Tuesday, May 17, 2016

BEA16 & BookCon Wrap-Up


The drive from New York to Chicago was not an easy one. Both to and from Chicago had me driving in the darkness, and in the pouring rain! Driving through Pennsylvania, the roads were curvy with ditches all along the sides, and Ohio was just miles of cornfields with nothing in-between. It took forever to find a gas station, and I was starting to think I would suffer a death a la Children of the Corn...

Chicago itself was wonderful, despite all of the unpleasantly foggy and rainy weather. Sadly, I didn't get to see much of it, though I did try deep dish pizza! Judging solely by the first place we tried . . . school cafeteria pizza is better; I was so disappointed. However, my friend Michelle directed me and the rest of our friends to Giordano's, and that was much better. Either way, I still stand by the fact that NYC pizza is better XD

My Favorite Things

Blogger Friends

My #1 favorite thing about Book Expo American 2016/BookCon was hanging out with Michelle (Dreaming of Alba), Melanie (One Less Lonely Blog) Stefani (Caught Read Handed), and Annalisse (Hopeful Reads). These girls truly made my entire trip so wonderful, I can't remember the last time I laughed so much. Being with them felt like I was with family, and I hope they get their butts to New York City soon for a family reunion...

Also, I didn't get to spend as much time as I would have liked with these bloggers, but I'm grateful for the time that we did have:

Sarah K (The YA Book Traveler): Our multiple hugs were not enough!

Michella (YA Books Girl): Thankfully we get to hang out in NYC, and I'm so glad you got the books you wanted!

Ava (Bookishness and Tea): I'm so happy that we got to meet and hang out! Hopefully, we get to see each other again soon ^_^

Here are some of other bloggers I was fortunate enough to meet or see again. Hopefully, we'll be able to see more of each other in the future:

Fallon, MorganHannah, Patricia, AnashehBecca, Brittany S., Octavia, Shelly Z., Britt, Andye, Sajda, Stephanie, Mishma, Jen, Shannon, Anna, Nicole, Christina, and Monica!

Unfortunately, not all of the bloggers I met are listed here. In a setting such as BEA and BookCon, it's impossible to list everyone, so I'm sorry if I missed you!

Meeting the Authors

When it comes down to it, BEA and BookCon is all about the books. I got to see and meet some amazing authors in Chicago, and it made me so happy. Here are the authors I was lucky enough to hang out with, and be sure to check out all of their books!

Leigh Bardugo (The Grisha Trilogy, Six of Crows, Crooked Kingdom), Adam Silvera (More Happy Than Not, History Is All You Left Me), Stephanie Garber (Caraval), Kendare Blake (Three Dark Crowns, Anna Series, Goddess War Series), Kristen Simmons (The Glass Arrow & Metaltown), Wendy Spinale (Everland), Kerri Maniscalco (Stalking Jack The Ripper), Amie Kaufman (These Broken Stars trilogy, The Illuminae Files), Jay Kristoff (The Illuminae Files, Nevernight, The Lotus War trilogy, & LIFEL1K3),  Marissa Meyer (The Lunar Chronicles & Heartless), Kami Garcia (Beautiful Creatures, Unbreakable, & The Lovely Reckless), Audrey Coulthurst (Of Fire and Stars), Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven Cycle, The Scorpio Races, The Anatomy of Curiosity, Sinner, The Shiver Trilogy, and many others)

ALSO, the Fierce Reads Party!

It was SO much fun. Who wouldn't love hanging out with so many awesome and inspirational people? I didn't want it to end! Photos were taken, there were a lot of laughs, and I'm so thrilled to have been invited. 

Another wonderfully unexpected thing that happened . . . I won an ARC copy of Nevernight by Jay Kristoff!!! I was going crazy for a couple of days, thinking there was no way I would be able to snag one of the FIVE copies that he had with him, but I got it!  

The Books

At the end of the Fierce Reads/Macmillian Party, we were given this awesome bag that was full of goodies!

