ApollyCon Recap+Giveaway: An unforgettable experience...and all the feels!


Hello lovelies! Here I am back again wondering how August came and how we are...close to 4 months from ending this year...but summer is still hot in this small side of the world in Greece and I am finally back from Apollycon!

It was an unforgettable experience! I got to meet some of my favorite authors, meet with new ones and also finally get in touch with my awesome friends and fellow Jennifer Armentrout fans. And for those of you who were not able to attend stay tuned for I have some goodies giveaway for you! 


But let us backtrack and talk about the event that I will describe as...the Odyssey. 

I was preparing my suitcase when I got an email that my plane tickets were canceled. Meaning that there was a 50-50 chance of not being able to attend in the case they would not be able to rebook the tickets. I was not a good sight preparing the books but also crying at the possibility. But thankfully Seth made his miracle and I would be able to reach Washington after first flying to San Fransisco, then to New York, and then to DC.

Leaving Greece

Somewhere over Europe

But alas I made it after moving back and forth in time and time zones lol. I have to give major thanks to my bookish family of AoA who waiting for me at the airport after I had a small issue with my luggage and the excitement we all shared as we finally met each other. Kim, Tammy, Pia, Mica, Mariana, Eirini, Vonneta, Lisa, and Autumn are a few of the amazing people I had the joy to meet and gush over JLA men.

As a Titan Pass holder, I had some extra activities and items which came with registration. Like the exclusive edition of A Shadow in the Ember and the From blood and Ash edition that was given during the brunch event.


Night 1: The Sourcebooks Casablanca event.


This was a very fun experience! I got to meet various authors and even have some sit with my friends like Amalie Howard! There were cocktails, cookies and ice cream, the best combination. And then I had the joy of meeting some of my favorite authors!

                                          

Our table name (because yes we love steamy books)

The gorgeous Maria Vale, author of the Legend of All Wolves series


My beloved Laura Thalassa, author of the Four Horsemen series 
and other amazing books

(Ignore my face it's me trying not to cry)


Day 2: Titan Signing

This day was filled with amazing books and moving around tables and chatting with different authors. I got to sign my JLA books and also my copy of The Love Hypothesis by freaking ALI HAZELWOOD! There were other ticketed authors too in order to keep a system because we are all crazy with books here. 



Barnes and Noble had set up a small bookstore inside the hotel with also Harry Potter-related candies!
It was also amazing because a day earlier I had finally visited the bookstore and was awed by the fact they had a Starbucks with tables inside? A book lovers dream.



Waiting for the signing in the queue along with my besties. Each one of us with piles of books to be signed.


And when the doors opened? We got to move between tables and see them all. Some examples below. (ignore my poor tired eyes, jet lag caught with me)

    
      With Steffani from Art by Steffani who had an amazing art print and enamel pin collection!


With Amalie Howard.



With Elise Kova who recognized me from her Tower of Guard group!

The beautiful table set with Maria Vale's books


With author Amanda Bouchet! I assisted her with my mythology knowledge and Greek for her upcoming book, A Curse of Queens, coming out on October 2022! (review of the ARC here)





Images from one of the signing rooms


My goddess Jennifer Armentrout at work (her lines were huge but she stayed till late in order to sign everything)

Later at night at the Sparklr event with author Avery Flynn! (she commented on my shoes and we ended up chatting about her books)

Day 3: General signing day for all ticket holders

The third day started with the attempt to get my Book Beau Apollycon special edition signed. This was a book sleeve which had a silver sharpie which you could use to get it signed if you didn't have books, a genius idea for me which I'd love to see in future Apollycon events too (in the last pictures you can see it). I also got to see the Historical Romance triad: Sophie Jordan, Tessa Dare and Sarah MacLean and we chatted about their books being translated to Greek.


Waiting with my besties: (from left to right) Eirini, Mariana, Kim and Mica


Le chaos



With Laura Thalassa, Eirini and her Pestilence


And thank you so much Tarrah for making my day! I sincerely apologize if I looked like a deer in the headlights because I've never been recognized due to the blog. Being a fan means a lot to me so thank you for all the love! You were very sweet and I hope we'll meet again!


With Tessa Dare. I seriously wanted to hug all of them


With my dear Sarah MacLean who was very generous with her readers and also I hope to get the chance to meet again


With ALI FREAKING HAZELWOOD! You can't see my face but I am smiling like a maniac (also my book beau at the bottom right). She signed my copy of The Love Hyposthesis and as a fellow woman in academia we got the feel and shared our fellow obsession over Kinder chocolate.


Later tonight at the After Party

Day 4: The Brunch and Q/A event

This last day of Apollycon found me and my friends first table right in front of Jennifer and Blue Box Publications. Before the Q/A we were treated to a nice brunch and also we got the Apollcon edition of FBAA along with the Book Beau.




And then the QUEEN came! They spoke about the writing history of the series, hoe COVID messed up their plans and also about possible (?) adaptations of Jennifer's books. She was absolutely hilarious on her commentary and how much respect between authors and fans is essential because toxic people also exist.

After that there were some questions answered and I braved my introvert self and asked if we may ever visit The Titan series so we may have a Seth sequel (she recognized me from the JLanders and I almost fainted from feels.) She didn't say no? But at the time no, maybe in the future (which is true since she writes like two series at the same time). And yes I am a Seth fan, deal with it :P





And after that I had a few hours with my friends in Washington walking our way around Capitol which was also amazing! It was a bittersweet ending: I wanted this to last more days, I wanted to stay with my friends but at the same time I had the chance to spend a few days with similar-minded people who get my love for books and reading; to see authors who I have bee reading their books for close to a decade and talk with them, to have fun after these challenging years with the pandemic.


And for those days I am deeply grateful.

My book haul: I ledt Greece with two books...and came back with an extra suitcase, because nothing would fit plus I had swag!

From left to right: The wedding date disaster by Avery Flynn, the two Book Beaus Apollycon special editions and you can see the one signed, Brazen and the Beast by Sarah MacLean, The Nightingale Anthology, the Apollycon special edition of ASITE, the Apollycon social edition of FBAA,, my copies of Lux Beginnings and The Love Hypothesis, the Bargainer bundle and the Horsemen series by Laura Thalassa, A Wolf Apart & Forever wolf by Maria Vale.

An addition below from the JLA shop were the tote bag of Apollycon and the mug while the other tote bag was part of the Titan ticket. The mug/tumbler has a handle which I prefer and the quote: "Mmm caseroles".



The signed books. I admit it: I teared up when I went back to the hotel room.







A close up of ASITE

GIVEAWAY

OPEN INT

Rules:

- no fake accounts

-winner has 48 hours to reply to the email sent to them if they win, if not, the prize goes to the next winner



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Milky Way of Books is going to APOLLYCON!

 YES IT IS TRUE! I am finally going to meet my favorite authors on Apollycon! Milky Way of Books will go on summer hiatus after meaning that I will also have more time to fangirl and cry and swoon when I meet all my favorite authors!




And among them are: Jennifer Armentrout, Laura Thalassa, Ali Hazelwood and more!



Stay tuned on my social media for more pictures and reels!



USA here I come! 

Review: "The STEMinist Novellas Series" by Ali Hazelwood


Under One Roof by Ali Hazelwood
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summary from Good Reads

A scientist should never cohabitate with her annoyingly hot nemesis – it leads to combustion.

Mara, Sadie, and Hannah are friends first, scientists always. Though their fields of study might take them to different corners of the world, they can all agree on this universal truth: when it comes to love and science, opposites attract and rivals make you burn….

As an environmental engineer, Mara knows all about the delicate nature of ecosystems. They require balance. And leaving the thermostat alone. And not stealing someone else’s food. And other rules Liam, her detestable big-oil lawyer of a roommate, knows nothing about. Okay, sure, technically she’s the interloper. Liam was already entrenched in his aunt’s house like some glowering grumpy giant when Mara moved in, with his big muscles and kissable mouth just sitting there on the couch tempting respectable scientists to the dark side…but Helena was her mentor and Mara’s not about to move out and give up her inheritance without a fight.

The problem is, living with someone means getting to know them. And the more Mara finds out about Liam, the harder it is to loathe him…and the easier it is to love him.

To listen to Sadie and Hannah’s stories, look for the novellas Stuck with You and Below Zero, coming soon, available first on audio!





Stuck with You by Ali Hazelwood
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summary from GoodReads

Nothing like a little rivalry between scientists to take love to the next level.

