Barbara Vey Reader Appreciation Weekend 2017 Recap

Candy and I (Amy) attended the Barbara Vey Reader Appreciation Weekend in Milwaukee in April 2017 and had such a great time! Candy recaps the event below…

Candy and Amy with their Veytini’s – the official drink of BVW2017!

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Candy with Sharon Sala

Ever since attending the inaugural Penned Con in 2014, Amy and I have kept an eye out for another Midwestern event.  Last summer Amy suggested that we go to the Barbara Vey Reader Appreciation Weekend  (BVW for short), an event she had been to before.  I agreed not really knowing anything about the convention.

The unique aspect of BVW is that you buy tickets to have lunch and/or breakfast with an author.  The tables are kept to seven readers at each table so you can really interact with the author of your choice. Tickets go extremely fast, especially for the more well known authors.  Amy and I planned out who we wanted to sit with and then anxiously stayed up until after midnight on the release day to purchase our tickets.  We were both lucky enough to get the authors we wanted for both lunch and dinner.

Even though my job requires that I interact with strangers all day long, as an introvert the idea of a huge event makes me nervous.  Amy and I even picked different authors so there was an added layer of apprehension knowing I would need surrounded by people I didn’t know. Before I let my anxiety get the best of me, I reminded myself that I would most likely be seated with fellow introverts and the most important thing of all is that we were all bookworms.

Candy with Alyssa Day

Friday we arrived early enough to attend the Q & A session. This was an introduction to all of the authors in attendance, a lot of whom I didn’t know. Vey and her amazing volunteers provided a handy list of the authors with space to make notes, which I thought was a nice touch.

For lunch on Saturday, I had a ticket to sit at Sharon Sala’s table.  I have been reading Sala for years and was downright giddy that I would be sitting at her table. I just hoped I didn’t fan girl too much. Sharon was a delight to meet. She asked about our everyday lives and the conversation at the table ranged from her early days in publishing to Native American folklore.  Sharon was a very warm and gracious hostess and I definitely won’t forget meeting her.

One of the things I didn’t really comprehend about the event was the tables. I figured we would get a book from the author and that would be it. Oh no! These authors went all out with elaborate themes and numerous gifts for their readers  (Sharon had a baking theme to tie in with her current series).

Amy with Skye Jordan

Following the lunch, there was a book signing session with all of the authors. One of the things you have to do at a signing of this size is  to formulate a plan on who you want autographs from. I made sure to visit Skye Jordan, Kimberly Kincaid, Helen Kay Dimon , and Sharon Hamilton. All four authors were awesome and each spent several minutes talking with me before moving on to the next reader.

The final event of the weekend was the breakfast.  I had tickets to sit with Alyssa Day, another author that I had been reading for years. Alyssa greeted everyone at her table with a hug as if we had all been friends for years. Alyssa has a great sense of humor and was very sweet. This is another meeting that I won’t forget either.

If you ever have a chance to go to a convention, I would highly recommend it. There is nothing like meeting your favorite authors or being surrounded by fellow bookworms who understand your passion for reading.  I personally hope that I can make a return visit to BVW in the future.

Amy with HelenKay Dimon

Forgotten Book Challenge

How many of you read newly published books? How many of you read older books? It seems these days with the digital world and perma free and 99 cent books out there, we are always able to grab the newest books available. But what about those books that we purchased last year when they were on sale? Or we one-clicked some six months ago because we wanted to support our favorite author during release week? Do you ever look back through your to be read (TBR) list or pile and pull out those older books? Probably not.

A couple of my author friends, Chris Almeida and Cecilia Aubrey started challenging their readers with the Forgotten Book Challenge:


What a cool idea, huh? Well, now the challenge has morphed into a Facebook Group where one can invite readers to participate and try to get through their TBR list to find those books that have been “forgotten.” You never know where that book will lead. Interested in joining us? Take a ride with us as we explore new-to-us authors and share our finds with each other! Click on the image above! We would love to have you!

Fun Friday with Giveaways!

It’s finally Friday!  Who is ready for the weekend? I know I am. It has been a long week. Let’s have some fun today! Several romantic suspense authors that I highly recommend have books on sale for 99 cents, so how about a giveaway? Or five? Yes! I will be giving away five books today! Just comment below and let me know which books you have read, want to read or want to win!

Books available to choose from include those you see in the graphic below. Click on the author’s name below the image to learn more about the books!


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Chris Almeida & Cecilia Aubrey: Choice of Something Crazy or Take Me

Cynthia Eden: Choice of Sinful Secrets or Deadly Fear

Misty Evans: Choice of Deadly Pursuit, The Perfect Hostage or Holiday Justice

Adrienne Giordano: Choice of The Chase or Holiday Justice

Maureen A. Miller: Choice of Shadow, High Tide, or Jungle of Deceit

Katie Reus: First Surrender

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Note: Winners will be drawn Saturday, March 21, 2015 and notified by email. Books will only qualify if they are still listed for 99 cents when I have heard back from the winner to confirm the book they would like. If that book is no longer 99 cents, they will have the option to pick another book from the list.

Something I Need

Happy Friday! Since I don’t have any witty thoughts regarding bookish things today, let’s talk music. Lately, this song has been played about five times a day for me for the past week. I am not quite sure I understand the video, but I do love the song.  What song do you have playing a lot of this week?

Something I Need by OneRepulic

Not Reviewing Books

This is a book review blog. Reviewing books is what I do. Through this blog and even before, I have been lucky enough to get to know some pretty amazing authors over the last few years. I have been able to strike up friendships with many of them. Some of those friendships have turned into working relationships when they need personal assistance with their new releases, social media, and other things. I have thoroughly enjoyed working for each of them and knowing that the smallest thing I can do will allow them to spend a little more time writing. One thing that I have missed, since becoming their assistant, is reviewing their books and talking about them like I used to when I was just one of their readers.

Save an author

Photo courtesy of Give Me Books

See, as soon as I start working for an author where money is being exchanged, I stop reviewing their books. I figure that was proper etiquette because even though I feel like I would be fair, there might be a slant on my review just a bit. I don’t want to taint their reputation. I also figure when people know I am their assistant they may no longer listen to my feedback objectively thinking I might be trying to sell them on this author. I have tried to be careful. I will keep track of their books I have read on Goodreads and might add a sentence or two to my rating, but I don’t thoroughly review them like I used to. And I miss it. A lot.

Most likely, my one review isn’t going to make a big difference, but I still feel a little sad that I can’t put my review up on Amazon or Barnes & Noble any longer to help them out. I don’t even review them personally here on the blog. I try to talk them up on Facebook and promote them, but it’s just not the same.

I challenge you to look at reviewing a book as a gift to an author. Your review no matter how long or short, just might help a reader on the fence about a book. It will mean the world to an author knowing you spent the time not only reading their book but writing about it as well.

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend!