BookExpo 2017: Experience and Recap

Hi! I’m back! Where have I disappeared to during these six long months? Well, I was drowning in the pool of stress and work that is second semester senior year (it’s no joke, guys, I seriously don’t understand where everyone gets the idea that second semester seniors have it easy). And now, I’m a few days away from graduating, back to actually blogging about books, and feeling great about life again :^)

A few weeks ago (wow, I still can’t believe that it’s been WEEKS), I had the most incredible privilege of going to BookExpo (formerly known as BookExpo America), for the first time ever! And though it was also during the middle of two math finals, I managed to get ARCs of some of my most anticipated 2017-2018 releases, and meet some pretty ~spectacular~ people!

BookExpo is the #1 book trade fair in North America, an event where publishers showcase upcoming titles to thousands of librarians, educators, booksellers, and bloggers. It is a 3-day event, usually held in late May-early June, right before the weekend of BookCon.

In short, I got to meet so many authors, speak to so so so many great publishers, and learn more about upcoming releases to share with all of you! A really big thank you to Melissa (@thebooknerdiest on instagram), Alice, Fede, Rachel (@Blackvioletnyc), and the amazing people whom I talked to in line: you guys made my first BookExpo experience unforgettable.

A recap:

Day 1: Wednesday, May 31st, 2017
Straight from Snapchat xD
The first day is all about check-in and badge pick up! Only the remainders pavilion and a few panels were open, so I checked out the Javits center, picked up my badge, and went home to prepare for Thursday (and squeeze in a little studying). I also met Mitali (@alleyofbooks) when I got off the subway at Hudson Yards, and we had a fun little chat about Wonder Woman: Warbringer and of course, books!
I had never been to BEA, so I didn’t know what the Remainders Pavilion was. And essentially, it’s a bunch of book retailers and a few publishing houses selling remainders or older books for very discounted prices.

Day 2: Thursday, June 1st, 2017
The show floor opens! I got to the Javits Center at 11 AM, after my first two math finals, and immediately, upon walking in, I was handed a tote bag, and a book! Owlcrate had a spin-the-wheel activity, and there was no line, so I spun the wheel, and won an Anna and the French Kiss tea. After, I went to meet up with Melissa, and met Alice in line for a galley drop of All the Crooked Saints. We missed the giveaway by 2 people, but eventually we did get a copy at Friday’s drop. Melissa, Alice, and I got an ARC of Alexandra Bracken’s new MG novel, The Dreadful Tales of Prosper Redding, and met two really nice bookstagrammers (@drowinginfandomfeels) on that line.

Penguin Teen had a surprise galley drop of Warcross and Whichwood, which we were lucky enough to snag a copy of. Matt De La Pena was signing ARCs of his new children’s picture book, based off the upcoming Disney/Pixar movie Coco, and it was great to meet Matt. Sourcebooks was also giving away these really sturdy tote bags, which Alice and I didn’t realize had A BAG OF BISCUIT FLOUR in them, until a little while later….

At the Invictus signing, I met Fede (who’s from Argentina!) in line, and got a chance to speak to Ryan Graudin, and I totally fangirled about how much I loooooove Wolf by Wolf and Blood for Blood, in front of her. I finished Blood for Blood a month ago, and I’m still shook. All in all, I had a great time on Thursday!

Books I'm most excited for from Thursday!
Day 3: Friday, June 2nd, 2017
On Friday, all my thoughts were focused on getting Leigh Bardugo’s new book from the DC Icons series, Wonder Woman: Warbringer. I was on line for Marie Lu’s signing for Warcross, when I heard that the line for Leigh Bardugo’s signing was already forming. So we waited, for an hour and half before Penguin handed out tickets to Leigh's signing. Leigh, beautiful with gorgeous hair as always, was a pleasure to meet again and have a very brief chat with.

Marie Lu, Julie Dao, Neil Patrick Harris, and Leigh Bardugo
After Leigh’s signing, I met Jennifer L. Armentrout, and she was signing ARCs of If There’s No Tomorrow, which I am very excited for. Holly Black’s signing of Cruel Prince was at the same time as Julie Dao’s signing of Forest of a Thousand Lanterns, and I was lucky enough to meet them both!

At around 4 PM, I started feeling the fatigue of two days' worth of hauling books around with very little sleep and food. But Neil Patrick Harris was also signing copies of his new MG chapter book, The Magic Misfits, and we didn’t need tickets for the signing! Rachel, who I met on line for Cruel Prince was with me, and the Neil Patrick Harris line moved SUPER fast! Within 10 minutes, I was standing before the actor whom I never imagined to ever meet. Of course, I fangirled. Alot. And when I asked Neil about his Olaf tattoo on his ankle, he stuck up his leg from behind the autographing table he was signing at, moved down his sock a bit, and there it was! Olaf’s tattoo! Unfortunately, we weren’t able to take pictures with Neil, but I swear, I was more shook than I had been for months. So when BookExpo ended, I left with very sore shoulders, bags filled with new adventures, and the memory of seeing Neil Patrick Harris’s ankle. Yep, I was very happy, and grinning like crazy as I walked out of the Javits Center, at the end of the day.

