Posted in Uncategorized

Armchair BEA: Day 5 Blogging about Blogging

What a great topic! Armchair BEA had a great list of questions to address in today’s blog post. I’ll be answering them and hope that it helps my readers understand what and why I do things the way I do and maybe help some new bloggers out there.

How do you utilize social networking in relation to your blog? What may be the pros and cons of doing so?

On the right sidebar of my blog you’ll see my “Connect with Me” section. That’s about all I do for Social Networking (Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads). I don’t use the Facebook page very often (I do on my personal page though), and I use Twitter just slightly more because it’s easier to access (Google Chrome add-on) and I’m a Goodreads junky (I use it to track my reading progress and stalk the books I plan to read).

All Social Networking have the ability to be good and bad, if used incorrectly. I’d just stress caution on how you present yourself.

Share some of your favorite blogging technical tips.

About a year ago I reimaged my blog by creating a new blog name and then I hired a graphic designer to create my blog header and theme. Before I didn’t have a personalized or creative blog name or theme and felt lost in all the other bloggers. I’d stress this to any new blogger: be creative and original.

When it comes to blogging I can’t stand writing my posts on internet based sites (Blogger or WordPress) so I use Windows Live Writer and save my drafts often. I just love the layout and think everyone should try it. 🙂

Create a “rule list” of things you should and shouldn’t be doing on a book blog.

This is a tricky topic. Generally I’d say your blog is yours and you are entitled to do whatever you want. I’d just stress that you should always be polite or at least be accepting of any feedback you receive. My general rule is to not post anything I wouldn’t want my young daughter to read.

What are your tips for balance life and blogging?

I don’t do a very good job of this really. I put life before blogging all the time now. I’d probably recommend lots of preplanning on the blog front. Write and schedule reviews in advance. I usually wait to write reviews until I have a few books done and ready to review then I schedule them a few weeks apart. I don’t usually do memes so my content isn’t as much as some other blogs.

How do you keep your blog fresh and interesting to your readers & yourself?

I try to read and review the ARCs I receive just slightly before they are set to release that way my readers are kept up to date one what’s about to be published. Again, I said try because I really do suck at getting books read recently (new baby and all).

There are quite a few book blogging events out there. Which are your favorites and why? How do they affect your blog directly?

I’m not exactly sure what this is asking…. Do you mean BBC (Book Blogger Con)?

I usually attend BEA but I haven’t been to at BBC. I usually only go to BEA for one day so I probably won’t attend a BBC unless I plan to stay in NYC for more than one day and budget wise that just doesn’t work for me.

I hope everyone had a blast at BEA and that all the Armchair BEA participants had a good time too. I sure did, even though I didn’t participate much on Days 3 and 4.

Posted in 2011 Debut Author, Armchair BEA, BEA, Best of 2011, Book Expo America, Giveaway

Armchair BEA: Day 2 “Best of 2011”

Today is Day 2 of Armchair BEA and I’m kinda excited abut this one! The topic of today is “Best of 2011” as well as giveaways galore! Be sure to check out the Armchair BEA blog today for all the cool giveaways!

My giveaway is listed below. Please follow the directions to enter below!

Best of 2011

Picking a “best” book is not an easy task for me. As I stated in yesterday’s intro post I don’t usually accept or read books that I don’t expect to like. However, today’s pick isn’t hard for me for several reasons.

1. Dystopian elements

2. Strong female protagonist

3. Awesome technology

4. World building

5. Romance

6. Unexpected twists and turns

7. Emotion – when a book makes me cry, OMG Love.

8. Debut Author – seriously?! I want more books!

What book could possibly have all of these? A book I recently read but have not sat down to review. A book that will be released in August and is truly worth pre-ordering RIGHT NOW!

A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan352 pages, Candlewick, (2011-08-09) 

$9.99 (

However, I love this book so much I’m going to pre-order it for one lucky winner and this giveaway is International if you live in one of the countries listed on this list that The Book Depository ships to.

Summary (Goodreads)

Rosalinda Fitzroy has been asleep for 62 years when she is woken by a kiss. Locked away in the chemically-induced slumber of a stasis tube in a forgotten sub-basement, sixteen-year-old Rose slept straight through the Dark Times that killed millions and utterly changed the world she knew. Now, her parents and her first love are long dead, and Rose – hailed upon her awakening as the long-lost heir to an interplanetary empire – is thrust alone into a future in which she is viewed as either a freak or a threat. Desperate to put the past behind her and adapt to her new world, Rose finds herself drawn to the boy who kissed her awake, hoping that he can help her to start fresh. But when a deadly danger jeopardizes her fragile new existence, Rose must face the ghosts of her past with open eyes – or be left without any future at all.

