Thursday, April 30, 2015

Lori Goldstein's Becoming Jinn Launch Party

I was able to attend Lori Goldstein's Launch Party for Becoming Jinn at Porter Square Books in Cambridge on Monday, April 27, 2015. Can I say that Porter Square Books is at the cutest book store ever? I love the setup of the store and it's awesome how there is a cafe in the front of the store. I have yet to try anything from the cafe but I hope to do so in the near future. The staff at the book store is so nice and helpful.

I arrived to Porter Square Books fairly early and was able to meet up with Molly before the event started. Lori of course looked fantastic in her amazing sage green and white patterned dress adorned with a Jinn bangle around her left wrist. Lori can't grant everyone a wish like Azra can unless it's an amazing book about genies. I loved how she encouraged the audience to write their wish on a white board and take selfies of themselves. They can post them on Instagram and Twitter with #BecomingJinn.

Lori showed the audience a picture of herself when she was younger and showed us multiple inspirational images. One of the inspirational pages had some well known books such as The Outsiders and The Vampire Lestat.  When it comes to television, she enjoys watching shows that have magical elements in a contemporary world. It gives a modern spin to something supernatural and paranormal. Some of her favorites include The Vampire Diaries and Charmed. I was super excited when I heard Charmed. I knew Lori is a big Vampire Diaries fan but I was ecstatic when I found out she loves Charmed too. I grew up on Charmed during my middle school and high school years and it's my favorite TV show of all time. She also likes 90210. Just like 90210, Becoming Jinn has a large ensemble of characters.

When Lori decided to write Becoming Jinn, she started with the main character, Azra. The world building and other characters were created after Azra. Azra's name derives from a baby girl who miraculously survives an earthquake in Turkey. Lori did a lot of research about mythology and she used sources like Legends of the Fire Spirits: Jinn and Genies from Arabia to Zanzibar and Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses. The roots are based on beliefs. Lori then twists and creates something new from these roots. Crane Beach located in Ipswich, MA is the inspiration for the beach in Becoming Jinn.

Before writing Becoming Jinn, her husband encouraged her to write a memoir about being short. She used to write a lot of non-fiction since she majored in journalism and was a copy editor and graphic designer at one point in her life. When Lori saw the words "In Pursuit of Magic" written into the sidewalk, it sparked the beginning Azra's Journey. Lori set a weekly writing goal for herself instead of a daily one. She likes to make a outline of novel before writing. Lori starts early at 8 in the morning but her best time to write is around 3 or 4 in the afternoon since she needs the long lead up time before writing. Lori's editor helped develop the identities of Azra and also the five Zar sisters. Originally, the identities weren't completely flushed out beforehand.

When someone asked about whether the bangle that Lori was wearing is the same one on the cover of the book, she said yes. Lori actually found the bangle at Ten Thousand Villages in Cambridge, MA. She only found two at that location and was able to locate four more at a Ten Thousand Villages store in Portland, ME. Fortunately a friend from San Francisco was visiting Portland at the time and was able to pick up the bangles for her. The bangles are perfect for what Lori envisions Azra and her Zar sisters' Jinn bangles to look like. Speaking of Azra and her Zar sisters, Lori surprised the audience with a small play with teenage girls acting out the birthday scene in Becoming Jinn. I enjoyed the mini play and it was a nice way to incorporate different forms of art during the launch party. Lori's advice to debut authors is to love what you write. You will read what you've written over and over again so choose a topic that you love. Also, don't give up.

Currently Lori is working on two contemporary standalones. Becoming Jinn is part of a duology and the second book's title is something on the lines of Circle of Jinn. However, this is not set into stone. Lori would love to write a spin off with Yasmin being the main character which I would love to read if Lori ever decides to pursue writing in Yasmin's point of view. Lori was certainly not kidding about food, wine and genies being present at the launch party. There were platters of cheese, crackers, strawberries, grapes, olives, wine, water and sodas. And the genies of course were the six teenage girls as Azra and her Zar sisters.

