L.A. Times Festival of Books 2014: Day One and Day Two Recap Vlogs!

Guys, doctor I just had SUCH an amazing weekend. This weekend was the annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at U.S.C., where the entire weekend is dedicated to the amazing culture of reading. It’s one of my favorite weekends of this year, and this year was no disappointment.

There was a team of five us: me, Sylvia from Fangirl Feeels, our friends Cassandra and Alexandra and my sister, Jessica. We had our game plans, and despite minor hiccups along the way, we managed to do everything that we wanted to do.

I met (and met again, for some) amazing authors this weekend: John Green (OHMYGOD), Rainbow Rowell, Lauren Oliver, Marissa Meyer, Sarah J Maas, Robin Benway, Veronica Roth, Lauren Myracle, Leigh Bardugo, Deb Caletti, Kiersten White, Andrew Smith and Stephanie Perkins.

But I won’t keep you from seeing my awesome vlogs. I vlogged while at the Fest so you get some pretty awkward and hilarious moments from me, a short video of my conversation with John Green and…lots of awkwardness haha.

Check it out!

Day One!

Day Two!

Yay! I hope you enjoyed seeing the awesomeness that was my weekend!

I managed to grab extra copies of Cinder, Anna and the French Kiss and Fangirl for a giveaway. There will NOT be a giveaway for the month of April (as of now), but there is a HUGE giveaway coming for my Blog Birthday in May so keep an eye out to see how you can get your hands on these books!

Oh! And don’t forget you can check out ALL the pictures on the What A Nerd Girl Says Facebook page here!

Happy Reading Everyone!

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Book of the Week-Panic by Lauren Oliver

I am very very happy to bring you this week’s Book of the Week. It released this past Tuesday and I’m so excited to be finally reviewing it. I read it back in…like September or October so I’m glad to finally be sharing my thoughts on it!

Panic by Lauren Oliver  

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GoodReads / Barnes and Noble Amazon / Book Depository

This review is based on an advanced reader’s copy given to me in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my review in the slightest, view and everything said here is my honest opinion. Thank you Edelweiss and HarperCollins for the ARC. 

Genre:

Young Adult, ambulance Contemporary

Part of a Series?:

Standalone Novel

You May Like if You Liked:

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Age Recommendation:

13+

Plot Summary:

From GoodReads:

Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.

Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.

Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn’t know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.

For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.

My Review: 

I am so glad this book is finally releasing this week! I got this ARC way back in the fall and I’ve been sitting on this review to post it closer to the actual release date of the book. Now, with it coming out in a few days, I’m excited to finally review it, and share it with you guys.

The thing that I’ve always loved about Lauren Oliver is that she has amazing ideas. She has a very creative and imaginative mind and I think that continues in this novel. In Before I Fall, you have a teenage girl reliving the last day of her life, seven times, trying to get it right. In the Delirium trilogy, you have our society, but twisted, convinced that love is a disease that needs to be cured. Now, in Panic, we have a small town and a game called Panic, where a bunch of graduated high school seniors compete in random, and often dangerous, tasks in order to get their hands on a very large amount of money.

Its an incredible idea and I remember when I met her last March, right after Requiem had been released, I was excited about this idea.

And I think she pulled it off. It wasn’t quite what I expected but I love the idea of it. I think maybe sometimes Lauren Oliver has these amazing ideas but has a hard time really getting them on paper. While I looked forward to the actual story, and the different tasks that were part of Panic, I had a hard time connecting to the characters. I just didn’t FEEL for them, if you know what I mean. Not the way I felt for Samantha in Before I Fall. I thought the game, and what it entailed and the drama that unfolded around it was much more exciting than the characters involved in the game.

I think my biggest beef with the novel is that Panic starts so fast, but the novel doesn’t seem to pick up its quickness with it. Everything in the story was already in motion but I didn’t feel like I was really into the story until about a third of the way in. It took some time for my brain to catch up with the story.

That being said, its a very fast paced book with a wonderful concept and I loved the idea of Panic. What a crazy idea. I don’t live in a small town, I live in the suburbs outside of Anaheim and Los Angeles so there’s really always stuff to do here (even if it can get expensive) and I can’t imagine anyone here coming up with this crazy, insane game. But I can imagine someone in a small town where there’s nothing to do coming up with it, and so that part seems real. Crazy but real. I do think that Lauren Oliver captured reality well, and even though it was a weird concept, she made it real. Sometimes I feel authors try to write something a bit out of the ordinary and it doesn’t feel authentic or that it could be real. This book definitely did.

