Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite New-To-Me Authors

toptentuesdayToday’s Top Ten Tuesday meme, created by the lovely ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish, is all about authors we read for the first time in 2014! This was actually a fun and easy post for me since I read a whole bunch of “new to me” authors this year, and I got to meet some of them too! :)

Top Ten “New To Me” Authors in 2014

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Meeting Rainbow Rowell at YALL Fest was DEFINITELY one of my highlights from 2014!!

Rainbow Rowell – By far my favorite author of the year. I read Attachments back in January after seeing so many recommendations from fellow bloggers. I LOVED IT. I know it came out a few years ago, but I talked about that book to all of my friends because it was so wonderful. Since then I’ve read Fangirl and Landline, and I’ve decided that I prefer Rainbow Rowell’s adult fiction to her YA fiction, but I’m still waiting to read Eleanor & Park :)
Veronica Roth – This year I also read the Divergent series. It wasn’t my favorite series, but I did like the world Veronica Roth created (and I really liked the first movie!).
Lauren Morrill – My second favorite author I discovered this year! She wrote Meant to Be and Being Sloane Jacobs and if I could give her an award it would be for prettiest book covers one & two.
Ann Brashares – This year I read the entire Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, and I especially loved the most recent 5th book. When I met Ann Brashares at YALL Fest (and totally fangirled), I got to chat with her a bit about it and she was really happy to know that I enjoyed the last book since so many people don’t want to read it because it’s sad. I had her sign a copy of her new book, The Here and Now (which also has a gorgeous cover), and I’m excited to read it soon!
Louisa May Alcott – I still don’t know why I waited so long to read Little Women, but I’m so glad I finally did this year! I’m looking forward to reading Alcott’s other novels as well.
Morgan Matson – After hearing so many good things about Since You’ve Been Gone, my book club voted to read this earlier this summer and we all fell in love! Since then I’ve read all of Matson’s other novels, I’ve laughed & cried, and now I can’t wait for her to publish more!
Jennifer E. Smith – It is very rare for me to read a book by an author, not really like it, and then decide to give out a second chance and read another of his/her novels. I’m glad I did this with Jennifer E. Smith. I read The Geography of You and Me a few months ago and felt “Ehh” about it. But then I checked out This Is What Happy Looks Like on audiobook and I actually rather enjoyed it. I think I’ll give The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight a chance next.
Cindi Madsen – I won a copy of Madsen’s Falling For Her Fiancé a couple of months ago and adored it! I speed read it and then bought the two sequels and finished them in roughly two days. If you like clean, funny, romances, Cindi Madsen writes some pretty great ones :)
Harper Lee – I was never assigned to read To Kill A Mockingbird, but maybe that’s a good thing, because when I finally felt like reading it this year, I loved it. I wrote all about my feelings on the novel here.
Huntley Fitzpatrick – I had been eyeing My Life Next Door for months and maybe it was delayed gratification, but I loved that book so much more than I thought I would. It’s definitely not all that it seems; it’s better :)

What are some authors you read for the first time this year? I’d love some recommendations!

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6 Impressions From a First Time YALL Fest-er

Rainbow Rowell

Rainbow Rowell!!!!

This time last week I was at YALL Fest, the largest Young Adult book festival in North America (which means it’s probably the largest in the world). It. Was. AMAZING.

I went with my friend Regina and it was our first time at a festival like this so needless to say we were overwhelmed! Later next year, before the next YALL Fest, I will post all about our tips and advice, but for now, let me just enthuse about my 6 biggest impressions/favorite memories from YALL Fest 2014!

  1. Meeting two of my favorite authors

    Ann Brashares
    The two authors I was most looking forward to meeting at YALL Fest were Ann Brashares, author of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, and Rainbow Rowell, author of Eleanor & Park, Landline, and Attachments (my favorite read of the year so far). I got to meet them both and have them sign some books and I was fangirling like crazy! Ann Brashares’s line was shorter which was awesome because she spent a few minutes talking to each of her fans. She told me so many nice things: that I look like a Maggie, that she loved my hair (and she talked about how her daughter has red hair, too), and she was also really happy that I loved Sisterhood Everlasting (the final, darker, and sadder Sisterhood book). Rainbow Rowell’s line was fast-moving, but she did let us take pictures with her! Dreams come true :)

  2. The panels!
    Ok, for anyone who may be going to YALL Fest in the future, do not miss out on the panels!! I absolutely loved meeting Ann Brashares and Rainbow Rowell, but the panels were equally amazing. We got to go to 3 and a half (we came in halfway through one called “The New Romantics”) and it really made YALL Fest incredible for us.
    The New Romantics – several YA romance authors including Ann Brashares, Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass), and Kiera Cass (The Selection), talked about the most romantic things that someone has done for them, genres they wish they could write, and their most embarrassing pieces of writing.

