Dream Book Conference Panel!

Dream Book Conference Panel is today’s topic inspired by Eventbrite.  The question for this dream conference panel is: All true bookworms have their dream list of authors they’d love to meet, but what if you could plan your perfect panel of authors (or even characters) you’d love to hear speak at a conference?

While the most logical way of a conference would be to group authors writing the same genre to come together, I also feel that grouping authors that somewhat contrast their style or even in the time frame they write makes for a look at their creative process in a different way. See, just deciding how to put together panelists is hard enough. Here are some three groups of authors that I’d like to see be at my dream conference panel.

Young Adult

i am number four Maze Runner

My first group goes to the most common genre: Young Adult. Although I have been slowly falling out of the YA genre, I do quite admire the creativity these authors have done. Pittacus Lore is pretty much the elder of Lorien and he also is the author. Now, the question is no one knows what this person looks like. I mean, if he is from Lorien and reciting the Lorien Legacy, well, then he probably is an alien. While I am Number Four is a pretty disappointing movie, let me assure you that The Lorien Legacy series is one of my favorite Young Adult series and that is why I’d like to see how they created it. At the same time, James Dashner can be the same. He has created a story out of kids stuck in a maze and carried into a dystopian world. There is something here to learn from these two authors just how they build their creative process and brainstorm or fall into the characters that they created, whether it is character development or world building.

Thrillers & Mystery

Gone Girl Before I Go To Sleep The Cuckoo's Calling

Who wouldn’t want to be in a panel with authors who write captivating and intriguing mystery thrillers that keep us guessing with mind-blowing twist and turns. Gillian Flynn, S.J. Watson and Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling) needs to have a panel where they discuss how to build suspense and mystery. Thrillers are the tricky pieces of work, whether its books or movies, because they need to create a level of suspense that divulges enough information slowly to peak interest, build character enough to stay intrigued and make the reader want to keep guessing what is going on before most of the time making sure that it is absolutely the one thing they never imagined could happen.

Gillian Flynn is known mostly for Gone Girl but her other two novels, Sharp Objects and Dark Places both have almost as good of a story. She has written three pieces of novels that are all intriguing to read, making her a person who needs to talk about the thought process of writing a mystery. Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson is the only novel that I have read. His second novel is called Second Life which I need to find, however, its been a few years since I’ve read Before I Go To Sleep and I can still remember the feeling of suspense till today. Its a captivating read with lots of secrets. How do you keep secrets hidden and give just enough hints to keep it abstract and not ruin it? Finally, Robert Galbraith, who is the pseudonym of J.K. Rowling, but I do this deliberately because I want to pick the brain of Robert Galbraith, the person who wrote a mystery thriller and is making a series out of it, making a new detective, Cormoran Strike, rise. We all know J.K. Rowling as the mastermind behind Harry Potter but we need to dial it back and learn how she writes for adults and thrillers.

Chinese in North America

Joy Luck Club water-rat-of-wanchai Everything I never Told You

Some of you might think this is an odd combination, or just the title of the conference might not be appealing. However, my take of having a panel of Amy Tan, who is the veteran in the writing about Chinese-American life and contrasts, Celeste Ng, who is a more modern version of writing about a Chinese-American family and some racism issues in their time frame and Ian Hamilton, who is writing a Chinese-Canadian forensic accountant and somewhat of a femme fatale/strong female figure, shows off the diversity of the characters and actually shows a bigger picture of not only writing about Chinese but in general, it can be useful when writing about other cultures and the difficulties of adapting to the new world or even racism while weaving it into a different genre.

The Joy Luck Club is pretty much pure fiction about mother and daughter relationships while Celeste Ng is the relationship of a Chinese-American family, taking on the different voices as they solve the mystery of their missing daughter and the secrets that are revealed might just help decipher what really happened. While, Ian Hamilton would bring in a fresh voice as a non-Chinese crafting the dangerous adventures of Ava Lee, a Chinese-Canadian forensic accountant and has built quite the series as he takes Ava Lee to many different places in the world solving case after case. This panel could give good insight on what it is to be an author writing about Chinese culture and even seeing the world through someone with a different background and upbringing and/or family structure.

What would be your dream author conference panel? Why? 