Mara, Sadie, and Hannah are friends first, scientists always. Though their fields of study might take them to different corners of the world, they can all agree on this universal truth: when it comes to love and science, opposites attract and rivals make you burn…

Logically, Sadie knows that civil engineers are supposed to build bridges. However, as a woman of STEM she also understands that variables can change, and when you are stuck for hours in a tiny New York elevator with the man who broke your heart, you earn the right to burn that brawny, blond bridge to the ground. Erik can apologize all he wants, but to quote her rebel leader—she’d just as soon kiss a Wookiee.

Not even the most sophisticated of Sadie’s superstitious rituals could have predicted such a disastrous reunion. But while she refuses to acknowledge the siren call of Erik’s steely forearms or the way his voice softens when he offers her his sweater, Sadie can’t help but wonder if there might be more layers to her cold-hearted nemesis than meet the eye. Maybe, possibly, even burned bridges can still be crossed….

To read Mara and Hannah’s stories look for the novellas Under One Roof, available now, and Below Zero, coming soon from Berkley!





Below Zero by Ali Hazelwood
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summary from Good Reads

It will take the frosty terrain of the Arctic to show these rival scientists that their chemistry burns hot.

Mara, Sadie, and Hannah are friends first, scientists always. Though their fields of study might take them to different corners of the world, they can all agree on this universal truth: when it comes to love and science, opposites attract and rivals make you burn…

Hannah’s got a bad feeling about this. Not only has the NASA aerospace engineer found herself injured and stranded at a remote Arctic research station—but the one person willing to undertake the hazardous rescue mission is her longtime rival.

Ian has been many things to Hannah: the villain who tried to veto her expedition and ruin her career, the man who stars in her most deliciously lurid dreams…but he’s never played the hero. So why is he risking everything to be here? And why does his presence seem just as dangerous to her heart as the coming snowstorm?

To read Mara and Sadie’s stories look for the novellas Under One Roof and Stuck with You available now from Berkley!
 



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REVIEW




It is a truth universally known....that Ali Hazelwood dominates my heart with her stories, even if they are novellas, making me after reading them carve for more like a nice big bar of Kinder chocolate.

                              


                                     


While the STEMinist novellas can be read out of order, it is preferable to do so in line because you get to see not only how each story progresses but also the friendship between the main heroines: Mara, Sadie, and Hana.

Under One Roof is about our first fine lady Mara, who inherits a whole house from her recently deceased mentor Helena. The house is gorgeous....and it comes with the grumpy insufferable Liam, Helena's nephew who also claims that the house is his. Thus begins an uncomfortable yet albeit hilarious relationship between Mara and Liam as they try to navigate through living together but also falling for each other.

I laughed so hard my lungs hurt. I don't know why but I find many traits of myself on Ali's characters and that makes them so relatable, not to mention the movie/tv/book references.

                                  



I enjoyed this very much and while some bad languages may say that the setting is only the house, I sincerely don't care. It is an enjoyable novella and I have heard amazing things about the audiobooks, so I may re-read them after.


On Stuck with You Sadie is stuck on an elevator with Erik (no not the Phantom of the Opera Erik). Told in a back-and-forth timeline we learn how she got to meet Erik and what led to Sadie hating him. Also quite cute because I did not expect a cinnamon boi in Erik. Mot spoilers here because you need the building anticipation.

                                       

Below Zero is all about Hana and how she has a non-commitment policy except for anything that has to do with her job and career. But a chance meeting with Ian will make her question her policy. I think that of all the novellas this one had higher stakes because I surely did not expect all this to begin or progress how it did! Full of surprises and yet filled with the underlying knowledge that there are men in academia and STEM who are simply %^&*@#. Trust me, read it and you will understand.

As for Ian? I wanted to wrap him into a fluffy blanket and steal him from Hana but alas. XD

                                                     

Ali Hazelwood became my auto-buy author for a reason. With her realistic characters and her amazing stories she always makes my day and also she makes me laugh to the point of tears as I pin for her characters.

To the n+pi recommended.





About the author:

I'm Ali, and I write contemporary romcom novels about women in STEM and academia. I love cats, Nutella, and side ponytails. I'm also currently learning to crochet, so as you can tell I'm a super busy gal with an intense and exciting life!