The Responsible ARC Reader

It is always a delight to receive an ARC (Advance Readers Copy) from authors, publishing houses, or just anywhere at all. I mean how are you not going to be happy? One, you can read a fantastic novel before anyone else does, and of course, it is free!

But are ARCs really free or we are missing our responsibilities as readers whenever we get our hands on those “free” books?

To be honest, I did not know the responsibilities that you have as a reader whenever you receive those ARCs until one day, I started receiving one. 

ARCs are not free. You need to pay the author and the publishing house who put that ARC in your hands. Do they need money? Absolutely not. However, they need more than money. They need your time and your honest opinion about the work.

GIVE THEM YOUR TIME

Remember that ARCs give us an opportunity to read a novel before it comes out. As readers, we are responsible for reading an ARC before it actually comes out. The rule I follow is I should finish the novel at least 2 weeks before its release date. Once the actual book is out in the world, ARCs lose their value. 

WHY READ THEM BEFORE THE BOOK COMES OUT?

The primary purpose of ARCs is not to give readers free books. Remember, publishing houses want to sell their products, but do not think of it that way. We have to see that we are helping authors that have given us amazing books in the past and will give us more amazing books in the future. 

So we have to make sure that we have to read ARCs 2 weeks before they come out so we can give them an amazing review. If you don’t like the ARC, that is okay, but give it a review. ARCs do not demand good reviews; what they want is an honest review. Remember, good or bad publicity is still publicity.

If you are like me, someone who always gives good reviews to ARCs, what I do whenever I do not like the ARC is I will give it a review saying who I think is going to like the book. I will not write about how I do not enjoy the book—I will write how others will like it.

It is always fun to receive ARCs, but we have to remember that once we agree to accept those ARCs, we, as readers, now have a big responsibility in our hands.

Me After Watching Me Before You: Me Before You Movie Review

Even though Barnes & Noble Americana (where I work) sells tons of copies of Miss Jojo Moyes’ Me Before You every day, I was not expecting a big crowd inside the theater for its opening day. It turns out I was underestimating Emilia Clarke’s and Sam Claflin’s fan base. The theater was almost packed!

For this review, I will focus on 2 things: what I like about the movie. This includes how the movie can stand on its own and the actors. After that, I will talk about what I don’t like the film. I will end this entry with my overall rating of the movie and why I believe it deserves that kind of rating.

WHAT I LIKE ABOUT THE MOVIE

Can The Movie Stand on Its Own?

What I like the most about the film is how solid the story line is. The creators focus on Louisa’s and Will’s love story. All the side stories are beautiful (and we will talk about that later), but the movie wants us to see from the beginning that the main focus is how Louisa and Will will find their different paths where their lives are headed while their hearts intertwine.

The Actors

I wish I could give Emilia Clarke a standing ovation right now. She is the main highlight of that movie. From mother of dragons to a bubbly girl in a small town, Emilia Clarke nails that performance. I believe she is born to play Louisa Clark. Me Before You is not a laugh out loud movie, but Emilia Clarke will put tears in your eyes in many ways. Sam Claflin is a good William Traynor too, and his chemistry with Emilia Clarke is something that I want to see again on TV and/or on the big screen. The growth of his character is visible by the way he talks and interacts to Louisa.

WHAT NEEDS IMPROVEMENT?

Faithfulness To The Book

I love how the movie focuses on the love story alone, but one of the reasons I actually love the book is the side stories are phenomenal! Treena’s struggle to get on her feet again after having a baby is what I want to see. Mr & Mrs. Traynor have their own struggles too, especially about their relationship, but it is not on the big screen. I love, in the book, how these efforts from other characters make the main love story stronger and more meaningful. I understand that the movie will be more than 8 hours long if it wants to be 100% faithful to the book; those struggles are inside the film, but you need to pay careful attention to know that they are there. In other words, you need to read the book to know they are there! For example, Mrs. Traynor’s problem with Will is he could kill himself any minute. Mr & Mrs. Traynor talk about it in the film really quick, and there is a scene where they focus on Will’s scarred wrist. The scenes are quick, and they can easily be missed, so pay attention carefully if you haven’t read the book and want to get these messages. 

THE RATING

Me Before You deserves a 10/10 rating. The first reason is the film delivers a message about different meanings of life and how one can live boldly. It shows that we can have a colorful life, but life can get stuck sometimes; we can put our life on hold, but we must remember that it needs a second chance. I love how Louisa and Will have different views on life, but they manage to meet each other halfway and fall in love.
Some of the non-readers might not get the subtle hints the movie is giving, but I believe it will still get at least a 7/10 rating from them because the film will really touch your heart in a way that will make you change the way you see the world.

