Thank God Its Monday Blog Tour featuring Jessica Brody’s A Week of Mondays and My Best and Worst Mondays!

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I love Mondays. I really do. I know to most people that probably sounds super strange but I actually do really love Mondays. But Monday is also the first day of my weekend, diagnosis so maybe I’m a little biased :). Either way, buy I’m super excited to be a part of the A Week of Mondays blog tour, more about which is a brand new book coming in just a handful of weeks by one of my favorite authors and dearest friends, Jessica Brody.

A Week of Mondays!

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Add the book on GoodReads and Preorder the book at your local bookstore or at the following links:

Amazon / Barnes and Noble / iBooks / Book Depository

Ellie is having the worst Monday of her life. She messes up her school speech for the class vice presidency position, she manages to take the world’s worst school picture, she bombs softball tryouts, and the icing on top of this awful cake: her perfect boyfriend who is in a high school rock band dumps her. At the end of the day, Ellie wishes she could redo everything. When she wakes up the next morning, she discovers that it’s Monday again! She has six more chances to redo the day in the hopes of having everything go exactly the way she wants. But in the process, she just may find out that what she really wants and what she actually needs are two very different things.

About Jessica Brody

Jessica Brody knew from a young age that she wanted to be a writer. She started self “publishing” her own books when she was seven years old, binding the pages together with cardboard, wallpaper samples, and electrical tape.

After graduating from Smith College in 2001 where she double majored in Economics and French and minored in Japanese, Jessica later went on to work for MGM Studios as a Manager of Acquisitions and Business Development. In May of 2005, Jessica quit her job to follow her dream of becoming a published author.

You Can Find Her:

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

My Best Monday 

Like I said before, I adore Mondays. At the moment, I’m typing up this blog post with a Starbucks in my hand, enjoying the beautiful gorgeous sunny California day. It has already started out as a great day. I adore Mondays. But let’s see, my best Monday ever. I probably couldn’t pinpoint an exact day, that would just be too hard to remember. But I’ll tell you what could potentially be a great Monday.

My best Monday would include all my favorite things. I would wake up and go get breakfast at my favorite breakfast place, which is a little place called The Filling Station in Old Towne Orange. They have the most amazing breakfast and mimosas and that would just be an amazing start to the day. After that, I would drive down to Universal Studios, spending a handful of hours in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which has easily become my favorite place to be since its unofficial open in February. My friends would be there and I would enjoy a butterbeer, go on both rides, do some magic with my interactive wand and watch the frog choir – which is my absolute favorite. After that, I would hop on the freeway to head home, making sure to stop at Sprinkles Cupcakes. I would grab some dinner at Mad Wolf Mongolian BBQ, which is my hometown and is literally my favorite place to eat; I can’t get enough. After that, I would head to Angel Stadium with my dad and siblings and watch a game, because the Angels and baseball are some of my favorite things in the world, and I would go home super happy, because they would have won, of course. On the way home, I’d stop by Barnes and Noble before they closed and spend the last few minutes in the store, shopping for all the new books that I could buy.

Simple. I think that would be the best Monday ever. All my favorite things.

My Worst Monday

Okay, so this is how it would start. It would start with me waking up way earlier than I want to. Remember, Mondays are my day off so I do not like getting up early on Mondays; that’s my one day to actually sleep in and it would be the daycare behind my house. The kids would be loud and wake me up from a fabulous dream involving me being a Shadowhunter and Matthew Daddario (aka Alec Lightwood) would be my Shadowhunter boyfriend. My hair wouldn’t straighten right, I wouldn’t be able to get my winged eyeliner exactly right, and my favorite shirt would have a massive stain on it – and I’d have no time to wash it. My favorite restaurants would be closed and it would be freezing cold (I’m such a baby when it comes to the cold). All of my friends would be busy and there would be no new books to read and Sprinkles would run out of my very favorite cupcake. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter would be so crowded that day and I wouldn’t even be able to get my hands on a butterbeer. The Angels would lose that day. My worst days are always the ones where all the little things add up and I just feel like I can’t win. My car wouldn’t start. That sort of thing. I certainly hope that I don’t have one of those Mondays any time soon because the Monday I’m having today and the Monday I described above sound so much better than a bad Monday!

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Thank you so much for hanging out for A Week of Mondays blog tour! Look out this week for a spoiler free review of the book!

Announcement! Ontario Teen Book Fest Authors!

Yay! Its almost that time again! Time for my favorite event of the year, try the Ontario Teen Book Fest. The first time I attended it was nearly three years ago and each and every year, I’ve become more involved and more connected and attached to this event. Courtney, the youth services librarian, and the rest of her crew, always put on an amazing event. I’m incredibly excited about the lineup for this event, especially since I’m in it this year!

Where Teens and Books Meet!

