Monthly Bookish Awesome: September 2017

In which I recap what went down in the last four weeks here and outside the blog.

September has come and gone and we’re a few sleeps closer to Stranger Things Season 2. Even more so with Turtles All the Way Down.

It was a cringe-worthy month on the reading front, but blogging in general was pretty steady. I joined my first blog tour and read a debut I’m most definitely looking forward to. I also went to see It and, damn, it was positively traumatizing. Y’all didn’t tell me about That Scene with Georgie! But thank the gods for Kingsman: The Golden Circle because I know everything will be all right. Send me all the Eggsy gifs thankyouverymuch.

But, question real quick: Who decided that October is the month of releasing all the books? I mean. This is my first recap where there are more than ten (10!) titles in Book Radar.

Books I Read

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  • Warcross by Marie Lu – This is my first Marie Lu and it delivers. Deeply immersive and compellingly readable, it is The Hunger Games meets online RPGs.
  • The Wicker King by Kayla Ancrum – A debut that does an incredible and incredibly moving job of examining the friendship/bond between two teenage boys in this dark, muted, and at times weird narrative. And it totally works. It more than works; it’s heartachingly good.

Other Stuff I Posted

Book Birthdays

Sing, Unburied, Sing 01   Moxie 01   The Victoria in My Head 01   Starfish 01

Happy book birthday to Feral Youth (Simon Pulse), Sing, Unburied, Sing (Scribner), They Both Die at the End (HarperTeen), Autoboyography (Simon and Schuster BFYR), Warcross (G.P. Putnam’s Sons BFYR), You Bring the Distant Near (Farrar, Straus and Giroux BFYR), Rebel Seoul (Tu Books), Moxie (Roaring Brook Press), The Victoria in My Head (Simon Pulse), An Enchantment of Ravens (Margaret K. McElderry Books), The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic (Imprint), and Starfish (Simon Pulse), which all found a place in the shelves last month!

Book Radar

Wild Beauty 01   Turtles All the Way Down 01   I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter 01   The Wicker King 01

October. New books Tons of new books. I am so here for Turtles All the Way Down (10th, Dutton BFYR), Dear Martin (17th, Crown BFYR), I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter (17th, Knopf BFYR), and The Wicker King (31st, Imprint)! Akata Warrior (3rd, Viking BFYR), The Ship of the Dead (3rd, Disney Hyperion), We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy (3rd, One World), Wild Beauty (3rd, Feiwel and Friends), All the Crooked Saints (10th, Scholastic Press), Forest of a Thousand Lanterns (10th, Philomel Books), The Nowhere Girls (10th, Simon Pulse), Brooding YA Hero: Becoming a Main Character (Almost) as Awesome as Me (17th, Skypony Press), A Line in the Dark (17th, Dutton BFYR), Long Way Down (24th, Caitlyn Dlouhy Books), and Beasts Made of Night (31st, Razorbill) are also all coming out this month.

Gold Star

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The 38th Manila International Book Fair happened last September 13th to 17th and, even though the crowd was overwhelming this year, it still was all kinds of wonderful.

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Almost all international titles were on 20% discount (yaaay!) with some local ones on 10% (twice yaaay!). Plus, I got to hang out with my people (yaaay all around!). Shout out to JM (Book Freak Revelations), Inah (The Bibliophile Confessions), Jem (The Bibliophile Confessions), Hazel (Stay Bookish), Kim (Divergent Gryffindor), Bianca (The Ultimate Fangirl), and Dani (The Hogsmeade Reader), all of whom I will probably never tire of. JM, Kim, and Dani did recaps—which y’all can check out herehere, and here, respectively—while Bianca shared her haul here.

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Around the Interwebs

Let’s talk! How had your September been? Any recently discovered gems? What was your last 5-star read(s)? Throw ’em music and film recommendations! Also, does Eggsy deserve all the heart-eyes emojis or DOES HE FREAKING DESERVE ALL THE HEART-EYES EMOJIS? And have you seen It? Time for some catching up!

You can also stalk follow me elsewhere! On Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Goodreads, and Bloglovin.

Monthly Bookish Awesomeness: July 2015

In which I recap what went down in the last four weeks here and outside the blog.

July had been utterly wondrous. I met the lovely Robyn Schneider—as smart and funny and nerdy as her work. My dearest godson Carlisle, who is the adorablest, turned three. I was more actively present in our church than ever and still had the energy to help organize a bloggers/readers meet up. I had my visa interview. And on top of these I managed to blog regularly and finish six (6!) books. Time is a peculiar thing.

