Friday, May 30, 2014

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker Review {with Audiobook Notes}

The Age of Miracles 
by Karen Thompson Walker
Published by Random House
Publish Date: June 26, 2012
294 Pages
Source: Book - Publisher, 

Audiobook - Library
Find it here:  Goodreads / Amazon / B&N


“It still amazes me how little we really knew. . . . Maybe everything that happened to me and my family had nothing at all to do with the slowing. It’s possible, I guess. But I doubt it. I doubt it very much.”

Luminous, haunting, unforgettable, The Age of Miracles is a stunning fiction debut by a superb new writer, a story about coming of age during extraordinary times, about people going on with their lives in an era of profound uncertainty.

On a seemingly ordinary Saturday in a California suburb, 11-year-old Julia and her family awake to discover, along with the rest of the world, that the rotation of the earth has suddenly begun to slow. The days and nights grow longer and longer, gravity is affected, the environment is thrown into disarray. Yet as she struggles to navigate an ever-shifting landscape, Julia is also coping with the normal disasters of everyday life--the fissures in her parents’ marriage, the loss of old friends, the hopeful anguish of first love, the bizarre behavior of her grandfather who, convinced of a government conspiracy, spends his days obsessively cataloging his possessions. As Julia adjusts to the new normal, the slowing inexorably continues.
 (excerpt from Goodreads) 



The Age of Miracles by 
Karen Thompson Walker

My Thoughts: I'm stunned at myself for letting this one sit on my Kindle for so long. I really could give myself a good SLAP. I remember when I downloaded The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker. I was not only captivated by this simple-but-really-great cover, but I loved the summary. Now that I have finally read the book, I actually just want to curl up and read it AGAIN. 


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The Age of Miracles begins on a day that seems like any other day, except it is not. Young Julia finds out, along with the rest of the world, that THE SUN'S ROTATION HAS SLOWED. No one knows why or how, but everyone is caught off guard. The media speculates: television, newpaper headlines. There are people that are going on with life as usual, thinking that eventually - maybe in a couple of days - the earth will right itself and life with go on as before. There are people that panic - they abandon their children's soccer games, they begin stockpiling food, batteries, flashlights, and things like that. And then there are people all along the spectrum in between. The truth is that on the first day, everyone is just as clueless as the next person and everyone seems to be on alert, waiting for some sign as to what's next, what they should do, and how they should react. 

11-year-old Julia is...well, she is a normal eleven-year-old. She is aware of what is happening, but she is also observing her surroundings VERY CLOSELY. Her mother is extremely panicked, but this is not abnormal for her. Her father is super-cool about the whole situation and is trying to keep Julia's mother calm, and this is also his normal. Julia is watching everyone in the neighborhood react differently, noticing that no one shows up for the soccer game that day, noticing that everyone walking by on the sidewalks seems to be glancing upward toward the sun. She notices that her mother begs her father to stay home when he goes to work as normal that night (he is a physician and has to work an overnight shift) and all of these things begin a series of events that unwind life as Julia knows it. 

But in a way, Julia's life continues as normal. 

She still goes to the bus stop every morning, even though she notices that fewer of her friends show up as their families move away from the neighborhood. She still watches her crush at school, at the bus stop, everywhere - out of the corner of her eye - never looking at him directly. (This is exactly the way I used to do it.) She is devastated when her best friend moves away, and then elated when her best friend's family moves back. When her best friend finds a better friend, Julia's heart breaks. (Mine did too.) 


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I have heard that some people found this book amazing and captivating and that they loved the prose and lyricism. And I have also heard that some people found the book slow-moving. I will say that I thought The Age of Miracles was absolutely extraordinary - it is not often that I read apocalyptic books that begin at the MOMENT the big life-altering, world-changing event happens, but this one does. It begins at the beginning and unfolds for readers just as it does for the characters on the inside of the pages. I loved that I was not finding out about the changing of the earth's rotation and the impact that it had on the people and the animals and gravity AFTER everything changed. I was watching it all unfold through Julia's eyes, as it happened. And I was fascinated. 

I loved that the author chose Julia to tell the story. Her mother was panic-stricken at the uncertainty of their future and because of that, she was a little on the unhinged side at times. Her father...hmm. Her father had some issues of his own - neither parent would have been reliable narrators in my opinion. Julia's age and wonderment and curiosity kept her objective enough to give readers information about what was going on in the world outside with the days growing longer, etc - Julia is able to inform us enough about the world outside while also keeping us in tune with what is going on in her own life. And man, there is plenty going on in her life. 

Aside from the regular issues an 11-year-old faces (OH HOW life is just beginning to get really hard at this age), Julia watches her parents relationship become a little crumbly. Is it because it was already crumbly or is it the added stress of "The Slowing"? Julia has to stop taking piano lessons from neighbor Sylvia and detach herself from other neighbors/friends because they've chosen to live on "real-time" (time based on the actual rising and setting of the sun) instead of the government-endorsed "clock-time" (time based on a normal 24-hour day). Julia learns some devastating truths about the adults in her life - real coming-of-age stuff - and she has to learn to navigate these issues without the help of her friends because her friends are all gone. 

In this unusual apocalyptic world, the days grow to be minutes longer, then hours longer, then eventually much longer than that. As the days grow longer, the nights do as well. Temperatures react with the days becoming warmer, then hotter, and the nights becoming much colder. Gravity is affected, making changes in the bird population, which means there are no predators for insects and other pests. There are changes to the tides, to crop-growing, and to the human body (the "slowing sickness"). I thought this was so interesting. So, so interesting.  

I loved the author's choice of a California setting. I could feel the warm and sunny climate, and this was only intensified as the days became warmer and sunnier. I loved the main characters and the secondary characters, with all of their complexities and issues that made them unique, because I feel like they all represented a good portion of the "regular" population and how people might possibly react if this was a "real" cataclysmic event. I loved Julia's ability to remain a child in the wake of disaster and her ability to recognize uncertainty but not dwell on it - she left that for the adults. As but book neared the end, it became bleaker, of course, but I felt that the end was not as dark as it could have been. 

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I cannot say whether or not choosing the audiobook format to accompany my print reading made me love the book more in this instance. I genuinely think I would have really liked it either way. What I realized late in the novel is that the book is narrated by an "older" Julia - she is talking about her experiences at the beginning of The Slowing. Somehow I did not realize this as I began the book - truthfully, it did not make a difference in how I feel about the story. In looking back, I guess I can say that the book isn't written with 11-year-old narrative and dialogue, but that's okay. I was SO LOST IN THE STORY, you guys. And I can absolutely vouch for great turns of phrase and lovely sentences that stood out to me. I think that facing the end of the world is something that would be so haunting, so being immersed in a world that was so well-crafted for me - I just enjoyed it so much. 

Audiobook NotesThe audiobook format of The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker is published by Random House Audio and is 9 hours, 3 minutes, Unabridged. It is narrated by Emily Janice Card who is new to me. I enjoyed this audiobook; I will add that I actually turned the speed up as I was listening to this audiobook, but otherwise I thought the production was great. The narrator provided a nice voice for a more mature Julia and I would be fine recommending this audiobook to others for a first listen or a reread with the accompanying advice that they will probably want to turn the speed up. 

I recommend The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker to fans of young adult/adult science fiction/apocalyptic fiction. It's funny because this book feels YA in some ways and in other ways it feels very adult-fiction. (Reminds me of the Alex Award-type books because of the crossover appeal and because I can't really decide if I want to call it YA or adult fiction. You guys can decide.) I loved the setting, I loved main character Julia's voice, and I loved the concept. I want to read this again and feel super silly for waiting as long as I did to read it in the first place. 

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The Age of Miracles will appeal to fans of:

YA/Adult Apocalyptic/Science Fiction
Coming-of-Age

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
is currently available for purchase.

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Am I the only one that kicks themselves sometimes for waiting so long to read a book? 



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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

We Are The Goldens by Dana Reinhardt Review

We Are The Goldens by Dana Reinhardt
Published by Random House
Publish Date: May 27, 2014
208 Pages
Source: Publisher
Find it here:  Goodreads / Amazon / B&N


Nell knows a secret about her perfect, beautiful sister Layla. If she tells, it could blow their world apart.

When Nell and Layla were little, Nell used to call them Nellaya. Because to Nell, there was no difference between where she started and her adored big sister ended. They're a unit; divorce made them rely on each other early on, so when one pulls away, what is the other to do? But now, Nell's a freshman in high school and Layla is changing, secretive. And then Nell discovers why. Layla is involved with one of their teachers. And even though Nell tries to support Layla, to understand that she's happy and in love, Nell struggles with her true feelings: it's wrong, and she must do something about it.
 (excerpt from Goodreads) 

We Are The Goldens by Dana Reinhardt

I was excited to read We Are The Goldens by Dana Reinhardt simply because I loved the cover and I tend to love books about sibling relationships. I absolutely adore my sisters and I find other sister-relationships fascinating as well. I began reading this book and found that it was more of a brief glimpse into the life of Layla and Nell, like a short moment in their history, rather than a getting-to-know-you story of their relationship...but that was okay. It's been a while since I've finished the book and the more I think about it, the more I like it. 

It is no secret to us, the readers, what THE SECRET is. We find out in the summary. Even so, I do not think that knowing lessens the tension or the stress or whatever it is that Nell is feeling toward Layla's growing away from their relationship. It is obvious when reading that Nell is mourning the change in their sisterhood - it isn't exactly a loss of relationship, per se, because Layla is still there and still loves Nell. Nell just feels left out of Layla's life. She feels like there is a giant, huge, monumental portion of Layla's existence that is unknown to her, like a huge black hole, where the two sisters were previously so close it was almost like they operated as one. 

Nell also struggles with the fact that Layla is so at ease with what she is doing - Layla doesn't seem to feel any guilt or remorse or shame at all about being intimately involved with one of the teachers at school, and this bothers Nell. Nell is able to see a bigger picture, one that involves the gossip in the hallways, the past history of the teacher in the equation, and the possible consequences for her sister if and when things get out of hand. Nell struggles a bit with "what to do" - should she tell or not? She doesn't want to alienate her sister further but at the same time, she wants to spare her sister harm down the road. This indecision was palpable. 

Ultimately, WOW, I loved the ending. I mean, it was completely and totally unexpected for me. I did not see it coming with the way the book was progressing, and I think that it really just elevated the story for me. The ending is a bit open-ended but I feel like it worked for this particular story and just, wow. I loved it. 

Interesting to me is that there is certainly romance present in the book, but it felt secondary to the secret and the relationship between Layla and Nell. Obviously the romance between Layla and the teacher is present, but is does not take up as much time in the pages as you might think. There is a friendship between Nell and a great guy friend that is fun to watch... Another interesting something-to-mention is the voice Nell uses - she is able to tell her story effectively and well while keeping (I think) readers at least somewhat distanced. What I mean is that while I was reading, I enjoyed her voice and her story, but I never really felt like I was entirely connected to her, to Layla, nor to their relationship as a whole. It did not take away from the story, but it is worth noting. 

If I were to change anything, I have to admit that there are two characters in the story that were a little confusing to me - they're two brothers that are Nell's friends - and I just can't figure out their placement in the story. I think it could have functioned just as well without them, although I enjoyed the story even with their presence included. 

We Are The Goldens by Dana Reinhardt is a story about a secret between sisters and how it affects them over a short period of time. The secret is a big one and the wear-and-tear it has on the younger Nell is apparent as time progresses. I loved being inside of Nell's thoughts as she weighed the pros and cons of keeping the secret/staying out of Layla's business vs. all of her other options, and I loved the way the book ultimately ended. I recommend We Are The Goldens to readers that love Young Adult contemporary with issues, because YES there are plenty of issues in there. 

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We Are The Goldens will appeal to fans of:

YA Contemporary with Realistic Fiction 
Issues: No spoilers!
Sibling Relationship
Romance:  No triangle.

We Are The Goldens by Dana Reinhardt
is currently available for purchase.

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Do you love stories with sibling relationships? 
I DO! 

This was a fantastic YA contemporary that deals with keeping your sister's big secret vs. telling - alienating your sister/friend vs. doing the right thing. Big deal! Loved it. 


