Monday, May 23, 2016

[Discussion] BEA 2016

Happy Monday friends! It's hard for me to even believe that BEA was over a week ago. What is life? I miss the craziness enough, so I figured that I would share my adventures with you!
As you may or may not know, I am a proud Chicagoan. Chicago is the only city I've lived in and I find it really hard to even imagine living elsewhere.

So when I heard that BEA was going to be in Chicago for the first time, it felt like Christmas. Especially since NYC is so far away and I just generally can't see myself traveling all the way to NYC just for BEA. Although now I'm kind of changing my mind.

Getting ahead of myself now. 

Let's start with Day One. 

I wasn't too sure what time to arrive at McComick Place. The floor opened at 1PM on Wednesday so I was kind of sitting around my house just charging things and looking for snacks. I'm always worried that I'm going to starve to death. 

I made my way to McCormick Place despite the rain and rerouted CTA buses, I made it! I was amazed by the line already for entrance to BEA (it was like 11 AM), but I was more surprised by how many people were lined up for Starbucks. We are a country that runs on coffee that is for sure. 

I was finally able to meet Jessica @ A Great Read and Nikki @ Take Me Away which was awesome! I think we perfected Divide and Conquer! This being our first BEA, I think it was safe to say that we had no idea what to do. Luckily there weren't any drops happening immediately, so we were able to wander around and get an understanding of the layout. 

I remember getting a lot of totes in the beginning. I may have as many totes as I do ARCs. Possibility, I'll get back to you on that one. I hung out mostly at Epic Reads because they had three drops for ARCs I was interested in: Three Dark Crowns, The Thousandth Floor, and Replica. I also snatched a copy of A Shadow Bright and Burning.  The Thousandth Floor was the book I knew the least about, but now I think it's one of my most anticipated reads!

As the day started to wind down (today was a half day), I decided to check out the YA panel for the day. I forgot what the topic was, something about Upcoming YA Titles. It was a great conversation and I've said this one before, but I always love seeing authors being so friendly together. It's great the YA is a community for both book bloggers and for authors and that we can offer each other that support. 

At the end of the day, the three of us went to Portillos (as one does) and planned out how to strategically go about Day 2 since publishers were dropping some pretty big titles. In the end, I got a pretty nice sized pile. Karen @ For What It's Worth told me plenty of times that I would need to bring a suitcase, but I told myself that I was probably going to end BEA with 12 books at the most and that I wouldn't need a suitcase. Yeah, I came home with about 15 books that first day. So I brought a suitcase.
Day Two. 

On Thursday, I woke up bright and early and got to McCormick by 8:30 AM. Thursday was a lot more lively, I could tell that a lot of people chose to sit out on Wednesday and were ready to go Thursday morning. After making a pit stop at The Novl to grab the Strange, the Dreamer sampler pack, I darted off to MacMillian to try to get an ARC of Metaltown by the lovely Kristen Simmons. Sadly, the line had closed as soon as I had gotten there, but Nikki had scored a copy. Since I wanted to see Kristen again and Nikki had other ARCs to find, we made a deal that I would get her ARC signed for her while she went to get a book for her sister. 

After getting some buttons and saying hi to Kristen (who is my absolute favorite human being), I met up with Jessica and we did some wandering. Naturally, we made our way to Disney which had a delicious spread of coffee, tea, and an assortment of breads. While stuffing my face, I found the courage to talk books with one of the publicists and I'm so happy we did. I learned more about Spindle (which I didn't know what even in existence??) and general Disney happenings. 

After chitchatting, we made our way to Bloomsbury for the long-awaited Stealing Snow. While waiting for the drop, I chatted with the publicist about some YA titles coming this year. I must say, Erica gave the best description of The Edge of Everything. Bounty hunter from hell? I'm there. I'm so there. And how convenient, that galley was dropping at the same time as Stealing Snow.

While attempting to wait to get tickets for Heartless (I'm sure you all know about that insanity, I don't need to rehash it), Jessica and I ran into some ladies from Mocha Girls Read. I was super excited to finally meet Alysia, founder of Mocha Girls Read. 

I didn't get a ticket to get Heartless, but Jess @ Books and Sensibility and I randomly ran into Laini Taylor so that makes up for it. 

I later attended another YA panel moderated by Veronica Roth. It was a great panel filled with lots of laughs and lots of TMI from Melissa de la Cruz! 

Even though I didn't end up getting the two ARCs I was looking forward to, it was still a great day! I was excited by equal parts books and blogger friends. I ended up going home fairly early (okay 5 PM so right on time) so I could be fully rested for the final day.

Day Three. 

Since I missed out on Heartless the first time around, I figured I would get a ticket for the autograph booth signings. I got to McCormick place around 7:30 (tickets open at 8 AM) and the line for tickets was already pretty long. Turns out they only had three tickets to give away for Heartless so no Marissa Meyer signing for me! I did get to meet Alexandra Bracken and she was signing copies of Passenger. Passenger has been my favorite book of the year so I really enjoyed meeting Alex and snapping a selfie!

Friday was all about Gemina though. Illuminae was my all-time favorite book in 2015 so I was going to cry if I couldn't get my hands on Gemina. Husband made note to tell me REPEATEDLY that he was not willing to bail me out of jail for murder. He kind of gets it. We spent most of Friday in line for Gemina, I think we started lining up around 12:30? This is where line friends get really important! It was great to have people to pass the time with and hold your spot while you run to get another ARC. It was also a fun surprise to see Jay Kristoff check out the Gemina line. The man is a giant and I'm a little in love. 

Unlike my Heartless story, this one ends happily! I got a copy of Gemina and literally almost cried. That's normal, right? You all do it too? Cool.

I was physically exhausted after that so I checked out the Tor Teen panel which was moderated wonderfully by Mundie Moms.

My BEA experience ended with a great dinner with Mocha Girls Read and me going to sleep well past my bedtime.

I don't know if I want to talk about Book Con. It was......intense and I was too tired to deal with it. But BEA was amazing, I might even be swayed to go to NYC next year!


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