#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! ūüôā

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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!

Week 5: Out of Sight, Out of Time

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This week we’re reading¬†Out of Sight, Out of Time.

For funzies, we’re sharing some pics of the first time we met Ally Carter!

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When we heard she was going to be in Austin for the Austin Teen Book Festival (now the Texas Teen Book Festival), we couldn’t NOT go! So we:
-packed up the car after we got off work
-decorated the car
-left two hours late
-got lost on the way (“We were supposed to turn… an hour ago.”)
-got pulled over for driving without lights on (in my defense, I was driving a car I wasn’t used to and I’d JUST pulled out of the gas station. I would have noticed a few minutes later!)
-had a brief moment when *name redacted*¬†tried to be more Bex-like. (“YOU ARE DRIVING ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD.”
-got caught up in traffic for the state festival
-and FINALLY made it to Austin at 2:00 in the morning.

The next morning, we donned our plaid skirts again.
austin3Since we were only going to see Ally Carter, we decided to skip the morning sessions and go to the Texas State Capitol. (This was our first festival, so we didn’t know how awesome ALL the panels were! Now we go to as many as we can!)

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That photo is my favorite of us. ^ So funny!

Then… the book festival! We spotted Ally Carter from afar before walking in and all of us just stopped.
“It’s her!” we squealed among ourselves.
“Go say hi,” my mom told us.
“We can’t just… go up to her!” So we didn’t, and just creepily stared at her until she went into the panel. Where we stared at her more. Jennifer Lynn Barnes was the moderator for the panel and told us all that Ally Carter had been Homecoming Queen and we’re like,¬†yeah she’s totally a queen.

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Then came the infamous photobombing. Then we met authors! Ally Carter’s line was crazy long (as always), so my mom and aunt held our spot in line so we could meet other authors.

We met:

Jennifer Lynn Barnes (Ally’s bestie, who told us that she named some of our favorite characters)
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John Corey Whaley (who grew up in a city near ours!)
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Dan Krokos (We told him he needed to watch Doctor Who)
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Will Richter (The story behind the photo: someone called him and, since he was busy signing books, he handed the phone to Jules and said, “Talk to him for a minute.”)
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Marissa Meyer and Eliot Schrefer (A year later we contacted Marissa for an interview and she remembered us.)
atbf3We also met a lot more! And we bought some books that we ended up LOVING!
atbf8We were sad to leave, but knew we wouldn’t miss ATBF13. We’ve been every year since!
(Those super tall guys in the background are Lex Thomas–authors of Quarantine.)

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Question of the Day: If you could meet any author, who would it be and why?
Gallagher Girl readathon logo hosted by thegirlsinplaidskirts.com

Gallagher Girl 3: Shelfie Profiling

Gallagher Girl readathon logo hosted by thegirlsinplaidskirts.com

Gallagher Girls are trained on profiling and gathering information. We see this as they go through a person’s trash to gather their information. I’ve thought how it would be fun to profile someone based of the their bookshelves. Could it be done? I figured you could help me out.

Put on your sleuthing¬†hats and let’s go!

1.

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2.

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3.

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4.

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Okay, tell us about the owners of these bookshelves! Ready. Set. GO!

Week 2: Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy

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I hope you are still reading with us! Now that we have read book 1 of the Gallagher Girl Series, it is time to move on to book 2!

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This book is delightful in so many ways – no sophomore slump here!

Warning: New characters are introduced! You may be reluctant to meet them, but they will steal you heart!!

Hope you enjoy…

Gallagher Girl Readathon!

Hello y’all! How’s your summer been so far? Lots of reading? Swimming? Sleeping? So far we’ve hardly stopped since summer started, but that’s just how we like it!

We’re extremely excited to share with y’all an idea we’ve been working on to make the summer even more¬†fun—a Gallagher Girl readathon!

Gallagher Girl readathon logo hosted by thegirlsinplaidskirts.com

It’s been far too long since we graduated from the Gallagher Academy, and it’s time for a trip down memory lane. So this summer, we’ll be rereading the entire series!

We know how much fun it is to read with friends, so we’re asking YOU to join our readathon! Whether you’ve read the books once, a million times, only read a few of them, or are a newbie to the Gallagher Academy, we’d love for you to join us. We’ll be reading one book per¬†week (see schedule below), and we’ll be chatting and reflecting about each one, so be sure to join in and leave your thoughts and fangirling in the comments!

The reading schedule is posted below, but don’t worry if you’d rather read faster or slower. These are just the weeks we’ll be talking about the books here on the blog and other social media, so if you don’t want spoilers for a specific book, you might want to stay away that week! (But come back once you’ve finished!)

