Friday, March 27, 2015

Interview with TBF Author: Katie McGarry

Happy Friday readers,

In case you didn't know, this entire week was "Katie McGarry Week" on the various TBF social networks. To conclude this fabulous week, I will share with you an interview with Katie McGarry!

Miranda Reads: You have a book coming out called NOWHERE BUT HERE. What is it about?

Katie McGarry: NOWHERE BUT HERE is the first book in the Thunder Road series. The series is about teens who are raised in a motorcycle club. The first book, NOWHERE BUT HERE, follows the story of Emily and Oz. Emily is forced to spend the summer with her father, a high ranking member of the motorcycle club, and Oz, the son of a club member, is ordered to protect Emily while she is town.

MR: Which character from the PUSHING THE LIMTS series do you most relate to? Why?

KM: I put a small piece of myself into every character I write, but the characters I relate the most to are Beth from DARE YOU TO and Haley from TAKE ME ON. While their stories aren't my own, I understand deeply the emotions these two characters go through, especially the hurt and pain. But like them, I also found hope while going through very dark circumstances.

MR: The couples in the PUSHING THE LIMITS series are perfectly matched. What makes a fictional couple perfect for each other?

KM: I believe that what makes a great match in a fictional character is that they challenge each other. That being around this other person causes them to strive to discover who they really are and for them to become the best person they can be.

MR: Let's pretend you're performing in your high school talent show. What's your talent?

KM: I have a great knack of remembering lyrics to my favorite songs.

MR: Which author are you most looking forward to meeting at the 10th Annual Greater Rochester Teen Book Festival?

KM: Neal Shusterman--Unwind is one of my favorite YA novels.

Thank you so much, Katie! We can't wait to meet you in May!

Speaking of Katie's new book, NOWHERE BUT HERE, if you guys pre-order it before May 26th, you'll get an exclusive full length e-book called CHASING IMPOSSIBLE. It is part of the PUSHING THE LIMIT series. CHASING IMPOSSIBLE is about Abby and Logan (who we met in DARE YOU TO and CRASH INTO YOU). For more information about how to get Abby and Logan's story check out Katie's official announcement here.

That's it for today! Be sure to check out the blog again for more book reviews, author interviews and more!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

If I Stay by Gayle Forman Book Review

Just listen, Adam says with a voice that sounds like shrapnel.

I open my eyes wide now.
I sit up as much as I can.
And I listen.

Stay, he says.

Choices. Seventeen-year-old Mia is faced with some tough ones: Stay true to her first love—music—even if it means losing her boyfriend and leaving her family and friends behind?

Then one February morning Mia goes for a drive with her family, and in an instant, everything changes. Suddenly, all the choices are gone, except one. And it's the only one that matters.

If I Stay is a heartachingly beautiful book about the power of love, the true meaning of family, and the choices we all make.

       There are novels that people come across in life that positively change you after you've read them. If I Stay by Gayle Forman definitely counts as one of those novels. It is rare that a novel manages to make me laugh, cry, mourn, cheer, and reexamine my own life, but this novel made me do all those actions and more.
        The premise of the novel-Whether Mia should remain alive on earth, or die- was a tough concept, which Forman flawlessly executed. The main characters, Mia, Adam, and Mia's Parents each had well-rounded personalities that made Mia's decision even more heart-wrenching, as it involved leaving at least one wonderful person. As a main character, Mia was not only relatable, but also a character I was completely in awe with. Her talent, pure love, and dedication to playing cello was truly astounding, and as a fellow musician I appreciated the author's combination of music and love in this novel. However, what also made her characterization excellent was her strength as a character to ultimately weigh the pros and cons of each potential decision, and make the best choice based on her goals and wants.
     Nevertheless, the romance in this novel was my favorite part of this awesome book. Adam. Is. Flawless. And swoon-worthy, and overall a great musically gifted rock-star catch!  By no means was he perfect, but that just added to his realness as a sweet, identifiable character. I loved the lyric snippets from the music he wrote that were written within the book, but most of all I simply loved Adam. The love he had for Mia transcended the pages, and made me root for them to remain together. Who doesn't love two people that can bond and fall in love through music?! Although their romance was filled with cute dates and funny banter, it was in no way cliché! Furthermore, Mia and Adam around Mia's parents (every teenager's dream parents) created hilarious scenes that lightened the book as well.
    Overall, it would be a complete shame for someone not to read If I Stay by Gayle Forman, especially if he/she has seen the movie that came out last year. I absolutely loved this Coming-of-Age Romance novel that made me examine what I truly lived for in life, as well as made me hug tighter the loved ones in my own life. Therefore, I recommend to all to read this book! It will be an unforgettable experience you won't want to miss!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Interview with TBF Author: Sarah J. Maas

