Four Facts Survey

Some people seem to know themselves quite well. They have clear likes and dislikes and distinctive personalities. Maybe it’s because my head is in the clouds most of the time, but I don’t think I’m one of those self-aware people. That’s why it’s nice when a tag like this  comes along to bring me back down to earth and get me thinking about what makes me tick. For that I have smart, funny, forward-thinking Rae @ Bookmark Chronicles to thank. Rae discusses so many intelligent topics in her blog, not the least of which is, of course, books. 🙂 I hope you get a chance to check out her blog.

Rules:

  • Answer the questions
  • Nominate 4  people to answer the same questions

The Questions

Four names People Call Me Other Than My Real Name:

Eve / “V” / Mom / “Honey”

Four Jobs I’ve Had:

Music/foreign language teacher, vocal arranger, Acquisitions & Divestitures Coordinator (sorry, that really was my title, ha), waitress

Four Movies I’ve Watched More Than Once:

Groundhog Day, Zoolander, Galaxy Quest, Love with a Proper Stranger (w/Natalie Wood & Steve McQueen)

Four Authors I’d Recommend:

V.E. Schwab, Cassandra Clare, Libba Bray, Marie Lu

Four Places I’ve Lived:

Japan, Taiwan, Virginia, Southern California

Four Places I’ve Visited:

San Francisco, Vancouver, Seattle, Cancun

Four Things I’d Rather Be Doing Now:

Writing, playing with my dogs, finding new music, talking to my friends

Four Foods I Prefer Not to Eat:

avocados, guacamole, anything sour, marmalade

Four Favorite Foods:

sushi, chicken curry, b’bim bop, chicken tortilla soup

Four TV Shows I Watch:

Orphan Black, Broad City, Walking Dead, The Little Couple

Four Things I’m Looking Forward to This Year:

  • Having lots of time during summer vacation to write, read, exercise and play piano.
  • Taking a trip sometime in August (not sure where yet–any suggestions?)
  • Finishing my novel.
  • Getting healthy again.

Four Things I’m Always Saying:

“I totally get that.”
“Have a great weekend.”
“Absolutely.”
“I don’t want to talk about politics.”

–Eve Messenger

Four People I Nominate:

Lila @ The Bookkeeper’s Secret
Blaise @ The Book Boulevard
Beth @ The Books are Everywhere
Jesalin @ Blogging Everything Beautiful 

Book Tag Inspired by “The Gilmore Girls” #amreading

GG Tag

I didn’t see The Gilmore Girls when it first aired, but I had a blast binge-watching Lorelei and Rory on Netflix and now have kindred book-loving spirit Beth @ Betwixt the Pages to thank for this fun Gilmore Girls Book Tag. If you’d like to do it too, please consider yourself tagged!

1. I JUST GOT HIT BY A DEER –
character having the worst day ever

“Day” from the book Legend has all the soldiers of a dystopian society against him. And they are not kind.

He is a legend... She is a prodigy... Who will be champion?:

2. STARS HOLLOW –
wildly eccentric cast

The Night Circus  features such a unique assortment of characters.

3. COFFEE –
a book you’re addicted to/a character with an addiction

I think Miles (AKA “Pudge”) was pretty addicted to Alaska and her wild ways.

4. SOMEONE DEVIL EGGED MY CAR?! –
great act of revenge

Victor from Vicious  owns this category.

5. MR. MEDINA –
an illicit affair

Nathanial Hawthorne penned the ultimate illicit affair story in The Scarlet Letter. I was recently impressed by the Manga Classics version of The Scarlet Letter, which did a great job capturing key plot details and most memorable lines–all in manga style.

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6. KIM’S ANTIQUES –
a world you’d be afraid to enter

The strange world and undercurrent of evil in The Knife of Never Letting Go was genuinely unsettling.

7. HARVARD VS. YALE –
character who needs to make a life-changing decision

Alexandra in Consider by Kristy Acevedo had to decide whether or not to take the ultimate leap of faith.

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8. LUKE’S DINER –
a comfort read

Captain Marvel Further, Faster (vol. 1-6) by DeConnick & Lopez. Talk about a comfort read. This graphic novel was pure Friday night joy.

Captain Marvel, Vol. 1: Higher, Further, Faster, More

9. AM I CRYING OR LAUGHING? –
a book that messed with your emotions

The First Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter devastated me. In fact, I’m pretty sure I read #8 to decompress from this beautifully written but heartbreaking book.

