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Maureen Johnson’s Name of the Star Publication Party

4 Oct

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Last week, Books of Wonder in NYC hosted what has to be one of the most interesting and entertaining book signings I’ve been to yet for Maureen Johnson’s new YA novel “The Name of the Star”.

A huge crowd of fans waited for Maureen’s arrival, while two “Jack the Ripper” impersonators roamed around and scared audience members.

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There were plenty of awesome buttons for “survivors” of the event to wear.

After a short wait, Maureen finally emerged to a cheering crowd, and entertained us with tales of Ripper research in London, her writing process, and how she’s always shocked when people actually READ the stories that come out of her head. Like magic!

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After the somewhat crazy and incredibly lively Q&A, Maureen began to sign. The line was quite long, so fellow book blogger Bethany and I decided to indulge in some cupcakes and wine (which, at least for me, was a Books of Wonder first). There is just something *naughty* about drinking wine in a children’s book store.

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We all know what wine looks like. These cupcakes were much prettier.

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Not pretty: the table “decorations”.

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More pretty.

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Maureen signing.

By the time it was my turn to meet Maureen, I was slightly tipsy, and remembered why I don’t usually have wine (and sugar!) before dinner. Or at public events. Pretty sure I mumbled something about how her “rambling, Mean Girls word vomit style stream of consciousness speeches make me feel better about my own propensity to talk too much made me feel as if I’d met a kindred spirit” scared her.

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And then someone took a very blurry photo of us together.

Luckily, I learned a long time ago, there is always someone weirder or more intense than you in the audience. Case in point: this dude, who had Maureen sign his forehead.
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Awesome. But weird.

After much more book talk, and a very in depth discussion about Game of Thrones with some new bookish friends, Bethany and I realized the store was about to close, so it was time to go home. We took the conversation outside, and ended up looking like creepy stalkers who were waiting for Maureen, probably scaring her once again. But I feel like if any author would understand this, it would be her.

The Name of the Star is out now, in bookstores everywhere.

®2011 Bookshelf Lust

Review: Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel

22 Jul

Dearly, Departed

Dearly, Departedwill forever be remembered as the novel that made me fall in love with zombies. I’m actually not a very big fan of zombies. At all. Much like my fear of heights, which unexpectedly showed up one day the first time I attempted rock climbing, I’m not sure where my zombie fear came from. One night I was re-watching 28 Days Later, and then next thing I knew, I was terrified, and having re-occurring zombie nightmares on a regular basis.

Dearly, Departed definitely has it’s freakier moments–and quite a few straight up nasty scenes–but the love story surrounding it all is so cute and refreshing, it’s easy for a zombie-phobic girl like me to overlook.

The story starts out a bit slow. Lots of background info is given about the protagonist Nora, her recently deceased father, and their futuristic world. But Habel doesn’t fall into the usual debut author traps, so it never feels info-dumpy. Thankfully after Nora’s world is introduced, the action really picks up around chapter 4, and even more so once Nora first encounters zombies.

The action does irregularly jump around from multiple points of view, which can be jarring and get confusing at first. But I also managed to get used to that aspect after a few chapters, after I “got to know” who each of the characters were.

Once Nora is abducted, and begins to interact with the ragtag band of zombie army men and women, the story really hits its stride. The secondary characters have amazing, hilarious personalities, and the camaraderie between them is endearing. I found myself laughing out loud on many occasions.

And the boys? When discussing this book with a fellow blogger friend via twitter, I, much to the amusement of Lia Habel herself, described the male characters of Dearly, Departed as boys “so hot, you’ll forget they are rotting!”.

Obviously, it helps to have a story full of plenty of hotties. Yet it’s the interaction between Nora and Bram, the love interest that really won me over. Their slowly developing (and strangely realistic considering one of them IS DEAD!) love is adorable. Nora is a strong, kick ass protagonist, and independent woman. But with Bram, she really begins to come into her own, and discover who she really is, and what she truly believes in.

I can’t remember the last book that had me giggling, and squeeing like a 12-year-old schoolgirl this much. (Actually, there was one book that similarly affected me, last year—Anna and the French kiss.) Everything from brushes of arms, to sniffing the shirt of the boy you like, to the eventual first kiss was both realistic, and adorable. Seriously, this story can only be described as epicly cute.

In the beginning, Nora thinks Bram is downright disgusting and terrifying. Lia Habel is such an amazing writer, who understands the psychology and motivations behind her characters, that you get exactly why Nora would become attracted to Bram, and find yourself falling in love with him much in the same way. There are dozens of books where teenage girls fall in love with the undead, weirdos, and just plain freaky men that just leave you shaking your head and asking “WHAT?!”. Never have I seen fear and disgust lead so naturally to true love.

Other things I liked: this book had some of the best and most original world building of anything I’ve ever read. It’s steam-punky, but without alienating people who might not be into the Victorian era and clockworks. (I admit I’ve only read a few steam punk short stories, but found my limited exposure to the genre to be weirdly repetitive.) The Neo-Victorian futuristic world Nora lives in is fully developed, and seems 100% logical considering the back-story that led to its creation.

Overall Dearly, Departed was an adorable, unique love story and survival tale that captivated me from page one. Lia Habel, a first time author (who FYI is just as adorable as this book!), has earned a place on my “auto buy” list. I wanted to re-read Dearly, Departed as soon as I finished. And of course, it’s safe to say I am now “dying” for the sequel.

