26 February, 2014

The Lost Planet - Guest Post with Author Rachel Searles

Hi, everyone! We have a special treat on the blog today. Rachel Searles, debut author of The Lost Planet is here with a guest post on invention and world-building. We are really excited to have Rachel on today. Don't forget that Rachel will also be a guest at the Pasadena Book Fest on April 26.

Take it away, Rachel!

On Invention and World-Building

When I talk to readers about the differences between fantasy and science fiction, I’m always quick to point out that while fantasy is based on mythology, magic, and all things make-believe, science fiction is based on elements that, while imaginary, are still largely possible within the laws of physics. This feeling of plausibility is one of the things that makes sci-fi so exciting to me, but as a writer it also means extra research to make sure that the details of my story adhere to the boundaries of reality. That said, it is fiction I’m writing, and at times I’ve stretched those boundaries to the furthest limits (and maybe a little beyond) for the sake of a good tale. I know I’ve done my job when the sci in my fi sounds believable enough that readers can’t tell the difference between what’s based in reality, and what I’ve completely made up.

Early in THE LOST PLANET, my main character Chase and his new friend, Parker, eat a meal produced by a food synthesizer in Parker’s autokitchen. Any Star Trek fan would recognize this machine as homage to the food replicators used on the Enterprise. The theory behind a food synthesizer is that the device grabs some subatomic particles, which exist in abundance throughout the universe, and rearranges them into molecules that are then arranged into the requested food. Sounds plausible, right? While I know that this kind of advanced technology is still far beyond our reach, during my research I was fascinated to learn that first-generation food synthesizers are already being tested, with the early prototypes expected to be put into use on the International Space Station as early as this year! Rather than arranging molecules, though, these devices run on the same principle as a 3D printer, using basic materials like proteins or sugars in a non-perishable powder form to build the food layer by layer. The best part is that these basic building powders can come from any number of unusual sources—after all, protein is protein, whether it comes from meat, legumes…or even insects. You can watch a video of the 3D food printer at work here, but in it you’ll see that “pizza” it makes isn’t exactly mouth-watering just yet. For that reason I decided to stick with the Star Trek-inspired version for my book.

Later in the book, in a diner on another planet, the boys enjoy a futuristic fast-food meal of soy-chitin-riboflavin patties, or “scrappies.” We currently consume soy by the ton, and riboflavin—aka vitamin B12—is an important and colorful part of our diet. But chitin, which you may recognize as the main component in the hard exoskeletons of insects, is used more commonly in the production of lipstick and other cosmetics, as well as surgical thread. It is edible, though, and in a chemically modified form has been used for things like edible films and as a thickener. And wouldn’t crisp insect shells work great as the crunchy filling in a delicious, savory scrappy?

One of the biggest advantages I have in writing an outer space setting is that my husband spent ten years designing, building, and launching rockets into orbit, so I can turn to him for help with the physics of space travel. In a scene where my heroes crash land on an uninhabited, mud-coated wasteland of a planet, he helped me to make sure the details of screaming into the atmosphere in a flimsy shuttle were as authentic as possible. But then I gave my characters their only chance to survive by having them climb up into the limbs of a vast jungle of pale, stalk-like plants. When the plants reject the climbers and send them pitching headfirst into the swamp, readers might think I based this on some sort of trigger mechanism like that of the Venus flytrap, where contact with sensory appendages on the plant cause a swift reaction. And this sure sounds plausible—but I didn’t actually research this at all while writing. I just needed to come up with a good way to try to drown my characters in a sea of mud. After all, sometimes it’s just about writing an exciting story.

Thanks, Rachel, for the fantastic guest post. Be sure to check out The Lost Planet

About the Author:

Rachel Searles grew up on the frigid shores of Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where she spent her childhood studying languages and plotting to travel around the world. She has lived abroad in Munich and Istanbul, working as a cook, a secretary, a teacher, and a reporter for the Turkish Daily News. She now lives in Los Angeles with her rocket scientist husband and two cats, and spends her free time cooking her way through the Internet and plotting more travel.

