Monday, October 31, 2016

October Snapshots

1. This was taken when I was reading Replica by Lauren Oliver. I didn't get as much reading done as I wanted to this month but I did meet a ton of authors! In addition to going to the TTBF, I went to signings for Lauren Oliver, Maire Lu, Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. 

2. My sisters and I randomly decided to visit UT on a Saturday, partly to get food and partly to see what Hazel would do at Turtle Pond. At first she really wanted to jump in the water but then some of the turtles freaked her out and she was over it. // 3. I've lived in Austin my whole life and somehow have never been to the greenbelt. At the beginning of the month my family went and we took our dogs.

4. I went to the Taylor Swift F1 concert! It was my second time seeing her live (I went to the Red Tour in May of 2013). I love seeing Taylor live, she's been one of my favorite artists since I was 11. I also loved how she played a mix of old and new songs at the show.

5. UT vs. Baylor. I went to my first UT football game this past week! I'm not a big football fan (I prefer soccer) but I ended up having a lot of fun and it was cool to show off some school spirit. We ended up wining by a point, my friend who goes to Baylor was so upset over the score! - Jessica

Thursday, October 27, 2016

October OwlCrate

In my last blog post I mentioned that I finally subscribed to OwlCrate, a monthly YA subscription box. I wanted to share what I got in the October box, and if you're interested in subscribing to OwlCrate please use my referral link and you can use the code WELCOME10 to receive 10% off.

The theme for October was Once Upon a Dream and the book included was Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter. I hadn't heard of this book previously and I'm looking forward to reading it. I always love to read and hear about fairy tale retellings and this book seems perfect.

The box included
  1. Along with the book, there was a signed book plate, a temporary tattoo, and a letter from the author
  2. A Sleeping Beauty bracelet from The Geeky Cauldron
  3. A Peter Pan beanie from Whosits and Whatsits
  4. Oz Passport - a mini journal
  5. A bookmark from My Heart My Tribe
  6. A Sleeping Beauty button

November's box is Wonderland and I'm 99.9% certain that I know what book it is. OwlCrate is also going to have an exclusive cover for the book and I can't wait to get my copy! - Jessica

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Texas Teen Book Fest 2016

At the beginning of the month I attended the Texas Teen Book Festival, which is an annual event that usually has around 25 authors participating in panels and signings. This was my 3rd consecutive time attending this event, but I remember going to the very first TTBF in 2009. This year I had so many authors that I wanted to meet and get my books signed. I unfortunately didn't get to meet two of the authors I was looking forward to seeing because I had to leave the fest early to go to work, but overall I did get a lot of books signed.

I ended up bringing about 15 books to the festival and I bought five books while I was there. Above is all the books I got signed (plus the second and third book in the Daughter of Smoke and Bones Trilogy). Here are some of the highlights of meeting some authors:
  • David Arnold drew a bus in my copy of Mosquitoland
  • Mary E. Pearson and I talked a little bit about how much I love her The Remnant Chronicles series and how I had previously met her last year. 
  • I wore my Marauders shirt from The Colorful Geek and Sabaa Tahir and I bonded because she owns the shirt as well. 
  • I was really looking forward to meet Shaun David Hutchinson and I told him that his book We Are the Ants is one of my all time favorite books, and he shared with me some details about his upcoming publications. 
  • I also met Laini Taylor and Book People had signed copies of Strange the Dreamer available for sale and I can't wait until March to get my copy. Since Strange the Dreamer's release date got pushed back, Taylor was handing out samplers of the first 100 pages of the book. 

I unfortunately wasn't able to meet Leigh Bardugo or Morgan Rhodes because I had to leave early and go to work. I luckily already have a signed book by both authors and I was able to get within close proximity to both of them, but I really hope that both authors will come back to the central Texas area soon. Leigh Bardugo was definitely the most popular author at the event and even though I didn't get to meet her, I was in awe when I saw that she stayed for hours making sure everyone got their books signed. And someone had an extra copy of the cards that Bardugo was handing out during her signing and they kindly gave me their Inej card!

There were also various booths set up during the festival for various publishing companies and other book related merchandise. One of them was OwlCrate, a monthly YA book subscription box, and at there booth I got a lot of fun trinkets. I also finally subscribed to OwlCrate after lusting over their Instagram account and watching various unboxing videos, so I'll be sharing photos of my first box soon.

So that was my experience at the 2016 TTBF, it has been really cool to see how big the festival has gotten over the years and how big the YA community in Austin has grown. - Jessica

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Books I Read in September

In the month of September I read a total of 11 books and 3 graphic novels. I had a week last month where all I wanted to do was read, and I ended up finishing SIX of those books in that time. I've also been a pretty big graphic novel mood, and I'm slowly trying to build a collection. So here are all the books that I read and some of my nonspoilery opinions...

