Sigma Force Book Signing

Sigma Force Book Signing

James Rollins2

Me, James Rollins, and my friend, Kassia :)

When I read there was going to be a book signing of a New York Times bestseller author right in my own backyard, I just knew I had to go! Although I’ve never read any of James Rollin’s Sigma Force series before, the series sounded fascinating. Suspense and mystery rooted in the past? Yes, please! So I asked my friend Kassia to accompany me on this journey. I was rather embarrassed that I had not read the book, but hoped that the author would be happy to have a new fan.

Well, it ended up being a HUGE event! We were there for 2 1/2 hours and people were still waiting in line when we left. We were introduced to his fan club, named “Sigma Soldiers Base Camp,” who were selling dog tags. There were also giveaways for those who had RSVP’ed for the event in advance (we didn’t know to!). They gave away two packs of the series and a set of dog tags. At about thirty minutes in, James Rollins himself spoke.

What he said was intriguing and fascinating, even for someone who had never read his books. He spoke of genetic biology and people creating new species in their backyards, “garage scientists” of sorts. Apparently there is little FBI supervision in that area. If someone creates something “bad,” they’re supposed to turn it in themselves. Scary!!! So James decided to write a book (his newest book) about this phenomenon. Apparently, it covers backyard experiments gone wrong as well as bio-terrorism. Fascinating!

We also heard that he does ninety days of research and then forces himself to write words down on paper on the 91st day. He said if he didn’t, he would just keep researching forever! We also found out he used to be a veterinarian. He said he didn’t think his personal life came through on his work until he realized that at the same time he quit veterinary work full-time, he gave a bunch of his characters animal companions. Too funny.

After the speech and Q and A, the crowd lined up and had a loooooong wait. When we got up there, we realized it was because James was chatting with each person, which was AWESOME because he takes such an interest in his fans. Besides his fan club, he also had one of his “beta readers” there. Most of the people at the event had seen him speak before multiple times and he often asked the group, “Did I already tell you this story last time?” It was great to see how dedicated and close-knit his fans were.

When we got up to James, I admitted to him that I was a new fan after hearing him speak and that I hadn’t read his series. He didn’t seem bothered at all and told me he hoped I enjoyed it! Although everyone was getting his newest book, “6th Extinction” signed, I bought the first book, “Sandstorm.” I’m eager to read it, although backed up on my reading list right now. Stay tuned for a future book review!

P.S. Zoom, the “Good News” magazine was also covering the event and we met their awesome photographer, Emilie Bourdages. Check her and the magazine out! I’ll be watching to see if our picture made it in. :)

James Rollins

                                                                                                                                                                         

***Personal photos from me and book photos/links from Amazon.com. I do not get paid by authors or publishers for my reviews. They are 100% my personal, honest opinion. I DO, however, receive a small commission when a book purchase is made by clicking on the provided link. This does not impact the authenticity of my reviews in any way.***

 

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YA Summer Road Trip

When I decided to attend the YA Summer Road Trip stop at Sundance Books and Music in Reno, Nevada, I had NO IDEA it would turn into such an epic adventure.

ya summer roadtrip

Sure, a bookish event in the “Biggest Little City in the World,” was bound to be exciting, but this definitely went beyond all my expectations!

reno

First, let’s start with the venue. Sundance Books and Music is this ADORABLE indie bookstore located in a colonial style MANSION! Forserious! The place is over one hundred years old! The creaky wooden floors and detailed architecture definitely made this spot a step above the rest of typical big, box book stores. I was captivated by the whimsy and charm of the shop as soon as I walked (ok, stumbled… I’m clumsy, ok?) through the old fashioned hardwood and glass doors.

Iamge obtained from Sundance Books and Music Website.
Iamge obtained from Sundance Books and Music Website.

I was immediately met with a couple of enthusiastic Shannon Messenger fans who *GET THIS!* were FROM MY TOWN!! Who would have thought that book nerds from the same city would brave the two hour drive to a random independent bookstore for the chance to chat with some spiffy authors?! It just goes to show you what a small world the bookish community really is. (Also, girlies, if you’re reading this, HELLO! I hope you enjoy your first few school days at St. Francis!) It never ceases to amaze me how I can feel an instant kinship with fellow book lovers. This blog was started to gush over books with other bookish people, so to actually hang out with other book nerds in the flesh, rub elbows with cool authors, and learn more about books, writing, and publishing… *sigh* It makes my bookish heart happy! (On that note… Hello, Hannah and Geni, my new Goodreads friends!)

ya summer roadtrip 2

Then, of course, the literary ladies were a RIOT! Rarely have I witnessed such an easiness, camaraderie, and synergy like I did between Amy Tintera, Debra Driza, Kasie West, and Shannon Messenger. Having survived a couple of road trip stops together already, the gaggle of gals (Is that too cheesey? Whatever. I stand by it. GAGGLE OF GALS!) had their shtick DOWN! Once their brief spiel on their books was out of the way, they played two truths and lie, which ended up being HILARIOUS! I discovered that Kasie West and I share the incredible ability to choke on our own long hair at the most inopportune times ever. Yay us!

