Interview with Tara Sim [FBCYA Timekeeper Blog Tour]

Howdy y’all! A huge thank you to Tara Sim and Sky Pony Press for giving our book cub the honor to review her debut novel, Timekeeper, and to Bianca for making the club’s dreams and goals take its first step to realization.

I am downright ecstatic to have had the opportunity to interview Tara Sim about her feelings about the book, what inspires her and other stuff. Enjoy!

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  • Let’s talk about casual things first. Timekeeper is your debut novel and it’s coming out on November 8th of this year.

How do you feel now that Timekeeper is finally published and is out for the rest of the world to read?

A mix of things, actually! Excited that it’s finally out in the world, nervous for people to read it, and relieved that I never have to revise it again (so many revisions…).

  • In Timekeeper, we get to read about two characters sharing an unconventional love story. 17-year old Danny Hart meets and falls in love with his apprentice whom he soon discovers is a mythical being- a mere clock spirit.

Did you find it difficult writing a love story like this?

I did find it difficult at first, because I’d never written a romance between a human and a non-human before. It took a while to figure out how it was going to work, and how both characters would react to one another as the story goes on. I largely focused on their personalities and how they played off of one another, forming a unique bond.

  • There are already lots of positive reviews from people who have received advanced copies of your book. (Which makes me even more excited to read it myself.)

What inspired you to write a steampunk book like this?

The idea surprised me, since I’d never written steampunk before. But when I got the original idea of the clock towers controlling time, I knew the gears and clockwork were a very steampunk aesthetic. When I decided that the setting would be Victorian London, the steampunk genre became an even more obvious direction to go in.

  • Were there any specific people you were picturing while you were thinking of the characters for Timekeeper?

Not particularly. I actually don’t like basing my characters on people I know in real life, although I do pick up certain habits and quirks from people I know and may sprinkle them across my cast from time to time. I actually tend to use other fictional characters as inspiration. So, for example, the character of Cassie was inspired by Winry from Fullmetal Alchemist and Kaylee from Firefly.

  •  If you were given a chance to travel back to 10 years ago, what would you say to your past self?

I would tell myself to keep doing what I was doing: writing as much as I can, reading as much as I can, and not giving up.

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GET YOUR COPY OF TIMEKEEPER HERE:

WAIT! THERE’S MORE! Our FBCYA people are here to give you more chances to have your own copy because it’s just that good.

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Thanks for reading!

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October (+ Birthday) Book Haul

Howdy y’all! October is undeniably my favorite month of the year for several reasons: It’s my birth month; one of my favorite bookstores holds a sale by this time; sooo many of my friends have birthdays this month as well; and this is the month marking an end to yet another grueling college semester.

For today’s post, I wanted to talk about all the books I was happy to haul for October. You would also notice how far and crazy I went with it.

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As you can see, I clearly suck at taking bookish pictures. But hey, I tried. 😂🙈

Titles for this haul are as follows:

As of now I just can’t wait to clear my schedules and spend my time with these lovely books.

Have you read these books already? What did you think?

Also, if you hauled books this month, or even the previous months, please let me know in the comments. I’d love to check them out ❤

Thanks for reading! Til the next post x

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Stages of Book Grief: Stage 1 -Denial

Howdy y’all! In my Struggles of a book nerd post, I have mentioned that Sam Hewa and I worked on the stages of [book] grief, and as promised, I’ll be posting about them for the next few days.

Here’s what Sam had to say for the first stage of Book Grief: Denial.

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Enough time has passed for me to make this Confession: I used to be one of them. You know, one of the people who makes fun of all her friends for obsessing over fictional characters. Then I was given a book. Average in size. Pretty enough cover. I was bored enough. So, I picked it up. I read it. And I finished it. One of the characters died in the end of that book. He took a piece of my heart down with him.

I was ashamed to be part of a society where authors had the authority to inflict such torture upon a reader. I tried to pass a few movements such as “HAAF: Hunt An Author Foundation” and “NMYA: No More YA” and was surprised at the lack of supporters. It was then that I realized the beauty of that character’s death. He willingly put himself in front of a bullet, for the love he had for his brother. At that moment, I realized that beauty can truly exist, even in the most dreadful of situations. Even in, and I can’t believe I am saying this, dramatic character development.

Denial isn’t pretty. It is more acceptable than the truth. There could be undeniable evidence of the occurrence of an event, but we still deny.

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Being invested with fictional characters comes with its ups and downs, but here is a melodramatic interpretation of it in my mind: After experiencing true love, and sharing the emotional traumas and pains of another, you have no choice but to become attached. Their hopes and dreams become your own and you just wish that your future is somehow magically entwined with theirs. But what results when they– when they change?

You try to accept the new version of your once beloved, but the older version is in the back of your mind, begging not to  be forgotten or changed.

You become torn: “Have I been misreading the signals this whole time?”, “Was it a lie the whole time?”, “Did he actually ever care?”

You begin to distrust your own judgement and question everything around you. Like, is the sky even blue anymore? Is the grass green? Is the Earth round, or was that also a lie? I’ve never been to space! How would I know?

You convince yourself that you are normal:

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You’ll rant to anyone that’ll listen, but no matter what, the person you once loved is trapped. They are trapped in the pages you read. Switch the angle all you want, but it is done. All the fan fictions in the world won’t change that.

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It is hard. So hard to be brave. It becomes a constant struggle to not burst into tears every time your favorite character runs off his mouth again and again and AGAIN! Completely demolishing everything we have ever worked for to get to the very spot we are in now. It becomes so rutting hard not to snap the head off anyone who tells you “It’s just a book“!

But we have to. We must accept that the change was inevitable. We must keep our emotions in check. If not for the sake of the book, then for the sake of the past memories. No matter what, those remain true. You will wish you can erase the character from your mind and heart, because when they are gone, the memories are all you have left. And they are just a painful reminder of what could have been. Denial is normal. It is expected and experienced, but with time it becomes nothing more than a constant, dull pain. Denial does not make you weak, it makes you loyal.

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STAY TUNED FOR STAGE 2

Thanks for reading!

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Struggles of a College Booknerd

Howdy y’all! It’s been a while since I posted and I’m more than happy to be back to blogging again! A few weeks ago, I asked the twitterverse what kind of post I shall write next and here’s how it went:

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Disclaimer: I based the list on my personal experiences so the following may or may not be true to all. Also, I refuse to think of the word “nerd” as a negative characteristic, especially if it’s associated with books.

So without further ado, here are the struggles of a college book nerd.

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  1. Homework VS Empire of Storms

It’s no foreign concept that homework in college piles up like snow in December. So college book nerds always get stuck with deciding what to do first: answering loads of questions from subjects which may or may not be relevant to the major you’re taking or reading more chapters of a glorious book that has recently  been released. (This is also my current situation with Crooked Kingdom.)

This may also be true for any kind of student, not just those in college. So for all those confined in the four corners of a room under the rules of a professor, the struggle couldn’t be any realer.

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2. Book Hangovers (Stages of grief)

One of the hardest things book nerds face in general are those cursed book hangovers. Pair that up with exams and deadlines coming up just a day or days after you finished a heart-squishing, tear-jerking book, makes the perfect recipe for a highly unfocused student.

Experiencing this first hand is no easy thing. After reading Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, I couldn’t read my notes straight without Will Traynor’s face walking in circles around my mind, hence a less productive me.

Sam Hewa and I joked around a few months back about the five stages of grief. I’ll be posting those throughout this week and the next.

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3. Money, money, money

I don’t know if this is only me, but balancing money for everyday transport expenses, meals and snacks, and for books, prove to be quite a feat. Initially, I try to save 30%-40% of my weekly allowance, put it aside and save it for future use. By Monday, everything’s still handy dandy, but as the days progress, the temptation of buying more and more food is hard to resist and is therefore where most of my money goes.

Unfortunately, a full tummy would mean a hungry wallet. This would result with me not being able to buy books on a weekly basis as I would have wanted to.

If I only had enough money to buy all the books, I definitely would.

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4. Bookstore Deprivation

With a fully loaded timetable and a mall that’s 15 minutes away from your university, not being able to visit the bookstore hurts. A lot. The single, most perfect de-stressor you have and it’s still out of reach.

You see, certain subjects demand as much possible time you could offer to it. Older college students doing their theses and thesis defenses, as well as corporate business plans, may agree with me on this one. That being said, all the time you could have allotted to making trips and visiting the bookstore is shifted to it being spent on researches, studying and other academic requirements. You’re forced to put it off until the next weekend, then next weekend gets cancelled because you’re still busy, then you reschedule it next weekend, and so on.

Oh well. Better luck next weekend.

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5. Socializing

Those lucky enough who are able to squeeze in reading book after book despite a hectic college schedule experience two sides of this situation. On one side, they are the hardest to spoil (because they’ll already know what happens in the end) and they breeze by their Goodreads reading challenge like it’s a piece of cake, an therefore live a happy, less-stressful reader life.

The other side of it, is the conscious choice of reading a book in silence rather than partying or going out with friends. I honestly wouldn’t blame anybody for this since I myself would make the same decision. However one can’t deny that spending more time with books instead of people make socializing not as easy as reading an NYT bestseller.

