Book Bonanza 2022 was a blast! An expensive blast, but so much fun! I had moments of stress before it all got going. Excitement getting there and meeting authors, and then stress as things went along, and then happiness, and then the day after, when I was back home, man did I crash hard! Not necessarily energy wise, but emotionally wise. Someone in the group said there is some kind of convention crash thing that is talked about a lot, and for the first time, I think I had it!
As with the other two posts, this will be a looooooooooonnnnnng one, so feel free to scroll quickly or whatever you want! I really got to meet almost every single author I wanted. There were two that I didn’t get to meet, they packed up like around 6 pm on Saturday, and the signing was supposed to go till 7 pm. And I never saw any update on the app like other authors who had to leave did, so that was disappointing. One of them I’d even listened to another audiobook just to get ready to meet them! The other I’d only read one book, so I guess not as big a deal. The other author I didn’t get to see that I really wanted to, well I’ve met her a ton of times, and I love her to death. Her father had been really sick and they told her she needed to go ahead and get home, so she stayed for a bit on Saturday, but since I didn’t have a pre-order, I didn’t get to visit with her. But she was able to get home and see her father before he passed away, so I’m not upset I missed her at all. I’m just glad she was able to see him one last time.
Okay, let’s get going with some pictures. First there were really cool key cards once again! Here are the front and backs:
This year I splurged and got a room with a full atrium view from the balcony. It was really cool, but not sure it was worth the money based on how much time I did or did not actually spend on the balcony. Here is the view during the day and at night.
Now I drove down on Thursday and had to get there in time for the SmartyPants Romance little pre-party. Here are pictures from that! We couldn’t get signatures, but could talk to the authors and get pictures with them. I tried something different with my hair while I was there, and not sure how I feel about it! I did wear my new book dress and I got tons of compliments on it!
Once I got back to my room after that party, I pulled out all the swag in the gift bags. Here are pictures of all of that! First the main conference swag bags.
There is the tote bag with the unicorn. And one of those little drawstring backpacks, I’ve got that one in both pictures so you can see the front and the back of it. The t-shirt is really cute this year too! There were 5 free books, I gave the Penny Reid one to my friend who was there with me so she could see why I loved Reid’s books. The others may be giveaways! Although I have been wanting to read Roni Loren, so I might keep that one. Lots of swag in the other picture. Included a Fifty Shades of Grey flogger. Which I have no idea what I’m going to do with it, lol.
This was the SmartyPants Romance party swag bag that was handed out to the first 100 people who attended. Lots of fun bookmarks, a sticker, a notepad, and if you look closely you can see the fall books that will be coming out!
The second morning started with a big panel or opening meeting where the authors who had books turned into movies or tv shows had a conversation. I snuck out a teeny bit early from that one because I really wanted to get in line and get an ARC of the book that was by Sierra Simone and Julie Murphy. It also came with an adorable book sleeve by Book Beau, custom made for this book! There was fun swag in it too, which I’ll share in a big swag photo later.
The third panel of the day that I went to was about writing during Covid. Most of the authors on that panel said they were able to write more during that time. So while it was fun listening to them, especially because Penny Reid was the moderator, it wasn’t helpful for my own writing difficulties during that time.
Then they had said no lining up until noon, and the panels were over at 11:45. So as we get downstairs to get our lunches, people had already been lining up just to line up. It was ridiculous. I went in and got my boxed lunch and then joined the line and was about halfway through the line. I was a bit stressed because for some reason the fact that they had things so well planned out this year I was afraid I wouldn’t get to see some authors. So I sat on a concrete floor for about 2 hours until they let us go in finally, at 2 pm. Here are my views while in line.
My plan was to go in and get all the wristbands for authors you had to have those for in order to get in line, and then go around and see authors that might not have them yet. Within the first half hour I got all the wristbands pretty much that I wanted. One of them had the number 481! So I waited for her until Saturday, and then there wasn’t any line anyway!