THE LOST PLANET, coming January 2014 from Feiwel and Friends, is her debut novel.

23 February, 2014

Stacked (17)

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

An event I so look forward to and can't attend every year, the SCIBA Children's Literacy Dinner, was held at the Pasadena Hilton tonight. Partly I love it because I get to meet authors and talk books for hours. Partly I love it because there are so many people attending who have been a part of Bridge to Books in some way or another. I really am looking forward to their next big event--and if you live in the Golden State you can participate too!--California Bookstore Day!

Check out what I got:

Dan Santat had us cracking up with lightbulb jokes and stories about his son who inspired the book The Adventures of Beekle, Natalie Lloyd was her adorable self, Trent Reedy moved me to tears, and John Corey Whaley admirably followed them with a completely improvised speech. I also met Len Vlahos who said he had so much fun writing the guest post I requested for his blog tour.

Five of our Pasadena Teen Book Festival authors were also there: Ann Stampler, Carrie Arcos, Tracy Holczer, Catherine Linka, and Rachel Searles. I'd never met Tracy and Rachel before so it was great to be able to put a face to the name.

I also scored the very last Beekle poster. I know and love the people who were behind me and they would never, ever actually beat me up, but I just *know* they were thinking about it...

Thanks for letting me live. I gotta go read these books!

If you're free Monday night there are a TON of book events happening around town. Check out my last Bridge to Books newsletter for more info.

21 February, 2014

The Junction of Sunshine & Lucky Blog Tour - Interview with Holly Schindler

Thanks so much to author Holly Schindler for including us on her blog tour for The Junction of Sunshine & Lucky! Read on for an interview and a chance to win her new book.

Publication date: 6 February 2014 by Dial
ISBN 10/13: 0803737254 | 9780803737259

About the book:

“Beasts of the Southern Wild” meets Because of Winn Dixie in this inspiring story of hope.

August “Auggie” Jones lives with her Grandpa Gus, a trash hauler, in a poor part of town. So when her wealthy classmate’s father starts the House Beautification Committee, it’s homes like Auggie’s that are deemed “in violation.” Auggie is determined to prove that she is not as run-down as the outside of her house might suggest. 

Using the kind of items Gus usually hauls to the scrap heap, a broken toaster becomes a flower; church windows turn into a rainbow walkway; and an old car gets new life as spinning whirligigs. What starts out as a home renovation project becomes much more as Auggie and her grandpa discover a talent they never knew they had—and redefine a whole town’s perception of beauty, one recycled sculpture at a time. 

Auggie’s talent for creating found art will remind readers that one girl’s trash really is another girl’s treasure.

Q&A with author Holly Schindler:

RNSL: I loved the do-it-yourself projects that the residents of Serendipity Place get up to in The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky. Do you have any creative, artsy-craftsy tendencies (as opposed to writing)? Tell us about them!

HS: I’ve always been an art fanatic—artistic subjects have made their way into a couple of my books, actually. In my first YA, A BLUE SO DARK, I explore creativity and mental illness. In THE JUNCTION, I explore folk art. (In high school, I actually took more art courses than English! It’s funny how those early interests follow you through life…)

RNSL: One of the themes in the book is activism. What inspired you to include it in the story?

HS: I feel very strongly that children from low-income families have the same ability as children from more financially comfortable households to succeed in school—in many ways, a brain is a brain is a brain. Auggie is smart and creative and brave—in many ways, her upbringing makes her see the world more clearly than the children (like Victoria) who live in newer neighborhoods. I hope children from ALL socio-economic backgrounds feel empowered when they read Auggie’s story. I want them to feel that their voice can be heard.

RNSL: You often contrast old and new in this novel. What’s your favorite old / reclaimed / upcycled item you own, and why do you treasure it versus a new one of the same?

HS: My brother’s an antiques dealer, and I often go with him on buying trips. Occasionally, we pick up objects at auctions that are…less than we’d hoped. In order to make a profit, we work together to reinvent those items; recently, we even turned a broken mandolin into wall art! I also love restringing busted jewelry. One of my favorite necklaces is made from a broken pin and old beads. (How fun is it to wear a truly one-of-a-kind item?)

RNSL: Did you have to do any research to write your book?

HS: I was initially inspired by those repurposed, one-of-a-kind items I’ve been finding at rural farm auctions since I was a little girl (I used to attend those auctions with my folks). But as I wrote, I got fascinated with folk art environments—like the Watts Towers in California, or the Orange Show in Texas. I fell in love with the idea of a work of art that the artists could live inside.

RNSL: Can you tell us more about what inspired the novel?

HS: I taught music lessons as I drafted my earliest work. In the beginning, I was writing solely adult novels. But I was shocked at how similar my students were to the kids I’d known in school. They felt so familiar to me that I had to try my hand at writing juvenile lit. It’s so funny—I thought I was teaching lessons just to pay bills. I never in a million years would have thought I’d get career direction from it!

RNSL: Do you still live in the town where you grew up? Have you yearned to wander as some of the Willow Grove folks do?

HS: Actually, I do still live in my hometown. I’ve often said I’d like to see the country—do kind of a TRAVELS WITH CHARLEY, just get in the car and explore. (In my case, it’d be a TRAVELS WITH JAKE, the name of my own dog.)

RNSL: I know the book is set in a small neighborhood in Missouri, but it very much reads like it could be Anytown, USA. How do you strike that balance between specificity and familiarity that makes the reader feel at home?

HS: That’s such an interesting question. I think a big part of it is staying in one place long enough to feel you know it inside-out. Knowing one place in greater depth, having a real connection to that place, allows you to depict characters who have a connection to place, as well—and I think readers pick up on that.

RNSL: When you were Auggie’s age, what kind of interests did you have? Did you collect things or do crafting? Did you champion any causes?

HS: I was brutally shy, actually. I loved books—I was actually already writing!

RNSL: I’m a huge fan of snail mail, though I’m terrible at sending it myself. Are you a fan? Do you wish it would be more popular again, or is digital communication better?

HS: I’m completely with you—I love snail mail. I try to connect on paper as often as I can…Though it’s so much easier to get a response digitally!

RNSL: Are you working on anything new that readers can look forward to after reading The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky?

HS: I’m actually writing my next MG right now! My next YA, FERAL, will release in August of ’14…I’m planning an enormous blog tour; anyone interested can get in touch at writehollyschindler (at) yahoo (dot) com.

RNSL: Do you prefer to pack a lunch or buy it somewhere, and why? What’s your favorite lunch?

HS: What an “Auggie” question! She makes note in the book of the different lunches people eat at her old school vs. her new school. It doesn’t have to be fancy for me…I’m a bring bologna kind of gal.


"...a heartwarming and uplifting story...[that] shines...with vibrant themes of community, self-empowerment and artistic vision delivered with a satisfying verve." – Kirkus Reviews

"Axioms like 'One man's trash is another man's treasure' and 'Beauty is in the eye of the beholder' come gracefully to life in Schindler's tale about the value of hard work and the power of community…Auggie's enthusiasm and unbridled creativity are infectious, and likeminded readers will envy her creative partnership with [her grandfather] Gus." – Publishers Weekly

“Determined to save her home, Auggie [uses] pottery shards, vivid glass, and metal sculptures [to] transform the house’s exterior into a vibrant expression of the love within its walls. In Auggie, Schindler creates a spunky, sympathetic character young readers will engage with and enjoy.” – The Bulletin for the Center of Children’s Book Studies


Twitter: @holly_schindler
Facebook: facebook.com/HollySchindlerAuthor
Author site: hollyschindler.com
Site for young readers: Holly Schindler’s Middles - hollyschindlermiddles.weebly.com. I’m especially excited about this site. I adored getting to interact with the YA readership online—usually through Twitter or FB. But I had to create a site where I could interact with the MG readership. I’m devoting a page on the site to reviews from young readers themselves! Be sure to send your young reader’s review through the Contact Me page.
Group Author Blogs: YA Outside the Lines (yaoutsidethelines.blogspot.com) for YA authors and Smack Dab in the Middle (smack-dab-in-the-middle.blogspot.com) for MG authors.


Giveaway, ends Feb 26:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for reading! Make sure you catch the next post on the blog tour at The Compulsive Reader (Feb 24)!

19 February, 2014

Percy Jackson Uncovered - #PercyUncovered

It's Day 3 of the Percy Jackson Uncovered event!

About the reveal:

Every self-respecting Percy Jackson fan knows that the next book in the Heroes of Olympus series, The Blood of Olympus, will arrive in their hands on October 7, 2014. What they don’t yet know, but are about to find out, is that starting early this summer, a new fleet of the original Percy Jackson & the Olympians series will pop up in stores, sporting brand-new, reimagined covers. They’ll also find out that when these new paperback books are lined up side by side by side, they will reveal one amazing panoramic mural, the handiwork of artist John Rocco: who’s illustrated all the Percy covers since the first rejacketing of The Lightning Thief in 2006.

Even though the books won’t be available until early summer 2014, we won’t make the fans wait that long to feast their eyes. Starting Monday, February 17th (Presidents Day), the Percy Jackson Facebook page will be revealing the new look, one book per day. Five days. Five brand-new covers.

Two of the covers have been revealed so far:

What do you think? I just love John Rocco's work and this is no exception. Now that two of the images have been revealed, there's an additional surprise--all of the covers are connected! It's a great idea and it reminds me of the illustration on the walls in Once Upon a Time Bookstore in Montrose.

Keep an eye out today for the third cover reveal: Like the Percy Jackson Facebook page! Check out the hashtag #PercyUncovered. You can also follow and retweet Rick Riordan @camphalfblood.

Here's a tweet from a fan showing the first two covers together:

18 February, 2014

Grasshopper Jungle - Review - Blog Tour - Giveaway

Thanks to Andrew Smith and Amy at Lady Reader's Bookstuff for including us on the blog tour. Read on for Alethea's review, the trailer, and a giveaway!

I'm also happy to announce that Andrew will be the keynote speaker at our Pasadena Teen Book Fest on April 26th. I can't wait.

Publication date: 11 February 2014 by Dutton Juvenile
ISBN 10/13: 0525426035 | 9780525426035

Category: Young Adult Science Fiction/Horror
Keywords: Apocalypse, Sexuality, Storytelling, Humor
Format: Hardcover, Audiobook
Source: ARC from publisher

About the book:

This is the truth. This is history.
It’s the end of the world. And nobody knows anything about it.
You know what I mean.

Sixteen-year-old Austin Szerba interweaves the story of his Polish legacy with the story of how he and his best friend, Robby, brought about the end of humanity and the rise of an army of unstoppable, six-foot tall praying mantises in small-town Iowa.

To make matters worse, Austin's hormones are totally oblivious; they don't care that the world is in utter chaos: Austin is in love with his girlfriend, Shann, but remains confused about his sexual orientation. He's stewing in a self-professed constant state of maximum horniness, directed at both Robby and Shann. Ultimately, it's up to Austin to save the world and propagate the species in this sci-fright journey of survival, sex, and the complex realities of the human condition.

Alethea's review:

"Good books are always about everything." This is what comes to mind whenever I'm pressed to talk or write about Grasshopper Jungle. I stood in a bookstore today with my friend David and author Aaron Hartzler, and rather than engage in an awkward conversation about sperm (which features in this book, and since its main character is a 16-year-old boy, this should not be a spoiler) we kind of nodded and exhaled, smiling. I bet we were all thinking, "And that was our day. You know what I mean." I was also thinking about what kind of toppings you get on a large Stanpreme pizza. I was hungry.

Austin Szerba is a historian, a great observer of human nature. He doesn't write things down; he chronicles them. He sees the patterns and the connections between things. He feels both the hurricane and the distant flutter of the butterfly's wings. He's bursting--erupting, if you will--with love and a will to live. It makes him a perfect witness to the end of the world. I'm hard pressed to tell you anything more; to tell you more would be to rob you of some of the thrill and excitement of experiencing this book for yourself.

It would not actually be easier to tell you what this book isn't about. It's about life and death. It's about family and friendship. It's about cruelty, love, and togetherness. It's about sexual confusion, instinct, and hunger. It's about loyalty, pride, and giant bugs that only want to do two things.

For those who may be uncomfortable about reading anything with profanity, natural urges, bodily functions, harsh realities, and other difficult subjects, you have two choices: get comfortable, or get out of the way. Reminiscent of Tom Robbins spliced with a B-movie and Season 2 of LostGrasshopper Jungle rips away at the boundaries that marketers and critics keep trying to erect around young adult literature. Smith has produced an unstoppable, emotional, and endlessly quotable novel that kicks down the barriers between genres. Artfully told, Grasshopper Jungle is about everything.

P.S. It was also Manicure Monday yesterday.

Tour Schedule:

February 3rd – The Midnight Garden | The Story Siren
February 4th – Good Choice Reading | Bookish
February 7th – Scott Reads It | Live to Read
February 10th – Alice Marvels | The Society
February 11th – Lexi Swoons | A Reader of Fictions
February 12th – Roof Beam Reader | Forever Young Adult
February 13th – The Compulsive Reader | Books and Bling
February 14th – Book Chic Club | The QQQE
February 17th – JeanBookNerd | Ticket to Anywhere
February 19th – Anna Reads | Word Spelunking
February 20th – Books With Bite | What A Nerd Girl Says
February 21st – Wastepaper Prose | LRB – Guest
February 24th – We Are Word Nerds | Cabin Goddess
February 25th – Ex Libris | Cari's Book Blog | A Good Addiction
February 26th – YA Reads | The Young Folks
February 27th – Novel Thoughts | Fangirlish

About the Author:

Andrew Smith is the award-winning author of several Young Adult novels, including the critically acclaimed Winger (Starred reviews in Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, Booklist, and Shelf Awareness—an Amazon “Best of the Year”) and The Marbury Lens (A YALSA BFYA, and Starred reviews and Best of the Year in both Publishers Weekly and Booklist).

He is a native-born Californian who spent most of his formative years traveling the world. His university studies focused on Political Science, Journalism, and Literature. He has published numerous short stories and articles. Grasshopper Jungle, published February 11, 2014, is his seventh novel. He lives in Southern California.


13 February, 2014

Feral by Holly Schindler - Cover Reveal

Please tweet/share this post if you love young adult thrillers!  Author Holly Schindler asked us to share the cover for her third YA novel, so here it is!

Feral by Holly Schindler
Publication date: 26 August 2014 by HarperTeen
ISBN 10/13: 0062220209 | 978-0062220202

It’s too late for you. You’re dead.

Those words float through Claire Cain’s head as she lies broken and barely alive after a brutal beating. And the words continue to haunt her months later, in the relentless, terrifying nightmares that plague her sleep. So when her father is offered a teaching sabbatical in another state, Claire is hopeful that getting out of Chicago, away from the things that remind her of what she went through, will offer a way to start anew.

But when she arrives in Peculiar, Missouri, Claire quickly realizes something is wrong—the town is brimming with hidden dangers and overrun by feral cats. And her fears are confirmed when a popular high school girl, Serena Sims, is suddenly found dead in the icy woods behind the school. While everyone is quick to say Serena died in an accident, Claire knows there’s more to it—for she was the one who found Serena, battered and most certainly dead, surrounded by the town’s feral cats.

