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Monday, April 3, 2017

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Novel Newcomers: Di @ Book Reviews by Di and Mia @ Pen and Parchment

Happy Monday!

As unplanned originally... I didn't get around to scheduling Novel Newcomers anytime last week so... yay, procrastination. (I really am tired lately, especially after working seven days a week during spring break. I'm one of those people who needs a lot of sleep to operate properly and I don't understand why so...)

Well, booklings, without further digression and ado, this week's Novel Newcomers is the first of the groups (and therefore it's a little hard to be creative without the questions going one way or the other so...): Di from Book Reviews by Di and Mia from Pen and Parchment.

Outside of blogging and reading, what other interests do you have?
Di: Outside of the blog I have a full time job and a very young family so a lot of my attention is there. I adore spending time with my daughter (who is now three), and she shares some of my own personal interests which is wonderful too. We like reading together (picture books obviously!) and she also loves horse riding and has her own pony.

I’m also a closet foodie and love cooking (and eating!) and watching [My Kitchen Rules]. 😊

Mia: In addition to the bookish world, I love to participate in my local theater community! I do a couple performances per year at an acting school for teenagers (we’re currently putting on Rent, for those of you that might know it), and I also take classes at my nearest dance studio! Fun fact - I’ve been a tap dancer for almost 7 years (and pretty decent at it, if I do say so myself). I’m also an animal lover (I like them a whole lot more than people).

What is your most unusual accomplishment?
Di: Well, this is a tough question! I don’t think I have any really unusual accomplishments!!! Just regular ones. 😊 Probably my most unusual was when I was a kid and I used to do gymnastics I could walk on my hands for 50 [meters]?

Mia: Back when I was in my painful tween years, I went to a bowling tournament with a few of my friends and left with a trophy. Now you might be thinking, “Oh that’s cool I bet you did really well.” In reality, I succeeding in being the worst bowler there. Literally - the trophy even says “Worst Bowler” on it. Who knows why the parents running the event decided to make a trophy for that, but somehow my score managed to be lower than every other kid there. I still have the trophy on top of my bookcase.

What is your favorite food?
Di: This is also a tough question for a closet foodie. 😊 I don’t know that I have a real favourite food – something that I could eat every single day… My favourite meal would have to be something with intense Asian flavours like a well marinated beef and some fresh, crunchy wilted greens. For desserts I love apple – so apple crumble or apple pie is my favourite there.

Sophia: Oops (food is life though).

Mia: French fries, especially if they’re thin and crispy (so basically McDonald’s fries; Chick-fil-a is a close second though). Also ice cream, together they make me one pretty happy - though admittedly very unhealthy - individual.

Speaking of food, March 14 was Pi Day! What's your favorite pie? (I hope I’m not making anyone hungry…)
Di: APPLE PIE!!! 😊

I also love the good old Australian mince pie – it’s something I miss the most when I’m not there!

Mia: Ah it’s so funny this question is included because I’m actually typing up these answers on Pi Day! I’m not a super huge fan of pie myself (it ranks lower on my list of favorite desserts), but I really love a good chocolate pie. Or key lime. Or pumpkin during Thanksgiving. Honestly I like most pie :D

Sophia: But I had to include pie somehow. 😂😂😂

March is Women’s History Month. If you could go back in time and meet any women, who would it be and why? (I know, I’m bringing in history. I’m trying to be somewhat creative here.)
Di: I’d love to meet Enid Blyton. She was my favourite author as a child, and I’d like to meet the woman who sparked my love of reading and who had such an imagination and way of writing.

Mia: This is actually such a tough question. As an intersectional feminist and a promoter of equality, diversity, and representation (especially in YA lit), there are so many women I would love to thank. The ones that come most recently to mind are the three women depicted in Hidden Figures [Margot Lee Shetterly] - Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson, and Dorothy Vaughn. These women played such a massive role in helping to fight discrimination towards both women and African Americans, they basically did the impossible during a time in which only white, cisgender men had opportunities or power. Not to mention, they’re all wildly brilliant, and without them we may never have made it to the moon or developed the modern computer. I think everyone owes a great deal to these three women.

