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frootjoos blogs about young adult and other juvenile literature... and doesn't get much sleep, it looks like.
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1. Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Giveaway Hop - Intl ends 4/24

4th Annual Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Giveaway Hop

April 17th to 24th

Hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer & Read Now Sleep Later

Thanks to Kathy for letting me co-host this one again! I hope you enter all of the great giveaways on the linky. Here's ours!

1 lucky winner (any country) will win a copy of The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare by M. G. Buehrlen! I recently read and loved this book, though I haven't written a review yet. I will post it soon! In the meantime, use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter to win. None of the entries are mandatory, but you must do at least one of them to enter!

Publisher's description:
For as long as 17-year-old Alex Wayfare can remember, she has had visions of the past. Visions that make her feel like she’s really on a ship bound for America, living in Jamestown during the Starving Time, or riding the original Ferris wheel at the World’s Fair.

But these brushes with history pull her from her daily life without warning, sometimes leaving her with strange lasting effects and wounds she can’t explain. Trying to excuse away the aftereffects has booked her more time in the principal’s office than in any of her classes and a permanent place at the bottom of the social hierarchy. Alex is desperate to find out what her visions mean and get rid of them.

It isn’t until she meets Porter, a stranger who knows more than should be possible about her, that she learns the truth: Her visions aren’t really visions. Alex is a Descender – capable of traveling back in time by accessing Limbo, the space between Life and Afterlife. Alex is one soul with fifty-six past lives, fifty-six histories.

Fifty-six lifetimes to explore: the prospect is irresistible to Alex, especially when the same mysterious boy with soulful blue eyes keeps showing up in each of them. But the more she descends, the more it becomes apparent that someone doesn’t want Alex to travel again. Ever.

And will stop at nothing to make this life her last.

Giveaway Rules:
  1. Open internationally.
  2. We are not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged items.
  3. One set of entries per household please.
  4. If you are under 13, please get a parent or guardian's permission to enter, as you will be sharing personal info such as an email address.
  5. Winner will be chosen randomly via Rafflecopter widget a day or two after the contest ends.
  6. Winner will have 48 hours to respond to to the email, otherwise we will pick a new winner.
  7. If you have any questions, feel free to email us. You can review our full contest policy here.
  8. PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE ANY PERSONAL INFO IN THE COMMENTS. Sorry for the caps but we always get people leaving their email in the comments. Rafflecopter will collect all that without having personal info in the comments for all the world (and spambots) to find. Thanks!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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2. Salina Yoon at Unwind Yarn Recap


Hi, everyone! Hope you all had a great weekend. I am still recovering from a bit of a cold and from the LA Times Festival of Books. Today I am coming to you with a recap of a fun event that I was a part of a couple of weeks ago. A couple of weeks ago on April 5, 2014 Bridge to Books was lucky enough to host picture book author an illustrator Salina Yoon at Unwind Yarn in Burbank, CA. The event fell on the weekend of the LA Yarn Crawl  which made for a doubly fun event. There were cake pops, yarn, exclusive Penguin knitting patterns and lots of laugh. (All photos courtesy of our friend Katie Ferguson. Thanks, Katie!)


As part of the festivities we had amazing cake pops made by Alethea's cousion Adri, owner of Maskipops. They were delicious and so cute to boot. Obviously my favorite was Penguin but there were also hearts and yarn balls.



This is an awesome DIY cookie jar that Salina made. She bought the jar but added her own Bear sticker. Adorable!


There was a nice crowd there of both adults and children. After everyone settled in, Salina read from her book Penguin in Love. Penguin is an adorable penguin who knits and has many adventures. In his newest book, he finds a new friend. After reading Penguin in Love, Salina read from her newest book Found (pic above).


After reading time, it was drawing time. Here, Salina is showing the audience how Penguin and Bear are based on really similar shapes.


Then Salina signed lots and lots of books. All in all a very fun day. Big thanks to Unwind Yarn for hosting and to Salina for being a wonderful speaker as always. Also thank you to volunteers Katie, Kimberly, Laura, Cris, Dornel and to Once Upon a Time for being on hand to sell books. If you'd like to see more photos from the event, check out the Flickr set here.

Hope you enjoyed this brief recap. Happy Tuesday!

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3. LA Times Festival of Books YA Schedule

Hi, everyone! It's that time of year again. It's The LA Times Festival of Books! The festival is this coming Saturday and Sunday and the schedule is pretty amazing. To help you out, we've collected the YA events (and a couple of children's events) into one handy dandy page below. Panels inside lecture halls may sell out so it is best to get tix if you can. They only cost $1 so well worth it. Veronica Roth and John Green are already sold out but there should still be plenty of good tickets available. Please go to this link to buy tix before the festival. For the full show schedule, please check out this link. I (Thuy) will be there both days so come by and say hi if you see me. 



Children's Stage

12:35 p.m. Oliver Jeffers, Author of THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT 
YA Stage

10:30 a.m. Young Adult Fiction: Haunted
Jonathan Auxier
Francesca Lia Block
Ransom Riggs
Moderator: Aaron Hartzler

12:00 p.m. Young Adult Fiction: Putting the Story in HiSTORY
Katie Alender
Andrea Cremer
Rachel Shukert
Moderator: Cecil Castellucci

1:30 p.m. Young Adult Fantasy: Worlds Beyond Imagination
Kelley Armstrong
Tony DiTerlizzi
Rachel Hawkins
Neal Shusterman
Moderator: Denise Hamilton

3:00 p.m. Young Adult Nonfiction: Where the Truth Lies
Aaron Hartzler
Georgia Bragg
James L. Swanson
Maya Van Wagenen
Moderator: Paula Yoo

4:30 p.m. Young Adult Fiction: Adrenaline Rush
Stephanie Kuehn
Abby McDonald
Lauren Oliver
Sarah Skilton Mo

Seeley G Mud 

12:00 p.m. Illustrating the Point: The Art of the Graphic Novel
(Conversation 1072)
Vanessa Davis
Ben Katchor
Anders Nilsen
Mimi Pond
Moderator: Deborah Vankin

Salvatori Computer Science Center (SAL 101)

10:30 a.m. Picture This: Young Adult Graphic Novels
(Conversation 1041)
Gris Grimly
Jen Wang
Gene Luen Yang
Moderator: Hope Larson

1:30 p.m. Children's Books: Drawing the Imagination
(Conversation 1043)
Joe Cepeda
Gianna Marino
Jon J. Muth
Salina Yoon 
Moderator: Lee Wind

3:00 p.m. Children's Books: Inspiring Young Minds
(Conversation 1044)
Mac Barnett
Doreen Cronin
Jennifer Fosberry
John Rocco 
Moderator: Kelly Sonnack

12:00 p.m. Middle Grade Fiction: Stories in Series
(Conversation 1042)
D.J. MacHale
Ridley Pearson
Jonathan Stroud Moderator: Jonathan Hunt

1:30 p.m. Children's Books: Drawing the Imagination
(Conversation 1043)
Joe Cepeda
Gianna Marino
Jon J. Muth
Salina Yoon
Moderator: Lee Wind

3:00 p.m. Children's Books: Inspiring Young Minds
(Conversation 1044)
Mac Barnett
Doreen Cronin
Jennifer Fosberry
John Rocco
Moderator: Kelly Sonnack

4:30 p.m. Young Adult Fiction: It's the End of the World As We Know It
(Conversation 1045)
T. Cooper
Allison Glock-Cooper
Tahereh Mafi
Lydia Millet
Moderator: Cecil Castellucci

Norris Theater

10:30 a.m. Middle Grade Fiction: In BeTWEEN Tales
(Conversation 1091)
Lisa Greenwald
John Rocco
Joyce Sidman
Holly Goldberg Sloan
Moderator: Rollie Welch

12:00 p.m. Young Adult Fiction: Testing the Boundaries
(Conversation 1092)
E. Lockhart
Rainbow Rowell
Andrew Smith
John Corey Whaley
Moderator: Aaron Hartzler

1:30 p.m. Middle Grade Fiction: Growing Pains
(Conversation 1093)
James Howe
Jenny Lee
Megan McCafferty
Moderator: Holly Goldberg Sloan

3:00 p.m. Young Adult Fiction: Writing Culture & Identity
(Conversation 1094)
Maurene Goo
Cynthia Kadohata
Gene Luen Yang
Moderator: Lynn Rutan

4:30 p.m. Young Adult Fantasy: The Real & the Unreal
(Conversation 1095)
Soman Chainani
Cynthia Leitich Smith
Margaret Stohl
Laini Taylor
Moderator: John Corey Whaley

Bovard Auditorium

12:30 p.m. John Green, Author of THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, in Conversation with David L. Ulin
(Conversation 1052)
John Green
Interviewer: David L. Ulin


Children’s Stage

10:20 a.m. Jon Klassen, Author of THIS IS NOT MY HAT
We <3 Jon Klassen!

