Saturday, May 29, 2010

Book Blogger Convention - Yay!

I have quite a few hobbies and passions in addition to Blogging. Halloween, writing, kayaking, photography, pottery. I‘ve met many people through these endeavors, but I have to say that Book Bloggers are the friendliest people on the planet!

Let’s start with the Book Blogger reception on Thursday evening. As soon as I got there, I met Marsha Toy Engstrom from Book Club Cheerleader and when we got inside she introduced me to several publishers and authors including Carolyn Turgeon who graciously gave me her book Godmother (I’m on chapter 3 and loving it so far!) The room was packed and every time I turned around bloggers, publicists, publishers and authors were introducing themselves. What a great way to kick off the conference!

I was so excited to get to the convention the next day that I woke up early and couldn’t get back to sleep. I decided to drive into the city instead of taking the train and I apparently missed the morning traffic because I made it in record time.

The Book Blogger Convention was the brainchild of Trish from Hey Lady! Whatcha Reading’? who welcomed us and then introduced the Keynote Speaker, author Maureen Johnson. Maureen had the entire room in stitches as she regaled us with her hysterical and insightful reminiscing of attending an all girls Catholic High School and her adventures as a writer. Ron Hogan from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and who also launched, then gave an interesting talk on Professionalism and Ethics in Blogging. The rest of the day was filled with panels: Writing and Building Content, Marketing, Blogging with Social Responsibility and the Impact of the Relationship Between Author and Blogger. All of the panels, along with the Q&A’s after them, were extremely informative and helpful, especially for a beginner book Blogger like myself.

What I liked most though, was when I sat down at breakfast and lunch with other Bloggers. We quickly exchanged Blog names, business cards and had great exchanges. I tried to soak in everything I could and the biggest challenge was trying to remember everyone’s names because I met sooo many people. I also enjoyed reading everyone’s clever Blog names displayed on their nametags. Check some of them out here

I want to give a round of applause to everyone who made the Book Blogger Convention possible. It was not only educational, but tons of fun!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

BEA & Book Blogger Reception

Just got back from my first ever BEA (Book Expo America). It was amazing! And the reception for the first Book Blogger Convention was so much fun. Everywhere I turned people were introducing themselves to me - authors, publishers, industry professionals and other bloggers. Too tired to write much more tonight, but I'll post about it as soon as I can.

In the meantime, check out the all the books I got today!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

"Meghan Chase has a secret destiny—one she could never have imagined…
Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school…or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change.
But she could never have guessed the truth—that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war.

Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face…and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart."

Midnyte's Review
Wow! I loved this book! It started out just a tiny bit slow for me, but after Meghan finally gets to Faery, I couldn’t put it down. Every time I was forced to stop reading, (you know because I had to go to work or bed), I couldn’t wait to pick it up again. The vocabulary is beautiful and I really envisioned fairyland and the world she painted. This is not the cutesy Otherworld where friendly creatures abound. In fact, it is more the norm that they want to do you harm. Meghan quickly learns the rules and has to utilize her own resources especially when she faces evil alone. There are so many novels with a similar scenario but Kagawa made her story refreshing and the characters very relatable.

Speaking of the characters, I loved them! When I first met Grimalkin, I thought “Oh, it’s Chesire Cat”. However, he hooked me by the time he uttered his 3rd or 4th sentence and I realized he was very much his own, original being. His wit and his attitude made him one of the best characters in the book. And then there is Ash. It’s hard to put your finger on him and what attracts Meghan to him, besides him being “beautiful”. (Sound familiar?) I actually went back to re-read their scenes together and while the attraction is apparent, it is hard to figure out what connects them. But connect they did. Maybe it is his cool aloofness mixed in with his heroism, chivalry and seductiveness. And really in all fairness, I think he won me over even before he did Meghan. Move over Edward Cullen!

Puck was fun too. Playing the prankster that we know from Shakespeare combined with a modern day flair. The tension between him and Ash provided great back story and a hint at Ash’s personality. King Oberon and Titania were very unlike the frolicking royalty in Shakespeare’s play. Instead they were menacing obstacles for Meghan. I liked Meghan too. A 16 year old who discovers who she really is, what she is really capable of and, what is really important to her. She keeps her eye on her goal throughout.

What I liked less about this book. Sometimes the author repeated descriptive words enough for me to notice them. Also, at times the descriptions themselves were more “telling” than “showing.” But these are just things that I am being nitpicky about. I truly LOVED this book. In fact, I am going to keep it! Something that is very rare for me. I cannot wait for her next one to come out, THE IRON DAUGHTER. Do I really have to wait till August?

Cool Skull bookmark. They dance!

Check out this cool lenticular bookmark my friend gave me! The skeletons look awesome dancing! (From Magnetic Bookmarks.)

Friday, May 21, 2010

BEA - Book Expo America parking.

