Book Expo America Recap, 2013

This past Thursday and Friday I was at the annual Book Expo America held at the Javits Center in New York City. I also attended the BEA Bloggers Conference (formerly the Book Bloggers Conference) on Wednesday. Here’s my (supah long) report of these things.

BEA BLOGGERS CONFERENCE:

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BEA Bloggers is a book blogger convention affiliated with BEA. You may or may not recall, but last year I had a horrible time dealing with registration for the BEA Bloggers Con, and after that I was rather disappointed in the conference itself. That was the year the convention was bought by Reed and it felt like the new management didn’t really understand book bloggers and it led to there being a ridiculous amount of promotion to a captive audience amongst other blunders. This was not really what I’d paid money to have to deal with, and from the posts online there were a lot of book bloggers that shared my disappointment. Thankfully Reed Exhibitions seemed to be listening, sent out surveys to book bloggers, and set up a conference advisory board to make this year’s conference better. Even with this, I dragged my feet when it came to registering again this year. I only live a train ride away and I can afford to go (I know I am very lucky to be in my situation), but last year honestly drained me. On top of that I’ve been neglecting book blogging because of my full-time job. I finally decided to go a week before the conference itself, but a lot of bloggers who went last year told me they were skipping the BEA Blogger Con if they were coming to BEA at all.

So with that optimistic preamble, how was it?

I think it was a lot better than last year. This time I had minimal problems registering (I had the page open too long and it didn’t register me when I hit submit, so I had to redo it all. It also hiccuped and sent me back to the main BEA registration page, not back to the BEA Blogger Con registration page), I felt like the con was more about book blogging than it was about promoting things to book bloggers than it was last year, and I also felt like this year I learned something from a couple of the panels that I attended. On top of that there seemed to be more effort to represent the different genres of bloggers in the panels with a YA and adult blog track, genre fiction like Romance and SFF were better represented, there were more book bloggers on panels about book blogging, and it felt like the way the sessions were timed at 45 minutes this year allowed for more sessions and decent breaks between them.

On the other hand, there is still room for improvement. I’m not convinced the keynote speakers fully understood book bloggers (maybe we should do away with the keynote speeches – I’d personally be OK with having the time to talk to people over breakfast/drinks instead), I had some trouble deciding what sessions to attend because all I had was a title and no description, and there were still a few comments by some non-book-blogger speakers that made me pause. Most notable for me were remarks about “being nice”. I’m going to say I think their hearts may have been in the right place but I was wincing internally. Between the opening keynote speaker’s comments on negative reviews and a couple of other offhand comments in other sessions (from mostly non-book blogger panelists) telling bloggers not to post on controversial topics for page views and not to fight with authors on social media, I left the con wondering a little bit about how book bloggers are seen by those who are in the publishing industry. In my mind the comments suggest a disconnect from the book blogger’s perspective. There could be some validity to the speakers’ comments, but reviewers have been targeted for critical reviews that were not attacks on an author, posting on controversial topics is not necessarily a bid for attention, and as for fights over social media–there are always two sides to every story. Maybe I’m feeling defensive of being a book blogger and I’m taking some comments and seeing a pattern where there isn’t one, but this was food for thought for me after BEA. Anyway, putting that aside, I really did feel a lot better about the con compared to last year – but last year set a pretty low bar. If I don’t go next year it would be more about having gotten what I can out of this con rather than anything else. That said, there are bloggers who were more disappointed than I was.

The opening and closing keynotes and the Ethics Panel Luncheon were events that was shared universally by all attendees, but in the morning and afternoon there were sessions where there was a choice between two options. In the morning there was a YA focused track and a non-YA focused track (which they called “adult”) to choose from, .and in the afternoon the sessions were more about general blogging topics.

These were the sessions I attended:

  • Opening Keynote (Will Schwalbe)
  • Adult Editor Insight Panel (other choice: Young Adult Editor Insight Panel)
  • Adult Book Blogging Pros: Successes, Struggles and Insider Secrets (other choice: Young Adult Book Blogging Pros)
  • Ethics Forum Luncheon
  • Blogging Platforms (other choice: Taking Your Online Presence Offline)
  • Extending the Reach of Your Blog Online (other choice: Book Blogging and the “Big” Niches)

(I skipped the Closing Keynote with Randi Zuckerberg)

Opening Keynote: I saw that there was a camera set up but I am unable to find the video online, but I found a nice recap from a fellow blogger here that I thought hit the highlights. The general feeling I came away with was that Schwalbe had a genuine enthusiasm for books and for how reading connects people. He had some poignant things to say about the book club for two he had with his mother after she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and he talked about the different definitions of success in publishing with a story about connecting to one reader at a book signing, but he also said a couple of things that I don’t think he realized were a bit touchy for his audience. This included talking about the affect that “negative reviews” have on authors with advice such as “keep in mind the human beings behind these books”. I wish I could find the video so I could just link to it and ask people to watch and decide how they feel about what he said. Overall it was a nice speech and I thought Schwalbe’s earnestness very likable, but his comments about negative reviews have me mulling days later. OK, let’s move on.

Adult Editor Insight Panel: This turned out to be a buzz panel where each of the editors discussed books they were particularly excited about this year. Joshua Kendall of Mulholland Books talked about two books: The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes (who won the Arther C. Clarke award for her Zoo City), about a time traveling serial killer (“imagine Silence of the Lambs written by Margaret Atwood”), and S, a book by JJ Abrams and Doug Dorst which he says reorients your experience as a reader (he compares it to House of Leaves) and is a book about storytelling. There will be 20 to 22 pieces of ephemera related to S and the first one is a postcard from Brazil (see picture below). Patrick Nielsen Hayden of Tor Books discussed Jo Walton’s What Makes This Book So Great, which is a collection of selected tor.com essays by Walton in which she rereads books and discusses them; Twenty-First Century Science Fiction, a collection of science fiction stories; and The Incrementalists by Steven Brust and Skyler White, a supernatural procedural centered around a society with special powers and a goal to make the world a little bit better a little bit at a time. Mary-Theresa Hussey talked about The Returned by Jason Mott, which is about people who have died returning to their families, and Sarah Beth Durst’s first adult trilogy which begins with The Lost, and is about a small town in the desert where missing things go – this includes the heroine, Lauren. Out of all the books discussed, I was most interested in Sarah Beth Durst’s and Jo Walton’s, so they’re going on my “what to watch for” list.

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Adult Book Blogging Pros: Jim Hines was the moderator here, with bloggers Mandi Schreiner from Smexy Books, Rebecca Joines Schinsky of Bookriot, and Sarah Wendell from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books making up the panel. I was excited by this one because the panel was full of actual bloggers, and two of the blogs were Romance, which I felt was a genre that is hugely popular and strangely underrepresented at this con in previous years. This was a fun session and I thought the panelists had some good advice, notably from Sarah Wendell: “your opinion belongs to you, no one should tell you it’s not valid”.  Also Jim Hines specifically joked about being in front of book bloggers and holding back from pitching his books. I thought this showed awareness for staying on topic and why the audience was there that was refreshing. Another thing I thought was a good takeaway was their discussion on social media and how it didn’t always have to be about books – that just linking to your posts on twitter isn’t enough. They recommended being multidimensional and not being afraid of being vulnerable because people will connect to you (Sarah of Smart Bitches said she just has rules about what she won’t talk about – like the mafia, don’t talk about the job, don’t talk about the family).

Ethics Forum Luncheon: I think a couple of years back there was a rash of posts about FTC disclosures and we’ve had previous sessions on this at BBC, so I wasn’t unfamiliar with the topics at this forum, but this is still a useful panel nonetheless. Jane Litte of Dear Author moderated a discussion with Richard Newman of Hinch Newman LLP and Professor Geanne Rosenberg of Baruch College. First the speakers went over their credentials, then they discussed what the FTC guidelines for bloggers were. Basically you must disclose if you got a free product to review or are compensated in any way. It should be noted that the FTC is more concerned about reviews that are falsely positive in order to sell a product rather than reviews that are not positive. Disclosure should be clear and conspicuous. After this there was some discussion of ethics and conflicts of interest (something that gets in the way of or appears to get in the way of clear, unbiased, independent opinion), and then the floor opened up to questions. I wish I could say I paid more attention, but I’m afraid I zoned out after a while. :\ ETA: I meant to link to this Book Smuggler’s post in which they pointed out some of the problems with this panel which includes calling ARCs “free”.

