Sunday, August 31, 2014

Going Back to Feedburner

Ah, techy blog business. Sometimes you just need to write these types of posts, and this one affects anyone who follows the blog via email. A while back, there was a bit of a scare that Feedburner was going to shut down and take blog email subscriptions with it. Like many other bloggers at the time, I looked into other options and went with FeedBlitz, hoping to head off trouble down the road. Well, Feedburner is still alive and well while I'm paying a monthly fee to FeedBlitz that is pretty nominal but still a fee, whereas Feedburner is free. I'm currently trying to cut out any unnecessary expenses, blog-related or otherwise, and so I'll be switching back to Feedburner in the next few days. Unfortunately, this means that if you currently subscribe to the blog via email and wish to continue to receive new posts that way, you'll have to sign up again. I do apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for understanding the reason behind the change.

August 2014 Recap

Summer is just about over, even though the still 90-plus degree weather here says otherwise. It's been a truly great summer, one of the most adventurous I've had in a long time. With September already arriving tomorrow, I have a feeling the rest of the year is going to go by super fast, and the holidays will be here before we know it.

Reviews Posted:

Featured Posts:

TBR Reading Challenge Progress:

  • Books Read/Reviewed: 1 (Total for Year: 10)

Friday, August 29, 2014

Review: City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

* These reviews may contain spoilers for the previous books in The Mortal Instruments series.

City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare
City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments #6)
By Cassandra Clare
Margaret K. McElderry Books
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased

To Sum It Up: Sebastian and his army of Endarkened, former Shadowhunters who have been forced to drink from the Infernal Cup, seem unstoppable. Their attacks on Institutes around the world have led to the evacuation of the remaining Shadowhunters to their homeland, Idris. Sebastian makes it very clear that there will be no end to his war until the Clave hands Jace and Clary over to him. Jace still has the heavenly fire burning inside of him, and as the Shadowhunters lose more and more of their own, he may be their only hope of winning against Sebastian.

Ally's Review: The conclusion to The Mortal Instruments is as close to perfect as a book can be. The characters are on point and the storyline is entirely riveting. Cassandra Clare most definitely did not disappoint.

City of Bones was the first Clare book I ever had the pleasure of reading. So obviously, TMI was my favorite series . . . until The Infernal Devices came out. After reading TID, there was no comparison. I was slightly concerned, going into City of Heavenly Fire, that I wasn't going to enjoy the book because of my preference for the other series. But I had no reason to worry because the book was all sorts of awesome. And the little TID insiders scattered throughout City of Heavenly Fire didn't hurt either, lol.

The best part about any Clare book is the characters. In TMI, the family atmosphere among friends is always stressed, and that's because of the lack of blood relatives for a lot of the characters. In this specific book, I felt that vibe more than ever. When it came down to it, each and every one of them would have died to save each other. It is incredibly sweet and only makes me want to be a part of the Shadowhunter world even more. The relationship between Isabelle and Simon is given more spotlight, which I thought was awesome, but I think Alec and Jace's relationship got the most attention out of everyone's. I was thrilled about this because for the longest time I thought their parabatai bond was weak. It was only in this last book that I could actually see that bond between them. They have a lot of bro moments, which happened to be some of the best parts.

For a while now, Jace hasn't been himself. In my opinion, he's been unnecessarily angsty and mopey, which made him plummet from the top to the bottom of my favorite character hierarchy. I was happy to see more of the original Jace that I had fallen in love with in this book. He gets a lot of his charm and confidence back, which makes him a lot more lovable. Clary always annoys me. I've never liked her as a character and that didn't change in this book. My annoyance with her was just more bearable with all of the other characters being a larger part of the book. Clare shamelessly plugs her next series, The Dark Artifices, all throughout City of Heavenly Fire. Typically, I would be really put off by that, but Clare made it work. She's a master weaver when it comes to connecting all her different story lines. It is a real pleasure reading about Emma Carstairs and the young Blackthorns. It made the book all the more intriguing and I am genuinely excited to read the next series.

Although this book is huge, there is never a dull reading moment. The story is action packed and the characters are always up to something. Sebastian is the absolute perfect villain. I find it hard to truly hate him and I kind of consider him one of my favorite characters. He makes me laugh and often I feel bad for him. I feel that by the end of the book Sebastian's character is resolved. Lots of things are addressed, mainly his mommy issues, which is something I always wanted to happen.

