A Survival Guide to Miami’s Book Fair

If you live in Miami or South Florida you know that we rarely get book fairs down here. We’re so south that we’re not even considered south, and so people don’t really venture down here. Book tours? One (1) bookstore hosts them and that’s maybe once a year. Okay, I’m exaggerating, it’s maybe once every five or six months. Book signings? Again, that same bookstore, and the rare Barnes & Noble bookstore that host them one or two every year. Book fairs? Glad you asked. We get the one, the official Miami Book Fair that’s hosted every year during November. It’s a week long event that culminates in a weekend street book fair.

During that week, different authors hold panels and then during the weekend, vendors and books signing are held in the Miami-Dade College Wolfson campus.

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I live for this book fair.

I die waiting for that week in November. That one weekend once a year.

This is a guide for surviving and living the Miami Book Fair.

First, make sure you take cash with you. Yes, they accept credit/debit cards, but life hack: If you pay with a card they’ll charge you tax. If you pay with cash, rarely (because there are cases where they do) do they charge you the tax.

Second, build your author schedule. It’s easy to get lost and enthralled by the many book vendors, the food, and the music. Also, the heat is suffocating. You’re in Miami. Miami doesn’t care about the actual season you’re supposed to be in. So, you’re not going to want to take out your schedule and plan whilst you’re in the middle of foot-traffic.

The Miami Book Fair schedule is up almost a month in advance it allows you to build your schedule. Use it!

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Third, get there early. The book fair closes at 6 pm. That time goes by quickly. Know the saying, “life flies by when you’re having fun.” Well, it’s true. Especially when you’re reading blurbs and trying to run from one author to the author whilst trying to eat some raspados.

Okay, so this leads me to my pros and cons of the Miami Book Fair. Listen, Miami is a CITY. Like an “everyone knows about Miami” type of city. So, there should be more attractions, right? Let me let you in on a little secret. Miami is a scavenger hunt for finding fun things to do. The thing is Miami is good for beaches and clubs. Sure, there are museums, but you better believe I’ve been to all of them at least 15 times.

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Obviously, I’ll be looking at all the book events. The thing is I hear about YALL Fest, BOOKCON, BookExpo, so forth. The thing that they have that Miami Book Fair doesn’t?

ARCS. I’m not trying to say the only reason to go to events is to get Advance Reader Copy’s but the thing is MBF doesn’t offer any exclusive content. Last year I saw a book subscription box service. This year? They weren’t in attendance. Harlequin teen came last year. This year? Nothing. Harpercollins was there, but they had a small selection of showcase books. There were three ARCS, the rep told me he might give them out on Sunday.

The thing was there are barely any discover selection each year. This year I noticed there were barely any teen books. If there were, they’re the same bestseller books you can get at Walmart or a B&N. And they’re at full price. Books & Books had the same selection of bestseller books.

There really isn’t new and exciting books. There are no Penguin teen, or Random House booths.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the Miami Book Fair. I have to. It’s the only I can go, but I think they need to step up their game. I’ve got for the past 7+ years, and I see less content each year. I’m a bookseller and so I rather get books with a discount, because some of the content isn’t worth getting at the booths.

Nonetheless, I can hardly wait for November 2018.

 

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Book Review: Down by Contact (The Barons #2) by Santino Hassell

Down by Contact (The Barons, #2)

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Received: ARC provided by NetGalley
Publication Date: January 16, 2018
Publisher: InterMix
Point of View: First Person (Simeon and Adrián)
Genres & Themes:  M/M Romance, Contemporary, LGBTQIA+, Sports, Romance, Football

BLURB:

Two rival football players begin a game with higher stakes than the Super Bowl in this steamy romance from the author of Illegal Contact.

Simeon Boudreaux, the New York Barons’ golden-armed quarterback, is blessed with irresistible New Orleans charm and a face to melt your mama’s heart. He’s universally adored by fans and the media. Coming out as gay in solidarity with his teammate hasn’t harmed his reputation in the least—except for some social media taunting from rival linebacker Adrián Bravo.

Though they were once teammates, Adrián views Simeon as a traitor and the number-one name on the New Jersey Predators’ shit list. When animosity between the two NFL players reaches a boiling point on the field, culminating in a dirty fist fight, they’re both benched for six games and sentenced to joint community service teaching sullen, Brooklyn teens how to play ball.

At first, they can barely stand to be in the same room, but running the camp forces them to shape up. With no choice but to work together, Simeon realizes Adrián is more than his alpha-jerk persona, and Adrián begins to question why he’s always had such strong feelings for the gorgeous QB…

REVIEW:

Listen.

Santino Hassell knows how to write sex scenes.

That is all.

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I’M BACK! With a 2018 Book Review: The Dangerous Art of Blending In by Angelo Surmelis

The Dangerous Art of Blending In

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Received: ARC provided by Edelweiss
Publication Date: January 30, 2018
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Point of View: First Person (Evan )
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, M/M Romance, Contemporary, LGBTQIA+

BLURB:

Seventeen-year-old Evan Panos doesn’t know where he fits in. His strict Greek mother refuses to see him as anything but a disappointment. His quiet, workaholic father is a staunch believer in avoiding any kind of conflict. And his best friend Henry has somehow become distractingly attractive over the summer.

Tired, isolated, scared—Evan’s only escape is drawing in an abandoned church that feels as lonely as he is. And, yes, he kissed one guy over the summer. But it’s his best friend Henry who’s now proving to be irresistible. It’s Henry who suddenly seems interested in being more than friends. And it’s Henry who makes him believe that he’s more than his mother’s harsh words and terrifying abuse. But as things with Henry heat up, and his mother’s abuse escalates, Evan has to decide how to find his voice in a world where he has survived so long by avoiding attention at all costs.

REVIEW:

Have you guys ever reblog those tumblr post about books that tear your heart being your favorite? The one about the mom asking the person what their favorite book is? the sad one? they say, and the person replying, “WHICH ONE?” You know, because there are so many favorite, sad books?

Yeah…I can’t relate.

I’ll 100% admit it. I am the biggest wimp in the world. I just can’t. Listen, I could read it, but I probably won’t ever pick up the book again. And I could totally have a hearbreaking-esque book as my all time favorite, just never be able to reread it.

On each book cover, in the title box, he’s written: 

For Every Normal Day.

I feel the tears come rushing down. “You remembered.”

He nods. Softly, he says, “It’s a start.”

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Book Review: Illegal Contact (The Barons #1) by Santino Hassell

Illegal Contact (The Barons, #1)

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Received: ARC provided by A Novel Take PR
Publication Date:August 15, 2017
Publisher: InterMix
Point of View: First Person (Noah & Gavin)
Genres & Themes: Romance, M/M Romance, Contemporary, Sports, Football

BLURB:

The rules of the game don’t apply off the field in this first Barons novel. 

New York Barons tight end Gavin Brawley is suspended from the team and on house arrest after a video of him brawling goes viral. Gavin already has a reputation as a jerk with a temper on and off the field—which doesn’t help him once he finds himself on the wrong side of the law. And while he’s been successful professionally, he’s never been lucky when it comes to love.

Noah Monroe is a recent college grad looking for a job—any job—to pay off his mounting student debt. Working as Gavin’s personal assistant/babysitter seems like easy money. But Noah isn’t prepared for the electrifying tension between him and the football player. He’s not sure if he’d rather argue with Gavin or tackle him to the floor. But both men know the score, and neither is sure what will happen once Gavin’s timeout is over…

REVIEW:

Santino Hassell might have 31 distinct works, according to Goodreads, but do not be misguided—he’s just getting started. Every work keeps getting better and better. His tagline is Get Hasselled, and, trust me, once you read one of his books you get sucked into his books and you get an inkling of what Hasslled means.

Illegal Contact was that for me. A wild ride from beginning to end. With characters like Gavin, a football player who has been sentenced to house arrest after an altercation, and Noah, a guy who has just been fired from his previous job who now finds himself considering any job, even as a person assistant to a guy know for his anger-management issues.

There’s three things you should know about Gavin and Noah, respectively.

Gavin:

—Doesn’t give a fuck.

—Unless he cares for you.

—HE’S HAWT.

Noah:

—Noah doesn’t really like football

—or football players.

—He is so NOT SLEEPING WITH HIS BOSS. again.

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Book Review: Murder on the Orient Express (Hercule Poirot #10) by Agatha Christie

Murder on the Orient Express (A Hercule Poirot Mystery)

My rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Received: Own
Publication Date:March 29, 2011
Publisher: HarperCollins
Point of View: Third Person (Hercule Poirot)
Genres & Themes:  Fiction, Mystery, Detective, Suspense, Mystery Thriller

BLURB:

“The murderer is with us–on the train now . . .”

Just after midnight, the famous Orient Express is stopped in its tracks by a snowdrift. By morning, the millionaire Samuel Edward Ratchett lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. One of his fellow passengers must be the murderer.

Isolated by the storm, detective Hercule Poirot must find the killer among a dozen of the dead man’s enemies, before the murderer decides to strike again . . .

REVIEW:

A couple of years ago, let’s round it to 7 (because why not, like I’m pretty sure that’s the number), I got stuck on this game. Now, back then I didn’t really read/look for walkthroughs, and so here I am going back and forth to this bees scene and I just can’t get through. So, I found that the most sensible thing to do was just exit out of the game.

For 7 years, naturally. As one does, you know. When one gets stuck in a game.

Fast forward 7 years, my little sister is asking me what this game, And Then There Were None, is about and she asks, “well, did you finish it?” and you could see me looking off into the camera, because girl do I have a story to tell you.

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Book Review: Chasing Destiny (Silver Tip Pack #2) by Megan Erickson

Chasing Destiny (Silver Tip Pack, #2)

My rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Received: ARC provided by author/publisher
Publication Date:July 21, 2017
Publisher: Unlisted
Point of View: First Person (Nash & Bay)
Genres & Themes:  LGBTQ+, M/M Romance, Paranormal, Shapeshifters

BLURB:

Some live on memories…

Almost dying during a pack uprising has a way of shaking things up. I’m no longer Mr. Laid Back now that there’s an itch under my skin I can’t scratch.

On a volunteer mission that goes beyond the walls of our compound, we enter the territory of a pack long thought dead, and find ourselves on the business end of their spears.

What I’m not prepared for is what I find within their walls—The one shifter I never thought I’d see alive, the one I’d mourned twice, the one I’d always loved. He is alive, and if I have anything to do with it, he’ll stay that way. But he’s got secrets, and exposing them could lead us to an enemy worse than the bloodthirsty undead shifters wanting to kill us all…

REVIEW:

Megan Erickson is that you? I know I’ve read and loved Daring Fate, and I was baffled that Megan Erickson did THAT. Then, I read Chasing Destiny, and all I thought was Holy, Megan Erickson did THAT.

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Book Tour + Review: Heart of the Steal by Avon Gale & Roan Parrish

Heart of the Steal

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
Received: ARC provided by A Novel Take PR
Publication Date:July 11, 2017
Publisher: Philtre Press
Point of View: First Person (Will & Amory)
Genres & Themes:  LGBTQ+, M/M Romance, Contemporary

BLURB:

Responsible, disciplined William Fox channeled his love for art and his faith in the rules into being an FBI Art Crimes agent. Right and wrong, justice and injustice—the differences are clear, and Will has spent his career drawing a line between them. Maybe his convictions have cost him relationships, but he’s not willing to compromise what he knows is right. Until the night he meets Amory Vaughn.

As the head of his family’s philanthropic foundation, Vaughn knows very well that being rich and powerful can get him almost anything he wants. And when he meets endearingly grumpy and slightly awkward William Fox, he wants him more than he’s wanted anything. Vaughn is used to being desired for his name and his money, but Will doesn’t care about either.

When Vaughn falls back on old habits and attempts to impress Will by stealing a painting Will admires, their nascent bond blows up in his face. But Vaughn isn’t willing to give up on the glimpse of passion he saw the night he took Will apart. Before Will knows it, he’s falling for the man he should have arrested, and Vaughn has to realize that some things can’t be bought or stolen. Love has to be given freely. But can a man who lives by the rules, and a man who thinks the rules don’t apply to him, ever see eye to eye?

Heart of the Steal is a standalone romance with a happy ending. It features a Southern gentleman who thinks he’s always right, a buttoned-up FBI agent who secretly likes his buttons unbuttoned, and wall sex. And desk sex. And picnic blanket sex.

REVIEW:

Steal of my Heart—I mean Heart of the Steal by Avon Gale and Roan Parrish is the book I never thought of needing until they wrote it, and I’m baffled?

Let me tell you one of my most favorite manga was about a thief, who stole (ha!). One night, he was stealing from a house, but a guy was in the same room hiding and saw the thief…well, thieving. The police come a moment later, with the head of the police leading the investigation. Long story short—thief turns out to be the head police, and the guy ends up falling for the thief/police guy (there’s a good reason why he’s stealing, btw).

So, then, if this is my favorite manga, did I not think to get it in a novel format? I honestly am so ashamed of myself, but thankfully Avon Gale and Roan Parrish teamed up to write this beautiful, romantic, hilarious book.

Heart of the Steal is about Amory Vaugh and William Fox (completely in love with Amory’s name, btw), a snobby wealthy philanthropist known for donating funds for the Arts, and the black-and-white view FBI officer.

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