Tag Archives: BEA

BEA & BookCon 2018 Recap

After missing BEA last year, I was excited to be back again for 2018! This year was totally different from my previous years attending in many ways, starting with the fact that it was kind of a last-minute decision!

Now that Novelly Yours has become my main focus, I knew I wanted to attend BookCon to meet up with my candle reps, meet customers, and say hello to other bookish shops that were attending as vendors! My regular crew wasn’t attending BEA this year so I didn’t really have plans to attend but I still really wanted to. I managed to sneak in the last day of Book Expo with friend and rep Brittany (@bookswrotemystory) by my side and then we both hit BookCon with the rest of the rep crew!

BOOK EXPO (BEA)

    

In previous years, I focused a lot on all of the things that we did day-by-day and this year, I think I’m switching that up a bit because things felt very different this year. I noticed that there weren’t as many bloggers in attendance, which could be for a number of things. I know that the BookExpo team switched some things around and changed blogger/media attendance fees. I don’t know if this was to cut down on/discourage blogger attendance in actuality or if the community just kind of felt like it was (those were the rumblings we all heard within the last couple years), but it did seem like there were fewer people I knew there… But there’s also the fact that there are a lot of newer bloggers on the scene now and a lot of the veterans that I know have taken a step back from blogging, or at least to the extent where BEA is not a priority. In that sense, it did seem a little less familiar.

Meeting Kerri Maniscalco at BEA18

The pace of the conference is quite different from previous years as well. There are far fewer galley drops and books laying about the floor, free for the taking. Everything was much more scheduled and we had to line up for pretty much anything we wanted to do. I’m no stranger to standing in lines at BEA but I was also really looking forward to just walking around and trying to find some new, interesting reads this year and I couldn’t really even peep at any books. Everything was very protected, lots of secret drops that you had to be watching for on social media or things that were announced but the title kept a secret, and even more ticketed signings than in previous years. It’s not a bad thing — ticketed signings and and scheduled drops can help the organization process and keep things orderly, which I know was a concern among to blogging community if not all of the BEA attendees. It did make it difficult to do anything without a schedule and I was trying to be a bit more casual this year so those two concepts didn’t really work together, but I did manage to meet a few authors and grab a few ARCs that I really wanted to! I was surprised that there just weren’t really a lot of things to go and browse like there had been in previous years, not even with some of the smaller publishers. It was rare to see ARCs around on the floor to look at or take.

With Leigh Bardugo at the Macmillan blogger party

Another perk of attending the one day of BookExpo was that I was in town for the Macmillan blogger party! They’re one of my favorite publishers and I still treasure our working relationship and how well I’ve grown to know the team and even the authors! I somehow always manage to get there late (this time it was because Laini Taylor was the last signing of the day and we needed MUSE OF NIGHTMARES and then we had to check into our Airbnb after moving out of our hotel) so I was rushed again getting there, but I stayed until the very end! I got to say hello to Marissa Meyer again (though I neglected to get a photo with her) and chat with Leigh Bardugo! I saw the lovely faces of the Macmillan team, spent time chatting with bloggers, and even got to meet a couple new friends that I hadn’t met before! It’s always such a fun time and it’s one of my favorite parts of the conference!

BOOKCON

  

This was the first year that I attended BookCon since its inception so I had no idea what to expect!! The first year was kind of a hot mess and they seemed to have it down to a science now this year. It was nice having it on the same floor as BookExpo and I already knew where everything was. The upsides of BookCon were taking the time to meet some other vendors like OwlCrate, The Bookish Box, Book Beau, North Ave Candles, and Beacon Book Box. I’ve met some of the owners before but it was nice to say hello to people for the first time and make some new connections as well!! I had also made some candles to hand out around BookCon and that was really fun to be able to meet some people that way and hand out some fun goodies!

Other than attending as a vendor, I can’t say I’d ever go to BookCon as a regular attendee again. Every signing in the regular autographing area was ticketed and since I had a press pass and didn’t receive a BookCon badge ahead of time, I could register for any of them and a representative of BookCon didn’t get back to me to see if there was a way for me to do that. I didn’t push it because I knew I was going to BEA, plus I’ve attended many book events, so I didn’t want to take that opportunity away from someone else who really wanted to meet their favorite author! Most things on the floor were ticketed as well and I didn’t have desire to wait in a lot of those ticket lines so I just ended up walking around and hanging out with my friends most of the time, as well as making the time to chat with the aforementioned vendors!

Nearly everything at BookCon is something that’s available for purchase, as well, meaning that unless I was buying books, I likely wasn’t picking anything up. Knowing how many books I’d have to tote back home, I didn’t feel like it was necessary to buy something all the way out in NYC and take it back to IL. A lot of people purchased books for signings but since I own all of the books from my favorite authors and I didn’t attend that many signings at BookCon, there was no reason for me to buy those either. I guess when you’re spoiled by BEA and ALA, getting books at BookCon felt silly (as weird as that sounds) but I also think the event is designed much more for consumers and the general public and not so much someone who can attend BEA or other book conferences like ALA. I think I ended up with 2 or 3 books from BookCon vs the other stack that I was able to obtain from BEA.

 

I definitely had fun meeting the people and hanging out with my friends at BookCon but I don’t think I’d pay to attend just for me. Hopefully in years to come, I can participate in more of a vendor fashion, whether that’s having a booth or collaborating with another vendor!

Did you attend BEA or BookCon this year? Have you attended in previous years? What did you think?

Looking for more BEA news? You can check out my recaps from previous years I attended!
BEA 2013 | BEA 2014 | BEA 2015 | BEA2016

BEA 2016 Recap!

Book Expo America 2016 was in Chicago this year so it was a given that I’d attend! My other halves (other thirds?), Alyssa from Books Take You Places and Amy from Tripping Over Books, came out to Chicago and we all headed out to BEA together on Tuesday afternoon! The trip was excellent, as always, and it was so amazing to spend time with all of the wonderful bookish people I’ve come to know throughout the years!

TUESDAY, MAY 10TH

Tuesday we headed into the city and met up with some fellow bloggers to go see The Bean (official name: Cloud Gate) in Millennium Park! I’ve visited a few times being a Chicago suburbanite but it was so much fun to see everyone experience it for the first time and it’s always fun to feel free to be touristy, even when it’s a city I know well! We took some requisite Bean selfies and other photos before we headed off to dinner for some deep dish pizza! Lou Malnati’s is my favorite place to grab deep dish and I’m never, ever disappointed. The pizza was delicious and the company was wonderful!

WEDNESDAY, MAY 11TH

Due to a family emergency, I got to the floor late on Wednesday so I really didn’t pick up too many books! I did end up getting REPLICA by Lauren Oliver which was something I really wanted to snag. The story has two different narrators but the two sides can either be read entirely one and then the other or alternating. I did get a copy of REPLICA from Edelweiss but if I’m going to read it in alternating POVs, that really doesn’t work reading it on my Kindle! I haven’t decided how I’m going to do it yet but I can’t wait to read this one!

After the conference, we headed out to dinner at Carnivale with a group of blogger besties! We were looking for something unique with a fun atmosphere and Carnivale was a delight! It wasn’t crowded since we came on a Wednesday and it looks like they get into some pretty cool shows on the weekends, complete with aerial performances! I got jerk ribs (I love ribs) and they were so good! We split a chocolate cigar for dessert and it actually looked like cigar. The service was great, atmosphere was fun, and company was top notch!

