Recommendation 101: How to Make Anyone Read Your Book Recommendation

“Have you read Audrey, Wait by Ms. Robin Benway?” 

“Yes! It’s so good! You should read it. Trust me. It is so amazing.” 

I have and you have heard that conversations many times no matter where we are– bookstores, libraries, book events, and many more. The thing about that conversation is it is not a convincing way of recommending books. That kind of recommendation would just enter the right ear and then would exit from the left ear. The only information the person you are talking to would get from that kind of conversation is you are a big fan of that author, that book, or both. Sometimes even saying the synopsis is not very convincing. Remember: even if the book is really amazing, if the synopsis sounds lame from you, the book would sound lame. And we don’t want that happening. 



It is actually very easy. I have been working in a bookstore for more than a year now. And not to pat myself in the back, but customers return and ask me again for more book recommendations. And to be honest, I also recommend books that I don’t even like that much. Here’s how I do it. 


Yes, you are recommending something to your friend. You pretty much know him. You know what he likes and don’t like, so make sure to tap into those areas when recommending your favorite book. What is the book going to offer that will make him like it? If your friend likes music, mention that Audrey, Wait is a book that is full of music. He likes comedy? Tell him that the book is flooded with humor. If the book has nothing that you think he’ll like, tell him why you like it. Mention how you fall in love with the characters and the witty writing. Tell him how fast you read the book. 

If a person is asking you for recommendations and you know nothing about him, ask what his favorite books are and look for some patterns. If he says he likes Divergent, Matched, and The Giver, it means he likes Dystopian novels. Go and recommend good dystopian titles. Again, do not fanboy or fangirl. Mention why the book is good.

If that person is a new reader and has no favorite books so far, ask what are his favorite TV shows, movies, and hobbies. Dig for any kind of information. If he says he likes The Fosters, A Walk to Remember, and cooking, a good book to recommend might be domestic fiction. Throw in some titles there. Tell him why Lola and The Boy Next Door by Ms. Stephanie Perkins has a similar appeal to The Fosters. Remember books are like people, there is always something similar between us and books.


Sometimes, that happens, but remember: never recommend a book that you did not finish. It will just make you look like a total hater, if you finish a book and you don’t like it. It is still possible to recommend. Remember, what is not good for you might be good for others. I am not gonna mention a title for example, but to recommend a book you don’t like, tell how that person might like it. Remember how other people like that book. This book recommendation is not about you, it is about giving other person an opportunity to find a book that might change his life. Mentioning blurbs also help. If the person asks for your opinion, be honest, but tell him that you can see him liking it and that he might see the beauty of the book that you fail to see. 

Recommending books is very easy once you separate fanboying/fangirling and great persuasion. Give it a shot. You might find yourself as someone whom people go to when they need good books to read. 



What is Your Shoe Print?: Learn What Makes You Unique as a Reader

There are studies that claim that somewhere in the world there is a person that looks like us. This is very true especially if you have an identical twin. However, no matter how others look exactly like you or share the same interest, your fingerprints will never ever match. Fingerprints are like our tastes in books, when you think we have other perfect matches, a microscopic variation will appear.

How and why is that?

wpid-confused-face-1.jpgTo answer that, we need to think that books are like shoes. There are different kinds of shoes– there’s the dress shoes, tennis shoes, chucks, high heels, and so on. For books, genres exist (Romance, contemporary, etc.) Some people like collecting tennis shoes because they are always on the go, and they like the way they look (and yes, tennis shoes can be very classy). On the other hand, some people like collecting tennis shoes, because they play tennis. When these two people meet, instant friendship could immediately spark. They can talk about how they love the material of tennis shoes used by this particular brand and other topics regarding tennis shoes. When they reach the topic why they used tennis shoes, an argument will happen– the other person might say that tennis shoes are solely for playing tennis. 

Why am I saying this? 

Looks+like+a+Sparrow+or+something+_946ea4197e8560b741a552a6f8fc2893People need to learn that people love reading for different purposes. Let’s not even get to the escapism and such and such (those are already given). What I am trying to say is wee need to respect others why they like a certain book. For example, you might hate Twilight by Ms. Stephenie Meyer because Bella is the stupidest character you’ve ever seen, so now you need to hate on other people who enjoy the book. But what if those people enjoy reading characters who make stupid and reckless decisions? What if they love books with super flawed character?

I have experienced personally and seen readers (and non-readers) bully readers because of what they like to read. We don’t have to force ourselves to like what others like too, but I believe respect should be mandatory. If you don’t want to read the book that other like that you this is “stupid,” just say you have no interest in reading the book and then move on. We should stop putting other people down because of what they like to read. Other people is not obligated to like reading the way you like it. remember, we have our own “shoe prints.” Shoe prints are our reading fingerprints, we might think we have an identical one, but a slight variation will always happen.    

How to be a Smart Booknerd Festival Patron

It’s only March, but the scent of books is already in the air. Look left or look right book events and festivals are all over the place. Whether it is your first time attending or not, it’s important to have a checklist that will make you enjoy the events/festivals as much as possible. Here is the checklist that you need to be the happiest booknerd.