Lindsey with Amy Tintera and Kasie West.
Lindsey with Amy Tintera and Kasie West.

My favorite part of these events is the Q & A time. I enjoy hearing about what makes authors come alive, what books inspired in them a love of reading, and just random facts about them in general. Cool authors are like famous celebrities to book nerds. Discovering embarrassing details that make them feel that much more familiar and relatable is the BEST!

Lindsey with Debra Driza.
Lindsey with Debra Driza.

Quotes of the Night:

“I basically get to torture imaginary children for a living.” – Shannon Messenger

“Most writers who are successful are also readers.” – Amy Tintera

“I feel like when you ask the ‘What If’s…’ THAT’S when stories happen.” – Amy Tintera

(Re: Awful book she read as a youngin’ that inspired her to write books where characters DON’T fall down flights of stairs and DIE) “Please don’t tweet this, because I think she’s still alive.” – Amy Tintera

I walked out the event with signed books, swag, new bookish friends, and a happy heart. What a wonderful adventure!

Then disaster struck. *DUN DUN DUN!*

When we were journeying home, my car lost power just outside of Reno. It turns out, with impeccable timing, my beloved Ford Focus chose that exact moment to get a flat tire.

After waiting for AAA to arrive to put on the spare, arguing with the AAA representatives on the phone to get my poor little car towed home, and despairing that a tow truck would ever arrive, THIS happened.

Climbing the giant green prehistoric reptile gave me a bruise. The green bastard.
Climbing the giant green prehistoric reptile gave me a bruise. The green bastard.

Because when you’re stranded at a gas station outside of Reno while waiting to be rescued, the only thing TO do is hop a security fence, ride a plastic dinosaur, and beg your mom to snap a photo before the rent-a-cop arrives. CLEARLY.

By the time the kind, thankfully non-creepy-but-still-socially-awkward tow truck driver arrived to take us home, I was TOAST. Of ALL THE DAYS to wear high heels, I had to pick that one.

Oh so cute, but oh so painful!
Oh so cute, but oh so painful!

Anywho, the story ends happily! We made it to the tire shop, my kick-butt amazing family set me up in my childhood bedroom for the night, and I got dropped off at work this morning (THANK YOU AWESOME FAMILY!). Now, my fingers are crossed that the tire shop will call with GOOD NEWS!

Overall, this unusually eventful bookish adventure was a success. More action packed than I expected or even wanted, but hey! That’s where the fun stories begin.

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Maggie Stiefvater Signing!

Last night, y’all, I embarked on an adventure.

Maggie Stiefavter, author of The Raven Boys and creator of recent Man Crush Monday, Gansey, was coming to California on book tour, and I instantly knew I HAD to meet her.

So I did!

Fellow hippie friend, Kimmy, and I braved the terrifying bridges and Bay Area traffic to reach the Alameda Free Public Library (as opposed to the PAID Alameda Library, I’m assuming) where the event was held.

Waiting for the event to begin. Can you tell I had ZERO SLEEP the night before?!
Waiting for the event to begin. Can you tell I had ZERO SLEEP the night before?!

Books, cupcakes, and laughter abounded.

You guys, Maggie Stiefvater was a RIOT! It was hands down, the best bookish event I’ve ever attended.

Maggie with Matt, the Teen Librarian who organized the event.
Maggie with Matt, the Teen Librarian who organized the event.

It all started with her waiting in line FOR HER OWN EVENT to see how long it would take for someone to notice. Then, she bounded up the stage and began a snarky commentary on her latest book, Sinner, complete with deep, scary werewolf voices and silly, theatrical faces and reenactments.

I laughed so hard I cried.

Maggie proudly informed us that she bought her pants from a man named Carlos on eBay.
Maggie proudly informed us that she bought her pants from a man named Carlos on eBay.

She launched into stories about her band days (she may look like a rocker, but she actually played the bagpipes) and her first time on the New York Times Bestseller List. She OWNED the stage and was completely comfortable in her own skin and stellar pants. She confessed her goal in life was to write books that make people cry like a child in public. And then she took questions from the audience.

When an aspiring author asked her if she ever got frustrated when the characters in her head didn’t behave like she wanted them to, Maggie shared a really inspiring story surrounding her struggles with Forever. Sometimes, you have to hit the brick wall. You have to go all the way, even knowing that it won’t work, just to get it out there. Then, you can copy and paste your writing into “outtakes” so that the words are not lost, and then you can feel free to begin again with actions that are authentic to the character. Forever‘s final draft was 125,000 words. Forever‘s “outtakes” document was 150,000 words. It’s ok to “fail.”

