Wednesday, May 4, 2016

How to Survive BEA: 10 Big Tips From a 3 Year Vet!

Hey bookworms!

The Book Expo of America is in two weeks, and everyone is scrambling to put their schedules together. If you've never been to BEA, it's daunting. If you've been there before, it's still daunting, but at least you know what to expect...well, sort of. BEA is in Chicago this year, so the layout of the venue and the City will be completely different from the one so many people know.


I decided not to travel to Chicago this year; instead, I spent the money to go to a writing retreat a few months ago. Will I miss not going? Sure, of course! Especially since I'm not caught up in the pre-BEA planning chatter sweeping my Twitter feed right now, or when y'all are talking about how much fun you're having, or when I see that favorite authors will be signing. But it won't devastate me like it did the first year I was supposed to go when a lot of real life stuff made going impossible.

I have a friend who is going for the first time EVER and asked for some tips about BEA. We've been texting and emailing, because there are SO MANY TIPS that you don't necessarily think about---and may not even remember if you've been down this road before!

I decided to share some of the tips I've given her with all of you, and hopefully you'll find some of it useful!

1. BRING FOOD AND WATER FROM HOME.
This one is really important! At the very least, you REALLY want to have a bottle or two of water in your bag at all times. There will be a water fountain at the venue (likely near the bathroom) where you can refill it. STAY HYDRATED.

And FOOD. BRING FOOD. The lines to eat at the conference hall will be CRAZY and the food will be EXPENSIVE. You'll wait in line, and you may miss something else, because, you know--FOOD IS IMPORTANT!!! You do NOT want to faint at BEA because you skipped the long line to get food in order to do other things.

What I did was packed a box of Smuckers Uncrustables (ready made PB&J sandwiches) and a bunch of KIND energy bars in yummy flavors. I could eat my lunch while sitting in a one hour line waiting for a signing, or I could sit down against a column or wall peacefully for a few minutes (Because if you think waiting in line for food is bad, wait until you see the seating area!!!). I made sure to wake up early enough to eat breakfast each day (Depending on where we stayed year to year, there was either free breakfast at the hotel or we stopped at Dunkin' Donuts on the way and grabbed bagels or muffins). I also made sure to eat in the evening. Something smaller that I could carry at lunch was PERFECT.


2. MAKE A SCHEDULE.
This sounds intuitive, but you would be amazed how many people wing it or have just a very general idea of what they want to do. My first year at BEA, I went with two friends. Two of us had put tentative schedules together online, and the third hadn't. Each day, she looked at the schedule from the venue and read through all the summaries of books/authors present in the back and rushed her list together. The next time she went, she was much more organized!


Also, make MORE THAN ONE COPY of your schedule. I cannot tell you how many times I misplaced mine!!! It fell out of my pocket, it got tucked into a book that was bagged, it got left at a booth, etc. I also would give copies to my friends (and they to me!) so that if we spotted something dropping that we wanted, we'd grab it for one another. Plus, that way if you lose every copy, it still exists! (Maybe ALSO take a picture on your phone!? There IS a BEA app, but it doesn't always work at the venue or have the right times. Hopefully this year it will work better!


When I make a schedule, I always overbook myself. ON PURPOSE.

There's just SO MUCH to do and you never know when you might get waylaid by a long line or a chat with friends or a publisher or a last minute EVENT you can't miss!

I always make a list of everything I might want to do. I color-coordinate it based on what I REALLY want to do and what I want to do ONLY IF I have time.

Some days, I have a very small list and don't do much of it at all:

I also make comments on if the signing is at a Booth and if it's ticketed or not, because that warns me about how long the line might be or if I need to go twice to get a ticket. Sometimes, I even leave myself notes about why I want to do something!

It's really important to have the booth location or table number on your schedule, or you'll know something is happening, but not know WHERE!!!


Other times, I have an insanely huge list that I think I can only do a fraction of and manage to do almost EVERYTHING:

Sometimes you can do more of your list than you thought because one line is ending and you have a little time to kill between lines--or heck, the fates just align!!!

