Book of the Week Part Two-Seige and Storm

Oh you read that right, sickness I’m doing TWO Book of the Week reviews in ONE week.

I know, crazy, right? Its totally outside the box, breaking the rules. I’m such a rebel, you can’t handle how off the charts awesome I am right now.

So basically the plan had been to do the Book of the Week post on Siege and Storm and then do an episode of Sara’s Quick Picks on The Moon and More, and a couple other books I had read. However, I did not finish Siege and Storm in time for the Book of the Week, which is always (mostly) posted on Thursdays, therefore I did a review on The  Moon and More.

Well I stayed up til 2 am to finish Siege and Storm tonight (yeah, its nearly 4 am while I’m writing this. Yay, insomnia!) and it was absolutely positively brilliant and I’m still kind of recovering from it and I decided I would write a review for it while it was fresh in my mind.

I mean, I could write it for the Book of the Week on Thursday BUT it won’t be as fresh in my mind as it is RIGHT NOW. So this week, you’re all treated to TWO book reviews in one week. How crazy for you guys.

I just want to warn you, since this is a sequel, there will be spoilers to Shadow and Bone in this review. There are very, very minimal to zero spoilers for Siege and Storm but in order to talk about this book, I have to spoil things from the first book. I’m warning you now, don’t read this review if you haven’t read the first book.

Whew, got that out of the way. Now enjoy the Book of the Week, Part Two!

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

original

Genre:
young adult, fantasy

Part of a Series?:
yes, it is the second book of the Grisha trilogy, preceded by Shadow and Bone, and followed by Rune and Rising, out in 2014

You May Like if You Liked:
anything by Tamora Pierce, the Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima, the Fire and Thorns trilogy by Rae Carson

Plot Summary: 

Siege and Storm picks up where Shadow and Bone has left off: with Alina and Mal on the run from the Darkling, trying to escape into another world, to be forgotten. Alina is forced to wear a scarf to hide her new amplifier that’ll identify her in a second, and to hold back her powers because let’s face it, they are one of a kind. But Alina can’t run forever, and its not long before the Darkling catches up to her and Mal and is prepared to bring her back to Ravka so he can take over and rule it, so he can have even more power than he already has.

But soon, Alina and Mal are meeting a new friend by the name of Sturmhond, a privateer who has a bigger background than Alina and Mal are prepared for. Suddenly, Alina is alive with new purpose and escaping and running away. She has purpose; there are more powerful amplifiers to help her gain more power and more control, now that the Darkling has scary and impossible new powers. But the further she pushes herself into the Grisha world, trying to save Ravka, trying to gain more power, the further away she gets from Mal. She has to choose whether to keep going in order to save her country or pull back to be with the person she loves.

The Bad:

I have literally nothing to say. I mean, usually, even if I absolutely adore the book, there’s always something kind of nit picky that bugged me but I can’t even think of anything. It was so insanely good. I can’t…I can’t think of anything bad. Maybe I’m on a book high right now and its impossible to get down so I can’t think of anything but its just left me going WHAT THE HELL, and I can’t…too much book happiness right now. I guess the only bad thing I can think of was that it left on kind of a cliffhanger, with SO much hanging in the balance, and I have to wait until 2014 for Rune and Rising. And I’m so bad at waiting.

The Good: 

There is SO much good in this novel, I can’t even begin to start to talk about it. This book held my captivated the entire time that I read it. Alina…is such an interesting character. She’s so real and raw, and such a strong female character. I love that she’s so addicted to her power. I love that the power of it, the strength it gives her, the command that it gives her, just the sheer feeling of pure power it gives her, is so addicting to her, its something that she can’t stop fighting for. She already has an incredibly strong amplifier but she’s not satisfied until she searches for others to make herself even stronger. And I do believe that is in part to be able to be on the same page as the Darkling, who has gained IMMENSE powers since she was on the run. But I also think a HUGE part of it comes from the fact that she feeds off the power, just as the Darkling does, even though she doesn’t want to admit it.

