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January 10, 2017

Another Book Signing Adventure

An Exciting Book Signing In Menlo Park

So to start things off I just wanted to say that this book signing was one of the most memorable experiences I’ve had the privilege of attending.  It all started with a fun filled and Dutch Bros fueled car ride to the Menlo Park library.  Along the way Ashley and I had a blast singing songs in the car and yelling curses at the suicidal maniacs on the road.  One of the most interesting parts of the journey there related to questions Ashley had asked me from the book, The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon.  The questions led to deep and intriguing conversation on everything from a dinner with Abraham Lincoln to the more personal and difficult ones.  I would guess I will not truly understand her questions until I read the book.  Unlike our drive to Leigh Bardugo’s book signing we spent much of this ride laughing and discussing literature.

When we arrived in Menlo Park we made sure to stop by Kepler’s Books.  Which was a very refreshing book store when compared to the generic Barnes and Noble standard.  The entire place seemed more energetic and fun and if I could have stayed longer would have compelled me to fill my entire shelves with books.  I must admit Ashley and I did indulge and make a few purchases while we were there.  How bad can a reading addiction really be though?  Next door we stopped by the lovely Cafe’ Baronne to grab a cool drink and relax for a bit.  Cracking jokes and sipping on an Arnold Palmer can sometimes be the right amount of bliss after a car-ride.  

About an hour before the book signing be made our way to the Menlo Park Library so we could wait in line.  Upon entering the library we attempted to use the elevator.  I am pretty sure I heard a loud clunk and after much waiting we decided to use the stairs.  To our surprise there were only two other people waiting in line before us.  Especially when you consider the fact this event was hosting a panel of five authors.  Needless to say the line grew and eventually we sat in great anticipation of what can only be described as the most comedic banter I have heard outside of a comedy sketch group.

The fantastic panel of five authors were, Jay Kristoff and Aimie Kaufman co-authors of Gemina, Jessica Cluess author of A Shadow Bright and Burning.  Kiersten White author of And I Darken and last but not least Arwen Elys Dayton author of Seeker.  It felt almost instantaneous that the room filled with laughter and intrigue as Jay and Aimie started off by describing the sci-fi book they had written.  Let me clarify that this was laughter joined by Jay and Aimie themselves.  Ranging from discussions on the numerous deaths that occur within their books and researching astronauts having to wear diapers and condoms.  Note that this was only more entertaining while they spoke to us in Australian accents. They also temporarily stole the show by having everyone play a game for a chance to win the honor of being killed in their next book.  All I can say is it involved touching heads and butts.

Kiersten also made quite an entertaining show discussing how Vlad the impaler had influences her recent book.  Just imagine Vlad being a young girl and impaling people.  Jessica made an enjoyable effort and did hit the spotlight with her puns and lighthearted humor.  Which as a debut author showed how much she really cared about what she had written.  The main author that I felt was quite overshadowed by the whole event was Arwen.  This isn’t to say that Arwen’s book didn’t sound enjoyable.  She simply lacked the energetic personality and excitement that inspired the crowd to go forth and read her work.  I would like to say that the fantasy world she had created in Scotland did sound enticing and perhaps I may read some of her books in the future.

All in all I left this event with a warm pleasant feeling.  The authors certainly did their job and made me leave longing to give some of their books a read.  I would like to give this event a 4.9/5, only due to the fact that when Ashley and I rode the elevator back up it seemed like we may die.  Just kidding, this event is definitely deserving every bit of a 5/5.  Hopefully in the near future I will be able to enjoy another trip similar to this one.

Live Long and Prosper,

- Joshua

January 09, 2017

January Update

Hello all and Welcome to Books Buying Beauty the 2017 Edition

 Now onto the mini review;

E.K. Johnston
Disney Hyperion

Overall Rating: 3/5 Stars
The concept behind this was amazing but I felt like it fell flat.I didnt really realize how it tied into A Thousand Nights but I guess it does. Overall I think the writing was amazing but the story itself just wasn`t for me. I gave it three stars because I did enjoy the characters and their growth.

I wish you all a Happy New Year.


November 23, 2016

Guest Review: Truthwitch by Susan Dennard


Author: Susan Dennard
Published On: 01/05/16
Page Count:416
In a continent on the edge of war, two witches hold its fate in their hands.

Young witches Safiya and Iseult have a habit of finding trouble. After clashing with a powerful Guildmaster and his ruthless Bloodwitch bodyguard, the friends are forced to flee their home.

Safi must avoid capture at all costs as she's a rare Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lies. Many would kill for her magic, so Safi must keep it hidden - lest she be used in the struggle between empires. And Iseult's true powers are hidden even from herself.

