A MARVELous Panel of Superhero Enthusiasts (Event Recap+GIVEAWAY)

#PeopleOfMarvel | October 14th, 2016

Exactly one year after the Women of Marvel invaded Menlo Park to celebrate Black Widow: Forever Red, Margaret Stohl returned with the People of Marvel to promote book two.

While it's hard to top last year's Women of Marvel event, the team of Widows, Captains, and Squirrels treated a crowd of Marvel (and Princess Black!) enthusiasts to laughs and a whole lot of super-talk. Moderated by Judy Stephens, Marvel's resident cosplayer and producer, the panel spent a good portion of the evening talking about all the exciting upcoming projects they're engaged with.

The Hales spoke not only of their upcoming Squirrel Girl middle grade release (which just got its cover and will be out next year), but of writing the upcoming Captain Marvel YA novel that is part of the series of four books released by YA authors. Not too many details as the project is just beginning but there was a lot of enthusiasm from the panel and crowd alike.

On the subject of Squirrel Girl, Ryan North joined the panel, having released the first standalone Squirrel Girl graphic novel, Squirrel Girl Beats Up the Marvel Universe. Our friends over at Forever Young Adult reviewed it and left us wondering one thing...

If you didn't know, Margaret Stohl is picking up Captain Marvel's comic series post Civil War II. Captain Marvel has been in a brutal war that left the Hulk dead and Hawkeye on trial for his murder. I can't wait to see where she takes Carol this fall.

This wouldn't be a Marvel event without some cosplay but the show stealers were truly all of the Princess Black cosplayers who came out in droves to see Shannon and Dean.

Angela (aka keplersteens) & Christy as Widows
Judy interviewing the Princess Blacks
An OG Squirrel Girl & Hellcat
The whole lot of us!
Last year Margaret came as Red Widow but this year we are both in Black Widow wear!
Us with some of our FYA Oakland friends! 

You can see our review of Black Widow: Red Vengeance here and try your luck in scoring a signed copy below!


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The Midnight Star as Compared to Other Trilogy Endings

The Midnight Star came out a week prior to authoring this post and I still have not recovered. If this were an emoji review, you'd find a whole lot of shocked faces, mad faces, and then a lot of ugly crying faces. But overall, there would also be a big content face at the end because The Young Elites trilogy ended with the most beautiful and perfect ending I could have asked for.

Oh, I was scared. I've been burned before. I've been singing Adelina's relative innocence in her depravity. She's misunderstood! Look at how society and her own parents treated her! Who could blame a girl?

I digress.

Anyways, The Midnight Star is a beautiful ending to a gripping tale of one girl's rise to power. I so did not predict the direction it was going to take and that is totally fine by me. Trilogies have been pretty hot the last 10 years so how does The Midnight Start stack up next to its peers? Share your thoughts in the comments...Here are mine.

The Midnight Star vs. Other Trilogy Endings

About the same amount of trauma inflicted on all of the characters we've grown to know and love. If PTSD was a thing in the world of TYE, our main characters would need a whole bunch of therapy, just like our friends living in District 13.

Well, you won't find yourself regretting all the years you spent reading and waiting. The ending doesn't come out of left field - you're walked through it and there's a satisfying resolution.

You'll know when The Midnight Star is over, it's really over. No second set of books (side note: I love The Selection all the way through, but I understand about letting sleeping dogs lie). 

We all love romance but The Midnight Star does not focus on the romantic relationships between characters. This is Adelina's story and it's not muddled by a love triangle.

The Midnight Star could have been a one sentence ending with 300 more blank pages and it would have been better than The Last Star. But seriously, The Midnight Star honored each of its characters and gave everyone the time and space to resolve what needed to be resolved. 

by Marie Lu
Published: October 11th 2016
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers

The thrilling finale to the New York Times bestselling Young Elites series from “hit factory” Marie Lu.

There was once a time when darkness shrouded the world, and the darkness had a queen.

Adelina Amouteru is done suffering. She’s turned her back on those who have betrayed her and achieved the ultimate revenge: victory. Her reign as the White Wolf has been a triumphant one, but with each conquest her cruelty only grows. The darkness within her has begun to spiral out of control, threatening to destroy all that she’s achieved.