By the end of the book, almost all of my questions were answered. I had some sense of closure and I was happy with how all of the characters were left off. The ending is just beautiful. I'm a little sad that this era of Shadowhunters has finished but I'm looking forward to the next series. Something tells me that we haven't seen the last of Clary, Jace, and the gang.

All in All: City of Heavenly Fire is a phenomenal ending to an amazing series. I'm happy with the way things ended and I couldn't have asked for a better book. I'm very excited to read The Dark Artifices.

Lee's Review: So here we are: the conclusion of The Mortal Instruments. This is one of the longer series I’ve stuck with, and although it hasn’t been a five star read across the board, overall I’ve still enjoyed it very, very much. TMI introduced me to Shadowhunters, Downworlders, and mundanes alike, and for that alone, I’ll always have a tender spot in my heart for the series. While I expected to feel a little nostalgic and wistful about saying goodbye to TMI, I didn’t really foresee the book hangover that ensued.

Going into City of Heavenly Fire with the knowledge that 1) it’s over 700 pages and 2) there are two more Shadowhunter series on the horizon made me a little wary of how many of those pages were going toward setting up those series. Yes, you’re introduced to the next generation of Shadowhunters, BUT. This book is as much about the past as it is about the future, and because of that, because of the pages that reference the past, I cannot knock the pages that are devoted to glimpses of the future. And I cannot get any more specific than that without getting super spoiler-y. Believe me, it is killing me not to gush over some of my favorite scenes and quotes because they would totally ruin the surprise of more than this book.

Now, please don’t panic and think that the TMI characters you’ve known since City of Bones have been pushed to the backburner. They most certainly have NOT. I loved that the core group of Jace, Clary, Isabelle, Alec, and Simon spent plenty of time in the spotlight—together. Their stand against Sebastian takes them on a journey that is absolutely hellish. Their dedication to their mission, which they are fully aware may not succeed and may very well kill them, is unwavering and awe-inspiring. For all of the squabbles that these characters have had at various times with one another, nothing matters more in this book than stopping Sebastian from destroying the world. Even Jace and Clary leave their personal melodrama behind them and focus on what needs to be done. There’s a maturity to everyone in this quintet that really made me realize just how much they’ve grown as characters.

Sebastian obviously looms large throughout CoHF, and, being Sebastian, he’s more than happy to engage the Shadowhunters in a few deadly rounds of cat and mouse before launching his all-out assault against them. The fighting scenes between the Endarkened and some other allies Sebastian has managed to gather and the Shadowhunters are some of the series’ fiercest. No TMI book would be such without demons, and CoHF features plenty of those nasties, too.

He may be dead, but Valentine Morgenstern continues to cast a shadow over the characters. If he hadn’t gone all Dr. Frankenstein and experimented on his own children, particularly Sebastian, so many lives would have been different. Valentine essentially robbed Jace of his identity, and I was especially drawn to Jace’s careful consideration of claiming his true heritage. In fact, I was extremely happy to see this addressed and not forgotten amid the book’s much larger plotlines.

City of Heavenly Fire gave all that I could have asked from it, plus a little extra. Whatever doubts I had about the Shadowhunters’ chronicles continuing for another two series were erased thanks to this book. The breadth of their history and the way that their stories intertwine across time just amaze me. I am nowhere near ready to say goodbye to the Nephilim and eagerly await the release of Lady Midnight next year. For those of you who still haven’t checked out The Infernal Devices, now has never been a better time to do so!

All in All: City of Heavenly Fire is a spectacular finale to The Mortal Instruments, complete with action, suspense, romance, humor, and . . . fire. Lots of fire.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (52): Scariest Place in the Books

Harry Potter Moment of the Week is a meme hosted by Uncorked Thoughts. The aim of this meme is to share with fellow bloggers a character, spell, chapter, object or quote from the books/films/J. K. Rowling herself or anything Potter related! A list of upcoming topics can be found here.

This week's topic is:
Scariest Place in the Books

One of the most shudder-inducing parts in the books for me is when Harry and Dumbledore are in the cave looking for Slytherin's locket. From the moment they Apparated next to that foreboding cliff, I had the chills. Things just got creepier and creepier as they made their way into the cave itself, and when Harry realized what was in the lake . . . I was seriously freaking out by then. And then things got REALLY scary once the Inferi started swarming Harry and Dumbledore. But, one of my favorite movie moments takes place in this awful, awful place: when Dumbledore sets it absolutely ablaze with his wand.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Movie Review: If I Stay

After sitting through a so-so adaptation of City of Bones and a not-so-great adaptation of Vampire Academy, I was a little apprehensive about how the big screen version of Gayle Forman's If I Stay would go. I loved the novel as well as the sequel, Where She Went, and hoped that my last few experiences with YA novels-turned-films would not continue in the same vein.

