Feb 28, 2013

BEA Tips & Tricks: Part 3

BEA 2013 Tips & Tricks
Part 3: Make The Most of It

1. Hotels
Hotel selection is crucial when planning any sort of getaway, but especially one like BEA. Figure out what’s important to you (location? amenities? price? size?) when you start looking. Research potential hotels extensively. Check to see if they’ve had reports of bed bugs (ew, gross, I know) or awful reviews. Keep in mind when reading these bad reviews, there is always that person who likes to complain about everything. The hotel I picked had a few awful reviews, but for each 1 bad there were 50 glowing.

Don't let tiny hotel rooms happen to you!
I picked a hotel that while not exactly near BEA is in the middle of everything else in the city. I went with a hotel brand I trust (Hampton Inn) and started from there. In also knew that while I would be going to BEA, I wanted to do stuff in the city at night. My hotel was a 10 minute walk from Times Square, 10 minutes from Central Park, 2 blocks from Rockefeller Center, and a block of Restaurant Row with a subway station across the street. Everything was easily walkable except BEA so I planned on taking a cab each morning and the shuttle home.

The hotel also came with a continental breakfast each day (one less meal to buy) and had 2 queen sized beds in a very decent size room. If you’re not familiar, NYC hotel rooms are little more than CrackerJack boxes with a toilet and TV. They’re tiny, but I made sure to get the best room possible because I was bringing people with me who weren’t going to BEA (I know—I hang out with some crazy people). Because I loved it so much, I’m staying in the same hotel again.

If you’re on a budget, stay at one of the hotels BEA is affiliated with for a cheaper rate.

2. Shipping wars
So you got all these pretty books … now what? You have a couple options for shipping. There’s a UPS and FedEx kiosks set up inside the Javits for your convenience. You don’t even have to leave the building to ship!

I believe it’s FedEx that lets you set up a box and make drops in it throughout the day. So you get your box and fill it all day long with goodies to send home in lieu of a suitcase, but these boxes are not monitored and many have had things taken from inside them. Not all, but some.

Yes, UPS and FedEx are easy, but you pay for the added convenience. It’s crazy expensive. I recommend hitting up the nearest Post Office and shipping media mail. Much cheaper. If you want to save a few bucks, brings your own packing tape from home. I hear there is a massive post office a few blocks over from the Javits (like a 10 minute walk?) that you can use, but check out where other locations are.

I lucked out and my hotel had a PO on the same block, so I took the shuttle back to the hotel and just walked around the corner and shipped my books home daily. Kept me from lugging my books all around NYC. My suitcase and shoulders thanked me.

Make sure to add in money for shipping when you budget. Unless you’re one of the people who drive and can load your car.  Also keep in mind the last day of BEA is a Saturday and some PO branches have different hours. 

I added delivery confirmation to all my stuff so I knew when to expect it. I may have lost half of those slips (be quiet, Mariah), but I vow to protect them with my life so I know when I can expect my lovely gifts in the mail and I may celebrate.

3. Know your surroundings
I know NYC is hailed at the safest big city in the world, and it is, but make sure you know what you’re doing and where you’re going. Try to stay with a buddy or a group when venturing out into the city. When you leave BEA, take that pass off so people can’t read your name or see you’ve been to event that makes them wonder what exactly is in that bag you’re lugging around like it contains diamonds?

Most hotels (all hotels?) have a map of the city available. Once you figure out the streets and avenues, it’s near impossible to get lost. Don’t be afraid to take the subway, taxis, or walk, but be careful and go with your gut. I hate to go all elementary school on you, but use the buddy system. Be smart.

4. The party don’t stop with BEA
When making your BEA schedule, make sure you make a Post-BEA schedule as well. A lot of stuff in NYC focuses on books the week of BEA. There are additional signings at night, publishers throw parties (most of the these are invite only, sorry), bloggers plan dinners … Make sure you do your homework and see if you can attend some events other than BEA.

Closer to BEA I’ll do a post focused on other events going on that week because Lord knows there’s a lot of them. And if you score an invite to a swanky party? I’ll totally be your plus one.

5. Budget
I know. It’s an utterly evil word, but BEA is an expensive trip to an expensive city. Make a budget and stick with it. Start planning now how much spending money you want to allot yourself for fun, utterly frivolous things (and trust me—you want to have a couple frivolous things).

If you think you may want to see a show, check out TKST in Times Square. They have a ton of deeply discounted Broadway show tickets for the day of ridiculously cheap. Why spend $65 when you can spend $30 on a ticket?

Talk to native New Yorkers (there are a ton of authors and bloggers who would be willing to help you out here) and find an inexpensive, but awesome, place to eat. Email, tweet, or facebook them for suggestions.

