I can’t believe it’s Friday already. I feel like this week flew by! I am so excited to share with you some interviews I did for Justine with Laini Taylor and Cecilia Vinesse. Both of these ladies had events in the past couple of weeks and I had the pleasure of speaking with both of them.
Laini and I played a quick round of 5 Quick Questions. It was fun to hear how she would place herself within her book. You can find the link to the full article here. Here is a snapshot of it:
Would you rather be a Godspawn or human?
Godspawn, if I could choose!
Who wins in a fight, Lazlo or Thyon?
Oh man, what kind of fight? I’m gonna have to go with Thyon.
I got to have a full conversation with Cecilia. It was so fun speaking with the debut author (Seven Days of You). Our full chat can be seen here. Here is one of my favorite responses from her.
Sophie: Hi, Cecilia! So glad to have you here today. To kick things off, why don’t you tell us something that isn’t in your bio.
Cecilia Vinesse: Hi! Oh my, something that isn’t in my bio. Hmm, let me think about this. I was a really, really big musical theater person for a really long time. I had the all original cast albums of different shows, and I had all the lines memorized. I used to, this is embarrassing, I’m sharing something embarrassing, I used to, when my family was out of the house, we used to have this really steep set of stairs so I would play the music really loud and I would sing it at the top of the stairs like I was in a production of the show. I really thought that was what I wanted to do, like I really thought that was—for a large portion of my teen years that was my dream, but then I realized I’m actually really nervous in front of crowds and that I like telling big stories, but maybe in a quieter way. So slowly over the years all of my Broadway posters came down off the wall. I still like it but not in the same obsessive way that I used to.
“Mystery Blogger Award” is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging; and they do it with so much love and passion. – Okoto Enigma
Put the award logo/image on your blog (I picked an alternate version of the logo).
List the rules.
Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog
Mention the creator of the award and provide a link to their blog as well.
Tell your readers three things about yourself.
Answer questions of nominator.
Nominate 10-20 people.
Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question.
Share your link to your best post(s).
I’m from the Great Lakes state! (Michigan, Lower Peninsula – yes, I like to use my hand as a map.)
I like cake without icing, but I prefer ice cream to either cake or frosting.
I have an alter ego. Her name is Rosemary and she’s an old lady.
1. A series that you hope to start or finish this year?
Oh man I’m so excited for Always and Forever Lara Jean by the lovely Jenny Han.
2. Current favourite song?
If you know anything about me, you know how terrible I am at choosing a favorite. I’m digging everything from Celine Dion to George Michael to the Spice Girls. I also found a Spanish version of Stand by You by Rachel Platten and I love it so much.
3. ONE upcoming release that you could read right now if you had the chance?
King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard!
4. What was your most recent 5 star read?
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini; I read this for my fem lit class and absolutely loved it. You have to give it a chance if you haven’t already.
FUN/WEIRD Question: You’ve instantly taken the place of the main character in the book you’re currently reading/last read. How screwed are you?
Well, I’m reading Passenger by Alexandra Bracken as well as The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. In Passenger I’m much better off than in the latter.
What assumption do people make about your reading habits that is the most inaccurate?
Favorite genre to read on a rainy day?
What’s your go to read when you’re in a slump?
2017 cover you’re completely lusting over right now?
*fun* question: You get to take over the life of a supporting character. Who is it and why?
Hi… I’m so so sorry for my terrible lack of posting over the last… well… forever. I’ve always been bad at the whole blogging thing- since my 3rd grade blog about penguins.
I’m also really bad at thinking of book related questions for myself, so I’ll leave you a list of bookish stats plus my personal essay for AP Literature.. Though if you have any and feel like treating me with the same amount of attention Sophie gets, I’d be glad to answer any and all via an actual, non-scheduled Q&A (sorry Soph..)
Last Book Read: Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston
Last Book Bought: Machiavelli’s The Prince
Dream College Themed book: Chasing Vermeer, Blue Balliet
Bookish Philosophy: there is little more underrated than children’s books… but other books are good too
Theme of Spring Break Reading List: Biography/memoir/giant bin of books borrowed from Sophie
Favorite publications: for news, BBC; for general entertainment, The Bloggess all the way
Most anticipated book yet to be released: You Are Here, Jenny Lawson(shh i know its a coloring book)
Best beverage to pair with a book: tea latte or latte in general
Bookish Bad Habits: dog-earing, setting down book face open
MY AP LIT PERSONAL ESSAY
Literature is Not Important to Me
Literature is not important to me, in the same way that drinking water is not important to me. It is something I do frequently, but it is also something I have done for so long that it is no longer a conscientious activity.
