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

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

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

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

12. Rapture Practice by Aaron Hartzler

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

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11. Noggin by John Corey Whaley  

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

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10. Also Known As by Robin Benway 

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

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9. Parallel by Lauren Miller 

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

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8. Struck by Jennifer Bosworth

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

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

7. A Girl Called Fearless by Catherine Linka

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

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6. Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis 

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

5. Fire and Flood by Victoria Scott 

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

4. Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan 

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

3. Unremembered by Jessica Brody

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

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2. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo 

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

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1. Winger by Andrew Smith 

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

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

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

Tuesday Top Ten-Top Authors that Deserve More Recognition

One thing that I’ve really appreciated about being a book blogger is coming to expand my bookshelf immensely. In the last year, ask I have discovered so many new authors, I can’t even begin to think of all the authors I’ve discovered. I’ve immersed myself so deeply into the world of books that those authors that you may not notice right off the bat are coming out of the woodwork for me, and I’m discovering authors that are truly truly wonderful.

And I feel like, as a book blogger, it is one of my jobs to tell you all about these! One of the questions that I probably get more than anything is, “what do you recommend?”

Now you guys know some of my favorite books are Harry Potter and The Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices and Percy Jackson and Divergent and Hunger Games…but these authors, they don’t need more help really in finding readers. Most of those have movies and they’re bestsellers and they just don’t really need me talking about them all the time.

So I spend most of my time recommending the authors that I believe are absolutely brilliant and just don’t get enough attention or readers, and so that was the inspiration for this week’s Top Ten.

Each and every single one of these authors are absolutely brilliant, and I find most people that I meet do NOT know who they are, and I find that to be very disappointing. I’m hoping this week’s Top Ten encourages you try some of these authors out and to explore new authors when you go to the book store.

So here we go.

11. Neal Shusterman

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Yes I realize this is a top eleven and not a top 12. You can just deal with it haha.

I first discovered Neal Shusterman a couple months ago, and I recognize that he isn’t an unknown author. However, now that I’ve discovered his Unwind series, I want to share it with everyone and it doesn’t seem to be a ton of people out there who know him and this series. So that is why he makes it on to this list. I absolutely love this series and I think it is due to the fact that it makes me think. The Unwind trilogy takes an issue that is very highly debated right now (pro-life vs pro-choice) and he makes it so real, and he makes us really take the time to look at it. In the book, a second civil war has occurred between the pro-life and the pro-choice, and a compromise is reached: abortion in the womb is illegal, but a parent can have the option to have their child between the ages of 12 and 18 “unwound”, and all of their parts harvested to be donated to other bodies. In this compromise, it is said that there is no death, because the child continues to live, in a “divided state”. It is heartbreaking and raw and beautiful and its an addicting book series that makes me laugh and cry and it makes me think more than a lot of other books have. I think there would be a ton of people that would avoid this book because its not like other YA books, but that is EXACTLY the reason that you should read it. Do it.

You can read my review of Unwind here.

10. Jennifer Bosworth

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I had no idea who Jennifer Bosworth was until I attended the Ontario Teen Book Fest back in May (which you can read about here). She was part of the panel with authors like Jessica Brody, Morgan Matson, Marie Lu and Leigh Bardugo, which ended up being one of the best panels I’ve ever been to. This is where I really discovered Jennifer. One, she is SO pretty, and two, she really caught my interest with her book, and sort of the back story behind it. Struck is about a girl named Mia who lives in Los Angeles after it was hit with a huge earthquake disaster, and she has this addiction to lightning. The only problem is, in the wake of this disaster, there have been several religious cults, one in particular, that have sprung up and would do anything to have  Mia on their side. Again, like with Neal, it really causes you to think and to question some of the things you know. I think that Jennifer tends not to get a lot of notice because her books are not your “typical” YA novels. She really makes you think, and her book has an anti-religion message in there and I think most people would avoid that, instead of reading it, and taking it as a book that challenges the way you think. She’s not trying to CHANGE the way you think, but she does want you to question, question, question and I think that’s beautiful. She writes a beautiful book, with a great story but she really makes me think, and I can’t wait for her novel, The Killing Jar, to come out.

