BEA Planning: Part 1: Prepping

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Greetings fellow booklovers, bookworms, and booknerds of all types!

It is with great joy, and exuberant excitement that we enter into  BEA (Bookexpo America) planning mode. Truthfully, I have been religiously checking my email for the announcement of the BEA registration being finally opened since mid December 2014 (Yes…I know…a bit crazy, but I am sure I am not the only book-nut out there).  When the announcement finally came that registration was open, it was like the clouds parted, and the angels sang from heaven. The only thing that matched that, was actually registering, and receiving my badge number and official confirmation. My co-blogger and I  just ordered our new shiny business cards last week, and this past Friday, a partial list for the authors who will be autographing went live on the BEA site. Naturally, the planning and spreadsheet making commenced. Until the full list is up, it’s really hard to truly prioritize and be selective but so far it’s already looks a bit insane. Other fellow bloggers are doing posts about getting “BEA-ready” so I figured I would chime in with my tips on prepping and getting ready. Hopefully it will help out those new to BEA, or give a helpful reminder to those that are “veterans”.  We look forward to seeing you all there.

Part 1:  Prepping

1- Join the BEA group on GoodReads

This group is FANTASTIC! I have learned valuable information on galleys/book drops, events outside BEA or after BEA hours (signings, meet-ups, parties) as well as in-booth signing info, major ARCs to covet and hope for, and made lots of new blogger friends.

2-Spreadsheets ARE your friends

Once the author signings become available, start planning out your day. Here is where a spreadsheet with half hour slots becomes very helpful (along with a column for book, author, publisher, table or booth number etc). Write everything down that you might be interested in trying to get, even if it seems impossible. The do a column for MUST have, Want, Might Want, etc…you never know how fast you might get through a signing. You might find you have enough time to run all the way across the showroom floor and still make it to a galley drop (stranger things have happened). Also, sometimes there are only a certain number of books left, and you might miss the cutoff point, so it’s always good to have options for unexpected changes, or when you have extra time. I personally like color-coding mine, and have a section for notes (in case there will be another signing, or a book drop on another time or day). Sometimes there will be 3 MUST all in the same half hour…that is when you start prioritizing what is most important to you….meeting the author, the actual book, or what you want to read the most.

3- Research the books, authors and publishers

Learn about the books, authors and publishers that will be at BEA. This will be helpful as you plan what books you want to try for, what signings you want to make, and which booths you want to visit. It will also give you a little information about the book/author/publisher so that you might have something to break the ice with if you are shy, or something to talk about with people you are waiting in line with. There is never such a thing as too much information.

4- Stalk Twitter, Facebook, and other social media

Get the early scope on galley drops, giveaways and other helpful info.  Sometimes an author might be doing a signing on two different days, or in two different areas at different times, or the publisher might do a book drop later in the day. This gives you the opportunity to get the book in case you missed the signing at the autographing area. It might also be helpful to start a list on Twitter of all the authors and publishers you want to keep tracks of while at BEA (just in case they tweet anything last minute about a book drop, or signing).

5- Book the Hotel EARLY-

The BEA hotel site offers somewhat decent prices on hotels that they have blocked out rooms for attendees and exhibitors and you don’t have to pay when you book. Most also let you cancel up to 30 days before with no fee (in case you find something better). It’s best top book your hotel early, because the more affordable places will go fast. Most of the BEA hotels also have shuttles that will pick up and drop-off near your hotel area…(very helpful at the end of the day when taxis are harder to get). If you are coming to stay longer than 2-3 days, you might want to consider renting a room for a week. There are often sites that offer this like AirBNB.com.

6- The Buddy system

Persuade a friend to come along, or maybe plan to meet other bloggers you chat with online. Having a buddy or buddies with you will make life a bit easier. This is especially if you are stuck in a line for over an hour and need to use the restroom. Also if you are going to share a room with them, it will keep the hotel bill lower. Plus its lots more fun having friends to chat with in line with,  plan with, and have fun around NYC with.

7- Learn the floor layout

It doesn’t hurt to get a general idea of where booths are. This year they moved the autographing area all the way to the opposite end of where all the major booths are. So it will be interesting to see how it will all turn out, the main thing is to have fun. 🙂

Will you be attending #BEA15? I would love to know!