I have always had a propensity for words and communication. According to my mother, I began speaking at nine months and my first word was “kitty cat.” At a year I could correctly identify the colors of my crayon box and by fifteen months I could name the letters in my alphabet puzzle. She recalls me reading words by age two, and there are several photos of a very tiny Maiya sitting on a small training toilet or on the floor of my bedroom engrossed in a book. I frustrated my preschool teacher with my refusal to listen to her lessons on letters, and she apparently managed to have me for nearly a year without realizing that I could read. As a first-grader in the Voyager program, I was moved up to a reading group with fourth and fifth graders, and I was quite close with our school librarian, often discussing gardening or crafting as I checked out my strange combination of novels and books on plants and crocheting.
As a result of my constant need for words, I read voraciously and with little discrimination. As a five-year-old, I read the microwave manual as part of a deal in order to be allowed to use the brand new machine, and my parents had to cancel their TIME subscription a few years later, because generally, one does not want their seven-year-old reading something with an intended audience at least a decade older. Many of my fondest memories of summers as an elementary schooler feature large paper bags and corrugated cardboard boxes filled with young adult novels my mother picked up at second-hand stores and garage sales. I would blow through them, and to this day, seventy-some percent of the books in our family library are mine.
A side-effect of my reading was a comically large vocabulary packed into a tiny person, and as many of the words I acquired were ones that I had only read, mispronunciation became a comedic portion of my family’s lives. I once mispronounced “sophisticated” as “soff’ is cated” to my mother’s amusement.
Another side-effect of my obsession with stories is, ironically, my inability to tell a story. The abundance of stories and their many commonalities lead me to jump from tale to tale, never finishing one and going off on a thousand digressions in an attempt to share a brief moment from my life.
While many people will say that books and the characters within become their friends, I have never found this statement to ring true for myself. However, I will admit that books and my love for them have led me to make many friends, whether the librarians at each school or the girl behind me in eighth grade geometry with whom I would eventually start a book blog.
Like drinking water, reading is a necessary part of my life. Without water, I, as a carbon-based biological organism, would die. Without my passion for reading and the love of learning and knowledge that logically follows, my personality would die. Just as water keeps me physically nourished, burying my nose in books provides my mind with sustenance. This leads to an odd paradox in which literature has become so important it becomes commonplace. It is so ingrained within my life that without it, I would not be me.
Small me, on a toilet, reading. This is my personal sacrifice for my lack of blogging
Hi, guys! I’m here (a little late) with another tag for you. I don’t care that I’m doing another tag because I simply do not have much time on my hands for much else. I found this tag on Sporadic Reads and I really loved it.
How long have you been a blogger?
I’ve been blogging a little over a year now and I love it.
At what point do you think you’ll stop blogging?
Hopefully I don’t stop any time soon! I really love using this as a creative outlet. It also relaxes me. I do want a real job though. This is a great way for me to keep writing and keep up with the book community.
What is the best thing about blogging?
The people! I love making new friends and sharing my enthusiasm for books with other people. I love how alive the book community is today!
What is the worst thing? What do you do to make it okay?
Ahh the consistent way I need to post for it to be a serious blog. I want to do a lot with this blog so I have discovered that keeping a schedule helps me a lot. At least I have a theme for a post for the day so I know what to talk about for the day.
How long does it take you to create/find pictures to use?
Not very long. Since I #Bookstagram I have lots of bookish photos. I have an editor on my laptop so I can do whatever I want thereafter. Sometimes it’s hard to find time to take photos but I can manage it pretty well if I do large chunks at a time.
Nothing special if this is what the question is asking. I blog when I can so whatever I happen to be wearing that day I write in.
How long does it take you to prepare?
How much am I trying to do at the moment? It depends if I’m multitasking or not, but usually I can write a review in about 20-30 minutes. The same goes for posts like these. I like to write ahead of the day, so I can schedule and I won’t have to worry about it the day of.
How do you feel about the “Book Blogger Community”?
I love it!! It’s inclusive and always supportive of others. The #Bookstagram community is just as wonderful.
What do you think one should do to get a successful blog?
Be genuine! If you write genuine reviews, reach out to people you really want to know, it helps a lot. I love it when people reply to my posts and it’s fun to learn about everyone else.
Hey guys! I’m still riding the high after my last first football performance – it was amazing. I can’t believe this season is my last. Today I come to you with another tag! I found this on Blogloving Nut’s blog and thought it would be fun to do. Hopefully I’ll have a Q & A session on here next Friday.
1. Do you get sick while reading in the car?
Not all the time. Most of the time I can read in the car, but on occasion I just can’t.
2. Which author’s writing style is completely unique to you and why?
I love the way April Tucholke writes.
3. Harry Potter Series or the Twilight Saga? Give 3 points to defend your answer.
Harry Potter, but I don’t really belong to either fandom that much. I don’t think this choice needs much defense.
4. Do you carry a book bag? If so, what is it in (besides books…)?
Like backpack or tote? I use my backpack during the school year and keep all my school stuff in there (i.e. notebooks, pencils, pens). In my tote I carry my wallet and pretty much anything I might need throughout the day.
