Shakespeare in Spirit

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It’s April 23rd. Just another day in the Spring, right? It’s also the day that William Shakespeare died 398 years ago. Although there aren’t any records of his actual birth date, April 23rd is also traditionally recognized as the day he was born. That would make him 450 today, so happy birthday (and death day? Is that a thing?) to good ol’ Billy S! To commemorate the bard, I decided to compile a list of movies (+ 1.5 musicals) that are either based on one of his plays or are a direct adaptation. Strangely enough, I haven’t come across too many novels inspired by his plays that I’ve really enjoyed (Got any recs? I’ll take them!), but there have been plenty of films. I’m not sure if it’s a coincidence or not, but many of the films on this list came out during the 90s and early 2000s…

She’s The Man

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Amanda Bynes might be cray cray right now, but she had a pretty good streak of hilariously enjoyable movies. In my opinion, She’s the Man is definitely the funniest one, and it’s also a film I can watch repeatedly. It’s a little ridiculous of a movie, but the story of Twelfth Night was incorporated SO well into the high school setting. I also highly appreciated the little nods to the play like the rival schools being named Illyria and Cornwall or the fact that Duke Orsino’s name was still Duke Orsino.

10 Things I Hate About You

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I still have hearts in my eyes over this film. Not only did it star a multitude of 90s legends in their young adult selves (Andrew Keegan, Joesph-Gordon Levitt, Larisa Oleynik a.k.a. Alex Mack (!!), Julia Stiles), but it was the first movie I saw starring Heath Ledger. Will I ever forget that scene when he sings and dances on the bleachers? Nope. In case you feel like being simultaneously happy and sad, here you go. Anyway, this film is based on The Taming of the Shrew. Yes, the film’s ending might have deviated from the play’s ending, but this is a teen flick, after all.

West Side Story

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Toniiiiiiight, tonight! I’ll see my love tonight! That’s not a line exactly straight out of Romeo and Juliet, but it pretty much could be. Originally a musical, then eventually adapted into a movie, West Side Story is based on one of Shakespeare’s most famous tragedies. Rival gangs and star-crossed love. Dance-offs in the street. In keeping with the supposed 90s/2000′s theme of this post, does anyone remember the song Every Other Time by LFO? Totally inspired by Romeo and Juliet AND West Side Story.

The Lion King

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Confession time: I’ve never read Hamlet. I’ve written essays on it, but I actually have yet to read the play in its entity. I have, however, seen The Lion King dozens of times! Yup. Don’t let the Disney animation, nor the fact that all of the characters are animals fool you, The Lion King is based on Hamlet. Just a little less EVERYONE DIES and a little more Hakuna Matata.

The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride

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Wait a minute… The Lion King 2? Yeah, that’s right. Although many Disney sequels suffer from not being able to come close to living up to their predecessors, The Lion King 2 is actually a pretty decent film. It’s based on Romeo and Juliet… but then again, I think pretty much anything involving forbidden romances is, isn’t it?

Get Over It

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Shane West may have made everyone swoon and cry in A Walk to Remember, but around the same time, he starred in another film loosely based on A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This film features a bunch of high school students who are involved in their school’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream while also enduring their own romantic dramarama themselves. Much like Shakespeare featured a play within his play, this is a play within a movie. Very Inception-y. Not only is this movie freaking hilarious, but it also has a soundtrack, and the lyrics are pretty much the best everrr. Exhibit A: the intro song to the play.

