Bookcon Book Haul 2017

I realize that I’ve been terribly late at posting things that happened a couple of weeks ago. Like, oh, the fact that I’d gone to Bookcon and never actually posted anything about it on this blog. A bookish nerdy blog, for that matter. It’s well shameful!

Anyway, this year was my first year ever attending Bookcon. I had actually planned to go last year, but that was when they’d moved the location out of New York City, so I was at a loss there. That said, I figured I’d remedy this by getting at least ONE ticket for one of the days.

Having gone to a few cons already (DragonCon and NY Comic Con), I had expected lines. Lots and lots of lines. And I expected to be standing and walking the entire time. What I didn’t expect was how much I’d actually be taking home. Thank goodness I did have a backpack with me to roll books away!

I did learn a few things at Bookcon, and that was to pace myself and get there EARLY. I had underestimated the craze that Bookcon would have, and because BEA was rather limited as far as attendance went, a lot more people came to Bookcon in hopes of getting the latest galleys and speaking to the authors about their newest work. There were books I saw being marketed that I was terribly excited for. There were authors I wanted to meet and greet, and some of them came to NYC so very rarely that I just had to sign up for tickets to their line!

Which is where my scheduling fell apart slightly. I was so intent on getting to author signings and events that I’d signed up for author signings and sweepstakes around the same time. When I got an email a few weeks later that I’d won one of the sweepstakes (which was the I Read YA breakfast, which included some galleys), I was stoked for a few minutes. I say a few minutes because then I checked the author signings I managed to get and realized that one of them was in direct conflict of an author signing I had to go to. And because I almost never see Laini Taylor do signings in the East Coast, I had to abandon the IReadYA event in lieu of getting to my author signing on time. Sigh.

And let me tell you about those author signing tickets. Like, holy wow, they sold like hotcakes the day the ticket registration thing opened up. I had contemplated on whether or not to go to a Leigh Bardugo signing, but decided against it, since I was pretty sure she’d be high profile enough to warrant selling out in tickets (and when I say “selling out,” I’m not talking about monetary profits…the tickets themselves were free, people just had to sign up). And we were only limited to TWO, so that already narrowed down my author bucket list. So I decided on Laini Taylor and Marissa Meyer. I don’t know how I managed to grab a Marissa Meyer ticket, though, because I swear she sold out just as quickly, but I did!

(I was a little bummed that I was limited to two, because I wanted to see Ahdieh again, if only because Flame in the Mist looks GORGEOUS and I wanted it that day…but my friend was AWESOME and went to Ahdieh’s signing and and…I got beautiful illustrated cards of Mariko, who I’m totally already relating to because our names are similar XD).

But yes, the author signing lines were LONG, though much like DragonCon, waiting wasn’t too bad because there were people on the line who liked the same things I did. I mean, duh, here’s a bunch of us standing in line for a SFF author, so of course we’d all have something in common. I practically assumed the women next to me had read half the SFF books I’d read at that point, so we got to squeeing over ships and characters really quickly.

The only thing about attending author signings, however, is that it really cut down on the panel and exploring times. I had between a half hour to an hour each time just to roam the floor, and barely enough time to even stand and wait for giveaways. I never made it to a panel, and even though I’d hoped I’d be able to make it to Margaret Atwood’s panel, there was no chance I was walking into the panel room, considering people had camped out over an hour beforehand.

So maybe next year–and there will be a next year–I’ll cut down on signings and focus more on getting more galleys to read. Not that I’m complaining about what I got. I barely made it home with an intact back, so I don’t know how much more I could have managed if I kept getting books!

Some fun things:

Underlined’s swag bag and bookcrate. Seriously, signing up for a First in Line account ages back was so worth it. I got a ton of goodies from them, including a small battery pack, a tote bag, a pouch, a towel…two books, and a pouch that I could probably put my bookmarks in.

Posters! I loved some of the posters. My favorite was a dual-sided animal retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. It was black and white on one side and colored in the other, and it is a HUGE promo poster. I loved it. Now I just need to figure out where to put all my posters, considering my room is already filled with them…

Swag! Some booths gave swag every hour or so, which was neat. I also decided on getting a couple of purchases on top of things.

Some things to watch out for:

VIP overhaul. I think the downside to not being a VIP is the fact that much of the author signing tickets had already been taken due to the VIP package.

