Tuesday, May 31, 2011

BEA Giveaway #1

Want to share the BEA book love, so here's my first giveaway! A copy of The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta, an awesome story about how one family deals with the aftermath of the biblical Rapture (or was it?). Gave this one a 5/5 as it was unputdownable! Will also include a second surprise title, a tote bag, and assorted BEA swag!

How to enter? Just fill out the below form with your name and email address! Nice & easy! Contest will run until next Thursday, 6/8/11. US mailing addresses only.

The small print:
*Open to US mailing addresses only
*Must be at least 13 years old (or have parental permission) to enter
*Entries will be accepted from Tuesday, May 31st, 2011 through Wednesday, June 8th, 2011, 11:59PM EST
*The winning name will be picked using a random number generator
*All entries must be submitted using the form on this post. You MUST include your email address, as this is how the winner will be contacted
*The winners will be announced and contacted via email no later than Friday, June 10th, 2011, and will have 48 hours to respond with their mailing address. Should they fail to respond in the given time frame, new winners will be chosen.

Good luck!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Book Review: The Leftovers

The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta

Source:  BEA 2011

Rating:  5/5

What if the Rapture happened and you got left behind? Or what if it wasn’t the Rapture at all, but something murkier, a burst of mysterious, apparently random disappearances that shattered the world in a single moment, dividing history into Before and After, leaving no one unscathed? How would you rebuild your life in the wake of such a devastating event?

This is the question confronting the bewildered citizens of Mapleton, a formerly comfortable suburban community that lost over a hundred people in the Sudden Departure. Through the prism of a single family, Perrotta illuminates a familiar America made strange by grief and apocalyptic anxiety. The Leftovers is a powerful and deeply moving book about people struggling to hold onto a belief in their own futures. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:
Initially attracted to this book because of the timeliness of the subject (the Rapture), the story soon sucked me in and wouldn't let go! I got involved with Kevin and Nora and Tom and the rest of the "leftovers", trying to survive after the Sudden Departure that may or may not have been the biblical Rapture. No matter what happens, life goes on. That's the beauty of the human race...we survive. Some better than others, and their somewhat bumpy journey is what makes this book so enthralling.

The story is told by several different characters, but it never got confusing or unwieldy. The narrators were Kevin, his wife Laurie, son Tom, daughter Jill, and Nora, a woman who lost her entire family. The chapters alternated between these people, and we slowly get to know them and their pain. It was fascinating watching how different personalities reacted to the Departure, and the coping mechanisms they came up with:  from the Guilty Remnants to Holy Wayne to the Barefoot People.  Fascinating!

I liked that the story didn't really pick up until a few years after the Departure, as it would have been an entirely different story right afterwards. This way, things had a chance to settle down and people learn how to cope. Or not cope, whatever the case may be.

Gave this a 5/5 rating as I couldn't put it down and finished it in a single day! It was an exhausting read, but well worth it! I really liked that we don't know if this was really the Rapture, because the characters don't know. Perrotta is a gifted writer who really made me care about these people, and left me wondering how I would have reacted in the same situation. The story works on different levels, and I'm still digesting it. And BTW, I absolutely love the cover! Very eye-catching!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

In My Mailbox (76)

In My Mailbox (76)
In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. I've included links to Goodreads if you want more information on the books.

For Review:
Trace of Fever
Am taking part in a blog tour for Lori Foster's Trace of Fever. Really loving this series!

The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta
Won a Shelf Awareness giveaway for a copy of The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta, but picked up an autographed copy at BEA. I sense a giveaway coming!

From BEA:

autographed books
autographed books

unsigned books
unsigned books

I was going to list the titles, but there are too many so just sorted them between signed and unsigned. Have a few duplicates and have already given some away. I'm in the process of adding them to my Goodreads library, but that may take awhile as I didn't realize it would clog up my Facebook page, so I need to spread it out a bit.

Looking forward to seeing what everyone received this week! So many books....so little time!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

BEA - Day Three (Thursday)

Day Three, in which I limp home bruised and exhausted, but glad I made it!