I was able to meet up with Ellie and her friend Lauren before leaving Porter Square Books. I definitely enjoyed the atmosphere of the launch party. It was welcoming and comforting. It was a great way to celebrate Becoming Jinn and to meet new people.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Alternate Realities: Bringing Fictional Worlds to Life

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I was fortunate to attend the Alternate Realities: Bringing Fictional Worlds to Life panel at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Newburyport, MA. This was one of the panels at the Newburyport Literary Festival on Saturday, April 25, 2015. The panel was moderated by Robin Brenner, Teen Librarian of the Public Library of Brookline. Avi, Myfanwy Collins, Heather Demetrios and Lori Goldstein spoke at this thought-provoking panel. All of the presenters had very insightful things to say regarding world building, writing from experience and about publishing in general.

First, authors shared some of their favorite books. Demetrios mentioned she loves Little Women and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Goldstein shared her love for Stephen King and Judy Blume. Avi enjoys The Wind and the Willows and Treasure Island.

Creating a world depends on the genre of the book that is going to be written. Realistic contemporary has a different approach than a full blown fantasy. Demetrios was able to create her worlds through sensory memory. For Exquisite Captive, Demetrios was inspired by the Arabian Nights and mentioned how sensory details are important and how culture and mythology helped create the world. She also traveled to Morocco in order add the necessary details for Exquisite Captive. Demetrios mentions how the closer you are to the character, the more you're entering the story through their eyes. You give readers a strong character to empathize with. No one is going to care about a flat character.

Goldstein approached the world building differently. Goldstein focused on what the main character is struggling with. What does the character want in life? Goldstein also wrote a book about genies, Becoming Jinn, but it is more of a contemporary fantasy. Researching about the Middle East and North Africa is crucial as well as researching names. Names have power and are important. Names will lead to other names.

Avi talked about the job of the writer. It is important to pull words of time that the reader will love today. By expressing a difference in place and time, it creates a wonderful story. The job of a writer is to make the words of a book intelligible by using language or details that are self-explanatory. If the language or details are not self-explanatory, it is the writer's job to describe such details. Avi also mentioned how historical fiction and fantasy are similar because of the laws of language. Avi describes how writers spend more time doing research and how the hard work has to appear natural within the book. He claims, "Hard writing makes easy reading. There is nothing you cannot find in books."

The panelists discussed about writing from experience and how it shaped their books. Demetrios said her father has PTSD which led to her to write I'll Meet You There. She mentioned that by having something you care about or are obsessed about, it helps the writing process. Reality TV made her angry and that led to Something Real. Goldstein touched upon the journey about helping someone who is alone. Many teens often feel alone. Subconscious things come out while writing which shapes the story. Avi talks about how you have to "take something you have done and use it. Reinvent what you didn't do and give it life."

For inspiring writers, presenters talked about the publishing industry and how to get published. Demetrios mentions how you need to write a lot. She chose to go with traditional publishing because the book doesn't just become her book; it becomes a book shared between her agent, editor and everyone who pitches in to help the book get published. Goldstein tells the audience to work on the craft. You don't need to know someone in publishing to get your book published. Often the editors will request manuscripts from a slush pile. One thing Goldstein loves is how welcoming and generous the YA community is and I totally agree. I have met so many people through twitter and eventually met some of my twitter friends in person. Avi shared how people want to write but many don't want to learn about the publishing business. He mentions how you have to learn the business side of writing because it's crucial. In terms of publishing now and before, Avi touched upon how publishing is more corporate like and more of a business. The editor/author personal relationship is not there. Publishing is very markety and more competitive than before.

After the panel, book signing occurred in the front of the Unitarian Universalist Church. I enjoyed meeting authors before spending the rest of my afternoon meandering around State Street in Newburyport. If you have a chance to visit Newburyport, MA, I highly recommend it. It's such a cute coastal town with a lot of shops and eateries.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Top Ten Books Which Feature Characters Who Attend Boarding Schools

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's Top Ten Tuesday asks bloggers to list their top ten books which feature characters who______. The following authors are in no particular order. I decided to select books which feature characters who attend boarding schools because I LOVE boarding school books.

1. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling is a classic. Who wouldn't want to live at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry? I don't think I need to go into more detail about why I LOVE this series and why I want to go to Hogwarts! I am still waiting for my letter!

2. Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead takes place at St. Vladimir's Academy which is a boarding school where Moroi and Dhampir guardian novices are educated. Vampires and boarding schools? YES, please!

3. Bloodlines series by Richelle Mead is the spin off of the Vampire Academy series but is located in Palm Springs. Amberwood Prep is a human preparatory school unlike St. Vladimir's Academy. This series focuses on Sydney Sage instead of Rose Hathaway.

4. The Sentenia series by Cara Bertrand takes place at Northbrook Academy which is located in Massachusetts. Lainey finds out she has a gift and the school will help her control her gift.I love love this series and cannot wait for the third installment to be released.

5. Hex Hall series by Rachel Hawkins is about a girl name Sophie who attends Hecate Hall aka Hex Hall, a boarding school for Prodigium juvenile delinquents. This is one of the first YA boarding school series I've read.

6. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins takes place at a boarding school in Paris. Of course Anna did not want to go to a boarding school in another country until she met √Čtienne.

7. The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare is about Callum who is trying to fail to pass the test for admittance to the Magisterium. However, things backfire and he ends up training at the Magisterium to become a Mage.

8. The School for Good and Evil series by Soman Chainani is about two girls who are kidnapped and enrolled into the School for Good and Evil where they are trained to be fairy tale heroes and villians. I've only read the first book but I enjoyed reading about this epic journey!

9. A Separate Peace by John Knowles is set in an all boys boarding school in New England. I read this classic coming-of-age novel in high school and enjoyed it immensely.

10. Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans is about a girl name Madeline who lives in boarding school in Paris. I love this classic children's book and I can't wait to read more of Madeline's adventures since this is the only Madeline book I've read.

If you have any good recommendations for boarding school books, leave a comment below. I am mildly obsessed with books about boarding schools so I would love to hear your recommendations.

Friday, April 24, 2015

BEA Tips (Part Four): BEA Essentials


BEA is around the corner in no time and you might be wondering what to pack for the trip and also what should you have prepared before the first day of the expo.

If you missed part 1,  part 2 or part 3 of my BEA series, make sure to check the previous posts out.

Tip # 1: Comfortable shoes

No matter what shoes you pack, your feet are going to be aching. I am not joking. I wore a very comfy pair of flats and my feet were aching by the end of the day. Do not wear new shoes to BEA! Seriously, just don't do it. Make sure you bring shoes that you know are comfortable for long hours of walking. I also put insoles into my shoes which helps a lot! During the day, make sure you sit down once in awhile to rest your feet and to rest your arms and shoulders. 

Tip #2: A Sturdy all-around bag

I didn't bring a purse to BEA last year but I did bring a tote bag which carried my essentials such as a small pouch that acted as my wallet, a bottle of water, a gallon size Ziplock bag (containing business cards, a pen, highlighters, my schedule, a map of NYC), snacks, lip balm, phone and a portable charger. There is no need to bring a bunch of tote bags to the Exhibit Hall. Publishers will be handing out tote bags like it's no tomorrow but it is nice to have a tote to start with when the Exhibit Hall opens. The great thing about all the free tote bags is that you will find favorites which you will use everyday to haul your books. The big flat bottomed ones are my favorites. If they have pockets, even better.

Tip #3: Rolling luggage

In a previous post, I mentioned you can check in rolling luggage for $3.00 per luggage at specified bag check areas at the Javits. Rolling luggage is not permitted in the Exhibit Hall. When you have filled your tote bags with ARCs or if your shoulders are killing you from all the ARCs you are carrying, it's time to swap out those ARCs into your suitcase. Definitely make several ARC drops. Your shoulders will thank you. Keep bottles of water in your suitcase. When you make an ARC drop, swap ARCs for water. This will help alleviate excess weight on your shoulders throughout the day and you will still stay hydrated. You can also bring a refillable water bottle and refill the bottle at water fountains.

