Bookish Thoughts: BEA Haul

Bookish Thoughts

With the wrap-up post becoming ridiculously long I thought I would post a separate haul post for those of you that just wanted to see what goodies and books I brought home.  I am not going to list every single title or cover in this post ( I might do a top ten list of favorite covers from BEA some Tuesday).  The grand total of books I scored at BEA is 112!  One hundred and twelve books!  That is crazy.  Some I probably didn’t need, and many I won’t read.  I will see that if I’m not keeping a book, they get into the hands of someone who appreciates them or donate them to my library.  It is hard to turn down books at BEA; sometimes you feel sorry for an author with no one in line, sometimes they are pushing books into people’s hands in the aisle, and sometimes you just get swept away with the thrill of shinny free things…  There is a good chunk of books that I left with my girlfriend in Chicago.  After sorting out my books to keep or giveaway I let her go through my weeded box and take what she liked.  I also picked up a couple of totes for her as well.  She told me that this was the best conference that she never attended and if she had known they were giving away free books she would have taken the week off work. I did let her know she could have totally attended with me too, as BEA let bloggers bring a guest which was really handy for leaving someone in one line while you waited in another.  Next time…  Anyway on to the pictures.

BEA Haul

All these pictures open up to larger versions in new window and descriptions are below their pictures.


This is my for me haul.  All of these books and …stuff (for a lack of a better term) are items I am going to keep.  some of the books I might giveaway after reading so keep an eye out for them over the next year or so…  Seriously lots and lots of books.IMG_3569

This haul is made up of items that I picked up for the Summer Reading program at work.  Can’t wait to give these items out to the teens that sign up!


Next we have the stuff that I will be giving away here at Read What I Like!  Yes that’s right I totally kept you all in mind and managed to grab some items you all might like.  Where shall we start.  Feel free to leave suggestions in the comments on what you want to see me giveaway first.


These are some of my favorite totes.  I carried a tote of totes at the conference and ended up with 38 of them!  Some went to the library, a couple to my friends and these are all mine!


Here are the books that I picked up for my dear husband!  Not as many as I had hoped for, but I did bring him some other items from Chicago so don’t feel too bad for him.


These are the books I’m not quite sure what to do with, but don’t worry I will find them good homes most likely at my library.

My total haul.  Glad I brought a truck!
My total haul. Glad I brought a truck!


There you have it most of the items I brought back from BEA.  The last post I’ll be sharing is some tips that I think might help future BEA attendees.  Sometime tomorrow… I have reading that needs to be done!


Bookish Thoughts: BEA 16 Wrap-Up

Bookish Thoughts

Bookexpo America, Chicago 2016


Where do you begin when it comes to describing, putting into words perhaps one of the best weeks of one’s life.  I am at a loss for where to start.  I don’t want to bore you, overload you with information… So lets start with a brief summery of events followed by some pictures from the week.  I will post a separate haul post as well as a BEA tip post later on their own.

My BEA Week:

My BEA trip started on Monday.  One of my college girlfriends now lives in Chicago and works for Rush University Medical Center near downtown.  When I put out the plea for a place to crash during BEA she graciously opened her home and parking place for me.  So not only did I get to attend this amazing conference I got to spend a week hanging out with a dear friend.  No wonder I’m so tired.  Bed around midnight up around six everyday, wow!  Totally worth it though.

Thanks to my boss giving me the whole week off I went early and practiced my route to the conference on Tuesday before bumming around the city for the day.  Despite the rain it was actually a fun day.  This is the first time I had actually been somewhere on my own and it was interesting to go where I wanted, when I wanted and without having to compromise or negotiate the best course of action for the day.  Around five I headed back out to the suburbs and had a delicious meal at my friend’s home as we grilled out and visited.  Probably my earliest night to bed around 10 or 11 as I had an early morning the next day with the Blogger’s conference.

