Event Recap: YALLWEST 2016!

This past weekend was the second annual YallWest weekend. YallWest is a weekend all about young adult books. There are dozens of authors who do panels and signings, drug and free books and sing-a-longs and all sorts of things.

I had an absolutely blast! I was able to meet a ton of authors, this web some that I’ve already met in the past but was excited to see again, more about and some new ones. I got my hands on some new books and some incredible swag and hung out with my awesome friends. Hands down, it was an incredible weekend. I had such a blast. I can’t wait for next year.

What I think makes YALLWest so great is that its an event all about YA, which is my passion in reading and writing, and its organized by those who are just as passionate about it…YA authors and booksellers and bloggers and librarians and all of that and it all adds up to an incredible event. The YA community is amazing and I’m always so glad to be a part of it and I’m definitely reminded of that every single time I’m there. I hope very very much to make the transition from reader/blogger to author next year and we’ll see both The Awakened and The Sanctuary in hands of readers.

I’m exhausted but I have so many pictures to share so let’s do that! Because the pictures are the best way to share my weekend!

DAY ONE

Day one was intense! It was hot and I sprained my ankle last week and I was ready for a crazy day. But even with the running around like a crazy person for most of the day…I got all the authors I wanted to meet and got my hands on a lot of swag and ARCs and it was awesome. I missed some opportunities with some ARCs but it was no big loss :) I figure my TBR pile is so large it doesn’t need to be any larger!

I loved that this year’s setup was much different than last year’s! Last year, all the signings were in a super awkward area and there wasn’t a whole lot of room. I loved that the signing area was much larger this year and there was a sort of…staging area for future signings. It made more sense and was way more organized and it made things go by much quicker and cleaner than the year before. I did especially like that some authors were wristbanded. The authors didn’t seem to be as rushed and I was able to chat and take pictures with everyone that I met that day.

I also liked that there seemed to be more booths this year…or that it just maybe seemed that way because of how spread out it was. There were a lot of vendors to visit and swag to grab and it was a ton of fun. I loved everyone that was there and I hope they all return next year. I was also super glad to see that Mysterious Galaxy had been the book vendor this year; I adore them and think they did an amazing job with book sales.

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I was so excited to meet debut author, Evelyn Skye, whose debut novel, The Crown Game, comes out this May. It sounds absolutely amazing and she was SUCH a doll. We talked about how surreal the reality is of being debut authors, and she was just so cool. I’m glad to add her book to my pile!

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Always an absolute wonderful time to see one of my absolute FAVORITE authors, Rainbow Rowell. Her novel, Fangirl, is easily in my top five favorite books and she remembered me from Festival of Books a couple years ago!

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Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman were so totally awesome! I am sad to say that I have yet to read Illuminae yet but I’ve heard nothing but good things AND I got my hands on the sequel so I can’t wait to read it. Plus we took a pretty epic selfie so there you go.

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It was totally wonderful to see Richelle Mead again! Somehow, between meeting her at YALLWest last year and RT last year, I’d not gotten my copy of The Fiery Heart signed! But now I do so my vampire set is complete ;)

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Oh you know, just Veronica Roth, walking by casually, looking fabulous as always. I kept considering getting a wristband to meet her but…I have all her books signed and have met her several times so I left those wristbands to those who haven’t!

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Me with author Adam Silvera, who wrote More Happy Than Not, which was so fantastic. He was such a blast to meet, and I’m not saying that just because he indulged my total Hamilton obsession!

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Libba Bray! I adore her so much and even though I already have all her books signed, I definitely needed her to sign my copy of The Awakened, since I’m having all the authors that have been an influence for me sign it. She was so sweet and congratulated me. Such an awesome lady.

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So excited that I finally got to meet Alexandra Bracken! I feel so bad that I have never read her The Darkest Minds trilogy but after devouring Passenger this past winter, I needed to meet her. That book is just so so so good!

