Another Year, Another BEA

As the title suggests, another year has passed, and one of my favorite events of the publishing industry has arrived: BEA (Book Expo America). What is BEA, you might ask? Well it is a trade show where publishers from all over come together. There are panels, author signings, free books, everything you can possibly imagine.

Last year, I made out like a bandit. Last year, I went as a volunteer for two days and had one day to just spend fangirling over books. Last year, I didn’t work for a trade publisher.

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This year was a whole new ballgame.

This year, I could only attend for 3 hours, on a shared pass among the other staffers. This year, I didn’t have a suitcase to fill, only a canvas tote. Whatever I took needed to be worth it to haul across town later and back to work.

This was not the BEA I was used to but the one I should probably come to expect.

First off: some of the books I wanted were not available until later in the day when I was going to back at work. Some of the books are only available certain days, and some of the books were already gone.

So what did I grab? What was worthy of going into the tote?

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  1. Heartbreakers by Ali Novak. I have wanted to read this forever. I heard about it last year when I was an intern at Sourcebooks and it is FINALLY here.
  2. Symphony for the City of the Dead by M.T. Anderson.
  3. A Whole New World by Liz Braswell. Disney is doing this re-imagined YA series about some of their films. EPIC.

These were the books I wanted. But I had to hunt down one of my favorite smaller publishers, Thunderbay Books, to get to their line, World Cloud Classics.

Honestly, if you are looking to buy some classics for your home library or as a gift to someone, ALWAYS opt for these bad boys.

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Every year, I swing by and pick up a ton of these. They are gorgeous to look at; they are gorgeous to touch; they rock.

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This year, they have something new: Novel Journals. Same basic design style as the other line, BUT the lines where you usually write is the TEXT of the novel.20150529_144508

This is too beautiful. They gave me two bookmarks and a tote bag but let’s be honest:  I LOVE these people and their design team.

Unlike in year passed when I was on a roll for books, this year I slowed it down. I talked to people I know, I fangirled at Adam Silvera (I totally showed him the notebook), looked at a book I might want to buy (::gasp::), and I got a back massage.

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BEA as a working professional was different, but some things stay the same.

And I earned a post BEA treat.

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Notice!

Hello all! I have finally heard back from my job about this blog. Good news: I can keep it!

So now that everything is settled, you should expect to see awesome content soon; namely, BEA and BookCon posts after this weekend so until then…

Royal Wedding: A Princess Diaries Novel Review

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Warning***Some Spoilers***

Title: Royal Wedding: A Princess Diaries Novel

Author: Meg Cabot

Publisher: William Morrow (HarperCollins)

Flap Copy:

For Princess Mia, the past five years since college graduation have been a whirlwind of activity, what with living in New York City, running her new teen community center, being madly in love, and attending royal engagements. And speaking of engagements. Mia’s gorgeous longtime boyfriend Michael managed to clear both their schedules just long enough for an exotic (and very private) Caribbean island interlude where he popped the question! Of course Mia didn’t need to consult her diary to know that her answer was a royal oui.

But now Mia has a scandal of majestic proportions to contend with: Her grandmother’s leaked “fake” wedding plans to the press that could cause even normally calm Michael to become a runaway groom. Worse, a scheming politico is trying to force Mia’s father from the throne, all because of a royal secret that could leave Genovia without a monarch.  Can Mia prove to everyone—especially herself—that she’s not only ready to wed, but ready to rule as well?”

I love me some Meg Cabot. Amazon hints this is the “comes the very first adult installment”, which I am thinking means more adventures of Mia. SO yay!! But I kind of was annoyed with this book even as I loved it.

A book titled Royal Wedding makes me think we will get more wedding than we did. I have to say, I was a really disappointed. Cabot is making a middle grade series about the half-sister of Mia (I am all for it) but this book really felt more of a spring board for that series then an actual book about Mia and her wedding.

Mia actually jumps through all the wedding planning and headaches of dealing with her situations (I will not spoil it) to briefly mention the wedding. I understand all the reasons for this: they want established readers to pick up the new series, BUT I felt rather cheated. I picked up a book expecting to get Mia and her wedding preparations. Like an inside look a royal wedding. That was not what I got.

Don’t get me wrong: love Meg Cabot. She is one of my favorite authors. But this was not her best book. I hope there is a whole adult series about Mia because that would be interesting, but I am not sure this book had the WOW factor the first Princess Diaries book had.

Would I have acquired this? Yes, and I would have shared these concerns with Cabot. I love the Princess Diaries series and I wish this book felt less like a spring board for something and more cohesive to the series.

When Judging a Book By Its Cover Becomes a Problem

My blog manager (who works for guacamole), and is extremely clever, cut straight to the heart of the matter with this title.

I stumbled on this news story the other day (I have been sitting on the post, so sue me). To sum it up for those who don’t want to click it, Russian booksellers have removed Maus by Art Spiegelman as a response to the Anti-Nazi push. Basically, the Russian government is pushing to remove all swastikas from the country, and bookstores have removed Maus because they feared someone seeing the cover and reporting it.

