Note about my Reviews

Dear Authors: The reviews in this blog are only personal opinions. I have absolutely no background in literature, writing or reviewing. I am a Librarian (actually a Library Technician for those who care OR know the difference) with a love for a good story. The opinions in the reviews are ONLY my OPINIONS. I am not commenting on the writers ability since well -- I am not a writer and never will be. If you are the author of any of the books reviewed here, my opinion is just that and not a judgment against you!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Book Expo America 2014

Decided this time to keep it brief for many reasons. First of all, as usual, I am behind in every part of my life. And secondly I am not sure anyone is actually reading this blog, and I hate to waste my precious time, if no one actually cares (NO I am not feeling sorry for myself, I am just a practical gal) Expect a lot of point form, because then I don't have to worry about grammar and punctuation. (And if you are a long time reader, you know I am soooo not a scholar) Oh yeah and most of the pictures are courtesy of Jenn and Terri (some captions didn't have room for me saying they are not mine)

Tuesday May 27th - Highlights

  • Arrived at 11:00am in New York ready to go. This is completely surprising as I got to the Calgary airport at 10pm the night before 
  • Totally lucked out and was on the same flight as Terri and her mom. We didn't get to sit together, but it was nice knowing she was with me and we got to hang at the airport for a while. (while waiting for Terri - watched two episodes of Dr Who - oh yeah and next blog post will be on my latest obsession - Dr Who)

Beautiful Terri & myself (Picture courtesy of Terri and Irene)
  • Jenn booked us at the Staybridge Suites Times Square.  Fabulous hotel and this is now my hotel of choice for New York.  Rooms were lovely with a kitchenette and free breakfast in the morning.  Staff was delightful. Only complaint - holy shit that cocktail was expensive in the lobby bar. Bartender was hilarious though.
  • Irene, Terri and I split a taxi and headed to our respective hotels where I met up with Jenn
  •  Lunch at Kodama - had a bento box and it was seriously yummy
  • Settled in, walked around town a little and made plans to meet up with Terri and Irene
  •  Dinner at Capizzi with Jenn, Terri, and Irene.  Incredible food, fabulous staff and the best Sangria I have ever had.  Will definitely go back, next time I am in town. Also thanks Jenn for the espresso - only way I made it through

Photo courtesy of Jenn

Photo courtesy of Terri

Jenn and I headed over to times square and hit the Hershey and M&M stores.  If you are ever in New York, you have to go to the M&M store - they have a huge wall of M&M's
Only 1 part of the wall

Wednesday May 28th - Highlights
  • Jenn and I have been to New York a couple of times and had never done one of the bus tours, so we figured it was a crappy day so why not. We purchased the Uptown and Downtown package from Skyline Tours.  We never made it to the Uptown portion as we ran out of time.  The traffic was hell so the 2.5 hr tour was more like 4.5 hrs. Was nice chatting with Jenn though and seeing some of the sights. Sorry didn't take too many pictures

Jenn Hubbs
Empire State Building

Reminded me of the building in Ghostbusters
Flatiron Building

Subway entrance - but I nicknamed it the American TARDIS
  • Next up was the Epic Reads Party that Shannon from HarperCollins scored us tickets for

  • Wonderfully organized and fun event. The food and drinks were delicious and there were lots of getting to know each other events.   The photo booth was a blast and I really enjoyed chatting with Michael Grant and Garth Nix.  Excellent swag bag at the end.  Thanks HarperCollins (EpicReads) for hosting such an entertaining party - you guys rock!

Amanda Maciel & our trivia team - we wer awful!!!
Jamie, Myself and Garth Nix (thanks Jenn for both pictures)
  • We were having so much fun we lost track of time so we made a quick dash for a taxi to head on over to the other HarperCollins event we were invited to (Thanks Alaina Waagner)
  • The Book Bloggers Bash event was being held at the Fox Sports Bar.  We had to check in and it made us feel like we were going to a vip guests only bash.
  • Party was almost over but we had a fabulous time talking with some bluggers and publishing reps including the lovely Katie O'Callaghan and absolutely delightful Kathryn Gervasio (Thank you so much Alaina for tracking her name down for me --will bring  cookies for you next year)
  •  Chatted with the lovely Cora Carmack.  After meeting you I will be picking up your books - Sorry wanted to enjoy the party so I didn't stop to take pictures
  • The grab bag area was really picked over so we didn't luck out, but that was our own fault
  • Afterwards we went back to our hotel had some icy beverages and watched a couple of episodes of Dr Who -- I know, we are party animals