Sometimes---while I LOVE meeting the author--I just really want to read the book, and I decide to pick up the galley when I see a galley drop and skip the line. That helps a lot!

For signings, I try to prioritize: I don't keep ARCs, but pass them on after reading. I'd rather standing in line for a finished copy of a book than an ARC, because I'll keep those. At the same time, there are certain authors that I just want to MEET, and so the signing line is worth it no matter what!!!!

Sometimes, I can get the e-galley on Netgalley or Edelweiss, so I'll skip the book for the OTHER book I want. Other books I'll get at publisher parties during BEA so I can cross them off my list! I didn't have to wait TWO HOURS to get SIX OF CROWS by Leigh Bardugo last year because Macmillan was so lovely and already had a copy for me at their party!!!)


It will fluctuate!!!

But having a schedule is just SO HELPFUL.

HOW CAN YOU MAKE A SCHEDULE EARLY?

Look on Twitter: Authors and publishers will announce galley drop times and/or signing times. Write those times down somewhere. I made a Word Document of everything I heard about, then put it into my Excel Schedule. I also got emails from publishers I worked with about their schedules. Also take note of if the signing is IN BOOTH or at a TABLE. In Booth means it's at a publisher's booth, and the tables are together in a signing area!!! Don't get lost!

There's also an awesome guide that Publisher's Weekly puts out every year (They may have already; BEA is early this year!) with what titles will be featured at BEA. This way, I know what to look for on Twitter! PW also does a great online feature that you can see right now for Adult and Children/YA books.

There's also an awesome Publishers Lunch excerpt book that is available every year on Netgalley and Edelweiss. If you didn't get this year's copy yet, it just went live two days ago!!!


And of course, there's a list of schedules and authors and times on the BEA website to get you prepared!!!

I also REALLY like looking at the Buzz Panel Authors to see what will be super-hyped...as well as looking at banners on the showroom floor!!!! It helps me discover new authors AND get excited about books I already want!!!

(Sometimes, you can even see crazy stunts on the Showroom Floor while waiting to get into the conference hall, such as the one HarperCollins put together to build buzz about ALLEGIANT before it came out!)


3. BE COMFORTABLE.
Yes, it's a professional event, but you will see SO MANY people in comfortable walking shoes---and wish you were wearing them as well!!! Publishers understand that--Heck, they often do it as well!

If you're not comfortable, you'll be aching and miserable, and each day will be worse than the one before it. Think of it like this: You'll DO MORE if you're not aching. You'll SKIP more if you feel miserable. "Do I REALLY want to walk back to the signing tables AGAIN??? Nope, I'll just go back to the hotel and rest."

 ©The Daily Photo

I DID, however, bring some nice clothes for publisher events to change into so I didn't look like a TOTAL scrub!!!

Which leads us to........

4. BRING AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE.
When packing your suitcase, what do you REALLY need?

Every item you put in there means less room for books!!!

Can you re-wear a pair of pants and cut down on how many you bring? Do you really NEED that extra pair of shoes? Will the hotel have a hairdryer so you don't have to bring one?

Also, TRAVEL SIZE shampoo/toothpaste/toothbrush/etc. IT IS SO HELPFUL!!!! There is an aisle just for this stuff at Target, Walmart, etc. If you need a special brand, you might find a travel size version on Amazon. Otherwise, go to that aisle at your Target/Walmart/etc. and buy an EMPTY TRAVEL BOTTLE. Fill it up with what you need. VOILA!!!!

I also recommend NOT taking all the swag you can snag at BEA. Take it for the books you really want to learn more about or for the series you're obsessed with, of course. Leave the rest for someone else. It's not worth the space in your suitcase. You might have bags of just swag, and is it worth it!?

SPEAKING OF BAGS....

You will get SO many bags at BEA. Some are awesome and beautiful--and break easily. Others hold up for years and are so durable. I use some of my bags for groceries, around the house, or when going out to an author signing and bringing books from home.

Some cool ones I've shared before:

Spirit Animals, ALLEGIANT, and THE HOBBIT!
These bags are GORGEOUS, but I only use THE HOBBIT regular because it's huge and strong and durable.
The other two are screenprinted and I'm afraid that if I use them a lot, they'll get a lot of wear and tear!