1. Schedule, schedule, and schedule.

4749698_origThis is the most obvious thing to do, but unfortunately, this is the thing that people tend to take for granted. Visit the event’s website or the authors that are attending online pages (Twitter, Facebook, etc) to check when the event is happening. Websites also contain the information where it’s going to be. If it is a big event, check whether your favorite authors are going to be there or not. If they are, check what time their events are going to be and if there are time conflicts between 2 or more of your favorite authors.

2. Tickets, tickets, and tickets.

raffle-tickets Nothing is more frustrating than being on time, but you don’t have tickets for the event. Again, check the event’s website if the event is ticketed or not. If it is, buy tickets as soon as they become available. Remember, fandom is not a small world. A lot of our peers want tickets too as soon as possible.

2. Bring Books, Books, and Books


Signings are the main event of book events. What’s the use of attending one if you don’t have books for the authors to sign? Remember: if a bookstore is hosting the event, they usually want you to buy the books from them or they’ll never allow you inside the event. If not, bring those lovely books of yours. You don’t have to spend money.

3. Bring Post-it notes and a Sharpie Pen


Beside getting your books signed, authors sometimes personalized their autographs. They are kind enough to do that even though their lines are millions of miles long. To be a nice fan, stick Post-it notes with your name on it even if your name is just as easy as “Joe.” It will make the lines go faster. And if your books are all labeled, still bring extra Post-it notes and a Sharpie pen. I’ll tell you why later.

4. Wear Comfortable Shoes and Bring an Extra Shirt


Yes, you look fab in those high heels, but ditch them whenever you are attending a book festival. Trust me, it requires a lot of walking and standing up under the sun. Since you are under the sun a lot, bring sunscreen and an extra shirt. Trust me, you don’t want to be reeking in sweat when you say hi to your favorite author.

5. Ca$h, Ca$h, and Ca$h

cash-mone“I’m just there to see Ms. Sarah Dessen.” That’s what I told myself two years ago. I did not bring money because I knew the temptation to buy a lot of books are all over the place. But when Ms. Robin Benway and Ms. Morgan Matson spoke and told people about their books, I instantly regretted not having money so I could buy their books and had them signed. Bring at least $40 – $60.

I know book events are tiring, but they are very fun. But with proper preparation, you’ll not just have fun; you’ll have a blast.

The Divergent Review of The insurgent Movie


If you saw my Facebook post about my reaction after I’d watched the Insurgent movie, you might think this is a rant of an angry fanboy, but I promise this is a review that will make you prepared what to see in order to enjoy the movie whether you’ve read the book or not. 

If I just want to be honest, it will look like I hate the Divergent Trilogy. And that is not true. So instead of using candor alone, I will write the review divided in five factions. 


What will make you happy? 

If you have not read the book, you are in for a good ride, because the movie does not stay faithful to the book, but that’s okay, because the movie will unravel the whole world of Divergent piece by piece like a new experience, and trust me, the visual effects and the action scenes are purely brilliant. Even though the movie has no narrative voice, it will still show you a good play of images.


What kind of risks did the movie take?

I believe that the director of the movie thinks that they should focus more on Tris’ inner struggle to forgive herself, so many parts of the book is removed. I was actually sad and happy to see this movie. Happy, because duh! It’s Insurgent. Sad because this is the book where my favorite character is going to die, but he doesn’t even exist in the movie. The focus now is more on Tris, so throw away your list of favorite scenes in the book, because none of them may appear. And by doing so, you will enjoy the movies.


How to help other enjoy the movie more?

This is ver simple. Let’s divide this category into two– a.) People who have read the book and b.) People who have not read the book 

People who have read the book– absorb the movie like a new experience. Do not enter the theater with a mindset “I am excited to see this part and that part,” because you will only disappoint yourself. Instead, enter the theater while telling yourself, “I am excited how the simulations will materialize in front of me.” Trust me, those simulations are the bomb!

People who have not read the book– I watch movies too with people who have not read the book, and yes, they do love asking questions. So if you have not read the book, and some scenes confuse you, don’t ask you book nerd friends. They might be confused too, because there are many parts in the movie that is very unfamiliar to us.


What is so smart about the movie? 

The factions of Candor and Amity were unexplored in the first movie, but now, Insurgent gave a tiny glimpse of them. You’ll see the truth serum in action and how Amity members are peaceful people. However, that’s about it. Amity has so many unique qualities in the book. The book really explored Amity, but in the movie, it is just a glimpse.


What I think about the movie: 

There were many times that my left eyebrow was arching during the movie, because from time to time my brain kept saying “we’re in this part already? I guess they skip the (insert good scene in the book here) part.” The mystery of the box kept me flipping the pages of the book, but that feeling is missing in the movie. Again, the focus is Tris’ inner struggle to forgive herself or to be achieve Amity. And again too, I was not expecting the simulation to be that good, and the action scenes are really beyond. The way the characters fight show unique characters.

So to wrap this up, the movie is good, but I would not really give my two thumbs up for it. Go see this movie, because it is enjoyable, but remove that bookworm inside your body first. For maximum enjoyment of the movie, try forgetting that it is a book.

