Yesterday, March 29, 2016, I had the most amazing experience of meeting Jennifer Niven in the flesh. Ever since I read All The Bright Places way back January 2015, I immediately wanted to meet Jennifer and ask her tons of questions about her book. Getting the opportunity of seeing this dream through made me so glad to have been alive. Words could not express just how much I enjoyed (and cried) during this event. And I am forever grateful to both Penguin Random House International, and National Book Store for bringing her to the Philippines.
Last September 19, I attended a book signing event for Kiera Cass, author of The Selection Series, which was once again hosted by National Book Store. My love for America, Maxon, & Eadlyn Schreave, and Kile Woodwork, and all things The Selection related are no secret. I’ve read all the books in the series and I am so, so, so in love with everything. The covers are stunning, the story lines are simple yet beautifully written, and don’t even get me started on the romance factor. I CANNOT AND WILL NOT TALK ABOUT THE ROMANCE IN THIS BOOK.
Waiting In Line
I had class the whole day of September 18 but I gave no sh*t. I arrived at Shangri-La Plaza at around 9:30pm. I was dismissed from school at around 7:00pm and with the knowledge of over 1,600 people wanting to meet the lovely author, I didn’t want to have a signing pass that’s over 100. I was tired from school but I just didn’t want to be so far from the first ones in line, so I decided to camp out for this one.
Although there were already quite a number of people ahead of us in line, it was still fine, since we weren’t lined up at above 50. There was actually a few disputes regarding the early birds, but nothing major or big. Nothing much to blabber about.
Most of the people only came to line up at around 6:00am of the 19th. Thousands of people came to have their books signed and I was proud to have been officially the 20th in line to meet, greet, and have my books signed by Kiera Cass. Unfortunately, because of the overwhelming number who came out, the management of National Bookstore opted to limit the number of books to be signed to 2. It was a saddening twist of events, but I believe it had to be done. This decision garnered a lot of negative comments, but we, as bibliophiles and patrons have to understand that, and just find other ways to have all of our books signed, right?
A technique a lot of people did, myself included, was to line up again once you got yourself registered the first time. Once I had my #20 signing pass, I rushed to the end of the line again to register 2 more of my books. I know this was unfair, but what can I do? This was my first time to meet Kiera. I wasn’t available when she first visited the Philippines. I was desperate. You have to understand. Haha!
My good friend Feather the Bookstore Bug who came to signing dressed as Eadlyn Schreave from The Heir. She was absolutely stunning.
Look at that crowd! You can basically see me fangirling so hard as I saw one of my most favorite authors of all time! Their were a total of 1,400 people who came to say hi and meet Kiera Cass!
After having registered twice, Kiera arrived shortly thereafter. She was bubbly and, lively just as I imagined. She arrived at the venue with her very supportive husband, Callaway. (Is it just me or he looks a lot like Ransom Riggs?) Once she was settled, there was a Q&A. I took notes and I’ve listed everything I got down below for everyone to read.
Q&A with Kiera Cass
- With regards to her visit to Cebu, everything went great, even if the crowd in her Manila signing beats the former. As for her last visit, things were okay, and now, everything’s awesome since a lot of her new books are coming out. Mainly, Happily Ever After on October 20115, and The Siren on January 2016.
- She was also in Brazil recently and a number of 5,000 people came to say hi, but signing wise, Manila still reigns supreme.
- The first passport stamp on her passport is for the Philippines. Cool, right?
- Kiera’s Filipino fans have a lot to say on social media. She thinks that we (PH fans) are active, and extremely friendly. She also publicly thanked each and every one of her fans for being so cool to reach out to her online.
- She found it quite hard transitioning from writing about America, who was one of the “Selected”, to writing about Eadlyn, who was the “Selector”.
- For Kiera, Eadlyn is so different from her mother. She grew up to be an unreliable narrator, but was a fun character too. This entailed a lot of room for improvement, and character development. It was hard to switch to her, but writing in her perspective was interesting, fun, and enjoyable.
