#NTTBF16

Oh, you know we love a book fest.

Last week, we went to the North Texas Teen Book Festival in Irving, TX (close to Dallas). It was a ton of fun! Unfortunately, Rachel wasn’t able to come because she was at a tech festival back in Louisiana. BUT we were super excited that our wonderful friend Faith came! She was very happy to plaid with us!🙂

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We (of course) went to several panels featuring the one and only Ally Carter, who is still our favorite (of course.)

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We ate PB&Js. (A festival tradition.)

A bit of festival advice: take a picnic lunch! Sometimes concession lines are long (last year people waited in them for over an hour!), plus PB&J is yummier than nasty nachos.

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The line to get TO the signing line was crazy and insane! But NTTBF had a pretty good system down which really cut the crazies. Next time we’ll know to get closer to the front of the line for more time in the signing lines!

Also, shout out to all our awesome line buddies! We met lots of really awesome people while we stood in line, which was a great experience! Thank you all for talking books with us! We really enjoyed! (Also, we randomly met a girl—hi Sarah!—whose family goes to our church. Small world!)

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Jules took this time to catch up on some reading.

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Some of the authors we had sign our books:
Soman Chainani
Victoria Aveyard
Kristin Rae
Ally Carter

I feel like there were more (we split up a few times, so I don’t know who all saw who), but I just can’t remember. We didn’t get to all the authors we hoped to, but there’s always next time!

The amazing Ally Carter was amazing and recognized us (“I was wondering if y’all were here. Y’all have been quiet today!”) and told us SEKRETS and signed a million of our books. (Nine. She signed nine. The limit was three per person, which I’m sure she was appreciative of!) She really liked that I had all my favorite parts sticky noted. (Obviously there were a lot of sticky notes.) Also I kind of surprised her by pulling out a copy of Cheating at Solitaire, her first book. (If you haven’t heard of it, that’s because it’s an adult book and no longer in print.) We asked if we could take a pic with her and she said, “Only if you’re stealthy.” Thankfully, we learned stealth from the Gallagher Academy!

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I think we counted 37 books in my trunk.

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After the festival, we met up with Jules’s sister and ate some amazing Mexican food. A good rule for life: When in Texas, eat Mexican food! We always find random Mexican places to stop at and we’ve never had a bad experience yet. Before we left town, we pulled out some sparkling pear juice to drink on the drive home!

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On the way home, we stopped at Buc-ee’s. My first time! I was told there would be a slide. There was not a slide. For some reason, I had it in my head that it was basically a grown up’s Chuck E. Cheese. It wasn’t. It was a big convenient store. That’s it. BUT they had very nice bathrooms so it will definitely go on the list of places for potty stops.

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A big thank you to the NTTBF committee, the volunteers, our wonderful line buddies, and (of course!) the authors. NTTBF16 was a great festival we are sure to remember!

JB’s 2015 Reads

Hello book lovers! I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas and got lots of reading material!

At the end of the year, I can’t help but reflect on the books I’ve read. Did I accomplish my goals? Did I do lots of rereading? How many books did I read? Thankfully, Goodreads makes it easy to keep up with what I read throughout the year!

Let’s see how I did with my goals! (See original post here.)

1) Meet my Goodreads goal of 40 (new-to-me) books. DONE! I actually read 49 new-to-me books this year! This year I chose a lower goal for new books so I could do more rereading. I reread 20 books, bringing me to a total of 69 books for the year. (Possibly more if I do any reading in the next few days!)

2) Read two classics. …Didn’t happen. Why is it so hard for me to make myself read classics? Someone please recommend me a classic to read for 2016! (Preferably one that’s enjoyable and short.)

3) Read two non-fiction books. Okay, I read one and a half. I read Developing the Leader Within You by John C. Maxwell and half of Facing Your Giants by Max Lucado. I really enjoyed both! (I’ve also almost finished my annual Bible reading… does that count?)

4) Finish The Chronicles of Narnia series. I read The Horse and His Boy and absolutely loved it! Next is Prince Caspian. (Yes, yes, I know I didn’t finish the series. But at least I’m one book closer!)

5) Read the second Percy Jackson book (if not more!). Also didn’t do this, but I’ve been on a romance book kick this year, so.