Tip #4: Schedule

Make a schedule prior to BEA. There is also a BEA Show Planner app you can use on your smartphone. However, mobile reception at the Javits can be spotty at times. I opt for a print out schedule. Last year I made a spreadsheet and color coded it with different signings, panels, galley drops, etc. There will be times where events overlap and you will need to prioritize. Another good tip is to be flexible with your schedule. Every day a Show Daily is released with information about the publishing industry and BEA. Sometimes there will be information about a signing or a galley drop that was not mentioned on the BEA website previously. I like to write in last minute events in the margins of my schedule. Also, publisher booths sometimes will have galley drop schedules which are super helpful. Not all ARCs have specified drop times. Some are random and it's one of those be at the right place at the right time kind of deal.

Tip #5: Portable battery

If you plan to attend BEA or any event at the Javits, you need one of these babies. The Javits will drain your battery dry if you don't have a portable battery to juice up your smartphone. If you plan to follow Twitter, text and/or call up your friends to meet up, a portable battery is a life saver.

Tip #6: Clothing layers

The weather at the end of May can vary. Sometimes it can be super hot but sometimes there is a nice breeze. However, the Javits is always cold with the AC blasting. I highly recommend bringing a cardigan or light jacket for wearing inside the Javits. You will be fine with short sleeves outside.

Tip #7: The 5-2-1 Rule 

I have been to several conventions and expos and this is the what I follow to be physically and mentally happy. I understand that there are a lot of things that you want to see and do but it is important to take care of yourself first.

The rule of thumb for the 5-2-1 is the following:

1. Get a minimum of 5 hours of sleep per day.
2. Eat at least 2 real meals per day.
3. Take at least 1 shower per day.

If you want to sleep more, eat more real meals and shower more than once a day, then do it! This is just a minimum framework to follow.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey

Title: The Girl at Midnight
Author: Melissa Grey
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication date:  April 28, 2015
Pages: 368
Source/format: e-ARC from Netgalley

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 1/2

Synopsis (from

For readers of Cassandra Clare's City of Bones and Leigh Bardugo's Shadow and Bone, The Girl at Midnight is the story of a modern girl caught in an ancient war. 

Beneath the streets of New York City live the Avicen, an ancient race of people with feathers for hair and magic running through their veins. Age-old enchantments keep them hidden from humans. All but one. Echo is a runaway pickpocket who survives by selling stolen treasures on the black market, and the Avicen are the only family she's ever known.

Echo is clever and daring, and at times she can be brash, but above all else she's fiercely loyal. So when a centuries-old war crests on the borders of her home, she decides it's time to act. 

Legend has it that there is a way to end the conflict once and for all: find the Firebird, a mythical entity believed to possess power the likes of which the world has never seen. It will be no easy task, but if life as a thief has taught Echo anything, it's how to hunt down what she wants . . . and how to take it. 

But some jobs aren't as straightforward as they seem. And this one might just set the world on fire. 

My Thoughts

The Avicen, an ancient race of magical bird like people who live underground in NYC, took Echo under their wings and raised her since she was little. Echo met Ala when she was a child at the library. Echo was never called Echo until she met Ala. Upon Ala's advice, she renamed herself since she disliked her birth name. Names have power and so does Echo. Although Echo sometimes feels uncomfortable living among the Avicen, she befriends Ivy and Rowan. She lives in a library in NYC and she is a master thief. Echo finds a music box which holds a clue about the Firebird. The Firebird is the only way to end the blood war between the Avicen and the Drakharin, the ancient race of Dragon like people. However, the one who finds the Firebird holds the power.

I was hooked on this book from the first paragraph. Melissa Grey does a tremendous job writing beautiful and evocative description in The Girl at Midnight. It makes me want to jump into the books and experience everything that Echo experiences. The characters are likable and the world building is fantastic and enchanting. Grey's writing is captivating! I love how Grey intertwines mythology and magic within her novel while creating fascinating races, the Avicen and the Drakharin.

Echo is sassy, resourceful and my kind of main character. Caius and Tanith remind me of Enzo and Enzo's sister in The Young Elites. Tanith is just like Enzo's sister. Both deem their brother not worthy to rule the kingdom. I love Ivy, Dorian and Jasper as secondary characters. Friendship bonds are strong within the novel which I enjoy reading about. Echo, Caius, Ivy, Dorian and Jasper make an excellent team. Despite their differences, they are able to come as one to embark on this incredible journey. The only thing I disliked in the novel is the love triangle.

