Anniversary, Editor Letter

The Talking Bookworm’s 4th Anniversary

Writers Corner

As I sit here in my classroom I reminisce on the past 4 years that I’ve had this blog. So much has happened. We’ve had changes in staff and other normal things, but we are still here and that is what counts.

The Talking Bookworm has evolved over the years to what it is today. Each year we grow in numbers and I hope you may agree in the quality of content as well. We cover more sub-genres than before and there has been more content on the blog compared last year and that is all thanks to Liz Brooks my co-blogger. The biggest change for the blog this past year was her presence and I am forever grateful she is a part of it.

Now, coming into the 4th year, I hope you will continue to visit this blog and be a part of our community. Thank you all for your constant support and love.

Here is to another fantastic year *raises glass* CHEERS!

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The Writers Column

My Life Abroad

Writers Corner

Well hello there. Long time no talk.

(I am writing this as I contemplate if I should turn on the floor heating or not. It is actually not that cold, but for a Southern Californian like me… it’s freezing. But I’m starting to appreciate the weather when it is not below freezing point. For Americans like myself that would be below 32 F and for the rest of the world including South Korea, I’m happy when it’s not below 0 C. )

I’ve been in South Korea for almost 3 months. I left California August 15th, and arrived in South Korea on August 16th. It feels as if I just got here, but also as if I’ve been here a while. I can’t point out why, but I think it is because I am finally getting used to life here and… I like it.

For those who may not know, I am currently a NET or Native English Teacher (some call me a GET/Guest English Teacher) in South Korea. I teach elementary and middle school students English as a Foreign Language. This is my first “official” teaching job and it is nothing how I thought it would be, but sometimes it is good to not have expectations when going into something. I really love my students. I think once I complete my one-year contract if I don’t renew, I will miss them a lot. They make my day brighter with their adorable faces. My middle school students are 7-9th graders and they are a handful, but teaching them is rewarding. I’m starting to create common ground with my students and it’s making them want to participate in class more. We all know when we are forced to learn a second or third language in school, no one really wants to. All students have that in common regardless of their cultural background or location.

Living by myself in another country is definitely making me grow as a person. I’m a person that is normally surrounded by friends or family and even though I am half an introvert, I needed to learn to be alone. I am definitely practicing that in South Korea. Especially because I got placed in the Gangwon-Do Province. It is the most rural province in South Korea with the lowest population number when compared to all the other provinces. I am the only foreigner in my town. I live in the same 14 stories apartment complex along with most of my students. Everywhere I go in town I hear “TEACHER TEACHER.” Students here are excited to see the foreign teacher. They also always tell me I’m beautiful so South Korea has definitely brought up my self-esteem. Haha.

Not having physical books has been tough here in South Korea. I brought my Nook HD+ with me because I knew I would have to read books on an e-reader, but sometimes you just want to hold a physical book. I did cave and bought two books from the book depository. So now at least I have two physical books. Sad thing is I will have to leave them here when I go back to USA.

I will be ending it here before this turns into a research paper length post instead of the essay I have just given you.

I will try to post more about my adventures here in South Korea in the coming weeks. But for now know I am doing well and thank you for being a loyal reader of the blog.

Warmly,

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Reviews, YA Fantasy

Book Review: The Wrath and The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn, #1)

GoodReads Summary:

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.

Review:

The Wrath and The Dawn is a retelling of Scheherazade and One Thousand and One Nights. Renee Ahdeih’s story is colorful, imaginative, and full of magic. This is the first story I have ever read that has a back story belonging to anything Arabic. I wasn’t sure I was going to like it, given that retellings of fairy-tales I read are from Europe- Cinderella, Snow White, Little Mermaid, etc. And I am so glad I wasn’t sure of my response, it made the story even better than I could have imagined.

