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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The Death Cure (Maze Runner #3) by James Dashner

Wow! If anything, these book reviews are falling way behind. It happens when I had more time to read than to write (aka waiting in line for an hour before movies and overshot data on my phone).  I’m about two reviews behind so I’m working hard on getting things back to speed. After The Cuckoo’s Calling (a more grown-up book), I always like to fall back to some YA fiction.  My choice after looking for a while was the next book in the Maze Runner series by James Dashner.  If you missed it, you can check out my review for the previous two below:

#1 The Maze Runner
#2 The Scorch Trials

For a recap, I loved The Maze Runner and enjoyed the Scorch Trials but not quite as much. Not exactly sure what to expect for this one, The Death Cure.  Let’s check this out! 🙂

**If you have not read and finished up to The Scorch Trials, please stop reading as Book 2 reveals are mentioned a little.**

The Death Cure
(The Maze Runner #3)

The Death Cure

by: James Dashner

Thomas gets out of The Scorch Trials and wakes up to find himself locked up by himself in a dark cage.  His meals are delivered to him on time everyday as he loses track of time.  When they finally release him, he learns about WICKED and the lines between who is on his side or not is getting blurry.  Is WICKED good? While they took away all his memories, he starts remembering more about WICKED but this time, he is on the run outside of WICKED to track down his friends and get them out. Will he be able to do it?

Let’s start off with the basics here.  The Death Cure is not exactly as great as The Maze Runner but its definitely a lot better than The Scorch Trials.  It was a lot of fun to watch and it worked well because it went back to being how we know the first one.  It was fast-paced, lots of stuff going on to keep the amp up and Thomas wasn’t a whiny baby that didn’t know when he had to man up.  [Just a side note: Its sad because that’s the reason why I’m worried about The Scorch Trials.  While Teresa gets a bigger part, Thomas turns into this character that I really loathed reading about.  Where was all the courage and bravery he had in the Glades?]

Back on The Death Cure, we now have a label for the virus called The Flare.  We know what its about and in this one, Thomas tracks his friends back to one of the cities as we see how the normal people are coping with it.  There’s more outside world than the WICKED but if its anything we learned in The Scorch Trials, even when it feels like there is no control, WICKED is control of everything.  Trust and loyalty is taken in to the grand scheme of things here.  Who can Thomas trust? Who is looking out for the greater good? They even get the option from Janson, who has a much bigger role, to move to the next phase which includes getting back their memories.  Is getting the memories back a good thing? Are they even their own memories? WICKED is all about finding a cure for the future but to what ends?

Its a lot of questions that we’ve had rumbling around in our heads through the last two books to this one and demands answers.  The Death Cure does a decent job at doing it.  In the end, it makes you question: is WICKED good or bad?

I don’t have much to say about The Death Cure.  The ending was meant to be a surprise that kind of took me by mild surprise because a lot of people like to do this sort of ending nowadays in movies or books.  It was a little apparent at a certain point. I can’t say that this ending wasn’t a possibility that popped in my head but still, points for making this work for the most part. What makes The Death Cure feel more intense is again we have a time limit in place so things need to proceed faster and it pushes the plot along.  Also, it puts some of our favorite characters that we’ve grown to know in the last two books into iffy situations that take the ethical and emotional turn.  Its always better to have that sort of test especially with the friendships bonded over the rest of the trilogy.  Honestly, that is the big thing for me.  I never thought the love bits were a necessity and Thomas and his lady friends really don’t interest me all that much.  Although it was still apparent in this one, it was enough to not overshadow the main goal and the urgency of the entire situation.