- The Heir wasn’t supposed to be another installment in the series. It was supposed to be THE final epilogue to The One, but she grew quite fond of it, grew inspired to extend the series, and one day, she realized that she didn’t want to leave Illea just yet, and so, she decided to add 2 more books to the series. Everything was purely accidental. This was to say thank you to everyone who had a severe attachment to the series.
- (SPOILER FOR THE ONE AHEAD) Just like a lot if people, she, too, was sad to see Celeste go. Kiera loved Celeste and she was devastated to know what was coming next for her. And to add to that, she had a message to those who disliked Celeste and regretted it: “You brought this on yourself.”
- The selected guy that Kiera was rooting for in The Heir wasn’t going to make the final cut but she doesn’t have hard feelings about it. It was Eadlyn’s choice, and hers alone.
- We are to hear a lot more from Ahren and Camille and their budding romance on the fifth, and sadly, final book in the Selection series.
- One memorable fan experience that Kiera had was when girls followed her to the bathroom and asked her for photographs. Although she is grateful to her fans, she would appreciate it if we, the fans, respect her privacy and boundaries.
- As The One came to a close, Kiera felt unsatisfied, just like a lot of Selectioners worldwide, but with the fifth book, which is set to be released in May 2016, it felt like everything is as it should be, thus, giving Kiera the feeling that she would be happy if she ended it there.
- The Siren, which is scheduled for a re-release this January 2016, is another book by Kiera Cass from Harper Collins which tackles greek myths, and love stories at the same time. It basically has the same premise, concept, and as well as the love story, but the core is different.
- According to Kiera, in current society, you may change a law, but not how people see other people. This was in reference to The Heir where the caste systems were abolished and yet, discrimination was still evident in Illea.
- The One, the third book in The Selection series, was supposed to have a different ending where King Clarkson dies together with our Prince Maxon *GASPS!!!* but Queen Amberly lives as well as America. Our protagonist then grows up to be Amberly’s daughter and ends up in Aspen’s arms and they were crowned King and Queen of Illea. *I HIGHLY DISAPPROVE OF THIS*
- May Singer, sister to America, is Kiera’s favorite character in her books simply because they are both huge fangirls.
- For aspiring authors: Don’t give up. It’s very subjective. Not everyone will like what you make, create, or write. If you love it, keep pushing.
Here’s a photo of me and Jennifer, a college blockmate of mine. She’s one of the many people I influenced to read The Selection series and she loved it just as much as I did, if not more.
Here’s me flaunting my hardcover copies of The Elite and The Heir. Please dismiss my double chin. Thank you. Hahaha!
Me and my Hobnobbers family doing my infamous JM pose. ♥
The Signing Proper
Since I was the 20th person in line to have my books signed, I patiently waited and lined up together with my friends. Since Kiera was only allowed to sign 2 books per person, the signing went by rapidly. I actually didn’t even get the chance to tell her all about my feels regarding her books, but I’ll take what I can get.
In the end, I came home with 4 signed books, 3 of which have my name on them, 2 Happily Ever After bookmarks, and 1 Instax photo of me with Kiera Cass. I am more than grateful for this once (or twice, in Kiera’s case) in a lifetime opportunity.
Here I am with THE Kiera Cass!
Here’s a photo of me and Callaway Cass, the man behind THE Kiera Cass. Don’t you agree with me in saying that he looks a lot like Ransom Riggs? He’s so kind to agree to my request for a photo opportunity.
I can’t even begin to express how grateful I am for the people over at National Book Store for bringing Kiera back here. When she first came here, I wasn’t even a full-time bibliophile yet, and so, I missed the chance. NBS, you guys rock! And to Tito Leo Lumbre, who took such amazing photos, thank you!
Were YOU at the Shangri-La Plaza signing event for #KCinPH? What was the number on your signing pass? How was your experience? Feel free to share your thoughts with me through the comment section down below.
That’s all for now! Until the next one, folks!
Not long ago, Miel of Bookish and Awesome tagged me to do another book tag entitled “I am More Happy Than Not” book tag. He also created it, and you all know how much I love him! Also, his posts breed awesomesauce. To those who don’t know or follow him, might as well go on over to his blog and show him some love!
