Event in Alpharetta, GA

On Saturday I was really lucky to be able to travel down to Alpharetta, GA for a book signing! Seriously if you have never been able to go to one you really need to put it on your list of things to do. I love them!
Originally I thought that just Lauren Oliver (Delirium) was going to be there but a few weeks ago I found out that Dan Wells (The Partials) and Claudia Gray (Evernight) were also going to be there!
So I traveled down from Ooltewah to Alpharetta and met up with two of my friends from Knoxville who came up from Florida on the end of their spring break for the signing. The most horrible thing ever happened as we were eating lunch.

Guest Blogger Erin: Yeah I’m so excited to see Claudia! Since I borrowed all of yours I bought some last night.
Me: What?
GBE: um….the Claudia Gray books…I bought my own copies last night
Me: Claudia Gray……*falls to knees…not really we were sitting in a booth*….I FORGOT HER BOOKS AT HOME!!!!! WAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH

And yes, I would just like to point out that it did get shouted in the middle of TGIFridays and I did give a Snookie cry. So after we finished eating we rushed over to Barnes and Noble and we were almost late -_-’. So we get there we rush over to the panel area and I am trying to hunt down Claudia’s books and I enlist the help of an employee and she comes back with just one book. That’s all they had left. Seriously people every other Claudia Gray book in the store was gone except for one of the books. Which was fine but like any booky person I wanted the whole set signed.
So then the panel began. I always love hearing authors talk about things from their books. For example Lauren Oliver was partial inspired to write Delirium because of the bird/swine flu pandemic panic that took place a few years ago.
Dan Wells also said one of my favorite things, and one of the best bits of advice that I have ever heard. He discussed how at first he found it hard to write a female main character, after all as far as he knows he’s never been a teenage girl. Dan said that instead of writing a female character he just wrote the type of character that he wanted to and just happened to make her a girl. Isn’t that amazing! I know that my mind was blown right there. lol. That is seriously a bit of advice that I will keep with me forever. Thanks Dan!

So then we got to meet the authors. I hate it when the separate me from other people (mainly Guest Blogger Erin) because Erin does all the talking for me. When I met Victoria Schwab and Rachel Hawkins for the first time it was like word vomit from Mean Girls. I just could not shut up and I could feel my insides cringing because of the horrible rambling that was happening. So I made Erin go in front of me and I tried to ride on her coat tails…it didn’t really work. I have so many brilliant things that I want to say to authors and then the second that I get in front of them my brain turns to mush (I think the Carrie Ryans zombies got me). So this is how all of the conversations went:

Lauren Oliver

Me: Hi! I harass you on twitter all the time.
Lauren: Oh!
Me: *Laughs awkwardly*
Lauren: Whats your handle?
Me: *thinks about what a handle is* Hannah_TBV
Lauren: *looks at me like she has no idea who I am* Oh. Well did you have fun on spring break.
Me *what? Oh!* uh huh.

Erin said that she had just come back from Spring Break but I wasn’t the friend who went with her. Awkward. See, if I had’t let the zombies turn my brain to mush I could have said “Oh! That was our other friend, I came from TN.” Instead it was a weird noise.

Lauren: So how did you guys become friends?
Me and Erin: *tells her*
Lauren: Ooohh! That sounds like a YA novel.
Me: hmmmmmm…..
Lauren: Whats your blog name?
Me: The Book Vortex
Lauren: The Book Vortex. I like that.
Me: *OMG* Thanks. Tag line is Get Sucked In
Lauren: *writes it down* I like that!

So then I got a picture with her.

Lauren and Me

And so did Guest Blogger Erin

Lauren and Erin

So then I got to meet Dan Wells. I have no gotten to read his books yet but I am very excited to get to read Partials (so be sure to keep an eye out for a review when I finish it). So remember what I said about coat tails? Yeah I heard Erin tell Dan that she hadn’t read his book yet but she planned on reading it and from the corner of my ear (I was still getting things signed from Lauren) I heard it going smoothly. So then I go over:

Note! This is an example of how NOT to have an discussion with an author. And note that this conversation wasn’t really that bad but I was mortified I hadn’t read his book yet. lol.

Me: Hi! I haven’t read your book yet but I plan to!
Dan: *laughs* Why else would you be buying it.
Me: *dies a little inside*
Dan: I guess you could be buying it to burn it *mumbles some other stuff I can’t hear*

Dan Signing

Me: *gets defensive* well I could be buying it to give away! (To you all). But I’m keeping it for myself! (sorry guys).
Dan: Your part of a blog.
Me: Yes. The Book Vortex
Dan: Do you have cards
Me: *shakeshead* No. (I am totally not gaining any point with Dan *cries*)
Dan: But you have shirts, thats cooler!.
Me: *smiles*

Then Dan was super nice and agreed to take a picture with me. There was no way to get to him because he was in the middle and both ways were blocked by people and he suggested I jump over the table….that would have been funny to watch. So I ran around everyone and got a picture.