So, it seems as though I did a terrible job at meeting the goals I set for myself a year ago, BUT I have had an incredibly good reading year. I rated 41 of the 69 books I read FIVE STARS. I discovered my favorite standalone, reread my favorite series, and also reread the first three Lunar Chronicles books in preparation for Winter! (Which was fabulous, of course.)  

Below I’ve listed some of my favorite reads this year (that haven’t already been mentioned in this post). Click the link to go to that book’s Goodreads page!

Geek Girl by Holly Smale (I actually liked the second one better!)
I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis (Perfect for fans of The Lunar Chronicles!)
Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson
The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West (Did you seriously think I wouldn’t include Kasie West?)
Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins (A Most Favorite.)

To see everything I read this year, friend me on Goodreads!

What were your favorite 2015 reads?

 

Review: Prisoner of Night and Fog

17668473Author: Anne Blankman

Age: 13 and up

Genre: Historical Fiction/Mystery

Released: 2014

Click here to read summary from Amazon.

Sequel: Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke

First off, the cover is so perfect. Darling girl with a mysterious vibe!! My blood is rushing already with the anticipation…what is she running from??

I love reading books from other perspectives. In this book we read from the perspective of a young girl in Adolf Hitler’s inner circle. Many of her closest friends are Nazis. Of course, this changed through out the course of the novel as she began to realize life is not a simple as it seems. Secrets and hidden agendas lie all around her. She realizes her true friends and love can come from the most unlikely places.

Characters: It was interesting to read about Hitler from an admiring eye. Most definitely a change from normal. The main character is brave and darling. The Jewish reporter, who is the romantic figure, is adorable along with typical reporter gumption.

Why I want to read the sequel: Prisoner of Night and Fog happens before WWII. I want to know what happens during the war. Also, I need to see how the romance ends!

Content Advisory:

Language: 2/3 I honestly do not recall any, so if there was any…it was mild.

Sexual:  2 kissing perhaps. Girls argue about being loved by some psychopath.

Viloence: 4 May contain spoilers, highlight to read: Main character is beat-up badly by a supporting character who has problems. Early on in the book, Nazi boys beat-up a Jew. Lots of fights between political parties and gunfire.

Similar Books to enjoy: Code Name Verity and The Book Thief

Other Books by Author: Traitor Angels comes out May 2016.

*Our reviews do contain affiliate links, meaning we could make a very small commission should you buy something using one of those links.

Science Ch. 4 Week 2 copy

National Young Readers Week

National Young Readers Day

Hello lovely readers!!

As some of you may know Monday was National Young Readers Day and this whole week is National Young Readers week, which is an annual event started in1989 by the The Book-It Program and the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress.  The focus of these events is to support youngsters that are already reading to continue, to  encourage those who have not experienced the magic that stories bring, and to build awareness around the importance of childhood literacy.

casper mattress

In light of this celebration we were asked by the awesome folks over at the Casper mattress makers to talk about the role of bedtime stories played and what some of our favorites. (before I go to far, I just want to say that you can call Casper and get a bedtime story read to you… no kidding)

It kinda goes without saying that literature and reading are huge parts of our lives, but for all three of us, having our noses in books goes way back.  We three were blessed to have mommies that were more than happy to satisfy our wondering minds and feed our imaginations.  Of course fairy tales were a staple, among our favorites are Cinderella (especially the folk-y versions) and Sleeping Beauty, and of course Peter Pan!  JB has a very Disney fan filled family so she got lots of Mickey Mouse!

A staple of bedtime was Little Golden Books. Every time is see that shiny gold spine I get reminiscent… Used to you could only find them at garage sales or Goodwill but now World Market carries them!  I think B&N as well!  I remember one in particular, The Saggy Baggy Elephant, was really cute.  Part humorous bedtime (or anytime!) story, part fable.little golden saggy baggy elephantSpeaking of fables, I love, and will read to my children, folk tales and fables from other cultures.  I have a few old books of different international children’s tales and I love reading them even now.  From this point I wan to squee a little bit about this film I just saw…  Ah! It’s beautiful!  Ok, it’s called Song of the Sea and it is basically a beautifully illustrated book come to life. The story is about a little girl who learns she is a selkie (a Scottish/Irish lore creature that is a girl on land and, when wearing her seal coat, transforms into a seal when in the sea) and is seeking her mother and there’s magic and happiness… and i don’t want to say too much but it’s beautiful…

A partner of National Young Readers Week is One More Story.  OMS brings new and old children’s books to life with full-out narration, with voices and sound effects and musically scored and everything!  They are available for device access and feature read-a-long and click-to-hear word identification options.  They are offering a free book a day until Friday!