Wednesday was the first day of BEA and I left early, like on the train by 6:20 (I think) and arrived super early for registration to the conference.  Oh well, better than late also meant that there were absolutely no lines when I walked up to the counter to get my pass.  Nice!  Headed downstairs to wait for the blogger’s breakfast and spent a few minutes checking my social media.   Breakfast was nice muffins, danishes and bagels along with coffee or tea. It was nice to sit around the tables and chat with everyone.  The keynote speaker was alright, but I have to agree with some of the other bloggers that I’ve read and it would have been nice if they found a speaker that was an actual book blogger.  So most of her presentation went in one ear and out the other, but that’s okay.  The rest of the blogger’s conference was totally worth the extra ticket in my opinion.  The two break out sessions I attended had some interesting information and the table talk discussion in the afternoon even more so.  I enjoyed the three I attended: connecting with publisher, negative reviews, and blogger burnout.  Lunch was totally worth it for me as well as we had a nice group of ladies at my table and I won one of the $50 drawings (score!).  I did skip the last session as by three I was itching to get up on the floor.

Funny little side story about Wednesday.  In one of the break-out sessions my cell phone vibrated and I checked the screen to see my husband had called.  Oh no!  If he had actually taken the time to find his cell phone, turn it on and figured out how to call me something must be up or dead…  Between sessions I headed out into the hall to call him back.  Come to find out two library patrons had shown up at my house asking why the library wasn’t open!  He gave them my boss’s phone number (who was supposed to be working and forgot), and all was good.  He was a bit nervous, asking me that she did know I was going to be gone this week.  I assured him he did the right thing and everything was fine, my trip was on the calendar and being my normal day to work she must have just forgotten.  Made for a funny story to share all week though!  You know you work for a small library when your patrons know where you live…

Okay back to the wrap-up.  My Wednesday haul wasn’t that big, thankfully as I had not brought a bag to check yet and I headed back to the train and met up with my girlfriend at her work to attend a diversity award banquet that had an excellent spread of food (another score)!  Met some of her great co-workers and spent the evening hanging out with them at a local bar and didn’t get to bed until late.  Again, totally worth it!

The next day was my quiet day, no must haves or sessions to attend (actually all sessions were quickly wiped off my schedule as I spent so much time waiting in line).  I spent the day wandering from book-drop to signing and checking out the booths.  The day started a little later and I visited Disney first as they had an excellent breakfast of fancy croissants and coffee!  I came back a few hours later and helped myself again.  The second day many of the booths had food and I ended up nibbling my way around the center instead of stopping for an actual meal.  That evening they also offered more food and drinks!  I did abstain from that as I am not a big drinker and I didn’t feel like being wasteful.  My second day haul was pretty impressive and I struggled to get everything on the train and to my friend’s house afterward.  So many books and totes!  Having driven to Chicago I did not censor myself very much.  I did take books that didn’t necessarily interest me and every tote I could get my hand on.  I attended as a blogger, but I am also a librarian and knew these books would find good homes and who doesn’t love free totes! (we also use them to give away Summer Reading Program prizes in)  That evening my friend and I had some amazing Thai food and I was able to hit the sheets a tad earlier after emptying my haul to free up my bag for the next day.

The last day of BEA was my game-on day!  My two must-have authors were Friday and both were dropping tickets at almost the same time in different areas.  My plan was to swing by and score a Sylvia Day ticket and then rush over to get in line for Justin Cronin who would be signing around 10, Sylvia’s was at three that afternoon.  I did it!  I managed to get tickets to both of my must-have authors and I was going to meet them both!!  I was so thrilled.  Standing in line for Cronin I decided to turn on my data to check my push notices only to find my husband had been stalking me on social media.  When was the last time I talked to him?  Ops.  I couldn’t remember so I placed a quick call to him and made sure things were alright at home.  They were, but I could tell someone was missing me.  I said good-bye and shortly afterwards the signing started and I chatted with people in line.  This was a pretty popular signing so they didn’t allow pictures with the author, you could take one before or after, just not with him.  That’s alright.  I got to meet Justin Cronin!  I tried to keep the fangirling internalized, but I was shaking afterwards.  He was so sweet and I am thrilled I got to talk with him.  Came up to him and he said “Of course Amy (main character’s name in the book is also Amy)”  and I told him that I am also from Iowa (where the character is also from, go look it up already, The Passage Trilogy).  He quickly started searching my name tag to find out where and I told him I lived near Iowa City (where parts of book two is located) and said how I recognized locations in the book!  He was so cool about it all and even apologized for blowing up the dome on the capital building.  Like I said he was super sweet.  Later that morning, once I was coming down from my fangirl high I walked through the booth again and saw him sitting there with his handler.  Just sitting there !  Of course I found something very interesting to look at and tried to work up the courage to talk to him.  He started to leave, I followed and said ‘ Excuse me Mr. Cronin, but would take a selfie with me’.  He said yes and the rest is history (picture below).  That totally made my day and I will be gushing over it for some time.

