Bloggers’ Forum & Book Signing with Tahereh Mafi + Ransom Riggs

Tahereh Mafi visits Manila, Philippines for a book signing event organized by one of the biggest book store here in Phillippines, National Book Store. There are lots of activities for Tahereh and two of those I witness last Saturday first hand. The first one is the bloggers’ forum held at Powerbooks Greenbelt 4, Makati City, where I got the privileged to meet Tahereh in flesh and joined the other bloggers for Q&A activity, book signing, picture taking and lots of chatting and fun talks about almost anything under the sun.

There are only twenty plus bloggers on the forum which mostly know each others already so basically the event is light and fun. Tahereh is game and more than willing to answers all our questions as well as open to our suggestions and rants. She teased us about the next books and her other projects. A lot of suggestion for the title of the next Shatter Me book come out from the bloggers attendees such as Unshackled Me, Stripped Me and other funny suggestions. As of now, there’s no title yet for the next Shatter Me book, but Tahereh is calling it, “Untitled Me“.

Talking to Tahereh is an awesome and fun experience. I think not only us attendees that were having fun but also Tahereh and Ransom Riggs. Yes, you read it right! Ransom Riggs was also there. He come along with Tahereh to check out the event. He was supposed to be just sitting along with us while Tahereh lead the answering in front. But near the end of our Q&A with Tahereh, Ransom Riggs’ presence were acknowledged and then later he joined Tahereh in front to answer some questions too. Like Tahereh he is game and willing.

Having both them in front of us is really fantastic. If talking to Tahereh alone is so much fun, having both of them in front is a blast. Together they are simply hilarious. They were both candid, smart, accommodating and full of life. Talking to them is just like chatting to my friends I’ve never seen for a long time. So much catch-up while having fun.

After the Q&A with both authors, we still got spare time before Tahereh need to go to her signing so we got out books signed right there at the forum while having our free coffee and muffins for snacks. Some of the hardbound copies of Unravel Me were also defaced by Tahereh, and my copy is one of those books. She write a quote from the book and doodle the cover of our books, in short she redesigned our copy of Unravel Me. You can check some photos of Tahereh’s defaced books in here if you can’t picture much what I’m saying about defacing books.

And of course Ransom signed our books too. I didn’t expect to see him that day so I didn’t bring my hardbound copy of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, but that doesn’t mean I can’t get a new copy to be signed. So I bought a paperback copy (no hardbound available) at Powerbooks and have it signed by Ransom. Can I just say that he is so handsome! Yes, we are team Handsome after that day! Ransom Handsome! and Tahereh’s Mafia!

Bloggers Forum

The second event with Tahereh is the actual book signing held at National Book Store, Grolrietta 1 where a lots of eager fans went to see Tahereh and get their books signed. I’m not sure about the actual counts of attendees but the place is pretty jam-packed. No space left open other than the little stage in front. Even the second floor are full of people. Technically, we don’t need to attend the signing since we have all our books signed at the bloggers’ forum, but we still went there to watch and check the event and of course to support Tahereh and Ransom. Tahereh answered questions from the crowd and from the event host. After awhile Ransom is also introduced to the audience and then a few more messages before the book signing started.

The crowd go gaga! Like us, they didn’t expect to meet two authors in one event. A lot of squealing and cheering from the crowds. My sister who actually see Ransom at the forum but didn’t get the chance to take a picture with him keep on asking me to do something so she can have a photo with Ransom too. At first I think it would be impossible since the signing is more crowded than the forum. But before the actual book signing started, I saw a chance to talk to Ransom and asked him the favor. As expected he accommodate us willingly and he obviously recognize me again. His first few words to me is, “Hey, it’s you again”. While I’m talking to him other attendees in the area are staring at us. We chat a little bit before my sister finally brave to come closer to Ransom. It’s just a few quick shots and my sister is beaming with joy. For someone who isn’t a book reader yet, I think my sister can be transformed into one, especially with that kind of perks.

tahereh mafi signing

So far, this is the best bookish event I’ve attended. Tahereh and Ransom are really friendly, and together they are fantastic. I wasn’t expecting how funny both of them would be. They throw funny jokes and shares interesting facts about themselves too. As of I know after all their bookish/work assignments here in Manila, they will also visit one of the prettiest Island in the country, El Nido Palawan for leisure. I’m sure they will enjoy their stay there. It’s one of the most beautiful place here in the Philippines.