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Me and the totally darling Marie Rutkowski, who wrote The Winner’s Curse. I loved the first book and I can’t wait to eventually hopefully finally read the rest of the trilogy!

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So while I was waiting in line to grab an ARC from Epic Reads, my friend Carmen showed me that she got her hands on Shadowhunter tarot cards and I knew I NEEDED them. I went to the booth and after, maybe, possibly, flashing my two Shadowhunters tattoos, I managed to get my hands on them. It was my big score of the weekend; they’re absolutely gorgeous!

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It was amazing to be able to take my own book to YALLWest! I had several people come up to me and talk to me and I signed some books and bookmarks and got to talk about my book and it was fantastic. I can’t wait to hopefully share more of The Awakened world next year!

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Hanging out with my sisters all weekend at YALLWest was easily one of the best parts. My sister Jessica (right) has been a book reader like me for quite some time but my sister Dink (left) hasn’t and so it was great to bring her along and see her meet the handful of authors that she does love!

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From left to right: my sister, Jessica, my sister, Dink, me, and my friends Jade and Logan. The weekend would not have been nearly as fun as it was without them, and my friends Nicole, Erin and Mina as well!

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I got to go up on stage during the Smackdown and play Hollywood Squares with some pretty cool authors and I won! So that was super fun :)

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Last but certainly not least of day one at YALLWest, was Libba Bray’s band Tiger Beat playing some songs. My favorite was their incredible “Purple Rain” cover and the Time Warp with all the authors at the end!

DAY TWO 

Day two was so much more relaxed than day two, but in a good way. I had already gotten most authors the day before and I only needed a handful for day two. I spent most of the day wandering around and getting my hands on ARCs and swag and all that :)

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Up and ready to go for day two of YALLWest! I’m rocking a Doctor Who and Harold and the Purple Crayon crossover shirt by Karen Hallion and feeling good about that day.

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Tahereh Mafi looking fabulous as always. She’s another author that I’ve met many many many times and so I didn’t feel bad skipping her, and I’m glad my spot could be taken by someone that perhaps has never met her before. But seriously, those outfits are always SO on point!

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Holly Black is just one of the coolest authors and people I know. I was so glad to get her signature in my copy of The Awakened and to talk books and being published. Such an awesome awesome author.

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I was so glad that I finally got to meet my dear friend Kevin, who I have known on instagram for quite a few years now. Its so nice to meet your internet friends in real life; its one of the best parts about coming to events like this. Hanging out with book friends, meeting internet friends in real life and making new friends!

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This was the moment that I decided that Sara Raasch and I would be best friends forever. Not only do we spell our first names the same way, but we also have the same middle name! We bonded hardcore over this and I’ve now decided we are besties.

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Me and the epic Sara Raasch. I’m so glad to share a first and middle name with such an awesome author.

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It was so awesome to finally meet my dear friend Valerie Tejeda, the author of Hollywood Witch Hunter. She has been such an inspiration and friend and mentor the past couple of years and it was amazing to finally meet her in person!


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YALLWest tradition: a mac and cheese grilled cheese with tots from Grilled Cheese truck. Yum!

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It was so awesome to see David Peterson again! I met him a few years ago with my friend Erin (who is friends with him) at Leigh Bardugo’s release party for Siege and Storm. David is a linguist and literally comes up with languages for TV shows like Game of Thrones and Defiance and The 100. So. Freakin. Cool.


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My haul for the entire weekend. All but about five books were mine but everything else was given to me FREE this weekend, all the swag and posters and tote bags and ARCs and all of it. It was such an epic weekend and I love every single thing in this picture!

I love YALLWest and I loved it this year just as much as last year. I love the new things they brought in this year and I love the small changes they made, with the signing lines, the book vendor and the other vendors there. It made all the difference. I also super loved that both days were in the same location; that was SO much easier than two different ones last year.

All in all, another great year. I’m already counting down the days until next year!

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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Announcement! Ontario Teen Book Fest Authors!

