My #Utopiacon2017 Experience

In June, I went to Utopiacon in Nashville, which is a conference for authors, writers, bloggers and readers. I had a blast geeking out over books with my best friend, meeting my favorite authors, and of course, getting my books signed.

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Here’s some of the highlights.

Utopiacon 2017_keynoteAmy Harmon, author of Making Faces and The Bird and the Sword, was the keynote speaker. She encouraged aspiring writers to “be a finisher,” and when it comes to writing, “what you don’t know you’ll figure out.” She also did a reading out of The Bird and the Sword, which was amazing because she has this awesome husky voice. I could have listened to her all day.

I got to meet Jennifer L. Armentrout. (Yes, that JLA, the woman who brought us Katy/Daemon from the Lux series, and my personal favorite Layla/Roth from The Dark Elements trilogy.) She’s one of my favorite authors and I did nothing but fangirl in her presence. (I tried to keep it together guys. I really did.)

Utopiacon 2017_Armentrout

I also saw her speak on a panel regarding hybrid authors. JLA talked about how her best career move was taking a risk and publishing with a small press, and discouraged aspiring writers from saying yes to everything. She commented on how that’s why she’s been working non-stop and putting out so many books. (I’m happy she said yes. #sorrynotsorry). Other authors on the panel had great insight. Shannon Mayer, author of Priceless, encouraged writers to invest in their cover and brand, and Elise Kova, author of The Alchemists of the Loom, talked about changing marketing tactics for each series.

Utopiacon 2017 panel

I saw a lot of other great panels and sat through some readings, which are now my favorite thing. Even if you don’t know anything about an author or their books, sit through a reading. I found some great new books this way.

I got to meet C.J. Redwine, author of The Wish Granter. She was so sweet. During a panel on the pressures in publishing, she said, “If I wouldn’t cry at your funeral, I don’t have to care what you think about me.” I’m pretty sure that’s my new life motto.

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Over the weekend, I bought 12 books, which was quite the book haul!

Utopiacon 2017_book haul

I got to meet a lot of authors.

Ginger Scott was so nice. I fangirled about The Hard Count and A Boy Like Me. We talked about the sports romance genre and how we both think that genre should include scenes where the sport is actually played.

Elise Kova seemed so business savvy. I went to her reading of The Alchemists of the Loom and I immediately wanted to read it.

Abbi Glines was quiet, but she signed my book and gave me Rush underwear so I was a happy camper!

Casey Bond was an author I’d never read before, but she spoke so eloquently during a panel, I had to see what she was about.

Amy Harmon was an absolute doll. So nice. I want to give her books a second chance. I think I’ll read The Bird and The Sword since it has some pretty cool magic.

Beth Flynn was such a surprise. I don’t know who was more surprised — me or her. She was shocked that I’d read her books, and I was shocked that this sweet older lady wrote a novel that tore my heart from my body. I joked about needing to join a support group after Nine Minutes, and she jokingly warned me that Out of Time might do me in. She’s pretty much a badass.

Shannon Mayer was another author I hadn’t read before, but I attended her reading and her new series has talking guns…and I was sold from the very first snarky remark. She was also very encouraging when I told her I was an aspiring writer. I kind of want to be her best friend and her Urban Fantasy Rylee Adamson series is next on my TBR.

I didn’t get a picture with Cambria Hebert, but she was fun to talk to, and I got to meet Jasinda Wilder.

The weekend ended with an awards ceremony and a Circus-themed Freakshow Ball. My best friend and I had a great time.

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Overall, Utopiacon 2017 was a success. Unfortunately, this is the final year of the conference, but they did mention a reunion Utopiacon in a few years.

 

 

 

 

Fallen Too Far by Abbi Glines

This is going to be an uncharacteristically blunt and exasperated review.

16070903 To want what you’re not supposed to have…

She is only nineteen.

She is his new stepfather’s daughter.

She is still naïve and innocent due to spending the last three years taking care of her sick mother.

But for twenty-four year old Rush Finlay, she is the only thing that has ever been off limits. His famous father’s guilt money, his mother’s desperation to win his love, and his charm are the three reasons he has never been told no.

Blaire Wynn left her small farmhouse in Alabama, after her mother passed away, to move in with her father and his new wife in their sprawling beach house along the Florida gulf coast. She isn’t prepared for the lifestyle change and she knows she’ll never fit into this world. Then there is her sexy stepbrother who her father leaves her with for the summer while he runs off to Paris with his wife. Rush is as spoiled as he is gorgeous. He is also getting under her skin. She knows he is anything but good for her and that he’ll never be faithful to anyone. He is jaded and has secrets Blaire knows she may never uncover but even knowing all of that…

Blaire just may have fallen too far.

First, I have to tell you about the secret to the universe I discovered. I’ve been trying to get myself to run everyday (I used to race Cross Country/Track so you’d think it would be easy for me but it isn’t.). So I decided to try audiobooks for the first time and it’s like magic. The first day, I ran three miles before I even THOUGHT to turn around and go home. That’s how enthralled I was in listening to the book. Just try it! I’ll never go back!

My first audiobook choice was Fallen Too Far by Abbi Glines. Now, I’m wondering if listening instead of reading affected my feelings toward the book, but it was mainly the content that was cause for concern so I blame the book mostly, but listening to a female narrator whisper sweet nothings as the male character was bizarre.

Fallen Too Far went too far. I will say I was on the edge of my seat (running shoes?) while I was reading. I wanted to see what happened between Rush and Blaire. Initially, it was the douchebag rich guy dissing the pretty but poor girl. I’m not a huge fan of this trope, but I enjoy the romance genre so you kind of have to deal with it. Anyway, the book started out okay, it got really interesting and then it just got ridiculous. I was blown away at the audacity of this book. The unrealistic representation of a good, healthy relationship and the irresponsibility of the characters had me wtf-ing.chris-rock-huh-face

My biggest issue with this book was the sex scenes, or more likely the i-can’t-believe-people-think-this-is-okay-and-OMG-young-impressionable-girls-may-be-reading-this!! The first time Rush and Blaire get it on, they are in the “heat of the moment” and forget to use protection. When he asks if she’s on birth control, she says no and instead of hauling her ass to the local pharmacy for some Plan B, he just says “oh, we can’t do that again.” (Attention Young Impressionable Girls, you should not do this. You will get preggers!)The second time it happens, they don’t have protection and decide to “just pull out.” At this point in my reading (run), I want to punch somebody. (Again, Attention Young Impressionable Girls, YOU WILL GET PREGGERS!!!!) I just don’t understand why you would put this in the book unless the whole point of the story was the main female character gets pregnant. This irresponsible sexual behavior makes me want to burn this book. Some people won’t know that this is fiction and think this is okay because “Rush and Blaire did it.”

Who knows, the second book may be about Blaire’s first pregnancy. Fallen Too Far ends on a strange, bizarre, unsatisfying cliffhanger and I won’t be reading book two to find out. Blaire was so misguided, constantly putting herself down and doing all the wrong things for all the wrong reasons. Rush was a douchebag manwhore who had sex with multiple women while pursuing Blaire (not sexy!) and he had crazy mood swings. Overall, the plot had a crazy, unrealistic plot twist and when it was revealed, everyone is more concerned about a dead person’s reputation then the fact that Rush and Blaire (who’ve been sleeping together) are related!!!!!Jenna-Marbles-I-Can't-Even

I can’t even with this book. I really wanted to like this series and this author but I just can’t stand behind such a messed up storyline with fucked up characters and unnecessary idiotic behavior.

STARS: 1 out of 5