BEA 2016 Experiences Part 2: Books and more Books

This is part two of posts on my experience at Bookexpo America. To see part one click here.

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Picture of the inside of McCormick Place during BEA.

The second day of BEA there were two books I wanted more than any others provided for the day. They were Heartless by Marissa Meyer and Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi. Unfortunately, I didn’t get either.

I got to the line for Furthermore with only three people away from where they ran out of tickets. On my way away from the line I was able to see Mafi signing the books. It was hard to be standing so close to where she was with a huge stack of books and know I wouldn’t get one. I’ll just need to wait for the release date like the rest of you.

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The “PBS presents: Young Adult Reads” panel with speakers Chelsea Sedoti, Jennifer Niven, David Levithan, and David Arnold.

The panel I went to on the second day of BEA focused primarily on young adult contemporary, which is not something I read much of. I went to the panel hoping there would be more discussion of sci-fi and fantasy young adult, but the panel was interesting none the less.

I learned a lot about what is currently popular in young adult contemporary, and it was interesting to hear from people who were both experienced in and somewhat new to writing in the genre.

(Most of) the books I acquired on the second day of BEA.

After not getting Heartless on the second day of BEA I arrived at the expo hall to wait in the lines for the ticketed signings at 6:30 a.m. There were already a lot of people there. The first in line had gotten there at around 5 a.m. I sincerely hope they were from a time zone where that is not early, but judging by how tired they were I don’t think so.

There were only two tickets left for the Heartless signing that morning, and they went to the people who had been waiting since 5 a.m. I can’t find myself to be too jealous because they deserved it for waking up that early.

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The “What’s new in Young Adult??” panel moderated by Veronica Roth with speakers Lauren Oliver, Alyson Noël, Kendare Blake, and Melissa de la Cruz.

The “What’s new in Young Adult??” panel was almost surreal for me because it featured so many author’s I’ve been reading books, blog posts, and watching YouTube videos from for years now. It was a nice change to hear them speak in person as opposed to on a screen.

The line for A Touch Against the Night when I joined it about an hour before the signing started.

I spent a significant amount of day three waiting in long lines for books I really wanted.

The longest line was either for A Touch Against the Night or Gemina. They were both so long it was hard to tell which had more people.

At least I got to wait next to some awesome people!

Picture of the booktubers playing a game while they sat in front of me in line.

I feel somewhat creepy for having taken this picture, but I got board waiting in line and started taking pictures of everything, not just them.

Picture of Sabaa Tahir signing my copy of A Torch Against the Night.

She was so concerned when she misprinted my name it was so sweet. Personally, I blame the fact that I took this picture while she was signing. I know I’d be misprinting names almost constantly if I had to sign as many books as she did.

Picture of the line for Gemina featuring Jay Kristoff. 

The only authors I heard cheered on throughout the entire event were Jay Kristoff and  Amie Kaufman. I’m not quite sure why. Perhaps because it was only an ARC drop as opposed to a signing so no one there was expecting to see the authors. Whereas, people waiting in line had time to prepare themselves to meet the others.

(Most of) my acquisitions on the final day of the event. 

The books I got on the third day are definitely the ones I’m most excited for when taken as a whole. The Sudden Appearance of Hope, which I have already read and reviewed, was also a nice surprise since I did not realize it was there until I saw a stack of the ARCs being handed out.

All the books boxed up. 

After the event was finished my traveling companion and I had to hurry to a post office before they all closed for the day. Only one of these boxes is mine. The rest are all my traveling companion’s. She got a lot of books, and we had more in our suitcases. Our suitcases were so heavy we had to reorganize some of what we had in them so they wouldn’t go over the weight limit.

The view of my home city’s coastline from the air. 

My plane left early the next morning, and by the time I was back in my own city I was prepared to hug a palm tree. Okay, not really, but I was very happy to see them again.

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Beautiful People: May 2016

PAPERFURY

Beautiful People is a monthly writing meme hosted by Cait @Paper Fury and Sky @Further up and Further in in which writers answer a series of questions about one of their characters.

This month I will be focusing on Dex, a major secondary character from my current work in progress. It’s epic fantasy, and I’m currently around 70,000 words or about 3/4ths of the way through my rewrite of it.

How often do they smile? Would they smile at a stranger?

Dex is a very serious person. He does not smile often. He probably would not smile at strangers unless he is trying to use them to get what he wants.

What is the cruelest thing they’ve ever been told? And what was their reaction?