5. Do you smell your books?
6. Books with or without little illustrations?
They are so gorgeous with!
7. What book did you love while reading but discovered later it wasn’t quality writing? (Ex. I read Twilight before I read HP and thought the writing was amazing but read HP and now think Twilight is a little bit of a joke.)
Lol Twilight was pretty meh after the fact that I finished the series.
8. Do you have any funny stories involving books from your childhood? Please share!
Not that I can remember. My dad used to make up the best bedtime stories though. (If you’re reading this, hi, Dad!)
9. What is the thinnest book on your shelf? The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
10. What is the thickest book on your shelf? Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
11. Do you write as well as read? Do you see yourself in the future as being an author?
I used to more in middle school. I don’t think I’ll be a novelist anytime soon if I am going to be one.
12. When did you get into reading?
That’s really hard to pinpoint because I’ve always loved reading. Seriously though. Always. 13. What is your favorite classic book? To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
14. In school was your best subject Language Arts/English?
Yeah, I’m still really great with the whole English thing. 15. If you were given a book as a present that you had read before and hated…what would you do?
Say thank you and casually see if there was a gift receipt.
16. What is a lesser known series that you know of that is similar to Harry Potter or the Hunger Games?
I have to agree with the previous blogger on this. Everything gets compared to these series. I loveeee the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series.
17. What is a bad habit you always do (besides rambling) while blogging?
Wait too long to write a post so I have to sit up and write it.
18. What is your favorite word?
I like the way ‘frugal’ sounds.
19. Are you a nerd, dork, or dweeb? Or all of the above?
Nerd always and forever.
20. Vampires or Fairies? Why?
Fairies if I must choose (High Fae if I feel like being extremely particular).
21. Shapeshifters or Angels? Why?
Shapeshifters for sure.
22. Spirits or Werewolves? Why?
Werewolves; we’ve got Lupin and Taylor Lautner sooooo.
23. Zombies or Vampires?
24. Love Triangle or Forbidden Love
Triangle if it’s written well
25. AND FINALLY: Full on romance books or action-packed with a few love scenes mixed in?
Action-packed because then love isn’t the focus of the story. I like it when it’s a subplot more.
Who I’m tagging:
If you like High Fae like me I tag you. If you want to do this tag please feel free to take part in it!
I’m hosting an open Q & A session here on the blog, and I’d love to hear from you. Comment your questions for me below (personal and bookish) for a chance to be featured next week!
Hey happy Friday! I’m back here again with another book tag because I can. I found this on Lizzy’s blog My Little Book Blog. It’s an excellent blog and y’all need to go check it out.
WHAT ARE YOUR TOP THREE BOOK PET HATES?
Forced love triangles – Drama is okay here and there, but the love triangle that goes on wayyyy too long? Ugh I hate it.
Bad books with pretty covers – Okay so maybe this is a little petty, but I buy a good portion of books on looks. I hate getting suckered in by the cover and not liking the book.
Love at first sight – It’s so unrealistic! I know it happens for some people, but for the most part people have to get to know each other first.
DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT READING SPOT
I want a nook that is cozy and tucked away from the world. It will overlook something nature-y with a big window and lots of pillows. And a blanket. I would also have a way to store as many books there as possible. I’m all about space conservation.
TELL US THREE BOOK CONFESSIONS
I dog-ear my pages. It happens when I’m in need of a bookmark and I don’t have anything in my hand to stick in my book. Pro tip: When you dog-ear use the bottom of the page. Less words there usually.
If you read my Wednesday post it wouldn’t surprise you if I said I write in my books. I love to read my notes in the margins when I reread. It’s about the conversation between me and the book! It’s something I don’t always do, but I will if I want to.
I know I’ve confessed to not reading Harry Potter all the way through, so another series I haven’t read is The Lord of the Rings. I know, I know Tolkien is practically in literary cannon, but I just haven’t gotten into the book series! It’s not that I’m against fantasy, I love a good fantasy, it’s just that it’s never been high on my list of reading. I’m sure I’ll get to it eventually, but not quite yet.
WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED DURING A BOOK?
I cried reading Blood for Blood by Ryan Graudin. The feels just hit me, and I couldn’t help myself! One that really had me going with the waterworks was The Memory Book by Lara Avery. I highly highly recommend this book. It’s an excellent story that doesn’t get nearly as much hype as it should.
HOW MANY BOOKS ARE ON YOUR BEDSIDE TABLE?
Depends what bedside table. I have 2 because I’m staying with my sister (long story short, our rental house flooded in the basement where my parents were staying and we only have 2 real bedrooms here). On that one I have at least 10. On this one at home I have one because my mom made me move everything to my actual bookshelves. I have a lot of them packed up too though. I can’t wait to move.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE SNACK TO EAT WHILE YOU’RE READING?