The trailers for If I Stay did make me cautiously optimistic that fans of the book wouldn’t be let down. Of course trailers can be misleading sometimes, but I’m very happy to report that this was not the case here.

Where to start with how brilliant If I Stay was? ChloĆ« Grace Moretz was simply perfect as Mia. Jamie Blackley was also a standout as Adam. Really, the whole cast was stellar, notably the actors who portrayed Mia’s parents and younger brother, Teddy. You truly got the sense of what a loving, close-knit family the Halls were, which made the tragedy that tore them apart even more devastating.

While there were certainly heartbreaking, sob-inducing moments throughout the film, they were well balanced with some lighter ones. This is an area where I thought the film really shone; the somber shadow that hangs over both the book and the movie can’t be helped, but it doesn’t dominate either of them. Mia’s flashbacks are full of many happy memories spent with her family and Adam. That’s another aspect of the novel that translated very well to the screen: the book’s narrative structure, which alternates between the present and the past. It’s handled seamlessly in the movie, and even having reading the book, I don’t think someone who’s unfamiliar with the source material would find the movie confusing to follow.

I have only glowing things to say about this film. It did not disappoint in any way, and although there were a few minor changes from the book, they were exactly that—minor. Unlike some of the other recent YA adaptations I’ve seen, this one did not make me want to scream, “But that wasn’t in the book!” The script was excellent, and the actors’ performances were all top-notch. Music plays such a central role in the novel, and its importance in the lives of both Mia and Adam is vividly captured in the film.

For anyone who hasn’t read If I Stay, you can feel confident that you’re completely fine if you see the movie first. But—please read the book! For those who already have read it, you can also feel confident that everything you loved about the novel has made its way to the big screen. I truly, truly hope that Where She Went gets adapted, too, because you just can’t leave Mia and Adam here . . . .

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Bout of Books 11: Day 6 Update

I read 153 page of Isla and the Happily Ever After yesterday and finished it, as well as completed my overall goal of reading 2 books for the read-a-thon! It's been a really great, and really fun, reading week, and I'd love to participate in Bout of Books again.

Total Pages Read: 751
Total Books Read: 2

Previous Updates:

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Bout of Books 11: Day 5 Update & Spell It Out Challenge

I read 140 pages of Isla and the Happily Ever After yesterday. It's the kind of book that you just want to stay up all night reading (though I didn't. Sleep won.)

Current Read: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
Total Pages Read: 598
Total Books Read: 1

Spell It Out Challenge

Hosted by Kimberly Faye Reads

Despite having a short first name (Lee), I couldn't find 2 books that began with "E." So I spelled out my initials (LAS) instead:

Previous Updates:

Friday, August 22, 2014

Bout of Books 11: Day 4 Update

I finished Haze by Paula Weston yesterday and started Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins. Between the two books, I read 104 pages on Thursday. Isla is so, so sweet thus far; I'm hoping to finish it over the weekend, as long as this cold that I've now picked up doesn't completely knock me out.

Current Read: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
Total Pages Read: 458
Total Books Read: 1

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Bout of Books 11: Day 3 Update

I read 154 pages yesterday and should finish my current read tonight while I'm watching the Every Simpsons Ever marathon. Woohoo! Then it's on to Isla and the Happily Ever After, which I have been dying to read!

Current Read: Haze by Paula Weston
Total Pages Read: 354
Total Books Read: 0

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (51): My HP Shelf

Harry Potter Moment of the Week is a meme hosted by Uncorked Thoughts. The aim of this meme is to share with fellow bloggers a character, spell, chapter, object or quote from the books/films/J. K. Rowling herself or anything Potter related! A list of upcoming topics can be found here.

It's a free week, and I thought I'd share with you:
My HP Shelf

I'd love to know who else feels the need to put their HP books and all things HP-related on their own, separate bookshelf! Even when I only owned the box set of books 1-4, it had a shelf all to itself, even though I had to get creative with organizing the rest of my books into the remaining space, lol. I can't just lump HP in with the rest of my books, as precious as those are to me, too, because it's Harry Potter.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Bout of Books: Day 2 Update

I didn't make nearly as much progress as I would have liked yesterday—only 82 pages read. I faced the same problem I did on Monday night; I just could not keep my eyes open and had to haul myself off to bed. I've also been trying to read in the morning before I leave for work; that's only for about 15 minutes, but hey, every little snippet of time helps!