HEIR OF FIRE,  DEEP BLUE (it turns into a
reversible towel! So soft!) and THE DARKEST MINDS!
DEEP BLUE is super cool and fun for summer because IT IS A TOWEL. I don't use the other two for every day use because of all the wear and tear, though I do take HEIR to my signings with Sarah and the Darkest Minds bag is sturdy enough that I sometimes use it at events!
 
This Harlequin bag is my all-time favorite BEA bag. It's simple, yes, but it is SO FUNCTIONAL.
It's PERFECT for every day life. The side facing away from the camera (of course...and I'm too lazy to go take another picture...this was taken during BEA last year...) has this amazing netting. You can see it on the left and right side!!! I can put my schedule in the side. I can put a waterbottle down the side. THERE IS A SPOT FOR A PEN. I bring this EVERYWHERE. It is strong and durable and such an amazing travel bag!!!
If you see it, grab it!!!!
I don't think I have any pictures to share, but I would also also recommend looking out for Macmillan Children's Bag Drop that they've done for at least the last two years. I snagged one for Little Elliot and another for Pout Pout Fish. The Little Elliot bag is huuuuuge. And CLOTH. I filled it up with Christmas presents this past year (And I really thought I had a photo of that somewhere...oops!). Pout Pout Fish is also cloth. The shape is a little funny for holding a lot, but it's soooo cute: And again, DURABLE!!!! It gets a lot of compliments when I use it, too!

See if Macmillan is dropping bags at their Children's Booth and note the drop time: It's worth it!!!

Bags are also great because it can get you some extra room if you fill a suitcase with books...though if you're flying, you can't bring a lot of extra on board. I usually take the train to NYC, though, and strap a couple of bags to my suitcase handle if needed!!! But it's really hard to manage!!!

5. UTILIZE YOUR FRIENDS.
Obviously, there are things your friends really want, too. (Unless you're one of those lucky people going with a mother or a husband who is there to wait in lines and help you get everything you want!) There will be times when I'm relaxing with nothing to do for two hours before a signing except wander. If a friend really wants something during that time, I can try to get it for them---and they'll do the same for me. It's worth it!!! (Again, share your schedules with one another!!!) 

Plus, if you're going with friends you live near, you can share ARCs with one another. If you only have one copy for you both, that cuts down on what you put in your suitcase!!! My co-workers and I always go together and share with one another!!!

6. IS SOMEONE AT HOME BRINGING IN THE MAIL?
This is something that really IS overlooked!!! People always thought I was so smart to have done this. Ask the people at  home (or maybe have a friend swing by and collect the mail if you live alone) to OPEN YOUR MAIL. Have them text you a photo of what books publishers sent you while you were away at BEA.

Why stand in line for an ARC if that book is WAITING FOR YOU AT HOME!?

....Also, I'm going to say it again: HAVE THEM TAKE A PICTURE.

Because have you seen this EpicReads video yet?


Yeah, that could happen to you, too. A LOT of books sound or look alike!!!

7. BRING DOLLAR BILLS.
In the Autographing Area, there will be donation bins. It is encouraged to donate a dollar for every signing you attend. A lot of people (myself include) will drop a twenty or two in the first or final day and just round it off. Others will do a dollar a book. There are, sadly, people who forget to do this at all...or don't think to bring money!!! Don't let this be you. Help give back for all of the books you're bringing away with you!!!

8. BEA IS NOT JUST ABOUT "FREE" BOOKS. Network!!!
BEA is about NETWORKING. Meet new publicists that you can work with in the future. Talk to publicists you've only met and worked with online. Some of my favorite memories of BEA are about MEETING PEOPLE. Last year, I FINALLY met two publicists I've worked with for years, and it was amazing!!!

It was also great to meet other bloggers, either ones I've talked to online or new friends. It This is the most amazing opportunity you'll have to be with other book nerds and find people as passionate about this world as you are!

9. BRING BUSINESS CARDS. WRITE YOUR INFO ON THE BACK BEFORE BEA.
When you meet that new publicist, you exchange business cards, right? Make sure you have them and that they're legible!!! I wrote my address on the back of a bunch of cards and brought along an index card holder. I had a divider for cards that had my info on them that I gave out to publicists and a divider for cards WITHOUT my info that I gave out to other bloggers, etc.

I also decided to use fancy ducktape and 3-D stickers from the craft store to make my holder fun and unique!!!

You can get these holders anywhere. I think mine came from Staples or Home Depot, but here's a picture from Target's website:


10. HAVE FUN!!!
This should go without saying!!!
You're at BEA and it will be amazing. Don't stress. Have fun. You WON'T do everything you want, but you WILL do a lot of great things!!!

If you have time, explore the city. Go out with friends. Eat dinner someplace awesome. See the sights. Find out what's awesome to do in Chicago!

Eat some good food1!!
I love eating at KyoChon Chicken when I'm in NYC!

 When I go to BEA in NYC, if there's time, I like to see a Broadway Musical. If I'd never been to NYC before, I'd go a couple days before BEA and maybe stay later, too. It would give me more time to see the city. I would have done this if I'd gone to Chicago this year because I've never been before, but I'd like to go someday!


I also like going to the Teen Author Carnival the day before BEA at the Jefferson Library; I don't know if anyone is doing something similar in Chicago this year.

Books of Wonder always hosts a great signing panel each year, too, that I love to attend, and there are other signings in the city. See what the bookstores in Chicago are hosting!!!

Maggie Stiefvater, up on a table at Books of Wonder!
Such a troublemaker... ^.~
(On panel with Garth Nix, Jennifer L. Armentrout, Alethea Kontis, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Gretchen McNeil, and A.G. Howard!)


STILL NOT ENOUGH INFO!?

Feel free to comment here or grab me on Twitter!!!

You can also browse my write-ups from the last three years of BEA.
I talk about a lot of what I did each day, and some of the posts can be very useful for gleaning information about how signings look or are set up (PICTURES!! VISUALS!!!!), and I comment on why I didn't have time to do something or why I had time to slip in something extra. (I think my 2015 entry on the final day is especially concise in this regard!) 
 
2013

2014
 
2015

If you go to BEA, you don't need to write about it every day--In fact, it's a LOT of work and takes away from sleeping time!!!!--but your followers will appreciate it if you at least talk about the books you're most excited about!!!!

Especially if they're brand-new, never-heard-about titles. BEA is the place to discover new books!!!! So tell us about the new stuff, too, not just the upcoming bestsellers we already want!!! ^.~

Have so much fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I hope this post helped a little bit!!!! ♥♥♥


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

{Excerpt/Giveaway} THE PALADINS by Julie Reece

PaladinsRDC
 
Happy Release Day to
The Paladins (The Artisans #2) by Julie Reece!
Join us in celebrating this new release from Month9Books!

Enter the giveaway found at the end of the post.

Happy Book Birthday, Julie!
 
The Paladins Cover
 
The Artisan curse is broken. Souls trapped in a mysterious otherworld called The Void are finally released. Now, Raven Weathersby, Gideon Maddox, and Cole Wynter can finally move on with their lives...or so they thought. If the ancient magic is truly dead, then why are mystical fires plaguing Gideon at every turn? What accounts for Raven’s frightening visions of her dead mother? And who is the beautiful, tortured girl haunting Cole’s dreams?
Last year, a group of lonely teens sacrificed secrets, battled the supernatural, and faced their own demons to set one another free. Yet six months later, the heart of evil still beats within The Void. And the trio is forced to face the horrific truth: that their only way out is to go back in.
The Paladins completes this eerie YA Southern Gothic where loyalties are tested, love is challenged, and evil seeks them on the ultimate battlegrounds—in their minds, their souls, and their hearts.
add to goodreads

The Paladins (The Artisans #2) by Julie Reece 
Publication Date: May 3, 2016 
Publisher: Month9Books

excerpt
Gideon’s arms slide around my waist as I stand at the kitchen sink with my snack. I’m trying to work up the courage to tell him what happened in my room this morning. All day I’ve avoided delivering the news that may derail our careful plans for fall semester.
Warm breath lingers on the back of my head sending delicious chills though my body. His fingers gently brush the skin on my stomach beneath my blouse, and I fight the urge to turn and leap into his arms. The guy emits more dangerous energy than a leaky power plant. Still, I hold back.
I was the one who wanted to go slowly. Like, first gear slow. Maybe just idle. Call me old fashioned, but I always dreamed that my first time sleeping with a guy would be with my husband on our honeymoon. I still want that, and him, but I just turned eighteen.
The muscles under his golden skin flex as his arms tighten around me. How does he make me feel safe and nervous at the same time? His nose parts the hair above my ear. Steady breaths, finally drive me to place my cookie on the counter and face him. My hands slide around his neck, fingers playing with the silky curls at his nape. I love the spicy scent of black licorice that’s distinctly his.
He lowers his head, nose rubbing mine before he lets his lips drift over my mouth. Whisper soft, his hesitant touch is an excruciating tease. Always, there’s curiosity and the promise of more to come.
My fingers untangle at his neck and drop to the bulge in his biceps. I can’t help enjoying the way they bunch when he holds me. My legs lose strength, knees weaken. There’s every possibility the boy will kiss me into unconsciousness. Can that happen? He must know because he holds me so close I hardly have the air to speak.
 
OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES:
 
The Artisans
 
They say death can be beautiful. But after the death of her mother, seventeen-year-old Raven Weathersby gives up her dream of becoming a fashion designer, barely surviving life in the South Carolina lowlands.
To make ends meet, Raven works after school as a seamstress creating stunning works of fashion that often rival the great names of the day.
Instead of making things easier on the high school senior, her stepdad's drinking leads to a run in with the highly reclusive heir to the Maddox family fortune, Gideon Maddox.
But Raven's stepdad's drying out and in no condition to attend the meeting with Maddox. So Raven volunteers to take his place and offers to repay the debt in order to keep the only father she's ever known out of jail, or worse.
Gideon Maddox agrees, outlining an outrageous demand: Raven must live in his home for a year while she designs for Maddox Industries' clothing line, signing over her creative rights.
Her handsome young captor is arrogant and infuriating to the nth degree, and Raven can't imagine working for him, let alone sharing the same space for more than five minutes.
But nothing is ever as it seems. Is Gideon Maddox the monster the world believes him to be? And can he stand to let the young seamstress see him as he really is?
add to goodreads

 
About-the-Author2
Julie_Reece_Image_3-253x300
 
Born in Ohio, I lived next to my grandfather’s horse farm until the fourth grade. Summers were about riding, fishing and make-believe, while winter brought sledding and ice-skating on frozen ponds. Most of life was magical, but not all.
I struggled with multiple learning disabilities, did not excel in school. I spent much of my time looking out windows and daydreaming. In the fourth grade (with the help of one very nice teacher) I fought dyslexia for my right to read, like a prince fights a dragon in order to free the princess locked in a tower, and I won.
Afterwards, I read like a fiend. I invented stories where I could be the princess… or a gifted heroine from another world who kicked bad guy butt to win the heart of a charismatic hero. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that? Later, I moved to Florida where I continued to fantasize about superpowers and monsters, fabricating stories (my mother called it lying) and sharing them with my friends.
Then I thought I’d write one down…
Hooked, I’ve been writing ever since. I write historical, contemporary, urban fantasy, adventure, and young adult romances. I love strong heroines, sweeping tales of mystery and epic adventure… which must include a really hot guy. My writing is proof you can work hard to overcome any obstacle. Don’t give up. I say, if you write, write on!
 
giveaway2
Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win!
 
 
Chapter-by-Chapter-blog-tour-button
 

{Giveaway} 27 DAYS TO MIDNIGHT by Kristine Kruppa


27 Days to Midnight
by Kristine Kruppa
Genre; YA Steampunk Adventure
Release date: May 3rd 2016
Giant Squid Books 

Summary from Goodreads:

Everyone in Dahlia's world knows when they're going to die. Except her.