Dan and I

And one with Erin

Dan and Erin

Dan was a super nice guy though and his books sound really interesting so I will definitely be reading him in the future! Next time I see him I will have read the books and (hopefully) be able to hold an intelligent conversation if the zombies ever give my brain back.

Then I got to see Claudia Gray who I quickly started a conversation with:

Me: I cannot believe I forgot all of your books at home!
Claudia: *Looks at me* your the one from twitter.
Me: 0_0 Yes.

And then it went on from there. She was super nice and I am unbelievably sad I left my other books from her at home.

Claudia and I

and one with Erin

Erin and Claudia

So, that was the signing! I may or may not have gotten you all a little something. You won’t get to know if I did or not for a few more weeks! *evil face* Keep checking back.

Paul’s Review for “Shadows Bloom” by T.A. Moore

SHadows Blom

Title: Shadows Bloom
Author: T.A. Moore
Publication Date: February 13, 2012
Publisher: Createspace
Source: Three Crow Press

If you are unfamiliar with the Four Branches of the Mabinogi, The Talmud avli (Babylonian Talmud), The Book of Numbers, The Affair of the Diamond Necklace, St. Thomas the Apostle and Greek mythology, don’t worry, T.A. Moore is. This book is a grand collision of almost every branch of mythology and legend that exists, taking stories both very old and relatively new and giving what Paul Harvey called ‘The Rest of the Story’.

It works.

One of the things that I miss in this age of the seven hundred page novel is the art of the unsaid. Give a writer unlimited ink and they will use it, most of them poorly. Sometimes I think that writers try too hard to justify their world building by proving that the oddity that they are parading in front of you could possibly exist

Andre Norton was supreme at leaving things unsaid, the Forerunners always made me uneasy, not because of what I knew about them but because of what I didn’t, and what’s left unsaid is always more sinister.

Which brings me to Even City.

Jonothan Harker could have just as easily been speaking of Even City when, on his way to meet Count Dracula he wrote in his journal.

“I read that every known superstition in the world is gathered into the horseshoe of the Carpathians, as if it were the center of some sort of imaginative whirlpool; if so my stay may be very interesting.”

The Even (as it’s called) could easily have taken over this book, run roughshod over the other characters. It’s that kind of place. It has a power and potency of its own and I’m sure that other authors could have doubled the page count exploring the back alleys and shifting streets. But Moore has a firm grip on the unsaid, and a tight leash on the Even. Instead of kicking every door down and shoving us inside, we get glimpses through cracked doors and grimy windows, just enough to tantalize but never too much to distract us from Blodeuwedd’s plight. The characters that move within it toss off quips that they feel no need to explain and since they live there and already know, why should they.

What’s left unsaid is always more sinister, and in the case of Even City, much, much more.

And then there is Blodeuwedd herself. Where the Mabinogion leaves off, Moore picks up and regardless of what Lady Guest and all that came after her have put down on paper, this is a three dimensional Blodeuwedd unlike any other, and one with facets that I am still finding. If the plot is simple (Blodeuwedd has a problem, Blodeuwedd needs to fix the problem or die), then its execution is wonderfully complicated. Blodeuwedd is a microcosm of Even City, and like the city there are so many things about her that go unsaid, unexplained. No matter how hard you try, how crafty you think you are, the Blodeuwedd you think will be on the next page rarely is. And yet it all makes sense, she is so wonderfully crafted by both Math and Moore that despite all she has done, I completely understand why Llew does as he does.

So here I will end it, keeping my own leash on the unsaid. It would be too easy to spoil a story like this by telling what isn’t there as much as by giving too much of the story away. If you have come this far for my recommendation, then you have it. Read this book it is worth five stars!