Thanks to National Book Store for bringing Tahereh here in Manila and for organizing a bloggers forum and book signing. Thanks also to Kai of amaterasu reads for bringing me along to the forum as her plus one. And a million thanks to Tahereh and Ransom for making my bookish Saturday memorable. I really had a blast meeting and talking to both of you. The best author meet-up ever! Thanks so much!

For more information about Tahereh and her books, visit her website here. And for Ransom Riggs and his books, visit his website here. You may also check my review for Tahereh Mafi’s books, Shatter Me and Unravel Me.

Unravel Me (Shatter Me #2) by Tahereh Mafi

Unravel Me

 

“I am nothing more than the consequence of catastrophe.”

Juliette’s world is beginning to unravel.
Everything is falling apart changing.

Juliette has escaped to Omega Point-the headquarters of the rebel resistance. There she discovers other people with abilities. Abilities they have learned to control. And for the first time in her life, Juliette has hope. Hope that she can have a life with Adam. Hope that her touch can be used to save instead of destroy.

But Juliette is only just beginning to understand the depth of her power, and she’s struggling to fight the desire to use it. She’s still haunted by her past, terrified by her future, and too tempted by Warner, who still wants Juliette more than she ever thought possible.

In this exhilarating sequel to Shatter Me, Juliette has to make life-changing decisions between what she wants and what she thinks is right. Decisions that might involve choosing between her heart-and Adam’s life.

Personal Thoughts:

“I’m all out of letters. Fresh out of words. Someone has robbed me of my entire vocabulary.”

That quote above from Unravel Me perfectly describes my state when I finished reading Unravel Me and first attempted to write a review which obviously didn’t work. After reading Unravel Me, I feel like I’m no good to comment anything about Tahereh‘s work. She make me speechless and wordless, in fact I’m still trying to get my breath back after unknowingly forgotten how to breath while reading the last few chapters of Unravel Me. Now here I am again in front of an almost empty form trying to finally gather my thoughts for Tahereh’s wonderful work.

Unravel Me is an intense and breath taking sequel that not only offer thrilling and action packed story-line but also fully loaded with twist and turns, unexpected revelations and striking prose. From reestablishment moves and tactics, to characters previous lives, relationships and special powers. There so many things happening all at once that will keep your attention on hold and emotions up.

Tahereh’s writing is at it’s best once again. Her words are so rich and poetic that I could savour each of her lines again and again. I have no regrets reading and rereading her passages and I think I’ll be rereading the whole book or maybe the whole series all over again, while waiting for the next installment. Her unique and richly descriptive writing style will blow your mind as you savor every little detail of the world she is creating together with her characters.

I had a blast with Juliette’s inner thoughts, her unique and perceptive view of the world around her. She maybe locked up in cell or underground but she certainly know how to describe her surroundings. She can glaze and personified things by her insane metaphors  Metaphors that I love to read over and over again. They make me think, make me believe and make my imaginations soar.

“Hope.

It’s like a drop of honey, a field of tulips blooming in the springtime. It’s a fresh rain, a whispered promise, a cloudless sky, the perfect punctuation mark at the end of a sentence. And it’s the only thing in the world keeping me afloat.”

Tahereh weaved Juliette with a rich but complicated mind, boxed in loneliness, misjudgment and mistreatment. Juliette is insecure, unsure and scared most of the times. She do a lot of self-loathe to the point that I almost lost my patient waiting for her to see the present situation. I understand her but sometimes I just want her to move on and accept her real potential. Thank God there is Kenji to balance things out. He not only help Juliette in understanding and accepting her power but he also help me lessen my irritation to Juliette as he diverse my attention to his witty and funny antics.

It took a lot of pushes and mistakes before Juliette finally grasp and accept what she really is and what she can do, a growth that took a lot of time but nevertheless worth waiting. She is still broken but she is a much stronger person than she is in Shatter Me.