Food. I like food. Honestly it doesn’t really matter to me what I eat as long as I like it. I’ve eaten chocolate, salami, dinner, lunch, breakfast. One of my favorite things to do is read and eat my meals. I read with my breakfast almost everyday.
NAME THREE BOOKS YOU WOULD RECOMMEND TO EVERYONE
This is like asking me to pick a favorite child!!!!!!! Okay I think I’ll go with my favorite ones that aren’t as hyped as they should be.
You Were Here by Cori McCarthy – Seriously guys, you need to go read this book right now. It’s about a girl who is still coping with the crushing grief from the death of her older brother. There are 4 other characters whose stories go with hers, and it’s immaculate. I love Cori’s writing! It’s gorgeous, just like her 🙂 (review | interview)
Not if I See You First by Eric Lindstrom – I could not stop laughing when I read this book. It’s about a girl named Parker who is blind and is one of the sassiest characters you’ll ever meet. I love her strength and self-confidence (and her rules!!). I love how Linstrom portrays this disability. Though Parker is blind, it isn’t the defining thing of the story. It’s more about Parker’s story and how she develops as a person. (review)
The Girl Who Fell by S. M. Parker – This book talks the importance of relationships in your life. It’s about knowing who you are as a person, and what affect your relationship with another has on who that is. I love how Zephyr is portrayed in this book, and I love that she has an excellent support system. Zeph is a beacon of hope to those who have experienced or think they are in an abusive relationship whether it’s physical, emotional, or psychological. Never let someone silence you! (review | interview)
SHOW US A PICTURE OF YOUR FAVOURITE BOOKSHELF ON YOUR BOOKCASE
Lol throwback to that time when my books were kind of organized. I don’t currently have a favorite shelf, but I’ll definitely have an updated shelfie when we move in!
WRITE HOW MUCH BOOKS MEAN TO YOU IN JUST THREE WORDS
Whole New World
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST READING SECRET?
I haven’t read a lick of Morgan Matson. I own two of her books so acquiring the material is definitely not a problem, but I just haven’t gotten around to reading them yet. I will read The Unexpected Everything this month for The Book Junkies and I’m so excited!
Who I’m tagging
Anyone who has a double letter in their names (i.e. Theodore, Lily, etc.)
Hey guys, it’s Friyay! I’m finishing up my week at band camp, and it’s been pretty awesome. (At least I think it is because I’m writing this ahead of time.) Anyway I found this book tag on Spines and Covers which is run by three lovely ladies. They aren’t a blog I follow, so I found them through a Google search. (I snagged the picture from them because I liked it.)
January (GARNET): Associate with warding off negative forces and dark energies – Name a book with the darkest/evilest character you can think of
I’m going to go ahead and agree with Samantha from Spines and Covers on this one. The Commandant is nightmare inducing, and she doesn’t show any remorse for her behavior. On one hand, yeah I kind of see why she does things, but on the other I’m like what the heck lady. There are a few moments in the book where she could redeem herself but it all comes crashing down once she opens her mouth.
FEBRUARY (AMETHYST): PURPLE IS ASSOCIATED WITH ROYALTY – NAME A BOOK WITH REGAL QUALITIES… YOU CAN BASE THIS OFF OF CHARACTERS OF CHOOSE THE KING OF ALL BOOKS
Shahrzad is a queen in her own right. I love love love her fierce confidence in herself, and she does things that she thinks is right and accepts the consequences. I love how her character develops throughout the story along with everyone else’s too. (You can read my full review here.)
March (AQUAMARINE): Washed out – Name a ‘wishy washy’ character, a character who is not strong or a follower
Isla herself stressed me out this entire novel. I liked her least of the three girls in Stephanie Perkins’ companion novels. She just didn’t have much verve or desire to do anything but think/talk/speak with Josh the entire book and that really, really bothered me.
APRIL (DIAMOND): A DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH – NAME A BOOK THAT YOU LOVED BUT IS NOT WELL KNOWN
WHY AREN’T MORE PEOPLE READING THIS BOOK BECAUSE IT’S GORGEOUS?!?!?!? I LOVE this book with a passion and practically no one knows about it! It’s about Jaycee and 4 other people that are connected to her in some way (broken friendship, brother’s friend, etc.). Jaycee is about to live past the day her brother did and do things he never did. It’s a story about her coping with the loss of her brother years later and her journey of grief and guilt is beautifully told.
May (EMERALD): Said to balance energy – Name two characters who balance each other well
Eleanor and Park *le sigh* They are not only in love with each other, they’re best friends and I love that. There are so many sharp, subtle contrasts between the two that it’s a bit like Romeo and Juliet (but I love this one compared to the two teenagers who killed themselves in the name of love *pukes*).