5/5 Stars!

Dearly, Departed will be released on October 18, 2011.
Thanks to Del Rey for providing me with an ARC for review.

10 Days of Anathema Blog Tour Stop #10

15 Jul

Anathema

Evangeline has spent her teenage years in obscurity. Her foster parents have the emotional aptitude of robots and her classmates barely acknowledge her existence. About to turn eighteen and feeling like a social pariah, she is desperate to connect with someone. Anyone.

When Evangeline meets Sofie after literally stumbling upon her café, she believes she’s found that connection. Willing to do anything to keep it, she accepts a job as Sofie’s assistant and drops everything to fly to Manhattan, where she is thrust into a luxurious world of Prada, diamonds, and limitless cash.

With such generosity and kindness, it’s easy for Evangeline to dismiss certain oddities . . . like Sofie’s erratic and sometimes violent behavior, and the monstrous guard dogs. She’s even willing to dismiss her vivid dreams of mob-style murders, beautiful homeless people living in caves, and white-eyed demons that haunt her each night as figments of her imagination—especially when one of those figments is the gorgeous Caden. When she wakes up with bite marks on her neck, the fairy tale quickly turns into a nightmare. She slowly unravels the mystery surrounding Sofie and friends, and the reality of the bites and the “dreams.” What she discovers is far more mysterious and terrible than anything she could have imagined.

In a world where everyone has motive to lie for personal gain, Evangeline must decide which deception is least likely to get her killed.

For the very last stop of the Anathema blog tour, I’m sharing my review of this unique and compelling story. Along with an opportunity to win your very own copy! See after the review, for more details. 🙂

Anathema is one of those amazing stories that you want to run out and tell everyone you know to read—but not tell them anything about the plot. Just reading the book description was enough to make me shake my head and wonder what exactly will happen in this story. Like a movie with a twist ending, I was glad I went in only knowing that this novel came highly recommended from some fellow book blogger friends.

The action in Anathema starts right up within the first few pages. As soon as Evangeline agrees to accompany Sofie to NYC, things get weird. I’ll admit, it took me a bit of time to suspend my disbelief and understand exactly why Evangeline would pick up and move to NYC with someone she just met, but once you understand more about her background, and everything lacking in her life, it makes perfect sense!

I found the story to be a perfect mix of old-time fairy tales (a “princess”, locked in a castle!), mystery (what is happening to Evangeline at night?), and creepy old gothic novels (mysterious voices, deception, possible insanity). In short, many of my favorite genres, blended together!

Mixing “our world” and a parallel world isn’t a new concept. At times, the story actually reminded me of the later seasons of LOST, but spookier. But in Anathema, the two worlds blend together flawlessly, making the concept of “alternate realities”, along with some old familiar paranormal aspects (which I won’t mention, in fear of spoiling you) fresh and new. I really felt as if I’d gone back in time, to my younger days in the 1990’s, when not every book I read seemed suspiciously redundant.

Anathema is also on my short list of “realistic romances in YA”. Yes, there are paranormal elements, but the interaction between the characters, their problems, and how their relationship develops in the first place was refreshingly realistic. Also, it helps that Caden is really hot.

So much happens in this story that in the beginning, you can’t help but wonder “where is this going?”. What is real, and what’s in Evangeline’s head? Who can she trust, if anyone? How much of her life was chance, and how much was straight up manipulation? As soon as I finished, I wanted to go back and re-read it to catch all of the things I may have missed my first time around. The last book that left me feeling this way was CHIME, one of my favorite reads of this year so far.

Overall, I am very glad I went in to the story not knowing exactly what to expect. Anathema is an intriguing tale of lies, destiny, and romance. Plots are tied up (unlike in LOST!), but you’re left with a killer cliffhanger that will have you begging for book two.

4/5 STARS
Thanks to Kathleen Tucker for my review copy!

Kathleen is giving away a signed, print copy of Anathema to one lucky winner at the end of the blog tour. Anyone can enter by visiting her site at http://www.katuckerbooks.com (read giveaway rules posted). Do you want up to 10 extra chances to win? Visit each blog stop for an Anathema Quiz question. Answer it correctly and your name is entered! Simple!
Here’s your quiz question for today, Blog Stop #10: “What does Evangeline need to do to be free of the curse?”
To submit your answer, click here http://www.katuckerbooks.com/10-days-of-anathema-grand-prize-entry-form.html
And if you haven’t read Anathema yet… what are you waiting for?!

Kathleen has also been generous enough to provide an e-copy for a giveaway! All you have to do is comment here to enter. The contest open until 11:59pm on Sunday July 17. PLEASE Leave your email in your comment to enter! No email, no win! 🙂

Stephanie Perkins NYC Meet & Greet

12 Jun

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Saturday, on what would have been just a boring and disgusting rainy day in NYC, I went to one of the best author/blogger events I have ever been to!

I started my weekend pretty bummed out about missing one of my other favorite author’s only nearby US appearance, due to transportation issues. It’s not always easy to get outside of the city when you’re car-less, and trains can get costly and complicated. Thankfully, there was still some hope left for my Saturday!

I’d read on twitter the day before that “Anna and the French Kiss” author Stephanie Perkins was coming to NYC, and would be having a meet and greet with fans uptown. So roomie Jenn and I made the rainy trek up to Bryant Park to meet up with Stephanie, and some fellow blogger friends of mine.