In a chance encounter at Court, Safi meets Prince Merik and makes him a reluctant ally. However, his help may not slow down the Bloodwitch now hot on the girls' heels. All Safi and Iseult want is their freedom, but danger lies ahead. With war coming, treaties breaking and a magical contagion sweeping the land, the friends will have to fight emperors and mercenaries alike. For some will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

Overall Rating: 3.5 / 5
I found this book to be pretty interesting most of the way through, though a bit repetitive at times. It had good character development and a plot that moved along well but it still ended up taking me awhile to finish.

Cover: 3/5
The cover is very pretty and the art is well done, but it has 2 things that I strongly dislike for book covers; Quotes, and a character’s face. I really don’t like quotes from reviewers or anywhere else on book covers, and I also very much prefer to have the main characters left mostly to the imagination of the reader. Both of these things vary in importance to each reader, but I couldn’t grade the cover any higher than a 3 because of these things.

Characters: 4.5 / 5
The character development was the strongest part of this book for me. I found them to be interesting and enjoyable the whole way, with lots of depth.
Safiya: A truthwitch and one of the two main characters of the story, Safi is headstrong and confident. She complements her sister in many ways, and controls one of the most potent and rare magics / witcheries in the world.
Iseult: She is a threadwitch, and close friend / sister to Safi. She is much more timid and sort of the opposite side of the coin to Safi. I found her past very interesting and as the story develops and you learn more about her family, her character gets a lot more depth. She can see the ties that bind people to each other, and so gets to make a lot of discoveries about other characters.
Aeduan: The Bloodwitch who is chasing down the two sisters. This guy is an extremely dangerous individual who is hired to hunt down Safi and Iseult. He too has an intriguing back story, and reasons behind his actions. He starts as an obviously antagonistic character but starts to change as the story moves on.

Plot: 3.5 / 5
The plot is action packed and always has something new going on. I enjoyed the story and the world the author built around these characters. The main gripe I had with the story was what I felt was overuse of the ‘witch’ powers that seemed to govern everything in the story. If there is an element, a metal, even an idea, there is probably a ‘witchery’ for it in the story. I felt that if there was ever any need for a device to move the plot forward, a random new witch power would surface. Everything from water, wind, earth, steel, truth, thread, blood, and fire, there was someone with witch control over it. I think that limiting the use of this magic would make the story a bit more believable and relatable, and it got to be frustrating for me when a new witch was around every corner.


November 19, 2016

Will`s First Signing in Seattle,WA

A little more than a month ago Ashley, Walt and I drove to Seattle for the final stop of the Fierce Reads Tour. We left a little before 3:30am, which I thought was overkill at the time. Ash drove until 5 or 6ish. Then Walt took over and we continued until breakfast at 7. The two of them switched off every so often for the drive. I wasn’t allowed to drive Walt’s car so I spent most of the drive sleeping. We arrived at the Hotel a bit before 5 and got some R&R before leaving for the signing at 6.

This was my first book signing, so I wasn’t sure what to expect going in. There was an unfamiliar energy in the bookstore. A mix of calm excitement and combustible excitement, the kind that threatens to overwhelm you at any moment and burst forth. However any calm would soon be gone, replaced with an outpour of vocalized joy, glee and love of the authors when they came onto the stage.

Once the authors were introduced, Ashley got called out by the moderator. Apparently she had mentioned that she drove over 10 hours and, as a reward for her dedication, was presented with some gift items. Naturally this blew any chance she had of stealthily stalking Leigh Bardugo as the moderator was standing right next to The Queen (that’s what Ashley calls Ms. Bardugo).


The event began with a series of questions the moderator had prepared. One of my favorites was centered around how the authors wrote their books. The Queen started off by saying that she skips around. She then elaborated on how and why that process works for her. The next author to answer was Ms. Garcia. She stated that while she has an outline, she skips around in the writing process. While these two were answering, I swear Mr. Roehrig’s face was becoming more baffled. When it was his turn to answer he questioned how the other two could possibly skip around while writing; stating something along the lines of “what happens in chapter 1 directly leads to what happens in chapter 2 which leads to what happens in chapter 3.” This sparked a brilliant volley between The Queen and Ms. Garcia, and Mr. Roehrig. I wish I had the whole debate on video so that you could all see that fantastic back and forth. When the mic finally passed to the fourth and final author, Ms. Mills stated that she does a variation of skipping around. She prefers to write the “good parts first” and then “thread them together.” This sparked another round of back and forth which left Mr. Roehrig hopelessly outnumbered. It was great fun watching this series of exchanges.