Adelina’s forced to revisit old wounds when a new danger appears, putting not only Adelina at risk, but every Elite and the very world they live in. In order to save herself and preserve her empire, Adelina and her Roses must join the Daggers on a perilous quest—though this uneasy alliance may prove to be the real danger.

Bestselling author Marie Lu concludes Adelina's story with this haunting and hypnotizing final installment to the Young Elites series.

Fangirls Gone Wild: Kill the Boy Band by Goldy Moldavsky (Review)

YOU GUYS. Either I just got out of the biggest reading slump or everything I'm reading is AMAZING. THISSSS BOOK!!!!!! I laughed. I gasped. I said W T F a whole bunch of times while listening to it. 

Maybe it was obsession, but it was also happiness; an escape from the suckiness of everyday life. And when you find something that makes you happy and giddy and excited every day, us fangirls know a truth that everyone else seems to have forgotten: you hold on to that joy tenaciously, for as long as you can.

Boy bands - and their fan girls - have been around since The Jackson 5, The Monkees, and The Osmonds, though most of us nowadays think of NSYNC or OneDirection when we hear BOY BAND. There's no mistaking the tenacity of the boy band fangirl; true fangirls will put the FANATIC in fangirl. 

If the title Kill the Boy Band isn't piquing your attention, perhaps the overall sarcastic and funny tone to this book will. Four fangirls accidentally (sort of?) kidnap one member of the Ruperts and comedy ensues. What does one do when they have the object of their affection right there in front of them, albeit a little tied up? What if he turns out to be a different person than you imagined? How does one get their self out of a hostage situation one you've entered one? By killing him, of course. 

Because the truth is, it isn't worth loving something if you aren't going to love it all the way.

Half of the book is setting up the fangirl setting and the other half is spent getting the girls out of the situation they've put themselves in. It's a hilarious trip, definitely for fans of books like Beauty Queens. You can see how they've ended up here, and how it just goes downhill from there. It's a trainwreck you can't stop watching, or loving.

What you don’t even realize now—what you will only come to understand in time, but lucky for you, I’m here to tell you—is you’re not going to give two shits about this band in a few years. In fact, I guarantee that this group that you admire so much and that you are putting all of your love and dedication and devotion into will be nothing more than an obsession you will be immensely embarrassed of having had.

Here's a photo of my best friend and I at a recent O-Town/98 Degrees concert, where 15 years later we still know every word to Liquid Dreams and Una Noche. We are headed to Vegas to see the Backstreets Boys for our 32nd/33rd birthdays next year. So, tell me again how that obsession will be an embarassment?


by Goldy Moldavsky
Published: February 23rd 2016
Publisher: Point
Source: Overdrive Audio (We love libraries!)

Just know from the start that it wasn’t supposed to go like this. All we wanted was to get near them. That’s why we got a room in the hotel where they were staying.

We were not planning to kidnap one of them. Especially not the most useless one. But we had him—his room key, his cell phone, and his secrets.

We were not planning on what happened next.

We swear.

From thrilling new talent Goldy Moldavsky comes a pitch-black, hilarious take on fandom and the badass girls who have the power to make—or break—the people we call “celebrities.”

NO MOURNERS! NO FUNERALS! An Event Recap with Leigh Bardugo

#CrookedKingdom | October 2nd, 2016

A few years ago I had the privilege of interviewing Leigh Bardugo on her first Fierce Reads tour. So you can imagine how happy I was to see her again as she came to visit SF Bay Area. On October 2nd Linden Tree books hosted Leigh Bardugo for her Crooked Kingdoms tour at the Hillview Community Center in Los Altos. The event was moderated by Hikari from @foldedpagesdistillery and Alix from @litjoycrate.
A photo posted by ravenousreader (@ravenousreader) on

A great moment between Leigh and Hikari 
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As entertaining as always, Leigh Bardugo demonstrated to the crowd why she should not be allowed to near knives. She burned herself on her curling iron and proceeded to show us her boo-boo.