The park was out, so after wandering around a bit, we found a local Cafe with a large basement seating area to hang out in. A few fans drifted in and out, but total there were around 15 of us. It made for quite an intimate gathering, and we were able to ask Steph about her books, characters, future projects, and her writing process.

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3/4 of our group.

Stephanie is absolutely adorable in person. If you like her quirky, fun characters, after meeting her in real life, you will fall in love with her even more. She’s very big on hugs, and has a contagious, goofy laugh. Chatting with her feels like catching up with an old friend.

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We learned that she is in NYC doing research for “Isla and the Happily Ever After”, her 2012 release. Nothing has been officially announced about her next project after Isla, but she did say that she has an idea already planned, and whatever she writes will most likely be a stand alone novel.

That revelation earned quite a few satisfied comments from those of us in attendance. EVERYONE agreed that sometimes, there are just too many series in the YA world, and that stand alone novels are highly missed.

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We also got to hear about how meticulously researched the world-building in her books are. She was still working as a librarian while writing “Anna”. So Stephanie said she checked out every single fiction, non-fiction, comic, and children’s book she could find about France. She also watched every French film she could get her hands on, and analyzed things as detailed as what went on in the background scenes behind the actors to find out how the French lived their lives.

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Rachael’s coveted copy of Lola and the Boy Next Door. We all wanted to steal it from her! (Lola takes place in San Francisco, where Stephanie went to college.)

One of my favorite moments of the day: a fellow attendee compared Steph’s work to Jane Austen. You should have seen her face! She was shocked, but I have to say that I think the comparison is spot on. I can’t think of any other contemporary YA writers who capture the same feel of Jane’s work, yet also modernize a story in their own way. One of the reasons I love Stephanie’s writing so much is because it feels so REAL. I can imagine saying and doing the same exact things her characters do were I in their situations.

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Me clutching one of my most anticipated 2011 reads! It was really hard not to pet this book.

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After our big group discussion, Stephanie took time to sign our books, and chat with everyone individually. A few of us posed for photos with her as well.

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Steph and some new friends!

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Signing books.

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Talking with roomie Jenn. They have a TON of mutual friends, from the Harry Potter fandom and Wizard Wrock worlds.

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Steph and Damaris.

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With Mitali.

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Steph & Jenn again.

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Me and Steph. She’s so cute! And I look like a total nutter here. Thanks,rainy weather!

We had a brief chat about her bff Kiersten White’s “Supernaturally“, (which I’m reading now) and whispered about how awesome her favorite character in that book is.

Soon, it was time for Steph to go meet up with a friend. So we all said our goodbyes, and thanked her for an awesome time! Seriously, I don’t know many authors who would set up a spontaneous meet and greet with their fans during a whirlwind, last-minute book research trip. 😉
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Before she left, I photographed Steph’s crazy cool outfit for one of the fashion websites I shoot for. I’ll definitely be posting a link/photos once this week’s street style goes live on their site.

Thanks again to Stephanie for totally making my weekend, and making time for all of your fans. You were beyond awesome, and I hope some day soon you can make it up to NYC again! I had so much fun meeting you, and making some new blogger and publishing friends. ❤

And to everyone else: If Stephanie comes to your town this year, GO!

All Photos ®2011 Rachel Scroggins/Bookshelf Lust.
See the full album here.

In my Mailbox #4

12 Jun

Over the past three weeks I’ve received some really awesome books. Things have been slower book wise, compared to the insanity of BEA. But I am actually thankful for that! My TBR pile has taken over our dining room table, and is not dwindling anywhere near quickly enough. I’ve gotten some great books recently, including some highly anticipated sequels (a few that have cut to the front of the line in my TBR pile!).

FOR REVIEW:

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Supernaturally by Kiersten White (!!) and Hereafter by Tara Hudson. Via Harper Teen.

I’ve been waiting forever for Supernaturally. Reading it now, and of course, loving it. I’ve heard really good things about the ghost story in Hereafter as well!

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Forgotten by Cat Patrick, and Spoiled by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan. Via Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

Two more books I’ve heard some great buzz about. Forgotten is a mystery, and Spoiled is by the hilarious Fug Girls.

PURCHASED:
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Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma. Found @ Strand– over a week early!

Can’t wait to read this. And seriously, that cover is one of the most beautiful book covers I’ve ever seen.

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Starcrossed by Jospephine Angelini.

After reading an E-Galley, I really wanted a signed copy of this book. Sadly, the Dark Days of Supernatural tour isn’t coming anywhere near NYC. I’m not sure why big book tours keep neglecting the entire East Coast, but it’s pretty annoying! Luckily, Josie (who is amazingly nice) offered to sign a copy for me if I had it sent to her. Her signature is so cute:

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Not pictured: Hexed by Kevin Hearne

GIFTED/OTHER:

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National Geographic Complete Photography.

My Dad bought this for my 29th birthday last month. Since it was a special order, it just arrived this week! I can’t wait to read it.

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The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy. Via Paperback Swap.

I have been wanting to read this forever. It finally popped up on Paperback Swap this week—along practically with every other book I’ve ever requested (Of course they show up when I run out of credits). Summer seems to be popular with book swappers.

I’m really starting to feel like I need a clone, so I can read and review everything much faster! 😉

Thank you to Harper Teen, Little, Brown and Josephine Angelini for making my 4th edition of IMM AWESOME!

