I Read YA Week Interview with Melissa Landers!

I am so insanely excited to bring you the second interview with an excellent YA author, information pills Melissa Landers! She is one of my favorite authors and a huge influence on my own writing. I am so pleased and honored to have her here on What A Nerd Girl Says and I’m ready to jump right in so let’s do this!

ABOUT MELISSA LANDERS

Melissa Landers is a former teacher who left the classroom to pursue other worlds. A proud sci-fi geek, price she isn’t afraid to wear her Princess Leia costume in public—just ask her husband and three kids. She lives just outside Cincinnati in the town of Loveland, “Sweetheart of Ohio”.

You Can Find Her:

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

HER BOOK

Add Melissa’s fantastic sci-fi novel on GoodReads and buy a copy at your local bookstore or on Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Book Depository!

Life in the outer realm is a lawless, dirty, hard existence, and Solara Brooks is hungry for it. Just out of the orphanage, she needs a fresh start in a place where nobody cares about the engine grease beneath her fingernails or the felony tattoos across her knuckles. She’s so desperate to reach the realm that she’s willing to indenture herself to Doran Spaulding, the rich and popular quarterback who made her life miserable all through high school, in exchange for passage aboard the spaceliner Zenith.

When a twist of fate lands them instead on the Banshee, a vessel of dubious repute, Doran learns he’s been framed on Earth for conspiracy. As he pursues a set of mysterious coordinates rumored to hold the key to clearing his name, he and Solara must get past their enmity to work together and evade those out for their arrest. Life on the Banshee may be tumultuous, but as Solara and Doran are forced to question everything they once believed about their world—and each other—the ship becomes home, and the eccentric crew family. But what Solara and Doran discover on the mysterious Planet X has the power to not only alter their lives, but the existence of everyone in the universe…

HER INTERVIEW

Nerd Girl: Why do you write YA?

Melissa: Quite simply: because I want to. There’s so much to enjoy as a YA author: a supportive writing community, enthusiastic fans, limitless story possibilities. I’m having a lot of fun writing for this market. Maybe that’s a selfish reason, but it’s true. :)

Nerd Girl: What are some of your own favorite YA reads?

Melissa: For me, nothing tops Harry Potter. The series started as middle grade and transitioned to YA in a smooth, seamless way that mirrored Harry’s growth. I enjoyed these books so much, and now I’m reading them to my children. It’s great to share that love of the series with them.

Nerd Girl: Describe your latest work in five words or less.

Melissa: Let’s battle an intergalactic mafia!

Nerd Girl: What advice would you give aspiring science fiction authors, especially those who want to dive into space/alien stories like yours?

Melissa: Don’t be afraid to get WEIRD. In this genre, weird is good! I’ll bet Frank Herbert’s friends gave him the side-eye when he said, “I have a story idea about a desert planet where giant sandworms poop out an addictive drug called spice!” But look how that turned out. Dune is (IMO) the gold standard for science fiction.

Nerd Girl: Both the Alienated series and Starflight do such a wonderful job of balancing a science fiction story and fun and awesome romance. How do you balance the two of them when writing?

Melissa: Thank you! Over time, I’ve learned to become more aware of that balance. My natural inclination is to veer toward romance, (I love making characters fall in love!), so I have to remind myself during the plotting stage not to let the romance take over. It helps to have an experienced editor in my corner. She’s good at pointing out imbalances. In fact…she just sent me an edit letter for Starfall, so I’m going to say “goodbye” and get to work. :)

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Thank you, again, Melissa, for joining us! We were so happy to host you during I Read YA week! I can’t wait for United this summer! EEK!

And you guys, don’t forget to head to my instagram, to enter my I Read YA Week giveaway! It runs until May 8th and includes two contemporary YA ARCs and a ton of signed swag!

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Top Anticipated February Releases!

Young Adult

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Starflight by Melissa Landers

Starflight #1

Life in the outer realm is a lawless, look dirty, approved hard existence, recipe and Solara Brooks is hungry for it. Just out of the orphanage, she needs a fresh start in a place where nobody cares about the engine grease beneath her fingernails or the felony tattoos across her knuckles. She’s so desperate to reach the realm that she’s willing to indenture herself to Doran Spaulding, the rich and popular quarterback who made her life miserable all through high school, in exchange for passage aboard the spaceliner Zenith.