10 out of 10 Stars

 

The Sarah Dessen Writers

So did you watch the video? No? Come back after you do. 

You’ve seen it? Now, tell me, miss Dessen is like meant to be a YA writer, right? However, if you watch her other videos, especially the one where she tells how she gets into writing YA, you’ll find out that it was not the market that she was aiming for. She said that she didn’t want to write YA.

This post is not about hating miss Dessen. If you already know me, I am obsess with her books. I’ll buy them the moment they hit the shelves, and you’ll see how miss Dessen now loves the YA community, and she knew it was her destiny all along.

What I am trying to say here is there are aspiring writers right now who are like miss Sarah Dessen. How?

I’ve been in the creative writing program of California State University of Northridge for almost a year now. This semester I am enrolled in a narrative writing class. On the first day of class, we introduced ourselves by saying our names and the genre that we write. Sadly, I was the only YA writer there. Even the the professor said she had not read any YA.

The class is halfway the semester now. We have been critiquing each other’s work of fiction. And you know what I’ve noticed? Most of my classmates are writing stories where the main character is a child or a teenager.

I guess there are writers out there who are like miss Dessen– they claim not wanting to write YA, but once they experience the beauty and magic of the YA community, they will be more than glad to be a YA writer.

Let’s Get Dark: Interview with Henry Turner, Author of The Compelling and Thrilling Novel, Ask The Dark

Goodreads.com gives us the most random book recommendations (isn’t that the good part?) So when Goodreads recommended Ask The Dark by Sir Henry Turner, I know my TBR pile is going to be one book higher. And I know not putting this book on your TBR pile will be one of the biggest mistakes you’ll ever do in your life. 

I just had the amazing opportunity to meet Sir Turner while working at Barnes & Noble in Glendale. I also had the chance to interview him, but before that, let’s see what his debut novel, Ask The Dark, is all about.

Sir Turner’s Debut Novel

10150547_1622004204686368_68505058514111329_n(Click the Photo to go visit its Goodreads’ Page)

or

Click Here to visit the official Ask The Dark Website

Synopsis: 

Billy Zeets has a story to tell.

About being a vandal and petty thief.

About missing boys and an elusive killer.

And about what happens if a boy who breaks all the rules is the only person who can piece together the truth.

Gripping and powerful, this masterful debut novel comes to vivid life through the unique voice of a hero as unlikely as he is unforgettable.

Author Event

The book sounds cool? The book will be available for purchase April 7 (Tuesday). But why just get a copy when you can meet the author and get your book signed? 

AskTheDark-You-Are-InvitedFB (2)What: Ask The Dark book signing and official launch 

Where: Barnes & Noble at The Grove. 189 Grove Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90036 (Google Maps) 

When: April 7 (Tuesday) at 7:00pm 

Wristbanded : No, it is not a wristbanded event.

The Interview

Fearless_Kurt: How did the idea of Ask The Dark come to you? 

Henry Turner: I started writing stories about Billy Zeets, defining his character and finding his voice. He’s a complicated kid, full of contradictions and conflicts, both good and bad, depending on how you look at him. To sort these conflicts out, I realized he would have to experience circumstances that would put him under maximum pressure.

Fearless_Kurt: What can readers expect from Ask The Dark? 

Henry Turner: It’s a thrilling ride, with lots of incredibly scary ups and downs, in which you hang on to hope with your last ounce of strength. I think the best thing the reader will find in the book is Billy. I made him as real as I possibly could, so in reading what he has to say you feel you’re meeting an actual person. I’ve had readers tell me they felt like they weren’t just reading, but actually experiencing the story firsthand. I found that incredibly complimentary. It made me feel I’d created a character readers could truly relate to, and feel themselves inside his skin.

Fearless_Kurt: Billy is an unlikely hero, but as the author of the novel, would you call Billy an unlikely hero? 

Henry Turner: Heroism can’t be predicted, and happens only as a last chance for survival. And that’s just what happens to Billy. Everything in his life has fallen apart and he has come up against a vicious killer. He has no choice but to stand his ground and fight – and by fighting, he reveals sides of his character no one ever believed he had – least of all himself.

Fearless_Kurt: Since we’re already on the topic of heroes, how would you define a hero? 

Henry Turner: A person who hangs on and does what must be done and what is right, regardless of the odds.

Fearless_Kurt: Let’s talk more about you, sir Turner. Who are your favorite Authors? 

Henry Turner: I love classic authors like Twain, Stevenson and Jack London. At Askthedark.com you can find a longer list of writers who made an impact on me.