I also like the relationship dynamic in this book. There’s enough romance and kissing in this book to satisfy everyone but it doesn’t distract from the main story, it weaves in and is a major aspect of it without turning the book into a lovey dovey mushy mess. And you’ve got kind of a love…I don’t know, square? Pyramid? A slightly bigger love triangle going on? And I don’t even mind it. Because you have three people fighting for Alina for different reasons…and even though I was so strongly Mal since Shadow and Bone…I find myself rooting for the other two that are so interested in her as well, because all three of them have their perks, their values, and they all can do something for Alina, as she can do something for them. Because its not all about love, you know? Its not like, oh god Alina is the most beautiful person ever and all the boys just LOVE her. She’s powerful, she’s the Sun Summoner, and the people of Ravka worship her, and so some of these desires come from her powers and abilities or from political strategies. I love that. I can’t decide who I like the best because it all just fits and makes sense to me.

Which leads me into the other characters in the novel: all of them who are so built, so complex, so filled out. The thing with fantasy novels is that you tend to get a TON of characters involved; it just comes with the territory of building this new, fictional world. And sometimes you can get SO confused with all these characters, and sometimes there are so many that they just aren’t flushed out well enough, they just don’t have distinct personalities. Even the smallest of characters should have a defining personality. Even if you only see them for one scene, that scene will tell you something of their personality enough to recognize them. And Leigh accomplishes that completely with all her characters. Even the smallest characters, such as Nadia’s brother, have a personality and you’re able to recognize who they are, easily, without the reminder of who they are. I love that she can briefly mention a character and you remember who they are because they were established so well previously. Like I said, so many fantasy novels just fail to do this.

Speaking of fantasy worlds, Leigh creates an amazing, believable, well thought out world. Another issue with fantasy novels is that authors tend to kind of…make up things as they go along sometimes. Like, they don’t full flesh out their world, whether it be customs or culture or religion or just the locations of different places but there isn’t a problem in the SLIGHTEST in this book. Ravka, and the surrounding countries, and their ways, their towns, people, cultures, religion, etc. come so naturally as if it were all real. It reminds me of Tortall or the Fells, in Tamora Pierce or Cinda Williams Chima books because these places feel so real. I feel as if you were to ask Leigh a question about her fictional world, she would have an answer because she’s thought about it, she’s given it life. Its not just a fictional world in paper but its a real world to Alina and Mal and the Darkling and the readers. I don’t question anything about the world because it feels SO real. Everything comes so naturally and there isn’t anything forced.

One last thing, I loved the additional characters added to this novel, especially Sturmhond, who we find out is someone super important. I’m not going to reveal anything because that would just be plain mean, but let’s just say, I did NOT see that one coming. I love him a lot because he brings the humor, the sarcastic, cocky, okay I’ll say it-SEXINESS, to the book. You guys know me, I love those kind of characters (Han Solo, Sirius Black, Jace Wayland, etc) and I was so excited when I started to get to know Sturmhond. And I developed a crush on him ultra fast. Plus…once you figure out his secrets and his motivations, he becomes a complex character, despite his charms and his cockiness and his good looking face. There’s so much more to him, and I’m really hoping he appears in the third book because I’m interested in seeing where Leigh is going to take him.

I am SO not looking forward to waiting until 2014 though :(

Rating: 

5 out of 5 stars. Its hard to get that but it earned it, completely.

Recommended or Not?

HELL YES. Honestly, if you’re a reader and you love young adult literature and you love the fantasy aspect that has been blowing up, this is a series for you. Even if you’re a fantasy lover period, and not into YA, you should still read it. Just read it. Leigh Bardugo has created a masterpiece in this series so far, and I’m going to be WAY too anxious waiting for Rune and Rising next year!

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If you liked this review, you should check out previous Book of the Week reviews as well :)

If you missed out on my recap of Leigh Bardugo‘s book release party for Siege and Storm, check it out HERE.

Also, if you’re a fan of Leigh Bardugo and her books, you might also like Tamora Pierce and Cinda Williams Chima. 

My Fandom Friday post yesterday as ALL about Tamora Pierce and her YA fantasy novels, so check that out HERE.