Well that’s it for today!!   I hope you are having a fabulous week wherever you are!
If this made you think of any favorite books from your childhood we’d love to hear about them!
National young readers week

The lovely graphic up top was borrowed from fellow book blogger Erin over at The Hardcover Lover who also posted about her childhood reading!

Lunar Ball (Winter Release Party)

Calling all Lunartics!

As many of you have read on past posts, I (Rachel) am working at the library now and helping out with some events. Since Washington state is such a long ways away, us Louisiana TLC fans cannot make it to the Lunar Ball Marissa Meyer is throwing. Our library is throwing our own Lunar Ball. All local fans are invited! Brush up on your Lunar Trivia, don your fancy Ball Gown, and come for a fun time!

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Review: Jackaby

20312462Author: William Ritter

Age: 12 and up

Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Released: 2014

Click here to read summary from Amazon.

Jackaby does have a sequel I can’t wait to read called Beastly Bones.

It was the last phrase of the summary that grabbed my attention.

Doctor Who meets Sherlock in a debut novel, the first in a series, brimming with cheeky humor and a dose of the macabre.

Doctor Who meets Sherlock??? Yes please!! I loved seeing how the author combined these two ideas in old world America. It pulled from old tales such as screaming banshees and fairies too.

Characters:

Some of the British fans may be disappointed when they just read “old world America”, which is where our story takes place. Hold on British fans, the “companion” is a spunky British girl…Abigail Rook is very Clara Oswald-ish!

One of my favorite secondary characters in this novel, is the resident ghost of Jackaby’s eccentric home. She added a lot of wit and charm to the novel.

Plot:

The story line itself has a somewhat predictable villain, but overall very enjoyable. I loved seeing how Sherlock and Dr. Who quirks were combined to make a delightful read. I feel like adding the fantasy creatures made it different enough from the two TV shows to keep it interesting.

There is some slight romance between Abigail Rook and an understanding detective from the police force. I hope to see this play out in the sequel!

Content Advisory:

Language: 2 Not a lot in this book that I remember.

Sexual: 1 I don’t remember if there was a kiss, but there was a crush going on!

Violence: 3 Good guys fight bad guys!

*Our reviews do contain affiliate links, meaning we could make a very small commission should you buy something using one of those links.

Catching up with the Girls

Happy Fall you guys!!!

Only two months left until next year! canyoubelieveit?!?   Then begins a whole new year of new and wonderful things, all the new books and festivals and events and new people and old friends and great adventures!  But this year isn’t over yet and we’ve already begun to have new adventures and do all sorts of grown-up things!

JB is getting into the groove at her new job (not to mention being the cutest fur-mommie ever!)

Jules just finished her first week of her first class of her Masters program and her second week of a new job!

To add to the madness Jules has also decided to finish the Hunger Games series!

Rachel is hard at work being the youth activities coordinator at her library.  For Halloween she threw really awesome event for all the lovely patrons, readers, kids, and families.

Unfortunately these things are super time drains,

*but we haven’t forgotten about you love readers!*

we still love y’all🙂

We promise that along with the new friends and great adventures, the new year will bring a refreshed Girls in Plaid.  On that note if you have any ideas you want us to blog about, or cool activities, or authors, or challenges for us, just let us know!  Comment her or tweet us on the Twitter or find us on the Instagram!

