Book Expo America (BEA) 2016–Day 1

I had the great fortune of being able to go to Book Expo America (BEA) this year, since it was held in Chicago, which is only a train ride away for me. Since it is usually in NYC, I had not even considered it an option in the past. Since it is moving there again next year, I might need to try to save money! I guess that means I had a good time! Though I am thoroughly exhausted and am not sure how long it will take me to recover, I am so glad I went to both BEA and BookCon. For the next few posts, I will be covering my different days there and filling you in on my experience.

Day 1, Wednesday, May 11:

My day started at 1:30 am, leaving to drive over to Carbondale, IL to catch the 3:15 am train to Chicago Union Station. I have taken this train before to Chicago and it is a pretty good experience. It is the train that runs from New Orleans, and it is a comfortable car. You have plenty of room to stretch out, they do their best to keep you in a pair of seats by yourself, and they keep the lights turned down for sleeping. Unfortunately, I got stuck sitting across from a big man who took full advantage of sleeping (and snoring loudly!) for the whole 6-hour ride. I think he forgot where he was, he kept letting his phone ring without answering it, and even had the nerve to fart, yes FART, when he woke in the morning. Seriously?! You are in public, dude!

Anyway, I arrived in Chicago right at 9:00 am and took my first Uber ride–thanks, Mildred!–to the Convention Center and hotel. I was kind of terrified of Uber, mostly because I was afraid I would have to make awkward conversation…that’s the kind of thing that scares me, haha, but it was a fine experience. I was able to check into the hotel early and had a nice conversation about my hometown in Southeast Missouri with the lady working the front desk. She drives through pretty often to visit family and was asking me about places to stay and things to do. From there, I unpacked and headed down to the convention center to explore before it officially opened.

For the first day, the show floor was only open for the afternoon and there wasn’t as much going on as far as author visits, but there were a few I wanted to meet. While standing in my first line of many waiting for the showfloor to open, I met a few other bloggers and chatted with them a bit. (Shout-out to Nikki at Take Me Away blog, Amber at Du Livre, and Jessica at A Great Read) Once the floor opened, the chaos began. I quickly learned what to try and pick up and what to not touch…trust me, those publishers are on the ball! In some situations, it was hard to tell what was on display and what was being given away (talking to you, Harlequin!), so I got scolded a few times.

First stop after doing some exploring, was the line to meet and get See Me signed by Nicholas Sparks. This was exciting as a fan of his books, but I have to admit he was the only one the whole time that didn’t give you the opportunity to get your book personalized, which was a bit disappointing. I met some fun people in that line that I ran into a few more times. I left their cards at home today, so I will have to see if I can share their info on my next post. Anyway, here I am with Nicholas Sparks.


Next up, I headed over to the line to get a copy of Unashamed by Lecrae, hoping that I can find one of my high school students that this book would have a healthy impact on. We also have classes that read memoirs/biographies for their curriculum, so I am always looking for ones that will interest my students. Lecrae is performing at my town’s fair this year as the headliner, so it will mean even more. He and his publisher were even nice enough to ask me to come back at the end of his signing and they gave me another copy that he signed to the high school library.


Scott McCreery was next, since I watched him while on American Idol and have a friend who is a fan now. I had this copy signed to my friend, but was able to snag another copy a different day to add to the one we already ordered for my school library. Again, I am always looking for memoirs/biographies that will be of interest.


So, by this point, I was already exhausted, and knew it was going to be a tiring couple of days, but I was already excited about my finds. This picture shows all the things I was able to get on Day 1…knowing that was only a half day’s worth of things, I was pumped for Day 2. There are some good ones in here that I am excited about, including a new one by Room author Emma Donoghue.


Exciting stuff, huh? Keep watching for posts from Days 2 & 3, as well as my day at BookCon.


Genrefication Step 2 is done!