6. Books are great, but living is greater
It’s easy to get so consumed by BEA and books and signings and parties and authors while you’re there, but NYC is an amazing city unto itself. There is so much history and culture and energy that you do yourself such a disservice by sticking your head in a book all week, especially if you’ve never been.

Hit the 9/11 Memorial. It’s free and so iconic and humbling. On your way back, walk further up to the subway and stop into Century 21 for some awesome discount shopping (I got a box set of a designer perfume for $19 that at home would’ve cost $50—and no, it’s not a knockoff).  Hit Chinatown and Little Italy. Go to Serendipity for a frozen hot chocolate (make sure you have a reservation).  Go to The Rock—the top of Rockefeller Center which has a much better view and is much more reasonably priced than the Empire State Building. Here’s the thing about the Empire State Building, when you go to the top to take that breathtaking picture of the NYC skyline, you’re missing the Empire State Building in the pic. People know the skyline because of that building. Go to the Rock and take a pic of the Empire State Building.

In short, my friends, live it up.

Previous BEA Tips & Tricks Posts:
Part 1: As A Matter of FAQ
Part 2: Take It On The Floor

Review: Wait For You by J. Lynn

Title: Wait for You
Author: J. Lynn
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: 2.26.2013
Pages: 322
Genre: New Adult
Series: No…?
Source: Purchased ebook

Rating: A-

Summary (from Goodreads):
Some things are worth waiting for…

Traveling thousands of miles from home to enter college is the only way nineteen-year-old Avery Morgansten can escape what happened at the Halloween party five years ago—an event that forever changed her life. All she needs to do is make it to her classes on time, make sure the bracelet on her left wrist stays in place, not draw any attention to herself, and maybe—please God—make a few friends, because surely that would be a nice change of pace. The one thing she didn’t need and never planned on was capturing the attention of the one guy who could shatter the precarious future she’s building for herself.

Some things are worth experiencing…

Cameron Hamilton is six feet and three inches of swoon-worthy hotness, complete with a pair of striking blue eyes and a remarkable ability to make her want things she believed were irrevocably stolen from her. She knows she needs to stay away from him, but Cam is freaking everywhere, with his charm, his witty banter, and that damn dimple that’s just so… so lickable. Getting involved with him is dangerous, but when ignoring the simmering tension that sparks whenever they are around each other becomes impossible, he brings out a side of her she never knew existed.

Some things should never be kept quiet…

But when Avery starts receiving threatening emails and phone calls forcing her to face a past she wants silenced, she has no other choice but to acknowledge that someone is refusing to allow her to let go of that night when everything changed. When the devastating truth comes out, will she resurface this time with one less scar? And can Cam be there to help her or will he be dragged down with her?

And some things are worth fighting for…

Let it first be known that am I a huge Jennifer Armentrout fan. One of the things I love most about her writing is the steamy scenes she often depicts between characters I adore. However, Armentrout is a YA writer and has to toe a fine line. As J. Lynn, she breaks through those barriers (no pun in intended) and explodes onto the scene.

Maybe I need a better metaphor. Huh.

New adult is my new favorite genre, and having one of my favorite authors writing a book in my new favorite genre was kismet. I was not disappointed. The book is filled with tender moments, scenes steamy enough to make my glasses fog up, and characters I loved loving.

Avery is one of those characters you just like. She has been abused and broken, but it still surviving. While you can guess what happened to her pretty easily (although Lynn throws a twist in here that both shocked and horrified me), it doesn’t lessen the beauty of watching this girl come alive and find herself. Avery is a fantastic character—she strong, but also fragile. She’s a perfect blend of opposites without being cliché.

Cam is another amazing character. I think part of why I liked Cam so much is while he was 100% supportive of Avery, he also wasn’t a doormat. He was forgiving, but he also didn’t put up with being jerked around and called her on it when she was wrong.

There are a few typos in the book, a downfall to a lot of self-published works, but J. Lynn’s work speaks for itself. It’s very easy to overlook the wrong use of their/there/they’re when the story is moving along so nicely and you’re so invested in the characters. Overall this was a fantastic book (like I would expect less from this author), and I really hope she continues the story. Not necessarily with Cam and Avery, but there are a lot of characters she introduced that I hope I haven’t seen the end of.

Buy: Amazon

Cover Reveal: Out of Play by Nyrae Dawn & Jolene Perry

Out of Play
By: Nyrae Dawn & Jolene Perry

Rock star drummer Bishop Riley doesn't have a problem. Celebrities—especially ones suffering from anxiety—deserve to party, right? Wrong. After taking a few too many pills, Bishop wakes up in the hospital facing an intervention. If he wants to stay in the band, he’ll have to detox while under house arrest in Seldon, Alaska.