Fearless_Kurt: ASK THE DARK is a thriller carried by an in-depth study of its main character, and I can certainly see myself doing more of that. However, I’m also interested in fantasy/science fiction and historical YA – as well as Middle Grade stories with fantasy twists.  

Fearless_Kurt: One last question; what do you think is the perfect song for Ask The Dark? 

Henry Turner: I’m not exactly sure. All I know is it would have a lot of loud guitar. Maybe you can put this question out to your followers… I’d love to see what they come up with!

Yeah. What do you think is the perfect song for Ask The Dark? let me hear on the comments below. If you haven’t read the book, just make a little prediction, then come back after reading the book to see if your prediction is still cool. 

About The Author

(Source: AskTheDark.com)

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Henry Turner grew up in Baltimore Maryland, in Roland Park, an old neighborhood heralded, on a historical plaque outside its local shopping center, “The oldest planned Garden Suburb in the United States”. He went to public schools. He was always interested in storytelling in one form or another, and as a teenager he started making films with his brother and neighborhood kids. 

Henry wound up making five feature films, writing and shooting and cutting them. When his films won awards and attracted some attention he moved to Los Angeles, after getting a call from a movie production company that was looking for scripts. He stayed in L.A. and helped build a fledgling film festival that has since become well-established. He also wrote much freelance entertainment journalism, interviewing well-known filmmakers such as George Lucas, Brian Grazer, Quentin Tarantino, James Cameron, and many others. All along he was writing stories. 

During a year spent in Greece he made a total commitment to writing fiction. Returning to Los Angeles, he met his future wife, who encouraged him to study fiction writing with a novelist he admired – John Rechy. Henry stayed in Rechy’s private writing group for a number of years and also studied privately with Hubert Selby. Since that time he and his wife have had a son, Hugo, who is now nine. Henry Turner is now writing a new novel.

Visit his website: http://www.askthedark.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AskTheDark?fref=ts

or follow him

Twitter: @AskTheDark

 

Ms. Matson, Ms. Finn, and And Other Cool Authors to Follow: Interview with Ms. Katie Finn

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Fearless Kurt is here to say that I am finally attending Ontario Teen Book Fest. And to be a part of the Ontario Teen Book Fest Blog Tour is also a big honor. I am hosting the author spotlight on Ms. Katie Finn. I am very happy to score an interview with her. But before everything else, let’s view the Book Fest first.  

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What: Ontario Teen Book Fest

When: March 21 (Saturday) 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

Where: Colony High School, 3850 E. Riverside Drive, Ontario, CA 91761

The Ontario Teen Book Fest is a Free event. Tickets are NOT required. You will meet your favorite author and discover new favorites. The event will also be filled with book lovers like you. Books will be available for purchase on-site from Once Upon a Time Bookstore (http://www.shoponceuponatime.com). There will be shirts and posters available for purchase too.

Official Blog Tour Schedule

February 28th: Spotlight on Kasie West — Adventures of a Book Junkie

March 1st: Spotlight on Melissa Landers — What A Nerd Girl Says

March 2nd: Spotlight on Anna Carey — The Reader’s Antidote

March 3rd: Spotlight on Cecil Castellucci — Nite Lite Book Reviews

March 4th: Spotlight on Debra Driza — Read Now Sleep Later

March 5th: Spotlight on Katie Finn — Fearless Kurt Reads YA

March 6th: Spotlight on Claudia Gray — A Bookish Escape

March 7th: Spotlight on Shannon Messenger — People Like Books

March 8th: Spotlight on Lauren Miller — The Thousand Lives

March 9th: Spotlight on Elizabeth Ross — Kid Lit Frenzy

March 10th: Spotlight on Brad Gottfred — Recently Acquired Obsessions

March 11th: Spotlight on Sherri Smith — Movies, Shows and Books

March 12th: Spotlight on Mary Elizabeth Summer — What A Nerd Girl Says

March 13th: Spotlight on Jessica Khoury — The Consummate Reader

March 14th: Spotlight on Maurene Goo — The Windy Pages

March 15th: Spotlight on Catherine Linka — Read Now Sleep Later

March 16th: Spotlight on Jessica Brody — The Romance Bookie

March 17th: Spotlight on Gretchen McNeil — Movies, Shows and Books

March 18th: Spotlight on Aaron Hartzler — Fangirl Feeels

March 19th: Spotlight on Michelle Levy — The Consummate Reader

MS. KATIE FINN’s LATEST BOOK 

Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things To Mend

Hot sun. Blue waves. New romances. Old secrets.

Gemma had her summer all planned out, but it takes a sharp turn when she gets dumped and finds herself back in the Hamptons after a five-year absence.