The Last Word

 I would say, definitely read it. From what I’ve seen of other reviews, its sort of a hit or miss. I liked it but I didn’t love it. I thought it was a great idea, a very creative and imaginative concept. In my opinion, the characters fell a little flat and maybe needed a little bit more OOMF to make them more real to me, though there were moments when I did feel for them. All in all, I enjoyed it, and it was easy to get through but its not a re-read anytime soon.

*****

Have you read Panic? What did you think? Share in the comments!

Tuesday Top Ten-Books to Look Forward to in 2014!

My loves! I am so sorry, sildenafil I apologize over and over for my lack of effort on my blog. I truly do. I would like to blame something legitimate like school or NaNoWriMo or something but truly…I just didn’t have the inspiration to work on it.

But I’m back! I promise! Today I’m stealing the topic of the Broke and Bookish’s Top Ten Tuesday post and doing Books to Look Forward to in 2014.

Unfortunately thats kind of hard to narrow down to ten. Really hard. Like, website like this impossibly hard. I read so many authors and so many books that I just look forward to SO many releases.

Even narrowing it down to January to May wasn’t totally helpful. Sigh.

So there are …fourteen books on the list. Sorry :( But hopefully that will get you excited for SO many awesome releases coming in the new year!

Honorable Mentions:

These are honorable mentions because I’ve already read one of them, and I have ARCs of the other! So I want to draw attention to them, since they’ll be releasing in early 2014 BUT I’ll have already read them!

Clicking on the author’s name will take you to their website, and clicking on the book title will take you to the Amazon Page AND clicking the book cover will take you to the GoodReads page! I’m nothing, if not completely thorough ;)

Afterparty by Ann Stampler 

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Expected Release: January 7th

Ann’s Where It Began blew me away, and I’m eager to dive into this book and be blown away again. She has a way of capturing the teen outlook but also writes an intelligent and compelling novel. Good girl Emma decides that she wants to break free, and gets involved with Siobhan, whose friendship is fun at first, until it takes a turn, and things become intoxicating and dangerous. I can’t wait for it. Afterparty is going to be a blast!

Going Rogue by Robin Benway

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Expected Release: January 14th

The first book of this series, Also Known As, was SUPER funny, and addicting to read. Maggie is part of a spy network with her parents, and her specialty is breaking locks, whether on doors or to safes, etc. Then she gets her own assignment, to go undercover at an upscale high school, and hilarity ensues. Its full of action and fun spy stuff BUT it just makes you laugh so hard, and Maggie is a fun character, AND there’s cute boys. Win!

Panic by Lauren Oliver

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Expected Release: March 4th

This one I’ve already read :) I can’t wait to share my review with you all. A departure from her dystopian series, Delirium, Lauren Oliver takes us into the contemporary world again, with a twist. Heather lives in Carp, where nothing ever happens, except for the game Panic every summer. The kids spend the entire year raising money for a ridiculous prize amount (think in the THOUSANDS) and compete in dangerous, scary and, often times, illegal tasks in order to win the game. Heather didn’t expect to play when it came her turn, but that money could be a way out. Dodge, a fellow classmate, has been looking forward to Panic, and he’s determined to get the right outcome. I think you’ll like this one. If you were disappointed with the end of the Delirium series like I was, I think this will help with Lauren Oliver a bit :)

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Now the actual list of ten, erm, eleven books I’m looking forward to in 2014…up until May, at least!

11. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

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Expected Release: May 13th

I just discovered Stephanie this year! Anna and the French Kiss and especially Lola and the Boy Next Door are GREAT YA contemporary novels that I totally recommend, a thousand times. I am full of SO much excitement for this one because of all great the others have been. In this novel, we are going to meet Isla and Josh and I think come to find a new meaning of the phrase “happily ever after”. And of course, we will see Anna, Etienne, Lola and Cricket again, which makes me very happy. I think that Stephanie will tell a great story, as usual with twists and turns and surprises and enough heart pounding and sigh-worthy scenes to keep us all SO happy!