Click here for Part 2 – BEA What to Expect

Book Review: The NightBird by Alice Hoffman

by Alice Hoffman
Genres: Fantasy, Magical Realism, Middle Grade
four-half-stars

“I think that evening was the beginning of my feeling lonely, a feeling I carried folded up, a secret I could never tell. From then on, I didn’t cry when I was disappointed. I just stored up my hurts, as if they were a tower made of fallen stars, invisible to most people, but brightly burning inside of me.”~Twig- NightBird

I received this e-ARC from NetGalley in return for an honest review)

What a pleasure and delight it was to read this story. It was whimsical and sweet, and at times sad, but mainly it was lovely. This book was Alice Hoffman’s first attempt at writing a “middle-grade” story and I think it was enchanting. I loved that it was set in New England (because I live here), that it had gloriously delicious descriptions of apple pies and baked goods that left my mouth-watering. I especially loved that at the end, you get the recipe for the special pie in the book, which I plan to make and post about on the blog later this Fall during apple season. This book made me happy, it made me feel that child-like wonder that eludes many adults. I think it will captivate those looking for a little more fairy tale and less drama in their lives.

The book is about Twig Fowler and her family, the curse that the “witch” of Sidwell placed on them over 200 years ago and the summer that changed it all. The book is set in the small town of Sidwell , where many of the town folks believe a monster abides within its woods. Twig and her family pretty much keep to themselves, they are hiding something, or someone, and that is why they do not interact with the town folk. They own an apple farm and her mom makes the most delicious pies and pastries. They only venture into town to make deliveries of their goods, and pretty much keep to themselves. Twig is lonely, she has no friend, but that’s all about to change.

This book has it all, secrets, a mysterious monster, magic spells, lost love, the magic of friendships and did I mention pie yet? Well…yeah…maybe I might have…but who doesn’t love a good slice of pie?

I won’t say more as to not reveal the secret, so I will stop here and just say that it was definitely worth reading, even if I am an adult and not the age group it’s intended for. It did also remind me of another book I read (and LOVED) last year called The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender…(only this one is a bit happier, and possibly more child friendly). It was beautiful and charming from beginning to end.

“For my readers who are searching for the same things I searched for, Nightbird is a book of hope, for the lonely, the friendless, the girl who is different, the boy who has secrets to keep. In it, magic can be found in unexpected places, right next door or scrawled on a piece of paper hidden in an old desk. It takes place in a summer when everything changes, when the moon is red, when friendships are forged, and when love can be found at your own front door.”~Alice Hoffman, Dear Readers

**This review was originally posted on Reading In The Tardis**

four-half-stars

Top Ten Tuesday: My Top Ten All Time Favorite Authors

 

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a book blog meme created by the girls at The Broke and the Bookish . This week I present my top ten All Time favorite authors:

My choices will include a mix of childhood favorites and authors I’ve only recently discovered. Some have many books, while some have only one of two, but all of them have touched my life with their beautiful stories and words.

1. Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman

If you know anything about me, know that I am a HUGE fan of this man and his stories. I came upon Neil actually pretty “late” in life. I was in early 20’s and came across his novel Coraline. I picked it up because I liked the cover, it looked interesting, but once I started reading the first few pages I was hooked. I went on to realize that Neil had written many other books, which I immediately purchased as many as I could find in the bookstore the very next day upon finishing Coraline. I was in a strange place in my life when Coraline came into my life, and it spoke to me. Reading the many other books Mr. Gaiman has written, and his short stories helped me through many troubled times. His works are so unique, and have such a fantastic way of luring you deeper and deeper into the story. They are dark, but also light, and always leave you wanting more. I have had the pleasure of meeting Neil many times after discovering his books. All my encounters with him were absolutely lovely. He is immensely charming, sincere, humble and such a pleasure to speak with. He makes you feel like you are the only person in the room when he talks to you, and is always gracious. One of my most prized possessions is a 1st Hardcover Edition of Coraline my husband gave me when we were dating, I was lucky enough to have it the first time I met Neil and he not only signed it, but doodled a whimsical member of the “mice circus” in it for me. ::swoon::

 

2. J.K. Rowling

JK Rowling

I swore I would never read the Harry Potter series when it first came out. I saw everyone get on the HP “wagon” and thought it was silly that a little boy with glasses that happened to be a wizard could cause such a fuss. A few years later while at a friend’s house I got a glimpse of the 1st movie, the scene where they are all in the great hall, with the floating candles and I was hooked by the few minutes of the movie I watched. The next day I ran to the bookstore and purchased the 1st book and the rest is history. I could not put them down, as many before me, and many after me I feel in love with the magic that was spun by J.K. Rowling. The HP series brought many people together, the wonderful and delightful tales about a little boy that “lived” and his adventures into wizardry with his friends captivated millions of us. So many friendships were forged because of the books, including my own with my fellow blogger Vania. We were even among the lucky few to get tickets to meet J.K. Rowling at the release of her 1st adult fiction book A Casual Vacancy at Lincoln Center in NYC. That is a night we both will forever cherish.

