Saturday, November 30, 2013

Jodi Meadows Giveaway - Infinite

When I was a freshman in college, the Internet was just gaining in popularity. Yes, apparently I’m that old now. At the time, the cool way to talk to people online was by using IRC – internet relay chat.

Evidently I was pretty freaked out about the whole college experience, because I spent most of my first semester of college talking to a boy online – I was in New Hampshire and he was in Kansas. I thought he was pretty great and actually flew out to visit him at one point during which, stuff happened, and I was convinced I was madly in love with him.

So what did I do? The summer before my sophomore year of college, he drove out to Connecticut to pick me up and I moved to Kansas to go to school. Yeah, I did that. It was a stupid idea, but some good things actually came of it. I felt a little more empowered about my life choices and started trying to make big decisions for myself, even if they weren’t always good decisions. I learned that, while I was sucking as a wildlife management major in NH, I was pretty damned amazing at marketing and other related business courses, and I found a major more in line with my skill set. (I really wanted to major in medieval studies, but had no idea what I could possibly do with that degree. Guess what – for the most part, I don’t think it matters at all what you major in.)  

Bad Things Happened while I was in KS, and I left for a while, but I went back, even after that guy and I were no more. Somehow a decision that came about through silly life choices managed to work pretty well for me, and since then, I haven’t been afraid to pick up and move when I wanted to try somewhere new.

Jodi Meadows Giveaway - Asunder

Once upon a time I worked in a now defunct countrywide chain of stores selling home d├ęcor and it was, in a word, demoralizing. At the time, I was living in a town full of people who were always searching for a bargain, and they were ruthless in their pursuit of cheap items at any cost.

At the same time, I was engaged to a guy who was pretty demoralizing in his own right. We got together after his mom fell into a coma, and I felt bad for him because he was always alone in her hospital room, hoping for her to get better. After she died I felt stuck with him – how do you dump someone whose mom has just died?

So here I was, at a crap job (but decent pay!) in a crap town with a crap guy I didn’t really want to be with. Eventually I got the strength to leave the guy and the town, but leaving the job was harder in some ways.

With about one week left in my two weeks notice, I was working a shift one night with the worst of the bosses. He was rude and cruel and condescending and pretty terrible to work with. Before my shift ended that day, he told me to put away all the returns in the giant return cart at the customer service desk, so I did that. When I told him I had done that, he rudely insisted that I hadn’t and proceeded to spend a few minutes yelling at me and insulting me. I can’t remember what I said exactly, but it may have been that he should “go fork himself,” but I clearly didn’t say fork.

He told me that my two weeks notice was over and not to come back because I was done. A few days later I was talking to a nice manager at the store, and the jerk manager hadn’t told them what happened, so I was marked down as a no-show and forever ineligible for rehire with the company.

I could have probably handled things better, but for the most part, I avoid confrontation like the plague, so it was good that I stood up for myself in some way, even if it was the wrong way.

Jodi Meadows Giveaway - Incarnate

About three hours ago, I won NaNoWriMo. That means that in one month - thirty days - I wrote over 50,000 words towards what I hope will be my first novel.

I've been toying around with the idea of becoming a writer for some time now, but I hadn't yet even tried. I was scared that if I tried and failed, that somehow that might damage me in some way, to discover that there's one more thing that isn't for me. I am in my mid-thirties, and quite frankly, I'm still not positive what I should be when I "grow up." 

When I remembered that NaNo was coming, I decided that now was the time - to start, to try, to write - and so I started. Someone said that the point of NaNo isn't actually to finish, to win with 50,000 words. The point is to sit down every day and write, and so I did just that. Sometimes I felt like I was doing a great job and was proud of myself, and sometimes I thought I was horrible and definitely not a writer, but I kept going. Every single day, even if it meant I was up past midnight, I wrote.

And I did it - I finished. I still don't know if I'm any good, but I am so proud of myself for trying.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Melissa Landers' "Alienated" + Dido

Here I go again, requesting books from NetGalley because the covers are pretty! For the most part it's served me pretty well thus far, so here it is, Melissa Landers' "Alienated."

From Goodreads:

Two years ago, the aliens made contact. Now Cara Sweeney is going to be sharing a bathroom with one of them. 

Handpicked to host the first-ever L’eihr exchange student, Cara thinks her future is set. Not only does she get a free ride to her dream college, she’ll have inside information about the mysterious L’eihrs that every journalist would kill for. Cara’s blog following is about to skyrocket.

Still, Cara isn’t sure what to think when she meets Aelyx. Humans and L’eihrs have nearly identical DNA, but cold, infuriatingly brilliant Aelyx couldn’t seem more alien. She’s certain about one thing, though: no human boy is this good-looking.

But when Cara's classmates get swept up by anti-L'eihr paranoia, Midtown High School suddenly isn't safe anymore. Threatening notes appear in Cara's locker, and a police officer has to escort her and Aelyx to class. 

Cara finds support in the last person she expected. She realizes that Aelyx isn’t just her only friend; she's fallen hard for him. But Aelyx has been hiding the truth about the purpose of his exchange, and its potentially deadly consequences. Soon Cara will be in for the fight of her life—not just for herself and the boy she loves, but for the future of her planet.

First, because I know you're wondering, Aelyx is pronounced "A-licks." Now go ahead and try to get that out of your head - it kept repeating in my head - a-licks, a-licks, a-licks. 

I think that most alien related stories sound pretty hokey, but then I remember how much I loved the show Roswell (heyyy Nick Weschler) and I give it a try - that's how I found Jennifer Armentrout - ALIENS (her Luxen series). I digress.

"Alienated" is good read! (I just checked Melissa's page which has blurbs from Jen Armentrout AND Jodi Meadows, which to me is proof enough that it has to be good) (oh and a vegan cookie is mentioned, so bonus points; )

This book centers on Cara, a human teenager, and Aelyx, a teenage alien called a L'eihr. As part of an alien exchange program, Aelyx is sent to spend a year on Earth, after which Aelyx is supposed to return to his home world and Cara is to spend a year there with him. Aelyx (and two other L'eihr exchange students) experience a lot of hatred and hostility from humans who are mad that they're on Earth, and this hatred trickles down to the human families the aliens are with.

L'eihrs live kind of a dull life. They're cloned, they wear beige things, they like dull food, and, as you can imagine, they have a lot of trouble adjusting. As I said the book started a little slow, but it's always tough to immerse yourself in a new world. By the end I was really pumped up and I can't wait for the sequel!

My biggest problem with the book was that at one point he gives her a nickname, but I didn't know where it came from. I flipped back and forth in case I missed something, but I hadn't missed it - it just wasn't there. 

Some quotes, of course!

Something warm swelled inside his lungs until Aelyx feared he might take flight right there in the cluttered kitchen. If there was a name for this emotion, he didn't know it, but he wished he could summon the feeling at will.

Each sniffle and hitched breath stung his own lungs as if her pain were his own, but as much as he wanted to console her, he didn't know how. Frustration tightened his hands into fists.

Song choice! Too obvious :D 

Release Day! Chelsea Cameron's "For Real" + a Giveaway!

For Real by Chelsea M. Cameron

Coming in November 2013 Now out!

Two people. One fake relationship. What could go wrong?
When virgin Shannon Travers gets fed up with her friends demanding that she find a boyfriend, she enlists the help of tattooed, mohawk-rocking graphic design student Jett. He’s more than happy to play along with their Fake Relationship, including the Ten Rules of Fake Dating that control-freak Shannon comes up with. Even if he likes to violate them. Repeatedly.
But what happens when Fake Dating starts to feel… not fake anymore? Will Shannon be willing to let go and embrace the first thing in her life that’s ever felt REAL?

Buy Links:
Barnes & Noble:

Author Information

Chelsea M. Cameron is a YA/NA New York Times/USA Today Best Selling author from Maine. Lover of things random and ridiculous, Jane Austen/Charlotte and Emily Bronte Fangirl, red velvet cake enthusiast, obsessive tea drinker, vegetarian, former cheerleader and world's worst video gamer. When not writing, she enjoys watching infomercials, singing in the car and tweeting (this one time, she was tweeted by Neil Gaiman). She has a degree in journalism from the University of Maine, Orono that she promptly abandoned to write about the people in her own head. More often than not, these people turn out to be just as weird as she is.

Her New Adult Contemporary Romance titles include My Favorite Mistake, which has been bought by Harlequin along with a sequel, Deeper We Fall and Faster We Burn (April 20, 2013)

Her Young Adult books include Nocturnal, Nightmare and Neither, the first three books in The Noctalis Chronicles. The fourth and final book, Neverend will be out in 2013. Whisper, the first in The Whisper Trilogy is also available, with the second book in the series, Silence and the final book, Listen coming out in 2014.

Where to find Chelsea online:
Grand prize winner receives a $100 Amazon Gift Card and Crane bracelet. 5 Runners up receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card and Crane bracelet. US Only! 

Rafflecopter Entry: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, November 14, 2013

My Allegiant Feels - Non-spoiler-y Music Video ONLY

It's been awhile but I'm still digesting. Here's a song that somehow sums up my feels.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Y'all Fest 2013 - My Experience

Advanced apologies for most of my pics, which aren't too good. For me, most authors are cooler than singers and actors, and I get all self conscious and twitchy :D

When Epic Reads first mentioned Y'all Fest some time back, I was thrilled to discover that it was only a 2 hour drive away from me. You can imagine that when I double-checked the distance on Friday, I was pretty upset when I realized it was really a 3 1/2 hour drive each way and that they were expecting around 3000 people (I'm an introvert!). Alas. The chance to meet a ton of authors I really like was probably worth it, so I bribed the kid with a trip to the movies two days after Y'all Fest. Luckily, she's 7 and loves books and is an amazing traveler, so away we went.

Before we left for the fest, I spent a bunch of time going over the schedule and deciding who I wanted to see and where'd they'd be - I even made a fancy excel spreadsheet to make sure I didn't mess anything up and miss someone. I researched where to park (I have parking anxiety issues) and made a packet with the map, the summary of panels, the writer's schedule, the restaurants around (for vegan food), and even some hotel info in case I decided we should spend the night.

After we got to Charleston, I drove around in a mild panic over the number of people there. The first parking garage was full, but we found a spot in the second parking garage (I thought it was a $10 garage, but it was $15, but I didn't have to parallel park in traffic, so, worth it). I got my heavy backpack full of books (13 books) and away we went. 

It was about 10:20 and Veronica Roth was inside the music hall with her packed audience for the Keynote address (as soon as I heard you had to have tickets to the keynote to be able to wait in line to get a numbered wrist band so you would know the time slot to wait in line for a signing with her, I knew it was never going to happen), so I tried to find the Epic Reads ladies, even though I figured they must be with Veronica. We went to look at the American Theater Cinema, and nothing was going on in there at that time, but I did get to check out the pretty Art Deco features.

Next we went back to the music hall because I wanted to see the 11am All the Feels panel with Rachel Cohn, Gayle Forman, Ellen Hopkins, David Levithan, Stephanie Perkins, Rainbow Rowell (the moderator was Aaron Hartzler who I'd never heard of, but he was pretty darn funny, so I'll be looking up his stuff for the future). They discussed "contemporary realistic" YA, and how they're usually accused of having sad books when in fact they're just being true to life. Personally, I think most YA books, even those that seem sad, are pretty optimistic overall. They show what's possible in life. Also, I sat TOO CLOSE, if you can believe it. Farther back in the center was a much better shot. Alas.

Here's the kiddo waiting for the All the Feels panel with me.

After the panel, I thought that those who sat on the panel would be signing, but instead, Leigh Bardugo, Gayle Forman, Steph Perkins, and Veronica Rossi were signing at the signing tent - not where the panels were. When I checked over the info with my new knowledge, I realized I had missed Marie Lu and Carrie Ryan's signing (I later heard that a ton of people who were in line for the Marie Lu signing didn't get to get their books signed - she got yanked away for a panel, apparently. She ended up doing another signing at 5pm-ish, but by the end of the day the kid and I were exhausted and I had a migraine and we had a long drive ahead of us so I didn't get to see her in person for a signing - hopefully some day!)

I found a crumpled Epic Reads Tea Time invite on the floor!