YA Stage

10:30 a.m. Young Adult Fiction: Square Peg, Round Hole
Elizabeth Eulberg
Ken Baker
Bill Konigsberg
Amy Spalding
Moderator: Aaron Hartzler

12:00 p.m. Young Adult Fiction: A Little Help from My Friends
Robin Benway
Heather Cocks
Jessica Morgan
Lauren Myracle
Moderator: Aaron Hartzler

1:30 p.m. Young Adult Sci-Fi: Fantastical Tales
Leigh Bardugo
Cecil Castellucci
Sarah J. Maas
Marissa Meyer
Moderator: Andrew Smith

3:00 p.m. Young Adult Fiction: Told From the Heart
Stephanie Perkins
Emery Lord
Joanna Philbin
Moderator: Amy Spalding

Norris Theater

10:30 a.m. Young Adult Fiction: Somewhere in Time
(Conversation 2091)
Ann Brashares
Eoin Colfer
Melissa de la Cruz
Tamara Ireland Stone
Moderator: Sonya Sones

12:00 p.m. Ava Dellaira, Author of LOVE LETTER TO THE DEAD, in Conversation with Stephen Chbosky
(Conversation 2092)
Ava Dellaira
Moderator: Stephen Chbosky

1:30 p.m. Young Adult Fiction: Outside Looking In
(Conversation 2093)
Carrie Arcos
Deb Caletti
Anna Shinoda
Ann Redisch Stampler
Moderator: Stephanie Kuehn

3:00 p.m. Laurie Halse Anderson, Author of THE IMPOSSIBLE KNIFE OF MEMORY, in Conversation with Susan Carpenter
(Conversation 2094)
Laurie Halse Anderson
Interviewer: Susan Carpenter

Bovard Auditorium

11:00 a.m. Veronica Roth, Author of THE DIVERGENT TRILOGY, in Conversation with Leigh Bardugo
(Conversation 2051)
Veronica Roth
Interviewer: Leigh Bardugo

1:00 p.m. Daniel Handler, Author of FILE UNDER: 13 SUSPICIOUS INCIDENTS, in Conversation with
Ransom Riggs
(Conversation 2052)
Daniel Handler
Interviewer: Ransom Riggs

3:00 p.m. Sandra Cisneros, Author of HAVE YOU SEEN MARIE? in Conversation with Michael Silverblatt
(Conversation 2053)
Sandra Cisneros
Interviewer: Michael Silverblatt

Hope to see you there!

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4. Love Letters to the Dead - Review

Publication date: 1 April 2014 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux BFYR
ISBN 10/13: 0374346674 | 9780374346676

Category: Young Adult Fiction
Keywords: Contemporary, Realistic, Abuse, Grief, Epistolary
Format: Hardcover, eBook
Source: ARC from Publisher


It begins as an assignment for English class: Write a letter to a dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain because her sister, May, loved him. And he died young, just like May did. Soon, Laurel has a notebook full of letters to people like Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Amelia Earhart, Heath Ledger, and more; though she never gives a single one of them to her teacher. She writes about starting high school, navigating new friendships, falling in love for the first time, learning to live with her splintering family. And, finally, about the abuse she suffered while May was supposed to be looking out for her. Only then, once Laurel has written down the truth about what happened to herself, can she truly begin to accept what happened to May. And only when Laurel has begun to see her sister as the person she was; lovely and amazing and deeply flawed; can she begin to discover her own path.

Alethea's Review:

Part school assignment, part confessional, Love Letters to the Dead introduces the reader to Laurel, a pensive girl whose older sister May, her de facto role model and idol, is dead; her family life has shattered in the wake of tragedy. For much of the book, the reader can only guess at how May died; we get the impression that Laurel witnessed the incident. But was it murder, suicide, or an accident?

Dellaria's writing style hovers on the edges of magical realism as Laurel struggles with memories she can't or won't recall. On the surface, it's the voice of a young girl with major emotional issues trying to cope with the already baffling struggles of puberty and the social lives of high schoolers. She lives part time with her aunt so that she doesn't have to attend the school that May did. She tries on parts of May's wardrobe and personality, but cannot move forward without examining her own guilt over her sister's death. She writes to the celebrities that May held in high esteem and tells them what she cannot bring herself to tell the the parents and teachers who have tried to reach out to her (some of these people even seem to have given up). The writing exercise forces her to get to the dark heart of her sadness, and the secrets she reveals are painful both to herself and the reader.

I found this novel deeply moving and well-written. At one point I felt the story begin to unravel with so many different sub-plots tugging at the seams: Laurel's crush and his connection to the world she was trying to leave behind, her two best girl friends exploring their sexuality--sometimes with each other, and her adult family members too busy dealing with their own baggage to take much care of Laurel. Ultimately Dellaria pulls it all together, threading the stories back through each other in a pensive tale of grief and hope. This lyrical coming-of-age novel melds family drama with historical and pop culture references to create a story that is touching, melancholy, and bittersweet.

*Please note that this post contains affiliate links. For more details, please see our full disclosure policy here.

**I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.

Find out more about the author at www.avadellaria.com and follow her on Twitter @avadellaria.

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5. Fierce Reads Tour - Spring 2014

Is the Fierce Reads tour coming near you?

Check out the May and June cities and dates at

You can also read excerpts and watch trailers on the website. 

Now normally, I'd only be really excited if they were coming to my area, and you may have noticed that Los Angeles is NOT on either list! However, I'm fairly certain that if you beg (i.e. Tweet and comment on Facebook) while the Spring Tours are going on, Macmillan might consider sending their Fierce authors to your neck of the woods in the Fall. 

At least, I'm totally hoping it works that way, so I turned on notifications for both Twitter and Facebook, haha :) Make sure you @Fiercereads #Fiercereads and *ahem* #LosAngeles! (or, you know, wherever you are, but hopefully L.A. :P)

Stay tuned tomorrow for a review of Ava Dellaria's Love Letters to the Dead

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6. April 2014 Events

Hello! I am not sure how in the world it's April already but it is and this month is just full of awesome YA book events. We literally have a big event for each weekend in April, not to mention some awesome signings in between. I think there's probably an event here for everyone so come out and support your local authors and bookstores if you can. Happy reading!

Tuesday April 1, 2014 7pm
Gabrielle Zevin 
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
Vromans Bookstore
695 E. Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, California 91101
event page

Tuesday April 1, 2014 7pm
Ava Dellaria
Love Leters to the Dead
Barnes & Noble The Grove
189 The Grove Drive Suite K 30
Los Angeles, CA 90036
323-525-0270event page

Saturday April 5, 2014 11am
Salina Yoon 
Penguin in Love
Unwind Yarn
818 North Hollywood Way
Burbank CA 91505event page

April 7, 2014 7:30pm
John Corey Whaley
Skylight Books
1818 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles 90027event page

Wednesday April 9, 2014 7pm
John Corey Whaley
Buena Vista Library
300 N. Buena Vista St.
Burbank, CA 91505event page

Friday April 11, 2014 11:30am - 1:30pm
Gabrielle Zevin Lunch 
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikryand 
Mysterious Galaxy Redondo Beach
2810 Artesia Blvd.
Redondo Beach, CA 90278

Please join us on Friday, April 11 for lunch with Gabrielle Zevin. This fabulous author has created a book near and dear to our hearts ... about a bookseller who lives on an island off the east coast. We know you will be enchanted. We promise that you will love The Storied Life of A.J. Fikryand adore Gabrielle Zevin.

We invite all genders of book lovers to join us for lunch at Lido di Manhattan in Manhattan Beach to talk books with Gabrielle and meet our new non-profit beneficiary, Literally Healing.

Registration and informal discussions with our author begins at 11:30am. Lunch and our formal program begins promptly at noon. Reservations are required and limited.

To make your reservation for this not-for-women-only event, please purchase your ticket from Brown Paper Ticket. Alternatively, you may also purchase your ticket to the event by visiting or calling the Redondo Beach store (310-542-6000).
event page

Sat/Sun April 12 -13, 2014 all day
Los Angeles Times Festival of Books
So. Many. Authors. Amazing line up this year - full schedule
University of Southern California Campus
3551 Trousdale Parkway
Los Angeles, CA 90089

Friday April 11, 2014 7pm
5 Fantastic YA Authors at MG San Diego
J.R. Johnansson (Insomnia), Rachel Hawkins (Rebel Belle), Debra Driza (MILA 2.0), Shannon Messenger (Let the Storm Break), Nancy Holder (Hot Blooded)
Mysterious Galaxy San Diego
7051 Clairemont Mesa Blvd #203
San Diego, CA 92111

Saturday April 12, 2014
Laini Taylor
Dreams of Gods and Monsters
Los Angeles Times Festival of Books (Time TK)
University of Southern California Campus
3551 Trousdale Parkway
Los Angeles, CA 90089

Sunday, April 13, 2014 2pm
Laini Taylor
Dreams of Gods and Monsters
Barnes & Noble (Huntington Beach)
7881 Edinger Ave. #110
Huntington Beach, CA 92647

April 18-20, 2014 all day
WonderCon Anaheim
Anaheim Convention Center
schedule TBD

Tuesday April 15, 2014 7pm
Melissa de la Cruz
The Ring and the Crown
Mysterious Galaxy San Diego
7051 Clairemont Mesa Blvd #203
San Diego, CA 92111
event page

Thursday, April 17th at 4pm
Teen Author Reading Series 

Featuring authors Rachel Searles, Laurisa White Reyes, Sarah Skilton, and Amy Helmes 
Sunland-Tujunga Library
7771 Foothill Boulevard
Tujunga, CA 91042

Saturday, April 19th, 2014 1pm
Sarah Skilton
Launch Party for HIGH AND DRY! 

