Book Chat #12: The Midnight Star and Marie Lu

Hello friends! ❤

Yesterday, I got to go see one of my favourite authors at a book signing–Marie Lu! (Yes, I’m still in shock.) She’s got some really amazing, intense books and is a superb writer. Here’s a lil Book Chat about my experience!


book chat yasimone

Lu has just released the final book of The Young Elites trilogy, The Midnight Star, and she is currently on tour, holding events in bookstores across the country. I immediately decided that I wouldn’t be missing it when I learned she’d be having a book signing close to my home. Oh, and when I say close, I mean at a bookstore in a city four hours away from me. (Never let it be said I’m not a dedicated fan!) 😀 I’m so glad I got to see her though, and it was definitely worth the drive.

When I got there, it was much smaller than the Rick Riordan meet up I attended in October of last year–around thirty to forty people this time around–but everyone there was excited and chattering on to each other about the new book as they sipped frozen hot chocolate that had been handed out; and yes, the frozen hot chocolate was pretty good. After a bit, Marie Lu walked over to the microphone and greeted us as everyone cheered. She introduced herself and spoke a little bit about the process of writing this new book, and then all the attendees raised their hands and asked questions and she answered all of them.  Here are a couple of answers to questions that I thought were interesting.

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She was so warm and friendly and and and–

 

  • Marie Lu draws out her characters before writing them, a habit left over from previously being a video game artist.
  • Her ideal atmosphere for writing is rain, a cozy blanket, and a nice cup of tea.
  • She tends to write mostly from 8 am to 2 pm.
  • Kiss scenes are hard; she always imagines a tiny mother on her shoulder, scolding her as she writes.
  • She doesn’t generally cry over anything she writes, but writing out the last scene of the last book in a trilogy makes her shed a few tears each time.midnight-star-marie-lu-jpg
  • It’s hard for her to see her characters move on and leave their heads after writing their lives and thoughts for so long.
  • The original idea for The Young Elites involved a current side character, Raffaele, as the protagonist before she realised that a certain villain, Adelina, would make a better main character.
  • She is currently writing a new duology–the first book is called Warcross–about two bounty hunter teens hired to kill a hacker messing up the world’s most popular video game. Keep an eye out; it’s being published next fall.
  • Lu’s a pantser! In other words, she’s not super great at following an outline and sometimes her writing runs away with the characters scrambling to catch up.
  • She’s currently reading Crooked Kingdom and it might just be her favourite book of the year.

Then she signed everyone’s books and I returned home in a euphoric state, clutching The Midnight Star to my chest. Overall, it was so much fun! Marie Lu is such a genuinely warm and down-to-earth person. After only thirty minutes of her speaking, I already felt like I’d known her for a long time. 😛 I always love seeing authors and getting to know the thought processes behind their books, and I’m really glad I was able to go to this book signing in particular.

So now all the books I own that are written by her are signed, which I am thrilled about. Also, look at how pretty they are together!

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The best fall aesthetic of all.

 

I’ll be reading The Midnight Star this week and reviewing it as soon as possible. The Young Elite series is one of my  favourites, and I’m sure the final novel will not disappoint!

Have a lovely day everyone!

❤ Yasimone

Book Chat #11: Murder Central

Hello everyone!

Hope your April has been going well so far. I am so happy that it finally feels like spring; flowers are blooming in abundance and the weather is lovely where I live. 😀

I’ve been a little missing-in-action lately, partly because I’ve been doing too much reading and not enough reviewing! We also haven’t had a Book Chat here in a while so I thought I’d show you all just what exactly I’ve been preoccupied with: Monsieur Poirot and his epic adventures!

Yes, that’s right–I’ve been reading a lot of the Queen of Mystery–Agatha Christie herself’s–murder mysteries. They tend to be intricate, well-written, and immensely suspenseful books, and they’re rather addicting. Here’s a little photoshoot/quote thing (?) of the ones I’ve read so far. Hope you enjoy!


book chat yasimone

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 “Words, mademoiselle, are only the outer clothing of ideas.”