10. Don’t Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout 

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Expected Release: April 15th

I am So excited about this one because honestly, I just discovered JLA in May and she has yet to disappoint me. Her storytelling is fantastic; she makes me laugh, and feel all swooning but she throws in these kickass action scenes, and then she has the most sarcastic and hilarious characters. So I’m really anxious to dive into a new series with her. Don’t Look Back follows Samantha who has it all, until she disappears, and then reappears with no memory of who she is or how she got lost. When she figures out that she was the  “mean girl”, she’s determined to have this second chance. Unfortunately her best friend is still missing…Sounds awesome right? She never disappoints and I can’t wait to read it.

 9. Hollow City by Ransom Riggs 

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Expected Release: January 14th

Okay, I’m totally reading the first book right now, and maybe I won’t like and maybe I’ll have no desire to read this …but I honestly doubt it. So many people I know really liked this book and I just love Ransom as a person. His instagram, tumblr and twitter posts keep me laughing, and he’s super interactive with his fans. And he’s handsome. Not that this has anything to do with his book, it was just a notable fact about him. Moving on, I am looking forward to this release because I’m already enjoying Miss Peregrine’s a lot AND he’ll be touring for this book and will, of course, be signing in Los Angeles so yay! I keep missing him, and I want formally meet him finally!

8. Cress by Marissa Meyer 

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Expected Release: February 4th

I just finished Scarlet, the second book, about a week ago, and I love this series already. I put off reading it FOR so long and I have no idea why. I think it was the cover to be honest. I get turned off on books because of the covers quite often, and I’m often times proven wrong. But I still do it. Anyway, I read Cinder and Scarlet and now I’m very excited for Cress. Marissa Meyer takes the whole science fiction, fairy tale retellings to an incredible level, and her stories and characters are awesome. One minute they’re super badass and sci-fi-ish (that’s a word now) and then the next, they’re totally reminding you of Cinderella and Red Riding Hood. Its awesome. This isn’t the final book, its the climax to the final book, Winter (2015), so you know its going to be SO GOOD.

7. Summer State of Mind by Jen Calonita

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Expected Release: April 22nd  

I absolutely adore Jen Calonita. Her books are quick and easy reads, with laughter, cute boys, but often times, serious teen problems as well. Her standalone novel, Sleepaway Girls, was super cute, about a girl going to camp as a CIT and learning to be independent of her dominant best friend. Of course, rivalries happen, cute boys make the summer interesting and hilarity and disaster ensues. I absolutely LOVED it. Now there’s a sequel, called Summer State of Mind, where they’re returning to Camp Whispering Pines and I’m SO excited. She writes such fun novels and I don’t think I’m alone in that desire to go to camp. I always want to go to camp as a kid and was never able to so I like to live vicariously through this. Definitely one to look forward to.

6. Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

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Expected Release: February 4th

When I picked up Shatter Me, I had done so because Tahereh Mafi kept popping up everywhere, at all these events (though I haven’t met her officially either!) and her name just kept popping up to me, and so I decided to check out Shatter Me, even though I was getting kind of tired of dystopian. I’m glad I gave this one a chance because Juliette is an awesome character and we’ve really seen her grow so much in this series, and I hope we continue to see that in Ignite Me. I also think Tahereh Mafi has a way of telling a brand new story in that familiar dystopian archetype that we’ve grown to know so well. She has surprises and twists that keep you hooked til the end.

5. The Last Forever by Deb Caletti 

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Expected Release: April 1st

I adore Deb Caletti and while I absolutely loved He’s Gone, which was her dive into adult fiction, I am glad to see she’s back in YA. All of her books are just so incredibly good. She hits SO many issues of teens, but she never makes her books seem like “issue books”. Her stories are flawless and genuine and each one has captivated me and made me fall in love. She’s gotten so much recognition for her books and its totally deserved. The book is sure to be another emotion wrecker. The main character’s mom has died, and her dad is having a hard time recovering and so is she. Enter a road trip, a new place, and a new boy, and it just spells awesome. Deb Caletti tells beautiful stories and I’m sure this one will be as well.

4. City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare 

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Expected Release: May 27th

I think most people would be surprised to see this as #4 and now #1 or 2 or 3. And its true, I love Cassandra Clare and adore her books. I definitely can’t wait to read City of Heavenly Fire and see how the TMI series wraps up. My only thing is…I thought the series was wrapped up perfectly in City of Glass and I didn’t feel like it needed to be continued. I am not a fan of Fallen Angels and I kind of like Lost Souls. So while I do want to read the end and find out who lives and who dies, and where everyone sort of ends up, I also am just not DYING to read it, like I was with the other novels. I still think City of Glass was a great ending. But I digress. I’m a TMI fan, and I will read it because I love Jace and Clary and Alec and Simon and Magnus and Isabelle and all of them.

3. Unforgotten by Jessica Brody 

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Expected Release: February 25th

Another discovery of this year, Jessica Brody has become one of my favorite authors. I read her book, Unremembered, first, and then dove into her contemporary books which seriously make me laugh. They’re fantastic. Definitely check them out. But we’re focusing on Unremembered. Unremembered is about Seraphina, who wakes up in the middle of the ocean, the only survivor of a deadly plane crash. She doesn’t remember who she is, nor does she remember much in general. No one comes forward to claim her, so she’s taken in by foster parents. While Sera remembers the world, she also realizes that she’s different than others, faster, stronger, smarter. Then a boy named Zen comes into the picture, claiming that he knows her, and that they’re in love. Its like Bourne Identity, but with a badass girl instead of Matt Damon. Its seriously awesome, and I can’t say much more because Unforgotten is the sequel, and you just need to read this. This comes out TWO days before my birthday so happy birthday to me!

2. Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

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Expected Release: May 6th 2014

Morgan Matson is one of my absolute favorite authors of all time. She made me fall in love with her, as an author, so fast with Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour. Then she released Second Chance Summer, and its just as good. I’ve met Morgan several times this year, but it’ll be two years since her last novel came out when this third novel hits the stands. That’s a LONG time to wait haha, or at least it is to me. The main character Emily meets Sloane, who introduces her to a world of fun, who helps pull her out of her shell. Then Sloane disappears and leaves behind a list of things for Emily to accomplish like “apple picking at night” or “dancing until dawn” or “kiss a stranger”. It sounds like another unique and fun Morgan Matson novel, and I honestly just can’t wait for it.

1. Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith

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Expected Release: February 11th

Another discovery of this year (I seriously dove into books and blogging in 2013), Andrew Smith’s Winger literally knocked my socks off, blew me away, had my jaw hanging open down to the ground. It seriously just…it was so amazing. Now Andrew has a new book releasing in February (on mine and Jon’s 6 year anniversary!), and I’m DYING to read it. I keep trying to get my hands on an ARC but have been thus far unsuccessful. I may have to wait til February but it’ll be worth the wait. Andrew has a natural humor to his books, I have laughed out loud, uncontrollably with tears, because of his books. In this novel, Andrew is combining his hilarity with his out of this world story telling (giant insects? really? I’m shuddering already), and I’m sure he’s going to get that teen boy spirit, hilarity and coming of age-ness like he has done before. I am DYING to get my hands on this book, especially when everyone is loving it! It WILL happen!

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I hope you enjoyed this Tuesday Top ….Eleven…or something…some number close to Ten. You should definitely add ALL of these books to your “to-read” list, and if you haven’t read their prequels, then get on it! These books and authors are all great, and you’ll definitely enjoy them!

Don’t forget that you can check out previous Tuesday Top Ten lists here!

What are some books that you are looking forward to in the New Year? Share in the comments! 

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October Book Wrap Up!

Books Pledged to Read in 2013: 200 Books

Read so Far: 173

On Track?: Yes! I’m actually 7 books ahead!

Total Books For October: 20

As always, more about if you click the title or cover, you’ll get the review!

The Extra by Kathryn Lasky

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Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs

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The House of Hades by Rick Riordan

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Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

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Just One Year By Gayle Forman

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Goddess by Josephine Angelini

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City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare (Re-Read)

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Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

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Untold by Sarah Rees Brennan

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Panic by Lauren Oliver (Review Will Come Closer to Book Release in March)

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Teardrop by Lauren Kate

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Allegiant by Veronica Roth

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Reality Boy by A.S. King

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Olivia Twisted by Vivi Barnes (Review Next Week!)

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Legend by Marie Lu (Re-Read)

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Crewel by Gennifer Albin

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The Fall of the Hotel Dumort by Cassandra Clare and Maureen Johnson

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52 Reasons to Hate my Father by Jessica Brody

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Prodigy by Marie Lu (Re-Read)

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Ten by Gretchen McNeil

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What were some of your favorite books that you read in the month of November? Share them in the comments!

 

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