Shakespeare in Love

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This isn’t so much a film inspired by one of his plays, but it is inspired by his life and has some elements of Romeo and Juliet in it. In the film, Shakespeare struggles with writer’s block, but then when he embarks on a romance, he finds inspiration to write Romeo and Juliet. This film also features Ben Affleck in Elizabethan attire and um, yeah, LOL.

bare: a pop opera

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Technically this isn’t a film, but I wanted to include it on here anyway because I adore this musical so much. It’s another one of those stories based on Romeo and Juliet, but this one digs a little deeper than just two people caught up in a whirlwind, forbidden romance. It also touches on drug abuse, homosexuality, and religion. bare tells the story Jason, the popular and charming kid, and Peter, his nerdy best friend. Unbeknownst to their classmates and family, Jason and Peter are actually dating, which is a big freaking deal because they go to a Catholic boarding school. Much of the play revolves around their school production of Romeo and Juliet in which passages from the play are directly taken and turned into songs that are actually super catchy. In a word, bare is haunting. It isn’t currently touring anywhere and I think the recording of the entire musical is also currently unavailable to purchase anywhere. I also believe it went through a complete lyrics/plot change when it was adapted into an Off-Broadway production a couple of years ago which makes me sad because some of those original lyrics were golden. Sigh. Such a shame because it was so good.

Romeo and Juliet (1968)

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Random story time: When I was in grade eight, I became obsessed with the idea of putting on a school production of Romeo and Juliet. I’m not entirely sure why, but for whatever reasons–probably because my school wasn’t too keen on ~the arts~ and such–it never happened. I consoled myself in repeatedly borrowing the 1968 film version of Romeo and Juliet from the library. I’m pretty sure I didn’t understand half the dialogue, (and let’s admit it, Shakespeare is definitely muuuch better when you understand the jokes and the puns), but my sisters and I enjoyed the movie for it’s dramatics, I guess. To this day, we still quote random Mercutio and Friar Laurence lines.

Baz Luhrman’s Romeo + Juliet

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This is a film I find that people either love or hate. I’m on the love side because even though I wasn’t a huge fan of Claire Danes as Juliet, the rest of the film is so well done. I know, I know, Baz Luhrman’s films can be weird, but it worked for me. The only downside to this adaptation is that I’m a fan of LOST and I can’t ever unsee the Mercutio drag queen dancing scene. Michael, what would WAAAAAAALT Walt say?

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Much Ado About Nothing (2012)

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Although admittedly, there are little nit-picky details I could make about this film, all in all I did enjoy it. Much, if not all, of that can be credited to the cast. The chemistry between Benedict (Alexis Denisof) and Beatrice (Amy Acker) was great, and the rest of the supporting cast (a.k.a. Joss Whedon’s friends) were also a treat to watch.

Much Ado About Nothing (1993)

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There’s also the older, non-modern version of the film. First of all, check out this cast: You’ve got Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson. That seems pretty typical for a Shakespeare film, right? But then you’ve also got Michael Keaton, Denzel Washington, Kate Beckinsale, and Keanu Reeves. Whereas Joss Whedon’s version seem to heavily rely on physical tom-foolery, this adaptation isn’t just funny, but fun. It’s sweet and smile-inducing.

The Tempest (2010)

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The BIG DEAL about this film is that the main character, King Prospero, is a woman in this version, and played by Helen Mirren. I’ve only seen select scenes, but I include this on the list because it’s one of the most visually stunning adaptations of a Shakespeare play.

O

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I remember being scared of this film because it seemed almost like a horror movie. It did star one of my faves, Josh Harnett, but well… if you know the story of Othello, you know that it hits the fan.  While She’s the Man mixes soccer, romance, and comedy, O combines basketball, tragedy, and obsession. And I guess  Julia Stiles must have a thing for Shakespeare because along with this film, 10 Things I Hate About You, and Hamlet (2000, not included in this list), that’s a fair amount!

Richard III (1995)

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Imagine Game of Thrones, but in a pre-WWII European setting. That’s basically this rendition of Richard III. Sir Ian McKellan plays the titular role, and other cast members include Maggie Smith, Annette Bening, and a super young ROBERT DOWNEY JR. I’ll be honest, Shakespeare’s history plays can be a liiitle tedious to get through just because there are so many names that sound all-too-similar and it’s difficult to keep up with who is fighting for which country and who is the heir to which title. This version of Richard III was somehow more accessible, and being set in a more modern time (more modern than the 15th century, anyway) created a deeper sense of urgency.