It’s unusual for someone of Dex’s background to live in the places he chooses to. As a result, he faces frequent prejudice. I could make the argument that one of these prejudice statements was the cruelest thing he has ever been told, but Dex would not see it as the cruelest thing he has been told.

Dex would probably say the cruelest thing he has ever been told is something my protagonist confirms for him at the end of the first of my work in progress’s four parts. I can’t get into details because of spoilers, but he is more upset than he is at any other point in the story and reacts very strongly.

What is the kindest thing they’ve ever been told? And what was their reaction?

The kindest thing he has ever been told is probably something his sister, Catrine, has told him with regards to him being an awesome brother. Catrine and Dex are very close, and he holds any compliments she gives very dear. Dex’s reaction was probably to smile, hug her, or both.

What is one strong memory that has stuck with your character from childhood? Why is it so powerful and lasting?

Dex’s mother and father were never officially divorced, but might as well have been. His father is gone for lengthy, sometimes year long, voyages while his mother stays in the city-state where Dex spent most of his childhood. His mother is an immigrant to the city where he grew up, and his father is also from elsewhere, and somewhere entirely different from his mother.

The memory of this time that has stuck with him most is of one night when Dex and his sister, Catrine, were traveling with their father on his ship and Dex found Catrine crying in their cabin. Dex asked her what was wrong, and she said that it was the realization that even after visiting all these places she still hadn’t found one where she belonged. Dex replied that sometimes he felt the same way, but promised they would find out where they belonged together.

He has been trying to keep that promise to her ever since. That’s what makes it lasting.

What book (a real actual published book!) do you think your character would benefit from reading?

Dex would probably get the most benefit the most practically from non-fiction books about surviving in the wilderness. I haven’t read any or I would include a specific book.

If this question is meant to ask which book he would benefit the most as in what he would enjoy the most then Dex would love books about characters going on quests. I’d probably give him The Lord of the Rings.

Have they ever been seriously injured? How severely? How did they react?

Dex has had several near death experiences. Most of these did not involve injuries, but living in a world where antibiotics are not widely available as he does he has almost died of an infected cut before after accidentally  grazing his forearm with a knife. After weeks of suffering and almost dying he made a full recovery. This occurred long before the story takes place.

Do they like and get along with their neighbours?

This depends. Dex has had many neighbors over the years, but generally speaking no.

On a scale from 1 to 10 (1 being easy and 10 being difficult) how easy are they to get along with?

6, it really depends upon the personality of the person in question, but he leans slightly more towards being harder to get along with than easier.

If they could travel anywhere in the world, where would they go?

By the end of book one Dex has gone to almost all the major regions of his word, or at least the regions he knows of, but he really likes visiting the city where he grew up. If Dex was familiar with our world he wouldn’t be able to pick a place. He would want to see all of it.

Who was the last person they held hands with?

This depends on what time this question is being asked about. If it’s anytime during the story probably my main character, Yuliana. If it’s anytime before the story probably someone he is trying to use to accomplish is end goals.

The Sudden Appearance of Hope 3.5 Stars

25746699Title: The Sudden Appearance of Hope

Author: Claire North

Publication Date: May 17, 2016

Genre: Adult Fantasy/Science Fiction

Note: An advanced copy was provided by the publisher (Redhook), but opinions are my own.

Synopsis: Hope Arden is the woman everyone forgets. She can have an hour long conversation with someone, walk away, and if she returns a minute later the person she was talking to before will have no idea who she is.

This has made Hope a very good thief, but when one of Hope’s targets ends up dead she takes it upon herself to investigate. What she discovers could have the ability to change everything, or nothing at all.

Thoughts: After thoroughly enjoying Claire North’s other novel, The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to review this book. While I did enjoy this novel, my overall opinion is very mixed. 

My favorite aspect of the book is its concept. The idea of people hiding in plain sight has always intrigued me, and this book explores how being forgettable can affect someone’s life in ways I had not considered.

Our main character, Hope, has had no relationships lasting more than a day since she was sixteen-years-old. Her own parents have no memory of her. The only thing that remembers her are machines. This makes holding a job and obtaining medical care beyond complicated for her.

This novel uses Hope’s unusual circumstances to explore aspects of modern society including the idea of “perfection” through the use of an app that the author made seem so plausible it was a little scary.

This novel is fairly slow pace with repetition that comes with having a character who needs to reintroduce herself to everyone everyday. The most frustrating aspect of this book is that because of the constant reintroduction there wasn’t much in the way of prominent secondary characters. No one trusted hope because they couldn’t get to know her, and, therefore, never opened up to her. This allows the reader to understand just how alone Hope’s situation has made her, but at the same time makes it more difficult to connect to the story.

