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



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


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.


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!)


Jules took this time to catch up on some reading.


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!


I think we counted 37 books in my trunk.


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!



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.


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!


NTTBF Review Mash-up

I don’t always have a good excuse for not posting, but since my massive NTBF library¬†haul I have been reading¬†like a crazy person! The Burning Sky, The Girl of Fire and Thorns, The Geography of You and Me¬†& Better Off Friends, Imaginary¬†Girls…¬†and because I was so busy reading, I didn’t have any time to write any reviews… I just kinda devoured books. ¬† ¬† (list of all authors from the festival) So now I’m going to try to do a mash-up of post-binge-reading reviews ūüôā

First off are three similar books. Similarities: female protagonist with a great destiny and magic within her, marvelous worlds, handsome fellas, physical and emotional trials, and delightfully complex villains. Now, I’m not saying these books are alike. However, I probably shouldn’t have read them one after the other and without taking¬†notes… I will be reading the sequels to these soon and I can’t wait to see to stories and characters develop!

the burning sky cover

The Burning Sky (Sherry Thomas)

Magic & Mystery

Ever gone to the last resort¬†to fix your mistake, or done something to make things happen as you think they should? Probably didn’t involve calling down a lightening bolt or result in traveling between realms with a dashing companion¬†to go undercover at an elite British boy’s¬†boarding school. ¬†A delightful adventure full of cunning, deception, humor, shape-shifting, sparkly-potion making, and dedication to cause and honor.

the girl of fire and thorns cover

The Girl of Fire and Thorns (Rae Carson)

You have within yourself an unwanted power and you are secretly married off to a king to ensure peace among the powers. Cue kidnapping, followed by adventure and self-discovery, followed by courage and inner strength.  Carson has crafted a Tolkien-esque world where people, and powers, are not what they seem.

shadow and bone cover

Shadow and Bone  (Leigh Bardugo) The Grisha #1

They had been friends since being taken in together as orphan children, with nothing to set them apart like the hungry darkness that divides the kingdom. ¬†When an ungraspable terror threatens to destroy all she’s ever known, everything goes white…. ¬†In a moment she unintentionally sets herself on a course that will challenge the existence of the, but for good or evil? Who can be trusted and who has dark intentions?

You know when you can almost understand the villain, and it drives you crazy…

*lovely map printed on the endpapers!*

And a few “real life” books, even if we can’t get stuck in an elevator with a cutie…

The Rules For Disappearing cover

Rules for Disappearing (Ashley Elston)

Being a part of the witness protection program means more towns a map, more false identities than an international spy, more problems than a mathbook, and is more serious than she realized. ¬†After being plucked¬†from yet another temporary life, she decided this time, she isn’t investing in friends. But he has other plans. And after supressed memories start crashing back into place, soon she does too. ¬†They take off on a caution to the wind, anything-for-you, roadtrip to fix what she started, but will it work? ¬†And how much of her life of lies is actually truth?

geography of you and me cover

The Geography of You and Me (Jennifer E. Smith)

Love in the elevator.

So delightfully darling! Really sweet characters. I love that the guy actively cares about his dad, and I enjoyed seeing that¬†relationship develop.¬†They meet in an elevator during a city-wide black out and spend the night dreaming about life’s possibilities. ¬†As life sends them apart, together becomes a wish. Sometimes the simple words can carry the most weight. Sometimes you can only find the light in the dark.

better off friends cover

Better Off Friends (Elizbeth Eulberg)

Warning, unless your heard is made of moon rock you WILL get THE FEELS!!!!!!

You don’t always know what you didn’t know you already knew… (full review to come!)

… and then one day she realized they were best friends. ¬† …and then one day he realized that he wanted to be better than friends.

imaginary girls cover

Imaginary Girls (Nova Ren Suma)

This story was a bit unusual. The first-person voice felt more “commentary” than typical first-person, where you sort of witness it through their eyes. It had a dream-like, hallucinatory, feel, as though it wasn’t actually happening. Even though it starts off fairly steady, soon the things get a little sketchy. ¬†Like the surface of the reservoir that is the center of the story, what you see is liquid, uncertain. What you know is rippled, a reflection of the truth, that shatters when touched. ¬†You can take a breath and change over for under, dry for wet, real for imaginary.

I often questioned the mental stability of multiple characters.

52 reasons to hate my father cover

52 Reasons to Hate My Father (Jessica Brody)

Forget “working class” this gal is “working sass”!

Do you know how hard it is to keep a job, save your dad’s job, protect your image, salvage your social life, and NOT GO CRAZY (manicure chipped long ago)?!?! ¬†Even though the lock picking part isn’t *quite* believable, it’s a well crafted story! You start off kinda hating her, and then you kinda get why she’s like that, and then she surprises you with her clever brains! ¬†And it has a table of Contents! ¬†…for some reason I was rather excited about that. ¬† ¬†Also, it doesn’t have tons of swearing like I thought it would!

So that wraps up the post!!

 Have you read any of these?  What did you think?  Something catch your fancy?

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
planning out our day nttbf
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

elizabeth eulberg blurry nttbf

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

The North Texas Teen Book Festival is TOMORROW!!!

NTTBFLogo-1All the exclamation points because we are so excited! Tomorrow we’re going to NTTBF15! This is the first year for the festival, and they have an awesome line up with over 50 authors. We’re excited to meet Ally Carter, Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Julie Murphy, Victoria Scott, and John Corey Whaley again. Some authors I’m personally excited to meet are¬†Leigh Bardugo, Julie Kagawa, Tera Lynn Childs, A.G. Howard, and Sarah Mlynowski.

DSC_0210 - Version 2

We were lucky enough to get tickets to the opening ceremony (they were all claimed within ten minutes of registration being opened!), so we will be waking up SUPER EARLY so we can drive in and be there at 9:00. (Hi Starbucks, I’d like a tall grande venti mocha frappuccino, please. With an extra shot of espresso.)

Yes, we use an atlas. Without it, we get lost. But for real. #ATBF13

A photo posted by GirlsInPlaidSkirts (@girlsinplaidskirts) on Sep 27, 2013 at 2:34pm PDT

Our directions are printed and ready to go, we have extra phone chargers packed, Rachel has her Texas map (it’s time for a new one though—her’s still says George W. Bush is the governor of Texas). Our books to be signed are cuddled up¬†in our book bags (as seen here), sharpies (for authors to sign our bags) have been procured, and we have a Starbucks gift card nesting next to the emergency tiara in my car.

Screen Shot 2014-04-06 at 8.55.06 PM

I think we’re ready! If you’re attending the festival and see a girl in a plaid skirt, come say hi! We love to meet fellow readers! (Plus we’ll give you a super cute bookmark that Jules designed.)

Hope to see you there!

JB from thegirlsinplaidskirts.com, plaid skirt, pink rainboots