Anonymous Bookaholics Tag #amreading

Hello, fellow book junkies! My name is Eve, and I am a bookaholic. Thanks to eloquent, well-read, super friendly Orang-utan Librarian for tapping me to do this book tag and thus giving me license to explore my inner bookaholic.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT NEW BOOKS?

The smell of them! Whenever I crack open a brand new book I’m transported to all the  happy moments when I’ve started a new story. Something else I like about owning my own book rather than borrowing it from the library is that I don’t have to worry as much about spills or pages getting bent from me falling asleep on them. And I love goodies that accompany pre-ordered books. Oh, and getting authors to sign my books live and in person.

HOW OFTEN DO YOU BUY NEW BOOKS?

I used to buy a lot of books. A lot, a lot. Between my book-loving husband and me, we’ve filled our bookshelves with books stacked two, three, and sometimes four rows deep. There is simply no more room for new books.

The way I come by books nowadays looks like this:

40% borrowed from library
20% Kindle e-books
20% Netgalley ARCs
15% new book purchases
5% used book purchases

Each time I don’t buy a book I feel guilty. Authors work so hard at crafting the stories I love to read, so I have made a vow to myself that when I am a successful published author, I will buy every book I read. That is a promise.

BOOKSTORE OR ONLINE SHOPPING — WHICH DO YOU PREFER?

If these two choices were at either side of a teeter-totter, the teeter-totter would be completely level. Bookstore browsing is so, so, so fun, but then again online purchases are so darn easy. Both are great!

DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE BOOKSHOP?

Yes, a used bookstore called Bookman, just a five-minute drive from my house.

DO YOU PRE-ORDER BOOKS?

When I absolutely, positively can’t wait to read a book and there’s no other way to get my hands on it, I WILL pre-order.

DO YOU HAVE A MONTHLY BOOK-BUYING LIMIT?

I don’t have a spending limit, just an awareness of limited funds.

BOOK-BUYING BANS, ARE THEY SOMETHING FOR YOU?

I don’t ban myself from buying books because, well, here’s a secret. I am a bit of a rebel; if I disallowed myself from buying books, I’d probably end up buying a bunch just to spite myself.

HOW BIG IS YOUR WISH LIST.

There are around 400 books on my wish list, and that’s just I like it. It’s I’ll never be without ideas for good books to read. 🙂

WHICH THREE BOOKS FROM YOUR WISH LIST DO YOU WISH YOU OWNED RIGHT NOW?

A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic #3) by V.E. Schwab – It’s not due out until 2017, but I want it in my hot little hands right now. I am dying to know how the series ends!!

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo – I adored the characters and worldbuilding from book one, Six of Crows, and people are raving about book two so, yeah, that one.

The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater. Okay, I realize that’s four books, but after reading The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves, I am so enamored with the series that I must own all the books now! 🙂
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–Eve Messenger

I Tag:

Caitlin Rhodes @ Rhodes of Reading
Diana Prince Reviews
Nicole @ Sorry I’m Booked
Larkin @ Wonderfilled Reads
Amanda @ Cover2CoverMom
Carolyn @ A Hundred Thousand Stories

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September Reads. End of Month Wrap-Up #amreading

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Hello, fellow book junkies! In September I had the pleasure of reading ten novels and, though a couple came close, not a single one was a five-star read. Whether that’s a reflection of the books or of me as a reader (returning to work this month was a definite distraction), is hard to say. Every book had strengths and memorable moments. Here’s a recap . . .

YA Paranormal / Urban Fantasy

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin – Creepy in a good way, original (and humid) Miami setting. 4/5 stars

The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2) by Maggie Stiefvater – Part of what makes me love a book is getting to enter a brilliantly wrought world with outstanding characters. The Dream Thieves had this. So did the first book in the series, The Raven Boys, which I was so enamored with that maybe it was hard to love the second book as much. The Dream Thieves is still great and made me definitely want to read the rest of the series. Since one of my favorite characters is Blue, I’m especially looking forward to the third book, Blue Lily, Lily Blue. 4.5/5 stars

Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older 304pp – Brooklyn girl gets caught in a world of ancient spirits who come alive out of painted murals. Intriguing concept, bold characters. 4/5 stars

The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey Strong writing (author Melissa Grey graduated from Yale) but the plot’s too reminiscent of Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke & Bone. 3.75/5 stars

YA Contemporary-Mental Illness

Made You Up by Francesca Zappia – Much funnier than I expected. Creative writing style, but not a super memorable plot. Saw the twist coming a mile away. 4/5 stars

YA Fantasy Romance

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh I go into every book with an open mind, but since romance isn’t my favorite genre maybe this wasn’t the right book for me. Disappointing. 3.5/5 stars

