Event Recap: Double Debut Delight

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Today I’ve got some highlights from Emily A. Duncan and Christine Lynn Herman’s debut day author event in Columbus, OH. I was thankful to get PTO from my boss to drive down for the Tuesday night fun and I’m so glad I was able to make it and support two incredible books and authors.

The hour long chat and q & a was super laid back and it was obvious the two were close friends. They pitched their books, Wicked Saints and The Devouring Gray, and then pitched each others. Hogwarts house sorting occurred and there was much debate on who would win in a fight out of all of their characters. They also talked about dark magic and how it works within a contemporary vs. high fantasy. After the talk, I was able to get my books signed and share my enthusiasm for both titles which I had already had the pleasure of reading and loving.

Have you read either The Devouring Gray or Wicked Saints? Been to a debut author signing?

Let me know in the comments below!

Event Recap: Schwab & Shenanigans

Event Recap_ Schwab & Shenanigans

On March 20, my friend Katie and I took a little road trip down to Columbus for a day of shopping and Victoria Schwab. We dined at two wonderfully delicious restaurants (Molly Woo’s & Cantina Laredo) which is a bit of a rarity for me with my gluten allergy and then visited IKEA for the very first time. Some people may swear by IKEA and while I will acknowledge their furniture is pretty amazing (I picked up a couple of Billy Bookcases), that building is a horror and I felt my life essence draining from my body with each step I took. Honestly we had to recover in a Barnes & Noble afterwards.

That night we headed over to Villa Milano for the Schwab event hosted by Westerville Public Library. There was a line wrapped around the building when we arrived and the large banquet hall filled up pretty quickly. I actually ran into one of my fellow Sirens Con attendees while there and it was great to catch up. Victoria answered audience questions for about an hour about everything from character development to adaptations to upcoming works and more. After that the signing line started and with over 300 people in attendance it took some time. Victoria’s totally worth it though!

Are you a Victoria Schwab fan? Which author would you want to meet?

Let me know in the comments below!

Sirens Conference 2018: Fantasy Fun

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My big trip for 2018 was Sirens Conference in Beaver Creek, Colorado. Hosted by Narrate Conferences, Sirens is a yearly gathering celebrating women and non-binary creators and characters in fantasy literature. Attendees range from writers, academics, readers, librarians, educators, and so many more and everyone’s voice is equally important. 2018 was Sirens’ 10th anniversary and this whole trip was absolutely amazing from start to finish.

My friend and I flew into Denver on Wednesday and took the Sirens Shuttle into the mountains. It’s an extremely beautiful drive as you go deeper and deeper into the Rockies especially with the dusting of snow at higher elevations. The Park Hyatt (where the conference is hosted) definitely leaned into the mountain aesthetic with lots of comfy/cozy chairs and fireplaces as well as antler lighting fixtures that screamed Shadow and Bone. Wednesday night was mostly acclimating to the altitude and wow did I drink a lot of water.

 Thursday evening was the official start of Sirens and for 2018 the conference was reflecting on four themes from previous years: hauntings, revolutionaries, lovers, and women who work magic. The guests of honor were Violet Kupersmith, Kameron Hurley, Anna-Marie McLemore, and Leigh Bardugo. Friday and Saturday were packed with programming, panels, keynotes, and tons of fun. Honestly I was blown away by the discussions and presentations that I was able to attend and there were so many other choices available. Plus the food was amazing and even with my gluten allergy there were plenty of choices.

The best thing about this conference though was the community itself. It didn’t matter if you were a first time attendee (me) or had been coming for all ten years. The staff and volunteers go out of their way to make Sirens an exceptionally diverse and welcoming experience and it was so easy to meet people and engage with others. Part of this probably has to do with everyone’s love of books (fantasy especially) but it also speaks to the quality of the conference itself. From meal excursions to ice breakers at keynotes and the most wonderful bookstore that was built for me; Sirens felt like home, a rejuvenating spring and I’m so grateful I could attend.