You can read my review of her book, Struck, here.

9. Jessica Brody

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Jessica Brody is one of the FUNNEST authors that I’ve had a chance to meet this year, and discover, and I seriously get all fangirlish every time she recognizes me. (She saw me in the Cassandra Clare CBS interview and tweeted me. I nearly died). I saw her book, Unremembered at Barnes and Noble, read the inside cover, and decided to buy it. Then at WonderCon, I wanted to go to the panel “Writing for Teens and Tweens” because, well, that’s what I want to do, and she was there. She made me laugh, and she really impressed me with the things she said. I stopped by her signing booth and talked to her for a bit, and when I told her I was trying to be a writer, she said, “Don’t try to be a writer, just be one.” That really stuck with me, and I raced home to finish this book. I’ve since then met her several more times, and have read more books by her, and I seriously love her. She has a great sense of humor, and her book Unremembered (which is the first in a planned trilogy) is a real action packed book that was so different than anything else I had read in YA so far. Seriously, think The Bourne Identity but with a teenage girl instead of Matt Damon. I really love this book, not only because of the characters and story, but because of the uniqueness of it. I LOVE Jessica, and its hardly ever that I find someone who has read her books, which is why I’m telling you, please please read Unremembered. SO good.

You can read my review of Unremembered here.

8. Marie Lu

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Marie Lu is NOT an unknown author. Her book series has already exploded onto the scene, and the first book of her Legend trilogy, Legend, was optioned as a movie before it was even published. It is a brilliant series. The reason that I have her on here as an author that deserves more recognition is because I think she gets shuffled under the rug because of series like The Hunger Games and Divergent. I am a HUGE fan of both of those series, definitely, but I can say, with confidence, that Legend is, in my personal opinion, better than both of those. The thing about Marie Lu’s dystopian trilogy is that its so believable and its almost scary in that its so believable. I also think its better because its dual point of view, and the two different points of view are SO different. You have someone completely enveloped in this society, and believes it to the very core, and then you have someone who has been fighting against it, to keep himself and his family alive, for so long, and the clash of those two people together really is awesome. In Hunger Games and Divergent, you always know who the “bad guy” is, but in Legend, you’re always questioning because you get these two points of views. I also admire Marie a lot because she’s one of the only series I’ve read, dysptopian wise, who talks of other countries outside of the United States. She recognizes the rest of the world, which causes an even more solid story, in my opinion. Its an amazing series, and I can’t wait for the third and last book in November.

You can read my review of Legend here.

7. Rae Carson

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In a little more than a week, I’ll be heading to Las Vegas to meet this author…which is roughly about a four hour drive away from my suburb town in Orange County, California. That is how much I love this author. This will be the farthest I’ve driven to meet an author and I honestly don’t think that I’ll regret it in the slightest. When I first read The Girl of Fire and Thorns, I couldn’t get into it; I was really confused at first. But I think it was about 50 or so pages in when it just hit me and it grabbed me and I raced through it, and then immediately bought A Crown of Embers on my Kindle, because I couldn’t wait until the book store opened the next day. I felt VERY lucky to be able to receive an ARC of the last book of the series, The Bitter Kingdom. Its an amazing series. I think that maybe people avoid this series because of the epic fantasy that it is. I think fantasy tends to be really popular…when its recognizable, which is why all the urban, contemporary fantasies seem to do better than epic fantasies. But I’m an epic fantasy lover more than anything and I think Rae Carson is a fantastic story teller and a great world builder. And my absolute favorite part of her novels? Her main character, Elisa? She’s fat. Over the course of the books, she becomes less fat but she’s not a perfect, beautiful, skinny character and I absolutely love that.

You can read my review of The Girl of Fire and Thorns here.