So I may be a bit of a nerd but is it sad that I was excited when I read about the bacon waffles? It reminds me of the bacon pancake song that Jake sings from Adventure Time. I enjoyed reading about using shadow dust to teleport through the means of the in-between. It reminds me of Floo Powder and fireplaces in Harry Potter. The blood payment to Echo's door to her room and the blood payment to see the Oracle is reminiscent to the blood payment in the cave scene in Harry Potter as well.

I am a big fan of urban fantasy and The Girl at Midnight does not disappoint. This is the first book in The Girl at Midnight series which makes me happy because I cannot wait to pick up the second book. The cover art captures the novel well and I love how it depicts the Avicen and Drakharin races. The purple is majestic and glowing of the typography is perfect. I would love to see this novel in a film adaptation depending on the casting and the director. The writing is very animated and will transfer well on screen.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Pages to Tea (3)

P A G E S  to  T E A

I'm not sure if you know but I am a big tea fanatic. I have so many bags and tins of tea I probably can create a great wall of tea. I love how different teas have different properties. Some teas can be energizing and some teas can be calming. My favorite time to enjoy a cuppa is when I am reading a book. Hence why I am showcasing some fantastic book and tea pairings.

[The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins + Cinnaberry by DAVIDsTEA]

When I heard about the Cinnaberry tea by DAVIDsTEA, it reminded me of Cinna and the Nightlock berries from The Hunger Games. According to DAVIDsTEA, it’s a classic combo for a reason – the blend of sweet, juicy berries and warm cinnamon is cozy, comforting and just plain nostalgic. The rooibos tea also contains currants, hibiscus, strawberry leaves and blackberry and blueberry flavorings.

[Fairest  by Marissa Meyer + Queen of Tarts by DAVIDsTEA]

Queen Levana is manipulative and tart! With the colors of fire and pure vanity, Queen of Tarts is the perfect tea for this evil queen. According the DAVIDsTEA, Queen of Tarts is loaded with tangy hibiscus flowers, which bring their signature deep red colour and lip-puckering taste. Golden marigold blossoms add a pretty pop of yellow and there is a super-energizing burst of Ecuadorian guayusa. Queen of Tarts is invigorating warm or iced.

[Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee + Yunnan Gold by Adagio]

Samantha is traveling on the Oregon Trail to seek her father's friend in California. She pretends she is a teenage male seeking gold during the California Gold Rush. Yunnan Gold by Adagio is the perfect companion to Under a Painted Sky. According to Adagio, Yunnan Gold is a black tea and is easily identified by its abundance of soft golden tips, and savory cocoa and black pepper flavors. Sammy is sweet yet independent and bold. Cay and West's last name is Pepper which is perfect! The tea is hailed from China which resembles Sammy well since she is of Chinese heritage. The earthiness of the tea becomes present when the tea cools down which is perfect for the grittiness of this Western novel.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Top ALL TIME Favorite Authors

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's Top Ten Tuesday asks bloggers to list their top ten all time favorite authors. The following authors are in no particular order. I mainly added authors who wrote several books in order to consider the "favorite" author status. I also have to read at least a few of the author's books before the author is considered a favorite.

1. Rainbow Rowell is the queen of contemporary. Everything she writes is basically perfection whether she writes a short story or a novel. I absolutely love Fangirl and I am beyond excited for Carry On! Even though the topics of her books are different from each other, I love the diversity and quirkiness she adds to her stories.

2. Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy and the Bloodlines series are excellent paranormal fantasy series if you are into vampires and witches. Mead always keeps me at the edge of my seat and I am proud to say that she created my favorite OTP. Sydrian always and forever!

3. Cassandra Clare created the Shadowhunter world and boy does she do it well. It's crazy how she is writing several series and novellas about Shadowhunters, Downworlders and demons. When I need a crazy urban fantasy read, I'll pick up something by Clare. Even her co-authored middle grade series, Magisterium, is pretty decent.

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4. Laurie Halse Anderson grabbed my attention in Speak. I read the book back in high school and it is so powerful. I haven't read all of Anderson's books but I enjoyed ones I have read. Anderson tackles real life issues and does a good job writing about it. She does not sugarcoat PTSD, rape, suicide and etc. She tells it how it is and how teens are struggling to get through reality.