Some questions later Ms. Mills stated that the new book she is working on, which is a Young Adult Contemporary, involves role playing games (RPGs). I was caught a bit off guard by her statement, as I had not expected a video game, or the world of gamers, to come up at a book signing. As a gamer, I was very pleased to hear that an RPG was going to be referenced in a book. She said that she was shown a RPG by a friend and that “it was surprising to [her], [she] did not expect to get into that.”

After the moderator had finished her questions she turned it over for some audience questions. While doing so she offered some prizes to the best questions as chosen by the authors. Admittedly I was only half listening to the questions as I was attempting to think of a really good question. I eventually thought of a question but we were at dinner by then. It was “If you could switch places with any book character and live their life, before, during and after the story, while retaining your personality, who would you switch with and why?” incase you were curious.

After the signing both Ashley and myself went through the line to have The Queen sign our books (they were actually both Ashley’s so I was her stealthy stalking agent) and to try at pulling the Inej card. Sadly neither of us pulled Inej. With the event wrapping up we went across the street to get some dinner before returning to the hotel.

Once at the hotel we proceeded to crash so that we could make the 13 hour (I don’t know why it was so much longer going back than getting there) drive home. We stopped on the way for Voodoo Doughnuts and they were fantastic. I specifically appreciated how they named some of their menu items. If you are ever near one I would highly recommend getting something.

Overall the trip was great. I’m not sure I could’ve asked for a better group of authors for my first book signing. I am looking forward to reading some of these author’s works, especially now that I have had a taste of their unique personalities and learned a bit about their writing processes. I hope to have the opportunity to attend more signings in the future as I definitely enjoyed this experience.


A couple of quotes from the night I liked:

“A first draft is like an awkward first date. You’re still getting to know your characters.” - Leigh Bardugo

“No means no!” - Mikaleb Roehrig on nonlinear writing

November 16, 2016

Guest Review: We Are Still Tornadoes by Michael Kun

We Are Still Tornadoes
Co-Authors: Michael Kun and Susan Mullen
Release Date:11/1/16
Page Count: 304 Pages
Synopsis: (Found on Goodreads)
Growing up across the street from each other, Scott and Cath have been best friends their entire lives. Cath would help Scott with his English homework, he would make her mix tapes (it's the 80's after all), and any fight they had would be forgotten over TV and cookies. But now they've graduated high school and Cath is off to college while Scott is at home pursuing his musical dreams.

I honestly feel the cover fit the book nicely.  Even though you will find the true meaning of tornadoes when you read the book I felt that the tornado on the cover more symbolizes the swirling of emotions between the two main characters.  Plus what I can only assume are the two main characters holding hands is a nice touch.

Characters: 5/5
Considering this entire book is Character focussed I would have to say the authors put a lot of time and thought into them.  They made the book exciting and kept me rushing back to read more.  Since there are really only two main characters their lives are essentially the entire plot of the book.

Scott seems to act just as any young adult male would under the circumstances of the story.  He seemed extremely realistic, funny and often would rush to judgement.  Overall a well rounded character.  There were moments I was yelling at the book trying to tell Scott what he should have said to Cath.  In some ways I think that was the point.

Cath felt just as deep of a character to me as Scott did if not more.  I could almost feel what she felt while reading some of her letters in the book.  She is highly intelligent and extremely caring.  It is very cute to realize how closely she cares for her friend Scott right from the start of the book.  I did feel as though some of her reactions were a little over-the-top but they are supposed to be eighteen at the beginning of the story.

Plot: 4/5

The plot was a very predictable yet satisfying one.  You know what will likely happen in the end but the journey of how it happens keeps you going.  I especially enjoyed the way plot would jump from one letter to the next.  This kept things fresh and constantly moving forward.  Unlike some books that can leave you feeling stuck trying to complete a chapter.

Overall Thoughts: 4.5/5

I really enjoyed the style this book was written in.  The entire book is of both Scott and Cath writing letters  back and forth to each other.  For some reason this made the story seem more real and I often had to remind myself I was reading a book.  Personally I would consider this to be a YA book despite the fact it is set in the 1980’s.  This isn’t really a book focussed on a nostalgia trip but on a relationship between two young adults.  Besides the fact that there aren’t any cell phones it felt extremely similar to most modern relationships.  Most likely I will pick up this book for a second read because I enjoyed it so much.  I can only hope that this book is given the chance it deserves.  While it may not be in my top ten favorite books it is definitely a great read.
Live Long and Prosper,


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