JUNE (PEARL): ASSOCIATED WITH LOYALTY – NAME A CHARACTER WHO IS LOYAL TO THE END
Jamie Watson is hella loyal to Charlotte even though she gives him no reason to be other than being a Holmes. I like how their characters develop and intertwine throughout the story. It’s a very compelling mystery as well, and even though Charlotte is prickly she lets Jamie in in ways that she doesn’t let anyone else which I can appreciate.
July (RUBY): Blood red – Name a book that made your blood boil, one that made you angry
I don’t think I can express my feelings with words at how angry the ending made me. I can’t believe it happened, just whattttttt?!?!?!?!? I mean Mare is cool in the first book, and she’s okay in this one, but I hate how self-destructive she is.
AUGUST (PERIDOT): PALE GREEN (IT PALES IN COMPARISON TO OTHER GEMS) – NAME A SUPPORTING CHARACTER WHO YOU LIKE BETTER THAN THE MAIN CHARACTER
Let me be clear here and say that I LOVE Zephyr! That being said I do love her best friend throughout this entire book. Zeph annoyed me with some of her decisions and that was the point of them, but I like how I could count on her friend Lizzie, and even Gregg! They’re wonderful supporting characters and friends to Zeph.
September (SAPPHIRE): Blue like the ocean which is calming – Name a book that had a calming affect on you
This is one of my fallback rereads. I love the characters, the plot, the everything of this book. Maybe it’s just because I read it at the right time, but I instantly fell in love. Also it’s there’s a reference to another amazing book (The Color Purple) which you should also read.
OCTOBER (OPAL): IRIDESCENT – NAME AN IRIDESCENT BOOK, THIS CAN BE A BOOK WITH A BEAUTIFUL COVER (SHINY? LOTS OF COLOUR?) OR YOU CAN BASE IT OFF OF A CHARACTER (QUIRKY? COLOURFUL?)
You can’t really tell here but this book is soooo shiny. There’s this gorgeous foil on the blue part of the cover so it simulates the water. I also loved this story about Keeley and her own self discovery. There’s so many twists and turns in this book that I was not expecting. Siobhan is also a wonderful lady – I had the chance to interview her!
November (TOPAZ): Associated with resilience – Name a book’s with a character who rises to the top in a time of adversity
If finding out you have a debilitating disease at 17 isn’t adversity I don’t know what is. Samantha Agatha McCoy is one tough chick. I love how she softens as her story continues, and that it’s told in diary format. Sammie has just learned that she has a genetic disease that will eventually take her memories from her. She starts writing this book to help her remember, and Sammie takes you through her journey in this. This book had me in tears and I love it.
DECEMBER (BLUE ZIRCON): ASSOCIATED WITH FRIENDSHIP – NAME A BOOK WITH A FRIENDSHIP YOU WANT TO BE APART OF
Safi and Iseult will go to the ends of the earth for each other and I really appreciate their strong connection. I love when there are strong female characters and they support each other. It’s one thing to have them clashing, but it’s amazing when they come together and are there for each other. #womenforwomen
Who I’m tagging
Anyone who wants to do this tag is welcome to! It was really fun, and took me longer than I expected to (probably doesn’t help that I was totally distracted by the interwebs).
What do you think of my choices? What would you pick?
Hi guys! I’m back this Friday with a book tag. What better way to get back on my Friday posts than a book tag, right? (Side note: it’s not even like I missed a lot of Friday posts, just last week so I don’t know what I’m doing ranting like that.) Anywho, I’m stealing this off of Lizzie’s My Little Book Blog which is absolutely adorable, you definitely need to go check it out.
BLACK: A SERIES THAT’S TOUGH TO GET INTO BUT HAS HARDCORE FANS
I have not even considered picking this book up honestly. My friend and roommate is slowly making her way through it and says it’s pretty good. The whole blood and gore and sex just doesn’t appeal to me that much, but a ton of people loooveee this series (and the t. v. series).
PEPPERMINT MOCHA: A BOOK THAT GETS MORE POPULAR DURING THE WINTER OR A FESTIVE TIME OF YEAR
There’s even snowflakes on the cover. I loved this book! It’s set right around the holiday season and I love the idea of a notebook scavenger hunt. Okay maybe it’s a bit unrealistic (I mean stranger danger, hello!!), but it’s cute and fluffy and perfect if you’re looking to curl up on a wintry day with something like that.
HOT CHOCOLATE: A FAVORITE CHILDREN’S BOOK
This is hands down my favorite children’s book. My mom used to read them to my sister and I, and she swears by the first book. It’s a must read as a child in our house. This is the first book that really got me into mysteries. I always wanted to be like Violet. I’m pretty sure she was my first cosplay (for a school costume thing).