THURSDAY, MAY 12TH

Thursday was the busiest day! We spent a bunch of time trying to grab our most-coveted ARCs and were able to see so many amazing authors! I haven’t read the Miss Peregrine series yet (I am starting it soon!) but we met Ransom Riggs and got a chapter sampler signed for his upcoming release Tales of the Peculiar. I got to say hello again to Gayle Forman and get an ARC of her adult novel, Leave Me! I absolutely love Gayle and all of her young adult books so although I don’t really read adult contemporary, I can’t wait to see what this book has in store for readers! I met Jennifer Niven and received a copy of her upcoming release, Holding up the Universe, as well as Adam Gidwitz for his latest MG novel. I was able to pick up a bunch of ARCs I’ve been looking forward to from the NOVL, a cute contemporary from HarperTeen, and the first in a new series called Stalking Jack the Ripper!

Thursday night held some publisher parties for us! I met up with the Bloomsbury team and some of their authors for food and drinks! It was great to see Lizzy, Erica, and the rest of the Bloomsbury ladies in attendance! I also got to meet Elizabeth Eulberg who is so sweet as well as author Danielle Paige. Jeff Giles wasn’t able to make it to the party due to a flight delay but I did get to meet him the next day! It was the first time I had seen my blurb in the ARC of The Edge of Everything so that was SUCH a cool experience!!

The Edge of Everything Jeff Giles The Book Addict's Guide

After Bloomsbury we conveniently walked two blocks to the Macmillan/Fierce Reads party at Berghoff! It was such a delight to hang out with more blogger friends and I was overjoyed to be able to really spend some time with Marissa Meyer! We chatted for a bit with Mary from Macmillan and a gentleman who I later found out is the president of Macmillan! (I hope I didn’t say anything TOO embarrassing in front of him. We were all talking about truth or dare so…) I got to say hello to the lovely and fierce Leigh Bardugo and meet Caleb Roehrig who has a debut coming out in the fall! The party was great and I’m so glad I was able to attend, especially since I missed it last year!!

Leigh Barudgo Macmillan B & Marissa

FRIDAY, MAY 13TH

Friday was all about obtaining an ARC of Gemina!! Penguin Random House didn’t really do ANY drops at all except for the one that was scheduled on Friday at 3:30pm so we meandered around the floor for most of the day, meeting a few authors and grabbing a few books, but we made sure to SET UP for Gemina! In the meantime, we happened to somehow stumble into Laini Taylor’s signing and there was mysteriously (miraculously?) NO LINE. We just walked right up and got to meet her! As usual I was quite flabbergasted and made an idiot of myself in front of a huge author but she was very sweet and I’m so excited I got to meet her because she was one of the author’s I’ve wanted to meet but she hadn’t come to town yet!

It was finally Gemina time and we almost didn’t even know it! Around 1pm, we ran out of places we really wanted to be so we figured why not go line up early for the ARC drop? It was a good thing we headed over there because there was already a line forming!! There had to have been hundreds and hundreds of people by the time it was time for the drop. Yes, we waited two and a half hours to grab this book! We are that excited for it. We heard that Jay Kristoff was walking around and if you gave him a secret keyword, he had ARCs of his latest solo release Nevernight! Girls literally went RUNNING. I want that book so badly and Kristina from Gone Pecan got one! He had limited ARCs since they were just in his messenger bag so we are convincing her to share ;D But really it was just super neat to meet him and he was so tickled with how many people were in line for Gemina!

All was well, we easily made it within the number range to grab Gemina (I think most people did!) and that was it for BEA 2016!

See my full photo album from the trip on my blog’s Facebook page!

Did you go to BEA this year? What was your favorite part of the conference? If you didn’t go to BEA, what are some books that were there that you’re dying to read!?

Looking for more BEA news? You can check out my recaps from previous years I attended!
BEA 2013 | BEA 2014 | BEA 2015

BEA Part of It | Chicago Edition 2016

BEA CHICAGO

Traveling to Chicago for BEA this year? Totally new to the city and don’t know what to do/where to go? Then this Chicago edition of the BEA Part of It series is just what you need!

Four years ago, Estelle from Rather Be Reading started the BEA Part of It series — a little guide for everyone who was travelling to NYC for BEA. She wanted to share her home with everyone who was visiting and point out some of her favorite spots, give ideas for places to go, and recommend things to do. Since BEA is in Chicago this year, I thought it would be a nice tradition to continue for first-time/infrequent visitors to the Windy City and with Estelle’s blessing, BEA Part of it, Chicago edition was in the works!

This year, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite Chicago attractions along with some other Chicago area friends: Katie & Kylie from The Polished Page Turners, Heidi from YA Bibliophile, and Jaime & Erin from Fiction Fare! Keep your eyes peeled for their Chicago-themed posts throughout the rest of April and into May!


I grew up in (and still currently live in) the Chicago suburbs so I’ve been in and out of the city pretty much all of my life! I wanted to share some of my favorite spots and recommendations for things to see while you’re in the city for BEA this year!

THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT CHICAGO

WELCOME TO CHICAGO

  • It’s not really that windy. The “Windy City” actually was a reference to “hot-air” politicians back in the 1800s. (Although that might still be true today.)
  • Weather. May in Chicago… could be anything! Chicago weather is a bit unpredictable but I’d say bet on nice spring weather (50s, 60s).
  • Chicagoans. Most of the “Chicago accents” you hear on TV are extremely exaggerated! Though I have been told I do have a slight Chicago accent.
  • Public transit. The Metra and the El (the subway/elevated train) are commonly used forms of public transit. I’d say for most things you can probably use a taxi or an Uber to get from place to place. Unless you’re going a fair distance, you probably won’t need to use the trains and I don’t really recommend the bus system. (Also in part because I’ve just never taken it.)
  • McCormick Place. If you’re trying to find places around the conference center, I’ll be honest… it’s kind of in a dead zone. There aren’t a lot of restaurants or places nearby and you’ll likely have to take a cab/Uber to get places. It’ll be a pretty long (and possibly unsafe) walk if you try to hoof it anywhere from McCormick! (Trust a person who has accidentally made a nine mile walk down the lakeshore once time… Just take a cab.)
  • Like New York, Chicago has many different neighborhoods. If you’re looking for places near McCormick, I’d suggest looking in: South Loop (NOT THE SOUTH SIDE), The Loop, Magnificent Mile, River North, West Loop.

PLACES TO EAT

  • Pizza. Chicago is known for its deep dish pizza! If you want to try some, my favorite place is Lou Malnati’s. Another option is Gino’s East (which is also great but I like Lou’s a bit more). If you’re staying near McCormick, I recommend the Lou Malnati’s on State Street. There are also locations for both in River North.
  • Burgers, Sandwiches, Hot Dogs. One place I’ve been to several times is Rockit Bar & Grill in River North. It’s a few miles from McCormick but I’ve always loved the food (standard American fare) and there’s a great beer selection too. They have a fun rock & roll theme going on and the menus are bookended in old record covers. Buddy Guy’s Legends is a little bit closer and there’s a strong cajun & blues theme. There’s live music (actual shows at night that may require tickets but free during the day/dinner time). Another Chicago staple is Portillo’s, famous for their hot dogs and cake shakes! They’ve expanded into a few places now  but it’s almost strictly a Chicago establishment.
  • Italian. Quartino Ristorante is a fantastic place for Italian and it’s also a wine bar. The dishes here are meant to be shared! Order any plate off the menu and you’ll get a medium sized sampling (it probably won’t fill you up) and the idea is to order a whole bunch of different things and share them with the table. We went here for a birthday recently and it was a lot of fun! It’s a little bit fancier than just casual dining (price and attire).

