dream book conference panel

If I could plan my “perfect” panel of authors and characters to speak at a conference, it would be…

Authors

Rick Riordan

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The world Rick Riordan has created is the perfect balance of action, humor, and education. I have learned so much about mythology without even realizing it.

Sarah J. Maas

Sarah J. Maas’ world and character building skills are second to none. I could get lost inside of her stories forever*

*except for the fact that I wouldn’t survive for two and a half seconds…

John Green

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Do I really need to say anything else? No? I didn’t think so.

Mary E. Pearson

Queen for reasons I can’t even get in to. Just. Read. The Remnant Chronicles.

***

Characters

What good is a panel without the ACTUAL CHARACTERS?*

*yes, we do have those capabilities and in AubreyLand it will happen. Just wait.

Kenji Kishimoto

…is my spirit animal, and we would probably be best friends, and his sarcastic wit is given an A++.

Will Herondale

GAH WILLL WILLL WILLL (Jem would of course come too). Just please.

Hermione Granger

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Some characters need no explanation.

Percy Jackson & Annabeth Chase

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Do you guys think Annabeth and Hermione would get along or butt heads? A&P are the dream team and are great individually, but together…

Winter

Bring on the crazy. You all know I love Winter.

***

There are certainly more, but some of them are dangerous and I’m not sure they wouldn’t kill me.

***

Questions

Authors: How do you create distinct characters and story lines? How do you stay true to who you are as an author?

Characters: How do you not make quick judgments about other people (i.e. this guy is a bad guy, just kidding not anymore???)

What questions would you ask?

***

Moderator

Clearly Leo Valdez and I would moderate because then it would be the funniest panel ever.

Love, Aubrey

I was approached by Cara from Eventbrite with the idea and asked my opinions for this post, however this is not sponsored in any way. If you are interested “Eventbrite is a global marketplace for live experiences that allows people to find and create events in 190 countries.” It’s a cool idea and might allow people to find conferences like this… well maybe not quite this perfect. haha
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[Review] all the knowledge of a textbook in a more interesting way AVENUE OF SPIES BY ALEX KERSHAW

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Summary

The best-selling author of The Liberator brings to life the incredible true story of an American doctor in Paris, and his heroic espionage efforts during World War II

The leafy Avenue Foch, one of the most exclusive residential streets in Nazi-occupied France, was Paris’s hotbed of daring spies, murderous secret police, amoral informers, and Vichy collaborators. So when American physician Sumner Jackson, who lived with his wife and young son Phillip at Number 11, found himself drawn into the Liberation network of the French resistance, he knew the stakes were impossibly high. Just down the road at Number 31 was the “mad sadist” Theodor Dannecker, an Eichmann protégé charged with deporting French Jews to concentration camps. And Number 84 housed the Parisian headquarters of the Gestapo, run by the most effective spy hunter in Nazi Germany.

From his office at the American Hospital, itself an epicenter of Allied and Axis intrigue, Jackson smuggled fallen Allied fighter pilots safely out of France, a job complicated by the hospital director’s close ties to collaborationist Vichy. After witnessing the brutal round-up of his Jewish friends, Jackson invited Liberation to officially operate out of his home at Number 11–but the noose soon began to tighten. When his secret life was discovered by his Nazi neighbors, he and his family were forced to undertake  a journey into the dark heart of the war-torn continent from which there was little chance of return.

Drawing upon a wealth of primary source material and extensive interviews with Phillip Jackson, Alex Kershaw recreates the City of Light during its darkest days. The untold story of the Jackson family anchors the suspenseful narrative, and Kershaw dazzles readers with the vivid immediacy of the best spy thrillers. Awash with the tense atmosphere of World War II’s Europe, Avenue of Spies introduces us to the brave doctor who risked everything to defy Hitler. -credit Goodreads

i liked...

  • Extraordinarily researched (2 years)
  • Learned a lot about free and vichy france, and got a lot more context as to the extent of how much wars affect everyone involved. America is normally a bit more removed from wars, but during World War II, even people who were separated from the actual fighting were still slaughtered in their homes and the people who were deemed inadequate were destroyed just for who they were.

i didn't like...

  • It was slow and I never truly got into it until the last few chapters. I was interested as to what would happen to Sumner and his family, but it took me over a month to get through and I had to frequently stop and read other books or do other things.

Overall

I enjoyed the story and learned a lot, but it was one of the slower books I have read. That, however is my only complaint. It has very interesting concepts. It was better than a textbook, but not quite a novel.