    The New Romantics
    Hollywood Adaptations – LOVED this panel! All of the authors here seemed so down to earth, especially James Dashner, who is such a goof…I can’t wait to meet him one day.

    Hollywood Adaptations
    Closing Keynote – This was a panel with Sarah Dessen (Just Listen, The Truth About Forever) and Ally Condie (The Matched series, Atlantia), but the most entertaining aspect was the moderator, Brendan Reichs (The Virals series), who was absolutely hilarious! It was also inspiring to hear about Ally and Sarah’s writing processes.

    Closing Keynote

  3. YA Smackdown – This is a DO NOT MISS event. Dozens of authors participated in different skits, the most memorable being Hollywood Squares, reading the first lines of famous YA novels, and reading some of their earliest, most embarrassing works. All of this was topped off with a musical performance that concluded with The Rocky Horror Picture Show’s Time Warp.

    YA Smackdown

  4. Realizing authors are just like us
    This sounds like an US Weekly article, but it’s true. The panels showed me that most authors are weird (in a good way)! They aren’t polished or “above anyone,” except some of them DO dress like they’re straight out of The Devil Wears Prada (I’m talking to you, Marie Lu <3)

    Marie Lu

  5. Blogger Dinner
    Friday night we were happy to attend a book blogger dinner where we got to meet bloggers from all over the continent. It was such a fun evening! I love the blogging community :)

    BloggerDinner
  6. Connecting with other fans/bloggers/authors on Twitter
    THIS actually turned out to be a life saver. We found that the YALL Fest website had a lot of conflicting info, for example, some of the author signings required wristbands which were given out earlier in the day. One of these special wristbands was needed for Rainbow Rowell’s line, and the website said those would be given out to the first 200 people in her line in the afternoon, but actually, they were giving them out in the morning. If I hadn’t been scrolling through Twitter while getting dressed that morning, I would have missed the memo a fan fortunately tweeted. I OWE MY SIGNED RAINBOW BOOKS TO HER! Next year, stay updated through Twitter.
  7. Charleston is a lovely city!

    Macaroons
    The people there were so nice! The waitresses, the parking garage attendants, even curious drivers were nice to all of us out-of-towners. And the city had so many cute shops and restaurants. I’ll love visiting this city again next year!

I know this post was long! But hopefully it helps anyone who wants to attend YALL Fest next year! I will probably post about this again next fall because I have plenty of advice for first timers!

YALL Fest

Veronica Roth and James Dashner were hilarious “frenemies” at YALL Fest :)

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I also got to meet Gayle Forman!

Did you attend YALL Fest this year or in the past? What did you think??

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I’d Totally Want To Be For Halloween!

toptentuesdayThis week’s Top Ten Tuesday, brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish, is all about Halloween! Last year I shared with you all my Top Ten picks for Halloween reading and today I’m talking about ten characters I’d love to dress up as. Some of these characters I have already impersonated before, as the pictures will show, but I love them so much I wouldn’t mind wearing those costumes again!

Top Ten Characters I’d Like To Be For Halloween

lolaLola from Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins- Anybody who’s read this book knows how awesome it would be to dress up as Lola. I mean, she dressed up as Marie Antoinette for a school dance! Lola never wears the same outfit twice and each one is her own special creation that reflects her mood for that day. The thing I’d love most about dressing up as Lola would be wearing a really cool wig!

ginnyGinny Weasley from Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling – Ginny is my favorite HP character (welllll…that’s kind of a lie, because Sirius is also my favorite, but Ginny is the HP character who I’d most want to be). After years and years of wanting a reason to dress up as Ginny, my friends and I finally agreed on dressing up for the midnight premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. It was a super simple costume, but I totally felt like Ginny all night :) I even had my wand from The Wizarding World of Harry Potter to make my costume complete. My two best friends dressed up as Luna Lovegood and Dobby! It was so much fun.

TangledRapunzel from Tangled – I’ve mentioned this before, but one of my biggest dreams is for my husband and I to cosplay Flynn Rider & Rapunzel. We both already feel so much like these characters, and Tangled is one of our favorite movies of all time…all that’s missing is for us to actually be Flynn & Rapunzel! Sure we could go buy costumes but we want to do it BIG. One day we’ll throw an epic Disney costume party (or we’ll go to Comic Con) and I will finally get to be Rapunzel :) (Side note: we did have a Disney costume party this summer, which I will be blogging about soon, and we got to dress up as two of our other favorite Disney/bookish characters which was so much fun!!)