THINGS TO DO

chicago attractions

  • Attractions.
    • Museums. The Art Institute is the museum I’ve frequented the most (usually because we went there for many school field trips). It’s really neat to explore — plus, you can pretend you’re in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Also near by is the Museum Campus — The Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, and Adler Planetarium are all right next to each other. (Also by Soldier Field!)
    • Millennium Park. Millennium Park is a great place to walk around and see some traditional Chicago staples like The Bean, Grant Park, and Buckingham Fountain. It also surrounds the Art Institute! You can also take a walk down the lakeshore and just enjoy the view.
    • Navy Pier. I haven’t really been to Navy Pier as a destination (mostly walked through it) but it’s a classic Chicago attraction! Check out the Ferris Wheel!
    • The Sears Tower. Okay, so they renamed it The Willis Tower. It’ll always be the Sears Tower to me.
  • Nightlife. Howl at the Moon is a dueling piano bar in River North. I’ve never been but I know several people who have been many times!
  • Baseball. The Cubs are in town during BEA week! There’s a night game on Wednesday the 11th and an afternoon came on Saturday the 14th if you’re still in town. Wrigley Field is a little far but easily accessible by El (That’s how I get there!) and if you’re a big baseball fan, Wrigley is such a historic landmark (and just a really fun place overall). 
  • Shopping. The Magnificent Mile is famous for its shopping! There are tons of stores to choose from, lots of restaurants in the area, and other attractions.
  • Theater. Check out a comedy show at Second City, a showing of Chicago at the Cadillac Palace Theatre, or Disenchanted at Broadway in Chicago!
  • The Beach. Yes, the lake does have a couple beaches! The water will still be freezing so I don’t recommend getting in the water but you can visit Oak Street Beach or North Avenue Beach on the North Side!

wrigley field


I feel like that’s a lot of info and so little info all at the same time! There’s so much more to Chicago BUT other museums, restaurants, and attractions are just so far away from McCormick Place and I’m guessing most people in town won’t want to travel TOO far in a city that they don’t know well. And truthfully, BEA takes up so much of the day and every year I’ve been I usually want to see people at night so this should be plenty to fill your Chicago time throughout BEA week! Hope these help! I can’t wait to hear about some first-time Chicago experiences!!

And if you’re going to BEA for the first time ever, I also have a post sharing my own personal experiences and tips for what to wear/bring/do!
So You’re Going to BEA For the First Time?

BEA 2015 Recap!

Well, I did BEA a little differently this year! For those of you who don’t know me or know me as well, I got married this past November so after taking a week and a half off for a wedding + honeymoon, I was trying not to take another full week of for BEA. Plus, after discussing with my BFFs Amy & Alyssa, we decided to put the focus of our trip more on spending time with each other (since we only see each other in person twice a year) and only attending one day of Book Expo America.

With the new schedule this year (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday conference), Friday was our day of choice and the timing worked out really well! I actually flew out Thursday to Connecticut to stay with Alyssa and grab some best friend time… especially since we’d have to get up super early for the conference on Friday! Amy was already there and the three of us just had a nice, relaxing day in CT. We, of course, made a visit to the Book Barn in Niantic which is still my favorite used book store that I’ve been fortunate enough to visit! (I actually grabbed more books at the Book Barn than at BEA. Oops?)

Book Barn Niantic

Friday morning we got up before the crack of dawn (literally. My alarm got me up at 4:15am) and got ready to hop the train from CT to NYC. I say hop, but really it’s a two hour train ride! BUT we’ve done it before and it’s a really nice way to save money instead of shelling out hundreds of dollars to stay in a hotel in NYC for a night! We were willing to sacrifice time (and sleep) to save a little money and it worked out nicely! We also got to meet Lauren from Bookmark Lit who is also from Connecticut so she carpooled with us to the train station and we headed to the conference together! After we taxied it to Javits (I’ll tell ya… sitting in the front seat of a cap was an experience), we were ready to take on BEA!

This being my third year, Alyssa’s fourth, and Amy’s fifth attending BEA, we had a bit more chill of an approach. We fully planned on plopping ourselves in the signing line for Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo but since that wasn’t until 10:30, we casually scanned the floor and walked around to check out the booths like we usually do. I was trying to limit myself to what I picked up on the floor and I grabbed a hardcover ARC of Illuminae by Amy Kaufman and Jay Kristoff which I’ve been curious about for a while! Plus… hardcover ARC!? Has anyone even heard of that before? I’m even more interested now! The book looks crazy, full of artwork, illustrations, notes, emails, logs, etc so I am definitely anxious to see what this is all about!

bea2015

Getting in line for Six of Crows was our priority really for the whole day so on to the line we went! We hopped in just at the right time (a little over an hour beforehand) because it started filling in pretty quickly after that and with this being our only real “must-have” book, it was worth the time to make sure we got a copy AND got it signed! There was a bit of Drama with a capital D when people got miscounted and were told they weren’t going to get books. Macmillan only had 100 copies reserved for the signing and several people came through to count the line (two line admins from BEA and the publicist from Macmillan) and people who were once “safe” ended up getting cut. There were a few stories going around but from what we saw and from what others heard as well, it sounded like they miscounted and let too many people in the line and then on top of that, an unexpected number of people used their “jump the line” passes (which I forget about every year) so that took away books from the people who were in line. Fortunately, my friends and I were safe but there were several people who got cut who were VERY unhappy. I totally understand because I would have been really upset if I had gotten cut BUT drama ensued when one lady took it way too far and started screaming at the poor publicist (whose fault it was not) and from what I hear, security was almost called on her after we left that part of the line. What people will do for these books, man. It’s intense. But long story short, it worked out for us and it was so lovely to see Leigh again because she’s just one of my favorite authors all-around.

bea2015-1

After Leigh, we didn’t really have too many other plans! I kept circling the floor with Lauren throughout the day and Alyssa and Amy ended up in line to meet Mindy Kaling (who we didn’t realize would be at the conference (I thought she was going to be at BookCon)) and I picked up a couple other books here and there. I met a few other bloggers in line, passed by Rainbow Rowell (who we couldn’t get in line for since we were waiting for Six of Crows) and totally forgot about Marissa Meyer’s signing to my dismay!! It was for Fairest which I do already own (but not signed) and since she’s one of my favorite authors, I was hoping to meet her again there at the conference but with all of our “chill” plans, I forgot all about her signing! I tried to hop in just to say hello but they wouldn’t allow it. (Thankfully Andi from Andi’s ABCs said hello to her for me at the Macmillan blogger party the night before (which I was also sad to miss but had to since I wasn’t staying in NYC) and Marissa even remembered who I was! Woo!)

We wandered some more, found a few more bloggers, and I stopped by some publisher booths to say hello to Erica and Emily from Bloomsbury and Ksenia who’s now over at Simon & Schuster! We chatted a bit, made some plans, and then finally left BEA at around 3pm in search of food and refreshments!

bea2015-3

After food, it was on to meet up with some of our very best blogger friends! The conference was fun but we were more importantly attending to see some of the most wonderful people that we only get to see once a year at events like these! We gathered in Bryant Park just to talk and hang out and it was honestly the BEST time I’ve had at BEA. Publisher parties are fun and exciting and glamorous but to have all of your very closest blogger friends in one place? That’s priceless.

We had a great time just talking about anything and everything — from what was going on with us to what happened on the conference — and I think we were all so excited just to be hanging out and not running around BEA trying to sneak in friend time! Nothing too out of the ordinary happened but it was just perfect that way. I got to chat with some great people and we were all very relaxed after a long day (for us, week for them!) until the party started to disperse for food, events, and even a date! 060215-6 060215-5

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We thought about stopping by The Strand after the day was done but we were just plain tired (and didn’t need to buy more books) so home we went! We stopped at Magnolia Bakery (as is tradition when we’re in Grand Central) and I got a nice iced coffee to quench my thirst and two cupcakes for the road! Two more hours back home on the train, another 40 minutes back to Alyssa’s house and it was time to crash!

