Book Review: Going Geek by Charlotte Huang

Genre: 

Young Adult, web  Contemporary

Pages: 

304 pages

Part of a Series?:

Standalone

Release Date: 

September 13th, 2016

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

iBooks

Author Website

GoodReads Summary: 

A girl forced out of her comfort zone finds that being true to herself is the best way to live her life, in this second novel from the author of For the Record.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Skylar Hoffman’s senior year at her preppy East Coast boarding school should have been perfect:
amazing boyfriend
the coolest friends
the most desirable dorm
But it’s far from it. To her dismay, Skylar’s not going to rule senior year because she’s stuck in Abbot House, a tiny dorm known for, well, nothing. Living with a group of strangers everyone thinks is lame is bad enough. Worse is that Skylar wasn’t exactly truthful about how she spent summer break in Los Angeles—and her little white lie is causing her once rock-solid romance to crumble fast. And when it turns out that Skylar’s best friend is the one responsible for having her booted from Lincoln? It’s an all-out war.

Stepping out of her comfort zone never felt so scary—or necessary. But everything is different now. Including, maybe, Skylar herself . . .

My Review:

Have I ever mentioned how much I seriously love boarding school stories? Seriously. I probably would have totally hated going away to school, because I’m a total homebody and I would hate having a roommate, most likely, but I absolutely 100% love boarding school stories. It opens up so many possibilities. I love that there always seems to be a distinct lack of supervision. I doubt that’s the way it really is but I love that the stories ALWAYS include that and it provides for so much shenanigans. Boarding school life is always sort of romanticized in a way in books and as soon as I find out Skylar was a boarding school kid, I was hooked.

What I loved about this book, and what made me love Charlotte’s first book, is that she excels at capturing the teen voice and the teen spirit. There are times when I’m about ready to strangle Skylar’s neck but I love Skylar. I love her journey for It Girl to Geek Girl to just straight up, I’m Skylar Hoffman and I may not totally know who I am but I’m figuring it out and that’s okay. She makes Skylar so real. She rises and falls and makes mistakes again and again but she comes out at the end a little stronger than she was in the beginning. What I loved was that Skylar doesn’t come out of the story, perfect and all knowing. She’s still stumbling and figuring things out, which I think is pretty normal for any 18 year old girl.

The best part of the book, however, is all the supporting characters. I adore each and every single one of Skylar’s new friends in her new dorm. I love how each and every single one of them is so unique and fun and they all have their own dorky quirks. All I could think of any time one of them came on the page is how much I wish they were real and how much I wish they could be my friends. I really think its a great thing when authors can create incredible secondary characters. Sometimes the supporting characters sort of blend in the background because the author focuses so much on the main character but every character that Charlotte brings on the page is so unique and so well developed and its why each one will stick with you.

This book comes out in less than a week and this blogger will be moderating her launch event with Julie Buxbaum and Adriana Mathers at Chevalier’s Books in Los Angeles and I honestly can’t wait. It’s a wonderful book and I highly recommend it. It’s a quick read, and a fun read and I absolutely adored it. Charlotte is two for two so far with me and I can’t wait to see what else she brings to the table.

 

Rating: 

4 out of 5 Stars

Thank God Its Monday Blog Tour featuring Jessica Brody’s A Week of Mondays and My Best and Worst Mondays!

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I love Mondays. I really do. I know to most people that probably sounds super strange but I actually do really love Mondays. But Monday is also the first day of my weekend, diagnosis so maybe I’m a little biased :). Either way, buy I’m super excited to be a part of the A Week of Mondays blog tour, more about which is a brand new book coming in just a handful of weeks by one of my favorite authors and dearest friends, Jessica Brody.

A Week of Mondays!