Yay! Its almost that time again! Time for my favorite event of the year, try the Ontario Teen Book Fest. The first time I attended it was nearly three years ago and each and every year, I’ve become more involved and more connected and attached to this event. Courtney, the youth services librarian, and the rest of her crew, always put on an amazing event. I’m incredibly excited about the lineup for this event, especially since I’m in it this year!

Where Teens and Books Meet!

When: March 12, 2016
9 am to 5 pm

Where: Colony High Branch Library
3850 East Riverside Drive
Ontario, CA

More information will be coming! Check out the official blog tour, starting February 22nd, kicking off on THIS blog, for more information, including giveaways. You can also visit the official TBF website here, to find out more about sponsors, how to purchase books, all about the panels and more!

For now, let’s meet this year’s line up! Click the authors’ names to check out their websites and learn more!

Authors: 

*****

Elana K Arnold

Jay Asher

Alexis Bass

Virginia Boecker

Jessica Brody

Stephanie Diaz

Brad Gottfred

Kristin Halbrook

Michelle Levy

Nicole Maggi

Mary McCoy

Marissa Meyer

Alexandra Monir

Andrew Smith

April Genevieve Tucholke

*****

Moderators

*****

E. Katherine Kottaras

Robin Reul 

Sara Elizabeth Santana

*****

Who are you most excited about? I hope to see you all there, and make sure to come back on February 22nd for the blog tour kick off!

Event Recap: Ontario Teen Book Fest 2015!

Whew! This girl is exhausted! I have a slight headache and I’m ready to sit in bed all day and watch the Disney movie marathon on ABC Family and talk all about the super fantastic amazing day I had once again at the Ontario Teen Book Fest.

19 authors, abortion both guests and moderators, cost came together to celebrate the love of books and writing.

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I was so very very very excited about this event. I spend pretty much all year waiting for it to happen. As the official blogger, see I get excited waiting for the author list and all of that, and I work really hard on promoting the heck out of this thing and making sure the blog tour runs as smoothly as possible.

I arrived early in the morning, ready to start my day, an absolutely necessary coffee in hand. I immediately ran into Courtney, who runs the fest as her literal third child. She said she had something for me, for all the hard work that I do for the fest. She let me into the author “backstage area”. I noticed there was a spot for each author, and each author had their own name bag and their own bag with their book splashed on the side. She walked me to a table…and I was gifted with my own name badge and a bag with my logo on the side!

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I’m not going to lie…I nearly cried. It was just such a small gesture but it was awesome. I seriously want everything with my logo on it haha, I want a travel mug, and a phone case and everything and having this bag is SO SO super cool.

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All the authors sat down for breakfast and I intermingled, talking and making sure the giveaway posters got signed (which they did, congrats to Kerry and Amy!) It was super great seeing all the familiar faces like Jessica Brody and Catherine Linka and Lauren Miller and all of those guys and it was even more awesome to make new friends in Melissa Landers and Mary Elizabeth Summer and more.

I really SUPER loved talking to Jessica Brody about the ending to her trilogy. I haven’t talked to anyone who has read it yet and I’m just bursting to talk about it because it was so so good and it was nice to hear that she really loved my review of it. I also nearly started crying again (I swear, I’m not THAT emotional) when both Catherine and Lauren asked about my books. Lauren even told me to keep going, that it’ll happen because she likes my little snippets and that they’re written well. I fangirled only slightly.

First off were the keynote speeches, which were done by Claudia Gray, Aaron Hartzler and Shannon Messenger.

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Claudia Gray did a speech on How NOT to Become a Writer which was super fun, fresh, hilarious and actually really helpful. She told in order to not become a writer, you don’t read, you don’t write, you don’t try. I think my favorite part was her saying that writer’s block is not a thing (because that’s what I believe). She paraphrased Dan Wells, and I’m paraphrasing her right now, saying writing is the only job where people stop and say, “nope, I just can’t do my job today.” Which made me laugh a lot. 

