YALLfest 2018 Recap + Giveaway!

Posted by Jessi (Geo) on November 25, 2018 | 1 Comment

YALLfest haul

Signed books

Most of these I already had! I did have to buy 8-10 books for the festival, though, and I bought Sawkill Girls at the festival already signed.

Freebies from the festival


YALLfest recap

This year I went on vacation to Florida first and decided to hit up YALLfest on my way back home. Then, fairly last minute, I convinced by bookstabestie Christy (@cbookaddiction on Insta!) to come with me! She wasn’t comfortable making the drive by herself, so I offered to come get her. It added quite a bit of drive onto my trip, but it was totally worth it! I’m so glad she decided to go because we had a blast! I loved our little road trip together and hope to do it again next year!


Like last year, I planned to do the Friday events again! There were quite a few authors I wanted to see Friday and I knew it would make Saturday easier. I had originally planned to stay in a hotel in Charleston Thursday night (by myself for the first time), but when Christy decided to come, I drove up from Florida on Thursday to pick her up! I stayed the night with Christy so we could get on the road to Charleston super early Friday morning – we got up at 4:30 am so we could leave! The drive took about 8 hours after stops.

I had some issues with the stupid hotel (Hawthorn Suites, the same one I stayed at last year) when I called – I was trying to see if we could check in early since we were going to arrive around 1, and check in was supposed to be at 3. They gave me the run around with a fair share of attitude, saying it depended if they had “a room” available already – why not give my my room that I had reserved?! It made NO sense, and they were quite assholes about it (I called twice because the first person was so difficult AND difficult to understand that I ended up having to hang up). I didn’t understand why someone couldn’t give me a clear yes or no – either we can check in early or we can’t, right?! Apparently not. We ended up having to just show up at the hotel and ask, and thankfully they did in fact let us check in early. (After a little frustration at the front counter – they had charged my card the full price of the stay without any permission or warning, and Christy and I had been planning to split the costs on two cards 50/50. I was pretty pissed!) The room ended up being kinda dirty – I know we checked in early, but they could have just said no, sorry, it’s not ready?? It wasn’t a very good experience for us.

Anyway, after cleaning up and getting a bite to eat, we got to the festival later than we intended. We pretty much arrived right at 2.

2 pm

Christy and I both got into line for Megan Miranda. The line was actually longer than I had expected, but thankfully it didn’t take long. Megan was super nice! After leaving her line, we went to see Nic Stone together. Nic was lookin’ fabulous, and she was also super nice – I didn’t want mine personalized, but after seeing the awesome way she personalized Christy’s I changed my mind! After we left Nic, we split up so she could go to Neal Shusterman’s line and I could go to see Scott Westerfeld. Scott talked a little about Impostors being in the same universe of Uglies (which I so did not know, oops!) but said it could be read without reading Uglies, or so he thought (said with some mild sarcasm, and that he should know, right? XD).

Once I left Scott’s line, I headed back to the big tent where Christy was to catch Megan Shepherd. She was getting up and leaving as I was approaching – by the time I got there it was too late to grab her, but I was able to run around to the back of the tent and grab her. Woop woop!

3 pm

After meeting Megan, it was already past 3 pm. I stood in line for Natasha Ngan while Christy was still in Neal’s line – no sign of him yet, even though it was after 3. It turned out his flight was delayed, and they ended up giving out wristbands for people to come back at 5. Christy came and stood in line for Natasha with me and we were able to meet her together. She was FABULOUS!! She was so sweet, and we chatted for a little while about Girls; and after lamenting that I didn’t get a US copy too (I already had the exclusive Fairyloot edition so I skipped it), Natasha told us there was a Barnes & Noble exclusive edition and it was RED (um, my fave color ever). So we decided we would hunt down a B&N and get it when we were done!

We had tons of time to kill before Neal, so we wandered around for a bit and explored so I could show Christy where everything was at. We dumped our stuff in the car and came back to wait (it was still only 4:15). We forgot our folding stools that we bought specifically for the festival and had to sit on the ground for 45 minutes, oops! Kyle (@frenchiefiction) came over at one point to say hi and give me her Neal books to get signed since I only had Scythe.

Neal’s line finally started moving about 10-15 minutes after 5. It went fairly fast thankfully. It was super awkward, because the staff came through and told us to flip to a different page because Neal was going to sign the endpages?! (This is NOT normal – the correct place to sign is typically the title page, and I am suuuper picky about this fact!) I told them I still wanted the title page signed and they said if I felt strongly about it, (I do, lol) it was probably fine. The first thing Neal did when I got to the table was start to flip to the endpages, and I told him as politely as I could that I would prefer the title page to be signed. He gave me a funny look and asked if I was sure and I said “Yes, I’m picky, sorry!” with a sheepish smile. I kid you not, he did not say A WORD to me other than that. I stood there awkwardly awkward while he signed my books, it was so uncomfortable!! I thought he was just irritated about the signature placement, but Christy said he was like that with her, too. I told her that was so not normal – most authors are very friendly and will talk to you while they sign. At least a “thanks for coming!” Syl, Kylie’s friend, said he was nice when she met him, so maybe he was just tired from the flight. *shrugs*

