I Read YA Week Interview with Sarvenaz Tash

I am so insanely excited to have Sarvenaz Tash as the first of many awesome author interviews and guest posts this week in celebration of I Read YA Week! I absolutely love this week! I write YA and read YA and am incredibly passionate about it all. I hope you can join in all week for the celebration and you MUST check my instagram for the epic giveaway I’m having this week! Yay!

For now, patient let’s meet Sarvenaz!

ABOUT SARVENAZ TASH! 

Sarvenaz Tash was born in Tehran, illness Iran and grew up on Long Island, viagra NY. She received her BFA in Film and Television from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. This means she got to spend most of college running around and making movies (it was a lot of fun). She has dabbled in all sorts of writing including screenwriting, copywriting, and professional tweeting. Sarvenaz currently lives in Brooklyn, NY.

You Can Find Her:

Her Website / Her Twitter / Her Facebook / Her GoodReads / Her Instagram / Her Tumblr

ABOUT HER BOOK

This book releases on June 14th. I have already read an advanced copy of it and I absolutely LOVED it! The nerdiness and the romance and all of it was just so great. Definitely add it on GoodReads and preorder it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble now! 

Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy…
Archie and Veronica…
Althena and Noth…
…Graham and Roxy?

Graham met his best friend, Roxana, when he moved into her neighborhood eight years ago, and she asked him which Hogwarts house he’d be sorted into. Graham has been in love with her ever since.

But now they’re sixteen, still neighbors, still best friends. And Graham and Roxy share more than ever—moving on from their Harry Potter obsession to a serious love of comic books.

When Graham learns that the creator of their favorite comic, The Chronicles of Althena, is making a rare appearance at this year’s New York Comic Con, he knows he must score tickets. And the event inspires Graham to come up with the perfect plan to tell Roxy how he really feels about her. He’s got three days to woo his best friend at the coolest, kookiest con full of superheroes and supervillains. But no one at a comic book convention is who they appear to be…even Roxy. And Graham is starting to realize fictional love stories are way less complicated than real-life ones.

THE INTERVIEW 

Nerd Girl: Why do you write YA?

Sarvenaz: I’ve always loved coming-of-age stories. I also think there are just so many inherent and universal themes/problems/realizations to mine when it comes to those all-important teen years. No matter who you are, you never forget them.

Nerd Girl: What are some of your favorite YA reads?

Sarvenaz: I have a lot. Just off the top of my head: The Art of Lainey for contemporary romance. Gilt for sweeping historical. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe for gorgeous heartfelt romance. Of course, I will have a thing for Harry Potter as steadfastly as Snape did for Lily!

Nerd Girl: What do you think is a big misconception about YA and why do you think its wrong?

Sarvenaz: That it’s somehow lesser than books for adults in terms of complexity or range. I think YA encompasses every genre under the sun and some of the most timeless, beautiful, heart-wrenching books I’ve ever read have been YA.

Nerd Girl: Why do you think its important to have a “I Read YA” week?

Sarvenaz: It’s always nice to know you’re part of a community of book lovers. And it’s ALWAYS great to get book recommendations!

Nerd Girl: Describe your latest work in five words or less. 

Sarvenaz: John Hughes at Comic Con.

Nerd Girl: Music has a huge influence in your novel, Three Day Summer. Did you listen to music while writing? What did you listen to?

Sarvenaz: I don’t always listen to music while I’m writing (though I usually have one song or more that I associate with a character or book). However, that book was a major exception. I absolutely listened to as many of the actual setlists as I could get my hands on while I was outlining and writing the book. It really helped bring me into the mindset of the characters since I had the luxury of actually hearing what they heard.

Nerd Girl: I absolutely LOVE your new book, The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love. Have you had any amazing moments at a fan convention before?

Sarvenaz: Thanks so much! I have had lots of funny and memorable moments at conventions (a lot of which made it into the book in one way, shape or form). One of my favorites happened at my very first New York Comic Con. My friend and I were trying to get to a panel room, as slowly but surely the crowds started to get heavier and heavier. I’m fairly short and a little bit claustrophobic so at one point, I was definitely feeling uncomfortable at how slow and suffocating it was getting. Meanwhile, my friend was trying to figure out what hot-ticket event we had accidentally stumbled upon. It took about ten minutes of shuffling through the crowd before we reached the sign that told us what that event was: speed-dating. As I always like to put it, I was almost trampled by nerd love! (And we missed our panel, by the way!)

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Thank you so much for hanging out here on What A Nerd Girl Says, Sarvenaz, and we all can’t WAIT for your book to release this summer! Don’t forget to check out more interviews and posts this week for I Read YA Week, and to head to my Instagram to win some epic prizes!

I Read (And Write!) YA Week with Sara Elizabeth Santana + Giveaway!

It is officially one of my most FAVORITE times of the year: I Read YA week!

I love I Read YA week for so many reasons. I like that there is a week where I can sit and shout out my support and passion for young adult literature.

Which is sort of what I do on a daily basis anyway, viagra so I’m not sure if there’s much difference. I guess its more like, hey you’re allowed to be obnoxious about your passion for young adult literature this week. We ENCOURAGE it.

Well, thank you. I’m glad to be aboard ;)

Not many people know, but What A Nerd Girl Says sort of started out as a YA rant blog. What happened was, I took a reading class in college. We read a lot of books in that class but we also did a lot of projects on books. The best part was that we were able to pick the books we did these projects on and, of course, mine were heavily YA. I always managed to get good grades on these projects but my reading professor would constantly write notes to me, telling me to do projects on “more substantial novels” and things like that. Oh, it would get me SO insanely fired up.

I also took this reading class at the same time as I took a children’s literature class. This class covered a small bit of YA, but what I liked was that the professor was so adamant that we could learn so much from books that weren’t just general adult fiction. It was refreshing to see someone who agreed with me. She was constantly assigning journal assignments for us, to talk about children’s and young adult literature and I realized how much I LOVED writing about it.

So that’s what this blog started as, a place where I could freely talk about my love for young adult literature and to basically rant about people like my reading professor, who don’t give it a good enough shot.

There are so many reasons I love YA. I love that there are so many options. I love that there is literally something for everyone. It encompasses every single genre. Whatever you like…fantasy, romance, science fiction, paranormal, contemporary, whatever it is, we can find you a book in that YA section that will jump out you. And it reaches to so many people. You don’t have to be a teenager to read these books. They reach to everyone. There are so many amazing, fantastic, substantial novels in YA and there are so many adults out there that gobble them up.

I read 99.8% YA books. I do delve into middle grade and new adult and the VERY occasional adult book but I mostly stick to young adult literature. I love that I can read all of my favorite genres by so many different authors. I love that there are a wide variety of characters, and so many that I identify with. Not only does teenage Sara identify with these characters but adult Sara does as well. I like that there are stories that make me cry and make me laugh and make me think and make me excited. There are books full of romance and action and sad stories. There is this whole community of writers and authors and readers and bloggers and librarians and booksellers and all of those people that come together for one awesome reason: We read YA.

That’s a pretty incredible thing.

And I think that’s a huge reason why I write YA too. Its hard for me to write adult stories, though I’ve tried. YA calls to me, because I love the freedom of it. I’ve written contemporary YA and science fiction YA and I’m writing urban fantasy YA in the future. I love that I’m not stuck, I have the ability to write whatever I want in the young adult category and that’s super cool. But I also love writing the YA character. I love that there’s so much you can do with them. That’s the coming-of-age time, the time where your emotions are heightened and everything around is so much…more than it when you are an adult. Your first love hits you harder, your friends mean that much more, everything is so heightened and dramatic and its fun to write about it.

So I love this week. I love sharing my love for reading and writing YA and I love being part of this vast community that feels the same way as I do because, honestly, it doesn’t really get better than that.

This week, I’ll be celebrating with a ton of great posts. I have interviews and guest posts from authors Sarvanez Tash, Victoria Scott, Robin Reul, Jessica Brody, Nicole Maggi, Mary McCoy, E. Katherine Kottaras, Melissa Landers, Brad Gottfred and Michelle Levy.

I also have some interviews and posts with my fellow OfTomes authors CM Lucas, Hilary Thompson, Jennifer Wilson, Laura Fox and Joel Lawrence.

SO MUCH FUN!

Lastly, but certainly not least, I have a giveaway going on right now on my Instagram!

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ONE winner will win ALL of these super cool prizes which include:

-2 ARCs of YA contemporary novels by Rebecca Maizel and Michelle Link
-a signed The Rose Society poster by Marie Lu
-a signed An Ember in Ashes excerpt book by Sabaa Tahir
-a signed To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before postcard by Jenny Han AND Lara Jean and Peter K paper dolls
-a signed The Unexpected Everything pouch by Morgan Matson
-a Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo bookmark
-a Shadowhunters tote bag, with rune tattoos and a Freeform pen
-a set of Brandon Sanderson’s The Reckoners series buttons

-2 signed bookmarks for The Awakened by me! Including two bracelets!
-a signed Unremembered bookmark by Jessica Brody
-a pin from Siobhan Vivian’s The Last Boy and Girl in the World

To enter, head to my instagram (link above) and follow these simple rules!

1. Follow both @whatanerdgirlsays and @sesantanawrites

2. Repost the picture above with the hashtag #IReadYA and #ANerdGirlSaysIReadYA. Make sure to tag @whatanerdgirlsays!

3. You can post ONCE a day, until the giveaway ends on 5/8!

4. US only!

5. Tag TWO friends on the picture on instagram

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Thank you so much for celebrating with me this week! I can’t wait to hear from all of you!

Book Review: Us by Elle Kennedy and Sarina Bowen

Genre: 

New Adult, cialis 40mg Romance

Pages: 

328 pages

Part of a Series?:

Him #2

Release Date: 

March 8th, search 2016

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

iBooks

Elle’s Website / Sarina’s Website

GoodReads Summary: 

Five months in, side effects NHL forward Ryan Wesley is having a record-breaking rookie season. He’s living his dream of playing pro hockey and coming home every night to the man he loves—Jamie Canning, his longtime best friend turned boyfriend. There’s just one problem: the most important relationship of his life is one he needs to keep hidden, or else face a media storm that will eclipse his success on the ice.

Jamie loves Wes. He really, truly does. But hiding sucks. It’s not the life Jamie envisioned for himself, and the strain of keeping their secret is taking its toll. It doesn’t help that his new job isn’t going as smoothly as he’d hoped, but he knows he can power through it as long as he has Wes. At least apartment 10B is their retreat, where they can always be themselves.

Or can they?

When Wes’s nosiest teammate moves in upstairs, the threads of their carefully woven lie begin to unravel. With the outside world determined to take its best shot at them, can Wes and Jamie develop major-league relationship skills on the fly?

My Review:

I loved this book. I love both Elle and Sarina and I think they both have such a way with romance, especially when it has a hockey element in it, and I loved loved loved this sequel to their first novel, Him.

I just gotta say…the biggest reason why I loved this book so much is because of the realism of it. And there are two parts to that. One…I love that Jamie and Wes don’t just live happily ever after after book one. Relationships are hard work. They aren’t all sunshine and rainbows as much as we wish they were. Some books and movies just paint relationships as so perfect. We never really get to see what happens AFTER the kiss, you know what I mean? The fact that there are struggles in this relationship, and there are ups and downs, and they have to fight for each other, even when they sometimes don’t feel like it, just made the book feel so much more real to me.

And the second part of that is…I’ve only had experience with heterosexual relationships. And I connected with this so much. Which just shows again and again and again how much you can connect with love and friendship and affection and compassion and all of that, whether its a heterosexual and homosexual relationship. I loved every minute of that.

Plus I just adore Jamie and Wes so much. Everything about them is so genuine, so real, and I wish I knew them in real life because I would so want to be friends with them. Except I wouldn’t interrupt them so often like the others… ;)

Also, I just don’t think anyone is as capable as causing my cheeks to go as red during steamy scenes the way these two do! I know that I definitely use them as inspiration when I write my own NA. Those scenes are just so good, and I read a good chunk of this book in public, which was even better, because no one knew what was going on with my red cheeks haha.

 

Rating: 

4 out of 5 stars

Book Review: Winter Falls by Nicole Maggi

Genre: 

Young Adult, diagnosis Fantasy, discount Romance

Pages: 

N/A

Part of a Series?:

First in the Twin Willows Trilogy

Release Date: 

December 22nd, 2014

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

iBooks

Author Website

GoodReads Summary: 

Alessia Jacobs is a typical sixteen-year-old, dying to get out of her small town of Twin Willows, Maine. Things look up when a new family comes to town, but when she falls for the hot, mysterious son, Jonah, her life turns upside down.

Weird visions of transforming into an otherworldly falcon are just the beginning. Soon she learns she’s part of the Benandanti, an ancient cult of warriors with the unique power to separate their souls from their bodies and take on the forms of magnificent animals.

