Ilona Andrews Book Signing at the Christiana Mall

On Thursday October 24, I was fortunate enough to be able to see the amazing writing duo Ilona Andrews at my local Barnes and Noble! For most of the signings I’ve gone to I’ve had to drive about two hours away to the Philly area, so I’m super excited that a northern Delaware book store is beginning to draw more big name authors.

For about the first hour, Ilona had to hold the floor by herself because due to flight confusion Gordon was showing up late (if it all). Hearing her tell the story of airport horror was highly amusing – and I’m glad she was able to smile about it because I would probably still be close to tears. Gordon did show up during the last about fifteen minutes of Q&A though so I’m glad he was able to get there for the signing part!

It was interesting hearing them talk about their publishing process as “bigger” authors. A lot of the previous signings I’ve gone to were YA authors, so hearing the perspective of adult romance was very different. Among the many things I learned, I had no idea that authors could pitch certain projects to a specific editor they wanted to work with. The talk about finishing out contracts before working on new projects, hearing how stories had to change or morph from the original shape to better fit a romance audience, and pitching projects to publishers that may never happen was also intriguing. (I would totally read a “pretty dark” YA fantasy series by Ilona Andrews if it ever ends up happening.).

I still haven’t read the Hidden Legacy series yet, which this book appearance was mainly for, so I can’t really relate to some of the questions that were asked regarding those characters. Gordon does apparently love sharing spoilers to fans who ask though.

Overall it was a wonderful night, and I’m looking ahead to many of the other authors coming to the area!

Moving into a Hobonichi Weeks

I’ve had a long and drawn out planner journey, moving from a bullet journal to an A5 rings to a standard TN to a pocket TN. I haven’t been able to find the perfect size for me before. Enter the Hobonichi weeks, which I found thanks to some TN related posts on Instagram. I am absolutely in love!

The Hobonichi was my first foray into Tomoe River paper and I don’t think I can ever go back. The paper is able to handle watercolor like a champ while also remaining thin and super soft. This does mean that it takes a while for most pens – like gen pens – to completely dry which can cause smearing. I’ve been using Sakura Micron pens in my journal for a while and have had no issues yet on this special paper.

I love how the more that you use the paper, the softer and more crinkly it gets, plus it makes the planner thin portable. So many of my issues with previous planners were because they didn’t fit easily in my purse, but I can fit the weeks in my coat pockets!

The weeks isn’t for everyone because of how small it is, there isn’t a lot of room for larger handwriting, but it fits my little letters perfectly. The week on one side and a grid on the other allows for creativity without requiring an hours long set up (which is about how much time I spent during my brief foray into bullet journaling). There are also around 70 pages of grid paper in the back for any lists, notes or long-term tracking throughout the year.

Overall, I think I’ve made my first step towards achieving planner peace. I’ve only been in the Hobonichi Weeks for about half the year, but I can see myself actually sticking with it for years to come! I’ve already purchased and started setting up a weeks for 2020 (a post on that one hopefully coming later).

Why Do You Buy Books? Make Every Copy Count

Why do I buy books? The answer to this question seems obvious. Because I love them! Because books have changed my life and make every day more enjoyable (or stressful depending on the scene). But in this world where it seems each big new release has three different exclusive editions, the rush to catch collect them all can cost a lot of money.

My most recent experience of this was purchasing of three different editions of Kingdom of Ash – Kindle, Barnes and Noble, and Books-A-Million editions (for the ease of reading in the former and exclusive fanart in the latter two). After trying to reorganize my shelves to find some nonexistent space for these stunning books, I questioned why I felt the need collect multiples in the first place?

Recently someone I follow on Instagram shared that they check out library copies of books they own so they don’t crack the spines of their personal copies (something I’ll admit I’ve done in the past as well). Another person confessed to spilling coffee over a stack of books while trying to take a picture. They declared that they were okay with it because it just makes them one of a kind – and they can do what they want with THEIR books!

I’ll admit to being more in the previous category for at least the last three years – coinciding with my start in the bookstagram community – but my lack of shelf space has made me reconsider my “collector” mentality. Going through the stacks of books under my bed, I found multiple extra copies of books. There were two or three editions of some books I haven’t even read!

Looking at these different copies and editions made me wonder: Which copy means more, the one with the pretty cover, or the one where I experienced the story for the first time? The nostalgia of picking up an original copy of a childhood favorite means more to me than owning all the newly released covers. While I treasure my signed copies I know that I will never sell many of them, so does a dent in the cover from toting it around really matter? An inked on signature in a favorite book doesn’t make it more fragile than any others and why do I own it if I’m not going to read it?!