When a twist of fate lands them instead on the Banshee, a vessel of dubious repute, Doran learns he’s been framed on Earth for conspiracy. As he pursues a set of mysterious coordinates rumored to hold the key to clearing his name, he and Solara must get past their enmity to work together and evade those out for their arrest. Life on the Banshee may be tumultuous, but as Solara and Doran are forced to question everything they once believed about their world—and each other—the ship becomes home, and the eccentric crew family. But what Solara and Doran discover on the mysterious Planet X has the power to not only alter their lives, but the existence of everyone in the universe…

Release Date: February 2nd, 2016

My Thoughts: I’ve already read it. Already love it. Melissa Landers rocks at these science fiction romances, seriously she’s quickly becoming a favorite. This had a nice Firefly feel to it and I loved every minute of it.

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen #2

Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.

Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

Release Date: February 9th, 2016

My Thoughts: It took me ages to sit down and read Red Queen but it absolutely blew my mind once I did. I literally canNOT wait until this novel comes out.

Calamity by Brandon Sanderson

The Reckoners #3

When Calamity lit up the sky, the Epics were born. David’s fate has been tied to their villainy ever since that historic night. Steelheart killed his father. Firefight stole his heart. And now Regalia has turned his closest ally into a dangerous enemy.

David knew Prof’s secret, and kept it even when Prof struggled to control the effects of his Epic powers. But facing Obliteration in Babilar was too much. Once the Reckoners’ leader, Prof has now embraced his Epic destiny. He’s disappeared into those murky shadows of menace Epics are infamous for the world over, and everyone knows there’s no turning back…

But everyone is wrong. Redemption is possible for Epics—Megan proved it. They’re not lost. Not completely. And David is just about crazy enough to face down the most powerful High Epic of all to get his friend back. Or die trying.

Release Date: February 16th, 2016

My Thoughts: I really really need to read Firefight before I read this one. Obviously. I’ve had Firefight in my TBR pile since the day it came out. I fail.

The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

When Aladdin discovers Zahra’s jinni lamp, Zahra is thrust back into a world she hasn’t seen in hundreds of years — a world where magic is forbidden and Zahra’s very existence is illegal. She must disguise herself to stay alive, using ancient shape-shifting magic, until her new master has selected his three wishes. 

But when the King of the Jinn offers Zahra a chance to be free of her lamp forever, she seizes the opportunity—only to discover she is falling in love with Aladdin. When saving herself means betraying him, Zahra must decide once and for all: is winning her freedom worth losing her heart?

As time unravels and her enemies close in, Zahra finds herself suspended between danger and desire in this dazzling retelling of Aladdin from acclaimed author Jessica Khoury.

Release Date: February 23rd, 2016

My Thoughts: Ever since Jessica announced she was writing this book, I’ve been so so so ready for it. I’m dying. I tried so hard to get my hands on an ARC to no avail. Sad. But I can’t wait to get my hands on it. Gimme, gimme, gimme.

Titans by Victoria Scott

Ever since the Titans first appeared in her Detroit neighborhood, Astrid Sullivan’s world has revolved around the mechanical horses. She and her best friend have spent countless hours watching them and their jockeys practice on the track. It’s not just the thrill of the race. It’s the engineering of the horses and the way they’re programmed to seem so lifelike. The Titans are everything that fascinates Astrid, and nothing she’ll ever touch.

She hates them a little, too. Her dad lost everything betting on the Titans. And the races are a reminder of the gap between the rich jockeys who can afford the expensive machines to ride, and the working class friends and neighbors of Astrid’s who wager on them.

But when Astrid’s offered a chance to enter an early model Titan in this year’s derby, well, she decides to risk it all. Because for a girl from the wrong side of the tracks, it’s more than a chance at fame or money. Betting on herself is the only way she can see to hang on to everyone in the world she cares about.

Release Date: February 23rd, 2016

My Thoughts: I’m about halfway through and absolutely loving it. Victoria Scott is such a great writer and I really want a Titan.

*****

New Adult

*****

The Power by Jennifer L Armentrout

Titan #2

With any great change, there is always strife, and the Covenant University has become the frontline between pure-bloods who want the Breed Order reinstated and the half-bloods who want the right to control their own destinies.
Fate has other plans.