Eventbrite is the largest self-service ticketing platform in the world that helps people find and plan events. If you are interested in looking for or planning conferences in your local area, this conference management page HERE may be something you would like to check out.

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Gone Girl (2014)

Gone Girl is my most anticipated movie of 2014.  Its also one of the Top 5 favorite novels (if I had to rank my faves).  My neighborhood Cineplex only had the English version in VIP section so my boyfriend and I went to go check it out on a cheaper day. Its not the genre of movie I’d choose to go see at VIP but I just had to see it.  With a cast that I felt was perfectly casted and a director who is masterful at this sort of thriller, to say that I was excited would be a huge understatement. The only thing was to try to not let my high expectations get the best of me, which was going to be hard.

Lets see if Gone Girl lived up to my expectations, shall we?

Gone GirlDirector: David Fincher

Cast: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Tyler Perry, Neil Patrick Harris, Carrie Coon, Kim Dickens, Patrick Fugit

Amy Dunn (Rosamund Pike) mysteriously disappears and suspected to be murdered on her wedding anniversary.  Her husband, Nick (Ben Affleck) comes home shocked to see the mess and calls the police.  As the investigation lead by Detective Rhonda Boney (Kim Dickens) gets further, all suspicion lands on Nick.

Gone Girl is a very unique story.  I remember reading this novel as one of the novels I was so hooked that I read into the late hours of night because I just had to know what was going to happen.  The novel was a one of a kind experience because of the layout of the story and the characters involved and just how it was so twisted.  You can read my full review of the novel HERE.  Whats a good fact to have, if you don’t already know, is that the screenplay is written by the author of the book, Gillian Flynn.  In my opinion, Gillian Flynn is quite the author because she’s written 3 novels and although the first two are not quite as epic as Gone Girl, they still are page turners. Now that I’ve gotten my fan girl moment out of my system. You can all get where my expectations kind of come from.

Gone Girl

The best way to walk into Gone Girl is with as little knowledge as possible.  I wanted to punch the morning radio the day that it was released when they went extremely in depth with the synopsis.  You learn all the twists before it happens.  I didn’t even bother to watch the trailer for this one even though I’ve already read the book.  Too much information would ruin this for you.  Actually, I’m giving you a perspective from both me, as a reader that loves the book and well, a bit from my boyfriend’s perspective who knows absolutely nothing about it but still agreed to go with me. Other than the two guys next to me that kept pulling out their phones and had these flashing lights throughout the movie and was bothering me so much, the movie still was one of the best adaptations I’ve ever seen.  David Fincher’s directing teamed with Gillian Flynn’s screenplay put this Gone Girl story effectively on the big screen. I was captured by the movie (despite outside distractions) and how they structured it while my boyfriend, without any knowledge was still thinking about it till last night (which was the last I spoke to him).  Plus, the little changes they made were effective for movie purposes while keeping the most important parts and the message the original story was trying to send. Without diving too much into spoiler territory, the beginning and ending of this movie will make you feel like in a very awkward way that it completes itself but makes you think about the deeper issue because it really gets under your skin.

Gone Girl

One of the most important parts of making Gone Girl succession is casting the right actor and actress to play the roles of Nick and Amy Dunn.  Some may not agree but although, I don’t have a very fond appreciation for Ben Affleck as an actor (although I do love his directing efforts), I saw him fit perfect for the role.  His expressions, the on screen feeling he can pull off was perfect for what Nick needed to be, especially when caught both in the attention of the media and the police under the suspicion of murdering his wife.  The desperation and despair was one that I saw him doing perfectly.  Ben Affleck certainly didn’t disappoint me and as Nick, he was absolutely amazing to watch as the story moved forward and it required a lot of the range that he had as an actor.  The other star of the show is the missing Amy, played by Rosamund Pike. I’ve only ever seen her in Pride and Prejudice and Jack Reacher (and thats the ones I remember her in) but this role was something completely different for her.  I think thats what makes this even more epic is that the cast was chosen for something they don’t usually do and these two characters are so multi-layered but developed so well.  A perfect cast needs phenomenal acting and the rest of the cast does a compelling job from Neil Patrick Harris’s role as Amy’s high school boyfriend to Tyler Perry playing an elite lawyer.  They all have roles that bring something to this entire plot.

