Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Adventures at YALLFest 2017

YALLFest 2017 Program

One of my favorite things about November, besides stuffing my face on Thanksgiving with . . . stuffing is YALLFest, Charleston's young adult book festival! It's become an annual family event for Ally, Melissa, and I, and so a week and a half ago, we packed up the car and hit the road for South Carolina.

Another part of our yearly pilgrimage is leaving in the wee hours of the morning to avoid traffic as much as possible. This year, we pushed "wee hours" to a new level by departing at 1AM. Melissa and I allotted ourselves a half hour coffee stop before traveling north to pick up Ally about an hour and a half away.

We had a minor mishap on the way to Charleston involving driving past a Cracker Barrel because we thought there would be another one before we had to exit I-95. We eventually found out that there was not another one, and some hanger ensued. We did find some breakfast once we arrived in Charleston, though, LOL.

We spent most of the day browsing the local stores and doing some shopping. And more eating. Each year there are some signings and events on Friday, but everything we were interested in was happening on Saturday, which is a jam-packed, all-day affair. After picking up a copy of the festival program, we retired to the hotel early. I am not ashamed to admit that I was in bed by 8PM.

Some rather cool temperatures greeted us on Saturday morning, but it was a very welcome change from the relentless Florida heat and humidity we're used to. It was also perfect weather for all of the running around we were about to do. Equipped with the schedule that we'd made the night before—on a sticky note—we got on our first line of the day. The waiting never felt lengthy, though, and we actually got a rush out of trying to make every event that was on our list. It was challenging because there were so many things happening simultaneously, but again, we loved figuring out the logistics.

I was super, super, super excited to discover that NOVL was giving away ARCs of Claudia Gray's Defy the Worlds. The first book, Defy the Stars, was one of my favorite reads this year, and I was walking on air when I held the sequel in my hands. I was also ecstatic to see that Underlined had ARCs of Rachel Hartman's Tess of the Road. We also got to meet Emily X.R. Pan, who was signing ARCs of The Astonishing Color of After at the NOVL booth, and Jennifer A. Nielsen, who was signing ARCs of The Traitor's Game at the I Read YA booth. Both authors were super sweet, and we were thrilled to get our ARCs signed!

Later in the afternoon, Ally and I headed to Alexandra Bracken's signing. There were already about 70 people in line, and we got there half an hour early. The line ended up being quite long, and Alexandra Bracken very, very kindly stayed past the allotted time to continue signing for everyone. I got my copy of Wayfarer signed:

The signing was our last event of the day, and so we headed off in search of some much needed dinner. I devoured a ridiculous amount of pizza and regretted absolutely nothing. Between all of the scrumptious food we consumed and all of the bookish awesomeness we experienced, it was a fantastic trip and a much needed mini-break from adulting. There was even a happily ever after, when we stopped for breakfast on Sunday morning at the Cracker Barrel that we'd bypassed on our way to Charleston. XD

LOVE this tote bag from NOVL!
Some more bookish goodies:
Lord of Shadows poster given out at the Riveted booth:
SO excited to read these!
Ink by Alice Broadway
Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh
Nice Try, Jane Sinner by Lianne Oelke
S.T.A.G.S. by M.A. Bennett
Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman
The Traitor's Game by Jennifer A. Nielsen
The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan
Defy the Worlds by Claudia Gray
Love and Other Carnivorous Plants by Florence Gonsalves
Girl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake
Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young
The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

Friday, November 3, 2017

Review: Romancing the Werewolf by Gail Carriger

Romancing the Werewolf by Gail Carriger
Romancing the Werewolf (Supernatural Society #2)
By Gail Carriger
Gail Carriger
Format: eBook
Source: Author
Publication Date: November 5, 2017

To Sum It Up: Stepping into his new role as Alpha of London’s werewolf pack, Biffy knows that he’s about to face many challenges ahead, including convincing the rest of his pack to accept his choice of color for the drawing room curtains. There’s also a mystery to solve when human babies start turning up on the doorstep of the pack’s new home. Complicating Biffy’s life most of all, though, is the return of Professor Lyall, the pack’s Beta, after a long absence. Both wonder where things stand between them now, and whether or not rekindling their past is in their future.

Review: I’ve been caught in the clutches of a horrific reading slump for the past few months, but reading the absolutely delightful Romancing the Werewolf reminded me all over again why I love reading.

I look forward to every new release from Gail Carriger, but I was especially eager to read Romancing the Werewolf. The novella features werewolves Biffy and Lyall, two of my favorite characters from Carriger’s supernatural/Victorian steampunk world of her Parasol Protectorate and Finishing School series. Everyone who’s been waiting to find out what happens to Biffy and Lyall post-Timeless will not be disappointed here.

It’s been twenty years since Professor Randolph Lyall, Beta of the London Pack, departed England to make amends with another pack. Now he’s returned to resume his previous duties but under the leadership of a different Alpha—Biffy. Biffy, a former vampire drone who once harbored hopes of becoming a vampire himself but instead wound up a werewolf. Not only did he not join the supernatural set in the manner he’d wished, but now he’s a pack leader. Biffy also differs from his predecessor, Lord Maccon, in just about every respect: in stature, in temperament, and most certainly in decibel level. Biffy is struggling to find his footing as Alpha and doubts his ability to lead, but fortunately, Lyall has always excelled in his role as Beta and at smoothing over any troubles within the pack.

While the novella’s heart lies in the question of whether or not the two werewolves will reconnect with each other, there’s also a mystery to solve involving abandoned babies, as well as plenty of the signature hilarity that makes the Parasolverse so much fun to visit every single time. The humor in the books and novellas just clicks with me, and I highlighted several chuckle-inducing quotes from Romancing the Werewolf on my Kindle so I could go back later and laugh out loud all over again.

Don’t let the novella length of Romancing the Werewolf fool you: there’s a sweet, wonderfully developed story here, along with some lovably quirky characters, lots of witty dialogue, and tea. This novella was everything that I’d hoped it would be—simply perfect from beginning to end. I’ve been loving these Parasolverse stories, and as long as Gail Carriger keeps writing them, I’ll absolutely keep reading them.

All in All: I couldn’t put this down! With the Biffy/Lyall focus, Romancing the Werewolf made this Parasolverse fan extremely happy. Please note, though, that you can read this without having read any other novels or novellas set in this world. If you’re new to the Parasolverse, Romancing the Werewolf is an excellent place to start!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

October 2017 Recap

Oh dear. Can you even call a post a recap if there's nothing to recap? October was just about crickets around here. :( I blame the usual culprits: work, adulting, and real life in general.

I did get to read Gail Carriger's fantastic upcoming novella, Romancing the Werewolf:

I'll be posting my review in the next few days, but for now I'll say that this is a must-read for fans of the Parasolverse! If you haven't read any of those books, no worries; you can still read this standalone novella!

Ally, Melissa, and I are headed to Charleston next week for YALLFest! This will be our third year attending, and we always have so much fun at the event. Fingers crossed that I can spare a few moments to write some kind of recap post of our adventures there, LOL. Until then, happy November reading! :D