The Pros & Cons of BookCon 2017

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When it was announced BookCon was returning to NYC this year, I knew, without a doubt, I was going. Last year was my first time attending the event and I absolutely loved it so I knew I had to return. This year was a bit more stressful but I left knowing I’d be back next year.

One of the best things about BookCon this year was that it was two days, not just one. Naturally, I had to attend both days. The first day was difficult because I truly was not prepared for just how crazy it would be. The show floor opened at 10 a.m. and I think my friend and I arrived around 9:45 a.m. and, of course, there was a line just to get to the show floor.

There was an ARC signing that I wanted to go to at 10:30 a.m. and by the time I made it to the show floor the line was already capped. That was pretty much the mood for the whole day. The majority of the signings and ARC giveaways I wanted to get into the lines would cap before I even had a chance.

Still, day one was a blast. I attended Rainbow Rowell’s panel, which was hilarious, and then I went to her signing and actually met her, which was great. The line for Rowell’s signing was incredibly long and my feet were killing me, but again totally worth it. Also, what was great about this year was you signed up for signings beforehand online so even though the lines were long you knew, without a doubt, you were getting in because you already had a ticket. However, this was only the case for signings in the autographing area, not in booth signings.

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Anyway, after waiting so long for Rowell’s signing I’d learned my lesson and just waited around the autographing area for Victoria Aveyard’s signing and was in the front of the line so it was a much shorter wait and my feet thanked me.

This was actually the second time I’ve met Aveyard and she was just as awesome as I remember. She looked through my tabs in King’s Cage and approved of where I had them placed. Overall, I’d say the signings were my favorite part of the whole day.

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I also randomly met Jenny Han and Morgan Matson during the day. I’d met them both before (Han at BookCon last year; Matson at a signing in NYC) and they were both just as sweet as I remember. I also love that they’re friends and they always seem to be together. It’s super cute.

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For day two, I was way more prepared. First, I got there earlier so while I was still stuck in the queue line to get to the show floor I was much closer to the front of line and actually made it to the show floor by 10:10 a.m. Because I was so early, I was able to just stumble upon a signing with Sarah Mlynowski who was signing an ARC of the latest book in her Whatever After series. While I haven’t read the series, I’ve loved so many of Mlynowski’s other books that I couldn’t pass up the chance at meeting her, and since I was so early there were only three people in line when I got there so it was super easy.

After the struggles I went through on the first day I was also more prepared for the ARC signings on day two, particularly at the Penguin Random House booth. For the Penguin ARC signings you had to have a ticket and it was one book per ticket so things were super cut throat over there and filled up very fast.

For instance, I knew for the E. Lockhart signing, which was happening at 11 a.m. that I’d need to be hovering around the booth at around 10 a.m. Therefore I jetted over pretty quickly and was able to somehow get to the front of line and not only meet Lockhart and get the ARC but I also got a cute little makeup bag too.

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From there I met up with some bookstagrammers, Mags and Len, who were super cool and really helped me out a lot. I accredit a lot of my day two success to them. I stuck with them for a little bit and then met up with my friend for lunch, because I unfortunately was too late to get into the Cassandra Clare panel (it filled out so fast!) so I had time to kill.

For the record, finding time to eat at BookCon is difficult. It’s basically either you have to be willing to sacrifice missing something in order to find time to eat or you better have a bunch of snacks in your bag that you can eat while standing in line. There’s really no in between. I think that’s partly why I was also so miserable on day 1. I didn’t take a break to eat at all and just snacked on honey nut Cheerios all day. Having lunch on day 2 truly saved me.

After that I once again successfully hovered around the Penguin booth and was able to get into the Leigh Bardugo signing, which included an ARC of her Wonder Woman book. I’m super excited to read it and was glad I was able to snag a ticket because that line was insane and my friends, Mags and Len, were unable to get one.

Also, shoutout to Mags who snagged me an ARC of Krysten Ritter’s novel Bonfire after her panel. I also caught a glimpse of Ritter who was doing a signing at Penguin but I was too tired to try and fight for a spot in yet another line.

Instead, Mags, Len, and I got in a much more chill line for a partial ARC of Stephanie Perkins’ new novel There’s Someone Inside Your House, and let me just say, standing in line with friends is way more fun than standing in line by yourself. Get yourself a line buddy if you can. They’re fantastic. Then, we saw there was another ARC signing at the SOHO teen booth and it was just one of those things where we were like, “We don’t know what this is but it looks free so let’s do it.”

We ended up getting signed ARCs of Love, Hate, and Other Filters, which I’d actually heard about before and was excited to read, so that was a nice surprise. Also the author, Samira Ahmed, was incredibly sweet and funny, and my only regret was not snapping a pic with her.

Sometime during the day I also found time to meet Jeff Giles and get my copy of The Edge of Everything signed. I’ve actually spoken to Giles on the phone before and he gave me writing advice and I wasn’t sure he was going to remember that but he did, which was super nice. I told him I got into grad school and I’d be getting my MFA in Creative Writing and he congratulated me and it was great.

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To close out the day I went to a panel with Kevin Hart and Charlamagne tha God it was honestly one of the funniest events I’ve ever been to. I’ve only seen Hart live once and it was at one of his Move With Hart events so he didn’t really talk much. However, this panel was almost like getting a little stand up from him. He was so funny and honest and he said a lot of motivating things that made me feel like I could do anything.

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It was quite possibly the best part of my day, to be honest. I loved it so much I ended up buying his book, I Can’t Make This Up, right after the panel. My mom’s reading it now, and I hope to get to it soon.

Overall, I was definitely exhausted by the time BookCon was over. My feet were killing me and my back and shoulders ached and I still think I need to a get massage. Still, it was totally worth it. In totally, I got 13 books, only two of which I actually purchased, and I got nine books signed. I can’t wait to go back next year.

Did you go to BookCon? Do you hope to go next year? Let me know in the comments below!

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Book Review: King’s Cage

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Synopsis:

In this breathless third installment to Victoria Aveyard’s bestselling Red Queen series, allegiances are tested on every side. And when the Lightning Girl’s spark is gone, who will light the way for the rebellion?

Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother’s web in an attempt to maintain control over his country—and his prisoner.

As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continue organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare’s heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back.

When blood turns on blood, and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fire—leaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

*Warning: There will be minimal spoilers about Glass Sword in this review. Read at your own risk.*

I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t like Red Queen. For me, it was way too predictable and overhyped. However, I kept reading the series and I’m so happy I did because with each book this series has gotten better and better.

King’s Cage is told in multiple POVs but it’s still mainly Mare’s story and the other two POVs (Cameron and Evangeline) are just as interesting. I really enjoyed seeing this world through these other two ladies’ eyes, especially Evangeline. She’s the first Silver we get to hear from and I absolutely loved her and her storyline. I’m rooting for her in the next (and last!) book.

What I loved most about this novel, though, is the background we got on Maven. As I said, Red Queen was predictable for me so I never liked Maven and I never trusted him. However, in King’s Cage I actually started to become interested in Maven’s character. I don’t like him per say, but I understand him a bit more now. I even started to feel sorry for him. I’m still hoping Mare kills him in the end but I also won’t be mad if he’s somehow redeemed at the end of the series.

However, at the end of the day my heart will always belong to Cal. I don’t want to talk about it too much because I don’t want to spoil this book for anyone but I will say I don’t know how I feel about Cal’s choices in this novel. On the one hand I understand why he did certain things but on the other hand I just wanted to scream, “Are you kidding me?”

Overall, I loved this novel. While I’ve seen other people say it started slow that didn’t bother me at all. Mare is in captivity and there’s only so much that can happen while she’s locked up and I still think Victoria Aveyard handled it very well, especially with the switch in POVs. I really liked every aspect of this novel and I’m excited/scared to see how this will all end.

Stars:

5 stars

Favorite Line:

“Cameron, my heart is quite literally in this.”

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Book Review: Red Queen

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Synopsis from Goodreads.com:

The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.

To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.

Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of
those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.

But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?

Dystopias! Dystopias everywhere!

Honestly, I should really stop reading dystopias. Some of them are starting to run together in my head and it’s getting a little confusing.

Red Queen is the first book in the latest dystopian trilogy and although it definitely has some stand out points, it’s really not that different from other dystopians I’ve read. And definitely not better.

If you’ve ever read The Selection series, Mare reminds me of America in The Elite. For those of you who’ve never read that series, this isn’t a good thing. Mare is rebellious, which is to be expected of the protagonist in a post apocalyptic world, but not in any way that’s constructive. She’s a Red thief who thinks poorly of all the Silvers but easily trusts people she shouldn’t.

She has little qualms about killing innocent people in the name of rebellion and her moral compass just seems to be haywire. She makes a lot of stupid and also careless mistakes and honestly I found it difficult to sympathize with her.

This being said I obviously wasn’t Mare’s biggest fan. Instead, however, I was a fan of Julian, Cal, Kilorn, Gisa, Shade, Mare’s parents, Evangeline, and almost every other character except Mare. If this story was told by a better protagonist I probably would’ve loved it. I loved all the twists and the crazy reveals. I liked that even though some things were really predictable there were a lot of things that also caught me off guard. More then anything, I like that I have no idea where this story is going to go. This trilogy is wide open and I can’t imagine what Victoria Aveyard is going to do next with it but I’m intrigued to know more.

It was hard to declare this book a borrow but Mare ruined it for me. Even so, overall I still liked it I just couldn’t love it.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow.

Favorite Line (SPOILER!):

I’ve been too busy trying to save others to notice how much Cal saves me. How much he loves me.

Stars:

3 stars

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