Friday, June 29, 2012

Review: Cinder by Marussa Meyer

by Marissa Meyer

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, the ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

My Thoughts:
This is one of those books that suddenly popped up all around the blogosphere, so it took me awhile to finally pick it up and read. Happy to say that it lived up to all of the good buzz!

My first thought was that this would be another fairy tale mashup, but it's not. Well, it sorta kinda is, but not really. There's the unwanted Cinder who was adopted by a man shortly before he died of the plague. She is left with her mean "stepmother" and two "stepsisters". The younger sister seems sweet, but the other two don't really like Cinder and aren't afraid to let her know it. There's even a handsome prince and a ball, but that's more or less where the Cinderella comparisons stop. Well, aside from her pumpkin-like transport to the ball. :)

Cinder is a talented mechanic who just happens to be a cyborg. She doesn't remember anything before the surgery which saved her life, but is a survivor. As a cyborg, she technically belongs to her stepmother, has no rights because she's considered property, and she cannot keep any of her earnings.

I don't really understand the prejudice against cyborgs, as I think that would be beyond cool! How convenient to have a handy little indicator to let you know whenever someone is lying? And a mechanical leg that you could store things in? How awesome would that be? Unfortunately, it's not an easy life, but Cinder somehow manages to stay strong. I really liked Cinder, as she didn't let the constant emotional and mental abuse from her so-called family break her spirit!

A chance encounter with the handsome Prince Kai sets her on a path to an unexpected adventure. He was looking for a mechanic to repair his companion android. Turns out the life of a prince isn't so easy either. His country is suffering from the plague, and they are dealing with threats from the evil Queen Lunar. Very evil woman! E-vile!

Really loved the characters in this story! Cinder's companion android Iko is a blast! Such a big personality in such a little robot! Kai and Cinder are both great characters! And how cool that Kai didn't look down on Cinder, but actually seemed to like her! Go Kai!

This is a great start to a great new series! Was fast paced, had a great plot with interesting and believable characters, and the writing is out of this world! My only complaint was the cliff-hanger ending, and that I have to wait until next year for the next book to come out!

eBook from my personal nook library

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Beach Season Preview and BookTrib Giveaway

by Lisa Jackson, Cathy Lamb, Holly Chamberlin, Rosalind Noonan

"The Brass Ring" by Lisa Jackson - It's a beautiful June day, perfect for a wedding - until Shawna learns that her fiancé, Parker, has been involved in a car crash. Though his injuries heal, his memories of her are gone. Yet Shawna won't stop reaching to reclaim the love they once shared...

"June's Lace" by Cathy Lamb - June MacKenna is done - with her high-pressure legal career, her cheating soon-to-be-ex, and the stress of city living. In her studio on the Oregon coast, she creates beautiful lace wedding dresses, with no intention of ever wearing one again herself. Then songwriter Reece rents the house next door, and sets out to change her mind...

"Second Chance Sweethearts" by Holly Chamberlin - Thea Foss is putting a bad marriage behind her in the pretty vacation town of Ogunquit, Maine. What's past is past...Until her first love wanders into the local diner, reminding Thea of the person she once was, and the life it's not too late to claim...

"Carolina Summer" by Rosalind Noonan - Jane Doyle needs to get out of New York - the farther the better. She's headed toward Florida, but thanks to a storm along North Carolina's Outer Banks, she finds herself stranded in a beautiful, remote town that soon feels a lot like home. And thanks to the local sheriff, she finds herself staying longer than she planned - and feeling less lost at sea than ever...

BookTrib has organized a fun twist on the typical blog tour for Lisa Jackson’s latest beach read, with an amazing giveaway!
  • Five winners will receive one dark blue, long handled, large LLBean canvas bags with Beach Season embroidered on the side in Dark Pink. Each bag will contain a copy of the book, an inflatable WondaWedge and other beach bag related items.
  • One winner will receive one custom beach towel with the cover of Beach Season featured on the towel plus a copy of the book.
  • Four winners will receive an inflatable WondaWedge (for your reading comfort at the beach) plus a copy of the book. They will also receive a monthly delivery of an exquisite floral arrangement for three consecutive months as well as a copy of each of Lisa Jackson’s new books.
  • And finally, ten additional winners will receive copies of the books.

See more details about the book and contest at BookTrib!  Contest ends July 6th, 2012.

    Monday, June 25, 2012

    Review: Wolf Signs by Vivian Arend

    Wolf Signs by Vivian Arend

    Robyn Maxwell doesn't care that her brother has to cancel out on their back country ski trip. She can do it alone. The fact she's deaf doesn't make her survival skills any weaker. The chance to get away from it all and relax in the Yukon wilderness is just what she's been craving. Meeting wilderness guide Keil at the cabin starts cravings of another kind. Keil's one hot hunk of ripped, tasty male. Now she has to deal with raging hormones as well as strange questions about wolves and mates and challenges to the death.

    Keil was trying for a nice reflective retreat before challenging for the Alpha position of his Alaskan pack. He wasn't planning on meeting the woman destined to be his mate, or finding out she's not aware she has the genes of a wolf. Between dealing with his accident-prone younger brother, a deaf mate with an attitude and an impending duel to the death, his week - and his bed - is suddenly full. Far from the relaxing getaway any of them had in mind....

    My Thoughts:

    Saw this title featured over at The Book Vixen's My Bookish Wants & Gots and she was nice enough to let me know if was a free eBook when I mentioned that it sounded awesome.

    Love the whole idea of a deaf werewolf, who had no idea that she was a werewolf! Sad to say that the story didn't live up to my expectations. Robyn was a little too accepting of learning that not only are werewolves real, but that she's a werewolf too! And oh yeah, hunky stranger is destined to be her mate so it's okay to sleep together immediately. Sure she was surprised at first by the werewolf thing, then it was all no big deal. Um, really? I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure I would need a little more time to process all that new information!

