Bookworm Quirks: How Working in a Bookstore Has Changed Me as a Reader

This is my new feature, Bookworm Quirks. This week is about how working with books has changed my reading habits. If you’d like to join in on the fun, either leave a comment with the link to your post or email me at bookybunny@gmail.com and I’ll add the link to end the of this post. Thanks for reading!

In January 2014, my sister bought a bookstore and named it Dog-Eared Books. I started working when she had go someone once I got home from school, and at the end of summer I started working there full time. It’s been amazing and I never want it to end.


(My sister and I dressed up to work Hallo-read! She’s the Moose from If You Give a Moose a Muffin, and I’m Liesel from The Book Thief.)

Working at DEB has changed my reading habits a bit though. Part of my pay is 2 books an hour, and if we had the newer books, I would work for that alone. But since it’s a used bookstore in a small Texas town, we don’t get much of the books I typically look for in stores. Because of that, I’ve had to broaden my reading horizons and it’s opened me up to books I never would have looked at otherwise. I’ve gotten my first Jodi Picoult, Neil Gaiman, and Kristin Hannah books here, and while I’ve yet to get to their place in my TBR, I’m excited to try them out.

I’ve also added a bunch of childhood favorites to my bookshelves, from The Kid Who Ran for President to Help! I’m Trapped in a Vampire’s Body! I love walking through the kids room or middle lit shelves to find books I’d completely forgotten about since elementary school. I mean, hello, Phantom Tollbooth? Best book ever!

I’ve also gotten more open to books found at dollar stores like Dollar Tree. I’ve found really cute books there for a fraction of their cover price, and some are even in series that I already had started collecting!

But working in a bookstore isn’t all sunshine and pages. I’ve really started to resent romance and western books. Prolific authors like Nora Roberts, James Patterson, and Tom Clancy drive me crazy because we have tons of them and everyone brings them in without taking any out. It’s so frustrating when you have to move a whole shelf of books down just to make room for yet another Dan Brown novel. As a result, none of those authors or books will ever have a place on my personal shelves. Just thinking about them annoys me.

All in all, working at a bookstores has forced me to look at books I never considered before, as well as shown me avenues to find books that were completely off of my radar. But it’s also given me a bit of cynicism towards authors with a ton of books under their belt (I’m looking at you, Louis L’amour).

How have you been changed by working with books? Is your dream job shelving in a library or bookstore? What do you think it’s like? Do you have any pet peeves that make you think it’s not the job for you? Sound off in the comments!

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Book Review: Tease by Amanda Maciel

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Info: Hardback, 328 pages, YA contemporary, published April 29, 2014

Synopsis: From debut author Amanda Maciel comes a provocative and unforgettable novel, inspired by real-life incidents, about a teenage girl who faces criminal charges for bullying after a classmate commits suicide.

Emma Putnam is dead, and it’s all Sara Wharton’s fault. At least, that’s what everyone seems to think. Sara, along with her best friend and three other classmates, has been criminally charged for the bullying and harassment that led to Emma’s shocking suicide. Now Sara is the one who’s ostracized, already guilty according to her peers, the community, and the media. In the summer before her senior year, in between meetings with lawyers and a court-recommended therapist, Sara is forced to reflect on the events that brought her to this moment—and ultimately consider her own role in an undeniable tragedy. And she’ll have to find a way to move forward, even when it feels like her own life is over.

First Impressions: I really like this cover. The tagline gives it a very tense, foreboding tone that matches the book very well. Also, it kind of looks like lipstick, so it gives the sense of a message written on a bathroom mirror. I’m a big fan of this cover.

What I Liked: This book…this book gave me a lot of complicated emotions. Since it’s the bully’s side of the story, we sympathize a bit more than we would otherwise. From page eight, Sara shows how selfish she is. She talks about how she has to go from legal meetings to therapy to summer school, “and people wonder why I’m not crying about Emma.” Seriously, she’s not a great person. But from what Emma ‘does’, I kind of hated her too. I mean, who hasn’t looked down at the girl in their high school that sleeps around, flirts with everyone, and/or dresses provocatively? If you didn’t, you were much more mature than I was. I mean, I was friends with a couple of girls like that for years, thought of them as sisters, and still thought their behavior was ridiculous. Now, I have more friends that act that way and while I don’t think it’s the best behavior out there, I don’t think it’s any less than the way I act. But in high school, few people are that socially developed. Those girls are seen as threats to relationships and reputations. That’s what made Sara become a bully, and that’s what made Emma feel like she didn’t have an out aside from death.