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Next was Aaron Hartzler, talking about growing up in a conservative Christian household as a closet gay boy and having a hard time figuring out who he was. It was incredible and very moving. Suddenly I wasn’t the only one crying that day. He said a particular line that I tweeted out and I kind of want to make my motto on this blog now: “Be the weird you want to see in the world.”

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Then was Shannon Messenger. She was SO sweet and funny. She talked about she sort of accidentally fell into writing YA, since she wrote Let the Sky Fall as a way to distract her from the ups and downs of publishing her first novel (which is her middle grade series). She also talked about her film making at USC and I’m just saying, I can’t be the only one that wants to watch Tumble of Love.

Then it was time for the first panel. I went to the Promise Not to Tell: Secret Lies panel where the lovely Gretchen McNeil was moderating with Jessica Brody, Jessica Khoury, Anna Carey, Kasie West and Katie Finn.

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The one thing I really loved about this panel was the time they took to talk about writing! They talked about their methods, how they outline or don’t outline or do both (Katie is my girl!) and the kind of research they do and all of that. I didn’t know that Jessica Khoury had actually gone to the Kalahari in order to do some research for Kalahari but that’s super cool. I’m really jealous!

Then we all had lunch, courtesy of one of the sponsors, Panera Bread, and then continued to the Author Speed Dating. I think this is the BEST part of the event. There are tables set up and the authors move from table to table, for a period of five minutes, and talk about…well, whatever, they want. I got to talk to a bunch of great authors, and I’m glad I was able to talk to ones I’m not hugely familiar with like Sherri Smith and Brad Gottfred, both who were fabulous. I loved talking about periods and characters getting their periods in books with Sherri Smith. It was actually a really great conversation haha.

After the speed dating were the second panels. I knew I HAD to go see the Girls Gone Sci-Fi panel with Gretchen McNeil as a moderator to Jessica Brody, Jessica Khoury, Melissa Landers, Lauren Miller and Claudia Gray. I knew some hilarity would ensue and I was DEFINITELY right. All such fabulous ladies and all of them inspirational in my own journey as a YA sci-fi writer. I’m sad because I got hit with a TERRIBLE coughing fit during the panel and had to leave, but I could hear laughter so I’m sure it continued to be super fun and awesome.

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Then it was time for the book signing! I don’t have a lot of money right now so I only got a few books that I already owned signed. But I talked to all the authors and took pictures and got them to sign my writing advice poster #2. They all were absolutely fabulous.

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I love how personalized this is :) Most of my books from Morgan (Katie) say its great seeing me. I’m also stoked because this is an ARC with the original cover, but when the book actually releases, it’ll be a totally different cover, so that’s kind of cool!

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Now my collection is complete! And again with the awesome personalization. You’re extraordinary too Jess! And she signed a super cool poster with the Unremembered trilogy on one side and a map of the Diotech compound on the other.

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Aw thanks Melissa :) It was fabulous to see you too! I fangirled only *slightly* at meeting her. I absolutely LOVE this series and I can’t wait for her next one!

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Finally! I only owned an e-copy so I’m stoked to have this finally!

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Michelle Levy is a debut author whose debut novel will be releasing THIS August and I’m so INCREDIBLY excited for it, and I’m so happy for her as well. I was super surprised when she gave me an ARC, and I can’t wait to dive in!

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All of the authors! There’s a picture with me somewhere and I hope I will find it eventually. All such awesome, great authors.

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Me and Elizabeth Ross

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Me and my new bestie (I don’t think she knows it yet) Mary Elizabeth Summer. Read her book Trust Me, I’m Lying. Seriously. Do it.

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Me and Michelle Levy and her beautiful ARC for her debut book. I can’t wait til August and I’m so excited to read it!

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Me and Kasie West :) I was relieved to meet another author that is a pantser and not a plotter. I’m kind of a plotter. Kind of. But mostly a pantser.

