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!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Book Expo America 2016

I think we all know that I love books more than most anything else, other than my family, in this world.   Last year was brutal as I didn't get to attend Book Expo America.  This year I decided that I wasn't going to miss out

It was a bit of a disappointment as since it was held in Chicago instead of New York the publishers didn't bring out their A game of authors and events. Also the weather was windy (yeah big surprise) and rainy.  On a positive note it was super organized and extremely clean and a lot more relaxed.

Left Calgary for Toronto early in the morning on the Wednesday and ended up flying to Chicago from Toronto with Jeremy Cammy,  Our flight was delayed and the movie selection wasn't the best but it was a quick flight so no biggie and I splurged and celebrated with a glass of red wine.  While waiting for luggage (sorry Cammy and I totally want your carry on) we got to see some Cadets getting ready for the Navy.  The guys in charge were yelling at them and putting them through some routines that were truly impressive to watch.  Thinking they need to take my kids and put them in their place.  Met up with my roommate Jenn and we all headed out to Cheesecake factory for dessert.  The menu was huge and I had no idea how big the portions were going to be.  Ordered dessert at the same time which Cammy and Jenn made fun of me for, but I choose my meal based on dessert options.  Well as soon as my meal came, I understood and asked to cancel my dessert.  We ended up sharing dessert instead. And I am still thinking about how good it was. We were staying at the Drake, which is a very pretty hotel and close to Bloomingdales - which was a bonus for me. Won't bore  you with the story, but my friends, my co-workers at Humber College and family will understand why this was funny.

Made me giggle, yup I am a big kid

Next morning after sleeping in and meeting up with Cammy for some shopping where we found the most amazing shop ever - A Dr. Seuss store.  Love Dr. Seuss so much I have a tattoo of the Lorax on my ankle. I could have spent a mint in here. Also picked up a local ghost story book from the Barnes and Noble.  Every where I travel I try to pick up a local ghost story book as a memory.

Please Jeff, it's about to go up in price LOL
SO if anyone is looking for a gift for m
 I finally headed out to pick up my badge for BEA and hit the show. FYI - I hate my hair and must change ASAP

Fredrick Backman
What a charming and delightful writer. His A Man Called Ove was one of my favorite books last year.  Told him how my Non Girly Book Club members Jen and Leslie loved it and he ended up signing a book for both of them as well which was so kind.  He spent tons of time with each of his fans as well which is a rarity at these events

Nicholas Sparks
Totally had to meet the guy.  I loved The Notebook but most of his other stuff is a little too romantic and angsty for me.  Saved a spot for Cammy so he could do some schmoozing to bring Sparks to Canada for a signing


This was a busy morning with two breakfasts,   The first was the Penguin Random House Library breakfast. We got there a little late as the shuttle was late.  The breakfast was wonderful and much appreciated. The Authors were Amor Towles, Graham Moore, Jennifer Close and Brunonia Barry.  Amor was charming and witty.  Graham Moore was dryly self deprecating and charming.  He makes his book sound so exciting that I added him to my list of books to get signed.  Jennifer Close told a   story about meeting Obama and that when she reads stories and wonders how much of story comes from real life and that we all can agree that we feel a little nervous for Gillian Flynns husband

Thanks Felicia for the invite to the Simon and Schuster Children's Breakfast.  We missed the first little bit as we were still at the other breakfast.  Speakers were Laurie Halse Anderson, Jason Reynolds, S.J, Kincaid, Jennifer Weiner and James Hannibal.  I cannot wait to read Kincaid's book as it sounds intriguing and she was just so utterly delightful.  Jason Reynolds was hilarious and so passionate and kinda cute too.  Jennifer Weiner was a delight as always.  Unfortunately we missed Laurie Halse Anderson but I can imagine she was fascinating and James Hannibal was charming and silly and has quite the remarkable background.
Jason Reynolds, Laurie Halse Anderson, S.J. Kincaid, Jennifer Weiner and James Hannibal (pic from Jenn)
Jennifer Weiner (pic from Jenn)