This book was really hard to read. I saw a play inspired by it in my head, and one day I want to write that script. I think this book explores themes that are really important to address, and I think it should be required reading in high school classes, especially with bullying being such a current issue. It also shines light on double standards and sexism, which is another hot button issue today.

What I Didn’t Like: Just that this was so hard to confront and wrap my brain around. I hated that I felt for this girl, and I hated that part of me hated Emma. I hate that there’s not a sequel from Emma’s point of view, or even just an outside perspective. I need to see what ‘really’ happened, and I need that now.

Ratings and Recommendations: For fans of The Truth About Alice, Hate List, Life by Committee. If you liked The True Story of the Three Little Pigs when you were little, you might enjoy this.

2. Loved It

Final Thoughts: Really complex book, really important book. Read this if you don’t mind being in a daze and questioning every motive you’ve ever had for a while.

Sound off in the comments: Have you read Tease? What were your thoughts on it? Are there any books it reminded you of while reading? What other books like it would you suggest to fans?

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Review Roundup: Perfect Couple, My Life Undecided, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, 17 First Kisses, and Melt

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Since I’m way behind on my book reviews, I decided to start a feature for books I need to review but don’t have enough to say to qualify for a full post. Welcome to the first review round up!

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Perfect Couple (The Superlatives #2) by Jennifer Echols

I love love LOVED Biggest Flirts, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this book. It was breezy, fun, light, and perfect. If you need a beach book or something to pick you back up after a heavy read, This is a great book for that! 5 stars.

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My Life Undecided by Jessica Brody

Really cute book! I found myself yelling at the main character because she seriously makes the WORST decisions, but that’s the whole reason this book is happening. It was interesting to think about the tagline: Would I put my fate in the hands of blog readers? Probably not. But if I did, what would happen? 4 stars.

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To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

I thought this book was going to have a way different format, but I really like how Jenny Han incorporated the letters into the story. It was much more organic and less of a writing gimmick. I am so ready for the sequel! Plus, I don’t think I could ask for a prettier book to grace my shelves. 5 stars!

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17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen

I expected to hate this book, because I read it for the ‘Book with Bad Reviews’ on my reading challenge. But maybe the reviews I read were for ARCs, because a lot of the problems they had with the story were either way smaller than said, or gone entirely. I think the author could have done so so much more with the plot, and there was a world of psychology left untouched in the abusive relationship story, so I’m iffy on it. 3 stars.

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Melt by Selene Castrovilla

This was a pretty good book, and I loved the alternating writing styles: Dorothy in her prose, and Joey with his free verse. It was gorgeous to read, but definitely had a bad case of the instalove. Also, there were way too few ties to the Wizard of Oz aside from Dorothy’s name to earn the cover and everything.

Selene Castrovilla really delved into the mind of an abused teen trying to forget his problems and save those he cares about. I would like to see what comes next from her.

Thanks for reading the first Review Roundup! Let me know in the comments: Have you read any of these? Are you going to look for them? What are your thoughts?

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Bookworm Quirks: My Dream Library

This is my new feature, Bookworm Quirks. This week is about your dream library. If you’d like to join in on the fun, either leave a comment with the link to your post or email me at bookybunny@gmail.com and I’ll add the link to end the of this post. Thanks for reading!

I think all bookworms have a dream library. If you grew up watching Beauty and the Beast, it might be that gorgeous room that the Beast shows Belle and takes her breath away.


(swoon)

It could be the Hogwarts library or Flourish and Blotts.