Extremely long waits. This was more of a concern when you were lining up for well-known authors or authors with a highly anticipated book coming out. Marie Lu’s in-booth line was swamped, and everyone was trying to get to her for a copy of Warcross. I’d heard Leigh Bardugo’s line during BEA pretty much ran forever-and-a-day, and not everyone got the Wonder Woman book she was slated to release. Hell, even Laini Taylor’s and Marissa Meyer’s lines were swamped.

But yes, I did have fun overall, and I will have to come back again next year! Maybe I might even be able to pull off getting a ticket for BEA as an ELA teacher…hmm….

TTT: Fictional Fathers

For more information on Top Ten Tuesday, click here,

So last month, I’d done a TTT in commemoration to Mother’s Day and the book moms I’d encountered in stories. With Father’s Day also coming up this month, I thought it was high time to talk about the fictional dads as well! Like fictional mothers, the fathers in the stories I’ve read are also pretty nonexistent. Half the time, we get the deadbeat dads who want nothing to do with their offspring, and on the rare occasion that they do, it’s because down the line, they want to use their kid for a greater purpose.

And then, of course, there are the father figure type role models, which are cool, in a sense. And I do want to mention them at some point, but I can wait to do so at a later time on a category about mentors and parental figures. This TTT is for the fictional fathers who’ve raised fictional daughters and sons.

Top Ten Fictional Fathers

Arthur Weasley – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling – Well, honestly, I couldn’t include Mrs. Weasley without her other half! Rarely do we see both parents playing positive and amazing roles in books, so honestly, the Weasley clan is lucky (for the most part…hem hem). I took to Arthur much easier than I took to Molly when I read the series, and for good reason. He’s unambitious but brilliant in his own way, and he’s personable and enthusiastic. He’s definitely one of the father figures in Harry’s life, but let’s not forget he’s managed to rear five individualistic boys as well! (And on a related note, my heartstrings almost snapped when he got bitten by Nagini in the fifth book!)

Easier said than done, Arthur.

Mr. Murry – A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle – The Murry children are exceptional, and all of them are mathematically and scientifically gifted. I’d say it’s in the genes, considering both Mr. and Mrs. Murry are geniuses in their fields, but I believe half of it is also how the kids were reared. Meg, in general, is practically mathematically inclined, and her love of the subject can be attributed to the fact that her father often played math games with her to bolster her learning. That’s A+ in my book.

George Cooper – Trickster’s Choice by Tamora Pierce – George and his mother weren’t exactly living the high life, and even as a healer, mom wasn’t earning respectable wages. So George, being the young man–well, young man chosen by the Trickster–that he was, decided to go in the way of the criminal folk. The man was the bloody King of the Rogue for a good number of years until he’d decided things needed changin’. And that’s where Alanna and the crew came in. At the end of the Song of the Lioness Quartet, the thief-king turned a new leaf and became a nobleman spymaster, and he went ahead and taught his only daughter the tricks of the trade. Even with his feisty wife objecting quite a bit.

By the ever talented Minuiko.

Terciel – Sabriel by Garth Nix – I mean, this could go either way, to be honest. I didn’t think Terciel was very present in terms of his rearing Sabriel, and honestly, he was pretty deadbeat when it came to raising Lirael. However, for a man who’d been the only Abhorsen left during a tumultuous time, I think he tried his best to do right by his first heir. Sabriel did admire her father, and while he couldn’t physically make his way down to magic-less Ancelstierre, he’d occasionally send his spirit-form out in order to spend some time with his daughter. Which is a good thing, because his ass needed saving, and there was clearly only one woman who’d loved him enough to even bother looking for him.

Hans Hubermann – The Book Thief by Markus Zusack – Hans Hubermann! He and his wife were the adoptive parents of Liesl Meminger, and they were amazing. I will admit I am basing this off of the movie first, and then the audiobook of The Book Thief, but I mean, come on. How could anyone not love a father who teaches his adoptive daughter to read? And then proceeds to turn his basement to a mini-dictionary?

Maxim Maresh – A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab – Here’s another father that kind of came off as standoffish and surly on first impression. Admittedly, it wasn’t until the beginning of the third book where I even changed my mind about the man. That said, he loves his family, and in his own way, he tried very hard to protect them. It was heartbreaking to see the ordeals he faced in the third book of Shades of Magic, though in a way, I was glad that it happened, if only because the Steel Prince came into action one more time.