I loved Sirens so much and I definitely plan on going back. Next year’s theme is Heroes featuring some amazing authors and academics. The unabashed passion of the Sirens community and the experience I had in Beaver Creek is something that I will hold close to my heart and I highly recommend checking this conference out. Maybe I’ll see you in 2019!

Been to any amazing conferences? Love the book community?

Let me know in the comments below!

 

Summer Shenanigans: Highlights of the Season

1B399E0C-C1BE-474C-8B05-6D1F995F4314This summer, especially the end of July/beginning of August, has provided some truly awesome life experiences for me and I just wanted to share my excitement. The two big events were the Liverpool v. Manchester United match in Michigan and the Hamilton tour in Cleveland.

First up was the Liverpool match and I got to take my mom for this freaking wonderful day! The game was in Ann Arbor with the sun shining and a nice breeze. Thankfully it wasn’t outrageously hot and we were in the shade for most of the match. The last time I got to see Liverpool play in person was when I studied abroad there in 2009 and I couldn’t be happier that this one was against are biggest rivals. Unfortunately we ended up in a predominately United heavy area of the stadium but that didn’t deter our passion.

Since it was the last pre-season match in the U.S., a lot of the star players took center stage. We were ridiculously close to the field (as my legs can attest from walking seventy stairs) and Mo Salah and Sadio Mane’s brilliance was just a couple of yards away.

We went up 1-0 in the first half on a penalty kick but United responded with an amazing free kick to put it 1-1 at half time. The second half was even more exciting with us netting three more goals with one that was so stunning (a bicycle kick from Xherdan Shaqiri) that even the United fans were impressed. This whole day was an absolute dream and I’ll be thriving off this 4-1 win for a while.

The week after was a moment I’ve been waiting ages for and it was absolutely worth the wait. I finally got to see and experience Hamilton with my own eyes! The whole production was a work of art from set to costumes to vocals, etc. While not the original Broadway cast, the company on tour was exceptional and brought their own quirks and talent to the stage. I was honestly just blown away by the caliber of talent and storytelling on display. I wish that everyone had to opportunity to witness Hamilton in all it’s glory.

Did you do anything fun this summer? Any trips or staycations?

Let me know in the comments below!

A Happy Hour with Tomi Adeyemi

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On Saturday I had the pleasure of attending a wonderful author event in Detroit’s Museum of Contemporary Art hosted by The Shady Ladies Literary Society. The group puts together outings bringing together food, booze, and passion for women’s stories and I’m so glad they hosted the brilliant Tomi Adeyemi for her debut, Children of Blood and Bone.

 

My friend and I signed up for the Happy Hour option which entitled us to an hour and a half of mixing and mingling as well as the signature drink for the evening, Mama Agba’s Tea. The beverage was delightful and if we’d opted for the Dinner Party (which we fully regret not doing) I’d have had more than one.

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I was happy to meet up with Sarah from The Book Traveler and her daughter as it’s been almost two years since I’d last seen them and it was nice to catch up. Around 7:30pm the event coordinator invited Tomi up to read a brief passage from the book. She explained what this scene and writing meant to her, the fear and the hope she experienced.

After the reading Tomi was gracious enough to personalize copies of the book and speak with each of us. I expressed my love for the book and how I cannot wait to get it into the hands of my patrons and she made the connection between my name and How to Get Away with Murder and waxed poetic about the show.

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After that we had a chance to wander around the museum and check out the current installations. There was a maze to walk through, photography to view, and mixed media to contemplate.

All in all it was a fantastic event; an eclectic mix of age, race, and gender with an intimate environment and a whole lot of fun. I’m so glad I got to meet Tomi and hope to see her shine in the future and maybe I’ll get to more Shady Ladies’ events as well.

Have you read Children of Blood and Bone? Been to any unique author events?

Let me know in the comments below!