Happy Friday readers,

Back on Wednesday I teased I had an awesome interview. Well I have it for you today! I got the chance to chat with Sarah J. Maas, author of the THRONE OF GLASS series and upcoming book, A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES.

Miranda Reads: What inspired you to write A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES?

Sarah J. Maas: A piece of music from the Princess Mononoke soundtrack, actually. I was randomly listening to it one day back in 2009, and I instantly just saw this scene: a huntress in a snowy wood, taking down a wolf twice her size. And as she fought the wolf, I heard her voice in my head, as clear as the music I was listening to. From there, I wanted to know who she was, what her world was like, why she’d risk taking on a wolf that big. I’ve been a lifelong fan of fairytales and folklore, and somehow this huntress’s story fed perfectly into a retelling/blending of “Beauty and the Beast,” “Tam Lin,” and “East of the Sun, West of the Moon.” I could go on and on about my inspiration for the project, but at its core, it was just a few minutes of music that launched this sprawling, dark, and sensual Faerie realm.

MR: What was the biggest challenge when you wrote A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES?

SJM: ACOTAR was actually a Magic Book for me. What I mean by that is that I wrote the first draft in 5 weeks, and the story poured out of me—almost faster than I could type. I couldn’t stop writing it, actually. But when I finished, I put it away for several years. That, if anything, was the biggest challenge: the waiting. I knew that I wanted to one day publish it, but it might have to wait for a bit before it was the right time to do so. So during those years, I sold Throne of Glass, wrote the next few books in that series—and when it came time to consider what other projects I wanted to work on, I realized it was finally, finally time for ACOTAR to come into the world.  So it’s really surreal and wonderful to see it as a finished book in readers’ hands!

MR: What advice would you give an inspired writer who wants to write high fantasy novels?

SJM: Read as much as you can. Seriously. And not just high fantasy—read widely. Those books will often give you ideas that you can then bring to your high fantasy world and characters. Also: live your life to the fullest: travel, meet new people, try new things. All of that feeds into adding richness and depth to your high fantasy books.

MR: Let's pretend you're performing in your high school talent show. What's your talent?

SJM: Um, probably Lord of the Rings trivia. I was the founder and president of my high school’s Lord of the Rings club.

MR: Which author are you most looking forward to meeting at the 10th Annual Greater Rochester Teen Book Festival?

SJM: Honestly? ALL OF THEM!

Thank you so much Sarah! We're so excited to meet you in May!

That's it for today! Be sure to check out the blog for another interview with a TBF author next Friday! Can you guess who it is? Submit your predictions below at the comments!


Thursday, March 19, 2015

TBF Needs You

Teen readers, TBF needs you!

"How can we help?" you ask. Glad you asked!