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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Magisterium by Jeff Hirsch Review {with Audiobook Notes}

Magisterium by Jeff Hirsch
Published by Scholastic Press
Publish Date: October 1, 2012
310 Pages
Source: Book - Publisher, Audiobook - Library
Find it here:  Goodreads / Amazon / B&N


On one side of the Rift is a technological paradise without famine or want. On the other side is a mystery.

Sixteen-year-old Glenn Morgan has lived next to the Rift her entire life and has no idea of what might be on the other side of it. Glenn's only friend, Kevin, insists the fence holds back a world of monsters and witchcraft, but magic isn't for Glenn. She has enough problems with reality: Glenn's mother disappeared when she was six, and soon after, she lost her scientist father to his all-consuming work on the mysterious Project. Glenn buries herself in her studies and dreams about the day she can escape. But when her father's work leads to his arrest, he gives Glenn a simple metal bracelet that will send Glenn and Kevin on the run---with only one place to go. (excerpt from Goodreads) 


Magisterium by Jeff Hirsch

I remember when this book was released, and the period of time leading up to its release, and thinking that WOW this cover was just awesome and that I NEEDED to read this book. When reviews began to come in and they were a little bit lukewarm, I was saddened and decided to distance myself from the opinions of other people - so onto the shelf this book went! Recently, I decided to pull it down, dust it off, and give it a go. I paired it with the audiobook format and thought YAY, FINALLY!

Sigh.

You guys, I tried with this one. I really did. And I didn't dislike it as much as I really didn't quite get it. I mean, it started out really strong and then it just kind of...lost me. 

Glenn Morgan is the main character (she's a girl) who has an oddly eccentric father and a guy best-friend, Kevin, that likes her more than she likes him. That's the easy part. They live in a community on this side of the Rift because it isn't safe on the other side of the Rift. Glenn does something that causes a stir and suddenly the "government" is onto her and wants to arrest her, so she and her friend make an escape that takes them ACROSS The Rift into that super-scary place...except it isn't at all what they've been told. Glenn and Kevin learn a ton of stuff and go on this quest of sorts and end up finding out that everything that they thought they knew was a lie and that they possess the knowledge and know-how to save the people that they love...if they can best the government that is after them. 

Okay, see, that's a little bit of a breakdown. Of course, there are some really great details thrown into there. The beginning of the book is pretty awesome and fast-paced and I was super-curious about what would happen, what's going on, WHAT ON EARTH, etc etc. Once Glenn and Kevin made it into the "other world" across the Rift, things were pretty interesting and intense and a little crazy. And then I began to get lost and just couldn't find my way back. 

I found the beginning of the book - that world - much easier to visualize than the more magical and fantasy-like world across the Rift. I just had a difficult time creating a visual image of it inside of my head. So, yes, I wish that they world-building had been a little more consistent throughout the book, from beginning to end. Also, there was a large cast of characters from both sides, and I had a hard time keeping up with which person was a good guy and which person was a bad guy (outside of the main cast), because they are two groups of people except there is a little bit of crossover. Eventually when Glenn and Kevin began traveling to the different locations in the new land across the Rift (all with interesting names), I just kind of got buried in all of the details, particularly the funky fantasy-like names - I always have a tough time keeping hard-to-pronounce and remember names straight anyway. I finished the book with an understanding of the overall story arc, but I feel a little bit sad that I had such a hard time keeping up with the details as I read (and listened) along. 

Honestly, I feel like with literally both the print and audiobook formats going at the same time, I should have had a much easier time with Magisterium. Ultimately, I think the idea was a good one - and it started out pretty well - but the execution was just a little too bogged down in the detailing as the story progressed. I'm glad that I finally read the book, however, because I have been curious about it for a long time. The ending provided resolution (I was worried while reading that it would be open-ended or a series) and I was pleased with the outcome. 

I think Magisterium by Jeff Hirsch would be best recommended to younger young adult readers and reluctant readers, specifically those that show an interest in science-fiction/fantasy books. I think that younger readers often tend to do much better with the detailing in books like this and where I found myself confused or bogged down, these readers often just plow through and keep going. I feel like a younger YA audience, or perhaps even a middle grade audience, would enjoy this book. 

Audiobook NotesThe audiobook format of Magisterium by Jeff Hirsch is published by Scholastic Audio and is 9 hours, 14 minutes, Unabridged. It is narrated by Julia Whelan who IS known to me and made this book much easier for me to read, as she provided great pronunciation to words that I would have certainly bumbled (names of characters and places). Her tone and excitement was great and this is something that I have come to expect from her work. I would have no problem recommending this audiobook for a first time read or a re-read. 

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Magisterium will appeal to fans of:

Middle Grade/YA Fantasy/Sci-Fi 
Magic
Interesting characters
Romance:  Very lite. Clean. No triangle.

Magisterium by Jeff Hirsch
is currently available for purchase.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Welcome to Last Chance by Cathleen Armstrong Review

Welcome to Last Chance 
by Cathleen Armstrong
Series: A Place to Call Home #1
Publisher: Revell
Publish Date: August 1, 2013

289 Pages
Source: Bought
Find it here:  Goodreads / Amazon / B&N


The red warning light on her car dashboard drove Lainie Davis to seek help in the tiny town of Last Chance, New Mexico. But as she encounters the people who make Last Chance their home, it's her heart that is flashing bright red warning lights. These people are entirely too nice, too accommodating, and too interested in her personal life for Lainie's comfort--especially since she's on the run and hoping to slip away unnoticed.


Yet in spite of herself, Lainie finds that she is increasingly drawn in to the dramas of small town life. An old church lady who always has room for a stranger. A handsome bartender with a secret life. A single mom running her diner and worrying over her teenage son. Could Lainie actually make a life in this little hick town? Or will the past catch up to her even here in the middle of nowhere? (excerpt from Goodreads) 
 

Welcome to Last Chance 
by Cathleen Armstrong

My Thoughts:  Lainie Davis is on the run from a no-good situation with a no-good guy when her car breaks down in a small town called Last Chance, New Mexico. Even though Lainie has a destination planned, she finds herself stuck in Last Chance with no way out for the foreseeable future, or at least until she can save enough money to get her car up and running again. Over and over, the generosity of strangers finds Lainie the necessities that she needs, including a temporary job and a temporary home. 


Lainie has never experienced kindness like this before - a kindness that expects nothing in return. It isn't too long before Lainie finds herself finding comfort in Last Chance and the simple life the town provides. She loves the friendships the people have with one another, and how they easily include her into the fold. She admires the camaraderie they share when one of their own needs something or experiences problems - it seems as if the entire town just falls in and picks up the slack, as if they are one big family. 

Lainie begins to consider staying. Maybe. There is certainly a life to be had here in Last Chance...as long as her past - the one she was running away from at the beginning of the story - doesn't catch up with her and ruin everything. 

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Welcome to Last Chance by Cathleen Armstrong is a wonderfully quick read, but the quick pacing shouldn't fool anyone - it was quick for me because I was sucked into Lainie's story and how she came to love her time spent in Last Chance, New Mexico. While I found the pacing to be quick and the story very easy to read, there is certainly plenty of depth in these pages. See, Lainie plans to drive straight past this small town on her way to...well, another place. But that just wasn't what her life story was meant to be. Watching Lainie learn the lesson that sometimes OUR plan isn't THE plan was a great reminder for me. 

In a world where I often have a difficult time connecting to female leading characters, I found that I LOVED Lainie! She arrived into town a little bit unnerved and maybe even a bit standoffish toward others as they began to try to help her - as I mentioned, she was not used to this kind of help. But Lainie was young with a wounded heart, and she was fiercely independent, plus she was somewhat jumpy and untrusting given the circumstances that landed on the road in the first place. Lainie didn't expect to be fleeing her home - she didn't expect her car to break down - she didn't expect to have to remain in Last Chance. She didn't expect to be taking up residence in an older church-lady's home, staying rent-free in one of the extra bedrooms while she worked at a local diner to help pay for the repair to her car. She didn't expect to meet the local bartender and develop a (slowly building) mutual romantic interest. And she didn't expect to build relationships with any of these very interesting people and become enmeshed in their lives. Lainie didn't expect to care about Last Chance so deeply. 