Hockey player Penny Jones can't imagine a life outside of Seldon. Though she has tons of scholarship offers, the last thing she wants is to leave. Who'll take care of her absent-minded gramps? Not her mother, who can’t even be bothered with the new tenants next door.

Penny’s too hung up on another guy to deal with Bishop’s crappy attitude, and Bishop’s too busy
sneaking pills to care. Until he starts hanging out with Gramps. If Bishop wants a chance with the fiery girl next door, he’ll have to admit he has a problem and kick it. Too bad addiction is hard to kick…and Bishop’s about to run out of time.

Goodreads- http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17332383-out-of-play
BN.com- http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/out-of-play-jolene-perry/1114317968
Amazon- http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1622660102

Feb 27, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (39)

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly waiting to get into our hands.

This week I'm waiting on....

by: Debbie Levy

Summary:Danielle Samuelson's summer job as a babysitter takes a tragic turn when Humphrey, the five-year-old boy she's watching, runs in front of oncoming traffic to chase down his football. Immediately Danielle is caught up in the machinery of tragedy: police investigations, neighborhood squabbling, and, when the driver of the car that struck Humphrey turns out to be an undocumented alien, outsiders use the accident to further a politically charged immigration debate. Wanting only to mourn Humphrey, the sweet kid she had a surprisingly strong friendship with, Danielle tries to avoid the world around her. Through a new relationship with Justin, a boy she meets at the park, she begins to work through her grief, but as details of the accident emerge, much is not as it seems. It's time for Danielle to face reality, but when the truth brings so much pain, can she find a way to do right by Humphrey's memory and forgive herself for his death?

Why I Want It:
Sometimes I just need a good, emotionally gut-wrenching book. It sounds like this book will be perfect for that. I love books that can make me feel; books that can touch me so much as to force a physical reaction (crying, laughing, cursing, etc.), and it seems like Imperfect Spiral will make me have a lot of feels.

Imperfect Spiral will be released July 16, 2013 by Walker Children's

Feb 26, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday (12)

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!
Each week we will post a new Top Ten list that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun!

Top Ten Eleven Authors That I'd Put On My Auto-Buy List (basically an auto-buy list is no questions asked..you love this author so much that no matter what they wrote next you'd buy regardless of genre or subject matter)
*Yes, I'm cheating by adding 11, but I couldn't make it just 10*

Kasie West
1.) Kasie West - It is no secret that I am a huge fan of Kasie's ... even though she's only written one book. But when you love and author, you just do. It's in your gut. I cannot wait to get my hands on her contemporary she has coming out this year, The Distance Between Us. It sounds nothing like Pivot Point - but I don't care. I'll buy anything Kasie writes forever.

2.) Andrea Cremer - I'll admit, my adoration of Andrea suffered at the end of Bloodrose, but bottom line, she is a phenomenal storyteller. I own everything she's written and I don't see that changing. She has several novels coming out this year and I plan to buy each of them.
Cara Lynn Shultz

3.) Cara Lynn Shultz - Another author I absolutely adore not only for her writing but because she's someone I'd love to grab a drink with. She only has 2 books out (why are there only two books?!) but they are two of my all-time favorite novels. Ever.

4.) Aimee Carter - I love the way Aimee tells a story. I love her pacing, character development and dialogue. The Goddess Test series is a favorite of mine, and I am so, so excited to see what she has in store with her new series that debuts later this year.

5.) Kiera Cass - I knew I would love Kiera forever when she not only met my expectations for The Selection but then proceeded to raise the bar higher in The Elite. Mind = BLOWN. Any author that can make the sequel better than the original gets my vote.

Jennifer Armentrout
6.) Jennifer Armentrout - I've happily read everything Jennifer has written, both as Jennifer Armentrout and J. Lynn. I read her YA series', her adult series', standalones ... You name it and I will read it. She has such a gift for original plots as well as unique, memorable, and HOT characters. She's written some of the steamiest scenes I've come across.

7.) Miranda Kenneally - Miranda has some of the best characters I've ever read in any book genre. Her plots are unique, original, and utterly romantic. I am completely in love with her Hundred Oaks series, and I will happily read whatever she puts out. Even a book on the migratory pattern of herons. 

8.) Richelle Mead - There is something about Richelle is just love. Maybe it's that while she writes YA, I never feel like she talks down to the reader or dumbs things down for the younger generation. Her writing has an intelligence that my mind craves.

9.) Veronica Rossi - Veronica is another author who I respect immensely for her originality and creativity. In a world full of YA dystopians she did was few did - she set herself apart. She made characters I fell hard and fast for. Did I mention she also gave my niece, Aria, a shoutout when she was born? 

Sarah Skilton
10.) Sarah Skilton - Sarah is one of those authors I just click with. She's a total sweetheart and, oh yeah, an amazing writer. Her debut completely blew me away. The way she writes is so evoactive and visceral. Her books make me feel - I laugh outloud, I cry, I grin ... Is there anything better than an author that elicites a physical reaction from a reader?