I am not sure how many people have read Maus. It was required reading for me in college so my introduction to it was in a very educational setting. For those who don’t know about it, below is the flap copy from the 25th anniversary edition:

“The Pulitzer Prize-winning Maus tells the story of Vladek Spiegelman, a Jewish survivor of Hitler’s Europe, and his son, a cartoonist coming to terms with his father’s story. Maus approaches the unspeakable through the diminutive. Its form, the cartoon (the Nazis are cats, the Jews mice), shocks us out of any lingering sense of familiarity and succeeds in “drawing us closer to the bleak heart of the Holocaust” (The New York Times).

Maus is a haunting tale within a tale. Vladek’s harrowing story of survival is woven into the author’s account of his tortured relationship with his aging father. Against the backdrop of guilt brought by survival, they stage a normal life of small arguments and unhappy visits. This astonishing retelling of our century’s grisliest news is a story of survival, not only of Vladek but of the children who survive even the survivors. ”

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The Hollywood Teen Romance I Need to Happen

Lately I have been feeling like I am all about the book reviews, which is fine, because it means I am reading (yay for reading!) and I have so many books to read.

But I am oddly not satisfied with my reading.

Don’t get me wrong, I have loved so many of the books I read. They are truly great, and I would love to have found them. But have you ever loved something so much, you ate it all the time, and even though you still love it, you also wonder what else could be done to make it better?

Take The Royal We for instance. If you read my review, you know how I feel. And as most of my friends can attest, I have been hankering (much like I would for tacos) for a princess book or a Hollywood teen romance.  A Royal We came along and I DEVOURED it. (In case you can’t tell, I am hungry). But it oddly left me wishing for something more.

Actually what I really want is an insightful book about Hollywood and romance. Rebecca Serle’ Famous in Love, which I was soo excited for, and then it fell flat for me, was a good spring board, but I want more.

I would recommend for anyone in the same boat to check out Emily Evans’ The Accidental Movie Star. It was closer to what I wanted to see then Serle’s book, though the TV show might end up fulfilling the things I wanted to see expanded on in her book.

Basically, I have been saying Hollywood Teen Romance would be the next thing. I have wanted it for at least three years now.

So the Hollywood teen (new adult?) romance I want would explore what happens after they get together. Say for instance, you ( a regular girl) met and started dating the heartthrob of Hollywood (I have no idea who I am imagining in this role, to be frank.  So for the time being just say the girl met a Henry Cavill looking man at a Starbucks (side note to my side note: He’s hot)).

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Marry me.

How would this relationship work? How would she feel about him being away to work? Maybe she is cool with it because she is not looking for a relationship, and is in her first year of college. How would he feel about having to be away? All those college parties are just ripe pickings for a hook-up. How to they navigate keeping their relationship secret from the paparazzi? Kate Middleton storyline!  And how do they deal with these hurdles as they become more involved?

I want this book. I want the nitty gritty of navigating this relationship. I want to see the actual Hollywood process!  This is my Hollywood teen romance.

Let me just orchestrate this.

UPDATE: I just found out Map to the Starsa Epic Reads Impulse title, is on this same premise. I promise to read and report back my findings.

Glass Arrow Review

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Title: Glass Arrow

Author: Kristen Simmons

Publisher: Tor Teen (Macmillan)

Flap Copy:

“Once there was a time when men and women lived as equals, when girl babies were valued, and women could belong only to themselves. But that was ten generations ago. Now women are property, to be sold and owned and bred, while a strict census keeps their numbers manageable and under control. The best any girl can hope for is to end up as some man’s forever wife, but most are simply sold and resold until they’re all used up.

Only in the wilderness, away from the city, can true freedom be found. Aya has spent her whole life in the mountains, looking out for her family and hiding from the world, until the day the Trackers finally catch her.

Stolen from her home, and being groomed for auction, Aya is desperate to escape her fate and return to her family, but her only allies are a loyal wolf she’s raised from a pup and a strange mute boy who may be her best hope for freedom . . . if she can truly trust him.”

I finished this book about two weeks ago. I have been sitting on it, mulling it over. In the heat of the moment, it was a really good book. It reminded me a lot of Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Garden Trilogy. And America being what it currently is (not getting into a rant about the validity of women’s rights), this book really struck home for me.

However, it is two weeks later, and my instant love of this book has dulled a bit.

When I think back on the book, I feel like there wasn’t that much done. It definitely could have been a bigger book. I don’t want to outline the whole plot, but trust me when I say, while things happened, timeline events felt like nothing happened.

I still like the book and definitely would have acquired it. I just might have asked that she added another 100 pages or something.

In The News

So in case you missed it, President Obama has launched a new plan to bring eBooks to low incomes students in an effort to expand their access to digital learning products.

Most to the major publishers are involved. Sounds like a great plan.

EXCEPT…

Having been a low income student, and working with homeless children, I have to wonder about this. It is a great idea, I am not questioning that. But from my own childhood, we didn’t have money for expensive electronics.  And the kids I work with don’t have the money. I applaud the idea of getting these kids access  to library cards, but what do you do with these free eBooks when you don’t have the means with which to read it?

The ConnectED Program does help with getting the technology into the school and having the students interacting with it, but how does that translate to being out of school? When reading 20 minutes a day, outside of school, is critical for a child’s literacy development?

Am I just so out of touch with the modern poor? Are Kindles, iPads, and smart phones everywhere that even the poorest among us have one?

If so, great! I will go shut up in the corner. But if it is how I remember it, then offering eBooks to people without the access to use them is like giving me a tank full of gasoline and saying, “Okay, now you can drive.”

Maybe I am just missing something.