#BookHaul Surprises

This week was full of surprises!  I’m so excited to add these titles to my TBR/review stack.  Not that I need any more books to read, but I’m always excited to get new stuff 🙂

Earlier, I found a copy of Peternelle van Arsdale‘s debut The Beast is an Animal.  It sounds like a great combination of fantasy and thriller.  It comes out in March 2017.

And yesterday, one of my co-workers brought me a copy of Veronica Roth’s newest, Carve the Mark to be released in January 2017.  I think all the pages have a watermark disclaimer that this is not the final manuscript.  I was not expecting this at all but am looking forward to seeing how Roth’s writing has improved.  Admittedly, I liked the concept of Divergent, but didn’t care for the rest of the series, so my hopes are high that this will be better.  I guess we’ll find out!

Several months ago, I had signed up for a contest through Kim Harrison, author known for her Rachel Morgan/Hollows series, to become a superfan.  Well, I was chosen and received 2 mass market paperbacks of The Drafter.  And I thought that was the end of it until I opened a package yesterday, and inside was an advance copy of The Operator with a note about how these were special editions for the superfans.  Since this one comes out in November 2016, I better squish it to the top of my list.  Otherwise, how can I call myself a superfan?


Are you excited about any of these titles?  Which would you read first?

Book Haul: Weregirl by C.D. Bell

Over the weekend, I was delighted to find this shiny blue envelope waiting for me in my mailbox.  Inside was an ARC of Weregirl by C.D. Bell, which I had won through a Shelf Awareness contest.  I had actually seen this at BEA16 originally, but was unable (due to time) to learn any more about it.  It’s due out on November 1st from Chooseco and has favorable reviews over on GoodReads already.  Looks like a fun read!

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August Book Haul (2016)

Last month wasn’t a great month for finishing books, but my collection did grow with several new titles.  This month was a little crazier in that area than usual as I went on vacation and visited two Hastings (since the chain is going out of business), won a couple contests, participated in a blog tour, received a galley through the AceRocStars, picked up some winter galleys, and HarperCollins sent a huge box of galleys to the office.

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My World of Books July Unboxing

Since Fanmail took a month off for SDCC16 and recovery, I decided to try out a different subscription box, My World of Books.  Honestly, I only chose this one because the curator had announced that the book was going to be A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchett.  And I LOVED that book!

This is a newer box and hasn’t been around very long, which shows in the packing (nothing included to keep objects stable during transport).  However, the quality of the items was great, and they arrived with no damage.  I do wish the items matched the book more, but the items included were fun and practical.  There’s a notebook covered in orchids, a dragonfly necklace, bookmarks, and butterbeer lip balm.  Also included was a double-sided flyer featuring two self-published authors, Angela Bouquet and Kory M. Shrum.  Both authors have the first books in their respective series available for free through a variety of ebook distributors.  And Angela had signed her side!

I enjoyed the curator’s inclusion of her recommended exciting August 2016 fantasy releases.  If I understand it correctly, she makes one of these charts for each month and posts them on her social media, which is pretty cool!  I was already excited for several of these titles, but there are some new ones that I need to go research.

Overall, I feel like I got my money’s worth with this box and lots of neat things to try out and explore.  This is definitely a subscription box to watch and support!  Check it out at My World of Books.



#ALAleftbehind Book Haul


My company is only able to send one person from my department to ALA, but my boss was willing to take my list and grab fun stuff again this year.  She was able to pick up everything on my list of confirmed swag as well as a few little extras!


Some of these I tried to get at BEA16, but was unable to secure:

Heartless by Marissa Meyer-Such a hot item at BEA that I waited in 3 different lines without success

The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst-This is the book HarperCollins tried to tell me didn’t exist at BEA.  I’m so excited to have the chance to read it!

Caraval by Stephanie Garber-I had a ticket and was in line at BEA16 for this title, but the line was soooo slow that I gave my ticket to someone holding their friend’s spot in line but wished she had her own ticket.  I was excited to see her name on the signing schedule for ALA

Replica by Lauren Oliver-OK, so this one is on my list because I kept hearing about it at BEA.  Unfortunately, Lauren was unavailable for signing due to contracting the flu.

Here are the new ones at ALA16:

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff-After meeting him at BookCon and reading the description for this book, I knew I needed it!

Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill-This is currently the only December book in my 2016 challenge, so I was happy to see that she was signing.

Harley Quinn and Power Girl by Amanda Conner-This is my favorite iteration of Harley Quinn right now.  I had sent Harley Quinn Vol. 1 for signing, but the author had taken a trip to Italy, where she broke her hand.  I hope it heals quickly!

My boss also scored some fun socks, Dragonwatch branded post-it notes, mini colored pencils, and Monstress bookmarks.  I feel really lucky that all of this made its way to me and hope that everyone had a great time at ALA this year.  Look forward to reviews of many of these titles–right here–very soon!

BEA Friday: Day 3

OK, so Friday was the day of lines.  Waiting in line after line after line after line (short break) after line after line.  It was crazy but productive.  It was also a very long day.  I couldn’t sleep, so I was awake and in the shower around 5 AM, which meant I was ready to go line up for my first wait: ticketed authors.  On Thursday, I was after both Leigh Bardugo and Brandon Mull, but they ran out of Leigh before I reached the front.  Friday, I wanted Marissa Meyer and Danielle Paige.  Unfortunately for me (and many, many other fans), there were definitely not enough tickets for Marissa.  But, I snagged Danielle!  And I met a lovely mother and daughter duo in line.

Then, I went to get breakfast at Starbucks.  Line number three was for the show floor because I didn’t have any morning meetings.  I made a beeline to the Macmillan booth to gather tickets for the signings featuring Leigh Bardugo and Stephanie Garber.  After successfully grabbing those, I went to stand in line for the Black Widow drop at Disney’s booth.  (They had a sampler of the second book from Margaret Stohl, an awesome drawstring bag, and a signed limited edition print.)

Then I had a little bit of a break, so I went on a hunt for the booth with the fun looking book.  When I found it, I was in for a treat and a surprise.IMG_2653

The booth featured this little book called Beneath the Fall by Aaron Safronoff from the series Sunborn Rising.  And not only did they have a book, but they also had Oculus setup to show off an early version of the videogame based directly off the world within the book.  I fell in love (and I hadn’t even read any of it yet).  Did I mention the full-color illustrations throughout?

Then I was ready to wait in more lines.

  • Danielle Paige
  • Leigh Bardugo
  • Stephanie Garber, which I ended up leaving early
  • Laini Taylor


Just before lunch, I sat down to listen to the Hot Fall Fiction 2016 panel, which is when I realized that I hadn’t scheduled time for a bathroom break.  So, on my way to find lunch, I made sure to hit the bathroom and re-fill my water bottle.  I also had to go back to the Sunborn Rising booth to tell them that I couldn’t stop thinking about the book and how much I wanted to share it with everyone.  (Spoiler: I told anyone and everyone who would listen to me that they should go check out the booth!)

After lunch, the lines began again.

  • Gene Luen Yang
  • Kendare Blake

I attended the AAP Annual Librarians Book Buzz Part II and learned about some of the smaller publishers’ fall offerings.  And finally, I went to the Surviving Fictional Worlds panel with Sarah Porter, Kristen Simmons, and Susan Dennard.  In between lines, I was able to pick up a few more books as well as the free signed copies.


That’s all for tonight.  Tune in tomorrow for my exciting adventures at BookCon!

BEA Thursday: Day Two


I honestly have no idea how people have super fun-filled, exhausting days and still find the time to blog at the end of it.  I started this post last night so I could try and stay only one day behind, but my eyes kept drooping and I had no motivation to transfer the all-important pictures from my iPod touch over to my laptop.  (I discovered how much of a pain that was the night before!)  However, I did accomplish a large chunk of my goals, took plenty of notes of the work related things, and managed to collect plenty of books and autographs.  Here are some observations from my panels:

Metadata needs to be consistent and accurate to better help sell books.  Also, the more specific, the better it can be found by the people both looking and not looking for it.