The violence is escalating and war between the races seems inevitable, and it couldn’t come at a worse time. Hyperion may be out of commission, but Josie and Seth know they have only earned a reprieve. Seth must get Josie fully prepared, which means controlling her newfound abilities, and they need to find the other demigods before the Titans do.
But the gods are sensing a greater threat.

Only one thing is more dangerous than a bunch of starved Titans, and that’s an out-of-control Apollyon. The aether in Josie is drawing Seth in deeper, and when lust mixes with love and gives way to power, he knows being close to her is not only dangerous to her, but to everyone around them, but letting her go requires a level of selflessness that just isn’t Seth’s style.

The paths taken in the past are becoming the roads of the future.

Just as chaos breaks out, familiar faces from the past return, complicating the already strained bond between Josie and Seth, and when the danger from the Titans erupts with devastating consequences, the dark allure of power calls to Seth again, but this time Josie might not be able to pull him back.

And when the struggle between power and love becomes the deadliest battleground, there may be no salvation.

Release Date: February 23rd, 2016

My Thoughts: I mean, its Seth. For some reason, that guy just doesn’t get out of your head…

*****

What books are you looking forward to in February?! Did I forget some! Leave them in the comments!

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

Ontario Teen Book Fest is THIS Saturday!

Its finally nearly here and I’m so excited! This is my favorite event of the year, this and I’ve spent a lot of time promoting the hell out of it, and I hope to see you guys there! Come and say hi if you see me!

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When: March 21st, 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!

AND the official blog tour for the event has concluded and there are a TON of amazing spotlights and interviews with these fantastic authors. Make sure to check out each stop below to read all about these authors and to check out the exclusive interviews!

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

AND DON’T FORGET YOU HAVE A COUPLE MORE DAYS TO ENTER TO OUR GIVEAWAY!

You have the chance to win one of TWO posters signed by all of the authors above!

Sounds pretty awesome, right? ;)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ontario Teen Book Fest 2015 Blog Tour: Spotlight on Melissa Landers

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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, treat 9 am to 5 pm

Where: Colony High School
3850 E. Riverside Drive
Ontario, buy 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 Anna Carey — The Reader’s Antidote

March 3rd: Spotlight on Cecil Castellucci — Nite Lite Book Reviews

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 Elizabeth Ross — Kid Lit Frenzy

March 10th: Spotlight on Brad Gottfred — Recently Acquired Obsessions

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

March 12th: Spotlight on Mary Elizabeth Summer — What A Nerd Girl Says

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

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

March 15th: Spotlight on Catherine Linka — Read Now Sleep Later

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

*      *      *      *      *

Today’s Spotlight is on the one and only:

Melissa Landers

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Melissa Landers is a former teacher who left the classroom to pursue other worlds. A proud sci-fi geek, she isn’t afraid to wear her Princess Leia costume in public—just ask her husband and three kids. She lives just outside Cincinnati and writes adult contemporary romance as Macy Beckett.

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

Her Books

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Two years ago, the aliens made contact. Now Cara Sweeney is going to be sharing a bathroom with one of them.

Handpicked to host the first-ever L’eihr exchange student, Cara thinks her future is set. Not only does she get a free ride to her dream college, she’ll have inside information about the mysterious L’eihrs that every journalist would kill for. Cara’s blog following is about to skyrocket.

Still, Cara isn’t sure what to think when she meets Aelyx. Humans and L’eihrs have nearly identical DNA, but cold, infuriatingly brilliant Aelyx couldn’t seem more alien. She’s certain about one thing, though: no human boy is this good-looking.

But when Cara’s classmates get swept up by anti-L’eihr paranoia, Midtown High School suddenly isn’t safe anymore. Threatening notes appear in Cara’s locker, and a police officer has to escort her and Aelyx to class.

Cara finds support in the last person she expected. She realizes that Aelyx isn’t just her only friend; she’s fallen hard for him. But Aelyx has been hiding the truth about the purpose of his exchange, and its potentially deadly consequences. Soon Cara will be in for the fight of her life—not just for herself and the boy she loves, but for the future of her planet.

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: This first one is kind of typical: where did the idea for Alienated and Invaded come from? Why THIS story? 

