Saturday, May 31, 2014

BEA 2014 Highlights, Day Two

Because sometimes, we like posting things together, too!

Hey bookworms!

I'm so sad that it's already the last day of BEA. Time flew by WAY too fast!

If you're following me on Pinterest and Twitter, you've already seen some great stuff Kat and I have found. If not, what are you waiting for?

Here's a peek at my favorite moments from yesterday:

I didn't take pictures,  but the Spencer Hill Press breakfast was lovely! We got to chat with Megan Whitmer, Kelly Hashway, Rachel Harris, Kelsey Macke, and Jennifer L. Armentrout, and Trisha Wooldridge. Lovely, lovely time!

Speaking of Spencer Hill Press...

Danielle Ellison and Alex Kahler are so adorable together!
They were both signing at the Spencer Hill Press booth!
Secret?  I hadn't heard of either before, but i saw a summary for MARTYR the day before and got grabby hands!
Everyone else will tell you the HEIR OF FIRE by Sarah J. Mass was the craziest line they went through. Kat got there two hours early and was #62 in line! For me, it was WE WERE LIARS by E. Lockhart. I saw someone signing and a short line, so I hopped into it. Oh no no.... it was double wrapped though a couple of aisles!

And I got to meet E. Lockhart again, along with Gayle Forman, Meg Wolitzer, and Jandy Nelson:

 The Realistic YA panel!
Got to chat with Kelly Barnhill and check out her new upcoming MG! And she remembered me from online ♥

I got to see my girl Alethea AGAIN!
Love her and her outfits!
Gah, I thought I'd miss meeting Miranda Kenneally. So lucky!!! I've supported her since her debut! Oh hi, and my favorite Sourcebooks publicist is photobombing!
Maggie Stiefvater, up on a table at Books of Wonder!
Such a troublemaker... ^.~
She was on panel with Garth Nix, Jennifer L. Armentrout, Alethea Kontis, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Gretchen McNeil, and A.G. Howard!
More pictures from the event are on Pinterest! 

 And that's a wrap!  I should start getting ready for the final day. I'm about to be completely shy and overwhelmed and cotton-tongued! I was lucky enough to be invited to a breakfast with Sarah J. Maas and Jessica Day George... *at* the Bloomsbury publishing house office. I just... can't. CANNOT COMPUTE!

See you again tomorrow!

Friday, May 30, 2014

BEA 2014 Highlights, Day One

Because sometimes, we like posting things together, too!

Hey bookworms!

We've already done so much in the short time we've been here!

If you're following me on Pinterest and Twitter, you've already seen some great stuff Kat and I have found. If not, what are you waiting for?

Here's a peek at my favorite moments from yesterday:

My favorite of all?  Meeting Gregory Maguire,
who inspired me to love a villain's backstory
and write about them. I freaked out. A lot.
He has a new novel coming out entitled

Meeting Garth Nix!  I got so tongue-tied with him! 

Harlequin Teen Hour!  Kat was most excited
about meeting Julie Kagawa and getting TALON.
 But we also got to meet Jennifer Armentrout,
Dawn Metcalf, Robin Talley, and Adi Alsaid!

I have all three of the tote bags I wanted...
HEIR OF FIRE,  DEEP BLUE (it turns into a
reversible towel! So soft!) and THE DARKEST MINDS! 

Going to Egmont's fifth year anniversary breakfast! 

They featured five of their authors:
Sarah Cross, Michael Grant,  Christopher Myers, Micol Ostow, and Jessica Verday.

I got to sit next to Sarah Cross at breakfast and chat. She is so nice
And sweet and get dress that looked like Houndstooth was really
cute bunnies! 
Lived listening to Michael Grant talk! 

Christopher was a riot! He's known for his picture
books, but he's coming it with his first novel...
about Joan of Arc!
Loved chatting with this man! 

 And that's a wrap!  We're o ff to a Spencer Hill Press breakfast and then Day 2 of BEA!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The BEA Buzz: An Early Glimpse of the Showroom Floor!

Because sometimes, we like posting things together, too!

Hey bookworms!

We've already done so much in the short time we've been here!

If you're following me on Pinterest and Twitter, you've already seen some great stuff Kat and I have found. If not, what are you waiting for?

Here's an early glimpse at some of the great things we've already glimpsed at BEA!

Putting up a sign for THE INFINITE SEA by Rick Yancy!

These steps are AWESOME! 

Libba Bray's band! 

If you like John Green, this book already has a lot of buzz! 

Our Teen Author Carnival 2014 panel! 

And the authors! 

My favorite new tote!  THE DARKEST MINDS!!!

And finally, the first ARCs of BEA! 

 See you again tomorrow!

I'm off to a breakfast with Egmont featuring Sarah Cross,  Michael Grant, and more,   and Kat's going to try to get us Gregory Maguire tickets for later!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Pictures from BEA 2014 Start Here!

Because sometimes, we like posting things together, too!

Hey bookworms!

Today, Kat and I leave for the Book Expo of America at the Javits Center in NYC!

 We're on the train right now:


We're planning to take a bunch of pictures to share with everyone staying at home so they can virtually experience BEA.

This year, we both have good smart phones, too, so it will be so much EASIER to share pictures instantly with you!

I'm also hoping to go to various author events off-site, so they'll be included.

I'm really excited!

If you're going to BEA, too, stop and say hi if we bump into one another! ^_^

You'll know it's me because I'm sporting crazy, messy comic book nails:

Sorry, didn't clean them up before I took this! 

Doesn't this make you want to read comic books by Jodi Picoult and Tamora Pierce now? 

And don't forget...

If you don't work in the book industry, you can STILL get a taste of BEA this coming Saturday at a reduced rate of $30 ($35 on-site if you wait until Saturday to buy your ticket) as Book Con invades the Javits Center! This year will be all sorts of crazy. No one really knows how it will bleed into BEA or stand on its own. But there are going to be amazing panels featuring John Green, Stan Lee, Tina Fey, Veronica Roth, Jeff Kinney, Rick Riordan, James Patterson, Danielle Fishel, Grumpy Cat, and more!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

{Review} TAKE ME ON by Katie McGarry

Happy Book Day to 

Check out my reviews of Katie McGarry's  

You can also see my review of Katie McGarry's  
CROSSING THE LINE, a novella that comes free
with your copy of TAKE ME ON!
O P E N I N G   H O O K:

    A DOOR SQUEAKS OPEN AT THE FAR END of the barren hallway and the clicking of high heels echoes off the row of metal post-office boxes.  I attempt to appear casual as I flip through the mail. All of it leftovers from our previous life: my brother's mixed martial arts magazine, an American Girl doll catalog for my sister, another seed and gardening catalog for my mother.
    Collection notices for my father.
    There are more demands for payment. I wonder if I should give them to dad or hand them off to my mother or grandfather. Maybe I should save us all from the reminder and set them on fire. It's not like there won't be a fresh batch tomorrow.
    I juggle a few pieces to keep all of it from falling onto the floor. Beyond the windows, the sky darkens into dusk. I inhale deeply to calm the nervous adrenaline flooding my veins. Too much to do, not enough time: the mail, the grocery list from my aunt, convince the grandfather who hates me to write me a letter of recommendation, dropping off and picking up my father's antianxiety medication. It's Friday night and I've got two hours to make my uncle's curfew or I'll be spending the night on the streets.
(page 7, nook e-book edition)

When Katie McGarry announced that her new book would feature Wes, the brother of the heroine from CRASH INTO YOU, many readers were upset. In CRASH INTO YOU, McGarry hinted at a relationship between Rachel's brother Ethan and her best friend Abby (But Abby is back in TAKE ME ON, and gets quite a bit of page time! I'm sure we'll see her in her own novel soon!). Wes was the mess-up, the jerk. I personally was looking forward to reading his story and seeing what happened after the events that concluded CRASH INTO YOU. While you can read this as a stand-alone--and it is a stand-alone--if you're ever planning to read CRASH INTO YOU, read that one first. Just because there is major stuff that happens and TAKE ME ON spoils so much of that. At the same time, it made me want to go back and re-read CRASH INTO YOU and re-experience all the feels.

Wes has a lot of problems. He's done a lot of things wrong and his family hates him for it. When he's expelled for fighting at school, his father is finally so fed up that he kicks Wes out. Wes is alone and living in his car. Can life get any worse? When he saves a girl named Haley from being jumped in the streets, his life changes in many unexpected ways. Haley, on the other hand, isn't exactly grateful for Wes helping her out. She can defend herself and holds a National Title. When her ex-boyfriend's brother jumps her and steals her father's medicine, her ex gets on her case...until Wes steps in and agrees to fight MMA-style...cage and all. So now Haley has two months to train Wes to fight a guy who has been training all his life. While Wes and Haley come from different walks of life, once their paths cross, they can only be strongest when they're together.