First thing we need help with is we need artists and designers! In case you didn't know, TBF has a Program Cover Design Contest and a T-Shirt Design Contest. "I'm an good artist! I want to enter this contest!" you say. Here is what you need to know for the Program Cover Design Contest:
  • Artwork must be black and white
  • Artwork must be in portrait format
  • Artwork must be 4x6 inches
  • Design should include the following
    • Tenth Annual Greater Rochester Teen Book Festival
    • May 16, 2015
    • 9am-5pm
    • Nazareth College, 4245 East Avenue, Rochester, NY 14616
    • TBF logo (available at
To enter, send an email with the following information to
  • Your name
  • Your grade
  • You school or public library
  • Your phone number
  • A .jpg attachment of your design
The winner will be informed via email.

  • The winning design will be published as the Teen Book Festival program cover which will be seen and given to several thousand people
  • The winning artist will be recognized by during the Opening Assembly
  • Fame and glory!
The deadline for the Program Cover Design Contest is April 1st.

Now some of you teen artists are probably thinking, "I'm not into program cover designing. Is there another art contest?" The answer: Yes! There is!

There is also a T-Shirt Design Contest! Here is the information you need for the T-Shirt Design Contest:
  • Artwork must be printable in a single color of ink (black or white)
  • Design should fit in approximately 8.5x11 inches (either directions)
  • Design should include the following information:
    • 10th Annual Greater Rochester Teen book Festival
    • May 16, 2015
To enter, send an email with the following information to
  • Your name
  • Your grade
  • Your school or public library
  • Your phone number
  • A .jpg attachment of your design
The winner will be informed via email.

  • The winning design will be sold on t-shirts at the festival
  • The winner will be recognized during the Opening Assembly
  • Fame and glory!
The deadline for the T-Shirt Design Contest is April 1st.

I know so much information! If you have any questions or concerns, please submit it in the comments below!

That's it for today! Be sure to check out the blog on Friday for an awesome interview!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

TBF News

Hello again readers,

So I have a couple of things to share with you.

First, unfortunately Tonya Hurley will not be joining us for TBF2015 due to conflicting schedules. Cross your fingers readers that Tonya will come to Rochester in the future! Plus, we have thirty AMAZING authors coming to Rochester in May so keep this chins up!

Second, TBF posters are available to print! You can print out posters of your favorite TBF authors and hang them at school, the library and even around the house. I may or may not have a poster of Terry Trueman in my study but that's a secret I'll never tell! You can even print out other TBF information and hand it out to your classmates or people at the library. All of this is available here.

That's it for today! In case you missed it, check out my book review of A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES by Sarah J. Maas. And be sure to come back to the blog for an awesome interview on Friday that you don't want to miss!


Book Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Hello TBF readers,

I just finished the first book of a new incredible series called A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES by Sarah J. Maas. Take a look:
When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

Before I start raving about this book, I wanted to give a subtle warning to our younger readers. This new series is aimed for older teens (14 year olds and up) however her other series, THRONE OF GLASS is appropriate for both younger and older teens. I highly recommend THRONE OF GLASS series as well especially if you liked HIS FAIR ASSASSIN series. It is also a high fantasy series with a strong female assassin.
Back to A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES, how can I possibly express how much I loved this book?! I read it within two days and after I was done, I rocked myself in the corner because it was incredible. A COURT OF THRONS AND ROSES is Beauty and the Beast meets fairytale East of the Sun and West of the Moon with some faeries.

There are some things to expect when encountering a Sarah J. Maas book: a strong female heroine, a pack of hot new book boyfriends, a high fantasy world and a mesmerizing plot. As much as I would love to talk about is these new charming book boyfriends like Tamlin, Lucien and Rhysand, I will not because once you read it, you don’t need an explanation to why you need to love these guys. Instead, I want to talk about the world of the faeries.
The faerie world in A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES is extremely elaborate and you can tell a lot of planning and creativity went into it. There are different courts in the faerie world such as the Spring Court, the Night Court, the Summer Court etc. The first book in this series primary focuses on the Spring Court since our male protagonist Tamlin is the High Lord of the Spring Court. Throughout the novel, Feyre talks about the beauty both inside and outside of the estate; the beautiful mosaics on the walls, the gardens, the mysterious and dangerous woods bordering the estate. I hoping to learn more about the other faerie courts as the series continues.