Quotes

Before the story even starts, it opens with this quote and I love it!!!

“We lived in the shadows as soldiers of the night, but our lives were not dark and martial… There were arrests, torture, and death for so many of our friends and comrades, and tragedy awaited all of us just around the corner. But we did not live in or with tragedy. We were exhilarated by the challenge and rightness of our cause. It was in many ways the worst of times and in many ways the best of times, and the best is what we remember today.” (Jean-Pierre Levy)

Okay, so maybe love isn’t the right word, but it is such a great description.

Love, Aubrey

I received this book from the publisher in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

thank you, blogging… an open letter featuring YOU

I am linking up with The Thanks U Give celebration (I love that our bookish community is coming together to be thankful and kind). Thanks, y’all!

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Thank you, blogging, for helping me to think outside of the box.

Everyone has a different history and has had different experiences that have shaped them into who they are. In To Kill a Mockingbird Atticus tells Jem and Scout that to understand another person they must step inside someone else’s shoes. Book blogging has helped me to connect with (YOU) people who are from vastly different backgrounds and places. Even my American webernet friends have (obviously) different outlooks than I do. Atticus also told his kids that another way to understand someone is to step into their skin and walk around for a while. This is impossible and if nothing else, reading and blogging has taught me this. Even if a person is reading a story from a character’s point of view, they are not this character, and never will be.

Thank you, blogging, for allowing me to state my opinions and hear opinions other than my own.

Through blogging I have gotten to have discussions with people who don’t necessarily see the world as I do. I LOVE THIS. I have loved getting to fangirl and freak out about books and just shriek with you all, and then also fight for what we think is happening because EVERYONE IS ENTITLED TO THEIR OWN OPINION.

Thank you, blogging, for being an outlet for my creative genius.

Everyone needs a place where they can let the creative juices flow. Everyone needs a place where they can be themselves and shriek and not care one bit that anyone could see it and read it because THIS IS HOW I FEEL. (If you’re reading this, I suppose I haven’t scared you away yet).

Thank you, blogging, for being a place in this broken world that people can come together and be pals.

I appreciate each and every one of you. Thank you for being you.

 

This Thanksgiving season, I am thankful for my family and friends and for how God is constant, but I am also extremely thankful for each and every one of you who make up my little corner of the internet. Always,

Love, Aubrey

extending NaNoWriMo update 2

Hello pals!
*Just a quick update and change of plans and insight into my life…
NaNoWriMo is a really good idea and gets a lot of people writing who don’t normally write. It got me to write more than I ever have for one project. For that, I am grateful, but it just isn’t working for me in one month.
I have found that it is turning into more of a really thorough outline than a novel. I want my book to have depth and I don’t like how little I can really fall in love with my book with the time I have.
So, I am going to extend it through December (for me), and attempt to finish my first draft in two months in which I will have a lot of time off thanks to the holidays. I don’t want to be pressured into writing words because I want to write a masterpiece. I believe in quality over quantity and I want that to be evident in everything I do.
Thank you nanowrimo for getting me started, now I’m going to take off.
***
Are you on track to complete NaNoWriMo? What is your book about? YOU CAN DO IT!!! Also, please don’t forget to save and back up CONSTANTLY. I lost 1500 words because my computer decided to force updates upon me and I wasn’t prepared.
Love, Aubrey

NANOWRIMO!!! update 1

HELLO ALL!

This year, for the first time ever I am going to participate in NaNoWriMo!!! I am so excited and feel like I have been preparing for this moment all of my life (not really, haha. I will probably fall way behind and explode who knows?) BUT, I am just really excited to actually finish a story for once.

Since NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow, I wanted to set some goals for what I would like to get out of it:

  1. Writing experience
  2. A finished rough draft of a book. Don’t try to edit while writing, just brain dump everything and then go back through another time.
  3. Accurately back everything up so I don’t lose my valuable genius
  4. Have fun. This isn’t meant to be stressful, so don’t stress about it.

In preparation, I have a (nearly) complete plot outline (there are definitely some holes in there), and I have written the first 1500 words already because I already know there will be some days I won’t be able to write.

 

To you veterans: ANY TIPS, TRICKS, IDEAS FOR SURVIVAL??? Please let me know down below!

Also, let me know if you are participating. I would love it if we could all cheer each other on and be just the awesome community we are during this amazing month.

Finally, HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!! Is Halloween celebrated in other countries? I’m really curious. Either way, eat lots of candy and fall into a food coma, my lovelies (then wake up so you can start writing tomorrow).

