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SIBA 2016: The Events

October 4, 2016


Every fall, the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) hosts a trade show for its member bookstores and they’re kind enough to allow bloggers to join them.  This year’s trade show was held in Savannah and I was lucky enough to attend it with my dear friend Julie of Booking Mama fame.  It was Julie’s first trip to Savannah so we skipped a few SIBA events to do a little touring of the city.


The first event of SIBA was a party at Mary Kay Andrews‘ house on Tybee Island.  I’ve never met more gracious hosts than Mary Kay and her husband.  They allowed everyone to see the whole house which was absolutely charming and served great drinks and food.  All of the recipes were from Mary Kay’s upcoming cookbook and the food was delicious.  I was excited to win this fabulous door prize, courtesy of Lodge Cast Iron:


We were thrilled to chat with a few other authors like Mary Alice Monroe, Patti Callahan Henry, and Marybeth Whalen while we were there.

Julie and  attended three SIBA events on Friday.  The first was the Signaround, which is exactly what it sounds like.  Authors from the day’s panels were there to sign books.  I was thrilled to get autographed copies of DESPERATION ROAD by Michael Farris Smith, MISS ELLA OF COMMANDER’S PALACE by Ella Brenan and Ti Martin, THE MIGHTY ODDS by Amy Ignatow,  CHICKEN by Cynthia Graubart as well as several others.

Our next event was Rep Pix.  At this event publisher’s reps are given two minutes to pitch their favorite upcoming books.  And when I say two minutes, I mean two minutes – Nicki runs a very tight ship.  I took furious notes during the event (sharing Julie’s pen until someone was kind enough to give me one of their own) but can’t find them right now.  Needless to say, all of the books sounded terrific.

We wrapped up the day with The First 180 Days Party.  This party features authors whose books were published during the first half of the year.  The room was packed but I still managed to meet so many great authors and come away with some wonderful autographed books including INSPECTOR FLYTRAP by Tom Angleberger and Cece Bell, THE MAN WHO SHOT OUT MY EYE IS DEAD by Chanelle Benz, THE ORPHAN’S TALE by Pam Jenoff, THE BOOK OF POLLY by Kathy Hepinstall, and LOVING VS VIRGINIA by Patricia Hruby Powell.


We had an early wake-up call on Saturday because we had tickets to A Taste of Harper Collins Breakfast.  Harrison Scott Key (THE WORLD’S LARGEST MAN), Kevin Wilson (PERFECT LITTLE WORLD), Sara Zarr (GEM & DIXIE), Christina Baker Kline (A PIECE OF THE WORLD), and Peter Swanson (HER EVERY FEAR) were the featured speakers.  Julie and I were invited to sit at a table with Christina Baker Kline and Sara Zarr.  We were both geeking out but we were able to hold ourselves in check pretty well.  All of the speakers were amazing and now I’m excited about their books.

The trade show floor opened after the breakfast and we wandered around it for a while.  I scored some great books but will feature them in another post.

Later in the afternoon, we attended a reception held by Read Savannah.  There were several authors there but we spent most of our time visiting with Sandy and Heather. It was great catching up with Sandy and meeting Heather.

Saturday’s SIBA Supper was sponsored by Hachette and featured Jodi Picoult (SMALL GREAT THINGS), Robert Hicks (THE ORPHAN MOTHER), Beth Macy (TRUEVINE), and David Arnold (KIDS OF APPETITE).  Once again, the speakers were fabulous and made me excited about their books.


Julie and I made one last lap of trade show floor before attending the final event of SIBA – The Moveable Feast of Authors.  This is a great lunch event where authors rotate around the tables to talk about their books during lunch.  Since there are only a few people at each table, it’s also a chance to ask questions and chat with the authors.  We met Liane Moriarty (TRULY, MADLY, GUILTY), Robert Olen Butler (PERFUME RIVER), Katharine McGee (THE THOUSANDTH FLOOR), Kathleen Glasgow (GIRL IN PIECES), Marty Jourard (MUSIC EVERYWHERE: THE ROCK AND ROLL ROOTS OF A SOUTHERN TOWN), Ben Westhoff (ORIGINAL GANGSTAS), Kelly French (JUNIPER), William Ferris (THE SOUTH IN COLOR: A VISUAL JOURNEY), and Susan Meissner (SECRETS OF A CHARMED LIFE).  I’d seen a few of their books on the show floor but wasn’t sure I wanted to read them but after meeting the authors and hearing about the books, I want to read them all!



Mailbox Monday

October 3, 2016


Welcome to Mailbox Monday, a meme started by Marcia and now hosted on its own blog.   Happy October!  I’m enjoying the cool nights and warm days we’re having right now.  It was a slow week around here but, after SIBA, I’m okay with that.  I actually read more books than I acquired last week!  I’ll be working for Vance all week this week so might not be around as much.  I found these goodies in my mailbox last week:



What did you find in your mailbox last week?

Review: Peter Powers and His Not-So-Super Powers

September 30, 2016


Everyone in Peter Powers family has some type of super power – his dad can control fire, his mom can fly, his older brother can duplicate himself, his sister is very strong, and his baby brother can turn himself invisible.  Peter is self conscious because he thinks his power of making ice cubes with his fingertips is pretty lame.  Of course, his siblings remind him of their powers’ superiority all the time.

