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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November Highlights

Oh my gosh, it is December already!? Whaaaat!

October was a big month for me, but November was just as busy and eventful. This month brought some great, new changes to my life, and it was also a bit of an awakening for me as well. My blogging and reading time entered a bit of a lull, but if you keep reading on you’ll see that it’s been worth it :)

November Highlights!

This month I read 7  books! (Which might not seem like a lot, but it surprised me because I felt like I hadn’t read anything this month)

thebeautifulamerican thetroublewithflirting waroftheworlds thewonderofallthings
            robinhood weddingnight somethingstrange

I still need to get my review up for The War of the Worlds, and later this week I will be hosting a blog tour for The Beautiful American, which I am so excited to talk about!

What I Watched In November

Like I talked about last month, Matt and I have been binge watching Supernatural. We watch a couple of episodes most nights, and right now we are halfway through Season 5. The first two seasons were amazing! I am totally in love with Sam and Dean and I LOVE their relationship. I think the fact that they are brothers as opposed to best friends makes the show so much better. But seasons 3 and 4 were kinda disappointing. Season 5 is better, but honestly, every time Castiel pops up, I know the rest of the episode is going to go downhill (except for the Trickster one! Oh my gosh, that’s one of my favorite episodes so far).

I also started The Blacklist, and I think I’ll be binge watching the rest of Season 1 next month (I have SO MANY QUESTIONS!).

I saw The Maze Runner finally (and broke my cardinal rule by seeing the movie first), and loved it, but I also saw Nightcrawler with Jake Gyllenhaal and was creeped out. Good movie, but not the kind of thing I want to see twice.

Most Popular Blog Post

My most viewed post from November was my update on my 25 Things list! I’m slowly crossing off things from my list of 25 Things For My 25th Year, and I’ve done some pretty big and exciting things throughout the past couple of months!

Favorite Memories From November:

  • I GOT A JOB! Woooooo! I talked about this in my 25 Things Update post, but I’ve been employed for nearly 3 weeks now and I love it so far. My husband and I are very thankful for God’s provision.
  • YALL Fest!!! I could go on and on about this amazing experience, but I sort of already did that ;)
  • Thanksgiving! This was my first Thanksgiving in 3 years that I got to spend in the States, and since it is my favorite holiday, I was very excited about it! My grandfather came to visit us for the long weekend and it was really nice getting to spend some time with him. I spent Thursday morning watching the parade and cooking up all my favorite dishes from last year.
    thanksgiving

Biggest Challenge From November

NOT ENOUGH READING TIME! This is the one downside to working full-time: I don’t have as much time to read and blog. My commute to work is about 1 hour and 15 minutes, so I’ve been listening to audio books to make up for it, but not all of the books I want to read for reviews, for example, are available on audio book. Hopefully this month I can catch up on my TBR pile :)

December To Be Read:

I listed most of my TBR for next month on last week’s Top Ten Tuesday post, but I also plan on finishing the books on my Back to the Classics list, which includes North & South, The Journey to the Center of the Earth, and For Whom the Bell Tolls.

Things I’m Looking Forward To In December:

  • Matt and I celebrate our 3rd Anniversary later this month! Hopefully we can spend a 3 day weekend somewhere nice.
  • CHRISTMAS! But mostly Christmas decorating! I love Christmas, but I really love getting ready for Christmas. Usually we would have gotten our Christmas tree the weekend after Thanksgiving, but we were busy visiting family, so we’re doing that one night this week instead and I AM EXCITED! Matt and I have a tradition of decorating the tree, making Christmas cookies, and watching It’s A Wonderful Life :)

What were some of your favorite moments/books from November??

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 :)

gayleforman

I also got to meet Gayle Forman!

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

October Highlights

October was a big month for me. I dealt with a lot of different transitions as my husband and I entered our second month of living in the States. I revamped my blog, I discovered a lot of things about myself, and I came to some conclusions about where I want the future to take me.

Here are some of my highlights from the month of October:

I read 10 books this month!
thegeographyofyouandme dearmrknightley Adobe Photoshop PDF peterpanannotated
   lola isla grimmlegacy grimmmemories
I have now exceeded my 2014 reading challenge goal of 45 books by reading 65 total.

Favorite Read:
secondchancesummer

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

As always, Morgan Matson’s writing impacted me deeply. This book more so than her other two. It’s one of those books that I label as “life-changing.”

Least Favorite Read:
theoneandonly

The One and Only by Emily Giffin

Normally I don’t post negative reviews, but I couldn’t even finish reading Emily Giffin’s latest book. It’s really long, slow-moving, and morally questionable.

Favorite TV Show:
As hinted at by this post, my husband and I started watching Supernatural and we’re hooked! We’re already halfway through the second season. I love Sam & Dean!

But on a lighter note, Green Gables Fables is my favorite current YouTube series and a couple of weeks ago they released this video which has been my favorite of the series so far. If you’re not familiar with Anne of Green Gables, this is the follow-up to my favorite scene from the book.
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Most Popular Post:
Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I’d Totally Want To Be For Halloween
But my post on Sleepy Hollow last year was also really popular this month.

Favorite Memories From October:

  • Trick-or-Treaters!! This is probably the first Halloween I was able to hand out candy to trick-or-treaters, and I never thought I would enjoy it so much! At first I was worried we wouldn’t have any kids come by, because this neighborhood is fairly small and out in the middle of the woods. But we actually had quite a lot! And they all had such amazing and cute costumes. And Solo was there to greet each kid that said “Trick-or-Treat!” and I think they were more into petting him than getting any candy :)
  • This month I also got to spend a lot of time with my family, which I really needed. Even though we didn’t do anything big or exciting, it as a lot of fun just watching football with my dad and brother, going shopping with my mom, and going to the movies or out to dinner with everyone.
  • Earlier in October Matt finally received his green card! Now if only we could find jobs…

November To Be Read:

thetroublewithflirting thebeautifulamerican waroftheworlds
                    loveunexpected amostinconvenientmarriage

Things I’m Looking Forward To In November:

  • This week I have a job interview! It’s my first positive result from my job search so far. I’ve applied to so many jobs and received a few negative responses, but yesterday I finally received some good news. I know nothing is guaranteed yet, but it’s still encouraging to make it this far.
  • Next weekend is YALL Fest! It’s my first book conference/event and I’m going with my friend Regina @ The Sunflower Pages. There will be several of my favorite authors there, but I think I’m most excited about Rainbow Rowell and Ann Brashares. I’ll post all about it afterwards!
  • This is the month of THANKSGIVING! Last year I did my daily 30 Days of Thankfulness posts, which I won’t be doing again this year, but I encourage you all to think about what you’re thankful for this month & to share those things with others :) I’m thankful for my family, because without them I’d be lonely, miserable, and homeless.

What were some of your favorite highlights from October?