After we left the festival, we went back to the hotel to dump our books and get some things, then we headed out to Moe’s Southwest Grill for dinner! It was delicious, of course. After that we met up with Kylie, Syl, Nicole, and Nicole’s friend (whose name I have terribly forgotten, I suck!!) at Barnes and Noble so we could get the special edition of Girls of Paper & Fire. We all hung out for quite a while at the bookstore and chatted! Then we parted ways and went back to the hotel, only to find that Kylie and Syl’s hotel room was the one right next to ours!! Small world! (There’s only 8 rooms to a building – there are separate buildings with four rooms in front and four in back – two upstairs, two downstairs. So being next to them was a huge coincidence!) We hung out for a bit in their room, going over our schedules for Saturday and planning.

Other than being half assed cleaned, our room was really nice! It was a “two bedroom suite” – which ended up being a one bedroom and loft. The loft room didn’t have a door or anything, but oh well. We both had our own bathroom/shower, which was nice! There was a kitchen too, which we ended up not using anyway. Oops.


I got up at 6 am to give myself enough time to shower, straighten my hair, and put on some makeup. By the time we ate breakfast and got to the festival, it was only about 8. We got there waaaay early. Almost TOO early, because nothing was even open yet! We wandered around for a little while, and by the time we made our way over to the publisher tents there were already crazy lines. We were able to jump into the Fierce Reads line with my friend Kate (who has been there for the last few years too, I met her at a Karen Marie Moning signing a few years ago!) and wait for the ARC giveaway.

9 am

It ended up not mattering anyway, because they capped the line at 50 people. So we stood in line for about a half hour for nothing. We decided to go ahead and make our way over to Courtney Summers’ line, which was already getting kind of long. We forgot our chairs AGAIN, so I ran back to the car to get them while Christy held our spot in line.

10 am

Courtney was awesome!! She was super friendly, and after expressing my exasperation over the ending of Sadie, she asked what I thought – View Spoiler »

After chatting with Courtney, Christy and I both went over to the train museum to see Rebecca Schaeffer. After seeing her, we had quite a bit of down time until 11, so we went back over to the publisher booths. We missed the cutoff for the 10:30 ARC drop, so we stood in line for the EpicReads 11 drop.

11 am

Thankfully EpicReads was much more organized, passing out cards to people in line so we knew how many people there’d be before the cap. All the others were just letting people stand in line for an hour only to be turned away because the cap was only 20-30 books. They wouldn’t even tell you if you asked what the cap was, it was ridiculous! So kudos, EpicReads, for having your shit together!

Christy got Tiger at Midnight and I got Sherwood. The other choice was a contemp that I’d never heard of. After that, Christy went to get a spot in line for Renee while I ran back over to the tent for Alex London!

12 pm

Renee’s line took FOREVER, which I knew it was going to. She’s very chatty, and tends to not talk and sign at the same time haha. It took us the full hour just to get through her line, even though it didn’t seem that long! We were both getting a tad stressed toward the end, because we wanted to try for an ARC of Wicked Saints, but neither of us could leave the Renee line. Kylie told us the line for the ARC was already getting super long, so we sadly decided to skip it. :(

1 pm

Finally, a break!! We took our books back to the car to swap them out for the next batch. Then we decided to get into the 2 pm lines early, since we knew we’d have an insane schedule at 3. We went to Jessica Brody’s line and there was only one person! I forgot my damn schedule in the car, so I had to run aaaaall the way back to get it while Christy held my spot. When I got back, she headed over to Adrienne Young’s line because it was already getting long.

2 pm

I got through Jessica’s line insanely fast! She got there 10 min early, which was a huge blessing. And she was super sweet! She was jazzed over seeing me with a Sky Without Stars ARC, and asked where I got it (the Shelf Queens package from Riveted), then who I was on Insta since I got that package (which I told her @novelheartbeat), and she was like “Ohhh I love your photos so much!” I told her I had participated in the tour for Geography and she thanked me. Seriously, so so sweet!

After leaving her line, I stopped by the Charleston music hall to get our new editions of Girls of Paper and Fire signed by Natasha. She said hi again, and we fangirled over the annotated section (I can’t WAIT to read it!! Her little drawings are so cute!) and then I left to meet up with Christy in the Adrienne line, which took longer than we expected. Adrienne was fabulous, too! We decided to get into Beth’s line early in hopes of getting through our 3 authors (there were 6 of them!!) early enough to make it into the 4 pm ARC drop line – they were giving away We Hunt the Flame, which we were both desperate for!