When: March 12, 2016
9 am to 5 pm

Where: Colony High Branch Library
3850 East Riverside Drive
Ontario, CA

More information will be coming! Check out the official blog tour, starting February 22nd, kicking off on THIS blog, for more information, including giveaways. You can also visit the official TBF website here, to find out more about sponsors, how to purchase books, all about the panels and more!

For now, let’s meet this year’s line up! Click the authors’ names to check out their websites and learn more!

Authors: 

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Elana K Arnold

Jay Asher

Alexis Bass

Virginia Boecker

Jessica Brody

Stephanie Diaz

Brad Gottfred

Kristin Halbrook

Michelle Levy

Nicole Maggi

Mary McCoy

Marissa Meyer

Alexandra Monir

Andrew Smith

April Genevieve Tucholke

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Moderators

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E. Katherine Kottaras

Robin Reul 

Sara Elizabeth Santana

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Who are you most excited about? I hope to see you all there, and make sure to come back on February 22nd for the blog tour kick off!

Tuesday Top Ten – Favorite Books Read in 2015

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you had an absolutely FABULOUSLY nerdy 2015, see full of books and all kinds of awesome. I know I did. 2015 was a GREAT year to be me and I’m stoked to see what 2016 brings me.

For now, information pills let’s count down the top ten (technically 12) books that I read this year. Keep in mind…I read 126 books this year so this was HARD

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Both of the Honorable Mention books are actually being published in 2016. I read both of them in 2015 as ARCs and absolutely loved them both, page so they make my list of best books I read this year :)

Click the book title for its GoodReads page, the author name for their website and the book cover for my review!

Flamecaster by Cinda Williams Chima 

I was so excited when I got this ARC both digitally and in the mail. I absolutely adore Cinda Chima and I honestly think she’s one of the best fantasy authors I’ve ever read. She’s just so damn good. She’s going to be visiting in April, about two hours away, but I’m going. Hands down. This is the first in a new series, a spin off of my favorite series by her, the Seven Realms. It was great to be back in that realm, though I miss Raisa and Han, and it was just…ugh, so damn good. I can’t wait to read more!

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Confession Time: I’ve never read an Alex Bracken book before. I’ve heard The Darkest Minds series is good but I just haven’t had a chance to read it yet. I got this book in the mail as an ARC and I loved the cover and concept and immediately dove in. I can’t even begin to explain how much I ADORE this book. I’m a huge fan of Alex’s now and I can’t wait to make The Darkest Minds a priority in 2016.

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Unchanged by Jessica Brody

Its hard to believe that I read this book nearly a year ago! How insane is that! So weird. But god, what an amazing end to the trilogy. I had all these theories and expectations and this literally blew my mind. It is just…its not at all what I expected at all. She surprised me and shocked me and its really hard to genuinely surprise me and I was like like OMG. Jessica Brody got progressively better and better with this series and I just absolutely loved this series ender.

The Shameless Hour by Sarina Bowen

In all truthfulness, I read the entirety of this series this year, and I loved every single minute of it. I was hooked from book one and devoured the entire series and anxiously awaited the new releases. But by far, easily, my favorite is The Shameless Hour. I love both of the main characters and I love the story. I love Bella so much, I love that she’s not your typical virgin, which we see most of the time in NA series. I love that she owns who she is until things happen and she questions herself, but still ultimately comes out as confident in the person she is. I don’t know if that sentence made sense AT all but that’s how I felt. SUCH a good book.

All Played Out by Cora Carmack

Even though Carson is my favorite and will always have the special spot in my heart, I just loved loved loved All Played Out. Like I said about with Jessica, Cora just got better and better with these books as the series continued and I devoured APO in a matter of hours. Just blew me away. I adore Nell, her personality, her directness, everything and Torres is just…the kind of guy that would drive me absolutely insane in real life but causes me to swoon when I read. I am INSANELY excited about the release of the fourth book :)

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

I had been hearing about this book for ages and I had actually bought it when I met Victoria at YALLWest back in April. Everyone said it was SO good, but I just wasn’t feeling it for awhile. But when I finally sat down to read it…it just blew my mind. The world building is incredible, absolutely incredible…it flows so well and is so believable. And the twists and turns in this book…I was incredibly shocked at the ending of this book, jaw dropping, for sure. That cliffhanger…is it time for book two yet?!

Stand Off by Andrew Smith

I love Winger. Its one of my favorite books of all time and when I heard there was going to be a sequel, I nearly peed my pants with excitement. Because I was going to get my Ryan Dean back and the antics that follow him, always. And yes, that is what happened in Stand Off. I laughed so hard, because Ryan Dean is hilarious and Andrew is hilarious and the brand new character of Sam Abernathy is so freakin’ hilarious. But the book surprised me and became so much more, just like Winger. It had a lot to say about post traumatic stress disorder, and panic attacks and was written so beautifully. Always a win with an Andrew Smith book.