Mine is twice as big as it probably needs to be. It’s a mirror image of itself (itself? or itshelf? Get it? Ha). It has the exact same books on either side, but one half only has clean copies, and the other has notes written in the margins, highlighted and underlined passages, dog-eared pages, tabs, post-it notes, everything. In the start of these shelves, I’ll have a little area with all the note taking accessories a bookworm could want, like a mini office supply. There will be seating in hidden nooks and crannies, and at the front will be a stereo so I can listen to whatever music matches my book, as well as a snack/coffee bar. Of course, there will be tables and outlets everywhere so I can write and work in there.

When I start a family, my kids will pick out a favorite place to read. Every month, they’ll find a new book off of their wishlist waiting for them on the little table next to their comfy chairs, all wrapped in brown paper and string. I want to have all the popular books so that they can read whatever they want at a moment’s notice. From Magic Tree House and Junie B. Jones to John Green and Rainbow Rowell, I want to have everything on hand.

As you can tell, I think about my library quite a lot. It’s my happy place, and I can’t wait to bring it from dreamland to reality. Tell me about your dream library. Is it filled with antique books and first editions? Does it have a mini-Starbucks in the corner? Sound off in the comments!

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What’s Up Wednesday 2.18.15

What's Up Wednesday

Hey y’all! How have you been over the week? I was going to take this week off and not have a specific to do list, but this has been one of my most productive weeks ever, blog wise. I’ve queued up posts over the next couple of weeks, added lots of reviews, and even make blog headers for all the features I do! I’m really excited about those, so keep an eye out for them over the next few days.

I haven’t been reading much the last couple of weeks, and that’s due to my reading challenge. I know I could take a break from it because my sister hasn’t even started on it, but I’ve been making awesome progress and I don’t want to let it stay over my head or I’ll never get back to it. I’m reading my book written by someone younger than 30 when they wrote it, Pledged by Alexandra Robbins. But I’m not really a nonfiction girl, and the style of it throws me off. So if anyone has a suggestion for a book written by someone younger than 30 years old, PLEASE let me know!!

I’ve been cleaning my room every night, and with every step I breathe easier. I feel sick when things are cluttered, and I’m trying to stay on top of staying organized.

Speaking of feeling better, the last two weeks I’ve been playing Just Dance 2 every week night and I’m loving it! I feel better and am already seeing a tiny hint of results. Since I really have no other cardio in my life, this is a big improvement. I keep telling myself that in six months, I’ll be so so happy I started now. Sometimes I have to really push myself to not head straight to bed, but I know it’ll be worth it in the long run.

This weekend, I get to go to San Angelo and see some of my favorite people!! I’m going to hang out with my bestie and work bestie, as well as hopefully catch up to some other school friends. We’re going to try and dye Katie’s hair bright purple, so wish us luck!!

What I’m Reading: Nothing at the moment, though Pledged is looking at me expectantly.

What I’m Watching: Hart of Dixie

What I’m Doing: Straightening up and being productive

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Tell me in the comments what you’re up to this week! What’s new, y’all?

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Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Problems

As always, Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the marvelous maids over at the Broke and the Bookish

1. Not enough room.

No No No No Come On

Seriously. Don’t we all have this problem?

2. Not enough money

Give It To Me Now

Amazing new books coming out every ten seconds?! Should I save up to buy them all, or to get an apartment that can hold them all?

3. Not enough time

Look At Your Life. Look At Your Choices.

If I stopped watching Netflix all the time, I wouldn’t have this complaint. But I have to keep up on my shows!

4. Too many books I’ll probably never read

Draco Reading Something Odd

Working in a used bookstore in a small town, we never get the newer books on my wishlist. So what do I do with the free books I earn? I get books I’ll probably never get to and take up room on my bookshelf that could go to books I just ordered. I know I should probably go though them and weed some out, but then I start thinking ‘What if I want to read this someday? I’ll have to pay for it or get it from the library. And what if it’s my next favorite book and I just have to give it a chance? Better hang on to it.’ The struggle is real, bros.

