Started Lowkey Now We’re Here || A #BookwormsUnitePH Year 4 Recap

(Disclaimer note: I started writing this right after the event but lol, issues. But hey, better late than never, right? *nervous laughs*)

Finally the title says it all and I don’t have to put an alternative one. For the last two years, I have been attending Bookworms Unite as a mean to finally meet the bookish people that I adore very much. As I keep on reiterating, I was really bummed out that I missed the first one. Come the second year, I really had a blast because it truly was an amazing get-together. Yes, the games really do bring out your competitive side and getting books is always amazing. But the highlight of my first time attending Bookworms Unite was meeting the amazing people that I have always admired and only interacted with on social media. (Sure, winning cover guessing game, too. Let me be sappy, geez.) On its third year, it was obvious that Bookworms Unite is truly an event worth spending your day on. Despite zoning out, I still remember the awesome people and events that made me go “What an amazing day for book lovers.” Fast forward to a rainy Saturday on the 21st of July at the Rizal Library in Ateneo de Manila University, Bookworms Unite celebrated its 4th year.

 

It just keeps getting bigger every year, an indication that more and more Filipino readers in the metro (and even some braving the weather from the north and south!) gather together to share their love for young adult books. This year, Bookworms Unite is now officially a non-profit organization, co-organized by Hazel from Stay Bookish, Inah and Jem from The Bibliophile Confessions, JM from Book Freak Revelations, Miel from Bookish and Awesome, Danica from The Hogsmeade Reader, and yours truly. WAIT WHAT? PAUSE. How in the world?

Well truth be told, the previous hosts invited me to join them in organizing Bookworms Unite Year 4. I was honestly brimming with excitement the day they asked me because 1) I was more than happy to assist them with whatever I can do to make the event possible, 2) YEAR 4 IS HAPPENING THANK THE BOOKISH GODS, and 3) I will be able to meet and interact with tons of lovely bookworms yet again! So I gladly accepted their invitation and joined my co-blogger Hazel on the marketing team.

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© JM from Book Freak Revelations

So what was it like hosting Bookworms Unite instead of being an attendee? Well let me break it down for you.

1. It was fun to be able to see the faces of the attendees as they walk into the venue. I assisted Inah with the registration so I got a good look on all the smiling faces and the excitement that radiated off each and every attendee. Some were shy as it was their first time attending, while the others cannot wait to enter and see what was in store for them. After being given the registration kit, everyone was basically glowing because the day is just starting and they already have books at hand.

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2. The first half was basically a blur. Since I was on registration duty, I wasn’t fully able to get a good look on what was happening during the Truths and a Lie game because people were still coming in for the event. But with that in mind, everyone was settled once the YA Fall 2018 Preview started. Everyone was keen on knowing what the publishers have in store for us next. It was so cool to hear all the “ooohs” and “ahhhhs” as Ms. Honey from Penguin Random House explained the setting of Sometime After Midnight by L. L. Philips. Then when other titles popped up, it was clear what everyone was keen on getting their hands on come release day. Then everyone basically went around to accomplish Do It For The Gram, wherein they have to take a selfie with anyone who matched the prompt.

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© JM from Book Freak Revelations

3. It was hard not to cry in front of everyone upon seeing the messages from the authors. Despite knowing that there will be author messages, I was basically teary-eyed when I saw Becky Albertalli on the screen greeting everyone in attendance. Becky’s books mean so much to me, but seeing her send a lovely message despite her busy schedule just made my heart grow two sizes. I treasure her too much. Same with Arvin Ahmadi (who is so awesome that he films while walking the streets of Rome? ARVIN HOW?) and Kara Thomas.

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© JM from Book Freak Revelations

4. It dawned on me that I was basically clueless when I did pay attention to the games. I had little to no time to read this year because I’m almost done with uni. I was trying to answer along with the attendees but holy guacamole, I may have missed out on some amazing reads? I really have to remedy that immediately. (But haha who am I kidding?) Honestly props to the winners of YA Trivia. You girls sure know your stuff. Y’all are downright badass.