Last day of the Expo, so the traffic gods decided to mess with me and I made it in record time! No worries, as I had a great conversation in line with fellow attendees. Once the doors opened, I hustled over to the Houghton Mifflin booth in search of Au Revoir Crazy European Chick, one of the titles featured in the YA Editors Buzz panel. Alas, they didn't have any books available. Couldn't get my hands on The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer either, but did have several amazing-looking books practically shoved in my hands, so think I'll survive. :)

Penguin decided to put out their remaining ARCs all at once, so managed to snag a few must-reads. No more Sarah Dessen books (sorry Tammy!), but it was a madhouse and I'm glad I made it out in one piece!

Walking by HarperCollins, I noticed that there was already a line for the Melissa Marr signing, so I jumped in. Didn't want to chance missing out on a copy of Enthralled as I've missed out on too many books by getting in line too late, so more than happy to wait for over an hour. Amazing how priorities change after a couple disappointments! Since the wait was so long, decided to risk sitting on the floor, unsure if I could get back up or not! *L*

Very nice publishing reps kept us company in line and made sure no one jumped the queue. One incredibly sweet girl brought me an ARC of Shatter Me when I asked if they would be putting any out later. How nice was that? Love HarperCollins!

Melissa couldn't have been nicer, and signed Darkest Mercy for me as well! Thought it was either/or, so very happy that I got both! Not to mention a very cool family tree poster!

Told her how much I enjoyed Graveminder, so was thrilled when I received the best swag ever:

A Graveminder toe tag! Sweet!

Missed the Maureen Johnson signing, but I later heard that they had to cut off the line so I probably wouldn't have gotten a copy anyway. Saw on Twitter that Kristen Painter was signing copies of Blood Rights a few booths over, so headed there next. Got lucky and walked right up!

Headed over to the tables to get a few autographs, then saw on Twitter that Abrams supposedly had the best tote bag of the Expo. As a devoted tote bag fanatic, I had to check this out for myself! Didn't see any sitting out but when I asked, a very nice lady brought me their last bag. How nice! And they were right, as it's an awesome bag! Plan on devoting an entire post to my new totes, as some of them are truly works of art! Might do one on my swag as well, as the exhibitors were very creative this year!

Walked the floor and made a few cool discoveries:

Abram's Diary of a Wimpy Kid blow up

Beautiful poster from the Workman booth. I believe!

Attended the Middle Grade Buzz Fantasy panel, and was happy to sit down as I was running out of steam! Three authors featured, and I was more interested than I expected. They discussed The Unwanteds, Icefall, and The Dragon's Tooth. After the panel, they had a few copies available, but not enough for everyone. 

Did another circuit of the floor, but everyone seemed to have run out of steam as well. The Expo was supposed to stay open until 3pm, but some booths were already starting to pack up and it seemed like everyone was tired. Don't blame them, as it was an exhausting week!

I had been invited to a BEA focus group, but only three of us showed up. Still interesting, and we were probably able to discuss our views in more detail than if there had been a larger group.

Picked up my suitcase from the suitcase corral and realized that I wasn't going to be able to make it to the BBC reception. Could barely walk by this point, so no way could I stand for another two hours. Thought about just going down to say a quick hello to everyone, but no one was there yet. Crushing disappointment, as I still haven't managed to meet several of my favorite bloggers. :(

Limped down to the ferry. The traffic gods were kind again and I made it home in record time. Collapsed as soon as I got there and slept for a couple hours. My poor feet are a mess, and think someone must have stepped on me during one of the galley giveaways as I have a couple of bruised toenails. DH gleefully pointed out that they will probably fall off. DH is evil. So I am bruised, swollen (knee), and pretty sure I'm never going to be able to wear shoes again. Also sad that BEA is over.

Today's books

Can't wait til next year!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

BEA - Day Two (Wednesday)

Day two, where I make lemon drop martinis from a lemon of a beginning!

Last day for ticketed signings, so I leave extra early this morning. There's an accident on the way, so I get there later than I did yesterday. So no tickets. Determined to take things with a grain of salt today (for margaritas?), I shrug and go wait in the entrance line. The loooong entrance line:

My first signing is for Lauren Oliver, but I wanted to swing by the publisher booths first to see what they had laid out for us. Sourcebooks had this really cool t-shirt!