Current Read: Haze by Paula Weston
Total Pages Read: 200
Total Books Read: 0

Book Loot (6)

I've been trying very hard to refrain from buying books, which is a very good thing because the AC in my car suddenly died last week and I got hit with an unexpected, $800 repair bill. *sobs* Fortunately, the books that are featured in this post were either already pre-ordered a while ago with a gift card or paid for with Amazon reward points. Phew!


Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine
Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Bout of Books: Day 1 Update & Book Spine Poetry

I read 118 pages yesterday, which was quite a bit more than I can usually read on a weeknight. I would have continued reading for another hour or so had I not kept dozing off thanks to a long day at work, lol. I'm about a quarter of a way through my current read, Haze by Paula Weston.

Book Spine Poetry Challenge

Hosted by My Little Pocketbooks

For darkness shows the stars
These broken stars,
Under the never sky.
Hollow city,
City of lost souls:
Never fade . . . .

Friday, August 15, 2014

Review: Hollow City by Ransom Riggs

Hollow City by Ransom Riggs
Hollow City (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children #2)
By Ransom Riggs
Quirk Books
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased

To Sum It Up: Jacob and his group of peculiar friends are forced to flee the island they once considered their sanctuary. They must now journey all the way to London in order to save Miss Peregrine and possibly the peculiar world.

Review: I suppose the only way to begin is by complaining about how long I have been waiting for the sequel to the phenomenal Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. But damn was it worth the wait!!! *excited seal clapping and fangirl squealing* I guess now is as good a time as any to warn you that this review will consist mostly of me gushing about how much I loved this book. For your sake, I will do my best to put my insurmountable love for Hollow City into real words and possibly even sentences.

I am often quite wary of sequels as they all too often disappoint me. Sometimes it's really hard to reattach to the characters and find interest in the new or even continuing story line. I am very happy to say that this was not the case at all here. I was very relieved that we picked up exactly where the first one had left off.

Everything I enjoyed in the first installment was carried into the sequel and improved upon. The photographs were just as creepy and fascinating. The "new" setting was even more exciting than the last, and the story line was phenomenal. The second book added layer upon layer of richness to the story that so masterfully began in the previous book. Also, the character development was very well done and not in any way forced or rushed. With so many intricate characters, it can be hard to give each one his or her fair share of attention. While I was quite aware that there were numerous characters, they were so well written that I never felt overwhelmed by their sheer number.

I will be counting down the days until the next book comes out. I have absolutely no doubt that I will enjoy it as much—if not more than I have this one.

All in All: All I have to say is: YOU MUST READ THIS SERIES!!!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (50): Character I'd Want to Be for a Day

Harry Potter Moment of the Week is a meme hosted by Uncorked Thoughts. The aim of this meme is to share with fellow bloggers a character, spell, chapter, object or quote from the books/films/J. K. Rowling herself or anything Potter related! A list of upcoming topics can be found here.

This week's topic is:
If You Could Be a Character for a Day, Who Would You Be?

Out of all the awesome characters in HP the one I want to be most is Hermione Granger. I have always envied her smarts and she has always been one of my role models. Hermione has fantastic friends, an extraordinary brain, a huge heart, and leads an amazingly adventurous life. Who wouldn't want to be her?!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Adventures at Indie Bookfest 2014

After all the fun we had at Tampa Bay Comic Con last Saturday, Ally and I were ready to have some more at the Indie Bookfest, held right here in Central Florida near the Downtown Disney area. It was a two day event, but unfortunately, we weren't able to attend on Friday, when the panels were held. We were still excited, though, to go to the public book signing on Saturday, which was free!

Poor Melissa had to work straight through last week, including on Saturday, and couldn't go. We took her copy of Fateful for her to get autographed by Claudia Gray, which she very kindly did:

Ally and I were beyond excited to meet Maria V. Snyder, author of the awesome Study series. It was Ally who introduced me to the books by constantly telling me: "Poison Study. READ IT!!!!" I cannot emphasize how relentless Ally was about this until I finally borrowed her copy and was promptly so blown away that I bought my own plus the rest of the series plus the spin-off Glass series.

Ms. Snyder could not have been sweeter or more gracious with the time she spent talking to us. I'd worn butterfly earrings because I can't help my nerdiness ever (They were an homage to the Butterfly's Dust poison in the book. I told you I'm a nerd!). Well, Ms. Snyder noticed my earrings and asked if I'd worn them especially for the occasion, and I said yes! Greatest. Moment. Ever.