Books I'm most excited for from Friday!


  All the books I received at BookExpo 2017!






Want by Cindy Pon | Book Review

Title: Want
Author: Cindy Pon
Pages: 336 pages
Release Date: June 13th, 2017
Source: ARC from publisher
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Rating: 4/5 stars
From critically acclaimed author Cindy Pon comes an edge-of-your-seat sci-fi thriller, set in a near-future Taipei plagued by pollution, about a group of teens who risk everything to save their city.

Jason Zhou survives in a divided society where the elite use their wealth to buy longer lives. The rich wear special suits, protecting them from the pollution and viruses that plague the city, while those without suffer illness and early deaths. Frustrated by his city’s corruption and still grieving the loss of his mother who died as a result of it, Zhou is determined to change things, no matter the cost.

With the help of his friends, Zhou infiltrates the lives of the wealthy in hopes of destroying the international Jin Corporation from within. Jin Corp not only manufactures the special suits the rich rely on, but they may also be manufacturing the pollution that makes them necessary.

Yet the deeper Zhou delves into this new world of excess and wealth, the more muddled his plans become. And against his better judgment, Zhou finds himself falling for Daiyu, the daughter of Jin Corp’s CEO. Can Zhou save his city without compromising who he is, or destroying his own heart?

Preorder now! 
**I received an advanced e-galley from the publishers. This has not affected my review in any way** 

Rarely have I ever found a book as perfect for me as this one right here. It is a science fiction book featuring an Asian main character, written by an Asian author. It takes place in Taipei, Taiwan. The main character has the same birthday as me. We might as well have been twins. I was reading this book for the #AsianLitBingo event that was happening. It was also Asian Heritage Month when I read it, and I think its important to acknowledge these stories by own voices authors.

This book is just so different from anything on the market right now. I really enjoyed the change of pace. I had never read a book with a setting in Taiwan! Growing up in Taiwan, the author made sure to include key parts of what she loved most about her birthplace. 

Not many people caught this but despite the fact that the entire book was told in English, the characters were actually speaking Mandarin. I thought that was a really interesting perspective and often times I found myself trying to translate the English into Mandarin, even though my Chinese is subpar at best. The book brought so many relatable parts of my culture into the story, including the foods that I eat and the customs we have in my house. It was so great to read about someone so similar to me on the pages of a book. It's a feeling I can never explain. 

I think with a lot of science fiction books, we as readers always ask ourselves "is this plot believable or conceivable?". Want takes place in a future where the levels of pollution have wrecked havoc because of the actions of society. It is a totally realistic re-imagining of how the world will look in 50-100 years, from the state of the environment, increase in expensive technology, and the wealth gap between the rich and the poor.

The book starts off by thrusting us into the conflict but slows down from there. I found the middle to be quite slow and dragging at times. The pace picked up after about 100-150 pages, and I was hooked. I so desperately wanted to know what the end of the book held for the fate of this society.

Although there is a romance between the main protagonist and one of the characters, I think it took a back seat for most of the book. The real shining gem of this book were the freaking fantastic characters and their relationships. The entire cast was amazingly diverse, including a Filipino, Indian and a bisexual character. Even from the beginning of the book, we get to see how close this ragtag group of activists is and how they strive for change.

Want is much more than a diverse, fast-paced science fiction novel. It's as Kirkus says a 'socially conscious futuristic thriller'. It's a story that reveals much more about our society than we realize. It brings to light so many current issues that I think many readers will take a stand in. I also think this is a great book that will, in the future, create more advocates to stand up against issues like poverty and the continued pollution that occurs. Not only did Want fulfill my little environmentalist heart, but it was also a token to my culture and background. If you're even the slightest bit hesitant about picking up this book because you don't think it'll be your cup of tea, just buy it anyway to prove yourself wrong. If you ever need more confirmation, just talk to the author because she's a sweetheart as well!

BLOG TOUR | Flame In the Mist - Learn Some Japanese + Giveaway!

Title: Flame In the Mist
Author: Renée Ahdieh
Pages: 368 pages
Release Date: May 16th, 2017
Source: ARC from PenguinTeen
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Rating: 3/5 stars
The daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has long known her place—she may be an accomplished alchemist, whose cunning rivals that of her brother Kenshin, but because she is not a boy, her future has always been out of her hands. At just seventeen years old, Mariko is promised to Minamoto Raiden, the son of the emperor's favorite consort—a political marriage that will elevate her family's standing. But en route to the imperial city of Inako, Mariko narrowly escapes a bloody ambush by a dangerous gang of bandits known as the Black Clan, who she learns has been hired to kill her before she reaches the palace.