    I had a few other problems with the story, aside from Robyn's easy acceptance. The issue of her being deaf wasn't really addressed. Apparently she's a champion lip-reader and surprise! As mates, Robyn and Keil had no problem communicating. Really? Wouldn't being deaf be more of an obstacle? It was almost a non-issue, like the color of her hair or what she did for a living. I was sort of looking forward to it being a more interesting aspect of the story. And while Robyn started out as a strong, self-sufficient woman, that part of her seemed to disappear once she found her man.

    Aside from being a short read (less than 100 pages), I found myself skimming the sex scenes. The author used a few words that I just don't like and don't think belong in writing. I might be a prude, but I don't like sex scenes using offensive (to me) language. And does anyone really talk like that during sex? Outside of bad movies, I don't think so! Really ruined that part of the story for me.

    Gave this one a 2/5 as I liked the premise and thought it was an original idea, but it was too short, problems were too easily solved, and it had some offensive (to me) language. It's book one in the Granite Lake Wolves series. Others have loved this series but, based on this book, it's not for me. At least it was free!

    eBook from my personal library

    Friday, June 22, 2012

    Love is Murder Blog Tour - Featuring Julie Kenner

    Love is Murder anthology

    Prepare for heart-racing suspense in this original collection by thirty of the hottest bestselling authors and new voices writing romance suspense today. You can follow along on the blog tour and enter to win fabulous prizes too!

    My Thoughts:
    Anthologies are my weakness. I love them! It's a great way to discover new writers, as well as visit with old favorites while waiting for their next book! This is one of those rare collections where almost every story was a winner! Amazing, but true! There wasn't a single story in this collection that I didn't enjoy! Hope you're tempted by Julie's excerpt below, as I loved the surprise twist!

    Julie Kenner – The Honeymoon excerpt

    “There,” Elizabeth said. “That’s the cutoff to Balmorhea, and - oh, shit. Now you’ve passed it. Turn around, Tom. We need to go back.”

    Tom kept his hands at the ten and two o’clock positions. “Balmorhea’s off the highway. We’d have to go out of our way. The interstate goes right through Van Horn.”

    “Yes, but I’m exhausted. I need sleep.” She rubbed her hand along his thigh. “And sex. New brides need lots of sex.”

    Julie Kenner Q&A:

    1. What is your guilty pleasure?

    I must be of the criminal element, because I have so many! Probably the biggest is watching schmaltzy movies or high action movies. Favs are Dirty Dancing, The Cutting Edge, Bring It On, and Independence Day. Also curling up by a pool with a pile of books. Last trip to the beach, I glommed the A-List series. And if you're talking about food, my absolute favorite is a huge bowl of frozen blueberries, thawed for twenty minutes and then drenched in heavy whipping cream. It. Is. Heaven.

    2. Describe your favorite meal.

    Hmm. Do the blueberries mentioned above qualify as a meal? Assuming not, I'm going to have to go with sushi. Love sushi. And it's better if someone else is paying!

    3. If you were not a writer, what would be your career?

    I was a lawyer before I quit to write full time, so presumably I'd still be a lawyer. If we're talking fantasy career, I'd be in musical theater on Broadway. But I can neither sing nor dance, so that option isn't exactly grounded in reality.

    4. If you could time travel, which year would be your destination?

    Ooooh! Too many choices. Either the twenties in Hollywood, because I think that would have been a fascinating time to see the film industry evolving. Or the Renaissance in Italy (reasons should be obvious!). Or possibly the future. Would be kind of cool to see what my kids are doing twenty years from now!

    5. What inspired your contribution to LOVE IS MURDER?

    I love noirish stories, and I wanted to combine something with a very noir feeling and a romance. I also love twists and reversals. So I was inspired by the possibilities, and I let the type of story I want to tell gel until the characters and situation presented themselves. It was a fun way to work, and I hope readers enjoy The Honeymoon!

    Julie Kenner Bio:

    Praised by Publishers Weekly as an author with a “flair for dialogue and eccentric characterizations,” bestselling author Julie Kenner’s books have hit lists as varied as USA TODAY, Waldenbooks, Barnes & Noble, and Locus Magazine. Julie is also a two-time RITA finalist, the winner of Romantic Times’ Reviewer’s Choice Award for Best Contemporary Paranormal of 2001, the winner of the National Readers’ Choice Award for best mainstream book of 2005. She writes a range of stories including urban fantasy, paranormal romance and paranormal mommy lit, including the popular Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom series, currently in for development as a feature film with 1492 Pictures. Julie also writes the Shadow Keepers series of dark, edgy paranormal romantic suspense as J.K. Beck. Julie lives in central Texas with her husband, two daughters and several cats.

    Tuesday, June 19, 2012

    Review: The Hunter and the Hunted by Kelley Armstrong

    The Hunter and the Hunted by Kelley Armstrong

    Just weeks before the final installment in the Otherworld series, Thirteen, goes on sale, the publisher is releasing the first-ever eSpecial from Kelley Armstrong, The Hunter and The Hunted. It includes two short stories - Stalked and Off-Duty Angel - as well as an exclusive and extensive first look at Thirteen.
    My Thoughts:
    Kelley's Otherworld series is one of my favorites, so was very excited to see that there was an eSpecial with two short stories and an excerpt for the last book in the series! There was much rejoicing in my house that day! Since it's only three stories, I'll give a brief recap of each one:

    This was previously published in My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon and I had already read it, but it was a nice reread. Elena and Clay are one of my favorite urban fantasy couples! And being Elena and Clay, they can't have a normal honeymoon! Bored by the lack of anything to do but not wanting to disappoint the other, things take an interesting turn when a mutt (non-pack werewolf) starts sniffing around. Elena and Clay take matters into their own hands, learn to communicate a little better, and wind up having a good time after all. Love these two!

    This was a new story for me, featuring half-demon, part-time angel Eve Levine. Boredom plays a part in this story as well as Eve has some time off, but since her lover is busy, Eve is bored. I don't really like it when strong women are bored without their boy toys (not that Kristof is a boy toy!), but sort of understand where Eve is coming from.

