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June 18, 2016

Review: An Acre of Fools by Aden James

by Donna Huber

An Acre of Fools
Do you ever pick up a book from your to read pile and wonder what attracted you to it? I kind of felt that way with An Acre of Fools by Aden James.

From the back cover,
After battling a long illness, Peter Stewart's daughter, Austin, finds herself in a nightmarish addiction that thrust her and her family into a world they never imagined.
As she buries herself deeper and deeper into the narcotics culture of shameless selfishness and deeply personal manipulation, Peter's unwavering hope for her drives a wedge between him and the less forgiving family members.
But when Austin finally chooses to embrace all that the life of addiction offers, Peter is forced to choose between his faith and a family too broken to hope.
He chooses poorly.
I guess I was drawn to the dysfunctional family and personal struggle. However, when I first started reading An Acre of Fools, I felt like I was reading a different book.

It starts off with a youngish couple from Chicago purchasing a vacation home on the Okatie River in South Carolina. Yes, it was a bit run down, but Mimi saw potential. She saw her dream life unfolding before her.

Almost the entire novel revolves around the one week a year they live in the house along the river. And in the beginning it seemed pretty idyllic.
Beginnings have a way about them that are so innocent, so pure. Endings can be so tragic and so corrupted, Somewhere in between is the mystery of life, the crooked journey that captures hearts and souls along the way. pg. 33.
But dreams have a way of not turning out quite as imagined and possibly even turning into a nightmare. While Mimi saw two boys playing along the riverbanks in her dream, her first born was a girl. But life was still good.

Then came along another child and instead of two little boys, Mimi would have two little girls playing along the river. But soon after Austin was born, it was evident that life wouldn't be as smooth sailing as before. Not because having a second child in tow causes that much more work, but because something was wrong with Austin. Something every wrong. Something that would take years for them to figure out and even longer to treat.

With each chapter comes a new year in the life of the Stewarts along the banks of the Okatie. Sometimes a year or two would have passed sometimes several. The reader is definitely treated to snap shots of the family's life. And like most pictures, they try to show the best of times.

And while there is definitely something special about the place along the Okatie, real life begins to encroach. By the time Austin is a teenager, she is addicted to the Oxycotin that she was prescribed for her serious illness. Life for the Stewarts would never be idyllic, innocent or pure again.

I really enjoyed James's writing style. While the story is about a family dealing with drug addiction, it is also so much more than that. So much so that at times I didn't think the story was really about this family's situation, but more about the internal battle of good versus evil. Some of James's best writing was when Peter was struggling with his faith. For Peter so desired to be the love of Christ to the world, yet he recognized the evil, the hatred, he held deep within his heart. The dialogue that Peter had with himself and others spoke so richly of the human condition that this story could have been anyone's story.