The faeries themselves are proud, cunning and ambitious. Feyre constantly questions the faeries’ motivations. Faeries in this world act think lowly of humans, believing they’re just little fragile playthings. So it’s a surprise to most of the faeries when Feyre is very strong, brave and knows how to hunt.
A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES will be released May 5th but if you can’t wait to read it, download the first four chapters on Kindle, NOOK and Kobo (Trust me, it's worth it).
For more information about Sarah and her books check out her website. Be sure to follow her on Twitter, Pinterst and Tumblr. Also check out The World of Sarah J. Maas Tumblr page where you can get all the information about the THRONE OF GLASS series and A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES series.

That’s it for today. Check out the blog again for more book reviews, author interviews and more!Miranda

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Book Review: Read Between the Lines by Jo Knowles

Hey readers! Only a little over two months until TBF, and there are still so many books to read! If you're looking for something that's just come out, why not try Jo Knowles' newest book Read Between the Lines?

It all begins with unpopular Nate, who manages to break his middle finger in the midst of gym class. There's Lacy, the "big girl" wondering if she really fits in among all the thin cheerleaders on the squad. And then there's Stephen, who's trying to figure out his feelings for the popular closeted guy he's been seeing. Many others' tales intertwine, revealing the interconnections in a small town, and how everyone's stories are linked.

The essence of Read Between the Lines is really hard to condense into just one review. It's really cool because each chapter is told by a different character of the small-town school that they all attend. But it's not haphazardly thrown together like you might think it is. Every chapter is interlaced with the others so that more is revealed by each character through the others' narratives, little by little. This book truly felt literary, without being stifling or stiff, so it would be perfect for those of you who like not just YA books, but YA lit too. I loved this book -- I managed to read it in only a few hours, which I'm really only able to do with books that really captivate me. I would strongly recommend you check this book out whether or not you like realistic fiction, because you'll be sorry you missed it if you don't!

Happy reading!

Florence Cardella speaks about her TBF experiences

When you read a book, you don’t often think of the person who wrote it:  who they are, where they live, if the name on the cover of the book you're reading is the author's actual name. Authors often seem to those of us who read to be these unattainable yet mystical creatures that you can really only dream of meeting one day. Teen Book Fest (TBF), held in May each year at Nazareth College, gives readers, specifically teens, the chance to meet these amazing creators. What's even better is that the authors are just as excited to meet you as you are to meet them; the authors treat everyone they meet as though they're the most important person to ever read what they've written.

In one day at TBF, you can learn so much about the authors by listening to them as they speak on the panels. And the authors don't just tell you about their upcoming books, or how they write, you learn the author's life story-what experiences have made them grow and what has inspired them. Sometimes it may not seem like the author of your favorite book is real because all you share is a book and the world within it but in actuality readers and authors share so much more than that- we share the characters and the imagination and the creativity within the book. In short, the authors at TBF are both amazing and amazing to learn from.

Another truly amazing thing about TBF is how much the teens involve care about this Festival.  This year teens involved helped to raise over ten thousand dollars through such fundraising events as the Teen Book Festival read-a-thon at Barnes and Noble and the Brilliant Readers Active in Teen Service (BRATS) read-a-thon at the Brockport-Seymour Library.

I've gone to TBF for the last two years and I plan on making this year my third and I can honestly say it's the most amazing experience a reader could ask for. There is nothing better than waiting to meet one of your favorite authors, like Laurie Halse Anderson, A.S. King or Alex London, and meeting a complete stranger while you wait then bonding instantly over your favorite books. TBF is something that everyone should take part in, and will leave you with memories of laughter, creativity, and my personal favorite: books.

Written by:  Florence Cardella
Author Bio:  Miss Cardella is currently a Senior at Our Lady of Mercy School for Young Women in Rochester NY.  She plans on attending college next year and majoring in English.