5. Fellow bookworms comparing books to movies

It's Like...Don't Do That

I’ve never been a big fan of comparing books and their movies because I KNOW I will never be happy with it. And sometimes, the movies do a better job of portraying something (Harry and Hermione’s friendship with that dance in the 7.1 movie? Loved it! Draco’s slow breakdown in HBP?! Tom Felton will never cease to be my hero!!). I’m not still mad that Dumbledore didn’t ask Harry about the Goblet of Fire calmly, I’m not sobbing over the fact that SPEW wasn’t involved, though it would have been nice. Of course, it would be amazing if everything was consistent (ahem, Hermione taking over all of Ron/everyone’s lines and personality, ahem), but that leads to an unhappy life.

That doesn’t mean I’m not angry about Percy Jackson, though. Such rage.

6. Being the first to read a book and having no one to talk to about it

Everything Hurts And I'm Dying

Or the flip side, being the last to read it and everyone having already moved on (Allegiant, I’m looking at you).

7. No book clubs for your age/genre in your area

I'll Just Wait Here

How spoiled I was last year when my school had a book club! Why did I leave? WHY DID LIFE CHANGE?!

8. ‘Don’t you have enough books already?’

Bitch Please Harry

‘Haven’t you killed enough brain cells already?’

9. ‘You’re a book blogger? Is that like…for the library or something?’

Ummm Office Look

This is when I look into a camera like I’m on the Office.

10. Having a pinterest board full of book rec lists, screenshots of interesting books on instagram, an inbox full of goodreads/amazon/bookshout/bookbub emails with book recs, saved blog posts with books to look at…and needing to go through them all so you can add them to a wishlist that already has 500+ books.

I know It's A Problem

Seriously, I’m fine.

Let me know your bookish problems in the comments below!

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Why Valentine’s Day is Awesome and Not an Excuse for You to be Bitter, or, Death to ‘Singles Awareness Day’

Valentine’s Day is my favorite holiday. It always has been. Typically when I tell people this, they assume that I’m one of those people that is constantly in a relationship. Nope. I’ve only been ‘taken’ for four V Days of my 22 years. The reason I love Valentine’s Day? Because I love Love.

There are so many kinds of love that can be celebrated on February 14th. Familial, Friendly, Self, Spiritual, and so many more other than romantic or sexual. If you don’t have a romantic relationship, who cares? Do something for yourself, have dinner with your family, go catch a movie with your besties, spend some time focusing on your beliefs. There are so many ways to celebrate aside from showering your S.O. with flowers and chocolates.

I’ve decided to point out the flaws in some of the most common Anti-Valentine’s arguments and hopefully convince you to smile and enjoy the day instead of raining on everyone else’s parade.

DISCLAIMER: If you have recently gotten out of a relationship, got dumped on V Day, or have a legitimate reason to dislike the holiday, PLEASE do not continue reading. Not an ounce of this is about you. You heal however you need to and get back to your happiness. Don’t let today get you down. You focus on your needs first. You don’t owe anyone anything until you are okay again. You exist, and that is all that the world can ask of you.

Argument #1: “You should treat them that way every day of the year!”

-If you feel this way about Valentine’s, I’m going to assume you don’t celebrate Mothers/Fathers day, birthdays, anniversaries, or anything about appreciation.
-Sometimes people can’t afford to take their SO out every single day, to surprise them with flowers every week, or to buy them cheesy stuffed animals all the time. What’s wrong with having one day to save up for and just fill it with smiles for the one that you love?
-Sometimes it’s nice to just have a set aside day to dress up and eat at a fancy restaurant. What’s wrong with that?
-Why do you hate happiness??!?

Argument #2: “It’s just a commercial holiday invented by greeting card companies to make money!”

-I’m not even going to waste my time with you.
-Google is your friend and if you keep up this Debbie Downer attitude it may be the only friend you have left
-Valentine’s Day can be entirely homemade (that’s how I celebrate it and it’s probably the holiday on which I spend the least amount of money).
-You could just shop at local mom and pop florists, bakeries, and restaurants and hit those companies where it won’t affect them at all because you’re one freaking person while supporting local businesses instead of being bitter and boring and predictable.

Argument #3:”Singles Awareness Day!!”