What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler

I had high anticipation for this book because I absolutely adore Aaron Hartzler. He’s a great writer and just an all around great person and I was so excited when I was able to get an ARC of this book. And my expectations were blown away. I loved his first book. I absolutely am obsessed with this one. Aaron Hartzler writes a compelling and incredibly emotional read and its beautiful and poignant and relevant and permanent. I read this months ago, and the story still is stuck with me, still sends chills through me. Its a must read for sure.

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

The first book I ever read by Rainbow Rowell was her novel, Fangirl, which I’ve now read several times. One of my favorite books that I’ve ever read and one of the few characters that I’ve been able to identify with as much as I have with Cath…Cath is me. So when I heard Rainbow was putting out Carry On, a story of the fictional characters created in Fangirl…I had to. And its amazing how invested in these doubly fictional characters I was! I loved the story from beginning to end and I laughed so hard, so many times, and I will ship Simon and Baz until the end of time. One of the best Harry Potter fan fictions I’ve ever read in my life, and I’m so glad this became a real book.

Winter by Marissa Meyer

I honestly felt like this book was NEVER going to be released. It had been nearly TWO years since Cress and I was DYING to find out what happened next. I’ve been in a perpetual slump with reading the past few months but I knew I had to sit down and read this one and I’m so glad I made myself do it because I blew through it. Marissa Meyer has an EPIC end to the series, with so many throwbacks to the original fairytales but also keeping me hooked to the action and the surprise and the romance and all of it. I LOVED this book and this series, and I can’t get it out of my head.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

I don’t think I’ve ever met an author as talented at writing this beautifully and creating these kind of worlds so intricately than Leigh Bardugo. Seriously. The kind of fantasy she creates, the characters, the worlds, the way they all weave together to create the story…it just completely hooks me. Its emotional and real and its gripping because you can feel everything in the story as if you stepped through the pages. Leigh takes the world she created in the Grisha trilogy and opens it up wider, further, and pulls us into a new story, and its not hard to fall into it. I loved each and every character, I loved the story and I feel like I’m never going to fail to be impressed by this lady.

Scorched by Jennifer L Armentrout

I didn’t expect for this book to be on this list. I didn’t expect to love this book as much as I did. I love Jennifer Armentrout and I’ve learned this year to love love love her new adult books. I loved Frigid but I took it as what it was and was excited for Scorched. I was so unprepared for what that book would do to me. Scorched’s main character, Andrea, suffers through mental illness, mental illness that is very very similar to my own and it felt…so real, so raw, so emotional to read the point of view of someone who felt so much like I do. I cried a lot because I felt like JLA had given me a voice, when it felt too hard to describe how I felt…especially when she described a panic attack. I kept thinking, YES, that’s how it feels. So yes, I loved the story and the romance and all of that but I also loved Andrea, and her struggle and JLA’s ability to put my feelings into words.

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What were some of YOUR favorite reads of 2015? Don’t forget to sound off in the comments!

Tuesday Top Ten – Books I Want to Be Under My Christmas Tree!

It’s almost Christmas! It definitely feels like Christmas time. The red cups are out at Starbucks. The Christmas music is playing. There’s a slight breeze blowing in California. You know, more about typical Christmas time.

And the best part about Christmas – you know beside the whole spending time with your family thing, cialis 40mg I guess lol – is presents!

I’m kidding. Mostly.

But I thought it would be fun to make this week’s Tuesday Top Ten a sort of wish list. The one thing that I want the most under my Christmas tree every year is a huge stack of books. So here are the top ten that I wish would appear under my tree this year.

For the Record by Charlotte Huang

I honestly hadn’t even heard of this book until my dear friend Stephanie mentioned that she was friends with the author and that everyone should read it. I liked the title and the cover, case so I immediately looked it up. And it sounds absolutely amazing. The premise is great, I love the idea of mixing music and love and all of that. I honestly think its going to be a great read so I really want to get this book in my hands.

The Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare – New Editions

Okay, so I already have these books. I already have multiple copies of a lot of these books. But I absolutely am in love with these covers and I really want these box sets in my life. I am so so in love with these covers. Don’t ask me what I would do with all these extra copies because I’m running out of room but I really do want them…

Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray

This book has been out for awhile and I had it for awhile, through the library, but I couldn’t make myself read it. Not because it isn’t good because its Libba Bray, so of course its good. But I’m in such a slump and I really feel like if I have my own, physical copy, it’ll help. I love Evie and I really want to continue to read her story into this book so hopefully I can get this gorgeous thing in my hands soon.

Whatever Life Throws at You by Julie Cross

I both super super want this and also super want to avoid it at the same time. I want to read it because its sports and its BASEBALL and its romance and all of that sounds so awesome and the love interest sounds fantastic. I also don’t want to read it because I’m writing my own baseball romances right now so I don’t want to be influenced by others. But it just sounds SO good, and it IS YA…I want it. I don’t know when I’ll read it but I definitely want to read it.