Now Claire vows to learn the truth about what happened, but the closer she gets to uncovering the mystery, the closer she also gets to discovering a frightening reality about herself and the damage she truly sustained in that Chicago alley...

With an eerie setting and heart-stopping twists and turns, Holly Schindler weaves a gripping story that will make you question everything you think you know.

11 February, 2014

Teen'Scape at LAPL Event Recap

Hello, everyone! I am popping in today to do a brief recap of a really fun event that the Read Now Sleep Later team went to over the weekend. The Los Angeles Public Libary Teen'Scape program put on an awesome event at the Central Library branch last Sat Feb 9, 2014. I arrived pretty early so I could check out the selection in their amazing Teen'Scape space. Before we get to the recap I want to say hi to our friends at The Reader's Antidote, Consummate ReaderThe Windy Pages (aka co-blogger Kimberly) and Laura (who doesn't blog) who were also at the event.

This event boasted 5 fantastic authors (it was supposed to be 6 but Robin LaFevers had to cancel at the last minute). In attendance were Gretchen McNeil (Ten, 3:59), Victoria Schwab (The Near Witch, The Archived), Melissa de la Cruz (Bluebloods, Frozen), Anna Carey (Eve, Once), and Margaret Stohl (Beautiful Creatures, Icons). 

The panel started off with the usual intros and such. Stohl admitted that she hates talking about her books and usually lets her friend and sometimes co-writer, Kami Garcia, do most of the talking if possible. Then the library's moderator (the lovely Mary) had some questions for the panel.

Mary: What comes first - the story or characters?

Melissa said that the story usually comes first. She is a plotter and an outliner. She also said that she tends to write stories about small, elite societies and focuses on and insider/outsider culture. 

Victoria said that she is somewhat unusual in that she will start with a setting for her stories and then starts to imagine what kind of characters would fill those settings, and that's how her stories usually begin.

Gretchen, who has a television background, said that she thinks her Hollywood background has had an effect on her writing because she usually starts with a great tagline and creates the story from there. For Ten she started with the tagline "John Hughes with a body count."

Anna Carey said that Eve was based totally on a character. Her series is about Eve's evolution from a naive young woman into someone who is almost unrecognizable at the end of the series. 

Mary: Who are some of your favorite secondary characters in your books? (awesome question because I love secondary characters)

Victoria said that Roland was originally supposed to be on only one page in The Archived and that she imagined him as David Tennant from Dr. Who. As the story went on though, he made many more appearances and Victoria was quite happy to think of him as David Tennant throughout the writing of the book

While she often loves her secondary characters, Gretchen admits that she usually kills them off in her books. In 3:59 though there is a character that she was supposed to kill, but just couldn't.

Melissa said Shakes from Frozen has the same nickname and is inspired by her brother-in-law.

Anna said that a friendship is like its own love story. Eve and Arden from her series are two halves of a whole.

Margaret said that she knew she was on to something when her kids (who were reading Beautiful Creatures as she wrote it) kept asking to see more of Link. 

Mary: What are some writing risks that you've taken?

Melissa said that spinoffs are pretty risky. Originally she wasn't sure if she wanted to do the adult spin-off to Bluebloods when her editors asked her to. But she thought about it and decided to go for it. Margi said that Melissa likes to live on the edge. 

When writing Ten, Gretchen suddenly realized that she had made a risky move with it because it all hinged on one singular important thing - that the audience not know who the killer was until she revealed it. If the audience was able to figure out the killer too early on, then the book would not work. Luckily, it seems to have all worked out. 

Anna said that she did a couple of risky things in the last Eve series book. There are two pretty big twists in the book that she knew needed to happen and seemed like a natural progression of the story. However, after writing it, she realized that the twists were pretty risky and could have backfired on her.

Then Mary asked the panel what the best piece of writing advice they had ever gotten.

One of the authors (sorry I missed who said it) said that her best advice came from author Alyson Noel, who said to be kind to yourself. 