Paul

Review for “Lies Beneath” by Anne Greenwood Brown

Title: Lies Beneath (Lies Beneath #1)
Release Date: June 12, 2012
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Source: Netgalley

Calder White is a young man of 18 years old, at least in mer-years. A rare merman (a term which he hates) Calder is trapped in a family hell bent on getting vengeance for their mothers death years earlier. Forced to reunite with his sisters in the cold waters of Lake Superior Calder must use his seduction charms to lure their prey in. Lies Beneath is the story of what would happen if Calder fell in love with the person he was supposed to be using.
I really liked how the forbidden romance was played out in this book. There are a lot of mainstream approaches to a forbidden romance and I am so glad that someone had the heart to stand out from the crowd and really do something unique. Like a lot of YA novels now those focuses on forbidden romance there were two male figures in the story. What I loved about Lies Beneath was that it was quite clear to the reader who was always going to win the heart of the girl, Lily. I really enjoyed that. It was a breath of fresh air to see a girl who was able to stand up for herself and really speak and act on what her heart was telling her instead of dealing with the pressures of who others around her thought she should be with.
The only thing that I did not like about this novel was that I felt that most of the book was very slow paced, I wish there was a little more action. I understand that a relationship between the two characters had to be built up but I just wish that there had been a little more to it than a few meetings at work, and at the Hancock house, and just a few outings with Calder himself. That being said I do like the relationship that Calder and Lily have, it was a sweet shy thing but I only wished that it would have been determined a little earlier on and we had been able to watch the two of them interact a little more together.
When the action finally starts towards the end I felt that it was a little too fast of a pace, however I do understand, and I think its important for other readers to understand, that it was probably meant to be that way. The event that happens towards the end of the novel happens very quickly and even Calder, who is narrating the story, doesn’t always know what is going on. So I can forgive the ending for that.
One of the things that I also really loved about this book was the use of poetry. I loved how Lily said that she dressed how she things the poets did. It really brings something to the surface of Lily’s character. I loved how the poems were used back and forth between a few of the characters, how they bonded over them, and sometimes even used them as threats against others to reveal their secrets.
Overall I will say that I did enjoy reading this book and I do look forward to checking out the next book in the series. I have said this before but for me it is often times when I reach the end of a series that I realize how much I loved it, so I am going to look forward to reading more about Calder and Lily. There is also a twist at the end of the novel that I loved and I can’t wait to see what Anne Greenwood Brown does with it. I will give this book three stars.

hannah

Review for “Incarnate” by Jodi Meadows

Title: Incarnate
Author: Jodi Meadows
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Book
Release Date: January 31, 2012
Source: Purchased from Barnes and Noble

One million souls. That’s how many souls are in existence. Five thousand years. The amount of time these same one million souls have been in existence. At least until 18 years ago when one suddenly disappeared and a new one showed up in its place. Incarnate centers around Ana who is classified as either a nosoul or a newsoul depending on who you ask.
Incarnate opens up just as Ana, who has celebrated her 18th birthday, is set to leave the only home she has ever known. Through a series of unfortunate events Ana is rescued by Sam, a stranger who is as mysterious to Ana as a newsoul is in a world of incarnates. Ana then travels to Heart, the epicenter of the incarnate world. In Heart we begin to learn more and more about this world that Meadows has skillfully crafted just as Ana learns about a world she has been kept away from so long.
When Ana discovers Sam’s true identity it sent shockwaves through the reader, but in a very good way! Once the reader knows who Sam truly is we can learn more about his character as Meadows continues to create a fully developed story. It is not often that we can learn so much about the other characters in a first person narrative but Meadows crafts the story perfectly!

I absolutely loved this book! If you remember during the month of January I took part in the Incarnate Theatre Treasure Hunt. I hadn’t had a review up before then because I hadn’t read the novel yet and although I hope that all of you took the time to travel to the other websites and to Jodi’s website to inquire about the book, I do hope that this review intrigues you as much as I was and makes you want to run out and grab the book. Pay for it of course after you grab it, don’t just run out of the store. That would be bad.
Last year there were only a handful of books that I bestowed the five star rating to. If I love a book and talk about it to everyone that I meet I give it four stars. A book really has to move me in order for me to give it a five star rating. You can go back and look at all the reasons in those reviews. Usually I read these books with a heavy heart and feel the weight of the world on my shoulders, just like the characters, as I read them. That is how I determine the five stars. Does my heart feel like its being ripped out?
Incarnate pushed on me a totally different feeling, but one epic enough that I am rating it with five stars. This book made me happy. I was happy for a lot of the time reading it. Yes, there were sad moments. Yes, there were dangerous moments. Overall though this book made my heart swell with other emotions besides pain and suffering, even though Ana and Sam do experience that type of emotion. I found myself running back to this book every moment that I put it down. When I was at work I found myself talking to all of my co-workers about this book. I could not stop thinking about it, could not stop talking about it, and sadly I could not stop reading it. Its only sad because now I have to wait until next year to read the second one! That is way too long not to get an Ana and Sam fix. I guess I will just be rereading Incarnate over and over and over again until then.

Be sure to visit Jodi’s website
Visit her on twitter @jodimeadows

Hannah