    As a favor to Kristof, she starts following a shaman who may or may not be important to Kristof's latest court case. Things take an interesting turn when she stumbles into a secret dimensional passage at the British Museum. (I never stumble into secret dimensions at museums. Would make museums a lot more palatable! Just saying) Suddenly things get a whole lot more interesting and Eve is no longer bored! Really enjoyed watching Eve work! And liked seeing her interactions with her angelic partner Tsriel. Really fun short story!

    This will be published July 24th, 2012 and I'm already counting down the days!

    This picks up right where the last book left off. Literally. Savannah and her brother are stumbling away from the headquarters where Bryce was being held captive. Leaving Bryce with Jeremy and Adam, Savannah and Jaime head off to find dry clothes. Picked up by the police as suspects in the bombing, Savannah knows that something isn't right.

    Thrown into jail, Jaime gets sick. Things go from bad to worse and suddenly they need to fight for their lives! I got sucked into the story immediately and am on the edge of my seat, impatiently waiting to read the rest!

    There's a war coming, and Savannah and friends are going to need to gear up in preparation.

    Really enjoyed this excerpt, and love how it picked up right where we left off so there's no wondering what happened. While sad that the series is coming to an end, this one sounds like it's going to be a great send-off to an awesome series! And I really hope that Kelley will revisit the series every now and again so we can watch the twins grow up, see if Adam and Savannah ever get together, and revisit all of our old friends.

    You can purchase this eSpecial from Barnes &, Amazon, or directly from Penguin.

    Sunday, June 17, 2012

    Mailbox Monday

    I find myself in need of a new way to showcase titles as, for personal reasons, I decided to no longer participate in The Story Siren's In My Mailbox meme. So I am "test driving" different alternatives. I like giving books a little special attention as sometimes it can be awhile before I'm able to review them. Sad to say, but some get put on the shelf and gather a little dust before I'm able to give them the love they deserve.

    This week is Mailbox Monday, the weekly meme created by Marcia from A girl and her books (formerly The Printed Page) where book lovers share the titles they received for review, purchased, or otherwise obtained over the past week. Mailbox Monday is now on tour, and June's Host is Marie at  Burton Book Review.

    For Review:
    Am a huge fan of Kelley Armstrong's Otherworld series, so was thrilled when I received a chance to review her first eSpecial!

    by Kelley Armstrong

    Just weeks before the final installment in the Otherworld series, Thirteen, goes on sale, the publisher is releasing the first-ever eSpecial from Kelley Armstrong, The Hunter and The Hunted. It includes two short stories - Stalked and Off-Duty Angel - as well as an exclusive and extensive first look at Thirteen.


    This is one of those titles that I missed out on at BEA. I blogged about it and was surprised when the author saw my post and generously offered to send me an autographed copy! Color me happy!

    They Disappeared
    by Rick Mofina

    A loving family, fracturing under pressure... Jeff Griffin, a mechanic, and his wife, Sarah, travel from Montana to Manhattan to give their nine-year-old son, Cole, his dream vacation as they secretly face the heart-wrenching turmoil that has them teetering on divorce. In the wake of their heartbreak, a mother and son disappear...

    What did you receive this week?
    Leave me a link and I'll swing by to check it out!

    Friday, June 15, 2012

    ThrillerFest VII - excerpt from The Affair by Lee Child

    It’s that time of year again - time for the annual summer camp for thriller writers and fans, ThrillerFest VII! The largest gathering of New York Times bestselling authors returns to The Big Apple, July 11-14th, at the Grand Hyatt!

    The experience is sure to satisfy any adrenaline junkie as writers from all over the world come together to share a common interest: the thriller novel. Jack Higgins, the genius behind The Eagle Has Landed, is this year’s ThrillerMaster. Spotlight authors include Lee Child, Catherine Coulter, John Sandford, Karin Slaughter, and Richard North Patterson. Not to mention,  the legendary Ann Rule, author of The Stranger Beside Me is this year’s beneficiary of The True Thriller Award! And last year’s ThrillerMaster R.L. Stine will return for the spine-tingling festivities. There’s no denying that this week is going to be jam packed with exhilarating workshops, including: 
    • “How to Stalk A Serial Killer and Tell the Gruesome Tale” with Ann Rule.
    • “Kill ‘Em Clean: Writing Sharp, Fast, and Deadly” with Catherine Coulter.
    • “Tell, Don’t Show: Why Writing Rules are Mostly Wrong” with Lee Child, author of the bestselling and beloved Jack Reacher series.
    • “The Dynamics of Structure” with David Morrell, author of 28-novels, including First Blood (of Rambo fame).

    Lee Child is one of my favorite authors, and is going to have a workshop at this year's ThrillerFest! Love his books, so delighted to share an excerpt from his newest book. Wish I could attend!

    Below is an excerpt from Lee Child's latest book The Affair, who is a spotlight author at ThrillerFest VII.


    The woman with the perfume and the pale hands was already deep into the corridor beyond the open turnstile. She had been waved through. Straight ahead of me was the two-man inquiry desk. To my left were the two guys checking badges. The open turnstile was between their hips. The four spare guys were still doing nothing beyond it. They were still clustered together, quiet and watchful, like an independent team. I still couldn’t see their shoes.
    I took another breath and stepped up to the counter.

    Like a lamb to the slaughter.

    The desk guy on the left looked at me and said, "Yes, sir." Resignation in his voice. Not a question, but like I had already spoken. He looked young and reasonably smart. Genuine DPS, presumably. MP Warrant Officers are quick studies, but they wouldn’t be running a Pentagon inquiry desk, however deeply under they were supposed to be.

    The desk guy looked at me again, expectantly, and I said, "I have a twelve o’clock appointment."

    "Who with?"

    "Colonel Frazer," I said.

    The guy made out like he didn’t recognize the name. The world’s largest office building. Thirty thousand people. The guy leafed through a book the size of a telephone directory and asked, "Would that be Colonel John James Frazer? Senate Liaison?"