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Add the book on GoodReads and Preorder the book at your local bookstore or at the following links:

Amazon / Barnes and Noble / iBooks / Book Depository

Ellie is having the worst Monday of her life. She messes up her school speech for the class vice presidency position, she manages to take the world’s worst school picture, she bombs softball tryouts, and the icing on top of this awful cake: her perfect boyfriend who is in a high school rock band dumps her. At the end of the day, Ellie wishes she could redo everything. When she wakes up the next morning, she discovers that it’s Monday again! She has six more chances to redo the day in the hopes of having everything go exactly the way she wants. But in the process, she just may find out that what she really wants and what she actually needs are two very different things.

About Jessica Brody

Jessica Brody knew from a young age that she wanted to be a writer. She started self “publishing” her own books when she was seven years old, binding the pages together with cardboard, wallpaper samples, and electrical tape.

After graduating from Smith College in 2001 where she double majored in Economics and French and minored in Japanese, Jessica later went on to work for MGM Studios as a Manager of Acquisitions and Business Development. In May of 2005, Jessica quit her job to follow her dream of becoming a published author.

You Can Find Her:

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

My Best Monday 

Like I said before, I adore Mondays. At the moment, I’m typing up this blog post with a Starbucks in my hand, enjoying the beautiful gorgeous sunny California day. It has already started out as a great day. I adore Mondays. But let’s see, my best Monday ever. I probably couldn’t pinpoint an exact day, that would just be too hard to remember. But I’ll tell you what could potentially be a great Monday.

My best Monday would include all my favorite things. I would wake up and go get breakfast at my favorite breakfast place, which is a little place called The Filling Station in Old Towne Orange. They have the most amazing breakfast and mimosas and that would just be an amazing start to the day. After that, I would drive down to Universal Studios, spending a handful of hours in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which has easily become my favorite place to be since its unofficial open in February. My friends would be there and I would enjoy a butterbeer, go on both rides, do some magic with my interactive wand and watch the frog choir – which is my absolute favorite. After that, I would hop on the freeway to head home, making sure to stop at Sprinkles Cupcakes. I would grab some dinner at Mad Wolf Mongolian BBQ, which is my hometown and is literally my favorite place to eat; I can’t get enough. After that, I would head to Angel Stadium with my dad and siblings and watch a game, because the Angels and baseball are some of my favorite things in the world, and I would go home super happy, because they would have won, of course. On the way home, I’d stop by Barnes and Noble before they closed and spend the last few minutes in the store, shopping for all the new books that I could buy.

Simple. I think that would be the best Monday ever. All my favorite things.

My Worst Monday

Okay, so this is how it would start. It would start with me waking up way earlier than I want to. Remember, Mondays are my day off so I do not like getting up early on Mondays; that’s my one day to actually sleep in and it would be the daycare behind my house. The kids would be loud and wake me up from a fabulous dream involving me being a Shadowhunter and Matthew Daddario (aka Alec Lightwood) would be my Shadowhunter boyfriend. My hair wouldn’t straighten right, I wouldn’t be able to get my winged eyeliner exactly right, and my favorite shirt would have a massive stain on it – and I’d have no time to wash it. My favorite restaurants would be closed and it would be freezing cold (I’m such a baby when it comes to the cold). All of my friends would be busy and there would be no new books to read and Sprinkles would run out of my very favorite cupcake. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter would be so crowded that day and I wouldn’t even be able to get my hands on a butterbeer. The Angels would lose that day. My worst days are always the ones where all the little things add up and I just feel like I can’t win. My car wouldn’t start. That sort of thing. I certainly hope that I don’t have one of those Mondays any time soon because the Monday I’m having today and the Monday I described above sound so much better than a bad Monday!

*******

Thank you so much for hanging out for A Week of Mondays blog tour! Look out this week for a spoiler free review of the book!

I Read YA Week Interview with BT Gottfred!