The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Why do I want this book? Because its Huntley Fitzpatrick and she writes so well and her romances are so damn good. I’ve been wanting my hands on this baby for months and for some reason, I haven’t bought it yet so maybe this one will make its way under my Christmas tree. Plus its a companion to the first book I read by her so it makes it even better.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

All I’ve heard are amazing things about this book and I just want to make this happen already. I tried to get it from the library but I’m, like, 27th on the waiting list and I’m just not down for that. So I need this, physical copy, in my hands so I can finally read it. It sounds fun and exciting and awesome.

Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith

This is the first of this series that I have not jumped on automatically. So obviously I need this in my life. Because I’m constantly reading YA books, I’m not quite used to buying adult books, which means when a book is 25 dollars, my wallet kind of wants to cry. But these Cormoran Strike novels are SO damn good and I’m sad that I haven’t had a chance to dive into this book yet!

The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman

I’ve seen this book. Haven’t read it yet but I flipped through it one day at Barnes and Noble and its just absolutely gorgeous. Nail Gaiman is an incredible writer and I really need this book in my life. Its just SO beautiful and I really need this. Plus its Neil! Ugh. Neil just makes me happy in whatever book he writes.

Stay With Me by Jennifer L Armentrout

Mostly because I don’t have it. I literally have every other book in this collection and I don’t have this one. Which makes no sense whatsoever…I feel like I bought these books completely out of order haha. So yeah, having this book under my tree would just make me happy because my Wait for You collection would be complete.

The Fidelity Files by Jessica Brody

I have read every single book by Jessica Brody. Except her adult series. And the drives me absolutely insane. One, because she’s an absolutely fantastic writer and two, she’s my friend and I feel like a fail. I’ve had such a hard time finding this book so I really wish I could wake up to find this underneath my Christmas tree. It just SOUNDS like it would be a great book too. One day, one day…

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What are some of the books you hope are under your Christmas tree this year? Share in the comments!

Tuesday Top Ten – Authors I’m Thankful For

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I know, buy I know, buy not everyone celebrates Thanksgiving but I’m feeling particularly festive this week! I have a Magnus Chase giveaway going on right now, website I’m about to eat LOTS of food very soon, and my book releases in exactly a week! There’s plenty to be excited about and plenty to be thankful for.

I’m excited to hopefully get more involved with blogging, seeing as I’ve been very bad at it lately. I’ve been SO SO insanely busy but I’m glad to be back. I thought returning to the Tuesday Top Ten with a post about authors that I’m thankful for!

They are in no particular order :)

JK Rowling 

It should come as no surprise that Queen Rowling ended up on this list. She is easily my favorite author and she has been an influence on me since I was a child. She is an incredible writer, one of the best world builders I’ve ever encountered and full of so much magic and love. I feel a connection to her books and to her struggle through poverty and welfare and depression, and how she’s conquered so much of that. She’s a beautiful human being and I’m so glad that I’ve been lucky enough to read her the past 17 years. Her books saved me from a ton of heartbreak as a child, she gave me an escape when I had none and I would not be here as the person I am without her.

Tamora Pierce 

I’m grateful for Tamora Pierce for so many reasons. For being a great writer. For being insanely sweet when I met her and cried my eyes out. For creating strong female characters long before most of the YA authors we know did. For writing amazing fantasy. But I think mostly I am grateful to her for giving me my love for fantasy. Besides Harry Potter and LoTR, I wasn’t much into fantasy until I discovered her Tortall books. That’s when I learned how familiar fantasy can be, how you can get lost in this world that is completely made up but still feels as familiar as the one you know. Tammy gave me my love for fantasy…easily.

Cassandra Clare

I honestly have to thank Cassandra Clare for a lot of things. She gave me two incredible series that are easily my favorites. She gave me worlds that gave me a ton of bravery. But mostly? Her books came into my life at a time when I was falling apart and I didn’t know if I could get back out of it. I was depressed, more so than I had ever been in my life, when I found myself wandering the bookstore and stumbled upon City of Bones and that book saved me from myself. The whole series did. I’m so thankful for Cassandra and her books.

Jessica Brody

I can’t even begin to describe the gratitude I have for Jessica Brody. As an author and as a friend. She is a great author and has been an incredible inspiration for me. I love knowing that she writes contemporary and science fiction, adult and YA and she gives me the motivation to be all over the place too in my writing. But she also is the reason I’m the blogger than I am and the writer than I am, the person I am. She taught me so many amazing tricks. She has given me the best advice. She has lead me on the right path so many times. I can’t even begin to describe how much she means to me.