Dressed as a peasant boy, Mariko sets out to infiltrate the ranks of the Black Clan, determined to track down the person responsible for the target on her back. But she's quickly captured and taken to the Black Clan’s secret hideout, where she meets their leader, the rebel ronin Takeda Ranmaru, and his second-in-command, his best friend Okami. Still believing her to be a boy, Ranmaru and Okami eventually warm to Mariko, impressed by her intellect and ingenuity. As Mariko gets closer to the Black Clan, she uncovers a dark history of secrets, of betrayal and murder, which will force her to question everything she's ever known.
 

Buy it now! 
Welcome to today's tour stop for Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh. As a third-year Japanese student, I was so excited at the possibility of a book that takes place in feudal Japan inspired by the character and story of Mulan. I've been taking a course in the Japanese language in my school for the past three years of high school. I'm really lucky to have a teacher that is as passionate to teach the language as I am to learn it. Kawamoto-sensei often brings objects and candy back from Japan on vacations to share with us.

Although it has proved to be quite a challenging course, I do enjoy learning and speaking the language. I think the best part is writing the characters though because some are very similar to Chinese characters. For today's post I'm going to share a little bit from my knowledge of learning Japanese for the past three years. Now keep in mind that I'm not a native speaker but the first thing I learned was the hiragana system of Japanese writing. 

There are three Japanese systems of writing: hiragana, katakana and kanji. The names in Ahdieh's book are in romaji, which is a representation of Japanese sounds using the English alphabet.

I will be teaching you how to write the names in the book in hiragana characters. I'm not 100% sure if the author intended her names to be in romaji but that's what it seems like. Traditional Japanese names are usually written in kanji, but I won't be writing it in kanji for today because those characters are really complicated and there are many kanji that could represent the same hiragana.

This is a hiragana chart! These sounds represent a different character. You can use these sounds to create a word. For example the word tachi (which means long sword) is composed of the two separate syllables ta and chi. You could look on the hiragana chart and look for which Japanese hiragana characters represent the worlds ta and chi. Let's see! 

We found them! Now put them together!

Let's try with some of the character names! 

TIP: Feel free to try writing some of the other words in the book in hiragana! It's not hard once you remember the hiragana chart. With good study habits and dedication, you'll be writing sentences in no time! In my opinion, out of the three Japanese writing systems I find that hiragana is the easiest. My Japanese teacher started teaching me with hiragana, so as a tip I'd say to start with learning this before you jump to remembering words and definitions. 

GIVEAWAY TIME!

Enter for a chance to win one (1) of five (5) copies of Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh (ARV: $17.99 each).

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on May 8, 2017 and 12:00 AM on June 5, 2017.  Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about June 10, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

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Renée Ahdieh 

Renée Ahdieh is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling The Wrath and the Dawn and The Rose and the Dagger. In her spare time, she likes to dance salsa and collect shoes. She is passionate about all kinds of curry, rescue dogs, and college basketball. The first few years of her life were spent in a high-rise in South Korea; consequently, Renée enjoys having her head in the clouds. She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband and their tiny overlord of a dog.
 

Author Links: 

#ReadADessen | Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen Favorite Quote + Giveaway!

Title: Saint Anything
Author: Sarah Dessen
Pages: 417 pages
Release Date: May 5th, 2017
Genre:  Young Adult, Contemporary 
Peyton, Sydney's charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion's share of their parents' attention and—lately—concern. When Peyton's increasingly reckless behavior culminates in an accident, a drunk driving conviction, and a jail sentence, Sydney is cast adrift, searching for her place in the family and the world. When everyone else is so worried about Peyton, is she the only one concerned about the victim of the accident?

Enter the Chathams, a warm, chaotic family who run a pizza parlor, play bluegrass on weekends, and pitch in to care for their mother, who has multiple sclerosis. Here Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance. And here she meets Mac, gentle, watchful, and protective, who makes Sydney feel seen, really seen, for the first time.

The uber-popular Sarah Dessen explores her signature themes of family, self-discovery, and change in her twelfth novel, sure to delight her legions of fans.

Buy it now! 

Sarah Dessen's Saint Anything is riddled with quotes that I find inspirational and motivating. It's hard, when reading such a lengthy book, to choose just one that you think fits the entire theme of the book as well as catch the attention of any perspective readers. However, I think I did a pretty good job at choosing one that glorifies this book and extends an honest and truthful message. Some may take this quote as a damsel in distress seeking attention. The way I see it is that even those scary things may happen, we shouldn't run the other away and cower in an "invisible place". It's never wrong or cowardly for us to ask for someone else's help in a situation where the outlook may seem dim. 

What is your fave Sarah Dessen quote?



GIVEAWAY TIME! 

Enter for a chance to win one (1) set of Sarah Dessen’s books in paperback (ARV: $132.00).

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on April 17, 2017 and 12:00 AM on May 29, 2017.  Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about June 1, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

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