YA Suspense

The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes  – Gifted teenagers help the FBI track serial killers. Enjoyable characters, interesting premise. I’ve read many suspense novels, so my standards are pretty high and this one was a bit predictable. Still a fun read. 3.75/5 stars

Adult Sci-Fi Horror

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch Vividly imagined, quick read, (almost too) screenplay-ready. Memorable story! 4/5 stars

Adult Romance-Humor

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion audiobook Joyful, often hilarious story of a professor with Aspergers who’s on a mission to find a wife. Cleverly written–I love how the MC is often the unintentional superhero of the story. Rosie is a fun character, too. 4/5 stars

Adult Historical-Empowered Women

Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier audiobook  In the early 19th century, two bright women from different social classes bond over fossil hunting–in the early days when extinct dinosaurs were still thought to be giant crocodiles. Based on a true story. 4.25/5 stars

–Eve Messenger

How to Tell If You’re a Book Junkie II

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Directions: Mark an ‘x’ for each statement that applies to you.

[ ] 1. I have dropped a book on my face. More than once.

[ ] 2. On social media, I follow writers, not singers and movie stars.

[ ] 3. “Unputdownable” IS a word.

[ ] 4. My idea of a great weekend is starting a new book.

[ ] 5. My fingers type “Google” into the web address bar but somehow I keeping winding up at Goodreads.

[ ] 6. If I leave the house without a book I feel naked   I have a mini-panic attack. I never leave the house without a book.

[ ] 7. I freely admit I’ve hugged, kissed and/or lovingly patted a book.

[ ] 8. My favorite thing in my wallet is my library card.

[ ] 9. I plan road trips just to listen to audio books.

[ ] 10. While reading a book I am oblivious to the outside world. People can shout my name, gesture rudely, but short of bodily injury, I will not notice them.

[ ] 11. I’m happy if there’s a long wait at the mechanic/doctor’s office/airport because it means I get to read.

[ ] 12. When putting together a travel checklist, my first item is always: “books to read.”

[ ] 13. While standing in line to buy a new book I am. . . reading a book.

If you answered “yes” to any of the items on this checklist you are officially a book junkie. For further confirmation, try this test too: “How to Tell if You’re a Book Junkie.

Happy reading!

–Eve Messenger

Book Review: The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl by Melissa Keil

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The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl is a perky and entertaining coming of age story featuring Alba, a one-of-a-kind, very funny 18-year-old girl from a small Australian town. Alba and the close-knit group of friends she grew up with have recently graduated high school and are about to embark on the next phase of their lives. Alba is uncertain what path she wants to pursue. The discoveries she makes about herself during the course of the story are reflected in the way she chooses to draw the comic book character she’s developed, Cinnamon Girl.

“. . . her [Cinnamon Girl’s] face materializes on my page, I can tell she’s not at all happy with me. She plants her hands on her hips, her solid thighs busting out of her star-spangled shorts, and I swear she’s glaring at me with contempt.”

Each chapter of this book opens with a one-page comic-style drawing, but The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl is not a comic book or graphic novel.

Alba’s observations throughout the book  are often pleasantly tinged with comic book references. For example, when Alba becomes irate at an annoying stranger she thinks, “I’m visualizing myself soaring into the air with a backward tumble and punching Penny-Farthing Man in the neck.”

When asked what she wants to do with her life, Alba responds, “Me? I have no idea what powers I’ve got hiding underneath. Maybe something cool, like optic-blast eyeballs.”

And in another passage she thinks, “I’m already halfway down my bluestone path at a speed that would make Captain Marvel herself proud.”

Alba is funny! She’s a unique girl devoted to her collection of garden gnomes, and if she’s in a foul mood might wear her black dress decorated with pink skulls, a signal to her loved ones to beware. The story, told in Alba’s 1st person POV, offers lots of smile-inducing lines like these:

“This house looks like the place personality came to die.”

“I. . . kissed a boy partly out of curiosity, partly to make him stop talking.”

“I graciously decline to participate in a nudie dance-off.”

Bonus points for the small town Australian setting. Minus points for something I can’t specify because it’s too big of a spoiler. Suffice to say I was mildly disappointed in one major aspect of the plot. Overall, The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl was a pleasant read.

— Eve Messenger

Vicious, Inspiration & Cinderella w/a Girl

I’m still madly in love with V.E. Schwab’s writing. Just finished reading Vicious, and what that woman did to the superhero genre. . . I hardly knew who to root for. It was crazy. I got so invested in the story and characters.

Speaking of Victoria V.E. Schwab, did you know that she wears a bracelet emblazoned with the letters WWNGD? The letters stand for “What Would Neil Gaiman Do?” Just as Gaiman is her role model, Schwab is mine. She isn’t afraid to write books in different genres, she works hard, she is gracious, and she is successful. That is why I wear this every day.

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My “WWVSD” bracelet inspires and reminds me to work tirelessly toward my goal of becoming a successful published author.