Tweet me as we struggle to awesomely write a book in a month @aubreysbooknook!

Love, Aubrey

[my motivation & review] spiritual health ft. JESUS ALWAYS BY SARAH YOUNG

 

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Lately I have become increasingly obsessed conscious of health. I have always enjoyed working out and such, but lately I have been more focused on the entire scope of health.

Physical: exercise, eating clean(er)

Mental: productivity, motivation, leadership, happiness

Spiritual: relationship with God and other people, joy

All forms of health are more connected than you may think. They are all incredibly important, but today I’m focusing on spiritual health.

A person’s spiritual health can affect all aspects of health. Most of the time when I am arguing with my friends or family for no reason, or my relationships with other people are not going well, it is an issue with my relationship with God. If everything I do is not for the Kingdom of God, it is just dumb (dom) work.

(get it? Take the King out of Kingdom and you just have dom… no? okay.)

I want to start my day off on a positive foot. SO, I spend the first few minutes of my day in thankfulness and giving my worries to God.

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I recently started going through Jesus Calling by Sarah Young as well, and it has very quickly become my favorite devotional books because it has one for every day of the year, and they are written in letter form as if from God. There are scriptures to read and look up every day. Every day I am amazed by the things that God seems to be speaking to me about and many times I learn so much just from the two or three minutes it takes to read this devotional. Young has done a great job encouraging readers through hard times because she was going through hard times herself while writing this book. I cannot wait to delve in for the rest of the year and grow in my faith one baby step at a time.

Sarah Young’s first 365-day devotional since Jesus Calling.

With scripture and new personal reflections, the #1 New York Times bestselling author Sarah Young, brings Jesus’ message of joy—for today and every day. Experience true joy—now and always.

Life today is full of difficulties—loss, sadness, fear. In the midst of these challenges, joy often feels impossible or out of reach. But Jesus has more for His followers than a life of striving, pain, and discontent. He offers life abundant, life to the fullest, life brimming with joy! Jesus Always, the new 365-day devotional from bestselling author Sarah Young, was written as part of Sarah Young’s exploration of the promises of joy in scripture. Written as if Jesus Himself is speaking directly to the reader, Jesus Always invites you into a new way of living—a life of joy.

Reaching out with joy-filled reminders from the Word of God, these devotions will intimately and gently connect you with Jesus—the One who meets you where you are. Draw near to Him in Jesus Always. (Courtesy of BookLook Bloggers)

Love, Aubrey

I received a copy of Jesus Always (THANKS!) in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

[Review] predictable but lovely THE CROWN BY KIERA CASS (#5 The Selection Series)

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I read The Crown faster than I have read a book in a really long time. It was the lighthearted story I needed.

CHARACTERS

The characters have improved so much. My main problem with The Heir was how *mean and bratty* Eadlyn was to everyone. In The Crown she seems like an entirely different person and warms up to everyone so much more. She seems to finally be letting her guard down a little. Her character is about empowerment, but even more than that I think it is about self-improvement. Her character has come so far!

*I would love to use a different word here, but…

Then the boys are an improvement as well… No spoilers here, but SHRIEK WITH ME IN THE COMMENTS PLEASE.

Maxon and America’s love is still adorable and “the power of love/follow your heart” etc.

I FELT THE FEELS

Maxon’s dad jokes were pretty dang funny (just me? okay). I kept getting drawn in. I don’t think I have cried so hard over a book in a very long time and the thing is it wasn’t even that it was particularly sad, I was just so drawn into the story and the OTPs were growing. (Why was I crying though? For reallll???)

Overall

Now I want to reread the series. The entire Selection series is widely disputed and has a bad rap to a lot of people, but they are just such feel good gravitating books. Not perfect, but lovely. It was still predictable, but I appreciated that it didn’t involve too much thinking (I have been reading too many textbooks for school). Yes, it has it’s issues, but it was still a good book.

Can we just take a moment to appreciate that in Kiera Cass’ bio it calls her a lover of cake? Beautiful. Just beautiful.

Quotes

“‘This is a dandelion,’ I told him. He shrugged. ‘I know. Some see a weed; some see a flower. Perspective.’” (9)

“I drank champagne and laughed too loudly and ate half my bodyweight in chocolate.”(183)

“I’m telling you, Eady, wars and treaties and even countries will all come and go. But your life is yours, singular and sacred, and you should be with the person who makes it feel that way every blessed second you live it.” (187)

Summary

When Eadlyn became the first princess of Illéa to hold her own Selection, she didn’t think she would fall in love with any of her thirty-five suitors. She spent the first few weeks of the competition counting down the days until she could send them all home. But as events at the palace force Eadlyn even further into the spotlight, she realizes that she might not be content remaining alone.