 

3. Erin Morgestern

Erin Morgenstern

Erin as of yet, has only written one book, but this book is so very special and perfect that I have read it over 15 times (I don’t think I have even read Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice as many times). The book is called The Night Circus. It captivates and mesmerizes you before you even open it, but once you do you can’t help but devour every sweet word within it. You will eagerly peruse through it like one of the guests attending the circus itself. Wanting to know every inch and cranny of every corner and turn. You will not want it to end. You will want this Circus to be a real thing, something you can actually go and see in the flesh. You will mourn that there isn’t really a Night Circus. You will want to re-read it over and over again just so you can feel like you are there, and you will revel in it’s unique beauty.

 

4. Patrick Rothfuss

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Author of The KingKiller Chronicles (The Name of the Wind, The Wise Man’s Fear, The Slow Regard of Silent Things, and more to come). I can’t even begin to say how much I enjoy these books. They are so full of life that every character jumps off the page. You invest yourself so fully into these stories that you literally laugh, cry and feel everything that’s happening on the pages. You are set on an epic adventure when you start reading The Name of the Wind. You meet Kvothe and you fall in love with him as you do with probably about 90% of the characters in this series, each on their own merit and for different reasons. The bad guys, you hate with all your might out of loyalty to Kvothe and his friends. These are large books, but you forget that once you start getting deeper into the story, next thing you know you’ve been reading for three hours straight and your tea has frigid. There is magic, alchemy, love, loss and secrets to uncover. I can not wait until the next book.

 

5. Jane Austen

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I have loved and read Jane Austen’s works since I was around the age of 10. I have always been an “old soul” and I loved the “propriety” of the world within Austen’s books. I also loved the costumes, and the romance and the “old fashioned-ness” of everything (I always thought I was born in the wrong century). As I got older and re-read Austen, of course my views changed, and I saw in them things I did not see at such a young age, but my love for them remained. What most touched me in her works, was how expertly she could convey the “every day” of life and all the little things we sometimes skip through. Plus she wrote some of the most endearing characters like Elizabeth Bennet and of course Mr. Darcy (be still my heart) from Pride and Prejudice.

 

6. Lucy Maud Montgomery

LMM

Authoress of The Anne of Green Gables series, this was my favorite series growing up. The main character was the red-headed Anne Shirley who had an over active imagination, and the ability to always land herself into trouble. Which of course resonated with me as I was also around 10 when I started reading it, and had a wild imagination of my own. I love the way L.M. Montgomery writes about Anne, her thoughts and dreams, and about the people and places in her life. She makes you want to be Anne, or at least to have her as your bosom friend. Even after over a decade of not re-reading the novels I still found them charming and sweet upon reading them again in my 20’s and in my 30’s. They still brought a smile to my face and still filled me with childhood wonder.

 

7. Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury

It was through this man and his genius that I developed my love for fantasy/science fiction. I loved reading all his odd, and weird stories and found Fahrenheit 451 particularly disturbing because they burned books in the story. ::chills:: After reading that book when I was younger I always had a fear of my precious books catching on fire. A brilliant author with so many tales to tell. I particularly enjoy his short stories.

 

8. Edgar Allen Poe

Edgar

I remember when I first read the poem The Raven and thought “wow, this is deliciously dark”, and so began my love affair with Mr. Poe, I was about 14. I loved the macabre within his work, and one of my favorite short stories is The Tell-Tale Heart.

 

9. Anne Rice

Anne Rice

Queen of the vampires…and not the “sparkly” kind. I love the richness of her writing, and how through her descriptive passages you feel like you are right there in the story. She brought to “undead” immortal life my two favorite vampires Lestat and Louis and for this she will always have a special place in my heart.