Reading, Q&A, Signing, Raffles & Prizes
Barnes & Noble Valencia, CA
Creekside Place, 23630 Valencia Blvd.
Santa Clarita, CA 91355
event page

Thursday April 24, 2014 7:30 pm
Carrie Arcos
There Will Come a Time

Skylight Books
1818 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles CA 90027
event page

Satuday April 26, 2014 12 - 4pm
Pasadena Teen Book Festival
Pasadena Public Library
285 East Walnut Street 
Pasadena, CA 91101

Participating Authors (subject to change)
Jesse Andrews – Me, Earl, & The Dying Girl
Carrie Arcos – There Will Come a Time
Katherine Ewell – Dear Killer
Holly Goldberg Sloan – Counting by 7s
Aaron Hartzler – Rapture Practice
Tracy Holczer - The Secret Hum of a Daisy
Kristen Kittscher - The Wig in the Window
Catherine Linka – A Girl Called Fearless*
Gretchen McNeil - 3:59
Lissa Price – Enders
Elizabeth Ross – Belle Epoque
Frances Sackett – The Misadventures of the Magician’s Dog
Rachel Searles – The Lost Planet
Sarah Skilton – High & Dry
Andrew Smith – Grasshopper Jungle
Amy Spalding – Ink Is Thicker than Water
Ann Stampler – Afterparty
Margaret Stohl - Icons
Carol Tanzman – Circle of Silence
Amy Tintera - Reboot
Lisa Yee – Warp Speed
Allen Zadoff – Boy Nobody

Ahhhh! So many events this month. We hope you can make it out to some of them and if you see us, please say hi. :)

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7. Stacked (19)

Stacked is our sister-site's weekly mailbox-sharing feature.

Crikey, it's been a while! I've only acquired a handful of books since last time, which is good for the hoard, but I do also have a ton of news. I'll try to bullet-point it and use lots of photos so you don't get antsy :) Sorry, not going to happen. I have a lot to say, I guess!

First off, I finally started hitting the bookstores near my parents' place in Manila. Did you know that in a recent study by the World Culture Score Index, the Philippines is the top 4 country in the world in terms of time spent reading per person? The US is #22 on that list, though only a couple hours less per week on average.

In the mall near my mom's house alone there are at least 4 bookstores, that I know of anyway. One is inside the supermarket. In some of the malls the bookstores take up 3 or more floors! There's even one mall where I was getting so confused because the same company would have a store on the ground level and one on the third floor. Not just one company, but two different ones with multiple locations in the same mall. It's pretty crazy.

Anyway, here's one shelf from a store called Book Sale. It's basically a used bookstore (they sell some new books from local presses as well as magazines and assorted stationery like gift wrap and notebooks) and they are freaking everywhere. I was too embarrassed to take a photo of the store to show you what one looks like (I was already kind of lurking and surreptitiously taking pics). They basically cram everything into a tiny space, pile books on the floor, triple-stack them on shelves and tables with no real order. You just have to pick through and find something you might want to read. I think it's pretty fun! I ended up with Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking and Ann Patchett's Bel Canto for about $2 each.

I also went to Fully Booked at the GreenHills Promenade. I like them because the interior is kind of cool, they face out a lot of their books (especially in arts and design, where it matters so much!) though this isn't one of their coolest locations. Their kids/YA section was in disappointing disarray, but at least they have some nice huge display tables for new and bestselling YA. I even found some sale books for half off!

The thing they really have going for them is their selection. I just have to stop myself from going in and re-organizing their shelves. I will be doing a Shop Hop post soon (yep, bringing that back) where I will go into more detail.

Next up, I finally freaking finished the Pasadena Teen Book Festival website! PHEW. I hope you'll take a look when you're done here.

Also, next weekend is the 3rd Annual Yarn Crawl LA--our friends at Unwind in Burbank will be hosting Salina Yoon on Sat, Apr 5 from 11am-1 pm. There will be storytime, crafting, and snacks. My cousin and epic-level cake popper Adri P. is bringing Penguin and Bootsy pops! Our very own Thuy is running the show. Salina will show kids how to do finger-knitting, even though she admits she doesn't know how to knit for reals, haha! Once Upon a Time Bookstore will be selling Salina's books, including the Penguin titles and her latest book, Found! Awesome yarnista and knitwear designer Heather Walpole of Ewe Ewe Yarns created a scarf and hat pattern inspired by Penguin in Love. You can peek at the samples here and pick up the kit at Unwind during the Yarn Crawl! Last but not least, our favorite photographer Katie Ferguson will be on hand to document the event. I can't be there, sadly, but maybe I can eat some cake pops while I look at the photos afterwards!

This weekend, I headed out to Glorietta Mall to meet up with some of the Filipino book bloggers (find them #PHYAbookbloggers on Twitter). Thanks Louisse (@louisse_ang), Kate (@BookishBlurber), and Jesselle (@_jessellev) for hanging out with me! They actually had to run off to Becca Fitzpatrick's blogger forum and OMG you have to go look at their photos because Black. Ice. ARCs. Who do I have to beg, bribe, or bake for at Simon & Schuster to get a hold of one of those?

My selfie skills were strained to the max, haha! You can see the rest of our photos on my Instagram feed @frootjoos. I totally missed Kai (aka @amaterasureads) but I still hope to meet up with her and get a #PHYAbookbloggers t-shirt because how cool is that?!

Anyway, about the signing. I didn't get to go because I was going to have to work at 11 pm (I know, time zone madness) and the signing was at 4 pm. So what, you say? That's plenty of time!

People, this was the line at National Bookstore at 8 am for this 4 pm signing:

This was the bottom floor of the bookstore (which has 4 floors I think, I didn't get to them all) at 1 pm:

Scheiße! American YA fans, you don't even know. I think we sometimes take these events for granted, since so many YA authors actually live there. On the other hand, publishers, this is where you should send YA authors. Pinoys read! They read widely. We love fantasy as much as we love contemporary. We love Andrew Smith as much as we love Cassandra Clare--yes, they've read and loved The Marbury Lens. We are equal-opportunity readers. We buy books (libraries aren't really a big thing here) and we wait patiently in massively mind-numbingly long lines. We fangirl like it's going out of style (you would know how over the top we go if you had been here the year Michael Jackson died--I swear I didn't enter a single mall, jeepney, or restaurant that didn't have MJ songs playing or being performed by avid karaoke singers).

In case you're wondering, here's who I heard they want to see the most: Rainbow Rowell, Jennifer E. Smith, and Leigh Bardugo.

I actually really wanted to see Kate Evangelista (Til Death, Entangled Teen 2014) but I had to work that day, too. Bummer! Her launch party looked like it was a lot of fun. I did buy her book at National yesterday.

National actually books auditoriums for some visits, where they expect way more people than will fit in their store. Example:

Anyway, I'm sad I didn't get to see Becca, but I have already met her 3 times, and hopefully she'll tour in SoCal when Black Ice when it hits the shelves on October 7, 2014.

Crap, I just thought of three more book-related things to tell you. But this post is way over tl;dr already so I'll just leave you with this:

Folks, I legit fell off a futon when I read the email telling me to expect one in the mail. Like I wasn't excited enough to get Ruin & Rising when it releases on June 17! Anyway, my husband took a photo of the package contents with my lil' Darkling-wannabe John Carter, but he refused to read me the chapter sampler over FaceTime. *frowny-face*

0 Comments on Stacked (19) as of 3/30/2014 11:19:00 AM
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8. 4th Annual Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Giveaway Hop Sign-ups!

Hoppy Easter 2
4th Annual Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Giveaway Hop
April 17th to 24th
Hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A WriterRead Now Sleep Later
  • You must host a giveaway on your site, you are responsible for obtaining a prize for giveaway and taking care of the shipping charges.  Your prize must be valued at $8 or more.
  • You must giveaway something a reader, author or blogger would enjoy.
  • Your giveaway post must include the hop image & linky (or links to the host’s sites if you can’t get the linky to work).
  • Please only 1 mandatory entry – all others must be optional – Keep It Simple! No long lists of things for people to do. If you have dozens of things for people to do I will delete your blog from the linky.
  • Your post must be live by 9:01 AM EST on April 17th. (That is 6 AM April 17th if you live in California).  Posting Wednesday April 16th prior to going to bed is fine too.
  • The giveaway must be specifically for this hop.
  • Your site must be family friendly – no erotica or 18+ sites. Your site & giveaway must be free of steamy images and book covers. If it would embarrass me to have my teenagers see it, it can’t be on your site.
  • It is your responsibility to check the linky on April 17th to be sure you are still on the linky and that your link is accurate.
  • Please send Kathy a direct link to your post when it goes live. The email is below.
  • If you are using Rafflecopter set it to begin on April 16th and end on APRIL 25th.
  • The rest of my standard hop rules apply. If you have not hopped with me recently please review the hop rules here: http://www.iamareader.com/giveaway-hop-rules
  • Blogs may choose to run their giveaway via comments, a google form or rafflecopter.
To sign up to host a giveaway add your blog to the linky below with your shipping info in parenthesis following your blog name. If you forget I will assume you are shipping to US only and add (US) after your blog name.
DO NOT SIGN UP UNLESS YOU ARE COMMITTED TO POST AND HAVE WRITTEN IT ON YOUR CALENDAR! 1 in 5 bloggers who sign up never post. Please do not be one of them. Thanks!
If you have any questions email me toobusyreading-at-gmaildotcom

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9. Author Interview with Amy Talkington

Hello, dear readers. A couple of weeks ago we participated in the Liv, Forever and had a fun guest post by author Amy Talkington. And today, we get to learn even more about Amy with an exclusive interview. Enjoy!