Eadlyn still isn’t sure she’ll find the fairytale ending her parents did twenty years ago. But sometimes the heart has a way of surprising you…and soon Eadlyn must make a choice that feels more impossible—and more important—than she ever imagined. (Goodreads)

Love, Aubrey

PLEASE HELP! Halloween Recommendations

GUYS! So, I was about to do a Halloween tag, and then I realized I haven’t read any scary books. This needs to change. I don’t really like horror, but I do like obscure mystery and Halloween-y stuff. Please let me know if you have any recommendations in the comments (books and movies?)

In other news, I just submitted a giant scholarship that was taking all of my time, so I should be back more frequently… Hopefully with a Halloween tag soon and lots of scary books read.

[Review & Interview] THE LEGACY GIRLS BY AUGUSTA BLYTHE

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i liked...

  • All of the girls are unique to each other and they all have different character traits and skill sets. They have potential to work well together (however they fight worse than siblings).
  • LARK was my absolute favorite character because she is so sassy and witty and she has had a really hard life, but she has a good heart despite all of that.
  • The girls have a pretty good dynamic going. After seven chapters, I really started to enjoy the story and the banter between characters. When the girls finally got past some of their differences and started getting along, they became much more relatable. 
  • It’s very mysterious and I’m not quite sure where it’s going. Even though I thought it would be super predictable, I actually didn’t know what was going to happen and was surprised.

Quotes

“‘It isn’t so much that I’m a believer, Claire. It’s just that if I were going to be drop-kicked into the middle of a fairy tale, it wouldn’t be like one of yours with a prince, a castle, and a marriage proposal. It would be exactly like this.’ She gestured to the chaotic scene in the cabin. ‘A giant madman on the loose and my life on the line.’” (82%)

“‘Because whatever we’re dealing with,’ Bronwyn said, ‘I’m afraid it’s more Grimm than Disney.’” (82%)

i didn't like...

  • The characters seem very trope-y & some of their traits weren’t super realistic.
    • Most of the girls seem so much shallower than real people. What is with the gasps when their phones are taken away? Also the way they treat lark drives me crazy.
    • CLAIRE: She pushes all of the wrong buttons for me. She is just so petty and is a brat. I understand that there needs to be a antagonist who causes trouble with the group, but I got really sick of all of the sibling like arguing between Lark and Claire. It was always so malicious.
  • I understand that they were happy to be part of something and were just going with the flow, but WHY AREN’T THEY QUESTIONING THIS SUPER SKETCHY HOUSE WAY MORE? They blindly agree to do so much.

Overall

The Legacy Girls certainly had a MG feel to it. It took a while for me to get into the story and to get over some of the character traits, but by the end it left me wanting to know more about what will happen to the Legacy Girls. I was jumping to read the next chapter, and took my kindle with me everywhere.


interview

Augusta, author of The Legacy Girls, agreed to participate in this rockin’ interview and tell us a little about herself.

Tea or coffee?

Tea when I first get up in the morning and a latte later in the day.

Do you prefer ebooks or physical books?

I read both. I only buy print books of a short list of authors, though. Our house was overflowing with books and there’s just no room for all of them.

What book(s) are you reading right now?

I just finished the third book in Mary E. Pearson’s Remnant Chronicles (The Beauty of Darkness). I highly recommend the trilogy! I’m also reading a nonfiction book about George Washington’s life after the Revolutionary War but before he became president. It’s fascinating.

When did you decide to become a writer?

In preschool, I was given the award of Best Storyteller. I took my cue from that.

If you got the chance to be the original author of any book that is currently out, which would it be and why?

It has to be George RR Martin! (And I would have finished Winds of Winter by now. Harumpf.) His stories have so many layers and are incredibly detailed…He never fails to surprise me and I love that in a book. I missed my bus stop in London because I was so caught up in a particularly horrible event in the book. I ended up yelling like a lunatic at the page. Only a great story can evoke a reaction like that. I’m planning to reread the series once the last book release date is finally announced.

How is your day structured? Do you have a special time to write? Do you write full time or have another job?

I am a full-time writer with two school-aged kids and a puppy so my day is in constant motion. I write during the hours when the kids are out of the house and again when they go to bed. I leave marketing and emails for when they’re home and I’m more easily distracted.