The relationship between Shazi and Khalid is one of mystery, of twists and turns. Shazi is a stubborn girl with her own thoughts and ideas, not afraid to voice them or of the consequences. Khalid is a stoic figure, presenting a different image to the audience than one purported to his kingdom. The feelings these two have is something people dream of. And they are a perfect combination when working together.

As my first adventure in Arabic stories, my heart thoroughly enjoyed the emotional roller coaster Ahdeih led me on. Go read this novel, you won’t regret it.

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After Contemporary Conversations I did not want to read anymore contemporary, and that is a big deal as you all know my grand love for YA Contemporary Fiction. I decided to read this much raved re-telling as a way to distance myself from my much loved genre just enough so I could read it again. And now commences the unedited, not holding back, fangirling review that I hope you will identify with and laugh right along with me at my ridiculous outcry about my feels.

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Oh My Gosh. I CANNOT BREATHE. WHAT THE HECK JUST HAPPENED.

*wheezes into paper bag*

My heart cannot take the ending. WHY DID IT HAVE TO END LIKE THAT. HIS HEART. ITS BROKEN. I CANNOT TAKE IT.

Before I get ahead of myself, let’s talk about the beginning. My gosh was that not dramatic and full of everything I wanted and more. We have Shazi’s hatred fueling her ill decision of avenging her best friend by killing THE CALIPH, or in other words, THE FREAKING KING. That alone has you on the edge of your seat as the first night unfolds, and low and behold she lives to breathe another day.

The Wrath and The Dawn is a story full of action that the majority of time is driven by powerful emotions. We get to see Love, Hatred, and Happiness at its shinning moment, where the emotions are so pure they drive the characters to new heights. I feel like I’m preaching for some reason, but let me tell you that you will not be disappointed by The Wrath and The Dawn if you haven’t already read it. It will play with the strings of your heart into the utmost haunting and heart wrenching melody that will have you in a puddle of feels for days.

Have I intrigued you enough? Go read it! I will not spoil thee!
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Rating: 5 out of 5

 

Contemporary Conversations, Reviews, ya contemporary

ContempConvos: Jesse’s Girl by Miranda Kenneally

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Goodreads Summary:

Everyone at Hundred Oaks High knows that career mentoring day is a joke. So when Maya Henry said she wanted to be a rock star, she never imagined she’d get to shadow *the* Jesse Scott, Nashville’s teen idol.

But spending the day with Jesse is far from a dream come true. He’s as gorgeous as his music, but seeing all that he’s accomplished is just a reminder of everything Maya’s lost: her trust, her boyfriend, their band, and any chance to play the music she craves. Not to mention that Jesse’s pushy and opinionated. He made it on his own, and he thinks Maya’s playing back up to other people’s dreams. Does she have what it takes to follow her heart—and go solo?

Review:

Sigh

Absolutely adorable. I feel like Kenneally’s books are only getting better and better as time passes by. They are like fine wine. You feel good on the inside after you’ve read one.

Jesse’s Girl is about Maya and Jesse. Maya goes to Hundreds Oaks just like the rest of the characters in the Hundred Oaks series. Maya is Sam Henry’s little sister, Jordan’s boyfriend. We saw their story in Catching Jordan, the first book in the Hundred’s Oak series. I love that I get to see how my beloved characters are doing as time passes by. It makes my heart happy.

Anyways back to the main characters. Maya is the spunky girl who is on love with music of the eighties. She loves her Madonna and Prince. She dreams of making it in the music business so when shadow day comes up as Hundred Oaks High, she is paired with none other than Jesse Scott, the famous country artist that has taken over America’s teenage hearts, and also happens to be the principal’s nephew. You can only imagine how cocky Jesse is being used to getting all the attention, fame, and glory. But we all know deep inside he is a kinda southern gentleman.

Their story unfolds differently than other YA romance novels. No insta-love. Their relationship moves steadily forward throughout the course of the entire novel. We get to see the entire story from beginning to end.

Jesse’s Girl is like an ice cold lemonade on a hot summer day, a sweet melody that you unconsciously hum when you’re having a good day. I have all the praises for this book and I cannot recommend it enough.