Review: Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz

6 Jun

Witches of East End

“It’s the beginning of summer in North Hampton, and beautiful Freya Beauchamp is celebrating her engagement to wealthy Bran Gardiner, the heir to Fair Haven and Gardiners Island. But Freya is drawn to Bran’s gorgeous but unreliable brother Liam, and sparks fly when the two decide to play a dangerous game of desire, following an ancient story of love, betrayal and tragedy that harks back to the days of Valhalla.

Witches of East End follows the Beauchamp family—the formidable matriarch Joanna and her daughters Freya and Ingrid. Freya, a sexy bartender, has a potion to cure every kind of heartache, while Ingrid, the local librarian, solves complicated domestic problems with her ability to tie magical knots. Joanna is the witch to see when modern medicine has no more answers; her powers can wake the dead. Everything seems to be going smoothly until a young girl, Molly Lancaster, goes missing after taking one of Freya’s irresistible cocktails. As more of the town’s residents begin disappearing, everyone seems to have the same suspects in mind: the Beauchamp women.

Fraught with love affairs and witchcraft, Witches of East End will capture any reader who craves a page-turning, heart-stopping story of myth and magic from an author who knows how to deliver”.

Warning: due to this novel using elements of the author’s previous books in a different series, this review may be spoiler-y for some.

Witches of East End is Melissa de la Cruz’s first book for adults. Having been of fan of hers since her the days of her magazine journalism and the Au Pairs series, and also a huge lover of the Blue Bloods books, I have been eagerly awaiting Melissa’s first foray into adult fiction for ages.

It even made my 11 Must Reads of 2011 list!

Witches definitely does not disappoint. While the novel could have been a bit longer, the story by no means felt short, or unfinished. I found writing for an adult audience to be a nice change for Melissa. She has always catered to a more mature (if not in age, in mentality) audience, so writing an adult novel seems to be a natural progression for her.

After a slow first chapter or so, the story kicks off with a bang. Ummm, literally. It’s no secret that an adulterous tryst takes place very early on in the story. But it does not in any way overshadow the rest of the plot! I’ve seen a handful of reviewers on Goodreads saying the adultery ruined the book for them. When it comes to immortal fictional characters who have lived, lets just say much longer lives than most of us can expect to, I do not feel as if said characters should be held up to normal human morals and standards.

Even more importantly, for all the reviewers & readers spazzing out over Freya’s affair, especially those who DNF the book: reading about it doesn’t mean you have to condone it! And, fortunately it really does all makes sense in the end.

I feel that only truly great authors can write characters who do despicable things, yet make you still care about them. Along with the adultery, Freya, Ingrid, and Joanna make plenty of bad choices. They keep harmful secrets. They don’t heed potential omens and warnings. They begin practicing magic again, but solo, without telling each other. They make mistakes with vast consequences. Yet their love for each other holds them together, until once again luck is on their side. In many ways, Witches is as much a tale of the relationships between mothers and daughters as it is a story about three women practicing magic.

Loved:

* Melissa’s world-building is always phenomenal. WOEE is no different! Mysteries and secrets are slowly exposed, without ever giving too much away at once. And the way MDLC incorporates historical details and facts into her stories is beyond comparison.

* Cameo appearances from Blue Bloods characters. It made me even more anxious for Lost In Time.

* The Norse mythology incorporated within the story. The way it fits together with the witchcraft= AWESOME.

* The huge variety of paranormal characters/beings included in the story.

* There is a cliffhanger, but not an “I want to throw this book across the room” when I’m finished cliffhanger. Thank you, Melissa, for not torturing your readers.

* Just the fact that Melissa wrote one adult novel makes me hopeful for more in the future!

Didn’t Love:
* Honestly, the cover. It just doesn’t do it for me. And I’m not sure what it has to do with the story contained inside. The cover screams “Fall!” to me, while the book takes place during the Summer.

* And of course, I am not a fan of having to wait over a year for Book #2 (Rumored to be entitled “The Serpent’s Kiss”!) 😉

I’d recommend Witches to new fans of Melissa de la Cruz looking for a delicious and quick reading experience. Note: You do not need to read the Blue Bloods series beforehand. But reading at least book #1 would lead to a much better understanding of events in this book.

Overall Witches of East End was a fast, fun, and sexy read. Perfect for both a day at the beach, or just lying around the house. It’s a total guilty pleasure read, without a dumbed down storyline, or cheesy writing.

I can’t wait to learn more about the Beauchamp family backstory in Book #2!

4/5 STARS.
Witches of East End will be released by Hyperion, June 21, 2011.

Disclosure: I received my copy of Witches of East End at BEA.

BEA Recap: Day Three

4 Jun

On Wednesday, the second official show day of Book Expo, I arrived right on the expo floor right in time for the doors to open. Suddenly, the people around me were running in every direction, and I had no clue what was going on. I decided to head over to the booth’s of some of my favorite YA publishers, and see what ARC’s they had available. I did not know on Tuesday, that the morning “rush” is when most ARC’s are actually handed out.

I now understand why crazy people run to their favorite booths. I dashed from booth to booth, and found many books that I had on my BEA wishlist. By 9:30am, my grocery tote was nearly full of books (something it’d taken me hours to do on Tuesday). At some point, I met up with Lindsi, and we continued our book quest, until I lost her again.

But not before we met Lauren Kate, who was doing an in-booth signing of Passion:
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Lauren was very sweet.