Adam Hauptman – Moon Called by Patricia Briggs – Honestly, I could put Bran AND Adam on this list of fatherly werewolves (because honestly, Mercy was raised by the Marrok, and he is absolutely lovely as well). I went for Adam mostly because he’s got a human child, and he’s terribly fond and protective of her. The first book pretty much puts this out in the open when he goes ahead and brings down his fury on those who’d gone over to harm Jessie. His protective side shows up again in Iron Kissed in much the same extent, and you really don’t want to be on the receiving end of that anger.

Bigby Wolf – Fables: Vol. 18, Inherit the Wind by Bill Willingham – Here’s another werewolf father! It’s interesting to see how Bigby changes throughout the series. At the beginning he’s pretty much the lone wolf with a powerful pull on the Fabletown community. By the time the Adversary arc comes to a close, he’s more than happy to give others the reins just so he can spend more time with his children. And honestly, with the group of kidds he has, it’s no wonder he chose to settle down! All the same, when his children get in trouble, Bigby–and his wife–is the first to spring to action in order to help save them. To a certain extent, that is, but uh, spoilers.

Mr. Bennet – Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – Yes, yes, of course I was going to put Mr. Bennet in here! If I was going to put his wife in the Mother’s Day TTT, I was going to have him down as well. Unlike Mrs. Bennet and her theatrics, I like Mr. Bennet for his cynicism. He does get as ridiculous as his wife, but hey, he tries. And he dotes on Lizzie, which is something.

Atticus Finch – To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – My high school life pretty much revolved around this book and how much I actually admired Atticus Finch. Of course, it also helped that the fantastic Gregory Peck had starred as Atticus in the classic To Kill a Mockingbird movie. But yes, it’s kind of easy to do so in the eyes of Scout, who pretty much venerated her father and respected his views.

Who are your favorite fictional fathers?

Literature and London Part 2: Hogwarts and Harry Potter

Technically, most of the Harry Potter stories don’t really figure into London, and even the Warner Bros. Studio (which houses many of the original scenes and prop decorations) lot isn’t located in London. But I suppose it wouldn’t be a “Literature and London” series if I called it something different every time, heh.

And I did say I was going to write about my Harry Potter experience.

Which was much easier to say than to do. At first I’d thought it would be almost impossible to do just the one post about a series that originally spanned seven books. I mean, seriously, what pictures would I have to choose? What quotes would fit each picture? And did I really need to add 30+ Quidditch-related pictures? No? Darn.

But what I will add, is this stunning depiction of the Great Hall entrance in all its glory. Because I totally got emotional just seeing them open. I’m not a sap, promise. Okay. Maybe I am. #sorrynotsorry

Seriously, I could go on and on about the series and how much of it has been a part of my life. I could go on and on about how I walked the halls pretending I was kinda sorta there, in my own way, down at Leavesden, inside the Warner Bros. lot. But at the interest of brevity, I won’t go crazy, and have limited myself to blogging about a few choice pictures.

Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.

It’s the first sentence quite literally heard ’round the world. And it’s the first location within the HP books that readers paid attention to. Not so much because of its perfectly normal, English quaintness, but because of the things that happen right after. Like cats reading maps and owls flying by day and a cloaked man putting out the lights with a cigarette lighter in the middle of the night.

It didn’t come….he kept on running…he opened his eyes.

A scarlet steam engine was waiting next to a platform packed with people. A sign overhead said Hogwarts Express, eleven o’clock. Harry looked behind him and saw a wrought-iron archway where the barrier had been, with the words Platform Nine and Three-Quarters on it. He had done it.

I hadn’t been able to visit the King’s Cross Station platforms much, even though I had walked by that way a few times to transfer lines. That said, it was still fun to walk into the HP Studio to find myself transported to Platform 9 3/4, with a full-blown train set on makeshift tracks, just waiting for people to board it. And I didn’t even have to walk through a wall!

There was a loud “Oooooooh!”

The narrow path had opened suddenly onto the edge of a great black lake. Perched atop a high mountain on the other side, its windows sparkling in the starry sky, was a vast castle with many turrets and towers.

