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 Blog Tour: Spotlight on Mary Elizabeth Summer

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

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When: March 21st, advice 9 am to 5 pm

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

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

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

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

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

Official Blog Tour Schedule

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

March 18th: Spotlight on Aaron Hartzler — Fangirl Feeels

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

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Today’s spotlight is on:

Mary Elizabeth Summer

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Taken from her Website:

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

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

Her Book

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

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

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

Amazon / Barnes and Noble / iBooks / Book Depository

The Interview

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Giveaway 

Two Prizes, Two Winners!

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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March California YA and MG Book Events!

Some of you may have noticed that I no longer do Book Events Listings for the entire country. I used to but it just honestly got to be way too much work for me. I know it was really cool for you guys but it really was a ton of work. If any of you need help on finding book events in your area, illness I will be more than happy to help, stomach but for now, ailment I will be sticking with California (mostly Southern) events!

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March 10th:

Penguin Teen on Tour

Morgan Rhodes, Rachel Hawkins, Seth Fishman, Maggie Hall, and and Jessica Khoury

Vroman’s Bookstore

Pasadena, CA

6:30 pm

Not Wristbanded

Those wishing to get books signed will be asked to purchase at least one copy of the author’s most recent title from Vroman’s. For each purchased copy of the newest title, customers may bring up to three copies from home to be signed. This policy applies to all Vroman’s Bookstore events unless otherwise noted. Save your Vroman’s receipt; it will be checked when you enter the signing line.

March 10th: 

Andrew Smith

Book Passage

Corte Madera, CA

6:30 pm

Once again blending multiple story strands that transcend time and place, The Alex Crow author Andrew Smith tells the story of 15-year-old Ariel, a refugee from the Middle East who is the sole survivor of an attack on his small village. Now living with an adoptive family in Sunday, West Virginia, his story (beginning with a misplaced summer at a boys’ camp for tech detox) is juxtaposed against those of a schizophrenic bomber and the diaries of a failed arctic expedition from the late nineteenth century. Oh, and there’s also a robotic, reincarnated crow.

Andrew Smith knew ever since his days as editor of his high school newspaper that he wanted to be a writer. His books include Grasshopper Jungle and Winger.

March 11th: 

Lauren Oliver and John Corey Whaley

Barnes and Noble at the Bella Terra

Huntington Beach, CA

7 pm

Bestselling YA author Lauren Oliver will discuss her anticipated new novel Vanishing Girls. Lauren will be joined by Printz medalist and SoCal local favorite John Corey Whaley, author of Noggin.

March 20th: 

Girls Gone Sci-Fi Tour

Jessica Brody, Debra Driza, Claudia Gray, Melissa Landers and Jessica Khoury

Mysterious Galaxy

San Diego, CA

7:30 pm

Blast off for adventure with young adult authors Jesssica Brody (Unchanged), Claudia Gray (A Thousand Pieces of You), Jessica Khoury (Kalahari), Melissa Landers (Invaded), and Debra Driza (MILA 2.0: Renegade). Unchanged completes the thrilling SF trilogy started in Jessica’sUnremembered; fans are encouraged to check out the ebook short, “Unleashed,” as wel, for more insights into the mysterious Diotech Compound. Bestseller Claudia’s A Thousand Pieces of You is blurbed as “Orphan Black meets Cloud Atlas in the first book of this epic dimension–bending trilogy about a girl who must chase her father’s killer through multiple dimensions.”  The Corpus Files that Jessica began with Origin in the depths of the Amazon rainforest and continued with Vitro in the South Pacific islands now takes readers to the wilds of Botswana with Kalahari. Linda’s review of Melissa’s Alienated reads, “Appealing to science fiction and YA readers, a plot with a forbidden love theme involving intergalactic exchange students allows Landers to discuss important issues such as teen romance, peer pressure, trust and acceptance of those a little bit different from ourselves.” The story continues in Invaded. The 2015 version of San Diego author Debra will captain the ride!

March 21st: 

Ontario Teen Book Fest: Where Books and Teens Meet

Click this link to find out ALL the authors, panels and more information!

Colony High School

Ontario, CA

9 am – 5 pm

March 21st: 

Authors Under the Lights

Hilton Universal City

Los Angeles, CA

11 am to 6 pm

This multi-author/genre signing event will take place in sunny Southern California at Universal City Walk Hilton in Universal City on March 21, 2015.

Any and all pertinent information pertaining to attendance, including a list of featured authors, party with the authors & models, blogger/author brunch, hotel information, and sponsorship opportunities can be found on this site.