Anna Sheehan says of A Long, Long Sleep, her first novel, “I always thought the interesting thing about Sleeping Beauty wasn’t why she was put to sleep, but what she had to come to terms with afterward. Everything would have changed radically—technology and politics as well as social structure. She would have seemed like a foreigner in her own country.”Anna Sheehan lives in rural Oregon. (Candlewick Catalog)



To enter this giveaway there are TWO PARTS (both must be done to qualify!):

Part 1 – Leave a comment letting me know your “Best of 2011” and why or link me to your review or your Armchair BEA “Best of 2011” you posted today. Please note: Comments are moderated if you haven’t commented and been previously approved. Be patient!

Part 2 – Fill out the form! GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED!

Followers are always welcome but not required. I’d rather you followed because you want to, not because you have to. 🙂

  • Ends 05/28 at midnight eastern time
  • Entrant must be 13 years of age or older. Filling out the form is acceptance of this requirement.
  • Open to US & only International countries listed on The Book Depository shipping list.
  • If shipping info is not supplied in the form, selected winner must respond to my email within 3 days or a new winner will be selected.
  • Giveaway has ended!

    Congrats to Alyce for her win!

    I can’t wait to see all of your “Best of 2011”!

    P.S. – Today is the last day to enter my other giveaway of Juniper Berry by M.P. Kozlowsky. Enter here.

    Posted in Armchair BEA, BEA, Book Expo America

    Armchair BEA 2011!

    Today I’m crying a little inside. Why you ask? Because I’m staying home this year instead of attending BEA in New York City. I’ve attended BEA the past two years as a book reviewer and I’m really sad to not attend this year.

    100_1893But the reason I’m not attending kinda makes up for it. I’m at home with my beautiful baby boy, Riley, who turns 4 weeks old today! He’s a bundle of cuteness and keeps me super busy with changing diapers, nursing, and just some good old cuddling.

    But to all those lucky other bloggers that get to attend this year: have fun and grabs lots of books! I can’t wait to see all the ARCs that are there this year. I’m a bit jealous of that but I’m hoping to get in contact with the publicists so I can receive some of the good ones too.

    Here at The Cozy Reader I’m a huge fan of the Young Adult genre; mostlyArmchair BEA paranormal of some aspect but I enjoy a good contemporary and coming of age novel too. And don’t forget the dystopias; LOVE them! I also still read adult books too, usually of the same content.

    I’ve been blogging my reviews for 3 1/2 years now and I really enjoy it. I haven’t been reviewing as much lately because of the pregnancy and ultimate birth of our son. Reading fluctuates for the best of us any way.

    My reviews tend to differ from a lot of other reviewers that’s for sure. I don’t like to get off topic or tell too much about a book so I follow a detailed structure and point system that isn’t really that detailed but helps showcase which areas of a book I enjoyed the most. I tend to not pick up books I won’t enjoy, therefore, most of my reviews are positive and if they’re not they tend to be really negative.

    So, while all the other bloggers are attending BEA I’ll be at home with my little one, doing some household chores (GAH! They never end!), maybe a little reading, and trying my best to keep up with all the happenings via blog posts, Twitter, and such and I’ll be thinking about attending next year!

    What to attend Armchair BEA? Head over to their blog!

    Posted in Uncategorized

    Post BEA 2010!

    I know I’m WAY behind on posting this so please accept my apologies!

    Here’s a brief explanation of my visit to BEA in NYC!

    Basically I walked the booths and stuck to my schedule of events.

    I met up with a good friend of mine, Lacey, and her friend Valerie. A great big thank you to them both because with out them I would have missed out on a few of these books. The author signing area was a mad house and a few of the signings took forever and I couldn’t be in two places at once so thank you ladies!

    Here’s a Goodreads widget of the books I grabbed.

    Jessica Kennedy's bea10 book recommendations, reviews, favorite quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists

    And here are a few pictures of the pile!


    Stacked up!


    What a helpful kitty. Only NOT!


    There were a few books I didn’t get my hands on, again with the can’t be in two places at once issue, such as Beautiful Darkness and Unraveled by Gena Showalter, who is such a super sweetie because she saved me one and shipped it to me herself! How cool is she? I can’t wait to read it because I just LOVED Intertwined.