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5. Rick Riordan is definitely my favorite middle grade author besides J.K Rowling. I enjoy Percy Jackson and the Olympians, The Heroes of Olympus and the Kane Chronicles. I can't wait to pick up the Magnus Chase the Gods of Asgard series because how awesome is the name Magnus Chase? I also love how Magnus lives in Boston and how Riordan incorporates Norse mythology.

6. Cate Tiernan wrote the Sweep and Balefire series which I was obsessed with back in high school and college. During in my teenage years, witches and magic were all the rage and I devoured so many similar books. However, I loved reading the Sweep series especially in the fall and winter months. I know Tiernan wrote the Immortal Beloved series which is decent but it isn't amazing. I still need to read the Birthright series and I hope I can fall in love with her writing again.

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7. Akihisa Ikeda created the Rosario+Vampire manga series. I was hooked onto this series either in 2009 or 2010. I love all the crazy things that happen in the plot line and all the captivating characters Ikeda created. If you like paranormal fantasy, you will love this manga if you are interested in reading manga. Also, check out Rosario+Vampire: Season II.

8. Naoko Takeuchi is the creator of the most amazing manga ever! If your love magical girl manga, you will love Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon. I have been a big fan of Sailor Moon since the mid 1990's when the anime was dubbed in the United States. I eventually read the manga and fell in love over and over again with Takeuchi's world of Sailor Moon. I am super happy about the rerelease of the manga and also the release of Sailor Moon Crystal.

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9. I can't say that J.K. Rowling is my favorite author because I only love her Harry Potter series and I don't care for her adult mysteries. However, I have to add her to the list because Harry Potter is the sole series that changed my life. I became immersed into the wonderful world of Harry Potter sometime in 2001-2002 and I love everything about the fandom. I love reading the books, watching the films and reading fan fiction. As I got older, I attended midnight releases of books and films, attended HP conventions and even joined HP fandom groups. I have made so many friends through this loving and accepting community that I can call a family. I will keep you updated with my HP adventures quite soon actually. I will be attending MISTI-Con right before BEA so you will get a lovely update about 5 days of my magical experience in recap.

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Honorable Mention: Debut Authors

1. Stacey Lee's writing in Under a Painted Sky is fantastic. She painted her beautiful story full of adventure, diversity and friendship. I cannot wait to read more books by her.

2. Robin Talley wrote a powerful story about race and coming-of-age in Lies We Tell Ourselves.

3. Laura Lane McNeal wrote one of my favorite books. Dollbaby is a fabulous book about family, acceptance and is a partially coming-of-age novel.

Friday, April 17, 2015

BEA Tips (Part Three): What to Expect

So you're at the Javits and what now? I've only been to the Javits twice in my life. I've been there in 2012 for New York Comic Con and for BEA in 2014. Below are some tips based on what I've learned last year when I was at BEA.

If you missed part 1 or part 2 of my BEA series, make sure to check the previous posts out.

Tip #1: Pickup badges early

It is wise to have your badge ready in tow before the day of BEA. Not only will you already have your badge before the exhibit and panels open, you will also be picking up your badge when there aren't a ton of people around. Picking you badge up early means shorter lines. 

Tip #2 Arrive to Javits early 

Even if you picked up you badge ahead of time, it is wise to arrive to the Javits early. Lines for the Exhibit Hall form usually about two hours prior to the opening. Many attendees will sit on the floor chatting with their neighbors and ultimately revising their schedule for the day. This is a good time to veg out on some food, use the restroom, pick up author tickets, etc.

Tip #3: Luggage check in

Rolling luggage and carts are not allowed in the Exhibit Hall. However, there are three areas where you can check in your luggage for about $3.00 per luggage. This makes it easy to make ARC drops throughout the day. This is definitely a life saver. Walking around with tote bags full of books definitely hurt the arms and shoulders. Your body will thank you for the multiple luggage visits.

Tip #4: Food and drink

Don't forget you need to eat and hydrate. One tip is to store water bottles in your luggage. Between ARC drops, you can take out a bottle of water and empty out your tote bags full of books. This way you don't have to lug the bottles around.

