Note about my Reviews

Dear Authors: The reviews in this blog are only personal opinions. I have absolutely no background in literature, writing or reviewing. I am a Librarian (actually a Library Technician for those who care OR know the difference) with a love for a good story. The opinions in the reviews are ONLY my OPINIONS. I am not commenting on the writers ability since well -- I am not a writer and never will be. If you are the author of any of the books reviewed here, my opinion is just that and not a judgment against you!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

New York: Day 3 BEA Bloggers Conference

Well once again after a late night the girls and I got up early and we headed over to the Javitt's Center to attend the BEA Bloggers Conference.  After massive confusion (and in defense of convention, we did get there super early) we finally got ourselves registered and were pretty much first in line.  We met a lovely blogger from Norway (will update when I find her card) who was delightful to chat with.  As usual we had tons of fun waiting -- you will never be bored if you hang with these fabulous ladies, I am truly honored to have got to spend time with them.  
Picture Courtesy of Alita
 When the doors finally opened, we got a lovely bag filled with some fabulous titles (and they said we could grab a couple more of the table) and the best mug ever from Kobo (you can write on it with chalk).  We than preceded to head to the table we were interested in sitting at and had a so so breakfast (wasn't expecting much so wasn't disappointed and well the coffee was good so that is all that mattered)

The morning started off with an author networking breakfast where authors would come sit with us for 10 minutes and chat.  We lucked out as our two authors were Ally Condie and Marie Lu who were so sweet and funny that I could have spent hours talking to them.  I enjoy Ally's books and after chatting with Marie Lu I cannot wait to read Legend.  Than,  unfortunately,  some very strange author chatting us up about his book.  I found it quite difficult to listen to his story, but I was raised to be polite so I listened, gave good eye contact and really tried hard to make conversation.
Ally Condie
Marie Lu
Won't lie started to tune out during the talk before Jennifer Weiner came in to give her keynote, but woke up quickly when all of a sudden Jennifer Weiner came in and sat down at our table.  She was hilarious and cracked us up when she was adjusting and talking about her cleavage.  We tweeted about our shock later and she tweeted us back that we just looked like a group of  nice safe friendly girls. Of course we totally geeked out about it.  I enjoyed her speech and found it to be quite funny and honest.  I know there were a bunch of complaints that it wasn't relevant to the blogging community, but quite frankly, she entertained me and before that I was falling asleep. 
Jennifer Weiner
 Next up was the lunch and a second session of author networking.  I had been really looking forward to this as one of the guests was to be Sara Benincasa and I adored her book Agorafabulous. Unfortunately, she became ill at the last minute and wasn't able to attend.  The first author, Matt Gallagher, was fascinating and talked about his experience in Iraq. I am very much looking forward to reading his book Kaboom.  We than had Kelsey Banfield come over and chat with us about her book, Naptime Chef.  Loved the premise of her book and will be picking up a copy. After that it went downhill and I don't want to go into details but due to the empty space we got hit by a bunch of authors who were doing hard sells of their books.  The food was pretty blah so I totally skipped it and just ate the cookie.

Than it was off for the next blogging sessions. I was in desperate need of shoes and honestly, I found the sessions to be mostly irrelevant to my needs so I took off back to the hotel and did some shopping and fixing myself up for our evening plans.

Headed back to the Center in time for Jenny Lawson (The Blogess) and her closing remarks speech.  I had just finished reading her book (thanks Cammy) before the conference so I was super excited to hear her speak. She did not disappoint!  Just like her book she was honest, self deprecating and just the kind of person I could sit for hours listening and talking to.  She was definitely the highlight of Blogger Con for me.  After her talk Jenn and I ran over to get her to sign our books and have a little one on one time. She said my dress was super cute -- and it was btw - and than I just told her that I enjoyed her book immensely. After that I gave her the hard sell about that she needed to get her ass to Canada asap that we would totally love her here, and maybe even adopt her as one of our own.  Also gave her Jeremy Cammy's contact info and went on and on about Indigo and how wonderful they are to authors and that that her publicist needs to get in touch with him right away. Hopefully, it did some good (and Jenn also gave a similar speech too) By the end of the conference we were calling ourselves Cammy's sister wives as we promoted him and Indigo so much.  Ok Cammy -- you got to get me Nathan Fillion now!


Next the girls and I were off to a party at Scholastic headquarters. I will tell you know I think I would pay to work there.  They have an amazing balcony with a spectacular view and the place seems to have been decorated by a hip children's librarian. I totally fell at  home.  The friendly Scholastic folks had put together a fabulous party with yummy food and even a cotton candy machine.   We got to mingle for a while with some incredible authors (Maggie Stiefvater, James Dashner, Jeff Hirsch, Donna Cooner, Raine Telgemeier, Eliot Schrefer, Kate Messner) I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation with James Dashner, who was totally charming and hilarious.  I also now have a new author crush -- Jeff Hirsch -- super adorable and nice to look at too.