Starflight by Melissa Landers - This book is the first book in a sci-fi series, that centers around Solara and Doran, school rivals, who have to rely on each other to escape the accusations against them. This was a pretty quick and enjoyable read. I picked it up because I heard it had similar vibes to The Lunar Chronicles, and I really liked the space pirates theme in this book.

Books 3-5 in the Air Awakens series by Elise Kova - These are the last three books in the Air Awakens serieswhich is set in a world with elemental magic, where Vhalla discovers that she is the first air sorceress in 150 years. I absolutely loved the first two books in this series, which I read in August, and I was excited to finally be able to finish this series. I absolutely loved the third book, but I did find that the last two books lagged a little. I was really satisfied with how this series wrapped up

The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan - This is the first book in Riordan's new trilogy, following Norse mythology. I enjoyed this book, but I didn't love it as much as the other books that I've read by Riordan. I really liked the diverse characters, but I had some issues with the narration, and I feel that Magnus' voice is too similar to Percy and Leo's. I am looking forward to reading the second book, which came out today, and learning more about Norse mythology.

Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas - This is the fifth book in the Throne of Glass series. The ToG series is one of my absolute favorite series (right behind Harry Potter) and I have been anticipating the release of this book since QoS came out. I had such high expectations for this book and it did not disapoint, the writing was beautiful, I loved that we learned more about all of the characters, and I really loved the romances that developed. I absolutely love the development of this series as a whole, but this book especially. The ending of this book ruined me, and I cried so much while reading it, I don't know what I'm supposed to do with myself until the last book comes out. And one last (spoilery) thought, I think I'm the only person that wasn't bothered by the fact that Chaol is completely absent from this book...

Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi - This is a middle grade novel that follows, Alice Alexis Queensmeadow, who has to journey to a strange land to find her missing father. I really enjoyed this story and I absolutely loved the writing style, Mafi just writes beautiful books. I loved the fantasy worlds that Mafi created in this book, and although there were some really weird and creepy moments, I felt that the message of this book came together so well.

Saga, Volume 1 by  and  - This is a graphic novel that centers around Hazel, who was born to two different species that have been at war with each other. I really enjoyed this volume, I think that Vaughan and Staples have created a really interesting world and I'm curious to see where they take it. I'm hoping to read the other volumes in the next couple of months.   

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon - This book follows Madaline, a girl who allergic to everything, after Olly moves in next door. This was a really cute and fast read (it only took me like 3-4 hours to read). I really liked Madaline's character and her story is so unique. I wasn't a huge fan of the romance in this book, but I liked how the story ended. 

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo - This book follows a group of criminals as they try to pull off a dangerous, impossible heist. I've seen so much hype surrounding this book and it was really good. I loved the characters and the story, but because of all the hype, I went into this with too high of expectations. I still really enjoyed this book, and I'm glad that I finally got to read it.

Prodigy: the Graphic Novel by Marie Lu, Leigh Dragoon, and Kaari - This is the graphic novel adaption of the second book in the Legend Trilogy. I liked this more than the first novel's adaption. It still had it's problems with pacing, but I really love the art style and I'm looking forward to the third adaption. 

Percy Jackson's Greek Gods by Rick Riordan - This is a collection of myths told from the perspective of Percy. I'm currently taking a class on Greek and Roman mythology and I thought now would be the perfect time to read this. These are definitely more kid friendly than the stuff I'm reading for class, but I like how Riordan handled the mature material. And it was really great to read from Percy 1st person narration, and I really enjoyed reading this. 

A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir - This is the second installment of the An Ember in the Ashes series. This was such a good installment, I really liked the first book when I read it last year, but I did forget a lot of the details of the first book and so I found it a little hard to get into this book. I really loved the story and character development in this book, I especially love how much we learned of Helene in this book. The ending of this book was crazy and I'm looking forward to seeing where Tahir takes these characters.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children: The Graphic Novel by Ransom Riggs and Cassandra Jean - This is the graphic novel adaption of the book by the same name. I decided to pick this up immediately before watching the movie, and I'm so glad that I did because I forgot so much of this story. I really like how Cassandra Jean translated the story into art form, and I love how much detail went into the art style. Overall this was a great adaption, and I'm looked forward to reading the rest in the series.

And those are all the books I read in September, I also started reading Crooked Kingdom but I didn't finish it until yesterday. There's so many new books that are coming out this month that I hope to get to! - Jessica