10. EMILY –
the HBIC (Head Bitch in Charge)

Predatory, coldly beautiful Dr. Cable from Uglies.

11. LORELAI AND RORY –
favorite family dynamic

I choose the Shadowhunters family from Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices. They may not be related to one another, but they live together and have each other’s backs.

12. I PUSHED HIM IN THE LAKE! –
a book you’d throw in a lake

While reading Phillip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle there were times I wanted to throw it into a lake because the derogatory Asian references were so offensive.

13. 1000 YELLOW DAISIES –
favorite romance

In Magonia, Jason literally travels to the far corners of the world to find Aza.

14. JESS –
an unpopular opinion

Cinder. Sorry!!

15. FIRST SNOW –
snowy or holiday read

Pretty much any book by Jane Austen feels like a snowy or holiday read. Something about reading stories set in Regency era England makes me want to curl up by a crackling fire.

16. HEP ALIEN –
book centered around music

In addition to being clever and funny, The Haters had so many musical references which, as a musician and music teacher, I enjoyed immensely–Jesse Andrews authentically captures what it’s like to jam with bandmates. But be warned: this YA book is undeniably an R-rated read.

17. HE’D BETTER HAVE A MOTORCYCLE! –
your book crush

Day from Legend.

18. IT’S REPETITIVE AND REDUNDANT –
a book that could have been shorter

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. (Should I also put this in category #14??)

19. KIRK –
the weirdest book you’ve ever read

Hahaha, Kirk is weird. Okay, so I’m gonna have to go with Magonia again on this one.

20. IT’S A LIFESTYLE. IT’S A RELIGION –
that one book that means more to you than any other

Impossible to answer.

I Tag:

Michelle, Books & Movies Addict
Carolyn @ A Hundred Thousand Stories
Jess @ Blogging Everything Beautiful
Stefanie @ YourDaughter’sBookshelf
The Orang-utan Librarian
Franciska @ Life is Sweet in Books
Lila @ The Bookkeeper’s Secrets
Astra @ A Stranger’s Guide to Novels

“My Intimidating TBR” Tag & A New YA Release I’m Dying to Read

My new friend, Sean @ KingdomBookBlog, gave me a fabulous reason to think about books by tapping me for this “My Intimidating TBR” book tag. If you would like to join in the fun, please consider yourself tagged!

1.) What book have you been unable to finish?

I’m sorry to say my only DNF of the past year was a book many people adore, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han.

2.) What book have you yet to read because you just haven’t had the time?

So many books fall into this category! I’ll go with Legend by Marie Lu because I really want to read it! In fact, it’s been sitting in a TBR stack right here on my desk beside where I’m typing at this very moment, but poor Legend hasn’t made it to the top yet.

Legend (Legend, #1)

3.) What book have you yet to read because it’s a sequel?

I don’t think my blog would be my blog if I didn’t mention V.E. Schwab in at least every other post so, yes, the book I read because it was a sequel was A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab. 🙂

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4.) What book have you yet to read because it’s a new release?

If I positively can’t wait to read a new release, I do this silly thing called BUY THE BOOK. However, there is a new book I’m dying to read but can’t since it’s not scheduled for release until September 2016–The Reader by Traci Chee. Protagonist Sefia vows to save her kidnapped relative, but rescue means learning to read in a world where literacy is forbidden.  A sample chapter is available here–you’ll need to scroll past several other sample chapters to get to it.

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5.) What book have you yet to read because you read a book by the same author and didn’t like it?

I can’t remember a specific book I went out of my way to avoid because it was written by an author whose writing I didn’t care for.

6.) What book have you yet to read because you aren’t in the mood?

Hmm, good question. Probably The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster by Scott Wilbanks. It’s the kind of whimsical, fantastical, well-written story I would enjoy, but something about the dense typeface gives me pause.

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7.) What book have you yet to read because it’s humongous?

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. At 579 pages it isn’t ridiculously long, but I’m a little on the fence about reading it–if it were shorter I would fall off the fence on the side of reading it. 🙂

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8.) What book have you yet to read because it was a cover buy with bad reviews?

I adore pretty book covers but don’t buy books purely based on them.

9.) Which book on your TBR is the most intimidating to you?

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson.

Mistborn: The Final Empire (Mistborn, #1)

–Eve Messenger

My First Time Couldn’t Have Been More Perfect @amreading @amwriting

VE Schwab trio of authors
Marie Lu, V.E. Schwab, Gretchen McNeil  – photo by Eve Messenger

Within a week of reading (and loving!) my first V.E./Victoria Schwab book, A Darker Shade of Magic, the author tweeted that she would be doing a book signing 15 miles from my home. My first book signing? With my new favorite author? Sign me up!