DOUBLE SHOT OF ESPRESSO: A BOOK THAT KEPT YOU ON THE EDGE OF YOUR SEAT FROM START TO FINISH
I finished this book in 2 days flat. I could not put this down and I flew through the pages. How could I not love this unique alternate history? I can’t wait for the sequel to release this fall because I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS. Luckily I snagged myself an ARC at BookCon and am currently reading it to satiate my needs.
STARBUCKS: A BOOK YOU SEE EVERYWHERE
Look how pretty the cover is! I have yet to read a Morgan Matson book and I finally will this month! We will be reading this for The Book Junkies August read. I can’t wait to read it!
THE HIPSTER COFFEE SHOP: A BOOK BY AN INDIE AUTHOR (A SHOUT OUT)
This one goes to my lovely, wonderful, all-around amazing Michigan friend Cori McCarthy. I can’t believe the lack of hype her books get because they are absolutely stellar and deserve 1000x more attention than they actually get. I had the opportunity to meet Cori and she is one of the loveliest people I know. You can read our interview and my review of You Were Hereon the blog.
OOPS! I ACCIDENTALLY GOT DECAF: A BOOK YOU WERE EXPECTING MORE FROM
You have no idea how much I wanted to love this book. I read Anna and Lola before this and I was excited to see how this ended. I couldn’t wait to see how the two other stories would weave into this one either. So many call this one their favorite of the three but I just don’t see it!
THE PERFECT BLEND: NAME A BOOK OR SERIES THAT WAS BOTH BITTER AND SWEET, BUT ULTIMATELY SATISFYING.
The ending to this duology was magnificent. I don’t think it could have ended better, and I half wish I hadn’t finished the series and was just stuck in Sharhzad’s world forever.
GREEN TEA: NAME A BOOK OR SERIES THAT IS QUIETLY BEAUTIFUL.
Excuse me while I go quietly sob in the back corner over this book. Oh my goodness you just get hit by a wall of feels when you read this book. It is fantastically done, and you fall in love with Sammie with every word. (My complete thoughts are here in my review.)
CHAI TEA: NAME A BOOK OR SERIES THAT MAKES YOU DREAM OF FAR OFF PLACES.
I totally want to be friends with Amani and Jin because they’re fabulous. I love the world building in this story and I can’t wait for it continue in the next book. It’s going to be epic.
EARL GREY: NAME YOUR FAVOURITE CLASSIC
For those of you who know me or have read a lot of my posts, you know I swear by To Kill a Mockingbird. Today I wanted to talk about another classic I love because I can’t bestow alll of my love on Harper Lee’s gorgeousness. I read this after a girl in my lit class gave a book talk on it, and I was instantly hooked. This talks about censorship and the beauty of knowledge. You definitely need to go check it out.
Hey book dragons (and Friday)! I hope you’ve had a great week so far. I know there has been so much drama lately on the internet, but thankfully the book things aren’t all that dramatic (unless your prose is drama of course).
A few weeks back, my final assignment for Brown was to interview a journalist that I admire. Yin Chang is the amazing host of the podcast 88 Cups of Tea. The focus of 88 Cups of Tea is to bring authors and other people in the literary/performing arts field(s) to listeners and help them learn from experts who have already succeeded there. Yin has had the opportunity to speak with people like Morgan Matson (The Unexpected Everything), R. J. Palacio (Wonder), and most recently Matt de la Peña (Last Stop on Market Street). I’ve linked the pages of each chat and the Amazon page of each book in case you wanted to check them out. I highly encourage it – Yin is so warm and engaging with each guest that I can’t help but love each episode I listen to.
Here’s a bit about our amazing host Yin:
Yin Chang is an actor-turned-podcast-host, a #1 Amazon bestselling co-author, short film producer, and writer. She was born and raised in New York and currently resides in Los Angeles.
Yin is the creator and host of 88 CUPS OF TEA, a podcast show dedicated towards helping storytellers move forward in their careers. Yin interviews bestselling authors, and successful directors, screenwriters, and producers. Yin asks engaging questions where her inspiring guests discuss how they created opportunities for their careers, allowing listeners to apply actionable steps towards their own. Through the podcast, Yin creates a tribe, a safe space, for storytellers to learn and feel empowered, inspired, and motivated.
As an actor, Yin made her feature film debut in Walt Disney’s PROM. She is most recognized for her work in three seasons of CW’s GOSSIP GIRL, a TV show hailed by New York Magazine as, “The greatest teen drama of all time.” Yin has also made numerous appearances on major TV shows and starred in THE BLING RING. Learn more about Yin’s work as an actor here.
This is what she hopes to achieve with her podcast
Everyone has a story to tell.
88 CUPS OF TEA is a podcast crafted for the novelist, the screenwriter, the filmmaker, and the creative in you. I interview directors, writers, and producers who are responsible for the successes of shows like 30 ROCK, ONCE UPON A TIME IN WONDERLAND, RIZZOLI & ISLES, TWISTED, LAW & ORDER: SVU, and many more. I document my chats with inspiring international and New York Times bestselling authors and award-winning writers and filmmakers.