I had originally selected a different picture, one of a much larger model of the Hogwarts grounds. Unfortunately, WordPress didn’t seem to like showing it because it’s one of those weird panorama photos, so I had to make do with a miniature model of what set designers pictured Hogwarts would look like. Still, it’s rather impressive. And if you were standing before a much larger model of the castle, you’d be severely knocked out with awe.

“You are here to learn the subtle science and exact art of potionmaking…I don’t expect you will really understand the beauty of the softly simmering cauldron with its shimmering fumes, the delicate power of liquids that creep through human veins, bewitching the mind, ensnaring the senses…I can teach you how to bottle fame, brew glory, even stopper death…”

Confession: While I probably would have excelled in Arithmancy (because math-ish magic? Yespls!), my passion would have probably been Potions class. And not because I think about using it for evil or anything…um. Let’s hide any evidence I try to poison people through my concoctions…*buries the Dark Mark cookies under pillows and stuff*

Honestly, though, the Potions class boasted an excellent ambiance and well-stocked equipment. I wish I had the kind of budget for my future science classroom, but alas.

“The Chasers throw the Quaffle and put it through the hoops to score,” Harry recited. “So–that’s sort of like basketball on broomsticks with six hoops, isn’t it?”

“What’s basketball?” said Wood curiously.

Quidditch! Anything that can let you fly on broomsticks is a fun game to me. And yes, I do have a position I prefer to play, which is kind of fitting, considering I’d probably end up being one of the more violent ones on the field. Unintentionally, of course. I mean, as a Ravenclaw I’d be sort of expected to be able to approximate the trajectory with which to send a bludger careening down the opponent’s head, right? Right? Okay. That joke was made in poor taste. #sorrynotsorry

THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS HAS BEEN OPENED. ENEMIES OF THE HEIR, BEWARE.

This was quite honestly one of my favorite props there. Apparently the door–which opens up into the Chamber of Secrets–is made out of several snakes that actually do move through a series of mechanisms.

With a yell, he rolled back onto the pavement, just in time. A second later, a gigantic pair of wheels and headlights screeched to a halt exactly where Harry had just been lying. They belonged, as Harry saw when he raised his head, to a triple-decker, violently purple bus, which had appeared out of thin air. Gold lettering over the windshield spelled The Knight Bus.

Also another of my favorite descriptions of things Harry Potter related. This one happens to operate in London in the books, and for the longest time, I actually did think that buses in London were triple-deckers. Of course, I eventually realized that normal buses were only two decks, not three. And none of the official transport was purple, either. How unfortunate!

“What we need,” said Dumbledore slowly, and his light blue eyes moved from Harry to Hermione, “is more time.”

“But–” Hermione began. And then her eyes became very round. “OH!”

It takes a very trusting teacher to give a 13-year-old that much hold on time. Hell, I barely trust my 12- and 13-year-olds to do anything right when given that much responsibility. I mean, you’d think that after two years people would get the idea that Hermione broke almost as many rules as Harry and Ron did during their time at Hogwarts. That said, wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff was interesting at best.

The lid creaked slowly open. Dumbledore reached inside it and pulled out a large, roughly hewn wooden cup. It would have been entirely unremarkable had it not been full to the brim with dancing blue-white flames.

No flames in this particular cup, but then again, this one isn’t exactly the Goblet of Fire. This one happens to be the Triwizard Cup, a prize given to the player who makes it through the third task first. Of course, things don’t go exactly as anyone would expect, but things sort of pan out slowly by the end.

The walls of the Hall had all been covered in sparkling silver frost, with hundreds of garlands of mistletoe and ivy crossing the starry black ceiling. The House tables had vanished instead, there were about a hundred smaller, lantern-lit ones, each seating about a dozen people.

I always thought the Yule Ball was much better done through visuals than description. It was cool to see how the Great Hall was decorated, and how it had changed once the music went from a classical style to The Weird Sisters. Also, the food and drink must have been grand!

And that’s where I’ll stop. I had hoped to have seen a couple other places like the Department of Mysteries and maybe even Xenophilius Lovegood’s house, but I suppose there’s room for them to add to their exhibits later on. When I went, the Forbidden Forest had just opened up, which was cool to see. The Ministry of Magic also had a few highlighted areas, but again, not enough in my book. I would have loved to have seen more.

That said, I did end up walking out of Hogwarts and back into London with a spring in my step and a sweater to tout off my Ravenclaw pride.

For the first Literature and London post, please click here.

