Goodreads

Dogs, Dad, and THE Best Audio Book #amreading (barely)

Hello, fellow book junkies! Four months into 2017, and I’m already eleven books behind on my Goodreads Reading Challenge. What’s up with that?  I blame it on decompressing after the death in January of my beloved dad. (Sorry to start on a sad note, but it really does get better…) My focus has understandably been off. In my free time after work and family, instead of reading or working on my novel or blogging, suddenly watching TV shows like Chewing Gum (what a hilariously irreverent Brit-com), Long Lost Family, and Feud-Bette and Joan, and practicing Spanish on Duolingo is a lot easier than try to focus on reading words. In actual books. Oh, and I freely admit to spending too much time on Twitter rubbernecking the train wreck that is our current White House administration. Fortunately, I’m starting to wean myself off that because it is just not healthy. So, yeah, the number of books I read in a month seems to correlate to my mental state. My past two months of reading productivity has been super low–three books a month compared with an average of nine books a month before that.

TV Shows April 25

A word about dogs. . .

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned him here in my blog before, but I have this good buddy named Teddie. He is fourteen years old, follows me everywhere, is a white poodle and the smartest dog I have ever known. I swear Teddie is part human. My Yorkshire Terrier, on the other hand, is dumb but with a heart of gold. Except she hates the sound of crying babies. She growls whenever she hears the sound on television.

Here is Teddie all smiley in the car, probably working out how to drive. . .

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An Astoundingly Good YA Audio Book. . .

And finally, because this blog is about my love of reading and writing YA lit, I must mention that I am ADORING the audio book version of Illuminae by Kaufman and Kristoff. Oh, the characters–“Bite Me” Kady, chivalrous-despite-himself Ezra. The interstellar world! And the storytelling style is OFF THE HOOK. What’s really astounding is that the audio book–with its many narrators, ship sounds, computerized voice–VERY effectively captures the genius storytelling style of the print version’s many POVs, redacted confidential reports, ship-to-ship communiques, etc. The audio book fully deserved to win the 2016 Audio Award for Multi-Voiced Performance. Illuminae may be is the most fun audio book I’ve ever listened to.

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Happy reading!

Eve Messenger

P.S. If you love languages, free website http://www.Duolingo.com is the bomb-diggety.

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October Reads – End of Month Wrap-Up #amreading #YA

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Hello, fellow book junkies! Can you believe we’re already on the home stretch toward Christmas? Wow, this year is absolutely flying by. So how was your reading month? Though there weren’t any five-star reads, mine was perfectly enjoyable. All the books I read fell into the YA category (unsurprisingly, since I love it so much) . The narratives took me all over the place, from My Lady Jane’s alternate 16th century England to The Absolutely True Diary’s Spokane Indian Reservation and all points in between and way not in between.

Here’s what I read in October . . .

YA Paranormal, Modern Day Texas & Fantasy Compound Where People with Special Powers Live
Split Second (Pivot Point #2) by Kasie West 360pp
Kasie West is a fine writer; when I read her books I know I’m in good hands. However, I may be the toughest critic when it comes to sequels. What made the first book in this series so enjoyable was the thrill of going along for the wild ride as main character Addie, using her Searcher ability, mentally lives out two potential futures based on two different choices. This happened hardly at all in the second book; thus, I didn’t enjoy it quite as much. 4/5 stars

YA Paranormal in a Modern Day Northern California Catholic High School with a very angry ghost
Shadowland by Meg Cabot 287pp audiobook
I’m always up for a story about a protagonist who can see ghosts. This book wasn’t bad, just the plot was a bit thin. It would have been better so much better if more things had happened. 3.25/5 stars

YA Paranormal(ish) in Modern Day Ireland
The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle audiobook
Smalltown Ireland was a fantastic setting. This is one of those frustrating books that’s so well-written, with such a promising concept, but a plot that does not deliver. 3/5 stars

YA Contemporary/Humor on Spokane Indian Reservation
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Humorous and heartbreaking, this was an eye-opening journey into the life of an incredibly bright boy on an Indian Reservation in Spokane, Washington. The author’s illustrations were a nice touch. 4/5 stars

YA Alternative Historical Romance in 16th Century England
My Lady Jane by Hand, Ashton & Meadows
I’ve never read a book quite like this. It was irreverent, entertaining, and impeccably well-researched. 4/5 stars

YA Steampunk in Alternate England
Timekeeper by Tara Sim  Netgalley ARC
This was my first foray into steampunk, a genre I’d be interested in reading more of. Timekeeper had lots of potential. My favorite character by far was Daphne, but she really didn’t have a very big part. The main character, Danny, was sweet and tortured, but I never really feel like I got to know him. My full Goodreads review is here3.75/5 stars

YA Dystopia in Post-Apocalyptic Denver
Prodigy (Legend #2) by Marie Lu
I adored the first book, Legend. Book two kept my interest throughout but didn’t have the heartpounding, non-stop action that the first book did until about 2/3 of the way in. The Colonies alluded to in the first book are revealed in the second, and Marie Lu’s take on them is quite interesting. There are three more important things I want to say about Prodigy: Kaede, Kaede, Kaede. 4/5 stars

YA Contemporary/Coming of Age in 1990s Pittsburgh
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky  audiobook
Yay, I finally got around to reading this modern YA classic. Now I can see how true to the book the movie was. No wonder–wow, did Chbosky really write and direct the movie based on his own book? What a multi-talented guy. 4.25/5 stars

–Eve Messenger

Burn, Rewrite, Reread #amreading

Burn Write Re-Read

You know that game, “Kiss, Marry, Kill,” in which someone gives you the names of three guys (or girls) and you have to choose which ones you’d kiss, marry, or kill? Ever wondered what that game might be like played with books? Apparently, some creative book lover did because super duper, book-lovin’ Rae @ Bookmark Chronicles tagged me to play “Burn, Rewrite, Reread.”

Ooo, that sounds like fun, I thought.

But then I had to make the choices.

And it was really, really hard.

The Rules:

  • Randomly choose 3 books you’ve read. (Use the ‘random’ option on your Goodreads “read” shelf.*)
  • For each group of three books, decide which book you’d burn, rewrite, or reread. (A lot like “Kiss, Marry, Kill.”)
  • Repeat until you complete three rounds (or five) 🙂

Round 1:

BURN: 17 & Gone by Nova Ren Suma. I had high hopes for this book. That is all.  13132403

REWRITE: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. I actually liked We Were Liars, but according to the mixed reviews it’s kind of a love-it or hate-it read, so maybe a little rewrite would be in order.:)

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REREAD: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Redemption? Fantasy travels through past, present, and future? I will read or watch any, repeat, any version or retelling of this classic tale.

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  Round 2:

BURN: Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver. Burn a book by one of my  favorite authors? How did this happen?!

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REWRITE: The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black. I enjoyed the story but wouldn’t have minded if the fantasy factor were kicked up a notch or two (more fae, please!) And the “dark” part could have been even more deliciously dark.

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REREAD: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. As M.C. Hammer once said, “Can’t touch this.”

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 Round 3:

BURN: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. The graphics were somewhat entertaining, but the story needed more substance. Probably perfect for a reluctant reader.

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REWRITE: The Scarlett Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. The only reason I would choose to rewrite this classic is to make the language a tad bit more accessible to modern readers so more people can read and appreciate the powerful story and amazing protagonist as much as I do! Note to publishers (because obviously so many of them read this blog *clears throat*): please release a new edition with a not-hideous cover that does this story justice!

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REREAD: Wool by Hugh Howey. This book ran a little long, so I almost put it in the “rewrite” category, but the story never dragged, so I suppose it was exactly as long as it needed to be. Interesting story. 18626815

 Whew, now it’s someone else’s turn to “burn” and “rewrite” some of their book babies. Good luck!

I  Tag. . .

(Note: If you’ve already done this tag or are otherwise inundated, please don’t feel obligated. Also, if your name isn’t on the list but you really want to play “Burn, Write, Reread,” consider yourself tagged!)

Brittany @ The Grisha Lieutenant
Lila @ The Bookkeeper’s Secrets
 Jesalin @ –Blogging Everything Beautiful–
 Rebecca R. Vincent
Beth @ Betwixt these Pages
Sabrina Marsi Books
Astra @ A Stranger’s Guide to Novels
Michelle, Books and Movies Addict
Melanie Noelle Bernard
Frances Sims-Williams @ Nightjar’s Jar of Books

*To display a random list of books you’ve read, go to Goodreads and:

  1. Click on “my books.”
  2. On the left side of screen below bookshelves, click “read.”
  3. At the bottom of the screen in the “sort” box, choose “random.”
  4. Choose the first three books.
  5. Have fun!