Basically, if tagged, all you have to do is list the things that make you, as you may have guessed, more happy than not. It’s as simple as that.
When am I more happy than not?
Whenever I go on book hauls, even if I’ll end up with no money left for food, or anything else, I am more happy than not.
Whenever I spend hours in the kitchen, cooking for breakfast, or any meal that will be devoured by my family, friends and other loved ones, I am more happy than not.
Whenever I pour myself into writing book reviews, features, and book tags for this blog, I am absolutely more happy than not.
Whenever I spend a day reading a book with a nice cup of coffee, when my comfort is at it’s maximum, I am obviously, more happy than not.
Whenever I discover new restaurants in the metro which offers budget friendly yet quality dishes, I am more happy than not.
Whenever I get home on a Friday night without any school work, just tons of blog posts to draft, I am more happy than not.
Whenever I talk to my best friends about the state of life I am in, and whenever I get to hear their own stories, I am definitely more happy than not.
Whenever I experiment on new recipes to try in the kitchen, with sufficient ingredients to try out, I am certainly more happy than not.
Whenever I see and spend time with my baby cousin, Liana, and I get to teach her some of life’s lessons, I am more happy than not.
Whenever I attend book signing events, and I get to converse with the amazing authors that visit the Pearl of the Orient, I am more happy than not.
Whenever I meet, talk and/or bond with old and new friends, bloggers or not, bibliophiles or not, I am absolutely more happy than not.
Whenever my reviews, tweets, or photos are replied or acknowledged by authors, publishers, etc., I am more happy than not.
Whenever I watch romantic comedy movies with my mom or best friends, I am more happy than not.
Whenever I buy a new book, when I get to smell it for the first time and know that I have found another piece of treasure, I am more happy than not.
Whenever I visit my favorite book stores, browse their amazingly tall and elegantly filled shelves, and converse with and meet new and old staff, I am surely more happy than not.
Whenever I check my mail and find messages from authors, publishers, or editors to have their books reviewed and whatnot, I am more happy than not.
This list could go on and on, but I don’t want to tire everyone’s eyes, you know? Anyway, I want to know what makes my beautiful friends more happy than not, so I’m tagging:
- Beatrice of Beatrice Learns to Read
- Jasmine of Jasmine Pearl Reads
- Cath of To All The Books I’ve Read Before
- Yvonne of The Bookish Panda
- Jem & Inah of The Bibliophile Confessions
And, check out the mother of all “I am More Happy Than Not” posts here. Miel also compiled every single post that did his tag. You should check that out!
How about you? Tell me, what makes you happy?
Darkness never dies.
Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land. She finds starting new is not easy while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. She can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.
The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Part of a Series: Yes. The Grisha Trilogy #2.
Release Date: June 4, 2013
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
No. of Pages: 435 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Russian, Adventure, Dystopian, Paranorma
The Cover: Just like the first book in the series, the cover of Siege and Storm features a silhouette of a Russian place with a dragon-like figure placed on the top. The cover would seem relevant specially to the fans and readers of this book, since an Ice Dragon was a part of the story. It was Alina’s second amplifier. With just the cover alone, a bibliophile would definitely categorize this book as a cover buy! (5 out of 5 stars)
The Story: Following the life of Ravka’s very own Sun Summoner, Alina Starkov, this sequel starts off as a continuation to Shadow and Bone, where Alina and Mal, the tracker, fended off for themselves after surviving the battle in the Shadow Fold. The story also focused on Alina and her quest to find her second and third amplifiers with the help of Mal and Nikolai, a prince of Ravka. Constantly, this was a book where Alina struggled to stay as far away as possible from The Darkling. Below are some of this book’s great (and weak) points.
- The world building, just like in Shadow and Bone, was absolutely breathtaking. Ravka became a world where I wanted to linger in and every page was filled with wonderful facts about the Grisha world. With all this intense and mind boggling world development, a reader may not want to live outside of the setting.