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5. Who knew that it was so fun to see how people reacted to the new premise of Guess the Cover? This game will forever be my favorite out of all. I brought my team to victory in Year 2, and I anticipated this one the most come Year 3. For Year 4, the Queen is now a game master! *evil laughs* Oh how far we’ve come. The hosts decided to twist it to the next level. No cropped pictures – just us describing the covers. I will not tell the full story but I may or may not have been involved with the shenanigans that revolved around Guess the Cover Vol. 2. Teehee. Although it really was funny to hear that people still called dibs on me to be their teammate for the game. I appreciate the thought and the love. ❤ I didn’t get to crown my successor though, which was a total bummer, but each team who had the placed that day deserves a crown on their heads for a being a real trooper.

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Presenting the tributes for this year’s 74th Annual Hunger Games.

6. It was a bit scary to mediate the Book Blind Date. Imagine being that one tribute who got to the Cornucopia first, and then everyone else follows. It’s like that one scene in Mulan where all of the Huns suddenly appear on the snow before Mulan hits them with an avalanche.  It’s sort off similar to that. Though, I have to admit that it was slightly less chaotic than the infamous BBD during Year 3. Again, it was so fun seeing all of the attendees go and unwrap their new babies. *No, I’m not crying. You’re crying.*

7. It was exhausting, but it was so worth it. Yes, the event wasn’t perfect. There is always room for improvements. Planning can cause late nights, but in the end seeing how everyone had fun was enough satisfaction. While Danica and I were not able to speak during Sharing the Love for YA, the core hosts already made it pretty clear about what we felt about Bookworms Unite. We share the same sentiment. At the end of the day, nothing else can be felt but fulfillment.

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Now onto the haul! I got a total of 7 books (basically the same number of books I donated for the book drive *face palms*) + tons of amazing swag courtesy of our partners and sponsors. Special thanks to JM for letting me read and review Pride and to Hazel for letting me have How Hard Can Love Be?. I’m just floored with excitement to read these books during my vacation after uni.

Books:

1. Interim Goddess of Love Book 1 by Mina V. Esguerra

2. How Hard Can Love Be? by Holly Bourne

3. Don’t Tell My Mother by Brigitte Bautista

4. Pride by Ibi Zoboi

5. Invisible Ghosts by Robyn Schneider

6. We Regret to Inform You by A. E. Kaplan

7. Smoke In The Sun by Renee Ahdieh

Swag:

Handmade bookmarks c/o Sherinnah

Button pins designed by BU organizers

Smoke in the Sun pin c/o Penguin Random House

Love, Simon sticker from Hazel

Art prints, watercolor wreath, personalized bookmark and stickers c/o Kate Archives

Love, Simon, BNHA, and Tokyo Ghoul bookmarks, and Harry Potter stickers c/o of Jayson from Pandam PH

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Of course the success of Bookworms Unite will not be possible without:

Hachette Book Group, Penguin Random House, National Book Store, Marauder’s Dispatch, and Pandam PH for sponsoring Year 4!

Ms. Honey de Peralta and Ms. Jennifer Javier, for your unwavering support in attending the event.

Karina and the The Oikonomos Nexus, for covering this year’s event.

Mr. Vernon Totanes, the Rizal Library Director, and Krystel Iris de Castro, the President of the Rizal Library Ambassadors, for opening their doors to us and for letting us hold this lovely event at their humble library.

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© JM from Book Freak Revelations

Hazel, Inah, JM, Miel, and Danica, yay to us for organizing such a lovely day for readers. This event is really one that makes my heart swell.

And to everyone who attended Bookworms Unite Year 4! This event will not have been successful without your presence, participation, eagerness, and love for books. Thank you for bracing the rain and spent your day with us. Raising a glass for you all.

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© JM from Book Freak Revelations

Before ending, I would just like to add and just in case you haven’t heard the news yet:

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Inah, Hazel, JM, Miel, and I will be at the Philippine Readers and Writers Festival at Namayan, Raffles Makati for a panel and we will be talking about (well, you guessed it) Bookworms Unite!: Establishing an Inclusive YA Community in the Philippines for Readers, by Readers. We hope to see y’all again for this one.

Having been able to help organize Bookworms Unite Year 4 is still surreal for me. It felt amazing to be a part of a team of individuals who share the same thought of bringing happiness to other people by organizing such an event. As I said before, my biggest takeaway during Bookworms Unite is not the books I get to take home. Rather, it’s the new friends and being given the opportunity to finally meet the people that we have only known online for so long. To be able to feel that you are part of a wonderful community of readers is enough to get a fangirl giddy and happy. The hangover is real. Year 5? 🙃 We’ll have to see.

So the question remains: Are y’all still hungover, too? Will we see you at PRWF? *cross fingers*

P. S. Some of the covers featured in Guess the Cover Vol. 2 are also in this particular blog post of mine where I describe how you identify book covers. Lol.

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#FBCYA Recap: Six of Crows

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Where do I begin? Not only is this post overdue, but it is about time that I recap the awesomeness that is the Fanboy Book Club chats that we have on twitter. Since the book club started, we hold twitter chats every month for each book of the month. We never miss a month where we do not talk about the book of the month. That is how dedicated we are for this book club. For the month of July, we did a Twitter chat for Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo.

Now during the chat, I was so busy retweeting and liking the tweets of those who joined that I forgot to answer my own Q’s! Now I have the chance to answer the questions thanks to this recap, yay! Onto the recap!

Q1. Introduce yourself with your name, blog and other social media accounts! #FBCYA

  • Hi! My name is Bianca and I blog over at The Ultimate Fangirl on notoriouslaylow.wordpress.com. So great to be here!

Q2. What is your current read? #FBCYA

  • I am currently reading Six of Crows and I am gosh darn excited that I don’t know what’s happening.

Q3. If you could go back in time, who would you save from a dangerous situation? Think history. #FBCYA

  • My baby Newt. (In history’s case, Alexander Hamilton and Andres Bonifacio)

Q4. Who would you invite to come to the Crow Club? Tag them! #FBCYA

  • Everyone! As long as you guys buy your own drinks. Haha

Q5. In a heist, what would be your role? (Ex. Leader, Right hand man, Healer) #FBCYA

  • I will be the one who gets all the resources!

Q6. Who are some of your favorite fantasy OTP’s? #FBCYA

  • Oh definitely Kaz and Inej, Cinder and Kai, Celaena and Chaol (DON’T SPOIL ME GOSH DARN IT HAHAHA)

Q8. What are your thoughts on books that don’t have “the chosen one” theme? #FBCYA

  • I personally think that it’s an overused trope, but it depends on the story on how it will carry it.

Q9. Recommend some of your favorite fantasy books using three words. #FBCYA

  • Stab stab stab jk

Q10.  If you have read Six of Crows, why should everyone read it? If you have not, will you check it out soon? #FBCYA

  • Reading it, loving it… and it’s the best thing ever.

Last Q! Q11. WHO’S EXCITED FOR CROOKED KINGDOM? #FBCYA

  • I know I am!

There you go guys! Technically, that is only a gist of what we do for the Fanboy Book Club. And I swear, this is one of the monthly twitter chats that you would not want to miss. I should do these recaps more often. 😉

Interested in joining the Fanboy Book Club? Visit our page here, or click the button on my blog’s sidebar, or click the FBCYA menu above!

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Book Haul #4: I Lost Control + Mini Bookworms Unite 2.0 Recap

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I have this inkling that I may have gone a bit overboard this month. Wait, scratch that. I went crazy. I haven’t been posting any book hauls because since the finals of my second term in uni, I barely got to have my hands on any books. I was making do with the ones that I have and haven’t read yet. It was a good thing that I did, because I had the time to backtrack and lessen the books on my TBR.

Since February, I have only bought 7 books. And then uh… Bookworms Unite 2.0 happened. And I was granted access to some assets… I have no idea if the feeling that I have is a feeling of shame, regret, or ridiculousness. I think… a little bit of the three.

Let’s get to the books that I got from February to June.

