Sydney Author Event – 29th November 2014

If you enjoy reading romance novels and are based in Australia, check out this author event. Sydney Author Event is a great chance for you to meet & chat with more than 20 Romance authors. Here are the details of the event:

Date: 29th November 2014
Venue: The Ivy Sunroom,
330 George Street, Sydney 2000
Sessions: (i) AM (9 am – 12:30 pm),
(ii) PM (1:30 pm – 5 pm)
(iii) After Party (8 pm till late)
Attending authors:

Tickets for the meet and greet sessions during the day are sold out. However there are still tickets for the after party cruise. Get your ticket(s) to the after party here.

For more details on the event, visit the link, Facebook page and/or Twitter.

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Watch ‘Norwegian Wood’-inspired dance performances – 16th – 19th October 2014

British Council Arts Malaysia proudly presents dance performances by James Cousins company in Kuala Lumpur from 16th to 19th of October 2014.

James Cousins company live in Malaysia

The UK-based dancers will perform two dances – ‘Without Stars’ and ‘There We Have Been’ – which are inspired by Japanese author Haruki Murakami’s novel ‘Norwegian Wood’. Here is a synopsis of the book:

Toru, a quiet and preternaturally serious young college student in Tokyo, is devoted to Naoko, a beautiful and introspective young woman, but their mutual passion is marked by the tragic death of their best friend years before.  Toru begins to adapt to campus life and the loneliness and isolation he faces there, but Naoko finds the pressures and responsibilities of life unbearable.  As she retreats further into her own world, Toru finds himself reaching out to others and drawn to a fiercely independent and sexually liberated young woman.

James Cousins takes the themes of love, loss and friendship from the Japanese story to create emotionally-charged performances.

If you would like to watch the double bill, get your tickets here:

Venue: KuAsh Theatre, Pusat Kanak-Kanak Tuanku Bainun,
Jalan Tun Mohd Fuad, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur (Google map)

Evening show: 16th – 18th of October 2014 @ 8.30pm
Afternoon matinee: 18th & 19th of October 2014 @ 3.00pm

RM25 (early bird & students)
RM30 (at the door)
Free seating for all shows.
Please call +603 2723 7983 to book your tickets!

For more details, visit the event page.

Top Ten Books That Were Hard For Me To Read

The Broke and the Bookish hosts a weekly meme called ‘Top Ten Tuesday‘. It aims to: 1) encourage people to talk about books and 2) introduce book-loving bloggers to one another. Today’s topic of discussion is ‘Top ten books that were hard for me to read’.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are mine and do not necessarily reflect those of SS Readers Corner.

The books that I have selected are based on grouped together based on these reasons: 1) peculiar storyline, 2) disturbing content and 3) unlikeable characters. Kindly take note that this post contains spoilers so skim it if you don’t want too many details.

Peculiar storyline

Books that are difficult to read because of the peculiar plot

Tough reads due to the plot

‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ by Gabriel García Márquez

I took up Intermediate level of Spanish Studies at university. My teacher was very passionate about Latin American culture (she’s a New Zealander) and as a student, I find that inspiring. However I wasn’t happy when we were told to analyse this book for a written examination at the end of semester. Oh, did I mention that the examination was in Spanish?

The story was long-winded and the family saga was exhausting. The names are frequently repeated in many generations; I got confused even where there was a family tree diagram in the foreword. I didn’t finish the book but I passed my exam. Despite not liking the story, I bought an English copy just in case I feel like reading it one day.

‘Kafka on the Shore’ by Haruki Murakami

I read many good reviews about this book. I’ve never read any of the author’s works so I decided to try. Personally, I’m glad the book was borrowed not purchased.

This is the most bizarre book I’ve read…ever! There were so many characters that are supposed to be connected to each other but I couldn’t understand the connections. Certain scenes seem unnecessary such as cat torture and sex scenes with a minor. It was a mess!

Disturbing content

Tough reads due to disturbing content

Tough reads due to the content

‘The Surgeon’ by Tess Gerritsen

Tess Gerritsen used to be a physician but now writes novels.  I decided to read this novel because I have never read a medical thriller before.

I had a tough time reading the book because the villain was a sadistic rapist and killer. The crimes were minutely described so readers could definitely feel the victims’ suffering. Despite the brutality of the crimes, it was an enjoyable read because the story was well-written. I will most certainly continue reading this book series.

‘Accidentally on Purpose’ by L.D. Davis

I really enjoy reading contemporary romance and I must say that this is one of my favourite books.

I don’t like it when a person cheats on his/her partner. Despite the infidelity, I was sympathetic to Emmy because of the abuse she endured from her lover. At the start of the story, Emmy was a witty, independent woman but after the abuse, those qualities vanished. She didn’t think she deserved happiness. Emmy slowly healed with the help of friends and family and got her happy ending. The next book in the series is based on the abusive lover’s point of view. I am conflicted about reading his side of the story.

