Friday, February 16, 2018

TBF Friday Fun Post: My Experience as a TBF Volunteer

Hello everyone! Today I’m going to share my experience at TBF 2017. I have gone to TBF twice so far, once as an attendee (2016) and once as a volunteer (2017).

Volunteering (anywhere) is a rewarding feeling, but it is especially so when you’re doing it for something you love. Volunteering at TBF is a special memory for me, and I encourage (if you can) to take part in it sometime in the future. Getting to work a little behind-the-scenes definitely helped me better understand the workings of the event and gave me further opportunity to connect with the authors. There are various positions, depending on how many hours you’re available, from 2-hour shifts to the entire day, so hopefully there’s a time that fits for you. The tasks can range from festival greeting to assisting merchandise sales to helping authors (but keep in mind you need to be available all day to apply for an author assistant position).

As for my experience, I had school on Saturday mornings up until this year, but I wanted to be an author assistant so badly I ended up taking the day off- it was worth it. Having your “own” author is such an amazing experience, and you have plenty of time to connect with them over breakfast, autographing sessions, etc. I was an author assistant along with two other teens and one adult to Kim Savage, and she was such a lovely person. Sometimes it can feel really intimidating to meet and talk with an author, but she was so down-to-earth and engaging. When I signed up to volunteer, I had only read one of her novels, and listening to her presentation and talking with her gave me a better understanding of her books and background. Some of our duties included introducing our author, escorting them to lunch and back, maintaining the autograph line, and in general making sure everything went smoothly. Not a moment of it was boring, even when all I had to do was move the autograph sign forward and back. :) It was an amazing experience, as not only were my fellow volunteers passionate about reading, but everyone there was too. Overall, volunteering at TBF is such a unique experience, and the rewarding feeling of contribution has definitely pulled me in for another year.

Registration for volunteering has already begun, so make sure you sign up by April 1! There is a mandatory training session on May 15th.  For more information, visit

I hope to see everyone at TBF this year!


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Book Review: Brazen by Penelope Bagieu

What's up everybody! Katie C. here with a super cool book review from another author attending TBF this year: Brazen by Penelope Bagieu!

Image result for brazen graphic novel coverThroughout history and across the globe, one characteristic connects the daring women of Brazen: their indomitable spirit. against overwhelming adversity, these remarkable women raised their voices and change history. 
With her one-of-a-kind wit and dazzling drawings, Penelope Bagieu profiles the lives of these feisty female role models, some world-famous, some little known. from Nellie Bly to Mae Jemison or Josephine Baker to Naziq al-Abid, their stories are sure to inspire the next generation of rebel ladies.

I'm gonna be honest, this book has been on my TBR pile ever since I first heard it was coming out. I absolutely love graphic novels and this book was no exception. 

First off: the art style. I love it so much!!! Each panel is so simple, and yet so pleasing to look at. It's such a cute style and very good at entertaining the eye through the story of each story. Not only that, but the last page of each section is a two page spread of a picture portraying a part of the previous story. These two page prints are my favorite part of the graphic novel because of the energy and spirit they give off, not to mention they have so much more power once you know the story behind the woman being portrayed. My favorite one is Nzinga's! The color scheme (and her story in general) is so fresh and inspiring!

However, Brazen is more than just the art. Brazen is a collection of stories about powerful, spirited, historic women all around the world and throughout time. Even if you're not a graphic novel person, I would still really recommend this book. There's so much history packed inside, and most of the stories are about places and events that the average high school history class never taught me. In addition to that, each individual story is different, refreshing, and most importantly, true. Reading about the lives of these women and their stories about how they against all odds changed the world is inspiring and brought me so much joy reading this book.

My copy of Brazen was an ARC, but you can expect to pick up this book at your local bookstore or library on March 6th. And if you need one more reason to read this beautiful book, while looking for the release date, I stumbled across multiple articles about how this very book is currently being adapted into an animated series! And as someone who loves animation and wants to have an animated series of her own someday, this is beyond exciting!!!!! 

Hope you all are having a great valentines day (I know I am)!!! This is Katie C. signing off!

Friday, February 9, 2018

Friday Fun Post: My Experience as a TBF Attendee

Hey readers! For this weeks Friday Fun Post I'm writing about the first year I went to TBF, Teen Book Fest 11 in 2016. I was incredibly excited after having learned about it from the amazing founder herself, Stephanie Squicciarini at my home library.

The first thing I did when I arrived before going to a session I headed to the bookstore that was set up and bought a few books by authors I was planning on seeing later in the day. (A coveted TBF Tip is to go to the store during sessions to avoid some crowd and a big line, but if you want definite first picks on books I'd recommend going first thing in the morning.) My favorite part of the day was the last author session I attended by Jesse Andrews. He was one of the biggest authors going that year and so getting to hear him speak about his books that I loved and later meeting about him was amazing.