Leigh Bardugo 

The fact that I can call this amazing, talented, fantastic, hilarious author friend blows my mind every single time. She’s fabulous. She’s a great writer, one that blows my mind with each and every book that I read by her. She is so inspiring with her world building; it makes me work harder and harder. She’s a great friend, and she’s given me great advice over the years. She’s made me feel important and she’s made me believe that I can do this. I’m so grateful for that. And I’m so grateful for these amazing books that she’s given us.

Andrew Smith

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I am so thankful for Andrew Smith…because he is one of the best authors I’ve ever read, in my entire life, for so many reasons. He is able to write so many things in one, humor and fantasy and science fiction and romance and all of this in one big thing. He’s incredibly talented and very humble about it. And he connects with his fans so well. He treats them all with such respect and I admire it so much. I admire his love for literature, his love for his family, for travel, for his job, and his passion for just being himself and writing the books he wants to write. I wish very much that I could be more like him, as a writer and a person. And through all of this…he calls me friend. That is just the most surreal thing ever.

Jennifer L Armentrout 

I adore JLA. I love her so much and its because I hope to be an author like her. She writes with humor and she writes everything. She writes paranormal and fantasy and romance and science fiction and so many of her books are so good. I’ve been rereading the Covenant series recently and I’m remembering why I love it so much and I’m reminded of how much that series was a huge influence on The Awakened. She’s so incredible. I love that she writes with humor, like the way she would talk, because I do the same thing. She’s a huge influence for me. I also love her because she wrote Scorched, which tackled mental illness and really hit home for me. I love that when I told her what that book meant to me, she hugged me and told me she was proud of me for getting help. She’s an amazing author and person.

Rainbow Rowell 

I think Rainbow Rowell is one of the best YA authors to exist right now. She writes stories that just grab you and make you feel like yelling, yes, exactly, this is exactly right. She writes the human soul so well…all of her books bring tears to my eyes because of how well she captures human emotion. But I am so grateful and thankful for her because she wrote Fangirl. That book’s main character, Cath, is one of the only characters I can say with 100% certainty is much much like me. I kept reading through the book, thinking, yes, this is exactly how I feel. This is exactly what I mean. This is exactly the person I am. She just…its like she took my personality and put it on paper. I am so thankful for her creating a character that I can connect with so much.

Richelle Mead

Its funny that Richelle Mead came to mean so insanely much to me when I avoided reading the Vampire Academy series for SO SO long. But eventually I did it and I am so glad I did because Richelle writes beautiful fantasy which fantastically sassy main characters. Her Rose Hathaway is one of my favorite characters ever and was a huge influence on my Zoey Valentine for sure. She’s an incredible influence…and she showed me that you can take something that has been done a million times, like vampires, like zombies, and turn it into your own story, something new and unique and compelling. The Awakened exists a lot because of her and her series.

Melissa Landers

I cheated and put eleven authors on this list. I know, I said ten but whatever. Eleven works well. I had to put Melissa on here because I am so thankful for her as an author. She has always been a sweetheart to me and has always treated me with the utmost respect. And I just love her books. Her books showed me that you can have science fiction and romance in one and make it work so well. Alienated was a massive influence on The Awakened in the romance sense. Aelyx and Cara’s relationship influences Zoey and Ash’s so much and I’m so incredibly grateful for her fabulous blend of science fiction and romance. May she continue to write awesome books again and again.

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Who are some of the authors YOU are grateful for? Share in the comments!

Tuesday Top Ten – Underrated YA Book Series

So I was  browsing around Facebook yesterday when I came across a Buzzfeed article about the 29 Underrated YA Book Series. Of course I had to click on it.

And while I love several of the choices on that list, no rx I thought, try I should do my own list. There are GREAT series on there, but a lot of them aren’t what I would call underrated or unnoticed. Percy Jackson? Huge. HUGE. And they got two movies. Infernal Devices? Again. HUGE. All Souls? Incredibly popular and not YA right? I don’t know to be honest, I haven’t read them. I know they aren’t shelved with YA. The Chicken Soup series? Didn’t everyone have those when I was in middle school/high school? And so on.

So that brings us to today’s Tuesday Top Ten…my favorite YA series that just don’t get enough attention. Which is why I’m talking about them. So they get more attention. Because I’m just awesome that way.

Let’s do this.

Oh, I’ll add one more thing. All of these get GREAT reviews, and have received an abundance of praise and accolades and all the huge reviewers and all that love them. By “underrated” I mean, by the masses that tend to enjoy YA. The people that don’t much more than Hunger Games and Divergent and that sort of thing.

Moving on…

10. The Across the Universe Trilogy by Beth Revis

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I love love love this series. Beth Revis takes humanity, sticks them on a space ship and gets them lost for centuries. Humanity has basically all but disappeared on this ship until one of the humans who was supposed to be frozen until they arrive at this “new” earth awakes…and chaos and romance and all sorts of things erupt. Its fantastic. There is just SO much about this series that is so good. I have a hard time finding people who have read it and I get so excited when I do!