What’s Your Favorite Thing about Goodreads?

man staring excitedly at computer screen

Carolyn @ A Hundred Thousand Stories recently wrote a hilarious post about the dark underbelly of Goodreads called 10 Thoughts a Goodreads User Has. It made me laugh and also got me thinking about what I enjoy most about Goodreads.

Do you use Goodreads? If so, what are some of your favorite things about it?

I recently chatted with a fellow book junkie who says she never uses Goodreads, which surprised me. I’m definitely a Goodreads devotee, though I’ve barely scratched the surface of all its features–the reason for that is Lack Of Time. I wish I had more time to even write reviews. At some point I think it would be a blast to start categorizing books I’ve read into special shelves. I’d also like to get more involved in the Goodreads reading community but, yeah, to date have a sum total of about 11 friends.

WANT TO READ – For sure, my favorite thing about Goodreads is being able to click “want to read,” thus adding promising books to my TBR.

UPDATE READING PROGRESS – Oh, and I like publicly updating my reading progress (though I have no idea why this is important to me).

COMPARE BOOKS – I also love this feature I recently discovered (go ahead and laugh, Goodreads veterans) where I get to compare my reading lists/ratings with authors I follow. When I did this with Lauren Oliver, our ratings on books we’ve both read (around 15) matched 100%. No wonder Lauren is one of my favorite writers. (Incidentally, Neil Gaiman and I have zero books in common.)

COMMUNITY REVIEWS – Another thing I really enjoy about Goodreads is checking out other readers’ reviews. There are some cuh-razy readers out there and, yes, some of the reviews are very, very harsh. Strangely–even though I’m a writer–I don’t know that I’m totally averse to the ridiculously mean reviews. Admittedly, even a single one-star review would be terrible for new writers with only a handful of reviews because it would kill their book’s overall rating. Still, maybe I’m wrong, but I suspect there are some ringers out there, too, as in authors with tons of friends or die-hard fans who post 5-star reviews before they’ve even read the book. Why not also have the one-stars at the other end of the spectrum? As a book lover, it’s interesting to browse all the different reviews, both good and bad, and try to suss out whether or not I might like a particular book. Yeah, reading other people’s reviews is definitely my next favorite thing about Goodreads.

–Eve Messenger

How to Tell if You’re a Book Junkie #amreading

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

[ ] 1. In lines or at doctor’s offices, when everyone else around me is tapping out messages on their cell phones, my face is buried in a book.

[ ] 2. If a novel I’m reading has a plot twist I wholeheartedly disagree with, I will complain, out loud, to my book.

[ ] 3. When I discover a new book I’d like to read, the first thing I do is to list it as “want to read” on Goodreads. Then I blog about it. 🙂

[ ] 4. If I reach for a book, my household pets jump onto my favorite reading chair.

[ ] 5. My favorite historical figure is Booker T. Washington.

[ ] 6. When I meet new people, the first question I ask is, “What kinds of books do you like to read?”

[ ] 7. The only thing better than buying new books is when someone reads—and likes—a book I’ve recommended to them.

[ ] 8. The phrase “’book’ an appointment” confuses me.

[ ] 9. If I see someone mistreating a book, I will shield it with my body.

[ ] 10. I read posts entitled “How to Tell if You’re a Book Junkie.”

If you marked ONE OR MORE of the above boxes, you are a bookie junkie and are hereby awarded this badge. Wear it with pride. 🙂

book junkie badge

Happy reading!

–Eve Messenger

 

 

Poll: Why Some Books Take Forever to Read #amreading

girl reading book Kerry Ciccaglione Clipartbest

graphic: Kerry Ciccaglione-clipartbest.com

In the golden age of Goodreads, it’s a joy and a badge of honor to be able to list the dozens of books we’ve read and, of course, fangirl over them with fellow book junkies. 😀 We LOVE reading novels! However, sometimes a book feels like it takes forever to read. Why? It might happen with short books or long ones, with books we enjoy and (more often) with books we don’t. When it seems to take an eternity to get through a book, what is the #1 reason?