I’ve decided to make a resolution for myself: make every copy count.

No more buying copies of books that aren’t favorites or continue to remain unread on my shelves, especially if the purchase is for aesthetics or having a “reading copy.”

In the end books are ink on pages making shapes that can create worlds. I spend my hard-earned money on them and I can do whatever I want with my purchases! And yes, that can also mean standing on them for pictures and cracking spines to make reading more easy. These things don’t devalue the books in my eyes – they make them well-loved. This doesn’t mean I will stop buying special editions of my special favorites, but hopefully I’ll see a decrease in multiple copies for books I don’t really care about.

While I wrote this post to help me work out my feelings on what books mean to me, everyone has their own feelings on this topic! I hope this post helps you think about what books mean to you! Feel free to drop your own thoughts in the comments.

BookCon 2018 Day 2 Wrap-Up

Day 2:

BookCon Day 2 was a lot less packed than Day 1 (thank goodness!). My friends and I cosplayed as the Star Wars leading ladies. A lot of awesome bookstagramers came to say hello while waiting in line to get in and it was amazing meeting some of them in person. As soon as my friends and I walked onto the show floor, we also ran into V. E. Schwab and took a picture of her. I ended up wandering around in the morning and snagging some free stuff including some cool totes and a 20th anniversary Harry Potter pin.

While wandering, I managed to stumble on a Melissa Albert signing. The Hazel Wood is a book that I’ve been hearing so much about, so I was excited to get a signed copy!

My first official signing of the day was Laini Taylor and she was absolutely amazing. Strange the Dreamer was one of my top books of 2017 and I highly recommend it to anyone who hans’t read it yet! I still have not finished her other series, The Daughter of Smoke and Bone, but the first one was absolutely enchanting!

Kiersten White was my next signing . I’ve been a huge fan since middle school with the Paranormalcy series. I’ve been meaning to read And I Darken for a long time and haven’t gotten around to it. She was so lovely and I was so blessed to finally meet her. Although I wasn’t able to go to Marie Lu’s signing because it was at the same time, my friend was able to get Warcross signed for me, which was another one of my favorite books of 2017!

After finishing up, I once again wandered around and got lucky enough to run into Victoria Schwab signing ARCs of her new book coming out in August, City of Ghosts! I was also able to picked up a signed copy of The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi which is one of the books I’ve been meaning to add to my collection. It was especially awesome because there was not even at BookCon, so I wasn’t expecting there to be signed stock! There was also a great sale on books for the end of the last day, which is where I picked up The Bone Witch.

After two days of lugging books around and shuffling around the show floor, I was ready to face plant. In fact, on the way home I tried to get off the bus at a red light because I was so exhausted I thought it was my stop! (Yes, I will be forever embarrassed by this moment and it is burned into my memory.)

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BookCon 2018 Day 1 Wrap-Up

I was able to meet so many amazing people and authors at BookCon this year! Being able to attend both days was certainly an experience (and quite exhausting/stress inducing).

DAY 1:

I was able to see so many amazing authors this day, in part thanks to the kindness of strangers for giving me an extra autograph signing ticket!

Early in the day, my friends had tickets for Tahereh Mafi signing so I decided to just wander the show floor and stumbled upon an in-booth signing by Ashley Poston. I haven’t read Geekerella yet although I’ve heard amazing things about it, so I’m super excited to have a signed copy of my own now.

I was also able to meet and get all my Renée Ahdieh books signed. She was such a lovely person and I’m glad that I was able to get both her series signed completely! They had the newest book in her Flame in the Mist series out a few days early for those that attended her signing to purchase. I will admit that I still haven’t finished any of her books, but I’m halfway through The Wrath and the Dawn right now and am absolutely LOVING it!

The extra ticket that a stranger gave to me was a joint signing for two authors that are fairly new and that have been on my reading list for a while now, S. A. Chakraborty and R. F. Kuang. Chakraborty has a book that I started a while ago and put down, The City of Brass (even though I love it, you know by now I get super distracted by new and shiny books). It’s a fantasy based on Islamic mythology inspired by 18th century Egypt and written by an own-voices Muslim author! R. F. Kuang just recently released her first book, The Poppy War, which is getting such rave reviews right now. I’ve heard that it is pretty dark and includes some darker themes (parts were inspired by the Nanking masacre) but I’m excited to dive into this world too!