Midnight Tales: Leigh Bardugo Takes Michigan

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If Leigh Bardugo has an event within a five to six hour radius of me you know I’ll be attending, so of course I was thrilled by her Midnight Tales tour announcement. Grand Rapids on my Saturday off, heck yes! I jumped early on tickets for my friends and I, then anxiously waited for the actual day.

We left early on Saturday and made a quick stop in Holland, MI for a lovely lunch a quick tour of my alma mater, Hope College. Then it was off to Grand Rapids and Schuler Books. The place is absolutely massive and I probably would have got lost in there if I had the chance.

The set up was little wonky for so many people but I managed to get a standing spot so I could see the stage. To my surprise, one of my BEA buddies, Stefani was also in attendance so it was wonderful to catch up with her.

Leigh was as fabulous as ever chatting about everything from upcoming projects (of course I’m losing my mind over King of Scars) to writing and publishing tips. My favorite question though was the very last asking if the Six of Crows crew was on Chopped, what would they make. Wylan would make a souffle (intensive, detailed), Jesper something spicy, Nina would obviously make waffles, Inej would have mad knife skills (duh), Matthias would make a traditional Fjerdan dish, and Kaz would craft an extravagant meal and be like what, are you surprised.

After that came the signing which we were thankfully early on in line for since there were 200+ attendees. Leigh was rocking a gorgeous top that I would love to purchase for myself and was exceedingly kind. She even took a picture of me in my Wylan cosplay.

After that it was Chipotle for dinner and back to Ohio. Overall an absolutely wonderful day.

Have you gotten the chance to meet any authors? Any on your wishlist?

Let me know in the comments below!

BookNet Fest 2017: Witch Wanderings & Panels Galore

Guess who started out September in the best way possible!

That’s right. It’s me!

The inaugural BookNet Fest, a book community convention created by Sam of Thoughts on Tomes and Marines of MYNAMEISMARINES, was held September 1-2 in Orlando, FL and I’m so thankful I could attend. I’ll be honest, the biggest thing that convinced me to go was the optional Day 1 trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, but I was also excited for the more intimate gathering and the focus on panels.

Needless to say attending was the right decision!

So Day 1 was the HP trip and I would really just like to live in the wizarding areas of those parks. Walking up to Kings Cross and the London buildings was ridiculously exciting and spotting the Knight Bus was an added bonus. Diagon Alley is beyond belief and my eyes could not move fast enough. There’s just so much to freaking see! Being able to taste butterbeer for the first time (it’s gluten free), seeing Celestina Warbeck perform, looking into all the shop windows. It was a dream come true!

Of course I had to catch the train to Hogwarts as it was September 1st after all. It’s a super cool experience and also saved my feet from extra steps in the heat. Hogsmeade and Hogwarts brought more gleeful moments though. I was so distracted by a wizard snowman that I didn’t even notice the castle! The detail in every little thing was just extraordinary and my excitement never diminished. I was able to go on all the different rides and think the Gringotts one may be my favorite. I even got to have a meal at The Three Broomsticks.

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My wallet definitely suffered the consequences of my unending HP delight and with some master packing skills I managed to get this all home in one bag.

The BookNet Fest event on Day 2 was the perfect laid back affair to recover. Everything was held in the same area of the hotel with two panel tracks running right next to each other. The morning began with an Opening Keynote from the creators and than there was panels, panels, panels. I attended US & the Industry, On Reviewing, For the Love of YA, a Gameshow, Romance, Sex, & OTPs, and Diversity in the Book Community.

 Sam and Marines did such an outstanding job bringing this event to life and it ran so smoothly. Each panel was interesting and informative with wide variety of panelists bringing their own unique perspectives. It was interactive, inviting, and intimate. I had such an amazing time and felt reinvigorated in my book efforts and desire to engage with others.

By far my favorite panel was Diversity in the Book Community. The conversations were real and honest with such emotion behind all of it. It brought to the forefront important discussions that this community is starting to have and needs to continue having. Honestly it could have lasted like two more hours and it still wouldn’t have covered everything.