 

10. The Brothers Grimm

Brother's Grimm

I love fairy-tales and these two brothers brought to me the original, non sugar-coated versions of them. If it weren’t for them there would be no Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty or Snow White among many others. Yes, these tales are much darker than the Disney versions, and there isn’t always a “happily ever after” but that is what I love about them. I love the rawness and the truths they don’t hide.

Book Review: The Dream Lover by Elizabeth Berg

Book Review: The Dream Lover by Elizabeth BergThe Dream Lover: A Novel of George Sand by Elizabeth Berg
Published by Random House on April 14th 2015
Genres: Fiction, HIstorical, Literary
Pages: 368
Goodreads
three-half-stars

A passionate and powerful novel based on the scandalous life of the French novelist George Sand, her famous lovers, untraditional Parisian lifestyle, and bestselling novels in Paris during the 1830s and 40s. This major departure for bestseller Berg is for readers of Nancy Horan and Elizabeth Gilbert.
George Sand was a 19th century French novelist known not only for her novels but even more for her scandalous behavior. After leaving her estranged husband, Sand moved to Paris where she wrote, wore men’s clothing, smoked cigars, and had love affairs with famous men and an actress named Marie. In an era of incredible artistic talent, Sand was the most famous female writer of her time. Her lovers and friends included Frederic Chopin, Gustave Flaubert, Franz Liszt, Eugene Delacroix, Victor Hugo, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and more. In a major departure, Elizabeth Berg has created a gorgeous novel about the life of George Sand, written in luminous prose, with exquisite insight into the heart and mind of a woman who was considered the most passionate and gifted genius of her time.

I was very excited when I received The Dream Lover from  NetGalley, not just because I really enjoy historical fiction but because I had heard very interesting and scandalous things about the person the book is about.

Authoress Aurore Dudevant (known as Georges Sand) has been described as eccentric, shocking, “gender-bending” , controversial, passionate and provocative. She was born in France in 1804 and had an unhappy childhood. She was raised by her grandmother and eventually married. She had two children, but an unhappy married life. What I know most about Aurore/George is that she had a love affair with Frederic Chopin as well as many men, and at least one lady. She was lucky to have success with her writing early on, and this allowed her to be able to live her life on her terms. She dressed as a man, ran her own estate, and made sure that her children were raised and educated how she saw fit.

The story begins with an older and sickly George reflecting on her life and the story moves back to various scenes from her childhood when she left her husband and went to Paris on her own, and various other memories. There are two points of views the reader gets to see, one from Aurore and one from George. I found this to be interesting at first but thought later on in the story that it would have been better to see the transformation for Aurore to George in its complexion without getting it diluted into two separate stories. I can only imagine how difficult it was to have the courage to be so independent and strike out on one’s own. George sits in cafes debating art, literature and plays in the open with men, while wearing men’s clothing, and smoking cigars (something no “lady” would do in those times). It’s hard to place myself in her shoes, because being from a more modern time, I don’t feel anything is off-limits to me as a woman (though not everyone agrees that women have equal or the same rights as men even now….but we sure have come a long way from not being able to wear pants).

There were many times in this book that I felt like I was reading more of an actual non-fiction biography than a historical fiction, because so many actual facts were told to us, instead of just letting the “character” of George live out her life with true emotion. With that said, it was still a very enjoyable read. I was drawn to the story because I wanted to know more about the life George lived. The focus of the book seemed to linger on her love affairs and her need to find true love. I wish it hadn’t been the almost the only purpose of the story, but a more balanced one that incorporated her love life, details about her writing, and her family into a nice well-rounded package. I did enjoy reading it, I enjoyed the details of the time period, getting to be a fly on the wall of George Sand’s group of friends and inner circle. It was also nice that there were passages of George’s writing throughout the novel itself. A well-written book about an amazing woman who was full of life, talent and very much ahead of her time. Definitely worth reading.