    So, overall it was a great day. I was very picky with the books I grabbed. I think I only got 3 books I didn’t intend to get.

    And some of the booths were madhouses! Take the Harlequin Teen signing for example. I’m in this crowd, can you find me!?

    I also meet quite a few bloggers! So many I can’t even shout them out here. Here’s a picture I stole from Bloody Bookaholic’s blog.

    BEA Bloggers 2010

    Stay tuned for some giveaways! I’ll be scheduling a giveaway of Nightshade by Andrea Cremer very soon. 🙂

    Posted in Uncategorized

    BEA 2010! Here I Come!

    Next week is Book Expo America (BEA) 2010. I’m going to be there on Wednesday and here’s what my schedule is looking like!

    HERE’s a link to my Google spreadsheet.

    I know there are a few other author signings for this day such as Melissa Mar but I’m not a fan so I didn’t include those. However, if you think there’s something I’d enjoy and it’s not on here please feel free to fill me in!

    What does this mean for my followers?! Hopefully I’ll come back with some swag and extra copies of some of these awesome books!

    Posted in Conferences

    BEA 2010 | Book Blogger Convention

    BEA 2010 I attended BEA last year as a Book Blogger representative. That was my first year attending as such. However, I’ve attended one previous BEA with a previous employer, in which I was responsible for managing and creating the booth layout of 28 booths. Yes, a massive job, but one that had to be done nonetheless. So, I have two angles of BEA that I can come from when giving advice.

    What is Book Expo America (BEA)?

    If you’re a book blogger then you’ve probably heard of it or even attended in years past. If you did, let me know!

    Essentially BEA is a huge convention for the publishing industry and anyone remotely associated to it i.e. distributors, self publishing authors, small and large publishing houses, bookmark retailers, print on demand services, and even reading glasses jewelry. You name it, it’s probably there.

    Why would a book blogger want to attend?

    Easy. Books! And so much more too. It’s pretty common to only know your favorite author, blogger or publishing group by name or contact them via email but BEA is the time to step out from behind the computer and meet these awesome people in person. Present yourself, make new friends and contacts.

    Helpful Tips

    There are numerous things to take into consideration if you decide to attend BEA. I’ll touch on a few briefly, as a lot of these have been wonderfully covered by other Book Blogger Convention Tour bloggers and I highly suggest visiting each and getting more tips!

    Present yourself nicely. Wear comfortable, yet presentable clothing. Jeans, sneakers and t-shirts are great but just pick the best of your wardrobe to wear. Nothing with holes and dirt are recommended. The people running the booths dress business like so don’t disrespect them with a crude t-shirt or   holey jeans. Last year I made a custom t-shirt and wore that.

    The most valuable piece of information is COMFORTABLE SHOES! The Javits is nothing of a big slab of concrete. Author of Soulless, Gail Carriger, recently did a wonderful blog post about dressing for a convention.

    Plan Ahead. Use the web to figure out what, when, and where you want to do things while at BEA. The BEA site is a very useful tool. I love looking at the layout to figure out where the publishers will be, the bathrooms, etc and plan a route. I used a spreadsheet last year and put in the date and time a specific event was happening and then sorted it by the date/time. It worked perfectly for me. Some author signings require tickets. Be sure to get all the information because those tickets do go fast.

    Books. There will be a ton of ARCs there for the taking. Make sure to grab a tote bag as soon as possible. If you’re loaded up think about shipping your books to your home via FedEx or UPS available in the center.

    Get Connected. Plan to meet up with bloggers, publisher contacts and even authors. Many industry professionals schedule meetings way in advance. I was lucky to participate in the NetGalley/Firebrand booth last year. That was an awesome experience.

    Business Cards. Bring something with you that has all your contact information on. Some booths will have scanners to swipe your BEA badge but not all have this.

    Be polite! The people running their booths are there working. Don’t be rude and always, always ask before taking something. Unless there’s a sign stating to “take one” never grab and run. Some booths get packed. Be patient.

    Have fun! It’s such an eye stimulating experience. You’ll see a ton of people, a ton of books, and tons of things you’d thought you’d never see!

    BEA 2009

    Here are my blog posts from BEA 2009!

    Book Blogger Convention

    Want to get in on the Book Blogger Convention? Register to attend this event. It includes a badge to the BEA convention. Topics that will be covered:

    • Professionalism/Ethics
    • Marketing
    • Author/Blogger Relationships
    • Social Responsibility
    • Writing/Building Content


    Last year I registered as “Press” because that’s what we are. Press badge registration is FREE so if the cost of registering was stopping you from attending, now it’s not!

    Questions? Feel free to ask them here or shoot me an email at bookreviewsbyjess (@)

    I hope to be attending BEA this year, but I’m not 100% sure yet if I will (most likely will, but for only one day).

    If you’re going and know what day or days you’ll be there let me know!

    Jess Sig

    Posted in Books To Read, Conferences

    BEA 2009 Wrap Up

    Yeah, I’ve been hording my BEA wrap-up from you!

    Lets start at the beginning:

    Friday my car was in the shop getting some repairs. I got a call mid-day Friday letting me know it would NOT be ready to pick up until Monday. I’m supposed to leave for NYC Saturday morning at 4:00 AM! I rushed to find a rental car. It wasn’t a big issue but it did increase my BEA budget significantly ($108). Not too crazy but I wasn’t expecting to spend more than $100 on the entire trip.

    Friday night was crazy. I wanted to go to bed no later than 9:00 pm. I went to bed at 12:00 am! I then got up at 3:30 am, showered and started on my 4 hour trip to NYC. It took me 5 hours to get to NYC! My stomach was a mess. I’m assuming lack of sleep, nerves, and just plain excitement had everything to do with it. I made several stops along the way, only ran into one accident on the interstate and only made one wrong turn in the city.

    I paid $50 for parking right across the street from the Javits, which was awesome cause I unloaded my heavy ass bag full of books mid-day into the car! 🙂 The parking was scary though. The lot was sooo small! The guy sardined the cars onto the lot and I about had a heart attack because it was a rental car he was parking so close together with the other cars! Geesh! All was well though. The guy was a sweetheart.

    When I first arrived I picked up my badge and the lovely BEA Bible. I ventured into the exhibit hall and sighed in relief. I made it. I was here on personal/blog business and I was going to have fun and grab some amazing books! I referred to my “to-do” list and set out to conquer my conquests.

    My first stop was the Penguin booth to grab a signed copy of Fire by Kristin Cashore. The signing was being held in the “traditional” area, which was downstairs in the children’s section. I got in line and left with a signed copy of Fire! 🙂 (NOTICE: It’s not in my picture because I’ve lent it to my good friend Kevin, who lent me Graceling.)

    After that I browsed the children’s exhibits and then headed upstairs until it was time to go to the Harlequin booth to pick up two amazing books by two of my most favorite authors! Rachel Vincent and Gena Showalter! They were both signing at the same time at the Harlequin booth. So I had to pick who’s line to get in first! Such a dilemma because I hated to pick! But it really was easy because, I’m like, obsessed with Rachel Vincent and all of her books are just amazing, Gena’s are too but Gena’s books have never hit me as hard as Rachel’s. When an author brings me to tears they are forever going to be at the top of my favorites list and the first author I’m going to read when it comes down to picking. So, there I was in line to get a signed copy of My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent. I knew she would recognize me once I showed her my badge. And I was right. It was such a pleasure to meet her in person. I only wish I could have “talked” with her or had my picture taken with her. I also picked up a very cool white MSTT t-shirt. I wore it while I read it. 🙂 I finished MSTT in one day and will be posting my review one week before it’s release day in coordination with Rachel and a giveaway. So stay tuned! 🙂

    After I grabbed my copy of MSTT I jumped in Gena’s line. She too knew who I was. I only stalk my favorite authors. 😉 It was great to grab a copy of Intertwined by Gena Showalter. I really want to read it and will probably make it my next couple of books to read. (I really need to read Witch Fury by Anya Bast! She was so kind to send me a copy before it’s release date but I put it aside. Sorry Anya! :() Anyhow, I’m super excited about Intertwined.

    Those two books were my must haves of BEA. I spent the next hour or so browsing the booths. I grabbed a few other books before my scheduled “blogger signing” at the NetGalley-Firebrand booth.

    The signing was great. I meet a few fellow bloggers and publishers as well as some authors. My time was scheduled with Smart Bitches, Trashy Books Sarah Wendell, who got a ton of people to come see her, which only benefited me! 🙂 Thanks Sarah! A few pictures were taken during that time. One shows the amazing “trading cards” that were created, printed and available for us to “sign” for our visitors by Glatfelter Paper, Melissa Klug @PermanentPaper.

    Jessica Kennedy

    And here’s a picture of Sarah and I (I didn’t know it was being taken, obviously).


    The signing was fun and I thank Mr. Fran Toolan @ftoolan for the opportunity to have a presence at BEA! Connect with Follow the Reader #followreader on their blog.

    After the signing I continued to browse the booths. I soon meet up with an online friend and aspiring author, Lacey. Lacey and I meet years ago on, strangely, an online multi-player shoot’em up game Counter-Strike, which I still play. She was a blast to send a few hours with. We walked the children’s section mostly, because that’s her specialty. She’s currently working on a young adult novel. Check out her website, which I just LOVE! Thanks Lacey for meeting up with me. It was a pleasure to meet you in person! 🙂

    I ventured over to the Blogger Panel. I didn’t stay very long because it was 2:00 and I hadn’t eaten yet. It was cool to see the panel of bloggers representin’ us bloggers. I’m proud that we are being recognized as a legitimate and very influential marketing tool. We do deserve some recognition and praise for our hard work to get the word out about the books and authors. I ended up spending $13 for a very crappy Chinese lunch. 🙁

    The very last thing I wanted to accomplish before leaving BEA was obtaining a copy of Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. I did and I was sooo excited! I read Shiver right after My Soul to Take and I’ve already posted my review of it too.

    I left shortly after obtaining Shiver.

    Overall, BEA was a blast. I got everything BUT Another Faust while at BEA. I requested a copy of Another Faust from Dina, one of the authors, via email when I got back home. I ended up with two copies some how. So, I’m going to have a contest for my extra copy this week.

    Books From BEA: Fire by Kristin Cashore My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent Intertwined by Gena Showalter Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist Pushing Past the Night by Mario Calabresi Dreaming Anatasia by Joy Preble The Tear Collector by Patrick Jones Witch and Wizard by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr If I Were You by L. Ron Hubbard
    ForestBorn.jpg image by blbooks Forest Born by Shannon Hale Liar by Justine Larbalestier
    Emperor's Mercy (Warhammer 40,000 Novels) Emperor’s Mercy by Henry Zoo False Gods by Graham McNeill

    Not from BEA: Another Faust by Daniel & Dina Nayeri

    I’ll be posting the contest for my extra copy of Another Faust very soon!

    Posted in Uncategorized

    Off to BEA!

    Okay, so I should totally be in bed sleeping so I’m not walking the aisles tomorrow like a zombie but I just realized I haven’t updated my BEA status!

    I’m leaving tomorrow morning at the butt crack of dawn, 4:00 AM, so that I can get to NYC by 8:00 am. 🙂
    I’m soo excited and I know I’m not going to sleep very well at all!

    Tomorrow I have a few stops already scheduled. Here’s a sneak peak of what I’ll be headed to.

    So, if you’re going to be there come by and see me at the Firebrand – NetGalley booth # 4077! Here’s a link to see the full schedule of “blogger signings” at that wonderful booth! 🙂

    I’ll be sharing the 12:00 PM slot with Smart Bitches Sarah, which I’m just thrilled about! She’s a totally cool lady. I can’t wait to meet all the other bloggers too though!

    And don’t forget! I’ll be wearing my BEA t-shirt!

    Posted in Uncategorized

    My BEA T-Shirt!

    So, I decided that I would do some self promoting while walking the aisles at BEA. What better way than to wear it!

    Here’s the FRONT:

    And the BACK:

    Click for larger images…I think.

    I created this shirt with the help of I just put the text I wanted and uploaded some select book covers of some of my recent favorite books. I wanted to be relevant so I didn’t pick anything that’s too old. Actually at least 2 of the books featured on my shirt haven’t even been released yet. Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev releases July 7th and Prey (Werecats, book 4) by Rachel Vincent releases July 1. The other book covers featured are:

    Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey
    Stargazer (Evernight, Book 2) by Claudia Gray
    The Darkest Pleasure (Lords of the Underworld, Book 3) by Gena Showalter (the sexiest cover of the series IMO)
    Bone Crossed (Mercy Thomson, Book 4) by Patricia Briggs
    Dayhunter (Dark Days, Book 2) by Jocelynn Drake
    Passion Unleashed (Demonica, Book 3) by Larissa Ione
    The Vampire’s Bride (Atlantis, Book 4) by Gena Showalter
    At Grave’s End (Night Huntress, Book 3) by Jeanine Frost

    So, if you see some lady walking around with this shirt at BEA….IT’S ME!