Books I Read

Extraordinary Means 02Fans of the Impossible Life 02The Night We Said Yes 02

Other Stuff I Posted

Book Birthdays

Paperweight   You and Me and Him 01   Go Set a Watchman 01

Happy book birthday to Paperweight (7th, HarperTeen), You and Me and Him (7th, HMH Books for Young Readers), and Go Set a Watchman (14th, Harper), which all found a place in the shelves this month!

Book Radar

Never Always Sometimes 01   Percy Jackson's Greek Heroes 01   Another Day 01   The Rest of Us Just Live Here 01

This coming month, I’m excited for Never Always Sometimes (4th, Harlequin Teen), Percy Jackson’s Greek Heroes (18th, Disney Hyperion Books) (!!!!!), Another Day (25th, Alfred A. Knopf BFYR), The Wild Ones (25th, Philomel Books), and The Rest of Us Just Live Here (27th, Walker Books).

Gold Star

#BOOKWORMSUNITE YOU GUYS!!!

It’s strange how we pulled this off but we did. Three weeks maybe. Three weeks was all it took to, in a whim, suggest a meet up, get an enthusiastic response, brainstorm, put the words out and make it happen. But stranger is the event itself. Stranger is people actually showing up. Stranger is people actually having fun. In fact, standing in that room, in a coffee shop roughly sixty miles from home, I’ve never felt more myself, more at ease with my own skin, amongst people I’ve only either met briefly before or known online. Some even were just introduced that afternoon. But I felt the camaraderie. It was heartwarming. And I’m grateful Dianne, Hazel, Inah, Faye and Aimee all said yes that fortunate day.

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Around the Interwebs

Now that I actually have a news feature, aptly called Unmissable Weekly, there will be less items in this section.

How was your month? What was the amazing book or film or music or dessert you consumed? Is there a post you think I should check out? Also, HAVE YOU READ Go Set a Watchman? Sound of in the comments below!

You can also stalk follow me elsewhere! On Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Goodreads, and Bloglovin.

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14 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Robyn Schneider

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For someone who’s smart and funny and nerdy in her work, the expectations (of fans) to deliver are set high. Fortunately, Robyn Schneider in person is just that, and more.

On Sunday, the author of The Beginning of Everything and Extraordinary Means (which came out last May!), together with Katie Cotugno (How to Love) and Melissa Kantor (Maybe One Day), treated their Filipino fans to an afternoon of question-and-answer and book signing, in an event hosted by National Book Store. Schneider talked about her latest novel, kissing and the inspiration behind her characters—misquoting a One Direction song along the way—as well as her House and some dream cast. If you didn’t already adore the author, here are fourteen things we learned about Robyn Schneider from #KMRinPH.

She Loves Stories About Firsts…
“Because [when I think about it in my mind] I always remember the first boy who I kissed,” the author revealed. “But, like, maybe the seventh boy? It’s like, oh that—wait, who was that? Wait wait no, you know? [It’s] not quite as impactful.”

…For the Same Reason She Loves Writing Teen Fiction
She loves the fact that someone can take a book and take away something that’s really important to them from it. “[Because you] guys are trying to figure out who you are and trying [to make] sense of the world and [I think a lot of] the answers come from stories and from songs and from things that, you know, that hit you in a big way when you’re a teenager, at least it did for me.”

Her Characters are Very Much Her in One Specific Moment
Lane (Extraordinary Means) is very much how Schneider was in her last semester of graduate school and Ezra (The Beginning of Everything) is very much who she was at twenty four. In fact, she admitted, “I have this theory though that I would’ve been like a really hot [guy, just] based on the fact that I wrote, like, Ezra’s this super emotionally autobiographical character and pulled way too much from my [own story]. And [suddenly the] internet was like, he’s so cute, and I’m like, I’ve never had that experience when I was in high school and everyone being like, you’re so cute. So, like, shame.”

The Beginning of Everything was Written When She was in Medical School
Then, she left to become a full time writer and that, for her, is the best thing she did. (Well, obviously.) “I think, having that in my head, like, it’s okay to not know where you’re going [but deciding] to leave is the first step. Like, deciding to change, you don’t have to have everything planned [out, that’s] enough for now.”

And She Wanted a Character that Doesn’t See Who He is at All
“I don’t think that people oversee themselves accurately.”