– The ABC Murders

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“Loyalty, it is a pestilential thing in crime. Again and again it obscures the truth.”

– Murder in Mesopotamia

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“Sensationalism dies quickly, fear is long-lived.”

– Death in the Clouds

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“The impossible cannot have happened, therefore the impossible must be possible in spite of appearances.”

– Murder on the Orient Express

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Well, there you have it. I’m not too sure what exactly this post was, but if you’d like to see more of these strange photoshoot post things, please do let me know!

Have a great week!

❤ Yasimone

Book Chat #10: Rick Riordan’s “Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer” Norse American Tour!

Oh my gosh, you guys.

Remember this post? The one about Rick Riordan’s new mythology series, Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard? Well, the first book has officially come out! 😀 But that’s not all…

Over the past week, Rick Riordan has been on his “Norse American Tour” (what a great pun!) he’s visited five out of eight major American cities so far. This morning, I was able to be at the event in Miami, which I thought was so cool, and it was absolutely AMAZING! I’m so glad I got to go! 😛

What does the Norse American tour look like? Something like this. #magnuschase @disneybooksSo, the first thing I’ll say is that it was crowded. Fans of all ages were excitedly chattering away, showing off their Camp Half-Blood and Camp Jupiter t-shirts, and reading The Sword of Summer while standing in a long, winding queue. I grabbed a copy of the novel and immediately joined the line, bursting with eagerness to start reading it. Oh, and did I mention that all of the books were signed? 😀

Magnus Chase meets my owl necklace/blog logo.
Magnus Chase meets my owl necklace/blog logo.
Agh, what a pretty cover!
Agh, what a pretty cover!
I have a book with Rick Riordan's signature in it, therefore I have lived live.
I have a book with Rick Riordan’s signature in it, therefore I have lived life.

Finally, after waiting for a bit, we were ushered to our seats inside the auditorium and we were given foam shields! How cool is that? Foam shields!

My precious foam shield.
My precious foam shield.

And the moment we were all waiting for arrived: Rick Riordan walked up onto the stage! He is such a great guy—so funny, and friendly, and basically everything you’d want the author of some of your favourite books to be. You can definitely tell he’s the one behind the Percy Jackson and the Olympians and the Heroes of Olympus.


Highlights of Riordan’s Speech/Presentation/Stand-up Show

  • Actually getting to see Rick Riordan in the flesh
  • Listening to him talk about his childhood and how he was a reluctant reader (How things have changed!)
  • Laughing at awkward photos of him with long hair from middle school and high school
  • Rick Riordan calling his wife Becky his “Annabeth” *swoon*
  • Seeing the covers of The Lightening Thief from different countries (Look up the German one—it’s hilarious!)
  • Learning about the inspiration and the writing process behind his books
  • Him telling us that Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard is a trilogy and the next book will be coming out around this time next year!
  • Him telling us that he’s coming out with ANOTHER NEW SERIES IN 2016 called the Trials of Apollo and that the characters from Heroes of Olympus WILL BE IN IT *hyperventilates*
  • Finding out that he hasn’t ever watched the Percy Jackson movies and doesn’t want to
  • Basically everything
Rick Riordan speaking to a roomful of fans.
Rick Riordan speaking to a roomful of fans.
Two Rick Riordans at once! Which one is the real one?
Two Rick Riordans at once! Which one is the real one?
After the presentation ended.
After the presentation ended.

It was such a wonderful experience; I would love to be a part of something like this again. And I’m so pumped up about the Trials of Apollo series that will be coming out in May of next year! If you’re anywhere near Houston, Phoenix, or St. Louis in the next three days, I would seriously recommend that you grab tickets as soon as possible and attend—it’s so worth it!

Okay, back to reading The Sword of Summer now! I’ll be up with a review as soon as possible!

❤ Yasimone

Book Chat #8: Happy Birthday, J. K. Rowling and Harry Potter!

Hi everyone! Today is J. K. Rowling’s fiftieth—and Harry Potter’s thirty-fifth—birthday! Here’s a Book Chat that’s rather different than the ones I usually post; one that I’ve poured all my thoughts and feelings about the world of Harry Potter into…


Dear J. K. Rowling,

I started reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone when I was quite young—all the way back in primary school. As I opened the book and read the first line,

“Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much,”

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o The battered old book that started it all.

I had no idea what lay ahead. But I read and eventually drifted off into the magical world where anything is possible (which I’m happy to say I still visit quite often). I devoured one book after the other, and when I had finished all the books, back to back, in under two weeks, I read them again and again. They never lost their excitement, no matter how many times I flipped through their pages.

This sounds cliché, I know, but I truly felt as though I was alongside Harry, Ron, and Hermione through it all— marveling at the sheer enormity of Hogwarts, raising my hand in Charms class, whizzing through the air in a Quidditch match, sneaking over to Hagrid’s in the middle of the night, fighting all sorts of magical beasts, dueling with Lord Voldemort, banding together with everyone in the epic Battle of Hogwarts. You see, the characters were not simply characters. They were people, just as real as my family and friends.

But, looking back, underneath these thrilling, brilliantly worded accounts of three clever, mischievous students at Hogwarts learning magic at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and book chat picWizardry, meeting all sorts of magic folk, and bringing together everyone to help defeat You-Know-Who Voldemort, there lie quite a few important lessons—namely about love and determination and human nature—that have stayed with me since that very first book, and for that, J. K. Rowling, I must thank you.

As Professor Dumbledore once said,

“Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most

inexhaustible source of magic,

capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.”

You have certainly proved him right, J. K. Rowling. ❤

Happy Birthday to you and Harry! (And Neville Longbottom too.)

Yours truly,

Yasimone

P.S.: I’m still waiting for my Hogwarts letter… 🙂

Book Chat #7: Fathers!

Hi everyone! I know Father’s Day was over a week ago— 😛 —but since I did a Book Chat for Mother’s Day, here’s one celebrating fathers everywhere, both real and fictional!


To All the Real Fathers Out There:

First of all, thank you.

Thank you for being so loving and supportive.

Thank you for sacrificing everything for our happiness.

Thank you for always knowing that we would turn out to be the best.book chat pic

Thank you for reading to us from storybooks and rocking us to sleep as babies.

Thank you for being behind the camera all those years as you took videos and photos of our accomplishments.

Thank you for making us laugh and smile.

Thank you for encouraging us to follow our dreams.

Thank you for always being there for us.

And most of all, thank you for making us the people we are today.

We love you so much!


To All the Fictional Fathers Out There:

There are tons of examples of amazing dads in literature. Here are a couple of super inspiring fathers from books I’ve read!

  • Charles Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie- The father of Laura, Mary, Carrie, and Grace Ingalls, Charles Ingalls, or Pa, was a true pioneer with a hardworking spirit. Although he could skin a bear and build a house by hand, he remained kind and courteous and taught his daughters to stand up for themselves and know that they could do anything a boy could do just as well.
  • Arthur Weasley from Harry Potter- Arthur Weasley’s jokey personality and enthusiasm for life perfectly balance out his wife Molly’s protectiveness and responsible attitude. Acting like a father to orphaned Harry, he follows his passions eagerly and trusts his children with all his heart.
  • Mr. March from Little Women- A scholarly, philosophical person, Mr. March was greatly missed by his four daughters while he was helping out the North in the Civil War. Mr. March always took out the time, even while on the battlefield, to write a nice, long letter to his girls and wife. Once back at home, he never hesitated to turn any event into a teaching moment.
  • Mr. Quimby from Ramona and Beezus- Ah, Ramona and Beezus, I absolutely loved that book when I was younger! Still do, as a matter of fact. Anyway, Mr. Quimby has a lot to deal with: struggling with money even though both him and his wife work, quitting smoking, and, of course, his daughter Ramona. To say that she’s a handful would be an understatement— her imagination often gets her into sticky situations. But throughout all the hardship, he remains patient with Ramona and loving with his family. 🙂

Once again, happy (super late) Father’s Day to all the amazing dads— both real and fictional— who inspire and encourage us each and every day!

❤ Yasimone

Book Chat #6: A New Harry Potter Movie?!

Hello hello! Happy June everybody! Now, I have some extremely interesting news to share!

There’s going to be a new Harry Potter movie!


According to CNN News, J. K. Rowling herself is going to be writing the script for the new film, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” Director David Yates will also be returning to the set. The movie, which is scheduled to be released November 18th, 2016— why so far away?— is the first of a trilogy of movies that will take place about seventy years before Harry and company save the wizarding world from the evils of Lord Voldemort. The films will be about a wizard named Newt Scamander, who discovers enchanted monsters and creatures and documents them in a book: “Fantastic Beasts.” book chat picAll Harry Potter fans should know that this is an important textbook that the Hogwarts students use in their class, Care of Magical Creatures (which is taught by Hagrid). No, the original cast of the Harry Potter movies— Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint— will most likely not be in the trilogy at all. However, Oscar-winning British actor Eddie Redmayne will be playing the part of Newt Scamander! 🙂 Set in New York, the movie is not exactly a sequel or a prequel, but an “extension of Harry Potter’s wizarding world,” according to Rowling. It will be based off of a spin-off book that Rowling wrote in 2001, in the format of a Hogwarts textbook.


I’m… speechless! Who would have thought that Harry Potter’s world would come to the big-screen once again? I certainly didn’t, but I’m overjoyed at this strange turn of events. 😀 Here’s hoping that they don’t mess up this trilogy and leave us Potter fans crestfallen. I only wish the movie came out sooner! 😉

Are you anticipating the new trilogy?

❤ Yasimone

Book Chat #5: Mothers!

Happy (late) Mother’s Day everyone! 🙂 Presenting a Book Chat focusing on mothers everywhere, both fictional and real!


To All the Real Mothers Out There:

First of all, thank you.

Thank you for being so loving and so supportive.

Thank you for giving up everything for us to have the best life possible.

Thank you for pushing us to our limits, and encouraging us to always do our best.book chat pic

Thank you for cheering us on when we thought we couldn’t do it.

Thank you for tucking us into bed at night and holding us tight when we were scared.

Thank you for believing in us when even we didn’t believe in ourselves.

Thank you for always having patience during the years of temper-tantrums and food-throwing.

Thank you for showering us with kindness.

And most of all, thank you for making us the people we are today.

We love you so much!


To All the Fictional Mothers Out There:

Literature is chockfull of strong mother figures who are extremely brave, kind, generous, and inspiring. (Just like real ones!) 😀 Here are some of my all-time favourite mothers found in books!

  • Natalie Prior from Divergent- Natalie is Tris’s mother, and extremely courageous! First of all, she supports Tris’s decision to switch to the Dauntless faction without a second thought. She also saves Tris from danger multiple times throughout “Divergent,” and in the end, dies protecting her daughter. Natalie Prior is amazing. (To take a peek at my Divergent reviews, check ’em out here and here.)
  • Lily Potter from Harry Potter- Harry Potter’s mum, Lily Potter died while protecting a baby Harry from Voldemort’s killing curse. (“Avada Kedavra!”) In The Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry cannot be touched by Voldemort because Lily’s love for him is so strong. Not to mention that her love also vanquished Voldemort for ten years.
  • Marmee from Little Women- Marmee is the mother of four girls who couldn’t be more different from each other, but love each other very much. She guides her daughters through hard times and happy times, playdates and weddings as they grow up. Marmee also teachers her daughters to be thankful for everything they have, to help others, to control their tempers. Her daughters Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy try their best to please her and truly take her advice, which often turns out to be true.
  • Aunt Polly from Tom Sawyer- Well, technically, Aunt Polly is not Tom Sawyer’s mum, but she does take care of him as her own child. She may act gruff at times, but she does her best, (after all, it can be quite hard to take care of an extremely mischievous boy) and Tom realizes that deep in her heart, Aunt Polly really loves and cares about him.
  • Caroline Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie- From their time in the Big Woods to their time in Indian territory to their time at Plum Creek, Caroline, or Ma, took care of Laura, Mary, Carrie, and Grace. She’s protected the house while Pa was away, punched a bear, took the girls on their first train ride, helped everyone move out West, and supported her girls and husband all those years.