-OMG JUST SHUT UP AND GET A FREAKIN LIFE ALREADY
-SERIOUSLY THIS IS THE DAY I UNFRIEND AT LEAST TEN PEOPLE ON FB A YEAR
-The second this phrase leaves your lips unironically, everyone knows you are too preoccupied with what people think of you and that you need to become less self-centered and enjoy your life because because baby you are pathetic
– I honestly don’t care if I’m hurting anyone’s feelings anymore because at this point you’re begging for a punch to the face
– Instead of letting the world around you decide how you feel about your life, take that power away from them and focus on what makes YOU happy today. TA DA you’re no longer focusing on being single, you’re focused on what an awesome life you could have if you just acted this this all the time. Call it Self-Love Day if you need to, for Pete’s sake.

Argument #4: “It sets impossible standards!!”

-If this is true for your relationship, then you need to have a serious talk with your SO and decide what you’re going to do for the holiday, if anything at all. If you want a stress free day, do this in advance. Periodically refresh each other on what you’re going to do, whether it be something like dinner and a movie or only handmade gifts or a $20 limit, so that one of you doesn’t get your hopes up for a big surprise or romantic gesture. This will only be bad for your relationship if you let the hype control how you celebrate.
– Seriously, this is the easiest thing to avoid.
– If you have done all this and your SO is still disappointed that you didn’t rent out a restaurant and fill it with roses and propose with a 100 karat ring, you either need to talk it out and find the reasons why they had this expectation and how to fix it, or see if it’s something you can’t move past and if that’s a deal breaker or not. This is something that can make or break a relationship and it should be taken seriously.

Argument #5: “The world expects you to have a good Valentine’s story about how you celebrated it!”

-YOU DON’T OWE THE WORLD ANYTHING
-THE WORLD CAN SUCK IT BECAUSE YOU DO WHAT MAKES YOU AND YOUR SO HAPPY THAT DAY
-WHO THE FRICK FRACK CARES AS LONG AS YOU DID SOMETHING FOR EACH OTHER THEN OTHERS WILL BE HAPPY FOR YOU
-IF THEY ARE NOT, CUT THEM OUT OF YOUR LIFE BECAUSE THAT IS SOME SHADY BEHAVIOR IF EVER I HEARD OF SOME
-IF YOU ARE CELEBRATING FOR THE SAKE OF A STORY OR BRAGGING RIGHTS OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT THEN YOU DO NOT DESERVE A RELATIONSHIP YOU DESERVE A QUICK TRIP TO CHURCH BECAUSE YOU ARE WAY TOO SELF-CENTERED AND AWFUL TO DESERVE ANY KIND OF GENUINE EFFORT TODAY SERIOUSLY THAT IS MESSED UP AND YOU NEED TO GO HOME AND THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU’VE DONE

Argument #6: “My SO is being really awful today/lately and I just don’t feel like celebrating it.”

-You do not have to celebrate it if it is not genuine.
-If you don’t feel like putting in the effort because you don’t think they’ve earned it or you aren’t in a great place right now, please please PLEASE talk this out with your SO because you may have a more seriously problem in your relationship than a holiday.
-Important: VALENTINE’S DAY IS ABOUT GENUINE ACTS OF LOVE. IF YOU DO NOT FEEL LIKE IT, DO NOT FORCE YOURSELF TO PRETEND. THIS HURTS EVERYONE INVOLVED.
-Seriously, I have had an ex tell me that he was trying to feel something for me and that just made me feel like a bag of tears and I doubt I will ever be 100% how that felt to hear. Please only be sincere. Do. Not. Force. Emotion. You could give them a complex that haunts all relationships to come.

Argument #7: “Cupid is so creepy!”

-I 100% agree with you
-Can we just ban the baby with wings and arrows?
-Nominations for new V Day Mascots starting now

Overall, Valentine’s is completely what you make of it. If you want to spend the day as a bitter cynic, stuffing your face, crying, and making everyone else uncomfortable, go for it. Just don’t start asking the universe why you’re single because your inability to let one single freaking holiday go by without hating yourself is a great place to start finding faults.

Okay, that might have been a little mean. But at the same time, maybe you need some #realtalk.