Captain Tornado comes to town, robbing banks and getting away with lots of cash.  Peter’s parents are busy but his siblings insist they can defeat Captain Tornado.  When they take off for the bank, Peter and his grandfather go after them.  When they arrive, Captain Tornado has Peter’s siblings trapped in tiny tornadoes so it’s up to Peter to stop him.  But, what can he do with his lousy powers?

PETER POWERS AND HIS NOT-SO-SUPER POWERS by Kent Clark and Brandon T. Snider is an adorable chapter book for the middle grade crowd.  Many young readers will be able to relate to Peter and his less than stellar powers. Peter is frustrated with his powers and, to make matters worse, his siblings rib him about them all the time.  I loved Peter and cheered for him as he learned it’s not the power you have but how you use it that counts.

Dave Bardin’s terrific illustrations add to this terrific book that is sure to be a hit with young readers.  I think the superhero angle will pull even the most reluctant readers in.  PETER POWERS AND HIS NOT-SO-SUPER POWERS is the first book in a new series and you won’t want to miss it!

Ikid konnection new will link this up to Booking Mama’s Saturday feature, Kid Konnection. If you’d like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children’s books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, leave a comment as well as a link on her site.

Review copy provided by LB Kids. I am an Indiebound Affiliate.

Review: Today Will Be Different

September 29, 2016

Today Will Be Different

Eleanor’s life is out of control but she knows she’s can get a handle on things.  She just needs to take things one at a time to get her life in order and she’s going to start today.  But, her son says he’s sick, her husband is taking vacation and has failed to tell her, and she runs into someone from her past who reminds her of the graphic memoir she was supposed to write.

A few years ago, I read and adored WHERE’D YOU GO BERNADETTE so I had high hopes for Maria Semple‘s new book, TODAY WILL BE DIFFERENT.  I did enjoy her latest tome but,  for me, it didn’t have the charm of BERNADETTE and I’m not sure why – maybe my expectations were too high.

Eleanor is a great character and I’m sure many people will be able to relate to her, but I found her frustrating.  I felt like she should have gotten her act together a while ago – if not for herself, it least for her son.

I did enjoy Semple’s writing and I liked the way the story was told – it even includes a few pages from Eleanor’s graphic novel in the middle of the book.  Readers learn of Eleanor’s past even as they see how lost she is in the present.  I do think TODAY WILL BE DIFFERENT is worth reading but it won’t make my list of favorites for the year.

Review copy provided by Little, Brown. I am an Indiebound Affiliate.

Wondrous Words Wednesday

September 28, 2016

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love.  Feel free to get creative!   If you want to play along, grab the button, write a post and come back and add your link to Mr. Linky!

My first word came from Burn by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge.

1. narcocorrido – “The whole way back up the 101 to Laurel Canyon, I listened to the Mexican driver behind the wheel play a type of music called narcocorrido.”

Narco-cocorrido is a subgenre of the Mexican norteño-corrido music genre, a traditional folk music from northern Mexico.  You can go on YouTube and listen to examples of this.


I found two words in Birdseye: The Adventures of a Curious Man by Mark Kurlansky.

2. coper – “The North Sea fishermen of the time were being exploited by copers, floating entertainment centers providing alcohol and tobacco at exorbitant prices.”

Even though coper was defined in the sentence, I decided to look it up.  My dictionary defines a coper as a horse trader, especially a dishonest one but says that it means, “a floating grog shop supplying the North Sea fishing industry” in the UK.

3. komatik – “Packing a komatik required skill.”

A komatik is a sled made by binding crossbars to wooden runners with rawhide, pulled by dogs.


What words do you want to celebrate today?

Review: The Last Good Girl

September 27, 2016

The Last Good Girl

After freshman Emily Shapiro is raped at a fraternity party, she’s frustrated by the way the university and her father, its president, have treated her.  She falls into a funk but works hard to get her act together.  Emily goes missing after meeting a friend at a bar and the last person to see her is Dylan Highsmith, the young man she’s accused of rape.  Dylan comes from a wealthy, politically connected family who will do anything to protect him.

Federal prosecutor Anna Curtis is brought in to solve Emily’s case and she discovers some horrible things about Dylan’s fraternity and the school’s efforts to cover up crimes.  She suspects Dylan in Emily’s disappearance but it’s hard to prove anything without a body.

After reading Missoula by Jon Krakauer and following the Brock Turner case, I’ve become very aware of what a serious problem rape is on college campuses – one in five women will be raped while they attend college – so I was happy to see Allison Leotta address the issue in her newest book, The Last Good Girl because I think fiction will reach a broader audience.  The Last Good Girl is the fifth book in the Anna Curtis series but I had no problems diving in and catching up with Anna’s personal life.  As a matter of fact, I was engrossed in this book from the very start.

Anna Curtis is a fantastic character – she’s strong, smart, driven, and passionate about justice.  I have a feeling Leotta got all the details of her job just right since she’s a former federal sex-crimes prosecutor herself.  I thought the mystery and the investigation were solid and I didn’t see the twists or the ending coming.

If you’re looking for a smart, well written mystery/thriller, look no further than The Last Good Girl.  I thought it was terrific and plan to look for more of the Anna Curtis books to read.

Review copy provided by Simon & Schuster.  I am an Indiebound Affiliate.


Mailbox Monday

September 26, 2016


Welcome to Mailbox Monday, a meme started by Marcia and now hosted on its own blog.   I’m back after a two week vacation.  I’ve got so much catching up to do but I’ve hit the ground running this morning with my annual physical, picking up new glasses, etc.  I found these goodies in my mailbox while I was gone:

What did you find in your mailbox last week?