There you have it! Once again, thank you to all those great mamas (both real and fictional) who continue to inspire us all each and every day!

❤ Yasimone

Book Chat #4: Springtime!

It finally feels like spring!

The sun is out, the flowers are blooming, and everyone’s in that cheerful mood! Well, at least I am. 😀 So here’s the ultimate post about spring: what I love about spring, what to do, and of course, what to read!


Things I Love about Springtime

  • Sunshinebook chat pic
  • Running barefoot through dewy grass
  • Being able to swim in the ocean again
  • Hearing the doves coo at dawn
  • Reading on a bench at the park
  • Taking pictures of blossoming flowers
  • Eating ice cream with friends
  • Your hair having that perfect shine in the sun
  • Those beautiful moments before a thunderstorm
  • Singing by yourself
  • Watching the sunset
  • Walking anywhere and everywhere
  • Blogging on the balcony

Things to do in Springtime

Spring is just a magical, magical time. So the best way to get the most out of springtime is to embrace that magical-ness. ❤

Take a stroll in the nearby woods and pretend that you’re Lucy in Narnia, exploring and making animal friends. Watch the sunrise. Watch the sunset. Pick flowers at your neighbourhood park. Weave them into your hair and become Queen of the Daisies. Have a picnic with your friends, with lots and lots of tea. Read underneath a tall, shady tree. Drink some more tea. Read something else. Sketch people you see walking by. Bring out your camera. Take photos of grass. Read fantasy books. Dance in the rain (hopefully without a book in your hand).Take a roadtrip to a nearby landmark. Call up your relatives. Call up your friends. Watch a movie. Watch an older movie. Bake something. Meet someone new. Pour glitter all over your lawn. Search for the faeries. Wear pastel colours. Wear yellow. Write a story. Write a poem. Enjoy life while you can. Enjoy spring while it lasts. Enjoy books. Enjoy everything.

Books to Read in the Springtime

>> Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott- I’ve found that I enjoy reading these sort of classics most during spring and autumn. Why, I have no clue. 🙂 But try sitting outside and reading about the March sisters: the experience is that much more exhilarating, since many chapters of the story take place in the great outdoors.

>> The Tale of Peter Rabbit, by Beatrix Potter- Nostalgic much? 😉

My little library of Beatrix Potter stories.
My little library of Beatrix Potter stories.

In all seriousness, however, these books are simply gorgeous— the writing, the illustrations, the characters, everything! Beatrix Potter’s stories, such as The Tale of Peter Rabbit, The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin, and one of my favourites, The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck, are perfect to read to a small child on a spring morning or to thumb through by yourself and reminisce. Bonus: “Miss Potter,” a biographic movie about none other than Beatrix Potter, is a fantastic movie to watch sometime this season as well.

>> Heidi, by Johanna Spyri- Yes, I know, yet another classic! Told you I like reading them in the spring! This one, about a little girl named Heidi who moves to the Swiss Alps to live with her gruff but friendly grandpa, is a wonderful book that makes you long to go to the mountains yourself, breathe in that fresh, clean air, and share a simple meal of bread, cheese, and goat milk with Heidi.

>> Fantasy books in general- As said above, I feel like spring is one of the most magical seasons. It seems as through at any moment a faery might fly by, or you’ll reach an enchanted land through your wardrobe. So, fantasy books are a great choice. May I suggest the Chronicles of Narnia? 😀


Hope you enjoy your spring! Now I must go re-read Little Women for the millionth time. 🙂

-Yasimone

 

Book Chat #2: Musings About My Second-hand Book

Some years ago, I took a plane to my mother’s homeland. It was an amazing trip, but there is one day that I will never forget. We had gone to an artisan’s town by the sea. Quirky little cafés, lots of cats lounging about, friendly hipster-ish people. (Is that even a word?) 😉 Above all, there was a street market with stalls full of hand-made crafts— jewelry, painted scarves, little framed drawings of beautiful, everyday life. And, of course, a few second-hand book stalls that I was immediately drawn to. My mother being the local, she asked the wizened old man behind the stand if there were any good English books for me to read over the summer. He smiled and took out a couple of short, easy books. My mother and I laughed and told him that we would prefer something a little bit more complex. So he went over to the back and brought us some classics and other books. Around the World in 80 Days caught my eye. So we bought it, along with a few other books, all published by Oxford.