Over the past few years I’ve written four novels. The fifth one (five has always been my lucky number)–which recently started writing–has grabbed hold of me and won’t let go. In a previous post  I mentioned I’d like to read a story in which Cinderella ends up, not in a cliched relationship with Prince Charming, but in a loving relationship with his dark, lovely, girl-knight sister. Well, guess what? Now I’m writing it! Ironically, I’m not a big romance reader, so in addition to romance there’s magic, a ghost, a betrayal, an invasion, and the coolest council of women magicians who hold even more power than the royal house. Whenever I write about the council it’s like stepping into Beyonce’s song, Run the World (Girls). Am having so much fun with this novel.

Alrighty, now I’d better get back to work. Yeah, that’s where I’m typing this–sorry, boss.

–Eve Messenger

Devastating & Beautiful – The First Time She Drowned

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The First Time She Drowned is the first book I’ve read in a long time that kept me up until the wee hours of the morning. I couldn’t put it down. It drew me in with some of the most beautiful prose of any YA book I’ve ever read, and the plot is structured in such  a way that it keeps you guessing all the way through. Pretty clear clues are given early on as to a pivotal event in Cassie’s life, so the revelation isn’t a big surprise and it doesn’t need to be.

Written by former Hollywood actress Kerry Kletter, The First time She Drowned is a brilliant YA contemporary debut novel, but be warned that the protagonist Cassie endures genuine cruelty, the kind of cruelty that may be devastatingly familiar to you, the kind that may cause you to have to process the feelings it evokes. Too often, books exploit traumatic experiences for the sake of compelling plot lines. This book doesn’t do that. The First Time She Drowned doesn’t exist to aggravate old wounds; it gets blood flowing to emotional injuries so we can heal.

Rating: 5 stars

–Eve Messenger

The Bookish Academy Awards of the Past 12 Months

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Cue the spotlights, it’s time for the Bookish Academy Awards. Out of all the books I’ve read in the past 12 months, these are the winners. Thanks to Brittany @ The Grisha Lieutenant for tagging me and for having such spectacular taste in books.

Best Male Protagonist

Kell from V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic because he’s sympathetic and unique, with a mysterious past that I want to learn more about. (Note: Will and Jem from Infernal Devices were close runners-up in this category.)

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Kell by Victoria Ying

Best Female Protagonist

For her curiosity, bravery, fierce talent for magic, and strong moral compass, I choose Celia Bowen from The Night Circus. Even as a little orphaned girl of six, Celia refused to allow the fearsome magician to intimidate her and speak badly about her mother.

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Best Plot Twist

Everything about The Knife of Never Letting Go is twisted, especially the plot.

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Best Book Cover

I haven’t read The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson yet, but for some reason I am really drawn to the cover.

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Best Supporting Character

Kenji Kishimoto in Unravel Me. He’s an accomplished fighter with a sympathetic history, and what I love about him most is his sense of humor and fun-loving nature.

Kenji Kishimoto: “You are moody. It’s always ‘Shut up, Kenji.’ ‘Go to sleep, Kenji.’ ‘No one wants to see you naked, Kenji.’ When I know for a fact that there are thousands of people who would love to see me naked—“

Juliette and Kenji by Ice Ridden

Most Unique World

Magonia features a world unlike anything I’ve ever read before.

Best Screenplay Adaptation

Room with Brie Larson. Watching this movie was honestly like seeing the book come to life. I’ve been a huge fan of Brie Larson’s for a while now, and I’m excited to see her getting starring roles. What a great actress.

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A Book You Would Love to See Animated

The Night Circus, except what I’d be most interested in is an animated version of a prequel featuring the story of Tsukiko and Hinata.

Best Author

V.E. Schwab. I love her writing and everything about her.

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Best Collection of Short Stories

Firebirds: An Anthology of Original Fantasy and Science Fiction (2003). I don’t read a lot of short fiction, but I picked up this anthology on a whim at the library and really enjoyed it. There are stories by lots of famous fantasy and sci-fi YA writers. My favorite was “Hope Chest” by Garth Nix.

Best Historical or Historical Fiction

I don’t read much historical fiction, but I’m liking it more and more. Not sure if this book counts, but I’ll go with Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier.

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Best Book of the Year

Applause, please, for the big winner of the night, A Darker Shade of Magic. The characters, the story, the unique and magical world, I loved everything about this book.

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 Tag, you’re it:

Carolyn @ A Hundred Thousand Stories

Beth @ Betwixt These Pages

Jesalin @ Blogging Everything Beautiful

Lila @ The Bookkeeper’s Secrets

Rae @ BookmarkChronicles

Morgan @ Hopeless Book Addict

Jocelyn @ 52 Letters in the Alphabet

Amanda @ Cover2Cover Mom