robinhoodRobin Hood – Another of my favorite characters whom I’ve already dressed up as, but I’d do it again because it was a blast, was Robin Hood! This photo is back from 2008, when I went to a British Invasion party. The costume I used in this photo was actually from a Peter Pan costume…they are very similar if you think about it. The rest of the costume was simple, and my favorite part was the bow & arrow (although I did love wearing those green tights with my suede boots)! My brother and I would take turn hitting each other with the suction-cupped arrows for months after Halloween.

poeEdgar Allan Poe – My brother actually suggested this costume idea, and I agreed that it would be really fun! It’s fitting, too, since I live an hour from Baltimore, the city where he died & which named its NFL team in his honor. If I dressed up as Poe, I would go around quoting some of his creepier lines and see how long it would take for people to figure out who I was. I think Michael Sheen makes an excellent Poe impersonator in this photo :)

catinthehatThings 1 & 2 from Dr. Suess’s The Cat in the Hat – Ok, one more costume that I’ve already done. I’m repeating myself a lot, but being Things 1 & 2 is so much fun. My two best friends and I did The Cat in the Hat one year and to stay in character we just went around terrorizing everybody. 15 minutes into the party and we were ready for bed. Next time I’ll jump around less ;)

DIVERGENTTris from Divergent by Veronica Roth – I think the coolest thing about the Divergent world is the factions. I knew right away that if I was in Tris’s world, I would also be a Divergent, and I would have also most likely picked Dauntless. I love the characters’ boldness, and their outfits, and their tattoos! My husband also loves them–he thinks Four’s tattoos are awesome as well. This would be a really simple last-minute costume to do: black shirt, black pants, black shoes, and a cool bird tattoo.

willywonkaWilly Wonka from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl – Willy Wonka is a total nut job, but it sure would be fun to dress up like him for Halloween. Either Johnny Depp or Gene Wilder’s version would be cool, as long as I get to wear a velvet suit jacket and carry around a cane. And you can bet that I’d bring a big bag of Wonka candy to give to all of my friends.

musketeersD’Artagnan from The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas – I think this would be an awesome group costume idea. Cool hats, mustaches, and swords! Plus, I really like wearing tights. D’Artagnan has always been my favorite, but I wouldn’t mind being any of the Musketeers.

poisonivyPoison Ivy from the Batman comics – Sometimes villains make the best costumes, don’t they? I have always loved Uma Thurman’s portrayal of Poison Ivy, probably because of her outfits, honestly. Clearly, I have a thing for tights, but I also love dressing up as redheaded characters. If I ever go to a Superheroes vs. Villains party, I will most likely go as Poison Ivy :)

There are ten characters I’d love to dress up as for Halloween! Did you like any of my choices? Which character would you choose?

Top Ten Tuesday: Spring Reading

toptentuesdayToday’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is all about our Spring To-Be-Read pile! This was a nice post, because it made me think about all that I want and need to read within the next few months (and by need I’m referring to books I’m currently borrowing from the library). I hope some of my TBR books spark your interest as well!

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  • Divergent by Veronica Roth: I received this from my sister as a Christmas present and I still haven’t gotten around to reading it yet! I don’t know what I’m waiting for, honestly!
  • The Selection by Kiera Cass: (Clearly I’ve grouped this first section of books as young adult dystopian sci-fi, aka one of my favorite genres) This is one I will be reading within the next week, as it is due back to the library very soon!
  • Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry: Another book I will be reading within the week, I recently discovered that Lois Lowry wrote a couple of companion novels/sequels to The Giver. So I have no doubt I’ll love this read.

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  • The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks: I didn’t have time to finish reading this library checkout before coming back to France after Christmas, so I bought it on my Kindle, where it is still sitting unfinished.
  • Someday, Someday Maybe by Lauren Graham: Yet another book I currently have checked out! Seriously, I have a problem. I’ve heard many good things about this book and it was on my holds list for months–excited to start it soon!
  • Epic Fail by Claire LaZebnik: A modern Pride and Prejudice adaptation that I’ve been wanting to read since participating in Austen in August last summer. Lately I’ve been on a Lizzie Bennet Diaries craze, so this should fit in perfectly :)
  • The First Phone Call From Heaven by Mitch Albom: I love Mitch Albom’s novels. They’re always so thought-provoking and typically uplifting, although I usually cry during some point.

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  • Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie: Ahh, I feel like Peter Pan and Springtime just go hand in hand. They both represent youth and nature and everything I love to reflect on.
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott: This is a classic that has been on my TBR list for years. I feel ashamed to admit that I’ve never read it, despite the fact that I love the film!
  • Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen: The first Austen novel that I ever read. Tonight I watched the most recent BBC adaptation and my love for Marianne and Colonel Brandon just makes me want to read the book all over again! Jane Austen is perfect for spring…and summer…and definitely autumn. Who am I kidding? It’s the perfect reading for any season :)

 

What novels are on your To-Be-Read list this spring? Do we have any books in common?