And come back later for a post about Cinda Williams Chima and an exclusive interview!

Book of the Week-The Moon and More

Hello everyone! Welcome to the Book of the Week :)

So, buy I had planned on doing the Book of the Week post on Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo, website and then do the third episode of Sara’s Quick Picks on The Moon and More but I finished The Moon and More and I’ve barely started Siege and Storm soooooo there goes that idea.

But I’ll have a review for Siege and Storm VERY soon, I promise!

For now, let’s talk about one of my absolute favorite authors in the world, Sarah Dessen and her brand new book, which I finished in about a day.

Enjoy this week’s Book of the Week!

The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen 

The Moon and More

Genre:
young adult, contemporary, romance, summer book

Part of a Series:
No, all of Sarah Dessen’s books are standalone novels. However, you will see references to other characters and things from her other books if you look closely enough :)

You May Like if You Liked:
Morgan Matson’s Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour and Second Chance Summer, The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han or Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler

Plot Summary: 

Set in the iconic Sarah Dessen beach town of Colby, Emaline works for her family’s rental house business, doing everything they can to make vacationing families happy. She’s lived there her entire life, and she’s based her life on this place. She works there, she’ll be going to college only a few hours away and she’s been dating her boyfriend, Luke, for three years. But sometimes Emaline wishes for more than just the small town life of Colby, and she finds that appeal in her father.

Her mother and father dated for one summer. Her mother was a small town Colby girl, her dad a college bound hotshot with some rich parents. One summer turned into more when her mom ends up pregnant and Emaline’s dad disappears, until she tries to find him when she’s ten. Their entire relationship is based on their mutual interest in academics and after her father (not to be confused with her dad, who married her mom when she was three years old) promises to pay for her college education, she works her butt off and gets into Colombia. However, when its time to cash in, her father backs out of the deal, disappears from her life again and Emaline takes a full scholarship to East U, a school merely two hours away.

This is the summer right before college and Emaline is spending it like any other summer, working for Colby Realty and spending time with Luke, and her best friends, Daisy and Morris. Things change real fast when a woman named Ivy comes to town to film a documentary bringing her assistant, Theo with her, who immediately attracts Emaline with his big city ways.

But then Emaline’s father reappears in town, along with her half-brother, Benji, and that begins to complicate things as well.

The Bad: 

I love Sarah Dessen. I do, I do, I do. She is one of my absolutely favorite authors of all time. I have been reading her since I was 13 years old, maybe even before that but I think 13 is about right. Anyway, I do think that some of Sarah’s books are starting to become a little more repetitive as she writes more. Its not that the writing is bad, because it definitely isn’t. Sarah Dessen is an amazing writer.

I just felt a lot of repetition in this. Summer novel, meet a new boy, parents having issues, etc. It doesn’t seem that new, you know? Halley’s mom is too controlling, Auden’s dad is a flake and her mom is pretentious. McClean’s mom is an adulterer. Remy’s mom has been married several times. And on and on. Emaline’s mom and stepdad (or dad as she calls him since he’s the one that’s been in her life since she was 3) are good parents, if embarrassing at times. Its her father, her birth father, with his impossible demands of his son, and his inability to be an affectionate, loving, available parent to Emaline that is the parent issue.

Also, I wasn’t in love with Emaline the way I have been with other characters before. I just didn’t think she had as well defined personality as other Dessen characters have had. I think she was supposed to be a girl who helped everyone, who had an attitude, and was whip smart and could dish it out but it just didn’t come across that way unless someone pointed it out. You didn’t just get it. It seemed forced.

Also, I didn’t really feel a connection to either Luke or Theo. There wasn’t really a love triangle, THANK GOODNESS. I was like, Sarah, don’t you bring in a love triangle, don’t you do it. But there wasn’t. But either way, I didn’t have preference either way, for Luke or Theo.

The Good: 

Look, that being said, I still enjoyed the book immensely. It was still such a great Sarah Dessen book. It still had that great, curl up on the beach, sunglasses on, some good music playing on the radio kind of feel.

