Thursday, July 16, 2009

Friday Featured Blogger (12): Thao of Serene Hours

I don't remember exactly how Thao from Serene Hours and I became friends through blogging. But she's amazing: she lives in Vietnam, and she does KILLER banners. She did mine (although she didn't put a signature mark on it or anything) and I am absolutely in LOVE with it. The cartoon girl? The gentle colors? The font? Fabulous! Thao, you are fantabulicious!

Want to find out more about Thao, whom I'm sure you've seen around? Read on!

1. Hi, Thao! Can you tell us about yourself in a few short sentences?

My name is Thao, I'm 19 years young, I'm from Vietnam and my biggest dream is to be an author. I have a pet called Bino whom I think has more love from my Mom than me. What I love to do? Reading and writing and annoying everyone. Well, that's it. I suck at introduction, really.

2. Tell us about your blog. When did you start it and why? Where did the name come from? What interesting things can visitors expect?

I started my blog - Serene Hours - on the 15th of January. It all happened back then when I wandered around and stumbled upon Reader Rabbit. There I discovered the whole book blogging community and I was in awe. It was so great that I wished to be a part of it and after a few days considering I decided to create my own blog and here it is :)

You can expect book reviews, author interviews, cover battles and quite a few memes. I'm looking forward to host some more contests at my blog too. Actually I'm still figuring out what I'm going to do with my blog.

3. Which character from a YA book can you relate to the most?

If there were someone who is a mixture of Jory Michaels from My Big Nose and Other Natural Disasters and Francesca from Saving Francesca it would be my character. These two girls make me feel like they're my life-long best friends. Self-consciousness and insanity are what I have in common with Jory, as well as the crave for someone to love and care for. As for Frankie we think we both have those crazy kinds of confusion in thoughts and feelings and what we seem to be in front of people aren't what we really are.

4. I'm curious how the Vietnamese educational system works. What is your typical school day like? Have you gone to school elsewhere outside of Vietnam?

Let's see. School starts at 6:45 and goes on until 8:45 when we'll have a 30 minute break and then it ends at 11am. Sometimes we have classes in the afternoon too. The routine repeats and when we get to go home, it'll probably be 5:15pm. Each period last for 45 minute and we just sit in one classroom waiting for the teachers to come. The seats are assigned too. That's how it is in high school. It's practically the same in university but now it's us who runs from room to room. As you see, nothing much interesting.

5. Quick! Name 3 (yes, I'm giving you 3 because everyone knows it's impossible to choose just one) favorite books and why you think everyone should read them.

Okay I'll be quick, they're:

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher - it's extreme, realistic and thought-provoking. At some point it may be too heavy but once you pick it up you can never put it down.

Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta - if you haven't read it, it's your loss. I love Francesca and everything about the book.

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen - first English YA book I've read in the past few years. It just blew me away. No need for me to tell you how awesome Sarah Dessen is, right? :)

6. What would your ultimate dream birthday party be like?

Woah hard question. I've hardly had birthday parties since I turned 10 or so. I'm not really into parties because I always feel lost if I'm with so many people. So let me tell you a perfect birthday to me. In the morning and afternoon I'll hang around with my best friends, we'll go to all sort of places that we love (initially the park). Then in the evening I'll spend time with my family, maybe we'll have a nice dinner somewhere and I'll eat my heart out. I love foood~

7. What are some books on the top of your wishlist right now?

You shouldn't ask me that because I'm really greedy *grins*. I want to get my hands on lots of books now. I've always loved This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen but never ever had to chance to read it. I also want Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway. Three upcoming books that are driving me insane are Positively by Courtney Sheinmel, Hate List by Jennifer Brown and Never Bite A Boy On The First Day by Tamara Summers.

8. What are some things you just LOVE to receive for presents? :)

Books, notebooks, books, unique bags, books, snow globes and books. Did I mention I want books? Hehe.

9. And finally, tell us 2 interesting/strange things about yourself that can spark conversation.

I cannot write in normal notebooks, they make me lose all of my ideas and enthusiasm. I'm trying to find an inspiring notebook to stop this from happening. So if you come across an elegant looking journal with blank pages please tell me. It's my soulmate, I'm sure. And the second thing is kind of embarassing: I'm 19 but I still can't ride a bike. Anyone wants to teach me?


Thanks, Thao, for answering my questions! Anyone want to teach her how to ride a bike? Simply want to read her great reviews and interesting posts about book covers? Go over to Serene Hours and tell her I said hi. And thanks for dropping by today!


  1. Oh! Great interview! I didn't know who made your banner. She did an awesome job!

  2. Great interview, Steph and Thao! And Thao, I love Steph's banner too. You are uber-talented!

  3. Thao is awesome! And no wonder I thought your banner was familiar! The first time when you had it up, I did a double take because I thought I went to Thao's blog instead!

  4. Thao, you will definitely love Sarah Dessen's newest: ALONG FOR THE RIDE.

    Great interview!

  5. Great interview, and Thao, thanks for the shout-out to POSITIVELY!

  6. Such a great interview i loved it- Thao was actually one of my first followers and gave me tips when i started out!!! LOVE HER!!! Plus both banners are amazing?? haha can you do mine??? JK, Thanks again


  7. Yey Thao! She made my blog banner too, which I LOVE!

    It's interesting to hear about your chool day, though I don't know how you manage to be there for 6.45!


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