Rating System:

For those of you who don't know, I rate books based on their ability to hold my attention. I don't really like to rip apart someone's hard work. If I don't finish a book, then I don't feel comfortable rating it. So you might see a lot of 4 and 5 star ratings. However, if I do have issues with a book, I will always tell you. Enjoy! (:

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Tucson Festival of Books Three-peat

Tucson Festival of Books
March 11th & 12th 2017
This year was my third time attending the Tucson Festival of Books and man was wonderful. This was actually my first event of any kind and of any size where I went all by myself. *Pats self on the back* The event just ended two weeks ago and I already cannot wait for next year.

Day One didn't go exactly as I planned. The very first panel I planned to go to was full even though I had arrived 30 minutes early. I guess I should've known "20 Ways Not to Write Your First Novel" would be a popular one. So the waiting began. I ventured back out to the main parts of the festival to check out booths and spin some pokestops. Which was very successful. I went home with over 300 combined pokeballs. The first signing I went to was for Alice Hoffman. While I still haven't finished reading Practical Magic, I had to take the opportunity to get my copy signed since I love the movie so much. This was followed by more wandering until it was finally time for my ticketed event to hear James Dashner speak about the Maze Runner series. If you didn't already know, James is very funny and tends to go off on tangents. He ended up only answering 4 out of 20 of the planned questions during the allotted hour, but it was still wonderful. His signing line though, WOW. I waited almost a full hour to meet him. Luckily someone in line was willing to hold my spot so I wouldn't end up missing Jeff Garvin and Shaun David Hutchinson and I didn't. After waiting an hour for Dashner, I finally got my book signed, but he was running late so I was told no picture. So I replied, "I'll be back tomorrow! See you then!" I took a nice little snack break inside the education building rather than going to the last 20 minutes of a panel and went out to my next signings. While in line waiting for Maggie Stiefvater, James passed me and offered me the picture I wasn't able to get 30 minutes prior. I'm not going to lie, it took us a couple of tries. You'll see. So my day ended with me meeting Maggie, Brittany Cavallaro, and seeing Aprilynne Pike for the third time. I finally had a book for her to sign! All in all, it was a great day! And I got so many compliments on my Beauty and the Beast shirt that read "My weekend is all booked."

On to day two! Once again, I braved the festival all by my lonesome. First stop was to hangout with Ginger Scott at the Arizona Indies tent. Those ladies were a blast. You have no idea. 10 AM brought the Dystopian Worlds panel featuring James Dashner, Alexandra Bracken, and Sharon Cameron. Once again, it was a lovely panel and the authors were great, but I learned from yesterdays mistake and dipped out 30 minutes early to line back up for Dashner. This time I was back with the book he said I should read because a character had my name in book two. Alas, it was my turn. "You're back!" he said. I was. He began to sign my new book and then... "Oh man, Gabriella with two L's. Mine only has one." What a shame, but it's okay. We didn't take a second picture. Next I lined up for Alexandra Bracken and while signing my book she had a little brainfart and started to write the B before anything else. Technically my book is signed twice and it's unique and I love it, brainfart and all. Sharon Cameron was also very sweet. I'm so excited to read The Forgetting, you have no idea. During the panel when she was describing it James said, "That is the single greatest premise for a book I have ever heard. I'm now mad at you for stealing it from me." and we all laughed. What an awesome group of humans. I should also mention that day two I met some new friends in line and chatted about books. These kind people being Erica, Jen, and Karen. Book festivals are such a great way to make friends. Even if you make them by inserting yourself into people's conversations like I do on occasion. After all of that fun I wandered back to the Arizona Indies tent and asked Ginger if she wanted to go grab a coffee before my V.E. Schwab signing. Turned out she had no idea she was there and so we went there instead to buy a book and surprise her husband. So sweet. I also practically force fed her some Hi-Chews and we agreed that it's the best way to make friends. I rounded out my adventures by stopping by to see a friend, Kathleen Glasgow and have a chat. Upon walking up, I noticed Shaun and I had the same shirt on which called for a second picture if you ask me. The conversation was fun and short, but totally worth it. Before I left, I grabbed one of Ginger's books and had her sign it. Oh and Erica spotted me again and snagged a picture.

2018 Tucson Festival of Books, please come faster. It's my favorite place to meet wonderful people and talk about even more wonderful books! Seriously, if you plan to go next year let me know! Maybe we can snag a picture together! 

What's your favorite bookish event or memory? Tell me in the comments, leave your Twitter handle, and one lucky commenter from the US will win a copy of Blue by Lisa Glass! Subscribing gets you an extra entry. Happy reading y'all!

Friday, March 3, 2017

Entangled Teen: Urban Fantasy or Epic Fantasy

Welcome to the last day of the Entangled Teen Urban Fantasy vs Epic Fantasy event. Today is the day where I let you know which side I'm on. Are you ready for this?

I'm not on a side. I honestly haven't read enough fantasy to have chosen a side so this post is going to be a very short one. I will tell you a book from each team during the event that I plan to check out.

My pick for #TeamUrbanFantasy is actually Atlantis Rising by Gloria Craw. To be fair, I already own a copy of this book and just haven't gotten around to reading it yet. Story of all us book lovers right? So many books, so little time.

As for #TeamEpicFantasy, I want to check out True North by L.E. Sterling. I haven't read book one, True Born yet but they both seem rather interesting.

Man, what a sorry excuse for a post. I would love to hear your recommendations for Urban Fantasy and Epic Fantasy and maybe I'll even add some of them to my ever growing TBR pile.

Thank you for stopping by and don't forget to enter the giveaway below if you haven't already!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
The Grand Prize winner of the contest will receive the following:
  • True Born (True Born Trilogy, #1) by L.E. Sterling
  • Thief of Lies (Library Jumpers, #1) by Brenda Drake
  • Spindle by Shonna Slayton


Thursday, March 2, 2017

Entangled Teen: Epic Fantasy

Welcome back to the Entangled Teen Urban Fantasy vs Epic Fantasy event! Today it's time to hear from the Epic Fantasy authors on why they love Epic Fantasy. Enjoy!

Erica Cameron - Island of Exiles (The Ryogan Chronicles, #1):
Why do I love epic fantasy? It's a blank slate. We can erase all of our preconceived notions of society and law and even science, throwing all of that over the side of a cliff. Epic fantasy lets us push humanity well past the breaking point with ever more impossible landscapes and situations. It lets us see what we could be if only we let ourselves get there. Plus, epic fantasy is, well, epic!

Book Description:
In Khya’s world, every breath is a battle. On the isolated desert island of Shiara, dying young is inevitable. The clan comes before self, and protecting her home means Khya is a warrior above all else.

But when following the clan and obeying their leaders could cost her brother his life, Khya’s home becomes a deadly trap. The only person who can help is Tessen, her lifelong rival and the boy who challenges her at every turn. The council she hoped to join has betrayed her, and their secrets, hundreds of years deep, reach around a world she’s never seen.

To save her brother’s life and her island home, her only choice is to trust Tessen, turn against her clan, and go on the run—a betrayal and a death sentence.

Buy Island of Exiles

Amber Mitchell – Garden of Thorns:
When I read and write, it’s because I want to escape and nothing gets you farther from your troubles than the distant shores of entirely new worlds. Epic fantasy invites you onto its tropical beaches, into its lush jungles and through its exotic cityscapes, shaking out its uncharted map for you to explore. Every page brims with fantastic characters questing, battling men and extraordinary beasts alike with magic flowing from nimble fingertips and daring sword fights. The allure of entirely new cultures, the epic stakes, swoon-worthy romances, and the flowing dresses of epic fantasy will always have my heart.

Book Description:
After seven grueling years of captivity in the Garden—a burlesque troupe of slave girls—sixteen-year-old Rose finds an opportunity to escape during a performance for the emperor. But the hostage she randomly chose from the crowd to aid her isn't one of the emperor's men—not anymore. He's the former heir to the throne, who is now leading a rebellion against it.

Rayce is a wanted man and dangerously charismatic, the worst person for Rose to get involved with, no matter what his smile promises. But he assumes Rose's attempt to take him hostage is part of a plot to crush the rebellion, so he takes her as his hostage. Now Rose must prove where her loyalties lie, and she offers Rayce a deal—if he helps her rescue the other girls, she'll tell him all the Garden's secrets.

Except the one secret she's kept for seven years that she'll to take to her grave if she must.

Buy Garden of Thorns

L.E. Sterling - True North (True Born, #2):
Don’t get me wrong -- #TeamUrban is great. I love time jumpers and magicians running around a book. They make you blink and question what you saw. But I prefer life in a funhouse mirror. Give me a goblin market. Give me a warrior queen with immortal blood. I want the snow queen’s glass shard to be embedded in my eye. I want to completely escape the bounds of reality -- not be shackled by them. I don't want to just question my perceptions -- I want to know I’m not in Kansas any longer.

Book Description:
Abandoned by her family in Plague-ridden Dominion City, eighteen-year-old Lucy Fox has no choice but to rely upon the kindness of the True Borns, a renegade group of genetically enhanced humans, to save her twin sister, Margot. But Nolan Storm, their mysterious leader, has his own agenda. When Storm backtracks on his promise to rescue Margot, Lucy takes her fate into her own hands and sets off for Russia with her True Born bodyguard and maybe-something-more, the lethal yet beautiful Jared Price. In Russia, there's been whispered rumors of Plague Cure.

While Lucy fights her magnetic attraction to Jared, anxious that his loyalty to Storm will hurt her chances of finding her sister, they quickly discover that not all is as it appears…and discovering the secrets contained in the Fox sisters' blood before they wind up dead is just the beginning.

As they say in Dominion, sometimes it’s not you…it’s your DNA.

Buy True North

Nicole Luiken - In Truth & Ashes (Otherselves, #3):
First for the endlessly inventive magic. Second for the fascinating new worlds to explore. Third for the fantastic creatures that dwell there: dragons, gargoyles, demi-gods and phoenixes are just a few of the ones I've used.

Epic fantasy gives a writer a bigger canvas to paint. Instead of a city, a country or even worlds. Wars. Heroes. Villains. Destinies. Everything is bigger is epic fantasy. The stakes are higher, instead of a single group, the fate of a world can hang in the balance.

Book Description:
The Mirror Worlds are but dull reflections of the True World, where magic and technology blend together…
On the True World, Belinda Loring has known from childhood that she must Bond with the son of another noble First Family. Uniting the families ensures hers will hold onto its powerful position, and so she’s always pushed down the tender feelings she has for her best friend—gorgeous, steadfast Demian, who isn’t noble.
But when the ceremonial magic goes disastrously wrong, Belinda becomes a national disgrace. Scorned as Broken, she turns to Demian for help getting revenge on the man who ruined her: the radical Malachi.
But the seeds of Malachi’s murderous plans lie buried in Belinda’s past, in the dark days of her kidnapping—a period of which she has no memory. And Demian may hold the key to recovering all that she’s lost—and saving the worlds.

Buy In Truth & Ashes

Renee Collins - Relic:

Book Description:
After a raging fire consumes her town and kills her parents, Maggie Davis is on her own to protect her younger sister and survive best she can in the Colorado town of Burning Mesa. In Maggie’s world, the bones of long-extinct magical creatures such as dragons and sirens are mined and traded for their residual magical elements, and harnessing these relics’ powers allows the user to wield fire, turn invisible, or heal even the worst of injuries.
Working in a local saloon, Maggie befriends the spirited showgirl Adelaide and falls for the roguish cowboy Landon. But when she proves to have a particular skill at harnessing the relics’ powers, Maggie is whisked away to the glamorous hacienda of Álvar Castilla, the wealthy young relic baron who runs Burning Mesa. Though his intentions aren’t always clear, Álvar trains Maggie in the world of relic magic. But when the mysterious fires reappear in their neighboring towns, Maggie must discover who is channeling relic magic for evil before it’s too late.

Relic is a thrilling adventure set in a wholly unique world, and a spell-binding story of love, trust, and the power of good.
Buy Relic

Rebekah L. Purdy - The Summer Marked (The Winter People, #2):
Epic Fantasy is an escape from the “real world” and takes you to other lands, places you can only dream of, which is why I love it so much.  And there’s so much more opportunity to really explore new creatures and characters within these worlds. I mean, who doesn’t like the idea of stepping through a closet and finding a cool fantasy world? LOL.
I’m also a big fan of the epic battles (think Lord of the Rings or Throne of Glass). Girl with a sword=Awesome.

Book Description:
Fresh off a break-up with her boyfriend, Kadie’s glad to be home from college for Thanksgiving. All she needs is a rebound guy, a box of chocolates, and some girl time with her best friend, Salome. Problem is, Salome isn’t returning her calls, and her family won’t say where she is. Feeling sorry for herself, Kadie ends up at Club Blade, a place filled with pumping music, dangerous guys, and promises of a good time. However, when midnight strikes, Kadie’s fun turns into a nightmare as she’s ripped from the human world into Faerie by a vengeful Winter Prince named Etienne. For the first time in her life, she realizes the monsters Salome always spoke of are real, and they’ll stop at nothing to destroy her friend.

Salome thought the winter curse was behind her. But winter has left its mark. Not just on her, but on the whole summer court. The Kingdom of Summer is falling apart, and Nevin is hanging onto his throne by a thread. With war on his doorstep, he has no choice but to send Gareth into enemy territory, which means Salome will be left alone—vulnerable in a world she doesn’t understand. A place where beauty is deadly and humans are pawns in the macabre games the Fae play. Both Kadie and Salome will have to call on all their strength to survive in a world where humans aren’t meant to be. With death and enemies all around them, it’ll be a miracle if they can survive.

Buy The Summer Marked

Chloe Jacobs - Greta and the Goblin King (Mylena Chronicles, #1):

Book Description:
While trying to save her brother from a witch’s fire four years ago, Greta was thrown in herself, falling through a portal to Mylena, a dangerous world where humans are the enemy and every ogre, ghoul, and goblin has a dark side that comes out with the eclipse.

To survive, Greta has hidden her humanity and taken the job of bounty hunter—and she’s good at what she does. So good, she’s caught the attention of Mylena’s young goblin king, the darkly enticing Isaac, who invades her dreams and undermines her will to escape.

But Greta’s not the only one looking to get out of Mylena. An ancient evil knows she’s the key to opening the portal, and with the next eclipse mere days away, every bloodthirsty creature in the realm is after her—including Isaac. If Greta fails, she and the lost boys of Mylena will die. If she succeeds, no world will be safe from what follows her back…

Buy Greta and the Goblin King

Wow. Those seem to be some pretty wonderful books. Have you chosen a side? I'm not sure that I have. Make sure you come back tomorrow for another post and definitely enter the giveaway to win some of the books I've mentioned.

a Rafflecopter giveaway 
The Grand Prize winner of the contest will receive the following: 
True Born (True Born Trilogy, #1) by L.E. Sterling 
Thief of Lies (Library Jumpers, #1) by Brenda Drake 
Spindle by Shonna Slayton

Good luck!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Entangled Teen: Urban Fantasy

Welcome to the Entangled Teen Urban Fantasy vs Epic Fantasy event. Today we're going to hear from some Urban Fantasy authors on why they love Urban Fantasy. Enjoy!