6. Jen Calonita

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I absolutely adore Jen Calonita, because she writes very realistically without having to be ridiculously tragic. Not that I don’t like books with tragedies but sometimes I think people forget the trivial problems we had as teenagers that felt like the absolute end of the world. I like Jen Calonita because she’s fun, and because her books are extremely sweet and because they remind me that we don’t always have to be setting the weight of the world on our shoulders and its okay to worry about how we look that day, or whether we’re going to pass our math test. I love that there are books out there that make me think, and that make me more aware of the economy or history, or world affairs but sometimes I just need a break from the world, and Jen’s books are great for that. Her Secrets of My Hollywood Life series is about Kaitlin Burke, a young Hollywood star on a hit TV show, who wishes nothing more than to find a balance between the job she loves doing and her desire to be a normal girl. Her Belles series follows Izzy, a girl who grows up in a small community until her grandmother gets too sick to take care of her anymore, and she goes to live with family she never knew existed in the ridiculously rich town of Emerald Cove. She also has two standalone novels, Reality Check and Sleepaway Girls. I love these books because they are the kind of YA that you don’t have to question, because there’s sort of younger YA and older YA. I think you can enjoy this at any age. They’re funny and cute and I think they’re really enjoyable books to read. I wish more people would notice her, and I think because she tends to have happy endings, without any tragedies, she doesn’t get a lot of notice, and that makes me incredibly sad. Her books are great, and you should definitely check them out. Also, her Secrets of My Hollywood Life series was incredible help for my book, A Little Less than Famous!

I unfortunately have not reviewed any of her books for this site yet!

5. Andrew Smith

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I had no idea who Andrew Smith was until the Ontario Teen Book Fest, and even then, I still had no idea who he was or any of that. Carrie Arcos (author of Out of Reach) actually pointed him out to me, and said that his book, Winger, was coming out that Tuesday and that it was already going to be featured in the New York Times. That caught my interest quickly. After talking to him throughout the day, and learning what a really cool guy he was, I added it to my “To-Read” list, and hoped to read it soon. I’ve only read Winger, I haven’t had a chance to read his other books YET, but I already think that he is an absolutely amazing author. I read Winger in the span of a few hours and was immediately sold on the book and on Andrew Smith. There was so many layers to this novel. Part school story, part coming of age, part humor, part tragedy, even part comic book, it tells the story of Ryan Dean and his adventures at boarding school. There is just so much about the book that is great. Like I said, its funny and sad, and its full of adventure and romance and its just a great book, and it keeps popping up everywhere, earning recognition and recommendations, but I don’t know of many people who have actually READ it, in my circle of readers and bloggers. Lately, when people ask for a recommendation, this is one of the ones I say right off the bat. I will push this on anyone and everyone and I think its an essential read. I am happy every time I do see someone reading it. Let’s just say this: CNN made a list of must-read books for the summer, and Winger was the only YA book to make it on the list. That shows you how good it is.

You can read my review of Winger here.

4. Tammara Webber

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I discovered Tammara Webber when I first purchased a Kindle a few years ago. I was looking for something new to read, and Amazon suggested the book, Between the Lines, which was fairly inexpensive, maybe only 5 dollars. I decided to give it a try, and I was hooked so fast. I was blazing through the next two books in the series, eating it up. Then I decided I needed them in actual hard copy. That’s when I really discovered the awesomeness that is Tammara Webber. Because most people tend to consider her books “new adult”, which is kind of a wacky age group/classification that is still not quite found its place, she was having a really hard time selling her novel. So she has worked her butt off, self-publishing her novels in ebook format, and her Between the Lines series has garnered her a bunch of attention. Then Tammara wrote her standalone novel, Easy, which highlights the dangers of rape, especially acquaintance rape, and that too has garnered a lot of attention and a lot of high praise for it. Her series and her standalone novel are both fantastic, and I admire her immensely because of her drive, her determination and her ability to make herself successful because of those.

You can read an interview between me and Tammara here.