While Lainie spends her time in Last Chance, she learns a ton from the people there. She learns how to love and how to be loved and respected in return. She learns what friendship means. She learns what kindness is. She learns that the past she came from is NOT the future she has to live out. Lainie can change the course of her life if she chooses to. 

And there is the romance. It is sweet and lovely and actually just what both Lainie and that bartender needed. I LOVED IT. 

GOODNESS GRACIOUS, I love this story. This is another perfect example of how a contemporary story takes me, hugs me, and stays with me long after I've turned the last page. I finished this book a while ago and I still find myself thinking about the town of Last Chance and these characters - wondering what they're doing and how things are going at the diner, things like that. Stories like this one are some of my favorites, the ones that dig deep into my heart and stick with me. AND! I love it when there is another story following so I can spend more time in a place I love, a place just like Last Chance. 

Speaking of Last Chance, technically speaking, the author does a great job of building up this little town in New Mexico so that I could visualize it. I was able to create a neat depiction of my own version of Last Chance in my head with the diner and the church and the town square. I was able to see the people walking down the sidewalks and driving slowly down the town streets, to observe a low speed limit, and just randomly interacting with one another. I feel like I have created my own version of what everyone looks and sounds like, and I love that so much. There is a small portion of time spent outside of Last Chance, and these times are also well-written, but Last Chance holds my heart as far as the setting goes. What a great little town. 

Last Chance is full, FULL, of a colorful and fully developed cast of townspeople. They are all different and they are all unique. Each person has their own story, their own secret, their own reason for living in a place like Last Chance, New Mexico. It seems like everyone understands this about everyone else, and perhaps that is why they all get along so well. The town seems to have a solid foundation, built on patriotism and faith, and centered around the church. The faith aspect of the book is solid but not overbearing, and I would venture to say that most contemporary-loving readers would find this book warm and refreshing and just as lovely as I do. 

OH HOW I WANTED THIS STORY TO KEEP GOING! I wanted more, which is really great because the follow-up, One More Last Chance, is just now available for purchase. Welcome to Last Chance is indeed a solid contemporary debut and I wholeheartedly recommend it for readers that enjoy those wonderfully happy stories that sweep you away, with plenty of depth but that end up resolving in ways that work out for the best. Readers that also love family relationships and great friendships will really love this one. 

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Welcome to Last Chance will appeal to fans of:

 Contemporary Fiction/Inspirational Fiction 
Romance: Slowly developing. No Triangle.  
Family Relationships, Friendships
Small Towns

Welcome to Last Chance by Cathleen Armstrong
is currently available for purchase.

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I want to hold this book up in the air and dance around with it!
(then push it into your hands and yell "READ!")


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Girls Gone Sci-Fi Event Recap & Giveaway!


I was over the moon to be able to attend the Girls Gone Sci Fi Tour stop at the Malaprops Bookstore/Cafe in Asheville, NC on March 29, 2014. I saw Jessica Brody, Meagan Spooner, Tamara Ireland Stone, Jessica Khoury, and Beth Revis during this event. 

For a fan of young adult sci-fi, this was a fantastic line-up. These authors all have published work that incorporates strong female main characters and also a little bit of romance. Their books show that these heroines can fall in love and also save the world at the same time! 



The authors spent a few minutes describing their books, including the science-fiction elements. It was clear to me that while they all had that common thread of sci-fi running throughout, they are all quite different. Represented within this group is a murder mystery set in space, a teen that wakes up with amnesia and no clue why she is the subject of a thrilling and dangerous manhunt, a girl that is a renewable resource that is wanted as a source of power for her city, a romance that incorporates time travel, a group of scientists that create a genetically perfect human in order to create a perfect species, and a younger version of the main character that makes decisions affecting the main character in present day. This does not represent all of the authors' published and upcoming books but serves to give you a sense of how broad the sci-fi category can be, and also that gals can write it up just as well as the guys can



After describing their books, the authors played a couple of games: they read non-spoiler scenes from random pages and they asked trivia questions for the audience to answer - some people walked away with some great prizes including BOOKS and SWAG! And of course, there was a great Q&A session. 