Her father has never shown her the pocket watch counting down the days she has left to live. When he sacrifices himself to save her from her scheduled death, Dahlia abandons her comfortable home and sets off after his murderer to uncover the secrets her father died to protect…and the time research that could bring him back to life.

Then she meets Farren Reed. She should hate him. He’s an enemy soldier, a cowardly deserter, and the most insufferable man Dahlia’s ever met. Still, she needs all the help she can get, and Farren is the only chance she has to find the man who murdered her father. But Farren has only twenty-seven days left on his watch.

In that time, Dahlia must recover her father’s time research, foil a psychotic general’s plot, and learn to survive in a world that will never be the same. But the research holds secrets more dangerous than she had ever imagined. She will have to choose what is most important: revenge, Farren's life, or her own. And time is running out.
 

About the Author
Kristine Kruppa is a mechanical engineer, writer, and world traveler. Her days are spent
designing cool new car parts, but her evenings are filled with writing and cats. She has traveled solo to seventeen countries on five continents. Her other hobbies include hunting for the perfect cup of coffee, exploring used book stores, and accidentally climbing mountains. To keep up with her adventures, follow Kristine on Twitter @kskruppa.

(Author photo credit: Sunny Wong)
Author Links:

Monday, May 2, 2016

{$5 Amazon GC Giveaway + Special E-Book SALE!!!!} KINGDOM FROM ASHES by Megan Linski


Kingdom from Ashes (Kingdom Saga #1)
by Megan Linski
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: April 1st 2015
Gryfyn Publishing

Summary from Goodreads:

Princess Bennua is to be married. The daughter of a sultan, her duty is to marry a powerful yet cruel warlord to be her husband, sealing an alliance that will scare the desert of Sahrahn into submission. But the wedding is halted in place when the infamous Raider Prince, king of thieves and leader of the dark city Ashana, threatens to take her city by force. 

Sacrificing her freedom for her country, Bennua agrees to accompany the Raider Prince on his travels if he leaves her homeland alone. Stolen from her charmed life Bennua begins to learn the truth of what lies beyond the palace walls and the suffering that plagues Sahrahn’s people. Bennua begins to plan her escape, but the more she learns from the thieves the more she finds herself becoming one of the them...all while falling hard for their leader, the Raider Prince himself.

  

Kingdom from Ashes is now PERMAFREE!
Buy Link:

Books in the Series (click on images for Goodreads links):
  


From May 2nd to May 13th, the following sales will be held!

Fallen from Ashes (The Kingdom Saga #2) – Buy for $1.99!
Redemption from Ashes (The Kingdom Saga #3) – Buy for $3.99!
Prince of Fire (The Kingdom Saga #4) – Buy for $3.99!


About the Author

Megan Linski is the owner of Gryfyn Publishing and has had a passion for writing ever since she completed her first (short) novel at the age of 6. Her specializations are romance, fantasy, and contemporary fiction for people aged 14-24. When not writing she enjoys ice skating, horse riding, theatre, archery, fishing, and being outdoors. She is a passionate advocate for mental health awareness and suicide prevention, and is an active fighter against common variable immune deficiency disorder. She lives in Michigan.


Author Links:
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GIVEAWAY:

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Why April was a BETTER month, but STILL not up to par ^^;;; BUT IT'S MAY NOW!!!



Computer Woes Continue...

If you saw last month's write-up, I've been plagued with technology issues lately, from a busted computer to a cellphone with a dead motherboard. 20 minute posts take me over an hour to do. Reviews take about two hours--or more. I have my cell replaced, though, since it was under warranty! My computer, however...well, I'm hoping to hold out until August when there are some great Back to School deals. But we'll see, since I don't want to continue going through all this trauma every day. Three months is both short AND a very long time, you know?

Today, something magical is happening, though. My computer has no lag yet, which means no jumbled keys, and I haven't had an issue with the mousepad so far. KNOCK ON WOOD. I think my computer had some kind of update on shutdown the other day, so maybe that fixed it? Or it's temporary, but today feels like Heaven as I type!!!