I loved the books. I read them over and over and over for the entirety of the summer. In my copy of Around the World in 80 Days, there was a post-it note on the first page translating some of the words. I never took it out. On the inside of the cover, there was a stamp marking it as an imported book, and some of the words in the story were underlined in pencil. The cover was a bright orange, faded only at the binding, hinting that it had been sitting on a bookshelf for a long time. I also realized that this particular copy had been published in 1982. It was as if it had been handed to me from a time machine. Who had owned this before me? Why did they buy it? Did that post-it note mean they were studying for an exam? I was glad that they hadn’t simply thrown the book away. Instead, it had ended up with me. It had left a mark on their life first, and they had marked the book— underlining and fading and noting. And now it leaves a mark on my life, and I will leave a mark on it. And who knows? Maybe it will end up with another person in the future.

I felt like a book detective, and I liked it.

-Yasimone

Book Chat #1: eBooks!

Hi everyone! I have decided to do a “Book Chat” post every so often, and each Book Chat will have a different topic, like my opinion on different book genres, what I look for in a good story, and things like that.

So this week’s topic is… eBooks! (Or eReaders.)

I did a poll about eBooks earlier this month, and 50% of you said that you preferred real books because “Nothing can replace the feel of a book in your hands, and it’s a great way to get away from technology for a while.” 25% of you said that you preferred eBooks because “They’re much more convenient” and you “can have an entire library in one slim tablet!” The remaining 25% said that “It doesn’t matter” to you, because as long as you can read, you’re good.

So, what are some pros and cons of the eBook?

Pros

  1. eBook version of a novel is often cheaper. For instance, a hardcover book may cost $25, but if you buy it on an eBook, it can cost about $14.99.
  2. More convenient. You can literally carry around an entire library in your purse. You can have almost any book, any time, anywhere. (That way you won’t have to take your entire book collection on a simple car trip.) 😉
  3. Space-savers. If you devour books by the dozen, like me, then most likely, you have a huge overflowing bookcase or a towering stack of library books. With eBooks, you can own all those books in one slim tablet, and therefore you have a less cluttered room.
  4. Ease of reading. With most eBooks, you can do things like enlarge the font or change the colour of the page. (Obviously you can’t do that with regular, good old-fashioned books.)

Cons

  1. Costly! Yup, if you want to buy an eReader, prices can range from around $50 to $200. (Not to mention actually buying the virtual books.) Real books, however, are usually around the $10-$30 area.
  2. You don’t actually buy a book. You buy a license, and yes, that license can be taken away. Some eBook companies can actually delete those virtual “books,” and *poof*, they will disappear from your virtual bookshelf. (Not to say that they usually do, but they have the power to.)
  3. Personal love. Some books just have personal value— you can take a specific book in your hand, and remember your late grandma, who gifted that book to you on your 12th birthday, or you can remember that you bought it at your favourite bookstore, the one that closed down last year. eBooks simply don’t offer that option (most likely you won’t stare at your screen and think, “Oh, I remember that I bought this with my cousin’s gift card!”).
  4. Tradition and attachment. Books are objects that we can actually get attached to. Reading your favourite copy of a novel after a bad day can give you the same feeling of being with a good friend. With eBooks, you can’t hold or smell or love that dog-eared, faded old copy.

There are advantages and disadvantages to each side— that’s true. The decision to read or not to read eBooks is up to us. Some of us find eBooks to be more convenient, and others find books to be comforting. But either way, books are books, and the story, and the feelings that story gives us, is what counts. Don’t you agree? 😀

-Yasimone