I ended up skipping the lines to meet Lauren Oliver, and Ally Condie, because they were insane. I found a copy of Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, one of my “must haves” right away, so I grabbed one in case they ran out before her signing at 10:30am. The line moved quickly (or at least it did where I was–relatively close to the front). Laini was so cute, and seemed really excited to be meeting so many of her fans.
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Laini Taylor and her awesome pink hair.

After Laini, I dashed back to the autographing area to get in line for Melissa Marr.
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Melissa with Casey.

I finally got a copy of Graveminder, which I’d been waiting forever for. But of course, not until after I stood in a massive line. Not sure if it was the crazy line, or just general BEA fatigue, but Melissa seemed tired.

Next I met Joceyln Davies, author of A Beautiful Dark, but it happened so fast, I can barely recall any details.

After hearing horror stories of Tuesday’s signing at the Harlequin booth I met Lindsi and Casey in line twenty minutes early for the multi-author Harlequin Teen event. According to multiple reports, a blogger and her friends blockaded the table and were stealing books out of people’s hands at Rachel Vincent’s signing for Blood Bound! And yes before someone asks, I was told the name of the blogger who was responsible. Thankfully, I’ve never met or spoken to her, or I’d be embarrassed to be her friend.

The Harlequin line quickly grew crazy, making me glad I’d decided to head there early.

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While we were waiting, we discovered the cover for Goddess Interrupted!

And right before that, in the comic book area, I saw a wall of comic book ads that included Richelle Mead’s Dark Swan series:
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Julie Kagawa, Kady Cross, Gena Showalter, and Maria V. Snyder were all signing. Not surprisingly, all four turned out to be incredibly nice authors! Here’s Julie signing copies of Iron Queen:

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After the signing, I was finally able to grab some lunch downstairs at Javits. Downstairs, one of the most inexpensive options was pizza. While I was waiting in line, the woman in front of me complimented me on my eye makeup. We started talking, and then I noticed her name tag: Sarah Beth Durst! I told her I was a fan, and saw her upcoming book in the Fall preview slide show, “Drink,Slay,Love” the day before at the Simon and Schuster preview. So she gave me a bookmark!

I had some time to kill, so I went straight over to Penguin to get in line for Eoin Colfer’s new adult mystery novel, Plugged. The line was long, but moved pretty fast. Books were handed out before we reached Mr. Colfer, so it was nice to for once, stand in a long line, yet still be assured I would receive a signed book.

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Plugged.

My last few signings of the day were over in the Random House area. I arrived early once again, so I got in line to meet James Dashner, and got a signed excerpt of the new Maze Runner book “The Death Cure”. I told James I hadn’t read the series yet, but had it on my TBR for ages. He joked that I was smart for waiting until all three books were out!

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James Dashner.

I found Lindsi and Casey again, sitting on the floor behind Random House, waiting for Erin Morgenstern’s “Night Circus” signing to begin. The line was long (EVERYONE seemed to be talking about how amazing this book is!), but once again, moved quickly. Which worked out for me, because my next and last event was Chuck Palahniuk’s signing for “Damned” about ten feet away. Chuck being Chuck, the line was insane. People began to line up over an hour and a half early. Since I couldn’t wait in both the Night Circus line, and Chuck’s at the same time, despite their proximity, I got stuck somewhere about 60 feet away from the front.

I had to leave for a work appointment at 5:15pm, and before I knew it, it was 4:40 and the line had only moved 10 feet. Chuck is amazing, and very personable, so he was chatting at length and posing for multiple photos with fans.

Unfortunately, BEA is just not the right venue for The other attendees in line around me began grumbling that we were at a trade show–not comic con, and I started worrying that I’d miss my appointment and/or the signing would be stopped when the exhibit floor closed at 5.

I ended up having to give up, grab my roommate to stand in line for me, and leave the show. I spoke to Chuck’s publicist on my way out about fan’s being upset about the line congestion and length. And snapped a quick photo:
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Chuck!

I was told that after I left, the line moved much faster. Luckily, thanks to Jenn, I still got my signed book. After my quick work meeting, I skipped out on a publishing event to go home and crash. I could barely walk with my overstuffed suitcase, and was completely exhausted. I need to pack for Jamaica (I didn’t), and was planning on attending the evening’s blogger dinner meetup.

I got to the dinner, held at Dallas BBQ in Chelsea, and hosted by Damaris and Yara a bit late, but still had an amazing time making new blogger friends, and a socializing with a handful of authors. Also, Dallas BBQ has amazing inexpensive frozen margaritas!

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Half of the bloggers from Reading Teen!

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The evening’s hosts, and author guests .

Somewhere, I have a photo that I am actually in, but I will have to find it and edit it in later. 🙂

The dinner was a blast, but I was so sad to say goodbye to everyone. Wednesday was my last day at BEA, and I was completely exhausted. I thought before that I could get up early, attend the show for an hour or two, and then leave for the airport Thursday afternoon, but there was just no way. After the dinner, I went home, pet my new books again and took way too many photos of them, and started my preliminary packing.

In the end, this was my final BEA haul:

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Not pictured: a few books I gave away to friends, and a few accidental repeats. All in all, thanks to the efforts of my roommate, my friends, and myself, I received 108 books.

I am so thankful for everything I received, and busted my ass to get. But I am also now completely and utterly TERRIFIED of my TBR pile. And before anything says anything about the sheer number of books I got (I seem to have the largest pile so far, out of my friends) YES I plan on reading all of these books. Anything that I change my mind about will go to either family members (there is a book on fonts calling my Mother’s name), or blogger friends who will review them.