Victoria said that you can't make something better until you have something, so just write and get it out. 

Anna said that her best advice was to write every day and to be patient.

Margaret talked about the benefits of working out (though she claims to hate people who work out). Exercise helps her get out of her head for a bit and she's good to write for a few hours after a good workout. 

Then there was a raffle (I didn't win The Ring & The Crown, dangit!) and books were signed. All of the authors were really fun and sweet and a little silly (as you can see from the photos above). I've only been to a few events at the LAPL Central branch but they always seem to run really smoothly. If you live in the Los Angeles area, please check out the Teen'Scape Facebook page for future events. If you're not local, check out your local library and see what they are doing.

Hope you guys enjoyed this recap. Happy reading!

08 February, 2014

Stacked (16)

Whoops, a lot of catching up to do. See what happens when I let a month go by without updating? Welcome back to Stacked, our sister site Nite Lite Book Reviews's weekly mailbox sharing post.

First up is One Man Guy by Michael Barakiva. Love the quirky cover! Living in Glendale, California (aka the 2nd most Armenian town in America) for most of my life I had to request this immediately.

Next up is The Kingdom of Little Wounds by Susann Cokal. I had already read it in eBook format, but it also won a Printz honor this year, and have you seen this book? Red edges. Gorgeous detail. I had to get a physical copy for my second read.

Pasadena Public Library ran another book swap a few weeks ago. I really tried hard not to bring anything home with me, but I could not leave this behind: Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury in super cool vintage mass market.

I helped fund a Kickstarter for this: Mind Afire: The Visions of Tesla, written by Abigail Samoun and illustrated by Elizabeth Haidle. Love the artwork, they did a great job!

This just arrived yesterday: Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson. It cracked me up because of course *someone* had to hop up on the stool just as I was taking a photo. Mary is gonna have to write him into the next installment...

Last but not least, I went to a signing today at Los Angeles Public Library featuring Margaret Stohl, Anna Carey, Melissa de la Cruz, Gretchen McNeil, and Victoria Schwab. I picked up her new book The Unbound, the sequel to The Archived, and Icons by Margaret Stohl (my friend won an ARC of the sequel, Idols). I'm hoping Thuy or Kimberly will post a recap of the event, since I'm pretty rubbish at those! You can see the rest of my pics on Instagram.

I almost never get adult fiction ARCs anymore, but thanks to Alyson at Kid Lit Frenzy I am reading Coincidence by J. W. Ironmonger. Really good so far! Thanks also to the lovely folks at Macmillan for Hungry by H. A. Swain. They have been crazy generous with the ARCs this year.

I don't have a pic of Icons (Kate took it home with her), and I also don't have a pic of Stories for Nighttime (and Some for the Day) by Ben Loory, which is fantastic and inspiring. That's all the books I have received since last time.

What did you get?

03 February, 2014

February 2014 Events

Hello! Wow - I can't believe that it's February already. This feels like another year that is just going to fly by. I haven't been to too many bookish events this year yet but I have a feeling that it's going to pick up pretty soon, if the Feb calender is any indication. Lots of good stuff is happening this month and we hope that you can make it out to some of these events.

Meet the Cast of Vampire Academy
Monday February 3, 2014
Meet the cast of Vampire Academy and participate in the Fashion Yearbook photos!
The Grove
189 The Grove Drive
Los Angeles, California 90036
Photo Event: 3pm to 8pm
Meet & Greet: 6pm to 7pm

The cast of Vampire Academy is treating you and your girlfriends like fashion stars! You and your girlfriends are invited to get your hair and make-up done by professional beauty artists - then work with a fashion photographer to take a Vampire Academy themed portrait. The cast of the film will also be at The Grove from 6pm - 7pm to sign autographs and take photos with fans. To take part in the exclusive cast autograph signing, wristbands can be picked up on a first come, first serve basis at The Grove by Kiehl’s Since 1851, beginning at noon on Monday, February 3rd. Inventory is limited. The Fashion Photo Booth activities are free and open to the public.