Coming up in the last Literature and London post: Odds and ends and a bit of Shakespeare.

Mini Reviews: Snow White, Camelot

Oh, blog. I know I have neglected you. Come to think of it, I’ve been neglecting many things lately. In lieu of the end of the year shenanigans, I’ve been generally swamped with grading, exam writing, teaching, and more grading. I’m behind on my Goodreads goal, I’ve not written a blog post since the end of May, and I’ve completely dropped off the face of the editing and short story writing circuit.

Buuuut…

I needed to get out of this slump/hiatus. And it’s ALMOST the end of the school year. And I have a ton of catching up blogging-wise, so hang onto your, uh, figurative hats, yeah?

Anyway, got a few blog posts I need to write for the next few weeks, I just need the actual time to write it now!

So first, a couple of graphic novel reviews. I went back to reading some Fables goodness because it was high time I finish reading this series once and for all. My goal this year is to at least finish a couple of completed series, novels and graphic novels included!

** Note: These two graphic novels are Volumes 19 and 20 of the Fables series by Bill Willingham, so while I do attempt not to spoil the story so far, there is a bit of a jump.

Have you read either of these books? What did you think?

TTT: Summer Yellow Reads

For more information on Top Ten Tuesday, click here.

They call me mellow yellow! *hums*

Except not really, because when I think of summer, I’m more along the lines of Olaf and summer. I’ll probably melt occasionally, but I cannot wait. It may also have something to do with the fact that I’ll also be on vacation then, which is definitely much needed…

Anyway, where was I? Oh, yes, summer reading. And I don’t mean that in the “this is your assignment for the summer” kind of “summer reading,” and honestly, I’ve mostly given up on TBR lists because I never follow them anyway. So this time around, I decided I’d do a TTT based on the color yellow! Yellow book covers are shiny and bright and quite happy! For the most part. Erm. Yeah.

Top Ten Summery Yellow Books

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by John Tiffany – This is definitely an easy and pretty light read. I’m typically a slow reader, but I got through this in a couple of hours during a mad, impromptu read-a-thon with my friend.

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer – My sister was a big Artemis Fowl fan, so we have the series sitting neatly at home. I practically grew up on Eoin Colfer, J.K. Rowling, and Tamora Pierce, so you can bet that if they had yellow book covers, I was putting them up here!

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell – Chyeahboi. Summer break may be over for Simon Snow and Basilton Grimm-Pitch, but not for us! I’d totally take my two boyz with me to the beach if I wanted some beach-reading material to squee over.

Wish Memorial Illustrated Collection by CLAMP – I will admit that the Wish covers had some of the most aesthetically pretty illustrations I’ve seen of CLAMP’s stuff, and that’s saying something, because normally CLAMP knocks their artwork out of the ballpark. I loved this short series, though admittedly it’s not my favorite of CLAMP’s. That is normally reserved to Magic Knight Rayearth and Cardcaptor Sakura.

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder – Cannot stop recommending this enough! I love this book, and Yelena, and Valek, and this cover is pretty much my favorite of the covers that have come out. Not sure why, but I did like the simplistic juxtaposition of the red and yellow colors. That could be just me, though.

Enchantment by Orson Scott Card – Orson Scott Card is largely known for his science fiction stories, especially in the Ender’s Game series–well, and also known for his outspoken, often-controversial political views–so it’s often a surprise to people when I say of the books he has written, Enchantment still remains my favorite. But I’m just biased, considering it is based on a fairy tale, and it is a fantasy entrenched within Slavic history and folklore.

The rest of these books are books I’ve yet to read but really, really want to.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor – Another dual cover book! And it’s by Laini Taylor, who is a goddess of the written word. This is supposed to be a duology, so THANK GOODNESS FOR THAT.

Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor – Yeah. Laini makes it on this list twice, lol! I’ve started Days of Blood and Starlight so Dreams of Gods and Monsters will probably be something I’ll read either in June or July. Yep. Need my Karou-Akiva fix that’s for sure.

Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo – This cover is just gorgeous, and I really want to read this! Who knows when I’ll get to it, though… *twitch*

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang – Same for this book! I adore Gene Luen Yang’s spinoff stories in the Avatar: The Last Airbender world, and I would love to read something based off his own perspective and not that of Team Avatar (though I could do with more of the latter as well).

What are some fabulous yellow-covered books you’ve read?