Hi, Amy! Thank you so much for coming onto the blog today. We are super excited to have you here.
Thanks! I’m excited too!
When did you know that you wanted to become a writer?
It’s hard to say. In high school, I wanted to be a painter but I was busy writing poetry on the side. Then, in college, I decided I wanted to be a filmmaker but at the same time I started writing about music for magazines like Spin, Ray Gun and Seventeen. After college, I was focused on directing but still kept writing—screenplays and teleplays. And then I set out to write this novel. It’s funny because I never really identified myself as a writer and yet it’s the one constant. I’ve always been doing it in one form or another. 

You have a diverse resume of writing credits but Liv, Forever is your first published novel. Have you written other books or was this your first attempt at a novel?

This is my first attempt at a novel. I wrote a number of short stories in college but never attempted a novel before Liv, Forever.
How is the story writing process different when writing a novel versus writing for film or television? Do you prefer one over the other?
Writing a novel is very different from writing a screenplay. Screenplays have super strict structure and format so I felt liberated writing Liv, Forever. I was allowed to go into Liv’s head! I was allowed to describe locations in detail! I was allowed to shift narrators (in the “Ghost Death Statements” interspersed throughout the book). It was so invigorating! That said, I do think my screenwriting past influenced the novel’s style. The writing is still pretty lean and it’s quite visual (I hope!).

In Liv, Forever, one of the characters is able to see ghosts. Do you have any real life experiences with ghosts?  
I’ve had a few ghosty moments in my life, for sure! But they weren’t scary moments, they were more comforting moments, moments when it seemed the spirit of someone I loved might be there.
Did you have to do any kind of research in order to write Liv, Forever?
I did TONS of research. First, Liv is an artist and so she talks about art a lot so I had to refresh myself on all of the art that she’d be immersed in (I studied Art History in college but I was a little rusty). But then there were tons of random topics I researched: weird boarding school traditions, Waspy names, ghost stories, ritualistic killings, spirit photography, Romanticism, Spiritualism, and the architecture of Wickham Hall. Also, each of those “Ghost Death Statements” takes place in a different decade so I did a lot of research for each of those.
What are you working on next?
As a screenwriter, I always have several projects going (you have to because they’re completely unpredictable!). At present, I’m writing a feature script for Liv, Forever. I’m also developing a TV show I’m really excited about based on Eve and Leonora Epstein’s book X vs. Y: A Culture War a Love Story. Bookwise, I have a pretty clear  idea of a book two for Liv. I hope to start it soon.

Lightning round!
Describe Liv, Forever in 140 character or less.
New to boarding school, Liv dies just as she's falling in love. A ghost, she must solve her own murder & find a way to reconnect to her love

Last book read.
X vs Y: A Culture War a Love Story by Eve and Leonora Epstein
Most recent dream.
I had a dream that I could see that a filmmaker whose work I admire had “favorited” something I posted. Clearly I’ve been spending too much time on Twitter!
Favorite writing snack and/or beverage.
Irish Breakfast Tea with milk
Cake or pie and what kind?
Cherry pie a la mode.
Thank you so much for coming onto the blog today, Amy. We are very excited about Liv, Forever and wish you the best.

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10. Upcoming Event: Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand & Jodi Meadows at MGRB 3/29

Hi, everyone! Just a quick heads up that there is an awesome YA author event happening this weekend at Mysterious Galaxy Redondo Beach. I'm not sure if this event was recently added or if we just missed it, but it's definitely happening. Come meet Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand and Jodi Meadows at 2:30pm on Saturday March 29, 2014. From the Mysterious Galaxy website:

"Celebrate the joy and angst of young adulthood, complicated by the paranormal and the romantic, with a trio of authors whose works embrace these themes. Brodi Ashton’s final novel in the myth-inspired Everneath trilogy, Evertrue, will determine the fate of teen Nikki and the Underworld. Publishers Weekly called the series “complex and intriguing. Drawing inspiration from such myths as Osiris, Orpheus, and Persephone, it explores the nature of loss and longing and what it means to be alive.” Cynthia Hand concluded her tale of part-angel Clare Gardner and her Unearthly trilogy with last spring’s Boundless. She just completed non-Unearthly standalone The Last Time We Say Goodbye, and may be enticed to share some tidbits about that book with attendees. And Jodi Meadows asks in her Incarnate trilogy, “What if everyone you knew could live forever . . . except you?” Infinite provides the conclusion to the compelling questions of this world, where one new girl is the key to the lives of millions."

For more info, please visit the store event page here.

Hope you can make it out to this awesome event!

Mysterious Galaxy Redondo Beach
2810 Artesia Blvd.
Redondo Beach, CA 90278

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11. Pasadena Teen Book Festival Blog Tour

I'm so excited to kick off the Pasadena Teen Book Festival blog tour! Make sure you read through for an interview with debut YA author Catherine Linka as well as a couple of giveaways and a renaming contest!

Event date: Saturday, April 26, 2014 from 12pm-4pm

Venue: Pasadena Public Library, 285 E Walnut St, Pasadena, CA 91101

T-Shirt sign-ups at CustomInk

Tue March 25 - Read Now Sleep Later - Spotlight on Catherine Linka
Thu March 27 - Untucked Magazine - Spotlight on Andrew Smith
Mon March 31 - The Windy Pages - Spotlight on Gretchen McNeil
and Holly Goldberg Sloan
Wed April 2 - FangirlFeeels - Spotlight on Jesse Andrews
Fri April 4 - What a Nerd Girl Says - Spotlight on Margaret Stohl
Tue April 8 - Adventures of a Book Junkie - Spotlight on Amy Tintera
Thu April 10 - The Consummate Reader - Bridge to Books Guest Post
Mon April 14 - Nite Lite Book Reviews - Spotlight on Sarah Skilton
Tue April 15 - Nite Lite Book Reviews - Spotlight on Allen Zadoff
Wed April 16 - The Reader's Antidote - Spotlight on Elizabeth Ross
Fri April 18 - A Bookish Escape - Spotlight on Ann Redisch Stampler
Tue April 22 - The Book Twins - Spotlight on Carrie Arcos
Thu April 24 - Birth of a New Witch - Spotlight on Katherine Ewell

About A Girl Called Fearless

Avie Reveare has the normal life of a privileged teen growing up in L.A., at least as normal as any girl’s life is these days. After a synthetic hormone in beef killed fifty million American women ten years ago, only young girls, old women, men, and boys are left to pick up the pieces. The death threat is past, but fathers still fear for their daughters’ safety, and the Paternalist Movement, begun to "protect" young women, is taking over the choices they make.

Like all her friends, Avie still mourns the loss of her mother, but she’s also dreaming about college and love and what she’ll make of her life. When her dad "contracts" her to marry a rich, older man to raise money to save his struggling company, her life suddenly narrows to two choices: Be trapped in a marriage with a controlling politician, or run. Her lifelong friend, student revolutionary Yates, urges her to run to freedom across the border to Canada. As their friendship turns to passion, the decision to leave becomes harder and harder. Running away is incredibly dangerous, and it’s possible Avie will never see Yates again. But staying could mean death.

Romantic, thought-provoking, and frighteningly real, A Girl Called Fearless is a story about fighting for the most important things in life—freedom and love.

Spotlight on Catherine Linka

RNSL: What inspired you to write A Girl Called Fearless?

CL: I am pretty passionate about the plight of girls in developing nations, and how many of them are taken out of school so they can support their families, or are sold into marriage, some as young as twelve. I wondered what it would be like for an American girl to have her world changed so completely by a cataclysmic event that she and her friends lose all control over their lives. Imagine knowing how life used to be-- driving a car, hanging out with guys, going away to college, falling in love--and you see the world returning to normal after this horrible period, and you think that in a year or so, you'll be off at college when, bam! Your father sells you into marriage to a man twice your age and you have to decide if you've got the guts to make a run for freedom.

RNSL: Your book's premise is pretty scary! What research did you have to do in terms of currently proven science facts? Did you then bend the rules towards fiction or do you think these events could really happen in our future?

CL: Thanks for asking about the science behind the Scarpanol disaster. I'm a big current events/politics dork, so I knew that Europe had banned American beef, because their researchers believe that synthetic hormones in beef act as endocrine disrupters, causing breast cancer. I switched that up by linking a new synthetic hormone for cattle to ovarian cancer, because it is very hard to diagnose, and the survival rate is much lower.

Could these events really happen? While I think that the US is pretty careful about testing drugs and additives in food, there's a lot we still don't know. And I was blown away last year when a Chinese company was allowed to buy Smithfield, the largest pork producer in America. Smithfield dictates to pork farmers around the US exactly what feed and drugs to give the pigs. Imagine what could happen if a foreign government decided to attack the US through our food supply.