‘The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden’ by Jessica Sorensen

I read this book when I was in ‘New Adult’ book binge. This is one of my favourite books in that genre.

This book was difficult to read because of the subject matter. Both main characters were abused; Callie was raped at a young age while Kayden was beaten by his own father. They are tormented by their pasts and their coping behaviours are just too troubling. Well I’m glad that they were friends first before becoming lovers because building trust takes time. They don’t live happily ever after at the end of the book. There is a cliffhanger, which I think is appropriate for such traumatising story.

‘The Lovely Bones’ by Alice Sebold

I bought this book when I found out that a movie was going to be made. Did you know that Ryan Gosling was set to play Mr Salmon until he had some creative differences with the director Peter Jackson?

Anyway ‘The Lovely Bones’ was a tough read because of the tragedy that befell Susie Salmon. She was attacked and murdered by someone she knew and that happened in the beginning of the story. Hence the novel/movie is told from Susie’s point of view in the afterlife. It is devastating to read the impact of Susie’s death on her family. Oh I had one issue with that body-swapping scene at the end. That’s just weird and unnecessary.

Unlikeable character(s)

unlikeable_characters

Tough reads due to the characters

‘Anna Karenina’ by Leo Tolstoy

I watched ‘Anna Karenina’ starring Keira Knightley, Jude Law and Aaron Johnson-Taylor and the movie confirms one thing: Keira Knightley cannot act. Her acting is appalling! I am considering reading the book.

However I think this book would be difficult to read because it is a very long book (about 800-1000 pages depending on the publisher/edition). I am afraid of losing interest once I start a few chapters. Another hesitation is due to the main character. In the movie, Anna is very unlikable. I can’t imagine myself spending so much time on such character.

‘Lolita’ by Vladimir Nabokov

I watched ‘Lolita’ the 1962 movie and I understand why the book is highly controversial even till this day.

I think this book would be difficult to read because of the subject matter. Paedophilia is not acceptable even if the minor says that it is “true” love. Humbert Humbert shows no remorse for his immoral behaviour. The movie was ambiguous about their sexual relationship but I think the book is more descriptive. I will only read this if my book club chooses the book. At least the discussion could be therapeutic.

‘New Moon’ by Stephenie Meyer

Speaking of paedophilia, would you consider Edward Cullen a paedophile? Despite the youthful appearance, he is more than 100 years old. Putting that issue aside, I actually like ‘Twilight’ (I own a copy :P) and that’s about it.

I cannot stand the second book in the series because I felt like strangling Bella majority of the time. I understand that she is afraid of growing old while her true love remains a teenager forever. But must she make a life-altering decision at such a young age? When Edward refuses to comply to her wishes, he vanishes and leaves her heartbroken. Jacob Black helps Bella recover from the breakup and during that period of recovery, Bella sees the possibility of turning the friendship into something more. Then Bella gets confused. Come on, girl…make up your mind! If you are torn between two options, then stay single!

‘We Need to Talk about Kevin’ by Lionel Shriver

I am a huge fan of Tilda Swinton ever since I watched ‘Constantine’. She is a brilliant chameleon, from acting to fashion. There are so many praises for the book and movie. Since I love book-to-movie adaptations, I decided to read the original source before watching the movie.

This book was a gruelling read. First, the main character Eva Khatchadourian uses sophisticated words because I believe she has a superiority complex. I checked my Dictionary app whenever I encountered “big” words. Half-way through the book, I stopped using the app because it disrupted my flow of reading. Secondly, I was puzzled with Eva’s lack of connection with her son, Kevin. Why didn’t she get any help/counselling when she had doubts/suspicions about Kevin? Despite all the negativity, the book was thought-provoking for example “Who is to blame for Kevin’s atrocious behaviours?” Eva, Kevin, Franklin or all three?


What do you think of my list of ‘Top Ten Tough Reads’? What books do you find strenuous to read? I’d love to read your picks so just share them (or a link to your blog) in the comment box below.

Author-readers interaction: #2.1 Facebook event

In my previous post about the benefits of Facebook to an author, I focused mostly on the use of Facebook page.

Recently, I discovered that some authors used Facebook events to conduct their book release parties. I think it is a great idea because it transcends geographic borders. It costs much lesser than your standard party: authors do not need to hire a venue and book caterers, invite press and/or fans while invited guests themselves do not need to spend on travelling and lodging. Therefore using Facebook for book launch allows more people to take part.

For the past two weeks, I participated in book release parties held by my favourite authors, Robin Covington and Catherine Bybee. On 5th of August 2014, Ms Covington launched “Temptation”, her firsts book in New Adult genre. A week later, Ms Bybee released the fifth book in her Weekday Brides series “Taken by Tuesday”.