If this keeps up, I can definitely last until August! (I'm still having battery charging issues, but I've removed the battery for now...if this miracle today is really from an update, I'll try plugging the battery back in!!!)

Day by day, I'm just playing it by ear!

At least you'll DEFINITELY have a lot more posts with content from me in May. I signed up for a lot of tours..and not just release day blitzes, either! (Though I do have a few, because some titles sound AWESOME *and* it's a giveaway for you!) I've got reviews, interviews, guest posts, and other fun features coming up!!!

{ETA: Of course, after I gushed about how nice it was and then got to the end of my Music update, the pad isn't working AT ALL, so I need to reboot and see if that fixes it. Otherwise....eep!!!...And phew, it worked, but if this is ANOTHER new glitch...work perfectly and then DIE....definitely won't be able to wait.........)

BUT EVERYTHING IS OKAY BECAUSE...IT'S MAY!!!

I love May. It's probably my favorite month if I think about it. Spring is my favorite season, and in May, the weather is usually FINALLY behaving. No more freak snowstorms, and hopefully no freak summer days where it's too hot too fast. I love weather in the 70s and 80s, and that's usually May! Blue skies, green grass, chirping birds, light breeze....PERFECTION.

So how can ANYTHING be wrong when I have all of that going for me to keep sane? ^.~

MUSIC 🎶

This month, I'm obsessed with the brand-new CD from Peter Hollens entitled Misty Mountains: Songs Inspired by The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. Not because it's tied to Tolkien, but because it has this beautiful, epic quality that sweeps through my veins and pierces my bones and just...consumes me. It lets my mind drift to times long past and puts me in the mood for fantasy. I'm not one for listen to music while I write, but this is THE CD to get me in a fantasy writing mood!!!

Another CD that's been getting down to my bones is Stages by Josh Groban. Funny story: My dad gave me the CD for my birthday last year because he remembered me telling him about it. I'd been talking about how Kelly Clarkson sang a song with him and made critics take her more seriously b/c she was so good. He remembered our conversation and was so happy to remember the artist and find the CD! He even picked up an exclusive version with extra tracks because it mentioned a song from Beauty and the Beast and one from Les Mis and he thought I'd like it more. I LOVED HIM SO MUCH FOR TRYING and totally kept the CD, but it's been sealed all this time because...I sort of have had no interest in listening to it. ^^;;; But at work right now, it's one of the only CDs to choose from in the queue, and it's the only thing that's Broadway, so I put it on in the mornings and it just puts me in such a lovely mood for the entire day! Now that I enjoy the CD, I can figure out where I stashed my personal copy last year and dig it out to hear those extra songs!! DEFINITELY a fan of Stages now!

I also discovered and enjoyed Aurora this past month. I really like listening to her CD All My Demons Greeting Me as a Friend at work. It's fantastic, and I'm glad to have learned about her!

MOVIES AND TV


My allergies and migraines have continued, so I'm not reading much. But I've been binge-watching The 100. I'm two episodes away from being done with Season 2!

We're also two episodes away from being caught up on S.H.I.E.L.D, but it will be three after tonight because I work late and either won't have time to visit my dad or will get there just in time for Once Upon a Time. Otherwise we'll be an episode behind on that, too! I still don't like the procedural approach to this season, where every episode ends the SAME way with these Underworld characters. Let's get moving already; make stuff happen!!!

That was my April. 

How was yours???

Here's a look at everything that happened this past month!
 

APRIL BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE
(Most blog tour stops feature giveaways as well!)


*KINGDOM FROM ASHES by Megan Linski {5/2 blitz}
*
27 DAYS TO MIDNIGHT by Kristine Kruppa {5/3 blitz}

*THE PALADINS by Julie Reece {5/3 blitz}
*QUEEN OF HEARTS by Colleen Oakes {5/5 feature}
*
THE NEVERLAND WARS by Audrey Greathouse {5/9 blitz}

*FIRE AND SHADOW by Imogen Howson {5/10 blitz}
*THE CROWN'S GAME by Evelyn Skye {5/11 review}
*STOLEN HEART by Jaclyn Dolamore {5/11 cover reveal}
*THE PALADINS by Julie Reece {5/12 review} 
*THE FAIREST POISON by Lauren Skidomore {5/13 blitz}
*RISE by Jennifer Anne Davis {5/17 review}
*SPARK by Holly Schindler {5/18 interview}
*ARGOS by Phillip W. Simpson {5/19 interview}
*WITHERING ROSE by Kaitlyn Davis {5/20 blitz}
*NIL ON FIRE by Lynne Matson {5/27 feature} 
*MARKED by Jenny Martin {TBA}

***I don't think I've ever done so many tours and blitzes in one month before, but there are SO MANY new releases in May!!!