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Me and Anna Carey. I seriously adore her and want to be like her because any author that can write not one, but TWO books, in second person is seriously amazing.

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One of my favorite authors of all time. I absolutely adore her. She writes amazing books as both Morgan Matson and Katie Finn.

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Me and Shannon Messenger. She is absolutely adorable. I really enjoyed her keynote and I’m really hoping that I can read her middle grade series soon!

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Me and Jessica Khoury. I cannot stress enough how much influence she has had on The Awakened. She is a fantastic writer, balancing nature and science fiction and romance and all sorts of things. I adore her. Plus she’s a Doctor Who and Harry Potter fan and has a cute husky! She also gave me a super cool Corpus trilogy poster that could potentially be a giveaway soon ;)

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Me and Aaron Hartzler. I was seriously bummed because I had thought he had left before I had the chance to get a picture with him and have him sign my writing advice picture but he reappeared and I managed to grab him. He is amazing and I can’t WAIT for his new book!

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*flails* I am so glad I met Melissa Landers! I fell in love with her books last summer and I just love her. Great writing advice, and she really seemed to appreciate the fact that I throw her books in everyone’s faces haha. And she gave me a cool poster for my wall.

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Me and Claudia Gray. I have to admit, I have yet to read her books but you better bet that I’ll be reading A Thousand Pieces of You soon. Not only does it sound amazing but Claudia is just a badass lady in general!

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After the event, I was invited out to dinner with some readers, some authors and some of the booksellers, and of course, Courtney, as well. I literally had to stop in the middle of dinner and just look around. I am so happy and grateful to be a part of such an awesome community and to be surrounded by such amazing people that I can genuinely call friends. Its incredible and I feel so lucky.

At the end of the day, I headed home and I just felt SO happy. I had such a great day. I was surrounded by readers and librarians and booksellers and bloggers that enjoy the same kind of books that I do and get why they are so incredibly important to me. I was surrounded by fellow writers, both published and unpublished, and got to share in that. I was around all these authors that I admire and that inspire me.

I also am grateful for every single person who came up to me, said hi and was awesome. My little ol blog just keeps getting bigger and bigger and I appreciate when you all say hi to me, whether you’re a reader or a fellow blogger. I love meeting all of you!

And a huge shoutout, hugs and kisses, tears and mountains of gratitude to each and every single author. You are all so incredible and I worship you all. You are all doing what I work hard every single day to accomplish and I appreciate all that you do for your readers. You donate your time and you take pictures and sign books and answer the same questions over and over again and we all appreciate it so much. I also appreciate how wonderful you’ve all been to me. You’ve become my friends, shown me a ton of respect, and have encouraged me and supported me in my own journey to become a published author. I cannot begin to express my gratitude to all of you. I feel incredibly lucky!

And lastly, thanks to Courtney Saldana. You are such a fantastic person and I’m glad that the Ontario TBF brought us together and that I get to work with you every year on such an awesome event. I’m so grateful for you letting me have this event because it has done so much for me as a reader, writer and a blogger. You are the absolute best and I can’t wait for many years to come, especially since one year I WILL be a guest!

Awesome event again and I can’t wait for 2016. Check out some of the guests already confirmed!

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Andrew Smith

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Marissa Meyer

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Leigh Bardugo

Ontario Teen Book Fest is THIS Saturday!

Its finally nearly here and I’m so excited! This is my favorite event of the year, this and I’ve spent a lot of time promoting the hell out of it, and I hope to see you guys there! Come and say hi if you see me!

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When: March 21st, 9 am to 5 pm

Where: Colony High School
3850 E. Riverside Drive
Ontario, CA 91761

This event is a completely free and un-ticketed event! Priority seating WILL be given to teens, but come one, come all! There will also be giveaways and raffles at the Fest, also free! Also, keep scrolling to find a giveaway held by us bloggers!

You can visit the website, to see the full schedule of the day by visiting the official Ontario Teen Book Fest website.