3. Morgan Matson

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Morgan Matson is one of the more brilliant authors in contemporary young adult fiction and the fact that I have gotten to meet her three times this year has made me incredibly happy. She has written two novels: Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour and Second Chance Summer. And while I’ve noticed a TON of Morgan Matson love on the interwebs and on most blogs about books (because we knows whats up!), I don’t see a lot of book readers outside of blogs that really know who she is. That makes me incredibly sad. Her two novels that have been published so far easily would make my top list of books, especially Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour. As a debut novel, it just shines. Its a beautiful work of contemporary YA lit; it recalls Sarah Dessen, for sure, but Morgan Matson has a voice on her own and it seeps into her characters, Amy and Taylor. Plus her novels are SO summer, and I just love summer. Okay, maybe not the ridiculous temperatures that we can get here in Southern California but I adore everything else about summer, especially that I get to curl up and read, read, read, and I always make sure to read Amy and Roger’s, because its so worth a summer read and more. I’ve been able to meet her a bunch this year, and I *think* she recognizes me now and I seriously get SUCH a kick out of that. She is such a sweetheart and she helps me to believe that I can be a writer too. Seriously, read her books.

You can read a review of Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour here.

2. Tamora Pierce

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Tamora Pierce has been writing books since the 1980s, the EARLY 1980s, and she hardly needs help getting recognition. So why do I have her on here? Because its all fine and dandy that she has a strong fan base and that she’s been recognized in several different countries, and a TON of different associations and had honors bestowed upon and she CONTINUES to write magnificent books, BUT, I think its time to introduce her to the new generation: you guys. I have found that most of my followers tend to be younger than me, and have absolutely no idea who she is and that saddens me! In this world where young adult literature is at the highest I’ve ever seen it, and where fantasy is HUGE, and young, strong, smart, amazing female characters are incredibly popular, why isn’t she? Because her books are older, shorter, what? I can’t understand it so I continue to talk about her all the time, to rebuild her and her absolutely wonderful books. Her first series? About a girl who hides her gender in order to become a knight, as good as the boys. Her second series? A girl who discovers she has the rare power of wild (animal) magic and she can use it for so much, and to help the kingdom. Her third series? About a girl who tries for her knighthood after its legalized that a girl CAN do so, but is it any easier? Her fourth series? About a girl kidnapped to a foreign country who finds her niche, and helps a group of oppressed people take back their country. I mean, I could go on and on. She’s a brilliant writer, a brilliant storyteller and her world building is flawless. Please, read her; you won’t be disappointed in the SLIGHTEST.

You can read my review for her very first book, Alanna: The First Adventure here. You can also check out my Fandom Friday about Tamora Pierce, as well, here.

1. Cinda Williams Chima

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This is one of my more recent discoveries and it is a discovery that I made so gladly. I somehow randomly came across Cinda’s book, The Demon King, last fall and immediately went sprinting through the rest of the series. Its absolutely brilliant, an epic fantasy that has great characters, from the main characters of Han and Raisa, to the smaller characters as well, and a great world that you find yourself immersed in. Raisa is a princess struggling to become a better ruler, for the day that she takes over as queen, and Han is a former criminal, who discovers a secret about himself, and its a secret that is going to change his life forever. The two of them are so far apart, and yet their lives start to intersect and they both become so instrumental to the well-being of the queendom. Her Heir Chronicles series is a contemporary urban fantasy, following different people but the first book follows Jack, who discovers he has special powers after he stops taking his medicine one day, and he finds out he is a warrior in a society full of enchanters and sorcerers, wizards and more. Wizards are in control and they need a warrior for their tournament, a tournament that includes a fight to the death. She creates beautiful fantasy worlds, with great characters, a ton of action with a nice balance of the romantic and steamy and her books are written SO well. I’m meeting her in a couple weeks and I have to make sure that I don’t faint in excitement!

You can check out a review of The Demon King here, my exclusive interview with Cinda here, and also a full post on my urging you to read her books here.

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I hope you enjoyed this week’s Tuesday Top Ten!

Don’t forget that you can always check out previous lists here.

