Fierce Reads Blockbuster Event!

Can you guys believe that its been about three weeks since I’ve done a book event? Yeah! Three weeks! Insanity! Ever since I got back home from ALA in Las Vegas, link I’ve been overwhelmed with work, abortion and my novel, that I just haven’t had much time for blogging or going to book events.

Luckily, that is about to change VERY soon. I had an awesome time tonight at the Fierce Reads event at The Grove in Los Angeles, and will be attending a James Dashner and a Maggie Stiefvater event in the next few days and I’m very excited for those. Things are picking up guys.

Tonight I headed down to one of my favorite bookstores for what was sure to be an awesome event. I love Barnes and Noble in general, but I love going to the one at The Grove because they always have such great events and the event coordinator, Lita, is just a doll. I got there early, grabbed my wristband, and had lunch at Veggie Grill (yum yum!) before heading back to the store for the event.

The authors attending this event were four total YA all stars:

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Marissa Meyer, author of the Lunar Chronicles series, including Cinder, Scarlet, Cress and soon to be, Winter. Winter hits bookstores next year, but before that, a prequel story about Queen Levana will hit bookstores. Yay!

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Leigh Bardugo, author of the Grisha Trilogy, including Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm and Ruin and Rising. She’s currently working on another series, which takes place in the same Grisha world, not long after the end of Ruin and Rising.

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Anna Banks, author of the Syrena Legacy, including Of Poseidon, Of Triton and Of Neptune. She also has a new book called Joyride heading to bookstores next June!

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and

Ann Aguirre, author of the Razorland trilogy, including Enclave, Outpost, and Horde. And soon to be a TON of other books! This includes a new adult trilogy whose titles are Backstreet Boy’s songs. I call that a win.

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I was SO excited because I love all of these authors so much, and I always have a good time going to these events.

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We took our seats, and Lita talked up the event and the authors, and even talked about the moderator, Anthony Breznican and his debut novel, Brutal Youth. She talked it up so much that I immediately went downstairs to pick myself a copy of it. He was so awesome, a great moderator and was fun to talk to after the panel. He seemed happy that some of us grabbed copies of his book; it must be SO nerve wracking to have your debut novel out there!

Then Lita and the fantastic people of Macmillan Teens had a surprise for us early arrivals: ARCs! You know me, I can NEVER get enough of books :) I immediately went forward to check out what they had. I had most of them, from ALA, but they had a copy of Caragh O’Brien’s Vault of Dreamers, which I hadn’t managed to score at ALA. That was exciting. I also had my sister with me, and she was kind of my assistant for the event, so she grabbed a copy of Josephine Angelini’s Trial by Fire. Now, if you guys pay attention at all, you’ll know that I already have a copy of Trial by Fire so this one is going to be up for grabs very soon!

Then the event! Yay!

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All four ladies were so much fun in the panel. I honestly haven’t laughed so hard in so long. Leigh was her usual hilarious self and Marissa had a quirky little sense of humor. Ann Aguirre had a sort of awkward sense of humor, which remind me so much of myself that I just couldn’t stop laughing. And ohmygod, Anna Banks’ dry sense of humor was KILLING me. I could NOT stop laughing. It was too much.

They talked about their books, their inspirations for them, how they tackled them. They talked about books they loved, and what books inspired them. What I really loved is how they dove into the appeal of YA to adults and the growing diversity in YA books. Those are two very important topics and I was eager to hear what they had to say about it!

Then was the signing, of course. I got books signed by all of them, because I’m spoiled that way ;) I got Mortal Danger signed by Ann Aguirre, Of Poseidon by Anna Banks, and my extra copies of Siege and Storm and Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo.

Because I already have my entire Lunar Chronicles signed (so far), I bought an extra copy of Cinder (and also Shadow and Bone) and those will be up for grabs soon as well!

I think I cleaned up pretty nicely after this event!

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Not a bad haul from the event!

I also managed to get my hands on some extra stuff! Check it out!

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I bought extra copies of Cinder and Shadow and Bone and those are both signed by the author. I got my hands on that extra copy of Trial by Fire, which doesn’t hit bookstores until September! I also got an Of Poseidon sneak peek booklet signed by Anna Banks and a bookmark signed by Ann Aguirre, and ton of other cool bookmarks and pins. Keep an eye out because a giveaway is coming VERY VERY soon!

Leigh’s mom was there, and I’ve met her twice before, at the Siege and Storm release party and the Ruin and Rising release part, and she’s such a doll. She remembered me and gave me a big ol hug and sat next to me during the event. She’s such a sweetheart :)

I also met a “fan” of What A Nerd Girl Says today, named Laura! She was SO cool, and I always love meeting you guys so NEVER be nervous to say hi. I’m kind of a weirdo so please do! Also, she read my excerpt that I posted the other day of The Awakened, and loved it, and that gave me SUCH a boost! Thanks for that, Laura :)

All in all, a super great night and I’m always so glad to go to the Barnes and Noble at the Grove and to go to Fierce Reads events. I ADORE Macteen and they put out so many amazing books and I will go to every Fierce Reads event that I can!

Until next time, folks! And keep an eye out for that giveaway!

Tuesday Top Ten-Best YA High Fantasy Series

I was browsing around Tumblr this morning, medical like I do (because how do you start a day without spending some time on Tumblr) and I saw a post talking about YA high fantasy and it had SO many of my favorites. I was trying to think of something to write for the Tuesday Top Ten today and it just presented itself to me so easily.