11.) Brigid Kemmerer - Brigid is one of those people that while I love her for her awesome writing skills (and that amazing ability she has to put 5 hot guys into one novel repeatedly), she just seems like a totally cool person outside of writing. She's cool and fun and she infuses all that awesomesauce into her writing. How could I not want all of her books?

Feb 25, 2013

Review: Up to Me by M. Leighton

Title: Up to Me
Author: M. Leighton
Publisher: M. Leighton Books
Publication Date: 1.4.2013
Pages: 289
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary
Series: Yes (Bad Boys #2)
Source: Purchased ebook

Rating: B-

Summary (from Goodreads):
Happily ever after doesn’t come easy. But for love, it’s always worth the fight.

Olivia finds bliss unlike any she’s ever known in Cash’s arms. He sets her skin on fire and melts her heart right inside her chest. Unfortunately, their happily ever after is short-lived when a shadow from Cash’s past threatens to turn their world upside down.

Dangerous people from his father’s world have discovered that Cash holds information that could put them away for a very long time. And they’re willing to do anything—and hurt anybody—to get it back. Giving it up means Cash must choose between the life of his father and the life of Olivia.

Having nearly overcome her wariness of bad boys, Olivia’s trust is shaken when this new threat arises. Now she finds that Cash is not only a danger to her heart, but his family has associations that are a danger to her life as well. She soon discovers that there are some situations in life where trust is a girl’s only option. And this is one of them. If she’s to live, she must trust Cash with her life. But to Olivia, that’s much, much easier than letting go and trusting him with her heart.

You know when you read a book that has quite a few flaws, but you just love it to pieces anyway? M. Leighton’s Up to Me is that book. I knew while reading it there were problems (characters behaving badly, cliché lines, and cheesy dialogue at times), but Leighton has this way to writing that makes me not care all that much.

This is the second book in the series and it continues with Cash and Olivia right where book 1 left off. I’m glad there wasn’t a big time jump or anything else to get acclimated to—the stories flow effortlessly into one another. I hate feeling like I missed time with characters I love, and Leighton does the series a great service by not doing that.

The plot moves along nicely, and this isn’t an overwhelming read. I was able to finish it in a few hours. There are several twists, one especially including Nash (Cash’s twin) that I was stunned by. It makes me even more excited for book 3.

This series definitely pushes the edge from new adult into the adult genre. There are a lot of steamy situations that (as an adult) I have come to enjoy about new adult novels, but it’s still not as explicit as it could be. I wouldn’t recommend this book for younger teens at all. Like I said, there are issues, but I was personally able to overlook them and indulge in this sinfully guilty pleasure.

Buy: Amazon

Feb 22, 2013

Stacking the Shelves #11

Stacking The Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. This a new way to showcase all the books currently weighing down my shelves. 

I know I'm early this week, but I'm going out of town and wanted to get this up. :)

For Review:
The Program by Suzanne Young

The Goddess Legacy by Aimee Carter
The Goddess Inheritance by Aimee Carter

Born of Illusion by Teri Brown
Dead Silence by Kimberly Derting
Unbreakable by Elizabeth Norris
Defy the Dark by Misc. Authors / Edited by Saundra Mitchell
Life After Theft by Aprilynne Pike
The Elite by Kiera Cass
Reboot by Amy Tintera
Towering by Alex Flinn

Pivot Point by Kasie West

Pivot Point by Kasie West 
*Bookmark by Kasie West

*Many thanks to Bailey from IB Book Blogging, Simon & Schuster, Aimee Carter, and Wolfson Literary Group*

Review: Mind Games by Kiersten White

Title: Mind Games
Author: Kiersten White
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: 2.19.2013
Pages: 256
Genre: SciFi
Series: Yes (Mind Games #1)
Source: eARC from publisher

Rating: A-

Summary (from Goodreads):
Two sisters, bound by impossible choices, are determined to protect each other—no matter the cost.

James's frozen face melts into a smile. "Do you want to know the trick to getting in trouble under the watchful eye of a psychic?"

I think of the nailed-shut windows. I think of Clarice. I think of the two, the two, the two who are now zero. Tap tap. "Yes, I absolutely do."

"Don't plan it. Don't even think about it. The second you get an inkling of what you could do, do it then. Never plan anything ahead of time. Always go on pure instinct."

I smile. "I think I can do that.”

Can I just say I love Kiersten White? I mean, seriously. Thank you, Kiersten, for writing a novel with an original plot, intriguing characters, and a whole lot of action. Mind Games felt like such a cool break from everything else I’ve been reading lately. I read a ton and sometimes I get so bogged down with reading and reviewing that things start to run together. Mind Games stood out from the first chapter, and I love crawling back into this story.