I stayed for about 20 minutes of the After the End panel with Alexandra Bracken, Ally Condie, Marie Lu, Carrie Ryan, Lauren Oliver, and Margaret Stohl (moderator was Mike Johnston, who, as he said, wrote the Frozen that isn't the Disney movie, but he's okay with it if you confuse the book for the movie:) I really wanted to see more of the panel, but I also wanted some of the 12pm signers - Leigh Bardugo, Gayle Forman, Stephanie Perkins, and Veronica Rossi. 

After the End panel:

While trying to seek out the noon signers, I realized that the signers are all in different places, and that each fairly lengthy line was for ONE person. After standing in line for Gayle Forman for 10 minutes, the line hadn't budged, so I decided to seek out the other ladies. I didn't go to Steph's signing because I saw her in Raleigh some time back, and Leigh and Veronica's lines were next to each other in an old bar so I chose them. I waited in Veronica's line and when it was almost my turn, Leigh's line was down to one person, so I sent the kiddo to her line for me, and then I ran over real quick to tell her that I was the one who asked her via twitter if the dog on the queen's lap in "Shadow & Bone" was a Pug (she said I was the first person to ask her that which made me really proud. I HATE when people ask authors the same stupid questions that are usually all answered in their FAQs and every interview they've ever done. One of my biggest pet peeves - if you're really someone's fan, you should know basic things). She seemed to remember my pug story and me, so that was pretty awesome. Here's the terrible quick pick I took of her before she left, and my signed book.

Next I got to see Veronica Rossi (I swear I saw a Peregrine Falcon atop a street light on the way home) and I told her about how I LOVE her trilogy because it's different. There are a ton of trilogies out there that are so reminiscent of each other that it drives me a little batty sometimes - I've started more than a couple books and thought "I'm not reading that again" - but with her trilogy (as well as all the trilogies mentioned in this post - I'm only mentioning the most important authors at the fest in this part, and of course by most important, I mean most important to me, so not trilogies that are like other trilogies) I can remember most of it and I know who the characters are and I can keep it all straight. She said that was a huge compliment, so hurray!

After that the kiddo and I went questing for Team Epic Reads, Margot, Aubry, and Snarkles - meeting them was actually the thing she was most looking forward to. 

When we got to the music hall, I bypassed the Veronica Roth signing line to go upstairs to where I knew Epic Reads was supposed to be. I went charging up stairs and some volunteers said "you can't go up there" and I said "I just want to see the Epic Reads girls?" and then I realized Veronica Roth was RIGHT THERE, eating her lunch. Sorry Veronica! Margot wasn't there, but Aubry came down with a book shimmy bag and some fun free things, as well as Snarkles!

This pic has these cool Divergent stickers and "prepublication excerpts" from "Ignite Me" by Tahereh Mafi and "Dorothy Must Die" by Danielle Paige. The buttons were from Rainbow Rowell and Leigh Bardugo.

Here is the kiddo happily hugging Aubry and Snarkles (Margot wasn't there right then).

And here's the kiddo and Snarkles!

After that we ran over to see if I could see Myra McEntire and Margaret Stohl. Myra remembered me from twitter as well (Egmont publishing once took a few days longer than they intended to reply to a question I asked them, but then Infinityglass, the third book in her trilogy, magically appeared on my doorstep about a week or two before release date. Awesome!).

After I saw Myra, I saw that Margaret Stohl's line was almost gone and I asked the Y'all fest employee with her if I could jump in line and she said yes. I'd gotten a high five from Margaret earlier in the day when I told her I was the vegan who had tweeted her, but I was really happy to be able to get her to sign my book.

After that, the kiddo and I went to lunch at Black Bean Co because they had a whole vegan section on their menu - awesome! I got a wrap with southwest tofu, mango salsa, guacamole, jasmine rice, black beans, and mixed greens and it was just as awesome as you think it is, as long as you're smart and thinking it was amazing.

The kiddo wanted this wrap with broccoli, edamame, apples, carrots, mixed greens, and a few other things I'm sure I've forgotten.

I left our leftovers in the music hall bathroom, and I wanted to weep. SO SAD. 