Melissa: Right before NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in 2009, I was driving down the interstate thinking, “If I’m going to do this whole NaNo thing, I need a plot. What am I going to write about?” Several ideas came to mind, but I dismissed them because they were boring or cliched. Then – out of nowhere – I thought, “What if a high school senior had to host an alien exchange student?” Boom! I fell in love with the concept, and the rest is history.

Nerd Girl: Congrats on Invaded being published recently! What can we expect from you in the future?

Melissa: Right now, I’m wrapping up STARFLIGHT, a new stand-alone sci-fi romance that should release in 2016.

Just announced as well…

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Nerd Girl: What are some of the things that you strive for when you’re writing, knowing that teens are going to be reading it? 

Melissa: My process is pretty organic, meaning I don’t have any ulterior motives or anything I “strive for” while writing. I just let the story unfold.

Nerd Girl: Cara and Aelyx have easily become one of my favorite book couples! Did you have any inspiration from other fictional couples or even real life couples when creating their relationship?

Melissa: Thank you! I love their relationship, especially the way it gradually evolved from reluctant acquaintances to friends to more-than-friends. No, I didn’t find inspiration from any other couples. Aelyx and Cara are one of a kind.

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

Melissa: Actually, I never made the choice. As stated above, my process is very organic. I had an idea to write about a teenage girl hosting an alien exchange student, and the story unfolded from there. The second book I wrote (under a pen name) was for adults. Again, not an active choice. The story ideas come to me, I write them, and then figure out who the audience is.

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? 

Melissa: My favorite teen memory is probably my first date, which didn’t happen until I was sixteen. (My parents were strict.) The night was incredibly special, and as a bonus, it led to my first kiss and my first love. I dated that boy on and off for almost a year.

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

Melissa: I have a fickle heart when it comes to literary crushes. With so many amazing book boyfriends out there, who can choose just one? Not this gal!

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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Tuesday Top Ten: Favorite Fictional Book Couples!

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

Well, online almost. But its nearly there and to celebrate, price this week’s Tuesday Top Ten is getting a little romantic. Now, I know this is a post that I’ve already done but that was QUITE a long time ago and I’ve read so many books since then…its hard to narrow it down!

However, my poor sentimental heart was finally able to do so and I present to you my top ten favorite fictional book couples!

10. William Herondale and Tessa Gray from The Infernal Devices Series

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Will and Tessa have one of those romances that, if it actually existed in real life, you’d be torn between being massively jealous and also massively apt to throwing up all the time. Its incredibly beautiful, tragic, deep, genuine, intense. Its one of the most beautiful love stories I’ve read and what makes it even more beautiful is the love that the two of them share with Jem as well. Its just…amazingly written. It should be a love triangle but it doesn’t feel that way because the three of them love each other so much. Plus, there’s just something amazing about their love of books and how their love of words bring them together, and how they fight alongside each other…sigh.

9. Cara and Aelyx from The Alienated Series

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This is one of my newest favorite couples to come into my life, just this past summer. I met Melissa at ALA and got an ARC of Invaded and knew I had to read the first one and I am SO glad I did! This two part series is AWESOME and I’m massively in love with Cara and Aelyx and their story. What makes it so great is how annoyed and disgusted (especially on Aelyx’s part) they are with each other and how it slowly builds to something else. I love how they figure things out. I mean, Aelyx GOOGLES how to kiss. Its silly and sweet and intense and I love every single moment of it.

8. Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark from The Hunger Games Series

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DUH. I know its cheesy and so completely unrealistic as far as fictional relationships work out but I still love every minute of it. Because despite everything that their world throws at them, they still make it through. I tend to like Gale more as a character but I love Peeta more for Katniss and I think its because they balance each other out SO much. Plus its kind of bittersweet how they work so hard to protect each other and it always seems to fail but they never ever give up on it. I don’t like the conclusion, so to speak, of their relationship, I don’t think it makes sense with the characters at all but I love their relationship.

7. Four and Tris from the Divergent Series

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This is one relationship that I love, not just because I’m absolutely obsessed with this series but because it turns out to be completely opposite of what you expect. When you meet Tris, she’s unsure, unconfident, struggling to figure out who she is, while Four seems strong, confident, sure. But the closer they get to each other, the more you realize that its Tris that helps Four, brings him out, makes him a better person. He relies on her, looks into her for strength and I love that. I think its better when a couple is equal but I love seeing that a female character can be seen as the strength in a relationship.