It’s past April Fool’s Day, but what prank(s) would you like to see in a book one day? Which pranks would you prefer to not see?
Di: I’m not really big on pranks or pranks in books, but I do remember last year for April Fools Duolingo advertised a new pillow that would teach you a new language while you slept. Obviously it was a total prank but I couldn’t help but wish that there was actually a way to read while we slept! That would definitely help my TBR!!

Sophia: I actually wished the pillow prank was a real deal. 😅 I'm all for reading while sleeping, though. 😁

Mia: Um, I honestly have no clue for this question. I don’t think I’ve ever pulled a prank myself, or even had one done to me (at least not one that was very memorable). In general, I guess I’d like to see more light-hearted pranks being depicted in books, where I can laugh along with the characters and get all those happy feels. I definitely don’t want to see anymore pranks where it’s at someone else’s expense, and a character ends up hurt (emotionally or physically). Sort of like the infamous pig’s blood prank in Carrie - it served its purpose as a plot device, but it has to be very compelling and written precisely for me to enjoy reading about it.

Name five countries, aside from your own, that you would love to visit and at least one book set in that country or represents the culture that you would love to read (if any).
Di: There’s plenty of countries I would love to visit! It’s hard to narrow it down but here are some books that I have read/want to read that are set in or draw inspiration from countries that I’d love to see.

Russia:
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead

Egypt:
The Kane Chronicles series by Rick Riordan

England:
Harry Potter series by JK Rowling
The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare

Asia:
Eon duology by Alison Goodman

Mia: THERE ARE SO MANY PLACES, but here’s the five I could come up with off the top of my head:

Japan:
Seven Days of You by Cecilia Vinesse depicts Tokyo, which I would love to visit, but I also really want to see the nature-y parts of Japan.
Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh I believe is also based on feudal Japan, which I can’t wait to read.

France:
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, you all probably saw this one coming a mile away

Africa:
I know Africa is a huge continent so that’s a pretty broad place to pick, but mostly I’d love to travel through the savanna. I know a few family friends that actually took month-long safaris and that  just sounds like a life-changing experience to me. But I’d also love to visit Egypt, Zimbabwe, and a ton of other countries!

City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson is set in Kenya, which isn’t exactly the wilderness but unfortunately there aren’t too many YA books set in Africa itself

Scandinavia:
Also not a singular place, but all of the nations and cultures in Scandinavia seem breathtakingly beautiful, so it’s definitely on my life bucket list. Unfortunately I literally can’t think of any books off the top of my head that depict anything Scandinavian, and I’m #lazy so please let me know if you know of any.

Italy:
I took an art history class last year and ever since then I’ve been dying to see Italy and its various art-filled locations. I know The Valiant by Lesley Livingston depicts a Rome with female [gladiators] -  which may have actually existed - and An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir is also loosely based on Roman culture.

Whew! Sorry for that ridiculously long answer, there are so many places I want to travel to!!

Let's spread some blogger love! Name three bloggers you don't know who are participating in Novel Newcomers and give them a compliment.
Di: Kathryn @ Bookwise – I visited this blog today and it’s clean, easy to navigate and also relevant to me in the books that I love to read!

Fernanda @ The Wanderlust Reader – Again – another gorgeous looking blog with a similar taste in books!

Kaeley @ Spoilers May Apply –  This looks like a clean and well organised blog and while we might not read or enjoy exactly the same books I liked the manner in which the reviews I read were written. Short, sweet and honest!

Mia: All the participating blogs seem positively beautiful, but I spotted The Book Pandas right off the list (because that name is just too adorable), and highly recommend you all check out Isabella’s blog! I can’t get enough of the panda theme, it just makes my heart so happy. The Introvert’s Wonderland also has an awesome header, I wish I had even a tiny bit of those design skills! Lastly, Serial Bibliophile (who I think I follow on Twitter?) has a really unique blog layout and writes incredible reviews!

Where to Find Di: Blog | Twitter | Goodreads
Where to Find Mia: Blog | Twitter | GoodreadsInstagram | Tumblr

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Sophia

Sophia is the owner and founder of Bookwyrming Thoughts, but also found on various parts of the internet. She's a 19-year-old communications major who has weird humor and doesn't fit the Asian stereotype (maybe a little). Books, chocolate, technology, and music are among some of her favorite things. For more of her work, visit her personal website.