Here is the autograph book that I made to get signed.
Okay, let’s get started on the author pictures!
And I went and got signatures from some of the narrators that were there too! Only took pictures with a couple of them though.
There was a party Friday night, but I was so tired at that point I just went back to my room. I’d been excited to eat at the little Mexican restaurant again because it had been so good back in 2019. Unfortunately due to the staffing issues everyone has right now thanks to Covid, they were only doing buffet. And $30 a person buffet. So while that’s what we had, it wasn’t what I’d been wishing for. Then my friend and I went back to the room and rested.
Saturday morning started with three little panels. First I went to one that was audiobook narrators being assigned different voices and characters and reading steamy books. It was hilarious. I went to what I thought was the second panel, but when I got there, they were passing other stuff out and I found out the panel I wanted was actually the third session. So I went to another one, Bloom Books, a new publishing group out of Sourcebooks. And I was so excited when they let us pick two books at the end!
Unfortunately when I left that one to go to the third panel I’d originally picked, there was a long line for it, so I picked another one. It was about Book Boyfriends I think? It was a bunch of rom-com authors and was fun with Avery Flynn as the moderator. Then it was lunch and since I’d gotten all my wristbands the day before, I went and hung out at the table in the room with the lunches and read and got to know some other attendees instead of sitting on the floor for two hours. They closed that room down at 1:30 though, so I went and got my free cupcake that one of the authors sponsored a cupcake room for everyone to have one, and went to wait in the line for the signing room again. The line was nothing like the first day though. My plan for the second day was to go to all the authors I’d gotten wristbands for first and then visit other authors that didn’t have the wristbands after. Which meant I ended up missing out on getting to meet Brenda Rothert and Molly E. Lee sadly, because they left their tables shortly after 6, even though I thought I’d have another hour to get to them and got to their tables around 6:10 and 6:20 respectively.
There was a final wrap-up party Saturday night. But as with the night before I was exhausted. Almost more so because I stood in lines for a long time on Saturday when on Friday I’d done more of hopping from shorter line to shorter line. While I didn’t get another picture with Penny Reid on Saturday, I did stand in her line over an hour I think. She had said though that she was going to stay as long as it took to get all the people in her line with wristbands. I know she was there after the 7 pm time for sure! The really long lines I waited in were Penny Reid, Max Monroe, Sierra Simone, Helena Hunting, and BB Easton. I love that BB’s husband is always there with her I guess at all the signings. It’s fun to see him after watching the tv series based on her books. Loosely based on her books as her fans know, so we don’t hate him like we might kind of ended up disliking his alter ego in the tv show.
All the goodies!
Okay, I tried to do a big pulling together for pictures for this post, but there may be some repeats as I tried to get some closer up pictures. Again, this is a long post, sorry about that!
Some fun stuff from authors, stickers, bookmarks, little totes. The clear plastic one was for purchasing books from Max Monroe. The beach ball and red tote was from Bloom Books. I bought the little unicorn from the Bookworm Box store that was on-site because it has the reversible sequins and I am a sucker for those!
Little bangle bracelets from Sonali Dev. Buttons from Susannah Nix and Jana Aston. A hotel room style key chain from Julie Murphy and Sierra Simone for their ARC, and at the top is a little keychain that came with my new tumbler I’ll show you a picture of as well.
Lots of fun stickers! There might have been more even that I already put on my little cart before taking this picture.
Lots and lots of bookmarks!
And a lot of post card type swag, some larger bookmarks maybe. One was even a recipe for a yummy sounding snack, Sierra’s Bacon Bites, in the book Forrest For The Trees by Kilby Blades!
Two pens from Jay Crownover here, I got others, but don’t know when I put them in other pictures. The one pen folds up so it is flat and you can put it in your wallet! Then I got this cool little tote bag from Monica Murphy that got all wrinkly on my trip back. 🙁 A few magnets! I think there were one or two others that I forgot to put in this picture too.