And definitely don’t forget to check out these ELEVEN amazing authors! You won’t regret reading any of them.

Who are some authors that you love to read that you wish more people would read? Is there a particular book that you’re always recommending to people? As always, share in the comments!

Book of the Week-Struck

I am really excited to share this week’s Book of the Week with you guys today.

I first met Jennifer Bosworth at the Ontario Teen Book Fest in May and I was really impressed by her. One, tadalafil she’s absolutely gorgeous and tall and totally stood out but in a totally good way. But she made a mention, while talking about her book, about her beliefs (or nonbeliefs) and how they came across in her novel.

And that really intrigued me, it made me think that her book was going to be good, and that it was going to be different from anything else that I’ve read recently in the young adult genre.

I was very happy when it did just that for me. It was a good book, that made me think, that left be with a full brain. It wasn’t like any other book that I’ve read in this genre so far.

So that’s why its this week’s Book of The Week, because its a book that’s begging to be reviewed and begging to be read and begging to be discussed and I’m ready for it.

Struck by Jennifer Bosworth

Struck

Genre:
young adult, dystopian-ish?

Part of a Series?:
nope, single novel

You May Like if You Liked:
I’m not really sure. This novel really stands alone to me. Not to say that none of you would like it based on your book tastes, its just hard to pick a book that feels similar to it.

Plot Summary: 

In this story, you meet Mia Price, her mother and her brother, Parker. Mia Price lives in Los Angeles, after leaving her home in Lake Havasu City, because of her addiction to lightning and the consequences that come along with that.

Its been four weeks since the Puente Hills earthquake shattered through California and leveled Los Angeles. The city is in disarray, people are starving and living in tents on the beaches of Santa Monica and Venice. Mia is struggling to keep her family together, fed and safe, when her mom checks out after the earthquake.

Then Mia starts to learn she has powers, powers she wasn’t acutely aware of that come from the lightning shocks that hit her so often. And she’s wanted. There’s the Prophet, a religious figure, who predicted the earthquake minutes before it happened, and has an insane following. Then there’s the Seekers, another cult group, comprised of those who were struck by lightning in the freak earthquake/storm and suddenly had powers they didn’t have before.

Then there’s Jeremy, a boy sworn to protect her, from both the Seekers and the Prophet, but Mia doesn’t know if she can trust him either. While she’s trying to help her family, and decide what’s the best thing to do, the Prophet predicts another storm, and she can feel it brewing under her skin. She has to make a decision on who and what is important, and how she can save her family and herself.

The Bad: 

Mia and Jeremy’s relationship seems…I don’t know, it didn’t flow as well as the rest of the book did. I liked them together, I would “ship” them, so to speak but it didn’t kind of have that smoothness that most book relationships had. I honestly didn’t expect them to work out and when they did, I was surprised. Pleasantly so, because I did like Jeremy a lot. It just wasn’t the main focal point of the novel (which I’ll get to in the good part of this post) so it didn’t feel as natural. I think the novel probably would have been just fine without the love story, but that was okay, because it was NOT a romance story. But that’s all I can really think of.

The Good: 

I want to give some major props to Jennifer Bosworth for this book. She may have issues with people reading her book with the kind of material that is brought forward in her story, the kind of questions it asks, the morals and ideals it tests, but I loved it. There aren’t a lot of young adult books out there that are going to push the boundaries and talk about things that are risque or topics that we tend to avoid. She brings in religion and politics and all sorts of squirmy topics that would make most people go nuts.

Because here’s the thing: I’m a nonbeliever. I am an atheist. I have a respect for any and all beliefs because you have the freedom to believe or not believe as you choose. I don’t judge anyone, because that is what I’ve always been taught and that is one that has always stuck with me my whole life. But I do find that people tend to stray away from these topics in young adult novels because it might challenge their beliefs or make them feel uncomfortable.