Happy Friday everyone! The best day of the week in my opinion and today is no exception since I’m bring you not one, more about not two, viagra dosage but THREE awesome interviews with three equally awesome YA authors. Lets jump into the first one, with one of my absolutely favorite people ever, Brad Gottfred :)

ABOUT BT GOTTFRED

Taken from Brad’s website: Wrote and directed the play, “Women Are Crazy Because Men Are A**holes” that has played over four years in Los Angeles and Chicago and just made its Off Broadway premiere at the historic Cherry Lane Theatre. Los Angeles Times said: “Seldom have I been a part of a more enthusiastic and vocal audience. Brad T Gottfred’s play about young couples stumbling through the minefield of codependency taps a universal nerve.”

Wrote, directed, and executive produced the feature film “The Movie Hero” which played at over 20 film festivals worldwide, winning numerous awards including First Prize at the Rhode Island Film Festival and the Audience Award at the Austin Film Festival.

My first play, “Marry, F**K, Or Kill” was called “a guilty pleasure for veterans of the single life” by the Los Angeles Times. It went on to an Off Broadway premiere in the fall of 2011.

First web series “Sex and Love Conspire to Destroy the World” was released by MyDamnChannel in 2013.

My first-ish novel, “Forever for a Year”, was released in July 2015 by Macmillan/Holt. My second-isa novel, “The Nerdy and The Dirty” arrives November 2016 from Mac/Holt.

You Can Find Him:

His Website / His Twitter / His Facebook / His GoodReads / His Instagram

HIS BOOK

This book comes out in November 2016. I just started reading it and I already totally love it! Add it on GoodReads and preorder it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Pen Lupo is sick and tired of hiding who she is. On the outside, Pen is popular, quiet, and deferential to her boyfriend. On the inside, however, Pen is honest, opinionated–and not quite sure that she’s like other girls. Do they have urges like she does?

His classmates may consider him a nerd, but Benedict Pendleton knows he’s destined for great things. All he has to do is find a worthy girlfriend, and his social station will be secured. Sure, Benedict is different–but that’s what he likes about himself.

When fate intervenes, both Pen and Benedict end up at the same vacation resort for winter break. Despite their differences, the two are drawn together. But is there such a thing as happily ever after for a nympho and a nerd?

THE INTERVIEW

Nerd Girl: Why do you write YA?

Brad: Because the not-really-a-secret of the universe is that no matter how old you get, you’re always a ‘young adult’ inside and so this allows me to express all my crazy emotions while not-so-secretly-hiding them in the lives of teenagers.
Nerd Girl: What are some of your own favorite YA reads?
Brad: I fall in love with strong voices, ones so vibrant that you can feel them thinking inside your own brain. ‘Catcher in the Rye’ is the parent of all such books. Sherman Alexie’s ‘Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian’ was a recent favorite.
Nerd Girl: What do you think is a big misconception about YA and why do you think its wrong?
Brad: That all the books are the same. The variety is just as wide and interesting as work for ‘adults’. (Note the quotes are the word ‘adult’ ;)
Nerd Girl: Why do you think its important to have a “I Read YA” week?
Brad: All of us ‘adults’ will be forever dealing with issues that first rose in childhood so it’s vital everyone encourages everyone else that they should be proud they are exploring these issues through YA.
Nerd Girl: Describe your latest work in five words or less.
Brad: Brainy boy, fiery girl: collision
Nerd Girl: You have worked in both theatre and fiction. How do you tackle each one? What are some similarities/differences?
Brad: Both require me to be relentless in my pursuit of honoring the authenticity of the characters. In fiction, I get to explore their inner life a thousand fold while in theatre I have to reveal character through their interactions with others.
Nerd Girl: Do your kids have any influences over the stories that you create/do you think they will influence you in the future?
Brad: Much of what draws me to stories are wanting one-of-a-kind characters to have a voice and a place in the world. And I hope my kids feel empowered to be their own kind of one-of-a-kind ;)

********

Thank you again Brad for lending yourself to What A Nerd Girl Says to celebrate I Read YA Week! You are awesome and I can’t wait to get my hands on a finished copy of The Nerdy and the Dirty!

Don’t forget everyone, head to my instagram to enter my I Read YA Week giveaway, which includes two YA contemporary ARCs and a TON of signed swag!

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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!

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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