Whew!! What a journey just this part has been so far. I haven’t written about this before, but we are in the process of genrefying our Fiction section in my high school library. The first step happened last spring, when we decided which genres we were going to use and how to go through the process.  Here are the genres we decided on:

  1. Realistic & General (kind of a catch-all if needed)
  2. Mystery, Horror, & Suspense
  3. Science Fiction & Fantasy (am already thinking about eventually separating these 2 sections)
  4. Sports
  5. Action & Adventure
  6. Historical
  7. Urban
  8. Relationships & Romance

Last page!

I finished the last sheets of our shelf list this week, so I have now gone through every single fiction book we own and determined which genre it belongs in—no better way to familiarize yourself with your collection!

We did have some “special” collections from the previous librarian that I had incorporated into regular fiction that I still have to go through, but I am celebrating today anyway! 🙂

As I have been determining genres, I have then passed on the completed sheets to my lovely assistants and they have been actually applying the colored labels to the spines (see picture below) and they are also on the very last section. Wahoo! Each genre has a specific color label to go with it.

The biggest challenge thus far has just been making a judgement call when a book falls into more than one genre, which SO many of them do. I have struggled with some, but decided to just go with my gut. I introduced the new system to my Freshman class this week and they seemed intrigued. Hopefully, we will see a big boost in circulation. I will be tracking it closely and updating you later.


Last section!

Step 3: Changing the genre in the Library Catalog! We are just adding a genre code before the FIC prefix on all the titles (i.e. MH for Mystery, RG for Realistic, etc.), so a call number would like something like this: MH FIC BAN

Excited to get this done! More to come soon.

A to Z for book nerds like me!

I borrowed this from YA Book Nerd:
Average number of books you read in a year? 110
Best sequel you’ve read recently? Chasing Sunsets by Karen Kingsbury (love her so much)
Challenges – do you participate in them? Yes, I do a Goodreads challenge every year and I keep track of my progress outside of my office door so students can see where I’m at and what I’ve been reading.
Do you eat and read at the same time? Not usually
Ever stay up all night reading for fun? ALL night? No, but very late sometimes
Favorite childhood/teen book? Love me some Sweet Valley, this is probably my fave ever
Genre you read the most of? Contemporary (YA and adult)
Happy, sad, or realistic ending? Happy or realistic, I don’t always like when things wrap up too nicely
Interested in nonfiction too? Ehhh…usually only if it reads like fiction, like a Memoir
Just one genre – or do you hop around? Hop around
Keep track of your reading stats? On Goodreads, it saves me!
Last book you read and Loved? All of them?! Okay….Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill 
Made you cry? That doesn’t really happen, but closest to making me cry was All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Number of books you read at one time? Try to stick to 1, but sometimes 1 at work and 1 at home
Out of order in series books or sequential? Sequential, don’t be silly!
Place you read the most? Bed
Quiet necessary when reading or can you read with noise? I prefer quiet
Reviews – positive, negative, or in between? Mostly positive
Start with the ending to see if you like it or read the book front to back? OMG, who are you?! Never ever start at the end
Take your time reading that book you’ve been waiting to read or rush through it find out what happens? Umm, I just read it
Underdog – do you root for these characters? Sure
Vocal about books you love? Yes, on social media and among my friends/coworkers
Winning books – do you enter contests on bloggers’ sites? Not really
Xtra excited about meeting a favorite author or totally calm? I would totally be excited!
Yacking about book – who do you yack with the most about books? Students or a few select others
Zappy read (where after you close the book, you smile with happiness and maybe dance around a bit.  Oh gosh, I don’t know I don’t really do anything after I finish a book except for start a new one. 

The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver

21469095 The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver

**This review is based on ARC from Netgalley, it releases on 4/28/15.

Ella is always taking care of her twin, Maddy, picking up the pieces after her and giving her rides home from parties. Maddy is Miss Popular and Ella is more of an academic, artistic person with a few close friends, as opposed to trying to impress the whole school constantly. After waking up from a tragic accident where Maddy was killed and not remembering much of anything, Ella decides people would be happier if she pretended like Maddy was the one who survived. So, she says goodbye to her life and decides to live the life of her completely different twin. She finds out just how tough it is to fake a whole persona and that there are a million things about her sister’s life that she never knew. Her closest friend, Josh, figures it out pretty quickly and tries to convince Ella to come clean, but she just can’t figure out a way to do so without destroying everything even more. Ella/Maddy has to come to terms with things that have happened and decide if she can continue faking a life or come clean and live out her own life with the guilt of killing her sister.