Hope everyone had a wonderful (and safe) Halloween!  We would love to see yalls costumes and candy hauls! Tag us in your Insta pics!  We had tons of fun dressing up to get in on the fun and help Rae out with the library bash.  Dressed as a gypsy, I painted faces, which is super fun, but harder than it sounds when said face keeps wiggling and suddenly you have to make that dragon’s wings be somewhere you didn’t intend for them to be, or convince them that all the cool spiders have a random leg with extra joints…  JB was part of the really fantastic haunted maze that Rae set up.  She was a Weeping Angel from the Dr Who series. She did a great job of being super creepy, even though i totally knew it was her!  Honestly, I haven’t done a haunted anything in years and I went through with our friend Paige and a mom and her son (who was maybe 8).  Nobody wanted to go first, so we elected him because he had a sword… Regardless we were in for surprises and screams.  At least now I know I can survive an elevated heart rate… O.o   But getting to be around kids having fun is so cool.

the gypsy, the weeping angel, and the princess (with a Pascal)

the gypsy, the weeping angel, and the princess (with a Pascal)

our very own weeping angel!

our very own weeping angel!

Anyway we love you guys

Review: Better Off Friends

Review of Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg from thegirlsinplaidskirts.comAuthor: Elizabeth Eulberg

Age: Young Adult

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Released: February 25, 2014

Click here to read summary

Yes, hi, my name is JB and I have a new OTP, thank you very much.

So here’s the story behind how I became aquainted with Levi and Macallan. (You can skip this part if you want and scroll down for just the review. You’ll only hurt my feelings a little bit.)

Before Jules and I went to the North Texas Teen Book Festival, we both read lots of books by authors who were attending the festival. So I read books by Leigh Bardugo and A.G. Howard and Sarah Mlynowski while Jules read all these books. One of those books was Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg.

So Jules gets in my car (30 minutes late, mind you) and at some point once we were finally in an awake state of being (we had to meet at like, 5 so we could drive to Dallas and get to the festival on time), we began discussing the books we had read in preparation for the festival. And the reason Jules had shown up late that morning was because she overslept because she had stayed up all night reading Better Off Friends. She went on and on and on about it and how adorable it was and it was a clean read and I totally needed to read it.

Fast forward to the festival and Elizabeth Eulberg is in the first panel I go to. Now, at the time, I didn’t realize she was the author behind this fantastic book that Jules had been going on and on about. What I did know was that she was hilarious and I wanted to be her best friend. So I text Jules and told her she had to go to a panel that Elizabeth was in. And she did, and also decided that we should make Elizabeth our new bestie.

During the book signings, we pranced ourselves to our new BFF’s table (even though she was unaware of the fact that she was our new BFF—minor issue) and introduced ourselves even though we didn’t have any of her books. She gave us stickers and signed our bags and fangirled over Ally Carter with us. It wasn’t until after we had left her table that we put two and two together—this lady we’d fallen in love with was the author behind THE book. So we found her again and Jules told her how much she loved THE book while I stood there having no idea what was going on.

A week or so after the festival, I downloaded the ebook from my library and read it super fast. I was in love. So in love that I reread the book the next day. As far as I know, I have never done that before. A reread a week later? Yeah, I did that with The Selection. But the next day? That, my friends, is true love.

If you read my entire saga above, bless you. Now on to the actual review.

THE ACTUAL REVIEW

I’m a sucker for an adorable romance. We all know this already, but still.

Better Off Friends tells the story of how Levi and Macallan became best friends. And they’re the most adorable best friends ever. (Okay, second most adorable best friends ever, second only to us and our new BFF.) Their bantering is too cute and they are both obsessed with the British TV show Buggy and Floyd (I was so sad to find out it’s not a real show), and everyone thinks they’d make an adorable couple.  But, hey, they’re just friends.

I really think Macallan and Levi could be tossed into any situation and I’d read about it. Washing the car? Picking up stuff at Wal-Mart? I don’t care what they’re doing. They’re such a fun pair, and I love to read their dialog. Their banter makes the book.

The book takes place over several years, starting with the first time they met in 7th grade and telling the stories of their hardships and new experiences over the next few years. It’s fun to watch how their relationship grows and changes over time as they make new friends and drift away from old ones.

One of my favorite parts of the book is the interstitials. (I only know that word because it was on Elizabeth’s blog.) Between every chapter (which alternates POV between Macallan and Levi) is some banter as they reminisce on their relationship. (For an example of this, read the first page here.)

It’s adorable to see them looking back on old memories. Jules says she pictures them as old grandparents telling their grandkids the story of how they met.

