Tag Archives: YALLFest

YALLFest Recap!

YALLFest haiku. (with pictures)

YALLFest was so amazing

full of books, pie, and

even extreme fangirling.

*bows* I know, I know. Beautiful. Here are some pictures I took of authors and cool stuff on the trip! (not of general Charleston, though, that’s a seperate post. I took way too many pictures to include them all at once.)

The picture is pretty blurry on this one, but you get the idea! (P.S.- Blue Bicycle Books, that bookshop, is really cool. I want one in NC!)

I was one of the first ones to meet Holly Black! She was really sweet and her energy was contagious. I haven’t started White Cat yet, but I’m excited to!

This is a really blurry picture of Stephanie Perkins! I was a bit sad after that, because even though I had been in line for quite some time, the YALLFest people were worried she wouldn’t have time for everyone, so they set up a little assembly line as seen above. Stephanie didn’t have time for personalization by the time I got to her, but that’s alright. I’m hoping to go to one of her signings in Asheville next year, and I’ll get it personalized there. 🙂


David Levithan! He was super nice, and in my book (a copy of Every Day) he wrote “To Olivia, Live Every Day in Wonder” and then signed his name. I understand he signed the same thing for a lot of people, but it is still really awesome. (BTW, I read Every Day on the way back, and holy shizballs was it amazing! The best book I’ve read in a really, really long time. Review soon!)

Diana Peterfreund! (For Darkness Shows the Stars. Review here.)

Gayle Forman! (If I Stay series. Still have to read this one.)

Really blurry, but Kami Garcia (left) and Margaret Stohl (right) (Beautiful Creatures series, also have to read this one)

Wendy Maas. (Every Soul a Star, Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life, A Mango-Shaped Space, and others) The only one of those three I haven’t read is Every Soul a Star. I actually got to talk to her, which was nice! I told her that I wrote a paper on synesthesia last year, and that I thought A Mango-Shaped Space did a beautiful job with synesthesia. She was insanely nice!

My mom took this picture of me while we were waiting in the line for David Levithan. I look mostly just tired, but behind that teeny smile I’m fangirling like crazy.

And one last thing….

THE PIE. Oh, the pie. It was so delicious.

Have a great day, y’all! 😉 I’ll have a post of general Charleston trip up for you tomorrow or maybe Tuesday. I would say Monday, but I have a bajillion things on the agenda for then, so I’ll probably just schedule a post. I’m hoping to get back to my usual post schedule, at least once or twice a week, but we’ll see!



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Book Review- For Darkness Shows The Stars

What an absolutely gorgeous cover, am I right? It is absolutely perfect for the book, I don’t think it could be improved upon at all! For Darkness Shows the Stars is a post-apocalyptic retelling of Austen’s Persuasion. Having not read Persuasion, I can’t vouch for its accuracy. But as reluctant as I am to read retellings of books where I haven’t read the original, this was very worth it and did not disappoint.

Generations ago, genetic experiments caused most of the population to be Reduced. The only ones who escape call for drastic measures- which means banning most technology, bright fabrics, machinery, anything remotely new- and begin to call themselves Luddites.

Elliot North took charge of her family’s estate at a young age- what else could she do? Her mother died, her father is a useless, money spending lump, and her older sister is too busy flirting with the neighbors. For years she manages the estate and pushes away the heartbreak that started when her mother died and continued afterwards when her best friend and childhood love, Kai, left with no warning. Elliot is eighteen now, and preoccupied with managing the plantation and her secret, illegal genetic modification of wheat, with no time for love. Until Captain Malakai Wentforth shows up on her doorstep.

“Elliot soon discovers her old friend carries a secret—one that could change their society… or bring it to its knees. And again, she’s faced with a choice: cling to what she’s been raised to believe, or cast her lot with the only boy she’s ever loved, even if she’s lost him forever.”

(that last bit was from the Goodreads summary. I’m having some trouble lately with writing summaries for these books- they’re so abstract and hard for me to summarize.  I’m considering converting entirely to GR summaries. Let me know what you think in the comments! :))

This book was amazing. The kind of book that you hug to your chest after you finish reading, the kind where the ending replays itself on a loop like an endless happy mix tape in your head. (did I really just reference a mix tape? Whoa.)

