Sunday Fun-Day: Most Anticipated Books of 2019.

Woohoo! New year, new fantastic books! There are soooo many books I can’t wait for this year, and I know it’s gonna kill me to have to put them all off while I’m reading for school. But, at least for now, I can dream about holding them in my hands and devouring them page by page. So, let’s look at the beautites I’m anticipating most! And these are in no particular order.

1.) Firestarter by: Tara Sim

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Ugh, I’ve fallen so deeply in love with this series. All the characters are my precious babies, and I can’t wait to see how their journey wraps up! Hopefully Tara won’t hurt me too badly. Hopefully.

2.) Darkdawn by: Jay Kristoff

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Now, I know there’s no hope for zero-pain here. I KNOW Jay is gonna make this hurt. But I don’t care. I can’t wait to see my babes Mia and Ashlinn kicking ass and taking names again! This series has gotten so freaking good and I can’t wait to see how it ends!

3.) Again, But Better by: Christine Ricco

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I’ve been watching Christine on Booktube for six years. I’ve watched her go from hundreds of subscribers to thousands. From waiting in endless lines to attend book panels, to being on book panels. And now, I’ve watched her go from reading books, to writing one of her own. And I’m soooo excited to read it. I know it’s gonna be great.

4.) Water Runs Red by: Jenna Clare

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This is a similar case to the one above. I’ve watched Jenna on Booktube for years, and have always thought that she was capable of writing books, or poems, or songs. And now, she’s finally doing it! And she’s incorperating her graphic designs, and ugh! I know this is going to be one of the most beautiful poetry collections ever! I can’t wait!

5.) I Wish You All the Best by: Mason Deaver

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Again! Another case of me watching this work come to life over a period of time. I’ve followed Mason since day one of being on Twitter, and I’ve always really respected their views on so many things. And I loved watching them create this book. And I know that it’s going to be wonderful. And it’s going to change and save so many kids lives.

6.) King of Scars by: Leigh Bardugo

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I ALWAYS SAID MY BABY NIKOLAI DESERVED BETTER! And now we get to see him get what he deserves, and I’m over the moon about it! Leigh has written some of my favorite books, and favorite characters. And I know she’s not going to disappoint me.

7.) Wicked Saints by: Emily A. Duncan

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There has been so much hype about this book, and so many people I trust have absolutely adored it. So I’m intrigued. And it sounds so deliciously dark, and tense. I really think I’m gonna love this. And I can’t wait to see if I’m right.

8.) Wayward Sons by: Rainbow Rowell

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The only problem I had with Carry On was that there wasn’t enough interaction between Simon and Baz. And now we’re getting an entire book with them together! And I’m so stoked!!!

9.) Daisy Jones and the Six by: Taylor Jenkins Reid

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I absolutely loved The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo last year. So when I heard that Taylor Jenkins Reid was coming out with a new book, I was so super excited. This sounds like it’s going to be so intense and full of emotion, and I’m so here for it!

10.) The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried by: Shaun David Hutchinson

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Shaun has written some of my all-time favorite contemporary books. I’m always excited when I hear that he’s releasing a new book, and this time is no different. I’m sure that this book is going to be just as touching and queer as all the others, and I’m sure I’m going to love it just as much.

That’s it! Those are all the books I’m looking forward to most! But what about y’all? What books are you most excited about? Are you looking forward to any of the books I listed? Let me know down in the comments!

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Sunday Fun-day: Best Books of 2018.

Welp! It’s a new year, and it’s time to reflect on all the books that blew my mind in 2018. And trust me, there were A LOT! But, I’ve managed to narrow it down to just twelve that were just, the best of the best. So, let’s get started!

12.) Magic Bites by: Illona Andrews

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This year, I went back to my paranormal-romance roots, and finally gave this series a chance after having it recommended to me forever ago. It’s everything I love about the paranormal-romance genre and more! There’s a kick-ass heroine, a kick-ass love interest, a complex world and magic system, out-of-this-world high stakes, drama, action, etc. I devoured the first five books of this series, and I can’t wait to get to more!

11.) Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans by: Don Brown

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This was one of the most heartwrenching things I’ve ever read. So much about what happend during, and after, Katrina has been kept so quiet, and after reading this book I can understand why: it was horrific. The way that our government let down the people of New Orleans was a travesty. And this novel really shows that. The artwork really brings to light what mere words wouldn’t be able to convey. This really should be required reading for everyone in America.