She Wrote and Produced the Book Trailer for Her Latest Novel
Extraordinary Means, and it’s directed by Yulin Kuang. Also, I’m obsessed with it.

And Has a “Dream Cast” for the Leads
In it, two teens with a deadly disease fall in love on the brink of a cure. And she sees Chloë Grace Moretz playing Sadie and Dylan O’Brien as Lane.

She’s in the Early Stages of Writing Another Book
It’s about two very, very different girls who dated the same boy a year a part, whom many years later kills himself. And this brings them together, forming a weird, wonderful friendship where they learn you don’t have to impress this boys’s club to be true to yourself and be happy with yourself.

Writing an Authentic Guy Experience Warranted Harassing Her Guy Friends
…to dish what it’s like kissing a girl. “I was like, what kind of fireworks, but like where, but like how long,” Schneider shared. She then had to shamefully acknowledge this at the end of her book.

David Tennant is Her Favorite Doctor
But she thinks she’s Matt Smith.

Ezra was Named as an Act of Revolt
Yes, named after that Ezra from Vampire Weekend (which is also mentioned in The Beginning of Everything). She dated Ezra’s cousin and he casually informed her that she can never use the name Ezra because that’s his cousin’s name and went on to list other off-limit names, naming every single member of his extended family. So she was like, “okay. Well, not only am I not gonna listen to [you, I’m] gonna write a novel and the main character’s gonna be named Ezra. So take that.”

She is a True-Blue (Green?) Slytherin
Although she didn’t consult Pottermore’s Sorting Hat. So there’s that.

She Wants to Collaborate with Jandy Nelson…
Because she thinks The Sky is Everywhere and I’ll Give You the Sun are both amazing.

…But Also, She Wants to Do an Experiment with John Green
Where they’d write chapters together and won’t reveal who’s written which and see if people would figure it out. Just because Schneider thinks her fiction is so often accused of being similar to his. Albeit, she’s quick to recognize that she probably wouldn’t like the book; she’d just love the experiment. A very Slytherin experiment, Cotugno pointed out.

I am not you, clearly, but if I were, I’d read Robyn Schneider’s novels. (Actually, I just reread The Beginning of Everything and loved it even more.)

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You can also stalk follow me elsewhere! On Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Goodreads, and Bloglovin.

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REVIEW: Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider

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Title: Extraordinary Means
Author: Robyn Schneider
Format: Paperback, 324 pages
Publication: May 26th 2015 by Katherine Tegen Books
Source: Bought from National Book Store
Genre: Fiction—Contemporary
Other classifications: Physical Illness, Young Adult

Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository | Fully Booked

Synopsis

Up until his diagnosis, Lane lived a fairly predictable life. But when he finds himself at a tuberculosis sanatorium called Latham House, he discovers an insular world with paradoxical rules, med sensors, and an eccentric yet utterly compelling confidant named Sadie—and life as Lane knows it will never be the same.

Review

Wry, bittersweet and often contemplative, Schneider’s sophomore book has the heart and humor of The Beginning of Everything, if decidedly darker.

Seventeen-year-old Lane Rosen has lived every single day of his life preparing for the future—paying attention to assignments, taking AP classes—until he’s diagnosed with totally-drug-resistant tuberculosis and, suddenly, senior year is happening four hundred miles away, without him. Then there is Sadie Bennett—buoyant, rebellious Sadie—who’s made peace with her condition. The story takes place in a sanatorium reminiscent of Hailsham called Latham House and right there, Lane is reunited with Sadie, whom he once went to summer camp with. Extraordinary Means is a paradigm of a quiet YA, in that it effectively mixes keenness to dialogue with characterization and subtlety with emotional resonance. It is a steady read up to the last third, when the narrative takes an inevitable turn, in a flurry that doesn’t feel rushed.

“I did the flash cards every night, but it was no use, because it wasn’t the multiplication table that was giving me trouble. It was the pressure of being told two things: 1. That I only had a short amount of time, and 2. That I had to get everything right.”

There’s nothing we haven’t already seen in this novel, but that’s the beauty of it. Schneider doesn’t need gimmicks to tell a gripping story. It just is. And I laud how she speaks the language of the teens she’s writing for and about. There are video games and Facebook updates and Harry Potter references and Tumblr and butterbeers and a John Green novel. I mean, how often do we get a John Green shout out in a contemporary book? Schneider is an extraordinary (come on, you know that’s bound to come up), unapologetic nerd and that translates very well into her work. She also nailed her acknowledgement twice now.