    I said, "Yes." Or: Guilty as charged. Way to my left the four spare guys were watching me. But not moving. Yet.

    The guy at the desk didn’t ask my name. Partly because he had been briefed, presumably, and shown photographs, and partly because my Class A uniform included my name on a nameplate, worn as per regulations on my right breast pocket flap, exactly centered, its upper edge exactly a quarter of an inch below the top seam.

    Seven letters: REACHER.

    Or, eleven letters: Arrest me now.

    The guy at the inquiry desk said, "Colonel Frazer is in 3C315. You know how to get there?"

    I said, "Yes." Third floor, C ring, nearest to radial corridor number three, bay number fifteen. The Pentagon’s version of map coordinates, which it needed, given that it covered twenty-nine whole acres of floor space.

    The guy said, "Sir, you have a great day," and his guileless gaze moved past my shoulder to the next in line. I stood still for a moment. They were tying it up with a bow. They were making it perfect. The general common law test for criminal culpability is expressed by the Latin actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea, which means, roughly, doing things won’t necessarily get you in trouble unless you actually mean to do them. Action plus intention is the standard. They were waiting for me to prove my intention. They were waiting for me to step through the turnstile and into the labyrinth. Which explained why the four spare guys were on their side of the gate, not mine. Crossing the line would make it real. Maybe there were jurisdiction issues. Maybe lawyers had been consulted. Frazer wanted my ass gone, for sure, but he wanted his own ass covered just as much.

    I took another breath and crossed the line and made it real. I walked between the two badge checkers and squeezed between the cold alloy flanks of the turnstile. The bar was retracted. There was nothing to hit with my thighs. I stepped out on the far side and paused. The four spare guys were on my right. I looked at their shoes. Army regulations are surprisingly vague about shoes. Plain black lace-up Oxfords or close equivalents, conservative, no designs on them, minimum of three pairs of eyelets, closed toe, maximum two-inch heel. That’s all the fine print says. The four guys on my right were all in compliance, but they weren’t wearing cop shoes. Not like the two guys outside. They were sporting four variations on the same classic theme. High shines, tight laces, a little creasing and wear here and there. Maybe they were genuine DPS. Maybe they weren’t. No way of telling. Not right then.

    I was looking at them, and they were looking at me, but no one spoke. I looped around them and headed deeper into the building. I used the E ring counterclockwise and turned left at the first radial hallway.

    The four guys followed.

    They stayed about sixty feet behind me, close enough to keep me in sight, far enough back not to crowd me. A maximum seven minutes between any two points. I was the meat in a sandwich. I figured there would be another crew waiting outside 3C315, or as close to it as they decided to let me get. I was heading straight for them. Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.

    I used some stairs on the D ring and went up two flights to the third floor. I changed to a clockwise direction, just for the fun of it, and passed radial corridor number five, and then four. The D ring was busy. People were bustling from place to place with armfuls of khaki files. Blank-eyed men and women in uniform were stepping smartly. The place was congested. I dodged and sidestepped and kept on going. People looked at me every step of the way. The hair, and the beard. I stopped at a water fountain and bent down and took a drink. People passed me by. Sixty feet behind me the four spare DPS guys were nowhere to be seen. But then, they didn’t really need to tail me. They knew where I was going, and they knew what time I was supposed to get there.

    I straightened up and got going again and turned right into radial number three. I made it to the C ring. The air smelled of uniform wool and linoleum polish and very faintly of cigars. The paint on the walls was thick and institutional. I looked left and right. There were people in the corridor, but no big cluster outside bay fifteen. Maybe they were waiting for me inside. I was already five minutes late.

    I didn’t turn. I stuck with radial three and walked all the way across the B ring to the A ring. The heart of the building. That’s where the radial corridors terminate. Beyond the A ring is a five-acre pentagonal open courtyard, like the hole in a doughnut. Back in the day people called it Ground Zero, because they figured the Soviets had their biggest and best missile permanently targeted on it, like a big fat bull’s-eye. I think they were wrong. I think the Soviets had their five biggest and best missiles targeted on it, just in case strikes one through four didn’t work. The smart money says the Soviets didn’t always get what they paid for, either.

    I waited in the A ring until I was ten minutes late. Better to keep them guessing. Maybe they were already searching. Maybe the four spare guys were already getting their butts kicked for losing me. I took another big breath and pushed off a wall and tracked back along radial three, across the B ring, to the C. I turned without breaking stride and headed for bay fifteen.

    © Lee Child

    Review: Cold Cereal by Adam Rex

    Cold Cereal by Adam Rex

    Cold Cereal Facts Serving size: 1 chapter
    Number of servings: 40
    Primary human characters: 3 (Scottish Play Doe, aka Scott possible changeling, Erno Utz genius, Emily Utz supergenius)
    Magical creatures: at least 3 {Mick Leprechaun (or Clurichaun); Harvey Pooka (rabbit-man); Biggs indeterminate origin (hairy, large)}
    Evil organizations: 1
    Goodco Cereal Company, Purveyor of breakfast foods aspiring to world domination Adventure: 75%
    Diabolical Schemes: 40%
    Danger: 57%
    Legend: 20%
    Magic: 68%
    Humor: 93%
    Puzzles: 35%
    Mystery: 49%
    Not a significant source of vampires.
    May contain nuts.
    Daily values based on individual interest. Reader's estimation of value may be higher or lower, depending on your tolerance for this sort of thing.

    My Thoughts:
    This was a fast, fun read! Adam Rex has a quirky sense of humor that I absolutely love! I enjoyed his book Fat Vampire, but think I liked this one even better!

    We are first introduced to Scott and his sister Polly. They're recently moved to Goodborough, NJ for their mother's new job at the Goodco Cereal Company. Scott hates the first day in a new school, as that's when everyone learns that his real name is Scottish, as in Scottish Play (his father was a superstitious actor and had just gotten a role in MacBeth when Scott was born).

