Editor Letter

Los Angeles Times Book Festival 2014

Hello Everyone!

Two weekends ago, The Los Angeles Times hosted a Book Festival at USC, in Los Angeles, California. As someone who was originally going to go last year, but college got in the way, now that I am out of college I was excited to finally have the opportunity to go!

I only went one day out of the two day festival. I bought the fancy VIP pass thing (I totally forgot the name of the pass… Oops!) so that I would be able to get my talk-tickets in advance before they went out on sale to the general public. I feel like a snob because I was able to do that, but oops, too late. 😉

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Kayla and I went together on Saturday, and boy was it an adventure. I picked her up bright and early around 7:40 so that we could get an early start and avoid some of the LA morning rush (Yes, LA has a rush even on Saturdays). After driving a little under three hours we arrived at USC.

We arrived later than we wanted too, so we made an executive decision and we decided to hit the vendor and exhibitor tables after the Testing The Boundaries in YA Literature panel which featured the moderator and author Aaron Hartzler, and author panelists Rainbow Rowell, E. Lockhart, Adam Smith, and John Corey Whaley.

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This panel was fantastic! Each author talked about pushing the boundaries in different ways in literature. Rainbow Rowell with social anxiety issues, E. Lockhart with medical and interracial relationships, Adam Smith with horny giant mantis’ (and that is one book I won’t be reading), and John Corey Whaley with a story about a teen that gets his head frozen and comes back later with a new body. Freaky stuff right? The panelists all seemed to be friends which helped with the atmosphere of the panel and the room. The amount of thought that went into each answer was incredible and Kayla and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

After the panel, Kayla and I headed to the Rainbow Rowell signing. I was so bummed that I forgot to bring my E. Lockhart books, but I’ll get them signed next year. We waited for hours in that line and at the end we have a signature in our book, and a sunburn on our necks to show our perseverance.

After lunch and little bit of wandering around, we split up and I went to the Adrenaline Rush panel at the YA Stage.

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The Adrenaline Rush Panel started at 4:30pm. I was blessed with Aaron Hartzler’s presence once again as a moderator (He is a really good moderator and his personality just shines, so I was thrilled!) and the author panelists were Lauren Oliver, Abby McDonald (representing Abigail Hass, one of her pen names), Stephanie Kuehn, and Sarah Skilton. Each author’s book dealt with “adrenaline” one way or another. Panic by Lauren Oliver is about teens entering a life-threatening game, Dangerous Girls by Abigail Hass (Abby McDonald) is about a teenage girl who gets framed for her best friends’ murder, High and Dry by Sarah Skilton is about a boy who gets framed for a near-fatal drug over dose of a peer, and Charm and Strange by Stephanie Kuehn is about a boy who thinks he is a monster.

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The panel’s discussion was fantastic that I didn’t even notice I got more sunburned as I sat for another hour in the sun. The authors were so kind and answered all of the questions thrown at them—even questions not about the panel—but about being a author in general and their journeys to where they are today. After the panel was over, it was signing time! I was able to get one of my Abby McDonald books signed. She is such a sweetheart and I absolutely love her. I was also able to get Pandemonium signed by Lauren Oliver. Ms. Oliver is so funny and great. She said she hated worms, but would keep my blog business card anyways. At first I didn’t understand why she was telling me she was afraid of worms, but she would keep my business card anyways, and then it dawned on me my blog name is TALKING BOOKWORM. Talk about a fail moment right there.

Earlier when I was wandering the vendor booths before the panel, I found a signed copy of TFIOS in the Young Readers Penguin Booth Store. I was absolutely thrilled! Veronica 1, John Green Signing line 0.

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Overall, it was a great experience and something I would love to do again!

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The end of the festival, Day 1
Reviews, ya contemporary

Book Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

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Goodreads Summary:

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .

But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

My Initial Thoughts:

I didn’t have any expectations at all. I know that a lot of people loved Eleanor & Park, but I didn’t let that get my expectations high because it is always a 50/50 chance that I will like a very loved book of the masses.

Review:

(So, I started writing this review back in September of  2013 when I had just finished reading Fangirl and after all this time, I can finally articulate exactly what I want to say. Yes, it took that long to digest it. It was that good.)

I think not having any expectations did wonders to the experience I had with reading this book. It took me by surprise! I loved almost every second I spent reading it. It was absolutely amazing and I don’t regret reading this book for a minute.