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What are the struggles YOU face as a book nerd? I’d love to hear your thoughts about it! 🙂

Thanks for reading! See you on the next post X

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[Book Talk] Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Howdy ya’ll! Today we’re reviewing
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ILLUMINAE BY AMIE KAUFMAN AND JAY KRISTOFF

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Where do I even start with this review? I couldn’t even make two coherent sentences when I talk about this book, but I shall try my best.

I definitely would recommend this to every single person I know, whether they’re a reader or not. I want to let this be known for all the people I know so I could share inside jokes from the book; so I could discuss with another human being; but most importantly to have someone to fangirl with. This is one of the books that will make you fall in love with it from cover to cover.

Physically, it’s 599 pages thick and it just makes the book all the more beautiful to hold and stare at. The cover designs of the book and what’s under it is absolutely mesmerizing. I stared at it for a good few minutes before I started reading it because – how can you NOT stare at that beauty?  And don’t even get me started on how much I loved how the pages had illustrations, and some pages were white, some were black. Add that to the already heaping reasons why this book is uniquely amazing.

Now on to the book itself: It is ingenuity in its finest. And since I suck at summarizing, let this Goodreads summary be of great help:

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This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

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I’m a sucker for any story featuring galactic travels and epic space adventures, which was the main premise of the book. While reading, I found myself connected with the characters even though the experience was strictly non-primordial (although I would have liked to travel through space, too – just not under those circumstances).

Character-wise, Kady’s attitude towards the situation in general is greatly admirable, makes me think I want to have the same determination and intelligence as her. She’s really clever and witty, as well as what I describe as a no nonsense person. Ezra, on the other hand, reminded me of Levi from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. He’s not like the typical type of male leads you read from YA. He’s actually one of the closest male leads to real life. Like Kady, his determination is unfazed. That’s what I admire about him most. Together, I think they make a really cute couple and despite them being pictured as exes from the beginning of the book, I ship them.

I’ve never been to space (though I would definitely want to), but I found it easy to understand this world and see the setting of the book pretty clearly. I had goosebumps in the scenes where the *galactic* fight scenes were underway because they were so good –so engaging you simply could not put the book down. And to be honest, I’m not as familiar with binaries and other codes and all the computer coding technology slang, considering the whole technology stuff itself, but this book has a way of making you want to understand them. I actually find the aforementioned quite boring and easily outs me to sleep, but this book was infinitely far from lulling me to sleep – it was actually the opposite.

That being said, there isn’t a boring page in the book. I felt so many feels while reading this. I laughed, I cried, I was at the edge of my seat anticipating for the next thing to happen, and all that jazz.

5STARS

I would rate this book a 5 out of 5 stars. The action, the fantasy aspect, as well as the science fiction, and romance of the book was on point. I couldn’t have wanted it any other way. I do not want to overhype this book for you, but I can’t help myself. If you haven’t read it yet, I suggest you do. 😉

What did you think of Illuminae? I’d love to hear your thoughts about it.

Thanks for reading! Til the next post x

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[FBCYA] The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Howdy y’all! Last April, our Fanboy Book Club Book of the Month was a book that I found to be refreshingly engrossing what with such an unusual concept and subject that most books usually don’t revolve around. It is:

 

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The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

 

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This happened to be my first read from Maggie Stiefvater and also my first read about equestrian creatures. Simply put, it was about deadly horses and equally deadly horse racing of which did not fall short on giving us an epic and beautiful storyline.

 

To discuss it more in detail, however, the book is much more than horses and horse racing, as opposed to what the title may lead us to believe. I found that it goes much deeper than that: it’s about being connected with your roots, embracing it, and loving it. The two main characters, Sean Kendrick and Puck Connoly, perfectly exhibit this. Judging from what you may read in the book, there is nothing more that these two will love than being with their horses and staying in the island that has watched them grow, Thisby. I especially like how much they love the horses and the island so much that it’s almost impossible for a reader not to feel the same way. I may be speaking for myself – But then again, maybe not. 😉

 
Despite being a book the Fanboy Book Club has picked, I am thoroughly pleased having read some undertones of feminism in the text. It was shown in several scenes of which occur because the men competing in the Scorpio Races believe that the races are no place for a mere girl like Puck.

 
It was delineated very well in the story with Puck keeping her stand with letting her, girl, compete in the Scorpio Races despite practically everyone in the island telling her to quit and she showed that just because she’s a girl doesn’t mean her opportunities are limited. As I have always said, I feel quite frustrated with how society dictates that girls should only do girl things and boys should do boy things when both sexes are very much capable of doing anything if they set their mind to it.