Rating: 5/10 stars.       

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


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.  

Graphic Two

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 ( 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


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.



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:


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: 

Her Twitter: @KatieFinnWrites

Join this awesome Giveaway: 

Click Here to Win Prizes


Girl Power = YA Novels: The Real Reason Why I Love YA Novels

Every time someone would ask me why I love Young Adult novels, I feel like I always need to pull a script and say “YA novels deal with the theme about the biggest transition of life– childhood to adulthood.” It’s not even an original answer from me. I got it from a YA author. The borrowed words tasted like a cardboard box on my tongue. A couple of days ago, after I dig a little deeper in my life, I found an answer why I love YA novels. The experience made me realize that I was born to love Young Adult novels. Why? To answer that, I need to tell you about myself. I grew up as the only guy in the house: 2 sisters (1 younger and 1 older), my mom, then my grandmother. I have a father, but he used to be a professional athlete where he was required to train all day. I would not even see him go home, for I was already sleeping the moment he would step inside our house. We were a happy family, but not perfect. We had to deal with financial problems, misunderstandings from one another, and so on. Even though I grew up seeing in the media that women are supposed to cry and wait to be rescued, the way my family dealt with problems kept me out of that box. The women in my family were the image of strength. My mother was not only the chef of the house, but also our repairman. She had been breaking gender stereotypes from the very beginning. My two sisters were my armor from bullies in school; they also dominated the school academically. They showed me that women are smart. My grandmother was the picture of determination. She taught me crying could be the fuel of strength. As I become aware of the realities of the world– the way the world view women, I become very protective of my family. I know how our society see women are very wrong. The evidence can be found in our house. I want to change the world, and I know I can. Now, Young Adult novels have the same mission. They are showing how women are just as powerful as men. YA novels show that women still cry, but those tears become their power to fight what they believe in. YA novels are turning the world into a better place where “throw like a girl” is one of the best compliments you’ll get. So if someone asks me why I love Young Adult novels a lot, my answer is simple–

“Young Adult novels see the world in a way I see it– better and powerful”   

Reading Time = Gold: How To Find Reading Time on A Super Busy Schedule

“How do you find the time to read?” 

I would be a billionaire by now if I get paid a penny every time I hear that. I am a full-time student, a part-time bookseller at Barnes & Noble, and I still love my social life. 

But trust me, I still find to read. How do I do that? 

We don’t know that there are many times that are perfect for reading. Once, however, we become aware of when those reading times are, you will  reading again like a wild man. 

Before everything else, I must say to go back on track of reading faster, eReaders are your friend. And you don’t need an eReader to take advantage of the digital age; the eReader apps (Kindle, Kobo, Nook, etc.) are free. Grab your tablet or smartphone and get those apps. Remember: if you don’t like eReaders, you can still follow my tips with the use of paper books  (Trust me, I still prefer paper books). 

1. After you wake up 


Sleep is really hard to find if you are a busy person so cherishing every minute of it is very crucial. However, waking up 15-30 minutes early is very worth it. Remember we love reading, and for love to happen, a little bit of sacrifice is necessary. You might be a bit cranky, but once you see whether Harry will catch that Golden Snitch to win the quidditch tournament against Slytherin is totally worth it. 

2. Make commuting your best friend

Whether you drive or not, going to work, school, or basically just anywhere can quench your bookworm thirst. 

If you drive: set a solid time when you are going to leave the house. For example, if you leave at exactly 8:00am, and you are done with all your morning routine at 7:45am, steal that 15 minutes; you can read 5-8 pages with that time. Just be aware of the time. Remember, reading can absorb you.– who wants to be late? Make looking at your watch every 2 pages a habit.

If you don’t drive:  you have two options. 

  • If you carpool, take advantage of this. Read along the way. If there’s only two of you inside the car, tell your driver friend that you are going to read (opening your book instantly is not a good behavior). If there is more than 2 inside the car, still tell your friends. 
  • If you take public transportation (train, bus, cab): it means you are going to have a lot of time to read. Public transportation is your friend. You can read without any disturbance. Just be aware, so you won’t miss your stop. Make looking where you are every two pages. 

3. While waiting for your next class/shift to start


Traffic varies everyday. Classes sometimes end a little bit early. Once you claim your favorite seat for your next class, open that tablet or book and read a couple of pages. There’s 10 minutes left before your shift starts? That is a gift; take advantage of it. It is not much, but hey let’s take what we can get. 

4. Eat & Read

Take advantage of your tablets’ or eReaders’ stand. Eating is relaxing, but guess what– so is reading. We eat at least three times a day. If your average eating time is about 10 minutes, then that is 3×10= 30 minutes. Woah. That is a chapter. 

5. Before you sleep

We already know that reading is relaxing. I always find myself waking up super great when I read before sleeping. What I do is I read until I can’t take it anymore. However, I still set a limit. If it is already 12:00am, I will go to sleep with the chapter finish or unfinish. 

There are many times that are perfect for reading, and we always take it for granted. Oen your eyes. Take advantage of them.