Books WILL be available for purchase at the event, available from Once Upon a Time Bookstore :) They are an amazing company so definitely bring your books from home, but try and support Once Upon a Time by purchasing a book!

AND the official blog tour for the event has concluded and there are a TON of amazing spotlights and interviews with these fantastic authors. Make sure to check out each stop below to read all about these authors and to check out the exclusive interviews!

February 28th: Spotlight on Kasie West — Adventures of a Book Junkie

March 1st: Spotlight on Melissa Landers — What A Nerd Girl Says

March 2nd: Spotlight on Brad Gottfred — Recently Acquired Obsessions

March 3rd: Spotlight on Catherine Linka — Read Now Sleep Later

March 4th: Spotlight on Debra Driza — Read Now Sleep Later

March 5th: Spotlight on Katie Finn — Fearless Kurt Reads YA

March 6th: Spotlight on Claudia Gray — A Bookish Escape

March 7th: Spotlight on Shannon Messenger — People Like Books

March 8th: Spotlight on Lauren Miller — The Thousand Lives

March 9th: Spotlight on Mary Elizabeth Summer — What A Nerd Girl Says

March 10th: Spotlight on Anna Carey — The Reader’s Antidote

March 11th: Spotlight on Sherri Smith — Movies, Shows and Books

March 12th: Spotlight on Elizabeth Ross — Kid Lit Frenzy

March 13th: Spotlight on Jessica Khoury — The Consummate Reader

March 14th: Spotlight on Maurene Goo — The Windy Pages

March 15th: Spotlight on Cecil Castellucci — Nite Lite Book Reviews

March 16th: Spotlight on Jessica Brody — The Romance Bookie

March 17th: Spotlight on Gretchen McNeil — Movies, Shows and Books

March 18th: Spotlight on Aaron Hartzler — Fangirl Feeels

March 19th: Spotlight on Michelle Levy — The Consummate Reader

AND DON’T FORGET YOU HAVE A COUPLE MORE DAYS TO ENTER TO OUR GIVEAWAY!

You have the chance to win one of TWO posters signed by all of the authors above!

Sounds pretty awesome, right? ;)

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The DUFF: Screening Event Recap and Spoiler Free Movie Review!

HELLO EVERYONE!

I’m so excited to bring you today’s post. Just yesterday, prescription I attended an early pre-screening of the movie adaptation of Kody Keplinger’s YA novel, viagra 40mg The DUFF. I read the book a few years ago, dosage and was excited to see the movie, especially since it has Robbie Amell (!!) and one of my favorite actresses, Mae Whitman. Thanks to a dear friend of mine, Chaysen (check out her blog at here), I was able to not only see the movie early, but I was also able to meet a few members of the cast!

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Being a total goofball with the cutout of Robbie Amell before the screening.

It was the EASIEST screening I’ve ever been to. I waited in line for a mere two hours, headed into the theater, and found my seat.

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I had heard rumors and such that members of the cast were going to show up, and I was SO excited when Robbie Amell, Bella Thorne, Nick Eversman and Bianca A Santos showed up to introduce the movie.

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They were all really excited, telling us that they hoped we liked the movie and to share it with everyone (hmmm, I think that’s what I’m doing now haha), and to hang out after the movie, because they’d be around to take pictures and such. To say I was excited would be a total understatement.

The movie played and was fantastic, and the review for that is below! We left the theater, and got in line to meet Bianca, Nick and Robbie!

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They were all SO nice, which was good because I was kind of beyond fangirling at that point. Robbie is a huge celebrity crush of mine, especially since I loved loved loved The Tomorrow People. We took some pictures and I was so glad to finally meet Robbie, get a hug (come on, I’m human haha) and told him how much I loved The Tomorrow People.

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Somehow I managed to ask him for a selfie too. Pretty proud of myself on that one!

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I also was able to meet Robbie’s fiance, Italia Ricci, who is an actress and is on the totally awesome show, Chasing Life, on ABC Family. I felt SO bad interrupting her conversation but she was super sweet about it.