Judging from this list, there are seriously no limits to how you can spin a Shakespeare play. You can change the time and setting. You can make them sing everything. You can change a character’s race or gender. Heck, you can even change the entire dang species of a character and the stories still stick. Just as Shakespeare borrowed materials from traditional ballads and myths or was inspired by historic events, filmmakers (as well as novelists, graphic artists, etc) are continually able to draw inspiration from his works and create enjoyable entertainment or thought-provoking tales for audiences today. So with that said, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SHAKESPEARE, and keep the adaptations coming~

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Top Ten Tuesday: Characters You Don’t Want to Mess With

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Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, in which we create top ten lists that involve books.

Today’s prompt: Top Ten Characters Who X. We get to choose our own topic today, so I’ve settled on characters you wouldn’t want to mess with. Basically these are characters I wouldn’t want to offend or make angry in a dark alley whether it’s because they are skilled in combat or lack fear or just downright intimidating. Fortunately most of these have visual components in the form of gifs! YAY. (And yay for the bevy helping me find these some of these gifs because I suck at tumblr.)

1. Johanna Mason from The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. She’s outspoken, a known killer, and skilled with an axe. She has nothing to lose so there is a 99.9% that if you fight her, you will lose.

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2. Celaena Sardothien from the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. BADASS ASSASSIN QUEEN. The end.

3. Arya Stark from A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin. This is a girl who hasn’t even reached her teen years, but she’s already got a death list. A LIST OF PEOPLE TO KILL THAT SHE REPEATS TO HERSELF BEFORE SHE GOES TO SLEEP. Make her angry and she’ll stick you with the pointy end.

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4. Juliette Ferrars from the Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi. If I remember correctly, in Unravel Me, she made the entire wall (or was it an entire room?) crumble to the ground in her stressed out state. Ummm yeah, I’d stay away.

5. Isabelle Lightwood from The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare. Femme fatale with Nephilim blood? Trouble trouble trouble.

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6. Lena Duchannes from the Caster Chronicles by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. I’ve only read Beautiful Creatures, but the scene I remember most vividly from the novel is this party and she’s just going completely insane and stuff is flying everywhere. Also from what I remember she was a little crazy, too. Magical witchy powers + instability = I think I’ll pass.

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7. Tris Prior from the Divergent series by Veronica Roth. Peter and his buddies might think she’s just a weak little Stiff, but she’s pretty much close to fearless. SHE SHOT HER FRIEND BECAUSE SHE HAD TO. SHE WON’T HESITATE TO SHOOT YOU.

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8. Daenerys Targaryen from A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin. Soooo even though Dany in the books is pretty much a fourteen year old who doesn’t entirely know what she’s doing, she does have dragons. Three of them. She also walked into a burning funeral pyre and survived it. Even if she can’t throw a punch, all she’d have to do is utter “dracarys” and say goodbye to your flesh!

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9. Rose Hathaway from the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead. “Rose Hathaway is wild, dangerous, insubordinate…” She’s also trained to kick your ass …and stake your heart if you’re a Strigoi. Being a guardian, she actually does frequent dark alleyways to fight off threats.

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10. Ismae and Sybella from the His Fair Assassin series by Robin LaFevers. The majority of the characters on this list are up-front fighters. Ismae and Sybella? They’re undercover assassins. They were trained IN A CONVENT making them 10x more dangerous because would you really expect to be strangled or poisoned or gutted by a nun? Nope.

Book Review: Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas

haas-dangerousgirls Book Review: Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas
Release Date: 7/05/13
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Source: Purchased for Kindle
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It’s Spring Break of senior year. Anna, her boyfriend Tate, her best friend Elise, and a few other close friends are off to a debaucherous trip to Aruba that promises to be the time of their lives. But when Elise is found brutally murdered, Anna finds herself trapped in a country not her own, fighting against vile and contemptuous accusations.

