: Spotlight on Katie Alender — Movies, Shows and Books
May 8th:Spotlight on Lauren Miller — A Bookish Escape
May 9th: Spotlight on Sarah Skilton — Read Now Sleep Later
May 10th: Spotlight on Lissa Price — Recently Acquired Obsessions 
May 11th: Spotlight on Jessi Kirby — What A Nerd Girl Says
May 12th: Spotlight on Katherine Ewell — iFandoms Collide
May 13th: Spotlight on Mary Pearson — The Windy Pages
May 14th: Spotlight on John Corey Whaley — Read Now Sleep Later
May 15th: Spotlight on Robin Benway — Adventures of a Book Junkie
May 16th: Spotlight on Ava Dellaira — Fangirl Feeels

So today’s kick off spotlight of the tour is on the one and only:

Jessi Kirby

Bio-Picture

Jessi Kirby is the author of  Goldenwhich will be released in May of 2013, MoonglassIn Honor.  She is also a former English teacher and librarian, wife, mom, beach lover, runner, and lover of Contemporary YA, strong coffee, and dark chocolate.  In that order. You can find her at:

Her Website / Her Facebook / Her GoodReads / Her Twitter / Her Instagram

Her Books

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Honor receives her brother’s last letter from Iraq three days after learning that he died, and opens it the day his fellow Marines lay the flag over his casket. Its contents are a complete shock: concert tickets to see Kyra Kelly, her favorite pop star and Finn’s celebrity crush. In his letter, he jokingly charged Honor with the task of telling Kyra Kelly that he was in love with her. 

Grief-stricken and determined to grant Finn’s last request, she rushes to leave immediately. But she only gets as far as the driveway before running into Rusty, Finn’s best friend since third grade and his polar opposite. She hasn’t seen him in ages, thanks to a falling out between the two guys, but Rusty is much the same as Honor remembers him: arrogant, stubborn . . . and ruggedly good-looking. Neither one is what the other would ever look for in a road trip partner, but the two of them set off together, on a voyage that makes sense only because it doesn’t. Along the way, they find small and sometimes surprising ways to ease their shared loss and honor Finn–but when shocking truths are revealed at the end of the road, will either of them be able to cope with the consequences?

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Seventeen-year-old Parker Frost has never taken the road less traveled. Valedictorian and quintessential good girl, she’s about to graduate high school without ever having kissed her crush or broken the rules. So when fate drops a clue in her lap—one that might be the key to unraveling a town mystery—she decides to take a chance.

Julianna Farnetti and Shane Cruz are remembered as the golden couple of Summit Lakes High—perfect in every way, meant to be together forever. But Julianna’s journal tells a different story—one of doubts about Shane and a forbidden romance with an older, artistic guy. These are the secrets that were swept away with her the night that Shane’s jeep plunged into an icy river, leaving behind a grieving town and no bodies to bury.

Reading Julianna’s journal gives Parker the courage to start to really live—and it also gives her reasons to question what really happened the night of the accident. Armed with clues from the past, Parker enlists the help of her best friend, Kat, and Trevor, her longtime crush, to track down some leads. The mystery ends up taking Parker places that she never could have imagined. And she soon finds that taking the road less traveled makes all the difference.

Interview!

Nerd Girl: All of the characters in your novels have degrees of strengths and weaknesses and go through lessons and self-discovery. Was it important to you to represent these kind of characters in books for young people, especially as a mother?

Jessi: I think all of us, as people, no matter what age, gender, etc., have different degrees of strengths and weakness, and that these things shift and change as we go through, life, with all of its lessons and self-discovery. It’s extremely important to me that my characters reflect that, because that means they’ll read as genuine people, who are strong sometimes, and weak at others, but who are always growing, hopefully for the better. That’s the goal, anyway, both as a writer, and a mother – to portray those things that make us human.

Nerd Girl: Your most ‘recent’ novel, Golden, was published in May 2013. What can we expect from you in the future?

Jessi: I’m very excited about my next book, Things We Know By Heart, which comes out in Summer 2015. It’s about a girl named Quinn Sullivan, who lost her first love in an accident, and as a way to deal with her grief, she reaches out to the recipients of his donated organs. All of these people write her back, except the one she deems most important, which is, of course the one who received his heart.

Unable to let it go, she goes outside of the guidelines for privacy and finds out who he is. She tells herself she just needs to see who he is, see him living his life and then she can let it go, but when she goes to his small beach town and literally runs into him in a cafe, things get complicated fast. He’s completely fast. He’s completely taken with her, and no matter how much she tries to deny it, the pull of him is so strong that before she knows it, she’s falling for him too. The problem is, he has no idea who she is, and a relationship built on omissions and half-truths can only last so long before the truth comes out.

Nerd Girl: Have you always imagined yourself as an author, or did you have other career aspirations in the past?

Jessi: I’ve known since 3rd grade and my first Judy Blume book that I wanted to be a writer. I’ll never forget listening to her words, read by my teacher, and thinking “I want to do this. I want to make stories like Judy Blume.” I started writing then, and never stopped. But in high school, I had an English teacher (Mr Kenny, who is Mr Kinney in GOLDEN), who so inspired me that he got me thinking about teaching as well. I taught middle school and high school English for 5 years, and while trying to inspire these kids to go after their dreams, I ended up prodding myself to do so as well, and started writing Moonglass.

Nerd Girl: What made you want to write about teens instead of adults or children?

Jessi: Like I’ve heard many YA authors say, it wasn’t really a conscious decision. That’s just the way that my first story came out, and it’s the way they all have since then. For that, I feel lucky, because writing about teens is full of so much potential.

Nerd Girl: What are some important things that you strive for when writing your novels, knowing that teens are going to be reading them?

Jessi: I don’t think I treat teen readers any different than adult readers. I just try to tell a story where the characters read as genuine people, who, as you mentioned earlier, have strengths and weaknesses, make mistakes, fall down, pick themselves, grow as people. Those things are for all readers.

Nerd Girl: Have you ever had a fangirl moment and who was it with?

Jessi: I have, and of course it was with the one and only Judy Blume, who I met for a half second where instead of telling her everything that was on the tip of my tongue about how much she inspired me, and how I’ve loved all of her books ever since I can remember, I shook her hand, a friend took a picture of us, and it was over so fast I actually have to look back at the picture to believe it really happened!

Nerd Girl: Because this is for the Ontario Teen Book Fest, all about the teens, what is one of your favorite memories from when you were a teen?

Jessi: Senior prom night — the after party. Someone had rented a condo for the party, and just about everyone from our class was there — we had we had a tiny senior class. It was one of those nights where we all knew the end of the year was coming and everyone was friendly and nostalgic, and we danced all night then watched the sun rise from the roof — (almost) all of us. It was special. Like we could feel how much big chance was coming.

Nerd Girl: Last question: who is your fictional crush?

Jessi: Ooh, that’s a tough one. It has to be a tie — between Wes, from The Truth About Forever, and Dexter from This Lullaby. Dessen writes the best boys!

The prizes include: 

Grand Prize: Ontario Teen Book Fest Poster Signed by All Attending Authors and a Swag Pack!

Of course, its not signed yet but it will be!

Of course, its not signed yet but it will be!

First Prize: Ontario Teen Book Fest Signed by All Attending Authors!

Second Prize: Ontario Teen Book Fest Shirt Signed by All Attending Authors!

The shirt will also be signed at the Fest as well!

The shirt will also be signed at the Fest as well!

And its easy to enter, in the rafflecopter below! Sorry, no international this time around!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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