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On a serious note Leigh will be donated 10% of book sales to Girls Educational and Mentoring Services (GEMS). Which is an amazing cause
During the event Leigh answered some great questions asked by Hikari from @foldedpagesdistillery one of which I recorded her answer of whom she would pick for her "SIX OF CROWS" crew. 

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And because I adore this series so much I made a special necklace for the event. It was a work of love. 

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And as you can see Leigh loved it. Afterwards I gave her the necklace. 

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Be Part of the Publishing Process with Sparked! (Interview + CALLING ALL WRITERS - A Giveaway)

Supporting local authors is kind of our jam so when our book club leader, Amanda, connected us to Helena Echlin & Malena Watrous, Bay Area local authors who are also writing instructors at Stanford, we couldn't resist exploring what they are up to. The 'Lenas are doing a thing...And that thing is publishing a book with the old adage that it takes a village to raise a child. 

Malena spent last weekend with a whole bunch of our favorite people - jealous!

Sparked is being published by InkShares, a crowd-funded publishing company. We bought a signed copy and want to bring Sparked to your attention. The 'Lenas are sooooo close to their funding goal and we hope you'll help! There's a big giveaway below for writers looking for some help with copyediting their manuscript (up to 5pgs/1,000 words) or writing an agent query letter.

Interview with Helena & Malena

Talk to us a little about Sparked. How did the concept go from an idea to a book?

MW: When I was a kid, I had this recurring dream where I could move things by flexing my eyes. It felt so real I would wake up and think maybe I really did have a power. I’d stare at things really hard to try to move them and be bummed when it didn’t work. I had this dream again as an adult and this inspired me to start a story where a girl wakes up from such a dream and then realizes her sister’s bed is empty--her sister is missing. I wrote about fifty pages, but then I got stuck. Then, one rainy Friday the thirteenth, Helena and I went out for drinks and I told her my idea. Immediately she began riffing on it, and went so far as to pull a notepad and pen from her purse (she's amazingly organized) to jot down notes as our conversation got more and more frenzied.

HE: By the end of that night I had five pages of notes. The next day, we started shooting scenes back and forth and in a few weeks, we were both totally obsessed and emailing each other with new ideas at 3 AM.

Sparked is your first co-authored book. What was that experience like? Talk to us about your process.

MW: We met every week at a coffee shop, where we’d hash out scenes and give each other assignments. We were religiously disciplined about completing them in time for the next week’s meeting. And then we’d edit each other’s work. Neither of us was at all territorial about our words. We coined the term "mashed potatoes" to describe a rough draft. As in: "I'm sending you a pile of mashed potatoes. Shape away!”

HE: Our strengths complement each other well. Since I’m British, my mean girls sounded a bit too BBC. Malena was fabulous at making them sound like actual American teenagers. On the other hand I love writing the romantic stuff and I’m good at streamlining scenes. Malena calls me “the word chopper," though not sure if this is a compliment! 

Crowdfunding a book is such an interesting concept! What's that been like?

HE: Exciting and hard work. There is a big difference between selling a book that is already published and selling one that won’t be published until 2017. You have to convince readers to spend $10 or $20 on your book, even though they could spend that money on another book they could start reading today. On the other hand, a lot of readers are excited by the idea that they are the ones who can choose what gets published – not editors at New York publishing houses. They’re willing to delay gratification and get the book in a few months time, because they like being able to support the stories that grab them.

MW: It’s been really satisfying and heartwarming. Before the launch, we had no idea if anyone would order it other than our moms. But friends and family have been so supportive. I’ve had grade-school friends I haven’t talked to in years order the book, not to mention friends of my mom’s, former students, my hairdresser, and dozens more.

Let's pretend it's two years from now and Sparked is getting its own TV show or movie. Who's your dream cast?

MW: That's so hard because the teenage actors who are around now will probably be too old to play those parts by then. I loved Winona Ryder in Stranger Things so I’d pick her to play Laurel’s mom, a checked-out hippie type who raises Laurel and her sister on her own.