Gallagher Girl Readathon Schedule hosted by thegirlsinplaidskirts.com

What would you like to see happen during the readathon? Contests? Outfits? Reading sprints? Twitter chats? Prizes? Vlogs? Let us know! We want this to be fun for everyone!

Are you interested in joining The Gallagher Readathon? Let us know in the comments if you plan to participate and what we can do to make it more fun!

Top Ten Books We’d Love To See As Movies/TV Shows

Top Ten YA Books We'd Like to See as a Movie or TV show
I think the most amazing thing about books is that I can read words and they form a picture in my head. Every book I read is like a movie that¬†I get to direct, and every detail is exactly how I want it. So when I say that I want for these books to be movies and/or TV shows,¬†that’s¬†what I mean. If it were a perfect world where movies and shows kept close to the books, these are the books I’d want to see on the big screen. (Click titles to go to our reviews!)
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1) Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins | This book keeps appearing on top ten lists because it’s awesome. I want a real-life Harper and David!

2) Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell | I think this would make for an awesome TV show as long as they don’t try to add romance where there is no romance! (That’s my biggest fear if this book is made into a movie/show.)

3) The Gallagher Girls Series by Ally Carter | I mean,¬†of course we want this to be a movie. Lots of movies. But the last time someone had the rights, they wanted to¬†completely change¬†everything. If I remember correctly, they wanted to make Joe Solomon the bad guy and make all the characters college-age. I’m so glad that didn’t happen! (See our Gallagher Girls dream¬†cast here!)

4) Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg | This would be a super cute TV show, or even YouTube show? Important: getting the PERFECT actors to play Levi and Macallan. Major chemistry is a must!

5) The Naturals Series by Jennifer Lynn Barnes | I think I remember Jennifer mentioning something at NTTBF about a TV show in the works. I hope it happens!

6) The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer | Basically these books would make for some of the most epic movies¬†ever. (See our Lunar Chronicles dream cast here!) (Read Rachel’s review and Brody’s review.)

7) The Selection Series by Kiera Cass | If you’re a big Selectioner, then you know about the…¬†issues¬†from the filmed pilot. Everything was changed. In a terrible way. No. No. No. No. No. Do this right, please!

8) The Ruby Red Trilogy by Kerstin Gier | I love this trilogy. I know that at least the first book was made into a German movie, but I haven’t gotten my hands on it yet. (I need it with subtitles, obviously.) (Okay, so I guess this one is more of an I-want-to-see-the-movie-if-I-can-somehow-get-ahold-of-it rather than a this-needs-to-be-a-movie.)

9) The Splintered Trilogy by A. G. Howard | It would be so cool to see this version of Wonderland come to life!

10) The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern | I’m pretty sure this movie is in the works. If done right, it could be amazing and beautiful. (Read Rachel’s review and my review.)

dotsWhat books would you want to see turned into movies or TV shows in a perfect world?

JB from thegirlsinplaidskirts.com, plaid skirt, pink rainboots

North Texas Teen Book Festival Recap

Let’s just get this out there: Julianne and I agreed that¬†NTTBF was one of the best festivals we’ve¬†ever attended.

Tons of incredible authors, countless panels to choose from, and we managed to win a signing line pass which helped us to hit up all the authors on our list without lots of waiting! (Though we still hung around until all the authors left.)

We started out our day with caffeine. Because we woke up at 5 AM. So obviously caffeine was necessary.

caffeine please NTTBF

Panel 1: Boarding Pass

I started out at the Boarding Pass panel with Adi Alsaid, Ally Carter, Elizabeth Eulberg, Stephanie Perkins, and Jennifer E. Smith (moderated by Sarah Enni). This is when I fell in love with Elizabeth Eulberg—she had me laughing the entire time. (Funnily enough, Jules had read her book¬†the night before the festival and gushed about it on the way.)

Highlights and notes:

-“Boys are stupid. Especially in high school. Boys are dumb. And they don’t get better with age.” -Elizabeth Eulberg

-“Fellows, a cupcake and I’m yours.” -Elizabeth Eulberg

-“I SHIP THEM!” -Ally Carter

-Basically everyone wants to marry Stephanie Perkins husband. Boarding Pass panel at NTTBF15 with Adi Alsaid, Ally Carter, Elizabeth Eulberg, Stephanie Perkins, Jennifer E. Smith, moderated by Sarah Enni

Panel 2: Unlikely Place for Love

The second panel I went to was with Leigh Bardugo (also hilarious!), Julie Kagawa (I’ve been pronouncing her last name wrong…), April Genevieve Tucholke, and Rachel Vincent, moderated by Naomi Bates.
Highlights and notes:
-Sherry Thomas: “I’ve sworn a blood oath to never write a love triangle.” *audience cheers*¬†Leigh Bardugo: “Y’all say that but then y’all go out and buy The Selection.”
-“Your characters have to cause each other’s pain, stand in each other’s way, and be each other’s worse enemies for a while.” -Sherry Thomas
-“Evil is often charismatic.” -Sherry Thomas
-What sub-genre do you consider your book? Leigh Bardugo: “Awesome.”
¬†-“I just read¬†The Fault in Our Stars… in the airport… which was a mistake.” -Julie Kagawa
– Do you just wake up and decide to write a book that destroys someone’s life? Sherry Thomas: “No. It takes 6 drafts to do that.”
Unlikely Place for Love panel with Leigh Bardugo, Julie Kagawa, April Genevieve Tucholke, Rachel Vincent, moderated by Naomi Bates NTTBF
Panel 3: 867-5309
This panel consisted solely of Jens!¬†Jenny Han, Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Jennifer E. Smith, Jennifer Ziegler, and Jen Bigheart. Jennifer Lynn Barnes gave an awesome recap on her tumblr. (Using our photo!) ūüôā
Jen Panel with Jenny Han, Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Jennifer E. Smith, Jennifer Ziegler, and Jen Bigheart NTTBF
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Unfortunately that was the last panel I went to, because we ate lunch during the next session, and the last few panels were full! (But Jules somehow managed to get into Book Boyfriends 101!) So I hung out with Xander until book signings.
We were super grateful Jules just happened to bring stuff to make peanut butter banana sandwiches because the concession lines were worse than the signing lines!

peanut butter banana sandwiches for lunch nttbfBook Signings!

We were thrilled to use our signing line priority pass to skip most of the lines. (We waited¬†in short lines and jumped the long ones.) Check out the lovely authors we met! (Unfortunately I didn’t get photos with/of all of them!)

Elizabeth Eulberg

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Ally Carter: look how she personalized Jules’s book! She gave us high fives when she realized who we were and told us the hilarious story of how she walked around a fancy hotel once with her dress stuck in her panty hose.

jb and julianne with ally carter nttbfJulianne and her signed Ally Carter book nttbf

Jennifer Lynn Barnes: Isn’t she the cutest thing ever? I picked up¬†Killer Instinct at the festival and am currently rereading¬†The Naturals¬†before I start it! (The Naturals¬†is even better the second time around! It’s fun to see how things play out when you already know who the killer is!)

jb and julianne with jennifer lynn barnes nttbf

Stephanie Perkins: We adored her dress. jb and stephanie perkins nttbfOther authors I met: Tera Lynn Childs, Julie Kagawa, Sarah Mlynowski, Rachel Vincent, Leigh Bardugo (who gave me some Grisha swag!), A. G. Howard. We also stopped by to see Julie Murphy (who signed posters for us, but unfortunately I lost mine) and John Corey Whaley (Jules had him sign her ARC of Where Things Come Back).

We had a FANTASTIC time at the North Texas Teen Book Festival. I’m already ready for NTTBF16!

(The photo below is the books I took with me. Not including the books I bought¬†or Rachel and Jules’ books. We estimated that there were about 40 books in the car!)

book stack for NTTBF

Review: All Fall Down

all fall down by ally carter top ten reasons why we love ally carterAuthor: Ally Carter

Age: Young Adult

Genre: Unrealistic Realistic Fiction

Click here to read summary

Series: Embassy Row (book #1)

*this review may contain affiliate links that would allow us to receive a small commission should you make a purchase using them*

Ally Carter has done it again. Is that really a surprise? (No, the answer is no.)

I had no doubt I’d love Embassy Row, just as I’ve loved all her books, but I think this series is going to be a new favorite. Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed Heist Society and Gallagher Girls, but this may be her best work yet. (Of course it will never take the place of my beloved Gallagher Girls.)

Usually I take notes as I read, but I didn’t take many because I rushed through reading this book. It was so good I couldn’t put it down, and I was maybe late to a meeting because I wanted to finish it. (Being a grown up is so hard.)

Grace is such a complex character. She‚Äôs broken, and she knows that, but she knows she‚Äôs not crazy even though everyone else thinks she is. She‚Äôs completely unpredictable and, as the best characters do, she always finds herself in trouble. Or rather, ‚ÄúTrouble just sort of finds me,‚ÄĚ as Grace says.

Like every Ally Carter book, there are some incredibly quotable, lovable, laughable lines. That‚Äôs why I love her books so much—her writing style is so fun, even when dealing with serious topics.