    While on a field trip to the Goodco Factory, Scott meets Erno and Emily Utz. Improbable twins, they are both incredibly intelligent. Emily is the smarter of the two, and is also one of the untouchable, unpopular girls.

    Scott and the twins become friendly, as Scott is the new kid and Emily has no friends. I think they bond over their unpopularity. They are all interesting characters, and did I mention that Scott occasionally sees things that aren't there? Things like giant talking rabbits or unicats? Never knew there was such a thing as a unicat, but I so want one now!

    Seems that the Goodco Cereal Company is up to no good, and their There's A Little Bit Of Magic In Every Box slogan might be all too true! There's something strange going on in Goodborough! Good thing that Scott and the twins are around!

    There's magic and mythical creatures and puzzles and strange experiments...all in all, pretty fascinating stuff! I got sucked into the magic and really enjoyed the story, despite being a Middle Grade title. It didn't read like a MG book, and I loved the author's humor! Really hope that there will be a sequel, as I'd love to see more of these kids!

    ARC received via Amazon Vine in exchange for an honest review

    Monday, June 11, 2012

    My BEA Treasures

    Am still trying to organize my BEA books, and haven't made up my mind yet how to do so. I need to add them to Goodreads, so will probably create a BEA12 shelf. I've seen a few bloggers list all of their books on a book haul type of post, but....well, it would probably take until next week to finish! So I'll settle for showing a few pictures of my new treasures. Enjoy!

    Tuesday's books

     Wednesday's books

     Thursday's books

     My favorite swag! Very cool t-shirt from Sourcebooks

    Swag heaven!
    Bookmarks and buttons and postcards, oh my!

    Am still sorting everything out. I know I picked up a couple of duplicates accidentally, so will probably have an upcoming contest or two for books and swag. I've also started a spreadsheet of my BEA titles if anyone is interested.

    Did you attend BEA this year? Let me know and I'll swing by to read all about your adventures! The beauty of BEA is that it's so large and everyone has different interests, so it's a unique adventure for us all!

    Sunday, June 10, 2012

    BEA12 in Pictures

    I remembered to take my camera with me every day to the book expo, just kept forgetting to take pictures. Then wasn't sure how to transfer them to my laptop since my PC died. Figured it out eventually (um, plug it in? duh!), but not in time to include pictures with my daily updates. C'est la vie. Better late than never, right?

    The main stairs to the exhibit hall.
    This year they featured Cassandra Clare.

     The famous Harlequin booth, where I seemed to spend most of my time! These pictures are from two different signings (the Teen signing and the Paranormal signing).

    Rachel Vincent at the Harlequin Teen and Maggie Shayne at the Harlequin Paranormal signings.

     Heather Graham and Rachel Vincent at the Harlequin Paranormal signing. Rachel said she remembered me from the earlier signing! (I fan-girled a little...)

    Lauren Oliver signing The Spindlers.

     The infamous Shirtless Wonders, working the Becca Fitzpatrick line!
    They both totally sucked in their stomachs before I took this picture!

    Becca Fitzpatrick. So distracted by the shirtless wonders that I never even noticed she was signing Hush, Hush instead of Finale!

     Crazy crowds at the autographing chutes!

    At the Dark Days signing. Longest line EVER! 

     Ellen Kushner and Holly Black at the Welcome to the Borderlands signing. Pretty sure I saw Laura Anne Gilman hovering, taking pictures! :o

     Kate Locke, author of God Save the Queen. She rocks the pink hair!

     Jackson Pearce. Isn't she adorable?

     No one ever believes me about the suitcase corral, so here's photographic evidence! This is only a small section of my corral, and there were three of them this year. Three!

    Last day of the expo and I had forgotten my drinks, so was very happy to see publishers giving away water! Thought this was too cute! Was going to save it as a souvenir but, well, I was thirsty...

    Looking forward to seeing everybody's BEA recaps! And hope I was the only one who kept forgetting to take pictures, as there were several authors I missed. Anyone get a picture of a blond Jeri Smith-Ready?

    Saturday, June 9, 2012

    Ma semaine dans les livres (My week in books)

    I find myself in need of a new way to showcase titles as, for personal reasons, I decided to no longer participate in The Story Siren's IMM meme. So I am "test driving" different alternatives. I like giving books a little special attention as sometimes it can be awhile before I'm able to review them. Sad to say, but some get put on the shelf and gather a little dust before I'm able to give them the love they deserve. Really like the Parisian theme of Ma semaine dans les livres (My week in books) by Moirae (the fates) Book Reviews! Love the whole idea of Paris! *le sigh*

    This was a surprise, as I don't have any record of requesting it and it's not my usual genre. Sigma Force? It's from William Morrow, so it's entirely possible that someone mentioned it at the HarperCollins party Monday night. Or they could have sent it on spec, but I thought they had stopped doing that. I do like the occasional thriller, so will give it at least one chapter to see if I like.

    In a thrilling masterwork that will make you rethink your perceptions of life and death, New York Times bestselling author James Rollins takes you to the edge of medicine, genetics, and technology, revealing the next evolutionary leap forward: immortality.


    I don't usually read books like this, but this one sounded intriguing enough to try. Having life coach "experts" have to prove themselves? Time to put up or shut up? Sounded too good to resist!

    by Justin Cohen

    Welcome to Quest, Inc. They say they can change your life. Now, as they’re followed by an investigative journalist from one of the world’s leading news publications, they have to prove it - or be damned as charlatans.

    What did you receive this week?
    Leave me a link and I'll stop by to check them out!

    Friday, June 8, 2012

    BEA Day 3 (Thursday)

    I came, I saw, I did not conquer.

    Was very excited for day three of the book expo, as I would finally have a partner in crime to hang out with! Picked up my friend Tammy (of Bo's Book Nook) early, so she could check in as a Power Reader and we could coordinate our plans for the day while waiting for the expo to open.