The rest of the weekend was nice too! I got to spend more time with Alyssa and Amy just relaxing, talking, and getting Thai for dinner on Saturday after we went to go see Pitch Perfect 2! It was a really great weekend and as always, I was sad to say goodbye, especially since we never know when we’ll see each other again in person! BUT I did miss my husband and sadly, I had to get back to the real world after a BEA and BFF hangover.

My flight home got delayed but only by an hour so it wasn’t too bad (I seem to always have delays at Bradley?) so I hung out with Alyssa and her boyfriend for part of the day after we dropped Amy off at the train station. I got the airport a bit early and had to say another teary goodbye (it’s always hard) but then I had a nice time just decompressing after a busy few days with Six of Crows (yes, I already started reading) and a couple Yuenglings since I can’t get those in Illinois! I finally got on the plane and headed home, with my book in tow and another beverage since my sister had a free drink coupon that was going to go to waste! Not a bad way to end a great weekend!

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Did you go to BEA this year? Do you plan on going next year in Chicago? You know I’ll be there since I live in the ‘burbs!

Looking for more BEA news? You can check out my recaps from previous years I attended!
BEA 2013 | BEA 2014

BEA 2014 Recap!

WHEW, back from BEA 2014 and I am still drained and catching up! It was so much fun but being a more introverted person, I am happy for the time to recoup and snag a little quiet time!

As predicted, one of my favorite parts was seeing all of my close blogger friends again, meeting bloggers for the first time, and meeting new bloggers that I hadn’t even known before! It was really so fantastic to just spend time with the people that I only get to see once a year at best and I’m so glad I got to come out to NYC and meet up with everyone! Once again, I didn’t take as MANY pictures as I should have with everyone but I definitely have more than last year so that’s a start!

WEDNESDAY:
I got into the city on Wednesday, flying straight into LaGuardia. I won’t tell you my taxi-this-isn’t-really-a-taxi story (could I BE more of a tourist?) but I made it safely to Grand Central to meet up with Alyssa (Books Take You Places)! I picked DANGEROUS GIRLS by Abigail Haas as my airport/plane read and I honestly started it in Midway and finished it at Grand Central. It was THAT GOOD. Seriously glad I chose to read that in one fell swoop! So Alyssa’s train arrived and we headed over to the hotel, grabbed a bite to eat, and then waiting for Amy (Tripping Over Books) to arrive and it was a joyous occasion when we were all finally united again!!!
We went to dinner with Estelle (Rather Be Reading) at Draught 55 because I needed Estelle to introduce me to a few NYC beer selections! We had such a great time catching up and it was so much fun to have us all together, especially since Estelle wasn’t actually attending the conference. It was such a perfect way to start out our BEA trip!

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THURSDAY:
Thursday was probably the busiest day for me overall! We headed to BEA and started the day by scoping out some galley drops and I was fortunate to grab I’LL GIVE YOU THE SUN (Jandy Nelson), BELZHAR (Meg Wolizer), and get ZODIAC (Romina Russell) signed, all before 9:45am! That really opened up my day a little bit because I had those on my “schedule” (which I ended up following VERY loosely) and I was able to sort of roam around instead of being “trapped” in autographing & galley drop lines! Thursday was a lot of galley drops and a handful of autographings and the first day was just a bit of a blur! I stalked a few autographings, hunted down a few galley drops, and that was pretty much the majority of my day! We also took our time to pace around the floor and make sure we also said hi to all our fellow bloggers there!
Thursday night was party night for me! I got to go to the Macmillan blogger happy hour over at Houndstooth Pub — YAY! I got back to the hotel around 4 or 4:30 so I had to get ready mildly quickly to book it on over there, so I got ready quickly and headed outside to catch a cab… Only it was rush hour. And there were no cabs. So I started walking (after being told by a cab driver that I “have to wait for one with the light on” because he’s “seen me three times trying to hail a cab” LOLLL no kidding, boss! I kept walking up the street trying to hail as I went to no avail) and literally found no cabs. I was already running late and didn’t want to be TOO late for the party, so at a certain point, I just called it quits and started hoofing it. Yep. That’s right. I hoofed it all the way there. I was mildly sweaty (sorry, guys) and thirsty by the time I arrived but I made it only 15 minutes late! I even got asked if I knew where the block with the fabric stores was so I guess I was convincing as a New Yorker with my fast walking!
The party was fun! My first BEA/blogger party and it was a blast! I got to finally meet the Macmillan staff that I’ve been talking to for so long — YAY! There were so many wonderful bloggers there too and I even met a few people first the first time like Kat, Steph, and Meg from Cuddlebuggery! I got to see some of my blogging friends there too, like Alexa (Alexa Loves Books), Sandie (Teen Lit Rocks), and Christina (Allodoxophobia)! It was so great to talk to them and spend time with them since I never get to see them in person and they are some of my FAVS! It was a lot of chatting and some good drinks, and then before I knew it, it was time to move onto the next party AHHH!
I then moved on to the YA Party hosted by Liza from WhoRuBlog, Andye from Reading Teen, & Hannah from The Irish Banana. What a party!! I got to see bloggers and authors alike with some publishing reps mixed in as well! It was such a great time (after I lost my Bingo card and then found it way too late) and I got to hang out with more wonderful bloggers and have great chats with Jenni from Live to Read, Love to Read, Jamie from The Perpetual Page Turner, and Brianna from Paperback Princess! Lots of schmoozing & chatting and it was just so much fun to be able to talk with new and old friends alike.

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IMG_2929(photo courtesy of Sandie from Teen Lit Rocks)

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Jamie, Scott Westerfield, and me (photo courtesy of Jamie at The Perpetual Page Turner) 

FRIDAY:
Friday was much more laid-back. I thought it was going to be a busy day, but I actually did a lot of what I wanted on Friday and snagged my most coveted ARCs on Thursday too! We were able to get in line for the galley drop of LANDLINE (Rainbow Rowell) though which was one book I REALLY wanted to get. We also picked up a few great books in a Little, Brown galley drop and I got signed copies of EVEN IN PARADISE (Chelsey Philpot) and THE WALLED CITY (Ryan Graudin)!
At night, Alyssa, Amy and I walked over to a local theater to see Maleficent! It was really, really enjoyable and Angelina Jolie was just perfect for the role! I did have some minor complaints like… plot haha. I just wished they had hashed out Maleficent’s back story more and had less of a cross-over with the Sleeping Beauty plot because I feel like it sort of overshadowed Maleficent’s life and shifted the focus.

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IMG_2941Maleficent viewing! (photo courtesy of Alyssa at Books Take You Places) 

SATURDAY:
PHEW, Saturday was the last day and I was exhausted! It was a super chill day with not much to do on the main floor so we booked it straight to the line to meet Cary Elwes (Westley from The Princess Bride, for those of you who don’t know) who was there promoting his new book coming out in October, AS YOU WISH: INCONCEIVABLE TALES FROM THE MAKING OF THE PRINCESS BRIDE (Cary Elwes).

NAMES DROPPED: Bloggers

I SAW YOU BUT WHY DIDN’T I TAKE PICTURES WITH YOU?

NAMES DROPPED: Books

So to sum up a long post, BEA this year was so much fun! It was definitely very different than last year, but mostly I’m just glad that I got to spend time with my besties, see some of my great blogger friends, and meet new people too! As usual, I didn’t network a lot because I’m just plain intimidated! I made sure to talk with the Macmillan contacts that I knew but other than that… I just chickened out! Sigh. I guess there’s always next year! I just never like approaching a publisher and handing them my card like I expect them to send me things. It feels strange! Whichever way you slice it, it was a total success and a blast! But even still, I’m glad to be home and relaxing, back in the swing of things!