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I was about halfway out of the theater when I realized that I didn’t even ASK for Robbie’s (or Bianca’s or Nick’s) autograph and I felt like kind of a goofball again. Luckily, I was checking my instagram as I walked out and noticed that my dear friend, Mandy from The Romance Bookie, had commented on a photo. We had never technically, officially met in real life, so I headed back in theater, hung out with her and her mom for a bit and was able to get one more picture with the cast AND my autographs!

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I know, I know. All I had was an index card. Hey, its better than nothing! I couldn’t find the book anywhere (the new, movie tie-in edition hits bookstores this coming Tuesday!).

Now for the fun part: The REVIEW!

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Rated: 

PG-13

Directed By:

Ari Sandel

Starring: 

Mae Whitman, Robbie Amell, Bella Thorne, Bianca A Santos, Nick Eversman, Allison Janney, Skyler Samuels. See full list here.

IMDB Synopsis:

Bianca is a content high school senior whose world is shattered when she learns the student body knows her as ‘The DUFF’ (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) to her prettier, more popular friends. Now, despite the words of caution from her favorite teacher, she puts aside the potential distraction of her crush, Toby, and enlists Wesley, a slick but charming jock, to help reinvent herself. To save her senior year from turning into a total disaster, Bianca must find the confidence to overthrow the school’s ruthless label maker Madison and remind everyone that no matter what people look or act like, we are all someone’s DUFF.

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I read this book awhile ago, so while I had a good grasp of the plot, I wanted to reread it before the movie. I read about half the night before the screening and the other half right after, just to refresh my memory. The movie was INCREDIBLY different from the book, but in a way, it made a lot of sense.

The movie does change a lot about the book. If you’re a purist, you’ll probably have a problem with that. I’m not a huge purist, and I always think the essence of the story is more important than anything else. In the movie, Bianca is told she’s a DUFF, and it becomes an obsession with her. She pushes away her friends, and enlists the help of sexy, popular football captain to help her drop that DUFF moniker. Hilarity ensues, there’s lots of kissing, and it all wraps up for a seriously fun movie. The movie tones it down on some of the things that occur in the book but it makes sense.

And the movie is SERIOUSLY funny. I laughed out loud several times. It was refreshing and fun to see a romance build between characters in a really hilarious way. Mae Whitman and Robbie Amell have incredible chemistry on screen and they work together to create a very believable and VERY funny romance, which just creates an incredibly amusing movie. I also like that they keep the sort of dirty jokes and swearing that is so prevalent in the books, since you’re in Bianca’s mind. It fits in the movie and it keeps true to the characters that Kody created.

In the end, what is really important about this movie, what really made me like it so much was that it kept the essence of the story that Kody created: its not about the labels that we create, especially the DUFF. Bianca spends the entire story obsessed with being the DUFF, and trying to break out of the mold just to figure out that its okay to be the DUFF, because we all are. There is always going to be someone prettier and smarter and more talented than us. We’re always going to find someone better than us, but we have to find that confidence in ourselves and that’s what makes us special. They took that from the book and made it a huge part of the movie and I was really happy about that.

There was a line in the movie, I can’t remember exactly, I’ll have to make note of it when I see it in theaters, but Bianca’s mom says something along the lines of “You’re a weirdo but its okay” and that really stood out to me. Its okay to be a weirdo because someone out there is going to LOVE the weirdo in you or me or anyone!

Rating: 

4.5 out of 5 Stars

Bottom Line: 

The bottom line is this: the movie is SUPER funny, incredibly sweet and definitely one that I’ll see once it hits theaters and one that I definitely want on my shelves when it hits the stores many months from now. I encourage you all to go see it, not just because its a great movie but every YA movie needs as much support as possible. Remember guys, if we don’t get to the theaters and support those YA adaptations, they’re going to stop making them and we won’t see them anymore. So head out to the theaters on February 20th and enjoy this super fun movie :)