S.J. Kincaid
Kenny Loggins
Now this was one of my proudest moments.  Headed out early to get in line for THE Kenny Loggins and there was NO line up.  Talked to the girls in charge and they had no idea what was going on and how it was going to be organized.  They figured that people could just hang around where Kenny was going to perform and then figure out what to do for the signing.  Cammy came up to see what was going on and mentioned that this was going to be a shit show because they had no idea how many people were going to show up.  The man knows what he is talking about because he hosts these types of events a couple times a week for Indigo.  As it got closer and closer the people in charge realized that they were going to have to figure out something quick.  Cammy told me to go tell them what they should do --- and I did.  Talked to them and explained how things were done at similar events and they listened to me and asked me to help get it started.  Was so proud of myself because I am more of an introvert.  The event went smoothly and they kept thanking me and even gave me one of their Footloose tshirts which fits me perfectly and wear it all the time now.  Met tons of wonderful ladies in line and they adored Cammy.   Trust me the man is charm personified and can get anyone to talk - he also wears the best socks EVER.

Kenny Loggins getting ready to play
Cammy fist bumping Kenny

Me and Catherine 

Catherine McKenzie. One of my favorite Canadian writers.  She writes chick lit styled books, but smart chick lit where characters behave and develop realistically.  Looking forward to her latest.  If you haven't read something of hers I suggest to start with either Spin or Arranged.

Oliver Jeffers
Handsome & talented

What can I say about Oliver.  He is charming and his books are utterly delightful. Perfect for kids of all ages.

Academy award winner and author Graham Moore (picture curtest of Cammy)

Also met Gwyn Creedy and Ransom Riggs

Scholastic Picture Book Party

As always the highlight of BEA is any event  put on by Scholastic Books.  This year was no different.  The food was incredible and the event entertaining.  This year the authors were Kate Beaton, David Shannon and Tom Lichtenfield.  Event was filled with musical numbers, author readings and hilarious presentations. At the end we also received galleys of all the picture books and my new treasure, a signed and illustrated print of all three books that came with a frame and everything. It will be going up in my home library.

Sourcebooks Party

This incredibly fun event was held at the 360 in the John Hancock building.  The food and drink was out of this world.  Just spent most of the night chatting with Jenn and other book lovers, drinking wine and admiring the view.  Also went outside my comfort zone and did the tilt.TILT is the first of its kind in the world and Safely holds up to 8 visitors at a time. Extends out and over The Magnificent Mile and Chicago's famous skyline and Offers visitors unique, downward facing views from 1,000 feet up (yeah totally cut and pasted the description from its website)  As we left we got the best grab bag ever from any event - Champagne plus a method to open - what could not be better than that for those visiting the windy city.  Thanks for the invite guys for the fabulous and extremely well organized event.

Got brave and did the Tilt (not sure what I am doing with my leg though)

View from 360

View from 360

Love the gift bag they gave us

Children's Breakfast

One of the most interesting events is the Children's Breakfast.  This years speakers were Jamie Lee Curtis, Dav Pilkey, Sabaa Tahir and Gene Luen Yang.  Jamie Lee Curtis was sincere, charming and hilarious.  She spoke very movingly about her sons struggles with reading and how Captain Underpants became a game changer for her son and that she was grateful to Dav Pilkey for writing books for children like her son.  I have to agree with her I have mad love for Dav Pilkey and have met him on numerous occasions and think he is fantastic.  Sabaa spoke about how fear has influenced her youth and her writing.  How reading helped with her anger of her childhood and the extreme racism she had to deal with.  Dav Pilkey talked about how having ADHD influenced him as a writer and as always was hilarious and so open and honest. His slide show was delightful. He also reminded the audience that you need to love what you read and what you do.  Gene Luen Yang was  hilarious and I look forward to looking into his work.   Breakfast was slightly better than previous BEA's and we all got to take home copies of all the presenters books.  Thanks Felicia from Simon and Schuster for the tickets.

 Gene Luen Yang, Sabaa Tahir, Jamie Lee Curtis, Dav Pilkey,

Talking about Dav Pilkey (pic courtesy of Cammy)

All you need is love

Maggie Stiefvater

A joy as always, even though we didn't have much of a chance to talk, I did give her the recipe for the avocado pudding.
My crappy picture of the stunning Maggie

Jamie Lee Curtis

This was the moment I was looking forward to as soon as I heard that Jamie Lee Curtis was going to be at BEA.  I think she is one of the most talented and stunning actresses and I thoroughly enjoyed her kids picture books.  So I was a good little fan and lined up early. I didn't mind the wait as I got to chat with a bunch of different people in line.  So after like 1.5 hours its finally my turn to talk to her and this total bitch (lady with dark hair at the right of the picture below) jumps in and pushes her way into getting a picture with Jamie.  Ms Curtis than gets really upset with her and totally flustered.  And guess who is next in line -- yup me.  Got to talk to her for less than 60 seconds because she is rightly snapping at the lady for jumping in in front of everyone that had been waiting patiently (I totally respect that about her - she speaks her mind) Unfortunately the incident set her off so you could tell she was done.  She was kind and gracious to me and we talked about spina bifida for a second but that was it.  I had look forward to it all week and one obnoxious women ruins it.