Gone Girl

This is possibly the best movie I’ve seen this year and seeing as it has such high expectations on my part and there were outside distractions, the complex story, the smart direction and compelling cast are also matched with a suspenseful score and the tone they set is just so awesome.  Gone Girl is a must-watch for this year whether you’ve read the novel or not.  The changes add to the story and its impact and most of the time, they are so minor but so much more powerful.  I highly recommend this but I also suggest that you go in with as little knowledge as possible or how they set this up.  This is a mind-blowing thriller and thats really all I have to say about this.

Have you seen Gone Girl? Did you read the novel? What do you think of David Fincher? Did you think Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike was made for this role?

A-Z Book Survey :)

Its been pretty much Hong Kong dominant over here so for a little intermission, I landed on a cool book survey over at Lizzy’s My Little Book Blog.  I thought it’d be fun to give it a shot.  I should really get around to doing a movie one though ;). Go and check out Lizzy’s blog because its full of cute quotes and awesome book reviews.

This survey was originated from Perpetual Page Turner right HERE! Its my first time visiting and it looks pretty awesome also 🙂

Lets start this survey, shall we?

AtoZsurvey-1017x1024

Author you’ve read the most books from:

Charlaine Harris.
I originally thought it had to be Lucy Maud Montgomery but Goodreads proved me wrong.

Best Sequel Ever:

Catching Fire

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Currently Reading:

The maze Runner

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Drink of Choice While Reading:

Usually its Hot Water or Tea 🙂

E-reader or Physical Book:

Physical Book is my first choice
(but I’m slowly getting into e-books to be more space efficient)

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated in High School:

Granted I’ve graduated from high school a LONG time ago,
I thought this when I read it in high school and thinking back I’d still do it:
Landon Carter from A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:

Rebecca

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

I read this in high school for a project.
I had been the last to pick the book so I was left with slim pickings and my teacher suggested to read this one and it was a definite winner.

Hidden Gem Book:

the night circus cover

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Important Moment in Your Reading Life:

Restarting to read fiction after not having time for it during my college and university years.
I realized how essential it was to my life and how much balance it was as a form of escape and imagination.

Just Finished:

The Red Pole of Macau

The Red Pole of Macau by Ian Hamilton

Kinds of Books You Won’t Read:

HORROR

I read one once and it took me a really long time to get it out of my head.

Longest Book You’ve Read:

hp5 cover

I don’t track page numbers but I’m guess one of those Harry Potter books. Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix

Major Book Hangover Because of:

sharp objects

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn made me have to take a break from reading because of the intensity the book built up.
Her characters and stories are haunting and it makes you ponder the values and meaning of alive and just how scary human nature and the likes really can be.

Number of Bookcases You Own:

2 (although one of overstacked)

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:

Charlie and the chocolate factory

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Road Dahl

Preferred Place to Read:

Either in my room on my comfy office chair or sitting outside with a nice light breeze

Quote that Inspires You/Gives You All The Feels From a Book You’ve Read:

The invention of hugo cabret

Reading Regret:

I haven’t read a full-length Sherlock Holmes mystery.

Series You Started and Need to Finish (all books are out in series):

Agatha Christie is the only one I can think of, specifically Hercules Poirot

Three of Your All-Time Favorite Books:

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Unapologetic Fangirl for:

Lorien Legacies by Pittacus Lore

Very Excited for this Release more than the Others:

Unfortunately I’m more current on movie releases than books so I don’t know.
But if there was a new Gillian Flynn novel, I’d be pretty excited 😉

Worst Bookish Habits:

Not using proper bookmarks!

X Marks the Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:

PS I Love You

P.S. I Love You by Cecilia Ahern

Your Latest Book Purchase:

Divergent

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Zzz-Snatcher Book (last book that kept you up WAY late):

The Casual Vacancy

The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling takes this one ONLY because I wanted to finish this book before my vacation earlier in June

Here you have it! A little book survey fun for this lovely Friday 🙂

Any of you would like to join in remember to link back to me and of course to Perpetual Page Turner because they deserve the credit for putting this together!

You can even drop me a comment about your favorite quotes, books, major book hangovers, Zzz-snatchers and fictional characters you would probably date in high school, etc? Love you to hear your answers and maybe inspire some new book recommendations 🙂

Happy Friday, my lovelies!