Yummy Drinks and Dr Who

Thursday May 29th - Highlights
  •  Jenn and I paid extra and got great seats for this event so we could see Neil Patrick Harris upclose (nice work Cammy and Felicia for sneaking in as well - it was fun hanging with you)
  • Breakfast itself as usual was a total disappointment but we got some nice books and the coffee was good.  Won't go into detail about the speakers, but they were all FABULOUS. Check out the links and the video below for some of the hightlights

Neil Patrick Harris, Anjelica Houston, blanking on his name & Lisa Scottonline (pic from Jenn)
All Special Events for BEA:
  • I totally met NPH and I shook his hand and chatted with him. Totally surreal but he was charming and funny and his nails were AWESOME
  • Thanks Irene for grabbing me a spot so I didn't miss this once in a lifetime opportunity - next time I will bring you chips instead of cupcakes

Terri and NPH (photo from Terri)
Proud of myself for this great shot

You can tell he totally digs me LOL!
Love this shot - my face says it all - Holy shit I met NPH!

  • Irene scooped me a copy of Rooms by Lauren Oliver (was on my list of books I wanted)

Love this pic of Terri
  • Waited in a huge lineup for Julie Kagawa to get a book for Jenn  and also to score a copy of Ghost House by Alexandra Adnornetto (Didn't wait to get it signed - the Harlequin lineups are insane)
Julie Kagawa in green (pic courtesy of Terri)
  • Irene (btw keep forgetting to mention is Terri's mom) scooped me up a signed copy of Billy Idol's memoir and had it signed for me (Did I mention how awesome Terri is - you know what, next year I am bringing her some wine)
He looks like a mannequin but it is him
  • Next up was lining up for Alan Cumming (bit of a dissapointment, he obviously didn't want to be there and he barely said anything) but I still look forward to reading his book
  • Than it was up to meet Jeaniene Frost who was very sweet
  • Was near the front of the line for RJ Palacio which was awesome, got an excerpt of her book plus a bag signed for Jen back in Calgary
  • Also got in line ups and met Garth Nix (very sweet and lovely accent) and Pseudonymous Bosch who is wonderfully odd and fun
Looks like I am fascinating to talk too (pic from Terri)

Have no idea what we are laughing about but like the pic (courtesy of Terri)
  • Headed back to the hotel to relax for a few minutes before we headed out to a party that Jenn scored us tickets for - yup Bowling with Authors -- including Lemony Snickett himself, Daniel Handler.
  • This event was a howl.  The food was to die for and the drinks yummy.  Since we were a tad late thanks to traffic, once again most of the swag was picked over. But I did get the wickedly fun Daniel to sign a book for me. 
  • Most of the night was spent eating and chatting with tons of people. But the highlights of the evening were all from Handler and his charming and sweet editor, Susan Rich.  Even had Handler sitting on my lap in the photo booth.  He is always the highlight of BEA - if you ever get a chance to meet him - DO SO!

Photobombed by Daniel Handler

Author pic #1 (sorry they are crappy)
Author Pic #2
  • Cammy invited us out to join him for make your own S'mores at the famous Max Brenner Restaurant.  Jeremy is a charming and funny dinner date and I always relish the few seconds I get to spend with my Obi Wan.  Also hate the man for making me want to get a Fitbit so very badly, yet cannot afford now that my eldest son needs braces.
  • If you are ever in New York, you have to stop by Max Brenner - the s'mores are out of this world and everything on the menu looks decadent

Must get one for Auntie Sheila
Must try this next time
So much fun!
  • We all than jumped in a cab and raced to Madison square gardens to see my beloved husband's Habs lose their chance at the Stanley Cup (sorry I am a bad Canadian) The place was a mad house with NY fans screaming and making snide go home canada jokes.  That's right kids, we told NO ONE that we were Canadian. It was a fabulous experience though, thanks Cammy for suggesting this

  • Once again we headed back to the hotel for wine and Doctor Who (well actually Torchwood this time )

Friday May 30th - Hightlights

  • Friday morning started early with our annual Children's Author breakfast.  We scored some pretty good seats and yes, the breakfast itself still sucks.  Speeches were funny and Mem Fox made me cry.  Jason Segal was self deprecating and charming and Carl Hiaasen was absolutely hysterical. Check out this link for highlights of the breakfast

Jason Segal, Mem Fox, Jeff Kinney and Carl Hiaasen (photo courtesy of Jenn)

Great shot Jenn!!!
  • Once again, it was time to rush off and wait in huge lineups. First up was the delightful Carl Hiaasen
Huge stack of books and Carl
The Jason Segal lineup could have been a total disaster, but Jenn and I stepped in and got everyone organized and happy.  That's right my friends, Jenn and I were in charge of diplomatic relations between Canada and the US. To make a long story short, there were two "unoffical" lines for Segal's signing and we convinced everyone to combine the two lines.  We made everyone happy - you are very welcome RandomHouse

Yup I met Jason Segal laugh

and so did Jenn
  • Next off was time to use our Jump in front of the line pass (along with 100 other people). Meeting Stan was quick, but still a once in the lifetime opportunity. Really impressed with how his staff protected him, but never made us feel like we were bothering him (while at the same time moving us all along - that is how you do it people)  Also got to Meet award winning author and fellow Canadian Jon Klassen. Sorry no pic, but it was a rushed event because of being caught up in the Stan Lee line up. He was lovely though!