10.) The Cruel Prince by: Holly Black

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Oh man, does Holly Black know how to write faeries. Brutal, coniving, vain, fickle, and beautiful. She really knows how to get them just right. I was worried, with all the hype that was surrounding this book, that it wouldn’t live up to my expectations. But it did…and then some. The characters were all so flawed, and morally grey, and just awful some times, and I LOVED it. And all the tension was just TOO good. I can’t wait to get my hands on more of this series. Holly Black is the Faerie Queen.

9.) Sadie by: Courtney Summers

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Holy crap did this one hit hard. This book just, covers such a tragic and hard topic, but the thing that makes it THAT much harder and more tragic, is that it happens all the time. This novel really makes you open your eyes to the really ugly side of the world, and start asking yourself some REALLY hard questions. The way this book was written was also so brilliant, and intriguing, and suspenseful. And the audiobook was AMAZING.

8.) The Watch That Ends the Night by: Allan Wolf

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This was the second historical-fiction book I read that was written in verse. And I’ve learned something: when trying to write about tragic events, sometimes verse is the best way to go. The free form allws authors to express emotions and events in a way so much more meaningful than if they’d been stuck in structure. This novel was packed with so much information, and so many different POVs from people from all walks of life. I really learned so much from this novel, and can’t wait to pick up more Titanic books.

7.) Wildwood by: Colin Meloy

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This one was a complete surprise for me! I picked this up on a whim at Target YEARS ago, and started to think I was never going to get to it. Oh man, am I glad I changed my mind. This book was so much fun. The world is so unqiue, and quirky, and just, FUN! That’s what I felt all throughout this book. Even when things got tense, there was still so much excitement going on! This is such a great book about family, friends, and growing into yourself. I definitely recommend it to middle grade lovers.

6.) The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by: Kiersten White

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This book has become so important to me over the course of this year. The majority of this book deals with a character in an abusive and toxic relationship, and how she finds the strength to get herself out of it. This is a situation that I have been struggling with myself for the past few years, and to see in reflected in fiction, and handled so well, really meant a lot to me. Our heroine is strong, and loving, and loyal, but she also has her flaws. She was just an amazing character to be able to relate to, and I’m really grateful to White for giving me this book this year, when I really needed it. If you want to hear more of my thoughts about this book, check out my fell review here.

5.) Dietland: Sarai Walker

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This was another one that completely took me by surprise. This was a required read for school, and I was anticipating to not like it. Boy was I wrong. This book was so empowering for women, particularly fat women. If you want to know my more in-depth thoughts, you can check out my full review here.

4.) Godsgrave by: Jay Kristoff

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This was so good. Like, way too good. Mia got more brutal, and morally grey, and so badass. Plus, my wife Ashlinn is in it so, of course it was gonna land high on this list. But the stakes were so much higher in this one, and there were so many twists I wasn’t expecting. And it absolutely left me dying for the next installment. I can’t wait until the next book comes out, but Jay better leave my wife alone. Or we will have WORDS.

3.) Bridge of Clay by: Markus Zusak

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I bet this is surprising to y’all, isn’t it? Bet y’all thought it would be first. Well, as great as it was, it couldn’t quite claim that spot. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t amazing! Because it was. It was so touching, and heartbreaking, and beautiful. No one can string together a sentence quite like Markus. There were so many lines that left me gasping, they were so beautiful. It really was worth the agonizing wait.

2.) Muse of Nightmares by: Laini Taylor

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I’ve said this more times than I can count, and I’ll say them probably a million more times: Laini Taylor is a word witch. The way she can make worlds and characters come to life on the page is nothing short of magic. This sequal was so nail-biting, and emotional, and absolutely amazing, and I just can’t figure out how she manages to do it over, and over again. This duology handled such complex themes so brilliantly. I’m just, completely in awe of her. We all need to bow down.

1.) Circe by: Madeline Miller

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I can’t express how much I love this book. It came to me, just when I needed it most. Seeing Circe getting knocked down, and having everything in the world thrown at her, and her getting right back up? It really helped me get through this year. Everytime I picked this book up I felt so empowered, and inspired, and like nothing could touch me. And even if something DID get to me, I could beat it. Circe was such a beautiful character to read about, and all the other characters were so amazing too. If you want to hear me gush about this book more, check out my full review here.

Well that’s it! Those were my top books of the year! But, what about you guys? What were your favorites of the year? Did you read any of my favorites? What did you think of them? Tell me all about it in the comments!

Sunday Fun-day: Markus Zusak Collection.

