BEA, also know as Book Expo America, took place last week in Chicago and it was a blast! This was actually my first book event that I have gone to! (I’m not really counting the Fifty Shades Premiere as that was more focused around the movie.) I’m not sure how these events normally run but I’m going to break down my highlights of the trip, as well as the low points.
BEA taking place in Chicago
While BEA is normally held at the Javits Center in New York, this year it was relocated to the Hyatt Regency in Chicago and this location change pretty much guaranteed my attendance. Chicago is only a 45 minute plane ride from where I live in Metro Detroit and let’s be honest, I am not a fan of traveling by air lol. But more of the reason why I was sold was because I wanted to explore Chicago. Seriously, this is a gorgeous city!
Like I mentioned earlier, BEA was my first real book event, so this was the first time that I’ve ever come face to face with some of my favorite authors! This is mainly because I’m kind of a hermit and also because I’ve never had a huge desire to go to signings. I’m all about autographs but I’m shy lol. Out of all the authors I got to meet, Sylvia Day was probably my favorite. Not only is she extremely sweet but her enthusiasm and ability to draw even the most social awkward of fans (i.e. me!) into a conversation pretty much endeared me to her. This lady is the real deal <3
The only desire I’ve ever had to travel or go to book events is because of bloggers. If anything, those are who I fangirl over. I was lucky enough to enjoy this trip with the ladies from Black Heart Reviews (Ali & Debbie!) & Stephanie from No BS Book Reviews!
Seriously, these ladies are incredible. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much. Getting to spend time with them was the biggest highlight of the trip.
OMG and this is with showing restraint. Seriously. I saw people in line with spreadsheets, documents, maps, basically planning their strategy to get all the books. BEA is no freaking joke. I definitely feel as if I showed my lack of strategy because I didn’t have any. I honestly just wanted to walk around and check everything out. Still, with not getting a lot of the bigger titles (but still managing to get all the ones I want) it was a pretty good experience. I would suggest that if you are thinking of going to BEA next year and are desperate to land the hottest and rarest of titles, that you do a little research from fellow bloggers about how to make those things a possibility. If you go in and hope to be at the right place at the right time, you might run into some disappointment.
Would I go to BEA again?
And the answer for that is…..
I say maybe because while I really did have a wonderful time and I got the titles I really wanted, there were a few things that make me hesitant to plan attendance for next year.
- Line Cutters
This was my first BEA so I’ve been told this is the norm, but going from #3 in line to #12 because the people in front of you saved spots for their friends is not cool. I get it. Everyone wants all the things. But have some consideration for the people that have been waiting in line for hours just to have the book(s) they were hoping to score go to someone that just waltzed up. Maybe I’m naive but its just rude. The readers that do this are just as guilty as the publishers that allow them to do this. I hope that maybe this gets addressed at some point.
- Greedy Readers
Again, I’m not going to harp on this issue too much considering there is enough conversation going on about this on Twitter and Instagram, but seeing a picture that someone took with over 100+ books and multiple copies of really rare and hard to get titles is just yuck. It just comes down to having consideration and respect for your peers. The lack thereof is depressing.
- More YA Friendly
I love young adult. I read young adult. Having said that, I think a lot of the titles featured that are primarily young adult and for someone that reads more contemporary adult and erotica, it can be easy to not feel included in the galley drops and signings. I really do thing there is a good mix for everyone, but if I was a young adult blogger, I would be in my glory. From what I heard, events like RT (Romantic Times) would possible be a better fit for a reader like me.
But overall, I am 100% pleased with my experience at BEA and what I got out of it. Now I would like to talk about some of the books I had the opportunity to take home that I am most looking forward to reading!
My Top 5 BEA Books
First Star I See Tonight (Chicago Stars #8)
Susan Elizabeth Phillips
August 23rd, 2016
Seriously, SEP is hands down one of my favorite contemporary authors out there. Her books hit me in my feels. Every. Single. Time.
Stalking Jack The Ripper
September 20th, 2016
Honestly, when you put together Jack the Ripper and Young Adult, is it possible to go wrong? I had the opportunity to snatch this title up and even though it’s a papberback galley, it is GORGEOUS. I am preordering the hardcover because it will just look gorgeous on my shelf. Plus, its coming out on James Patterson’s children imprint. That in itself is pretty promising.
January 10th, 2017
OMG! This was the one title that I was really really REALLY wishing I would have the opportunity to get and thankfully I did. Go read the synopsis and tell me you don’t get the chills. Arranged marriage, sisterhood, magic and heartbreak. This book is right up my alley!
Behind Closed Doors
February 11th, 2016
Now I know this is a bit unconventional since it was released a few months ago, but when I saw the cover I just knew this would be a book I would love. It’s not too often that I venture outside of romance, but when I do, it’s usually for a thrilling suspense. A few of my Goodreads friends have rated this quite high, so I’m very excited to check this debut out.
Three Dark Crowns
September 20th, 2016
A dark fantasy of three sisters that have to fight to the death to become queen? Um, yes please! Dark books are my jam. Especially dark young adult. And that cover ::grabby hands::
Did you go to BEA this year? Are you planning on going next year? What book(s) are you most interested in?