I have my own stories I need to share, just like you. I’ve taken writing classes and joined writing workshops, and from these classes I’ve learned that there’s still so much more to learn.
Through this curiosity, I chat with those who are “doing it”: Those who are able to balance their passion for storytelling, make a living, and more importantly, those who are able to prioritize time for their family, friends, and hobbies. I’m still learning to balance all of that. I want to do work that brings me joy and do it in a way that still provides a roof over my head, and most importantly, I want to always be grounded and human about it all.
I crave for real talk. I get a high from picking the brains of those I’ve worked with and became friends with throughout my acting career, and of those who I’ve admired from afar. That hunger for conversation with storytellers birthed 88 CUPS OF TEA, a podcast for fellow curious storytellers just like me.
The conversations with my guests constantly leave me feeling so moved and inspired, and it will leave you feeling just as inspired through their generous and invaluable tips and advice. These motivating discussions will keep you moving forward in your career by learning how these guests create opportunities for themselves.
88 CUPS OF TEA is a safe space where we all gather together to learn together from these mentors, to be each other’s cheerleaders, and to root for the underdogs in all of us.
So if you haven’t caught on by now, I chose Yin to interview for my final project, and I want to thank her a million times for agreeing to do this for and with me. Below is our own discussion on her career, how she started, and some amazing episodes she captured.
Sophie: Hi Yin! Thank you so much for being here with me! How do you choose what guest you want on your show? Is it hard to contact them?
Yin: Before I launched the podcast, I reached out to friends and colleagues I
made while working on set. At the time, they were my directors,
producers, and screenwriters of TV shows/movies I acted in. Interviews
with them helped me build a very solid roster of guests as a foundation
to reach out to other guests I had never met.
My initial process for selecting guests for the show was pretty organic
and spontaneous. I would either pass through Barnes & Noble and gravitate
towards books that stood out to me, or I would read through summaries of
books that were displayed in the bestsellers list and reach out to
authors whose stories resonated with me most. As the show progressed, I
became more involved with social media and found fantastic guests by
paying attention to whose work the listeners are currently reading. I’ve
also had several authors pitched to me by publicists, publishers, and
literary agencies, and I bring on the ones who would fit the show best.
For guests outside of the world of authors, I make sure to keep an ear
out for cool new movies or TV shows that are in the works, or are in the
film festival rounds before they’re released to the public. I tend to
lean towards creative people who have created something from absolutely
General rule of thumb I like to stick to: Only invite or accept guests who
I’m interested in having a genuine conversation with. Something about them
needs to jump out at me and keep me interested, or else it wouldn’t be
interesting for my listeners either.
For all of my guests, aside from a few guests who were already my friends,
I reach out to them via email.
S: What’s your strategy for interviewing people? Is there one question you like to ask every time?
Y: Generally, the guests and I have about 3-5 minutes to ourselves before we
get into the interview. This is where I give them a friendly reminder
about the audio technicalities. In those few minutes, I’m usually able to
feel out their personalities. Although rare, there are times we instantly
click like long-lost best friends and we’ll hop right into a beautiful
conversation about life overall, and if appropriate, I’ll steer the
direction of the interview with questions I feel would best benefit
listeners. Most of the times, I like to kickstart conversations by
having guests backtrack all the way to their earliest memories of the
first steps towards their creative path. From there, I pay close
attention and engage by listening intently, asking questions, and giving
my two cents, like I would with a close friend.
At the very end of the episode, I love to wrap it up by asking each guests
what kinds of books they recommend for listeners to check out!
S: How long does it take for you to conduct an interview for a podcast? Does this include editing as well?
Y: It usually takes about an hour for an interview. Unfortunately, that
doesn’t include editing. I wish it did! Editing takes about 10 hours.
S: Do you usually conduct your interviews in person or another way? Do you have a preference?
Y: I’ve yet to do an in-person interview, though I’d love to when the time
is right! I travel quite a bit and am always on the go, so I conduct all
of my interviews via Skype. S: What’s your favorite part of doing research on an author?
Y: I love learning about their personal lives (I also love chatting with
them about their personal lives!), their favorite hobbies, and their
daily routine. It humanizes them beyond the work that they’ve created and
are most recognized for, and I’m able to connect with them on a deeper
level in addition to just talking-shop.
S: Why a podcast? What do you like about publishing your work through a podcast?
Y: I was obsessed with podcasts about a year (might’ve been about a year and
a half) before creating one. I love the ease and convenience of podcasts.
I’m able to multi-task— hike, shower, put on makeup, cook, drive, etc.—
all while learning and feeling productive with each episode I’m listening
S: How did you figure out that this is what you wanted to do after your work as an actress? Have you always also been a writer?