Managed to snag several really awesome titles, but on my way to Lauren's signing, I realized I had somehow lost my spreadsheet! The horror! I actually considered going home to print a new list, then two seconds later snapped out of it. I had the book listing all of the autographings, so figured I would work from there. Wish whoever found my spreadsheet had turned it in instead of keeping it (found my map in the garbage at Penguin), but determined to make lemonade out of lemons! Or preferably, something with a little more "kick" to it, like lemon shots! :)

Forgot to take pictures yesterday, so went picture-mad today to make up for it!

Lauren Kate, signing Passion!

The Harlequin booth, organized today instead of mass chaos. Go Harlequin!

Olivia! Too cute!

The infamous "chutes" at the autographing tables

Ally Condie signing Crossed

Kristan Higgins at the Harlequin booth 

Lori Foster! Loving her new series!

The amazing Julie Kagawa, of Iron Fey fame. Go Team Puck! ;)

Whoa! Harlequin has a Julie Kagawa wall at their booth!

Lisa Desrochers at the Romance Writers of America booth

Managed to fill up my suitcase today, so survived quite well without my master plan. Did I miss authors on my list? Yes. Did I have a meltdown? Nope! As you can see, I stumbled across several amazing books that weren't on my master list, which more than makes up for the mini-tragedy this morning!

Looking forward to reading all of the BEA posts, as we're all managing to see different authors and have different experiences. And FYI, I printed out TWO copies of my spreadsheet so I have a backup tomorrow! *L*

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

BEA - Day One (Tuesday)

I survived the first day of BEA 2011!

Exhausted, starving, and in pain, but I survived! And what a day it was! My plan was to get there early enough to snag some tickets for the autographings, but I forgot about the traffic on 495, so made it to the ferry much later than planned. By the time I arrived, all but one of the authors I wanted were sold out. That was the first of many disappointments for the day.

Much to my relief, getting into the exhibit floor was orderly and calm. No pushing or shoving or being trampled like the horror stories I heard last year. As I made my way to my first stop, I swung by several booths. Apparently, publishers put out all the really good stuff first thing in the morning. Huge piles of ARCs just sitting there for the taking, and publishers handing out tote bags like there was no tomorrow! Book lovers heaven!

My first stop was the Romance Writers of America booth, to get autographed books from Jana Oliver and Jeri Smith-Ready. I was number six in line! Woot! I adore Jeri and will read anything she writes, and have heard nothing but good things about Jana!

Next stop was the autographing chutes, where I spent most of my day. Seems like the crowds were heavier this year, as almost every line I waited in was HUGE. Huge as in wrapped around and down and never-ending. So huge, that I had to make gut-wrenching decisions on who to skip as no way could I make it to them all. Dear Authors, please do not chat with the fans when there are huge lines, but keep the freaking line moving! Where are the publicists? Isn't it their job to keep things moving? Grrrr!

Okay. Deep breath. I'm calmer now....

Ran from huge line in the autographing area to the Harlequin booth for their paranormal signings. Okay, I walked briskly since I can't run, whatever...  :p Another huge line. For some reason, they decided to have one line for over a half dozen authors, so you can imagine how long that line was! You would think they would know better as their signings were chaos last year, but guess not.

So I finally get up within sight of the authors, only to hear one of the publicists announce that they are ALL OUT OF BOOKS! Excuse me? Seeing the huge line, don't you think one of you could have taken a count of remaining copies, then a headcount of fans and let us know so we didn't waste our time standing there for nothing? Not even an apology, just sorry guys you're SOL. I am NOT a big fan of Harlequin right now... They didn't even offer to mail us copies to make up for waiting so long for nothing. :(

Having learned my lesson, I decided to get to my next autographing early. Made it to Tahereh Mafi's autographing 15 minutes early! Very proud of myself....until they closed the line 7 minutes after she started signing. Someone took a headcount and realized they hadn't brought enough books with them. WHAT? Denied again! Somehow, I must have generated some bad book karma, as I'm beginning to feel like the book gods are out to get me.