March 22nd: 

Girls Gone Sci-Fi

Jessica Brody, Melissa Landers, Jessica Khoury, Lauren Miller

Once Upon a Time Bookstore

Montrose, CA

2 pm

Jessica Brody, Jessica Khoury, Lauren Miller and Melissa Landers all write terrific SCI-FI adventures for young adults.  Join this gaggle of writers to discuss current trends in writing, YA, new science discoveries and more!

Sweet treats will be offered as well as booksignings for all authors’ books.

March 24th: 

Jennifer A Neilsen

Kepler’s Books

Menlo Park, CA

7 pm

Jennifer A. Nielsen, author of the NYT and USA TODAY bestselling Ascendance Trilogy (The False Prince, The Runaway King, and The Shadow Throne), has woven an electrifying tale of greed and power, magic and destiny, and one boy’s courage at the heart of it all.

March 27th: 

Cecil Castellucci and Rachel Searles

Mysterious Galaxy

San Diego, CA

6 pm

The Galaxy includes Speculative Fiction for readers of all ages – our event with Cecil Castellucci and Rachel Searles is focused on SF for teens, and middle grade readers, but of interest to readers of all ages. In Stone in the Sky, Cecil’s thrilling follow-up to Tin Star, Tula will need to rely on more than just her wits to save her only home in the sky, as she faces possible death and romantic complications. The Stolen Moon, second in Rachel’s Lost Planet series, offers hero Chase an opportunity to save the world, maybe, with the help of hacker BFF Parker and the assistance / hindrance of his younger sister.

March 28th: 

Ridley Pearson

Barnes and Noble at the Americana

Glendale, CA

7 pm

Check store for details. 

March 29th: 

Ridley Pearson

Mysterious Galaxy

San Diego, CA

2:30 pm

Ridley Pearson is known to many readers as the award-winning author of multiple adventure series for (young-ish) readers, including The Kingdom Keepers, Steel Trapp, and with Dave Barry, Peter and the Starcatchers. Ridley is also a best-selling crime novelist of more than two dozen titles. The adventure of the Kingdom Keepers, a group of young people responsible for battling magical villains in Disneyland afterhours, continues in The Return, as they discover defeating the Overtakers is not their only challenge. The Red Room, a Risk Agent novel, is Ridley’s most recent adult suspense novel.

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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

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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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Ontario Teen Book Fest 2015 Authors Revealed!

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

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

Check out their official website here.

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

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

Jessica Brody

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Anna Carey

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Cecil Castellucci 

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Debra Driza

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Katie Finn (Morgan Matson)

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Maurene Goo

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Claudia Gray 

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Aaron Hartzler 

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Jessica Khoury

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Melissa Landers

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Shannon Messenger

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Lauren Miller

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Elizabeth Ross

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Sherri Smith 

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Mary Elizabeth Summer

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Kasie West

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

Gretchen McNeil

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Catherine Linka

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Brad Gottfred 

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

Tuesday Top Ten: Best Books I Discovered at a Book Event

Often times, tadalafil I’ll go to events to see an author or two, but I’ll end up discovering new ones. Sometimes I go to an event not having read any books by the authors on the list and I end up discovering a whole group of amazing authors to dive into. I think that’s what beautiful about book events. You always leave with a sudden urgency to dive into these new books.

So that’s what this week’s top 10 is all about. Its all about the books that came into my life because of book events. WIthout book events, I may not have ever read them but I am so glad that I met these authors and I could jump into these awesome books! Check out the top ten books I’ve read that I discovered at a book event :)

Yes, I know there are 12. It was SO hard to narrow it down haha.

12. Rapture Practice by Aaron Hartzler

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Aaron Hartzler was an author I first encountered at the LA Times Festival of Books this year, and then a week later at the Pasadena Teen Book Fest. He was funny and charming and his book sounded SO good. I’ve never been much into memoirs and non-fiction books but I felt like I had to give this a chance because I just loved Aaron so much. It tells the story of Aaron’s life growing up, and how he is raised in a very conservative family and what that was like, and that sort of thing. It reads like a novel and its just so honest and beautiful and funny, and I love every bit of it.

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11. Noggin by John Corey Whaley  

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The first time I saw John Corey Whaley was at the LA Times Festival of Books back in April. I had heard of him, vaguely before, and had purchased his debut novel for his appearance at Ontario Teen Book Fest but I hadn’t really heard of him. After attending a panel with him, Andrew Smith, Rainbow Rowell, Aaron Hartzler and E. Lockhart and I knew immediately I had to read Noggin. I just read it recently and its SO good, and I’m so glad I read it. Its about a boy who has his head cryogenically frozen because he’s dying of cancer, and he’s woken up just five years later, in a world where he’s famous but his best friend and girlfriend have moved on from him. Its awesome, and I don’t know that I would have read it had I not seen him at FoB and TBF.

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10. Also Known As by Robin Benway 

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The first time I came into contact with Robin Benway was at the LA Times Festival of Books last year, 2013. She was in a panel with Sarah Dessen (!!), Morgan Matson (!!!!!), and Gayle Forman (!!). I had Gayle Forman’s books in my TBR pile so the new author to me was Robin and I loved her. She was so encouraging and she really believed in pushing yourself and not giving up and I knew that I had to read her. She was just so inspiring. I read Also Known As last year, I can’t remember when, and I adore it. Its so fun and light and adventurous and it has a cute boy and kissing and its awesome. I love Robin too, she’s SO sweet :) I ran into her at Disneyland once, which was kind of creepy because I knew she was there (Twitter!) and had been looking for her. Total creeper status! But its okay, because we laugh about it now. And she’s just awesome and I can’t wait for her next book!

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9. Parallel by Lauren Miller 

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Okay, this is KIND of cheating. A little. I was sent Free to Fall in the mail by a publicist friend of mine and had been about halfway through it before I met Lauren Miller at the Ontario Teen Book Fest. I immediately went home and needed to finish it because she was SO fun, and smart, and I had a good time meeting her. Then I saw her about a week ago at a Girls Gone Sci-Fi event and knew that I had to get Parallel. So technically I was brought to this book, and to my love of Lauren Miller, through a signing. I finished this book about a week ago and it blew my mind. I started it with the intention of finishing it the next day. Instead, I stayed up all night to read. Lauren writes a beautiful love story, wrapped up into this intricate and heart pounding sci-fi phenomenon of parallel worlds. Its brilliant.

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8. Struck by Jennifer Bosworth

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THIS BOOK BLEW MY MIND. Seriously. Its been almost a year since I read it and I still just get tongue tied just thinking about it. Its just SO good. I discovered Jennifer Bosworth at the Ontario TBF last year, in 2013, and she talked about her life in a small town, and how she grew up in a religious family and how she sort of turned away from that, and it just resonated in me a lot. Then I read this book, and I was just floored. It makes you think so much, and she’s not afraid to write something that probably makes a lot of people’s jaws drop. It was beautiful and I’m so glad that I found this through that event. I only wish to write something as thought provoking as this.

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I discovered Carrie Arcos there too, but sadly I haven’t read her books yet. They are both in my TBR pile haha!

7. A Girl Called Fearless by Catherine Linka

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I had no idea who Catherine Linka was or of this book at all until I was looking at the author lists for Pasadena Teen Book Fest and Ontario Teen Book Fest. Since she was an attendee at both, I knew that I had to check her out, and I realized that this book had yet to be released…and then I got my hands on an e-galley! Yay! And I love it. It takes place in Los Angeles (wee!) and its about a world where the female population is controlled almost entirely due to the fact that majority died because of something wrong in the beef supply. Its sort of futuristic but Catherine Linka raises a lot of attention toward the fact that women are constantly being controlled, our choices, our freedoms, our bodies, etc. Its a great book and I was glad to hear a sequel is coming! I can’t wait to read more! Plus, she’s the sweetest lady :)

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6. Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis 

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I literally read this yesterday. YESTERDAY. I’m currently reading the sequel, which I found as an e-galley on edelweiss, yes, yes, yes. Sadly I do not have a picture with her, nor a signature because I just didnt’ realize it at the time. I’ve met Mindy once, at a signing in Las Vegas, when I basically dragged my dad, brother and boyfriend out there so I could meet Rae Carson. Because I’m awesome that way. But anyway, one of the authors that was there was Mindy and I’ve been thinking of this book ever since. I wish I had the money at the time to buy this book but its remained on my radar ever since. I received it as a gift this week and immediately dove into it. Its SO good, and I have so much inspiration from it to make the survival bits of The Awakened better. This book is all about survival and I think its brilliant. I hope I can meet her again one day, to get this book signed because I just loved it.