 
READING NOW:
{All links to Goodreads!}

*Nothing! Getting ready for Tuesday when A COURT OF MIST AND FURY by Sarah J. Maas comes out!!!

PLANNING TO READ IN MAY:


*A COURT OF MIST AND FURY by Sarah J. Maas {YA/Adult}
*IVORY AND BONE by Julie Eshbaugh {YA}
*THIS SAVAGE SONG by Victoria Schwab {YA}
*THE CROWN'S GAME by Evelyn Skye {YA}
*RUINED by Amy Tintera {YA}
*THE ARTISANS by Julie Reece {YA}
*THE PALADINS by Julie Reece {YA}
*THE FAIREST POISON by Lauren Skidmore {YA}
*RISE by Jennifer Anne Davis {YA}
*WITHERING ROSE by Kaitlyn Davis {YA} 
*THE VENGEFUL HALF by Jaclyn Dolamore {YA}
*QUEEN OF HEARTS by Colleen Oakes {YA}
*OUTLIERS by Kimberly McCreight {YA}
*GOLDEN by Melissa de la Cruz {YA}
*HEARTLESS by Marissa Meyer {YA}
*THE WRATH AND THE DAWN by Renée Ahdieh {YA}
*THE ROSE AND THE DAGGER by Renée Ahdieh {YA}
 
[link to my GoodReads account so you can see my blurb feed as I read]
READ IN APRIL:
{All links to Goodreads!}

TOTAL: 2 Books; 2 Novellas

*TRIXTER by Alethea Kontis {YA}
*MAGNETIC SHIFT by Lucy D. Briand {YA}
*TRIX AND THE FAERIE QUEEN by Alethea Kontis {YA}
*A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES by Sarah J. Maas. {YA/Adult} [Redux]

**Probably more, but I didn't keep track of anything on Goodreads atm, and that is what I remember....

REVIEWED IN APRIL:
{All links to my review!}

*THE ORPHAN QUEEN by Jodi Meadows {YA} [Redux]
*TRIXTER by Alethea Kontis {YA}
*MAGNETIC SHIFT by Lucy D. Briand {YA}
*EMERGE by Tobie Easton {YA}
*TRIX AND THE FAERIE QUEEN by Alethea Kontis {YA} 

FEATURES IN APRIL:

*{Cover Reveal/Excerpt} ARGOS by Phillip W. Simpson
*{Month in Review/Monthly Preview} How Computer Problems Destroyed March and Are ALREADY Seeping into April! 
*{Cover Reveal} YOU BEFORE ANYONE ELSE by Julie Cross and Mark Perini
*{Excerpt} Happy Book Day to THE GLITTERING COURT by Richelle Mead!!!
*HAPPY BOOK DAY TO THE MIRROR KING by Jodi Meadows!!!
*{Cover Reveal} SPINDLE by Shonna Slayton
*Release Day Celebration: Nobody's Lady by Amy McNulty  
*Interview with Jodi Meadows, Author of THE MIRROR KING!
*{Guest Post} Three Main Ways the Mythology in Elementals Differs From What We Know by Michelle Madow
*Interviewing Author Tobie Easton 
*{Excerpt} Happy Book Day to THE ROSE AND THE DAGGER by Renée Ahdieh
*{Cover Reveal} SCEPTER OF FIRE by Vicki L. Weavil


Again, sorry I didn't have as many reviews or original features this past month. The computer issues have made it really hard. This post alone has already taken me an hour and a half, when normally I'd be done EVERYTHING about it within an hour!!