As Anna sets out to find her friend’s killer; she discovers hard truths about her friendships, the slippery nature of truth, and the ache of young love.

As she awaits the judge’s decree, it becomes clear that everyone around her thinks she is not just guilty, but dangerous. When the truth comes out, it is more shocking than one could ever imagine…

Review:

I somewhat decided to read Abigail Haas’ Dangerous Girls on a whim. I needed to choose something from my “impulse buy/addicted to daily kindle deals” archive and earlier in the year, I recalled my fellow bevy member Steph insisting that I HAD to read this book. I do like a good murder mystery and I’ve been watching a lot of Death in Paradise with my mom lately, so it was a done deal. …Less than two hours later, I’d breezed through more than half the book. Keep in mind, I was multi-tasking at the time (hence having to read on the Kindle app on my freaking phone), so I honestly think if I’d been undisturbed in my room with an actual physical copy of the book, there’s a good chance I would’ve finished this in one setting in a mere few hours.

Needless to say, Dangerous Girls was freaking intense. From the first page, I was immediately drawn in and wanted—no, needed to find out who the killer is. The urgency is constantly in your face as Anna, the protagonist who is accused of murdering her best friend Elise during Spring Break, is currently being held prisoner in a foreign jail, awaiting her court date. The novel alternates between flashbacks to the days leading up to the trip, the actual trip, and the present day with Anna. There are also police interviews and phone transcripts, so in a way it felt like I was actually part of the investigative team, hearing about Anna’s accounts and examining the evidence that exists. The novel also reads a little older on the YA scale, but that was a huge plus for me because this is a freaking literally bloody murder investigation. I was grateful for the more mature tone because it just made the stakes so much higher. I feel like a lot of YA novels I’ve read which incorporate murder mysteries tended to go for ~shock factor~ but would sadly result in poor character development and unbelievable motives. NOT THE CASE HERE.

One of the major driving forces in the novel is Anna and Elise’s friendship. The majority of the flashbacks revolve around how they came to be best friends and how they were constantly there for each other and a staple in each other’s lives. Anna and Elise were definitely not the type of girls I hung out with in high school, but I felt like their characters were each so fleshed out that I almost felt like I was reading about people I knew of, if that makes any sense. I definitely didn’t always find them likeable, and the same goes for Anna’s boyfriend Tate, but I couldn’t help but be horrifyingly fascinated by their lives, and by what ends up going down in Aruba.

As someone who randomly watches a lot of television shows that deal with murder and crime investigation, I feel like I’ve grown pretty bored of the same old, same old. Bless this book because it was a fresh, unique read. Not only was the writing completely compelling, but the whole crime investigation had me freaking out. When the murderer is finally revealed… I don’t even know. I mean, I had my predictions (and hopes, tbh) and although who it ended up being wasn’t so much a surprise just because you can never rule ANYONE out even if it seems impossible, I was still left going, “Wait, what? WHAT?

I think it’s a good sign of a mystery story well done when you have to go back and reread parts to find stuff that you cannot believe you missed or that now suddenly makes so much more sense or words and actions that have completely new meanings with the truth out in the open. I’m usually really great at figuring out murder mysteries before they end, but with Dangerous Girls… What a mindfrak. If you want a thrilling read that’s going to constantly keep you on edge, this is your book.

Dangerous Girls completely messed with my mind in the best way, and I almost never want to vacation in the Caribbean. Almost.

Bevy BEA tips

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We will be honest, you can never fully be prepared for your first trip to Book Expo America. It’s one of those events you just have to experience firsthand. With that said, the bevy definitely experienced all of the craziness the four-day affair had to offer. As sappy as it’ll sound, it was through all of the joys and trials of BEA that we cemented our friendship with each other, and had our dauntlessness put to the test. So we thought it was only appropriate to highlight the challenges we faced at BEA and some tips to conquer them, so you–first-timers or veterans–can have an awesome time!