Y: Shortly after moving out to LA to work as an actor, I created a short
film, “Strain”, about bullying prevention. My intentions were to have it
available as a free resource that would spark important conversations
amongst teens about the effects and consequences of bullying. The short
film went on to do way more than I had hoped and was used as an
educational tool for teachers, parents, and students. Having experienced
what it was like to tell a story that mattered to at least one viewer,
and experiencing first-hand the kind of effort it took behind-the-scenes
to bring something to life, together with the entire team, was enough to
hook me into the “other side” of acting.
From there, I reconnected with my love for writing. I took fiction and
screenwriting classes online and joined an in-person writing workshop. I
realized through those classes that I had so much more to learn, not just
about the craft of writing but also about real-world experiences. I had
listened to a ton of podcast episodes about small business start-ups and
entrepreneurial topics, and I desperately searched for podcasts that were
in the same vein but geared towards writers. I couldn’t find a show I
could relate to, either I wasn’t vibing with the host’s personality or I
couldn’t relate to the conversations.
Around the same time, I had a handful of friends from the entertainment
industry I wanted to catch up with and chat about their career and how
they got started. I was sure that there were other people out there who
shared the same kinds of questions, thoughts, hopes, and fears as a fellow
creative soul. Everything clicked from there on out, I realized I could
basically record our conversations so that listeners could learn along
S: Have you ever interviewed someone then decided against publishing? Why or why not?
Y:There’s only been two people I’ve interviewed that I couldn’t publish.
One was due to extremely poor audio quality. I had the file sent to
several different editors and even they couldn’t do anything about it.
The other guest’s file was corrupted when I brought the laptop to Asia
while I was traveling for three months. I had that file passed around to
about 5 different computer repair shops over a span of about 7 months
hoping to somehow recover the file. I was devastated and still am because
those are precious quality time that was set aside for the conversation
and moments like that can never be re-created.
Aside from that, I’ve published every single interview because there’s
always something someone can take away from that particular conversation!
S: What is your favorite part of this job?
Y: I’m so lucky to have listeners like you see this as a job. Podcasting was
a dream formed from another dream, and it’s incredible to watch it grow
into something very “real” through hard work and commitment. Seeing it
from idea through execution is one of the proudest moments I’ve had.
Having incredible conversations with guests give me an absolute high.
Hands down though, my favorite part of this job is hearing directly from
listeners about how the podcast has helped them. When they go the extra
step of dedicating a blog post to the podcast, it’s outrageous, I’m
overwhelmed with happiness.
S: What has been your favorite episode to record? The most challenging one?
Y:This is a tough one! Been thinking about this for nearly an hour and I’m
still having difficulty narrowing it down to one favorite episode. I’ll
give you three of my favorites: Jean Kwok, Tyler Knott Gregson, and
Jacqueline Woodson. The most challenging episodes are the ones where the
guest and I have the best time chatting for nearly two hours and then
having to edit it down to about 45 min – 1 hour.
S: Would you mind chatting about those episodes?
Y: Jean Kwok, Tyler Knott Gregson, Jacqueline Woodson were guests I
immediately clicked with emotionally and shared very similar values and
view points. Talking to Jean was like re-connecting with a long-time
friend, we had so much to talk about, to laugh about, and to ponder about.
We shared very similar upbringings because of our Asian cultural
backgrounds it was so natural and easy for us to understand where we came
from, and the kinds of struggles our parents had and how that influenced
and impacted us growing up. That laid a great foundation in touching other
topics with genuine and authentic ease.
With Jacqueline, I resonated with the racial injustices she and her
children have to face every single day. It was the show’s very first
episode where we removed all guards and had a very honest and raw
discussion about race, injustices, and diversity. I always tend to focus
on topics about writing but with Jacqueline, I felt a heavy responsibility
and urge to dig deeper and discuss the grim reality of race and
injustices. In order to create change, we need to start with honest
conversations. I’m honored to have had the chance to touch on where my
frustrations and concerns were coming from with one of the brightest
Tyler was someone that I immediately connected with on an emotional and
psychological level. We’re both very sensitive to our surroundings and
share a very similar outlook on life and the philosophy of it. I loved
learning how Tyler sees the world in a way that magnifies the littlest
details that most people overlook. It automatically creates a shift in
perspective and makes you so much more grateful for the things you already
have and the people in your life.
Rita Williams-Garcia was another fantastic guest that I thoroughly enjoyed
chatting with. We met up at her favorite coffee shop in Queens, New York
while I was visiting my family! The coffee shop is cozy and welcoming, and
Rita was just as I had expected– warm, inviting, open, and a bundle of
positive energy. Man, we were chatting for nearly 3 hours and it was the
very first time we met face-to-face! If I didn’t have a lunch meeting to
get to, we could’ve chatted more! She is just one of those people who you
can talk to for hours at a time and swap stories like long-lost best