I mainly have four collections, but there is one that definitely stands out as my absolute favorite: my Markus Zusak collection. It’s a well known fact that Zusak is the author of my two, absolute favorite books of all time. So, it really shouldn’t be all that shocking that I collect his work. I started collecting in 2012, and am nowhere near finished. It’s the collection that I’ve poured the most money into, that I’m most dedicated to, and most proud of, and I’m super excited to share it with all of you! Now, I’m not going to go into a bunch of detail about the books, and what they mean to me, because I plan on making an entire post about it. So, be on the lookout for that. But for now, just look at the beautiful books and swag!

Whenever I start off this collection, I always begin with my editions of The Book Thief. Probably because they’re what make up most of this collection. So, that’s what I’m going to do here too.

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(Old Definitions UK paperback, UK paperback, US movie tie-in paperback, US Exclusive Collector’s Edition hardback, UK hardback, Newest Definitions paperback, Rare German hardback, Second run US ARC)

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(US paperback, Newer Definitions paperback, US 10th anniversary hardback, AUS paperback, US 10th anniversary paperback, Defaced hardback, Rare German hardback, UK ARC, Russian hardback)

Next up, is my absolute favorite book of all time: I Am the Messenger. Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Chardon, why isn’t this the biggest piece of your collection? Isn’t it your favorite?” And the answer is: The Book Thief is more popular. The Book Thief is Markus’s masterpiece, and it definitely shows. There were way more editions of it printed than any of Markus’s other works, hence why I have more editions of The Book Thief, even though I Am the Messenger is my favorite.

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(German paperback, Newer French paperback, AUS first edition paperback, AUS paperback, Defaced hardback, Dutch hardback)

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(Czech hardback, German special Black Edition paperback, AUS paperback, Polish hardback, Romanian hardback, Chinese paperback, AUS paperback)

Next is the smallest piece of the collection: The Wolfe Brothers Trilogy. These are the first books that Markus ever wrote, and very few people have heard of, or read, them. And, I have to admit, they’re not Markus’s best (they are his first though, so we can excuse it), but they’re still very touching and beautifully written books.

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(US bind-up hardback, UK Definitions paperback, Newer UK Definitions paperback, UK Definitions paperback)

And to finish off the book portion of the collection: Bridge of Clay. I’ve been anxiously awaiting this book since 2011, and I was absolutely over the moon when it was announced and released this year.

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(US hardback, UK Waterstones Limited Special Edition hardback, US hardback, US ARC, UK rose gold ARC, AUS ARC)

And that’s it for the books! Now we’re on to the swag! Believe it or not, there’s not an awful lot of Zusak swag out there in the world. But, with the hype for Bridge of Clay, that has started to change. Which, as a collector, has absolutely thrilled me!

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(ALA exclusive Bridge of Clay tote bag, Bridge of Clay pens, Bridge of Clay Leather notebook, The Book Thief button, Bridge of Clay quote print, Bridge of Clay coasters)

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(Bridge of Clay stickers inside Waterstones Edition, Waterstones The Book Thief bookmark)

And that’s it! That’s my entire Markus Zusak collection. Now, as I stated above, I’m in no way done collecting. There are still many foreign editions that I want to get my hands on. And I am forever in search of an I Am the Messenger ARC. So, most likely, I will be adding to this collection for many more years.

Sunday Fun-day: I was gone for a while…

Hello lovelies! So, I’ve been gone for quite some time now. And I wish I could say that it was a “one time” thing, and it’ll never happen again… but that’s just not the case.

See, something that a lot of people don’t know about me is that I suffer from mental illness. For most of my life, I have been dealing with OCD and anxiety. And while, over the course of my 26 years, I’ve gotten really good at coping with the everyday, routine, smaller symptoms of my MI, there’s always one thing that never fails to send me into a spiral, and it’s one I can never really get myself out of: school.

School is the #1 trigger for my OCD and anxiety. Despite the fact that I am an excellent student (never get bad grades, don’t skip too many classes, get along with all my teachers), my MI always convinces me that I’m failing college. And the path that that train of thought takes my brain down looks like this:

Failing college —> Failing at life —-> Worthless human —-> Everyone hates/disappointed in me —-> I’m going to die.

Now, of course that doesn’t make any logical sense, but I’ll let you in on a secret: MENTAL ILLNESS ISN’T LOGICAL! I can be staring at my straight A’s, listening to teachers telling me what a great student I am, and having my family telling me how proud they are of me, and it DOES NOT MATTER. My brain sends me down that negative thought path, and I’m stuck in it.

As you can imagine, this gets extremely exhausting. It makes everything that I have to do for school, and in other aspects of my life, far more difficult, and draining, than they should be. It takes every ounce of my energy to get the bare minimum of what I need to get done finished. So, this tends to mean that I have absolutely no energy, or drive, or desire to do anything extra. Like reading for pleasure. Or blogging.