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BECAUSE YOU LIKE YOUR FEET. YOU WANT TO KEEP THEM, RIGHT?

Jen says: Oh man. I used to live in heels and I admit that I scoffed at this tip when I researched in preparation of my first BEA. Thank God I listened anyway because even in sandals, my dogs were barking. HEED OUR WORDS.
Steph says: Definitely a top priority! There’s a lot of standing and moving around –you’ll probably at least feel that at the end of the day — so keep comfort in mind when planning what to wear on your feet. I’m not saying to not wear your cute, new flats, but make sure your feet have already become somewhat familiar with them; it’s probably not the best idea to try to break them in at the Javits.
Katie says: I am a Disney princess and simply float along on fairy dust
Lindsey says: Robots do it barefoot. Unless you are immune to pain, you most definitely need to wear comfortable shoes. The amount of walking and standing is basically The Fellowship of the Ring crossing Middle Earth-level intensity. ONE DOES NOT SIMPLY WEAR HEELS TO BEA.

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Jen says: I overthought this my first year, but seriously, casual dresses, skirts, nice clothes, but not necessarily BUSINESS clothes, are all fine.
Steph says: I don’t think anyone will necessarily frown on you if you’re in a nice pair of jeans, but I think “nice” is the keyword. You can look cute, and fun, but be presentable — maybe leaning more towards a “Casual Friday” at work or something of that nature
Katie says: I see people stress about this one a lot. Just think about what you’d wear on a lunch date and you’ll be fine.
Lindsey says: Think ~teacher attire~ but a bit more on the fun side.

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Because you are a GD professional! JK, lol.

Jen says: People trade business cards SO much at BEA. You’ll meet cool bloggers in line, and you’ll probably want to keep in touch!
Steph says: You’ll definitely need some if you want to leave them with a publisher, or to exchange info with a blogger you met, but don’t think you need an extreme amount. I kept a few tucked into my badge holder every day, but I personally didn’t pass out as many and actually still have plenty of cards left over from our first year attending.
Katie says: Business cards are a nice touch, but not overly necessary. I just keep around 20 with me, just in case. Unless it’s your first year and you’re new to blogging, then it’s a really good idea to bring more.
Lindsey says: I’m sure you could be old-school and exchange contact info on slips of paper with a pencil, but business cards are just so much more convenient. Also, sometimes there are random contests that use business cards as entries.

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Zzzzzzz.

Jen says: I always try so hard to stay up late because squeezing in ALL of the flaily and hilarious book/fangirl conversation  is necessary, but, when I slept more, I was way less of a zombie in need of brains– I MEAN, DIET COKE– the next morning.
Steph says: I was really bad and stayed up late with Lindsey, but I think there was at least one instance when that affected our ability to wake up the next morning and we got left behind by Jen and Katie (haha). Definitely try to sneak in some shuteye because there will be plenty of early wakeup calls.
Katie says: Or have roommates who will beat on pots and pans to get you to wake up in time. It’s hard to go to sleep early at BEA when you’re rooming with friends you only see once a year but you will thank yourself the next day! Think of it like going to work. A very very fun work where you get paid in books but damn, you really wish you had gone to bed an hour before you did.
Lindsey says: Apparently I can function on minimal sleep because I would stay up laaate (I was probably the last one to fall asleep in the apartment every night), but then I’d be fine the next morning and I think I only napped once in the afternoon. If you don’t have this absurd ability, however, I highly recommended going to bed at a reasonable hour. You’re going to be on your feet for most of the day, so conserve your energy.

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Make sure you pack your polite smiles, your pleases and thank yous, and keep your hands and elbows inside the vehicle (aka your own personal space bubble). 

