An open apology and BEA!

Yoohoo! Hello! Hello over there!! Can you see me? Hello? It’s me, Judith? You probably won’t recognize me and if you do, you’re all probably a wee bit pissed at me for, ya know, not blogging or reviewing or even maintaining the site really over the last few months. But don’t be. I’m here on my knees ready to grovel.

“Why’d you leave us, Judith?!” That’s the big question. Guys, I am so sorry but this dumb thing called “day-to-day life” just kept getting in the way. At first it was just asking me to make dinner and you know, clean for a bit (and by clean I totally mean put dishes in the dishwasher and nothing else). Then it started eating up my available time with homework assignments, girl scout troop meetings, working 8 hours a day, laundry…and we can’t forget that pesky husband and the never ending, extended houseguests.  It got so bad that at one point I actually considered stopping blogging altogether.

The sudden collective gasp  you guys just put out is enough to make me think, “whew!” I did the right thing by not dumping the blog.

So here’s the deal. I promise to get you guys some quality reviews over the next few weeks because me, Ellen, and Onni have been reading up a storm. I also promise not to go AWOL again.

Now, this brings me to the awesome photo montage portion of this post.

On May 28 and 29th, Ellen and I took NYC by storm (not a difficult feat considering we both live in NJ) and attended BEA 2014. It was our 3rd time and we had a blast.  We spent all of Thursday checking out the various authors and taking in the scene:

People lining up at 7:30 am to enter BEA at 9 am. Dedication!

People lining up at 7:30 am to enter BEA at 9 am. Dedication!

More line waiting at 7:30 am...

More line waiting at 7:30 am…

Waiting in line for books to be autographed

Look closely and you’ll see A.R. Kahler, author of the Immortal Circus, waiting in line too

The line up to get books signed

The lines to get books by famous authors signed

We learned that at least two of the five main cast members of How I Met Your Mother  + one member of The Office had written books!

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Jason Segal speaking at the Children’s Books Author Breakfast

Neil Patrick Harris in booth signing. He is so skinny!

Neil Patrick Harris in booth signing. He is so skinny!

BJ Novak signing in booth

BJ Novak signing in booth

Some of our idols of childhood:

Garth Nix, author of Sabriel

Garth Nix, author of Sabriel

R.L. Stine

R.L. Stine

And we met up with some amazing bloggers and authors from all over:

Author Michelle Mankin, Blogger Kelly Moorehouse, and Author Anne Eliot (plus me hiding behind a book on the telephone screen)

Author Michelle Mankin, Blogger Kelly Moorhouse, and Author Anne Eliot (+ me on screen)

Author T.Torrest and Blogger Kelly Moorehouse

Author T.Torrest and Blogger Kelly Moorhouse

Blogger Rebecca Peters-Golden

Blogger Rebecca Peters-Golden

Author Anne Eliot and I Love YA Fiction's Ellen

Author Anne Eliot and I Love YA Fiction’s Ellen

And the best part?! We got our hands on some new books:

I Love YA Fiction's Judith holding an ARC of Anne Eliot's How I Fall

I Love YA Fiction’s Judith holding an ARC of Anne Eliot’s How I Fall

Look at all the books!

Look at all the books!

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So long story short: we’re back! Reviews are back! Hope you are ready for us!

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Meet My Summer Book Boyfriends

Everywhere I look, there’s a new hot summer book boyfriend just waiting to meet me–err, I mean

About like irritated. Good title reduced, pleased – biggest.

YOU! Yes, you.

Well, Anne Eliot recently came out with this awesome promotion where all her hot summer book boys are on sale and I thought every one of us could appreciate and benefit from a list of some hot summer reads featuring hot summer boys for cheap! None of the books below is more than 3.99 on Amazon, most are currently 99 cents, and a few are even free as of the time I’m posting. We’ve read and reviewed a few but not all. So please, delve into these at your own risk! (but seriously, where’s the risk?! Cheap books featuring cute boys never hurt anybody. Just sayin’.)

Meet the boys!

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Birthday Giveaway #3: Anne Eliot

Birthday Giveaway #3: Anne Eliot

I’m not gonna lie: judging her based solely on her uber-fabulous books, Almost and Unmaking Hunter Kennedy, I assumed Anne Eliot was a pretty dark person. I mean, her books touch on all sorts of heavy and thought-provoking subjects – rape, suicide, teen drinking and drugs – so when I contacted her late last year, I expected to deal with a completely different type of person than what I got. Guys let me tell you, Anne Eliot is a nut! But in the coolest, most fun way imaginable. She’s like crossing a hyper-active teen with the mom next door with this hilariously creative artist lady you found down at the coffee shop selling hemp jewelry. I can’t get enough of her! And if you’ve read her books, you’ll agree that she is one talented writer. That kiss scene in Unmaking Hunter Kennedy??? Swoo-oon!

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Books and Boys: We all have “types”

A few days ago, after yet another Judith/Ellen books conversation, I realized something: I totally have a book “type”. Just like how I know that the tall, über-jock looking guy at the bar will be the one I go for (it’s a weakness!) there are some books that, no matter how bad they might be for me, I will buy. Doesn’t matter if they’re YA/NA/romance novels, or if the book has a zillion 1 star reviews on Amazon, I just can’t say no! So now, dear readers, Judith and I are joining forces for just the second time to discuss our book types. Do you agree? Have we missed any important ones? What are yours??? Please let us know we’re not alone! Read More

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Readers’ Choice Best YA/NA Books of 2012, part 2

Your list of your favorite books of 2012 was so large I had to break it up several times over! Here’s part 2 of your favorite books of the year!