My next signing was Sylvia Day at three so I bummed around the booths and tables picking up what ever caught my fancy.  I did manage to stop for food on Friday and filled up my suit case fairly early.  A lot of the booths started packing up and giving away early in the afternoon.  Before I knew it I was in line to meet Ms. Day.  This was probably the longest line I had been in and I was shocked to learn that I was surrounded by a ton of authors who were just as excited to meet Ms. Day as I was.  The woman who I had been chatting with for several lines that day ended up leaving early as her friend scored her a signed book early and she needed to leave for the author’s tea (a $ ticketed session).  She turned to me and gave me her ticket and that is how I ended up with two signed copies of One With You by Sylvia Day!!!  I will be giving the second copy away on this blog so be sure to keep an eye out for more information.

After that signing and two more passes around the floor I decided it was time to go.  I was a little sad that it had all passed so quickly, but also ready for it all to be over.  I still had a Science Fiction Writers of America book signing that night where I got to meet John Scalzi!!!  As well as two more days of fun with my college girlfriend.  I wrestled my bag home and headed back downtown for the signing and another ride back to Oak Park for the night.  I was beat.  My friend had her own event that night and I was on my own to start organizing my books and packing everything away that I would no longer need.

The rest of the trip was just normal sight-seeing (and a trip to Ikea!).  We had some great food, I got to treat my friend to our favorite Turkish restaurant and she gave me a tour of where she works.  The next day we checked out the stores in her town and had lunch around the time of a very sad phone call from someone’s husband wondering if his wife was ever going to come home.

I want to thank my friend again for inviting me to stay with her.  She not only saved me a ton of money, but make this trip even more memorable!  I will definitely be back for another girl’s weekend where we can see more of the sights around Chicago and perhaps another trip to Ikea…

Last week was the trip of a lifetime for me. I do hope to attend another BEA, but probably not next year.  New York intimidates me and I don’t think I feel comfortable going to that city on my own, maybe with my husband.  It doesn’t matter really as next year’s conference is a bit later and my library’s Summer Reading Program will have started and I’ve been informed not to take vacation at that time.  Quite frankly though I managed to bring home so much stuff that I think I’ll probably not be through all the books I snagged this year.  So maybe in a couple of years.  If you get the chance to attend the Bookexpo of America go.  You will not regret it for one instant.  This conference is a bookish person’s version of heaven and I loved every single minute of it!


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Monday Morning Check-In: BEA Week!

Monday Morning Check-In

Good Monday morning everyone!  This week’s post was scheduled as it is BEA week!!!  Right now I am probably getting ready to head into Chicago; last-minute packing, going over pet care with the hubby, calming my nerves about the drive in, etc.  I am already, two weeks out at this writing, about the trip and the authors I could potentially meet and seeing my friend.  I will miss my hubby as this is the first trip away from him on my own.  He has left me at home alone before, but this is the first time he is home alone.  It might be good for both of us, not so much for critters that could run out of water… (kidding, they will be fine I’m sure).  I will also miss my little girl Tilla (cat) who sleeps curled up next to me each night.  She is going to have to make do with “Not the Momma” while I am away.