Because if there’s one thing (and there’s definitely more than one) that Sarah Dessen is SO good at, its capturing the teen essence, the teen experience. For someone who claims to have hated high school, and wanted to just get away as soon as possible, she definitely remembers what its like to be a teenager. I think some adults don’t like to think about teens doing the things they’re actually doing but Dessen tackles it straight on. Teens drink, they party, they have sex. But Dessen also does it in very tasteful ways and she addresses the issues in mature ways but she doesn’t gloss over the fact that an eighteen year old girl in her summer before college is going to have sex with her long term boyfriend, and enjoy a beer here and there.

I also like the family dynamic in this book. A lot of Sarah’s books addresses the relationship between the main character and their parents and there is sometimes sibling relationship but I really really enjoyed the family relationships in this book. I loved how Emaline loved her parents, even though they drove her crazy, and acted like parents tend to do. I loved her relationship with her sisters. I have two sisters as well, and I loved how they all were so different from each other, and both got along super well but also fought like crazy. Its so true to what that sister relationship is like.

Which brings me to the relationship between Emaline and her half brother, Benji. She’s only seen Benji a handful of times in her life and hasn’t really had the chance to build a relationship with him. But since he and her father are in Colby for the summer, and her father is busy, she’s able to spend a lot of time with him and build an actual sibling relationship with him. It was really sweet, as I also have three younger brothers, so trust me, I know what its like :)

Lastly, I like the resolution. I won’t go any farther than that, but its a different resolution than I’ve seen in a lot of her books, it kind of reminded me of the ending in Barbara Starr’s romance novel in This Lullaby. It was an ending I didn’t expect at all, but I was pleasantly surprised by it. It was nice. I like when endings surprise me, in a good way.

Rating: 

3.5 out of 5 stars

Recommended or Not:

I definitely recommend it. I don’t think its one of her best but I definitely enjoyed it :) A very enjoyable, satisfying Sarah Dessen summer novel. I was very pleased by it!

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Hope you enjoyed this week’s Book of the Week!

Come back next week for more!

And check out previous Book of the Week posts HERE

Leigh Bardugo’s Siege and Storm Release Party!

So I feel like its been forever since I went to an author event. Its probably only been a couple weeks, sickness but it feels like SO much longer haha. I think the last one I went to was the Mission Viejo stop on the Summer Lovin’ Tour with Suzanne Young, ambulance Sarah Ockler, try Shannon Messenger, Morgan Matson, Jessi Kirby and Kimberly Derting.

You can read all about that here :)

So I was starving for some author interaction!

And luckily enough, my dear friend Perla told me all about Leigh Bardugo (who I met about a month ago at the Ontario Teen Book Fest, which you can read about here) and how she was having a super cool release party for Siege and Storm, the second book in her Grisha Trilogy, preceded by Shadow and Bone and followed by Rune and Rising (coming sooooon).

I was SO excited about this.

I just recently read Shadow and Bone, probably about two weeks ago and absolutely loved it. I am a big fan of YA fantasy writers like Tamora Pierce and Cinda Williams Chima, and this felt similar but also unique to these two, and she just created a great story. You can see me review for it here.

(Side Note: Follow my friend, Perla, on Tumblr! She goes to author events ALL the time. In the last week, she’s met SO many. She’s meeting Richelle Mead tonight! She’s bombtastic :) You thought I met a lot of authors!)

I have never been to a book release party before. I’ve been to events where the book is released for the first time, but it was never termed a “party”, and I was never told to dress up!

And I totally didn’t dress up by the way, because I’m uberly lame and impossible when it comes to costumes and such. My version of a costume is making a tutu in a specific color, pairing it with a tshirt of that fandom and calling it a day :) I did wear a dress and some nifty high heeled boots so I felt pretty awesome.

So me, Tatiana, Sylvia, and my awesome friend Erin headed down to the Hemingways Lounge in Hollywood, California to go to this book release party.

Can I just say it was SO weird having my little beat up Honda valeted? The guy took my keys and looked at my car, completely with personalized Harry Potter license plate (and frame!), Harry Potter stickers, Star wars stickers, Hunger Games stickers,…and he just kind of sighed haha.