Dav Pilkey

Yup, the creator of Captain Underpants and the saviour of reluctant readers everywhere.  I always enjoy chatting with him because he has the most amazing sense of humour - one of the only pictures I like of me the entire trip

Meg Cabot
Yeah, what can I say about Meg Cabot, other than I adore her.  She is tons of fun and had to go see her again -- think this is my third time lining up for her over the years.  Love her Vanished series.  She is fabulous with her younger fans too

Kendare Blake

She is so young looking, but don't let her youth fool you, she is an exceptionally talented author of many YA novels, including my favorite, Anna Dressed in Blood

Jennifer Nielsen
Such a friendly and funny, not to mention talented author.  Her False Prince series is perfect for both boys and girls in the 9-12 range.  Not to mention enjoyable for readers of any age - yup this 46 year old women loved it.  Looking forward to catching up on her other series plus this new one!

Also got books signed by Jeffrey Brown, Jill Shalvis, Brandon Mull, David Shannon and
Kate Beaton

Spent a lovely evening listening to jazz music and watching some beautiful couples dance and have fun at the Drake


We were leaving in the afternoon so Jenn and I decided to go out for a walk and see the sites.  Was a little disappointed that I heard at the last minute Peirce Brown was going to be at BookCon - I would have gone if I had known he was coming.  But I am going to go to a signing of yours one day Pierce. In fact my new mission is to bring you to Calgary for an event. Mark my words Universe I am going to make it happen.  Jenn and I ended up at Navy Pier where is was cold and rainy so we snuck into Margaritaville for the biggest nachos I have ever seen - if we had known we would have shared

And finally relaxing at the Twist at Toronto Pearson for some food, drink a book while I waited for the flight home to Calgary

And my favorite thing about being back in Calgary (Jeff is missing as he was exhausted after being mom and dad while I was away)

Random Shots and Thoughts

It was lovely meeting all of the following people (and those who I forgot to get cards from)  My favorite thing about BEA is meeting all of my fellow book lovers in line ups and getting to know all sorts of strangers. Keira Drake and Chelsea Sedoti good luck with your books, you ladies were delightful.  Other fantastic ladies I met Heather Beverly, Nancy Firfer, Jenn Northington, Kristin Clifton, Nikki Mutch, Eli Madison (Love your book covers jewellery, D.W. Hirsch, Mishma Nixon, Trumps and Amanda McCrimmon. Also it was fun chatting with you the gentlemen that did extra parts in movies and your lovely wife while waiting in line for Jamie Lee Curtis.

Also really enjoyed the booth with the literary temporary tattoos.  Off to join the chain now.

Cover reveal for latest in Throne of Glass series - CAN'T WAIT

Cammy's Spectacular socks

Advanced Reading Copies

Signed Books
This bag from Thirty-One  (and yes you can order one from me)  - is the most durable amazing bag ever!  It was filled with 52 books of various sizes plus some last minute purchases from Trader Joes.  It went through luggage at Chicago, Toronto Pearson AND Calgary and not a scratch, tear or even a mark on it - that is a miracle my friends!

This trip taught me a lot about myself, both good and bad and decided to make some changes.  Won't bore with tons of this inner stuff but I did realize that it pisses me off and makes me feel invisible when you are talking to someone and they are always doing something with their cell phones.  Realized that it is my problem, not theirs,  and that I should speak up about it.  Also I am way too nice and accommodating and that I expect others to be the same, and that is just not reasonable.  Also I am a bookseller and a Librarian first and foremost and I saw some intense and bad behaviour from some book bloggers that I really feel that the BEA portion should be only for booksellers and Librarians and that Bookcon should be more for  bloggers and book lovers.  Just my opinion and rant all you want.

Yeah enough about that, but I have to get it out and cannot afford therapy LOL.

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