What really blew me away is the fact that Rainbow Rowell created some amazing characters. They are all well rounded and well developed characters that one does not think twice about their believability. Seriously. It’s so gosh darn good that I have zero complaints. I even like Nick as a character. Yeah, I can’t believe I just said that either.

But…. Can we talk about Levi? Gosh, that hunk of a man that melts my coffee-loving heart. Where can I find my own Levi? Anyone? I want my own Cowboy, Barista, Fangirl lover. I never knew I could find a man that is not a “city” man attractive. I will be honest though. There were a few chapters in the book where I wasn’t happy with Levi’s actions, but he totally made up for it so I forgave him.

In literature it is very common to see a single mother raising her kids, but it is more often than not rare to see a single dad raising his kids. Why? I’m guessing because in our society today (at least in the United States) it is more common to hear talk or know a single mother with kids, than a single dad with kids. I really loved that Rainbow Rowell deviated from the norm. It gave us, the reader, something….different yet still plausible and convincing.

Lastly, I just want to touch upon something everyone has talked about, the awkwardness of being a Fangirl. This book perfectly captured the “awkwardness” that comes with being a fangirl. No, I am not saying it is bad, nor am I saying that in a negative way. If I were to fangirl at work per say (which honestly I have come so close to doing because ANJIE text’s me information about my real life ship and I almost can’t contain myself) people would look at me all weird and even question my sanity. The awkwardness of being a fangirl is taken away when one fangirls in a place where one can fangirl. Like If I am at Kayla’s house, it is perfectly normal to fangirl and her mom and sister will only laugh and not think badly of me (although Kayla’s dog Princess is a whole other story. I kinda freak her out, but I forgive her for judging me LOL). Everyone “fangirls” but no one ever addresses it. THIS BOOK ADDRESSED ALMOST EVERYTHING THAT COMES WITH BEING A FANGIRL and that is why I am so enamored with it. This may be fiction, but it is also a peak into the life of many girls today. It’s a peak into our generation and I love that.

(Can you not tell by now how much I just LOVE Ms. Rowell’s work? LOL)

There are many other things I still have left to discuss [like fan fiction, college, family, etc], but for the sake of the length of the review, I will stop here.

I am giving this book A++++ yet I know this book is not for everyone. I will leave you with this final thought though, if not read the book for enjoyment, read it to understand a part of this era’s generation. You will not have a better insight into the life of a Fangirl than this brilliant piece of literature.

Rating: 5/5

Adult Contemporary, Reviews

Book Review: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

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Goodreads Summary:

“Hi, I’m the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you . . . ” 

Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It’s company policy.) But they can’t quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives.

Meanwhile, Lincoln O’Neill can’t believe this is his job now- reading other people’s e-mail. When he applied to be “internet security officer,” he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers- not writing up a report every time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke.

When Lincoln comes across Beth’s and Jennifer’s messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can’t help being entertained-and captivated-by their stories.

By the time Lincoln realizes he’s falling for Beth, it’s way too late to introduce himself.

What would he say . . . ?

My Initial Thoughts:

The only RR book I had read so far is Fangirl and I wanted to check out RR’s adult fiction work. I was expecting her writing to be similar to Fangirl, but still be different if that makes sense. I honestly did not know exactly what to expect.

Review:

Really, I can only fangirl in this review. I stayed up until 12:30am last night just to finish this book. The last time I remember looking at the clock was around 10:20ish. I said to myself I’ve got time to read a little more… and a little more turned into finishing the book. You all know how that works.

Back in late October/November I read about 30 pages in a span of a week and it depressed me a little so I stopped. It was nothing like Fangirl and I knew the next time I picked this book up I had to be in an adult fiction mood. And that mood hit me last night.

Here are some of the reasons why I loved Attachments so much.

#1 The friendship between Jennifer and Beth.

The bond between these two is perfect. The way the talk, their jokes, how considerate they are of each other, and how real they are. It’s just one of the best friendships I’ve seen on paper.

#2 The D&D Crew

I just really love this bunch of married nerds that play video games once a week you can say almost religiously. They always accept Lincoln into their gaming family. Seriously, they are this big eccentric and weirdly awesome family.

#3 Lincoln

Oh, Lincoln. What have you done to my heart. I’ll love you for who you are. I promise.

#4 Lincoln’s mom

Even though she is a bit quirky and odd, she is still one of the best moms I’ve seen in literature these days. So caring and nice. (although she is a bit too attached to her children.)

#5 Doris

This woman cracks me up! With her stories about her marriages and life, she was exactly what Lincoln needed to stay at The Courier long enough to… figure things out. Yes, let’s put it that way. I don’t want to spoil you all!

#6 The ending!!!

Oh Dear Lord, that ending was just… perfect. The ending of this book left me on Cloud 9. I felt weightless, happy, and content. Just picture this: you know that warm feeling you get when you eat a really good meal and it just sits right? And you feel full, happy, and content? That’s exactly how I felt at the end of this book. I need more endings like that in my life.

Rating: 5/5

Special Review

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell Part 1 (Chapter 1-12)

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Let’s talk about Fangirl.

The first person we meet is Cath. She is walking into her dorm room and she finds a boy in there. A Boy. Cath starts freaking out, but soon she finds out he is her roommate’s boyfriend. Crisis averted, or so she thought.

In the first twelve chapters we see how much Cath is afraid of change. She likes to be where things are familiar, where they are steady. She likes to be the one who takes care of people, and not the other way around. A lot of girl characters nowadays are written this way, where they are “self-less” “against change” “nerdy” but Cath is not selfless, she may help others, but she doesn’t want others to get her out of the little security she has managed. Cath is real.Cath is the fangirl and fanboy out there that uses books and writing to escape. She isn’t this super nice and humble person, she is a human being with faults and cracks.

Let’s talk about Nick. I don’t exactly know what my feelings toward Nick are except that they are… cautious. I like him because he is helping Cath get out a little more and in a way that she can cope with, writing. If Nick fades into the picture after the first twelve chapters, I am okay with that because he has already helped her enough and to me he has served his purpose in Cath’s life. Honestly, I’m Team Levi. I’m cool if Nick just… disappears. 

Levi and Reagan. Can I just say how much I love these two, and each for very different reasons. I would have loved for Reagan to be my roommate in college. She and I would hit it off instantly. I wasn’t one to bond with my roommates too much. My freshman year I had bad roommates and what made matters worse was that my school was all about solving issues in a tell me about your feelings manner. That isn’t exactly helpful when dealing with bad roommate issues. I myself was dealing with a lot my freshman year and I wanted people to let me be and not change me into something I wasn’t. Yes, I was a bit of a rebel you could say. Anyways back to the story. I love that Reagan helped Cath overcome her block and made her go to the dining room with her and eat. After that, things got better instantly. Reagan was not a let’s do our nails and be girly stuff, she was doing her own thing and if she could, she helped others on the way. I like people that don’t get into my business and I think that is one of the reasons why Cath was cool with Reagan.

Now, Levi is also good for Cath, but for different reasons. He is quirky and nice. A good combination in my opinion. But what made me instantly like him was not just his easy, non-challant manner, but that he observed Cath enough that he knew she wasn’t really eating except for those darn protein bars. He ate her protein bars in order to make her deal with the issue. I would have reacted the same way as Cath, NO ONE TOUCHES MY FOOD, but at the same time, I would have been okay with it and put up with Levi like Cath did. After that, things change between Cath and she gets used to having quirky Levi around.

Cath and Wren were barely talking when their freshman year of college began and with their mother trying to return into their lives, it breaks the last fragile line that was holding both sisters together. They both completely stop talking. Neither one saying anything to the other. Never before has Cath been so alone.

Let’s quickly discuss WREN. She is dealing with her issues very differently than Cath, which I can understand but do not approve of. What really pissed me off was when Cath ran of to rescue her sister to find her drunk and Wren simply saying, Oh I texted the wrong C, I was trying to text Courtney. The one time Wren reaches out to Cath and it’s all a fluke. I was so mad.

Cath is dealing with a MIA mother trying to come back into her life, getting out of her comfort zone with no one to help her buffer the world, Simon Snow coming to an end soon, Abel breaking up with her, and a unstable dad she wishes she were home to take care of. That is some crazy stuff happening in her life and I think she handles it pretty well when assessing the circumstances.

I am proud of her so far and I know her journey is just beginning. And you know what guys, we will be there with her every step of the way.

Editor Letter

Update: Blog News

Hey guys! Veronica here.

Sorry the blog has been a little slow for the past two weeks. Both Anjie and I have been really busy and have fallen out of practice with blogging, but fear not, I will try to keep the ball rolling again next week.

I do want to mention that I will be doing a review of Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell for the new official Tumblr Book Club. I was one of several book blogs over at Tumblr that were chosen to be official correspondents. For the month of September, Tumblr partnered with Rainbow Rowell, and I can’t wait to see who they partner with for the month of October.

I hope you guys are having a wonderful week and keep on reading!