The highlight of the evening was having all of the authors acting out scenes from their books with each other. I can't tell you enough how delightful it was watching Dashner and Stiefvater playing off each other.



However, by the end of the event I was getting super stressed out about being late for the play we were attending.  I have issues about being late for things -- its my childhood trauma people -- everybody has to have one you know.  My Dad (who was one of the most incredible men alive & I miss the bastard) was late for everything (not to mention forgot me places all the time -- we will get into THAT another time) so I HATE HATE HATE being late.  Poor Jenn was trying to get me to relax and chill but I have to work it out myself, so Jenn sorry I was such a pain -- but hey, I did get into a better mood fast -- right (Yes I still feel bad)

We made it to the theatre in the nick of time & than had to wait outside in the cold, yeah I am pretty sure Jenn was thinking -- I told you so!

Jenn and I were attending one of the most unusual shows I have ever seen called Sleep No More.  I don't want to go into details about this as you really have to see it to believe it and I really don't want to ruin it for you. If you are in New York -- YOU HAVE TO GO TO THIS!
 


Basically you walk through a darkly lit hotel while a play goes on around you. You have to wear a masquerade type mask, you are not allowed to talk and they really try to separate you from your group (Jenn and I wised up to this very quickly and managed to stay together)  The cast may or may not interact with you and FYI  there is nudity.  Personally I think it would be a wonderful place to have a magic encounter with a stranger, if you know what I mean.   I could have spent hours there as you go at your own pace and you are allowed to touch everything. Jenn and I even found a candy store with candy that you actually get to eat.

Photo from New York Times
 At any time you can escape the play to go to the bar where you are entertained by a band, while drinking champagne and even getting your fortune told.   You also can go back in after you have had a break. See what I mean totally unique, everyone really gets an original experience.  Jenn and I had a fantastic time just chatting and drinking champagne -- it was pure heaven.  We ran into Cammy while Jenn was getting her fortune told and than we all went back in together to see the finale of the play and than headed back to the hotel.  By this time I was completely exhausted and fell asleep within seconds of hitting the floor.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

New York - Pre BEA Day 2

The day started early (which btw happened every day we were there) with a delicious breakfast at the Evergreen Diner (145 West 47th street).  If you are ever in New York you HAVE to eat here. The food is fresh, seriously yummy and the wait staff are awesome.  Than we headed out to take a trip on the New York Subway. Won't lie I was sorta excited about this, however,  I am really glad we had Obi Jen with us as the sheer amount of subway routes is overwhelming.  I gave everyone a good giggle when I got stuck in the turnstile and Jenn had to come over and swipe my subway pass for me. 



We headed over to the Staten Island Ferry to catch a glimpse of the Statute of Liberty.  Love the ferry as it is free, comfortable and you get to see some spectacular views of the city skylines.  None of us had any urge to get off at the statute (most of our families would have come in through Halifax) so this was the perfect option to see the majestic girl.  I could have spent the day just sitting on the ferry and reading a book as the weather was perfect that day. However, we were only in NY for a couple of days and there was so much we wanted to do so we just took a round trip on the ferry.  Btw, you have to get off the ferry before you can reboard. We had to move quickly to catch the ferry back as a couple of the girls had an appointment at the 9/11 memorial.  I opted out of seeing the memorial for a couple of reasons. The first being that my oldest son was born on September 11, 2001 and spent his first week in Sick Kids Hospital and I was slipping in to some nasty postpartum depression so as you can imagine I felt a little removed from it all. Secondly I am way too sensitive of a women and seeing the sheer amount of names that died on that day  and the atmosphere would have killed me for the day. I was here to enjoy myself, I had to stay away.  Well guess I digressed again -- sorry back to the fun stuff

Nicole, Cait and Me


While Nicole, Cait and Gwen went to the memorial, Jenn and I took off to go see Tiffany's.  We walked along and enjoyed the sites along the way and got to see Wall Street which is seriously cool.  I was quite disappointed as Tiffany's was closed and under renovations -- but I did have a croissant so it wasn't a total loss.



Cait at 9/11 Memorial (picture by Cait)
I also got to check something off my bucket list -- yup I got to hail a New York Cab (yes I know I am a nerd thank you very much)  Was a little disappointed as he wasn't very chatty but he did drive like the ones you saw on TV -- which is fast, and swerving in and out of traffic.  We were off to find a special cosmetics store called "Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics"  to pick up some supplies for Jenn's friends. The place was awesome and the staff were funky and fun. I even came away with some really cool Lip Tar -- girls this stuff is awesome and natural.

Picture by Jenn


We than rushed back to the hotel to pick up Sarah who had come in by bus.  Poor girl had to wait in the lobby for us after being stuck in a crowded bus for 13 hours.