Brenda Drake - Guardian of Secrets (Library Jumpers, #2):
I’m such a fan of Urban Fantasy for many reasons, but mostly because writers can take our normal world and, either secret or not, add a dash of the fantastical to it. With mystical creatures hiding from humans or living side by side with them, deliciously nefarious things can happen. There’s just something extraordinary about urban fantasy. It’s the ability of the writer to look at something normal in the human world and mix it up. Changing a simple book into something that can transport someone from library to library or hiding a zoo of magical beasts in a common suitcase.
Book Description:
Being a Sentinel isn’t all fairytales and secret gardens. Sure, jumping through books into the world’s most beautiful libraries to protect humans from mystical creatures is awesome. No one knows that better than Gia Kearns, but she could do without the part where people are always trying to kill her. Oh, and the fact that Pop and her had to move away from her friends and life as she knew it.

And if that isn’t enough, her boyfriend, Arik, is acting strangely. Like, maybe she should be calling him “ex,” since he’s so into another girl. But she doesn’t have time to be mad or even jealous, because someone has to save the world from the upcoming apocalypse, and it looks like that’s going to be Gia.

Chris Cannon - Fanning the Flames (Going Down in Flames, #4):
1.      There are no maidens that need to be rescued in urban fantasy. More than likely the females are the ones kicking ass.
2.      I love the snarky banter that occurs when you throw modern day characters into strange/magical/supernatural circumstances.
3.      Anything is possible in urban fantasy. There are no rules about what types of paranormal creatures you can have. If you want to create dragons that breathe fire, ice, wind, sonic waves, and lightning, you can, just like I did in Going Down In Flames *cough cough shameless self promotion.

Book Description:
She isn't afraid of anything...except losing the knight she loves. Bryn McKenna has it all, including her smoking-hot knight turned live-in boyfriend, Valmont. Even though she’s a hybrid dragon, she’s finally fitting into the new shape-shifting dragon world that’s become her own. But her grandparents want to ruin everything by making Bryn’s nightmare of an arranged marriage to Jaxon Westgate a reality. It doesn’t help that Jaxon’s father is on a witch hunt for Rebel sympathizers and Bryn finds herself in his line of fire.

If she doesn’t say, “I do,” she’ll lose everything. Good-bye flying. Good-bye best friends. Good-bye magic. But if she bends to her grandparents’ will and agrees to marry Jaxon, she’ll lose the love of her life—her knight.

Shonna Slayton - Spindle:
Urban fantasy reminds me that our own world is magical. We are so used to the way our world works that we take for granted how incredible it is that our heart beats, our brain imagines, that our eyes see color.
As a writer, urban fantasy allows me to open up my imagination on multiple planes. I still work with the real world, but I get to add layers onto that. It’s like going from black and white TV to color. Like Dorothy in dusty old Kansas stepping into the colorful land of Oz.

Book Description:
In a world where fairies lurk and curses linger, love can bleed like the prick of a finger…

Briar Rose knows her life will never be a fairy tale. She’s raising her siblings on her own, her wages at the spinning mill have been cut, and the boy she thought she had a future with has eyes for someone else. Most days it feels like her best friend, Henry Prince, is the only one in her corner…though with his endless flirty jokes, how can she ever take him seriously?

When a mysterious peddler offers her a “magic” spindle that could make her more money, sneaking it into the mill seems worth the risk. But then one by one, her fellow spinner girls come down with the mysterious sleeping sickness…and Briar’s not immune.

If Briar wants to save the girls—and herself—she’ll have to start believing in fairy tales…and in the power of a prince’s kiss.