After the sessions, authors start signing books in the main hall area as well as in a few other locations, so I recommend making sure you know where all your favorite authors are going to be to get your newly purchased (or brought from home!) copies signed. The books I've gotten signed at TBF over the years are some of my most prized possessions alongside the memories of meeting these authors.

If you aren't planning on volunteering this year (more info about volunteering here) I know you'll still have an incredible day at TBF and most likely end up treasuring those memories forever! Feel free to check out our website for all the latest TBF news, information on all attending authors, as well as to learn more about TBF's history and past events.


Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Book Review: Also Known As by Robin Benway

Happy February everyone! I hope you're all staying warm. To start off this month's book reviews, I have for you Also Known As by Robin Benway!

Being a 16-year-old safecracker and active-duty daughter of international spies has its moments, good and bad. Pros: Seeing the world one crime-solving adventure at a time. Having parents with super cool jobs. Cons: Never staying in one place long enough to have friends or a boyfriend. But for Maggie Silver, the biggest perk of all has been avoiding high school and the accompanying cliques, bad lunches, and frustratingly simple locker combinations.

Then Maggie and her parents are sent to New York for her first solo assignment, and all of that changes. She'll need to attend a private school, avoid the temptation to hack the school's security system, and befriend one aggravatingly cute Jesse Oliver to gain the essential information she needs to crack the case…all while trying not to blow her cover.

What would it be like to be a seasoned safecracker, and prodigy spy, at just sixteen years old? Robin Benway's Also Known As answers us just that. We follow our main character Maggie, Margret, Mags, the girl with twelve different passports and identities, into her very first solo field mission. I thought that Maggie was extremely relatable as a character, even as a spy. She faces the same thing that students everywhere have experienced at least once. Her mission takes her to a new school, with new friends and new trials ahead. She just alsonhas the added bonus of also being a spy and the clock is ticking. I also thought the dynamic between Maggie and her new best friend Roux was hilarious. Roux was the perfect sidekick for this spy story, as the over the top dramatic mean girl type who was just in need of a friend. I thought this book was a cool twist on the typical high school drama that you can pull off of any teen library shelf. I thought AKA was a refreshing read, full of just enough high school romance and high energy chase scenes to satisfy any reader's palate. 

I would suggest this book to any reader who is a fan of teen romance, action, and even just general fiction. Also Known As isn't necessarily in a genre I typically read, but even so it did not disappoint. With that, I'm off to read it's sequel, Going Rogue. It looks to be as promising as the last. Happy reading!


Monday, February 5, 2018

Friday Fun Post: TBF Tips

With only about a hundred days left until Teen Book Fest, you might be starting to think about attending the event as either a guest or a volunteer. As someone who has, throughout the years, participated in each of the two positions, I can tell you that both are incredibly rewarding. However, there are a couple of tips you can use to make your day even better (if that’s even possible).
As an attendee, make sure to arrive early. I know it’s Saturday and waking up at any time before nine might not seem to be the most appealing option, getting to TBF at the 8:30 opening time is certainly worth it. First of all, you’ll get the chance to peruse the book selection before the most popular novels are already taken, and, second of all, you’ll also be able to snag a good seat for the Teen Book Fest opening ceremony. Even if you can’t arrive by 8:30, make sure to be at Nazareth by the time this starts, 9:15 a.m. I missed it the first time I attended and have regretted it ever since. Also, make sure to plan out your day. If you’re like me, you’ve already been scouting out the attending authors for months so you might have a good idea of who you want to see. Make sure you know the top three or four authors you’d like to see, and, as always, have some backup options available in case a session is full or you arrive late. Finally, be prepared. Make sure to have bring a water bottle, some food (in case you run across a starving author, of course), and money (for books!). Also, if you have copies of any books by the attending authors, don’t forget to bring them to be signed. Again, this is a mistake I’ve made in the past and one I still regret. Most of all-- don’t forget to have fun! TBF is book lovers’ paradise so make sure to take advantage of it.
As a volunteer, don’t forget to sign up. It may sound self-evident, but I know that without any reminders, I can miss things pretty easily. Set a reminder on your phone, write it down in your planner, whatever you need to do because it’s simple for that due date to slip by. Secondly, make sure to attend the training session on May 15th at Nazareth. It’s important to get a layout of the campus, and schedule as well as meet your fellow volunteers before the event. Finally, the day of the event, don’t forget to take a deep breath and quell your nerves. When meeting an author, it’s pretty much a natural instinct to start freaking out-- particularly about whether the writer will like you or not. Don’t worry. Be yourself. Things will go fine.
So, whether you are an attendee or a volunteer, mark your calendar for May 19th where I hope to see you all at TBF!
-- Kate G

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Book Review: The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

Hello TBF readers,

I recently read THE BELLES by Dhonielle Clayton (also the co-author of TINY PRETTY THINGS) and I am still reeling from this fantasy novel. Check it out:

Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In the opulent world of Orleans, Belles are revered, for they control Beauty, and Beauty is a commodity coveted above all else. In Orleans, the people are born gray, they are born damned, and only with the help of a Belle and her talents can they transform and be made beautiful.