9. The Covenant Series by Jennifer L. Armentrout

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So JLA was on this BuzzFeed list, but with the Lux series. That series, the Wait for You series and the Dark Elements series…they’re all fairly popular. They are the ones that I feel like people talk about when it comes to JLA. But my absolute favorite of her series is hands down The Covenant series. SO freakin good! Alex and Aidan are hot as hell, they have a steamy and intense and fun romance, and their world is chaotic and full of action and drama and …more intensity. And its Greek mythology with a new twist and I love every single bit of it.

8. The Mediator Series by Meg Cabot

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Meg Cabot is not exactly underrated but she has so many series that often times some of them get lost underneath the ones she’s really known for like The Princess Diaries. This is one of my absolute favorites by her. It has ghosts! And a girl who likes to beat them up when they don’t want to cooperate. And a super hot Spanish ghost that’s a really great kisser. Its just awesome. The entire series is just SO flippin good. Meg manages to write this amazing paranormal romance that also makes you laugh again and again and again.

7. The Seven Realms Series by Cinda Williams Chima

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This series was actually on the list and it was one of the few that I really agreed should be on this list. I first picked up this list when my ex told me to pick out a book and I thought the cover was beautiful and then I proceeded to consume the entire series in a matter of days. Its so beautifully written and it has everything you could want in a book. It has romance and action and politics and action and humor and discovery and uncertainty and god…everything. I can’t speak highly enough of this series. Its legitimately one of my favorites ever.

6. The Gemma Doyle Trilogy by Libba Bray

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UGH. God. This series. I’m meeting Libba for the first time this weekend at YALL West, and I legit can’t handle that kind of pressure. I’m going to cry or something. I actually accidentally picked up the second book first (whoops) but rectified and continued on to enjoy this beautiful trilogy. It takes place in Victorian English countryside at a boarding school that is hiding all sorts of secrets. Its so dark but funny at the same time and its full of a new kind of magic and I love every bit of it. I need a re-read of this soon actually…

5. The Girl of Fire and Thorns Series by Rae Carson

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Let’s put it this way: I would not drive all the way to Vegas (about a 4 to 5 hour drive) just to meet her for one day if I didn’t think this series was that amazing. What makes this great is that its this sort of Chosen One story but the Chosen One is the last person you’d expect. Elisa is fat and uncertain and unsure and you kind sit there and think, her? Really? But its just so great. And the world building and the magic and the evolution of the main character throughout the three books…my little book loving heart just can’t handle the beauty of this trilogy.

4. The Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce

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There WAS a series by Tammy on the list but I chose this one for a huge reason: its the first series of the epicness of the Tortall world. The one they chose is the third one and kind of…spoils the first two series for sure. haha. Plus let’s face it…Tammy has a handle on this YA fantasy since the early 80s and just not enough people are reading her. She’s amazing. Her writing, the characters she creates, the way she manages to keep the world of Tortall alive after so many decades…its impossible not to absolutely love her. This series is about a girl who disguises her gender for YEARS in order to become a knight, and then basically does whatever the hell she wants once everyone finds out. YES. I want to shove all of her books down all of your throats. Sorry. Not really.

3. The Airhead Trilogy by Meg Cabot

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Why, yes, I did pick two Meg Cabot series. This is another one that kind of disappears when it comes to Meg. But its legitimately my favorite. Besides Princess Diaries. Because its just SO weird and bizarre and I love it. Em Watts dies…but not really. At the same time as her body dies, supermodel Nikki Howard as a brain aneurysm. Doctors save her life by implanting her brain into Nikki’s body, but she has to live her life as Nikki and no one can know that she was once Em. Its seriously the most bizarre thing ever, especially once you realize there’s so much more to it than meets the eye. And its just straight up hilarious.

2. The Unremembered Trilogy by Jessica Brody

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The finale of this trilogy just released less than two months ago and I’m still reeling from it. I can barely express my emotions about it. Sigh. Anyway. This is a series that’s absolutely incredible and seriously does NOT get enough credit. I want to see more of those purple books in people’s hands. Seriously. I can’t even explain how great this trilogy is. Its like…Bourne Identity but with a super badass girl instead of Matt Damon and it has superhumans called Ex-Gens and time travel and cool technology and romance and action and its just amazing. There are not nearly enough people reading it and you guys need to be reading it. Now. Go.

1. The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

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I love Leigh from the bottom of my heart to the tip top of my head all the way to my little toes. She’s AMAZING and her series just proves that. She has had SUCH success with it, but its nothing to the extend that a ton of people know about it and I want to change that. Her trilogy is perfection and its such a great example of how AMAZING YA fantasy…and YA in general…can be. She’s a terrific writer and a fabulous storyteller. This is another series that needs a re-read soon because now all I can think about is how much I love these books!

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Event Recap: Ontario Teen Book Fest 2015!

Whew! This girl is exhausted! I have a slight headache and I’m ready to sit in bed all day and watch the Disney movie marathon on ABC Family and talk all about the super fantastic amazing day I had once again at the Ontario Teen Book Fest.

19 authors, abortion both guests and moderators, cost came together to celebrate the love of books and writing.

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I was so very very very excited about this event. I spend pretty much all year waiting for it to happen. As the official blogger, see I get excited waiting for the author list and all of that, and I work really hard on promoting the heck out of this thing and making sure the blog tour runs as smoothly as possible.

I arrived early in the morning, ready to start my day, an absolutely necessary coffee in hand. I immediately ran into Courtney, who runs the fest as her literal third child. She said she had something for me, for all the hard work that I do for the fest. She let me into the author “backstage area”. I noticed there was a spot for each author, and each author had their own name bag and their own bag with their book splashed on the side. She walked me to a table…and I was gifted with my own name badge and a bag with my logo on the side!

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I’m not going to lie…I nearly cried. It was just such a small gesture but it was awesome. I seriously want everything with my logo on it haha, I want a travel mug, and a phone case and everything and having this bag is SO SO super cool.

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All the authors sat down for breakfast and I intermingled, talking and making sure the giveaway posters got signed (which they did, congrats to Kerry and Amy!) It was super great seeing all the familiar faces like Jessica Brody and Catherine Linka and Lauren Miller and all of those guys and it was even more awesome to make new friends in Melissa Landers and Mary Elizabeth Summer and more.

I really SUPER loved talking to Jessica Brody about the ending to her trilogy. I haven’t talked to anyone who has read it yet and I’m just bursting to talk about it because it was so so good and it was nice to hear that she really loved my review of it. I also nearly started crying again (I swear, I’m not THAT emotional) when both Catherine and Lauren asked about my books. Lauren even told me to keep going, that it’ll happen because she likes my little snippets and that they’re written well. I fangirled only slightly.

First off were the keynote speeches, which were done by Claudia Gray, Aaron Hartzler and Shannon Messenger.

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Claudia Gray did a speech on How NOT to Become a Writer which was super fun, fresh, hilarious and actually really helpful. She told in order to not become a writer, you don’t read, you don’t write, you don’t try. I think my favorite part was her saying that writer’s block is not a thing (because that’s what I believe). She paraphrased Dan Wells, and I’m paraphrasing her right now, saying writing is the only job where people stop and say, “nope, I just can’t do my job today.” Which made me laugh a lot. 

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Next was Aaron Hartzler, talking about growing up in a conservative Christian household as a closet gay boy and having a hard time figuring out who he was. It was incredible and very moving. Suddenly I wasn’t the only one crying that day. He said a particular line that I tweeted out and I kind of want to make my motto on this blog now: “Be the weird you want to see in the world.”

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Then was Shannon Messenger. She was SO sweet and funny. She talked about she sort of accidentally fell into writing YA, since she wrote Let the Sky Fall as a way to distract her from the ups and downs of publishing her first novel (which is her middle grade series). She also talked about her film making at USC and I’m just saying, I can’t be the only one that wants to watch Tumble of Love.

Then it was time for the first panel. I went to the Promise Not to Tell: Secret Lies panel where the lovely Gretchen McNeil was moderating with Jessica Brody, Jessica Khoury, Anna Carey, Kasie West and Katie Finn.

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The one thing I really loved about this panel was the time they took to talk about writing! They talked about their methods, how they outline or don’t outline or do both (Katie is my girl!) and the kind of research they do and all of that. I didn’t know that Jessica Khoury had actually gone to the Kalahari in order to do some research for Kalahari but that’s super cool. I’m really jealous!

Then we all had lunch, courtesy of one of the sponsors, Panera Bread, and then continued to the Author Speed Dating. I think this is the BEST part of the event. There are tables set up and the authors move from table to table, for a period of five minutes, and talk about…well, whatever, they want. I got to talk to a bunch of great authors, and I’m glad I was able to talk to ones I’m not hugely familiar with like Sherri Smith and Brad Gottfred, both who were fabulous. I loved talking about periods and characters getting their periods in books with Sherri Smith. It was actually a really great conversation haha.

After the speed dating were the second panels. I knew I HAD to go see the Girls Gone Sci-Fi panel with Gretchen McNeil as a moderator to Jessica Brody, Jessica Khoury, Melissa Landers, Lauren Miller and Claudia Gray. I knew some hilarity would ensue and I was DEFINITELY right. All such fabulous ladies and all of them inspirational in my own journey as a YA sci-fi writer. I’m sad because I got hit with a TERRIBLE coughing fit during the panel and had to leave, but I could hear laughter so I’m sure it continued to be super fun and awesome.