  • Of the Unremembered Trilogy, Jessica Brody reminds us that we should read the books in the order that they were written. In other words, despite the novella being called Undiscovered (Unremembered #0.5), we shouldn't read it as a prequel to the series because IT IS NOT. 
  • When asked about their favorite parts of the #GirlsGoneSciFi Tour, Jessica Khoury states that she has loved introducing Jessica Brody and Tamara Ireland Stone to "the South" (YAY!) while Tamara Ireland Stone has enjoyed the dinners and talking with the other writers, because this time is valuable. 
  • When asked if it is better to have one or more main characters, Meagan Spooner replied that different stories require different structures - for example, These Broken Stars was written as a dual point-of-view structure while her previously-published book Skylark was written with one main character. Jessica Khoury adds that in her opinion, writing more than one main character is much harder - her first book, Origin, has one POV, while her second book, Vitro, has three POV's. Beth Revis chimed in that in her newest work, she has four POV's and that if she gets bored with one, she just switches to writing another! 
  • Jessica Brody and Meagan Spooner have never written a male POV. 



I had the privilege of meeting with these authors alone for a few minutes before this event began and first, let me tell you - THEY INTRODUCED ME TO CREPES. Where have these little pieces of heaven been all of my life? It was a glorious snack, lemon-y and delicious, and I have craved another one since that first one. Thank you, ladies! 

During our discussion, I had the opportunity to discuss several things that I personally love about books and the industry with these authors - things I normally don't get perspective on when I talk back and forth with my reading friends. I discussed audiobooks, book covers, reading books from the library vs. buying books, things like that. It is always nice to have candid talk from people on the "other side" of the industry since I am so fascinated with it, and I loved hearing what they had to say. Without getting too personal: 

  • More than one of these authors enjoy audiobooks regularly, but not all of them do! Most do not enjoy hearing their own books via audiobook, and not every author gets the opportunity to "choose" their narrator (although sometimes they are asked for their preferences). -- As an audiobook lover myself, this part of the discussion made me geek out quite a bit. 
  • What I heard from this group of authors is pretty consistent with what I typically hear from most other authors about not having very much "control" over their book covers - HOWEVER, this group of ladies all seemed very happy with their covers, even the covers that had been changed a time or two. I agree, this group of books has great covers. (You all know how I feel about book covers.) Jessica Khoury noted that she was particularly happy with her covers as she felt they had appeal across both genders, and I agree. (I happen to know more than one male YA reader and while I *DO NOT* feel they would disregard these books at all based on their covers, they might choose to read several of them on an electronic device or via audiobook based on the cover.) 
  • THIS IS A BIG ONE! Each of these authors stated and restated that they do not, do not, do not care whether readers are reading their books from a purchase or a library, as long as they are legally purchased somehow and not illegally downloaded. I agree with this 100%. Piracy stinks, you guys. So none of us have to worry about approaching authors with our tails tucked between our legs when we have read books that we have checked out from the library! 
  • We talked about love triangles and insta-love, but you know what? I'm not even getting into any of that. We all have our opinions and we all deserve to own them. It was super fun to discuss my own thoughts with authors, though! Loved that. 


You guys, I can't even tell you how much it warms my heart to even ATTEND an author event -- much less to have a chance to have a nice chat with a group of warm and gracious hosts like these. I am forever fans of these ladies and cannot wait to share with you all the wonderful, signed goodies that they left with me to give to one lucky person



Thanks to the generosity of these authors
I am able to offer the following signed books 
to ONE LUCKY PERSON! 
(US Only) * (Ends 6/20)

a Rafflecopter giveaway



A COUPLE OF THE HAPPY TIMES FROM MY TRIP:

"Headed to #GirlsGoneSciFi at Malaprops Bookstore! Jessica Brody, Jessica Khoury, Lauren Miller, Tamara Ireland Stone w/Beth Revis & Meagan Spooner! WHAT!! I know. --- It's 332 miles to Asheville. We've got a full tank of gas, half a pack of gum, it's rainy, and we're wearing sunglasses." - via Instagram





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