Let’s talk about the writing style for a moment. I enjoyed it a lot (and that’s huge, because writing style is big for me. I LOVE flowery prose) and it definitely fit with the fact that it was a retelling. I’m not saying that retellings always have to imitate the style of their originals, but I enjoy it when they do. The prose was very Jane Austen-esque and I absolutely loved it.

Elliot was great. I appreciate heriones like this, not necessarily overthrowing the regime with brute strength, but with their cunning wit and curiosity. Kai is perfect for her, it’s obvious from the beginning, but the finale is well worth waiting the whole novel for them to kiss already. (I sound like SUCH a teenage girl. But still.)

The world building obviously took second place to the romance, but that was something I wasn’t bothered by. It was clear enough that I wasn’t worried about the details. It wasn’t fuzzy, or confusing, it just wasn’t overly detailed, and there is nothing wrong with that.

I even got attached to the minor characters, especially Ro. She was so innocent and cute, yet brilliant in her own way. She was the character that really made me understand the Reduced, and connect with them. Without her, I might have been more annoyed by the whole “Reduced are servants” thing. I know, this book has servants in it. But they aren’t mistreated- they’re people who don’t have full mental capacity and literally can’t survive on their own. I believe the plantation owners take them in out of compassion, not want for laborers.

This is a must-read for fans of romance, especially anyone who loves Jane Austen!

Happy Reading, y’all!


P.S.- I met Diana at YALLFest (post on that very soon) and she was super sweet! She also told me there is a companion to this book coming out sometime next year or the year after (don’t remember) and I’m EXCITED.


Filed under Modern Fiction, Romance

Full Book Review- Bitterblue

The last post you got in your inbox (if you’re a subscriber) was a mess-up. Sometimes I mean to press the ‘save draft’ button and hit the ‘Publish’ button instead. So this is the real Bitterblue review. The entire one. 🙂

So, I finished Bitterblue a few days ago, but I’ve held off reviewing it until now for two reasons. One, I’m not sure how hard my new classes will be right off the bat. And two, this book was so AMAZING that I felt I needed to take a break in order for my review to be coherent. 🙂

It’s no secret that I am a HUGE fan of the Graceling series. Normally I don’t go for YA Fantasy, but gosh I just LOVE this series. Of course I wanted to pick up the third installment in the series as soon as it came out. But I don’t have a job or an endless supply of money to buy books with. Most of the time, I don’t buy books. It’s not that I don’t want to support authors (I really, really do!), it’s just that my budget is SO small, I usually only buy my VERY favorite books. That way I don’t waste precious book money.
Anyway, after that lengthy explanation, my point is, I would have bought this right off the bat, but I couldn’t afford it. So I got on the library waiting list instead, and recieved it last week.

I thought Bitterblue was the perfect end to a truly great series. Before I read this, I had a bit of a hard time relating to Po and Katsa from Graceling, but after seeing them 10 years later, I love them. And I’m even more in love with Po than I was before! Each one of Kirsten Cashore’s others in the series was amazing and beautiful and deep, but this one really tied up loose ends that I didn’t really realize were there. Not major ones, but like ‘I wonder if Katsa and Po will still be together after 10 years?’. That kind of thing. That doesn’t mean Bitterblue doesn’t have a good plotline as a standalone, but you really need to read it after you read Graceling and Fire. (in order- read Graceling, then Fire, then Bitterblue)

It’s hard for me to review a book that is reliant on you having read the other books without giving spoilers, so I’ll say this: Kirsten Cashore’s Graceling series is my favorite series ever. I never expected to love them as much as I did! Her books are an example of everything I’m looking for in a story, and I couldn’t be more pleased. Bitterblue is a fantastic end to a truly memorable set of books that I look forward to passing on to my children. If you haven’t read these, you must. For fans of Graceling and Fire, Bitterblue is an absolutely necessary read that will charm you as much, if not more, as the others.

Hope y’all enjoyed this review! I’m hoping to keep my regular pace up with reviewing as I start school tomorrow. I usually review more during the school year, but it takes me a few weeks to get in the groove and I’ve got some really tough stuff this year.

🙂 Olivia

P.S. this is a *super* tentative announcement that I *might* be going to YALLFest in November. Maybe. Possibly. Hopefully. 😉

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Filed under Fantasy, Fiction, Modern Fiction, Romance