So, that’s where I’ve been. That’s where I always go when I drop off of social media all of a sudden, and for long periods of time. And while I wish I could say that it won’t happen again, it most likely will. I still have two more semesters of college left before I graduate, so that bad thought spiral is going to happen at least another two times. That’s just inevitable. I’ve accepted that it’s just what happens, and I deal with it the best I can. That’s mostly what living with a mental illness involves.

But, for the time being, I’m on a break from school, and I’m going to try to do my best to schedule some posts. Hopefully that will help me not fall too far behind again, when school starts up in a few weeks.

I really do love blogging, and love being a part of this bookish community. So, I hope that none of you thought I was quitting, or giving up. I just have to step away from things sometimes when my head gets in a bad way. I hope you all understand that. I’m going to try my best to be here, just be patient if I can’t. Thanks ya’ll.

Sunday Fun-day: Wreck This Journal.

So, no doubt y’all have noticed by now that, I can be quite crafty. It should come as no surprise then, that I am the proud owner of a Wreck This Journal. I acquired my WTJ in 2013, and REALLY got into working on it in 2014. That year, a good 90% of my day was spent trapped inside babysitting a small toddler, and let me tell you, THAT JOURNAL WAS A GODSEND. It gave both me, and my nephew, something to spend our countless hours doing, and it was SOO much fun, and SOO cathartic.

For those of you who’ve managed to elude the internet for the past five years, and have no idea what a Wreck This Journal is, or what it entails: it is essentially an art journal. Each page of the journal has a prompt, and you are “encouraged” to do said prompt, and the more creatively the better. But of course, you can always choose to ignore the prompt, and just do your own thing. The journal is really about that, ya know, not making you feel pressured or forced into doing a specific thing. It really is entirely up to you. Which really gives you all the freedom in the world to let your creativity go hog wild.

I decided that I wanted to do my best to follow the prompts in the journal, but with as creative a twist as I could possibly incorporate. Which, as I’ve found, is how most people choose to approach the journal. But, as I said, that doesn’t mean you have to follow the crowd. You can literally do whatever you want. And even if you DO choose to approach it the same way we have, that doesn’t mean our pages will end up the same. After all, the way you interpret “Fat Lines and Thin,” might not be the same way I interpret them. Thus, making that page different for the both of us.

I highly recommend this journal to everyone looking for something fun and creative to do in their down time. I’ve even managed to convince my best friend into getting one, and she’s loved the pages she’s done in it so far.

Here are some of my favorite pages that I’ve done from my own WTJ. Just so y’all can get an idea as to what it’s all about.

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(This one is my ABSOLUTE favorite. For obvious reasons.)

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So, what about y’all? Do you have a Wreck This Journal? What are some of your favorite pages that you’ve done? Would you consider getting a WTJ? Lemme know about it down in the comments!

Sunday Fun-day: Summer Biannual Bibliothon TBR.

So, at the last minute, I decided to participate in the Summer Biannual Bibliothon! This is actually my first year participating, as this one tends to overlap with the Booktube-A-Thon, which I’ve participated in for the past 5 years. But, this year the dates worked out that, not only could I participate in both, but actually have a little break in-between as well! So, I thought it’d be fun to share with you all what I plan to read over the course of the week! So, here we go!

Challenge 1: Read the Group Book

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The Wicked Deep by: Shea Ernshaw

Challenge 2: Choose a book from someone else’s TBR

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The Cruel Prince by: Holly Black from Between the Pages TBR.

Challenge 3: Try the first chapter of 3 books and pick 1

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The War Outside by: Monica Hesse

Challenge 4: Read a book that has been on your TBR for over a year

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Tiger Lily by: Jodi Lynn Anderson

Challenge 5: Read a predicted 5 star read

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Muse of Nightmares by: Laini Taylor

Challenge 6: Read an #OwnVoices book – different from YOU

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Blanca and Roja by: Anna-Marie McLemore

Challenge 7: Read the last book you bought

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Orphan, Monster, Spy by: Matt Killeen

So, there ya go! Those are the 7 books I’m going to try and tackle this week! Now, what about y’all? Are you participating in the Biannual Bibliothon? What books do you plan on reading? What do you think of my choices? Lemme hear about it in the comments!

If you’d like to hear more about why I chose these books, you can check out my TBR video on my Booktube channel here!

Sunday Fun-day: ALA Annual Conference 2018

Hey y’all! Well, here it is! As promised! My post all about ALA Annual Conference 2018!!! I’m not really sure how to go about covering anything, so forgive me if this is a bit ramble-y. Okay, let’s just dive right into it!

