[Author Interview] Helen Hoang

Helen Hoang is that shy person who never talks. Until she does. And the worst things fly out of her mouth. She read her first romance novel in eighth grade and has been addicted ever since.

In 2016, she was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in line with what was previously known as Asperger’s Syndrome. Her journey inspired THE KISS QUOTIENT, which comes out in June 2018 with Berkley.

She currently lives in San Diego, California with her husband, two kids, and pet fish.

Helen is represented by Kim Lionetti of BookEnds Literary Agency.

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[Blogger Interview] Raf from The Royal Polar Bear Reads

The Royal Polar Bear likes to read on his free time. He fantastically dislikes classics. Aside from reading, traveling and sleeping are his best friends. He tends to hibernate most of the time.

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[Guest Post] The Myth of the Wrong Books by KB Meniado

Bookbed was born in 2010, in the hope of finding a solution to my perpetual problem of “where do I get money to buy more books.” I was just out of a job then (my contract ended), my savings account a joke, so I was worried about how I was going to sustain my book buying habit, which was one of the few things I’ve built my happiness around. I know, I hear you—parents. Mine are always so generous and supportive, but they were already paying for my bills as it was. I was 20, and if I was serious about learning how to be an adult, including affording my own wants, I had to somehow try my best in many ways, didn’t I? So one of my ~great ideas was book buying and selling.

Now I don’t mean that Bookbed was my gateway to maturity, financial stability, and my best self, because nah, fam. The point I’m trying to make is that when I started doing Bookbed—at least the first version of it which was an online secondhand bookstore thing, I learned so many things about readers, and I was able to connect with a lot of them. This was kind of mindblowing and magical to me, because growing up, reading had always been more of a solitary experience. Sure, my high school barkada and I also bonded over romance and young adult novels, but one, they were already my friends, and two, they seemed like they could live without all of it, unlike me. In the world of online book buying and selling, I was meeting strangers, forging friendships with them, finding out how much books meant to them.

It was life-changing.

But it wasn’t always ideal. Because there were a lot of times I wasn’t selling any and just more of buying many. I remember thinking “shit, I’m reading and buying the wrong books and now I can’t get rid of them.” (Excuse this insecurity, I was my particular kind of young idiot.) But digging deeper, it was an insight on how different readers are, and how differently we all read. Sometimes it’s not about the bestsellers, and other times it’s not about the cult reads. Or it’s not even about the literal printed word at all! I should know, illustrated books sold out before I could even say “nope, no discount.”

I learned way more about how and what people read when Bookbed became a community in 2014. This was because aside from book buying and selling, we put up a book blog that was (and still is) open to one-time and regular contributors. Everyone and anyone could write about whatever book they wanted, and we would publish the review or feature, given that it followed our easy guidelines. We, like others, also accepted review requests, collaborated with other communities, and worked with authors and illustrators. We, like others, worked to create a safe space where all kinds of people, voracious readers or not, could read whatever they wanted and talked about it however and whenever they want.

Know what all those years of doing Bookbed work drilled to me? That every freaking book has a reader. It doesn’t matter what genre or who it is by or where it is set, there will always, always be someone who will want to read it and who will want to talk about it. So again: it’s not about selling the wrong books. It’s about finding the right people to sell it to. Sounds easy? With social media trends and all those bajillion freaking hashtags, just one click and there they are, all the new book buddies and buyers.

Well, I wish that always worked. Because while I love how the online book community is so happening and revolutionary right now, sometimes everything can get a little too intimidating, isolating, and, dare I say, derivative. Please don’t think I’m being all high and mighty here because I’ve fallen into those traps as well, and all I can say is that… there will be more, for sure. What I suggest we can do is to practice self-awareness and mindful consumption (and that goes for everything else in life). Say, this book is going viral? You don’t necessarily have to read it – or you absolutely may, I mean, it’s your life. Do what you want!

And that’s the ~moral lesson of all this, basically. (Remember book review assignments, anyone?) Your life, your choices. It’s not about having the right books, or the right number of followers, or maybe even the right amount of money. It’s about the right to choose what you want to read, and the right to be free to enjoy what you choose. Try your best to do that and you’ll see the right people and books will find their way to you (or vice versa, it can go both ways). It’s really mindblowing and magical, take it from me.

In author Orhan Pamuk’s words, KB Meniado read a book one day and her whole life was changed. She believes that reading helps shape dreams, and dreams help build lives. Visit the community she put up in the name of her love for stories and books on BOOKBED.ORG.