Leigh Bardugo
Shadow & Bone, Siege & Storm
Wednesday February 5, 2014 7pm
Buena Vista Branch Library
300 N. Buena Vista St.
Burbank, CA 91505
*This is my local library and I am super sad that I can't make this event. But if you are anywhere in the area, you should definitely go. Leigh is awesome and the Buena Vista library is lovely.

Marissa Meyer 
February 6, 2014 10am - 11am
San Diego Public Library
Central Library
Auditorium 330 Park Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92101
event page

LAPL Teen'Scape
Meet the Author: Discussion Panel and Book Signing
Saturday February 8, 2014 1:00 PM
LAPL Central Library
630 W. 5th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90071

Join us for a discussion panel and book signing with authors Victoria Schwab (The Unbound: An Archived Novel), Margaret Stohl (Icons, Beautiful Creatures), Melissa De La Cruz (Witches of East End, Blue Bloods), Anna Carey (Eveseries), Robin LaFevers (Grave Mercy, Dark Triumph), and Gretchen McNeil (3:59, Ten). We will have books for sale.
event page

Fight for the Future Tour
Amie Kaufman, Megan Spooner, Marie Lu, Margaret Stohl
Sunday February 9, 2014 2:30pm
Mysterious Galaxy Redondo Beach

2810 Artesia Boulevard
Redondo Beach, CA 
event page

Get A Clue: Middle Grade Magic and Mystery Event
Thursday February 20, 2014 5:45pm - 9pm
Solve a puzzling mystery with 10 middle grade authors, while learning a little bit about what makes a good story. Help your team solve the mystery and you could win the secret prize. What could it be?

With these amazing authors:
Barbara Brauner, James Mattson, Leslie MargolisKristen Kittscher, Gordon McAlpine, Shannon Messenger, Kathleen O’Dell Shawn Thomas OdysseyJames Riley, & Ellis Weiner

Books will be on sale at the event through Barnes and Noble at 20% off their list price. Time will be set aside to make purchases and for book signing. We ask that in support of this event, you please purchase the books you would like to have signed at the event or by pre-order (contact Kim Laird for information on how to pre-order).

Ready to get a clue? Get your $5 ticket today!

To purchase your ticket online, please go to:

For information on how to pay by mail or in person visit http://tiny.cc/fkbhax for more information.

Please make sure to purchase tickets by Friday, February 14.

*Light snacks, drinks, and a mystery themed goodie bag are included with the $5 ticket purchase.

This is a ticketed event. Recommended for kids age 7-12.
Minors must be accompanied by a responsible adult.

Jessica Brody
launch party for Unforgotten
Monday February 24, 2014 7:30pm
Mysterious Galaxy Redondo Beach
2810 Artesia Boulevard
Redondo Beach, CA 90278
event page

Tahereh Mafi
Ignite Me
Monday February 24, 2014 7:00 PM
Barnes & Noble
The Grove at Farmers Market
189 The Grove Drive Suite K 30
Los Angeles, CA 90036
event page

Len Vlahos
Scar Boys
Monday February 24, 2014 6:30pm
695 E. Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, California 91101
event page

LA Teen Author Reading Series
Tuesday February 18, 2014 4pm
Los Angeles Public Library
1410 W. Temple Street
Los Angeles, California 90026

The February Los Angeles Teen Author Reading Series at LAPL is Tuesday, February 18th at 4 p.m., Echo Park Branch. Hosted by Kathryn Rose, author of Camelot Burning, readers include: Cecil Castellucci, author of Tin Star, Annabel Monaghan, author of Double Digit and Amy Talkington, author of Liv Forever.

Save the Date
March 9 2pm - Lauren Oliver at The Grove
March 4 7pm - Brandon Sanderson at MG San Diego
April 1 7pm - Ava Dellaria at The Grove
April 24 7:30pm Carrie Arcos at Skylight
April 26 5pm - Brandy Colbert at Skylight