Wednesday, December 26, 2018

2019 Beat the Backlist Reading Challenge

It's been a while since I attempted a reading challenge besides the yearly Goodreads one, but after thinking about how many books are piling up on my shelves and Kindle, I'm giving Novel Knight's Beat the Backlist challenge a go!

There are so many books that I wanted to read in 2018 but didn't get to, so this challenge is the perfect motivation for me to get those titles read in 2019! Here are some of the books that I'm planning to read for the challenge:

I'm also taking part in the Hogwarts mini challenge and will be trying to earn points for Ravenclaw!

If you've read any of these books, what did you think? Are you doing any reading challenges for 2019?

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Adventures at YALLFest 2018

Yep, YALLFest was in November and this recap is posting in December, but that's been the story of my life this year—way behind on everything.

This was our fourth trip to Charleston, South Carolina, and every year just gets better. I'm going to get a little nostalgic here. It's crazy to think how much our lives have changed since Ally, Melissa, and I attended our first festival back in 2015. We adult, or at least attempt to adult, a lot more now, but no matter how hectic our schedules get, it's understood that we're going to YALLFest in November. Together. End nostalgia trip.

Our journey began once again in the rather early hours of the morning. By 3:30AM, we had our first cups of coffee of the day in hand and were ready to hit the road. Even the drive from Florida to South Carolina feels shorter every year, and a couple of hours later, we arrived at the Charleston Visitor's Center.

While the big day of author signings and panels takes place on Saturday, Friday's YALLCrawl also features some signings and events. I was excited to see that Jenny Han would be there on Friday so I could hopefully get my copy of To All the Boys I've Loved Before signed. I was lucky I got in line early because the signing was limited to about 100 people. Jenny Han was so sweet, and I got my book signed—yay!

While I waited in line, Ally and Melissa headed off to Megan Shepherd's signing. Afterwards we met back up and checked out Underlined's pop-up shop. I finally scored one of their Book Nerd shirts that I'd seen around the Interwebz. We then decided on both an early dinner and an early bedtime so we could rest up for Saturday's super packed schedule.

Having to work with too many Excel spreadsheets at any given time at work, I very, very geekily came up with the notion of creating—you guessed it—a spreadsheet of Saturday's events so we could prioritize. My cousins mocked my nerdiness, but that didn't stop them from referring to the spreadsheet throughout the day. I spotted other festival attendees carrying spreadsheets around as well, which I smugly mentioned to Ally and Melissa.

Fueled by bagels and coffee (we are still very much New Yorkers at heart!), the three of us were standing in front of the Charleston Museum, site of several publisher booths and author signings, by 7:30AM. And various lines were already forming. Ally and I dutifully joined the queue to secure wristbands for the Shadowhunter Army giveaway event later in the afternoon, where we received these goodies:

The festivities fully launched at 9AM, and from there, the remainder of the day consisted of a nonstop flurry of hustling from line to line. Besides the Shadowhunter event, my other musts were the Alexandra Bracken signing and the poster giveaway promoting the upcoming The Rise of Kyoshi, set in the world of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Here is the poster, featuring the absolutely GORGEOUS cover art:

Ally and I have gotten books signed by Alexandra Bracken at every YALLFest we've attended, and so we had to keep up our annual tradition, lol. I love that my copy of The Princess, the Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy now says, "Use the Force, Lee!" It's just perfect for this Star Wars fangirl!

By the time everything came to a close around 5PM, we were both exhausted and exhilarated, and most definitely ravenous. A Five Guys cheeseburger never tasted so savory. After inhaling our meal, we retired to the hotel sated and happy with all of our new bookish memories.

And so another YALLFest was . . . on the books. :D I'm looking forward to reading these goodies that I picked up:

The Music of What Happens by Bill Konigsberg
The Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe
Courting Darkness by Robin LaFevers
Once a King by Erin Summerill
Where She Fell by Kaitlin Ward
The Graces by Laure Eve
Song of the Abyss by Makiia Lucier
Spark by Sarah Beth Durst
Amelia Westlake Was Never Here by Erin Gough
Quarantine: A Love Story by Katie Cicatelli-Kuc
Voices: The Final Hours of Joan of Arc by David Elliott
Lovely War by Julie Berry
Waiting for Fitz by Spencer Hyde
Last of Her Name by Jessica Khoury