I’m a romantic at heart and the love story told here worked my heart over good. No I’m not talking about Fia and James (yeah, I love these two), I mean the love between Fia and Annie. This story is very much the story of two girl who love each other and are willing to risk anything and everything for each other. While Fia may technically be the younger of the two, she comes off as the big sister because of Annie’s blindness and the role she has assumed to protect her sister. I love these two girls to pieces. Usually a book (especially a young adult novel) needs a romance to spark attention, but the heart of the story here is Fia and Annie. Anyone who has a sister knows it is a bond like no other. I would take a bullet for my sisters, and reading about Fia and Annie only strengthened that resolve.

The story alternates perspective between the sisters, and I loved that. Because these are two vastly different characters, it was essential to be able to get into both of their heads and see how they ticked. I will say I’m a bit more partial to Fia, but don’t discount Annie. I can’t wait to see how both of these characters grow in future books.

I was pretty surprised at how quick I blazed through Mind Games it isn’t a very lengthy read and at times I wished some things had been elaborated on a bit more, but White maintains a quick, brisk pace that really drives the plot and kept me entranced. This is definitely a book action and SciFi fans need to grab ASAP. I hear White has another series … Paranormalcy? Think I’ll check that out while wait for book 2. If it’s half as good as Mind Games then I know I’ll be thoroughly entertained.

Feb 21, 2013

Blogoversary: 2 Years Strong

I cannot believe it's been 2 years since I started The Irish Banana Review. Two years. Those two years have held so much personal and professional growth for me, it's amazing to think of where I was and where I am. It also makes me think of all the new blogs popping up daily. It also made me think about things I've learned the last 2 years, so here they are, in a somewhat condensed form:

The Myth of Why We Blog
This is the point where I should say I got into blogging because I love spreading the word about books and I just love being immersed in literature, right? I'm going to say what few bloggers will admit to, but I suspect we all felt at one point in time:

I wanted the free books.

I had heard about these amazing things called ARCs and heard publishers gave them to bloggers. Like, for free. Sometimes? You even got finished copies for (again) free. I am fully admitted that two years ago I jumped on the blogging bandwagon because I was a girl with limited finances and a big book love and the allure of free books sold me.

However, the truth is, bloggers who are in it just for the free books don't last long, and I was no exception. If you look at my first year, around April I got tired and frustrated. I stopped posting, I quit caring, and my blog was about to be one of those blogs that just fizzled away into cyberspace. After a couple months of dragging my feet, I came to the moment where I realized I had a decision to make: Either I was in or out, no more half-assing it and expecting people to magically adore me and my blog. If I wanted it, I needed to be willing to work for it. 

So I did. I started reaching out into the blogging world and I met some amazing people who encouraged me and kept me going. And yes, eventually I did start getting those "free" books I had to desperately desired in the beginning, but by that point they were icing on the cake. I was having a blast discovering books I probably never would have heard about or read had it not been for blogging. I loved the times when my friends and family would ask me for book recommendations. I loved spreading the word about a book or author I had fallen in love with.

The Myth of the Friendly Blogger
When I started blogging all I heard about was how friendly and open the blogging community was. This was a group of people (mostly girls) who loved to giggle and talk about books and book boyfriends and cupcakes and - Yeah, you're not buying it either, huh?

The truth is I quickly found blogging was like any other social order with its own cliques. There were bloggers who had been at this for years - well before anyone really knew what book blogging was and they didn't particularly care for the 100 new blogs popping up daily. You had librarians who resented bloggers period. You had newbie bloggers tripping over each other every day (several of whom had the same blog name) ... It was exhausting and it took me forever to find a niche in this world.

After two years, I can honestly say I have made some awesome friends. I've found a group of bloggers that I have become friends with both online and offline. These are people I have met in real life and text daily. People that when I say I'm having an off day actually care about why that is. I love these people, and it's such a great feeling knowing they feel the same way.

The Myth of Perfection
I wanted to be that perfect, elegant blogger from the beginning. I strived to make my blog be everything I thought it should be: My reviews were flowery and filled with adjectives, I kept everything straight and neat and organized. I spent close to a year trying to be the blogger I thought everyone else would enjoy.

And then I realized that I was hurting my blog by not being me. I started writing reviews the same way I would verbally tell you a review if we were face-to-face. I started adding pictures and discussion posts to my blog about things I cared about, and you know what? Turns out other people cared about them, too.

My blog may have a few typos, and may SQUEEEEEE!!!!! during a review, but that's me. It's who I am, and my blog stats improved dramatically when I started being myself.