Are any of the characters inspired by you or people you know?

There’s a little bit of me in all my characters, but I have 5 MCs in this series so I tried to keep them as different and unique as possible. I knew which qualities and characteristics I wanted them to have and went from there. Claire is a little bit Caroline from Vampire Diaries. Blond, perky, competitive and highly organized.

Which character was the most fun to write?

Lark is my favorite to write because she’s the snarky one with a troubled past. She doesn’t come from the same background as the other girls, but they still manage to find common ground because underneath all that grit, she has a good heart.

Are you working on any books right now?

Damsel, the next book in the series, will be released in October. You’ll find out then what happened to the girls at the end of The Legacy Girls.

***

Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to interview with me!

Augusta Blythe is the author of Winterborne and Ravenstoke, YA urban fantasy novels. She is also the author of Hostel Takeover written under the pseudonym Keeley Bates. She currently lives in England with her husband, two children, a clown fish, a cleaner shrimp and a mine urchin. [goodreads]

You can find her on her: Website // Facebook // Twitter  // Amazon // Goodreads // Instagram: @augustablythe

Summary

Five girls. One incredible secret.

The lives of five students at an elite college are forever altered when they are invited to join the secret society of Legacy, led by the mysterious Matron. It doesn’t matter that no one on the rural campus has heard of Legacy House; the five young women are just happy to be chosen. When the challenges of pledge season become increasingly fantastical, they realize that the secret society is not what it claims to be.
Credit: Goodreads

Love, Aubrey

*I received a copy of the book from the author (thanks!). All opinions expressed are my own.

[Review] SALT TO THE SEA BY RUTA SEPETYS

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Salt to the Sea is one of the best pieces of historical fiction I have ever read. Not only does it tell the story from a different perspective (four teenagers who are from different countries and AREN’T jews), but it comprehensively tells the story from the switching perspectives of these four teenagers as their history and future unwinds. It was beautiful.

  • I really enjoyed the format the story was told in. All four narrators (Joana, Florian, Alfred, and Emilia) were from different countries and situations, but were all extremely affected by the war.
    • Florian warmed my heart and was a true hero. He is just such a genuine guy and always (however reluctantly) has to help people.
    • Emilia and her story constantly surprised me and kept me wondering what would happen next.
    • Joana is a caring and competent character, but really becomes better when she is with other people (doesn’t really matter who, but people make her more interesting *cough* *Florian and Klaus*).
    • I felt like Alfred was missing substance for most of the story. He was a despicable character who had been brainwashed by Hitler and really just wanted to make a name for himself and become famous. The worst and most annoying part is that he went about it in the absolute worst way and was terrible to most of the people he deemed “below him” (even though he wasn’t a high ranking person).
    • Some of my favorite characters were the secondary ones such as the Shoe Poet (Heinz) because he was so loving and cared about Klaus so deeply, the wandering boy (Klaus) because he showed how age didn’t matter when it came to the war’s devastation (also, he is the innocence of the story, and I hope he got to hold on to a little of it despite all he endured), and Sorry Eva (who also annoyed me a lot, but was still funny at times).

I read this book because this year’s Academic Decathlon (nerd competitions) theme is WW2, and so I wanted to slowly drift in the direction of the required reading while still learning more about WW2. Even though it was fiction, I still learned a lot, and some of it was based off of real events. It made me think about different perspectives in the war and how many different groups were affected by the war.

Quotes

“No one wanted to fall into the hands of the enemy. But it was growing harder to distinguish who the enemy was.” (21)

“If you observe carefully, dear, you won’t have to ask.” (128)

“I became good at pretending. I became so good that after a while the lines blurred between my truth and fiction. And sometimes, when I did a really good job of pretending, I even fooled myself.” (147)

“Yes, it is calming in an indescribable way to find oneself. Few men have the opportunity. I am one of those men. I now understand what it is to feel superior. And I quite like it.” (277)

Summary

Winter, 1945. Four teenagers. Four secrets.

Each one born of a different homeland; each one hunted, and haunted, by tragedy, lies…and war.

As thousands of desperate refugees flock to the coast in the midst of a Soviet advance, four paths converge, vying for passage aboard the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship that promises safety and freedom.

Yet not all promises can be kept.

Inspired by the single greatest tragedy in maritime history, bestselling and award-winning author Ruta Sepetys (Between Shades of Gray) lifts the veil on a shockingly little-known casualty of World War II. An illuminating and life-affirming tale of heart and hope.

Credits: Goodreads

Love, Aubrey