In Embassy Row, there’s adventure (yay!) and dangerous activities (woo hoo!) and lots of secrets (yes, please). Oh, also there are boys (DUH!) but no kissing (*pouty face*), but I’m holding out for some in book 2. (Grace can have Noah, but Sexy Alexei is mine, k thanks.)

Basically, Embassy Row is everything you love about Ally Carter in her best book yet.

Content Advisory:

NONE! This book gets a star on our list of reviews for its positive content. We would recommend this book without hesitation!

(Note: There are some potentially scary scenes for young readers, but if the reader is of typical young-adult reader age, it’s fairly mild.)

>>> OTHER BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR<<<

The Gallagher Girl Series

Heist Society

 

Top Ten Reasons Why We Love Ally Carter

all fall down by ally carter top ten reasons why we love ally carterIt’s a top ten Tuesday freebie! So we’re honoring our favorite author, who has a new book coming out today! You can bet we’re wearing plaid and heading to the bookstores to pick up our copies of¬†All Fall Down. (Unfortunately, we’re taking a media break this week–this post is scheduled–so we’ll be back to fangirl later next week!)¬†Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

So here we go…

Top Ten Reasons Why We Love Ally Carter

1) Her books focus on friendship. Which we obviously love, you know, being friends and all.

2) Hot guys. Zach. Josh. Hale. And Sexi Alexei. (The hot guy in All Fall Down, according to the preview. So far he deserves his nickname.)

3)¬†Clean reads. Overall, Ally’s books are pretty clean, so we can recommend them without hesitation!

4)¬†Strong female characters. Because girls aren’t always weak.

5) She practically created a new genre. Unrealistic realistic fiction, anyone? These are books that take place in a realistic world, but have some elements that stretch the limits of real-world.

6) Relatable characters. All three of us identify with different characters in the Gallagher Girl series. We love how different, yet similar, our favorite characters are!

7) Ally Carter is hilarious. Seriously. Just go pick up any of her books and read a few pages. You’ll see what I mean.

8) She inspired our love of YA books. Books like hers remind us how awesome the YA genre is.

9) She’s a southern girl. Just like us!

10) She photobombed our photo.

Why do you love Ally Carter? And are you picking up All Fall Down?!??!? And would you like to fangirl over all things Ally Carter with us?

What Would You Use Truth Serum For?

What would you use truth serum for?

Rachel left yesterday for her trip, and she’s spending a few days in Washington D.C. before heading out of the country. She’s having a blast doing all the tourist stuff and sent me this photo yesterday.

Ruby Slippers Gallagher Girl

No, we aren’t huge fans of The Wizard of Oz, but rather fans of the scene that takes place¬†at the Ruby Slipper exhibit in¬†Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy, the second book in the Gallagher Girl series.

When we found out Rachel would get to stand in the EXACT SPOT where our favorite fictional couple met, we started reminiscing about our favorite series and talking about what we would do if we got our hands on some truth serum.

REASONS WHY LIZ IS CURRENTLY SNAIL MAILING US SOME TRUTH SERUM:

-Because we managed to convince her that her invention could use some more field testing.
-Because we want to find out if a certain boy likes a certain girl.
-Because we need to verify the intentions of said boy.
-Because we think someone is holding back information on a potential crush, and secrets don’t make friends.
-Because a favorite pair of shoes¬†are¬†missing, and the roommate (who just so happens to also wear a size 9) insists she doesn’t know where they are.
-So we can test its expiration date on teachers in grad school and find out our test grades early.
-So we can learn secrets that our favorite authors are keeping about our favorite fictional characters.

REASONS WHY WE SHOULD PROBABLY NOT BE ALLOWED TO TEST THE TRUTH SERUM:

-Because Liz is a genius and of course her truth serum is already perfect.
-We’re pretty sure the boy likes the girl, anyway. (Though we will still use the serum to verify his intentions.)
-Dosing someone’s food with truth serum is probably not the best way to go about making (or keeping) friends.
-We will secretly give it to each other and¬†NOT EVEN KNOW IT because we already know each other’s secrets, and will therefore think it doesn’t work, and will therefore ruin Liz’s test results.
-Spoilers.

So, fellow Gallagher Girls, what would you use Liz’s truth serum for? We’ll send a sample to the person with the best answer! (Just kidding, we’ll actually use you as a test subject.)

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Looking for more Gallagher Girl-inspired posts? We’ve got you covered!

Looks From Books (This post was featured by Disney Hyperion!)
Gallagher Girls Dream Cast
Review of I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You¬†(Gallagher Girls #1)

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