I might not have gotten as many ribbons as other people did, but this was my final collection! You can also see on the lanyard ribbon at the top that I got a unicorn pin from one of the event volunteers and then a Cletus Winston pin from the Penny Reid table!
I also bought another tumbler through Bella Fox & Co. It didn’t turn out quite the way I’d pictured in my mind, but I still like it! It’s hard to see in the picture I think, but the pj pants on the girl have dinosaurs on them and the mug says Rawr!
All the books!
Now I have nowhere near as many as other people! And I actually did bring a few books, including some anthologies that then I just decided were too much of a hassle and didn’t even get out most of the time!
Here’s the whole stack of the books that weren’t with me when I headed to Texas last Thursday. If you look closely, you can see the top of my little Dora’s head peeking over my desk on the left side of the picture.
These books were the actual pre-orders. The ones I paid for and knew I was buying.
The four on their sides were in my swag bag/tote just for coming to Book Bonanza. The preview from H. Hunting was for buying a book at her table. 🙂
And these are the books I bought even though I wasn’t supposed to buy any while I was there! The bottom is a special cover of The Wedding Game by Meghan Quinn. I love the original cover too, but don’t own it, so decided to go ahead and get this. Then I’m listening to Give Love a Chai, so I didn’t have a physical copy and since the author was there as a reader, I wanted her signature! Now, the three Max Monroe books, I just loved the covers and I saw them when I was in line to pick up my pre-order from them. I actually already own the second one with the original cover, bought it at Book Bonanza 2019. But one of the author duo’s husbands convinced me to just get the whole set since it was buy two get one free. So, yeah, plus I got the clear plastic bag you see up above for buying. I recently finished one of Susannah Nix’s books, My Cone and Only, so just decided to buy another book while I was in her line, should have got the second in the series, but decided on this one instead, lol. Storybound is a YA book by a new favorite of mine, Emma Lee Jayne. I bought it, and when I told her if I liked it I’d get a copy for my school library, she gave me an extra copy I can put in my library! Yay! Then Helena Hunting had the alternate cover copies of Little Lies, so I got one of those. I needed to own a physical copy of a Staci Hart book, and I decided to get one I hadn’t read yet instead of one I had, so that was what I picked. And when I stopped by Aleatha Romig’s table, and was telling her how I loved her lighter romances, she said there was a new one just out this month and I bought a copy. I just saw a blog tour for it this week too! But I don’t know that I can fit it in this month.
Once again, as I keep saying, I had an amazing time. I really feel like I need to take next year off. But I get FOMO so bad that when tickets go on sale I don’t know if I’ll give in and try to buy one! It was so great to be back amongst book lovers. For the most part every other person there was friendly and it was easy to turn in line and talk to people. There were a few people that might have not quite understood one of Colleen Hoover’s little mantras that were on posters at some places: “Don’t be a dick!”
One thing that I wish people would think about when they go is how many books they take to get signed. There were people with 10 books they’d brought from home, then they pre-ordered another 10 books and wanted them all signed while they were there. And almost always those were the really long lines already. I get it, it’s cool to have all your books signed by an author. But for me, the best part is meeting them, and getting a picture to look at and remember. I mean you can buy an autographed book at B&N but it doesn’t mean you met the author and got to talk to them. I also understand this may have been the only chance some people had to go to one of these so they wanted to get all their books signed now. But still, that was the biggest issue I had in any line. You can talk to the author a lot, that’s so much fun, but the stacks of books when you had at least an hour wait in line, that was a bummer.
The organization this time was so good! They’ve learned from every year and take to heart to improve things they see that they can. I can’t imagine how smooth next year will run! I highly recommend if you like any of these authors you try to get a ticket and go. Even if you only like maybe 5 of the authors, I guarantee from sitting and listening to authors on panels you will find more authors you’ll come to love and devour all their books!