I must admit, thumb as I wrote this list, I discovered TWO things: One, I really need to read more high fantasy (recommend some, please!) and two, I am majorly biased on one particular author…but that’s okay.

10. The Beka Cooper Trilogy 

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Books: Terrier, Bloodhound, Mastiff

Beka Cooper is the ancestor of George Cooper (who is massively important in Pierce’s first series, which, duh, is on the list), and she joins the Provost Dogs, which is basically like a police force. As the books go on, she becomes one of the most prominent and well trusted of the Dogs, solving crimes and taking down criminals. The story is told in diary form, which was a new thing for Tamora Pierce.

Its awesome. Anything Tammy does is basically magic, but what I love about this is you know how history plays out after this already. Her first four Tortall series all take place years after this so you know the direction its going in, but its still so fun. I think that Tamora Pierce has a wonderful way of writing fantastically strong characters but sometimes we convince ourselves that Daine and Kel and Aly are only able to have their stories because of all the things Alanna accomplished in the first series. But telling Beka’s story really tells us that women had a lot more power, and possibility in the past until obviously something went wrong. Plus these stories are so different than the others. Beka has to prove herself, not really as a capable woman, like the others, but just a capable person in general. And the crimes she solves, the mysteries that unravel are all so fun.

9. The Immortals Quartet 

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Books: Wild Magic, Wolf Speaker, Emperor Mage, The Realms of the Gods

Daine is trying to escape her home country of Galla, where she was treated as a pariah, an abomination for the “sickness” she believes is inside her. When she is brought on as an assistant horse handler on the way to Tortall, she discovers that she’s not crazy, but she has a rare bit of magic in here called wild magic, which gives her the ability to communicate with animals, heal them and even shape shift. Under the tutelage of the realms most powerful mage, Numair, she learns to control her magic and when her new home in Tortall is threatened by immortal creatures, she must learn to use her powers to help save her home and her friends.

I mean, can you really go wrong with this book? There’s magic and animals and cute boys and kissing and battles and its a GREAT series. Tammy blew my MIND with this one. I love Daine because before Daine, we had Alanna, who was great but didn’t get to be a girl as often because she was pretending to be a boy, so Daine was awesome. I loved when she was able to give up her dresses for breeches, and when she discovered she could heal animals. I love that we see old characters from Alanna’s series and I love the whole idea of these immortal creatures like spidrens and centaurs and stormwings. Daine’s story is absolutely fantastic.

8. The Protector of the Small Quartet 

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Books: First Test, Page, Squire, Lady Knight

In Kel’s book, the law has been changed and girls can go out for their knighthood, instead of hiding their sex the way Alanna does in her series. This is the moment that Kel has been waiting for but its tainted when the king grants her permission to come to the palace to try, under the condition that she have a probationary year, something no boy has. Not only does Kel have to prove herself as a knight, but that she belongs there amongst the boys.

What I love about Kel’s story is that it seems like it could be a repeat of Alanna’s story but it most definitely is not. Kel has a whole new adventure to go through. Alanna had to prove herself, yes, but everyone thought she was a boy. Kel is a girl, and on probation and has to work even harder than all the boys do. On top of that, her page master treats her differently and her fellow pages tease her, and play jokes on her, all to try and get her kicked out. I think Kel’s story is sometimes easier to relate to than Alanna’s. I like how it starts off with Kel being bullied and being angry that she and others are getting bullied and turns into a larger story when Scanra comes chopping at the Tortall borders. Kel always wants to take down the bullies, no matter how big or small, and I love her story.

7. The Girl of Fire and Thorns Trilogy 

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Books: The Girl of Fire and Thorns, The Crown of Embers, The Bitter Kingdom

Elisa was born with a godstone in her belly button, marking her as a chosen one, to do amazing things in the world. However, Elisa feels so much less than a chosen one. She’s massively overweight, not pretty, and constantly in the shadow of her older sister. When she is married off to a neighboring kingdom’s king, who is devastatingly handsome, she doubts she’ll ever reach her supposed amazing potential. Then she is kidnapped, by revolutionaries, and she suddenly sees how much more she is capable of and what she really could accomplish.

The first thing that caught me about this book is that Elisa is fat. Straight up, Elisa is fat. I love that. Do you know how often we get YA heroines who are fat, especially in novels like this? We just don’t. Even though Elisa loses weight through out the series, she remains a bigger girl and I think that’s important. Elisa is a strong, strong, incredible female character but its more than a physical strength. She’s incredibly smart, clever and she figures out exactly what she needs to do, with bumps all the way. Its all about coming into yourself, and coming into what people expect of you, and just doing the best that you can with what you are given and its just incredible. I dragged my dad, boyfriend and brother four hours to Las Vegas just so I could meet Rae Carson.

6. The Throne of Glass Series 

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Books (so far): Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, Heir of Fire 

Celaena is a former deadly assassin, sent into the dark work prisons. She is caught trying to escape and is chosen by a stranger to be a contestant, part of a tournament to choose the next King’s Champion. If she succeeds in winning, she will have to work for the King, whom she hates, for a period of time and then she can earn her freedom. She agrees and comes to the palace to compete but then people start disappearing, dying, being sabotaged in the contest and Celaena fears that she could be next. Add in the handsome and charming prince Dorian and the equally handsome and strong captain of the guard, Chaol, and you have a recipe for trouble.

 Sarah J. Maas blew my mind with this series. I had seen it all over the place for so long and I finally purchased it and was so incredibly glad when I did. The one thing that really jumps out at me of this series is the incredible world building of it. It is deep and complex and has a whole history to it, which is beautiful. A really good high fantasy novel will have that, and this book definitely accomplishes that. Add in the fact that there’s Dorian and Chaol and its so hard to figure out which one you like more, because they’re both so different…and you’re just so addicted to the story. But the kicker of the series is Celaena, who is a fantastic main character. I love that she can kill a person easily, almost in her sleep, but also loves to curl up with a good book and is so incredibly loving and caring.

5. The Song of the Lioness Quartet 

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Books: Alanna: The First Adventure, In the Hands of the Goddess, The Woman Who Rides Like a Man, Lioness Rampant

Alanna and her twin brother, Thom, are unhappy with their futures. Thom is all set to go to the palace to train as a knight, when he wants to go and learn to hone his magical Gift and become a powerful sorcerer. Alanna is to be sent to the convent, to be trained as a lady, to return home and find a husband, when she wants to become a knight. They switch places, and Alanna heads to the palace as Alan, disguised as a boy in order to earn her shield. Alanna has to work hard, doing all that she can to earn her shield, while trying to hide the fact that she is a girl.

This book series is incredible and what truly blows my mind about it is that it was written back in the 1980s. People think that the idea of a strong female character is a new phenomenon because of Hermione and Katniss and Tris but the original strong YA female character is definitely Alanna. She disguises herself as a boy for YEARS. Do you know how hard that would be? Not only does she have to work hard to become a knight, which is a trial all in itself, but she has to do it pretending to be a boy. She has to pretend that she doesn’t get her period, or breasts, and that she doesn’t having feelings for boys. She can’t undress herself in front of them. Its all so hard. But she fights hard and earns everything that she gains and its just SUCH a great series. Its a must, an absolute must for any lover of YA.

4. The Grisha Trilogy 

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Books: Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, Ruin and Rising

Alina Starkov is an orphan, earning her way through life, and struggling to find where she fits in. She’s working as a mapmaker, getting by and trying to ignore that her best friend, Mal, is handsome, popular with the ladies, and an incredibly good tracker. One day, as their crossing the Fold, a desolate bit of land, she saves Mal’s life, by using a power that she never knew she had. She has been labeled the Sun Summoner, a rare Grisha classification, able to produce light from within her. Suddenly, she is whisked away by The Darkling, the most powerful of the Grisha, and her power becomes the center of her existence.

The first I met Leigh Bardugo was at the Ontario Teen Book Fest. She was on a panel and the moderator said something about strong female characters not existing when the authors were younger and Leigh immediately says “Uh, duh, Alanna?” and I knew immediately that I needed to read her book. I bought Shadow and Bone that day and I’ve been massively in love with the Grisha trilogy since then. I just read the last one a few weeks ago when it was released and I’m just so in love. Leigh is an incredible writer and a beautiful storyteller. She has magic, and power, and politics and romance and humor and so much all in one series and its just brilliant. I really haven’t read a series like this before and I doubt I will ever read one like it again.

3. The Seven Realms Series

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Books: The Demon King, The Exiled Queen, The Grey Wolf Throne, The Crimson Crown

Raisa is the princess of her queendom, being bred every day to be the queen. She is royal by blood on her mother’s side, and has tribal blood from her father’s side and after spending time with her father and his people, she returns to the castle, restless and ready to do more. Her mother, on the other hand, has been taken in by the High Wizard, in a world where wizards are not to be trusted, and Raisa begins to fear what her mother will do. She starts sneaking out of the palace, getting to know her queendom, hoping to become the best queen that she can be. Han is a former thief, turning away from his criminal ways, in order to support his mother and younger sister. When he steals a wizard’s amulet one day, trouble begins to follow him and leads him into finding the truth about where he came from and what sort of powers he holds in himself.

THIS SERIES. I picked it up on a whim, really, just out of nowhere, and coincidentally, a few days before the final book was released. I literally read the four of them in a period of about five or six days and I have no regrets. Cinda Chima is absolutely brilliant. She reminds of Tamora Pierce a bit, and she just builds a great world. The Seven Realms is just so incredibly real and I love both the main characters so much and I couldn’t wait until the two of them met up together. Raisa is fun, and brave, and sassy, and strong and Han is sarcastic and fearless and reckless and caring and I just love the both of them so much. There’s mystery and intrigue and magic and you can never really figure out who the bad guy is and the books are full of surprises until the very end. There’s action one moment and then steamy makeout scenes the next and I seriously canNOT get enough of these books.

2. The Daughter of the Lioness Duology 

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Books: Trickster’s Choice, Trickster’s Queen

Aly has lived in the shadow of her parents for her entire life. Her father is the King’s spymaster and her mother is King’s champion, and the first female knight in over a century. Her godparents are the king and queen, the wildmage and the realm’s most powerful mage, the captain of the King’s Guard and more. Her brother is studying to be a sorcerer and her twin has gone for his knighthood. What Aly wants more than anything is to be a spy,  but her parents do not approve. She is kidnapped by pirates and sold into slavery at the nearby Copper Isles, to the Balitang family. There she discovers a rebellion brewing, the dark skinned raka wanting to take their country back from the light skinned luarin. Before she knows it, she’s wrapped up in it, doing everything she can to protect the Balitang girls, who could become the countries’ future rulers.

I’m rare in liking this series by Tammy the most but I must admit that I am quite biased. This is the first series that I actually read by Tammy. I picked it up when I was about 15 years old because it mentioned pirates and I was obsessed with pirates at the time. Obviously pirates were NOT essential to the story but I legitimately found one of my favorite books of all time. Aly is incredible and so different than Alanna, Daine and Kel. She doesn’t have magical powers like Daine, though she has the Sight. She isn’t a fighter like Alanna and Kel, though she can fight. Instead she’s absolutely clever. She knows the way of politics and the underground spy world. She knows the minds of people and how to trick them and how to get them to do the things she wants them to. Plus I loved the rebellion of it, of the people rising up. Its…easily my favorite book (tied with Goblet of Fire).

1. The Harry Potter Series 

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Books: You know

I’m not going to do a summary for this one because, duh. I’m pretty sure most people know what this is about and if you don’t…have you been living under a rock for all these years? Seriously?

I know this one is weird on this list because its kind of…is it full fantasy? Its kind of contemporary at the same time? I consider it high fantasy though. Also, is it YA? I’ve always sort of considered it YA but a lot of people say it’s children. SO that’s weird. But either way, its my favorite of all time. I do not have five HP tattoos, a personalized HP license plate and much more for nothing. This series is one of the most incredible series to ever be written and there is literally no other book that can make me feel the way these do. They have everything I could possibly need. They provide escape. They have taught me so many lessons of life. They make me laugh and cry. They make me question everything. They have brought me friends. They have an incredible world built and the story is beautiful and complex and exciting from the first page to the last.

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Book Review: Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

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Young Adult, sales  Fantasy

Pages: 

417

Part of a Series?:

The finale book in the Grisha Trilogy

Release Date: 

June 17th, stuff 2014

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble (Exclusive Edition)

Book Depository

Author Website

GoodReads Summary:

The capital has fallen. The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation’s fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, diagnosis a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova’s amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling’s secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.

My Review:

While this review will not contain any spoilers from Ruin and Rising, I cannot guarantee there will not be spoilers for Shadow and Bone and Siege and Storm. 

Dear Ms. Leigh Bardugo,

I have been waiting over a year for this book to come out. When I first read Shadow and Bone, I could not believe that such a book could even exist. It was a beautiful blend of fantasy, power, politics, romance and so much awesome. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Siege and Storm and that book blew my mind anymore.

When I headed out to your release event for Ruin and Rising, I had high hopes, dreams, expectations, apprehension, and so much more when I picked up my copy. I’ve read finale books in series recently that have been disappointing, have left me wanting more. I had high faith in you, Ms Bardugo. I believed that you could do this.

I got home, wanting to crack up the book right away but you threw such an awesome launch party that I immediately crawled up into my comfy bed and went to sleep. When I awoke the next month, I immediately reached for my book and spent the next few hours wrapped up in the world of Grisha and Ravka.

The first thing I thought of when I finished the novel was, wow. The second thing was…this is how you finish a trilogy or a series. This is exactly the kind of feeling that I want to be left with when I finish a series that means as much to me as this one does. I felt sad, and happy and bittersweet and overwhelmed but satisfied. I was so utterly and perfectly satisfied with the way that this series ended. It literally could not have gone any different than it went.

What you did right was this: you wrote the ending that we both wanted and didn’t. There were things that I wanted so badly and it happened and it made me happy. There were things that happened that I wanted to curse at, but felt right in the story. You knew how to make the right sacrifices, knew each direction that the characters were going in. Each ending felt right, perfect. Nothing felt forced. It seemed like the natural ending for each person. It made sense. I was happy for some, heartbroken for other but I was so satisfied.

Did I mention how incredible you are at writing fantasy? It blows my mind how you can create this beautiful, complicated world and make it feel so real and so addicting. Every moment in Ravka is important to me, and everything feels like its this whole different world. That’s the beauty of really great fantasy. You believe it. There’s nothing about it that feels fake or forced. Ravka is real and every character in this book is so real. I care so much about all of them. You’re an incredible writer. I could only hope to write like you one day. You are such an inspiration.

You can write action, you can write tension, you write beautiful romance, and you write politics and you write scary scenes and you do it all so well. All of these weave so well together into 400 pages of pure awesome.

Basically, thank you. Thank you for writing this book. Thank you for the entire series. It is incredible from the very first page to the very last page. All three books make so much sense together, flow perfectly, and tell a beautiful story. You left us with an epic cliffhanger in Siege and Storm and brought us in, answered our questions, wrapped up our story, and left this reader feeling incredibly satisfied. Its hard to let go of these characters but I’m anxious for anything and everything you write in the future because if they are even a fragment of what the Grisha Trilogy, and Ruin and Rising is, I know they are going to be epic.

Sincerely,

One Super Stoked and Happy Reader :)

Rating:

5 out of 5 Stars

Leigh Bardugo’s Ruin and Rising Launch Party at The Last Bookstore!

I’m just going to start off by saying this: Leigh Bardugo and her friends really know how to throw a party. A launch party that is.

The first “real” launch party that I ever attended was Leigh’s last year for the middle book of the Grisha trilogy series, treat Siege and Storm. It was a total blast so when Leigh told me about her party back at the Festival of Books, ambulance I knew that this was something that I could not miss.

I met up with my friends Sylvia and Alex, and we ate some delicious pizza and Slurpees that were literally perfect for the moment. We then drove to pick up my friend Cassandra and made our way to The Last Bookstore.

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If you’ve never been to The Last Bookstore in LA before, its an incredible place to go. There are books everywhere, and rooms that are like mazes, and tunnels and really cool doors and its just beautiful. Its one of the most beautiful bookstores I’ve ever seen. Leigh could not have picked a better place to launch her final novel in the Grisha trilogy.

There was lots of food to eat, and drinks too called “The Ruin” and “The Rising.” They were delicious, both the non-alcoholic ones and the ones with a kick ;)

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The decorations were SUPER awesome. The entire bookstore was transformed to celebrate the series, and I just wanted to take pictures of everything.

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The first pages of Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm and Ruin and Rising

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Leigh was introduced, in such a lovely way, and talked to us for a bit. She never fails to both make me laugh and inspire me. She read a bit from a diary that she had when she was about ten years old, and it was SO funny. Then she went through the basic plot line of Labyrinth. Yes, the David Bowie Labyrinth. It was, and has remained, a favorite movie of hers and she talks about why that is. We reach this pivotal moment of the film, where it goes from being a children’s movie to something a bit more, and she believes that it is YA. She talks passionately about YA, about reading it and writing it, and it was just plain beautiful. Leigh is incredibly inspiring.

She also read a very small bit of the beginning of Ruin and Rising, and then we all were dismissed for food, drinks and fun…oh and signing too.

My friends and I immediately departed for the photobooth. I had a TON of fun with it last year, and I was eager to get back into it again, with some of my most awesome friends :)

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I also had the guts to get into the booth by myself this time. I SO would not have done that a year ago!

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They also had a manicure station as well, but I’m a compulsive nail biter and I tend to stay away from that haha.

We finally decided to get in line to meet Leigh and it was a great time, as always. We talked a bit, and I told her I would see her in Vegas next week for the Fierce Reads stop and she signed my copy of Ruin and Rising. We also got lots of swag, which is always good. I love getting my hands on more bags, and bookmarks and pins.

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And I got my special launch party edition sticker too, which my Siege and Storm has, and was MUCH needed for my Ruin and Rising.

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As we were saying goodbye to everyone, and leaving the venue, there were two guys manning the front security desk. We had asked them early if there was a way to get our hands on the giant posters, the ones that I posted earlier, that had the first pages of each novel of Grisha trilogy. We were told that we couldn’t have them, because they were needed the next day at Leigh’s event down in San Diego. I know I was disappointed but it was okay. As we were leaving though, the two guys flagged us down and handed the posters over, making us SO incredibly happy. We ran back into the bookstore and made sure to get these posters signed by Leigh!

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All in all, it was a great night, full of a TON of fun, especially the book kind, which is my favorite :) It is always a blast hanging out with my friends and meet new ones, and to see Leigh Bardugo again. She’s brilliant, hilarious and inspiring.

I definitely can’t wait for more launch parties for Leigh in the future!

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Oh! I also got to talk to Leigh’s mom again, who remembered me from the last launch party, and a picture was totally necessary. I even put them back to back so you could see. What a sweetheart and so proud of her daughter. I love it!

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I have finished Ruin and Rising already so watch out for a review coming VERY VERY soon!

Happy Reading everyone!

Tuesday Top Ten-Favorite New Releases of 2013!

 Well, stuff its the end of the year, more about and what an absolutely INCREDIBLE year it was for books. Honestly, view I am blown away from all the books that I managed to read this year. I dove even further into the world of book blogging and, by doing so, opened myself up to more and more book recommendations. Its not the end of the year yet, but I’m less than a handful of books away from reaching my 200 book goal. Of those 197 that I’ve read so far, 168 of them were brand new novels, either new releases or new books that were recommended to me.

I mean, I literally discovered SO many authors this year. I’m part of SO many new fandoms this year. 8 of the 10 books on this list are brand new authors to me for the year 2013.

But beyond just new books to me, there were so many brand new releases this year that blew my mind. This week’s Top Ten counts down the best new releases of the year. According to me. Which is basically known as expert and legit opinion that you have to trust. Seriously. I know you’ve seen a ton of other lists, from other book bloggers, and authors and such that count down the best books of 2013, but come on, are they really as awesome as me? I don’t think so ;)

 Anyway, here’s the list! Also, if you click on the title, you’ll get the full review! If there is a review. I didn’t review all of these.

10. Untold by Sarah Rees Brennan

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I have known who Sarah Rees Brennan is for a LONG time, because she’s a close friend of Cassandra Clare’s and we all know how I feel about Cassandra Clare. I just never sat down to read her books. I read The Demon’s Lexicon and liked it but just not enough to have me fall madly in love with her as an author. I asked her to do an interview for her new release, Untold, and figured, okay, I gotta be a good book blogger and actually read this series. I sped through Unspoken, the first novel, and loved the second novel, Untold as well. Untold picks up with two teenagers, obviously in love with each other, but full of so many struggles. They are wondering if their love is real or a result of the bond they had for their entire lives. But they are also struggling with their own families and to keep their town safe. What I love about Sarah’s series is that its good for a fan of YA paranormal romance, but its also so much more than that. Jared is a character to crush on, leaving you panting like mad, and Kami Glass is a seriously badass protagonist who always wants to save the day first before throwing herself into the arms of the one that she loves, and I think that’s incredibly awesome. Plus, that cliffhanger wasn’t even fair. I can’t WAIT until the third book comes out. I’m DYING for it to come out.

9. Here Without You by Tammara Webber

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I absolutely adore, love, admire, love love love love Tammara Webber. I discovered her when I first bought my first Kindle a few years back, and was looking for something to read that was fairly cheap. I discovered Between the Lines, and ate up those books. I LOVE them. They are exactly the type of YA contemporary that I love to read. It has everything that you love about YA but it has that little extra spice, and I love that. Call it mature YA, YA or NA, whatever, its awesome. I also give her much props for being self-published and doing well with it, and getting noticed. Not many authors can do that, but she does and she deserves to be noticed for that. The Between the Lines series mostly follows Reid Alexander, who is a teen actor with a wild streak. You name it: the girls, the parties, the scandals. I thought the series was over with Good for You, when Reid finds the girl who can make him better and he falls in love. When I found out this was coming out, I squealed with SO much excitement. We get more of Reid in this book, of course, but we also get the POV of a character named Brooke, who has always been there, but we don’t know much about. The story of the two of them tackling a part of their past they’d like to forget was beautiful and I was constantly tearing up.

8. The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead 

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Okay, this is a little bit of cheating because I literally just finished it a couple days ago but it counts because I busted through the entire Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series recently and I am so in love with both of them, and Richelle Mead and Dimitri Belikov and Adrian Ivashkov. I read the four books of the Bloodlines series in about a week, and I was blown away that Richelle Mead was able to take the world she built in six books in the Vampire Academy and continue it in ways that were new and exciting. I love Sydney Sage as a main character and, like I said, I’m madly in love with Adrian Ivashkov. I loved that this book delved into the dual points of view. I am actually getting really tired of that and kind of scoff when I see that now but I think she did it perfectly and it created the perfect amount of drama and action and mystery. Having both Adrian and Sydney’s reactions at the end of the book, leaving us hanging for the 5th book, was perfect. Everything from the previous books culminated into the end of this book and I can’t wait to find out what happens next. My impatient body can barely handle the wait until June (July?) when Silver Shadows comes out. I am so excited for it.

Also, I will review this :) I just haven’t had time yet for it!

7. Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

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Another new discovery for the year of 2013, Sarah J Maas knows how to do fantasy. Seriously. There are very few authors nowadays in the YA genre who can do some legitimate beautiful fantasy and she is definitely one of them. The world that she creates is incredible, so incredible that I sometimes find it hard to keep up. I have to pause to remember the intricacies of the world that she has created. But I think the beauty of her novels is her main character, Celaena. Celaena is a trained assassin, overly capable of keeping herself safe, whip smart, and also super fun at the same time. She loves to read, and to eat, and wear pretty dresses. She is exactly what I wish I could be, you know, if I knew how to wield daggers, and kill people. Which I don’t. Just as a disclaimer. The first novel is about Celaena’s bid for freedom, but the sequel just creates a more twisting and secretive storyline, with more and more popping up. Celaena’s life is more complicated than she had expected it to be after winning the tournament in the first book, and its hard for her to keep up sometimes. Sarah takes an already beautifully built world and expands it even more. Its just absolutely amazing.

6. Reality Boy by A.S. King

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I decided to check out this book after it was highly recommended by an author that I admire so much, Andrew Smith. More on Andrew later. But I trust his opinion thoroughly and decided to buy this book, especially since it was the Kindle deal of the day. Always gotta check those out because there can be some GREAT books for deals. This was another book that I whizzed through. King has this amazing story, a hugely addicting and compelling story, but she also addresses a question that we never really think about: what happens to children who are exploited on reality TV shows. It is also a story about serious emotional abuse and neglect. I’ve read so many books about actual physical abuse but emotional abuse and neglect can be just as damaging. Gerald has been traumatized by his stint on reality TV, where his problems as a child were exploited hugely and have followed him for the rest of his life. He also has a very abusive, psychotic sister, whose problems are excused by his very absent mother. Its a beautiful story, one in which Gerald learns to move past the image that he has of himself, built from that TV show, and finds love and strength outside of his home. This book blew me away and AS King is definitely going to be on my radar for now on!

5. Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

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Talk about another author who blew my mind this year. I met Leigh at the Ontario Teen Book Fest, where her humor and her affinity for Tamora Pierce novels (agh, Tammy!) made me so happy that I just had to buy her book, Shadow and Bone. I finished it quickly and was so excited when I found out the sequel was to be released in a couple weeks. I went to her book release party (which was incredible!) and immediately went home to read the book. I didn’t believe it to be possible, but this one was even better than the first one. What I like a lot about this novel is that there’s a much bigger picture than just Alina but there is also so much more to Alina, as well. Alina is the protagonist, essentially the “good guy” of the novel, but she has her own struggles with her powers and how to use them. She can’t help but let them overtake her, and her confidence can get the best of her. She is young and impressionable and people are after her, so many people want to use her, and it goes to her head. Plus the world building…I can’t handle the amount of world building in these novels. Its absolutely incredible. Then when I learned that she used chemistry to build her magical system, I was just floored. Oh, and Sturmhond is introduced in this novel. You haven’t lived until you’ve fallen in love with Sturmhond.

4. Champion by Marie Lu

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What an amazing finish to easily the best dystopian series for YA. Maybe, period. Let me put it to you this way: I LOVE The Hunger Games and Divergent. I wouldn’t camp out for days for Catching Fire red carpet premiere if I didn’t love The Hunger Games. But I say this with complete honesty that Marie Lu’s Legend trilogy blows them all out of the water. Prodigy ends in a serious cliffhanger, one that nearly had me throwing my Kindle across the room. I couldn’t believe that I had to wait a whole TEN months for the end ;) But I did it, and what happens in this book is beautiful, genuine and just the perfect ending. There were so many twists and turns and surprises. I loved that Marie opened up her world even more than it already was. She addresses nations outside of the US, which not a lot of dystopian novels do! I also think its the most beautiful, realistic, bittersweet endings ever, and it made me cry and I loved it. I hate happy endings, I’ve made that clear, but this one had so many good and bad things at the end, which felt so real. I am incredibly satisfied with the way this series ended. I can’t wait to read more from Marie Lu because this girl knows how to write a novel!

3. The Enchanter Heir by Cinda Williams Chima

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Speaking of amazing fantasy writers (especially ones that TOTALLY don’t get as much as they deserve), Cinda Williams Chima blew me out the freakin window, down the street and far far away with this installment of the Heir Chronicles. I love the Heir Chronicles but they didn’t become an obsession with me as much as her Seven Realms series did. Now that this fourth book has been released, I must say…they’re basically tied up. The Enchanter Heir was brilliant. It continues the story built in the first three books, but also stands alone. In fact, you can read this one without having ever read the other ones. Both characters in this novel are fantastic. Jonah is a badass fighter, with a scary power, and is incredible to watch, even in my own mind as I read. Emma is new to the magical Weir world but she is so strong and awesome, and she fumbles her way through with grace. Cinda takes an already amazing series and makes it so much better. I cannot even begin to say how much I loved it. She wraps up the third book of the series so well that you think, there’s no way it can continue but she does, she spins a whole new story and it works so well. Her world is that extensive and awesome. Seriously. God people read this book. Read all her books.

2. Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

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I was so incredibly nervous when I first bought this novel. One, Cassandra Clare has a way of tearing my heart out and stomping all over it. She has a way of pulling at my emotions in a way that not many other authors have been able to. Two, there is a distinct love triangle in this series and I was hoping with all my heart that I would not be disappointed in the ending, because love triangles get on my nerves. What I got was a beautiful novel about love and friendship. She took what has become stereotype and, frankly, annoying and turned it into a lesson on love. Tessa loves Will…and Jem. She loves them both and is able to have time with them both. How often is it that you love one person in your entire life? I know I haven’t. And there’s such a fantastic story of friendship between the three of them. They all love each other so much, they’re so connected, that they’ll do anything for each other, and that includes basically saving the world. Will goes to save Tessa, the rest of the Institute goes to save them both and together, they save the world from Mortmain. This book had me sobbing my eyes out, in the saddest and also happiest epilogue in a book that I’ve ever. And it should be noted that I don’t like epilogues usually. I read this until 3 am. Worth every bit of sleepiness I had the next day. Beautiful beautiful conclusion to the trilogy.

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I cheated. I picked TWO books for number one. I honestly couldn’t pick between the two. There was just no way. They both completely blew my mind.

1. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

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I have literally never had a book that literally jumped into my soul, my very being, and just KNEW me. Fangirl is a term that is applied a lot lately, everyone is a fangirl but I think there’s that select few of us that have been fangirls for ages, and know exactly what its like to be Cath. Cath is obsessed with a fantasy series called Simon Snow, which is a sort of fictional Harry Potter. She has posters, commemorative busts, fan art, and writes her own fan fiction, fan fiction that ships the two main male characters together. Not only does she write the fan fiction, but people LOVE her story and they eagerly await her next chapter. And she’s an introvert. She doesn’t always know how to operate in the outside world, because she’s so wrapped up in the fictional world of Simon Snow. She cares about the characters and those worlds so much, and people just don’t get it. If you don’t see this as me, you don’t know me. I literally felt like Cath was ME. I was laughing and crying the entire novel because there were so many times where I felt like screaming “Yes, yes, yes! Exactly! How did you know?” I can’t stop talking about this book because it just effected me so much. I know exactly what its like to be Cath and feel the way she does. I have been wanting to re-read this but I haven’t had the time. Its a goal of my 2014 reading challenge to re-read this book!

1. Winger by Andrew Smith

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You guys are probably getting so tired of me pushing this book on you, but I kind of hope you are so then you’ll go out buy this book and read it just to shut me up already. And then you’ll realize how silly you’ve been for so long and you’ll love it. Just like my boyfriend. I know whats best, everyone. Just trust me on this. I’ve said it a hundred times, and I’ll say it again. Do you like John Green? Did you like Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, The Fault in Our Stars? Then you will love Winger. Winger is exactly that kind of novel, but so much better. Ryan Dean is hilarious and this book will make you laugh and cry and have an all around good time. It such a beautiful piece into being a teenager, and even more so, a teenage boy. It has sports and a love story. It has LGBT themes, and its ultimately a coming-of-age story. It has artwork in it (the comics are SO funny). It has everything that you need in a great book. I haven’t seen this book on not ONE top list of the year and it disappoints me to no end. This is easily the best book (besides Fangirl) of the year, and I can’t push it on you guys enough. Andrew Smith’s novel is the kind of novel that lasts. Its contemporary and recent but the story and the characters, the jokes, the love, the lessons, are all timeless. Andrew Smith became a favorite author of mine, easily, with one novel. Thats magic.

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I hope you enjoyed this week’s Tuesday Top Ten! I hope that you loved these books as much as I did, and if you haven’t read them, I hope they make it on your “to-read” lists for 2014! They are all must-reads and I am going to push all of them on you until you just give in and read them.

What were some of your favorite 2013 books? Share in the comments! 

Fierce Reads Tour Kicks Off in San Diego!

Yesterday was another epic author event under the belt for me, viagra 40mg down at Mysterious Galaxy for the first stop of the Fierce Reads Tour.

This fall Fierce Reads tour features authors Gennifer Albin and Ann Aguirre, what is ed with Jessica Brody and Leigh Bardugo as special guests.

Now, I’m already quite familiar with Jessica and Leigh. I mean, when Jessica Brody tweets you because she saw that you were interviewed in the CBS interview with Cassandra Clare, that’s pretty awesome. Jessica is the author of several contemporary YA novels, like My Life Undecided and The Karma Club, and the Unremembered trilogy, with a sort of Bourne identity storyline but with a kickass girl and a hot guy. Can’t deny that one can you?

Leigh Bardugo is the author of Shadow and Bone, and Siege and Storm, following the story of Alina Starkov in this immense and dark fantasy world, who finds out she has special powers and must be taken under the wing of the mysterious Darkling in order to learn them.

Gennifer and Ann are new authors to my ever growing list. Gennifer writes a sort of fantasy-dystopian where girls called Spinsters literally weave the reality of the world on looms. I just bought the first book of Ann’s trilogy, but I’m very excited to dive into it.

Authors at Fierce Reads

The adventure getting to Mysterious Galaxy was super fun, with my friends Cassandra, and Sylvia from FanGirlFeeels, and when we got there, I was SO happy to be there! I enjoy meeting authors and I love Mysterious Galaxy. They are such fun indie bookstores and they’re great. The authors had arrived at the same time, and both Jessica and Leigh said enthusiastic hellos to myself and to Sylvia, and thanked us for driving to see them.

Fierce Reads Books

The event was SUCH a blast. I already knew that Jessica and Leigh were super fun to meet. Each one of them has their own brand of humor, and I always have such a great time with their events. Add in Ann and Gennifer and it was literally a laugh fest the entire time. Seriously, I swear I want to be an author just to hang out with these super cool ladies. I was literally laughing, with a little bit of tears, every time they were talking. This was the first stop of the tour, and I know that the rest of the stops are going to be just fabulous, because they obviously have a fun and awesome chemistry going on.

Leigh Bardugo

All the authors shared a lot about writing, and about their books. I always love coming to these things because I feel like I get wonderful insight to the authors’ books and I also get priceless writing advice, which is always helpful to me. I gobble up all possible writing advice, anything to help keep me motivated and inspired.

Gennifer Albin

They also addressed the sort of controversy and issues going on with Allegiant. Each author sort of agreed that readers have the right to react as they please, but the reactions can be dealt with in other manners. Ann said she knows that not everyone is going to love her book, but she’d hope they wouldn’t bring it to her front yard. Leigh was extremely passionate about it, and said she would hope that readers understood where authors are coming from when they are writing their novel, and that they’re going to write the novel they set out to write. She also said that expressing all those emotions, like hate and anger, won’t change anything so its a waste of time. I liked what Jessica said, that love and hate come from the same place, and you know you’re doing something right if you get either of those.

Jessica Brody

I’ve also learned from these authors that the second and third books were harder to write. Gennifer Albin said that her first book seemed like a breeze to her, but the second one was a lot harder. Both Leigh and Jessica lamented over their third books, and jokingly called Jessica’s third book “stupidly awesome.” Ann talked about the difficulties of having a successful first book, and translating the story and the audience into the second and the third book.

Ann Aguirre

I found that SO interesting. She really explained how each of her books in her trilogy sort of represented something different: the first book was the quest, the second book was the emotions and building of relationships, and the third was the war. I really bought into that, and I really loved it. I’m writing a standalone sci-fi so I’m not frazzled at how to fit all of that into one book. But I thought it was a good way of thinking of it, and its something I’m definitely keeping in mind!

Then came meeting the authors, which is always fun because you get to interact with them, and I’ve gotten to know Jessica and Leigh, we’ve bonded and can joke with each other. When my friend Cassandra met Jessica Brody, she was like “you came with these clowns?!” and I couldn’t stop laughing. But she was extremely helpful with writing tips, and I’m going to be checking out this book called Save the Cat and creating a book bible for my sci-fi book. I’m going to start working on that now!

Lastly, I LOVED talking to Gennifer about Harry Potter and Doctor Who. She had the cutest Doctor Who lunch box/purse thing, and I showed her my Doctor Who tattoo and she was so excited about it, and she was like “I need to get my Deathly Hallows tattoo” and I just held out my other wrist, and she laughed, and was like “You stole all my tattoo ideas!” I love author bonding ;)

Here is all the awesome swag/signed books I got!

Fierce Reads Bag

Signed 52 Reasons Book Signed Crewel Book Signed Enclave Book Signed Fierce Reads Poster

OH! And of course I had Gennifer and Ann sign my poster of writing advice :) Check out what they had to say!

Gennifer and Ann Writing Advice

I also was really stoked to meet one of my followers, Kayla, who is the blogger over at The Thousand Lives. We talk a LOT online, especially about books, and it was her VERY FIRST book event. You can read about her experience here, and I am so glad to have met her IRL and to be part of her first author event experience!

Last night was just the first stop of their tour (they’re in Albuquerque tonight), and there are SO many more stops. Check out this link to find out if they’re coming near you. You definitely do NOT want to miss out!

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