I really found this passage between Peter and his eldest daughter Gracie to be quite poignant.
They paddled in silence enjoying the scenery for a while, until Gracie asked her father, "Dad what do you believe?"
"Believe? About what?"
"About life. About God. About what's happened to our family."
"That's a very deep question for such a lazy day. Fo you really want to go there?"
"I do. With Austin out of our lives, I've been able to relax a bit, but now I miss our family, our whole family. The way we used to be. When we were young, I don't understand why God tore us apart."
"Do you want the complex Peter answer, or the quick and easy Dad answer?"
"We have time. I'd really like to know."
"Okay, then. For starters, I believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God. Through His grace we are saved. Not because of what we do, but because of what He did."
"Igot that. I know that. But that all sounds very churchy. Why are you so on-fire for Him given how hard our life has been?"
Peter thought for a moment. "Some people think that life is the easy stuff and the hard stuff gets in the way. The hatd stuff is part of life, it's part of the journey. The Bible says that we're going to have difficulties. But we should be of good cheer anyway."
"Why? why should we be cheerful with all we have to put up with, knowing what Austin's entire life has meant to both her and to us?"
"Let's look at it this way. I can sit in my chair at home and read about loving unconditionally, even loving my enemies. And I can gree with that from the comfort of my cozy room. But then put me with someone who is a pain to be around, or someone who is actually trying to hurt me and I'm probably not going to respond in a loving way. So, then I ask you, do I agree with the Word of God, or not?"
"Probably not."
"Exactly, You don't know what you believe in until you're given the opportunity to act upon it. So difficulties are actually oppportuniities to show you what you really believe, not just what you say you believe. It's God's way of helping you see things about yourself that you could never know when life is moving along easily.
"I believe in Jesus and His Word, in part, because, in the face of horrible persecution, He forgave those who were hurting HIm. He chose not to look at the persecution. He chose to look at how His actions would impact a man like me. So for Him, the difficulty was an opportunity to demonstrate love.
"A belief is nothing until you claim it through your own experience, until you hold firm to it through suffering. I can observe someone else's suffering and contemplate how I'd respond in the same sistuation. But until I actually suffer, I don't really know who I am.
"So both the good and bad are life, and how we responss determines what that life will be like in our experience of it. Two people can go  through the exact some trouble and have two very different views of life and two very different life experience. I choose to respond as Jesus both commanded me, and as He did Himself."
"What about a man like Jack? Do you forgive him?"
The question slugged Peter in the guy. It stopped him cold. Gracie could see how it visibily upset her father. pg 179-181
The conversation continues a bit about all sin being the same to God and how the Bible tells Peter that he must love Jack, though Peter sees him as the enemy.
"But, Dad, he almost killed you daughter. And now there are other men just like him who are also killing your daughter. How can you love people like that?"
"And now come the harder answer, my real answer to your question." Peter hung his head and hesitated to go on. But then he picked up his head and spoke with a viciousness that Gracie had never, ever seen in her father.
"I want to kill them all." pg. 181-182

I usually lean towards fluff reads in the summer, but I like to read at least one book that has some meat to it. And as you can see from the above passage, An Acre of Fools definitely gives the reader a lot to think about.

Peter's faith plays an important role in his life and the plot of the story, but I wouldn't necessarily consider it to be Christian fiction. I think anyone who holds strong beliefs grounded in peace and love will be able to identify with the struggle Peter faces.

Besides faith, another overarching theme in this book is why bad things happen to good people. In the passage I quoted, we get a glimpse of Peter's answer, but in the novel we also get answers from a few of the other characters.

I struggled with a few things in the story. Mostly timeline issues. I kept losing track of the kids' ages and I wasn't really sure when the book was set. There are clues, but I found them frustrating more than help.I eventually had to sit down and work out the timeline for myself. Did you know the first living donor liver transplant was done on November 27, 1989? Austin had one when she was about 5, with Peter being the donor, when it was still experimental.

The biggest timeline problem for me though came when Austin went to college. Now, she was a very sick child in the early years; she nearly died when she was about 8 (I think). Yet, she graduates high school when is is 17. That's not too unusual, but she doesn't turn 18 until February-ish. That would have meant she entered first grade when she was 5 and I'm pretty sure all school's require children to be 6 by Sept. 1 to enter 1st grade. Plus this would have been when she was most ill. Would she really have kept up with her school work? I know the story line wouldn't have worked quite as well, but things like that irk me.

Even with this issue, the story kept me up past my bedtime more than once as it was very addictive once you got into the story. The whole story is not gloomy or filled with philosphocial discussion. There are quite a few fun family moments that will endear you to this family and make you wish you had a house on the river to go to with your family.

By Townofbluffton (Own work)
[CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
If you are looking for a book that will make you reflect on your own beliefs and life choices, then I highly recommend An Acre of Fools. 


Buy An Acre of Fools at Amazon



Donna Huber, founder & publisher. Donna is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour. She reads most genres, but her favorite books are psychological thrillers and stories that highlight the survival of the human spirit against unbelievable circumstances.


Book info:
available formats: audio, ebook and print (338 pages)
published: May 2016 by Elevate Fiction
ISBN13: 9781943425365
genres: literary fiction, family life
source: publisher





Get even more book news in your inbox by signing up for our newsletter: http://eepurl.com/mHTVL. A free book was provided for this review. Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.