So there you have it, my friends: Things I've learned since I started blogging 2 years ago. Now, it HAS been a fun two years, and what better way to celebrate that than with .... A funny cat GIF:

OK, and a giveaway. Open internationally so all of my followers can participate. I love you guys. Thank you so much.

Feb 20, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (38)

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly waiting to get into our hands.

This week I'm waiting on....

The Burning Sky
by: Sherry Thomas

It all began with a ruined elixir and an accidental bolt of lightning…

Iolanthe Seabourne is the greatest elemental mage of her generation—or so she's being told. The one prophesied for years to be the savior of The Realm. It is her duty and destiny to face and defeat the Bane, the greatest mage tyrant the world has ever known. A suicide task for anyone let alone a sixteen-year-old girl with no training, facing a prophecy that foretells a fiery clash to the death.

Prince Titus of Elberon has sworn to protect Iolanthe at all costs but he's also a powerful mage committed to obliterating the Bane to revenge the death of his family—even if he must sacrifice both Iolanthe and himself to achieve his goal.

But Titus makes the terrifying mistake of falling in love with the girl who should have been only a means to an end. Now, with the servants of the Bane closing in, he must choose between his mission and her life.

Why I Want It:
I'm sorry, do you not see that cover? I know: totally shallow to judge a book by its cover, but that cover grabbed my attention right away. Not only that, but I love the originality of the plot. Plus it sounds like this will be one hot romance. Count me in!

Also? The excerpt that Sherry Thomas has up on her blog totally sells this book:

The Burning Sky Excerpt

The Burning Sky will be released 9.17.2013 from Balzer + Bray

Feb 19, 2013

Cover Crazy: Blue Crush Edition

There has been such a rash release of new covers lately that are beyond gorgeous (seriously, the art departments are working overtime here, guys), but I'm utterly amazed and amused at how almost every color is blue.

Did I miss something where blue is the new trend?

Feb 17, 2013

BEA Tips & Tricks: Part 2

BEA 2013 Tips & Tricks
Part 2: Take It On The Floor

1. What happens the morning BEA starts?
Remember that scene in The Hunger Games when everyone bum rushes the cornucopia, brandishing weapons and… No, just kidding.

7 am is the magic time. Usually around 7, a line to get into the exhibit hall floor starts. 7 is also when you can check a suitcase/bag with the awesome ladies on the lower level to stash books and whatnot in you acquire. This is also the time you can get your badge for BEA (although I recommend getting it the day before if at all possible). After you line up, you wait. You don’t have to get there at 7. You can wait until 9 when the doors open, but keep in mind all the people who lined up get to go in before you.

You also may want to show up early if you need to get a ticket for a certain signing. Tickets are free place markers for signings that the peeps at BEA think will draw a huge crowd; these are usually celebrities or big name authors. Again, tickets are free, but limited.

Doors open and everyone floods inside, mass pandemonium ensues for about 10-15 minutes, then people mellow and you walk around. You can line up for signings, chat up the people in the booths, etc. Everyone said last year was pretty mellow compared to previous years and last year is all I have to go on. Hopefully 2013 will be just as cool.

2. Free books?!
Yes, there are “free” books. Keep in mind these books are not free to the people publishing them. ARCs actually cost about twice as much as a regular book to print. The idea is if you take this book you will review it, tell your family and friends about it, and help promote it. Don’t go nutty and just grab, grab, grab.

Look, I get it. I’m one of those people that have a hard time saying no to free things. People could offer me a free Diet Coke and I’d say yes … even though I have a deep abhorrence of Diet Coke. I always justify it saying I can use it later or someone else can! Free is hard for me, and it kinda got me in trouble the first day last year. By noon I had filled my suitcase with things I had to have.

Bull. OK? Bull crap. I got greedy and carried away. I inventoried my bag and got rid of the shiny things I knew I would never read or use and set them in a stack on the side for someone else to grab. I think they were gone when I came back a few hours later and hopefully found a good home.

Don’t be greedy. Take what you can realistically read. If you’re a person who reads 15 books a year, don’t grab 78. Unless you don’t plan on going back to BEA or a bookstore for another 4 years and this is your last shot to get enough reading material to carry you through. If that’s the case? Carry on, my friend.

3. The taking of multiple copies (AKA How to get death glares at BEA):
Lemme tell you a story about while I was at BEA in 2012.

I’m sitting in line the last day of the expo, waiting to get into BEA, and I overhear these five girls (women) making a game plan about who was grabbing which book at which booth when the doors opened. I immediately got pissed, thinking, These chicks are going to each grab five copies of a book for each other? That’s so messed up. I was irritated and may have rolled my eyes and I may have been totally WRONG.

The fact of the matter is, I was plain old jealous I didn’t have a group of people that would enable me to essentially be in 5 places at the same time. I know some of you are shaking your heads right now, thinking that these women were just being bad examples of people at BEA, but chill out a sec before you start unfollowing or defriending me and think this through:

Did these girls really do anything wrong? They all paid to be there. They had as much a right to be there as I did and they had a right to the same books I did. It just happened to work out that they could divide and conquer (such a nasty metaphor, but appropriate). It’s not like they were getting multiple copies of the same book to go home and swap for other books or using them as giveaway books while keeping a copy for themselves. BTW? We all saw the posts go up on Goodreads the night of BEA from people who wanted to swap titles they got that day for books not going to be there. So not cool. These books aren’t bargaining chips.

Wanna know a secret? I sometimes grabbed more than one copy of the same book … because I went with a friend and I gave her the second copy. There was no need for us both to get trampled in the morning, so I might go get us a book while she stood off to the side and waited. Or one of us held a spot in line while the other went to a galley drop for something we really wanted. At one point, I saw a girl who was barely five feet tall and maybe 95 pounds soaking wet getting constantly pushed to the back of the crowd for a book she really wanted so I went and got her a copy and then immediately handed a copy to her and my friend. So if you were in that crush with me it looked like I snagged 3 copies of the same title … But I didn’t. And I know for a fact I wasn’t the only one who did that.

My point is, give people the benefit of the doubt. Unless you have a badge that says: BOOKEXPO AMERICA POLICE, I don’t want to see you griping about people grabbing multiples. It just makes you sound petty and jealous and whiny. There are still hundreds of books for you to grab, and that book that you missed out on will be published one day. You can get a copy then. Or chat up one of the nice publicists and see if they will be dropping more copies later. Some publicists will take your card and mail you one.

On the flip side, if you do buddy up with a group to “divide and conquer”, then keep it simple. Don’t think you can have a group of 20 who each get a different book and no one will stop you when you load three totes full of the same title. Snag a copy or two for your buddies holding your spot in line or whatever. I honestly don’t see the harm in that, but use discretion and mind your own business.

4. Walk It or Move It.
One of the things that irritates me in everyday life is people who walk insanely slow or just stop in the middle of an aisle. The exhibit hall floor is insanely packed and there is just no room for people to congregate in groups of four or more to shoot the breeze—at least not in the aisles. Move it to the side, guys. The floor is not the place for a Sunday stroll with your bestie.

This is good advice for NYC, too. If it’s your first (or second) time to the Big Apple, I get wanting to stop and take pictures or get your bearings with a map … But you will get mowed down, my friend, if you stop in the middle of the street. And people may curse at you or pushing you into oncoming traffic.

5. Be polite, respectful, and understanding at all times.
Fact is, BEA is as crowded as WalMart on Black Friday. Difference is, most people dress a little bit nicer and we all love books.

You are going to inevitably step on someone’s toes and have your toes stomped on by a random stranger. You will be pushed, jostled, and knocked around like a bumper car driven by a ten year old on a sugar high. Accept it and go with it.

I apologized more in 3 days than I did all year, and that went both ways. If you’re someone who deeply values personal space and your 3 foot bubble, please reconsider coming here. You will be surrounded by people wielding overstuffed bags that bang into you repeatedly while they simultaneously step on your swollen feet and push you into a wall. They won’t mean to, but you may come home with some pretty bruises to match the books you get.

6. Understand that there are people who are working.
It’s easy to forget that not everyone at BEA is in the city for vacation. The people manning those publisher booths aren’t there on holiday—they are there doing their job. Don’t disrespect them by interfering or assuming they owe you anything.

If you try chatting up a publicist and find them in a less than cordial mood, remember that they were nearly trampled to death when the doors open and have had a million people demanded or asking books from them all day. Try grabbing one when it’s the end of the day and things are winding down. Or let your favorite publicist know you’ll be at BEA and ask if you can meet up.

7. Signings!
Yes, there are a ton of signings at BEA. You get to meet those authors you’ve been stalking admiring for years. But what if you already bought a copy of the book they’re signing?

You have a decision to make: Get the new copy signed or miss it. Honestly, I would get the signed copy (especially if it’s an author I really want to meet) and then donate or give away the extra copy at home. There is always something you can do with an extra book.

Keep in mind a lot of signings line up well in advance, so plan accordingly. It’s not at all surprising for lines to start forming 45 minutes to an hour before a signing starts.

8. The dropping of the galleys.
You may have heard the term “galley drop” by now. A galley drop is something publishers do when they (you guessed it) drop a pile of galleys. They can be ARCs, finished copies … There can be one or several titles dropped at a time.

The first set is when the doors open. Most publishers have a few stacks of upcoming titles laying around in massive piles. You will see people grabbing these like they’re freshly minted Benjamins.

Publishers also drop galleys at specific times of the day. Some will give you a schedule of when these drops will occur, others won’t. This is when you should make sure your phone is charged and your social media apps up to date. People will tweet when they see a drop.