Adam though still sweet and caring to Juliette can’t still convinced me of his worth. He is a good guy but sometimes being good isn’t enough. As a guy I want to see more strength from him, especially now that they are on war. I don’t like the sensitive version of him who begs too much and clings too much to Juliette. He maybe doing all those things because he really loves the girl but too much always falls to the wrong side. I want to like him but I can’t do that if he is stucked with all the bad things happening to him. Enough with the self-pity party like Juliette please. You are not a girl to do that and you are a soldier remember? You are supposed to be a fighter  If you keep on doing that I can only pity you, and that’s not something I want to feel for a guy lead character.

It took awhile before Warner shows up in the story but when he finally come out, the story become much more engrossing. Just like his character, Warner surely can make changes to his atmosphere. His presence alone can make the difference. As always I am fascinated with him, actually intrigue is the right word. He’ still the complicated and most complex character of this series and Unravel Me did nothing else but proved and cement my theory about this boy.

In Shatter Me Warner caught my attention and keep me intrigue with him all throughout. In Destroy Me he makes me care for him as he open himself which shows the real depth of his character. In here, he simply floored me. He shows his softer and vulnerable side without fully stripping his tough and harsh exterior. Tahereh not only put mystery around him but also created him to be memorable because of the way Juliette sees him. Tahereh simply justapox him with the visceral way that Juliette sees him. He is simply too much!

The romance is mind blowing. Tahereh surprised me with her playful and teasing attack with her characters especially those two characters involved in chapter sixty-two. That chapter alone sent me to a lot of emotions. It is intense, literally breathtaking and heart-breaking. The interactions between the characters made me melt and somehow shattered my emotion to different level. The way Tahereh developed them and put them into emotional coaster ride is beyond intense.

“I want to be the friend you fall hopelessly in love with. The one you take into your arms and into your bed and into the private world you keep trapped in your head. I want to be that kind of friend,” he says.

“The one who will memorize the things you say as well as the shape of your lips when you say them. I want to know every curve, every freckle, every shiver of your body, Juliette–”

The plot is engrossing and flowing with lot of twist and turns. As Unravel Me focus on molding the characters it also provides follow up about the revolutions particularly the war between the reestablishment and the omega point. As Juliette got the chance to merge to the outside world she finally get the sense of the world around her, which gives readers some details to Tahereh’s version of dystopian future. Though there are still missing information which we can only hope to be reveal in the next book, it is still easy for us to feel the bleakness and difficulty of life outside.

Filled with striking and beautiful prose, unique characters, and engrossing plot, Unravel Me is a definitely a thrilling and intense read that can leave you emotionally wrecked and mentally engage. The most emotionally engaging book I’ve read this year so far. And with this kind of follow up from Tahereh, I can only expect an epic ending for the next and final installment to this unique dystopian series.

Tahereh Mafi in Manila!

Tahereh Mafi in Manila

Bestselling author Tahereh Mafi will be a having a book signing event here in Manila on March 2nd, 4 pm, at the new National Book Store flagship branch in Glorietta 1. There will be an exclusive Question and Answer with Tahereh Mafi too before the book signing which is open only for lucky invited bloggers and maybe reporters. I didn’t get a direct invite from the event organizer but I am lucky enough to join the Q&A because some of my friends where invited and each of them can bring one friend with them. Thank so much to Kai of Amaterasu Reads for extending the invitation to me. Thanks too to National Book Store for bringing Tahereh here in Manila. I’m so excited to finally meet and talk to Tahereh Mafi, that’s if I can manage to open my mouth and don’t eat my tongue in front of Tahereh.

To those who are going to the event, here are some important details you should know:

  • Registration starts at 3 PM
  • You may have any number of books signed as long as they were bought either National Book Store, Power Books or Bestsellers. NBS has the right to lessen the number of books to be signed depending on the influx of attendees.
  • You can also buy copies of the book at the event itself
  • Pictures with Tahereh Mafi may be taken but only one per group/person.
  • Shatter Me (paperback) and Unravel Me (paperback) are both available fore Php 329.00. Unravel Me (hardcover) will be available at the event for Php 599.00.

Who’s excited for this event? Can’t wait to see Tahereh and my Filipino book bloggers and readers friends.

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

“All I ever wanted was to reach out and touch another human being not just with my hands but with my heart.” 

Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war– and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

Personal Thoughts:

Shatter Me is one of those books that everyone keep pushing me to read even before the book is release. Add the glowing reviews from trusted bloggers I know I need to read this book as soon as I can. So eager to get a copy I pre-ordered a hardbound copy online from book depository as well as signed-up to Pinoy Book Tours for this book. But before my turn from the tour and before I get my order from book depository Shatter Me is already available from local book stores, so I end up buying another copy. Getting multiple copies of this book is worth it because the book delivers what it promise and it is worth sharing to my friends.

“The world is flat. I know because I was tossed right off the edge and I’ve been trying to hold on for seventeen years. I’ve been trying to climb back up for seventeen years but it’s nearly impossible to beat gravity when no one is willing to give you a hand. ”

The best part of this book is the writing. Taherah Mafi use an unconventional writing style that is beautiful, unique and engrossing. The poetic prose, lyrical style and metaphors is simply captivating. I am tempted to quote Mafi’s words but with so many lovely passages from the book I decided not to bother going back or I might end up re-reading the whole story. Mafi’s words are so captivating that I’m afraid if I revisit it sooner I’ll be pulled once again by her words. And with so many pending books that I need to read and review I’m not sure if that’s a good idea. Other brilliant thing about the writing is the use of crossed out strike-through words to emphasize Juliette’s subconscious thoughts. It gives more personality to Juliette as we glimpse a little more of her unspoken thoughts.

“Someone picked up the sun and pinned it to the sky again, but every day it hangs a little lower than the day before. It’s like a negligent parent who only knows one half of who you are. It never sees how its absence changes people. How different we are in the dark.”

Juliette as the heroine is intriguing and unique. Her voice is compelling and raw. From the first part of the novel her thoughts are desolate, repetitive and unsure which perfectly suited for someone being locked up in isolation for 264 days. Aside for her unique voice she also has a unique ability. But more than her power what I really like about this girl is her good heart and integrity. She has all the rights to hate the world, the world that mistreated and discarded her when she was a child, but she never turn against anyone.

Adam is likeable but he doesn’t strike me as much as I expected. I find him intriguing at first when he was still Juliette’s room-mate but when they transferred and become too close to each other I lost my interest with this guy. The only left intriguing about him is the reason why he is immune to Juliette’s power.

Warner is the most compelling and the most complex character from the story. There’s more in him than meets the eye. The way he project himself to Juliette and to others simply shows the complexity of his character. He is cruel, twisted, deranged and irrational most of the time but there are times that his calm, gentle and affectionate side emerge. Putting him on the bad side doesn’t make me afraid of him. Add the fact that he is also a teenager like Adam and Juliette, good-looking and actually likes Juliette, I just can’t find him as the frightening villain. I can’t even hate him. I may not like him for Juliette but I don’t want him to be a an all evil villain. Part of me believe that he has some redeeming qualities underneath his projected bad persona. And I am interested to find out about his past and his family. For sure those little details carry all the explanations of his dark personality. I really believe that he is just a tortured soul with complicated past and still can be redeemed.

The plot is fast paced for the most part with all the suspense and action-packed scenes. The ending is satisfying but also offers a way for a more exciting plot for the next book. I’m already looking forward for a more enticing sequel. I want to know more about Juliette’s power and its limitation. And I hope there is a better explanation why Adam and Warner are immune to Juliette’s gift. Why of all people they are the only one who can touch Juliette?

Shatter Me is an impressive debut. With unique writing style, compelling characters and intriguing premise this book deserves all the hype around it. I don’t know where the story will go after this book but I’m looking forward reading the next installment because Mafi’s words are worth visiting again.

Wish List: Shatter Me

Shatter Me is one of the books that I’m eager to get a copy and read. With all the glowing reviews and  recommendations from friends I know I need to read this book as soon as possible. This will be released on  November 15, 2011 in US. Though I’m not expecting to get a copy locally the same day, I’m still hoping to get a copy here so I don’t have to wait longer if I order this one online from book depository. But definitely I’ll get a copy of this no matter what.

Book Description:

Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days. The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color. 

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now. 

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior. 

In this electrifying debut, Tahereh Mafi presents a world as riveting asThe Hunger Games and a superhero story as thrilling as The X-Men. Full of pulse-pounding romance, intoxicating villainy, and high-stakes choices,Shatter Me is a fresh and original dystopian novel—with a paranormal twist—that will leave readers anxiously awaiting its sequel.

Book Trailer: