January Wrap-Up Plus Random Author Facts #amreading

Here I was thinking I’d read eight books a month throughout 2016–and then started with four books in January. Ah, well c’est la vie (or however you spell that). They were all fun to read.

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The Diviners by Libba Bray

With The Diviners, I got to completely immerse myself in a different era and thoroughly enjoyed it. I haven’t read much historical fiction, but I plan to now. The Roaring ’20s was an AWESOME setting for a book about “diviners” (kids with supernatural abilities) chasing down an occult bad guy. Deftly told from multiple points of view, I fell in love with the characters Memphis Campbell and Theta Knight (though Evie was actually the central character). Libba Bray has an excellent writing style, and I look forward to checking out the next book in the series, Lair of Dreams, as well as another Bray book I’ve heard good things about, A Great and Terrible Beauty.

~Random Author Fact ~

Libba Bray is married to her agent, Barry Goldblatt.

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Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

I’ll be honest, the first few chapters of Magonia found me skimming a bit, but before long I was thrillingly engaged. What words can I use to describe the world-building? Extraordinary, striking, outlandish, whimsical, hallucinatory . . . and completely believable. It’s so hard to explain without giving away spoilers, so I’ll just say I’m grateful to Beth @ betwixt-the-lines for making me read this book. If you’ve read it, too, I’d love to hear your take on it.

~Random Author Fact ~

In 2005, Maria Dahvana Headley wrote a very different kind of book, non-fiction actually, called The Year of Yes. When Shonda Rhimes (of Gray’s Anatomy fame) recently released a book with the same title, Dahvana Headley was, shall we say, miffed and wasn’t afraid to say so. Publicly. On Twitter.

Maria Dahvana Headley - pissed about copying The Year of Yes title

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The Future of Us by Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler

Let’s see . . . what was my original reason for deciding to read this book? Right, I freaking love time slip stories! (If you have any to recommend, I am all ears–er, eyes?) It’s 1996, and Emma is one of the first kids on her block to get a home computer. Emma’s cute neighbor/former best friend Josh gives her a CD-ROM so she can load email onto her computer and, lo and behold, Emma magically gains access to her FUTURE Facebook account. The story is told through alternating chapters of Emma’s and Josh’s POVs, and I have to admit, the two voices were so similar I sometimes had to check the first page of the chapter to make sure whose POV I was reading. This is a complaint other readers have had, too, but it didn’t stop me from enjoying The Future of Us for what it was: a cute, entertaining, and a pleasantly quick read.

~Random Author Fact ~

The Future of Us came to be because a teen fan asked Carolyn Mackler (a panelist at a book event) what her dream writing project would be, and Mackler decided she really wanted to collaborate with Jay Asher.

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The Door that Led to Where by Sally Gardner

As I type this review for the last of my January reads, I realize I read all four book exactly in order of how much I ended up liking them. Coincidence. . . or not? Yes, pure coincidence. 🙂 The Door that Led to Where was well-written in terms of descriptions and similes and all that (I especially enjoyed Gardner’s fun anthropomorphisms). I definitely wanted to keep reading ’til the end, but The Door that Led to Where didn’t get in-depth enough into the story it sought to tell. Good-natured 17-year-old AJ Flynn discovers a secret door to the past, which reveals important information about his true identity and puts him on the trail (perhaps in the path) of a murderer. I loved the scenes set in the 1830s (hmm, more historical fiction–I sense a personal trend), but my biggest complaint is that I never felt like I really got to know the characters.

~Random Author Fact ~

Because of undiagnosed dyslexia, Sally Gardner did not learn to read and write until she was fourteen.

 

Upcoming Reads :

  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Buddy-reading with Beth @ betwixt-the-pages and Jess @ Gone with the Words.)
  • Vivian Apple at the End of the World by Katie Coyle
  • Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson (Buddy-reading with Sarah K. @ The YA Book Traveler.)
  • A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
  • Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
  • Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier
  • Angelfall by Susan Ee
  • The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey

 

 

 

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An Update on My Latest Reads. . .

You know those times when you read a book and you’re upset because it’s not very good but maybe not quite terrible enough to stop reading and you think, “Life is short. I really wish I’d read one of those hundred other promising books on my TBR”? Well, I’m happy to report that NONE of the books I’ve read recently has made me feel that way–thanks to A) all the great books being published and B) excellent recommendations from fellow book lovers.

Recently Read

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

What everyone says is true. Throne of Glass is a great read, and Sarah J. Maas is a brilliant fantasy writer. Calaena the assassin is unforgettable. World-building, yes. Intriguing history and ancestral secrets, yes. I’m especially enamored with the character, Princess Nehemiah of Ellwye, and her friendship with Calaena. (Want to know how to pronounce ‘Ellwye?’ So did I. Note: there’s a pronunciation guide at the back of the book, but I didn’t know about until someone told me after I returned the library book. *sigh*)

Throne of Glass copy

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

As much as I adore young adult fiction, sometimes a non-YA book comes along with a concept too intriguing to ignore.  Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, for example–I mean, a story set in an old bookstore with a mysterious owner, Mr. Penumbra, watching over ancient texts? Yes! The protagonist is an affable, loyal guy. The story is pleasant and smart, especially with its eye-opening insights into the brain trust that is Google. Worth reading for the unforgettable scene inside a vast, high-tech subterranean vault of lost historical items called “Con-U.”

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Melanie Noell Bernard’s YA dystopian work-in-progress

I won’t reveal much about Melanie’s story because she’s still working on it, but this talented lady is going to be published someday—just watch.

The Diviners by Libba Bray

Thank you to Carolyn @ A Hundred Thousand Stories for recommending The Diviners. Entertaining, scary, and very well-written, the rich 1920s setting took this paranormal YA to a whole other level. Memphis and Theta were, by far, my favorite characters—I hope they have bigger roles in the second book, The Lair of Dreams, which I definitely plan to read. I’m a bit whiny about super long books, so of course I wondered why The Diviners had to be 578 pages long, but the good news is the story never dragged.

the diviners

Currently reading

Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

Magonia has been on my TBR a while, but Beth @ Betwixt These Pages encouraged me to read it  sooner rather than later.  As I move into the last 2/3 of the book and mind-blowing plot twists are revealed, I totally get why. Kudos to writer Maria Dahvana Headley for her Wild Imagination–yes, those words are capitalized because, well, you have to read the book to find out. I’ll just say that the beginning does not prepare you for what comes.

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–Eve Messenger

Book Fangirling Blog Award #amreading

Book Fangirling Award

Sweet, smart, book-loving Sabrina @ SabrinaMarsiBooks nominated me for the Book Fangirling Blog Award. Thanks, Sabrina!

Rules:

  • Create a post to accept your award.
  • Add the blog award button into your post and put it on the side of your blog as a widget. Visit fangirling for the award button.
  • Answer the questions I have below.
  • Nominate between 5-10 book bloggers who you think also deserve this award.
  • Come up with your own 5 questions for your nominees.

* * *

  1. What is the most overrated author/book in your opinion?
    Oh, I’m going to get into trouble with this one. John Green is genuinely talented, so I wouldn’t call him overrated, but maybe ‘overhyped’ is the word. There are so many brilliant YA authors and books being published that it seems out of balance for John Green’s novels to take up, depending on the month,  40%-60% of YA bestseller lists. Then again, not every author has a Hank Green.
  2. What book are you currently reading/what are you going to read next?  
    Right now I’m reading Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. Next up is either Magonia or The Diviners.  
  3. Favorite place to read?
    I love cuddling up with a book and reading in bed . Marilyn Monroe reading in bed.jpg
  4. Book character you would like to be best friends with?
    Calaena from Throne of Glass, for sure, because she’s adventurous, funny, and loyal toward those she trusts. Her friendship with Princess Nehemia is one of my all-time faves.

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    The Assassin and the Princess by meabhdeloughry
  5. Book you’re most embarrassed to have never read?
    I’ve never read the Twilight series. Should I?

Twilight poster.jpg

I nominate. . .

Carolyn @ A Hundred Thousand Stories
Valerie @ Pajama Reader
Elena Johnson
Kerry @ Comfy Reading
Rae @ Bookmark Chronicles

Your Questions

  1. What’s your favorite book genre and why?
  2. What’s your least favorite book genre and why?
  3. If, as yourself, you could jump into any fictional world for a day, which would you choose and why?
  4. What are your three favorite bookalicious Internet sites (blogs, Goodreads, Twitter accounts, Tumblr feeds, #bookstagram, etc.)?
  5. How do you decide which books to add to your TBR?