I enjoyed this book and read it quickly. Most of the “action” was at the beginning of the story, but it still kept my interest completely throughout.  I kept rooting and waiting for Ella to do what I thought was the right thing.  The interesting thing is that I think readers will have different ideas of what the “right thing” actually is, so it will affect each reader in a totally different way. The characters were relatable, though not always likable…but how good could a book be if not for some mean characters? I will definitely be recommending this to my high schoolers and have already purchased a copy for our library.

My rating: 4/5

What I read in January 2015


These are the books that I read (and finished) in January.  I am working on 2 more right now that I will finish in the next day or so.

1. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

2. When by Victoria Laurie

3. I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

4. Burn for Burn by Siobhan Vivian & Jenny Han

5. Since You’ve Been Gone by Mary Jennifer Payne

6. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

7. Dirty Rush by Taylor Bell

8. Yes Please by Amy Poehler

I usually only write reviews of the ARC books that I read, so I will give a little feedback here for the others.  If you have read my posts, you probably already know that All the Bright Places is my absolute favorite of this month, looking good as a possibility for favorite of the year (yes, I’m saying that in January!). I can’t wait for the hype to catch on among my students! I also really enjoyed Dirty Rush as a kind of “trashy” read, though it wasn’t really trashy, just fun! I will not be buying for my library though as it is pretty much solely about drinking and doing drugs. 🙂 I just read this morning that I’ll Give You the Sun won a Printz award, and it is definitely well-deserved, hoping to get my students into this one as well. The others were all pretty satisfying reads and I will recommend them since there wasn’t one that I really disliked. I can see When being one that a lot of my girls would enjoy.

Currently reading: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah (releases tomorrow 2/3) and Take My Breath Away by Wendy Wilson (won’t be releasing for quite some time, I am serving as a beta reader for this local author).

New blog!

Hello! My first blogging adventure for my high school library was not as much of a success as I had hoped it would be, so here I am again….starting fresh!  This time, I am trying WordPress to see if it’s a better fit for me.  I will be posting reviews, Young Adult book news, book-to-movie news, and whatever else catches my fancy (I’m so fancy!).

A little about me:

I am a high school librarian in Southeast Missouri at a school with approximately 1200 students in grades 9-12.  I am just about to finish up my 2nd year in this position (yay for Summer!), but have been a School Library Media Specialist for 6 years now and it is my 9th year in the teaching profession.  I previously work in an elementary school in Southeast Missouri and a charter school in St. Louis, MO with K-8 students.  I have found my perfect fit here at CHS, working with teens and recommending books to my students and colleagues.  I couldn’t be happier!  On the personal side of things, I bought a house last summer in my hometown and love being a homeowner (for the most part).  I have 3 precious fur babies–a Pomeranian named Annabelle, a Chihuahua named Violet, and a HUGE cat named Koby; which I’m sure you will see photos of if you follow me anywhere else.  Shameless plug for social media: Twitter handle is @sarakip01 and Facebook is  I love networking with my fellow librarians on social media to share as many ideas and successes as possible!  My mom branded me as a princess from birth by blessing me with the name Sara, which means Princess, so it is just part of who I am…Thanks, Mom! 🙂

What to expect:

Though I’m not sure of everything I will include on here, I do plan to share my thoughts on books I read (advanced reader copies and already released titles), share info about what kinds of things I’m doing in my library, discuss what’s happening in the Young Adult Lit world, talk about books being made into movies, and share some of the things my faculty book club will be doing (also a new adventure for me!).  I am hoping to build my PLN through my blog, so please follow my posts!

Happy Reading!