Blogging Platforms: This might have been one of my favorite panels because the women who were in it (Rachel Rivera of Parajunkee, Evie Seo of Bookish, April Conant of good Books and Good Wine, and Stephanie Leary – a WordPress consultant) went into some more technical detail of the day-to-day differences between some of the more popular blogging platforms (specifically blogger and wordpress were compared, and then the differences between wordpress.com versus wordpress.org were discussed). I have a wordpress.com site because I cannot be bothered to deal with self-hosting, keeping code up-to-date, dealing with security and backing up my blog that is involved with wordpress.org, so this panel cemented my continuing laziness, but may eventually get fed up with some of the plugins I can’t get on the .com end. There was also an interesting discussion of useful-for-book-blogger wordpress.com plugins, including one for star-ratings. Plus I’d always been curious about blogger so it was interesting to have it’s pros and cons laid out even if I’m not really ever going to move there.

Extending the Reach of Your Blog Online: I was seriously waffling over sitting in on this panel until the moderator busted out a laptop and we realized that a powerpoint presentation was happening. It was a long day and I needed some visual aids in my life. The panelists were Mandy Boles of The Well-Read Wife, Malle Vallik of Harlequin (moderator), Eric Smith of Quirk Books, and Robert Mooney of Blogads. Basically this session was about using social media in order to drive traffic to your blog. Mandy Boles started by saying she thinks that the next big thing after twitter and facebook is instagram because it is on its way to having 100 million users within 3 years. She talked about how she uses Instagram, and then moved on Vine, which is like Instagram except users share  6 second long videos. She recommended using the availability of hashtags in both these social platforms to get yourself noticed. [FYI: both of these social apps are geared towards Apple customers, and I am anti-Apple, so for those of you like me: Vine just became available on android this week]. Eric Smith talked about how offline events can produce traffic online – for example he has something called the Geek Awards that has created traffic for his blog. Finally Robert Mooney recommended using Stumbleupon because ‘stumbles’ last a long time, while on twitter you post a link and the effect of bringing in traffic is only a temporary blast. He also recommends Reddit but cautions that you can’t just jump into the Reddit community, you have to be a “good citizen” and “do your research” before you dive in.

BEA: THE HAUL, THE PEOPLE
I attended BEA on Thursday and Friday (I thought about also going Saturday but I was pretty pooped by then). As usual it was pretty crowded and crazy, but this year I think I had a better time dealing with it. It helped that there weren’t that many books that I HAD to have so I wasn’t really rushing around. There were some long lines though – I think I waited up to an hour to get a couple of books signed. I didn’t really go straight to the most crowded areas when BEA first opened it’s doors so maybe I just wasn’t looking at the right time, but to me it didn’t seem like there were as many books out on the floor as before. It might be that there just was less Young Adult and Science Fiction & Fantasy out though because a couple of people told me they thought there were more books this year. I did feel like it was a lot harder to get extra copies of books. I was trying to get certain YA books that other bloggers asked me to look out for, but the publishers were pretty strict about the popular  titles.

Anyway, here’s my haul. I tried, but I have a hard time saying “no thanks” when someone hands me a book. This means there’s a couple of YAs in here that I’m debating if I’ll keep because I don’t really know what they’re about (The Wolf Princess and Catena in case you were wondering). The total is: 19 books, 1 sampler book, 1 novella.

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As usual, seeing blogger friends was the best part, so I was happy I got to spend some time walking around with Stacey (USAToday’s HEA and Heroes and Heartbreakers), and with Heidi (Bunbury In the Stacks). It was brief but I finally met Alyssa of Books Take You Places. I also met Andrew of Raging Biblioholism (he writes lovely reviews, you should all mosey over to his blog and check them out).

I saw a few other bloggers briefly through the days (Ana and Thea, Elizabeth, and Memory), but I wasn’t able to find everyone I knew who was there. I have to say I was really missing a few bloggers that I had connected with at previous BEAs who decided not to come this year – it felt strange not to see some of my fellow YAckers and Kristen of Fantasy Cafe. BEA wasn’t the same without them, but thank goodness for the Internet.

Overall, I was exhausted after three days, but BEA did it’s job in making me feel re-energized about reading and blogging, so this means I’m probably going to be posting more regularly around here and visiting and commenting on other book blogs again. Watch this space. :)

Guest post for FantasyCafe’s Women in SF&F Month / Interview for Emma Larkins’ Writing Life

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Today I’m excited to be at FantasyCafe’s Women in SF&F Month for the second year of this awesome event. Last year I talked about some of my favorite female SF&F authors. This year I wax nostalgic about some of my first reads in this genre that were by women writers. Head on over to find out what they were, and please tell me what your firsts were too. I’m curious!

the lost king margaret weisthe blue sword robin mckinleythe changeover by margaret mahy


emma larkins - writing life

I was also recently interviewed by Emma Larkins, a writer who interviews different people on her blog about their perspectives on the writing and publishing community. She was interested in asking a book blogger’s perspective, so I’m over there answering questions about what I like to read, how I blog, issues I run into while reading, and things that don’t work when approaching me for a review.