- I liked the addition of another amplifier for Alina. I liked how she grew stronger and less afraid of the Darkling each time she wakes. But what I fear to happen is for her to fully give in to the darkness. Her drive and urge to greedily search for and acquire her third amplifier is taking a toll on her which may or may not bring out not only the strength in her, but also the darkness that she’s been trying to contain for so long. Hopefully, she keeps it together.
- One thing I disliked about Alina through out this sequel is her complaints. There wasn’t a chapter where she had no complaints. She was demanding as fudge and there were instances where she really got on my nerve with all her trying to outsmart the Darkling and all. I don’t know.
- One more negative comment I have was that I don’t know if it’s just me or this book was incredibly slow paced. It took me two weeks to read this book and I actually squeezed in Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma while I was reading this. Maybe it’s just me. But I really don’t know. I’m having mixed feelings about this book. Hmm.
Overall, I felt like something was missing from this sequel. I wanted to love this book but something about it just seemed off to me. But then again, maybe it’s just me. (2 out of 5 stars)
The Ending: *This part is filled with spoilers. I suggest you skip this part if you don’t want to cry later on.* The last few pages of this book was absolutely action-packed! I didn’t know what to expect because every page will really have a reader on the edge of their seats, waiting in anticipation as to what will happen next. And the part where Alina Starkov has finally come face to face with the Darkling was such an intense scene. I really didn’t know what was going to happen. I loved that about the ending! And as for the wait for the next book, I have to say that I need to read the conclusion to this series soon. (3 out of 5 stars)
The Verdict: Being the second book of this trilogy, I was expecting quite a lot from it since most of my favorite books in a trilogy are usually the second book (Prodigy, Catching Fire, Insurgent), but with this one, I really don’t know. I have mixed feelings about this because I felt like it was so slow I actually had to read a different book to get me out of a slump. Hopefully, the third book in the series redeems it for me. (3.33 out of 5 stars)
“The less you say, the more weight your words will carry.”
“When people say impossible, they usually mean improbable.”
“Anything worth doing always starts as a bad idea.”
“I have loved you all my life, Mal. There is no end to our story.”
“Oh, and the easiest way to make someone furious is to tell her to calm down.”
“Sturmhond had a way of talking that made me want to shoot someone. Preferably him.”
Last July 5, 2015, I attended a book signing event and got the chance to meet 3 absolutely gorgeous authors Katie Cotugno (author of How to Love and 99 Days), Melissa Kantor (author of Maybe One Day and Better than Perfect), and Robyn Schneider (author of The Beginning of Everything and Extraordinary Means).
As some of you may already know, Contemporary is my FAVORITE genre. I love realistic fiction and this book signing event is one of my absolute favorites. Some would say that reading contemporary books are exclusive to high school readers readers but I would have to gladly and proudly disagree.
So anyway, just like my previous event recap posts, this will probably be bombarded with photos as well. Read no further if you’re tired of seeing my face. Haha! 🙂
So I lined up early in the morning of July 4. I was at Shangri-la Plaza by 6:30am. I know. Too early, right? But again, these authors are the loves of my life so I had to commit to attending this signing. Right? Joined by my friends Camille, Cerise, Feather, and Lori, we were early birds waiting for our favorite authors.
We actually encountered a few issues due to our “too early line-up” but it was nothing we can’t handle. So we left the our too-early queue and spent our entire day inside Shangri-la Mall. We played Uno, Monopoly Deal, and we actually celebrated one of our friend’s birthday. Other than that, the day before the actual event was quite uneventful.
So, as the mall closed, we went back in line and endured a few unruly moms who were claiming that they were “the first people in line”. They told us that they were there since the night of July 3 which was impossible since we didn’t saw them until that night. But, what the heck.
To pass the time, we played UNO and Monopoly all night. Friendships were severed and some slaps were thrown all through out that time.
Afterwards, as the consequence of waking up early and being energetic all day got to us, we took some time off and took a nap. We went to one of our friend’s homes afterwards to take a shower and sleep some more and by 7:30am of the actual day of the signing, we were all there to line up for the official queue.