But I loved it. The kind of things that were going on this book, with Prophet and his followers and then the Seekers, it just challenges us to explore a different part of religion that I think we sometimes like to ignore, the hidden parts or the ugly parts that we tend to sweep under the rug. Jennifer Bosworth creates a story that makes you think, really think. So many books today are all about entertainment, and I don’t want to sit here and tell you that I’m high and mighty and I don’t like books for entertainment because that would be a lie. I love to read everything. But I do like a book that leaves me reeling, that leaves me with a thousand different jumbles in my head and all I want to do is sit and tackle each and every thought in my head…but in a good way. I like books that challenge me to think outside the box and that challenge me to think about my own morals and values. If an occasional book doesn’t do that for you once in awhile, you aren’t getting as much out of your reading as you could be.

I won’t go too much into the sort of thinking that it brought from me because its based on my own experiences, values, morals, beliefs and non-beliefs but I will say that I liked how everything going around the Los Angeles area and affecting Mia made her think herself. Her own beliefs were challenged and her own belief in herself and what she was capable of was challenged. I liked that she becomes more aware of herself and less aware of others and what they want and expect from her. So much of it boiled down to what she was capable on her own and what she decided on her own, trusting her own thoughts and instincts. Without ruining the book, I realized that Mia made so many decisions on her own, without the direct influence of everyone else. Her mother, brother, Jeremy, Prophet, the Seekers all were there and taught her but it all boils down to her.

I don’t want to ignore the story either. Its not just about the challenging ideas she presents or the way she makes you think, but she does create a great story. It seemed so…real. Its OUR Los Angeles, its our world, and an earthquake, a BIG one like that is entirely possible, and us Californians know that so its a little scary as well. Its scary to think that this sort of thing could happen and what the aftermath would be like. You’re holding on for dear life as Mia tries to make all the right decisions for herself and for her mother and brother, while still trying to avoid

I also really like that this takes place in Los Angeles. California, you are my home. I have lived here my entire life and I love it here. I want to explore the world, and live in other places but I know one day I’ll return to Los Angeles because I just love it. And I loved having this sort of dystopian, science fiction, fantasy, weird but amazing novel take place in a city I was so familiar with. Its why I’m getting so crazy excited about reading The Dark Artifices, a Shadowhunter series taking place in Los Angeles. I liked that I was able to recognize different places that Mia was going to, different landmarks. It makes the book that much more fun.

But really, this book may not be something that you’re entirely comfortable with, if you’re one of closed mind or someone who is very 100% firm in your beliefs. If you’re looking for a book that has a great story

Rating: 

4 out of 5 stars

Recommended or Not?: 

Yeah, definitely! Honestly, I really recommend it, more than I may recommend other books. The reason I say this is because its a book that may force you to think outside of the box, may force you to look at things a different way or even just read something that makes you a little uncomfortable. But really good books do that and I think this book accomplishes that. I think teens really could do with a book like this, that can bring about a discussion and can get some cognitive thinking going. So definitely pick up this book if you’re ready for that.

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I hope you enjoyed this edition of the Book of the Week!

Don’t forget to check out last week’s post on Andrew Smith’s Winger, and to check out previous Book Reviews.

And tune in next week for more!

Ontario Teen Book Fest & iFandoms Collide Episode 2!

Today was an absolutely amazing day to be part of this blog, pill WhatANerdGirlSays, and to be part of the creative force of iFandoms Collide. Myself and my fellow bloggers, Sylvia, Tatiana and Megan (plus my sister, Jessica) headed to the Ontario Teen Book Fest today!

First off, I want to say thank you to two people. One is to Allison Tran at the Mission Viejo Library, who seriously is becoming the most amazing person to know. She has helped me so much, in getting my interview with Cassandra Clare, telling me about other events that I’d be interested in and she’s just been amazing. She told me about this awesome event through the Ontario Library and I thank her for that.

I would also like to thank Courtney Saldana from the Ontario Library for two reasons. One, is putting on such an amazing event that happened today and for bringing together the group of authors that came together today. Such a great mix of super talented, inspirational and wonderful authors. Two, I’d like to thank her for allowing us the opportunity to attend the Author Breakfast and to have one-on-one personal time with the authors to get to know them. We were able to talk to them about some REALLY cool things, and get to know some AMAZING authors.