As a newer blogger, I just recently started to receive ARC copies for review. So like I said, I am beyond thankful that I was able to meet so many amazing publicity and marketing folks, and get so many wonderful books. Every book on this table, with the exception of 10 or so my roommate picked up for me unexpectedly was on a meticulously researched list of books I wanted from BEA. I planned nearly every minute of my two days on the show floor–and it paid off!

So thank you to everyone I met. I’m sure I forgot a lot of your names, but everyone was truly awesome. And thanks to everyone who helped me have such an amazing first year at BEA! Be sure to stay tuned for my final BEA recap post, where I discuss everything good and bad about my experience. 🙂

BEA Recap: Day Two

2 Jun

I started my second day of BEA by breaking the cardinal rule of attending book expo: don’t be late. My roommate Jenn (a media publicist) and I both seemed to have trouble getting out of the apt. that morning, and also vastly underestimated the length of time it would take to get us from the subway to Javits Center on the far west side of Manhattan.

And: it was HOT. And very humid.

By the time we did walk in to Javits around 9:20am, I already felt dead. But I sucked it up, and after waiting in a very tiny line for our passes, dashed over to the first signing on my list– Jeri Smith Ready. Sadly, there were only 40 or so books available, so I definitely missed getting a signed copy of Shift. Having met Jeri the night before, I didn’t feel too badly, so my next stop was Scott Tracey’s signing for Witch Eyes. I was really excited to pick up a copy after hearing so much discussion of his book on twitter.

Along with roomie Jenn, I ended up hanging out with Lindsi of Books, Sweets and Other Treats in the signing lines. Apparently a crazy older woman actually BIT Lindsi in the arm when she reached past her for a book that AM—an event that would later reach BEA Urban Legend status. (Edit: You can read her account of the incident here.)

Lindsi was shaken by the experience, but appeared rabies-free, so we decided to hang out while we waited for signings to begin. Together, we made an awesome team, and were able to get each other books we would have otherwise missed out on. At one point, running around Javits, we met this bookish Piggie:
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Shortly after we met Melissa de la Cruz (signing Bloody Valentine and Witches of East End), who remembered my blog from the very early “Most Wanted Books of 2011” post I had written about Witches. I’ve met her twice now, and each time Melissa is completely and utterly awesome. She also has the honor of being one of my longest read YA authors (second only to LJ Smith)–I’ve been a fan of hers since the second Au Pairs book!

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Melissa De la Cruz.

After Melissa’s signing, we double teamed the lines of Alma Katsu (The Taker), Claudia Gray (Fateful), Trinity Faegen (The Mephisto Covenant, one of my most highly anticipated YA reads of BEA), and Jennifer Lynn Barnes (Trial by Fire). After, Jenn went back to continue her half day of work, and Lindsi headed to some other signings. I stopped by the Harlequin booth to meet Rachel Vincent. The lines were a bit hectic, but I managed to snag a copy of “If I Die”, and have Rachel sign it. Along with one other similarly named blogger friend in front of me, we all had a nice discussion about the proper way to spell Rachel:

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At some other point that afternoon, I met Trinity Faegen, Jana Oliver, and Jeri Smith Ready again:
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R-L:Trinity, Jana, and Jeri.

I attempted to grab lunch in my downtime, but due to a major Javits FAIL, I wasn’t able to eat. Turns out the entire convention center had lost the use of their credit/debit card network, leaving many attendees unable to purchase food. I was actually chastised by a cashier for not bringing cash, which as a New Yorker, I can say is completely ridiculous. So I continued on, scarfing the only food I had brought with me: a banana, and some peanut butter crackers. Little did I know, I wouldn’t be eating lunch at all that day.

After my lunch disaster, tired, and hungry, I got in line early the Tahereh Mafi signing line for Shatter Me. Which was a good decision, because that line ended up being huge. Tahereh was super nice (and more shy than she seems on twitter), so when I ended up randomly running into her at the Harper Collins booth later that day, she signed a second copy of her book for me to give Jenn, and inscribed it with a “Happy Birthday” message for her!

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Tahereh Mafi.

Post-Shatter Me, a small group of bloggers and I got in line at the Penguin booth for Richelle Mead’s Bloodlines signing later that afternoon. We seemed to be blocking the show floor and the current signing line, so a Penguin employee handed out numbered cards, and told us to come back about an hour and a half later for what was sure to be the biggest YA signing of the day.

As expected, things did not go as smoothly as planned.

People were confused by the number system. People got in line where they didn’t belong. And bloggers were told the number system was “canceled” and the line was a free for all.  Luckily, a smart publicist did a last-minute line organization, so we all managed to get back in line close to our original numbers, and meet Richelle. I feel incredibly lucky to have had the chance to meet her a second time. Since Richelle is 5 or 6 months pregnant, I was surprised she even came to BEA! She was amazing, as always, and we had a brief chat about how busy she was going to be around the end of August. (She has I believe 2 books, a graphic novel, and the baby due all within a week!)

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Richelle Mead.

After scoring both Bloodlines and Shatter Me, I was pretty confident in my author meeting and book procuring abilities. I only had one other “must have” book left to get Wednesday morning.