So, going to ALA was kinda a last minute thing. I mean, it’s something I’ve WANTED to do for a while, but kinda in the same sense as wanting to go to Europe. Something you have all the intentions of doing, ya know, someday. But not anytime soon. What REALLY sold me on going this year, and really got all the plans in motion, were two things.

1.) It was in New Orleans. Normally, it takes place in Denver, CO or Seattle, WA. Both of these places are wayyyyy too far for me to drive, and I really can’t justify spending the money on a plane ticket to go. I haven’t been blogging long enough, in my opinion. But NOLA isn’t even a full day drive away from FL. That’s TOTALLY doable.

2.) Bridge of Clay ARCs were going to be there. Yes, this is completely true. This was a HUGE contributing factor. I mean, I’m the girl who drove four hours to go to a Zusak book signing. So, yea. I am THAT kind of fan.

So, it was decided. I was going. And upon telling my family this, they decided it gave them a spiffy excuse to take a mini-vacation, so they all tagged along as well. And just like that, we were making the 9hr commute from Orlando to New Orleans. And, while it wasn’t the MOST relaxing roadtrip I’ve ever taken, it wasn’t terrible.

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So, what can I say about New Orleans. Well, IT WAS SO FREAKIN’ HOT!!! Like, seriously, I was not prepared for how sweltering it was gonna be! I mean, I knew it was gonna be hot, but I’m from Florida! We’re further south than NOLA!!! I thought I’d be able to handle it. Well, yea, NO. It was like hanging out in Satan’s armpit for five days. Wasn’t the best. However, the city is BEAUTIFUL. And so much fun! Really, all the stories you’ve ever heard about New Orleans are true. It’s just one, big party 24/7, and it’s GREAT. I definitely recommend going. Just, ya know, maybe NOT in the middle of summer? I hear October is a GREAT time to go.

All that being said, I didn’t get to experience too much of the city and all it’s excitement because: ALA was A LOT. I’ve never been to ANY kind of book conference before, so everything was completely new to me. I mean, I sorta had a game plan, and I had some great friends from Twitter offering me tips and such. But for the most part? I was completely on my own.

So, for three days, I would show up at the convention center at 8AM. The exhibit floor would open at 9AM. And then it was just never ending walking and waiting in lines. Which I don’t mean to sound like complaints! But, to say that it wasn’t draining, would be a heinous lie. The three days that I attended kind of fell into three neat categories: walking, lines, and wrap-up.

Day 1 was all about walking. I was at the center from 8-2 and spent the ENTIRE time walking. From booth to booth, and back again. Making sure I was where I needed to be, when I needed to be there, to pick up everything that I had my eyes set on. And for the most part, the things that I wanted MOST, were acquired on my first day. And yes, this does include my beloved Bridge of Clay ARC. God, it’s so beautiful. I was literally clutching it to my chest and rocking back an forth with it for an hour after I picked it up. No lie. I also had one signing on Day 1, and it was the one I was most looking forward to: Laini Taylor and Muse of Nightmares. She told me I have the perfect book character name. It was super cool.

Day 2 was all about standing in lines. I arrived at the center at 8, and didn’t leave until 4. At least 6 hours of this time was spent standing in lines. I stood in line for 2 hours for Ransom Riggs and an ARC of the 4th Miss Peregrine’s book. Then it was 2 hours for the ARC drop for The Wicked King by: Holly Black. And another 2 hours for Mackenzie Lee and Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy ARCs. And then there were other lines sprinkled here and there. Needless to say, my feet and I were not on speaking terms by the end of the day. But, I did get to spend a LOT of time with some really cool people in all those lines. And I got some amazing ARCs. So, it was all worth it in the end.

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Day 3 was all about wrapping things up. It was my shortest day, 8-1, and was spent just aimlessly walking around, making sure that I didn’t miss anything, and waiting for the booths to break down. See, at the end of the conference, the booths don’t want to have to tote everything they have left over back home. So, they basically liquidate everything. They either sell all their stock at RIDICULOUSLY reduced prices (50% or more), or they just give everything away. So, after spending my morning collecting ARCs that I might’ve missed due to the business of the previous days, I got my butt over to the Penguin/Random House booth for their 12:30 break down. That is where I picked up my final books of the trip.

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I can honestly say that, even with how physically and emotionally draining it was, this was one of the best things I’ve EVER done. I learned so much. I got to experience so much. I met some of the most AMAZING bloggers, librarians, publishers, and authors. And it was a LOT of fun. Even if it was ungodly hot and took a massive toll on my feet, shoulders, and back. I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything in the world. If you ever get the opportunity to attend, I HIGHLY suggest you do! You’ll never forget it.

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