You may recall I mentioned I would be going this past week to ALA in Orlando. I left on the 22nd of June and got back on the 29th. I am (almost) recovered from a fantastic vacation but before I get to business as usual on the blog I thought I would offer up a recap of what I got up to while in Orlando.
First up, and obviously most important, is ALA itself. I loved that ALA is very low key compared to BEA. It may have been that there is simply less people, but ALA is way more relaxing. This allowed me more time to take part in buzz panels where the publishers discussed their upcoming fall titles. I also had more time to chat with the publishers about the books they were promoting. This allowed me to discover new titles that I would have perhaps not discovered otherwise.
Do I prefer ALA to BEA? That depends. I think I need to experience ALA again. BEA, for me, is an incredible rush. That rush comes with the excitement from other bookish fans. I didn't feel that same feeling at ALA. I did, however, like the opportunities ALA provided to really dig into the titles and learn more about them. I think I will do BEA for the foreseeable future but will attend ALA whenever it happens to be in a city I want to visit anyway.
I came back with a few titles that I am really excited about.
For Day 1 I really wanted to meet Emery Lord and that was my only real must do of the conference. I was successful and Emery is so kind. She is exactly what you expect her to be, and I immediately wanted to drink wine with her and have her give me life advice.
I also got to meet Jay Asher and get a copy of What Light (which was another one of my most anticipated titles of the conference). He was also really kind, and we joked about the length of his line as it was one of the biggest of the conference.
I snagged Die For You after the Penguin Random House representative told me a little bit about it. I didn't know much about it before Kelly mentioned I should look into it, but I was sold when I heard how passionately the publisher was about it.
Die For You by Amy Fellner Dominy (goodreads)
What Light by Jay Asher (goodreads)
When We Collided by Emery Lord (goodreads)
My second day was filled with pretty exciting discoveries. First up, I managed to get a copy of Glitter by Aprilynne Pike which is a book I've been REALLY excited about. It's been described as Marie Antoinette meets Breaking Bad which is basically like cat nip for me.
Kelly sold me on the Graces because one of the characters is described as the school's version of Peter Pan. Immediately sold. I will be reading it as soon as I can sneak it into the reading schedule.
This Adventure Ends was a impulse pick up after I read the back of the copy Kelly snagged and I immediately wanted to read it. I hadn't heard much about it, but I am excited to find out if it is as good as it sounds.
Lastly, for day two, I picked up a copy of Vassa In The Night after asking the Tor person to tell me a little about their fall titles. This one really stood out and the Tor representative seemed very passionate about it.
Vassa In The Night by Sarah Porter (goodreads)
This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills (goodreads)The Graces by Laure Eve (goodreads)
Glitter by Aprilynne Pike (goodreads)
The last day was also the most frenzied. It seemed that the publishers wanted to make sure that their titles got into the hands of librarians and reviewers. It was also when they were putting out anything they had left, rather than you inquiring about a title.
I read the back of The Girl In The Picture and immediately became obsessed. A picture of a girl is found by the body of the high school heartthrob. This murder mystery has the potential to heat up my summer reading if I can fit it in.
I've had my eye on Cherry for a while (basically since I heard it was a female American Pie) and was thrilled when I discovered it at ALA. It was hidden so I didn't noticed they had copies until I noticed it while inquiring about something else.
I am a sucker for Hollywood set mysteries and obviously Pasadena was a must get for me. I was happy to discover copies there and I am so excited to read it.
The Girl In The Picture by Alexandra Monir (goodreads)
Cherry by Lindsey Rosin (goodreads)
Pasadena by Sherri L Smith (goodreads)
Jess, Chunk, And The Road Trip To Infinity by Kristin Elizabeth Clark (goodreads)
Everything You Want Me To Be by Mindy Mejia (goodreads)
P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han (goodreads)
A huge thank you to the publishers and all the bloggers I chatted with who made this event so much fun. There were moments where I felt unwelcome as a blogger so I am so thankful to those who took the time to talk to me and were kind.
The rest of my time in Orlando was sent relaxing, and visiting Disney World. I am a huge Disney fan (which surprises nobody) and will take any chance to visit a truly magical theme park.
There was a lot that was new at Disney. First up was the Tangled area with Rapunzel's tower and the town square. This is a themed restroom area, but I can easily see it expanding to include a restaurant (The Snuggly Duckling, of course) or other attractions.
One of my favourite rides is Peter Pan's Flight
It is a must ride for me every time I go and I was thrilled to discover they had made some serious modifications to this attraction. The biggest update was to the waiting area which is now a lovely walk through the Darling house. I was fangirling all over the place but especially loved the bedrooms for Wendy, John and Michael and how they incorporated Tinkerbell into the new waiting area.
I loved the pictures on the walls, and especially the little details (like the blocks on Michael's bed spelling out Peter Pan). It made the experience all the more vivid.
We ate lunch at Be Our Guest which is, obviously, a Beauty and the Beast themed restaurant. We selected the West Wing to eat in and it was perfection.
We got to see the (incredibly well done) rose that is the centre piece of the movie.
We also saw the portrait that Beast destroys after he is cursed. They had thunder and lightning that would flash at various intervals and transform the picture into the beast.
We got to try the grey stuff, and it was indeed delicious.
And this incredible artwork was the perfect way to leave this stunning attraction.
Outside the restaurant is Gaston's Tavern and in front of that is a Gaston's gift to the village.
A fountain of himself, naturally. It is so perfect that I just cannot. The plaque in front makes it even more priceless and it's little things like this that Disney gets just right.
One of my favourite parts of Magic Kingdom is getting to see Cinderella's Castle. It looks particularly pretty at night during the fireworks, but it is honestly so iconic that I could take pictures of it all day.
I also managed to try Dole Whip for the first time, and it was life changing. I now need to have it every single time I visit Disney. If you have never tried Dole Whip be sure to next time you visit.
Pineapple drinks are delicious and frozen pineapple drinks are even better, just saying.
The two biggest additions since I last visited though were The Seven Dwarfs Mine ride, and Frozen Ever After. I managed to ride both. The Seven Dwarfs Mine ride is similar to Big Thunder Mountain (I feel it is the less intense of the two) but it has a lot of charm, particularly when you go into the mine and visit the dwarfs while they are busy working. Adorable. Sadly, the ride is a little too quick to get photos, but the attention to detail (especially the inside parts) is typical Disney.
I jumped over to Epcot to visit Norway's pavilion and the new Frozen Ever After Ride. I arrived first thing in the morning and this is what I was greeted with...
Some people left the line, and it did speed up which shortened my wait time to just about 2 hours and I happily waited. The ride itself? Totally worth it. It was magical. So magical in fact that I decided to get in line and ride it again. This ride has minor thrills as you go down a few 'waterfalls' (one of which is done backwards) but if you rode Maelstrom you'll be well prepared for the (small) drops.
The attention to detail is, once again, perfection and I was especially impressed with Olaf who is a dancing, moving, bundle of cute. Seriously.
I had the best time at Disney. It truly is one of the most magical places and I am so excited to go back.
Did you attend ALA? If so let me know what you were most excited about. If not, what book would you want to read first that was at ALA?