RNSL: When did you first start working in the book industry?

CL: Actually, my first job in the book industry was when I'd just graduated from college and went to work as a field sales rep for a college textbook company. I traveled to colleges all over Pennsylvania, Maryland, and the District of Columbia, calling on college professors and encouraging them to use our books in their classes. I had summers off. It was a great job.

RNSL: What got you hooked on reading and/or writing?

My mom. My mom read to me all the time. I remember when the new library opened in our town and we were the first in line for a library card. Hers actually had number "1" on it and mine had number "2."

RNSL: What's the most delicious food on earth? Not just your favorite--the one that if it were all things bad for you, poisonous even, you would still really really want to eat it?

CL: Well, I don't know what the most delicious food on earth is, but I just discovered chocolate covered cashews with caramel and sea salt. I ate an entire box last week!

You can find more about Catherine on her website, www.catherinelinka.com, and follow her on Twitter @cblinka


#1: ARC of A Girl Called Fearless
Winner may request personalization/autograph
Open to US residents only - ends 4/25/2014
Enter with Rafflecopter #1

#2: Choose from 1 of the books featured at the Pasadena Teen Book Festival
Winner may request personalization/autograph
Open to US residents only - ends 4/25/2014
Enter with Rafflecopter #2

#3: $50 Gift Card to Vroman's Bookstore
Open to attendees of the Pasadena Book Festival only! - ends 4/21/2014

To enter, suggest a new, unique/clever/fun name for the Pasadena Teen Book Festival. Examples of other cool names for teen book fests include (already taken, unfortunately) Teen Author Carnival, YALLFest, and YABFest. What should we call our event from now on? Email your top 3 best name suggestions to info@pasadenateenbookfest.com OR fill out this form! A panel of judges will choose the best name from all of the submissions. The winner will be announced at the Festival!

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12. Trailer Tuesday

Well Trailer Tuesday has returned sooner that I thought it would, but I found a few new trailers this week. I also saw Divergent last weekend and really liked it. It was much better than I thought it was going to be and I kind of want to see it again....

Anyway, here are a few trailers for your enjoyment.

I really want to read The Ring & The Crown by Melissa de la Cruz not only for the gorgeous cover but because it looks epic and romantic. This trailer definitely conveys all that but was really surprised me was that they were able to get a Band of Horses song for it. That's pretty impressive.

Thanks to reader Joshua for pointing us in the direction of the trailer for Half Bad by Sally Green. While I am really looking forward to this book, this trailer doesn't do much for me. I think if I didn't know what this book was about already, the trailer would not be much help. But it is a pretty spooky and atmospheric trailer, which I like. 

Now I am super excited about the Days of Future Past trailer. The X-Men were always my favorite superhero group and I always liked this story line, too. I may have to re-read this before the film comes out.

Hope you enjoyed these trailers. What are you looking forward to?

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13. A Splash of Red - Picture Book Review

A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin
by Jen Bryan, illustrated Melissa Sweet
Publication date: 08 Jan 2013 by Knopf Book for Young Readers
ISBN 10/13: 0375867120 |  9780375867125
Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Indiebound

Category: Children's Non-Fiction Picture Book
Keywords: Children's, picture book, non-fiction, art, biography
Format: Hardcover; ebook
Source: Library


As a child in the late 1800s, Horace Pippin loved to draw: He loved the feel of the charcoal as it slid across the floor. He loved looking at something in the room and making it come alive again in front of him.He drew pictures for his sisters, his classmates, his co-workers. Even during W.W.I, Horace filled his notebooks with drawings from the trenches . . . until he was shot. Upon his return home, Horace couldn't lift his right arm, and couldn't make any art. Slowly, with lots of practice, he regained use of his arm, until once again, he was able to paint--and paint, and paint! Soon, people—including the famous painter N. C. Wyeth—started noticing Horace's art, and before long, his paintings were displayed in galleries and museums across the country.

Jen Bryant and Melissa Sweet team up once again to share this inspiring story of a self-taught painter from humble beginnings who despite many obstacles, was ultimately able to do what he loved, and be recognized for who he was: an artist.

Thuy's Review:

A really wonderful and beautifully written picture book about the life of American artist Horace pippin. I had I idea the story was based on a real person when I started reading it and found myself totally engrossed by the story of Pippin's life. I was completely charmed by the story and finding out that it's about a real person just gives it more resonance.

The artwork is fantastic and is a mix of painting, drawing and collage. I especially loved the early drawings by Horace. The art also includes quotes by Pippin, which he used in his artwork. The words are simple but strong and bring another facet of Pippin to life.

I was unfamiliar with Pippin's work before and A Splash or Red presented his story in a really accessible way. I think both children and adults will be able to enjoy this book and I definitely think it will inspire interest in Pippin's work. I also liked that there was an index in the back with places where one could go see Pippin's work along with sources for more information on Pippin. I am not usually a big fan of non-fiction picture books but A Splash of Red was a delight to read and one that I highly recommend.

Visit the Jen Bryant online at www.jenbryant.com and visit the official site for the book at http://asplashofredbook.com.

Please note that this post may contain affiliate links. For more details, please see our full disclosure policy here

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14. Holly Goldberg Sloan at Buena Vista Library Recap

Hi, everyone. I meant to write this post a couple of weeks ago but somehow time got away from me and I suddenly realized that more than 2 weeks had gone by since this event. So apologies for the delay.  

On March 6, 2014 Holly Goldberg Sloan (I'll Be There, Counting by 7s) did a talk and signing at Buena Vista Library in Burbank, CA. This is actually one of my local libraries and the one closest to my house. They get a great lineup of authors and I know to keep an eye out for their fliers in the YA section for upcoming signings. 

I showed up about 45 minutes before the signing and made my rounds in the library before settling in to see Holly. My friend Kimberly also came to the signing and we snagged a pair of great front row seats. The room was pretty crowded and was an eclectic mix of readers of all ages.

Holly started off by telling us about how she had recently found a bunch of old papers and projects from her childhood. Within this collection she found and old report card from her 2nd grade teacher which said that he hoped that, for the rest of her life, Holly would tell stories. Seems like her teacher saw Holly's potential early on. Holly spoke about her childhood and how her experiences as a child and teen really shaped her outlook on life. Her father was a test specialist (think SATs and such) who was always trying out his tests on his children. Because of his job, Holly's family moved around a lot and she often had to start over in new places with new people. Holly has lived all over the world and says that she loves to meet people and to learn about new cultures. 

Holly decided to write her newest book, Counting by 7s, and set it in Bakersfield, CA because she felt that it was an overlooked city in California. The book took her 2 years to write. It was too painful and she kept quitting. Though the book is about grief, she hopes that the book is still a hopeful one.

This is where things get fuzzy because Holly is so engaging and funny that I stopped taking very good notes. So I will just list a few more things that I learned during her talk.

  • She doesn't outline at all. She starts with characters and knows how her books will end but doesn't know how they will get there.
  • One of her favorite secondary characters is Riddle from I'll Be There which is based on 2 people.
  • A character in Counting by 7s is modeled after Zach Galifinakis's character in The Hangover.
  • She started writing I'll Be There after an ill-fated trip to Mexico where her husband was so ill she had to vacate the room they were staying in. To occupy herself she started writing.
  • Holly began her career in Hollywood and has written several screenplays including Made In America and Angels in the Outfield.
  • There will be a sequel to I'll Be There, call Just Call My Name. These are lyrics to a Jackson Five song (I'll Be There), which Holly obtained the rights to for this purpose.
  • One of Holly's rejected stories is going to become a Hallmark Christmas movie (I know someone who is going to be so excited about this). 
After all the talk, it was time to sign books!

Holly was super gracious and funny. There was a long line behind us so we didn't chat for long. If you ever get a chance to see Holly somewhere, you should definitely go. She's very funny and outgoing and it's just a good time. Holly is going to be at the Pasadena Teen Book Festival on April 26 and I hope to have read Counting by 7s by then. If you're local, we hope you can come out for it.

Thanks to Holly Goldberg Sloan and Buena Vista Library for putting on a great event!

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15. The Giver Film Trailer

I'm back with another trailer! It's been a big week for YA book to film adaptations. The trailer for The Maze Runner was released and Divergent hits the big screen today. And the official trailer for Lois Lowry's The Giver was also released. I have not read The Giver yet so I can't really comment on how accurate it is based on the books. From what I've seen on the internet, there are some mixed feelings about this one. I just borrowed the book from the library though and hope to read it soon. 

Have you read the book? Does this look like a faithful adaptation? I am interested to hear what people think of this one. Happy Friday, all!

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16. Trailer Tuesday: The Maze Runner Movie + More!

Hello! It's Trailer Tuesday here at RNSL (I totally just made that up). But I do have some trailers for you. 20th Century Fox just released the official film trailer for The Maze Runner movie last night. I have not read the book yet but the trailer looks pretty good. I like that the actors seem like relative unknowns and it looks like a harrowing story. I really need to read this one before the movie comes out.

While I was strolling through Trailer Land, I found a few new book trailers that looked interesting as well.