If you’ve read any of my reviews for romance books, you know my big problem with them: the L word. And… this story has it. And… I’m okay with it. WHAT? I know, right? I think the reason it doesn’t bother me is because the story is told over a long period of time, and the reader can really see their love unfold, whether the two realize it or not. Now if their entire relationship were to take place over like, 2 weeks and then they were all I LOVE YOU, then I’d have a problem with it. But these two truly know each other and, I believe, truly love each other. (This is probably one of the few times I’m not going to hate on the use of the L word in a romance book, which is a big deal.)

Basically, you need to read this book. Especially if you love romances with fun characters and banter. Like, seriously. Go read this now. Five out of five stars!

Content Advisory:

Language: 2 I think there was one or two curse words. (For some reason, I didn’t take notes when I read this book, so I don’t have it marked!)

Sexual: 2 Some kissing, a few innuendos

Violence: 2 *minor spoiler alert* She punches a guy because he makes fun of her mentally retarded uncle. (In my opinion, the guy totally deserved it.)

>>>If you like fun couples with fantastic banter, you might also like

Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

The Distance Between Us by Kasie West (read our review)

>>>Other books by this author

Prom and Prejudice

The Lonely Hearts Club

Take a Bow

Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality

*Our reviews do contain affiliate links, meaning we could make a very small commission should you buy something using one of those links.

Review: I Love Him, I Love Him Not

23129506Author: Ella Martin

Age: YA

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Released: September 29, 2015

Click here to read summary.

This is the second book in the Westgate Prep series. For the release of the first book, we held a super fun Westgate Spirit Week! Check out those posts here.

Review:

I’m still binging YA contemporary romance books like there’s no tomorrow, so I was super excited when Ella Martin emailed us an e-ARC of the newest Westgate Prep book! I had included it in my Top Ten Sequels I Want to Read, so I couldn’t help but read it immediately!

Here’s some things I love about Ella Martin’s books:

  1. They are CLEAN! Oh, how we love clean reads! The Westgate Prep series is published by Clean Reads (previously Astraea Press), and they have strict guidelines that authors must meet. This means there is no cursing and no sex. (I don’t know the guideline specifics, but Ella mentioned that they are fairly strict.)
  2. They are ADORABLE! All the warm fuzzies, all the cute boys, all the adorable romances that make you want to squee. (I will elaborate on this later.)
  3. They are RELATABLE! One of my favorite things about both Will the Real Prince Charming Please Stand Up? (book 1) and I Love Him, I Love Him Not is that there are some very serious, yet very real and relatable situations.

So onto why I loved I Love Him, I Love Him Not!

The “very real, very serious, relatable” issue in this book is the fact that Talia’s mom gets remarried! As a daughter of divorced parents, I feel like this is an issue that a lot of kids deal with, and Ella makes it incredibly realistic. It’s hard when someone new pops into your life and you aren’t sure if you want them to be a part of it. That’s how Talia feels about her mom’s new husband as she struggles with a new father-figure in her life.

Then, we have the adorable-ness. It was incredibly obvious to me by page five that Jake liked Talia because he programmed her phone to play “I Want You to Want Me” when he called. Isn’t that so cute? And aren’t teenage girls so oblivious? (The answer to both is “yes”, and I am entirely guilty of that last one.) Jake is a musician, and I’m a sucker for a cute guitarist, so I found myself all smiley when he was around.

Another thing I love about this series is how the characters appear in each others’ books. We met Talia in WTRPCPSU, but we really get to know her in ILHILHN since we’re seeing things from her perspective. She’s such a spunky, fun character. It’s really fun to see Bianca (the narrator of book one) from Talia’s view, and see how her story pans out after WTRPCPSU.

I Love Him, I Love Him Not has a fantastic cast of characters, an adorable romance story, and some twists and turns that hit me out of nowhere. If you’re a fan of cute romances, this is a must-read! Five out of five stars!

Content Advisory:

Language: 0 None!

Sexual: 2 Nothing more than basic kissing, but there are a few comments such as “What do you think would happen if a roach had sex with a lobster?” (All of these comments came from a stupid teenage boy, so.)

>>> OTHER BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR<<<

Will The Real Prince Charming Please Stand Up

>>>SIMILAR BOOKS<<<

If you’re in the mood for some adorable romance books, check out our Ultimate Guide to the Cutest YA Love Stories.

*Our reviews do contain affiliate links, meaning we could make a very small commission should you buy something using one of those links.