Here's my signed copy of Poison Study, which I shall never let out of my sight. Before I toss the post over to Ally to recount her experience, there's one more thing my inner geek needs to mention. I'd actually been to the hotel that hosted the con, the Buena Vista Palace, about 27 years ago, when I stayed there with my parents during a vacation to Disney. So not only am I a geek, but I'm getting pretty decrepit, too.

Ally: This past Saturday, Lee and I were able to meet Maria V. Snyder at a book signing in Orlando. Meeting her is probably the best thing that has happened to me all year! Ms. Snyder is one of my top three favorite authors of all time. I was completely star struck while I was talking to her. I must have said "I love you" around a million times and I am so grateful that Lee was with me; she managed to carry a coherent conversation with Ms. Snyder that kept me from looking like a complete idiot. I was a little hesitant to ask Ms. Snyder to sign all of the six books I had brought (I actually own the entire Snyder collection and only decided to get my favorites signed) but she was so kind and gracious about it. She made sure to sign each book with a colored pen that matched the cover of the specific book, which was beyond awesome! She also talked a little bit about her inspiration behind some of the characters and story lines. The absolute best part was when she gave me a high five; I just about died! Maria V. Snyder was just so nice and terrific; I would love to meet her again.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Bout of Books 11: Goals

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 18th and runs through Sunday, August 24th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 11 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

Bout of Books is a week away—woot! I've been thinking about my goals and what's manageable for me in a week, and here's what I've come up with:


  • Read as much as possible, putting off non-essential tasks to take some time and just enjoy reading for a change.
  • Update progress at least three times during the week.


I'd love to finish 3 books during the week, but considering how tough it is for me to read 1 book in seven days' time, we'll see how it goes with 2, lol!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Review: The Shadowhunter's Codex by Cassandra Clare & Joshua Lewis

The Shadowhunter's Codex by Cassandra Clare & Joshua Lewis
The Shadowhunter’s Codex
By Cassandra Clare & Joshua Lewis
Margaret K. McElderry Books
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased

Review: I usually write a summary to go along with every review, but The Shadowhunter’s Codex is a bit unique to describe, so I figured I’d include a quick synopsis here instead. It’s basically a reference book for Shadowhunters, the demon fighting warriors from Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices series. The Codex covers a range of topics about the Nephilim: their origin and some key moments in their history, their laws, types of demons they might encounter, and just about every other Shadowhunter-related topic you can think of.

I had this book lying around on my shelves since its release, and my motivation for buying it at the time was its pretty sweet price. Had it not been discounted, I probably would have eventually sought out a copy at the library. I admit to being a tad skeptical about whether or not this was essential reading. With the exception of Tahereh Mafi’s Destroy Me, series novellas don’t exactly set my pulse racing in anticipation, so what could I expect from a book that’s . . . a fictional guide to the world of two fictional series?

Two factors really worked to the benefit of The Shadowhunter’s Codex. One, I absolutely love the world. Two, I’d just finished reading City of Heavenly Fire and needed to read more, more, more about the Shadowhunters. Anything. Everything. So here was the perfect time to dust off my copy of this book!

The Shadowhunter’s Codex is supposed to read like a textbook of sorts, and indeed, it even sports discussion questions at the end of each chapter. It manages to simultaneously sound like a serious academic work yet not take itself too seriously. There are some tongue-in-cheek moments, like when the Codex encourages you to try introducing yourself to a Silent Brother. Adding to the lighter side are annotations in the margins by TMI’s Clary, Simon, and Jace. You’re actually supposed to be reading Clary’s copy of the Codex, which Simon and Jace keep seizing so they can contribute their “expertise” to it.

Besides the surprise humor, I enjoyed learning more about Jonathan, the legendary first Shadowhunter created by the angel Raziel. The section on parabatai was short, but I still found it really interesting. Some parts did drag; those were the ones that read most like a textbook. On the whole, I liked this more than I thought I would, although if you’re only a casual TMI/TID fan, you can probably pass on this.

All in All: Recommended for diehard Shadowhunter fans, not as much for everybody else.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (49): Favorite Romantic Moment

Harry Potter Moment of the Week is a meme hosted by Uncorked Thoughts. The aim of this meme is to share with fellow bloggers a character, spell, chapter, object or quote from the books/films/J. K. Rowling herself or anything Potter related! A list of upcoming topics can be found here.