In the trailer for Monument 14: Savage Drift, things are looking pretty bleak. This is another book series that has been on my shelf for a while but hasn't been read. I like the tone and cinematic styling of this one.


Free to Fall by Lauren Miller feels like an ad for online dating or a prescription drug. That actually might be the intention of it and it comes off as pretty creepy.

Tremor by Patrick Carman looks a bit cheesy to me. I think it's because the floating cars look fake. Good effort but not my favorite book trailer.

Untamed City: Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr is a very epic trailer. The music and content of the trailer make it seem like a gladiator movie. I wish the fighting was a little more badass but overall, not too shabby.

And last but not least we have a little featurette from the Divergent movie (coming out this week!) that showcases Four.

I am a still on the fence about this movie. I wasn't the biggest fan of the books (though I liked the first one enough) but I will be seeing this. 

Well that's it for the just coined Trailer Tuesday. Do any of these books or trailers seem interesting to you? Are you in line for Divergent already? :) Have a happy Tuesday!

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17. Ignite Me - Review

Ignite Me (Shatter Me #3) 
by Taherah Mafi
Publication date: 04 Feb 2014 by HarperCollins
Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Indiebound

Category: Young Adult Fiction/Dystopia
Keywords: Dystopia, Revolution, Paranormal
Format: Hardcover, ebook, Audiobook
Source: Borrowed


The heart-stopping conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Shatter Me series, which Ransom Riggs, bestselling author of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, called “a thrilling, high-stakes saga of self-discovery and forbidden love.”

With Omega Point destroyed, Juliette doesn’t know if the rebels, her friends, or even Adam are alive. But that won’t keep her from trying to take down The Reestablishment once and for all. Now she must rely on Warner, the handsome commander of Sector 45. The one person she never thought she could trust. The same person who saved her life. He promises to help Juliette master her powers and save their dying world . . . but that’s not all he wants with her.

The Shatter Me series is perfect for fans who crave action-packed young adult novels with tantalizing romance like Divergent by Veronica Roth, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and Legend by Marie Lu. Tahereh Mafi has created a captivating and original story that combines the best of dystopian and paranormal, and was praised by Publishers Weekly as “a gripping read from an author who’s not afraid to take risks.” Now this final book brings the series to a shocking and satisfying end.

Kimberly's Review:

I have such a hard time reviewing this series. I am not a fan of the series in general, but I have to admit that there is something so totally addicting, I cannot help but need to know how it all ends.

There's a lot of action in this final book which keeps the reader engaged and the pages turning. 
Honestly though, there's so much about this story I just don't get.

Like - Where is everyone?

There is only one regime in place that is ruling everything (bad guys) and one in place that oppose them (good guys). Once the rebels take that over, they can control everyone. Where are the rest of the people? (And don't tell me they all got blown up because that is a lie) Other rebellions outside of this area? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? 

How is this girl going to lead the country? Juliette suddenly decides she is the most capable of being the leader and she is going to rule. Okay, now even very young monarchs who come to power have years of training, education, learning language and politics. Juliette can barely complete full sentences and she's convinces an entire army that she should rule on pure strength alone. She doesn't make a case at all about her leadership abilities, her plans for the future, her thoughts on uniting the nation. No, she breaks things with her enormous physical strength and everyone else is staring at her going- Wow. We'll follow you.

WTF? She has declared herself supreme ruler when she can barely control her feelings and gives no indication that she understands anything about the politics, world views, different cultures and societies. 

Why is anyone letting Juliette make the decisions? Is it just because has a boyfriend who is rich and has food and shelter? Is it because she has super human strength? Juliette still does not scream leadership material even by the end of the book. 

<shakes head> huh?

Okay, let's give in for a second and forget all I said above and that Juliette is the most capable of people willing to put everyone and her followers first. Let's say she's going to unite everyone, lead them to green grass and bunnies and rainbows. Let's say it's in her and I just can't see it.

But then, what about this horrific love triangle???

Honestly, I think my main problem with the book are the characters. The three main characters, Juliette, Warner and Adam, are all thought to be  a certain way. They are introduced to the reader as a certain person and the reader believes it. That is, until the rug is pulled out and I have to re-learn everything I thought about the characters. Sometimes this technique works. But when it's done to all three of the main characters, and none of them feel justified, I have to call foul. Juliette's switch is probably the slowest, most normal of them. It starts in book one (shriveled in a corner, oh but quickly she wants to fight) and then does it again in book three. But Adam and Warner's 180 degree change was so unnatural, I feel like it was just the author's way of appeasing the mass.

If you're not familiar with the series, Warner aka Big Bad, was a really awful character. He was cruel to our Juliette and yet, by book two, everyone was in love with him. Adam, the sweet boy she knew before she was imprisoned, was left by the wayside. Now to have to justify Juliette being with Warner, she has to:

1. Make Warner honorable and awesome and loving and kind and 
2. Make Adam awful and cruel and mean and ugly. 

I'm sorry but this just makes me want to scream. Sure, maybe this was all planned. But it's such an abrupt changes of these characters make me think of one word: 

That's right.
Cyborgs have replaced the real Adam and the real Warner and they're not getting them right.

But alas, no. These changes were the real thing. (Why?!?!)

Also, there was a whole lotta drama. D.R.A.M.A Like over the top drama. I mean, I'm all about teen angst and all but sigh. It was a lot and slowed down the momentum of the book.

Kenji is my favorite character by far and he steals every scene he is in. Funny, warm and human, I love how he reminds everyone that they are alive. I also loved James, Adam's little brother. He brings some much needed innocent and comic relief, especially his fun scenes with stoic Warner. 

I have to admit that though I can't say I liked the series because I had such major problems with it, Ms. Mafi does something right. She creates a story with great dialogue. She keeps the pace going and even I had to read the whole series to find out what happens. I guess that counts for something.

Visit the author online at www.taherehbooks.com, Facebook and follow her on Twitter @taherehmafi

Please note that this post may contain affiliate links. For more details, please see our full disclosure policy here

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18. Sever - Review

Sever (The Chemical Garden #3) 
by Lauren DeStefano
Publication date: 12 Feb 2013 by Simon & Schuster
ISBN 10/13: 1442409096 | 9781442409095
Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Indiebound

Category: Young Adult Dystopia
Keywords: Dystopia, End of series, Revolution
Format: Hardcover, ebook, audiobook
Source: Purchased


With the clock ticking until the virus takes its toll, Rhine is desperate for answers. After enduring Vaughn’s worst, Rhine finds an unlikely ally in his brother, an eccentric inventor named Reed. She takes refuge in his dilapidated house, though the people she left behind refuse to stay in the past. While Gabriel haunts Rhine’s memories, Cecily is determined to be at Rhine’s side, even if Linden’s feelings are still caught between them.

Meanwhile, Rowan’s growing involvement in an underground resistance compels Rhine to reach him before he does something that cannot be undone. But what she discovers along the way has alarming implications for her future—and about the past her parents never had the chance to explain.

In this breathtaking conclusion to Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Garden trilogy, everything Rhine knows to be true will be irrevocably shattered.
Kimberly's Review:

This is a hard book for me to review because I loved Wither, the first book in The Chemical Garden trilogy, so much. 

Without giving too much away, Rhine has escaped the mansion only to find herself at Reed's house, Vaughn's long estranged brother.

Searching for her twin brother, and trying to come to terms with her feelings for both Linden and Gabriel, Rhine embarks on a quest that will answer her questions once and for all. But not all the answers are what she wants them to be. And some of them she wishes she never knew.

I had a lot of problems with Rhine in this book. I loved her in the first two books- independent, strong willed and wanting nothing more than to survive and go home. And while this Rhine isn't that far from the old, she is slightly different. She's been through so much and she's very damaged by the events of the previous two books. But instead of making her more sympathetic, I felt more distant to her character. Her urgent need to find her brother, and then once she does eventually find him, she doesn't scream at him all of the evil she's encountered. (This will make sense once you read the book) I was so frustrated with her! She's also super confused about her feelings for Gabriel and Linden, which just became grating on me. I'll explain.

I am probably in the minority, but I have to say that I am probably on team Linden. Yes, he's pretty dense and should have been paying more attention to the evil that was his own father. But Linden's character grows exponentially during this final book and so by the end, I was hoping that she would end up with him. He was always my favorite of the two, between him and Gabriel and though the sister wife thing does creep me out, I still think Linden is the better choice.  However, this of course proves problematic because he also has Cecily, his youngest wife still on his arm. 

Cecily has also grown. In Fever, book two, the story took Rhine away from both of them and when she returns, they've both matured. While I can't say I like Cecily, I don't mind her and in fact, I may actually have respected her by the end.

What is strange is that Gabriel is mostly absent in book three. This is supposed to be her big love interest! It really hurt my feelings towards Gabriel because he was MIA for so long. I re-attached myself onto Linden. Sorry Gabriel, but even when you were the main character in Fever, I still wasn't a fan. I don't think you had a strong enough personality, and I never really understood what Rhine saw in you.

Now let's talk about Rowan. Rowan, the brother who Rhine is after. Rowan, who is barely a character at all in book three. I'm really sorry but I don't get it. There is nothing special about Rowan and as for their deep, twin relationship, I didn't feel it. He seemed like a secondary character that just appeared for plot sake. I wasn't emotionally invested in Rowan. She searched the country, confronted dangers and evil, for this guy?