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Three Things that Kick Butt: An Author Birthday Contest, One HUGE Contest, and the Comment Section

Hey guys! I’m super elated today! It could be the 4 cups of coffee I’ve had since waking up 2 hours ago…but I think it’s more because things are finally starting to get back to normal around here in Hoboken. Gone are the armored National Guard trucks patrolling the streets and here to stay is ELECTRICITY! I can sleep without needing 6 layers and 4 quilts! I don’t have to wear a headlamp to make my canned soup! Amazing stuff.

Now I have three very important things that I want to tell you about:

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Almost by Anne Eliot

Hi all! Judith here. Remember yesterday when I mentioned that we had a fabulous guest blogger named Richelle and that she would be doing an equally fabulous review of Almost by Anne Eliot? Well…here it is! Thanks to Richelle for stepping up and helping out, we appreciate it.

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Almost by Anne Eliot

Publisher: Butterfly Books

Format: Kindle Edition

When Judith put out a desperate call for help from a guest blogger (at least that’s how I heard it), I jumped at the opportunity. I hope my review of a great book will be read by millions and millions of people all across the world! Oh, sorry, I’m getting a bit carried away. Anyhoo, I heard about this book from my friend who reads a book a day (seriously, who does that?!) and thought it would be the perfect book to read and review for the blog! Thank you, Judith, for giving me this great job.

Plot:
3 years ago, Jess Jordan decided to sneak out of her house. This turned out to be a horrible mistake. She went to a party where a senior almost raped her. She developed PTSD after this incident and doesn’t remember anything from that night. Nothing has really helped her recover, even seeing a counselor on a regular basis. If Jess sleeps very long when it’s dark out, she has terrible nightmares and sometimes even screams out loud.

As the time goes by, she seems to be getting better, as long as she takes naps during the day and drinks several Red Bulls to keep her awake. Her parents have promised her that if she keeps improving, they will let her go to college after she graduates. To continue to show her parents her improvement, she tries to get a summer internship. At the final interview, she meets Gray Porter, and can’t take her eyes off of him! He’s so dreamy! Then an idea hits her! Ask Gray to be her “contract” boyfriend for the summer. What better way is there to prove that you are normal besides having a gorgeous boyfriend?

What Jess doesn’t know is that Gray was there 3 years ago when she was almost raped and he saved her. Gray has been trying to find a way to let her know what happened, even though everyone, including Jess’s parents, have been hiding the truth from her. So, Gray decides that this is his only opportunity to let her know what really happened and make it up to her. The only problem is, they are falling in love.

Review:
You would have to be heartless not to like this book, and I am the total opposite of heartless (I’m not sure if I cried more at The Notebook or Wall-E!). I was interested immediately in the story, especially when the first line is “The third Red Bull was a mistake”. Anyone who drinks that many Red Bulls by lunch has to be interesting!

Throughout the whole book, you experience how Jess and Gray are feeling and continuously growing closer. I kept comparing this book to one of those movies where you want to yell at the screen “just say what you are thinking!”, but then you realize

that if they did that, the movie would be over and I definitely did NOT want this book to be over, so I kept my mouth shut!

What a great story for girls of all ages to read. It was a serious topic and every woman has at one time or another thought about this happening to herself or someone she knows. There is even a list of resources for women that have been victims of attempted or completed rape.

Aside from the serious issues in the story, there is a beautiful love story. It is exactly how 2 teenagers would act if they were falling in love, especially if they had the pasts that Jess and Gray have. It makes me want to be a teenager all over again (a little bit).

Based on the following criteria:

How much did I like the heroine: 9. Jess was obviously having a hard time getting back to her normal life. And who wouldn’t after what she had been through? But I kept thinking, would someone who is having these problems really approach a guy this gorgeous and ask him to do this? I’m not really sure. But, I felt her pain and I won’t give her anything less than a 9!

How much did I like the love interest: 10. I’m pretty sure Gray was actually Superman’s brother! He saves Jess from an attack, he has black hair with a curl that falls down onto his forehead, his eyes are beautiful (excuse me, let me wipe the drool from my mouth). He gave up his spot on the ice hockey team because of what happened to Jess. This guy really puts everyone ahead of himself. I just wanted to keep reading to hear Jess explain more about Gray and to just hear Gray talk!

How believable is the plot: 9. There is no question that what happened to Jess (and Gray) was believable. Though the behavior of the other characters is still a bit unsettling. For instance, for such protective parents as Jess has, it’s hard to believe they aren’t more involved with her summer boyfriend. I mean, they didn’t even meet the guy! I feel like if this had happened to my daughter, I would HAVE to meet a boy that she was going out with. What is most believable is the feelings that are forming between Jess and Gray, what great writing!

How much did I like the writing style/editing/etc: 10. Anne Eliot wrote using both Jess’s and Gray’s point of view. What a difference that makes to a story! If I was only reading one side of the story, I definitely would not have enjoyed this as much. To see and hear how they feel about each other just makes you feel all bubbly inside at times and makes you want to cry at times.

How much did I want to keep reading:
10. I could not put this book down! I had to make myself stop reading as my eyes were drying out at 1 am a few nights in a row. I also had to keep reminding myself that there is a 2 year-old girl (yes, my spawn) living in my house that was probably going to wake me up in 6 hours!

Final Score: 9/10

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Yoohoo, it’s Judith again. Can I just say, who names their kid Gray??? How unfair is that? That’s just setting him up for a world of hurt. Regardless, when Richelle told me about this book I was ready to jump on it and now after reading her review, I’ve bought it. My weekend is looking up!

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