If you want to follow me while I am on this grand adventure jump over and follow me on either Instagram or Twitter as I will be posting pictures and cute commentary throughout the week.  My Instagram account links to my personal Facebook account and not the blog’s page so there might not be a lot of activity there.  I look forward to sharing updates and follow-up posts as well as some book and goodie giveaways once I return.  Have a great week everyone and see you when I get back!  Happy Reading.

Month in Review: April 2016

Month in Review

Read this month: 6  Books, Pages 1,566

Read this year:  17 Books, Pages 5,778

F*ck That: An Honest Meditation  Born of Defiance (The League, #9)  Star Trek: Manifest Destiny #1

Born of Betrayal (The League, #10)  Dying Bites (Bloodhound Files, #1)  Compelled (Vampires in America, #10.5)

First off sorry I didn’t get this posted on the first of the month.  I attended the Second District Democrats of Iowa’s Convention on Saturday and was up 22 hours.  After getting a whole four hours sleep (thanks for that my primal brain that feels the need to get up with the light…) and a day of shopping (husband loved shopping with sleep deprived Amy) I just didn’t have the mental capacity to get a post out yesterday. Okay now on with the show.

Looking Back:

I am surprised that I managed to read (or listen) to so many books last month.  I feel like I haven’t gotten in any serious reading in about a week (probably only three days…), but the numbers don’t lie.  I read 6 books last month.  Yay me.  Okay one was an audio book and two were under 100 pages and a novella.  Back off, I’m declaring victory.  Small one thou it might be.  I do have some new responsibilities that are starting up (managing social media accounts for the Clinton County Dems), but over all I feel with the help of audio books I might be able to keep up with my reading.  I still feel awful about the fact that I’ve only read 17 books this year.  That number is just sad.  Perhaps I need to start looking at quality over quantity.  For instance four of the books this month I absolutely adored; two by my favorite author (Kenyon) and another favorite by Ms. Reynolds, and a new-to-me author that I can’t wait to read more of.  Over all April was a good month for reading.

Looking Ahead:

Right off the bat I am going to tell you May will be a slow month for reading.  I will be attending BEA and do not expect to get much reading that week done at all.  This week I am getting ready for BEA and while I hope to get some reading done, I am also working the polls and the lawn just won’t stop growing…  Hey, great opportunity to listen to an audio book!  Hopefully the second half of the month will open up and let me spend some time in the pages.  Speaking of BEA!  I am getting both nervous and excited about next week.  This time next Monday I will have been on the road for half an hour (hopefully) and heading in to Chi-Town(see how hip I am).  Be sure to follow me on Twitter and/or Instagram for updates all next week.  The official hashtag for the conference is #BEA16 if you want to follow all the fun stuff everyone will be sharing.  Alright I need to leave to pick up election items for my county’s special election tomorrow, so I better go.  I hope you all have a great month of reading and I am so excited to share with you what all goes down at BookExpo America after I get hope.  Hopefully lots of goodies to giveaway!

Happy Reading ~Amy

Monday Morning Check-In: Two Weeks!

Monday Morning Check-In


Good Monday morning everyone out there in the blogosphere.  Two weeks from today I leave for Chicago for the BEA Convention.  Lots of stuff I need to do before then, but I think I have my clothes, transportation, and logging all taken care of.  Thanks to my friend for welcoming me into her home!  I’m super excited to spend some time with her as well.  I’ve begun to change from excited to nervous about the driving and being on my own in the city.  Now I know I will be staying with someone, but she has a life and I fully expect to be on my own quite a bit during the day (or at least for the conference).  I’m also a little nervous about leaving the animals. Not that I don’t think my husband won’t take care of them, but I’m a control freak.  I’m debating on having him just leave the birds locked up for a week or simply leave the doors open (it will depend if I have peachicks or not), the big animals are now feeding themselves and if I fill the water tanks they will be fine.  Cats will be fine, dog will be spending some extra time in his kennel but should be alright too.  The husband of course should be good on his own if I get laundry and dishes done on Sunday.