Jen says: TO BE FAIR, I don’t think we’ve had much experience with rude/shovey people at BEA, but we seem to hear about it every year.
Steph says: You’re amongst your people, fellow book lovers, so enjoy your time there and be courteous to everyone. Like Jen said, we haven’t personally experienced any of the bad behavior, but do you really want to be talked about negatively post-BEA? I hope not.
Katie says: Ditto Jen. I was scared my first year because I’d heard horror stories of how awful people were but so far none of us has experienced that (*fingers crossed*). All I can say is THINK LIKE A CANADIAN.
Lindsey says: It’s like Barney and friends taught us when we were younger: “Remember ‘please’ and “thank you’ ’cause they’re the magic words.”

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A suitcase on the show floor is probably unnecessary. (Unless you have back/feet issues/intend to get TOO many books?). It’s difficult enough to get around with a bunch of people milling about. 

SO many booths at BEA give away totes, but most days, you’ll grab a few books before you get them, so make sure you have something decent-sized to put them in.

Jen says: I read somewhere my first year that you should carry “a backpack” and a normal-sized one would have been GREAT. I brought a tiny Vera Bradley one. In addition to my wallet and essentials, it fit 2 books. Do not do this.
Steph says: Tote bags galore! I haven’t brought anything to the exhibit hall floor except for my own purse and I’ve been fine. The first year, when I went a little crazy with books, I hauled those totes, and my shoulders hated me for it, but I made it through without a backpack or without checking in a luggage bag.
Katie says: Totes, totes, totes. I used a backpack my first year and felt like a child on her way to kindergarten. Plus, I couldn’t take a peek at the books to see what I had gotten, if I already had that book over there, etc. Totes are really the best.
Lindsey says: So when I was in high school, I would honestly stare down people who wheeled around their luggage bags in the crowded hallways in between classes. It was the same in university when I’d take the jam-packed subway. Present Day Lindsey hasn’t changed much in this respect because seriously…SERIOUSLY.  If you’re going to leave it in the little coat/bag check area to transport your stuff after, then that’s fine. It is just not a good idea to wheel your bag on the exhibit floor. It’ll be inconvenient to others and yourself because you’ll spend half the time dodging people, shelves, tables, giant stand-up posters, etc. Don’t be that person.

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So, BEA has ended and you have numerous books to add to your already overflowing shelves. If you don’t live in NYC, how do you get them home?

Jen says: Last year, I flew JetBlue, which allows you 1 checked bag, 1 personal item and 1 carry-on for no charge. On the way to NYC, I packed my large Vera Bradley duffel bag inside my suitcase. On the way home, all my ARCs went inside the duffel. Bing, bang, boom, roughly 20 books from NYC to South Florida at no extra charge. Plus, I was secure that they were safe with me. I’m doing it the same way this year, and I hope to never do it any other way.
Steph says: First year: shipped most books home via USPS (kept the few ~precious~ with me) and it wasn’t too bad money wise, but it was annoying hauling them to the post office and sitting on the floor to pack them up. Second year: didn’t get too grabby, so I managed to take everything back in my luggage, and I definitely want to do that again.
Katie says: The rest of the Bevy ships outside of Javits but I personally love the shipping BEA offers, if only for the convenience of dropping my books throughout the day. Yay for not lugging books around the city!
Lindsey says: My first year I shipped my books via USPS. I opted for this instead of shipping my books directly from Javits (via Purolator, I think?) Anyway, while I did save some money, I think I ended up paying nearly the same amount after Canadian customs costs. I shipped two boxes home and it was about $40 each. It was alright, but the actual post office experience was horrendous (I’m pretty sure it took half an hour, and everyone had to wait for me), as post office experiences usually are. If you want to avoid that, just ship it directly from the Javits. The only downside is that you can’t go back to your hotel/apartment afterwards and gaze upon all your beautiful bounty. On the flip side, if you’re flying out, you can also just pack suuuper light and if you have a mediocre-sized haul, just stuff it in your luggage and check your bags in.

