January 2014 Recap

  • Nicole came back from Dubai! It was amazing and she plans on writing a recap post but she just had to submit a 15-page reflection paper that was terrible and she doesn't want to write another thing about Dubai for a while. 
  • Nicole started her second semester of grad school and is already swamped.
  • Nicole attended ALA Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia and it was really really great :) 
  • Ashley went to Disney World and Universal with her family and had an awesome time!
  • Ashley signed up for the Disney Land Half-Marathon in August, she just started training again :)


Thoughts for Thursday (13) - My ALA Midwinter Meeting Recap

Welcome to Thoughts for Thursday! This feature is our outlet to talk with you about whatever we currently have on our minds. It might be bookish, it might not! Now for this week's thought:

2014 ALA Midwinter Meeting

My decision to attend ALA was rather last minute. You can skip to the next paragraph if you don’t want to hear my sob story. Friday morning I received some pretty bad news – my cat has a failed left kidney and 3 tumors, one of which is blocking her bladder. She’s still hanging in there – my mother and I are trying everything we can think of to prolong her life – but she may not have much time left. I pretty much cried my eyes out at work when I heard this. I know some of you might not get it – but losing a pet is hard, especially since she’s been my baby for the past 13 years. Since I was pretty much miserable and helpless at work, I started looking for ways to distract myself and started perusing Twitter. That’s when I first saw tweets about ALA. I didn’t even know it was happening and in Philly and that Bloggers were allowed to go. Even though I had a ton of schoolwork I needed to get done, I figured I could use a serious pick me up and I couldn’t think of a better way than to hang out with my bookish friends at a bookish event. Thus, the decision was made.

Well I am so so happy that I went because this event was awesome! I had so much fun hanging out with my fellow bloggers- old and new - I met authors whose books I loved – Leila Sales and Rainbow Rowell – and I had some really great discussions with some of the publishers. Not to mention all of the amazing books I brought home which I can’t wait to read. It was a bit of happiness amid what was a crazy busy and stressful weekend.

This was the second bookish conference that I attended, the first being BEA last year, and I liked this one much more. ALA attracts a different audience than BEA and being that this was the Midwinter Meeting it was much a much smaller event. The whole vibe was very different. Even from the start – there was no long line to get into the Exhibit Hall and there was no mad dash to the booths once we were allowed in. When you got to a booth, the Publishers are happy to talk with you. They will tell you about what new releases they have coming out and make some recommendations. They’ll tell you which ones were their favorites and why. And they are more than happy to give you ARCs. You can also stay there as long as you like, admiring all the books (which I did). You aren’t competing with anyone for their time or standing in someone’s way as there were generally much fewer people. And there was no rush to be anywhere, unlike at BEA where you feel the need to be in 4 places at once.

Ok ok so what about the books, right? After I decided to go to ALA I took a look at the ARC guide and although there were a few books that I thought sounded interesting, there were two that really caught my eye - We Were Liars by E. Lockheart and Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson – two 2014 releases that I was itching to read. I thought to myself that if I could walk away with either one of these I would count myself fortunate. I really didn’t know what to expect for this conference, but I never thought that ARCs to be so freely distributed or that the ARC guide only listed like 10% of the titles actually available. I think I had We Were Liars and Since You’ve Been Gone in my bag within the first hour of the conference. It was a pleasant surprise to put it midly. I stay pretty composed the entire time but on the inside I felt like this:

The selection was just too good. I knew to be selective since I still have some of my BEA haul to read (which now feels like a chore) and I hate the thought of taking a book that someone else might really want if it’s not something I think I will read in any feasible amount of time, especially since the conference isn’t intended for bloggers. I actually did pass on quite a few popular books so I am proud of myself. Yay improvements! Yet I still came home with like 60 books. But I can honestly say that I am really looking forward to all of these books.

(Yes, that second shelf is off center, sorry OCD peeps).

I was going to list a top ten but it was too hard to narrow it down.

Anyway, in summary, it was awesome. I strongly recommend that if an ALA Midwinter Meeting comes to a city near you that you try to attend. I only wish is that I had known about it earlier so Ashley could have come!(But I was able to snag her some books - not pictured above)


REVIEW: Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin #2) by Robin LaFevers

Title: Dark Triumph
Series: His Fair Assassin #2
Author: Robin LaFevers
Publisher:Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Release Date: April 2, 2013
Pages: 385
Source: eBook

 Summary from Goodreads:
When Sybella arrived at the doorstep of St Mortain half mad with grief and despair the convent were only too happy to offer her refuge - but at a price. The sisters of this convent serve Death, and with Sybella naturally skilled in both the arts of death and seduction, she could become one of their most dangerous weapons.
But her assassin's skills are little comfort when the convent returns her to the life that nearly drove her mad. Her father's rage and brutality are terrifying, and her brother's love is equally monstrous. But when Sybella discovers an unexpected ally she discovers that a daughter of Death may find something other than vengeance to live for...

Wow. Just wow.
This book blew me away.

Evert Word. Sentence. Paragraph. Page. Chapter.
I loved it all.

Dark. Sinful. Broken. Sad. Merciless.
Beautiful. Hopeful. Kind. Forgiving. Triumphant.
It was all of these things and much much more.
So much emotion. So much depth.

I could not stop reading from the moment I started.

My heart broke for Sybella.
Beast gave me faith.
I wished any number of horrific fates for d'Albret.

I hate myself for not reading this sooner.
I will not make the same mistake with Mortal Heart.

Perfect, addictive, wonderfully-written Historical Fiction.
Easily deserving of each and every one of those 5 stars.

Read this book.

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