Am exhausted by now, so go to my first panel of the day: the YA Book Buzz. Standing room only, and I snagged one of the last seats. Felt sooooo good to finally sit down! The host was awesome. The editors were all awesome. The books sounded super awesome. But I had to leave during the Q&A period as I had to go to the bathroom really, really bad. Came back in time for the ending, but was disappointed that they weren't handing out ARCs the way they did for the Editor's Buzz panel for adult books. What? YA fans have to hunt down the ARCs? Denied again! I'm sensing a theme here.... *paranoia sets in*

Head to the Penguin booth, where apparently they know how to present an author signing. Kudos to Penguin! They had a very nice lady at the end of the humongous line, handing out tickets to ensure that they had enough books for everyone. And Richelle Mead couldn't have been nicer! She posed for pictures and made polite chit chat, but kept her line moving. And BTW....what a gorgeous woman!

Winding down, I made it to a few more signings before calling it quits. BTW, guess who ran out of books? Leigh Fallon, one of the YA Book Buzz authors. Hello? Your book is being hyped and the publisher doesn't make sure there are enough copies? Major fail!

Freed my suitcase from the suitcase corral, repacked, then limped my way to the ferry for the journey home. Very glad that I had worn my knee brace today, as all that standing around is a killer! I had knee surgery last November and my knee is still wonky. Iced it as soon as I got home, so I should be fine for another round of BEA tomorrow!

Totally forgot I had my camera with me, so didn't take any pictures. Will try to take some tomorrow. I did tweet throughout the day, both intentionally and unintentionally. I sent a few pocket tweets, as I didn't know I shouldn't put the Blackberry in my front pocket, then sit down! Oops! Lesson learned. ;)


I adore tote bags, and managed to snap up 10 altogether. These are my favorites so far...Capstone, Chronicle, and netGalley. The netGalley one is too cute, as it's a mini bag about big enough for a roll of lifesavers!

And here are the books I brought home....tried to be good, but I got a little carried away *blush*

Am embarrassed now that I was complaining about all the books I didn't get, as I didn't realize I had 27 titles. And yes, there are two copies of Trial by Fire. I stood in line again in order to get that second copy, after everyone else had their copy, so no yelling that I have two! Will do a special BEA edition IMM this weekend, but I'm too tired right now to list them all. 

As tired and grumpy as I am, I am still incredibly grateful that I have the opportunity to attend BEA! I know that they don't have to admit book bloggers, so am very, very happy that the publishing world allows us to attend their trade show.

Sorry this is so long....I'll try to do more pictures, less talk tomorrow.  :)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Book Review: Cloaked

Cloaked by Alex Flinn

Source:  ARC provided by Amazon Vine

Rating: 3/5

I'm not your average hero. I actually wasn't your average anything. Just a poor guy working an after-school job at a South Beach shoe repair shop to help his mom make ends meet. But a little magic changed it all.

It all started with a curse. And a frognapping. And one hot-looking princess, who asked me to lead a rescue mission. There wasn't a fairy godmother or any of that. And even though I fell in love along the way, what happened to me is unlike any fairy tale I've ever heard. Before I knew it, I was spying with a flock of enchanted swans, talking (yes, talking!) to a fox named Todd, and nearly trampled by giants in the Everglades.

Don't believe me? I didn't believe it either. But you'll see. Because I knew it all was true, the second I got cloaked. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:
This was an enjoyable read! An amusing twist on the classic tale of a poor boy going on a quest to win the hand of the beautiful princess, with references to a few other fairy tales thrown in along the way.

Johnny is a hard worker, who is doing his best to help his mother run their shoe repair shop in a swanky hotel. He secretly dreams of designing shoes, but doesn't really have the time or means to make that dream come true. Despite their hard work, Johnny and his mother can barely make ends meet. All that changes when a beautiful princess stops by his store to request his help in finding her brother. Who has been turned into a frog. By a witch. Uh-huh.

And so begins Johnny's quest to track down the missing Prince. There are talking animals, a magic cloak, elves, and multiple obstacles to overcome on his journey. Johnny seems to handle his abrupt introduction to this magical reality rather well, and does so with a sense of humor. Does he learn important life lessons along the way? Of course he does!