June 17, 2016

The Write Place

By Byddi Lee

beautiful place to write


There’s a romantic notion that career writers sit all day in a lovely space, perhaps with a view of the ocean, or in a sunny garden with butterflies flitting about, tapping away effortlessly spinning the treads of a story into a masterpiece. The reality is somewhat different, especially if you are not a career writer, whatever that may be!

I write most of the time in my home office, which I’d love to describe as a fabulous creative space that spurs me on to wonderful things, but I’d be lying. It’s just a fairly thrown together home office that I keep promising I’ll do up nicely and never get around to doing. It’s certainly not quite in keeping with what Stephen King recommend in his book On Writing. He suggests a room with no distractions. If it has a window, he suggests you pull the curtains.

organized workspace for writingI don’t go as far as that. My window looks out on a pretty garden. I sit side-on to the window, not facing it square on. I like a certain amount of order in my writing space. It has to be clutter-free, or at least have “organized” clutter, as in objects sitting around that I can claim have functionality.

I need silence - absolute silence. Trying to find somewhere to write is very similar to trying to find somewhere I can sleep. A ticking clock will drive me batty. Music is completely out of the question. That said, I know people who work better with some noise around them, as if silence is a hardship for them. Whatever works for you is the whole point of my post today.

The first thing you need is somewhere you can be physically comfortable, with the temperature right and the chair/desk/laptop/computer/pen and paper formula just the way you like it. Other places that provide a quiet, comfortable environment include the library, or a hotel room. My writer-friend’s husband travels a lot for business. She tags along because she can stay and write in the hotel room all day without the distraction she’d have in her own house, like cleaning and cooking. She can explore the new city in the evening with her husband.

I’ve written while on cruises. Sea-days are great for finding a quiet spot – usually the night club, abandoned as it is by day ¬ – and tapping out a chapter or two. Of course, this is more of an opportunist situation, though I’ve often wondered if a writer’s retreat at sea would be a viable option for me.

Travel is always something that inspires me, and I find that I often compose prose when I’m sitting on a plane, train or bus. I’ll happily pull out pen and pad to take advantage of this.

I have tried in vain to write outside. If it is warm enough to sit outside, it’s usually too sunny to see comfortably, whether I have a screen which I can’t see in sunlight, or paper which reflects the sun’s glare. I can barely read outside, never mind write. Then there’s the flies, mosquitoes and other buzzing bugs that I seem to notice more if I’m sitting still. It is hard to get the temperature right - too hot leads to sweating - too cold leads to shivering. If it’s truly pleasant, I find myself dozing off.

But if you are an outside writer, I’d imagine that the whole world is opened up to you, right? I’d love to know what works for outside writers.

writing can be lonely
Writing can be a lonely trawl, sitting alone, day in, day out, so avoid the depression and do something that keeps you writing but perhaps with some company.


J.K. Rowling was a great fan of writing in a coffee shop and it’s a trend I see now all the time. It’s not for me. I’d still feel alone, on top of feeling distracted. Some of the members of my writing group like to do this. Occasionally, I join them, which does help alleviate the isolation of writing. If I try hard, I can resist the urge to chat and get on with it – most times!

Sometimes we get together to write at each other’s houses too. It takes a huge degree of discipline to not sit and chat the day away, but we all know that if we screw it up we won’t be doing ourselves any favors. The joint effort generally pays off, and I like the feeling of mutual respect we have for each other as writers that it engenders.

We’ve even gotten together to write in a car dealership. One of the writing-group was having her car serviced and she invited us to join her as she waited. It was a Lexus dealership and the waiting area was somewhat swanky. So we sat, four of us around a table with our laptops, sipping the free coffee and nibbling the free cookies until her car was ready. It was unusual and fun, and it worked because we were determined that it would.

Workshops and creative writing classes can be a good place to get down to writing. The facilitator will throw out a writing prompt and each person goes off on their own for an allotted time to produce something that will then be read aloud for the group. It may not be something that pushes forward your work-in-progress, but it might sharpen those sluggish writing muscles and get the brain tumbling again.