But anyway! What an awesome, awesome, awesome event! They went above and beyond for all of this! First off, there was a raffle for every single person who attended and the prizes were SO cool. There was this awesome grab bag of all sorts of cool Grisha swag, that my friend Sylvia won!

They also had a prize that was like 15-20 brand new books of various authors in Los Angeles. I wanted that one so bad. I didn’t win though :( Which was okay!

I was one of the first twenty five people to arrive, so I was able to get a tote bag, which I LOVE. I love me some tote bags!

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I was also able to grab a TON of swag, like buttons and all kinds of stuff. I’m hoping to have a Leigh Bardugo contest by the end of the month, so check back to see if you can grab yourself some of this swag, and who knows, maybe a signed copy of Shadow and Bone ;)

Book Swaaaaaaaag

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They also had a really cool photo booth set up as soon as you walk in where you could pile in with your friends, get some props and make some awesome faces.

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It was a seriously awesome time though. I had never been to a book release party so I wasn’t really sure what to expect from it, but if book release parties are all like this, I want to go to more! There was all the free swag and the photo booth to begin with. There was an open bar that was serving this sparkling sweet wine and waiters and waitresses were going around, passing out little hors d’oeuvres, like mini burgers and mac n cheese and all sorts of yummy.

Leigh was mingling with the crowd, hanging out, looking like she was having a seriously fun time :) I ran into her once, and she totally remembered who I was, and knew who I was, which was pretty cool, I’m not going to lie. She is so funny, and she’s so down to earth too. I honestly really love that she is so available to her fans through social media. I’m friends with her on facebook and she nearly always replies to my tweets. She is SO available to her fans.

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And she’s so hilarious! For her presentation, she read some writing she did when she younger about the kind of abilities that she wished she could have. There were the usual, like flight and invisibility and being able to read people’s minds (though with an on/off switch haha, but the best one was the ability to write and publish a novel.

I’m not going to lie, I kind of teared up at that. Because the fact that when she was younger, she paired writing and publishing a novel with something impossible like being able to fly. But she did it, and she’s a fantastic writer, and so popular, and her book, Shadow and Bone, has been optioned to be a film. It really gives aspiring writers, like myself, a lot of hope. Writing and publishing a novel seems as impossible as becoming a Major League baseball pitcher, or a Grammy award winning musician. But its possible :)

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Sorry for the blurry pictures. It was all dark and funky lighting so it was SO hard to take good pictures.

Moving on though, Leigh also did a Q and A, which was fun because most of the questions, and all of the answers, were making people laugh. She also read a little excerpt from Siege and Storm, a scene between Alina and the Darkling, which was awesome, and which you see above. (And yes, that is Margaret Stohl holding her flashlight for Leigh to read).

There were so many authors there as well :) I saw Morgan Matson and Jessica Brody, both of who were SUPER excited to see us, and remembered us (Morgan told us we needed our own reality show, and Jessica said we were loud, but in a good way). Jennifer Bosworth was also there, as well as Melissa de la Cruz, Lissa Price, and Marie Lu. I’m sure there were more, but it was hard to tell. Its always fun to hang out with authors, especially when you look up to them so MUCH. Such a fun time :)

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Meeting Leigh again was REALLY cool, and she’s seriously a fun lady. Her remembering me was a nice little cherry on top to a super fun night, and I loved that she really took the time to talk to each and every person who came and take pictures with them, and sign their books and all of that. She really reached out to all of her fans, and it was awesome. She makes me laugh, and she wrote “I’m hilarious” in her books, when I had a word vomit moment and asked her to write something funny in my book, because I’m awkward like that.

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I’m having SUCH a blast lately, with all these author events, and making author friends, and getting to meet the people whose books are so amazing, and inspire me so much. Its been SUCH a blast.

I just started Siege and Storm today (I had to read The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen first, and I finished that in less than a day), and I’m already loving it, and I’m only 50 pages in. I hope, hope, hope, and should be done with it by tomorrow and I’ll have an AWESOME review for you guys!