A Fantasy Calendar and a SFF auction

I’ve been meaning to post a couple of things that are SFF community related. I always enjoy getting something bookish for myself and supporting worthwhile causes while I do it.

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1) There is a cool kickstarter campaign going on (6 days left to back it) for a calendar featuring authors in custom fantasy costumes. The photographer has secured a lot of famous names (Brandon Mull, Christopher Paolini, Gregory Maguire, Brandon Sanderson, Tad Williams, Patrick Rothfuss, Cassandra Clare, Holly Black, Lauren Kate, Lauren Oliver, Maggie Stiefvater, Gail Carriger, Tessa Gratton, and Brenna Yovanoff) for the calendar and needs funds for travel and special props. What the kickstarter page doesn’t say is that the calendar will raise money for First Book and Patrick Rothfuss’ Worldbuilders. There are a lot of cool gifts for pledging, including signed postcards from the authors of your choice.

conorbust

2) Con or Bust has auctions on its website for a lot of cool stuff to raise funds to send fans of color to SFF cons. So many books and signed items, but there’s also one-of-a-kind handmade items up for auction too. Hurry, looks like the auctions end on Sunday.

An Evening of Awesome @ Carnegie Hall with John & Hank Green

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P1000313Carnegie Hall – the sound in here is pretty amazing.

I’ve been avidly following The Lizzie Bennet Diaries for a long time now and I got my husband watching the series too. Through Lizzie Bennet he got hooked on the vlogbrothers, read Looking For Alaska, and then promptly bought us two tickets to An Evening of Awesome on the day they went on sale.

I am very pleased with what I have wrought.

We had some nice seats (row K in the main pavilion), and we both had a lovely time. I took a lot of pictures, but the low light, no flash rule, and distance with my little camera made for a lot of blurry shots. I still got a couple of nice ones though, so I’m going to post them here.

P1000326Ashley Clements and Daniel Gordh (who play Lizzie and Darcy in The Lizzie Bennet Diaries), reading from The Fault In Our Stars

P1000333Hank Green sings

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John and Hank Green answering questions rapid-fire from Hannah Hart and NEIL GAIMAN

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Kimya Dawson sings

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Grace Helbig, John Green, Neil Gaiman and Hannah Hart read from Paper Towns

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Good-bye dancing

Yay! So was this evening awesome? Yes. Very geeky in a good way: different, overlapping kinds of geekery in a big fun show. :)

If you missed the show, it’s all online on youtube here.

Goals and the end of the year and stuff

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Happy 2013 everyone! It’s that time again where everyone discusses the best of last year and their goals for the next.

THEN:
2012 goodreads stats detailsEdited this post to add this chart, with *hat tip* to Heidi @ BunburyintheStacks

I had just as many books on my favorites list this year as in previous years, but 2012 wasn’t what I’d call a stellar year in reading quantity. I read 52 books, which is low for me Here is a visual aid (click to embiggen):

books read chart 2012

Upward trajectory halted! But that’s OK. Over 50 is pretty good when I think back and remember what 2012 was like.

Here are my excuses:

  1. Rampant TV watching. I know, but I can’t help it. Last year Spring-Summer was all cycling and the Olympics, Fall was rediscovering Friends, and Winter involved little Holiday movie addiction I have. I’ll try to get some help, but we just bought a snazzier, fancier, bigger TV recently. Wish me luck for 2013.
  2. Job. This is a valid reason and the biggest one – long meetings held at night really did a number on my free time and my reading routines. I was also very busy in general.
  3. A certain ennui brought on by excuses 1 and 2 and by all the drama that went on in the middle of 2012 (I think that took up some head space because it made book blogging less of a “happy place” it used to be for me. I’m beyond that now though).
  4. I still haven’t figured out how to be faster at writing reviews. If anything, it takes me longer.  Reviewer time management fail. It’s a work in progress.

NOW:
Well it’s 2013, I have a brand new job. I think the big problem I had last year with work hours and personal time won’t be such an issue in this one. So far it is looking good, but we shall see. And I had a really nice long break in December between jobs in which I did NOTHING. I have no regrets about that because it means I feel a lot more invigorated about reading and reviewing now.

The goals for this year are.. well maybe “general idea” rather than goals, but here’s what I’m thinking:

  • Keep going for 100 books read per year
  • Work on SERIES reading. I have a lot of series I am very behind on but I have all the books. I think I’m going to maybe start getting on reading those things.
  • Finish up those reviews I’m behind on from last year

to review strip
Oh, so those reviews I need to do. This is the list below. I have a few to write and I was thinking if people gave me the puppy-dog eyes about certain books, I’ll probably work on those first. Anything take your fancy? Let me know!

Heart’s Blood by Juliet Marillier
Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews
Ashes of Honor by Seanan McGuire
Polymer by Sally Rogers-Davidson
Yours to Keep by Shannon Stacey
Epic Fail by Claire LaZebnik
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Adorkable by Sarra Manning
Dark and Stormy Nights anthology
Seeing Me Naked by Liza Palmer

… I am really behind.

Smugglivus 2012

Smugglivus-2012
It’s almost the end of another year, but this means that it is also time for another Smugglivus celebration over at The Book Smugglers. I am guest posting again with my top five reads of 2012 and my most highly anticipated of 2013. Please head on over to check out my picks. On the list are: one urban fantasy, one romantic comedy, and three young adult books (historical, contemporary Gothic, and fantasy). :)

Pictures from the SOHO Teen Launch Party

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Last night was the Soho Teen Launch Party. Soho Teen is a new imprint from Soho Press, and it looks like it has some exciting new books coming out.  I was invited via my YAcker buddy Nicole from Word for Teens (and I also got to meet her for the first time). The place was packed with people. A little overwhelming, but I still had a nice time. Highlight was seeing Libba Bray rock it with her band Tiger Beat (especially when she sang YA song, accompanied by David Levithan holding up placards with the lyrics on them). I had a hard time getting non-blurry pictures because of the lighting, and I may have been laughing… there are videos of this song on youtube if you want to hear it.

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Also picked up a sampler of what’s coming out in 2013.
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YAckers discuss Unspoken, upcoming Bloggiesta

unspoken by sarah rees brennan

My time as Keeper of the Book this month at YAckers resulted in a lively discussion of Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan. You can check it out over here. I will be writing up my own review and posting it up here soon.

Next month’s book is Shadows by Ilsa J. Bick. This is the second book of a series so I have to get cracking and read the first one (horror? meep). In the meantime, we’re offering up copies of Shadows to followers of the blog (there’s two books up for grabs: one for US, one for UK). For more details, check out the YAckers blog.


Bloggiesta is back again. This is an event hosted this year by There’s a Book and It’s All About Books. It’s an event where book bloggers work on their blog related “To Do” lists. I like to join when I can because it gives me some motivation. Once I put up my list of “To Do’s” on the Internet, I feel more accountable for actually doing them. Here’s what I want to do to improve this blog:

  • Work on my About page and my Review policy
  • Update my Review Index
  • Put more of my reviews on goodreads
  • Catch up on my reviews (I have 5 reviews to write)

For anyone else interested, Bloggiesta is September 28-30th, is very loose on what you have to do (you can do as much or as little as you want), and sign up is here.

 

BBAW 2012 Day 2: Shining a Light on.. Cari’s Book Blog!

Day two of Book Blogger Appreciation Week involves learning about some of the people behind each blog. I was paired with Cari of Cari’s Book Blog. I asked her a lot of questions, from what are her pet peeves, to the highs and lows of being a book blogger. This is what I’ve found out.

OK, the obligatory tell us about your blog question first. For people who don’t follow your blog (yet), what can they expect from Cari’s Book Blog?
I would like to think I’m not your typical blogger who does meme’s. I review books, I share what I’m reading at the time, post pictures from events I have attended, and host giveaways. One of my favorite things to do is interviews, because as a fan I want to know more about the author. There are no set rules to what my blog is, because it changes depending on who I am at that moment in time.

What book are you reading right now, and what drew you to it?
I normally only read one book and listen to one audio, but right now I’m listening to one book and reading three. The audio is The Book of Blood and Shadows by Robin Wasserman and narrated by Emily Janice Card. I heard about this from Maureen Johnson when she was in town promoting The Name of the Star.

For my bed time read: I started A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin, because I love the HBO show so I really should read the books, but I’m a little intimidated by the 700 pages!

For my lunch time book: I’m reading Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry this one was sent to me by a publicity company and I went to see Melissa Marr at Murder by the Book and she mentioned it.

I also need to finish Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton. I started the book last month and I’m half way done so I’m hoping to finish it in a weekend.