Heads up for all you #LitLush fans! I grabbed a bunch of ARCs for On the Same Page ARC tours! Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for new ARC tours being announced on the On the Same Page page and Twitter!! If you have any ARCs from BEA (or otherwise) that you’re already finished with or don’t need to keep, please consider donating them to the ARC tours! We try to collect as many as possible on our own but I cannot tell you how much blogger donations help and how much we appreciate them!

I’m Ready for #BEA14!

IT’S THAT TIME, MY FRIENDS!!! I will be leaving for BEA in just a couple days. MERE DAYS. I cannot express how excited I am — bookish fun, meeting authors, traveling, and most importantly, seeing all of my blogger friends (and just plain friends because you guys are just a part of my LIFE now (sorry, you’re stuck with me)) again!

I felt like a pre-BEA post was necessary this year. With one year under my belt, I’m excited in a totally new way because I feel more prepared with what to expect and what kinds of things there are for me to flail about.

Not sure what you can expect from your first time at BEA? You can check out my recap of BEA 2013 or my post with tips & tricks for BEA first timers!

So let’s get down to it! What will I be doing this year? Here’s a rough outline of where you can find me at BEA 2014!

Important thing #1: WHAT I LOOK LIKE.

I thought about doing a vlog but *shudders* too scary. I chickened out again, so you just get pictures instead! There have been a few pictures that I’ve posted of myself on the blog, but here are the many faces of me all in one spot! If you see this face — either excited or bored or reading in an autographing line — tap me on the shoulder and say HELLO! Yes, even interrupt me when I’m reading! (I said it.) Half of the reason I’m so excited for BEA it to meet all the bloggers and see blogger friends that I’ve met before. YOU GUYS. You make this event what it is!

(all of my recent pictures are with authors, sorry not sorry)

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BEA last year with Sandie from Teen Lit Rocks!

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Apparently I bought more dresses than I need to I will be wearing some sort of maxi dress or this cute blue dress that I found which is shorter than I normally wear (aka, not a maxi dress) that I’m kind of excited for. But who knows what I’ll feel like wearing which day because somehow I went from being a person who owned zero dresses to a person who owns a ton. ANYWAY. I’m usually found in shades of blue (although I have a couple dresses that actually DON’T have blue on them. Weird.) and not like many people will be in heels at BEA but you will never, ever see me in tall shoes because I’m already 5’8″. Hopefully my hair will not be a mess, but if it gets humid……. I make you no promises.

Important thing #2: SOCIAL MEDIA.

I apologize in advance for blowing up social media with BEA things, but chances are… I will. Most important things? Twitter (@bookaddictguide) and Instagram (@bookaddictsguide). I’m sure I’ll be posting updates during the day, where I’ll be, pictures of things I’ve seen — so if you’re interested in keeping up, you can follow me there! Chances are I’ll be with Alyssa (@withthebanned) and Amy (@trippingbooks) at least 90% of the time so if you see either of them, look for me too! We’ll also probably update On the Same Page (@galsonthesamepg) a few times too since our entire BEA trip will be spent together!

Important thing #3: WHERE I’LL BE.

The only real answer to this is ALL OVER THE PLACE. Wednesday we’ll be arriving so I won’t be at Blogger Con, but we’ll have a relaxing day in the city and hopefully grab some dinner with blogger buds!

At the conference, you can probably find me in lines for:

  • RAINBOW ROWELL
  • REBECCA SERLE
  • SARAH J. MAAS
  • AMY ZHANG
  • COREY ANN HAYDU

After the conference, I’ll be all over the place with a busy but exciting schedule! If you’re going to any of these events, you MUST let me know so we can hang out!

  • Macmillan Blogger Happy Hour*
  • YA Rooftop Party*
  • Book Blogger Picnic
  • Seeing Maleficent
  • Kids Author Carnival (which I will be working as a volunteer and you should totally attend. It’s their first ever event!)
  • Visiting The Strand and Books of Wonder (at some point in time)
  • Finding the best places to eat

(Invite only events, but let me know if you will be there!)

Important thing #4: WHAT TO TALK ABOUT.

It’s hard to talk to new people, but hopefully you’ve already been talking to me on Twitter (if you haven’t, seriously. Let’s chat.) so we have a little basis of conversation but if not, here are things I will always be up for talking about:

  • Books (duh)
  • Blogging (duh)
  • Traveling
  • Wedding things (since I’m mid-planning!)
  • Barbecue
  • The color blue
  • Beer
  • Coffee
  • Books and coffee and/or beer (*ahemmmm* Book and a Beverage)
  • Any of my favorite authors: Marissa Meyer, Leigh Bardugo, Gayle Forman, Leila Howland, Robin LaFevers, Rainbow Rowell

I think that about covers it for my BEA itinerary! I was too shy to talk to many people last year (like, actually pretended I didn’t see people because I was too scared to say hello — how stupid is that) so PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE if you see me, do come say hello! I am making it a point to break out of my shell and talk to people. If you’re not sure if it’s me, tap me on the shoulder or just stare awkwardly at my badge for a few minutes. (It’s okay – I’ll be doing that too.) I WANT to talk to people this year.

Last year was a kind of hectic BEA in which I had sooooo many authors I wanted to see and books I wanted to grab. I think this year will be much more relaxed and I won’t be running around as much and I want to spend that time talking to friends!!

If you’re going LET ME KNOW. Will we be at any of the same events? Can we travel to any of them together? Will you please of the love of all that is BEA stop and say hello to me!? Hope to see you there!!!

Crazy news, you guys. I DID IT. I made a vlog. Crazy self-conscious, of course, so don’t hate on me too hard 😉 Pardon my messy hair (I filmed it when I had time before going out this morning) and if for some reason the sound is off… I’m a total vlog and YouTube newbie so my apologies!  But you can see me and hear me and let’s be friends at BEA!!

So You’re Going to BEA For the First Time?

BEA can be the best experience of a book blogger’s career — I know for me, the times I’ve been able to attend have been an absolute dream! It’s always so exciting meeting my blogger friends for the first time person, connecting names with faces, getting to talk to publishers, attend events, and of course ALL THE BOOKS!

I’m sure if you’ve never been before, BEA (and even just traveling to a big city) can be a little intimidating! I would have been petrified had I not gone with Alyssa the first year so I had a great buddy to help guide me along! If you’re a newbie to BEA this year, I wanted to share my experiences to maybe help calm the nerves just a little bit!