6. Aly and Nawat from The Tricksters Series

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This is one of my favorite relationships, so easily because it is one of the most unique ones I’ve come across in any book. Aly is a born noble girl, trained in the ways of a noble lady but also the fighting and stealth of a common born spy. She’s kidnapped and sold into slavery for a wealthy family in an enemy kingdom. She meets Nawat, who is a crow turned man. They each have their own journey to take, though they are inevitably intertwined with each other, and what I love is that they each do the things they need to do before they came together. Its beautiful. It really shows…you don’t need a guy to get where you need to be, and that a really great guy will be there, even if you can’t be there yourself.

5. Levi and Cath from Fangirl

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Okay, I love this relationship because I want this relationship. Seriously. I want this relationship so bad. I love 1-4 so badly on this list but if I had to choose a relationship that I genuinely wanted more than anything…it would be this one. I think a lot of that comes from the fact that I feel very connected to Cath. She feels like me in so so many ways and I can understand her fears and her concerns and her anxiety and her struggle to become close with people because she’s afraid they can’t handle who she is. But Levi comes in and just loves her, for every single thing that she is. And he’s a goofball, which I just love, and he just is so genuine and real and I love everything about their relationship. This is relationship goals.

4. Rose Hathaway and Dimitri Belikov from The Vampire Academy Series

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I want to be Rose Hathaway. Or I want to be with her. I can’t really figure it out. Maybe both. That’s kind of weird ;) Either way, the Vampire Academy series is one of my favorites ever and I love that it takes legitimately all six books for Rose and Dimitri to get where you finally wish them to be. Their relationship is SO tragic BUT neither one of the characters are tragic. They always focus on their job as dhampirs, as guardians and getting the job done, and that’s why they’re one of my favorite relationships. They are awesome together, but as more than a couple, as a team.

3. Adrian Ivashkov and Sydney Sage from the Bloodlines Series

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When I first started reading the Bloodlines series, it was clear that the couple that would come out of this series was Adrian and Sydney. Having met and fallen in love with both of those characters in the VA series, I was so confused on how these two would even WORK. But as the series continued and you watched them fall in love with each other, I was panting alongside everyone else. I just finished the finale book, The Ruby Circle, today, release day and I won’t say much because of spoilers but I’m so happy with this relationship. They both changed from book one to book six and they did it together. They were equals from beginning to end and I love that. They rely on each other and they save each other and I ship it so hard.

2. Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger from The Harry Potter Series

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All you haters can sit down and shut up. Everyone says that Ron doesn’t deserve Hermione and all that junk. I myself read way too much Dramione fan fiction, admittedly. But this is one of my favorite couples because I think they work together. They are different, but I think that’s what makes them work. Ron loves Hermione, even though she’s much smarter than him and is constantly berating him and all that kind of thing. Hermione loves Ron, even though he can be selfish and unthinking. Love, real love, is about accepting each other’s flaws and still loving each other anyway. Of course there’s a limit to that but I think Ron and Hermione are the example of a perfect imperfect relationship. Relationships aren’t beautiful and amazing and all that. They take work and they don’t always go the way its planned and that’s exactly what this relationship is.

1. Jace Lightwood and Clary Fray from The Mortal Instruments Series

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They continue to be my favorite couple and I think that’s because of when I read the book. You want to talk about an overdramatic, tragic story of a relationship? This is it right here. Book One: Jace can’t admit he has feelings. Finally kind of does…oops, him and Clary are brother and sister. Or wait they’re not brother and sister. Oh, wait, he’s being possessed by Lilith, oh, wait, now by the real Jonathan Morgenstern. I mean, seriously. Its the most dramatic relationship that takes place over a period of, like, five months. But I love both of these characters. I love the way they fall in love, I love the way they balance each other out, I love the way they eventually fight together, I love every single bit of them. And that is not going to change.

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Who are some of YOUR favorite book couples? Make sure to share in the comments!

Tuesday Top Ten – Most Anticipated Winter Releases!

Welcome to the new year everyone! Its a brand new beginning and all of that sort of thing. But the best part of the new year is this: NEW STUFF. All that stuff that was “next year” is now THIS year. And that includes books.

Now its time to talk about the top ten books that I’m getting excited for this winter! Check them out, troche and let me know what books YOU’RE excited about!