The writing style is unconventional. There were a number of bulleted lists spread throughout the text as opposed to at the beginnings of chapters like it normally might be. I’m still not sure how I feel about this technique. One one hand, some of the information was very interesting and added to the story. On the other hand, at times it could go on so long I skipped it because it felt a bit like an info-dump.

The plot structure isn’t typical either. Rather than building to a climax, the story ends on a note that leaves more questions than answers.

Rating: This book is very thought provoking, but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone looking for something fast-paced. Those who enjoyed The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August might like this.

3.5 blue jays

 

 

BEA 2016 Experiences Part 1: I fail at traveling

This post will be detailing my experiences at Bookexpo America 2016 held at McCormick Place in Chicago from May 11 to May 13th. This post will cover the day I was in Chicago before the event, and the first day of BEA.

The decision for me to go to BEA was a last minute one, or as last minute as a decision can be when someone decides to go on a trip to a place no where near where they live. I am a university student, and my exams started not long after I decided to go on this trip and did not end until just before I was about to leave. This left me with little time to plan.

I figured this would be okay because my traveling companion was someone who had grown up in Chicago and had attended BEA in a previous year. This was a mistake.

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The view of Chicago from above at night.

I arrived in Chicago by plane late at night. The first thing that struck me was that it was not nearly as cold as I’d expected. I had visited Chicago before in the winter, but not in spring.

I packed just about all the cold weather clothes I own which, while admittedly is not very many, made my suitcase significantly more full than I would have liked. It also resulted in me removing an umbrella to fit in more winter clothes. Should have kept the umbrella, left the clothes.

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Picture of McCormick Place the day I arrived in Chicago.

My traveling companion and I awoke the next morning convinced we were late. We found our way to the convention center only to discover there was hardly anyone there. We knew we were in the right place because of all the book related signs and people setting up, but couldn’t figure out why so few people would be there until we realized the event didn’t start until tomorrow.

We’d arrived in Chicago a day early.

Admittedly, this was as much my fault as it was her fault. I never should have left all the planning to her even if I was busy with exams. Besides, the extra day gave us time to explore Chicago.

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Picture taken outside the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry.

The two of us opted to spend the day at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry. It’s so big we didn’t have the chance to see much of the museum though it was still fairly early when we got there and we stayed until closing.

It was here that I came to the realization that the vague memories I have of running through and gaping at what I thought to be a giant toy submarine as a small child, was not a toy at all.

What I was actually remembering was the museum’s authentic WWII submarine.

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Leaving the museum.

After leaving the museum my companion wanted to take me to one of her favorite restaurants in Chicago. As we were on our way there, our driver informed us that the restaurant had closed down a few months before. We ate at a pizza chain we’d heard good things about, but that they don’t have in our city instead.

This left us in the middle of downtown Chicago. By the time we finished eating the rain had finally let up, so we walked around the city and took some pictures.

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Site seeing in downtown Chicago.

The next morning we woke up and were on time for the BEA blogger conference we’d signed up for. I only stayed for two panels because I was too excited for the event itself, which overlapped with the conference, but the two I did go to were interesting.

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The “Making the Right Connections: Publishers and Bloggers” Panel. Moderated by Stephanie Brown of nobsbookreviews.com with panelists Molly Brouillette, the Associate Director of Publicity for Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, Stephanie Sinclair of cuddlebuggery.com, Lizzy Mason, the Director of Publicity for Bloomsbury Children’s Books, and Kristin Hackett of superspacechick.com.

The fist panel I went to talked about the logistics of requesting advanced copies from publishers. I learned a lot about when it’s okay to not review a book a blogger has accepted an ARC of, and how to turn people down easily when a blogger is not interested.

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The “Creative Content: From Ideas to Tools” panel. Moderated by Meg Morley of Cuddlebuggery.com with panelists Gillian Berry of The Art of Young Adult, and Writer of Wrongs, Ashley Evans of www.nosegraze.com, Samantha from Thoughts on Tomes, and Amanda of The Bookcraft.

The second panel I attended discussed how different platforms allow for bloggers to be creative in different ways, and how bloggers should chose the platforms that best allow them to express their creativity and brand. It was interesting to hear from individuals who use such different platforms (from Instagram, to YouTube, to WordPress) to discuss the same topic: books.

For the rest of the day I was too excited to take many pictures to document what I was doing, but suffice to say I was waiting in a lot of lines and talked to the people in those lines who (not so coincidentally) often happened to be a fan of whatever book we were waiting in line for.