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Then it was time for the book signing! I don’t have a lot of money right now so I only got a few books that I already owned signed. But I talked to all the authors and took pictures and got them to sign my writing advice poster #2. They all were absolutely fabulous.

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I love how personalized this is :) Most of my books from Morgan (Katie) say its great seeing me. I’m also stoked because this is an ARC with the original cover, but when the book actually releases, it’ll be a totally different cover, so that’s kind of cool!

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Now my collection is complete! And again with the awesome personalization. You’re extraordinary too Jess! And she signed a super cool poster with the Unremembered trilogy on one side and a map of the Diotech compound on the other.

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Aw thanks Melissa :) It was fabulous to see you too! I fangirled only *slightly* at meeting her. I absolutely LOVE this series and I can’t wait for her next one!

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Finally! I only owned an e-copy so I’m stoked to have this finally!

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Michelle Levy is a debut author whose debut novel will be releasing THIS August and I’m so INCREDIBLY excited for it, and I’m so happy for her as well. I was super surprised when she gave me an ARC, and I can’t wait to dive in!

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All of the authors! There’s a picture with me somewhere and I hope I will find it eventually. All such awesome, great authors.

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Me and Elizabeth Ross

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Me and my new bestie (I don’t think she knows it yet) Mary Elizabeth Summer. Read her book Trust Me, I’m Lying. Seriously. Do it.

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Me and Michelle Levy and her beautiful ARC for her debut book. I can’t wait til August and I’m so excited to read it!

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Me and Kasie West :) I was relieved to meet another author that is a pantser and not a plotter. I’m kind of a plotter. Kind of. But mostly a pantser.

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Me and Anna Carey. I seriously adore her and want to be like her because any author that can write not one, but TWO books, in second person is seriously amazing.

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One of my favorite authors of all time. I absolutely adore her. She writes amazing books as both Morgan Matson and Katie Finn.

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Me and Shannon Messenger. She is absolutely adorable. I really enjoyed her keynote and I’m really hoping that I can read her middle grade series soon!

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Me and Jessica Khoury. I cannot stress enough how much influence she has had on The Awakened. She is a fantastic writer, balancing nature and science fiction and romance and all sorts of things. I adore her. Plus she’s a Doctor Who and Harry Potter fan and has a cute husky! She also gave me a super cool Corpus trilogy poster that could potentially be a giveaway soon ;)

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Me and Aaron Hartzler. I was seriously bummed because I had thought he had left before I had the chance to get a picture with him and have him sign my writing advice picture but he reappeared and I managed to grab him. He is amazing and I can’t WAIT for his new book!

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*flails* I am so glad I met Melissa Landers! I fell in love with her books last summer and I just love her. Great writing advice, and she really seemed to appreciate the fact that I throw her books in everyone’s faces haha. And she gave me a cool poster for my wall.

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Me and Claudia Gray. I have to admit, I have yet to read her books but you better bet that I’ll be reading A Thousand Pieces of You soon. Not only does it sound amazing but Claudia is just a badass lady in general!

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After the event, I was invited out to dinner with some readers, some authors and some of the booksellers, and of course, Courtney, as well. I literally had to stop in the middle of dinner and just look around. I am so happy and grateful to be a part of such an awesome community and to be surrounded by such amazing people that I can genuinely call friends. Its incredible and I feel so lucky.

At the end of the day, I headed home and I just felt SO happy. I had such a great day. I was surrounded by readers and librarians and booksellers and bloggers that enjoy the same kind of books that I do and get why they are so incredibly important to me. I was surrounded by fellow writers, both published and unpublished, and got to share in that. I was around all these authors that I admire and that inspire me.

I also am grateful for every single person who came up to me, said hi and was awesome. My little ol blog just keeps getting bigger and bigger and I appreciate when you all say hi to me, whether you’re a reader or a fellow blogger. I love meeting all of you!

And a huge shoutout, hugs and kisses, tears and mountains of gratitude to each and every single author. You are all so incredible and I worship you all. You are all doing what I work hard every single day to accomplish and I appreciate all that you do for your readers. You donate your time and you take pictures and sign books and answer the same questions over and over again and we all appreciate it so much. I also appreciate how wonderful you’ve all been to me. You’ve become my friends, shown me a ton of respect, and have encouraged me and supported me in my own journey to become a published author. I cannot begin to express my gratitude to all of you. I feel incredibly lucky!

And lastly, thanks to Courtney Saldana. You are such a fantastic person and I’m glad that the Ontario TBF brought us together and that I get to work with you every year on such an awesome event. I’m so grateful for you letting me have this event because it has done so much for me as a reader, writer and a blogger. You are the absolute best and I can’t wait for many years to come, especially since one year I WILL be a guest!

Awesome event again and I can’t wait for 2016. Check out some of the guests already confirmed!

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Andrew Smith

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Marissa Meyer

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Leigh Bardugo