Overall I had such an amazing time at BookNetFest and HP World! It was the perfect Labor Day weekend trip and I’m so glad I decided to go. It reignited my soul in a lot of ways and I hope to carry this passion through the rest of 2017!

How did you spend your Labor Day? Have you been to Wizarding World Orlando? Gone to any book events?

Let me know in the comments below!

Free Comic Book Day ~ 2017

Another Free Comic Book Day has come and gone and my wallet is quite a bit lighter. This yearly event takes place across the globe at independent comic stores. Publishers sponsor preview issues of their upcoming work and bring more attention to small businesses in the process!

My shop, Carol & John’s Comics, always puts on two massive events, one on the day and a midnight release. Since I had to work Saturday, my friends and I decided on the Friday night shindig and got there early enough, 7:30 PM, to get a good spot in line. It had rained all day but there were still a ton of people already there.

I had planned on cosplaying as Rey but it was pretty darn chilly so that went out the window. There were plenty of people out willing to suffer though and there were some excellent outfits on the night. Of course I’m always a fan of the Rebel Legion and 501st Star Wars costumes.

Starting at 10 PM, there’s an artist alley with local artists open to drawing free sketches and selling some of their prints. I’m a sucker for art and grabbed a couple of things on the night. By far my favorite is this Hamilton hug from Erin Schechtman of Super Group Hugs. I also had to have her Han and Leia hug. I also picked up a few Dee Pio pieces with my DC female faves and had her sketch me an adorable Princess Leia.

I make it a point to always purchase a couples of things in store for FCBD since the shop does so much for the event and their customers. I picked this year’s themed art print featuring the Guardians of the Galaxy as well as the two comics currently in my file and the third part of ATLA’s North and South storyline.

Then it was just waiting and waiting and waiting for those free comics. I picked up an excellent selection of previews and the shop was also giving out free trade paperbacks to the first 100 or so in line. I’m excited to dive into these and see if I need to add any titles to my list.

So did you make it out to Free Comic Book Day this year? What titles interest you the most? Are you as big of a sucker for art as I am? Let me know in the comments below!

A Schwab Signing: Saying Anoshe to Shades of Magic

When Victoria Schwab announced her tour for A Conjuring of Light the question was how far would I need to travel to see one of my favorite authors. Thankfully it was only a measly four hours to Crestview Hills, KY and my friend and I made plans right away for a Saturday adventure with clear schedules and fingers crossed for good weather.

Luckily no snow came our way and on Saturday March 4, the two of us set out for a fun filled road trip. The back of my car was stuffed full with two of the most important things on this planet, books and food. Seriously we had close to a full refrigerator of snacks back there. We arrived at Joseph-Beth Booksellers with three hours to go before the event so of course some damage was done to my wallet.

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2017 Love-A-Thon ~ Kick-Off & Questionnaire

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The 2017 Love-A-Thon is a wonderful weekend event held from February 18-20 to promote positivity, kindness, friendship, and good vibes throughout the book community whether it be in blogging, booktube, bookstagram, etc. Hosted by Alexa Loves Books, The Novel Hermit, Super Space Chick & The Daily Prophecy, Love-A-Thon brings people together with fun challenges, twitter chats, blog hopping, and comment sprees. Come join the fun!

To kick off the event, everyone participating starts off with a post highlighting a little about themselves. So, find out about me with the questions and answers below!


QUESTIONNAIRE

An Intro to Me and My Blog

What’s your name? Where in the world are you blogging from?

My name is Annalisse and I blog from the currently icy shores of Lake Erie.

Tell us your history with reading. Were you always a reader? Were you a reluctant reader? Was there a book that convinced you to become a reader?

I’ve always loved books and was raised in a family of readers but Harry Potter is what really sealed the deal for me.

How did you get involved in the online book community?

I’d followed a few booktubers for a while but what really immersed me in the book community was the excitement before Six of Crows released. It’s how I discovered book blogs. Continue reading