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Me flipping through Blood for Blood by Ryan Graudin. The background is the outside of McCormick Place. Note: Book provided by the publisher. 

The book I wanted most being given out on day one was Blood for Blood by Ryan Graudin. It was being given out in the form of a dice game where people role a dice to win an ARC. The person in front of me in line saw that I wanted it so badly she agreed to give me her copy if she won it. It worked out rather nicely because she won the book I wanted and I won the book she wanted.

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Picture I took of my new acquisitions at the end of day one. Note: Books provided by their publishers. 

One thing I learned about myself from this event is that I am supper picky when it comes to books. Many of the people there probably ended up with around three times the amount of books as I did, but I was trying to be honest with myself and knew that if I randomly grabbing copies of everything I saw I wouldn’t read most of what I got. Also, I didn’t want to have to pay to ship a bunch of books home I would never read.

Even still, several of the books I acquired were ones that I took because they were presented to me in such a way that to turn them down would have been extremely rude. People who are more enthusiastic about ARCs would get more out of this event than I did, but in spite of this and the mistakes I made, I still had a lot of fun.

To be continued . . .

April 2016 Wrap-up and Announcement

Monthly Wrap-Up (1)April was an insanely busy month for me. While I did not accomplish much in the way of blogging I did manage to read six books and two novellas.

Before I begin I’d like to mention the two books I forgot to put in my March wrap-up, but have since edited that post to include. Not because I didn’t like these books, but because I forgot to mark them as read on goodreads until more recently.

Honorable mentions from March

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Short Synopsis: The queen of an alien civilization and a half human, half alien boy must team up to save themselves and humanity.

Thoughts: This book was a light and fun read. The writing was a little hard to follow at times. I sometimes wondered how the characters had gotten from one scene to another, and wasn’t too keen on the romance, but all in all it was a nice debut.

Rating: 3.5 blue jays

 

13638125Short Synopsis: Two college students uncover the key to getting superpowers which subsequently ruins their lives.

Thoughts: Very different from the other V.E. Schwab books I’ve read in the A Darker Shade of Magic series. I really enjoyed the way the novels’ two timelines interwove, and how  this book toyed with the traditional concept of good verses evil.

Rating: 

4 blue jays

April Reads

223236592360443525711360Short Synopsis: The second story arc of the Wings of Fire series following a new group of young dragons as they attempt to prevent a prophecy unrelated to the one in the first half of the series.

Thoughts: I like the direction the author has chosen to go with these new characters, but think these books should probably have been considered a spin-off as opposed to a continuation of the original series.

These books are highly addictive, and I look forward to the next installment.

Rating: 4 blue jays

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Short Synopsis: A novel about a girl trying to win a motor cycle race in order to kill Hitler, and its prequel novella centering around the events in the same race the year before.

Thoughts: I really enjoyed these. I’ve written a full review of Wolf by Wolf which can be found here.

Rating: 

4 blue jays

 

28698036Short Synopsis: There is always another secret.

Thoughts: This novella is definitely not for everyone. Seriously, those who haven’t at least read the original Mistborn trilogy should stay far, far away from this novella. Those who haven’t read at least the first six books in the Mistborn series, and even some other Cosmere novels not part of Mistborn series may want to avoid this as well.

Beyond that this novella has an unusual structure without a typical beginning, middle, end feel. This is all I can say about the novella itself without spoiling it.

Rating: 

4.5 blue jays

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Short Synopsis: First book in the Spin-off series to The Seven Realms.

Thoughts: I have a lot of conflicted emotions with regards to this book. The character death at the beginning felt a lot like a plot device, and knowing what I did about this individual from the previous series I found their death a little out of character.

I like our new cast, and am glad it looks like we’ll be seeing more of this world than we did in the previous series. I’d recommend reading the original series before this one if only because I enjoyed it more, but that could change as this series progresses.

Rating: 3.5 blue jays

Writing

Camp NaNo Graph April 2016Last month I participated in the April 2016 session of Camp NaNoWriMo. My original goal was  to write 20,000 words, but I lowered that to 15,000 words halfway through the month.

As the chart on the left shows, I ended up writing a significant amount on the last day of the event to meet my original goal. My total word count for the event was 20,084 words.

 

Announcement

Next week I’ll be attending Bookexpo America in Chicago. I’m very excited for the chance to interact with people who enjoy books as much as I do, get lots of books, see Chicago, and experience this thing people living in temperate climates refer to as “spring.” (I live in the sub-tropics. This is technically in the temperate zone, but it’s just not the same.)