    Was a little surprised that the registration line for the Power Readers wasn't longer, as BEA had made such a big deal out of opening the doors to the public for the first time. I think they had too many hoops to jump through, which may have discouraged people from even trying to register. But Tammy was able to register through an invitation from Comic Con, so all was right in bookland.

    Our first stop was Sourcebooks, as I saw a tweet on Wednesday that they would be handing out t-shirts first thing Thursday. A green Authors Are My Rock Stars tee with a picture of Edgar Allan Poe in sunglasses. Love it! Definitely the best swag of the show IMHO!

    Then we split up, Tammy to go grab a big red bag from McGraw Hill (best tote of the show!) and me to stand in line for James Dashner. I thought he would be signing an ARC, but it was just an excerpt. Disappointing, but at least the line was short and I got to say hello!

    Met up and headed from one signing to the next. Tammy got caught in someone's net. Lured in by the offer of a totebag, she was boxed in by the publicist and a bouncer (that's what he looked like!) as an author pitched his book to her. After what seemed like an eternity, he finally signed the book and she could escape. I was trying not to snicker, but was ROTFL on the inside. I don't think she believed me before when I told her this could happen, so felt a little vindicated. Plus, it was funny. >:)

    Spreadsheets in hand, we met up and separated throughout the day. Have to admit that it was nice having someone to hang out with. While I have no problem attending on my own, it was cool that she saved me a place in Line B while I stood in Line A. And she didn't give me any grief when I walked up to an autographing table for what I thought was Karen Mahoney's Wood Queen, but turned out to be someone else. The author had already made eye contact with me, so I had to take the book. Oops! Guess that was karmic payback for me laughing at T getting caught in a net earlier.

    We were both disappointed that they ran out of copies of After: Nineteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia for the Ellen Datlow signing and closed the line a few minutes after starting. She's a great editor and chooses the best stories! Stopped by the Horror Writer's booth for the 1pm signing, but the new shipment of books still hadn't arrived. Only big disappointment of the day, but what are you going to do? If the shipment is late, it's late.

    Found it strange that there weren't more offerings for the Power Readers. Some publishers had no signings or galley drops scheduled for the day at all. Others packed up early and left. They shut down the autographing chutes at noon, and the Expo itself closed at 3pm instead of 5 like the other two days. The Power Readers were a brand new audience, so why not try to impress them? Another example of Reed having a good idea, but lousy execution (have yet to read any good reviews of the Book Blogging Con!).

    I was starting to drag halfway through the day; the two previous days finally catching up with me. Most of the signings and galley drops I wanted were in the morning, so I stood in a line or two for Tammy during the afternoon. The line for The Curiosities was insane, so skipped that one. Plus, heard a rumor that they were charging for the book. Assuming that wasn't true, as I saw no angry bloggers storming the booth or rioting.

    Curious what the publishers with 4 o'clock signings were going to do since the expo was closing at 3, we limped over to a booth to ask. The people there were very grumpy and acted like we were bothering them. We asked if  we could get a copy since the signing wasn't happening, but they said they had to take all of the books back to the office. Um, if you were planning on giving away the books to begin with, why not provide them to two willing reviewers who were interested enough to stop by? Didn't make much sense, and left a bad impression.

    Am very glad that BEA is only three days and not four, as I barely survived! Still have a red mark on my shoulder from my totebag. Feet are killing me. Have bruises on my arms and legs that I don't remember getting. Am sore all over and feel totally drained. And I would do it again in a heartbeat!

    So glad that I took Friday off to recover! And looking forward to reading about everyone else's adventures! Was surprised that I didn't run into more people in line, but guess there were more choices this time around. But there was this one lady in a big blue wig and spacegirl outfit wandering around....

    Wednesday, June 6, 2012

    BEA Day 2 (Wednesday)

    Two days down, one to go!

    Thanks to Sheila at Book Journey, I attended my first author breakfast this morning! She no longer needed her ticket as she was invited to the Random House breakfast. Was excited to hear this, as by the time I decided I wanted to go, the tickets were sold out. So it was a win-win as we both got to attend awesome breakfasts!

    I've never been to a BEA breakfasts before, so had no idea what to expect. It turns out it's set up just like a regular conference, with the speakers on a big stage in the front and giant screens on each side of the stage for easy viewing. They sat at a table and took turns speaking at the podium. I was in the back, in the theater seating. No food provided, but I couldn't see what the people in front were eating. Despite being in the back, could see and hear fine. There were free books sitting on the seats. I got a copy of John Green's book, which made me happy as he's been on my Must Read list for years! 

    Chris Colfer was a nice surprise, as he was witty and charming. John Green was made of awesome, just like I knew he would be! Lisa Lowry had everyone dabbing their eyes and we gave her a standing ovation. What a woman! I didn't wait to hear the last speaker, who I believe was an illustrator. That's the first time I've ever left a talk early, but I wanted to get in line for a signing. Was glad that I attended, and had a great time!

    Today wasn't as jam-packed as my schedule yesterday, but was still busy.

    As I was standing in line for Becca Fitzpatrick's book, two young men went down the line passing out bookmarks. Shirtless young men. With black wings. Would have been sexy if they weren't twelve.....okay, they weren't really twelve, but looked much too young to be running around without their shirts on. I must be getting old....*sigh* Was so distracted by the shirtless wonders that I didn't even notice that the book Becca signed for me was hush, hush, not Finale. What!?! I guess she ran out of the new book. Bummer.

    Rushed over to the autographing chutes to get in line for Jon Scalzi. Was surprised that the line wasn't very long as c'mon, it's Jon Scalzi! Turns out I was just early as it grew to a very respectable length, so glad I got there when I did. There were several lines right next to each other, so it looked like a big tangle. People kept cutting through to get from one line to the other, so lost track of how many times I was bumped and stepped on. And seriously BEA, you need to ban rolling suitcases on the floor! Why have a suitcase corral if you're going to let people take them on the floor?

    Missed the Middle Grade Editors Buzz Panel, so that means I didn't attend a single Editors Buzz this time around. Bummed, as I love those panels. Wish they wouldn't schedule them at the same time as so many great signings! I love hearing all the buzz about the books, and it creates so much excitement! Oh well.