 
In the book, these pestilent water horses are called capaille uisce. The very facts that they are bloodthirsty and deadly are what makes the locals afraid and tremble before them. But despite this, they still admire the capaille uisce for their beauty, speed, and strength. Corr, being one himself, embodies how things could be monstrous and beautiful at the same time; how you could still love something that has potential to lead you to your demise or utter happiness; how much you can love and connect with your roots, no matter how complex and daunting it may seem.

 
The race itself was swift and vivid. As I read it, visualizing the race wasn’t hard and it made it easier to immerse myself in the book. Although it didn’t last long as others have expected it to, I couldn’t think how it could have been executed more perfectly.

 
And let me just put it out here that I most especially appreciate that finally, we got to read a romance that did not ruin the book but even made it better. The blossoming affection between Sean and Puck was there but it didn’t go in the way of what the story wanting to push for. Most fantasy books tend to lean more on the romance and forget the action-filled aspect of the book. It did not happen here and it makes me so happy.

 
Overall, the story was well-paced and so beautifully written that by the end of the book you’ll want more capaille uisce, more Thisby, more ocean, more Scorpio Races. With all these said, I rate this book a 4.5 out of 5 stars.

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ICMYI:

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Thanks for reading! Til the next post 💙

 

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[Backlist Revival Project]: Just for the Record by Six de los Reyes // Book review

Howdy y’all! Today’s post features yet another book brought to us by the Backlist Revival Project. I’ve joined this project since January and the awesome people behind these are Carmel and Mina Esguerra. Our book of the month is packed with thoughtful metaphors, a walk toward an unconventional type of love and is perfect for a cold, rainy day. It is:

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Just for the Record by Six de los Reyes

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Just for the record, the heat can get to even the most calculated of minds.

Let it be stated that Rhys loves Ryan forever and ever. But certain needs are not being met, leaving her frustrated and asking for too much than the conservative and almost-rock star, Ryan, is willing to give. Uncooperative (or cooperative, depending on your point of view) weather provides her an opportunity to ask not what she can do for her friends, but what a friend can do for her.

Isaiah likes to say that the best thing about Rhys is that he can stand in her breathing space and feel nothing. Something of a breather when dancing with Lia short circuits his entire operating system. But all his beliefs are challenged when Rhys chances upon him in a steamy practice room in the middle of a heat wave.

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Before anything else, let me just tell you how much I am in love with the cover of this book. *heart eyes* I honestly don’t know how long I stared at the cover before I actually started flipping the pages. Also, I think it speaks about the book in a way that the characters are represented by the splashes of colors: they may collide and may not be entirely the ordinary mix you see; they may seem messed up and strange together; but it works. Somehow it works.

Each chapter is named after natural conditions and phenomena such as Heavy Downpour, Isolated Thunderstorms, Sunshowers, and the like. These are what I think are the perfect kinds of metaphors you use to describe the ups and downs of a complicated social life (or life in general). Honestly, reading this wasn’t necessarily a walk in the park. I had a slow pace reading it in the beginning because I was wondering what was happening; what kind of situation our character was in. The complexity of the text, however, is one the primary reasons why I found this read to be such a beautiful one. Because the more you think about it, the heavier the meaning those words carry. It’s almost like a poetic narrative; the kind that will make you furrow your eyebrows together while reading, but make you find yourself wanting to love it, and eventually do.

An unconventional love story is what unfolds the more our characters collide. A tough girl on the outside but is broken on the inside crash lands on uncharted territory of a boy who closes off his feelings but is apparently ready to be there for her when he needs him. But there’s a catch. Both the boy and the girl have love interests of their own. They believe nothing is wrong since their relationship since it has no feelings attached — or does it?

For one of our main leads, Isaiah, it isn’t as complicated as people may think:

All she needed to do, was ask. Anytime, anywhere, he would be there for here. A special existence, just for her. A hero without being her true love.

But on the other end, we have Rhys saying

If I could hold back, then things wouldn’t be like this. Like…if I could just tell myself not to feel, or if I could just tell myself not to act on how I feel, then maybe it would be different.

Are they fighting a losing battle? Will the heart win in the end?

Just for the Record is one of the books that will capture your heart without you even knowing it. It urges you to see through its tangles and knots and unravel them and realize its deeper meaning.

Rating: 3.5 stars

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Need more? Here is one more quote from Just for the Record:

Was it a deadly affliction that had befallen them both? To emotionally invest in people who manifested a completely different set of expressions of affection — or that is, who lacked the ability to even express them in the first place. Why was it that you never get the attention you want from the people you want it from?

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Just for the Record is available on the following ebook stores:

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Contact Six de los Reyes

Twitter ♠  Facebook ♠  Wattpad   Goodreads

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Thank you for reading! Til the next post X

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