We were also able to film episode TWO of the iFandoms Collide vlog, in which we discuss our top ten fictional crushes (you guys know how I love to talk about my fictional crushes!) We also talked to the authors that we were able to meet today and asked them their fictional crushes, authors like Stephen Chbosky, Morgan Matson, Jessica Brody, Lex Thomas, and so many more. Check it out below.

This was super fun to film, especially with getting all the author’s fictional crushes as well. SUPER fun. I loved Marie Lu‘s answer of Sydney from A Tale of Two Cities and Stephen Chbosky‘s Scarlett O’Hara. So great.

But what this particular blog post is about is my personal reaction to today’s events. After all this is WhataNerdGirlSays, and I am the “Nerd Girl” in that title :) As you all know, I am extremely passionate about young adult literature. I am a huge advocate for it, I write constantly about, I preach its use in academics, especially in the middle school and high school curriculums. Young adult literature is the very foundation for this blog!

So that being said, today was an amazing experience. I really got to have an up close and personal experience with all the authors today. They all took the time to really talk to all the fans, and every single author took the time to talk to me as a writer, and to give me advice and encouragement as an author. Here’s a picture of us with all the authors today:

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Authors at this event were (from left to right): Jessica Brody, Lex Thomas (duo), Gretchen McNeil, Carrie Arcos, Andrew Smith, Sara Wilson Etienne, Suzanne Lazear, Morgan Matson, Marie Lu, Leigh Bardugo, Ann Stampler and Jennifer Bosworth.

I wish honestly that I could have gotten every single one of their books and I could get them all signed. Unfortunately my wallet doesn’t permit for such things. I am a poor college student haha and I just can’t do that. But I came up with this idea: I bought a poster board, wrote “You are a writer” on it, in the middle, and I asked all the authors to write a piece of advice or words of encouragement. Once I fill up this poster board, I can frame it and put it on my wall, and it can be my encouragement when I feel like my writing is going bad (which, sadly, is often).

And the response was AMAZING. Every single author that was at the event signed it with words of wisdom. Here is the poster board below :) If you click on it, you can see it bigger, in order to read the advice given.

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Hanging out with the authors during the Author Breakfast was a great opportunity and really gave us the ability to hang out with the authors, get to know them, interview them and really share with them our passion about books and young adult literature. Some highlights include:

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Making funny faces with Jessica Brody

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Chatting about fictional crushes with the iconic Stephen Chbosky (author of Perks of Being a Wallflower). He loves the feisty characters, like Scarlett O’Hara!

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And interviewing Marie Lu, the superb author of the Legend trilogy about her upcoming finale book, Champion, and her fictional crushes.

There were so many more moments and I’ll post a link near the bottom so you can see more pictures.

First we got to see Stephen Chbosky in a Q and A, and he was incredibly inspirational and touching. His book has touched so many people’s lives and it was amazing to hear him speak. We also got the great news that he is working on something new, hopefully coming out in 2014! Awesome!

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I love being short, it causes some hilarity at times :) This is a GREAT picture of me and Stephen Chbosky. I loved being able to talk to him about a particular part in his book that was very resonating to me. I won’t say too much more than that because it is EXTREMELY personal to me but I was glad to talk to him about it, and I nearly cried when talking to him about it. What a great writer and a great person as well.

My favorite panel of the day was the Femme Fatale panel, featuring all female authors talking about female characters that kick butt.

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From left to right: Marie Lu, Leigh Bardugo, Morgan Matson, Jennifer Bosworth and Jessica Brody. Truly great panel, from some talented and inspiring authors. I was able to get books signed by all by Jennifer Bosworth, who I am determined to track down in the future! They were hilarious, inspirational, great at advice and it was a highlight of my day. Especially when Leigh Bardugo said she was a Tamora Pierce fan. I LIVE for that Tortall world.

Then came meeting the authors!