    Actually had time for lunch today! Went out the doors in front, and there was a hot dog cart right there. Several people waiting, so I walked to the right and found several more food carts. Had a real NYC hot dog for only $2, compared to the $4-5 they wanted inside. Took it back inside, found an empty bench, and relaxed for a bit. Nice change of pace from yesterday when I didn't have time to so much as sit, much less eat.

    Bopped around the floor from booth signings to the chutes to galley giveaways. Didn't make it to the Harlequin signing in time as they had already cut off the line. Before it even started! Kudos for keeping a tight rein on the signings this year Harlequin! Even got a complimentary ARC as a consolation prize, so that was nice.

    Could not figure out the lines this year. Was shocked when I got to Holly Black's signing and there was no one there. Hello? It's Holly Black! What's wrong with people? Happy for me as I got a book, but sad for her as she deserves a huge audience! Then I'd go to another signing for an unknown author that I thought would be empty, only to find a huge crowd. Very puzzling.

    Weirdest signing was for Cursed at the Spencer Hill Press booth. They handed out numbered tickets, which was fine as most publishers do that. What was weird was that you could leave without losing your place in line. I was about 20-25 people back, but number 117. The line not only didn't move after it started, but we actually went backwards as some of the people with the early tickets came back. I left to pick up a few other galleys and went to a signing. Came back, and the people in front of me were in the same spot! I have no problem with having a ticket that ensures you get a copy, but if you leave the line, you should rejoin at the end! I gave up on the autograph and asked if I could just have a book. Still want to read the book, but don't think I want to go through that again!

    Funniest moment was when I tried to get a piece of cake from one of the booths. Lots of food on the floor today for some reason, but I wasn't complaining! Got in line behind a woman only to have a publicist tell us where the line actually was. Okay. Got in what she said was the right line and wound up with 3 autographed books! Oops! We only wanted a slice of cake! We sort of looked at each other, not sure what to say, so politely took the books as we didn't know what else to do. And the cake wasn't even all that good. *sniff*

    Towards the end of the day, bars started popping up all over the floor. Saw wine, beer, and what I think was champagne. Don't remember this happening yesterday, but that might have been because I left earlier. Had a small glass of wine (as in 3 small swallows....the girl pouring was stingy!), which was a nice way to end my second day.

    Today seemed busier than yesterday, although I was pleased that I didn't witness any pushing or shoving. I had two people get in line ahead of me because of the line breaks, but they went to the back of the line without any fuss when their mistake was pointed out (line breaks are where the aisles have to be kept clear, so the line is actually broken up into parts).

    Looking forward to tomorrow! Should be fun, especially as my bud from Bo's Book Nook will be going with me! I've been raving about BEA to her for the past couple of years, so very excited she finally has a chance to experience it for herself! Woo hoo!

    Tuesday, June 5, 2012

    BEA Day 1 (Tuesday)

    Survived the first day of BEA (Book Expo America)!

    Last year I forget about the traffic, so got to the Javits Center later than expected. Did I remember what happened and plan accordingly? Of course not. Traffic was horrible, so missed the first couple of things on my list. No worries though, as I can grab them both on Wednesday. The only thing I really missed was Sylvia Day's book, as she ran out. C'est la vie.

    Had some tough choices today, as there were an awful lot of signings between 10:30 - noon. Made the decision to get into line early for the Harlequin Teen signings, as I missed out on those last year. Missed the Young Adult Editor's Buzz panel, which was a bummer. But I got to meet Aimee Carter, Julie Kagawa, Cayla Kluver, Maria V Syder, and Rachel Vincent! And get autographed copies of their new books! Score!

    Harlequin did a much better job with crowd control than they did last year, and things seemed to run much smoother. They handed out "tickets" to everyone in line, and even passed out a few ARCs to those of us who showed up early. Nice job Harlequin!

    The one thing that I sorta, kinda don't like about the Harlequin system is that they funnel you through all of the signing authors. I understand that it makes the most sense for crowd control as the one line per author they tried last year didn't work. Plus, you get exposure for some of the lessor known authors that they might not have gotten otherwise. But I wound up with several books I hadn't planned on....

    After the Teen Harlequin signing, dashed over to the autographing tables (aka cattle chutes). They still haven't figured out a better way to manage this, as the long lines get crossed and it turns into a mob scene. Not good. Scored several of the titles on my spreadsheet, but the line for Dan Wells was too, too long so decided to skip that one.

    Quick stop at my suitcase to drop off my books. Thank goodness they let you bring luggage, as my shoulders would have fallen off otherwise! I got there so late that I wound up in the basement suitcase corral instead of the one on the second floor. Meant I had to go down two flights instead of one for drop offs, but at least if was an escalator and not stairs. Small favors.

    Another hard I get in line early for the next Harlequin signing or go to my other one o'clock signings? I chose Harlequin. Got in the wrong line at first, but found the right one soon enough. Yea for paranormal! No cool tickets or extra ARCs this time, but still got to meet several really cool authors. And Rachel Vincent said she remembered me from earlier! She's so nice! Got all fan-girly and may have gushed a little (I love her).

    Laura Anne Gilman had tweeted yesterday that she would be signing at the Science Fictions Writers booth, and she might have cookies. Cookies! Stopped by, but no cookies. She did offer me a swig from her flask, which makes her my new BFF! And she autographed her last book for me, which was technically the display copy, but it's cool cause we're BFFs now.

    Back to the cattle chutes to stand in line for Lauren Oliver. I don't know why they only scheduled her for only 30 minutes, as last year she had such a long line that she moved to another table to finish the signing. Such a sweetheart! Was worried because I was pretty far back in line despite being 20 minutes early, but it moved pretty fast. Think she realized she couldn't chat with fans and had to keep the line moving. Or her publicist keep things moving. Either way, it worked!