THE Stan Lee
  • Next up was the Librarian Speed Dating session and this year the only session I took part in. Basically publisher have 10 minutes to highlight their books that would be perfect for reading groups. You also get to bring many of the titles home with you.  I only grabbed a couple of ones that really grabbed my attention, as it is pricey to bring them home with you (they are free but you got to get them back to Canada) and my to be read list is long enough already.  Will do reviews for all of the ones I found interesting.
  • Jenn and I than headed back to the hotel to relax for a while and go out to dinner.  Cannot remember the name of the Sushi restaurant (Jenn thinks it was Aoki) but it was delicious and we had some yummy Saki

My new sexy librarian look LOL! (yeah ok, I need reading glasses now)
After dinner we met up with Irene and Terri for a trip to the Magnolia Bakery (famous for its cupcakes) and just hang and chat for a while

Saturday May 31st (And June 1st - damn red eye) - Highlights

  • Thanks Nikole (Scholastic Canada) for scoring us an invite for this lovely breakfast. It was a pleasure as always to chat with the hilarious Maggie Stiefvater. Yes kids,  she is extremely talented AND funny as hell
  • Thanks for the funny story and I promise never to bring edible treats to you at any events. Also FYI anyone else wanting to bring Maggie edible treats - DON'T - she had a horrible experience
  • Also everyone seemed to have brought her avacados  - trust me her telling of the story was worth the price of BEA - also will never be able to look at avacados without thinking of you
  • The Scholastic staff were great and the Smoothies were DELISH!!
  • We all got special lanyards that we had all of the authors sign (including David Leviathan not shown)
  • As usual Holly Black and Cassandra Clare were charming and funny - don't you just love the matching outfits and Holly's hair perfectly suits her.

Me, Terri, Maggie and just a FEW of the avacados
Cassie Clare, Me and Holly Black
  • Bookcon was a total clusterfuck.  Way too many people and not enough books.  Plus did I mention way too many people (Check out pic below) I don't like crownds so I kept away from that madhouse for 90% of the day. Only went in to wait in line to meet Cary Elwes -  sweet man (very religious btw) shook my hands twice and thanked me for coming and he god blessed me as well
  • Guys you need to make this thing a total separate event, because most of the BEA attendees I talked to, will never come back for that.
see all the people scary (picture from
  • I met Cary Elwes who looks incredible and is so very sweet. Told him how excited I was to read the book.  Got to chat for quite a few minutes which was a big surprise
Pics courtesy of Jenn
Cary Elwes

  • Also got to meet Bad Kitty. These books are hilarious - Perfect for kids 6-8 (Or old broads like me)
THE Bad Kitty and Me
  • Than it was the bittersweet time to say farewell to friends.  The real reason I go to these things is to hang with these wonderful ladies (And Cammy but he was already flying back to TO at this point)

Jenn, Irene, Terri and Rachel
  • Jenn and I than packed up all of our stuff and headed out for a nice walk and lunch before we had to head to the airport. I was leaving with her to see if I could score an earlier flight to TO to meet family or get an earlier flight to Calgary
  • We ate at Burgers & Cupcakes which was fun and affordable - the place was packed with all sorts of people from BEA
  • Scored an earlier flight to TO and got to hang with Jenn at the airport which was fabulous. She is such a wonderful friend (and thanks to her I got all the names, dates and places accurate for this post - love ya  and sorry about all the tweets)
  • Thanks also to Terri and Irene for your wonderful company and fabulous pictures. Hoping I can do it again next year
  • No one came to meet me at the airport which made me very sad but at least I enjoyed wine and more episodes of Dr Who as well as some yummy smoked salmon (that stuff is way too expensive and tastes like crap in Calgary - from my limited experiences so far)

Netflix and wine - thanks for keeping me company
Best Smoked salmon I have had in a long time

Mandatory pictures of what I brought back with me

Signed Items

Advanced Reading Copies (Oreo insisted in being in picture)

Random Swag

Bags I brought home (trust me you could pack a suitcase with all the bags you could pick up)

Treats for the family

Jesse and his Captain Underpants (He loves you Irene and Terri)

Swag I forgot to put in other picture

Random Pictures

Lincoln Pierce

Jeff Kinney

Hot model guys at Elora's Cave booth - they have the BEST swag at BEA