I got in line to meet Kiki Hamilton, author of The Faerie Ring, but sadly the books ran out 3 people in front of me –after a BEA volunteer had counted out the number of people in line and told me I’d be the last person to receive one. I was sad, but got over it. I did manage to get Leigh Fallon’s Carrier of the Mark, another book high on my want list, so that pretty much made up for missing out on Faerie Ring. One last stop at Jeff Hirsch’s line for The Eleventh Plague (a highly anticipated post-apocalyptic YA novel), and we were done with day one!

Kind of.

Lindsi, and her hotel roommates Casey, Farrah, and Britney needed to go to the post office, so we hopped on the cross-town bus with our massive suitcases (much to the chagrin of the other passengers), and headed to the giant 34th street USPS location. It ended up being much much cheaper than shipping at Javits, but took forever. I sat outside on the steps and got some sun while I waited, and ended up meeting a woman who works as book reviewer & writer for a Canadian newspaper—who has been going to BEA for 20 years! It was insane hearing the stories she had to tell about past conventions.

After all of day 1’s books were securely shipped off, our group headed to Chelsea to one of my favorite cafe’s, Grey Dog. It felt absolutely amazing to sit down, and finally eat some food. Not only is Grey Dog super yummy, but it’s pretty laid back, which was just what we needed after a long day running around like crazy people doing bookish things.

Finally, I made it home. Where I did not go to bed early (mistake!), and instead pet my new books, and read more of an old one. Other than a few books I missed out on, I had a very successful first day on the show floor. And felt like I was slowly learning what not to do on day 2. Check back tomorrow for that story!

I will leave you with this crazy photo. The end of day 2 book pile, featuring books from Monday and Tuesday:
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BEA Recap: Day One

2 Jun

BEA feels like one hundred years ago after the madness of the last week! After returning to the US Monday, and editing all of my Jamaica trip *and* BEA photos, I’m finally ready to share my experience.

My unofficial first day of BEA was on Monday May 22. I started my morning at the Simon and Schuster Blogger Lunch. I was really excited to hear all about S&S upcoming Fall 2011 releases from the awesome ladies on the marketing publicity teams, and finally meet some of my blogger friends I chat with regularly on Twitter. I also got to see some old friends, the ladies of Good Choice Reading.

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Jamie and Anna.

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Maria, Damaris, and Wanda from GCR.

Author Elizabeth Miles told us all about her new book Fury, which sounds totally awesome, and was already on my goodreads TBR list. Then we saw a short slide show featuring all of the upcoming Fall YA releases. Let me just say, there are some AMAZING books on that list. People in the audience were especially were gasping over The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, and The Pledge.

During the presentation, a mini contest was held giving out some of the current and upcoming books. I won a copy of Wither by Lauren DeStefano. Damaris was even luckier, and won the entire re-designed Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld:

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Love the new covers!

After lunch, Ellen Hopkins arrived, and read us snippets of her new novel Perfect. Like all of Ellen’s books, it was a bit graphic compared to most YA. But still sounds completely engrossing, and totally original. After more book chatter, the lovely Simon team had a surprise for us: we were going to the Top of The Rock! I’ve lived in NYC for 5 years, and still haven’t made it up there.

Unfortunately, the weather didn’t really cooperate and it was incredibly foggy. But it actually made it even cooler, because it felt like we were on a movie set or something. I joked that with all the fog, it would make for a great cover shoot for a YA book about angels. Too bad you can’t plan in advance for weather like that!

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Jenna and her sister Lillie in front of the creepy fog background!

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The ladies of Simon and Schuster.

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April, who is the proud owner of one of the first book blogs I started reading regularly.

After Top of the Rock, Jenna, Lillie and I made a mad dash to SoHo for the Teen Author Carnival. We arrived just as the library started to get packed. I was the evening’s official photographer, so I got settled in, and started documenting the event. Sadly, I broke my best lens on the way to Sunday’s Books Of Wonder signing with Megan McCafferty and Elizabeth Scott (my bag just barely bumped the floor, and the lens now refuses to focus), but I still managed to get some great shots of the huge group of authors in attendance.

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A handful of the authors who participated, before the panels began.

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The schedule.

Some of the books for sale at the event:
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Carrie Jones and Hannah Moskowitz.

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Yara and Damaris with the always wonderful Andrea Cremer.

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The crowd. Or rather, half of it!

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Authors chatting before the panels.

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Mitali and Devyn, introducing all of the authors.

Panel # 1 was called: “Kick Ass Females in YA: And Why It’s A Big Deal To Have Them”.
Featuring:
1. Malinda Lo
2. Andrea Cremer
3. Michelle Zink
4. Courtney Allison Moulton
5. Carole Estby Dagg
6. Elizabeth Scott
7. Michelle Hodkin
8. Kirsten Hubbard

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Carole Estby Dagg

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Courtney Allison Moulton and Andrea Cremer.

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Michelle Hodkin and Kirsten Hubbard.

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Moderator Lisa DesRochers

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Michelle Zink speaking.

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Malinda Lo.

In an additional space, the “Otherworldy Adventures: With a Bit of the Real World Thrown In” was about to begin. I bounced back and forth between each of the panels, but before #2 started, I ran into these two characters:
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Scott Tracey and Leah Clifford. Authors, and roommates. I felt like I already knew them, after participating in a few of Leah’s hilarious late night live shows on BlogTV.

Panel # 2 was introduced, giggling commenced, and I quickly realized this was the goofy author panel:
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The entire panel: Nova Ren Suma, Carrie Jones, Michael Northrop, Leah Clifford, Scott Tracey, E. Archer, and moderator Chelsea Swiggett.