Whatever your writing procedure is, be open to breaking your own rules occasionally. Experiment with places to write and see if you can find your optimum for production. Sometimes you need a place that is optimum for enjoyment. These may be vastly different from each other, but that’s okay, so long as you know that and are aware of what your goal for that day is. Be gentle but strict - writing is hard work. Make it work for you. Perhaps all that really matters is that you do the best you can to keep writing!


Byddi Lee, features writer. Byddi grew up in Armagh, Ireland, and moved to Belfast to study Biology at Queen’s University when she was 18. She made Belfast her home for twenty-one years, teaching science and writing for pleasure. In 2002 she took a sabbatical from teaching and traveled round the world for two years, writing blogs about her adventures as she went. She returned to Ireland in 2004 and resumed teaching. In 2008 she and her husband moved to San Jose, California where she made writing a full-time career. After the publication of her short story, Death of a Seannachai, she decided it was time to write, March to November. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.



Top image: Fountains in Peterhof, photo by Roman Drits. Get even more book news in your inbox by signing up for our newsletter: http://eepurl.com/mHTVL. Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.

June 16, 2016

Quick Tip for More Facebook Page Likes

by Donna Huber

Are you missing this easy way of increading likes on your Facebook page?

It is wonderful when your Facebook content gets shared by others on their timelines. For me it is often an author who wants to show of the awesome review their book received at Girl Who Reads. Then their friends and fan like the post (the one that is my page). However, that person hasn't visited my page and therefore haven't liked.

Or perhaps they saw the post when one of their friends liked the post on my page and then they likes the post.  Either way, there are people are liking posts on my page that have not liked my page.

Hopefully if they liked one post on my page they will like (as in enjoy, not the Facebook "like") other things I post. But unless they "liked" my page, they won't see all the wonderful content I share.

Thankfully, there is an easy way to address this issue. You invite them to like your page.

First, click on the line that shows who has liked your post. The list of people will pop up that looks like this:


It will show you who has liked your page and who hasn't liked your page. For those who have not liked your page, the buton will say "invite" (once you click it, the box changes to "invited"). Now the ball is in their court.

Will everyone like your page? Probably not. As you can see in the image above, two people whom I've invited to like my page have not responded to the invitation. But more often than not, the person will like my page after being invited.

Will this get you a ton new likes? Not really. But it doesn't take much time to click the button and every new like means your reach goes a little bit further. And since they already liked something you posted, it is pretty good odds that you will be able to convert them into a true fan. (Unlike with some Facebook liking schemes such as giveaway entries).

So the next time you post on your Facebook page, don't leave potential likes on the table. Take a second to check out who liked it and make sure they have liked your page.

And since we are talking about gaining likes on Facebook pages, have you liked mine yet? https://www.facebook.com/Girl-Who-Reads-273856382671730/

Leave a link to your Facebook page in the comments so we can all check them out.



Get even more book news in your inbox by signing up for our newsletter: http://eepurl.com/mHTVL. Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.

June 15, 2016

Secrets Abound in This Boring Town ~ Town Secrets by Scott Gelowitz

by Claire Rees

Town Secrets
Imagine growing up in a boring town, nothing to do and nowhere go. Then the news reports start that whole towns have been turned into ghost towns overnight. Reports of a strange mist and then suddenly house doors are ripped apart and windows smashed, the residents of the towns have not been found.

This is the life of Adam, and his three friends, Mark, Jimmy and Kevin.

One morning whilst Mark is waiting for his friends in his garage he discovers some photographs and a pin that once belonged to his deceased father. Desperate to know more about his father, the boys go to town hall to look at old records and start to uncover the best kept secret in their town.

Now the ramblings of the local looney don't seem so looney after all.

They discover secret doors and tunnels under their town.Adam loves the adventure and feels it is bringing him closer to his father. That is until the mist arrives at their town also.

Now it is up to Adam and the boys to try to save the town on their own as they can no longer trust their adults.