Bring snacks to munch on whether it be granola bars or an apple. Depending on your schedule, you might not be able to eat lunch at a reasonable time but you want to make sure you are not starving. Depriving yourself of food and drink is not a good idea. When time allows, make sure to eat a real meal.

Tip #5: Shipping

Depending on your mode of transportation, you might want to consider how you are going to transport your books from the Javits to your house. Some people will pack all of their books in suitcases. Some will bring some of their coveted ARCs in their suitcase and will ship the rest home.

For those who decide to ship their books home, there is a shipping area at the Javits but the price is quite high. The boxes are unsupervised so if you have a coveted signed ARC, just be careful if you decide to do an ARC drop at the shipping area. I would definitely keep that coveted ARC on you in a tote bag.

You can also opt for USPS, FedEx or UPS for shipping. Just a FYI, be careful when shipping books home. Make sure you package the box well and tape it up well. I have heard horror stories about packages being lost in the mail or packages being damaged. Ship at your own risk.

Tip #6: Restroom breaks

I often venture to restrooms in areas away from big halls. The lines are shorter and you'll be in and out of the restrooms super quick. One of the last things you want to worry about is waiting for over 15 minutes in line to use the restroom with tons of totes. I highly suggest restroom breaks after an ARC drop if possible. Not only will you have a lighter load on your shoulders but you also won't have to worry about running to the restroom when you start lining up again for an autograph signing or a panel.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Becoming Jinn by Lori Goldstein

Title: Becoming Jinn
Author: Lori Goldstein
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Publication date:  April 21, 2015
Pages: 384
Source/format: ARC from Emma of Miss Print

Rating: ☆☆☆

Synopsis (from

Forget everything you thought you knew about genies!

Azra has just turned sixteen, and overnight her body lengthens, her olive skin deepens, and her eyes glisten gold thanks to the brand-new silver bangle that locks around her wrist. As she always knew it would, her Jinn ancestry brings not just magical powers but the reality of a life of servitude, as her wish granting is controlled by a remote ruling class of Jinn known as the Afrit.

To the humans she lives among, she’s just the girl working at the snack bar at the beach, navigating the fryer and her first crush. But behind closed doors, she’s learning how to harness her powers and fulfill the obligations of her destiny.

Mentored by her mother and her Zar “sisters”, Azra discovers she may not be quite like the rest of her circle of female Jinn . . . and that her powers could endanger them all. As Azra uncovers the darker world of becoming Jinn, she realizes when genies and wishes are involved, there’s always a trick.

My Thoughts:

Azra Nadira doesn't want to live a life where she is forced to grant wishes. Despite her beauty from her Jinn heritage, she wants to be free. When she turns 16, she is able to tap into her Jinn powers. She does not want a Zar, a sisterhood of Jinn, by her side. All she wants is to live her normal life and to see Jenny again.

Azra hasn't been able to see her father. Female Jinn are allowed to live amongst the humans but males and females who no longer grant wishes reside in Janna. The Afrit control the wish making between the Jinn and humans. They even control who procreates with who and they frown upon attachments with humans.

Lori Goldstein adds depth and emotion within Becoming Jinn. It is sad to read about how Azra's friend Jenny and what happened to her. No matter how much magic Jinn possess, they can not grant a wish from a human that they are not assigned to, cannot heal humans and cannot bring someone back from the dead. The 33th chapter hit me hard. There is so much going within Azra's thoughts and Goldstein does a fabulous job with description. I love the writing of Becoming Jinn overall and the ending of the book is crazy. So much goes on and I want to read more. The only thing that bothered me is the pacing of the book. The first portion of the book with Azra's birthday and the interactions between the Zar sisterhood took forever. Once we got past the Azra's birthday, the pacing of the book was fine.

What I like about Becoming Jinn is the fusion between contemporary and paranormal fantasy. It reminds me of Rebel Belle and how it is a contemporary but has fantasy elements woven into the novel. I love how Jinn have different physical traits and how they celebrate different holidays on a rotating basis. I appreciate how Kalyssa, Azra's mother, makes food without magic. It shows how she is hardworking and doesn't always take the short cuts. It's interesting to see how Jinn love sweets and alcohol but are sensitive to salt. The apporting, means of teleportation, reminds me of the apparating in Harry Potter.