For anyone going to BEA and looking for a great & fairly inexpensive parking option, check out:

It's a self park garage and I usually utilize it when I go to the city and plan to stay on the west side. Plus, it's only 7 blocks to the Javits Center!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Moon Called by Patricia Briggs

Please note: Spoiler Alert in 3rd paragraph. Not a huge plot spoiler alert, but nonetheless, I wanted to warn you.

I kept picking up this book in the store for years. I mean seriously, how awesome is that cover? How cool does she look? Don’t you just want to be her? Finally, I bought it. Moon Called tells the story of Mercedes “Mercy” Thompson, mechanic and shapeshifter. It’s a world where werewolves, vampires and witches exist and Mercy gets involved in a murder, kidnapping and werewolf political plot.

I didn’t love this book and I didn’t dislike it. It was action packed and the story kept moving. I couldn’t guess “whodunit” nor their motives and it is always a big plus for me when I’m surprised. The big reveal was interesting but not an “Oh my God!” moment.
I liked Briggs’ description of the werewolves and their mythology. It was unique yet still relatable to the ingrained mythology that I have about werewolves without deviating too much so that I still accepted it. Mercedes was a likeable character and easy to relate to. She reveals her vulnerability and feelings during certain times, but then at others it is mostly action and I missed her sensory reactions to what was going on. Of course she was in pain if a bullet hit her, but I wanted more. Also, there were so many characters it was a little hard to follow but if you just plow ahead and not worry too much about it, it all still makes sense. Also the last 10 pages or so felt a little rushed, a little too wrapped up. A paragraph wrap up on this character, a paragraph wrap up on that one…

SPOILER ALERT COMING: And then suddenly out of the blue she goes on a date with Adam and is totally attracted to him. There were maybe one or two hints about him being interested in her, but not about her being into him. Maybe I just missed it, but it felt out of place to me. The other thing that perhaps kept me from liking this book as much as I could have is probably the genre itself. While I love these kind of stories, I’m wondering if reading so many of Laurel K. Hamilton Anita Blake series books, just made it seem like more of the same.

I wasn’t sure if I was going to read any more of her books, but a trusted friend told me they do get better, especially when they bring in the Fae. So, while I probably will try a few more in this series, I still have a lot of other books to get to.

I am going to give this book a 2 ½ stars out of 5 – split right down the middle.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Reading Habits Meme

I found this fun meme at Word For Teens

Reading Habits Meme
Do you snack while you read? If so, favourite reading snack:
Frequently. Candy, chips, dinner...I like food.

What is your favourite drink while reading?
Iced tea.

Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?
If they are library books or lent books I never would. If they are mine, I write in them, highlight quotes I like, etc.

How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears? Laying the book flat open?
Since I'm constantly losing bookmarks, I usually dog ear them. Or bookmark them with the latest bill I have to pay.

Fiction, non-fiction, or both?
Mostly Fiction. With many non-fiction books on writing.

Are you a person who tends to read to the end of a chapter, or can you stop anywhere?
I usually read to the end of the chapter, page, or paragraph, but it is not an obsessive rule.

Are you the type of person to throw a book across the room or on the floor if the author irritates you?
No. I'll either stop reading it or tell others who ask why it irritated me.

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop and look it up right away?
No, I use the context to infer what it means.

What are you currently reading?
What the Dickens - Gregory Maguire.
Moon Called - Patricia Briggs.
The Iron King - Julie Kagawa.
The Fire in Your Fiction - Donald Maass.

What is the last book you bought?
The Iron King - Julie Kagawa.

Are you the type of person that reads one book at a time, or can you read more than one?
I am reading all of the above right now.

Do you have a favourite time/place to read?
In bed at night is my favorite, but I also read at lunch during work, on the treadmill, and in my car when I'm out running errands (not while I'm driving of course, but when I take a lunch break).

Do you prefer series books or stand alones?
I usually like stand alones. I find series loses something after a while.

Is there a specific book or author you find yourself recommending over and over?
Charles De Lint.
Douglas Clegg.
Robert McCammon.

How do you organize your books?
Non fiction by genre. Fiction by author.

Cemetery Symbolism

This past weekend, I went to see author & photographer Douglas Keister at the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery present a slideshow regarding his most recent book, “Stories in Stone: A Guide to Cemetery Symbolism.” It was a humorous and interesting evening and Douglas imparted his wisdom of symbols on tombstones, the history of cemeteries and graveyards around the world.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Back to Reality

I'm back from vacation but I did manage to finish Gwenhwyfar by Mercedes Lackey, which I loved! Now I'm reading Moon Called by Patricia Briggs, along with some other non-fiction books about writing.

I'm still trying to find my way along this blogging path to make it interesting for anyone reading it while also trying to make it my own. So, to anyone reading this...thanks for your patience.
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