    Time for a bathroom break. Long line at the womens room, but no line for the men. Typical. And there were only four stalls. What's up with that? Women's restrooms should have a minimum of 20 stalls! Pfft!

    Back to Harlequin for my final Harlequin signing of the day! The one book I wanted was They Disappeared by Rick Mofina. Because of the set-up, I got five books that weren't on my list, but no Rick Mofina. The woman in front of me got the last copy. Literally. I was crushed. If I hadn't gone to the bathroom, I would have gotten a copy! Would have probably wet myself, but would have gotten a copy! Tweeted to see if anyone had a copy they didn't want and Harlequin tweeted back saying they would try to send me a copy after the expo. We'll see. If they do, that will be awesome! But I've been promised this before and the publisher never followed through.

    Next on the list was the Melissa Marr signing. Saw several people with cool white masks promoting the signing. Someone told me that they were handed out when the doors opened, but I missed that. Very impressed with HarperCollins as they had plenty of copies on hand despite the humongous line. And Melissa kept right on signing! They ran out of t-shirts, but that's okay because I really just wanted the book.

    Exhausted by now, but dragged myself back to the chutes to get a copy of Maggie Stiefvater's new book for my friend Tammy. See what an awesome friend I am? I willingly got into a line two miles long to get her a book! Was literally dragging by this totebag. Hey, everyone else was doing it, so what the heck! This was the first signing in three years where I heard the Line Wardens telling the fans "no flash photography". No one else I've heard of has ever had this request. Maybe it bothers Maggie's eyes or something, but I thought that this was a little odd.

    Was planning on going to the Apocalypsies Meet the Author get-together downstairs, but didn't have the energy. Picked up my suitcase, found an empty chair, and sat down for the first time of the day (not counting my restroom break!). Despite not taking quite a few offered books and totebags, I still wound up with a full suitcase and had to rearrange everything.  Felt so good to sit down! Didn't want to get back up, but figured if I left immediately, I might be able to beat most of the traffic. New Jersey traffic is horrible.

    So all in all it was a good day. Was so busy that I never took a lunch break, so glad I had a couple of Fiber One bars to snack on! Need to remember to eat Wednesday and Thursday, as hunger was probably part of why I felt so lousy by the end of the day.

    Sad that I missed so many great authors, but same thing happened last year. Was sorry I couldn't stop by to say hello to Caroline and Charles Todd, who I met at the HarperCollins party Monday night. Caroline is such a sweet lady! Very cool that they write the Inspector Rutledge series together. Will have to try their Bess Crawford series one of these days.

    One thing I noticed this year was an awful lot of rolling bags on the floor. The past couple years, BEA was really strict about not letting rolling bags on the floor. Not sure what happened, but it was a little annoying as I almost got run over by a few. Didn't see any pushing and shoving, but that might be because I missed the opening stampede. Everything seemed a little calmer this year. Still crowded, but not as frantic.

    Am tired and sore, but very happy. Also happy that I got to use the foot lotion I received last night. Will have to take a picture, as its labeled Book Club Girl: Soothe Your Tired BEA Feet. How cute is that? This tired bookgirl needs to go to bed, as I have an early start tomorrow!

    Welcome to BEA Week!

    Okay, if I did this correctly then this post should stay at the top for the rest of the week (if it doesn't work, blame Google)! Please scroll down for daily updates!

    Welcome to BEA Week!

    For anyone who has stopped by before, hope you enjoy my BEA adventures! I'm planning on posting updates every night so, if BEA holds no interest for you, hope to see you next week when things calm down a bit! *waves*

    If you're a new visitor, thank you for stopping by!

    If interested, you can learn a little more about me by checking out my About Me page. Down the right sidebar is the archive listing of old posts so you can get an idea of what the blog is all about.

    I will be posting on Twitter and Facebook throughout the day, probably more tweets than facebooking (is that a word?).

    Am incredibly excited to be attending BEA again this year! Thanks to Lexie at Poisoned Rationality (who is a genius!) I'm going to put a small picture of my avatar on my badge so maybe it will be a little easier to recognize me. I'm terrible with faces, but I'll recognize your name or avatar! If you see me, please say hello! I'll have business cards with me, so let's trade!

    Sunday, June 3, 2012

    Pre-BEA Happy Dance

    dance dance dance

    Can hardly believe that Book Expo America (BEA) is almost here! It seemed so far away and I had plenty of time, then BAM! OMG it's this week! I'm not ready! Yikes! *deep breath*

    I've been working on a spreadsheet for some of the books I want to try and pick up. It's not finished yet, but thought I'd leave a link to give you an idea of what a giant geek I am how I try and organize my day. I know that there are several overlaps, but if one line is too long or they run out of books, at least I'll have options.

    And before the full craziness of BEA sets in, I want to apologize to everyone in advance. I am not a visual person, so I'm pretty sure I won't recognize you if we run into each other (despite your helpful posts showing your picture). Believe it or not, I will probably not recognize you even if we've met before. So please, please, please don't take it personally if I sneak a peek at your badge for your name!

    If you sneak a peek at my badge and recognize my name, please say hello! And if you have business cards, could I please have one (so I can remember who I talked with)? I'll have my business cards with me, but I usually forget to offer. Had a great discussion with someone while waiting in line last year, but we forgot to trade cards so I have no idea who she was. So embarrassing!

    Will you be at BEA this week? Would love to say hello! I'll be on Twitter (@Alexia561) all three days, or shoot me an email. And please don't mind the blank look on my face if I can't see your badge.... pretend that I have amnesia and remind me of your name (two or three times if necessary).

    *happy dance*

    Saturday, June 2, 2012

    Winners! Winners! Winners!

    Have several winners to announce!

    Congratulations to the winner of
    The Immortal Rules! - confirmed

    Congratulations to the winner of
    The NOOK Simple Touch! - confirmed

    Congratulations to my International Winner! - confirmed
    Dazzling Mage!

    I've sent everyone an email and am just waiting for confirmations.

    Thanks to everyone who helped me celebrate!