** Post updated: April 2015
** Post updated: March 2016 (to include BEA Chicago)

PEOPLE AND PLACES

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  • Grab a buddy! Chances are that you’ll be heading to BEA with fellow blogger friends, but I cannot tell you how helpful it was to go with Alyssa the first time I attended BEA in New York. She had not only had been before but also had a general knowledge of the area having been to NYC for BEA and other things since she’s from New England. Attending BEA with a friend (or multiple friends!) makes the experience more fun, helps cut down costs on rooming and transportation fees, and bonus points if you have friends who have been before who can help you get a lay of the land! Even if you go with someone who’s not familiar with where you’re going or what you’re doing, it’s always nice to have someone else going through that experience with you!
  • To stay in the city or not to stay in the city?
    • WHEN TO STAY IN NYC/Chicago: If you’re attending outside events (blogger or publisher-hosted parties), if you want to check back into your hotel room throughout the day, if you can afford a hotel room, if you’re familiar with the city
      • The second year I went to BEA, we actually did stay in the city (see below for my experience staying in CT) and it definitely was more convenient! We were able to meet up with more people, attend events after the conference, and even help out at the Kids Author Carnival! The downside is that it does cost SO MUCH MORE. I think the hotel room was actually my biggest expense — not even my flights. It really is the easier way to go, but it does cost a lot more. I’ll also say that many people have used the incentive of popping back to the hotel room during the day and we couldn’t really do that. We stayed in the city but it was still a couple miles away from Javits (to save a little bit of money and that’s all there was left haha) so we did come back before going out at night but we didn’t get to leave the conference and pop back at the hotel.
    • WHEN TO NOT STAY IN THE CITY: If you’re strapped for cash, you can always grab a hotel outside of NYC/Chicago/wherever BEA is held. You are much more tied down to specific time frames since you’ll have to travel back and forth and you will be sacrificing some social time but it IS possible. The first year I went, Alyssa and I actually stayed at a hotel in Southern Connecticut and if you want to save some money on a hotel for BEA in Chicago, there are tons of hotels close to train stops in the suburbs that will get you into the city and won’t take you forever to get there. If you’re looking to save money and not stay in the city, something like this may be an option for you It does have its downsides though, of course.
      • [TRANSIT TIME] We took the train in from CT to Grand Central and it was fairly easy BUT it does take up time. We had to get up much earlier in the morning and that also meant that we had to consider that time it took to get back at night. Chicago: Staying in the suburbs is a good way to save money but you likely won’t be able to grab an express train in the morning so you’ll be stopping at each train stop. Then you still have to take a cab to McCormick so that will add on a little more time too.
      • [CARRYING BOOKS] Staying far enough away that you can’t go back to your hotel means that you’ll have to lug your book haul around with you if you decide to go out somewhere after BEA shuts down for the day. Just keep in mind that each day, you’re bringing home quite a heavy load of books with you — unless you decide to ship them back home (see below).
      • [SIGHT-SEEING AND POST-BEA EVENTS] We ended up not going to many post-BEA events since we were staying so far away but it being my first time, I didn’t know much of what to do anyway. To be honest, I was exhausted by the time BEA was over BUT bloggers to get together for dinner and last year there was a blogger picnic in Central Park one day! BEA does take up most of the day’s time so there’s not a ton of time to actually sight-see so where you book your hotel (even within NYC) may dictate what exactly you go do after the day is over.
  • TRANSPORTATION. There are shuttles to and from BEA (schedule should be posted somewhere around the entrance/exit and I think on the BEA website once it’s closer to the event date). I think they only go to the designated BEA hotels and for our purposes, since we weren’t staying in NYC our first year, we took the shuttle to the hotel closest to Grand Central and walked the rest of the way to the train station. The shuttles are free and getting cabs may or may not be tricky so if you can work it out to take a shuttle to and from BEA, it helps save time and money!
  • TALK TO PEOPLE. I didn’t say hello to a lot of people and this is something I always struggle with! I’m kind of shy and don’t alwayst feel comfortable saying hello to a few bloggers, and talking to the representatives from the publishing houses was incredibly intimidating!!! Guys… THIS IS SILLY. The bloggers I didn’t say hello to told me afterwards I should have and you don’t have much to lose talking to the publishers as you’re waiting for a galley drop or walking the floor. I handed out less than five of my business cards (see below) my first year because I was too shy (honestly, didn’t hand out many more in the second year). I know it’s hard to approach people but BEA is the time to come out of your shell and network!

ATTIRE

  • Look (and act) professional but be comfortable. You don’t have to wear a dress or a skirt, but I chose to wear dresses in the past (and I am not a dress person). BEA is an event mostly for professionals and honestly, I’m not sure how industry professionals view bloggers, but I didn’t want to bring a bad name to us! (Not saying that you would, but you know what I mean.) I tried to look professional (although you don’t have to wear dresses, but a more dressed up look is about right) and act professional. It’s insanely tempting to run all over the place for galley drops and making lines for author signings before anyone else gets there but no one appreciates running and pushing!
  • Layers. The temperature can also fluctuate throughout the day so I went with layers — a cardigan comes in handy for chilly moments and you can always shed it if you get too hot or if you decide to wander in the summer heat!
  • Shoes. If you’re planning on looking professional, make sure you’re still comfortable. I would highly discourage any uncomfortable footwear because last year I was standing pretty much ALL. DAY. Even (fake) Toms took a toll on my feet. Chances are if you’re dressing up, you may not be able to avoid blisters or foot-cutting so be prepared and bring band-aids!

WHAT TO BRING INTO THE CONVENTION CENTER

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  • Bring snacks and water! There will be all kinds of refreshments available but they are expensive! If you want to save some money, bring a refillable water bottle and some non-perishable snacks. One year we even made peanut butter sandwiches for lunch!
  • Camera/camera phone. You’ll want to take pictures with blogger friends, not to mention all the authors you’ll be meeting!
  • Business cards. While business cards are not a “must”, they are very helpful for networking. Even though I barely pass any out each year (oops? At least I have a bunch left?), it’s an easy way to connect with bloggers you met there so you don’t have to swap info and also a good way to try to get connected with publishers as well. I think I handed out one business card to a publisher last year and it was the more nerve-wracking thing I did even though it was easy-peasy haha!
  • Phone charger. There aren’t many places to charge your phone on the floor (correct me if I’m wrong? There was a spot but I think it was for “power readers”?) but I was on my phone A LOT at BEA — In the down-time waiting in line, Tweeting and taking Instagram photos as well as seeing other people’s updates, texting with people to meet up, and checking various schedules on the BEA app — so better to have your phone charger on-hand in case you find a good place to plug in! I bought a portable/cordless charger so I didn’t have to rely on outlets somewhere. Just make sure it’s all charged up the night before!
  • A suitcase. There’s an area where you can check a suitcase for only a few dollars for the whole day and this worked out PERFECTLY for me. You can go back periodically through the day to dump off books you’ve been collecting so you don’t have to carry ALL of them with you all of the time. It also makes getting those books home a lot easier! You CANNOT bring the suitcase onto the floor so bring a couple extra dollars to check it!
  • Tote bag/backpack. You cannot possibly hold all of these books in your hands. There are many booths that hand out tote bags but I say especially on day one, bring your own bag just in case you don’t find any right off the bat!
  • A schedule. There will be a schedule posted on the BEA website before the conference with the author autographing schedules and various publishers may also provide galley drop schedules. It’s best to make up a personal schedule beforehand to know where you need to be and when! There’s a whole lot going on and things are bound to overlap so I actually hand-wrote a schedule (so I didn’t have to use up phone battery) and also carried the official map of how the conference was laid out! I also had “back-ups” on my schedule which was nice because a couple times I made it through autographing lines fairly quickly and was able to hop into another line!