January 2014 Reading Recap!

The first monthly update on my reading challenge! Its a switch up from my full-on reviews.

January was a good month, I’d say.  I’m right on track with my reading 🙂

1) The Rise of Nine (Lorien Legacies #3) by Pittacus Lore

Rise of Nine Pittacus Lore

(COMPLETED JAN.8)

If you haven’t happened to read this series and you like thrilling sci-fi books, well, let me ask you, “What are you waiting for? Go and get it!” I devoured this book (and the past two) within probably two-three days max.  These books are amazing.  I really wish that they could be made into decent sci-fi thrillers, at least a second attempt or something.  Its really a joy ride.  Its rare to have a third book in a series going so strong and still have me hooked.  There’s always some new discovery and because of the alien factor, there’s so much that the readers discover along with the characters as the plot develops, thickens and intensifies.  If you like young adult, sci-fi thrillers packed with lots of action, this is a series you shouldn’t miss and this is a worthy sequel.  I can’t wait to read the next book, The Fall of Five. 🙂

If you’d like to read my review of the previous few book, you can find it HERE.  I read the first book of the series before I started reviewing so I don’t have one written but they are all awesome! 🙂

2) The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie

the abc murders

(COMPLETED JAN. 16)

Its been a while that I’ve dived into the world of Agatha Christie.  I’ve been impressed by her mysteries.  The ABC Murders starts off quite slow but finally picks up the pace and the mystery gets increasingly engaging after about halfway.  The story itself is quite original and as always, there is an unexpected twist at the end.  Its something of a signature in her books.  The concept of playing with the alphabets and the aging Hercule Poirot and Captain Hastings was actually fun to read.  However, I can’t help but think that the book could have flowed a bit better.  It was a good read but just takes time to get into.

3) Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

dark places

(COMPLETED JAN. 31)

There is no doubt in my mind that Gillian Flynn is an amazing thriller author. So far she’s 2 for 2.  Her latest novel Gone Girl was a slow-burning and batshit crazy investigation.  Its also THE MOST anticipated movie in 2014 for me.  Because of that book, I went back and bought her first two books also. Sharp Objects was a pretty crazy intense one. I welcome you to check out my reviews HERE and HERE for Gone Girl and Sharp Objects respectively.

Dark Places is her second novel. The beginning brings us into a girl now in her 30s, Libby Day, who is the survivor of her family, her mother and 2 sisters, that were murdered by her brother who is now in jail.  The story starts off pretty slow and Libby is one of those girls that I wouldn’t associate with because they dug their own hole and choose to live on and manipulate other people’s pity and sympathy and she’s pretty negative.  But, I get it, right? If I lost my family at such a young age, I’d have issues too, right? As the characters developed more with viewing each side of the story and jumping from past to present, the situation intensifies, we get to see what is happening from the viewponits of Ben Day (Libby’s brother and the suspected killer of his family) and Patty Day (Libby’s mother) on the day of the murder and then we alternate to the present with Libby Day and her investigation.  You know, I’m a sucker for character development and I think that I felt like I could see Libby change as the mystery deepens.  The only main issue I had was that I felt like it dragged the beginning too much but after reading the final third, I realized it was necessary because of the details. Its a good thriller.  My least favorite out of Gillian Flynn’s novels but the ending really is quite awesome.

Have you read these ones? What did you think of them?

What books did you read in January? Anything you’d recommend?

Book Review: Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Earlier this year, I read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.  If you want a review of that amazing novel which is supposed to be made into film soon-ish, you can find mine HERE. With that in mind, I decided to seek out her two earlier books and read them eventually.  I bought Sharp Objects a few months ago and as I try to balance the genre of novels I read, I finally decided to start this one earlier this week.  Sharp Objects is Gillian Flynn’s first novel and she was the Edgar Nominee for Best First Novel.

sharp objects coverSharp Objects is about Camille Preaker who is a reporter based in Chicago focusing on the darker criminal cases.  Her boss is eager to find that breakout case that can make the newspaper popular and shoot up in sales, so hearing about one case of brutal child murder and a following one with a missing child in Camille’s hometown, Wind Gap, he sends her there to try to get some information.  When she goes back, her memories of why she escapes tortures her from the death of her sister, her relationship with her mother and the days when she used to cut words onto her body.  On arrival, she seeks information that everyone reluctantly hides away from her as to protect the town but she meets the other out of town cop, Richard, who was sent to help out with the case also.  As she tries to uncover the truth, she realizes she has to confront some of her own issues before she can see clearly through this case.