Being there puts her at risk of bumping into Hallie, her former best friends (that is, before Gemma ruined her life). But people don’t hold grudges forever. Do they?

Gemma intends on making amends, but a small case of mistaken identity causes the people she knew years ago—including Hallie and her dreamy brother, Josh—to believe she’s someone else. As though the summer wasn’t complicated enough already.

Filled with summer sun, boys, and friendships gone sour, Katie Finn’s first novel in the Broken Hearts and Revenge series sizzles and delights.

ABOUT MS. KATIE FINN 

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Katie Finn is the pen (and middle!) name of author Morgan Matson.  She was born in New York City and grew up there and in Greenwich, Connecticut. She has a brother, Jason, who is now a lawyer and who would like her to go on record as saying he is nothing like the brother characters in her books.

She attended Occidental College (not a dental school) and then The New School (actually very old) where she received her MFA in Writing for Children. She also received a second MFA (because, why not) in Writing for Film and Television from USC.

She is the author of the Top 8 trilogy – Top 8, What’s Your Status, and Unfriended.  These books follow Madison MacDonald and her group of friends through Facebook-hacking mysteries, prom heists, and social-media vengeance plots.

She is also the author of the Broken Hearts & Revenge Trilogy. The first book in the series, Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Menddrops May 2014.

She has never plotted revenge on anyone (who didn’t deserve it). She lives in Los Angeles, with her dog Murphy, in a house she wishes was a lot closer to the beach. (Source: KatieFinn.com)

INTERVIEW

Q: When did you realize that you wanted to be a YA novelist?

A: I think I realized it much later than most writers – some YA writers know super early, like in high school! It was almost the end of college for me. I was working at Vroman’s, the indie bookstore in Pasadena, and I fell in love with YA literature. And then my senior year of college, I began experimenting with writing a novel – before that, I’d only written plays.  

Q: Many readers consider your novels like a journey towards self-discovery, but as a writer, have you discovered something about yourself after seven published novels? 

A: It’s absolutely fascinating to look back at your work, especially when you have a number of novels, because you can see the stuff you keep circling back to, again and again, even if you think you’re writing a totally different novel.   You can learn so much about what you were fixated on – and what you were hungry for! (Pizza turns up as a major plot point in most of my books at some point.)

Q: If you could use a time-machine and meet your 15-year-old self, what advice would you give her? 

A: What a great question! I’d tell her that the high school’s theater department will not, shockingly, end up being the most important thing in her life. That she should be nicer to her brother, and that she should seriously, seriously rethink those boot-cut jeans.

Q: How much significance does summer have in your life that it always ends up as the season you choose for the setting of your novels?

A: Well, only five of them! My first two Katie Finn novels take place during the school year.

I just really love writing books that take place during the summer! I loved summer, because it was a time where you could really change in a way you couldn’t during the school year. You were sometimes hanging out with different people, or trying on a different identity than the one you had during the year. I always had a lot of freedom during the summer, so it felt like I always had more adventures. And I also love the idea that you have this expanse of time – to change, or learn, or discover something. And I think three months is such a great time frame for a novel. 

Q: Let’s talk about Ms. Katie Finn’s latest novel. Usually it is very easy to see who is right or wrong in revenge novels, but on Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend, it is very hard to choose whether to take Gemma’s or Hallie’s side. If you were Gemma’s and Hallie’s best friend, how would you handle their situation?

A: Oh, that’s great to hear! I worked really hard, writing these books, to try and present them as balanced – that in any moment, you could see both sides of the story. Their situation is fun to write about, because it’s one I could never imagine myself in that situation! I’m not a grudge holder or a revenge seeker! I’d probably tell them both to bury the hatchet and get over it – but that wouldn’t make for a very interesting book. 

Q: You are a very big fan of Ms. Sarah Dessen. Who is your favorite Dessen couple and why? 

A: Oh that’s such a hard question! I love them all, but I might love Macy and Wes the most. I love those characters so much (with Remy and Dexter coming in a close second).

Q: What can fans expect from Ms. Morgan Matson and Ms. Katie Finn this 2015?

A: The second book in the Broken Hearts and Revenge series comes out in May 2015! It’s called Revenge, Ice Cream, and Other Things Best Served Cold. It picks up right after the end of book one, and it’s a ton of fun. I had a blast writing it.

 Nothing new from Morgan Matson this year – but Since You’ve Been Gone is out in paperback in May, complete with lots of extras that weren’t in the hardcover!

To reach Ms. Katie Finn: 

Her Website: http://www.katiefinn.com 

Her Twitter: @KatieFinnWrites

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