One of the most interesting things about a McGarry novel is the fact that she doesn't flinch from the hard realities many teens face, ones that are buried and never discussed. Haley used to be homeless. Her dad lost his job, their house went into foreclosure, and the whole family had to live in a shelter. I haven't read a book before featuring a character in this situation. When we see homeless people, they're portrayed as begging for money/food/etc, and the truth behind what brought them to that moment is often overlooked. And a homeless teenager who isn't a runaway? Forget about it. I think Haley's situation is important and will really resonate with teens who have experienced that type of lifestyle. They can also relate to Wes, who has been kicked out and is living in his car...during the winter when temperatures go below freezing. These threads of the story are about life and survival and making the best of a bad situation. That is the heart and soul of a Katie McGarry novel. And I feel ashamed, because at times when I read this, I sort of wished every character wasn't going through a major, gritty situation, because that happens with every character in every book of hers. At the same time, it's so important to feature these types of characters, and McGarry is exactly the right writer for the job. She makes you care about these people and want them to overcome everything and be happy. 

Another thing I really liked about TAKE ME ON...and this is spoilery, so you should stop reading this particular paragraph now if you don't want to be spoiled at all. What I really liked is that there is a big role reversal going on. Haley is the strong one, the fighter. Not Wes. She's more experienced than him in other ways, too. I just want to point out that it's completely awesome to feature that kind of dynamic, because a guy isn't always stronger, faster, smarter, everything than a girl. But male characters are frequently portrayed in this way. I really enjoyed the role reversal. Wes is strong. He is a lot of things. But Haley comes out on top in many categories, and I think that's so cool.

I continue to enjoy reading McGarry's novels. They have a lot of heart and soul, and characters you can really care about. You might not always like a character and his or her actions, but you also understand and still embrace the flaws. McGarry's writing is only getting stronger, too. She listened when a lot of readers complained about the many pet names characters use for one another and eliminated them this time around. I was a huge fan of that change. She also isn't a one-trick pony, and each book manages to integrate new, realistic situations that many teens face that are never explored. She also talks about how to get help in a completely non-preachy way that can only help teens going through the same things with no one to talk to about it. There's no one quite like her in the YA contemporary market right now.

Content Ratings: highlight between ( ) for details

Romance: PG15 ( sexual content; nothing explicit )
Language: PG13 
Violence: PG13 ( Haley gets jumped, and there's a lot of fighting. Nothing overly graphic )
Other: PG13 ( Mentions of drugs and drug dealers; verbal [family] abuse )
C O V E R   D E S I G N:

This cover would, again, not make me take any particular notice. But only because I'm me and I tend to overlook many contemporary covers. I think the cover will actually appeal to many people. I like that it has boxing featured on the cover, highlighting a bit of the story. It stands out and is different. Although the model portraying Haley is less muscular than she would really be, but that's often an issue with books featuring female atheletes. 

The thing I always love best about Katie McGarry's covers is that when you take them off and make the book naked, there's a second cover hiding for you to find! It's a different pose featuring the same scene, and feels shiny and sleek, not papery like most bookboards. Since I read this one as an ARC, I'll be interested in seeing the secret surprise cover when I get a final copy!
O F F I C I A L   I N F O:

Author: Katie McGarry
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: May 27, 2014
Received: For Review

Acclaimed author Katie McGarry returns with the knockout new story of two high school seniors who are about to learn what winning really means.  

Champion kickboxer Haley swore she'd never set foot in the ring again after one tragic night. But then the guy she can't stop thinking about accepts a mixed martial arts fight in her honor. Suddenly, Haley has to train West Young. All attitude, West is everything Haley promised herself she'd stay away from. Yet he won't last five seconds in the ring without her help.  

West is keeping a big secret from Haley. About who he really is. But helping her-fighting for her-is a shot at redemption. Especially since it's his fault his family is falling apart. He can't change the past, but maybe he can change Haley's future.  

Hayley and West have agreed to keep their relationship strictly in the ring. But as an unexpected bond forms between them and attraction mocks their best intentions, they'll face their darkest fears and discover love is worth fighting for.

Monday, May 26, 2014

{Review} CROSSING THE LINE by Katie McGarry

You can buy CROSSING THE LINE for 
on nook and Kindle! 

Even better?
If you're planning to buy TAKE ME ON in hardcover,
You get CROSSING THE LINE included at the back
FOR FREE!!!!! 

Check out my review of Katie McGarry's  

Stop back tomorrow for my review of TAKE ME ON
and help celebrate its Book Birthday!
O P E N I N G   H O O K:

ON THE COMPUTER SCREEN, the question "Why?" glares at me like the correct accusation it is.  This dialogue between Lila and me, it breaks every unsaid rule about our relationship.  We never plug in like this.  Never.  Not that part of me hasn't wanted a faster connection to her.  A link beyond the letters, but there was something about the written word that made our relationship safe.  
And now we're crossing lines.
(page 8, nook e-book edition)

This review was first posted on A Backwards Story
April 21, 2013.

CROSSING THE LINE may be a novella, but it never felt like one.  Too many novellas are fast-paced, offering only a glimpse of life that ties in to a larger book.  Somehow, Katie McGarry managed to create a full, fleshed-out story.  Did I want more?  Yes, of course!  Lila and Lincoln are both great characters, and I would have loved to dig into their psyche more, especially the downtrodden Lincoln.  One of the things I liked so much about PUSHING THE LIMITS was all the grit, the way we emphasized with the characters over their issues.  I still felt we got to learn a lot about both of the characters despite the brevity of the story in which they were contained.  In some ways, I would have rather seen a full novel from this couple as opposed to Beth and Ryan in DARE YOU TO. (But that's because Beth isn't my favorite among McGarry's heroines.  I could read about Ryan for hours, though!  A review of DARE YOU TO is coming next month closer to the book's release, so look forward to it!) 

Readers familiar with PUSHING THE LIMITS will recognize Lila as Echo's best friend.  Readers unfamiliar with PUSHING THE LIMITS need not worry about picking CROSSING THE LINE up first.  There are a few things that pick up from the first book, but they're both fully self-contained.  Lincoln is a wholly original character we were never introduced to the first time around.  Lila and Lincoln met two and a half years ago at Echo's brother Aires' funeral.  Lincoln's brother, Josh, were part of the same military unit and both killed in Afghanistan.  Lincoln went to Aires' funeral hoping for closure.  He found Lila.  The two became pen pals, and one of the most charming parts about CROSSING THE LINE is the way the start of each new chapter includes a snipped from their letters to one another.  Graduation is now upon both Lila and Lincoln, and they've made plans to meet up again in college.  The only problem?  Lincoln is keeping a secret, a big one.  When Lila uncovers it, the dynamic of their relationship changes, and they must deal with their feelings for one another in person.

Get ready to read CROSSING THE LINE
for free when you purchase
I wasn't a fan of Lila's ex-boyfriend; at first, I wasn't unsure about his inclusion in the story due to length, but by the end, I completely understood why he had to be included, and I approve.  I also admire the way McGarry packed so much into a novella without allowing information to ever overwhelm readers.  Nothing was left out, or felt rushed, or left loose ends.  It was a complete story.  Looking back, I can't quite believe this was so short because it felt very full to me.  The only reason I know I'm tricking myself is because I could have read this storyline for hours!  McGarry continues to excel at developing characters that readers can't help but fall in love with and root for.   My only problem with CROSSING THE LINE was that it was over much too soon!
C O V E R   D E S I G N:

This cover wouldn't make me personally pick  up the book and read it, but I don't pick up a lot of books in this genre, so the cover isn't meant for me.  

I do, however, really like the way the blue from the cover pulls from the blue in the guy's shirt.  Not only that, the title is textured with the same lighting style that ripples over the couple on the cover, which I think is really unique and fun!
O F F I C I A L   I N F O:

Author: Katie McGarry
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: April 1, 2013
Received: Purchased

Katie McGarry captivated readers with her “riveting, emotional”* Young Adult debut, PUSHING THE LIMITS. In this gripping novella, she tells the story of Lila and Lincoln, who discover that sometimes it’s worth crossing the line for love…

Lila McCormick, Echo's best friend from PUSHING THE LIMITS, first met Lincoln Turner when tragedy struck both their lives. But she never expected their surprise encounter would lead to two years of exchanging letters—or that she’d fall for the boy she’s only seen once. Their relationship is a secret, but Lila feels closer to Lincoln than anyone else. Until she finds out that he lied to her about the one thing she depended on him for the most.