5. Fire and Flood by Victoria Scott 

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Okay, this is SO cheating. But kind of not. I said book event and that doesn’t necessarily mean that I had to meet them in person. Jessica Brody was having an online chat thing for the release of Unforgotten, the second book of the Unremembered trilogy, and she had Victoria Scott with her, whose new book, Fire and Flood was releasing as well. I adore Jessica and I really loved Victoria after that. She was funny, and fresh and she made her book sound like so much fun. I also won a small swag prize pack, that included a signed bookmark, so I knew I had to get this book. When it released just a few days later, I picked up immediately and went home and read it, and was SO glad I did. I think its brilliant and I’ve been literally dying since February to have the sequel. Any day now, Victoria, I’m ready for it ;)

4. Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan 

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Another person I sadly do not have a picture with, even though I technically met her. Last year, when I met and interviewed Cassandra Clare, just after Clockwork Princess had released, I also met Sarah and Maureen Johson, who were her tour buddies. I had read a bit of Maureen Johnson, so she wasn’t new to me but Sarah was. I added both Unspoken and the Demon’s Lexicon to my TBR. I am not a huge fan of the Demon’s Lexicon BUT Unspoken was just brilliant. Jared Lynburn is one of my favorite book boyfriends ever. He’s beautiful and him and Jace Herondale should be best friends. For real. Sarah has this really fun main character, and she has diversity and her characters are real and I’m constantly laughing but also clutching the pages with fear. I keep trying to get my hands on a galley of the third book but no such luck…

3. Unremembered by Jessica Brody

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I had bought Unremembered and read about 30 pages when I met Jessica Brody for the first time. However, after meeting her, I knew I had to finish this book, and I did. I went home from WonderCon that day and literally finished the book that night. And now I’m a huge fan, and I kind of stalk her but I think we’re friends so that’s all good then, now isn’t it? But I think Unremembered is awesome, a sort of girl version of Jason Bourne, and following Sera on her crazy adventure is so fun. Watching her recite the most incredible knowledge and discover grilled cheeses for the first time and fall in love and all of it. I love it. Jessica was super funny, and I enjoyed meeting her that first time, and every time since. She said something about allowing yourself to write badly and I always remember it “Don’t be afraid to write crap; crap makes good fertilizer.” I try to remember that when I’m trying to write. She also told me, after I told her I was trying to be a writer, “Don’t try, just be one.” She’s awesome, basically, and I ADORE all her books, but especially this one.

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2. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo 

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AGH! I love you, Leigh and your books and you BLOW my mind. I first encountered Leigh Bardugo at the Ontario Teen Book Fest in 2013, when she was on a panel with Marie Lu, Jessica Brody, Jennifer Bosworth and Morgan Matson. All amazing fantastic authors. It is still one of my favorite panels ever. But anyway, the moderator had said something along the lines of there being very little strong female characters in the past and Leigh immediately went “Uh, Alanna?”, like, duh! Alanna, for those of you who don’t know, is from Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness series, which is brilliant, by the way. Any time someone mentions Tammy, I’m sold. I bought Shadow and Bone, and fell in love with her and her books. She writes epic fantasy, and its beautiful written and the characters are wonderful and the entire trilogy is just amazing, and without TBF, I don’t know if I would have ever picked it up.

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1. Winger by Andrew Smith 

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If you know me at all, even in the slightest, I’m sure you could have guessed at my number one answer to this. This is legitimately one of my favorite books ever, and I only read it just over a year ago. It crawled straight into my heart and stayed there, stuck. It blew my mind. I first came into contact, literally, ever, with Andrew at the Teen Book Fest in Ontario last year, 2013, and he made such a massive impression. He was funny and inspiring and I just knew that I needed to read his book. All the authors kept telling me that we needed to read Winger and I bought it almost immediately after the Fest, and just…it was just SO freakin’ good. I love it so much. I am SO glad that I met him at TBF because I have read so many other books by him since then and I just love everything he’s written. (I mean, Grasshopper Jungle…blew my mind! Craziest book ever). He also is such a great person that I’ve gotten to know, and he’s been so amazing, recommending me for different things, and that just makes me want to fangirl like crazy.

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Basically, the purpose of this post was this: discover new authors! buy new books! Get out there, and get to book events, even if you don’t know the authors because you never know when you’ll discover someone new, or discover a new favorite book. Its incredible and I’m grateful for the many events that I’m able to attend and all the authors I’ve discovered :)

What are some of your favorite books that you’ve picked up after meeting the author? Share in the comments!

Weekly Fangirl Round-Up!

Nerd Girl News

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

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

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

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

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

More promotional images for The Maze Runner have been shared!

Mockingjay Filming continues in Berlin, check out some photos!

Two More People have Been Cast for Insurgent!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posts and Vlogs

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

Monday Missions Vlog

City of Heavenly Fire Vlog Review (Spoilers!)

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

Book Review: All Lined Up by Cora Carmack

Ontario Teen Book Fest Recap!

Why The Mortal Instruments is Important to Me!

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