**This review was originally posted on Reading In The Tardis**

three-half-stars

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favorite Quotes from Books

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a book blog meme created by the girls at The Broke and the Bookish . This week I present my top ten favorite book quotes:

1. Stories you read when you’re the right age never quite leave you. You may forget who wrote them or what the story was called. Sometimes you’ll forget precisely what happened, but if a story touches you it will stay with you, haunting the places in your mind that you rarely ever visit.”
― Neil GaimanM Is for Magic

(I love this quote because of how true it is, there are so many stories from my childhood that I remember the “feel” of and how they touched me. )

2. “Books are mirrors: you only see in them what you already have inside you.” – The Shadow of the Wind

Every book, every volume you see here, has a soul. The soul of the person who wrote it and of those who read it and lived and dreamed with it. Every time a book changes hands, every time someone runs his eyes down its pages, its spirit grows and strengthens.”
― Carlos Ruiz ZafónThe Shadow of the Wind

(I would walk around quoting all the beautiful passages from this book all day long. You could write a whole book about the glorious and beautiful quotes found in the book)

3. “Someone needs to tell those tales. When the battles are fought and won and lost, when the pirates find their treasures and the dragons eat their foes for breakfast with a nice cup of Lapsang souchong, someone needs to tell their bits of overlapping narrative. There’s magic in that. It’s in the listener, and for each and every ear it will be different, and it will affect them in ways they can never predict. From the mundane to the profound. You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone’s soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows what they might do because of it, because of your words. That is your role, your gift. Your sister may be able to see the future, but you yourself can shape it, boy. Do not forget that… there are many kinds of magic, after all.”
― Erin MorgensternThe Night Circus

(A lovely quote about the magic of good stories, within a fantastic story. I LOVE this book)

4. Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts. There are seven words that will make a person love you. There are ten words that will break a strong man’s will. But a word is nothing but a painting of a fire. A name is the fire itself.” 
― Patrick RothfussThe Name of the Wind

(Words do have power, and this is just one of many brilliant quotes in this series. Absolutely wonderful book.)

5. I lived in books more than I lived anywhere else.”
― Neil GaimanThe Ocean at the End of the Lane

(I really enjoy this quote because it rings so true about my own memories of “living” in books and at the library. I spent every second I could browsing the bookshelves and taking stacks of books home with me. )

6. “Then the bird showed her a color she had never seen before. Somewhere between black and green but neither of them, the color of pestilence and extinction and nightmares better left forgotten, a color that had been exiled from the world long ago.

It was the color of evil.” J.A White, The Thickety (The Path Begins)

(This quote just brought a chill to my bones while I was reading this story, and it captured the darkness of this story.)

7.I carried [Rudy] softly through the broken street…with him I tried a little harder [at comforting]. I watched the contents of his soul for a moment and saw a black-painted boy calling the name Jesse Owens as he ran through an imaginary tape. I saw him hip-deep in some icy water, chasing a book, and I saw a boy lying in bed, imagining how a kiss would taste from his glorious next-door neighbor. He does something to me, that boy. Every time. It’s his only detriment. He steps on my heart. He makes me cry.”
 Markus ZusakThe Book Thief

(I cried (openly on the bus) while reading this chapter and when I got to this part I actually sobbed. I am getting teary eyed right now just writing this.)

8.I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! — When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.”
 Jane AustenPride and Prejudice

(This quote is truly how I feel about reading and my books. I love that I have a house of my own and can display them proudly, and hopefully will one day expand enough of the house to have my own reading room/mini library.)

9. Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn’t it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up. You build up all these defenses, you build up a whole suit of armor, so that nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life…You give them a piece of you. They didn’t ask for it. They did something dumb one day, like kiss you or smile at you, and then your life isn’t your own anymore. Love takes hostages. It gets inside you. It eats you out and leaves you crying in the darkness, so simple a phrase like ‘maybe we should be just friends’ turns into a glass splinter working its way into your heart. It hurts. Not just in the imagination. Not just in the mind. It’s a soul-hurt, a real gets-inside-you-and-rips-you-apart pain. I hate love.” 
― Neil GaimanThe Sandman, Vol. 9: The Kindly Ones

(Neil Gaiman has so many books, and so many fantastic quotes, but I think this one speaks truly about experiencing hurt in  love, especially love that has caused great hurt. We have all been there, and felt it, and that is why this quote is awesome. )

10. “A summer rain had left the night clean and sparkling with drops of water. I leaned against the end pillar of the gallery, my head touching the soft tendrils of a jasmine which grew there in a constant battle with a wisteria, and I thought of what lay before me throughout the world and throughout time, and resolved to go about it delicately and reverently, learning that from each thing which would take me best to another.” 
― Anne RiceInterview with the Vampire

(This quote makes me feel like I am on a Southern plantation in the middle of a summer’s night, sitting on a white rocking chair, contemplating my new immortal life. It does what a good story should do, it embraces you into itself.)

Share with us what are some of your favorite quotes?

What was it about the quote/s that made you like it/them?