Jul 17, 2017

Book Expo Recap || Day 1 ( Blogbound+ Bloomsbury Tour + NOVL Brunch)

I told you all my NYC stories, now it's time to get into all the bookish fun!

The day before BEA started, I settled into my hotel. Of course, it didn't happen without incidents :D I was supposed to meet Shelly and Joey in Queens, on their way to the hotel to the airport, but both their flights got delayed, and I was waiting with my packed luggages for some time, before finally meeting them at the subway station. I also met and got introduced to Jon, who was going to be our roommate for the day. 

We got onto the train and went to the hotel, and found out that we very much overestimated our room size. There was barely any place for us to stand after our luggage were all spread out, and we were wondering how five of us are going to fit in. But we did. It was a bit funny.

We also met up with Hazel at the hotel and I was so excited about meeting her again. We were having all sorts of bookish convos before going to sleep. Sleep roughly translated into Shelly, Hazel and I trying to fit into one bed and failing.

Even though July 31st was technically the first day of Book Expo, the show floor didn't open that day, which means we practically didn't have anything to do. So our entire group just visited Javits briefly to pick up our badges, and had a look at a relatively empty and calm building - a sight that we weren't fortunate enough to encounter the next few days. Despite the uneventful Book Expo day, we had a couple of exciting things on our schedule, so we set out from Javits to get breakfast before venturing for some alternative bookish fun.

All of us were doing Blogbound con that evening,and there was a chance to tour Bloomsbury, arranged by the organizers, which we all opted to do. Shelly and Jon were scheduled for the time slot after the one Hazel, Joey and I were scheduled for, so we parted ways after breakfast, and went to Bloomsbury, and ended up there early, so we got to hang around the reception area a bit before the tour started.

Meanwhile, I also met Tiff and Nicole, both of whom I met several times throughout Book Expo. Tiff was basically the Book Expo godmother, she had badges and passes of friends who didn't end up coming, and was handing them around to lucky bookworms! It was so fun to encounter! :)

The Bloomsbury tour was exciting, and we got to hear the publicists favs out of their upcoming books, and got an ARC of Reign the Earth - and I also got a glimpse of a sampler of Because You Love to Hate Me and was totally flailing!!! - plus we got a glimpse at a room full of backlist titles and I spotted some of my favs!

The three of us were also invited for a brunch at NOVL, so as soon as we were done at Bloomsbury, we rushed out to Hachette. Which translates into Joey walking in an abnormally fast pace and Hazel and I trying to catch up to him. Also Hachette was at this area called Avenue of the Americas.Who else but Americans would have a road named that? :D

The brunch at NOVL was so much fun! The food there was great, which was a good plus, but what I loved the most was the round table discussions and how friendly the publicists there were! As soon as I went in, I saw Alexa whom I was so excited to meet finally, and as we found a table to ourselves, I also saw Sandie who I know from last year's BEA! 

We had a table talk session with the editors at Little Brown, who switched tables every 10 minutes, and introduced to us some of their most exciting releases from 2017. I straight up started flailing when the editor of Frostblood appeared. At that time, I was dying to read the book - and thanks for the brunch and blogbound con later, I had copies of both the first book and an ARC of the sequel, which I now have read and loved. Another really exciting title was Little and Lion! It was really interesting to hear the editors' perspective of the books, plus we also got to see a sneak peek of the cover of Nightblood ( Frostblood #3) which was gorgeous!!!

The highlight of the event was Ryan Graudin's new book Invictus. We got to hear some behind the scenes stories of the book, especially the making of the cover, before Ryan herself introduced the book and the characters to us. I have not read Ryan's books - even though her Wolf by Wolf is very high in my TBR - and Invictus was not previously on my radar, but after her description of the book,I was totally sold! I am always a fan of books which includes history of some sort, and Joey was totally sold by the news of a Red Panda in the book. It sounds like Six of Crows meets time travel, and I am pretty excited to read it!

The NOVL team had a really creative and fun activity to introduce us to the ensemble cast. Every table was given a block of cards which was a puzzle of a character's image. We got to give life to the main character Farway McCarthy!

I got an ARC signed from Ryan,and before leaving, I also chatted with the publicists who were just so nice and friendly! I also met Mariam who I know from twitter.

We joined Jon and Shelly again at Bryant Park, where we hung out for a while before making it to Books Kinokuniya. I was feeling lost among all the comics and graphic novels, but it was such a cool place and Shelly was so excited for their Yuri on Ice display.

We paid a visit to Strand Bookstore and Books of Wonder soon after. Had I been given the chance I would've bought a whole lot of stuff from both places, but I had to keep in mind that I was going to hoard a lot of books later.I got some gorgeous stationery and swag from Strand, and ended up buying just three books after both visits. The Young Elites, because it's literally one of my top tier TBR books, and I am dying to read it. Code Name Verity because World War 2, period. A Monster Calls because I've been wanting to read a Patrick Ness book for so long, and that one was Joey's recommendation for a first Ness read.