10. The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson

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The third installment of the series, price and I’ve been waiting for it for so long. I feel like I’ve been waiting for so so so long for this book that I absolutely need to reread the first two books to remember what the hell is supposed to be going on in the third book.

Release Date: February 10th, 2015 

9. Dead to Me by Mary McCoy

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I am so excited for this debut novel…I think its my most anticipated debut novel of the year. I absolutely adore Mary, she’s a librarian for the Los Angeles Public Library and has always been a dear friend and supporter of me and this blog, and I can’t wait for her book. Its set in the 1940s, amidst the glitz and glamour of the film age and it sounds deliciously thrilling. I can’t WAIT.

Release Date: March 3rd, 2015 

8. The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

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I am so so excited for this new novel by Emery Lord. I had NO idea who she was until she was on a panel with…I think Stephanie Perkins at the Festival of Books and I just loved everything about her. Plus she was so cute and I don’t know haha, I wanted to read her book. I absolutely LOVED Open Road Summer. She has a fresh teen voice and a total knack for addicting romance and I can’t wait for this one. Max sounds amazing.

Release Date: March 31st, 2015

7. I Was Here by Gayle Forman 

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Gayle Forman is a QUEEN of contemporary YA lit. She blows my mind with everything that she writes, especially Just One Day/Just One Year (which were optioned for film!!). I’m VERY excited for a brand new release from her, especially since the synopsis makes it sound like another emotional roller coaster. Oh Gayle.

Release Date: January 27th, 2015 

6. Salt and Stone by Victoria Scott

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This one would be much lower on the list but I’m spoiled as hell and I already read it and know how absolutely amazing it is. But now that I know its great, I’m dying to get that book with that beautiful cover in my hands, and for everyone else who loves the first one, you’re going to love the second one even more. Its a truly heartbreaking.

Releases: February 24th, 2015

5. Fairest by Marissa Meyer

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I know! A novella on the list. For those that don’t know me, I’m usually not a massive fan of novellas, and find most of them are unnecessary. But…but…I think Fairest is going to be spectacular. One, because Marissa Meyer is a fantastic writer. Two, Levana is SUCH a mystery and maybe some of this will shed a little light, and maybe it’ll open up new possibilities for Winter. Either way, I’m excited for it.

Release Date: January 27th, 2015

4. Invaded by Melissa Landers

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This is another winter release that I’ve already read. And one that I totally absolutely love. But I think I’m really excited about this because I KNOW how good it is and I get to meet her this year! Plus, if I can have more Aelyx and Cara in my life, I’m totally okay with that! And maybe if we all show love to Invaded and buy it, we WILL get more!

Release Date: February 3rd, 2015

3. The Alex Crow by Andrew Smith  

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I mean. Duh. I want my hands on this book so badly. I’ve been trying to get my hands on an ARC of this thing for MONTHS and have not been able to do that. I am dying for this book. Every single thing about this book sounds amazing and Andrew is an incredible author. When I interviewed him last year and he described the book as “It’s about a ship that gets stuck in ice, a fifteen-year-old kid, a schizophrenic who thinks he can speak to Joseph Stalin, a summer camp for kids who are addicted to technology, the de-extinction of a species of crow, and there’s a bigfoot in there, too. You know…the typical stuff.” Come on. I’m sold.

Release Date: March 10th, 2015

2. Unchanged by Jessica Brody

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I’M DYING TO READ THIS BOOK. I need to know what happens next. Unforgotten left on such a crazy, heartbreaking, emotional note and I’m dying to see what happens next for Sera and Zen and Kaelen. It hurts just to even think about it because of allllll the crap that went down in the second book and I need this book in my hands. You hear me, Jessica? Give me the book and no one gets hurt ;)

Release Date: February 24th, 2015

1. The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead 

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Yes. Please. More Adrian Ivashkov. Oh and of course Sydney too. But definitely Adrian. And after that ending in Silver Shadows, I basically wanted to scream, get in a car and drive up to Richelle’s house and demand that she tell me everything that was going to happen next. Luckily, I’m a patient girl (ha!) and its nearly upon us to find out the ending to this fantastic series! AND I’m finally going to meet Richelle! AGH

Release Date: February 10th, 2015

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What are some the books that you’re looking forward to releasing in January, February and March? Make sure to share them in the comments!