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me and Morgan Matson, author of Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour and Second Chance Summer. She is a SERIOUS inspiration of mine and it was amazing being able to talk to her as much as I was able to today :)

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Myself and Ann Stampler, author of Where it Began. She showed us the brand new cover of her new book and hopefully we’ll be able to get our hands on some ARCs!

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myself and Marie Lu, author of the Legend trilogy (I am so anxiously awaiting Champion!). She is so inspirational, as a young author, for aspiring authors like me.

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me with Leigh Bardugo, author of Shadow and Bone. Her humor, charisma, intelligence and inspiration drove me to buy her book. I can’t wait to dive into it. She was a wonderful person to me and gave good advice, and was truly inspiring. I hope to meet her again someday.

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Myself with Carrie Arcos, who was nominated for a National Book Award for her novel Out of Reach, and Jennifer Bosworth, author of Struck. Two books that are now on my t0-read list. Such lovely ladies!

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the always lovely, hilarious and super great Jessica Brody. I finally picked up a copy of The Karma Club today, which I had only read halfway. You can also read Unremembered, My Life Undecided and 52 Reasons to Hate My Father.

Another author that I didn’t manage to get a picture with was Andrew Smith. he recently wrote a book called Winger, which was unofficially released today at the Teen Book Fest but won’t officially release until Tuesday. He is already being featured in the New York Times today (the 12th) and has an immense buzz around his book. He was super fun to talk to, and a true inspiration. He was not encouraged as a writer by his parents and is an encouraging parent to his aspiring writer son. He was a truly wonderful author to meet as well and I’m sad I missed him in my photo taking spree.

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All in all, it was absolutely wonderful day. I really got to hang out and talk and be inspired by people who are doing the very things that I wish to do with my life. My life’s ambition is to become an author and these authors are doing exactly that and I hope to one day become that. It is always a fun thing to meet these authors as a fan, but it is also fun to meet them as a hopefully one day future colleague in the field of young adult literature.

I left this event today feeling two different ways. In one way, I was extremely happy and fan girling over the amazing authors that I met today. But I also left feeling super inspired and uplifted. All of the authors today gave me great advice and words of encouragement and they all gave me the push, and the words of not giving up. Every single author gave me a stronger belief in myself and they all said that they can’t wait to see what I do. Which really meant a lot, as I’m in some serious writer’s block and I hate my third novel haha. But such wonderful people to meet and a wonderful event to attend.

Thank you so much to the Ontario Library for putting on this event, and to Mrs Nelson’s Toy and Book Shop for sponsoring the event and all the librarians and teen volunteers who helped put this on. You guys are all rock stars.

Thanks to my sister, Jessica, for being my book buddy for life.

Thanks to Sylvia, Megan and Tatiana for being the BEST book friends a girl could have and for being the pieces of the puzzle for iFandoms Collide and for understanding me :) and for always making every event we go to the best time ever.

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(I had to put this picture of us with Thomas and Lex because they totally towered over all of us. And they were SO super cool)

And thanks especially to Courtney Saldana (below) at the Ontario Library. You gave us wonderful opportunities today to make memories that we will never forget. I can’t wait to attend more events that you and your library put on because I know that they will be absolutely wonderful :)

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We all recorded the authors talking about new projects, fan reactions, their new stuff, all kinds of cool stuff. Those videos will hopefully be up soon (we are getting better at editing haha) and I will share them with you as soon as I can!

If you’d like to see more pictures from this event, check them out on the WhataNerdGirlSays facebook page here.

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If you live in the Los Angeles/Southern California area and know of an author event or book fest event that you think myself or my team at iFandoms Collide would be interested, please contact us!

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A last few side notes:

All of these authors rock! I tweeted all of them to tell them what a great time that I had meeting them yesterday and pretty much all of them tweeted back :) It takes time out of their day to do this and it means a lot when they reply :)

Also, all the authors are linked on this post, so that you can check them out, and every book that is mentioned is linked to its Amazon page so that you can check it out and maybe purchase it!