Next it was 2:20 and we were going to go see Epic Reads again real quick, but we walked past the Rainbow line which was already enormous, so we jumped in for the almost two hour wait. Early on I'd realized that the lines were all going to suck, so I had to decide what I most needed out of the day, and for me, I knew I would wait in Rainbow's line. 

While we were in Rainbow's line, I met three super nice ladies (one of whom gave the kiddo two bandaids after kiddo fell down amusing herself in line) and they were all pretty great. While I was talking to them, I realized that - I think - most book nerds are, like me, an introvert. And based on things I read from authors on twitter, I think most authors are introverts, which makes it cruelly hysterical that book fests put introverts in situations totally counterintuitive to their basic survival instincts. *twitch* 

While in line, I bought an already signed copy of Divergent.

And finally. RAINBOW. Who was super amazing and letting people take pics with her even though they'd said they stopped letting people take pics with her after the first 40 minutes or so to move things along. I thought that was really fair of her and I appreciated it. (I have clearer pics but in them she's signing and looking down so I went with this one for the blog.)

I admit it. I used my Rainbow time to confess to her that I loved her. You, go read all the Rainbow books, and if you don't love them, I'm pretty sure we can't be friends. (Also, I don't yet have a copy of Attachments to sign, but I love it as well, and I almost said "You're supposed to say 'no, it's Iowa.'" to her but my fangirl side made me forget. (Here's where I feel really anxious and hope I didn't screw up the Rainbow pic I took for the awesome ladies who were behind us in line.)

After that I spotted Steph Perkins on the sidewalk! I didn't get her shoes, but she was wearing saddle shoes and rocking them - I know my fat nerdy 9 year old self didn't look anywhere near that awesome in the pink saddle shoes I used to own. She was super nice (but I already knew that) and I showed her my Maureen Johnson tattoo (will have to upload that pic later) and had the kid hug her. I would have gotten a picture with the kiddo and her, or the three of us, but there were these tween fangirls waiting next to us and they looked so excited to see her that they were just glowing, and they were waiting so patiently so I left abruptly. Seriously, they were glowing and it was adorable. I mean, how much more awesome would the world be if tweens fangirled on amazing authors instead of whomever they'r fangirling all over (cough*cough*Miley*cough*etc*).

Next up, back to Epic Reads! So ridiculously nice those two are. Really. <3 and if I still lived in Brooklyn, I would beg them to hang out with me sometimes.

Before leaving, I asked who was in the panel because I'd misplaced my schedule. The lady told me it was the YA-List in Hollywood panel and that Veronica Roth had just stopped in, so in we went!

Veronica Roth, Margaret Stohl off to the side (moderating off screen), Rachel Cohn, David Levithan, Melissa de la Cruz, and Gayle Forman.

My unsigned books. Sad face. Also, I didn't get to have Kami Garcia sign my Beautiful Creatures, and I had wanted to show her my cool Supernatural shirt and phone case. Alas. (I did see on twitter that Margaret signed Kami's book, "Unbreakable," for someone, which I thought was pretty funny.)

Okay. So basically, this was a good opportunity, but it was also . . . I don't know. It seemed not as well planned out as it could have been, and I think some of the info they had up on their site was incomplete. I thought that (hey, maybe all the errors are in my mind) that I would be able to see panels AND get things signed, and really, that's not true. Ideally, you bring a bunch of friends who don't like YA books and you send them to wait in lines for you while you pick some panels to watch. There were 3 different panels in 3 different locations per hour from 11-4, not including the Smackdown and Keynote (which people bought tickets for). I hope that they put the panels online, because I really enjoyed watching them.

There was a map with the signing tent shown, but they had about 6 signings going on at a time, and the lines were all pretty long and slow, so you have to hope that your favorite people are all at different times. I discussed this with a few people, and we thought maybe if they did a bunch of panels in the morning, and in the afternoon had the authors lined up at tables (in a huge hotel ballroom or something) and you could wait in a line and go through all the authors (like the Character Spot in Epcot; ). 

If we still live in NC next Y'allfest, I might consider going down with the kid and the husband, so then they could experience Charleston and I could do my thing, but that wouldn't solve my other issues. It was good - I did get to meet 5 authors and the Epic Reads team and get signed books and swag, but I was hoping it would have been MORE.