“”Yeah, but all it takes is one person who wants to stir up trouble, and suddenly everyone’s panicked,” Nick said. “Look at history if you don’t believe me.”
Game of Thrones isn’t real,” I told him, and Marina snorted.”

Of course, it would be remiss to not talk characters in my review. If Schneider’s characters are a club, I’d sign up without vacillation. And maybe it’s just me but I have this sneaking suspicion that the author wrote Lane for me. I connected easily with him. In high school (extending to the early half of college), I was that guy whom no one considers inviting for night outs “and I probably would have made an excuse if they had, not because I didn’t want to, but because I thought I shouldn’t.” “I followed the rules because that was why rules existed, to be followed.” Those are Lane’s—and mine—word per word. Even our handwriting would look neat next to each other, I have no doubt. But hard work and handwriting aside, he’s just relatable through and through. Sadie, however, while never boring, seems to flicker in places. And Nick, Marina and Charlie are as entertaining and layered, as opposed to being mere plot devices. You would want to be in their circle.

“I hadn’t known it was possible to fail breakfast.”

But Extraordinary Means isn’t so much about being sick—for fine works are almost never about just one thing—as it is about finding your people, fitting in and living in the now—an echo of a theme the author first explored in her debut. It is a story of second chances and coming to terms with reality. And although I predicted how it’ll end, it did not stop me from caring. Plus the romance is neither excessive nor hastily done, which is always a treat.

Never Let Me Go meets Looking for AlaskaExtraordinary Means is a satisfying follow up from Robyn Schneider, with solid opening lines that is fast becoming her brand.

4.0 out of 5

Author

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Robyn Schneider is a writer, actor, and online personality. She is a graduate of Columbia University, where she studied creative writing, and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, where she studied medical ethics. She lives in Los Angeles, but also on the internet.

Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Website

So. Have you read Extraordinary Means yet? If no, do you plan to? What about Schneider’s debut The Beginning of Everything (I definitely recommend)? Do you read the acknowledgements and author’s notes in books? And I’m pretty certain I talked about this before but have you seen this novel’s trailer? Because I ADORE IT and here, you’re welcome. ALSO, I’m attending the author’s signing tomorrow! YAAAY!

You can also stalk follow me elsewhere! On Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Goodreads, and Bloglovin.

Ten Authors I Really Want to Meet

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish in which book bloggers list their top ten picks for whatever the current prompt is.

I can easily replace the title of this article with “The Ultimate Fanboy’s Bingo Card.” And by “The Ultimate Fanboy” I’m referring to myself (I’m modest like that).

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Robyn Schneider
Just so we can talk about coffee and pizza. I mean. No big deal, coffee and pizza. We’ll probably give shout-outs to Ezra Faulkner and Toby Ellicott, too.

Rick Riordan 01via

Rick Riordan
If reading eleven (11!) books written by someone isn’t a sure sign that you want to meet that someone, I don’t know what else is.

Will Walton 01via

(I can’t find him in a solo, clear photo but it feels wrong to post the ones where he’s with his friends. And, yeah, that’s Platform 9 3/4.)

Will Walton
Will-adorable-Walton (I just get this vibe from his tweets) is the only one in the list whose work I haven’t read. But that wouldn’t be for too long; his debut is set for a May 26th release! We’ll bond over Taylor Swift and Four Eyes. Possibly Olive Kitteridge as well.

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Andrew Smith
DUH. If the name surprised you, you either haven’t been paying attention or are a newcomer (in which case hello!). We’ll determine how he can proceed with “the extortion”* because right at this point I’ll buy anything he publishes (though I’m still worming my way through his backlist). Bonus point: he digs my obsession with Winger. He is impressed you guys!

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Adam Silvera
This dude rocks! Seriously. We’ll discuss strategies on how to kill it in the industry. Because, if you’re not aware, he sold his second book before his debut STRONG debut (More Happy Than NotJune 2nd 2015) even got published. And have you seen his planner? He shares his word counts from time to time. He also happens to agree that Jean Grey is way badass-er than Wolverine.

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Alex London
How can I NOT want to hang out with the very person who taught me to embrace my inner fanboy? “Never apologize for fanboying!” he told me once on Tumblr. “It’s a wonderful thing to be excited about stuff.” And I’d pester him into writing a Proxy short story or two just. for. me.

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Rainbow Rowell
I created my own Rainbow Rowell Week here on the blog to celebrate her birthday. NUF SAID.

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John Green
I mean. I would let my Google search history be made public if it meant I could be best friends with this author. But, really, he’s the reason I got into YA to begin with.

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Becky Albertalli
*Copy-pastes first two sentences from Andrew Smith’s.* I can’t even begin to articulate how much I want to hug Becky! I imagine Twitter is considerably tired of our exchanges. Oh well. We’ll have an Oreo Party. STRAWBERRY-AND-CLASSIC Oreo Party, just to be clear.

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Harper Lee
Why, I’d thank the woman who made me fall in love with reading! I wouldn’t be the reader I am today if it weren’t for the Finches and Maycomb County.

Wow. This Top Ten Tuesday is more telling than I initially considered.

Who made it into your list? Link me up so I can see it! Serious question: what if you had to pick ONLY one? *Laughs deviously.*

*That’s a Winger reference for you.

You can also stalk follow me elsewhere! On Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Goodreads, and Bloglovin.

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I Would Give Up the Internet

The Extraordinary Means Tag.

First off, I’m so thrilled that Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider (which I just learned is pronounced with /ɪ/ and not /aɪ/; thank you Margot!) is coming out this month! As you know—or not (c’mon, look at my header!)—her debut The Beginning of Everything is one of my favorites. And so when I was tagged to do this challenge, I got pumped up!

… Until I saw the actual challenge. Boy, there are some really torturous questions here! But. Let’s get down with it.

Thank you Wesaun for the tag! (Shucks! I realized I don’t know your YouTube channel!) Also, this is originally a video tag but whatever.

*Click the book covers to be directed to their Goodreads page.*

1. I would give up the internet for a month for a signed first edition of this book.

To Kill a Mockingbird 01

This is a serious commitment. SERIOUS. I mean. The inter-freaking-net! For a month. So I’m going with the one book that started it all for me. Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. Imagine me walking the hall with All The Swagger.

2. I would give up pizza for a year if it meant I could sit next to this author on a long plain ride.

How can you live WITHOUT something you absolutely love for a year? HOW? It has to be Rainbow Rowell. I mean. She’s funny and smart and I’m guessing she flies Class A, too.

3. I would sit through a thousand hours of commercials if it would ensure Hollywood made this book into a movie.

 Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda   Winger 06

HAHA. Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli or Winger by Andrew Smith. And I wouldn’t settle for anything less. It’s With The Best Team or nothing. I’m not even kidding. I will burn Hollywood to ashes before they do anything stupid. Preferably with Josh Boone helming and John Bailey doing the cinematography.

4. I would never read a new book again if it meant I could live inside this book.

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That’s it. I MEAN. Le fuck?* This is Extraordinary indeed! But. Let’s say, HYPOTHETICALLY. It’ll be the world of the Percy Jackson books. I’ll be an Athena kid. And I’ll be friends with the gang. Cross that, BEST friends.

5. I would let my Google search history be made public if it meant I could be best friends with this author.

As if the interwebs need more evidence of my weirdness. John Green. Have you seen how fast he speaks? There’ll be no time wasted! Plus he’s funny and smart (do we have a trend here?) and geeky and, OH, he’s a Swiftie!

6. I would donate everything I own to Goodwill if it meant I could date this book character in real life.

I’m blanking on this one. Mainly because the girls I’d want to date are taken and I approve of the couple. Hmm. Maybe Sam from The Perks of Being a Wallflower? I know I know. There’s the boyfriend. We’d just hang out. OR since we’re playing extremes. I’d take Simon Spiers to an Oreo date! He’s gay. He’s taken. We’ll have fun.

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You Are Tagged!

Awesome-Cait @ Paper Fury
Cristian @ The Bookish God
Denisa @ Bookworm Extraordinaire
Dianne @ Oops! I Read a Book Again
Joe @ Thoughts and Afterthoughts
Kate @ The Magic Violinist
Levi Isaac @ Levi Isaac’s Blog
Liam @ Liam’s Library
Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books
Miggy @ The Quirky Reader

(I’d also like to hear Hazel’s (@ Stay Bookish) and Jon’s (@ Bookish Antics) thoughts but they don’t do tags. So yeah.)

And YOU. If this is awesome to you, consider yourself tagged!

Other books mentioned:

 Extraordinary Means 01   The Beginning of Everything   The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Okay. Confession time: what would be your answers? Spill!

*Props to you for getting the reference!

You can also stalk follow me elsewhere! On Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Goodreads, and Bloglovin.

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