Overall, The Death Cure was a quick read.  It wasn’t exactly a page turner but it was easy and thrilling.  I like it more than The Scorch Trials and less than The Maze Runner.  The ending worked hard to add that twist in, although used frequently in the last few years, it seemed to be the only outcome that would be kind of a surprise and would apply here.  The setting being outside of WICKED controlled headquarters is a good one because it lets us see what the Flare is and how the world has been fallen.  Thomas being more like the one in Book 1 definitely was a plus.  In the end, it does wrap up the main questions we have: Is WICKED good? Is there a cure for the Flare?  While I’m not totally behind whether the ending was great or not, the intentions are good.  It ties up The Maze Runner trilogy decently.

Have you read the Maze Runner trilogy? What are your thoughts on it? 

The Scorch Trials (Maze Runner #2) by James Dashner

Putting together the 15 Anticipated Movies for 2015 was great because I got a good general idea of what to look out for.  I never looked up whether the sequel of Maze Runner had gotten the green light to move ahead. Although, judging from the general reviews from the blogosphere, it was generally well received, right? Anyways, I loved it

If you’ve missed my review on The Maze Runner, please see the book review HERE.  In addition, I also reviewed the movie HERE.

When I realized that it would be released in September, I pulled up the sequel from my stack of books to read. Its one of the newer purchases but who cares? I just had to check it out 🙂

THE SCORCH TRIALS (Maze Runner #2)

by James Dashner

Scorch Trials

The Gladers arrived into safe haven.  They found a way to escape and they were safely rescued to a place where they could freshen up, eat and rest.  Except the next morning, Thomas wakes up to raging noise around them.  Some crazies are screaming through the windows.  When they escape the room, he realizes that he can’t connect with Teresa and she’s taken away.  The only message they get is a strange man telling them that they have a virus in their system and they need to get to a safe point in 2 weeks to get the cure.  They have embarked in what the man called the Scorch Trials.  What dangers and challenges lie ahead of them? What is the point of all these trials? Will they make it out alive?

Sequels usually don’t have quite the hype of the first one.  Scorch Trials starts off pretty good, setting off a new scenario, danger and its own set of problems.  Questions and mysteries start to spiral in the reader’s minds almost immediately as one thing leads to another and they start seeing and learning about their new quest.  They still wonder what this virus is and why they are doing these trials and what this all means.

The Scorch Trials leads up to learning what this virus is.  Plus, Teresa plays a heavier behind the scenes role.  The virus is a scary one that turns people in the most extreme forms to crazies.  Hints of zombie apocalypse anyone? These crazies are completely out there: no reason, no care and completely out of control and extremely deadly.  Everything in the Scorch Trials is just like what it sounds like.  Unlike the Maze, where all the factors were controlled and was pretty artificial, the Scorch Trials is more realistic (because they are supposedly in the hottest desert area on the face of the earth).  They experience extreme heat and destroyed buildings and bigger environment.  That should make this a little more interesting. Its a lot of walking and encountering unexpected situations and threats that come up. The Scorch Trials does have one little thing that doesn’t quite live up to the Maze.  Maybe its the pacing of the middle part, because once they hit the final third of the novel, the intense pace of the first comes back into play.

Although Scorch Trials fell a little short in the middle section, its not completely that which bothered me.  I had to take off a few points for Thomas.  That’s right, you read right.  Our main protagonist turned from a fearless and relatively smart guy in the Maze to this slightly whiny and a little wishy-washy boy.  It was a little frustrating to read at times, but he sometimes makes these bad decisions and his characters turns really inconsistent.  Plus, Thomas was always drifting off into sleep or getting beat up.  What happened to Thomas? I just didn’t quite understand why they turned him into this weak.

Overall, it was still a good read. The middle section is a little less action-packed than the entire pacing of the first novel.  The Maze seems to be a lot more intense than the Scorch Trials but the whole deal of why I didn’t like it was how they changed the nature of Thomas.  The idea of revealing hints of what the virus was and the effects it had on humans and how it affected the real world as they went through the Scorch was a good one.  The pacing could have been better.  Still, the ending makes me wonder about the third book.  I’m hoping that its going to notch up the intensity more than this one to have a more engaging reading experience.