I have to say, I was most surprised to see George Orwell's 1984 in the goodie bag with this ominous message:

I have no idea what this means. I already searched the hashtag on Twitter, and have only found other confused people xD

The books above were the ones I was willing to maime someone for, but luckily, it didn't come down to that haha.

I didn't get a lot of swag this year, which is probably a good thing anyway because I don't really have the space for it. In general, there seemed to be a lot less of it than at past BEAs and BookCons, but either way, I was able to snag these beauties. The only one that confuses me is the sampler of Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth. Despite rumors of it being only 3 pages, it's a bit longer than that, but it's still really small AND it's not even the beginning of the book, it's chapter 7! I only grabbed it in passing, because my morbid curiosity was getting to me. I don't know if or when I'll get around to reading it though. 

And here is my final haul picture (minus the samplers I already showed above) It's significantly less than what I've previously gotten at conventions, but I was being very careful to limit myself to only the books I was dying to read. Last year, I was still a newbie blogger when it came to conventions and my eyes were as big as saucers when it came to all of the books. Either way, I'm really happy with my haul, and I can't wait to start reading! ^_^

Things I did not care for: 

Avid Reader Pass

I hate the changes made to the Avid Reader Pass. Last year, you would purchase the pass and be able to jump the 8 autograph lines of your choosing while at the convention center. I know that this caused a lot of problems, hence why they changed it, I suppose. However with this pass, you could guarantee yourself 10 tickets to autograph lines with 1 jump pass, though they didn't mention any changes from last year's pass, so I found that to be kind of shady. The problem was that there was a very short list of lines you could choose from, and so I only ended up using 2 of my tickets. Since the tickets weren't transferable, they just went to waste. On top of that, they sold/gave away more tickets than they had books, so I know people who paid for a ticket, and then didn't even get the book!

Disorganized Lines

In an ideal world, people would come to line up when they're told to. But since we do not live in this fantasy world, I wish that there was more planning and organization when it came to the lines for giveaways and autographs. The bottom line is, if people want to a certain book, they will camp out at the booth as early as humanly possible to guarantee getting it. 

Why? Because a person's desire to attain said book will directly correlate to how early they are willing to line up, and how long they're willing to wait!

It seemed to me that a lot of publishers were not prepared for this, which lead to complete chaos. The one booth I have to exclude from all of this is Penguin Random House's booth. They were more prepared for people standing in and around their booth all day, and handled it in a professional and organized manner. There were some issues when it came to the line for Gemina, but that was the only time. 

This conversation happened at least a dozen times:

Me: We don't want to be in your way.. where should we line up? 
Booth Lady: No, no, no. Come 15 minutes before the giveaway starts.
Me: But.. it's a huge book.. there are already like 50 people waiti--
Booth Lady: But we don't want you to line up until 15 minutes before.
Me: But if you don't tell us where to line up, there will just be a mob of peop--
Everyone: *has no plans of leaving*
Me: *sigh* ... 
Everyone: *forms confused mob until Booth Lady relents to an "unofficial line"*

The Big One

Yes, there were some unethical people who took like, a bajillion copies of each book. It's already been discussed at length on Twitter, and it's horrible, it really is. However, I feel compelled to add that a couple bad apples do not represent the entirety (or even the majority) of the blogging community, which is mostly composed of wonderful, kind-hearted people who read and promote books because they love it. So let's try to focus on the book love and be kind to one another, shall we? <3

Aaaaand that's a wrap.

I hope you guys enjoyed this post! I'm sorry I wasn't posting much while I was in Chicago, but I promise that I'll be getting back to my normal posting schedule soon ^_^

Friday, May 13, 2016

Meet the Newbies: Laura Tims, author of Please Don't Tell

Meet the Newbies is a blog event dedicated to introducing you to the “newbie” published debut authors. In this event, expect to learn more about the authors, their books, and silly fun facts! Check out the full Meet the Newbies lineup here.

Brittany: Today, for Meet the Newbies, I have my interview with Laura Tims to share with all of you! I hope you guys enjoy it and add Please Don't Tell to your TBRs!

Author Most Likely to Write Fanfiction During Class.