Victoria Schwab (V. E. Schwab) was signing copies of the rerelease of one of my favorite books, Viciousand I was one of the lucky few able to get at ticket for her signing line! They were also giving out tote bags to those in line that are also available as a preorder incentive for Vengeful, so now I have the set! I also brought This Savage Song to get signed, which is one that I haven’t had the pleasure to read yet but is definitely high on my list. Saturday I cosplayed as a gender bent Victor Vale (a character from Vicious) and my two friends went as Kell and Lila!

To cap off the amazing craziness of day 1, I was able to meet Brandon Sanderson! He signed my copies of The Way of Kings and my 10th anniversary UK edition of The Final Empire. One of my most shameful admissions is that I still have not finished a Sanderson book. This is another case of being distracted by new and shiny releases. I’ve previously gotten halfway through his YA book, Steelheart, and halfway through The Final Empire and I love his writing style!

My Saturday was absolutely jam-packed so after the exhaustion of running around like a mad woman I was looking forward to Sunday, which was planned to be a little more laid-back.

Check back tomorrow for my Day 2 wrap-up!

 

Heading to BookCon 2018! Some Tips and Tricks

This year, I’m heading back to BookCon! Last year, I was only able to go to one day, so I’m excited to be able to attend the full weekend this year. Here are some tips and other things I learned from last year that I’ll pass on to you guys!

  1. Choose Your Experience

There is so much going on that it is inevitable that you will miss something you’d like to attend. It’s important before you go to figure out what you want to get from the convention. I personally like to prioritize author meetings and autographs and spend virtually all my time waiting in line for these events. I know others who spend their entire day trying to get as many free ARCs and other goodies. It all depends on what you’d like to do!

      2. Plan Out Your Day

By now, hopefully you’ve already got signing tickets! (In mid-May, tickets for the official signing area became available and the popular authors always go super quick!) Even if you’re a spur-of-the-moment kind of person, I’d recommend picking out some events or in-booth signings you’d like to attend throughout the day–and some back-ups too Popular panels WILL fill up, and ARC drops for popular titles WILL be absolutely insane. Events for each day can be searched on the BookCon website. It’s important to check out the rules as well, because some events require ticketing given out in the weeks before or in the morning the day of.

3. Stalk Social Media!

A lot of times publishers will post on twitter about last minute ARC drops, or possible author signings that may not be on the official schedule. Authors will sometimes post about where they are wandering the show floor if you’d like to go say hello.

     4. Refuel and Stay Comfy

It’s very easy to get caught up in all of the excitement, but don’t forget to eat and drink. If you’re feeling worn down, don’t be afraid to find somewhere to sit down, I promise that there will be other people scattered on the floor  (though try not to be a fire hazard!). On that note, it’s important to wear comfy footwear and clothes because you’ll be walking around all day.

       5. Have Fun!

Even if you don’t get to do everything that you wanted to, enjoy the experience of being surrounded by other book lovers! And don’t forget to say hello if you see me there, I’m going with a few other crazy friends and we will be cosplaying as Schwab characters and Star Wars characters respectively on the two days.

Meeting Bishop Briggs!

If you follow me on Instagram, you may know that one of my absolute favorite musical artists is Bishop Briggs! I have some wonderful and supportive friends who were willing to road trip with me to New York to see her  at a record store, Rough Trade on Tuesday, March 27. Yes, this was my seventh time seeing her in person and my fourth time hugging this amazing human being, and I have NO REGRETS.

Seriously though you guys, she has an absolutely AMAZING voice that you need to check out. Her official debut album comes out TODAY,April 20, but most of the songs are already on Spotify/iTunes from her EP and single releases.

If you love her, or are interested, she is also going to be the “mentor” on American Idol tonight (April 9), where she will be performing two duets!

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The Set List

The set was completely acoustic, which I was super excited about because I’ve only seen special “stripped down” ones live! (I may be missing a song, and know that Way I Do and Wild Horses are also amazing acoustic! Most of these can be purchased or listened to in their acoustic format on the usual sites.)

  1. White Flag
  2. Dream
  3. Never Tear Us Apart
  4. River

The Meet and Greet:

As I said previously, I’ve met Bishop Briggs/Sarah many times before, but she remains such a genuine and lovely person. Despite her amazing talent, she remains so humble and real. I always get super tongue-tied and have a huge smile like an idiot. I was able to get a signed poster to add to my collection, and this marvelous photograph (of Bishop, not of me with my worn down minimal makeup look)!

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If you haven’t heard of her before, definitely go check out Bishop Briggs! Her music is described as “soul mixed with trap music,” but anyone who appreciates a good beat and angelic voice will enjoy it. Here are some links:

Spotify           YouTube          iTunes

Who are some of your favorite artists?