[Featured Bookstagram] Melissa & Isabel (thereaderandthechef)

Why I love this account:

Melissa (the reader) and Isabel (the chef) are phenomenal. I love how they bring books and food together, and you shouldn’t look at their bookstagram photos when you don’t have access to food because your cravings might attack.

Major plus: They host a lot of international giveaways. You know how much this means to international bloggers (like me!). ❤

Below are their answers to the questions I’ve asked:

How do you choose the books you feature in your bookstagram photos? Do you believe that your bookstagram features diverse reads?

We mostly choose the books to feature based on the daily prompts of Bookstagram challenges we participate in! Our favorites right now are #JulyBookstagram18 #AlltheBooksJuly18 & #JulyinBooks18 which always have great prompts that help inspire us while narrowing down our book choices. However, we do often ignore the prompts and just squeeze in our favorite reads into the photos just because we love having them there! We do strive to read and feature diverse reads as well. Our small library may not be full of them (yet) but we are definitely trying to get as many as our pocket allows it! ♥️

Who are some of your favorite bookstagrammers and why do you love these accounts?

Oh gosh, so many! We definitely love @darkfaerietales_, @myfriendsarefiction, @paperfury, @cbookaddiction, @loriimagination, @webookingloveit, @booknerdbecky, @book_junkee, @thebooksbuzz, @the_bandar_blog & honestly, the list could go on. What we love about them is the hard work and dedication to their accounts, not to mention their stunning & unique photos! They have all worked hard to find their styles and it shows how much they love what they do. 🙂

In your opinion, what is the most important part of bookstagram?

Besides having fun and providing an amazing community to share our love for books & fandoms, Bookstagram is a place that allows us to develop our creative sides while supporting the art of others. So, as an advice to make bookstagram an enjoyable place, every bookstagrammer must learn to love their skills. If you are barely starting an account or barely finding your foot in book photography, it’s important to love what you do and to know that you are trying, that you will improve constantly, and that you will nail it every single time because there’s no perfect style of book photography anyway. However, your efforts will show in your photos and the amazing community will always be there cheering for you every step of the way!

Follow @thereaderandthechef on Instagram.

July: Book Discrimination Awareness Month

Hello, and welcome to this year’s Book Discrimination Awareness Month!

In 2014, I started a blog event in an attempt to fight book discrimination. Through interviews with authors, bloggers, and fellow bibliophiles, I did my best to capture the meaning of book discrimination by featuring varied perspectives from the beautiful people of the bookish community.

After three years of hosting the blog event, I still believe that book discrimination exists, even within myself. But I think what matters more is the constant fight against it – made possible through the combined efforts of everyone supporting this event.

For my new followers and to those who haven’t heard of this blog event, below are my event recaps for the 2014 and 2015:

A sad note that I need to apologize for: No recap for 2016 because of a hiatus. No blog event for 2017 because of another hiatus. 😦

(Because I’m finally free from school) I am so glad to announce that my blog event is finally back! ❤

This year’s #BDAMChat will be on July 31, 9 p.m. EST, and for the first time in (my book blog’s) history, we’ll be giving away an audiobook!

That’s just one of the many sneak peeks I’ll be posting throughout the blog event. Watch out for the giveaways to come! ❤

Would you like to participate in my blog event? Head over to this page so you can share your thoughts!

Swoon Saturday (2): Jenn P. Nguyen and Danika Stone

Swoon SaturdaysSwoon Twins: Jenn P. Nguyen and Danika Stone

I find it really cool whenever Swoon Reads decides to have Swoon Twins – authors with the same release day. I mean, more reasons to celebrate!!!

Last year, we had Temple West and Kimberly Karalius, celebrating their book birthday on the 12th of May.

This year, we have Jenn and Danika – celebrating their book birthday every June 7! ❤

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[Guest Post] Writing My Autobiography: A Revitalizing Experience

Writing My Autobiography: A Revitalizing Experience

by Racquel Sarah A. Castro

I have given a chance to write my first Non-Fiction Book because of a nomination in the prestigious Virtue Christian Book Awards for my first published story, When Fate Speaks Big Time.

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[Blogger Interview] Nia from Books, Feels and Tears

Nia CarnelioNia from Books, Feels and Tears

I met Nia on Twitter and because I’m featuring bloggers from different cultures, I chose her to be featured in this year’s blog event! I really appreciate her participation, and I hope this interview will help you get to know her more! 🙂
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