Our next big thing for the day was Blogbound and we made our way to the hotel to get ready. We fancied up -Joey took out the bowtie :D I was just a bundle of nerves before Blogbound. I was doing a panel on social media and monetizing with blogging, along with Hazel, Alyxandra and Joey ( the latter was our moderator) and even though it's one of my fav blog related things to talk about, and I had such an amazing company, I was so nervous! 

We decided to get some food before going to Jefferson Market Library where the event was going to be held, and after going on a long quest to find food, we settled at a place where I opted to get the most disappointing Caesar salad ever. Sigh. 

We finally made it to the library and we were a little late, so we made it to our first panels immediately. Hazel and I were doing the "Writing for Third Party Outlets" panel first, and our panelists were Eric Smith and Zoraida Cordova. It was such an intimate and chilled out session and I enjoyed it a lot! Apart from getting to know some really handy tips,we also got to know some funny stories - like how Eric is the third famous Eric Smith on the internet after a murderer and a sportsman. 

Tiff was also at the panel, and I got to meet Vee as well, though I only briefly got to say hi to them after the panel. Hazel and I also chatted with Eric - I was pretty shook that he recognised me tbh. Right after, was our panel, so we waited for Joey and Alex and I tried to calm myself before we began.

Even though I was nervous at first, as I got comfortable, it turned out pretty great! Joey was a great moderator, and the three of us panelists had a diverse range of opinions on things, so it was such an engaging and pretty exciting conversation. If I am allowed to boast, I would say that our panel was amazing. Who told that I was ever modest?

Also a funny story. As we got ready to start, there was this man behind us having a very loud conversation on the phone. We were waiting for him to get the hint, yet he was so oblivious, so much so that someone had to go and tell him that there's a panel going on. Though I didn't see him again until the panel was over, he was having the same conversation in the same volume, guess he resumed his conversation after we were done :D

We had such a good time with the panel, and were so pleased to hear that people found it helpful! (Later I heard from Julie that people told that our panel was so well researched! I was flailing!) 

We had a little break after our panel until the next event. I talked to some people at my panel - and said hi to Melanie - before going back down. Downstairs, I saw a lot of familiar faces - or rather names :D - and it was so exciting! I was so excited about meeting Cam and Michael and said hi to Nicole again, and finally met Julie! Julie made me the happiest person alive by giving me an ARC of Frostblood - which I was dying to get my hands on - and a manuscript of A Crown of Wishes, which I almost screamed when I laid my eyes upon. I also got the sweetest card from Julie and Nicole courtesy of Blogbound.

I also got to meet and talk to Chelsea Fought who was as chill and wonderful as I've always expected her to be, before treating myself to the most amazing cupcake ever, another courtesy of Blogbound. By then it was time for TriviYA, a pub style trivia contest on YA books, which Joey, Alex and I joined in. We had two more amazing bookworms at our table with us, and the game was so much fun! 

We did amazing in the first two rounds. We were also named Cupcake - while all teams were named something pretty creative and extravagant - because guess who named our team while eating a cupcake? You guessed right. I am so spontaneous. We aced our first two rounds and were actually coming first, until the nightmare that was the third round,which tested our knowledge on National Book Award for YA winners. We practically didn't know anything, and just depended on guesswork. Which was pretty ridiculous. And which resulted us coming in the second place, missing the grand prize with all the exciting ARCs with just a few mere points. Sigh. I am still sad about this.

We said bye to Jon in the meanwhile, who was leaving that night. After the TriviYA, Hazel and Shelly joined us, and spent some time chatting to more people and saying bye. I got a glimpse of Tristina Wright, but for some reason was too nervous to say hi. It actually took me two days to finally speak to her for some reason. I can still be an awkward turtle at times with some people.

Just before leaving, I spotted Heidi Heilig talking to someone, and just casually hung around. She noticed me as soon as she was done with her conversation, and it was just so wonderful to finally get to meet her, hug her and talk to her in real life, as she's been one of my fav author friends, and I just adore Heidi. 

Blogbound was just amazing overall, and I loved everything about it - from the people, the panels, the atmosphere and the organization. I was so glad I got to attend, and be a panelist, and I hope I get to do it again, provided I do Book Expo next year as well. *fingers crossed*

After a pretty eventful day, we went to our hotel and settled right back in. Our night was just full of bookish conversations - which is not surprising - especially me trying to explain why I didn't agree with Malina's ship in Grisha. A little later into the night, CJ arrived - who also brought with her an exciting gift for me, an ARC of When Dimple Met Rishi, courtesy of the lovely Sarah, which made me flail immediately. The room 301 squad was finally complete and we all got some rest to brave the actual start of Book Expo the next day.

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