I’m going to see her again (and Marie Lu, and a couple other cool people) on June 26th at the Grove in Los Angeles so I hope to get a pretty copy of Shadow and Bone signed for you guys! You guys love giveaways, don’t ya? I know you do! And then I can throw some of those buttons in there too!

Hope you enjoyed my recap of Leigh’s party!

And come back tomorrow for the Book of the Week, and keep an eye out for Sara’s Quick PicksEpisode Three, and an interview with the AMAZING Cinda Williams Chima!

Happy Reading!

Los Angeles Times Festival of Books 2013! Featuring Cassandra Clare, Maureen Johnson, Veronica Roth, Morgan Matson, Sarah Dessen and more!

I had to come back up to this paragraph to reintroduce this post…because I didn’t realize how long it was going to be! I maybe should have seen the signs from the really super long title…but rest assured, viagra buy this post is mostly pictures, view less words so you don’t have to worry too much! Just enjoy my awesome post, there and stop complaining already!

I’m still kind of recovering from the event. It was an absolute blast but I got sunburnt, and really worn out, and I’m all sore from all the walking and lugging the heavy books around and I got a heat rash and all of that. It was a fun weekend that beat me up haha. I’m still totally recovering.

So, this past weekend was the annual event, the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. For those of you who don’t know, it is an event held every year, two days, with tons of authors and poets and book-related things at the University of Southern California (USC). I have been to this event several times in my past, when it was at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). It has always been a super fun event, and I’ve met authors like Meg Cabot and Eoin Colfer there.

This year, though, there was so much excitement and SO much going on.

First off, I’ve had the seriously amazing opportunity to meet Tatiana from City of Shadowhunters, Sylvia from FanGirlFeeels and our partner in crime, Megan (who you can follow on Twitter @yugenbliss) through Twitter, and the love of the Mortal Instruments and other fandoms. We all were at WonderCon (Tatiana and Sylvia were in the special meet and greet for TMI too!) and didn’t even realize it! So we planned a Shadowhunter meet up on Saturday, to meet more fans! Check out our cool photo!

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These girls were all SO awesome, and I had a fantastic time meeting them. You can also check out Paulina’s blog, all about the Divergent fandom.

The first event on the agenda was seeing Cassandra Clare (I know, again, I have an obsession…) and Harald Zwart, the director of City of Bones. I was unable to make the actual panel; Sylvia and I went to wait in line for the autographs. One thing that the Festival of Books didn’t do so well, was schedule all the young adult authors overlapping each other. Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl were from 2-4, Cassie was from 3-5 and Veronica Roth was from 4-6. Silly. So Sylvia and I waited in line while Megan, Tatiana and my sister Jessica went to the panel.

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Cassandra Clare and Harald Zwart discussing the City of Bones movie :)

Then possibly the coolest thing in the entire world happened. Jessica and Megan joined Sylvia and me in line for Cassie. Now, Sylvia, Tatiana and I were part of the VIP meet and greet at WonderCon and Megan was at WonderCon as well and we were bummed that Harald wasn’t there! Well, he was walking around so we got to meet him finally! I got to have my City of Bones book signed, which had already previously been signed by Cassandra Clare, Jamie Campbell Bower, Lily Collins, and Kevin Zegers. Harald and his family was super nice.

After Sylvia, Megan and I basically assaulted him, a ton of people started coming up to him and his son was like “Daddy, you’re famous!” It was adorable.

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Then a professional photographer saw me showing Harald my Fearless rune tattoo and asked to take a picture of him pretending to draw the rune on my shoulder…and then for some reason, he signed his name on my arm haha. I had to wash it off but I got a picture of it!

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Then we met Cassie again!

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I gave her a letter that I had written her and she signed the picture of this two of us at the Mission Viejo library event. She totally remembered me and Vivi from Hebel Designs, who designed the Clockwork Angel necklace that I got from Cassie, was there which was suepr cool.

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After we all met Cassie, we busted a move to the other side of campus to meet Lauren Oliver and Veronica Roth. Lauren Oliver, of course, is the author of Before I Fall and the Delirium trilogy, who I met back in March at the Mission Viejo library. Veronica Roth is the author of the Divergent trilogy.