3 pm

Beth’s line took way longer than we expected, sadly. But she was so fun to meet! She’s hilarious – she talked about how she always has to stop and think about what line she’s writing in each book, and that with each book she’s gotten lazier and lazier – writing less until it was just a signature, then a scribble instead of carefully writing out her name. I told her that’s what I would do, lol. (Shoot, I don’t have to sign anything and even I just scribble my name *shrugs*)

After seeing Beth we both went over to the Fierce Reads line for the ARC drop, but unfortunately it was already crazy long. I decided to go get Brendan Reichs and Destiny Soria while she held our place in line! Neither of them had anyone waiting, so it didn’t take long. I came to stand in line for Robin LeFevers, but then Kylie told me the ARC drop line was handing out post-it notes for people to get a book, so I panicked and left (which I’m kicking myself for now, the line wasn’t really that long so I could have done it. Oh, well). It ended up not mattering anyway, because Christy was the very first person after the sticky note cut-off. Laaaame. Kylie said their method for it was for some lady to hold her hand up with some sticky notes and yell “who wants a book?” and it was mass chaos. Like wtf?! I hope next year they have their shit together a bit better than that.

4 pm

Christy and I decided to stay in line anyway, because they were saying after the stickies ran out books weren’t guaranteed, but it sounded like it was still possible. I’m glad we did, because Christy and I ended up getting the last two books! We didn’t get We Hunt the Flame sadly, but we did get Ship of Smoke and Steel, which sounds intriguing! Better than nothing at all.

I knew Kiersten would probably still be signing, so Christy went with Nicole back to the car while I ran to Kiersten’s line. I got lucky because the line was down to a few people and I was the last person! Annoyingly enough, one of the volunteers told me there was a 3 book limit (I had 5), and I was looking around behind me like, I’m the last person? What does it even matter at this point?! but Kiersten didn’t even bat an eyelash when I handed her 5. She was so gracious, especially since she’d been signing for an hour and a half at that point! Way to go, Kiersten! She thanked me for staying in line for so long and said I should get a prize – to which I replied that I didn’t deserve one because I’d only just arrived after sprinting down there. She gave me a little bag of M&M’s anyway for being the last person in line. Thanks for being awesome, Kiersten!

By the time I finally got back to Kass Morgan’s line (which started at 4), it was 4:40. Christy waited with me, which I was grateful for because I had 6 books for Kass. I’m not sure they’d enforce the 3 book limit with me being last, but I didn’t want to take a chance!

Funny story: While we were standing in line, a woman came up behind us. She asked if we were in line, I said yes, for Kass Morgan. She asked again if we were in line, I repeated myself. (It was just a strange interaction altogether, to be honest.) She said something about a raffle holding place right outside the train museum (which we could see, because the whole front is nothing but windows – there were people standing/sitting around in the little courtyard there). I told her I didn’t know what it was, and that you probably needed a ticket. She said she didn’t know. I went out to see what was going on, and it turns out it was a raffle, but we’d already missed the ticket cutoff sadly. Guess what they were giving away? Copies of Four Dead Queens. Which Christy and I had asked about because we saw lying out earlier, and the Penguin Teen worker LIED and said they weren’t for the festival!! Which is just f*cking ridiculous because why not just say they’re for a raffle, check back later? Still pissed about that one -___-

Anyway, GUESS WHO WON A COPY. That woman!!! She didn’t even know what she had, because she tried to get Kass to sign it! Christy and I suspect that she stumbled on the festival by accident (by the way she was acting), and got lucky enough to get a ticket. It was really odd. But we were salty XD

In conclusion

I had a BLAST this year, it was so awesome to have bookish friends to go with! I always see Kate and Maura, but we mostly just see each other in passing. It was so wonderful to have a bookish friend to spend the weekend with. I’ve always had fun going with my ex (and he was amazing and patient about it, willing to do pretty much whatever for me), but it wasn’t really his jam. This was my first experience getting to meet up with other bookish friends and be able to fangirl about the books and authors!

Just like last year, I did amazing!!! Once again I didn’t have many big hitter authors on my list, so I was able to see a whopping 16 authors (same as last year too)!! The only lines that were all that bad were Neal’s (who we thankfully knocked out Friday), Renee’s, and Kiersten’s (who I arrived so late to it didn’t matter anyway).

Authors I got to see:

  • Megan Miranda
  • Nic Stone
  • Scott Westerfeld
  • Natasha Ngan
  • Neal Shusterman
  • Courtney Summers
  • Rebecca Schaeffer
  • Alex London
  • Renee Ahdieh
  • Jessica Brody
  • Adrienne Young
  • Beth Revis
  • Brendan Reichs
  • Destiny Soria
  • Kiersten White
  • Kass Morgan


And now I wanted to share some of my spoils with you lovely people! One US winner will get the following signed ARCs:

  • The Hunt by Megan Shepherd
  • The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White

I’ve also got a giveaway for signed ARCs of Give the Dark My Love and Girls of Paper & Fire on my bookstagram, make sure to check that out!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Jessi (Geo)

Posted in: Events, Giveaways | Tags: ,

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One response to “YALLfest 2018 Recap + Giveaway!

  1. Danielle Hammelef

    Thanks for sharing the details of the event. I’ve never attending one of these, but it’s a must do for me someday. I get nervous meeting authors, but I know they are really nice people and real people too. You got to meet so many talented authors and got so many books! Sorry you missed out on Four Dead Queens–it’s on my must read list too.

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