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Thank you Book Sale, National Bookstore, Ate Kate at The Bookaholic Blurbs, and Popular Bookstore SG! Top to bottom: How To Steal the Mona Lisa by Taylor Bayouth, Great Tales from British History by Robert Gambles, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz, Angels and Demons by Dan Brown, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin, Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

You might be saying, “How in the world did you end up with just 7 books in 5 months?” I blame my thesis. And my finals. And my statistics class. Kidding. It took a lot of self-restraint and the bookstore feels like it’s so far when I’m tired all the time.

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Now this July, I went to a little event (you might have not heard of it #sarcasm) called Bookworms Unite PH. It was a really fun event because I finally got to meet the bloggers that I have been admiring since I started blogging. I finally got to meet Hazel at Stay Bookish, Miel at Bookish and Awesome, Dianne at Oops! I Read A Book Again, Inah and Jem at The Bibliophile Confessions, and JM at Revelations of a Book Freak. Shyness overcame me, so I barely “socialized” during the event. In my head I’m fangirling like fudge, saying things like “OHMYGODS SENPAIs NOTICED ME.” I mainly talked with Ate Czai from The Blacksheep Project and Ate Gellie, so we teamed up during the games. We were called the Ladies of Ares, even though I haven’t read Red Rising yet. I promised them that I will, as soon as I get my own copy of the series.

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Me and my teamates plotting world domination. Photos courtesy of Faye from The Social Potato
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Me and my teamates plotting world domination. Photos courtesy of Faye from The Social Potato

The games were a blur to me, but we did end up winning 3rd place in YA Trivia. (I was like… who knew I knew that I have a lot of trivia knowledge inside the old noggin?) And then the Book Cover game happened… let’s just say that apparently stalking the Goodreads list of 2016 books in search of swoon-worthy male leads has finally done me some justice. (Kids, do not try this at home.) I swear Ate Czai is so good with the covers as well. We won 1st place, hooray! Since we both won in those games, we got some prizes. I also got two books from the book blind date, in which I say I also got kinda lucky because the ones I picked were definitely interesting! I also won one book from the raffle. By the end of it all, I was pretty much exploding with bookish thoughts. I even offered my services to the hosts if they needed someone to make those book covers harder to recognize haha.

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Huge thanks to Penguin Random House, Simon and Schuster, and Scholastic for sponsoring Bookworms Unite 2.0! Top to bottom: Sula’s Voyage by Catherine Torres, The Last Thirteen by James Phelan, A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall, Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake, Pointe by Brandy Colbert, Holding Up The Universe by Jennifer Niven

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And like the book gods were teasing me, Fully Booked (one of our local bookstores) had a sale on the second week of July, so I made plans with my mom. A lot of bookworms on Twitter mentioned that the branch at Fully Booked Eastwood had a lot on sale, so I went there. And by gosh, it was my first time to buy that many books on a single day. I didn’t know that some of the books that I have been wanting for so long finally had paperback editions, so I opted to buy them instead.

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Thanks Fully Booked! Top to bottom: Zac and Mia by A.J. Betts, The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy by Kate Hattemer, When I Was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds, The Maze Runner by James Dashner, Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Yeah, I know. I should have not deprived myself in the first place. Now books are blowing up all over the place hahaha. But still, it’s rather nice if I could do this. I don’t mind not doing book hauls really. I wish I could do this all the time. Hahaha.

7 books in 5 months. 10 books in a month. I’m not even mad. Oh and the recap? Yeah, I know. A bit too late hahaha. I usually let the hype down first lol. So what did you guys haul this month?

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Event Recap: Jennifer Niven in PH

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Alternative title: Bianca is an introvert. She did not talk to blogger senpais.

So I finally had the guts to go to a book signing. I mean, I had to. Because if I missed this one, I would have probably lost my mind. And to top it all off, she is one of my literary idols. I cannot emphasize the impact of All The Bright Places in my life. It means a lot to me, like all the other books that deal with the sensitive issue that All The Bright Places also tackles. Luckily, I didn’t hesitate. The day was May 29, 2016. I went to the event. And I almost hurled.

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Before the Event:

Well, what would you expect? It will be my first time. I don’t know how anything works. I just know that I need to be early to go this thing. The venue was so-so in terms of being far from our house and we had to commute. And you know the ironic thing was I still arrived late. By the time me and my mom got to the venue, I was already the 491st person.

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Mandatory number pass with book photo harhar

I was alone inside, and I had to sit next to the “bushes” to avoid inconvenience. Plus, my mom kept giving me food. She was the sweetest. But because of my introvert hormones, I got scared of what was in front of me. I kept muttering to myself that I need space. And this was the scenario:

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Me to myself: “So many people huhu. I must stay put and act normal.”

I actually saw some fellow Filipino bloggers but I was so shy. When I got near them, all I said was “Excuse me.”, because I needed to go somewhere. WHY SELF WHY?

During the Event:

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Let me a cry a bucket of tears as Jennifer Niven graced the stage.

I almost cried when Jennifer came in. My mind was in a racetrack full of cars faster than a speeding bullet. She’s so beautiful. I never knew that seeing an author who’s book you love so much would have that impact on you. And she is so nice. Not only was she an amazing author but her kindness radiated the stage.

I don’t know if this will do but here are some of the pointers that I got from the Q&A. (Next time, I’ll bring a recorder so I can cherish every word.)

  • Jennifer was so overwhelmed with the crowd.

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On All The Bright Places:

  • Jennifer’s mom was her lovely editor. All The Bright Places was the last book that her mother has read.
  • Finch tends to overpower Violet. So when Jennifer switches points of views, she tells Finch to stay put or else.
  • Theodore Finch was inspired from a real person in Jennifer’s life.
  • When asked if she wants to write an alternative ending, Jen said that as she was writing, she had this alternate ending. But since she knows that in reality, that ending would lead to something more.
  • No news yet on who will play Theodore Finch for the All The Bright Places movie, because as Jen said, there were so many actors who seem to fit the role of Finch. When she watches an audition she goes, “Oh my god, he’s the perfect Finch.” But then another actor comes in and she will be like. “Oh my god he’s the perfect Finch.”

On other positive notes:

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  • She believes that social media has a positive impact since for her, it gives her the chance to communicate with all her loving readers.
  • About Holding Up the Universe, it is somehow lighter than All The Bright Places but has all the feels.
  • Jennifer finds more joy in writing young adult books.
  • Jennifer is starting on her 3rd young adult novel, but the details are still kept in secret.

Q&A with the audience:

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  • On the subject of marriage: I don’t know if it was really cool but she said “… we were discussing about it and thought, “Why not just here in the Philippines?”. “
  • When asked if today was a good day to die, Jen eagerly replied that that day was not a good day to die. And the good day to die is the right time.
  • Someone asked what would she say to Violet if Violet was in the event right now. She replied that there are so many opportunities for Violet and that she wants her to keep going. She wants her to think about all the bright places that she has and will have.

And then as her final words, she thanked all of us who came. And left us with this memorable quote:

You are not only my bright place, but you are a bright place.

During the signing:

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I was actually this far. Hey, thanks camera.

As much as I felt that the Q&A was short (but I guess it was just the surge of the moment), it was time for the signing. During this time, I met new friends. Yay. Their names were Gail and Inah, though I suppose they don’t know that I actually blog (as do most people that I know). I don’t know how many hours have past, but I began to hurl when I got in line. I was going to meet Jen.

And since I was being my introvert self, I barely said anything to Jen, other than “Thank you for writing such a wonderful book.” I just hope she got what I meant. I mean she was so sweet. I was literally speechless. She thanked me for coming and she hopes that I had fun. I did, Jen. I really did.

 I almost to forgot to give my little trinket to Jen, but her boyfriend was kind enough to hand it to her.


To be honest, I still cannot grasp the fact that Jennifer Niven actually signed my copy. And that I was able to attend my first book signing event. I hope I don’t lose the feeling, because it is so awesome. I cannot wait for the next event and I hope you guys enjoyed my recap.

A million thanks to National Bookstore and Raffles for making the event possible. I hope to attend more book signings in the future.

Share your author signing experience below. I would love to chat.

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P.S. My mom was so curious about the event. One of these days, she will read All The Bright Places as well.

All of the photos were taken by me.