Buy Spindle

Tara Fuller - Inbetween (Kissed by Death, #1):
Book Description:
Death doesn’t fall in love. Usually. Since the car crash that took her father’s life three years ago, Emma’s life has been a freaky—and unending—lesson in caution. Surviving “accidents” has taken priority over being a normal seventeen-year-old, so Emma spends her days taking pictures of life instead of living it. Falling in love with a boy was never part of the plan. Falling for a reaper who makes her chest ache and her head spin? Not an option.
It’s not easy being dead, especially for a reaper in love with a girl fate has put on his list not once, but twice. Finn’s fellow reapers give him hell about spending time with Emma, but Finn couldn’t let her die before, and he’s not about to let her die now. He will protect the girl he loves from the evil he accidentally unleashed, even if it means sacrificing the only thing he has left…his soul.
Buy Inbetween

Danielle Ellison - Salt (Salt, #1):
Whether it's witches, demons, ghosts or other types monsters, there's nothing like escaping the sometimes mundane reality of our world, or giving what we know every day a spice of fantasy.  Filled with kick-ass heroines who aren't afraid to fight for what they believe in (and hot, just-as-fierce love interests) Urban Fantasy inspires you look beyond what you see and be more than you think you can be. Plus, life is more with some magic: more dangerous, more unpredictable, more chaotic, more fun.

Book Description:
Penelope is a witch, part of a secret society protecting humans from demon attacks. But when she was a child, a demon killed her parents—and stole her magic. Since then, she’s been pretending to be something she’s not, using her sister’s magic to hide her own loss, to prevent being sent away.

When she’s finally given the chance to join the elite demon-hunting force, Penelope thinks that will finally change. With her sister’s help, she can squeeze through the tests and get access to the information she needs to find “her” demon. To take back what was stolen.

Then she meets Carter. He’s cute, smart, and she can borrow his magic, too. He knows her secret—but he also has one of his own.

Suddenly, Penelope’s impossible quest becomes far more complicated. Because Carter’s not telling her everything, and it’s starting to seem like the demons have their own agenda…and they’re far too interested in her.

Rachel Harris - My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century (My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century, #1):

Book Description:
On the precipice of her sixteenth birthday, the last thing lone wolf Cat Crawford wants is an extravagant gala thrown by her bubbly stepmother and well-meaning father. So even though Cat knows the family’s trip to Florence, Italy, is a peace offering, she embraces the magical city and all it offers. But when her curiosity leads her to an unusual gypsy tent, she exits…right into Renaissance Firenze.
Thrust into the sixteenth century armed with only a backpack full of contraband future items, Cat joins up with her ancestors, the sweet Alessandra and protective Cipriano, and soon falls for the gorgeous aspiring artist Lorenzo. But when the much-older Niccolo starts sniffing around, Cat realizes that an unwanted birthday party is nothing compared to an unwanted suitor full of creeptastic amore. Can she find her way back to modern times before her Italian adventure turns into an Italian forever?

Gloria Craw - Atlantis Rising (Atlantis Rising, #1):
I love Urban Fantasy because it infuses normal life with myth and magic. It’s so exciting to have something in common with a character who finds a magic object, special ability or a secret origin. The possible ways her courage and passion might be tested are endless. When she does triumph against fantastic odds, I’m left feeling inspired and reassured that I can overcome great obstacles in my everyday life too. Urban Fantasy reminds me that the ordinary in us can sometimes be…extraordinary.

Book Description:
We’ve stayed hidden too long… I am different. I have always been different, but no one can know or my life will be in danger. So I hide in plain sight, wearing drab clothes and thick glasses and trying to be invisible. I’m so good at hiding, no one has ever noticed me. Until Ian…the mysterious and oh-so-cute boy I know I need to avoid.

Now I have been seen. And more terrifying still, I am wanted—by those who would protect me and those who would destroy everything and everyone I love. But if they’re all terrified about who I am, wait until they see what I can do…

Wow, don't those books sound amazing! Come back tomorrow to hear about Team Epic Fantasy! Also, be sure you enter the giveaway below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
The Grand Prize winner of the contest will receive the following:
True Born (True Born Trilogy, #1) by L.E. Sterling
Thief of Lies (Library Jumpers, #1) by Brenda Drake
Spindle by Shonna Slayton

Good luck to you!