Virtual release day parties by Robin Covington and Catherine Bybee

Virtual release day parties by Robin Covington and Catherine Bybee

In addition to having so much fun, I learnt new things in book marketing. Here are five points that I learnt from the virtual release day parties:

Event name

Robin Covington named her book launch as “Temptation Release Day Slumber Party” – that’s very catchy! The event was held in the evening (USA time) and invitees were encouraged to wear their pyjamas. The author herself was really dressed in pyjamas (there was a photo evidence!).

Timing/duration of event

“Temptation Release Day Slumber Party” was two hours long while “Taken by Tuesday Release Day Party” took place during office hours (9 am till 5 pm). I enjoyed two-hour party more than the longer one because I was able to “be present” throughout the entire duration. I missed some activities at Ms Bybee’s party because I slept (there was a 15 hour time difference).

Guest appearances

There were many authors that attended and supported the event. It was a great opportunity to introduce new authors to the party-goers. Each guest author during Robin Covington’s party had 15 minute session with participants, which I thought was short. I was distracted during the party so by the time I posted and read comments by other participants, the guest author’s time was up and it was another author’s turn. There was slightly longer time to interact with guest authors at Ms Bybee’s party, which is slightly better.

Giveaways

The parties were filled with giveaways by the hosts and guest authors. Most giveaways involved simple questions such as “What’s your favourite romance sub-genre?” and “Who’s your favourite book hero of all time?”. Some giveaways were challenging, for example “What is the author Debra Holland’s other profession?” and “What other pen name Caridad Pineiro writes under?”. I had to look up Goodreads or the author’s website to find the answer. Some giveaways by guest authors involved liking Facebook page as proof of entry. Now that’s a clever strategy to increase fanbase! I’d say giveaways are compulsory in a book launch party!

Engage the party-goers

What better way to engage the party-goers than with interesting conversational topics. Since majority of heroes in romance novels are good-looking men with great physique and masculine confidence, debates on hot men were a must! Examples include “a trait in hero a reader find most attractive” and “favourite athlete hottie”. There were also topics that did not involve men, for instance a beautiful diamond ring posted by Catherine Bybee. Overall, there were comments to each post so one could assume that party-goers were engaged and had fun at the party.

As a reader who lives far far away from her favourite authors, I truly appreciate any book-related events that are conducted online and open to participants all over the world. I’d love to participate in these events not just to have fun but also to learn as much as I can.

So authors, why not set up a Facebook Event page for your next book launch? Feel free to extend an invitation to me by leaving the event’s details in the comment box below.

Robin Covington celebrates ‘Temptation’ release with a Facebook slumber party

Robin Covington will release her first new adult novel in e-book and paperback formats on 5th of August 2014. To celebrate the release of ‘Temptation‘, she is organising a Facebook slumber party:

What? A Virtual Slumber Party
Where? Facebook event page
When? 5th of August 2014 (8:00 pm10:30 pm USA Eastern Daylight Time) / 
6th of August 2014 (8:00 am – 10:30 am Malaysia time)
What to expect? Laughs, man candy and giveaways

Robin Covington’s ‘Temptation’ out on 5th of August 2014

There will be other authors joining the virtual party so here’s a chance to virtually hang out with them!

8:00 – 8:15: Kimberly Kincaid
8:15 – 8:30: Katee Robert-Hird
8:30 – 8:45: Sara Humphreys
8:45 – 9:00: Jessica Scott
9:00 – 9:15: Avery Flynn
9:15 – 9:30: Selena Laurence
9:30 – 9:45: Liliana Hart
9:45 – 10:00: TBD
10:00 – 10:15: Laura Kaye
10:15 – 10:30: TBD

Visit Robin Covington on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest for the latest news, inspiration, and yummy man candy!

International giveaway by Aestas Book Blog – ‘Find You in the Dark’

Good news! Aestas Book Blog is giving away a signed paperback copy of ‘Find You in the Dark’ by A. Meredith Walters. This event is held in conjunction with the paperback release of the book in the United States.

Good news: the giveaway is open worldwide to those aged 18 years and above. If you’d like to try your luck, visit Aestas Book Blog’s giveaways page. The page includes a deleted scene from the book so approach the page with caution. If you want to skip the spoiler, scroll to bottom until you see the heading ‘ ❤ SIGNED GIVEAWAY ❤’.

This giveaway ends on 24th of June 2014. Good luck!

 

Join Colleen Hoover live on Twitter

Hello

Kirkus Reviews will have a Twitter live chat with Colleen Hoover, one of the best-selling authors in Young Adult genre. The chat will take place 11th of June 2014 at 2 pm Central Time USA (3 am Malaysian time tomorrow). Don’t forget to insert the hashtag #kirkustv in your questions.

 

I read ‘Slammed’ in April and I was so intrigued by slam poetry and the Avett Brothers. Thanks Ms. Hoover for introducing them and for acknowledging my tweet!