But it's not enough for Camellia to be just a Belle. She wants to be the favorite, the Belle chosen by the Queen of Orleans to live in the royal palace, to tend to the royal family and their court, to be recognized as the most talented Belle in the land.

But once Camellia and her Belle sisters arrive at court, it becomes clear that being the favorite is not everything she always dreamed it would be. Behind the gilded palace walls live dark secrets, and Camellia soon learns that the very essence of her existence is a lie, that her powers are far greater, and could be more dangerous, than she ever imagined. And when the queen asks Camellia to risk her own life and help the ailing princess by using Belle powers in unintended ways, Camellia now faces an impossible decision.

With the future of Orleans and its people at stake, Camellia must decide: save herself and her sisters and the way of the Belles, or resuscitate the princess, risk her own life, and change the ways of her world forever.

First of all, let's take a moment to appreciate the book cover. The super fancy text, the beautiful girl with a fierce face, the color palette. Gorgeous!

Our heroine, Camellia, is a strong, relatable character. While Camellia doesn't know how to fight or hunt, qualities that are often associated with "strong" female characters, especially in fantasy novels, Camellia possesses loyalty, curiosity, and bravery. These characteristics definitely keep her alive during the hostile, glamorous court. In addition, one would expect that Camellia, someone possess beauty in a fantasy world where beauty is a commodity, would be vain and arrogant. However, Camellia desperately wants to help the people of Orleans especially the royal family. It is refreshing to see a main character in a fantasy novel rely on brains instead of brawn.

The heart of this novel is questioning and examining beauty standards in a fantastical and creative form. As a Belle, Camellia brings beauty to both men and women. She can change a person's hair, eye color--simple things. But once customers start demanding more complicated matters such as body shape, Camellia hesitates. She is brought up to believe that our unique characteristics, the shape of our lips, the slope of our noses, are what makes us unique. That what makes us unique makes us beautiful. As Camellia starts questioning other characters' ideals of beauty, the readers are asked to the same questions within our own world.

I highly recommend THE BELLES for fans of The Uglies trilogy.

You can pre-order THE BELLES at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and Indiebound. You don't have to wait too long as THE BELLES will be in your hands next week, February 6th.

That is all for today. Be sure to check out the blog for more fun, TBF posts!


Friday, January 26, 2018

TBF Book I am dying to read-Roshani Chokshi

Hi all,
I am back with another Friday fun post. And I am so excited. One of my favorite authors, Roshani Chokshi is releasing a new book in February. I read her first book The Star-Touched Queen right after it came out a couple of years ago. I would highly recommend it to anyone and everyone. I was so excited when I saw she was coming to tbf and even more excited when I saw she would be releasing a new book. 

Best-selling author Rick Riordan introduces this adventure by Roshani Chokshi about twelve-year-old Aru Shah, who has a tendency to stretch the truth in order to fit in at school. While her classmates are jetting off to family vacations in exotic locales, she'll be spending her autumn break at home, in the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture, waiting for her mom to return from her latest archeological trip. Is it any wonder that Aru makes up stories about being royalty, traveling to Paris, and having a chauffeur?
One day, three schoolmates show up at Aru's doorstep to catch her in a lie. They don't believe her claim that the museum's Lamp of Bharata is cursed, and they dare Aru to prove it. Just a quick light,Aru thinks. Then she can get herself out of this mess and never ever fib again.
But lighting the lamp has dire consequences. She unwittingly frees the Sleeper, an ancient demon whose duty it is to awaken the God of Destruction. Her classmates and beloved mother are frozen in time, and it's up to Aru to save them.
The only way to stop the demon is to find the reincarnations of the five legendary Pandava brothers, protagonists of the Hindu epic poem, the Mahabharata, and journey through the Kingdom of Death. But how is one girl in Spider-Man pajamas supposed to do all that?

This book comes out on March 27th 2018. Of course the cover and release date are subject to change. As usual sorry for the weird white highlights. Still trying to figure out how to not do that, I think I am getting closer. 
Have an amazing day,