There are also varying ways I saw for getting galleys. Most put a stack out on the floor and let people have at it. I believe HarperCollins made people line up and handed out copies one by one (this also kept people from grabbing multiple copies). Ask someone working the booth if they have a galley drop schedule, or if there’s a specific title you want, ask if they can tell you when it will be available.

9. No butts!
When you see a massive line formed for an author you really want (Dark Days signing or Harlequin Teen Hour, anyone?) and you see your friend standing at the front, don’t go up and start talking to score yourself a spot in line. Get behind the other 150 people like a good little book addict.

On the other hand, do not freak out if some people get in line with the girl/guy standing two in front of you. This happened the first day last year when a group of my friends and I lined up for the Andrea Cremer signing. We were literally the first 7 people to line up … 90 minutes before the signing. During these 90 minutes, we traded off holding spots for each other so we could drop books off in our suitcases, walk around, and go to the bathroom. Twenty minutes before the signing we all came back and stood together when someone three or four people back had an attack of the bitchies and starting whining about us butting.
No, honey, we didn’t butt. We saved each other’s places. Don’t be mad because you stood in line the whole time and didn’t ask anyone save your spot so you could go potty. But you know what? Had you asked, we gladly would have saved your spot as well if you wanted to walk around a bit. I happily held places in lines for people who were winging it solo but needed to run to the bathroom or wanted to walk around while waiting in line. You’re in line for an hour, so make friends with the people around you and ask them to save your spot while you do a couple things.

This is why you don’t need to blow a gasket when you see people get into line ahead of you. They may have been there the whole time. Again … you look silly and childish for whining about someone cutting the line, especially when that person had every right to the spot they claimed.

You’ll drive yourself crazy if you try to police all the bad, rude or unprofessional behavior you see. This is doubly true for bloggers. It’s not secret we frequently get a bad rap at events, but we bring it on ourselves. I’m not saying people won’t genuinely cut a line or do some ridiculous things, but try to be gracious, kind, and courteous. Take the high road when given the opportunity.

9. Lines?
You will see lines everywhere in BEA. They will wind up and down aisles, through booths, blocking aisles, and some of them will tangle together worse than Rapunzel’s hair. If there is a signing you really want to hit, get there at least an hour in advance if you want to be up front. If it’s a group (like HarperCollins did with the Dark Days authors or Harlequin does with their authors having 4-5 signing at a time) you may need to allot more time. People starting lining up for the Dark Days signing 2 hours in advance. I lined up more than 90 minutes before and was still #68 in line.

It’s kind of cool to start a line, I’ll admit. At one point my friend was waiting for a signing to begin at the Penguin booth and the publicist asked her if she wanted to start the line, so my friend wound up holding a sign for the signing that she was waiting for and directing other people to the line for the signing currently going on. Everyone thought she worked there and kept coming up asking her questions. It was all rather amusing.

Accept you will spend the majority of your days in line. You wait to get in to BEA. You wait in lines for signings, finish, and then run to the next line. It’s a rather exhausting process. Kill time by chatting up people in your line.

10. It’s OK to say, “No, thank you.”
I thought it was a myth that people would literally shove books into your hands, but was I ever wrong. However, a lot of books being pushed at me were ones I knew I would never read or review. It’s absolutely all right to tell someone “No” as long as you do it politely. Don’t think you have to take everything you see. Remember what I said about being greedy?

Plus, you’re taking a book away from someone who might have really enjoyed it. There are limited copies available of each title.

11. Business cards!
Business cards are a must. I will admit I didn’t pass out nearly as many as I could have. I met a lot of awesome people in a short amount of time and I know they met just as many people. This is not just publicists and authors—fellow bloggers! Passing cards out and getting them back was a great way to keep track of people I met. When I got home I made sure to check into each blog I had a card for and follow them. I’ve met some insanely cool people at BEA and this helped me keep track of them (hey, Jenny!). Don’t be afraid to say, “Here’s my card!” even if you don’t get a card back. Put your name and your blog’s name in as many minds as possible.

12. Plan for your plan to fail.
I had so much fun making a game plan of which signings I was going to go to at what time. I mean, I planned for weeks before BEA and that plan evolved and changed at least a dozen times … And I might have hit half of those events/signings/meetings I planned.

Expect that things will get crazy and you simply can’t do everything you want, meet everyone you want to meet, or get all the books you want. You will drive yourself crazy trying to. I don’t want to walk by and see you in the fetal position, clutching schedules and crying about missed opportunities.

Have fun and go with it. Don’t get so bogged down with planning that you forget the awesome spontaneity that comes from being in the wrong place at the right time and meeting a really cool author or finding a friend you’ve only every known online. Enjoy the experience.