Nickname: Timsy
First Day of School: May 24th, 2015
Homeroom: HarperCollins
Grade: Contemporary Thriller
Extracurricular Activities: Tumblr, Anime Club, Neko Atsume
Favorite Class: Lunch
Favorite Quote/Motto: "Be the person you needed when you were younger."

~The Interview~

Brittany: When did you know that you wanted to be an author?

Laura: I wrote some Neopets fanfiction when I was ten and ended up getting some fan-Neomail. Somehow that turned into me immediately deciding to be a writer forever. And here we are today.

Brittany: What is your most memorable moment on your journey to becoming an author?

Laura: Probably when I called my parents to tell them I’d gotten a book deal! I had this little script in my head of the way I thought the conversation would go in a dream scenario, and that ended up happening exactly. It was sweet.

Brittany: Do you have any quirky/unconventional writing habits? (Ex. Always having chocolate on hand, etc..)

Laura: I like writing outside! Sometimes I write in such glaring sunlight that I have to wear sunglasses and a baseball cap. If I’m writing in a chair, my legs always end up tangled in a weird pretzel underneath me.

Brittany: If you could collaborate with any of the other of the Sweet Sixteen’s authors on a new book, who would you like to work with, and why?

Laura: This is a really hard question, because I’ve read so many incredible books by Sixteeners lately! Probably Marieke Nijkamp, Laurie Elizabeth Flynn, or Jeff Zentner, because their books basically ruined me.

Brittany: Which of your characters do you identify with the most, and why?

Laura: I definitely had some of Grace’s anxiety issues in high school, though I dealt with it differently. And I focused so much of Joy’s story on guilt because I feel like it’s been a really potent emotion in my own life, even when it was unwarranted. So I guess no one character in particular, but pieces of each of them!

Brittany: What is your favorite non-spoilery quote or moment from your own book?

Laura: Oh jeez, I don’t know! There is this quote that I just saw on a cool graphic so I’m going to go with it: “I don’t want to know what I’m capable of. I think that’s the only way people can like themselves, by not knowing what they’re capable of.”

Brittany: What is one thing you’d like your readers to take away from Please Don’t Tell after reading it?

Laura: That the battles you fight in your own head are real and valid, and you’re amazing for not giving up!

Please Don't Tell by Laura Tims
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: May 24, 2016
Buy it: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository
Joy killed Adam Gordon—at least, that’s what she thinks. The night of the party is hazy at best. But she knows what Adam did to her twin sister, Grace, and she knows he had to pay for it.
What Joy doesn’t expect is that someone else saw what happened. And one night a note is shoved through her open window, threatening Joy that all will be revealed. Now the anonymous blackmailer starts using Joy to expose the secrets of their placid hometown. And as the demands escalate, Joy must somehow uncover the blackmailer’s identity before Joy is forced to make a terrible choice.
In this darkly compelling narrative, debut author Laura Tims explores the complicated relationship between two sisters, and what one will do for the other. It’s a story that will keep readers turning pages and questioning their own sense of right and wrong.

~About the Author~

Laura Tims is the author of PLEASE DON'T TELL, coming Summer 2016 from HarperCollins.

She's a mental health advocate, a cancer, and a reasonably cute organism. She likes Tumblr, anime, Neko Atsume, Homestuck, Steven Universe, and Undertale. She likes you even more.

She writes books about strange relationships, pain, and people who are scared but good. She loves to talk and if you also love to talk, find her on Twitter @laura_tims

Connect with Laura: Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Goodreads

~The Giveaway~

Monday, May 9, 2016

Interview with Kathleen Glasgow, Debut Author of Girl in Pieces + Giveaway

Brittany: Hi guys, today I have the pleasure of sharing an interview that I had with Kathleen Glasgow, debut author of Girl in Pieces!

I live in Tucson, Arizona and write for The Writer's Almanac. I received my MFA from the University of Minnesota and my BUS from the University of New Mexico. My poems and stories have appeared in Bellingham Review, Clackamas Literary Review, Cimarron Review, and many other journals. My first novel for young adults, Girl in Pieces, will be published by Random House/Delacorte on August 30, 2016. 
Connect with Kathleen: Website | Twitter | Instagram

Brittany: Hi Kathleen, it’s a pleasure to have you on the blog today.  Thank you for doing this interview with me!

Kathleen: Thank you so much for having me!

Brittany: Could you share with us what your writing process is like? Do you outline? Do you have a schedule, etc.?

Kathleen: My writing process is one that I will call “letting it all hang out.” I’m a firm believer that you have nothing to work with until you have enough pages to work with. I don’t outline. Instead, I ask myself a series of questions that begin with, “What if…”  Then I buy some brand new composition notebooks and new pens and…start writing and try to answer those questions. Ideas come easier to me when I handwrite, rather than starting on the computer. I only write on the right-hand side of the comp books; I keep the left pages blank because that’s where I’ll go back and make notes during revision. My former boss and Funniest Person in America, Julie Schumacher (no, really, she won the Thurber Award; look it up), taught me this. She’s the author of the young adult novel Black Box, which you should read. Like, right now.

I don’t particularly worry about what comes out when I am doing a first draft. I can always go back and fix things, chop them, rearrange, etc.

Brittany: What fictional character (not your own) do you most identify with, and why?

Kathleen: For a long time, I identified with Holden Caulfield from The Catcher in the Rye. This was the first book to speak to me about loneliness, depression, suicide, and being lost in the world, and I read it over and over and over. Recently, though, I had the chance to read Kerry Kletter’s The First Time She Drowned, and Cassie O’Malley’s story is so much like mine, it literally gave me chills.  I guess I do have a type, then: the somewhat sarcastic loner with a painful past or secret and a deadly sense of humor.

Brittany: Who are some of your book boyfriends/girlfriends?

Kathleen: The people I’d most like to go to the movies with and share popcorn would be Holden Caulfield, Hermione Granger, Bianca Piper, Tom Henderson, Joss Byrd, Scarlett Epstein, and Ponyboy Curtis.

Brittany: What kind of research did you have to do in order to write Girl in Pieces?

Kathleen: I used my own experiences with self-harm that as the basis for Charlie’s experiences. The things I needed to research for GIRL IN PIECES  include: crystal meth; alcohol bracelets; extreme blood loss; the length of time it takes to ride a Greyhound bus from Minneapolis to Tucson; how to correctly spell Supercuts; the meaning of puta madre; dissociative disorders; psychiatric holds.

Brittany: What is the most challenging thing about writing a book for you?

Kathleen: Editing. I think being in the thick of writing is the best thing. You get kind of lost in a new world and you’re meeting all these new people inside the book. It’s fantastic.  Editing is a bit more difficult, because you are trying to shape that story. This is where you sometimes have to say goodbye to beloved characters or scenes.

Brittany: What is your favorite non-spoilery quote from your own book?

Kathleen: Charlie’s friend Ellis is fond of saying, “That’s positively angelic,” when she adores something.

Brittany: What is one material possession you could not live without?

Kathleen: Again, I have to go back to Holden Caulfield. It’s my mother’s 1951 copy of The Catcher in the Rye. It’s torn and dog-eared and marked up. My mother is gone now, but she comes back to me whenever I hold the book in my hands.

Brittany: What is one thing that would make you stop reading a book?

Kathleen: There was one book that I never finished that depicted a rape and took 12-pages to do it.  The thing is, I don’t disagree with depicting this, what I disagreed with was: was it necessary to the plot and to the characters to go on for 12 pages? In the end, I decided the answer was no. Just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you need to, if that makes sense.

Brittany: What do you want your readers to take away from Girl in Pieces?

Kathleen: Hope.

Brittany: Thank you, again, Kathleen for being on Brittany's Book Rambles today. I look forward to reading your book! For those of you who haven't added Girl in Pieces to your TBRs, check it out below and enter the giveaway!

Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow
Expected Publication: September 6th, 2016
Publisher: Random House/Delacorte Press
Pre-Order it: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository
Charlotte Davis is in pieces. At seventeen she’s already lost more than most people lose in a lifetime. But she’s learned how to forget. The thick glass of a mason jar cuts deep, and the pain washes away the sorrow until there is nothing but calm. You don’t have to think about your father and the river. Your best friend, who is gone forever. Or your mother, who has nothing left to give you.
Every new scar hardens Charlie’s heart just a little more, yet it still hurts so much. It hurts enough to not care anymore, which is sometimes what has to happen before you can find your way back from the edge.

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Friday, May 6, 2016

How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather ARC Review + Giveaway

How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather
Paperback ARC, 358 pages
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Expected Publication Date: July 26, 2016
Pre-Order it: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository
My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Salem, Massachusetts is the site of the infamous witch trials and the new home of Samantha Mather. Recently transplanted from New York City, Sam and her stepmother are not exactly welcomed with open arms. Sam is the descendant of Cotton Mather, one of the men responsible for those trials and immediately, she becomes the enemy of a group of girls who call themselves The Descendants. And guess who their ancestors were?
If dealing with that weren't enough, Sam also comes face to face with a real live (well technically dead) ghost. A handsome, angry ghost who wants Sam to stop touching his stuff. But soon Sam discovers she is at the center of a centuries old curse affecting anyone with ties to the trials. 
Sam must come to terms with the ghost and find a way to work with the Descendants to stop a deadly cycle that has been going on since the first accused witch was hanged. If any town should have learned its lesson, it's Salem. But history is about to repeat itself. 

For ages, I have been looking for that perfect Halloweeny read, and I've finally found it! It's witchy without being too creepy, and being the big scaredy-cat that I am, the latter is extremely important. I'm fascinated and horrified by the history of the Salem witch trials, and How to Hang a Witch uses that history and turns it into a spooky and romantic story. I really identified with the main character's voice, and I now have a new book boyfriend in Elijah—a swoony ghost with a sad and dark past. In a lot of ways, this book reminded me of the movie The Craft, which I loooooved growing up, but a cuter version!

Once I got to the middle of the story, I was tearing through the pages! I couldn't get enough of the story and all the romantic scenes were amazing. The book ends in a way that makes you want to rip your hair out—but in a good way haha. When I reached the end, I couldn't believe it. It left me with so many questions and hopes, but I have no idea what's going to happen in the sequel. I needed more, and now I have to wait over a year for the next book!

Alas, I will eagerly await the sequel... until I get it, I'll just have to push this book on everyone I know haha.


1) Elijah is so swoony, I can't even. So long has it been since I've been swept away by an otherworldly gentleman, but then Elijah entered my life and I'm adding him to my long list of book boyfriends. He's so serious, but sweet... I totally get Mr. Darcy feels from him.

2) I love the main character—she is incredibly relatable. I found myself nodding along to her thoughts and being like, "this is so me right now."

3) This book is modern, but at the same time, it somehow has such an old-world feel that it makes you nostalgic. It made me want to plan a trip to Salem as soon as possible, and it made me even more interested in its history.

4) I really love the family dynamics in this book. Not only do the teens have parents, but they have parents that care! There were a couple of familial relationships that really pulled on my heartstrings; I especially adored the tidbits with Sam and her dad, those were priceless.

5) There is a moment towards the end of the book (where even though I had my suspicions, I wasn't sure) where I was totally heartbroken... it was just so upsetting that I didn't want to be right.

6) The ending! I couldn't read fast enough. There was just so much going on, I couldn't sit still! When I thought all of my hopes and dreams were crushed, Adriana left me with a little granule of hope and I just. . .


In the beginning, I was a little put off because I wanted a really witchy book, and at first, it seemed like a teen book about a girl who was just disliked by everyone for no apparent reason. But once I got past that early section and on to the witchiness, I was all in.

2) I don't quite understand all of the parental roles of the Descendants (the kids with witchy powers). Do they know about the magic? Do they practice magic? This was a little unclear to me.

Favorite Quotes: 

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Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi Blog Tour: Interview + Giveaway

Brittany: Hi guys! I'm extremely excited to have Roshani on the blog today to share our fun interview plus other great goodies! I want to congratulate her, once again, for The Star-Touched Queen making the NYT Best Seller list! It's completely deserved and if you guys haven't picked up her book yet, I have one question for you. . . WHY NOT?!

~The Book~

Author: Roshani Chokshi
Release Date: April 26, 2016
Pages: 352
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father's kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran's queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar's wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire...
But Akaran has its own secrets -- thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most. . .including herself.
A lush and vivid story that is steeped in Indian folklore and mythology. The Star-Touched Queen is a novel that no reader will soon forget.

~The Author~

Roshani Chokshi comes from a small town in Georgia where she collected a Southern accent, but does not use it unless under duress. She grew up in a blue house with a perpetually napping bear-dog. At Emory University, she dabbled with journalism, attended some classes in pajamas, forgot to buy winter boots and majored in 14th century British literature. She spent a year after graduation working and traveling and writing. After that, she started law school at the University of Georgia where she’s learning a new kind of storytelling.
Connect with Roshani: Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram

~The Interview~

Q: Who was your first OTP? 

A: Roiben and Kaye from Holly Black’s TITHE. (After I read TITHE, I casually stalked my backyard for a wounded fairy knight.)

Q: What are some of your pet peeves?

A: I really hate when I can hear someone chewing or slurping. It makes me lose my appetite. And I fiercely defend my love of food. 

Q: What is one material possession you could not live without, and why?

A: My silver snake ring. 99% sure it’s a magical talisman that wards away nightmares and bites my enemies when no one’s looking.

Q: What is your favorite quote or scene from your book?

A: I think my favorite scene is Amar’s proposal <3 It’s a little dark, a little romantic, a lot of intensity. 

Q: What would automatically make you stop reading any book?

A: Slut-shaming. Ain’t got time for that.

Q: If you could team up with any other author to write a book together, who would you want to collaborate with, and why?

A: Omg, yet another question that stumps my soul. I would love to write a book with Leigh Bardugo. Her plots are crazy well thought out. Her worldbuilding brings me to my knees. And her characters live for me. 

Q: When did you know that you wanted to be an author?

A: At the tender age of four. I was always scribbling tales and handing them out to people. 

Q: How do you deal with writer’s block? 

A: I never like abandoning a project, so I have to trick myself into falling back in love with the story. To me, this means revisiting favorite books. I’ll reread the books that made me want to write. Usually that works! If it doesn’t, I just write through the pain, even though it makes me pull my teeth and hate myself and produce solid verbal feces. Sometimes you just have to get the words out even when you know they’re not the right words. 

Q: Which of your characters do you identify with the most, and why?

A: Kamala. Hands down. I identify with her madness, constant food cravings and fierce loyalty to friends.

Q: What 2016 new book releases are you most excited about, and why?

A: I am so excited about Evelyn Skye’s THE CROWN’S GAME and Jess Cluess’ A SHADOW BRIGHT AND BURNING!

And I have to mention these 2017 books because I read them and *adored* them…CARAVAL by Stephanie Garber and WINTERSONG by S. Jae-Jones. CANNOT WAIT!

Brittany: Thank you Rosh, for stopping by our blog today! If you guys need even more convincing to pick up this AMAZING book & NYT BEST SELLER, check out my 5 Star review! Be sure to check out the rest of the tour schedule and the giveaway below ^_^

~The Tour Schedule~

Week One:
4/25/2016- Dark Faerie TalesGuest Post
4/26/2016- Fiction FareReview
4/27/2016- Once Upon a TwilightInterview
4/28/2016- Pandora's BooksReview
4/29/2016- Two Chicks on BooksInterview

Week Two:
5/2/2016- BookHounds YAReview
5/3/2016- The Eater of Books!Guest Post
5/4/2016- Mary Had a Little Book BlogReview
                             5/5/2016- Brittany's Book RamblesInterview                                  5/6/2016- Storybook SlayersReview

~The Giveaway~

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Brittany: Here's an extra goodie! Griffin Teen has recently released the title of the companion novel to The Star-Touched Queen!