After taking lots of pictures, talking and bonding some more with my friends, we entered the premises of Shangri-la Plaza to register at around 9:30am. And unfortunately, I was registered as the 4th person in line.
After getting settled, arranging my things, and organizing my books for the signing, we took a picture at the stage of the venue as a tradition. And we ate lunch and went for a stroll around the mall afterwards. Like the day before, as I’ve mentioned, it was quite uneventful.
The gorgeous authors arrived by 2:00pm. Fans were screaming like crazy, myself included, just by seeing Katie, Melissa, and Robyn. As always, the crowd of Filipino readers never fail to amaze me, and the authors as well, I’m sure.
- Katie Cotugno is a huge fan of imperfect people and imperfect stories. It’s what urged her to write about characters who made mistakes and went on life trying to change said mistakes and make their world beautiful again. She’s not fond of writing a story filled with perfection since she doesn’t know anyone with a perfect life.
- Katie started writing How To Love when she was a sixteen year old girl. At the time, she wanted to tell people the story of two protagonists who were feeling and going through what she was. Being a teenager, she felt different emotions which caused her to make a few mistakes and such. Everything felt so intense, important, and relevant and this was what she wanted to write about. These are the stories she was a fan of.
- Right after hearing Katie’s opinion, Melissa Kantor agreed and felt the same way about imperfect stories. She added that it (referring to imperfection) is what makes a story great and enjoyable to read.
- Robyn Schneider writes Young Adult novels because she thinks that every book she writes about are about the boys she dated in the past and the first boy she ever kissed. It reminds her of the fun and excitement she felt when she was a young girl who dated these guys and it makes her memories be re-lived.
- Melissa’s writing style and creative process was a traditional one. She had to first know what was supposed to happen before putting it in writing. She didn’t want to start writing and after a few chapters, would get lost in trying to make up something that was supposed to be endured by her characters. She wanted to be sure of what her story was all about first.
- Katie and her husband has been together since high school and most of her portrayal of falling in love was based on her own personal experience just like many authors out there.
- Robyn wrote about male characters and they were all a little bit like her. Ezra from The Beginning of Everything was like her when she was in high school and she was kind of like Sadie from Extraordinary Means when she was in college.
- The names of Katie’s characters just came to her as she was writing How to Love and 99 Days. It was never a complication for her to write and invent names for her stories.
- Robyn, on the other hand, first had an argument as to what the names of her characters will be, but won said argument, and thus, named a character Ezra.
- Robyn classified herself as a Slytherin when she was asked as to what house she was in the world of Harry Potter. But when she was young and just started reading the classic, she classified herself, like any other reader, as a Gryffindor.
Right after the interview, the event continued on to the book signing process. Below are some of my signed books and Instax photographs.
Here’s a signed copy of How to Love and 99 Days and an Instax Photograph of me and Katie Cotugno. Out of the three authors, she is my favorite because her book How to Love is one of my absolute favorite YA contemporary books. She was absolutely pretty and she was such a classy woman!
Here’s a signed copy of Maybe One Day and Better than Perfect and an Instax Photograph of me and Melissa Kantor. As I had my books signed, I told her that even if she thought that Zoe was hard to like, I loved her either way.
Here’s a signed copy of The Beginning of Everything and Extraordinary Means and an Instax Photograph of me and Robyn Schneider. As I went over to her signing area and had my books signed, I told her the truth that I hadn’t read her books yet and she was sweet and told me that it was fine and now I can read a signed copy which was cool.
After the signing, went to SM Megamall and I went on a book haul (which I’ll be posting about later.), and we ate lunch and went home afterwards. I can’t believe that I was up for almost 48 hours and I’m proud to say that even though my back’s hurting right now and I’m getting leg cramps ever 30 minutes, everything was still worth.
Thank you again to the people of National Bookstore, especially Kuya James who I met yesterday, for bringing these fabulous ladies to the Philippines! I can’t even begin to express how happy I am to meet these stunning women. My 2015 started out great with James Frey, Leigh Bardugo, and E. Lockhart. Please keep on making bringing our favorite authors here! 🙂