I read books two and three right after the other and they move very fast. I love how the story flows so quickly you can get lost for hours in the world. Their world is scary, mean and unforgiving. There's a lot to like about The Chemical Garden trilogy.  I love the freshness of the story and felt like the characters were always in real danger, just escaping by their skin. I love the big reveals during the end, including Rhine's revelation and Madame's secrets.

Overall, I enjoyed Sever and the entire series. While I didn't have a great sense of the characters or motivation behind them, the plot was fast and I wanted to know what happened next. I would recommend it for older YAs as well as adults looking for a dark dystopian.

Visit the author online at www.laurendestefano.comFacebook and follow her on Twitter @LaurenDeStefano

Please note that this post may contain affiliate links. For more details, please see our full disclosure policy here

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19. Storm Watcher Blog Tour - Review & Giveaway

Sorry I'm late to my own blog tour! I'm still away trying to help my mom recover from an illness. Enjoy the blog tour and good luck 

The Storm Watcher Blog Tour

Feb 19 - Mar 5, 2014

Hosted by readnowsleeplater.com
Join us for interviews, guest posts, reviews, and giveaways!

Tour Schedule

Wed 2/19 - The Book Monsters - review & giveaway
Thu 2/20 - I Am a Reader - interview & international giveaway
Fri 2/21 - Unleashing Readers - guest post & giveaway
Tue 2/25 - Kid Lit Frenzy - guest post & giveaway
Wed 2/26 - Sharpreads - review & giveaway
Fri 2/28 - The Windy Pages - review, interview & giveaway
Tue 3/4 - Read Now Sleep Later - review & international giveaway
Wed 3/5 - The Brain Lair - review & giveaway
Thu 3/6 - Bookalicious - review & international giveaway

Storm Watcher by Maria V Snyder

About the Book:

Luke Riley is lost. His mother's recent death has set Luke and his family adrift. Even though his father, twin brothers, and their three Bloodhounds are search and rescue volunteers, they have been unable to rescue themselves and become a family again. The summer after sixth grade looms in Luke's mind as a long, lonely three months where the only thing he can look forward to is watching The Weather Channel. Luke is fascinated with the weather, but since his mother's death in a storm, he is also terrified. Even the promised 13th birthday present of a Bloodhound puppy fails to lift Luke's spirits. He would rather have a different breed-a petite Papillon-but his father insists he get a Bloodhound.

When Luke decides to get the Bloodhound from Willajean, a dog breeder who owns Storm Watcher Kennel, he works out a deal to help at her kennel in exchange for the expensive dog. Thrilled to have a summer with a purpose, Luke befriends Willajean's daughter, Megan, and together they plan how Luke can get a Papillon puppy instead of a Bloodhound. But nothing seems to work as they struggle with stubborn fathers, summer storms, unhelpful siblings, and hidden guilt. Can one little white dog really save both families?

Alethea's review:

I've been a huge fan of Maria V. Snyder's since her first trilogy, The Study Series, ended a few years ago. I get really excited whenever a new tale of hers hits the bookshelves. So when she mentioned that her first middle grade book was about to be released, I couldn't wait to read it. I usually find Maria's characters and world-building so captivating, and Storm Watcher is no exception to this rule. Luke may be just a boy, rather than a weapon-wielding magician or healer like most of Maria's other protagonists, and the world she describes is the same one we live in, but the ordinariness of these elements actually add to the book more than they detract from it.

At first I couldn't really relate to Luke. I'm the eldest, he's the youngest. I'm totally a cat person. I love storms and am generally oblivious to their danger; even though he's interested in them, their unpredictable aspects scare him half to death. And I (knock on wood!) haven't lost my mother, although we came really close to it last week. But there's a lot that Luke and I have in common too. He's thoughtful and a loner. He hangs on to guilt and is a big worrier. Making plans makes us feel a little more in control of our situations, so when we want something, we plot and scheme until we get it. Once Luke takes stock of the problems and challenges he's facing, he doesn't automatically have all the answers. He struggles and makes mistakes. Snyder shapes him in such a real way that the reader can't help but empathize and root for Luke. She also applies her signature style--putting her protagonists through hardship and peril. Poor Luke--but what doesn't kill him makes him stronger.

I would recommend it to those who enjoy family dynamics, survival stories, underdog tales, and learning things while they read. Maria majored in meteorology, and the weather facts you might pick up on while you read are actually true! And even as a die-hard cat person, I really appreciated the details about the different dog breeds. Storm Watcher is a short, emotional tale that really stuck with me, and I hope other readers will enjoy it as well.

About the Author:

Maria V. Snyder writes adult and young adult fantasy novels and short stories. Formerly an environmental meteorologist, she earned a Masters degree in writing from Seton Hill University; she is currently a teacher and mentor for the MFA program. Storm Watcher is her first middle grade novel. You can contact her at maria [at] mariavsnyder.com.

Available now:

Order from Amazon Order from bn.com Order from bookdepository.com

You can enter to win a copy of Storm Watcher here! 10 copies will be sent out to the lucky few (up to 4 will be sent to non-US winners).

Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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20. School Spirits - Review

Publication date: 13 May 2013 by Disney-Hyperion
ISBN 10/13: 1423148495 | 9781423148494
Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Category: Young Adult Fiction/Fantasy
Keywords: Paranormal, High School, Ghosts, Witches
Format: Hardcover, eBook
Source: ARC from Publisher


Fifteen-year-old Izzy Brannick was trained to fight monsters. For centuries, her family has hunted magical creatures. But when Izzy’s older sister vanishes without a trace while on a job, Izzy's mom decides they need to take a break.

Izzy and her mom move to a new town, but they soon discover it’s not as normal as it appears. A series of hauntings has been plaguing the local high school, and Izzy is determined to prove her worth and investigate. But assuming the guise of an average teenager is easier said than done. For a tough girl who's always been on her own, it’s strange to suddenly make friends and maybe even have a crush.

Can Izzy trust her new friends to help find the secret behind the hauntings before more people get hurt?

Kimberly's Review:

Izzy Brannick is strong and trained to fight monsters. And the one thing she is scared of? High School.

Izzy has been homes schooled her whole life. So when a case requires her to go to high school, Izzy bunkers down, watches a lot of high school television and hopes for the best. But nothing could prepare her for a best friend, a crush and a ghost. A really strong ghost.

Can Izzy's new friends accept who she is and help her defeat this ghost?

I'm a big fan of the Hex Hall series so I was really excited to read School Spirits. Izzy appears in the last book Spell Bound, and she takes front and center in School Spirits. Izzy is smart, strong and achingly awkward. I love how she's never been to a high school pep rally, basketball game. I love how she's learning everything there is to know about high school by watching television. The story introduces us to some "normal" teenagers like her new best friend Romy who is equal parts awesome fun and rainbow unicorn. And sweet Dex who makes Izzy a little bit dizzy.

In typical Hawkins fashion, there's a lot of fun one liners and witty dialogue. There's some romance, and ghosts and witches and danger. But best of all, there is Izzy who is really sweet and a bit sad.

The story moves quickly and while I would have liked more description, more twists, stronger motivations for the characters, I still breezed through it quickly in only two days. Enjoying the ride and wishing there was a sequel I could dive into right away.

It's a standalone after the Hex Hall series, but you should read the series first to fully enjoy School Spirits. I really hope this is the start of a spin off series.

*I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.

Visit the author online at www.rachel-hawkins.com and follow her on Twitter @LadyHawkins

Please note that this post may contain affiliate links. For more details, please see our full disclosure policy here

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21. Infinite - Review

Infinite (Newsoul #3) 
by Jodi Meadows
Publication date: 28 Jan 2014 by Katherine Tegan Books
ISBN 10/13: 0062060813 | 9780062060815
Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Indiebound

Category: Young Adult Fantasy
Keywords: Fantasy, Dragons, Souls, Reincarnation
Format: ebook, Hardcover
Source: Purchased


The Year of Souls begins with an earthquake—an alarming rumble from deep within the earth—and it’s only the first of greater dangers to come. The Range caldera is preparing to erupt. Ana knows that as Soul Night approaches, everything near Heart will be at risk.

Ana’s exile is frightening, but it may also be fortuitous, especially if she can convince her friends to flee Heart and Range with her. They’ll go north, seeking answers and allies to stop Janan’s ascension. And with any luck, the newsouls will be safe from harm’s reach.

The oldsouls might have forgotten the choice they made to give themselves limitless lifetimes, but Ana knows the true cost of reincarnation. What she doesn’t know is whether she’ll have the chance to finish this one sweet life with Sam, especially if she returns to Heart to stop Janan once and for all.

Kimberly's Review:

It’s a really hard review for me to write. I had such hope for this series, especially because I enjoyed the first book so much.

While the first book in the series, Incarnate, is catching and fresh, I felt more and more distance from the characters as the series wore on. So by the time book three, the last book, came out, I was not heavily invested in the story or the main characters. Mostly, I wanted to see how it ended.

I think there was a lot of potential in the first book. The series is easy to read. The premise is intriguing. Souls reincarnated over and over again? 5,000 years of it? Imagine the baggage! The emotional turmoil! There was so much I wanted from this series! But sadly for me, it didn’t deliver.