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Because the Javits is a life-sucking force. At least, for your cell phone battery.

Jen says: I’m doing something new this year and buying a battery-powered cell phone charger. Desperate times…
Steph says: The bevy took to calling out how low our battery was to each other. “27%!” “16%!” “3%! I’m not going to make it!!!” It was almost a contest to see how fast our battery would drain. IT GOES FAST… especially if you’re like us and tweeting, instagramming, sending ALERTs to each other…Plus there’s the handy BEA app and all that!
Katie says: The thing about BEA is that you’re going to be on social media a lot which means your phone will get drained FAST. So even if you don’t bring a charger, be aware of your battery life so you don’t get stuck!
Lindsey says: Bring your charger. There aren’t too many outlets, but it’s good to be prepared. I used my phone for EVERYTHING–communication with the bevy when we got separated, tweeting, reading on my Kindle/iBooks app during long waits, keeping important notes (like schedules, lists), and for taking photos. If you’re like me and madly attached to your phone… bring a charger.

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Jen says: Or, if you’re like me “plan your attack on the show floor.” Seriously though, you get a map when you check in at BEA. If you give it a cursory study, you’ll have some idea of which booths and tables you’re going to and in what order.
Steph says: We had a daily “scheduling hour” to write down what booths and autographing sessions we wanted to stop by at and it made life sooo much easier. It’s easy to get overwhelmed, so have an idea of what you want to do and where you’re going to go.
Katie says: As someone who loves making lists, this is one of my favourite parts of BEA. I know lots of people have their schedules all planned out as soon as the signing schedule comes out but that doesn’t account for the galley drops schedules and the random announcements of drops via the publishers Twitter. So the Bevy usually has a big STRATEGY SESH the night before BEA, and bring our lists with us. It’s also a good way of knowing where your friends will be while you’re doing something else.
Lindsey says: By the end of day 1 you’ll probably have most of the floor generally memorized, but I suggest studying the map beforehand anyway. Also make a list of stuff you want to check out (galley drops, in-booth signings, autograph tables, panels) and divide it by days and times. Even if stuff overlaps each other, WRITE IT ALL DOWN. So that way if something on your schedule gets messed up, you know what else is going on elsewhere that you can catch instead.

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You know that highly anticipated title you want? Yeah, THAT ONE. The publisher might be tweeting about their limited ARCs that they have out in their booth when the floor opens. This is where everyone is going.

Jen says: Remember the lines for Harry Potter midnight showings? Yeah, that.
Steph says: I think this goes hand-in-hand with scheduling and knowing where you’re going…KNOW WHERE YOU’RE GOING BECAUSE YOU MIGHT MISS OUT.
Katie says: Trust: you want to show up early. And may the odds be ever in your favour.
Lindsey says: All I can say is that when the doors would open, I’d feel like I was a Tribute in the Hunger Games right after the 1 minute timer goes off and everyone has to fight for the stuff in the cornucopia.

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If you’re not, you may need that suitcase that we advised against.

Jen says: I was SO glad I was selective last year. It made transporting the books much less stressful.
Steph says: Yeah, that book looks nice, but do you really want to haul it around all day, add it to your possible shipping costs and, most importantly…ARE YOU REALLY GOING TO READ IT? The first year I got a little bit carried away by the excitement of so! many! books!, and I get that, but it’s important to consider whether it’s a book you actually want.
Katie says: It’s SO hard to be selective your first year, I know. All these beautiful books are surrounding you and your eyes get too big for your stomach and you just grab everything. And if you truly are going to read them all, go for it! But just remember that shipping costs a bitch and a half.
Lindsey says:  Last year, I had a list of “must-haves” which was about 4-5 books, and everything else were books I either knew I would definitely read or was likely to purchase in a book store. Like KT says, remember the shipping costs. Especially if you aren’t American.

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• The Javits is not conveniently located by a subway station. But, many of the hotels associated with BEA are. If you’re not staying in one of these hotels, you can take the subway to one and take the free shuttle to the Javits.
• The Hopstop app is GREAT for figuring out how to get around on the subway.
• If you’re in the city for 4 or more days, get the 7 Day Unlimited Metrocard for the subway. It’s $30 and between book signings, BEA, and experiencing New York City, it will most likely save you money as opposed to needing to load your Metrocard repeatedly.
• If you wind up in anywhere in Chelsea, you have access to free wifi, thanks to Google.
• NYC, especially Times Square and other touristy areas can be really pricey. To save money on food, try ordering online (sooo many places deliver!) instead of going to those typical franchise restaurants that jack up the prices.

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• Missed a signing? Make sure you ask the different publisher booths about their drop schedules! You may still be able to get the ARC  at a drop or, if they’re inclined, sometimes they have a few extra stashed away that they’ll give to you.
• Become familiar with the “dodging and weaving” method when maneuvering around the show floor. It’s crowded, yo. (Note from Jen: I went to an overcrowded high school with over 3,000 people and have always prided myself on this skill because of it.)
• Along those lines: Please don’t stop in the middle of the show floor to chat. At least pull off to the side of the aisle so people can go around you because being stuck behind people at BEA… ain’t nobody got time for that!
• Pack snacks and if you have space, a water bottle, too. You don’t have to bring an entire picnic meal’s worth of food, but a granola bar or crackers could be the difference between life and… being famished when you’re waiting in line and can’t leave your spot. Also, the Javits magically transforms into a desert and while they did have AC last year, water is just always good to have.
• It’s a little late for this tip, but keep it in mind for next year! Consider renting an apartment in the city via airbnb.com or homeaway.com. This is what we’ve done every year and it’s worked out REALLY well. We don’t have to eat every meal out, and we have more space than a hotel room would allow.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask!

Book Review: Tsarina by J. Nelle Patrick

tsarinaBook Review: Tsarina by J. Nelle Patrick
Release Date: 2/27/14
Publisher: Razorbill
Source: Purchased
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Natalya knows a secret.
A magical Faberge egg glows within the walls of Russia’s Winter Palace.
It holds a power rooted in the land and stolen from the mystics.
A power that promises a life of love for her and Alexei Romanov.
Power, that, in the right hands, can save her way of life.
But it’s not in the right hands.

Review:

I think that I’m one of many, many people who find Russian culture all kinds of fascinating. And like those many, many people, the Russian revolution and Romanov family is of a particular interest to me. Even if Tsarina was written by someone else and J. Nelle Patrick wasn’t the penname of a favorite author of mine, Jackson Pearce, I would have found my way to this book.

There’s something vaguely Gemma Doyle-ish about the beginning feel of Tsarina. I think it comes from the friendship between two girls from a wealthier class, and the magical tumult. It may have been added to by the character of Leo, who both opposes and supervises Natalya and her friend Emilia, but is kind to them. I was reminded in very slight ways of Kartik’s character.

The sense of danger and mysticism is palpable in Tsarina, and Patrick lays out the landscape of Russia in a lovely prose that readers of her work as Pearce have come to expect. I was very pleased with it in that regard.

But, although I did really enjoy Tsarina, there were a couple of aspects that fell flat for me. I was a bit disappointed by the romance in this book. It’s not that it couldn’t be seen coming, but I didn’t feel the chemistry, so it didn’t work for me. And well… the ending was another thing. It’s another thing that you can see coming, but it just doesn’t quite work. Some of it is too convenient, and the pacing feels a little abrupt.

Still, those complaints are minor ones for me. Patrick gave me Russia and magic. She gave me hints of the Romanovs and a strong female friendship. She gave me lovely words and interesting characters. Tsarina was a read that I really enjoyed.

Have you heard? There’s a rumor this book is pretty good.*

*You are awesome if you get this reference