I GEEKED OUT when Maggie saw my raised hand and called on me. I asked my signature question, and the entire room erupted into laughter with her response.

“I have a theory that one’s signature café drink reveals something about their personality,” I began. “What is your drink of choice, and do you feel that it’s reflective of you as a person?”

Maggie was a little incredulous, but chuckled as she repeated my question for the rest of the audience to hear.

“I don’t DRINK café drinks,” she admitted with a smirk. “I EAT caffeine PILLS!”

No explanation necessary.

The long line of fans.
The long line of fans.

Let’s just say it like it is- Maggie Stiefvater is a little bit crazy, and I LOVED it! Kimmy and I patiently (ok, not so patiently…) waited in line for about an hour to have our books and swag signed by the kooky author, and it was totally worth the wait. She’s sarcastic, bright, and totally bad ass. I want her to be my best friend.

I MET MAGGIE STIEFVATER!!! I MET MAGGIE STIEFVATER!!! #fangirling
I MET MAGGIE STIEFVATER!!! I MET MAGGIE STIEFVATER!!! #fangirling

Now, if you’ve been following Maggie’s blog, then you know that she has been travelling across the country in her vintage Camaro named Loki. The naughty Nordic god is an appropriate name for the temperamental ride, who keeps breaking down at inopportune moments throughout the trip.

OMG LOOK! It's LOKI! :D
OMG LOOK! It’s LOKI! :D

She casually mentioned the parking structure a block or so away from the library, and I bristled with excitement. WE had parked in the parking garage, too! WE COULD MEET LOKI! We traipsed through every level of the concrete monstrosity until we found him, and of course, I insisted on a #LokiSelfie. Bookish stalker for the win!

TaDAH!
TaDAH! #LokiSelfie

Y’all, I had so so SO much fun on this bookish adventure! I now want to read every novel Maggie Stiefvater has ever published, she was THAT cool. My stomach STILL hurts, I laughed so much. Do yourself a favor- follow Maggie Stiefvater on Twitter, and get yourself a copy of her latest book, Sinner!

***Pictures from the event are my own, from my handy dandy iPhone. Photo of the novel from Amazon. I do not get paid for my reviews or to attend events, but I DO, however, receive a small commission if you purchase a book through Amazon by clicking on the link above. ***

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Tankborn Review & Book Signing!

Tankborn by Karen Sandler

Published on 10/1/2011 by Lee & Low Books, Inc.

Genre: YA, Science Fiction

Pages: 384

I nearly didn’t finish this book, but I am oh so glad I stuck with it!

In this YA sci fi novel, author Karen Sandler tells the story of best friends Kayla and Mishalla- GENs (Genetically Engineered Nonhumans) who, upon their fifteenth birthday, are sent on their assignment. You see, when a GEN reaches that age, they leave their nurture mother and assume the role they were artificially created for- to be a thankless drudge to trueborns. Trueborns- the first class, elite of society, were born humans, whereas GENs were gestated in a tank; a blend of human and animal DNA resulting in neurological differences and a telling tattoo on their cheek. As if their physical disparities didn’t separate them enough, a strict caste system ensured that GENs, lowborns, and trueborns all kept to their respective roles and places.

Only, Kayla’s assignment as caretaker to a wealthy and influential trueborn ends up being challenging in more ways than one. Secrets, near-reset experiences, and a handsome grandson all serve to complicate matters. Then the children Mishalla is assigned to care for keep going missing, and danger and intrigue follow her as well. Will they be able to solve the mysteries surrounding their respective assignments, or will they be reset and realigned trying?

I loved, loved LOVED the world building in this novel! The concept of genetic engineering, the elaborate construction of an alternative society, the complex technology, the religious beliefs held by the main characters… it was great! Plus, it starred characters who weren’t the typical blonde haired, blue eyed heroines! So refreshing! Yay for diverse books!

On the flip side, I almost didn’t finish the book. Within the first thirty percent, the slang was confusing, the new world baffling, and the main character was swooning over a trueborn’s hunky shoulders (well, that was at three percent… talk about love at very first sight!). It was so difficult to get into, I would have given it up if hadn’t been for the fact that…

I met the author at a book signing at Barnes & Noble!! Check out the picture!

Awakening picture

We gushed about how important reading is to be a good writer, the fun bookish peeps she met at ALA, and the secrets a successful marriage (Sandler’s been married for thirty three years!). And LOOK! LOOK! The first book personally signed to us here at ChickLitChickadees! Whippee!

Awakening Signature

Even though it started out as probably a two, Tankborn finished as a solid four. A really good read! And Karen Sandler is a doll!

 

**Photo credit: Amazon.com**
 
***I do not get paid by authors or publishers for my reviews- they are 100% my personal, honest opinion! I do, however, receive a small commission when you purchase a book through Amazon by clicking on the link above. This does not impact the authenticity of my reviews in any way. ***

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