There are quite a few micro-trends happening in YA right now, but we all agree that series are still going strong with no sign of easing.

There are a lot of great books coming out this fall!

I was able to attend the cover unveiling for Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas (gorgeous, isn’t it?).  I had the great pleasure of explaining the phenomenon with several passers-by who wanted to know what the small cloud of people was excited about.


My autographing highlights for today included:

  • Brandon Mull-Ticketed autograph line
  • Laini Taylor-Found her roaming around!
  • Shannon & Dean Hale-Had a lovely discussion with them both at the Candlewick Press party
  • Sarah Porter-In-booth signing
  • Eoin Colfer-In-booth signing with portable battery giveaway


My book haul consisted of:

  • The Call from Scholastic (booktalked as similar to A Court of Thorns and Roses)
  • Specail Preview book with pub. date of Feb. 2017
  • The Gauntlet by Eoin Colfer
  • Rat Queens #1 by Kurtis Wiebe
  • Sample coloring pages from Blue Star


Take-aways from today:

Book trade people are very polite and nice.

Publishers can be very helpful if you’ve already done a large chunk of your research or ask very general questions.

People will trample other people to get Marissa Meyer’s newest book!

It never hurts to ask.

Metadata is important to a great many people at various levels.


That’s all for tonight.  I’m sure I forgot something, but I need sleep.  Once I get home tomorrow, I’ll try to finish Friday and Saturday’s adventures.  Hope everyone enjoyed their day. 🙂

Traveling and SLJ Day of Dialog: Day 1

Hey Everyone,

So I definitely overestimated my ability to do everything and still come back to blog about it.  But, I still plan on sharing what I learned for each day, even if they aren’t posted the same day.

My drive up was mostly uneventful.  I did get a little worried when the skyline grew super dark in front of me, but except for some short periods of downpour, I had missed the storms.  YAY!!  Check in went quick, and I had my stuff laid out and ready to go for Day of Dialog.

The next morning shrouded the city of Chicago in mist and fog; it was almost cloying actually.  But it didn’t last past noon.  The keynote speakers for the School Library Journal’s Day of Dialog were Richard Peck and Laini Taylor.

They were fantastic!  Both of these people were a joy to listen to, and it’s no wonder that they are awesome storytellers.  I could have listened to them all day.  BUT, the day was super filled with publisher pitches and authors/illustrators speaking on several different topics.

Here’s some of my favorite moments and quotes:

  • Richard Peck attended school in Decatur, IL, the same school my husband’s aunt teaches at currently (Dennis Lab School)
  • Peck is amazingly funny
  • “Writing is introducing readers to characters they might want to be.”–Richard Peck
  • Illustrations can’t be purely nonfiction
  • Illustrations support not just decorate the story
  • “Memory and imagination are the same”–Kelly Barnhill
  • Authenticity, being true to yourself, and universal truths appeal to middle grade readers
  • Art school is the worst backup plan ever–for writers
  • “We all have this myth-hole that wants to be filled.”–Laini Taylor
  • Call to retire the adjectives strong and feisty to describe female characters
  • We just need to write human characters
  • Respect your characters and your readers
  • Kids are better at pacing stories than adults
  • Illustrators bring their storytelling to the story as well


I’m quite sure that I learned and laughed at more than just these bullet points, but this gives you an overview of what happened at the event.  And after all the talking was done, we had a chance to talk with the presenters and collect signatures.  Almost all the presenters were available to sign either galleys or finished copies of their upcoming works that were discussed throughout the day.  I, personally, tried not to be too grabby, knowing that there were more days of books to come.  But that didn’t stop me from speaking with authors and collecting signatures for friends and co-workers (and a certain third grade class).

It was a great day of exploration, learning, and sharing.  This was definitely a fun day!  Tune in tomorrow for my run down of today, my first day at BookExpo America.