HE: Our heroine, Laurel, is pretty in a non-traditional way—pale skin, red hair—so if I could magically prevent her from getting too old for the role, I’d love to get Zoe de Grand Maison, who appears in the wonderful TV seriesOrphan Black. Eyes are very important in Sparked and I like Zoe’s intense gaze.

You both give fabulous writing advice. What would you tell aspiring YA writers as they begin their process?

MW: Don’t write a book just because you think it’s going to sell. Right now, time travel is hot in YA. By the time you finish your time travel book, publishers will have moved onto something new. And predicting what’s coming next in publishing is as impossible as trying to guess the new cut of jeans. So write the book that you really want to write—and read. And get to know some actual young adults, if you don’t already. Remember that they're whom you are writing for, and they are real, and they have very good BS detectors, as the great Lewis Buzbee (another YA writer) says. They are smarter than we are, most of the time.

HE: Keep a daily journal. This trains you to observe other people, to remember details and dialog—all the little touches that make fiction come to life. In Sparked, the mom has a boyfriend who wears skull rings, and he likes to squeeze his fist to admire them. I got that detail when sitting next to a menacing guy on a bus who was doing just that, and I remembered it because I jotted it in a notebook. Plus there are times when you might not be working on a story or novel, but keeping a journal gives you the chance to work out your writing muscles every day.

What's one takeaway you want people to get from Sparked?

MW: The idea that two heads are better than one, and that people can do great things if they work together. At the end of the book, Laurel and her friends unite their different powers to accomplish something bigger than any of them.

HE: Our imaginations definitely interlocked in the writing of this book—a book neither of us could have written on our own! Sparked is also about how you should look beneath the surface that people present to the world, since you might find that person you labeled as a “mean girl” is way more complicated and interesting than you thought.

We loved Malena & Helena so much that we invited them for a little video chat. Take a peek!

Thanks for stopping by and giving us the low-down on Sparked, Helena and Malena! Friends, be sure to check out the trailer and pre-order info below!

Sparked Trailer


Grab your copy HERE

by Helena Echlin & Malena Watrous
Publisher: InkShares
Out in 2017 - With Your Help!

After Laurel's older sister Ivy disappears from their trailer in the middle of the night, she keeps having nightmares in which she is Ivy, trapped in a dungeon – and she has the power to move things with her eyes. Their mom doesn't take these dreams seriously, and is convinced Ivy has just run away to give her a scare. But other teenagers in the town of Cascade, Oregon seem to be developing special powers of their own, and may be able to help save Ivy (not to mention the world). Too bad these girls happen to be Laurel's worst enemies.


Helena and Malena are invested in developing writers and want to give one lucky winner the choice of copy-editing of 1,000 words (approx. 5 pages) of a manuscript or an Agent Query Letter. Pre-orders of Sparked receive a 5pt bonus so be sure to get those pre-orders in! 

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Get in the Holiday Spirit with Jay Asher

It's only October but the Ravenous Readers are getting into the holiday spirit this week with Jay Asher and his new release, What Light, which came out yesterday! We asked Jay to put on his onesie and join us for our Top 5 Holiday Spirit Movies and Songs.

Hot Cocoa & Your Favs with Jay

  • National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation - It's one of my favorite comedies, period, and it recreates so well the hectic frustration of trying to create a "perfect" family Christmas.
  • Elf - Will Ferrell at his funniest, and it captures that innocence of the holidays many of us would like to maintain.
  • A Christmas Story - As a child, I didn't get it. But every time I watch it now, I understand and appreciate the nostalgic quality. I think a lot of what people enjoy about the season is not simply what it is now, but our memories of previous holidays.
  • Adaptations of A Christmas Carol - The book is one of my all-time favorites, and I love watching any adaptation that gets spun from it. Whether its a faithful adaptation or simply used as a jumping off point, I will always watch.
  • Any of the Hallmark Christmas movies - Yes, they can be cheesy, but this is a season made richer with a little cheesiness.

  • Have a Holly Jolly Christmas by Burl Ives - Everything about this song feels like my perfect holiday season.
  • Christmas Time is Here by the Vince Guaraldi Trio - A Charlie Brown Christmas is Christmas! I find myself singing this a lot when I'm feeling in the spirit.
  • Any version of Little Drummer Boy - This is my favorite Christmas carol. It's all about simplicity, both in the lyrics and the music.
  • Christmas Canon by Trans-Siberian Orchestra - I listened to this song a lot while writing the final pages of What Light. I wanted to create a mystic quality, with everything coalescing when they sing, "On this night, on this night, on this very Christmas night..."
  • Silent Night during a candlelight Christmas Eve service - This represents the most touching moment of every season for me.

by Jay Asher
Published: October 18th 2016 (out
Publisher: Razorbill

From Jay Asher, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Thirteen Reasons Why, comes a romance that will break your heart, but soon have you believing again. . . .

Sierra's family runs a Christmas tree farm in Oregon—it's a bucolic setting for a girl to grow up in, except that every year, they pack up and move to California to set up their Christmas tree lot for the season. So Sierra lives two lives: her life in Oregon and her life at Christmas. And leaving one always means missing the other.

Until this particular Christmas, when Sierra meets Caleb, and one life eclipses the other.

By reputation, Caleb is not your perfect guy: years ago, he made an enormous mistake and has been paying for it ever since. But Sierra sees beyond Caleb's past and becomes determined to help him find forgiveness and, maybe, redemption. As disapproval, misconceptions, and suspicions swirl around them, Caleb and Sierra discover the one thing that transcends all else: true love.
What Light is a love story that's moving and life-affirming and completely unforgettable.

Waiting on Wednesday: BAD ROMANCE by Heather Demetrios & BOY ROBOT by Simon Curtis

Jill at Breaking the Spine started Waiting on Wednesday (WoW) as a way for bloggers and book lovers to share the books they're anticipating to read the most. Come back each Wednesday for posts about "the" books that we cannot wait to get our hands on.

Nancy's WoW

Bad Romance
by Heather Demetrios
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) 
Pages: 368

A heart-wrenching novel about a sixteen-year-old girl trapped in a destructive relationship—and the path she takes to freedom and happiness.

Grace wants out. Out of her house, where her stepfather wields fear like a weapon and her mother makes her scrub imaginary dirt off the floors. Out of her California town, too small to contain her big city dreams. Out of her life, and into the role of Parisian artist, New York director—anything but scared and alone.

Enter Gavin: charming, talented, adored. Controlling. Dangerous. When Grace and Gavin fall in love, Grace is sure it's too good to be true. She has no idea their relationship will become a prison she's unable to escape.

Deeply affecting and unflinchingly honest, this is a story about spiraling into darkness—and emerging into the light again.

Christy's WoW

I remember being at YallWest and someone telling me, "You need to be in this line at this time because you don't want to miss this book." Of course, they were talking about BOY ROBOT, a book that as soon as I got my hands on it, I couldn't wait to read it (except I did and now it's burning a hole in my TBR!

October 25th 2016
by Simon Curtis
Publisher: Simon Pulse

Seventeen-year-old Isaak discovers the truth about his origin and the underground forces that must come together to fight against a secret government organization formed to eradicate those like him in this high-octane science fiction debut.

There once was a boy who was made, not created.

In a single night, Isaak’s life changed forever.

His adoptive parents were killed, a mysterious girl saved him from a team of soldiers, and he learned of his own dark and destructive origin.

An origin he doesn’t want to believe, but one he cannot deny.

Isaak is a Robot: a government-made synthetic human, produced as a weapon and now hunted, marked for termination.

He and the Robots can only find asylum with the Underground—a secret network of Robots and humans working together to ensure a coexistent future.

To be protected by the Underground, Isaak will have to make it there first. But with a deadly military force tasked to find him at any cost, his odds are less than favorable.

Now Isaak must decide whether to hold on to his humanity and face possible death…or to embrace his true nature in order to survive, at the risk of becoming the weapon he was made to be.

In his debut, recording artist Simon Curtis has written a fast-paced, high-stakes novel that explores humanity, the ultimate power of empathy, and the greatest battle of all: love vs. fear.