There’s a lot of action, but not a whole lot of descriptions. A lot of the time I felt like I was mostly reading actions and dialogue, but I didn’t have a good sense of the motivation behind each character. Nor did I feel particularly drawn to any of them. I know I’m supposed to like Ana, and her devotion to New Souls is admired, but character wise, I felt like she was hollow. I still wasn’t sold on Sam either. Even in the first book, I didn’t totally buy him as the big love interest. He is sweet and kind but totally, utterly boring. Someone told me that they sometimes find some YA books hard to read because they play into male fantasy characters for teenage girls. And for this one, I would have to agree with them.

Sam is dull. Yes, he’s a musician, he’s been alive for 5,000 years. He has a little bit of baggage, as he is eaten by a dragon like 30 times, but overall, Sam mopes about playing music and telling Ana of his undying love to her. Really, Sam? Where’s the passion, the hurt, the strength? Where’s the madness and motivation and challenge? No, Sam is more like a wet noodle from a very old bowl of soup.

The secondary characters are not solid for me either such as Stef. Stef, who is reincarnated over and over again as Sam’s best friend and sometimes love interest, fades into the background by book three and nothing is really resolved. Even the big bad guy, the big evil, the man with the plan who wants to enslave everyone, is an annoying gnat you want to swat away. He's not the immediate danger, no matter how far into the series I got. I was more concerned with the townspeople wanting to kill Ana and her friends and the pregnant mothers who may have No Soul babies.

Imagine you have a town of people who have lived and loved over and over again for 5,000 years. It’s like an never-ending high school filled with love, hope, emotional angst and incestuous relationships. (I mean that as in my boyfriend is now your boyfriend, and now he’s my boyfriend again, etc.) But instead, we barely brush the surface of the last 5,000 years and what this means to each of the characters.

I’m sorry I didn’t enjoy Infinite. While I love the idea of the story and the possibilities of what it could have brought, I was left disappointed in the series and ending.

Visit the author online at www.jodimeadows.com. Facebook and follow her on Twitter @jodimeadows

Please note that this post may contain affiliate links. For more details, please see our full disclosure policy here. 

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22. Stacked (18)

Inspired by Pop Culture Junkie and The Story Siren, Stacked is our sister-site's weekly post where we share with you the books that we've bought, borrowed or received for the week.

This is actually an Unstacked post since the ratio for books bought to books given away was 1:50 this week. As you may have read recently, my mom had a stroke and I went home to the Philippines to help out. My dad, brother, and aunt all work during the day, and my little sister isn't 100% capable of watching over our mom and doing all the chores etc. (Though she is a hero, since she figured out how to call for help when Mama passed out in the hallway. For someone who is considered to be fundamentally a toddler all her life, she's one smart cookie.)

Anyway, I was checking on my mom when I happened to open my dad's closet and notice that there were a ton of dusty, moldy books in the back. The closet had been built on top of a bookshelf in my mom's signature, just put it on top of everything else style of interior decorating.

I was really sad to see lots of my favorite books pretty much begrimed and crumbly due to the terrible sun/air conditions in Manila, as well as my family's low-level hoarding tendencies, but what can you do? Keep them in plastic tubs? (Actually, that's a good idea, but plastic tubs weren't exactly common when I left the books here.)

Anyway, I figured now is as good a time as any to let some stuff go. You can see some of my favorites in the Unstacked image above. My uncle has a school in the province, and my aunt is coming by tomorrow and will be passing the school, so I'm sending them away. There's some great stuff in there: classics like P.G. Wodehouse, James Thurber, Douglas Adams, and Chinua Achebe; the occasional anthology, random old ARCs. I saved one book from the pile: A Woman Named Smith by Marie Conway Oemler. It's so old that the cover has long since disintegrated. It's a fun romance and it used to belong to my grandfather, so I'm hoping it's not too far gone to repair, or reproduce in some way. If you're curious, you can get the Kindle copy for free. (Yes, it's that old.)

The one book I picked up was actually an eBook, The Shadow Society by Marie Rutkoski. The Kindle edition was on sale for $2.99. Marie's new YA novel, The Winner's Curse, is out now. I didn't particularly enjoy it, but I recognize that there will probably be quite a few people who will like it a lot better than I did. I like her writing style, but I didn't care for the plot and characters in The Winner's Curse. I'm hoping that The Shadow Society will be a bit more like my cup of tea.

It looks like I will be here a while, so I'll keep you posted regarding further hoard management and possibly a YA author event or two I will be attending. Anyway, that's it for me and book acquisitions/donations this week. If you want to catch up with what I've been doing in the Philippines, follow @frootjoos on Instagram.

Last but not least, Pasadena Teen Book Festival is coming up! We are now on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, and you can still get free tickets at Eventbrite. Blogger friends, more info on the upcoming blog tour is on the way, I promise! I was just really hard at work to get the tote bag design done so we can order them from the screen printers. The first 100 people to arrive at the event will get the tote for free :)

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23. Crafty Chloe: Dress-Up Mess-Up - Picture Book Review

Crafty Chloe: Dress-Up Mess-Up (Crafty Chloe #2) 
by Kelly DiPucchio, illustrated by Heather Ross
Publication date: 13 August 2013 by Simon and Schuster
ISBN 13: 9781442421240
Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository

Category: Children's Picture Book
Keywords: Picture book, crafting, art
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library


The Parade of Books has arrived, and it’s Chloe’s chance to showcase her crafty costume talents. Leo wants Chloe to be the Frankenstein to his Dracula, and Chloe can’t wait to dress like a monster. But when Emma wants to wear Fairy Club costumes instead, Chloe is torn like a scrap of fabric. She doesn’t want to disappoint her friends—but how can she possibly please them both? Luckily, a little glitter and a lot of imagination just might give Chloe the answer!

Thuy's Review:

The annual book parade is around the corner and Chloe and her friends must prepare costumes based on their favorite book characters. But trouble arises when Chloe promises to be a monster with her friend Leo and then promises to be a fairy with her friend Emma. Chloe doesn't want to disappoint either friend, so what is she going to do?

First of all, what a great premise. We never had anything like a book costume parade when I was Chloe's age but I think I would have loved it. This is a really cute book and I loved that Chloe was so crafty and creative when it came to her costumes. I like that the book encourages kids to use their imaginations and make things. The story itself wasn't super original or exciting but it was cute and I think kids will like it. It was a bit predictable but I think that kids will like it.

As a crafty person myself, I think Crafty Chloe: Dress-Up Mess-Up is an adorable book to read to kids and get them in the crafting spirit. It would be fun to read this with a child and do some crafts to go with it. Definitely worth a read if you have children in your life.

Visit the author online at www.kellydipucchio.com, Twitter and follow her on Twitter Facebook

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24. Liv, Forever Blog Tour - Guest Post with Amy Talkington

We're very excited to be a part of the Liv, Forever Blog Tour today. Liv, Forever is the debut novel from writer and director Amy Talkington and is published by Soho Teen. Amy is guest posting today on the topic of 10 Things You Didn't Know About Amy Talkington. Let's go!

10 Things You Didn't Know About Amy Talkington

1) I once wore two different-sized potlids as a top.

2) I used to be obsessed with Marcel Duchamp and Jane’s Addiction.

3) I can hold a headstand for 5 minutes. Sometimes.

4) As a kid I went deer hunting with my dad (but never shot anything).

5) I speak a little sign language (my aunt is deaf and has cerebral palsy).

6) I once gave a live interview to CNN atop a yacht in Cannes.

7) I'm a Cherokee (American Indian).

8) During my brief career as a waitress I spilled a plate of spaghetti on a band called Flotsam and Jetsam.

9) Tom Verlaine scored my brother's movie in my old Bowery loft.

10) I have haggled with Gene Simmons... and won.

Thanks, Amy! Also, check out the trailer for Liv, Forever below.

Liv, Forever is in stores now. Local SoCal readers, Amy has 2 events this week. One TONIGHT March 12 at Skylight Books and one tomorrow night March 13 at B&N The Grove. Thanks to Amy and Soho Teen for including us on this blog tour.

 If you want to know all the latest on Liv, Forever follow Amy on Twitter @amytalkington and Tumblr http://amytalkington.tumblr.com/

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25. Save the Date: Salina Yoon at Unwind Yarn

Just a quick head's up to save the date for this fun author event coming up on April 5, 2014. Salina Yoon, author of the popular Penguin picture book series, will be reading and signing her new book Penguin in Love at Unwind Yarn in Burbank, CA.

That weekend also happens to be the same weekend as the LA Yarn Crawl, so you can expect lots of fun things going on at the store. Cake pops and drinks will be provided. If you haven't read these books yet, they are super cute and feature an adorable penguin and knitting. This even it sponsored by Bridge to Books, founded by RNSL's very own Alethea and good friend Aly. Alethea will be out of the country so I (Thuy) will be organizing and corralling people the day of the event. If you have kids or like picture books, this is a great event to go to. We have an Eventbrite page to reserve your (free) tickets and a Facebook for more event info. 

Below are a couple of pics from last year's Salina Yoon event to entice you. 

Hope to see you there!

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