There are difficult decisions Azra has to make throughout the novel. Her mom wants her to choose the Zar sisters over friend Henry and love interest Nate but Azra want to live her life as a normal teenage girl. However, there are consequences for not following the rules that the Afrit has made for the Jinn. What will Arza decide? Pick up Becoming Jinn to find out.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Top Ten Inspiring Quotes From Books

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's Top Ten Tuesday asks bloggers to list their top ten inspiring quotes from books. The following quotes are in no particular order. I added a few extra since I couldn't narrow down favorite quotes.

1. “And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.” ― Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

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2. “Things change. And friends leave. Life doesn't stop for anybody.” ― Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

3. “We've all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That's who we really are.” ― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

4. “West looks up. 'This is the best time to hunt, when the animals are out looking for their suppers. 'Course, with a painted sky, light's not always good.' I never heard someone call the sky painted before, but it's the perfect word. Clouds outlined in gold streak across the firmament, casting uneven shadows over the landscape.” ― Stacey Lee, Under a Painted Sky

5. “Real life was something happening in her peripheral vision.” ― Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl

6. “I choose you over everyone.” ― Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl

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7. “I'd rather pour myself into a world I love and understand than try to make something up out of nothing.” ― Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl

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8. “I told you before, we’re the center,” she said. “And the center will hold.” ― Richelle Mead, The Ruby Circle

9. “Understanding is the first step to acceptance, and only with acceptance can there be recovery.” ― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

10. “We do not need magic to transform our world. We carry all the power we need inside ourselves already.” ― J.K. Rowling

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11. “There is more to living than not dying.” ― Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Princess

12. “One must always be careful of books," said Tessa, "and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.” ― Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Angel

13. "In order to have peace, we must first have trust." ― Veronica Roth, Insurgent

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Friday, April 10, 2015

BEA Tips (Part Two): Things to do in NYC

You've purchased your badge, booked your hotel and finalized your transportation. Now what? It's time to prepare for one amazing bookish week of fun and networking! New York is not just a publishing mecca in the United States. It's a city that offers so much more. Definitely take advantage of what NYC has to offer. 

If you missed part 1 of my BEA series, make sure to check it out.

Tip # 1: See a show

If have a night with no plans, why not see an Broadway or Off-Broadway show? There are plethora of musicals to choose from whether it be Aladdin or Wicked.

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Tip #2: Check out bookstores and the New York public libraries

There are so many bookstores around in New York City. Some of my favorites include the following: Strand Bookstore, Books of Wonder, Barnes & Noble, McNally Jackson Books and the Housing Works Bookstore Cafe. Make sure you check them out not only for their amazing selection of books but also for their events. During New York Book & Media Week, there are plenty of author events happening all over the city outside of BEA at bookstores and at New York public libraries. Definitely check out the Teen Author Carnival and the Kids Author Carnival. Updates will be made throughout April and May. 

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Tip # 3: Savor some amazing food

The Javits has mediocre food and I am sure you want something tasty for dinner or even for a nice lunch. Definitely check out Hell's Kitchen, Chinatown and Koreatown for some amazing eats. Also, there are some fabulous bakeries and food carts to check out as well. Bakeries are the best for breakfast or for a nice treat. Some of my favorite places to eat at include the following: Amy's Bread, Bouchon Bakery, Momofuku Milk Bar, Luat, il laboratorio del gelato and Kunjip Restaurant.

Korean food from Kunjip Restaurant
Tip #4: Explore and sightsee

Haven't been to NYC before? Want to visit some of the famous landmarks in the area? Check out the MoMA, the MET, Statue of Liberty, 9/11 Memorial, Empire State Building and the Rockefeller Center. Explore the city! Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, stroll around Hudson River Park or Central Park, take in the lights of Times Square or just wing it! 

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Tip # 5: Go shopping

Do you love to shop? There are so many stores in New York to check out whether it be the latest fashion at well known stores to little mom and pop boutiques. 5th Avenue and 34th Street have plenty of stores to check out.