I’ve already met Lauren Oliver so Sylvia, Jessica and Tatiana went to meet her and had a blast with her, as she is an absolutely lovely person :) Then we all met Veronica Roth, which was REALLY exciting, as she is super famous now and she’ll only get bigger now that movie Divergent comes out next year.

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She was SO beautiful and awesome. And I just had to tell her how much I admire her, as she is six months younger than me, and so successful and super talented and I think she’s an absolute inspiration. I also had her sign an extra copy of Divergent and I’m giving it away as a prize, until May 4th. Find out how to win it HERE.

Day TWO!

Day Two was even more fun. We spent the whole day chasing authors around!

First we went to the Penguin booth, put on by Mrs. Nelson’s Toy and Book Shop to meet Maureen Johnson, the author of 13 Little Blue Envelopes and the Shades of London series (I just reviewed The Name of the Star last week). She was so incredibly sweet, and HILARIOUS. I mean, that girl is SO funny.

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She always makes the most fantastic faces. She’s a character. Her tweets the next day all about being in the airport, were just too funny to handle. You should follow her.

After Maureen Johnson, we headed to the Young Adult Fiction: Call Me Maybe panel to hang out with Gayle Forman, Morgan Matson, Sarah Dessen and Robin Benway. The panel was amazing because that’s EXACTLY the type of literature that I want to write, the literature that they write. I write contemporary YA and they had amazing advice and stories, and they really helped me to believe that even though I’m 25, and feeling super unaccomplished, that there is a chance for me. Robin Benway‘s stories of struggling through writing and Gayle Forman talking about the three years it took her to get back into college, it just makes me feel so much better. They were amazing.

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Gayle Forman, author of If I Stay, and other such novels. I’ve never read her books but they are now on my “to-read” list on GoodReads and I can’t wait to read her books.

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An extremely blurry picture of Robin Benway. I had never heard of her, but after that panel, I NEED to go and read her books. She was exactly me. She was talking about working crappy jobs and wanting to write and feeling like nothing was going to work out but it did work out and it was so incredibly inspirational to someone, like me, who feels like they just aren’t accomplishing anything. I can’t wait to read her books.

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Me telling Morgan Matson that she is absolutely fantastic. I adore her two books “Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour” and “Second Chance Summer“. She is such an inspiration for me as well, and I was sooooooo excited to meet her. I don’t think she expects that or something because she was SO happy. She deserves all the praises and more.

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After Morgan Matson, Gayle Forman and Robin Benway, a couple of us (not me), went to meet Melissa de la Cruz, the author of the Blue Bloods series. Here’s a picture of my sister, Jessica, meeting her :)

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After THAT, we all booked it back to the Penguin Booth to meet the AMAZING, AMAZING Sarah Dessen. I was most excited about meeting her ALL weekend. I have been reading Sarah Dessen since I first read Someone Like You when I was 12 years old. I wrote her a letter to tell her, and I pretty much hyperventilated in her presence.

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She LOVED how beat up my Along for the Ride book was, said it looked super super loved (which it totally is), and was just super sweet. Her name is Sarah Elizabeth and I’m Sara Elizabeth and yeah, I got a total kick out of that :) We also were able to take a nice group picture with her as well!

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Tatiana, me, Sarah Dessen, Meg, Sylvia and Jessica.

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In all honesty, it was an absolutely fantastic weekend. I got to meet some amazing authors, get my books signed and I met some incredibly people while I was out, people that I dont know how I wasn’t friends with before.

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Sylvia, Megan, Tatiana and me. We spent hours at Barnes and Noble shopping for books and talking books :)

If you’d like to see more pictures from Festival Books, you can HERE and HERE.

If you’d like to follow my fellow nerd friends,

Tatiana‘s Blog and Twitter

Sylvia‘s Blog and Twitter

Megan‘s Twitter

Also don’t forget to enter the autographed Divergent contest!

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Were you at the Festival of Books? Who did you meet, what was it like? Or do you have an author event that you attended that you’d like to share? As always, share in the comments!