Infinity Dreams Award #writerslife

wpid-infinity-award

Thank you to the ever-classy Caitlyn @ Rhodes of Reading for nominating me for this  Infinity of Dreams Award. Caitlyn is a teacher who adores YA fiction, so of course she’s one of my favorite peeps.

Rules:

1. Thank and follow the blog that nominated you
2. Tell us 11 facts about yourself
3. Answer the questions that were set for you to answer
4.  Nominate 11 bloggers and set questions for them

Eleven Facts About Me

  1. At major crossroads moments in my life, I’ve had a hummingbird fly out of seemingly nowhere and hover right in front of me, which I see as a sign that “everything is going to be alright.”
  2. As a kid I enjoyed scary stories. I’d save up to buy graphic novels about ghosts and hauntings then moved on to Edgar Allan Poe stories and Stephen King novels. Maybe it’s because of my overactive imagination, but now scary stories freak me out.
  3. I love riding my bicycle, especially through nature.
  4. I am calm in crisis situations. Afterward is when I get nervous and shaky.
  5. Because I’d love to be able to enter them all into Goodreads, I’m bummed I can’t remember all the books I’ve read, many of which were randomly grabbed off library shelves with barely a glance at the title.
  6. I enjoy collecting coffee mugs to commemorate trips I’ve taken.
  7. Before writing fact #6, I had to look up the difference between “coffee cup” and “coffee mug.” If you’re curious, too, here’s the link.
  8. My lucky number is five, so on all the athletic teams I played on growing up I liked having five as part of my jersey number.
  9. Whenever I take left-brain/right-brain tests, my results are always exactly in the middle.
  10. On the rare occasions that I feel overwhelmingly distraught, I drive to the parking lot of a nearby congregation/compound for nuns (though I’m not Catholic), and it makes me feel better.
  11. I love dogs and am like a little kid at the dog park.

Questions from Caitlyn

  1. If you had to choose, would you rather be a contestant on The Amazing Race or The Great British Bake-Off? (Or The Great British Baking Show…depending on where you’re from!) Sorry to say I’ve never seen either show, but I enjoy baking.
  2. If you were on a deserted island and only had one book with you, what book would it be? Moby-Dick because if it’s the only book I own, I might actually finish it.
  3. Cake or pie? Pie, definitely, blueberry or peach, please.
  4. How many different cities have you lived in? Seven.
  5. Hot chocolate or apple cider? Hot chocolate.
  6. What super power would you want to have? The ability to speak and understand all languages.
  7. Who’s the last person you texted? A friend.
  8. Do you buy DVDs or watch movies online? Online streaming all the way.
  9. Which 3 people, dead or alive, would you want to invite over for coffee? I’m curious about historical mysteries so, first, I’d invite my 5th great-grandfather for coffee and chat about why he assumed a new name at the turn of the 19th century, find out what his real name was and where he came from. Assuming we could understand each other’s languages, I’d also invite one of the last surviving Picts and inhabitants of Easter Island to ask what happened to their civilizations and find what all their cool stone structures were for.
  10. What’s your favorite accent to hear people speaking with? (British, American, Spanish, etc.) The sound of a Scottish brogue makes me pretty happy.
  11. Would you rather have a pet dragon or be a centaur? Both are pretty wonderful, but I’d go with the pet dragon since it can fly me places, which would come in quite handy during rush hour.

I nominate. . .

Mary Cathleen Clark
Abbielou @ Café Book Bean
Beth @ betwixt-these-pages
Madi Uram @ Writing Every Which Way
Sumaya @ Sue’s Reading Corner
Nate Philbrick @ You Write Fiction
Jennifer F. Santucci
Josie @ Josie’s Book Corner
Kelly Deeny
Melanie Noell Bernard
Lila @ The Bookkeeper’s Secrets
Jesalyn @ Life: Books, the Arts, and Nature

 Your Questions

  1. If you had two weeks and unlimited funds, what would be your dream vacation?
  2. What was one of your favorite books as a child?
  3. What was one of your favorite recent reads?
  4. What is your dream/life’s ambition?
  5. What three things would indicate you’ve achieved your dream?
  6. What is your favorite board/card/casino game?
  7. Would you prefer camping in nature or staying at fine hotel in the city?
  8. If you could write like any author, who would it be and why?
  9. If you could visit any historical time period, which would you choose and why?
  10. Romance or adventure?
  11. What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream?