Book Events, Book Events, Book Events! Recap with Andrew Smith, Aaron Hartzler, Nicole Yoon, Cecil Castellucci, Leigh Bardugo and Stephenie Meyer!

I throw myself at your mercy, prostate my friends! I have attended so many events lately and I’ve sadly been so terrible at recapping them!

So I’ve decided to do a quick update of who I’ve met the past few months, and share some photos and some quick things about it!

September 8th – Andrew Smith at The Grove

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It’s always an awesome time seeing Andrew. I had been dying to get my hands on Stand-Off and I knew I had to get to this signing, no matter what happened. He read a bit of the book, which was absolutely hilarious, and signed books. He was such a sweetheart, and made sure to give me a big hug, which was awesome. I loved the way he signed my book…to be counted as his friend is honestly a huge honor. Aaron Hartzler was also there, and I figured it would be an awesome picture to get one of the two of them, because they’re just both so so awesome!

September 13th – Cecil Castellucci at the Long Beach Comic Con

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It is always awesome to see Miss Cecil! Sadly, I had missed her release party as well, which had made me so insanely sad since it was a new Princess Leia book! I got it on release date though, and when I heard she was going to be at LBCC, I knew I had to swing by her table and get her autograph, of course. I adore Cecil and if you haven’t read her Princess Leia book, you definitely should!

I also was able to meet Amy Mebberson, the fan artist who is AWESOME, and does one of my favorite series, Pocket Princesses. I also met Lindsey McKeon, who played Tessa the Reaper in Supernatural.

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September 24th – Aaron Hartzler at the Grove

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Then a few weeks later, I made my way back to the Grove to celebrate the release of Aaron Hartzler’s What We Saw. I read this book back in April as an ARC and just fell madly in love with it. I knew I had to get my hands on a copy, especially since Aaron is such a great friend. He gave me the BIGGEST hug when he found out my news about being published and it was just fabulous seeing him again. He read such a great part from the book too.

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It was fabulous too! Aaron pointed out the awesome Nicola Yoon during his event, and I was so sad that I had missed her own release party the week before that I practically sprinted to the YA section to grab a copy of her book to get it signed. She was SO sweet about it and signed it, and was just so so awesome.

October 7th – Leigh Bardugo at The Grove

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Leigh always is SUCH a fun time. She’s so funny and articulate and she always has the best events because she’s just such an awesome person. She makes me laugh like no other, and she’s so passionate about what she does. I LOVE going to see her and her new book is just fabulous! She had just found out that day that Six of Crows had debuted at #1 on the NYT best seller list too, so it was a great celebration!

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Me and Leigh’s mom! We’ve taken a picture together the last three years at Leigh’s release parties so it felt like tradition to do it once more! She’s just so awesome :)

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Its always so so great to see Leigh, but this time was even more awesome. She congratulated me on being published and wrote just the best thing in the world in my book, that made me smile so big and nearly drove me to tears. I’m so lucky to have such a great author as a friend, and that we were able to celebrate the awesomeness of being published (and soon to be published) together!

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My dad even went to the event with me! He’s been reading Six of Crows, which is awesome because he’s not a reader at all, and he decided to come with me, and meet Leigh!

October 12th – Stephenie Meyer at The Grove with Jake Abel

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I was actually really excited when I heard that Stephenie Meyer would be signing at The Grove for the tenth anniversary of Twilight. I’ve been reading it for ten years haha and its my biggest guilty pleasure for sure. I’ve also never met her, which is pretty crazy so I was excited to finally meet her! My dear friend, Lita, helped me get a good spot for the event and I was second row and perfectly set for the Q and A and the signing.

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It was also REALLY cool to see that she had brought along Jake Abel for the signing, to help with the Q and A. It was super simple, everyone wrote down questions on index cards, they selected a few backstage and then answered some during the event. They picked mine too, which was awesome and I made sure to record it too! If you don’t know Jake Abel, he played Ian in Stephenie Meyer’s The Host, and he also was Luke in Percy Jackson and Adam in Supernatural.

It was a SUPER great event. It was organized perfectly, it went smoothly and they even had a professional photographer to take your picture with Stephenie so that you got a picture but didn’t hold up the line with your phone or camera. It was absolutely seamless.

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This picture came out SO good. I love this professional photographer thing. It worked out so well and I truly love my picture so much.

Afterwards, Jake Abel had sort of disappeared, and I was kind of sad because I wanted to get a picture with him. I saw a friend of mine, who looked all happy, and asked if she knew where he was, so I totally tracked him down. He was with his wife, shopping for books, but he was insanely sweet about posing for a picture with me!

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And then I finally had a signed Twilight book in my collection!

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I hope you enjoyed this random recap of events! Hopefully from now on, I’ll be MUCH MUCH better at recapping!

The 411 on Stephenie Meyer Day and Why Every Twilight Fan NEEDS to Go!

This photo is courtesy of the official Stephenie Meyer Day website
This photo is courtesy of the official Stephenie Meyer Day website

Hello friends! I have something really awesome and special to share with you today. I had heard of this event from a distant from a few people, purchase but as I have gotten further and further into the world of blogging, medications and becoming more aware of the different events that take place all over the world.

One of the events that just recently came to my attention was Stephenie Meyer Day, which takes place in Forks, Washington, the home of the fictional character of Stephenie Meyer’s iconic Twilight Saga. I saw it from a distance, and I wasn’t sure what it was. So I was really excited when Katie, who is an active participant and cosplays as Victoria, asked me to help her out, in sharing this awesome event with my followers, and learning more about it. Its a whole weekend, which also includes the event, Forever in Forks. Confused? I was a little bit. I didn’t really know the difference between the two, or what we really went on. Luckily, I had Katie’s awesome help to tune me in to the 411. Check it out.

Sara: What are the differences between Stephenie Meyer Days and Forever in Forks? Are they two different events that coincide the same weekend, or what? 

SMD: Stephenie Meyer Day is an annual celebration of the world-renowned author of The Twilight Saga, held in the series’ setting of Forks, Washington. Designed to coincide with the September 13th birthday of Bella Swan, Stephenie Meyer has grown to include an entire weekend of festivities. An estimated 100,000 Twilight fans have visited Forks per year since the surge in popularity of The Twilight Saga.

Forever in Forks is an annual gather for Twilight fans to come together in support of a good cause. Each year, a Forever Party is held in a Twilight-related city, with proceeds going toward the chosen charity. In 2012, Forever in Forks raised $2,500 in Los Angeles for Alex’s Lemonade Stand.

Stephenie Meyer Day and Forever in Forks intersected for the first time in 2013.

Sara: How did these events come about? Who was involved, what was the inspiration, how long as it been going on? 

unnamed-1SMD: Stephenie Meyer Day was proclaimed in 2007, following a visit by the Twi-Queen herself. Marcia Bingham (then ED of the Forks Chamber of Commerce) and employee Mike Gurling came up with the idea to honor the author for her contribution to the boost in tourism to the isolated, rainforest community.

The Chamber of Commerce officiated over the event until 2010 when a group of local business owners volunteered to take it over and to the next level. Through 2010, the event was rather small scale and held in the city park with vendors, a lookalike contest and birthday cake to celebrate Bella’s birthday. With formation of the SMD 2011 committee, new ideas and a clear vision of where the event would go in the future was formed.

A cast of professional lookalikes were commissioned along with organize, Twilight-themed events like St. Marcus’ Day festival, Bella and Edward’s wedding and prom. Local businesses donated funds and merchandise to cover expenses and prizing.

After 2012, the SMD committee dissolved and two separate groups formed. For the purposes of this article, I can only speak for the original Stephenie Meyer Day group that holds the domain name and Facebook page of the same name.

For SMD 2013, the cast had been expanded to a full Cullen family including Nessie and Jake, along with two beautiful Nomads. We had the privilege of having a professional publicist work with us, helping with social media, news releases and website content. A direct result of this collaboration is our partnership with the very popular Forever in Forks organization and a long anticipated return of the Queen herself, Stephenie Meyer.

Sara: How many people come to these events? Is it a huge worldwide known thing, or is it small and intimate? 

SMD: This Stephenie Meyer Day, we had fans come from Colombia, Chile, Japan and the United Kingdom! We have had visitors attend from all over the world, but most of our guests are from the United States. However, with the growing popularity of our Facebook page, we’re interacting more and more with guests from other countries, most of whom are already saving to make the trip next year.

Each year, we have anywhere between 500-1000 people attend Stephenie Meyer Day.

Sara: What kind of atmosphere is created there? Why would this be something a Twilight fan needs to do? 

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SMD: The atmosphere created during Stephenie Meyer Day is one of love and inclusion. Everyone who travels to Forks has at least one thing in common: a love for Twilight that’s so strong, they’re willing to visit a small, remote logging town that’s difficult to get to, and often far from where they live. The event is a safe space for Twilight fans, many of whom can relate to feeling ridiculed or stereotyped for being Twilight fans.

More than that, though, visiting Forks during Stephenie Meyer Day is an opportunity to really live and breathe the world of Twilight. It’s the only time of year that fans can visit the town and meet real “vampires”-the Olympic coven, our group of Twilight character look-alikes. It’s also the only time of year that Forks hosts Twilight-specific events, such as Bella’s birthday party or a vampire baseball game. Essentially, Stephenie Meyer Day is the ultimate Twilight convention.

Sara: How is each year different from previous years. What makes someone return each year? 

SMD: Many of our guests have been to Stephanie Meyer Day multiple times, and it’s primarily due to the connections they make with other fans, the event organizers and the Olympic Coven. They’re excited for the event every year, but more than that, they’re excited to reconnect with the friends they’ve made, most of whom live in different states, or even different countries.

Each year is different because we really strive to offer fans new and unique events. Our events tend to be inspired by plot points in the book, character traits or locations featured in the novels. In 2012, for instance, we recreated Edward and Bella’s wedding and reception. This year, one of our more memorable events was eating s’mores on First Beach with Stephenie Meyer.

Sara: What are the MUSTS of the weekend? What are the events that you just CAN’T miss? 

SMD: While every year is different, there are certain themes that live on from year to year. The event began as a simple celebration of Bella’s birthday, so we continue to throw a party for Bella and serve cake every year. And while there are no guarantees about what will be on the schedule, we always strive to feature local business and showcase local scenery, such as the beaches of La Push or the Hoh Rainforest. We want our fans to fall in love with the Pacific Northwest when they visit Forks, and they do; many of them are already planning their next trip before they leave.

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Photo Courtesy of the Official Stephenie Meyer Day Facebook Page
Photo Courtesy of the Official Stephenie Meyer Day Facebook Page

Sounds awesome, right? They really put in a TON of work and care into this event, and to making it the ultimate thing to do as a Twilight fan. In fact, I’m already planning on going next September, to be a part of this amazing thing. I saw pictures all over Facebook and Twitter, Instagram and more of my friends, and others, having an unforgettable time up in Forks, the entire weekend. I was floored when I saw that Stephenie Meyer had made an appearance, hanging out with the fans, eating s’mores, taking pictures and signing books. Incredible.

And if you don’t believe me, check out these fan reactions to the most recent SMD back in September of this year.

Sam Edward Moden: 

“SMD was definitely an experience I’d love to do again for years and years to come. From the fabulous activities run by SMD and their wonderful cast who make the event one to remember.”

Melissa “Rosemelie” Rivett

“Stephenie Meyer Day is something that I will never forget; thanks in part to the amazing friends I went with and made, the town welcoming us in, the Olympic Coven bringing Twilight to life, and Stephenie Meyer herself showing up. There were so many different memorable events that I can vividly recall as though they just happened yesterday. To see people of all ages still coming out for something that all started a few years ago, and ‘ended’ a year ago with something truly spectacular. I can’t wait to go back to Forks and make more memories in 2014, and most likely, many more years to come!”

Maren Monkress: 

“My favorite thing about Stephenie Meyer Day 2013 was meeting everybody. They’re just so nice and they stay in character. I love them all! They make me feel like family! When it was time to go with the last event, and all of us had to do our goodbyes, I tried so hard to leave the tears and all the sadness. It was one of our favorite vacations! It made me shine the Twilight sense. I am so excited for next year!!”

Kels: 

“My favorite part was meeting everyone again and having Stephenie Meyer there and came over to sit by me. The beach party with the fire pit was truly awesome. And Emmett, my monkey man, carried me to the beach [Note: Kels is wheelchair bound and the chair couldn’t drive on the beach]. Victoria gave me her stole and Carlisle, my pretend husband, giving me his scarf really made my day.”

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Still not convinced? I’m surprised at you! I know my followers, and I know that you know a good thing when you see it!

I honestly think this sounds like one of the COOLEST things. The dedication of so many fans, gathering together in the town of Forks for some Twilight fun…its just awesome. Whether you’re a Twilight fan or not, you must admit that it sounds amazing. Imagine if we all went to New York City or London for a Mortal Instruments/Infernal Devices weekend. Or we…okay, I can’t think of anything else because so much of the fandoms are in these HUGE cities like New York and London and Los Angeles and such. What Twilight has in Forks, and the actual people in Forks, is a beautiful thing, and I definitely can’t wait to be a part of it.

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They just announced their 2014 schedule, which made me incredibly excited. Its next September the 11th through the 14th of 2014. Definitely get on board with this. There are so many ways to keep track of them, to find out more and more information.

You can find them: 

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Their Website

I hope to make it up the coast to Forks next September, and to meet all of these amazing people, and to experience the fun and unforgettable experience that is Stephenie Meyer Day. I hope that all of my Twilight followers will check this out, and hopefully start saving those pennies in order to go!

Keep an eye out, because we’ll have much more news in the future, and don’t forget to follow them on their various social medias to keep updated!

Also, keep an eye out in the next month or so for a detailed article on the what, when, where, and how of getting involved with this event. We’ll help you out with when to book your flight, rental cars, preregistration and where to stay, and all the nitty gritty!

So stay tuned, Twilight fans! There is SO much more to come. Until then, be safe ;)

Tuesday Top Ten-Books for Fun!

For some reason, remedy I feel like its been FOREVER since I wrote a Tuesday Top Ten, page and its only been two weeks since my brother totally wrote last week’s. But I feel like its been SO long! I have been SO immensely busy the last few weeks, advice what with the end of school, and finals, and my boyfriend graduated college and so it was busy.

And then when I did finally have free time, I was SO lazy and didn’t want to write anything haha. I was like, school is over and I’m not writing ever again :) And I need to catch up on my reading! I have SO many books piling up, unread, because I’ve been busy with other things.

But I’m back :D Ready to rock your world as always.

I have some SUPER cool things coming your way, like a review of Arrested Development Season 4, a post on Leigh Bardugo‘s Siege and Storm release party, some awesome book reviews, and a feature on Cinda Williams Chima!

Its going to be AWESOME.

For now, let’s do the Tuesday Top Ten.

So I just wanted to make it clear that I don’t always read these serious books. Like, not all the books I read have these deep crazy messages with battles, and wars, and questioning humanities and all that sort of thing. I read everything and that means I love to read for fun too! I like reading books about summer, and boys and kissing, and books that make me laugh, I swear I do!

So that’s what this week is, all my favorite FUN books :) The ones that don’t make me cry haha and make me laugh and all that!

Not to say that any of these books don’t have value! Because they all do! They all do hit issues that are important, but they all do it in a light, fun, and happy way!

So here we go!

10. Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares

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Lena, Carmen, Tibby and Bee have been best friends basically before they were even born. They have spent their entire life together, until this summer, where they’ll all be in different places. As the contemplate on this, they stumble upon a pair of pants, pants that magically fit all of them, despite their very different body types. They determine these pants are magical and that they will keep the girls together over the summer. Lena meets a boy in Greece, and struggles with her feelings for him. Carmen goes to spend some quality time with her dad, but finds he’s suddenly engaged to a new woman. Tibby is stuck at home, without her friends, working a terrible minimum wage job, and Bee is at soccer camp in Mexico where there is a VERY good looking coach, who is also VERY out of bounds.

I think I first read this book when I was about 13, and I just loved it. Its so fun, and its a perfect summer book. There’s all these serious issues in it like a parent remarrying, cancer, dating, love, losing your virginity but its so realistic and so easy to read. There’s no preaching, there’s no lesson, its just there and I’ve always loved these books. I love the absolute familiarity you feel with every single character.

9. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

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Yup, I went there. Bella Swan moves to rainy Forks in Washington to live with her dad, as a sacrifice to her mother who she loves. In this tiny town, she’s an attraction, something new to be figured out. But the only person she’s interested in is Edward Cullen, and his family, who are too beautiful for words and keep to themselves. However, Edward shows an intense hatred to her right away. For some reason, this intrigues Bella and she’s determined to find out about him, especially when there’s more to him than she saw at first glance. He’s a vampire and she’s his particular brand of blood and every moment they spend together is a danger to her.

Okay, that just sounded ridiculous even talking about it haha. I know that it is not the most fantastically written book. I know that its not even that good of a story. But I like it. Its one of my guilty pleasure reads. If I don’t want to think and I just need a super fluffy romance to read, this is exactly what I need. There’s no thinking involved here, and If I tune out for a bit, its fine because I just probably missed a super mushy scene that I was fine missing in the first place! But I do enjoy reading it, no matter how bad the writing is.

8. Secrets of My Hollywood Life by Jen Calonita 

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This book follows the life of Kaitlin Burke, famous teen television star of the hit show, Family Affairs. Her entire life is dictated by her very busy schedule, and between the show, various appearances and publicity, she just doesn’t have time to be a normal girl. So she comes up with this brilliant idea to disguise herself in order to go to a regular high school, just to find out what its like. But soon she’s falling hard for the hottest boy in school, and her enemy co-star, Sky Mackenzie, is making her life miserable at every turn.

I LOVE this book. I love love love it. Its so good! I am obsessed with Hollywood and pop culture and all of that, and I was trying to write a novel about a girl who meets a famous actor and this book helped me SO much. Jen Calonita used to work for teen magazines and so knows a bit about the life of these people and so she writes with accuracy and its SO helpful to someone who has no idea haha. But they’re also super fun, and Kaitlin is such a fun character, and I love her Star Wars obsession and I love that she’s a super gorgeous actress and still feels insecurities too, which I think is totally normal, but we don’t really realize it. I like that Jen gives us a super fun, celebrity world with a very real teen girl that we can all relate to, even though she’s famous.

7. Boy Meets Girl by Meg Cabot

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Disclaimer: This is NOT a YA book. There is SEX in this book. Just so you know haha. In this book, we meet Kate Mackenzie, whose life isn’t going the way she planned it. Her boyfriend of ten years just dumped her, she is crashing on her best friend’s couch, she has a terrible boss at work, and she feels completely inadequate. Just when things couldn’t get worse, she’s forced to fire the most popular person in her work, and to make it EVEN worse, that person decides to sue her and the company for wrongful termination! But things are going to look up for Kate when the lawyer assigned to the case ends up to be very, VERY hot and is VERY interested in her.

I adore this book. Its the second in the “Boy” series by Meg Cabot but you don’t necessarily have to read them in order. They’re separate books that just take place in the same workplace, the New York Journal. But this one is totally my favorite. I love Kate because things just keep going wrong for her. I know that sounds terrible but I know we’ve all felt those days when nothing can go right. We’ve all had times like these, and its fun to watch her going around like “WTF?”, and struggling to deny her attractive to hot lawyer, Mitch. And Meg Cabot is SO funny, she’s so insanely funny. She’s one of the funniest authors I’ve ever read and so all while this is going down, you’re just cracking up. I hope to make people laugh in my books like she does because its just so ludicrous and hilarious.

6. The Next Big Thing by Johanna Edwards 

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In this book we meet Kat, who is overweight. Now, this could be an okay thing if she wasn’t so obsessed with it. She’s tried every diet out there, and she lets it rule her life and she lacks self confidence in a huge way. She has a boyfriend in England, that she met online, but she’s lied to him and told him she’s a size four, when really she’s a size 22. Then she finds a way to make it all go away: a weight loss reality show called From Fat to Fabulous. She auditions, and is suddenly on TV! But its not as glamorous as it seemed. The girls aren’t all super nice, and losing weight is hard, and her relationship with her boyfriend is all based on lies. Can she make it out of this show with everything she wants?

Dun, dun, dun! I know I keep saying this but I do SUPER adore this book. Kat is a fun character, who has all these hopes and dreams that are SO out there, and we can all kind of relate to that. Like, I so want a size 2 body with a movie star boyfriend (not really, I love my boyfriend), and I want to be rich, with five cars and all of that. But none of that is actually going to happen and thats okay :) But Kat goes into this show thinking its all just going to be fixed: her relationship, her confidence, everything, just by losing weight and thats not really true. And being on the show shows her a lot more than that. But its fun to watch her on the show, losing weight, and the stupid games they play, and how Kat is branded “The Brat” by the press and its just fun and funny.

5. Between the Lines by Tammara Webber

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This book follows two points of you. First you get Reid Alexander, the super hot famous movie star, who is all about the glamour of being him: the booze, the girls, the parties, the sex. Then you have Emma Pierce, who LOVES acting and hopes to act on stage, but is pushed to do movie roles. They both end up starring in a modern day adaptation of Pride and Prejudice as Lizbeth and Darcy, and there’s immediate attraction. Reid sees Emma as a conquest, someone he’s determined to have, though he doesn’t really realize how hard he’s working for and why he’s doing it. Emma is attracted to Reid but she’s unsure of his intentions, especially when Graham, another actor on set, is showing his interest as well.

Ohmygod Tammara Webber, you’re a goddess of New Adult literature. I didn’t even know what that was until you but you ROCK it. I love these books. I bought the first one because it was TWO dollars on Kindle. (Yeah, so buy it!) and I immediately read the next two in a couple days because they are so good and so juicy. The amount of sexual tension in these books is amazing and I love it! I also love the celebrity life of it, being on set, doing interviews, parties and all that, because again, obsessed with that kind of stuff. Tammara was another inspiration and help for my novel. But everything about this novel is so sexy, and so fun, and you can’t decide which boy you want Emma with because you love them both. And the steamy scenes are to DIE for.

4. Belles by Jen Calonita

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Aw Miss Jen again! This book follows Izzy, a girl living in Harborside, a beachside community that she loves but doesn’t have the best reputation. She lives with her grandma, who is slowly deteriorating from Alzheimers. Its not long before Izzy is yanked away from Harborside and sent to live with this newfound uncle, his wife and his kids in Emerald Cove, a very wealthy town nearby to Harborwide. Izzy finds herself in a world where she feels completely left out and the girls at school, including her own cousin Mira, are not making it any easy for her. Then there’s the mystery of her new family. She’s never heard of them before, and they suddenly appeared when she needed a place to live. Lastly, her uncle’s political advisor (he’s running for the Senate) is on her case, threatening her and her grandmother if she doesn’t stay in line or if she disrupts the perfect family she’s suddenly a part of.

This book is SO juicy. Its like a little mini soap opera for teens. There’s so much going on: the jerk political advisor, the mean girls at school are seriously mean (like, they do really horrible stuff!), a hot boy who, of course, is already taken, and a mysterious family she didn’t know she had. Its all so insanely juicy and FUN. I sped through this book (and the two following) because she has you on the edge of your seat, trying to figure out what is going on or whats going to happen. I love it. And when you figure out some of the mysteries, it leaves your jaw open, eyes wide, just as if you were watching a soap opera. Its BRILLIANT and I adore it.

3. Here Today, Gone to Maui by Carol Snow

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I’m not going to lie, the first time I picked up this book, I bought it because the main character lives in my hometown. And that NEVER happens. So this story follows Jane, who is a worrier. She worries all the time. She lives in suburban Southern California and she’s surrounded by families. (Because, honestly, that’s what suburban California is…) She’s determined to spice up her life a bit and so she agrees to take a trip to Hawaii with her boyfriend, Jimmy, even though everything is screaming at her not to. Before she can enjoy any part of her actual vacation, Jimmy goes scuba diving…and never comes up. Now he’s missing, and its absolute mystery, especially when she learns that she’s not the only girl that Jimmy brought to the island….

Carol Snow, you are brilliant and more people should be reading you! I love every single one of your books! I read this one…second, after Been There Done That, and I just laughed at how incredibly ridiculous and hilarious this entire book is. Jane is so funny, and the mess she gets herself into is SO funny. (I’m not trying to be a jerk, I know the plot sounds super serious but trust me, read the book). The entire situation with Jane and Jimmy, and Jimmy’s second girlfriend, Tiara, is just fantastic. She has me laughing the entire book, especially with the descriptions of Tiara, but also has me racing through it to figure out what the hell happened to Jimmy. SUCH a good read.

2. All American Girl by Meg Cabot

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One of my absolute favorite books of ALL TIME. I read this when I was about 14 years old and I think I still owe the Moreno Valley Public Library money for stealing this book from them…and that was 11 years ago! Anyway, the book follows Samantha Madison, a rebellious girl who wears all black, is an artist and completely in love with her sister’s boyfriend. When she’s caught selling drawings at school, her parents force her into art lessons (how dare they!), where she totally doesn’t want to me. After skipping art lessons one day, she stands outside, waiting to be picked up when she notices something: the president of the US coming to buy some cookies at the bakery next door to her art class, and there’s a guy with a gun pointed at him. She doesn’t think, she just moves. Suddenly, she’s a worldwide hero, and is incredibly famous, something she is way unused to it. And it turns out, David, the president’s son is in her art class, and is REALLY cute too.

The absurdity of this book is fantastic but I love it! Its literally one of my favorite books. I love Samantha, because she’s this wannabe rebel, punkish, ska girl who really isn’t any of those things but likes to think she is, which was totally me in high school too, now that I think about it. I love David, I have SUCH a huge crush on him and his stupid little secretive smiles. And I just love the ridiculousness of the situation. I love the idea of a teen girl suddenly saving the president’s life and becoming super famous, and having the president’s son fall in love with her, which she totally does NOT want. I love all the lists too. She makes these lists throughout the book, these top ten lists and I LOVE them. We all know how I am about lists :) Those lists are actually a big inspiration for the Tuesday Top Ten, though Samantha’s are infinitely funnier than mine :)

1. The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot 

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Aw, my loves. The entire ten book series follows Mia Thermopolis, a high school girl, in New York City, who is everything that I was in high school: awkward, shy, unpopular, insanely tall (but I was small), no boobs, the works. She’s had a crush on Josh Richter, for ages, and her mom is dating her Algebra teacher, a class she is failing. Then her dad comes to New York to tell her something. He had cancer, and it made him…unable to have anymore kids, which makes her the now known heir to the throne of Genovia. Suddenly, Mia isn’t the normal kid she’s trying SO hard to be but she’s a princess and that takes a lot of work. The ten book series follows Mia from her freshman year to her senior year, following all of her awkwardness, her fun, her life lessons, her ups and downs, the different boys in her life (Michael Moscovitz for LIFE <3) and all the hilarity that ensues.

I first read this when I was 12 years old. I credit Meg Cabot (and Sarah Dessen) with my introduction to the YA lit world. I’ve been obsessed with YA since then and she has been one of my absolute favorite authors and one of my biggest writing inspirations since then. Her books are so GOOD. Written in diary form, you get to be in Mia’s head at all times, which is so great, because since she makes all the mistakes that we all made in high school, we get to see it from her point of view, and her reasoning and her out of control, awesome perspective. We get NO one else and it makes it great because we see how she can overreact or not react enough, and make mistakes and all of that. And Mia is a fun, relatable and hilarious character, and one of my absolute favorite characters ever. If you have not read these books, there is something wrong with you!

Also, the books are SO much better than the movie. I mean, I like the movie. But the books are so good. Its in NYC not San Fran. Her dad is NOT dead, he’s just hilarious. Her mom is hilarious. Her grandmother is NOT sweet Julie Andrews, but scary Grandmere. SO much win.

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So that was the Tuesday Top Ten for you!

Hope you enjoyed!

Stay tuned for awesome things heading your way this week!

And don’t forget to check out the previous Tuesday Top Tens!

Blogger Spotlight: Victoria from Novel Reality

One of the best parts about running this blog is having the ability to meet some really cool people, price and some of the coolest people that I have met have led me to really cool blogs. I’ve said it before, symptoms no one’s blog is 100% original but everyone’s voices are different so there are blogs that I love to read because I love the writer, and I love the passion that they show for what they are writing. They are fun and interesting to read and they inspire me to get better and better in my blog.

So I decided to do a feature (inspired by Megan at the Nerdy Girlie’s Geek Girls Gab), where I profile the bloggers that I love. Not only do I get to find out more about them, but I also get to share them with you guys! Most of the bloggers that I follow are like me, nerd girls, fan girls and they enjoy the same things as me, and you! Every blogger that I profile is one that is super important to me and I urge you to check them out!

If you are interested in being featured on the Blogger Spotlight, feel free to contact me, please! I would love to hear from you!

Today’s Blogger Spotlight is Victoria from Novel Reality

Her blog Twitter and her personal Twitter

Her Vlog

Her Tumblr and Her Instagram

Her Facebook Cosplay Page

Her GoodReads

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Sara: Tell me a little bit about yourself

Victoria: I’m a Southern FanGirl & Cosplayer that loves going to conventions, traveling, reading, writing, sketching, playing with my toy poodle Lily Kimber, & obsessing over all my favorite fandoms! I worked as an extra on the movie Beautiful Creatures & had my car used in it too.

Sara: Tell me about your blog

Victoria: On my blog I post reviews of Books, Movies, & TV Shows. I also talk about Novel to Film adaptations & what I think about them. I post my vlogs from YouTube on my blog as well about mostly the same things!

Sara: What inspired you to start your blog?

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Victoria: I was inspired to start my blog & vlog from my love of sharing the things I enjoy with others.
Sara: What is your favorite nerd memory?
Victoria: I have 3 favorite nerd memories. One was back in 2010 when I met Jamie Campbell Bower. There were already whispers that he’d be playing Jace from The Mortal Instruments, so I was having an inner FanGirl attack the whole time! Next was when I met Kellan Lutz aka Emmett Cullen from The Twilight Saga because I’m Team Emmett and a huge fan of Kellan Lutz. My heart was racing from excitement and I got weak in the knees. Another favorite nerd memory of mine was when I saw Stan Lee in person at Dragon*Con 2012!
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Sara: What are you most looking forward to as far as books, movies, etc?
Victoria: What I’m most looking forward to as far as new books & movies this year is reading the monthly installments of The Bane Chronicles, seeing The Wolverine, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, Thor: The Dark World, & The Hunger Games: Catching Fire!

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Sara: As my blog is mostly about books and reading, what are some of your favorite books or authors to read?

Victoria: Some of my favorite authors to read stuff from are; Cassandra Clare, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl, Melissa Marr, Stephenie Meyer, & J.K. Rowling. Also Rick Riordan and Suzanne Collins.

Sara: What some of your favorite blogs to follow?

Victoria: There are so many blogs I love to follow. Yours is one of course. Some others are: TMI Source, Shadowhunters: Better in Black, Movies Shows and Books, City of Shadowhunters, The Mortal Minute, Novel Novice and ELizzie Books.

Sara: Who is your fictional crush (what, we’re nerd girls, we all have one!)

Victoria: My biggest fictional character crushes consist of Emmett from The Twilight Saga, Damon from The Vampire Diaries Series, Eric from the Sookie Stackhouse Series, Percy from the Percy Jackson Series, Ethan from the Caster Chronicles, Will & Jem from The Infernal Devices, Jace, Simon, & Magnus from The Mortal Instruments Series.

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Hope you enjoyed this Spotlight on Victoria and come back soon for more Blogger Spotlights!

And check out last week’s Spotlight on Megan from the Nerdy Girlie!

Book of the Week-Obsidian

I was thinking last night, page and I realize I haven’t been super good with the blog this week so far. I totally skipped out on the Tuesday Top Ten this week. It’s about half way written but I’ve been trying to run my Divergent contest (don’t forget to enter!) and writing all about the Festival of Books and hanging out with my new TMI friends.

And I was thinking last night, as I said, and going…what on earth am I going to write about for the Book of the Week tomorrow? I haven’t really read anything new…not in the last week and I’m not going to remember anything. But I started reading Jennifer L. Armentrout’s Obsidian yesterday, and stayed up allll night to read it. And finished it, at nearly four a.m.

Four a.m.

So obviously I have myself a book of the week and a desperate need of sleep. Like…really badly. I have a book hangover. But it was worthy of a Book of the Week so here you go:

Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout

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Genre:
young adult, science fiction, romance

Part of a Series?:
Yes. The first in the Lux series, which includes Onyx, Opal and Origin (out August 2013)

You May Like if You Liked:
Twilight, The Mortal Instruments, Lorien Chronicles

Plot Summary: 

The main character of this novel is Katy, who has just moved to a teensy tiny town in West Virginia from Florida with her mom. She isn’t exactly happy about it; she was happy in Florida and that’s where her father had lived and died. But here she is, stuck in West Virigina, with no friends. She goes over to the neighbors house one day to ask directions to the nearest grocery store and runs into Daemon, an intimidatingly good looking boy who turns out to be a jerk. And not just a jerk, but an asshole. So what’s Katy’s reaction to that?

And no it’s not to fall in love with him. No, she dishes it right back. There’s a hate relationship between them, and it only worsens when Katy becomes friends with Daemon’s sister, Dee, and Daemon is furious about it. Daemon says Dee is too good for people like Katy, even though he hardly knows her, and his rudeness just gets even worse. And it infuriates Katy.

But suddenly Daemon saves Katy’s life, by stopping time, and Katy is in on the secret. Daemon and his sister, Dee, are aliens from Lux, light bearing aliens that had to come to earth to escape the destruction of their home planet. They keep away from humans for two reasons: one, its pointless and two, its dangerous. If a Lux leaves their “trace” on a human, their enemy, the Arum, can find them and come hunting for them. And now that Daemon has saved Katy’s life, she’s lit up like the 4th of July and the Arum are coming.

Daemon is now Katy’s baby-sitter, and this is the last thing she wants, to spend more time with someone who hates her, and who she hates back. But despite all the hate, and cursing (and quite a lot of middle fingers thrown around), there’s something undeniable in Katy’s blood…and it might have to do a lot with the fact that Daemon walks around without a shirt often…

The Bad:

It did have a Twilight feel to it, at least in the beginning. The first 100 pages or so took me a lot to get through, mostly because I was holding back. Girl moves to small town, meets mysterious, ridiculously good looking boy who hates her right away, even though she hasn’t done anything to warrant hating, and he can do things that are unexplainable? Doesn’t sound like Twilight in the slightest….So that really turned me off at first.

Also, I tend to avoid teen paranormal romance (though this is more science fiction than paranormal), because it tends to be repetitive. The title and cover of this book jumped out at me, however, and when I looked it up, it tended to have mostly good reviews. So I gave it a shot, and I think maybe that held me back for some of the novel. I think I was expecting for it to be bad, but it didn’t end up that way at all.

The Good: 

For one thing, Armentrout’s writing, and writing style, is so infinitely better than Stephenie Meyer (sorry Twilight fans, I like the books but you gotta admit, they aren’t written well). She tells a really good story, and there’s a lot more about the background of the Lux aliens than we ever really got for the vampires of Forks. I like that the aliens are beautiful, insanely beautiful, because they are emulating what they see of humans, and so of course they reflect the best of what it us. But I also like that they are very human at the same time. Daemon would lay down his life for his sister, Dee, and is fiercely loyal to her but they also have a typical sibling dynamic that makes them super real.

I also like the “friendship” between Daemon and Katy. Throughout the entire novel, Katy hates Daemon and the feeling seems pretty mutual. They have moments together, when Daemon seems almost normal, almost nice but they spend most of their time sniping at each other and insulting each other. Daemon spends most of his time teasing the hell out of Katy and she spends most of her time coming up with insulting remarks back. Their attraction to each other seems to come mostly from that dislike of each, when you hate someone so much, and you argue with them so much, that you just want to jump their bones.

Which brings me to Daemon. My God. Daemon reminds me so much of Jace Wayland of the Mortal Instruments series. And though Jace will always remain my number one man, Daemon was undeniably sexy. I spent most of the book falling madly in love with him. He was incredibly sarcastic, snarky and spent most of his time in the book aware of his unbelievable good looks and attraction and using to his advantage and making both Katy and me blush like crazy. He comes up with little sexy nicknames like “Kittycat” and “Kitten” for Katy and is constantly teasing her about her nervous habits or her silly hobbies and the fact that they are so obviously attracted to each other, and Katy is so awkward and uncomfortable about it.

And that’s what makes the novel so good. The quiet build up, the serious sex appeal of it. The amount of times that they almost kiss infuriates me every single time. God, the amount of times that Daemon is shirtless in the novel makes me want ot splash my face with cold water. And seriously, Daemon makes it worse, with the things he says, and his snarky overconfidence and sex appeal. When Katy asks him how similar they are to humans, if they can have sex like humans, and he rolls on top of her, and she can, hem hem, tell that he is DEFINITELY human down there…I was blushing bright red. Why couldn’t he just tell her! Nope, he had to roll on top of her and show his manhood. He does that the entire book, just makes you want him so much, through subtlety. I think a lot of books (cough cough 50 shades cough cough) tend to go straight for it, but I like the subtle, the build up. And Daemon and Katy are perfect at that.

Plus there’s the fantasy/sci-fi aspect to it that I really liked. You know, I am so used to ghosts and demons and angels and vampires and all of that, it was really refreshing to have an alien. It was VERY science fiction, rather than paranormal and that was fun to read. I liked the story of the aliens fleeing their planet, to escape war and their destroyed planet and they have to hide from their enemies on planet earth. It was all so Doctor Who, with the time lords versus the Daleks, and it was easy to get caught up in their story. They were genuinely in danger, and you can almost forgive Daemon for treating Katy the way he does. When you’re from billions of light years away, away from your home planet, just trying to survive, you would probably do the same thing.

Rating:

4 out of 5 stars

Recommended or Not?: 

Definitely. If you’re looking for something refreshing and extremely sexy, but not overwhelming, to read, I definitely recommend this book. I’m off to go read the next one because I need some more Daemon in my life…

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Book of the Week: Unremembered by Jessica Brody

One of the authors I was privileged to meet at WonderCon was Jessica Brody, capsule author of several young adult novels, viagra sale the most recent of which is Unremembered.

I had already started the book when I met her but hadn’t gotten more than halfway through it. After meeting her, page I was determined to go home and finish it, because she was a sweet author with wonderful insights and great writing advice.

I stayed up late Tuesday night, finishing the book and here it is for you all, my review of the first installment in the Unremembered Trilogy:

Unremembered by Jessica Brody 

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Genre:
young adult, romance, mystery, science fiction

Part of a Series?:
Yes. The first installment of the Unremembered trilogy. This book is the only one published so far.

You May Like if You Liked:
This one is kind of hard. I haven’t read anything quite like this, as far as science fiction goes. I would slightly link it to The Host by Stephenie Meyer.

Plot Summary: 

Sera wakes up in the middle of the ocean, in the wreckage of a plane crash as the only survivor without any memory whatsoever of who she is or where she’s from or anything. When she is rescued, she says the year is 1609. While at the hospital, she becomes famous as she has no identity, no memories, nothing. And mysteriously enough, she wasn’t listed on the passenger manifest and no one seems to know who she is. People around the hospital call her Violet, because of her violet eyes, and she is soon placed in foster care until they can find who she belongs to.

Then a boy appears (doesn’t it always happen), named Zen, who says he knows who she is, that her name is Sera (or Seraphina) and that they are in love. He wants to protect her but Sera doesn’t really understand what from.

Then she starts to realize how different she is from the rest of the people she meets. She’s ridiculously smart and can add up large sums without blinking an eye. Words pop in her memory through dictionary definitions. She speaks different languages without even realizing that she is doing so.  She doesn’t understand emotions, and her body is stronger than a normal human, running abnormally fast and ripping car doors off without even really trying. She has absolutely no memories of anything. Suddenly, the things Zen is saying are start to make sense and she embarks on a journey to figure who, or what, she is.

The Bad:

I always do the bad first. I think I like to get it out of the way, because as a writer, I hate to talk bad on other writers even though I know I write badly at times and I love to hear bad reviews of my books because its the only way I can get better.

And I LOVED this book, I really truly did.

But the one kind of beef I had with it was the ending. Not the ending exactly. I thought it was a good ending. It left off with a cliffhanger, LITERALLY a cliffhanger, but it was really fast. It happened really fast. I felt like there was a ton of build up, and it ended super quickly. I think maybe it did because Jessica has more for us in the second and third books but I was a little disappointed at how fast the ending happened, not the ending itself. It was a great ending, enough was answered to satisfy the reader and yet there was a lot unanswered that it makes the reader want to read the next.

The Good:

I have to get to the good now though because I really really enjoyed this book. What I really liked about this book was the character development of the book, which I think a lot of books nowadays are missing, and the action and romance of it, balanced enough so that its not too much of each. Its not overly full of action but its not a sappy romance and I feel like its a balanced blend that we really don’t get to see much of anymore.

First off, there’s the development of Sera and her story. Its very intriguing and it really gets you thinking. Of course, Jessica KNEW who Sera was but when you start reading the story, Sera is a blank slate, completely. How difficult it had to be to write a character who is basically a human robot. She has no memories of anything. She doesn’t know what food is, what cars are. She has no concept of emotions, no idea what a hug is, or what beauty is. She knows nothing. But for some reason, she knows numbers and she can count. She has a dictionary in her head that downloads definitions of words as she hears them. She is the strangest main character that I have read in quite a long time and I think that’s the reason I was caught so fast. She is intriguing and you can’t help but want to know about her.

Because think about it: she’s basically a 16 year old infant (for the most part). She’s relearning so many things, like cars and food and all kinds of things. She doesn’t even understand clothing, like underwear or pants. Its crazy. I look around me as I write this post and wonder how I would feel if I didn’t know what the computer in front of me was, what the Internet was, if the things in this room would confuse me. The psychology of it, and of Sera, was intriguing and thought provoking. I’ve read books where characters lose their memories but they still know some things, like food and technology and things like that. Sera is completely a clean slate, except her ridiculous aptitude for numbers.

I also like the relationship between Sera and Zen because it takes most of the book to develop because of her memory loss. Even when you do get the memory flash backs of their relationship, you realize that, yes, it was a bit cheesy but it wasn’t a quick, cheesy fall in love sort of thing. Zen really had to win her over, because she was basically emotionless the way she is in this particular book. It’s not forced, in my opinion. The feelings Sera has for Zen are memories of what she felt before she lost her memories and so none of it seems forced at all.

I also love the science fiction of it. Its very Jason Bourne of the Bourne series but with a badass sixteen year old girl. And I like it more because of that. We don’t see a lot of characters like this and it was extremely refreshing. It wasn’t a super new concept but it was presented in a very new way. After a hundred million books about angels and vampires and werewolves and magic and dystopian societies, it was really nice to read a book that was straight up science fiction, with labs and genetics and memory cubes and time travel and all kinds of really cool stuff.

Also, I just liked watching Sera experience everything for the first time. I liked the way she discovered the Internet and found it absolutely fascinating. I loved her observation of cars and grocery stores and clothes. I really loved her discovery of grilled cheese sandwiches. Imagine trying your absolute favorite food for the first time, as if you’d never tried it before. Exactly. I loved her reaction to that. It was kind of fun to experience that with her.

Lastly, I just like her name. I was wary about Seraphina, its a little abnormal for me but Sera is beautiful. And yeah, I’m partly saying that because my name is Sara. I just think its a gorgeous spelling of such a traditional name.

Rating: 

4.5 out of 5 Stars.

Recommended or Not?: 

Most definitely. Its the first of the series so if you like it, you can eagerly wait the next installment, Unforgotten (which I have just been informed by Jessica is to be released in March of next year). And honestly, its a really thought provoking series. I think some people may be turned off on it because of the science fiction aspect of it but I loved it. Its seriously addicting watching Sera as she rediscovers the world and who she is, and how she rediscovers Zen.

The best thing is, you can try the first five chapters of the book for FREE for Kindle on Amazon. For those of you who don’t know, you can get the Kindle app for any device, or phone, or just your computer, so definitely download that, and try the first five chapters for free. You may find that you need the rest of the book :)

Don’t forget if you click the book title above, it takes you straight to the Amazon page for the book!

Happy Reading!

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