Hurting Lila is the last thing Lincoln wanted. For two years, her letters have been the only thing getting him through the day. Admitting his feelings would cross a line he’s never dared breach before. But Lincoln will do whatever it takes to fix his mistakes, earn Lila’s forgiveness—and finally win a chance to be with the girl he loves.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

{Mad About Nails} Daisy-Inspired Nails

I've had quite a few people comment on my nails in the past ask what I was using or wish I'd done a close-up so they could see better, etc., etc., and had a realization: Why not do a feature on nail polish? It's not book-related (Unless you're wearing the new HUNGER GAMES-inspired line from China Glaze, but I'm not even going into how wrong that is...), but it's fun. Plus, if I do this feature, I'll be more likely to re-paint my nails this week and less likely to let them chip their way to the bare bones (which would mean that I could see my nails...and if I see them, I want to bite them!).

Welcome back to another edition of Mad About Nails! 

It's been a few months since I did one of these posts!

I got really sick in February, and I used medicine that destroyed my nails/hair/etc. I put myself on a serious nail regime to get them back into shape (Which I'll do a post about another time). 

For two months straight, I wore no nail polish. For the past month, I've worn only cream-based polishes. I'm still on a glitter/texture ban. 

This coming week for BEA, I'll finally get to do something fun and crazy again! This past week was still simple, but cute. 

Even better? This week's design was inspired by my adorable 5-month old niece! 

I sat down to do black with white polka dots on an accent nail. My yellow was still sitting out from when I did accent polka dots the week before. I recalled a picture my sister just sent and completely changed my mind!

Left Hand:

Right Hand:

Ack, it's a little blurry! Sorry!!!
I'm right-handed, so my right hand is usually not done as well with my left...

...but this week I think I like this hand a little better!

For my Base Coat/Top Coat:

These two are POWERHOUSES for
long-lasting manicures!  One lasted
1.5 weeks, the other for 2!!!
I started off with a basecoat of ORLY "Bonder."  Many of the professional nail studios use this as a basecoat when doing nails for their clients.  It's a rubberized coat that helps polish adhere to the nail.  It stinks, but it's great!

I finished the base color off with a top coat of Revlon's "Quick Dry Top Coat."  I'd heard it was a rival for the legendary Seche Vite, but with fewer harsh chemicals.  It also doesn't go bad in the bottle or shrink when used.  I was intrigued, and so far, this stuff is FABULOUS.

Together, this combo has made my nails last, on average, 1.5 to 2 weeks. They're both awesome!


I put the Top Coat over the black base ONLY, not the design. I didn't put it over the design for about 3 days instead it started to get worn and I wanted to make the manicure last longer. I like designs best when they're sharp, and a top coat gives the design a blurry look.

Take a peek at what I mean:


For my base color:

I love ORLY "Liquid Vinyl" for a good, shiny black that really pops. It's my favorite black! I bought this at Halloween from a display at Sally's Beauty Supply, but ORLY is always mixing this color into various collections. It's easy to get your hands on!

After two coats of the polish, I used Revlon "Quick Dry Top Coat." It looks really shiny and glossy! Once it was dry, I added the dots...

For my design:

My favorite high-shine white is Zoya "Purity." I love using it together with ORLY "Liquid Vinyl!" I decided to do two daisies on my accent nail, then did the same for my index finger. When I started to do my right hand, I was a little shakier (I'm right-handed). I made the petals on my index finger a little too big, so I only had one flower and it didn't match the other hand. So I decided to get creative and added some dots at the side. Then I went back to my other fingers. Now, every finger either has one daisy, two daisies, or a double row of dots! For the yellow, I used ULTA "Sun-Sational."

Sally Hansen has now started selling "I Heart Nail Art" kits at Target, CVS, etc, and one of the kits comes with a dotting tool and a detail brush. I decided to buy it on sale one day and try it out. The white petals are done with the detail brush, and everything else is done using the dotting tool. The tools are a little small, which makes them less comfortable to use than my Mash dotting tools, but I can also get in closer and have a straighter edge than when I use a larger detail brush. They work well enough for the price, though, and make it easy for everyone to pick up tools and try out some nail art!

 Is anyone else obsessed with nail polish? What are you wearing right now?