Picture by Cait
We than went on a shopping trip and got stuck in this humongous parade. I was seriously ticked off by this as massive crowds freak me out, it was starting to rain and it took us forever to get where we wanted to go.  We finally made it to FAO Schwartz which was tons of fun and I could have spent a fortune in.  We also got to check out the giant piano from Big, but the line up was too large to get to try it out. We than headed over to Bloomingdales which is beautiful but so very very out of  my price range.   We had to drag Cait away from the Burberry coat, she wanted it sooooo bad but it was $1300. We had a lovely little lunch in the cafe at Bloomies where I had my New York bagel and lox which was delish and even a bloomingdales water (damn forgot the bottle in the hotel when we left).  I also purchased a little brown mug as quite frankly was the only thing I could afford.





Just walk away Cait
After that Cait, Gwen, SARAH (sorry Sarah - I love you did not mean to forget to put your name in : )  and I did a power tour of the Museum of Natural History - yup we saw that puppy in 1.5 hours.  We spent most of the time in the dinosaur exhibit, since it was the main interest to all of us, but we did manage to sneak in a bit of Indian displays as well -- and of course the museum store. I picked up a copy of Manhattan Ghost stories as every time I go on vacation I pick up a local ghost story book, I have quite the nice collection now too!




Gwen


Prehistoric bear attacking me (picture by Cait)
That night we went to dinner at this unique little mexican restaurant, Toloache. The margaritas were delish but extremely strong and I had my very first mojito, which is my new favorite drink. At this restaurant they add coconut to the mojito which gives it a unique and fresh taste. The food was out of this world and we had a fantastic fun time. Cait also tweeted that any Canadian bloggers interested in joining us for dessert to come on by.  Thanks to Cait we met the lovely Alita and her husband.
Picture from Cait


It was a fabulous evening!  Since poor Sarah was meeting us for the first time and because of her cramped bus ride I offered to sleep on the floor. It was actually quite comfortable and ended up spending the rest of our trip sleeping on the floor.  And quite frankly we were going non stop as soon as I hit the floor I was asleep.  Now I am paying for it and will be hitting the chiropractor today LOL!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

New York: Pre BEA - Day 1

Finally getting to all of my BEA posts now & instead of making 1 huge post, have decided to break it down day by day.

Saturday June 2nd

We departed Toronto on Porter Airlines which I totally geeked out about since my maiden name is Porter -- I still say that entitles me to a free ride.  Our motley crew consisted of Gwen, Nicole, Jenn, Cait and myself (our  other roommate, Sarah, was taking a bus to New York).  Cait had come in from Nova Scotia the  night before (flight from hell) and Gwen had never flown before (yup Porter popped her cherry) so we knew this was going to be a fun trip.

Don't judge we were sleepy!
   I was seriously impressed by the Porter waiting area as there were comfy seats, hot coffee and the most yummy free cookies. Quite frankly I am now spoiled for life with the excellent treatment we received from Porter (of course Porter's always do it right!)  Flight wasn't bad, a little bumpy and noisy at times, but a pretty smooth ride and flight attendants were nice, without being annoying nice.  The landing gear coming out totally freaked Gwen out which of course made us all laugh -- we are a cruel bunch of bloggers.


Arrived at Newark Airport and after much confusion finally hopped in a truly expensive cab ride.  Cost me and Jenn $90 - so kids if you are going to Manhattan, I suggest save yourself some cash and go in to LaGuardia.   Got into our New Jersey cab (so disappointed dude didn't have the accent) and the highlight was going through the Lincoln Tunnel (Jenn was  less than impressed with my tales of the tunnel in the Stand -- seems talking about dead smelly people in a dark crowded tunnel slightly creeps people out)


 Nicole, Cait and Gwen went with a friend of Nicole's family and than we all met up at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers. Since I was stupid excited I dragged our group out right away.  They probably wanted to kill me for this, but guessing they were just being polite.

 Dragged them to the New York Public Library (My new happy place -- Call me Nathan do I have something to show you LOL)  I almost cried when I saw the lions and took thousands of pictures of them.  The place is truly beautiful, and there was actually a wedding reception being held there that night. (Wonder if I can convince Jeff to get married again)  Thanks to Obi Jen Kenobi for directing us where to go and for putting up with our teasing.  Only disappointments were that I couldn't spend the day there and that most rooms you couldn't take pictures in.  Also bitchiest salesperson EVER ever in the Library store.  So tempted by the Library lion bookends -- but they were just under $200 and HEAVY! (nudge nudge family -- best bday gift ever - just sayin)






We then headed over to Grand Central Terminal which is like a bigger, cleaner, version of Union Station.  Saw the Chrysler building from a distance (we didn't have time this trip to check it out) We also briefly checked out Times Square which is just plain bright, bold and beautiful.  Heard about the naked cowboy, but didn't manage to catch a glimpse of him.
Grand Central Terminal

Chrysler Building
Times Square


For dinner that night we went to Ellen's Stardust Diner. It was a wonderful place to eat (food was so so -- cept for the New York Cheesecake which was DIVINE!) and I highly recommend going there if you are in New York. 


Hit the Hotel that night and after doing my situps (Had promised the trainer) I passed out on the comfy bed.  Our room was pretty small but comfortable and the shower was heavenly (Not a good bathing tub though -- unless you were a toddler)