Town Secrets kept me glued to the pages the whole way through. I loved the secret doorways and tunnels, the keys and the secret society.

Scott Gelowitz is very imaginative and I really enjoyed the trials Adam went out through at the end. The writing was descriptive and I could almost feel the excitement or disappointment that the characters felt. The ending was good and I already have book two on my To Be Read list.

I recommend Town Secrets to all who love secret tunnels and caves and magic linked to elements, mysterious symbols and secret leagues.

Buy Town Secrets at Amazon
(the ebook is FREE at Amazon and Barnes & Noble)


Claire Rees, reviewer. Claire lives in a small village in the South Wales Valleys, UK with her husband, two kids and five snakes. She will hopefully be starting an English literature course this September. She has always loved reading books. Her favorite genres are horror, mystery and fantasy, although if the story line is good she'll read anything. Connect with Claire on Facebook.



Book info:
available formats: ebook and print (334 pages)
published: September 2014
ISBN13: 978-1502381316
target audience: middle grades/young adult
genre: science fiction



Get even more book news in your inbox by signing up for our newsletter: http://eepurl.com/mHTVL. Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.

June 14, 2016

2 Books about Friendship

by Susan Roberts



True Friendships are wonderful and there are lots of books written about them.  The books in today's post are about dysfunctional friendships - friendships with more negatives than positives.  Do you agree?


Start at the Beginning
Start at the Beginning by Judy Mollen Walters

This is the first book that I've ready by Judy Mollen Walters and I've decided that I need to go back and read her older books because I enjoyed this book and her writing style so much. This is an author that I can really enjoy.

Start At the Beginning is the story of the friendship between Sarah and Robin. When they first meet, Sarah is new in the neighborhood and eight months pregnant. Robin visits with a plate of cookies and tears in her eyes when she sees that Sarah is pregnant because she and her husband have been trying unsuccessfully to have a baby.

Their friendship continues in stops and starts. They are best friends and then when Robin has a miscarriage, she stops the friendship. After several months, the friendship starts again and then stops. A decision made by the two families that seems like the perfect way to resolve everything, is the beginning of the end of their friendship. Sarah and her husband and daughter move away soon after Robin and her husband have their baby.

The novel begins as Sarah finds out by searching Facebook that Robin has been dead for 8 years. Her almost obsessive quest to find out about her former best friend and her daughter make up the story line of the novel. The novel is all told from Sarah's point of view and alternates between past and present. I found the story line very interesting and even though I didn't always agree with the choices made by the main characters, I understood their reasons for what they did. This was an excellent novel about friendship and family.

Buy Start at the Beginning at Amazon
published March 2016; ebook and print (254 pages); ISBN-13: 978-1522961468; women's fiction



She Poured Out Her Heart
She Poured Out Her Heart by Jean Thompson

This is the story of two friends - Jane and Bonnie. They meet in college and they are totally different types of people. Jane is very quiet, very organized and spends a lot of time in her own space. Bonnie is a free spirit, always willing to try something new with a lot of boyfriends and lovers.

The book takes place over a 20 year time period and is told in alternating chapters by Jane and Bonnie.

Jane gets married and has two children and appears to be living the perfect life while Bonnie continues to bounce between relationships....but things aren't always as they appear to be. The friendship between the two is a very convoluted friendship as are the lives of the two main characters. It's very interesting to read how they choose to live their lives and the decisions that they make.

Even though I didn't always like the two main characters of this book, I definitely enjoyed reading their story and I thought that this was an excellent novel. I highly recommend it to readers who are interested in female friendship and dysfunction.

Buy She Poured Out Her Heart at Amazon
published May 2016 by Blue Rider Press; ebook and print (432 pages); ISBN-13: 978-0399573811; women's fiction


Susan Roberts, reviewer. Susan grew up in the Detroit area but after deciding that city life wasn't for her she moved to North Carolina after college. She and her husband have several acres of land and they enjoy gardening and canning vegetables in the summer. They travel extensively. Susan reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction and thrillers. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on Facebook or Twitter.


Photograph of girls is by Josh Felise. Get even more book news in your inbox by signing up for our newsletter: http://eepurl.com/mHTVL. A free copy of Start at the Beginning was provided by Goodreads the review. A free copy of She Poured Out Her Heart was provided by First to Read (Penguin Books) for the reviewGirl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.

June 13, 2016

Review: Amaretto Amber by Traci Andrighetti #MondayBlogs

by Elisa Hordon

Amaretto Amber
Frankie is a former cop turned PI. She is living and working in New Orleans, so you can imagine her life is just a little colourful. Then when you add in her landlord Brenda who is an ex-stripper, her boyfriend Bradley Hartmann who is president of Ponchartrain Bank,  her best friend Veronica who is also a PI whom she works with at 'Private Chicks' and then Frankie’s Italian Catholic family who are lovably certifiably crazy....... that information alone should be sending off alarm bells of hilarity.

Amaretto Amber is the third hilarious cozy mystery with Frankie Amato shining as a great lead character. I love how Frankie investigates in her own 'no holds barred' way. She has serious style that is uniquely her own: Frankie is stubborn, sassy and determined to get the job done. When a stripper is murdered in the club Frankie’s landlord Glenda worked in for years, Glenda asks Frankie for help. So who killed Amber? And why the bath tub? And what about the necklace? All the clues are there for Frankie to piece together.

Frankie is also hard at it helping Ruth, her boyfriend Bradley's secretary, keep them from losing their jobs at the Ponchartrain Bank when another worker, Jeff Payne who is the bank’s manager, has his eyes set on Bradley's job as President. Jeff will stop at nothing to get it, even trying to ruin Frankie and Bradley's relationship. But leave it to Frankie, she will sort it all out in her own special way with a lot of unwanted help from her family.

There were many funny parts throughout this story but I must say I loved it when Frankie saw her mother’s car in the driveway. That was just hilarious. I expected her to just keep driving...lol. It got even funnier when she goes into her apartment and her Nonna is with her Mom...lol. Older Italian women are just downright hilarious, especially when they gang up on the younger generation. When Nonna gathers her posse together you really feel sorry for Frankie, it’s no wonder she likes a drink or two or twenty….lol.

So can Frankie solve Amber's murder and help Bradley and Ruth keep their jobs at the bank, all the while keeping herself out of trouble and sane at the same time? Only time will tell.

Traci Andrighetti is one author who knows how to write a great cozy mystery that will have you laughing out loud, Don’t forget to check out other adventures with Frankie Amato: Limoncello Yellow, Prosecco Pink and a great Christmas short story Rosolio Red.

Buy Amaretto Amber at Amazon



Elisa Hordon, reviewerElisa lives on the Southern Highlands of NSW, Australia were she spends her days reading, journaling, painting, cooking and home schooling her daughter. She has always been an avid reader, Elisa loves reading many genres of books except horror; her favourite genres would be mystery, romance and paranormal. Elisa also loves pursuing many creative outlets if she is not relaxing with a book she can be found writing, sketching, painting or cooking. Elisa loves to share her obsession with books especially with her family and friends. Reading and reviewing books is a favourite pastime of Elisa’s.


Book info:
available formats: ebook and print
published: June 2016 by Gemma Halliday Publishing
ISBN13: 978-1533237842
genres: cozy publishing, 
book source: author



Get even more book news in your inbox by signing up for our newsletter: http://eepurl.com/mHTVL. A free ARC was provided for this review. Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.

June 12, 2016

Barnes & Noble's Teen Book Fest

by Donna Huber



Yesterday my niece and I attend Barnes & Nobles first ever nationwide Teen Book Fest. With all the hype about the event I was really hoping for something terrific, though it was cautious hope.

I live in a small town so I knew we weren't attracting any big name authors like they were in larger cities. But still there  were plenty of games and events being offered that the staff could really step up and make shine.

I really wanted to go to the Royal Party on Friday night and have my picture taken with Prince Maxom from Keira Cass's Selection series, but my niece wasn't available and I didn't want to go sans teen. The PR person for my local B&N said it was a lot of fun. The royal party was followed by a trivia contest and a local author book signing.

On tap for Saturday, was B-First to Know at 11 am. We were to be treated to first looks of new books in favorite series and from favorite authors like the pre-quel to The Maze Runner and Veronica Roth's new book. It was listed as an event. And to me an event is something more than a table with teaser booklets. But that is all there was for this first event of the day.

Yes there were some cool stickers and pins and posters to pick up, but it took what 5 minutes? The next event wasn't until 2 pm. What a waste of time coming in at 11 am! Seriously, even without an author there for this sneak peek, the event staff could have had a a full program planned. I guess they weren't given a script for it so they couldn't use their imagination to build excitement for these new titles. Can you tell I was disappointed?

The next event was at 2 pm: B-Part of the Fun. It included a number of games including a scavenger hunt, a spelling bee, and a story ball. The scavenger hunt was fun and a little challenging. We had to find a book aonhot air balloons, a book without words, a book with one word title (though the sheet said a book with one title and the editor in me wondered doesn't most books only have 1 title?), a book 500 pages long and more. I kind of wonder about the judging of it. We found a book that met each category but we didn't win. Did we just not get books that were popular so perhaps they just didn't know it fit the category or were there specific books we were suppose to fine? My niece and I had fun and that was the most important thing.

The spelling bee was HARD. There were to be 4 categories - Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Eragon, and Dr Who. Harry Potter went a little better than the others (I don't think we did any from Eragon). But the only words I knew how to spell in the Harry Potter round was Bludger and Dumbledore. One word I don't even remember from the series - Circe. For LOTR there were Andriel and Dunedain among other words. Most people had difficulty with the the spelling bee to the point the employee running the event was apologizing that they didn't come up with the list of words. I think a problem here was the series are older and therefore, while well loved, may not have been read in a few years. If they had chosen more recent hits - Hunger Games, Divergent, The Grisha series etc., it may have gone over better.

Our story ball story was a bit weird - it had to do with a depressed zipline, a monkey, and a bad apocalyptic novel where the author doesn't use quotation marks when characters speak. (If you don't know what story ball is, it is when a person starts a story and then another person adds a line and then another person adds another line until everyone has had a turn.)

The games were okay. I think the staff could have been a bit more enthusiastic.. I think the vibe carried over into the crowd making something that could have been a lot of fun not so much.

At 3 pm it was B-Japanese. It was all about Anime/Manga. A local graduate student lead this event. I'm not an anime or manga fan, but my niece is so we stayed for it. It was pretty good. We watched a behind the scenes video for the movie Naruto and an episode of Bakuman. I'm still not anime fan, but it was fun to hear the teens talk about their favorite ones. Some of them were very passionate about it. The workshop was suppose to include "learn to draw" segment, but I don't think anyone really stayed around for that.

Then at 6 pm we returned for the Tri-Wizard Tournament. It was probably the best event of the day. The staff were a little more into it so that helped with the general excitement. And a lot of people showed up (and not just teens!). After being sorted into a house, Gryffindor of coure, first up was a riddle from the Sphinx. Our riddle was "what has an eye but does not see". Then we headed back to the children's area for some Quidditch. We chose to face-paint the golden snitch. I thought I did a pretty good job on my niece's face. At the cafe we answered a potions question about the elixir of life and sampled butter beer. We did well with our charms challenge, but totally failed the classical reference quiz (we were good and didn't Google for the answers). We even made our own wands.  My niece played a game of wizard chess while we waited for the house scores. Gryffindor won the house cup!

We picked up milshakes on the way home and decided that we were in the mood for a little Harry Potter movie magic.

Today at 2 pm my B&N is hosting a creative writing workshop. I'm not sure if we will head back for that or go to the pool. Yesterday was exhausting, but overall a fun afternoon. I hope for more events like this as it was nice not having to drive to Atlanta to have some bookish fun.

Did you go to your B&N's BFest? If you so, what events did you attend?

Oh and if you wondered if we walked out the bookstore with purchasing anythg. No. My niece picked up An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir after we entered the contest.



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