Before Ever After Book Launch

I attended the Philippine book launch of Before Ever After by Samantha Sotto, a book that has been getting a lot of buzz in the local scene lately. This was the third book launch that I’ve attended so far, first was Tall Story and then Mockingjay. Sam was one of the special guests in the most recent Goodreads meet up so I got the chance to meet her (very briefly) last Saturday. She’s such a friendly lady and it was a pleasure to listen to her talk about her book – from her inspirations to her writing process. Before Ever After is Sam’s debut novel and I think it’s great that she’s been published by one of the biggest publishers in the world, Random House. For those who have no idea what book I’m talking about, here’s the summary from the author’s website:

Three years after her husband Max’s death, Shelley feels no more adjusted to being a widow than she did that first terrible day. That is, until the doorbell rings. Standing on her front step is a young man who looks so much like Max–same smile, same eyes, same age, same adorable bump in his nose – he could be Max’s long-lost relation. He introduces himself as Paolo, an Italian editor of American coffee table books, and shows Shelley some childhood photos. Paolo tells her that the man in the photos, the bearded man who Paolo says is his grandfather though he never seems to age, is Max. Her Max. And he is alive and well.

As outrageous as Paolo’s claims seem–how could her husband be alive? And if he is, why hasn’t he looked her up? – Shelley desperately wants to know the truth. She and Paolo jet across the globe to track Max down – if it is really Max – and along the way, Shelley recounts the European package tour where they had met. As she relives Max’s stories of bloody Parisian barricades, medieval Austrian kitchens, and buried Roman boathouses, Shelley begins to piece together the story of who her husband was and what these new revelations mean for her “happily ever after.” And as she and Paolo get closer to the truth, Shelley discovers that not all stories end where they are supposed to.

Looks pretty interesting, right? And I’m a big fan of that cover, I think it’s pretty. I’m currently in the middle of it and I plan to finish reading the book within the week. Judging by the number of attendees in the launch earlier and the coverage that the book has been getting in newspapers as well as online venues, I feel like Before Ever After has a promising future. I had fun with the launch, but then again, I always do whenever I attend book-related events. I have a minor quibble though – I think it would have been better if the interview portion veered away from discussing the contents of the book because there were some spoilery bits mentioned. The book has been released just this week so I think most of the guests are not yet done reading it. But I did love that there was a shout out for all the philosophy lessons that Sam took in Ateneo because that helped with her writing. Loved those classes when I was in college as well! Anyway, on to pictures. Chicken and egg-themed snacks were served since one of the main characters has a thing for poultry:

Here’s the author, signing books:

And the requisite group picture with Goodreads people:

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Mockingjay Launch Party

I don’t get to attend a lot of book-related events over here so I get excited when there’s something that I can go to. Last Sunday, August 29, National Bookstore together with Scholastic Philippines, New Worlds Alliance and Flips Flipping Pages (FFP) organized a Mockingjay Launch party at the Bestsellers branch in Robinson’s Galleria. There were panel discussions about the series. Some of the topics discussed were why the books are so popular, how does it compare to the series featuring sparkly vampires, favorite characters, the marketing strategy of the publishers and a lot more that I can’t recall off the top of my head. There was also a debate between the Team Peeta and Team Gale fans. After which, there was a Live Action Role Play of Catching Fire, where participants played a variety of games designed to represent the events in the book. There were also booths set-up for refreshments and Mockingjay tattoos. Overall, I think the event was a huge success. 🙂 The highlight for me though was meeting so many fellow readers and book bloggers there. I think it was funny the way I just came up to people to introduce myself: “Hi, you’re [insert name here], right? I’m Chachic!”

Here’s a picture of the Filipinos Goodreads members who attended the launch party (Thanks to Jayson for the picture, click to embiggen):

Here’s a picture of the combined groups of FFP and Filipinos Goodreads (Thanks to Rhett for the picture, click to embiggen):

After the event, the FFP and Filipinos Goodreads people decided to have dinner and coffee. What’s funny was, each member from one group was required to sit beside a member from another group to encourage interaction between the two groups. I had so much fun discussing books nonstop for a couple of hours. I got so many recommendations to add to my ever-increasing wishlist. I also got to talk about blogging with members of Filipino Book Bloggers and we’re hoping to have a meet-up of that group in the near future. I’m glad I was able to go to this event and I hope to attend more of these kinds of things later on.

So, so, so. Were you at the Mockingjay Launch Party here in Manila? If so, what did you think of that event? 🙂 To those who live in other countries, did you attend a similar event in your area? I’d love to hear about your experiences.

Other accounts of the event:
Jason of Taking a Break
Tina of One More Page
Blooey of Bookmarked!

My First Filipino YA Book

I have a confession to make, dear readers. I have never read a Filipino YA book, which for me means a YA book written by a Filipino and at least partly set in the Philippines. I know, ironic, right? I live in the Philippines and I love reading YA novels but I’ve never read a Filipino YA novel. I didn’t even know they existed! I have the wonderful Tarie, the blogger behind Into the Wardrobe and Asia in the Heart, World on the Mind, to thank for opening my eyes. I left a comment in her blog yesterday saying that I would love to read a well-written Filipino YA novel if it exists and she tweeted to say that it does exist and that the launch of the Philippine edition will be later that day. She was talking about Tall Story by Candy Gourlay. I’m so glad that Tarie invited me and that I was able to go to the book launch. She introduced me to bookish people who attended the launch. I am still amazed (and ashamed) at my lack of knowledge of Filipino publications. But I promise to become a better Filipino book blogger by reading more YA books by Filipino authors.

Here’s the summary of the book from the official site:

Andi hasn’t seen her brother for eight years and when he steps off the plane from the Philippines, she cannot believe her eyes. He’s tall. EIGHT FOOT TALL.

But Bernardo is not what he seems. Bernardo is a hero, Bernardo works miracles, and Bernardo has an amazing story to tell.

Please click on the link to check out the book trailer because for some reason, I can’t embed videos from vimeo here on WordPress (I tried searching for ways but couldn’t make it work). The cover on the left is the cover for the Philippine edition published by Cacho Publishing House and it’s special because there are some tidbits that weren’t included in the UK edition, not to mention that it has illustrations. The cover on the right is the UK cover, which has been released already. This book will be released in the US some time next year. I got a copy for myself and asked Candy to sign it and great news for you guys, I have a signed copy that I will give away as soon as I’ve read this book. I’m still in the middle of another book but I will read Tall Story as soon as I’m done.

Also, if you want to know more about the book, Tarie has an interview with Candy which can be found here. To anyone who’s interested, you can now buy Tall Story from The Book Depository, click here. The Philippine edition is available in Powerbooks and National Bookstore branches for P275.