Alessia never would’ve suspected it, but her boring town is the site of an epic struggle between the Benandanti and the Malandanti to control powerful magic in the surrounding forest.

As Alessia is drawn into the Benandanti’s mission, her relationship with Jonah intensifies. When her two worlds collide, Alessia’s forced to weigh choices a sixteen-year-old should never have to make.

My Review:

 

After meeting Nicole recently at the Ontario TBF, and moderating not one, but two panels with her, I knew I had to get my hands on her books. She had so much to share about her series and it sounded so intriguing especially since she had done so much research about the Benandanti, and it just all sounded really awesome. Plus she was so passionate about her books and I just loved Nicole period.

And I’m so glad that TBF, as usual, brought a new author into my life because I truly enjoyed this book. I’ve been in somewhat of a slump lately (as you could probably tell from my lack of reviews) and was pleasantly surprised when I borrowed the ebook from the library and proceeded to devour in the span of one day.

Nicole has a way of capturing your attention immediately from page one until the last. The idea of a normal young girl discovering there’s much more to her own story than she thought is not something we haven’t seen before but I loved the way that Nicole tackled it. Alessia has a very unique power, being able to separate her soul from her body, transform into a falcon and become a part of the Benandanti. But she also shares it with others as well. I liked that. Yes, this was a journey she had to take within herself but she also became part of something bigger than herself and I loved every bit of it. I was rooting for more than just Alessia, I was rooting for her companions and everything that the Benandanti fought for.

But I also love the romance. As someone who usually spends most of her time writing romance, I appreciate a story that can balance some really great fantasy with really great romance and I absolutely love the connection and story between Jonah and Alessia. It feels whimsical, magical, unbelievable, like a fairy tale almost (which is how the story feels at time, in a good way!) but it also feels real, because when you fall in love for the first time, all of those things are so true!

I’m really excited to see what Nicole has done with the first book of this trilogy and even more excited that I don’t have to wait long for the next installments. I just need to get my hands on them to find out what happens next, especially after how the book ended! I had a feeling something…big was going to be revealed but it wasn’t quite the way I had expected and damn, I have no clue of how this is going to play out but I definitely can’t wait to see how its done!

Rating: 

4 out of 5 stars

Event Recap: Ontario Teen Book Fest 2016!

Hello everyone! This past Saturday was the sixth annual Ontario Teen Book Fest and my fourth year in a row attending. I say every single year that it is my favorite event of the year to attend, patient and I completely mean that. When I first discovered this fest back in 2013, I was chasing down Jessica Brody, Stephen Chbosky and Marie Lu. I was a brand new blogger, still sort of getting my experience with it, and I bravely asked my dear friend Courtney, librarian extraordinaire and brain child of TBF, if I could come and interview the authors attending.

The rest is sort of history. That fest completely changed my life! I met authors like Andrew Smith and Leigh Bardugo and Gretchen McNeil and made connections, and sort of bonded myself to this event. I’d like to think I’m a part of the team, like the rest. Check out my recaps from 2013, 2014, and 2015.

But this year was something bigger, and different. Last year, Courtney asked me if I could come back and be a moderator for a couple panels, and I accepted immediately. At the time, I had no idea that I would be published by this point, that The Awakened would be a real and tangible thing! So not only did I attend this event as Sara, the official TBF blogger, but also as Sara, the moderator, and Sara Elizabeth Santana, the author of The Awakened.

Which made it an entirely new but amazing experience for me.

I showed up early for the event, as per usual, ready for a very busy day. I’ve been attending the author breakfast portion of the event every single year that I’ve attended, but this year definitely felt different. I wasn’t just the blogger anymore, I had made it, I was an author, and I definitely felt that. And let me tell you something, guys, it felt AMAZING. These authors have become friends to me over the years and it felt so good to have Andrew and Jessica and Brad and Michelle coming up to me, hugging me, saying hello, congratulating me on the release of The Awakened. And it felt good, as always, to make new friends, and be treated as a colleague with the authors I wasn’t as familiar with.

I even got my own special guide for the day, and she was SUCH a rock star.

I was able to talk SO much about The Awakened, and I loved every minute of it. The Awakened has been sort of the center of my life the past 2 1/2 years, so its sort of like my baby and I love bragging about her. I thought it was SO awesome that Courtney gave the moderators (myself, Robin Reul, and E. Katherine Kottaras) the opportunity to stand up in front of everyone, during the opening keynotes, and talk about our books.

I was SO incredibly nervous getting up in front of everyone to talk about my book, and I hadn’t really prepared anything because I figured I would just wing it, but it went really well! I felt so supported up stage, after Courtney introduced me, saying she was proud of me, and gave me a big hug. AND I got a fair amount of cheers, both from the audience and the authors in the front row. I made a few people laugh too, which always is a good thing, right?

So much sass in one picture. Thanks Kathy Kottaras for the picture haha.

After that were the keynote speakers: Jay Asher, Marissa Meyer and Andrew Smith, all who had SUCH great speeches, made us laugh and made us think. Seriously, jus tbeing in the same room as them, felt so so so cool.

After that, was my first panel. The first panel ever that I’d be moderating. OH, I was so nervous. I have never moderated a panel before and I am not the biggest fan of public speaking, but I was excited and hopeful that it would go super well. My first panel was all about sci-fi and fantasy books and the world building that went into it, and it included Andrew Smith, Stephanie Diaz, Nicole Maggi and Mary Weber.

And it went really well! I think. I hope. The authors were all super supportive and encouraging and had such great answers, and it was awesome discussing all of the fun of world building with them, and people in the audience were SO engaged and asked great questions and I felt SO much more confident after this panel.

After this, we had our lunch break, and you know, when authors get together and eat Panera, silly stuff tends to happen…

Love these guys haha.

After lunch was the Author Speed Dating. After Courtney introduced it a couple years ago, its become my favorite part of the fest. It gives everyone a chance to mingle with an author for five minutes…and you really get the chance to mingle with most of them! This year I was one of the table hopping authors and let me tell you: it is both incredibly fun and incredibly intense. I thought I would lose my voice by the end of it! But it was also so much to be able to talk to so many readers and answer their questions about The Awakened and about writing and all of that. I handed out about a million bookmarks and I think some of them really were excited about my book!

Then came my second panel. I honestly thought I was going to be more nervous for this one because Marissa Meyer was on the panel and she wrote the Lunar Chronicles, which I LOVE, but it was just so much fun. The panel was all about writing series, and myself, Jessica Brody, Marissa Meyer, Stephanie Diaz and Nicole Maggi, talked and laughed and our room was full to the max and it was SO great. I really enjoyed it and several people came up to me to tell me that it had went well and I did a good job!

Eek, they’re all looking at me!

Lastly, there was the signing for the day. I was so lucky to be able to attend the signing as an AUTHOR this year. I intended to have WAY more books available but due to shipping issues (isn’t that the way…), I only had SIX books available for sale and they went SO SO fast. According to all the awesome people at Once Upon A Time, people kept coming up and asking for The Awakened and I really have to credit being able to talk about it during the opening stuff, and during speed dating for that happening. I felt so so bad that I didn’t have any books for anyone but I ran out of bookmarks, signed books for some people, and talked to a TON of other people about my book and it was SO awesome. It felt surreal and bizarre and WONDERFUL.

Even better…I walked into the room, and was looking for my table. Each table had two authors, and when I spotted mine, I was so surprised and slightly intimidated by the fact that I was at the same table as my idol, Andrew Smith. We are good friends, so it was awesome, but I really felt like I made it, sandwiched in between Andrew and Jay Asher!

I seriously love everything about this picture. Not just that we all look like we’re having a great time, but also that I am a part of it.

Afterwards, I enjoyed dinner and drinks with some of the authors and volunteers and it was a perfect end to such a great day.

Me and my awesome friend Mina

With my awesome friend Krystal, who was also a beta for The Awakened!

With the awesome, Kathy Kottaras

The lovely Marissa Meyer

The super awesome Nicole Maggi, who I’m so stoked to have as a new friend!

Two of my favorite people in the entire world: Jessica Brody and Brad Gottfred. Two incredibly awesome people, and two big supporters of mine. LOVE them both so much.

At the end of the day, it was another amazing TBF. I loved being there, surrounded by people as passionate about reading and writing as I am. I loved being a moderator for the first time, and being able to do so with old friends and new friends. And I loved being able to talk to people about my book. I’m so proud of it, and it felt good to have people talk about it and wanting to buy it and asking me about it and telling me that it sounded so good. Things like that will literally keep me happy for days on end.

Thank you to everyone who makes this such a great event…all the authors and volunteers and Once Upon a Time and all the bloggers that helped on the tour…everyone for making this another great year. This still remains my favorite event of the year and I already can’t wait for next year!

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