One of the first things that impressed me about your blog is the space reserved for your signed book shelf! I love it! How did that collection start?

Thank you! That picture is so outdated that my signed books have now taken over a second small shelf that holds about 100 books. A little over three years ago, I discovered that authors went on tour and that you could go and have your books signed! I’m lucky to live in Houston, TX, where we have great indie bookstores that bring events. I slowly started going to any and every event I could find and when an author I love doesn’t come to town I order from other indie bookstores and have them shipped.

Still on the signed books – I see a lot of copies of certain books. I am all for multiple copies (especially for books I love – I want the new covers). What’s the book you have the most copies of (and why that book)?
That would be any book by Maggie Stiefvater. I should explain I love hardcover copies so I have all of those. I also have the advance readers copies signed and a few paperbacks from the UK and US.  I might also have a few extras that I lend to people.

Your living space is on fire, and you have only enough time to grab 5 books and escape! What five books would you grab?
Ah yeah I would just about die. I think I’m pretty realistic and know that everything can be replaced but if I had to make a choice I would say:

  • Signed Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally (everyone must read this)
  • Daughter of Smoke and Bone (signed advance readers copy)
  • Paperback Shiver that Maggie Stiefvater doodled in
  • The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting (signed first edition again everyone must read this)
  • Geektastic signed by Cassandra Clare, John Green, Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith, David Levithan, Scott Westerfield, Sara Zarr, Holly Black, and Hope Larson.

You’ve been blogging since 2009 – a few years now. What’s the best thing about being a book blogger for you? What’s the worst?
Book blogging has opened so many doors for me. I had no idea that book blogging was even a thing and from it I got a job at an indie bookstore and I have made so many friends. I’ve been able to help debut authors by giving them a place to promote their books. I’m not your typical blogger who works with publishers so I always feel like I fly under the radar.

The worst is trying to stay positive when so much drama has surrounded the book blogging community. I think there will always be people who will try and bring you down but I just have to remember to put the blinders on and keep focused on my own blog and do it because I love it.

Do you have any bookish pet peeves?
Ah this is a tough one. I would say that if I lend someone a book I want it back in the exact condition and for it to be returned promptly.

Tell us 4 random things about you that people may not know.
This is really hard because I’m a very public person. I spill my guts on social media and I’m always at book events where a lot of people know me.

  • My favorite place to be on a Friday night is at home alone with books, tv, or organizing my closet.
  • I once took a picture of David Levithan’s butt. Ok so I was trying to take a picture of him signing a wall at the bookstore and I couldn’t get a clear shot. I promised him to never post it online!
  • I worry that people judge my grammar.
  • If you don’t follow me on twitter then you might not know I love fashion. I wear dresses almost every day to work and then to book events because I go straight from work.

Thank you so much for the fun interview Cari! I enjoyed meeting and learning about you. To find out what questions Cari asked me (and how I answered), you can check out her post here, and to discover even more book blogs, be sure to check out today’s BBAW event.

BBAW Day 1: Appreciate!

Day one of Book Blogger Appreciation Week is about other blogs you enjoy reading. This is a tough one because there are quite a few blogs that I follow faithfully. Quite a few. So to make things easier this year, I’m going to take a page from Angie’s book and highlight two blogs that I discovered this year.

The first blog I have to highlight is Bunbury in the Stacks. We just so happened to meet online and followed each other on twitter since we seem to have an overlap in bookish taste (especially with YA Fantasy), only to find out that we shared a mutual friend in real life (who couldn’t figure out how we knew each other when he saw us talking on twitter). We have since used this mutual friend as a book mule to pass books along (it is the source of much glee that there are book mules in my life). Heidi also writes the most excellent reviews with these perfect gems of insight that have me pausing and wishing I had thought of that when I run into them. You should check out her blog, and check out the guest post she did for Seven Days for Sevenwaters today, too (it is lovely and perfect).

This next blog is one I found through Bunbury, and that’s Books Take You Places (I think they were fellow students of the library arts and are in the same graduating class – but don’t quote me on that?). Alyssa is also a friend on twitter, and she strikes me as one of those people who is genuinely enthusiastic when she talks to you. You can tell. She writes thoughtful reviews (I am a fan of those) of YA where she discusses major elements of the story like character and plot, but most importantly she explains how they affected her. I can always tell from her review what her personal reaction was and I love that she doesn’t hold back on explaining her emotions when reading a book.

Go check these two out if you haven’t already. I don’t think they have nearly as many followers as they should!