This week's topic is:
Favorite Romantic Moment

OK, so I racked my brain for some romantic moments in the series, and I kept drawing a blank except for this one, and that is how I arrived at my choice. I'm going with Ron and Hermione's big moment in Deathly Hallows, when they meet up with Harry after their trip to the Chamber of Secrets to destroy Hufflepuff's cup. I'd forgotten how funny Harry is in this scene from Chapter 31, "The Battle of Hogwarts":

There was a clatter as the basilisk fangs cascaded out of Hermione's arms. Running at Ron, she flung them around his neck and kissed him full on the mouth. Ron threw away the fangs and broomstick he was holding and responded with such enthusiasm that he lifted Hermione off her feet.

"Is this the moment?" Harry asked weakly, and when nothing happened except that Ron and Hermione gripped each other still more firmly and swayed on the spot, he raised his voice. "OI! There's a war going on here!"

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Adventures at Tampa Bay Comic Con 2014!

In case it wasn't obvious, Ally, The Melissa, and I are huge nerds, not only about books but many other things as well. We've often talked about going to a comic con, and we finally made it to one—Tampa Bay Comic Con 2014. We were only able to attend one day of the con, this past Saturday, but we had an awesome time with the couple of hours we spent there. Two Game of Thrones actors made appearances: Richard Madden (Robb Stark) and Pedro Pascal (Oberyn Martell, the Red Viper). Alas, we did not have time to wait in the super long lines for autographs/photo ops or go to their Q & A panel. Poor Melissa had to go to work that evening, and we had a nearly two hour drive back home. Ah, well. We did, however, make the panel with Evan Peters from American Horror Story and most recently, X-Men: Days of Future Past. Ally has written a report on that experience, which you can read in a bit. Melissa has also prepared a little something for this post; after her disappointment over not winning any raffle prizes at UtopYA, she has a much happier tale to tell this time. First, though, I'm going to recap the con a little bit.

The exhibitor tables and booths were awesome. I had to refrain from buying everything in sight. There was no shortage of Doctor Who merchandise: T-shirts, buttons, figurines, even a teapot! I think my favorite bit of merchandise that I spotted was the T-shirt that had a direwolf on it and said "Keep Calm and Avoid Weddings."

Of course, no comic con would be a comic con without costumes! The four of us (Ally and Melissa's brother, Denis, also went) did not go in costume, but we saw plenty of inspiration for our next con. There were many tributes to several different Doctors, with the Tenth and Eleventh being the ones I saw most often. I also spotted 3 Daenerys Targaryens, 2 Arya Starks, and 1 Jon Snow. Oh, and there was a dude who sported a really cool Gryffindor Quidditch uniform, complete with broomstick!

Finally, we went to an author panel about how YA isn't just for young adults. Aside from buying a poster of the Tenth Doctor, the panel was probably one of Melissa's favorite things about the con because she won a Doctor Who keychain as a raffle prize. Both lovelies are pictured a little further below. And now I shall hand over the post to Ally and Melissa, but before I do, here's a selfie of our quartet, waiting in line for the Evan Peters panel:

Meeting Evan Peters! ❤

Ally: This past weekend, Melissa, Lee, Denis, and I had our very first experience at the Tampa Bay Comic Con. The best part for me was seeing Evan Peters! For those of you who don't know, Evan Peters is one of the star actors of the hit television series American Horror Story, and he also played Quicksilver in X-Men: Days of Future Past. It was so flipping amazing to even be in the same room with him! Evan's panel didn't start until later in the afternoon, so we all mucked about for a while before I dragged everyone to go stand in line to wait. We got to the panel room close to an hour before it started and the line was already ridiculously long. I won't lie, I was kind of flipping out because I was scared we wouldn't be able to get in, lol. Luckily, we made it! Evan was just perfect! I can gush all day about him! I didn't go up to ask him any questions because I didn't want to make a fool out of myself like the dozens of other girls were doing, lol. I took lots of pictures though! ;) It was really great hearing what he had to say. Unfortunately, he didn't give away any spoilers for the next season of AHS. But he answered every other single question thrown at him, even going so far as showing everyone that he was wearing boxers! The line was definitely well worth the wait!

I Am the Champion

The Melissa: I AM THE CHAMPION. At last, I have won my raffle. Going into that panel, I just knew that I would be walking out of there with a prize. Let me just say, I deserved it. A lot. Anyway. . . I also bought a prettyful! :D And expect a rant sometime soon. By soon I mean when I feel like writing it. XD