As to the convention itself I have been making plans for it as well.  I have two not-to-miss authors, Justin Cronin and Sylvia Day.  One of them I will need a ticket so fingers crossed for me on that front.  I did want to attend the author’s tea as John Scalzi is going to be one of the speakers, but the discussion is going to be audio books and it is an extra $40.  The time also crosses over with the Sylvia Day signing, so I think I will pass.  Also if I change my mind at the last-minute then it will just be an extra $10 to get a ticket there.  I am attending the Blogger’s Conference and there looks to be several topics that I am looking forward to sitting in on.  There aren’t a lot of authors I’m supper excited to see but they are continuing to add signing so I hope that there will be some others I want to see.  It could just be that my genre is that popular for attending this conference.  I fully expect to have a good time though and look forward to discovering new authors and making connections with publishers.

Beyond the BEA planning I’ve been working on spring chores and some Democrat functions.  Next Saturday I have the district convention to attend as a Bernie Delegate and the following week I will be working the polls for a special election.  So the time between now and Chicago should pass fairly quickly.  I’ve not been doing a lot of reading, but I did download some audio books to listen to while doing chores.  The one I plan on reviewing this afternoon is actually really good and I wish the next books were available to borrow through the library.  I can ILL them though, but will need to wait until I can carve out some time to read them first.

Well that’s it for this week.  Don’t forget you can follow me on Istagram, Twitter, and Facebook where I plan on chronicling my  BEA trip with tons of pictures.  The links to those sites are on the side of the page of click on the words in the previous sentence.  Happy Reading!

Monday Morning Check-In: Distractions & Planning.

Monday Morning Check-In


Good Monday morning everyone I hope you all had a great weekend.  First off I would like to update that I am no longer sick.  Yes, the plague has lifted and I’m feeling more like myself.  Thanks for all the warm feel better wishes.  Not a lot of reading this weekend.  I don’t think I’ve cracked open a book since last Thursday and this is not good.  I now have nine books for review (not all due this month) and I need to finish up this Kenyon book and start working through some of them.  Many of them I’m actually quite excited over.

So what has been keeping me out of my pages.  I got a new phone.  It was totally needed for my BEA trip to Chicago and our eBay business, but since it was delivered last Thursday I’ve been awful, playing with the new toy when I should be reading.  Bad Amy.  Oh well its newness will eventually wear off and I’ll get back to my reading.  I must say I am in love with it though and really happy with the service I went with (so far).  It was time to join the smart phone era.  Side note I have been practicing  my Instagram usage for the Chicago trip.  I plan to post live updates that week to that account so if you want to follow me there you are most welcome, link here.  Right now you will mainly see pictures of my life on the farm as this is not strictly a bookish account.  But one month from today or two days ago you will start seeing BEA trip pictures from Chicago!!!  Should be fun.

Speaking of one month from today is the Blogger’s Conference and the start of BEA!!!!  I am so excited.  The list of authors holding signings has been posted.  Must say I’m a little disappointed that so far there aren’t that many authors that I’m familiar with, or even read… I’m hoping this changes as more authors are added, but even if it doesn’t I fully expect to have a great time.  It will just be an opportunity to discover new authors and I won’t be restricted by the need to wait in line to see that one author I have to meet.  I can attend more of the sessions and just be free to wander where my mood takes me.  I did received an invitation to check out the Science Fiction Writers of America conference that is going to be held at the Palmer House Hotel that weekend too.  They will be hosting a book signing  one of the nights that is open to the public and I plan to attend.  My dream meet would be Andy Weir, but I’m not going to hold my breath.  I know Justin Cronin is going to be in town as he is scheduled to attend Book Con.  While I like his book I don’t love him enough to buy an extra ticket to Book Con just to meet him.  I’m torn about the whole Book Con thing… I don’t know if it is worth the extra $30 or $40 to attend.  If you’ve been let me know in the comments what you thought.  Thanks.

So I better go I have a list of items that need to be done today along with some exercise that I seriously need to get in the habit of doing again.  Have a great week everyone and if you are planning on attending Bookexpo America in Chicago this year leave a comment and let me know!