Can I go straight out and say that I think Gillian Flynn just became one of the most awesome writers for thrillers? Gone Girl was an amazing book and it was her breakthrough one, I believe.  However, if you think her debut novel was any worse, you may be wrong. The only difference with this one is that it starts off a bit slower.

Sharp Objects has a slow beginning to build up the situation and understand the complex relationships in Wind Gap and to get to know our main character Camille a bit better and her very messed up past.  However, once you get past that, you get pulled right into the story itself as she pieces information together from past people in her lives and as she struggles with her own issues, we see how things are related even before she probably does.  Even with that, she keeps the readers guessing as to who is doing those cruel acts of violent murders to little preteen girls right to almost the very end.

Through a good part of this novel, I was on the “really like it” level and then when that ending came by and it went completely out of the world into crazy messed up phase, I was sold.  That ending made me feel like I was almost as anxious as running a marathon.  My heart was pounding from the intensity of how the situation unravels.

I highly recommend this novel.  Its a haunting, suspenseful psychological thriller that paces itself really well and then before you know it, you get sucked right into the action.  Your brain won’t rest one minute till you know who committed those crimes.  I believe addictive is the word to describe it.  That is a rarity in my novel reading experience, especially a double hit with one author.

I’m telling you now that after I take a break to erase some of the disturbing images I have from reading this, you should be expecting a review on her second book Dark Places soon-ish!

Book Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl won the Goodreads award 2012 for Best Mystery and Thriller and I believe also a few more awards as well.  I’ve also heard a lot of good things about it.  I got it a few months ago and I’m really into these mysteries about marriage.  However, I’ve never read anything from Gillian Flynn.

Gone Girl book coverLets start with a little plot.  In the simplest way of saying it and not revealing too much, this book is about a couple in North Carthage, Missouri.  Amy and Nick Dunne is a married couple that has moved back to Nick’s hometown from New York.  Due to the recession and the technology boom, they both had lost their jobs and with Nick’s parents in need of care, the decision was made to head back to take care of them.  On their 5th anniversary, Amy disappears from her home  The police gets involve and Amy’s parents come to offer their help and Nick is trying his best to cope with the situation.  The question is now: where is Amy? Is she dead or alive? Conflict arises, suspicions go around and secrets are revealed as the investigation drags on.

I really don’t want to give away too much because the essence of the book is in the way they put it.  First off, I can tell you that reading physical books I am faster and dive into the story quicker.  Second, I haven’t been caught up in a book in a really long time.  Other than work, eat and sleep and the essentials, I literally have been reading ALL THE TIME! I started this on April 10th and finished it last night (April 12).

This book is a thriller above everything.  What I didn’t like was the fact that I do read the comments at the back of the book and some of them gave away a little too much so I figured out the angle that was used beforehand.  However, the depth of the characters surpassed a lot of what I was expecting and it captured me and carried me away. I kept wanting to see what was going to happen next.  It was captivating and kept my mind working through the whole thing.  Considering the possibilities.

The setup of the book was also done really well.  As we learn a bit more of Amy and Nick’s relationship, we see the characters crystal clear and we see how their marriage was, and the feelings of Amy and Nick with flashbacks from the past.  The basis of this novel is very psychological, psychotic, psychopath.  Whatever you want to use.  It was messed up (for lack of a better word to express it). The language of the book also seems to get more frantic and more vulgar as the situation worsens and everyone is falling deeper into a bad situation.

I recommend this book highly. It pulled me right in.  I mean seriously, because I dreamed about what might happened for a full night.  Another reason why I wanted to finish it last night.  It may have been predictable for the angle the author chose but the character development that was revealed bit by bit really made up for everything. It contributed to every part of the thrill and mystery that make this an awesome read :)!

Did you read it? Is it on your reading list if you haven’t? Are you into mystery and thrillers? Any recommendations?