 Have you read The Scorch Trials yet? What did you think? Was it better or worse than the first book?

July Reading Recap!

I’m a bit more back on track now! At least book recaps are on time, right? Well, relatively! Confession time: I almost forgot to do this one…

As I’m working hard to finish up the Fantasia Festival reviews, I’m working hard on getting things back in a certain system on the blog. Enough of my rambling, lets move on…

Its been a good run for reading in July up until the last one right now thats taking me FOREVER to read, I’ll tell you which book it is at the end 😉

If I Stay by Gayle Foreman

If I Stay

Mia is a teenage girl who goes through a day of her life following an accident which takes the life of her family.  She relives the scattered moments of the past while seeing how her family, boyfriend and close friends deal with her endangered situation.

I really wanted to fall in love with this book.  It has a great premise and the setup of the whole book was pretty special.  Its a countdown of the hours as she goes through her life in the back seat.  She’s in between life and death and she gains clarity of what’s happened in the past and how everyone reacts to her. Its a lesson about appreciating the little things in life before its too late and at the same time, facing life courageously.  The only problem was that, as well as the story starts, I started losing a connection with  Mia as the story went along in the middle but what does redeem itself is the ending few hours before she makes a decision and through her eyes, we get witness the important people in her life.

If I Stay is set to be released in theatres a little bit.  I can’t remember if its in August or September.  I’m still debating whether I will go see this.

The Red Pole of Macau (Ava Lee #4) by Ian Hamilton

The Red Pole of Macau

In this 4th book of the Ava Lee series, we follow Ava as she heads over to Hong Kong to help her half brother and his partner deal with a business transaction gone bad over in Macau.  Much to their surprise, the Macau side is lead by a powerful and ruthless triad society leader.  Going solo this time for the first time since the start of this series, Ava is not only about business but personal stakes are involved when she is also acting to protect her family.

Up till now, this one has to be my favorite Ava Lee novel.  The fact that she’s not flying around or even engaging in her normal forensic accounting analysis is beside the point because for once, I felt like I was getting closer to understanding Ava a little more and this case itself was exciting and adrenaline pumping action all the way through.  An awesome page-turner!

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The maze Runner

Thomas wakes up in a lift with strange boys surrounding him.  Everyone arrived the same way and only remember their names.  They are in what they call The Glades.  Locked in at night but surrounded by a maze that constantly change.  The maze runners go out everyday hoping to find a way out while they are all assigned jobs to keep the Glades functioning.  Except Thomas’s arrival triggered the arrival of a girl, in turn causing major changes that challenge their survival.

The Maze Runner was a pleasant surprise.  The whole story is fast-paced and intense.  As Thomas searches for a way to escape from the maze with the others, they also are challenged with avoiding being hunted.  There are secrets he has to keep and memories that he tries to find.  As things flip around, the only thing we will worry about is how they will not die in the process. Plus, the ending was totally kick-ass.

The Maze Runner is due to be in theatres in September and as much as I worry that it might be not a good adaptation, I have high hopes that if done right, they might have a great franchise on their hands.  Its has the right material to be a hit, the question now is whether it delivers.

OVERALL…

I didn’t read too much in July and that has to do with this book below:

A Game of Thrones

Thats right, my lovelies! A Game of Thrones is killing me.  Its not boring just crazy long at 835 pages.  I’m only at 65% and I’m starting to wonder when I’ll lose track of the events going on.  Still, I’m soldiering on because its not a bad novel.

After this, I have a little special something planned for the blog related to reading.  Every section has had their time to shine and now its time for a Reading month.  Not just any reading month but one where I’m going to flip through all those independent authors here on the blogosphere that I’ve backlogged and stored on my tablet and I’m going to work on reading as much as I can in a month. A few have reached out to me over the last few months and with everything going on, I never got around to reading it.  Here’s my way to repay everyone 🙂 Better late than never, right?

What have you been reading? Have you read any of these novels?

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!