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Karsten Knight was co-moderator.

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The packed in audience!

Back in panel #1, Elizabeth Scott really did not want to be the first author to answer a question:
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I ran into Ellen Hopkins, Mitali’s Mom, Devyn, and Korianne in the hallway.

After a few trips back and forth between each panel, it was time for the second hour of programming to begin:
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Before the authors began speaking, I chatted with Lindsi. Who did not want her photo taken candidly.

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Mitali and Devyn introduce the authors.

Panel #3 was called “Teenage Angst: Getting It Right – The Emotions, The Voice, The Drama” and featured:
1. David Levithan
2. Susane Colasanti
3. Melissa Walker
4. Kody Keplinger
5. Hannah Moskowitz
6. Gayle Forman
7. Torrey Maldonado
8. Caridad Ferrer

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Kody Keplinger, Torrey Maldonado, Caridad Ferrer, and moderator Ellen Hopkins.

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David Levithan and Hannah Moskowitz.

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Susane Colasanti and Gayle Forman.

Back in the tiny room again, the “Debut Author Showcase: The Journey to Publication” panel was introduced:
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The panel was moderated by 2012 debut author and book blogger Lenore Applehans, and featured the following authors:
1. Carole Estby Dagg
2. Amy Fellner Dominy
3. Kirsten Hubbard
4. Bettina Restrepo
5. Michelle Hodkin
6. Nick James
7. Scott Tracey

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Each author began by talking about, or reading from their debut novels.

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Nick James, Amy Fellner Dominy, Kirsten Hubbard, Michelle Hodkin, Bettina Restrepo, and Scott Tracey.

Bouncing between panels, I managed to photograph and chat with a few additional authors:

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Andrea Cremer.

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Gretchen McNeil. We had a great chat about “authors behaving badly”.

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Goodie bags, just waiting to be torn into!

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Scenes from the librarian’s desk.

Back in panel #3:
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David Levithan being thoughtful.

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Torrey Maldonado talked about challenging the stereotype that reading books is “girly”.

Panel #4 again:
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Once all of the panels were completed, the authors divided amongst the two rooms, and held a massive book signing:
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I love Elizabeth Scott, she came so prepared!

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Courtney and David were all smiles!

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Gayle and Kody.

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By the time I made it to the second, smaller and more crowded signing space, I was so weighed down with books and camera gear that I didn’t take any photos! But I did manage to grab Jeri Smith Ready (who was in the audience) to pose for a photo, and force her to listen to me gush uncontrollably about how I devoured Shift and Shade in less than 24 hours:

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Before long, the event was over, and it was time for the massive group photo:
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Trying to get in position.

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Almost there!

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Ready!

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Authors + event co-organizer Mitali

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Mitali and Ellen.

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Me and Andrea, who is beyond nice, and one of my absolute faves.

Overall, Day One was completely and utterly exhausting, but also even more amazing than I could have hoped for. I met some very sweet and kind fellow bloggers, authors, and publishing folk. I practically waddled home with all of my new books (including a highly coveted copy of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer!), and couldn’t feel my feet by the time I arrived. But it was totally worth it! Come back soon for reports from days #2 and #3 of BEA.

Special thanks to Simon and Schuster, and Mitali, Devyn, and Korianne!
See the full event photo set here.

All Photos and Content ®2011 Rachel Scroggins/Bookshelf Lust.

Post-BEA Giveaway: Bloodlines by Richelle Mead (CLOSED)

31 May

Bloodlines Giveaway

I am finally catching up with life after BEA, and and after my weekend photo trip to Jamaica. I’m now working on some fun daily recaps which should be up soon, editing photos from BEA and the Teen Author Carnival, and trying to plan out my now very intimidating TBR list. Despite being completely worn out by the end, traveling to another country and missing day 3, and learning the hard way what to absolutely not do at BEA (trying to be in 4 places at once, wearing brand new shoes) I had a blast!

In celebration of all the fun I had, and all the amazing people I met, I’m offering my readers a copy of Richelle Mead’s new Vampire Academy spinoff series Bloodlines. As one of my most anticipated books of 2011, I was so excited to I grab a copy during Richelle’s signing on Tuesday. Bloodlines was one of 3 books on my “I will cry if I don’t find it at BEA” list. On Wednesday, I was lucky enough to find a second copy, which I picked up to give my roommate for her birthday that week. Turns out roomie –who also attended BEA doing publicity work for her job– scored Bloodlines, and a matching tote bag from the nice folks at the Penguin booth on her own on Thursday.

Our little mistake will make for one very happy reader! I’d love to keep this giveaway for huge fans of the Vampire Academy series only. But that might be a bit hard, since I have absolutely no way of regulating it. I’d obviously recommend ONLY entering if you have read the original Vampire Academy series. If you haven’t, the copy on the back of this book alone will spoil the entire series for you.

 

GIVEAWAY RULES:
– Comment here telling me why you want to read Bloodlines, your fave VA character, a member of your dream cast for the movie, or something else VA related (MUST DO).
– Tweet a link to the giveaway for an extra entry.
– Be sure to include your email so I can actually contact you if you win!
-Contest closes on Sunday June 12th at 11:59pm.
-Winner will be chosen using random.org.
-Unfortunately due to high shipping costs, this giveaway is open for US residents only.

GOOD LUCK!

EDIT: This giveaway is closed, and the winner has been notified via email. Winner has 48hours to reply, before a second winner will be chosen.