This was a fast, fun read, but think it may be aimed at a slightly younger crowd than the usual young adult book. It was amusing, and an easy read. Didn't love it, but I enjoyed it all the same and think it would be perfect for my young niece. Gave it a 3/5 as I liked it, but didn't love it. Flinn is a talented writer, and I'm looking forward to seeing what she comes up with next!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

BEA 2011 - I have a plan!

This year....I have a plan!

I started blogging right before BEA 2009 and was fascinated by all of the posts and tweets. Determined to attend in 2010, I had no idea what to expect. Kristi at The Story Siren was kind enough to share her spreadsheet of YA authors, but I more or less went in unprepared. I missed out on several signings that I simply didn't know about, but at the same time, I managed to pick up some great books while wandering around. This year will be different! This time,
I have a plan!

I know, I know, I probably just jinxed myself and will fall off the ferry or something and never make it to the Javits Center... :(

But I have a plan!

Took me more hours than I want to admit, but I painstakingly went through every single listing on BEA's Search It Find It page and wrote down anything and everything that sounded appealing. Then I went through it a second time and prioritized the offering. Result? A giant spreadsheet to make sure that I don't miss out on my must-see authors! Not going to show you the entire spreadsheet as it's kinda huge, but here are some of the highlights:

Jeri Smith-Ready - Shift Tues @ 9:30AM - 10:00AM
Ellen Datlow - Teeth Tues @ 10:00AM - 10:30AM
Rachel Vincent - If I Die Tues @ 12:00PM - 12:45PM
BEA YA Ed Buzz Tues @ 2:00PM - 3:15PM
Richelle Mead - Bloodlines Tues @ 3:00PM - 4:00PM
Jennifer Lynn Barnes - Trial by Fire Tues @ 3:30PM - 4:30PM
Lauren Oliver - Liesl & Po Wed @ 9:30AM - 10:30AM
Ally Condie - Crossed Wed @ 10:00AM - 11:00AM
Bill Willingham - Down the Mysterly River Wed @ 11:30AM - 12:00PM
panel - YA to Adult: An Author Perspective Wed @ 3:30PM - 4:00PM

If you're going to the Book Expo, what are your must-sees? Are you going with a plan, or winging it? Even with my admittedly over-planned schedule, I'm leaving my options open and am willing to throw it right out the window should something else come up (for instance, Kevin Sorbo invites me out to lunch)(hey, a girl can dream!)(BTW, it's not nice to mock). *snicker*

To everyone going to BEA, have fun! Wear those comfortable shoes, and I hope to run into you in line somewhere! And to those not able to make it this year, be sure to check out Armchair BEA!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

In My Mailbox (75)

In My Mailbox (75)
In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren, guaranteed to increase the number of books on your wishlist! I've included links to Goodreads if you want more information on the books.

For Review:

Curse of the ShamraShamra DividedChaos Unleashed
Received review copies of Barry Hoffman's Shamra series from Media Masters Publicity:  Curse of the Shamra, Shamra Divided, and Chaos Unleashed. The first two books are being reissued with new covers, but Goodreads still has the old covers. Looks like an interesting series!

When the peaceful and isolated land of the Shamra is invaded and its people enslaved, a young Shamra girl named Dara must lead a ragtag resistance to defeat the enemy. But even as she fights the invaders, Dara grapples with self-doubt and is criticized by her own people for being outspoken and different.


The Chosen Sin
Got a copy of Anya Blast's The Chosen Sin from the bookshelf at work. We bring in books we've already read and can take any book we're interested in. Love working with fellow book lovers!

The Chosen are vampires fighting for their very existence. It is Daria Morris’s destiny to become one of them…Daria is a special forces agent with one obsession: to wreak vengeance on the vampire who nearly destroyed her. But to succeed, she must become something she detests: a vampire. Her fate rests upon Alejandro Martinez, a sexy vampire with whom she once shared an unforgettable night of scorching passion. Now, while Daria struggles against her newfound bloodlust, the two must slip into the shadows to bring a monster to justice - even as their desire threatens to consume them…

Happy Reading!