WHAT TO DO

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AT THE CONFERENCE:

  • Author autographing area. There’s a designated area for autographing with authors at a designated table and specific lines set up for each one. You can check the schedule to see who’s signing when and plan out parts of your day based on which authors you want to see (books provided there — the author signs the book and then hands it to you).
    • TIPS: Arrive to the lines early. They fill up fast and not everyone in the line is guaranteed a book/a chance to meet the author. Cut offs will either be designated by the amount of books available or how much time the signing is taking up. Being closer to the front helps ensure you’ll get your shot! Make sure you’re in the right line and that is the ONLY line for the author you’re seeing. There were a couple times when there was an “official” line started in two places and that really messed things up for how many people made it to see the author and which line got to be in front. Lots of frustrated people there. “Veteran” tip: Please do NOT go gripe to a publisher if you don’t get a book even after standing in line for hours. They do not guarantee that everyone in line will get a book/get to meet the author because of quantity and allotted time. You CAN, however, nicely present them with your card and ask if there’s any way you can contact them for a copy once they’re back in NYC. Complaining and acting negatively doesn’t solve problems and we have seen some really doozies of reactions and felt incredibly embarrassed for those people!
  • Galley drops. The booths around the floor have designated times where they hand out galleys. Some will have galleys just stacked on their tables/around the booth and other times (usually the more coveted titles) will have a specific time they will be handed out.
    • TIPS: Most booths/publishers will have a schedule of galley drops. Walk around on the first day to grab their schedule so you can work that into your personal schedule for BEA. Don’t take more than one book. That’s just a big no-no. If you have a conflict and you or your friend can’t make it to the galley drop you want, try to find a friend who will stand in line for you. Even if the extra book is for your friend, it’s really not okay to grab two as it’s not fair to everyone else in line. Hop in lines early. For really popular titles, the lines will start forming well before the drop time. Try to get there early!
  • Panels. I usually don’t attend panels because there are SO many places I want to be at the same time, but there are some awesome panels to hear authors and industry professionals speak! I’ve heard some really good things about a few of them so if you have time, they’re definitely worth checking out!
  • In-booth signings. Some authors sign at the booths on the floor instead of the autographing area. Same “rules” apply here as autographing area — lines, arrive early, books provided for you!

AFTER THE CONFERENCE:

  • Parties: There are quite a few things you can do after the conference is done for the day! A big question I hear is “How do I get invited to parties?” and unfortunately, the publisher parties are invite-only and they usually invite their group of select bloggers. So how do you get invited? Just keep working hard and start establishing a relationship with publishers and hopefully you’ll get on their “nice” list in the future 😉 But you don’t have to wait for a publisher invite — there are some blogger hosted parties too. Bloggers are usually putting together events to get together because there really is not enough time to talk and chat on the floor so keep your eyes peeled for open events or plan one with your close friends!
  • Food & Drink: There are so many great restaurants in NYC/Chicago! Hunt down some good ones and make some dinner or drink plans! Many bloggers try to arrange events to meet up with friends/other bloggers so keep a look-out for those. There are also usually blog posts about the best places to eat/drink around the city!
  • Broadway/Chicago Theater: I know some people even went to see a Broadway show while they were in NYC! I haven’t been before, but I think that’s awesome!
  • Get creative: One year we saw Maleficent at the movies because we REALLY wanted to see it together! I’ve never been able to squeeze in much sight-seeing but you can definitely check out the sights at night (you realistically won’t have much time (aka any time) during the day) OR since BEA 2015 runs Wed-Fri, make some sight-seeing plans on the weekend if you’re still in town!
  • #BEAPartofIt: Some bloggers local to NYC put together a nice collection of suggestions and ideas with their knowledge of the city! Don’t miss their BEA Part of It posts and check out the hashtag on Twitter to keep up with them!

Well, those are ALL the possible things I can think of! (Too overwhelming? Oops?) BEA is an absolute blast but it can get overwhelming at times. I think if you’re prepared and organized you can totally take BEA by storm and if you’re not… Well, you’ll still probably have an amazing time anyway! Most importantly, have fun, talk with your fellow bloggers, make sure you meet your favorite authors and grab your must-have galleys, and enjoy!

[bctt tweet=”Going to #BEA for the first time? Here are some helpful tips & tricks!”]

Are you going to BEA this year? Let me know because I plan on saying hello to my fellow bloggers this year and NOT being shy! Have any other tips and tricks about the event? What’s the best advice you can give to first-timers?

Reading Resolutions: 2014

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Well, we made it through another calendar year and I’m so happy to say that The Book Addict’s Guide is still going strong — stronger than ever! 2013 was a BIG year for me and I went through a lot of changes — both good and a little stressful — and so my 2014 goals are going to be totally different than everything I wanted to accomplish in 2013!

challenges

  • LAST YEAR: I started the year by participating in the Debut Author Challenge, The YA Contemporary Challenge, and was working on my own version of Epic Reads’ United States of YA.
  • THIS YEAR: I am signing up for ZERO challenges. I have a tendency to take on a LOT of different things because it’s so fun to participate in everything! But you know what? It’s really hard and time consuming to try to do it all! I actually ended up giving up on keeping tracking of both the Debut Author Challenge and YA Contemporary Challenge less than halfway through the year. Updating and maintaining my Goodreads, designated blog page, and staying on track for the challenges became overwhelming. I also decided the United States of YA was fun but also not something I really wanted to update and maintain all the time. 

readalongs

  • LAST YEAR: I participated in the Song of Ice and Fire read along, reading five massive books totaling over 5000 pages. I hosted and participated in the Gayle Forman Read Along (another 5 books, but much less in terms of pages). They were only two, but they were a MASSIVE undertaking and while they were a lot of fun, they took up a huge amount of time.
  • THIS YEAR: I’m not saying no to read alongs, but I’m going to be a lot choosier about what I sign up for. Read alongs are really a lot of fun, but that’s also time that I have to designate to a book while reading another book for my own personal reading time. Alyssa, Amy and I will be doing our “Three’s Company” read alongs this year which is really less for a formal read along and more for us just reading some really good books together and enjoying them all at the same time. I’m REALLY looking forward to this because it’s so much fun to read the same books at the same time and this will definitely be much less pressure than a formal read along and then I also wouldn’t have to read multiple books at once. I already know that it will also push me to read books that are maybe a little bit out of my comfort zone (whether it be genre, content or adult/MG vs my usual YA) and expand my horizons to new things!

arcs

  • LAST YEAR: I still had some trouble with reading ARCs on time and keeping track of them really well. I also went to BEA and picked up a ton of books there… I had this grand plan of reading them all in order before the pub date and… well, that didn’t really happen at all. With my read alongs and older books I wanted to read and newer books and egalleys… Well, a lot of books got tossed to the side to make way for all of the newer books and then those got pushed to the side for commitments. COMMITMENTS. So much fun but caused lots of trouble haha!
  • THIS YEAR: This year I’m going to try to request WAY less egalleys and really pick and choose the books that I want to read. I’m going to try to stay on track with the ARCs I currently have and start working on the ARCs I had requested and work on reviewing those as well. I REALLY REALLY REALLY want to work on catching up on the books I already have/own/have downloaded and I also really want to start cleaning up my shelves and reading what I’ve already purchased.
    I plan on going back to BEA this year and while grabbing books was a certain thrill, I really want to pick up only the ones I’m really interested in. I thought I did a good job of this in 2013 but at the same time, I still have a lot of unread books at home that I knew I probably wasn’t going to get to. I feel bad that I have so many books that I took because I felt like they had potential but really in the back of my head, I knew I was going to push them aside for my “must-reads”. (Sadly, some of which are STILL sitting on my shelf unread. See??)
    I’m also going to try to do better at reading ARCs around their pub dates. Some have really gotten lost in the mix because I just requested to many and there are so many egalleys and physical ARCs that I need to get to still that I’ve actually been dying to read!

shelves

  • LAST YEAR: Let’s face it. My blog is called “The Book Addict’s Guide” for a reason. I have a problem. And that problem is buying books. My shelves continue to grow with more new books and then I read ARCs or egalleys and I forget about those glorious books I have on my shelves! I’d be interested to see how many new releases I read last year versus books I already had on my shelves but…. that’s too much work to actually find out haha!
  • THIS YEAR: Although unofficially, I’m going to try to read more of a mix. It’s hard to read a variety of old and new when there are so many new releases at my fingertips via ARCs from publishers, Netgalley, Edelweiss, and whatever I’ll haul from BEA this year, but I really do want to read some of the books I already have! I finally read LEGEND by Marie Lu this year and I don’t know why I waited so long! I know there are hidden treasures hanging out there and I want to be able to get to them!

GRCHALLENGE

  • LAST YEAR: I barely squeaked by, reading barely more books than I had last year (only by two but hey, I did it!) because it was SUCH a busy year! 2014 is probably even more busy so…
  • THIS YEAR: I’m hoping to beat 2013 but I guess we’ll see how the year goes! I have so many things going on that I hope I have time for that much reading but we’ll see what the year holds. I read 131 books in 2013 so my goal in 2014? Starting at 132 haha!!

2014 is going to be a busy year for me. I’m planning my wedding, visiting Alyssa & Amy in a few weeks, travelling for two destination weddings (April & June) and have two more locally (my two best friends from elementary school — one in July and one the week before mine!!), BEA in May, and well… I think that’s plenty! I’ll try to keep up as best as I can which is why this year I am actually planning to commit to a lot less outside of my own blog. I can keep up at my own pace but I’m trying not to commit to other things for fear of not making deadlines!

Mini Review: Fortunately, The Milk by Neil Gaiman

Mini Review: Fortunately, The Milk by Neil GaimanTitle: Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman
Publishing Info: September 17, 2013 by HarperCollins
Source: Shelf Awareness
Genres: Children's & Middle Grade, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: October 27, 2013
Related Posts: Stardust, American Gods, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neverwhere, InterWorld (InterWorld #1)

    You know what it's like when your mum goes away on a business trip and Dad's in charge. She leaves a really, really long list of what he's got to do. And the most important thing is DON'T FORGET TO GET THE MILK. Unfortunately, Dad forgets. So the next morning, before breakfast, he has to go to the corner shop, and this is the story of why it takes him a very, very long time to get back. Featuring: Professor Steg (a time-travelling dinosaur), some green globby things, the Queen of the Pirates, the famed jewel that is the Eye of Splod, some wumpires, and a perfectly normal but very important carton of milk.

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I had actually passed my copy of this ARC along to Heidi from Bunbury in the Stacks when I was at BEA because I really don’t read middle grade/children’s and I hadn’t read any Neil Gaiman before, but after finished The Graveyard Book, I pretty much wanted to read more of Neil Gaiman’s books ASAP!

FORTUNATELY, THE MILK was a delightful little story. It’s quick, fun, and always engaging. The story begins with two children whose mother is out of the house so their father is taking care of them. They’ve run out of milk for their cereal and him for his tea, so he has to run to the store to get some more. On his way, he encounters aliens, dinosaurs, time travel, hot air balloons, and so much more, all the while, his kids skeptical of his outlandish story.

I had so much fun reading this and I loved the creativity involved in the various adventures and tribulations that the father has to go through. I don’t read a lot of children’s books, but this had me laughing out loud and I easily read it in one sitting. The illustrations were so cute too and definitely enhanced the story! It was an ARC so not all were filled in, but I loved how they gave me a better picture of how all of these fantastical creatures looked. They added a lot of whimsy to the book!

It was really fun to read, super quick, and perfect if you enjoy whimsy or want to read it to your kids! addiction_factor1

Kept Me Hooked On: Children’s & Middle Grade. This was just a lot of fun and looking for more Neil Gaiman books, was a natural choice for a quick and easy read. I’m glad I picked up the ARC!
Left Me Wanting More: Time Travel! I love time travel and I loved how it was adapted into this book. It was super cute and everything about the book was just so much fun.

Addiction Rating
Library Read!

I know a lot of people probably won’t buy this since we’re mostly YA readers so I’ll recommend it as another “borrow from the library” read. It’s another fun book if you have kids to read it to and of course, fun for adults too!

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BOOKS LIKE FORTUNATELY, THE MILK

(Click the cover to see my review!)

          The Boy on the Porch   Harry Potter

The Boy on the Porch – Sharon Creech

The Boy on the Porch – Sharon CreechTitle: The Boy on the Porch by Sharon Creech
Publishing Info: September 3, 2013 by Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: September 25, 2013
Related Posts: Walk Two Moons

    When John and Marta found the boy on the porch, they were curious, naturally, as to why he was there-and they didn't expect him to stay, not at first, but he did stay, day after day, until it seemed as if he belonged, running and smiling and laughing his silent laugh, tapping and patting on every surface as he made his music, and painting-with water, with paint, with mud-those swirly swirls and swings and trees.
One day a young couple wakes to find a boy asleep on their porch. Unable to speak, the boy cannot explain his history. What kind of person would leave their child with strangers? All they know is that they have been chosen to care for this boy. And as their connection to him grows, they embrace his exuberant spirit and talents. The three of them blossom into an unlikely family, and John and Marta and the boy begin to see the world in brand-new ways. Newbery Medal winner Sharon Creech delivers a poignant story of finding family when you least expect it.

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I fell in love with Sharon Creech’s book WALK TWO MOONS back when I was kid but then somehow never ended up picking up another one of her books. I still need to re-read it someday to relive that experience, but in the meantime, I came across THE BOY ON THE PORCH, both on Edelweiss and then was fortunate enough to pick up a physical ARC at BEA.

THE BOY ON THE PORCH is the story of two adults, John and Marta, and how their lives change infinitely after finding a young boy around six or seven years old left on their porch. The only thing they knew of him was from the note that he was left there and whoever had left him would eventually come back for him. With nothing else to do, they decide to take him in and care for him until his family (or so they assume) comes back for him. Days turn into weeks, weeks into months, and John and Marta wonder if anyone really will come back for the boy. He also does not speak and does  not write, but instead communicates through tapping, through music, and through painting. John and Marta grow incredibly fond of him and secretly worry that someone really will come back for him one day.

THE BOY ON THE PORCH was such a curious little story. The quirks of the boy — the fact that he does talk, is very artistic, and seems to be communicating with the animals on John and Marta’s farm — just fascinated me. My brain was racing a mile a minute trying to figure out what had happened to him. Why couldn’t he talk? Did he have some kind of special power that helped him talk to animals? Was he autistic? Was his development stunted from neglect? What did the tapping mean? And then I had all of the questions that surrounded his relationship with John and Marta. Was he meant to come to them? Was his family — or whoever left him — coming back for him? Would John and Marta get punished for keeping a child that isn’t theirs?

Above all, this book had my brain thinking and wondering. I was really intrigued with the plot and all of the characters really just warmed my heart. I loved the small town/farm feel and how well Sharon Creech described all of the settings. I felt like I could really picture it and I got an amazing over all feel for the book. The only thing I wasn’t totally sold on was the ending, just because I was hoping for a few more answers. I had so many questions about the boy and some were answered, some weren’t — but then again, maybe I was also overthinking things! For all you fans of WALK TWO MOONS, it’s definitely a bit of a younger feel so you can’t really compare there, but I loved reading Sharon Creech’s work all the same! addiction_factor1

Kept Me Hooked On: Children’s & Middle Grade. This was probably somewhere in between children’s and middle grade and I don’t often read those… Usually they’re re-reads of books I read as a kid myself so to pick up a new one was interesting! It was nice for a quick read and I was glad to see that it still evokes a lot of feelings even as an adult.
Left Me Wanting More: Answers. I had a LOT of questions about this boy and where he came from. The end of the book wrapped up nicely and had a nice, heartwarming conclusion, but I still had so many things on my brain after I finished!

Addiction Rating
Library Read!

I know a lot of people probably won’t buy this since we’re mostly YA readers so I’ll recommend a hearty “borrow it from the library”! I think any age can pick this one up and enjoy it. The story tugs at your heart and I think it would actually be great for parents due to the really special story of John and Marta or great for parents to read or read to their kids.

book_recommendations1(Click the cover to see my review!)

          Eleanor & Park   Golden