A Darker Shade of Magic

Though I was crazy nervous, I got myself to the event without hyperventilating. Alas, I had to go alone because I couldn’t find anyone else who was available.

My First Book-Signing Event was. . .

PERFECT

Perfect even though the meet-and-greet line was super long and slow-moving (over a hundred fans were there!) But here’s thing, the REASON the lined moved slowly was that fabulous Victoria Schwab spent lots of time talking with each and every fan. I LOVED watching fans step away from the authors’ table carrying freshly-signed books in their hands and HUGE GRINS on their faces.

Perfect because Marie Lu and YA horror writer Gretchen McNeil were there, too! Marie Lu signed my copy of Legend. 🙂 All three super-talented authors were friendly, enthusiastic, smart, and super fun. They were obviously good friends, and their banter created a positive vibe for the entire event. (Note to self: Someday, when I have my own book signings, I will ask author friends to join me.)

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/2/27/Legend_Marie_Lu_Book_cover.jpg

Perfect because, even though I THOUGHT I didn’t know anyone there, I ended up running into and chatting with a writer I’d met through NaNoWriMo. Unbeknownst to me at the time, writer/reader/blogger, Jennifer F. Santucci, was also there. And SHE noticed that Nicola Yoon (Everything Everything) was there as a fan, too!

VE Schwab picture cicled

Author/fan Nicola Yoon is on the left. The top of a blonde head in the back is me. 🙂 Photo by V.E. Schwab.

Meeting Victoria Schwab

Okay, so I mustered up the courage to ask Victoria Schwab if–since I am an aspiring writer–she might write something inspirational in my copy of the first book of hers I’d read. She wrote something nice in all three books. 🙂 Thank you, Victoria Schwab!

Interesting Things the Authors Said

Victoria, Marie, and Gretchen have known one another since before they were published, as members of a writers’ group called “YA Rebels.” They initially “bonded over all things evil.”

Victoria Schwab calls herself a “chipmunk author,” or a “connect the dots writer,”gathering little pieces for a year and a half until she has enough for a story. Darker Shade of Magic started with an image of a boy walking through a door covered with blood and then running into a girl dressed as a boy. Once she has images for her story, she asks herself questions about them to fill out the plot. Before she starts writing, she needs to have five to ten moments, one of which must be the ending.

Gretchen McNeil’s microphone kept cutting out, so she said, “No problem. I can project because I used to be an opera singer.”

Marie Lu said that when she was a little girl there were two things she wanted to be, a writer and a fighter pilot.

Marie Lu said that her agent, Kristin Nelson, is so blunt that when Marie sent Kristin the first 100 pages of her early draft of Young Elites, Kristin asked,“Marie, when you sent this to me, did you think it was good?” Ouch. Marie ended up completely rewriting Young Elites from the villain’s point of view.

All three authors agreed that every single book is, in its way, painful to write.

Victoria said she bought an audio version of her own book, A Gathering of Shadows, so she could repeatedly listen to pp. 307 to 308– a super hot scene between Prince Ry and his ex-boyfriend. 😉

One of My Favorite Author Questions: Do You Listen to Music While Writing?

Victoria said she listens to a lot of music–but never while writing. Because she started out as a poet, listening to music messes with the rhythm of her words. Instead, she listens to white noise and uses a site called noisli to build her own white noise with sounds of rain, static, coffee shop sounds, etc.

Marie Lu said she has to listen to music while writing because the “silence gets too loud.” She splits up her playlists by mood, e.g., exciting, evil, happy (which she says she never uses, haha).

Writers are fangirls, too.

YA fangirl

All three authors talked about writers they get totally starstruck around. Victoria is a huge Neil Gaiman fan and wears her WWNGD (“What Would Neil Gaiman Do?”) bracelet every day. Why? Because Neil Gaiman was the first writer to teach her that she didn’t just have to write one thing, that no matter what genre she writes, her voice will still come through.

I am now seriously toying with the idea of getting my own “What Would V.E. Schwab Do?” bracelet. I am so glad I overcame my introverted nature and got up the nerve to attend my first book signing. I honestly don´t think it could have gone any better. I´d love to attend another one, and the only thing I´d change is to find other people to go with next time– there was just too much excitement to keep all to myself!

–Eve Messenger