Review: 5 out of 5

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Contemporary Conversations

ContempConvos: Why is the YA Thriller/Spy genre underrated and underdeveloped?

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Disclaimer: So this past weekend was my birthday and I may have taken a day or two off. Sorry guys! But here is a discussion post that will make up for my silence this weekend! And yes, I am now 25. SAY WHAT?!

It is time I talk about a very important topic… and that important topic is Why is the YA Thriller/Spy genre underrated and underdeveloped? In other words, Why is it not as BIG as other YA sub-genres?

Think about this. You walk into a bookstore and beeline directly to the YA section. You see YA fantasy, YA paranormal, YA contemporary, YA dystopian, etc., but you don’t see a special section dedicated to the YA thriller/spy novels. Why is that?

First, we all know that there aren’t many YA spy/thriller novels out there to begin with. If we think long and hard about YA authors writing books for this specific sub-genre, there aren’t many. We have Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Ally Carter, Abby McDonald, and Lauren Oliver. But if you try to think even harder, you may come up empty-handed like I do.

I’m a big fan of the spy/thriller genre. I love me a good spy/con-man story that has you constantly at the edge of your seat. And the thing is those novels are not badly written, they are good, but why are they not as big as others from other sub-genres?

It just makes me sad that not many authors explore this sub-genre as much and that might be part of the problem. There are only a few household names when we think of the Thriller/Spy sub-genre.

I personally think it is because not many people want to take the risk of writing a thriller/spy/con man novel without the paranormal or fantasy element. It is much easier to go down the route many have gone than one that many have not passed through.

What are your thoughts? Do you agree or disagree with me? Are there more YA thriller/spy novels out there that I haven’t discovered yet?

Talk to me! I want to know what you guys think!

Other

Alternate Reality Giveaway: The Post Apocalyptic World

Alternate Reality Giveaway

 

When I was in middle school, there were two types of books I loved to read and one of them was the “Post Apocalyptic World” type. The Post Apocalyptic sub-genre exists within the dystopian genre. Today, I am going to talk about why I love this sub genre the most, and why it attracts so many of us.

First, I want to start of by giving you a definition of the word apocalyptic. We all have some idea of what is it, but I wanted to find a universal definition. What does apocalyptic mean then? It means “Describing or prophesying the complete destruction of the world” or something “Momentous or catastrophic” (Source: Oxford Dictionary). Now, a post apocalyptic book would be a book after a war that destroys the world. There are several series today that can fit in some way or form in this sub genre. Those are The Divergent Trilogy, The 5th Wave Trilogy, The Testing Trilogy, and a couple more. A lot of the series I’ve mentioned have been in the New York Times Best Seller List, have been made into movies, or a film company has bought the movie rights. This sub genre is very big in our day in age and I think I know why.

The Post Apocalyptic stories give us survival stories. We like to believe that even if the world would come to an end, some of us would survive. The stories within this genre are inspiring. They give us hope. They empower us, making us feel like we too can do brave, life-altering things. These stories give us hope in humanity, that even though some destroyed it, there are a few who can restore once again. This sub genre brings out the best and worst in human nature, and for some reason, we love to see that.

I myself love these type of stories because they empower me to be stronger. There are so many horrible things happening around the world today, that sometimes it feels like some of the stories I read will become reality. The stories in this sub genre give me hope for the future. They provide not only prove me with entertainment, but a view into what might happen if that event or war occurred. I know some of you may say “Veronica, this is fiction we are taking about,” and I totally agree with you, but a “human being” is writing the fiction. I think that says a lot more than we sometimes want to think it says.

I initially thought I was going to write a fun post about the Post Apocalyptic sub-genre, but this is what came out instead. Oops.

 

So tell me, why do you love to read stories in the Post-Apocalyptic World sub-genre? or the Dystopian genre in general?

 

If you would like our giveaway, click the link below.

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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!