Thursday Thoughts – Endings/Beginnings

Today is my last day at my current job. I was already sad, excited, guilty, and a whole bunch of other emotions about it, and I was going to write a generic post about, like, what I’ve been watching/listening to instead of this post because I didn’t really want to think about it any more than I’m going to have to for eight hours at work today. BUT then I woke up to the following comment from my current boss on the Facebook status I’d posted about this being both my last week at my current job and my first week at my new job, and I knew I had to write this post.

Comment from Matt

I cried. Obviously. Like I said, I was already emotional about it, and then I get that comment and it… I just cried, okay? It’s such a weird feeling to be both sad (SO SAD) and excited (SO EXCITED) about something. But I am. I LOVE my current job. Yes, it’s only part-time which means crappy money, and yes, it’s at a small library in a small town in Mississippi where not that many people read, but I work with an awesome, supportive boss who I get along with really well, and there are some really wonderful patrons who come in and ask me to recommend them a book because they know it’ll probably be out of their comfort zone. I get to help people apply for jobs and for college. I have helped patrons with research, talked comics and music and everything else with my boss, planned and ran really fun events for kids AND adults, and so SO much more. I’ve both learned and taught a lot in the past ten months, and I’ve loved (almost) every minute. I also feel guilty about it. This library is small, right? We had three people working there (full-time branch manager, part-time Children’s person, and part-time Circulation Clerk slash YA person). The part-time Children’s person left at the end of March, and then I found out I’d gotten the new job the next week. So starting next week, my boss will be working alone until they hire someone new. I know I shouldn’t feel guilty. I have to do what’s right for me, but I care about my boss and my library and I hate that he’ll be alone. So as you can imagine, I’m really sad to leave this library and my boss.

But I’m also excited for my new opportunity. I’ll be the full-time (YESSSSS) Youth Services Assistant at a library that is roughly four or five times the size of my current library. The children’s section (just picture books to middle grade) is almost the same size as my current library. From what I’ve been told, I’ll be doing most of the young adult stuff, which is what I’m most familiar with and passionate about, so you can guess how exciting that is. There will be more teens and more readers and more books. I’m excited to be able to focus all of my time and energy on only children’s programming and development. It’s going to be a BIG change, and this is both exciting and a little intimidating, but I’m looking forward to it. New challenges, a new adventure, and a big change. I’ll still be in the same library system, so I’ll still know a lot of people, which is good. I’ll also be closer to a friend who works at another library in the system – who says she’s excited because I’ll be in harrassing distance – as well as my mom and brother so I have occasional lunch buddies. The new job is closer to me – there and back is roughly the same as one way to my current job. It’s full-time, THANK GOODNESS, which I really needed. I’m definitely not one of those people to shy away from change. In fact, I crave it. So as you can imagine, I’m really excited for this new adventure.

I don’t know if anyone is actually going to read this post. It’s mostly me writing out all my feelings about this ending and beginning. I feel really strange today and I just had to talk about it. I have a feeling I’m going to cry several more times today (aka I’m crying right now). I don’t really know how to feel, which is kind of confusing. I think I’ll feel a little better next week when I start the new job (tomorrow I’ll be at a work day for all youth services people so I won’t actually be at the new library until Monday), because today is both an END and a BEGINNING and that’s weird.

New beginnings

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Waiting on Wednesday: Between Us and the Moon by Rebecca Maizel

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share a book that we are eagerly anticipating!

Between Us and the Moon by Rebecca MaizelPublisher: Harper Teen

Author: Rebecca Maizel

Release date: June 30, 2015

Synopsis from Goodreads:

A luminous young adult novel that evokes Judy Blume’s Forever for a new generation.

Ever since Sarah was born, she’s lived in the shadow of her beautiful older sister, Scarlett. But this summer on Cape Cod, she’s determined to finally grow up. Then she meets gorgeous college boy Andrew. He sees her as the girl she wants to be. A girl who’s older than she is. A girl like Scarlett.

Before she knows what’s happened, one little lie has transformed into something real. And by the end of August, she might have to choose between falling in love, and finding herself.

Fans of Jenny Han and Stephanie Perkins are destined to fall for this story about how life and love are impossible to predict.

Why I’m excited: I just want to swoon, okay? Summer, for me, is all about contemporaries, and this one looks just perfect. Summer loves don’t always last, so I’m looking for something realistic, enjoyable, emotional, and swoony. Looks like Between Us and the Moon will fit the bill. I’m looking forward to curling up in the hammock with this one.

Bloggers’ Book Club – May Read

The Bloggers' Book ClubHi everyone! I’m sure you’ve seen a post or two from me about the Bloggers’ Book Club I started a few months ago. We’ve just chosen our read for May, and I thought I’d post about it to see if any of you wanted to join us!

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire SáenzI am excited to tell you that we’ll be reading ARISTOTLE AND DANTE DISCOVER THE SECRETS TO THE UNIVERSE by Benjamin Alire Sáenz for our May read! I’ve been wanting to read this one for months, so I’m really looking forward to it! You can find the book on Goodreads to learn more, and you can purchase ​the book on AmazonBarnes & NobleIndieboundThe Book Depository, or even better – check it out at your local library! (None of those are affiliate links – I don’t have that – I just wanted to make it as easy as possible for everyone to find the book!!)
 
If you haven’t yet joined the Goodreads group, make sure you do that! This is where we’ll be having most of the discussions about our reads, as well as updating you on chatroom discussions and conducting our polls to determine monthly reads. The discussion thread for Aristotle and Dante is up! I’ll send out information about when we’ll be doing our two live discussions in a chatroom in May. This is when we’ll get more in depth about what we’re reading!

If you have any questions whatsoever, please do not hesitate to contact me. If you are unable to participate in this month’s read, that is totally fine! I hope you can participate next time. I would LOVE to have any of you lovely people join us!

Happy reading,
Stefani

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters Who Have Mental Illnesses

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. Today’s theme was:

Top Ten Books Which Feature Characters Who _____ (are musically inclined, have lost someone, have depression, who grow up poor, etc.)

I decided to go with ten characters who have mental illnesses, as it is something I’ve always been interested in. The brain is such a strange organ. I think mental illnesses are a really important thing to talk, read, and write about; continuing to talk about mental illnesses (because they ARE an illness and not something you can change or easily get over) will help to get rid of the stigma surrounding them. I fully appreciate the rise in books, especially young adult books, that deal with mental illness. It’s SO important for teens and adults to know that they aren’t alone.

  1. Made You Up by Francesca Zappia: Paranoid Schizophrenia, Alex
  2. My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga: Depression, Aysel
  3. It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini: Depression, Craig
  4. The Museum of Intangible Things by Wendy Wunder: Bipolar Disorder, Zoe
  5. Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Matthew
  6. Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer: depression, Jam
  7. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson: Eating Disorder, Lia
  8. The Chance You Won’t Return by Annie Cardi: Nervous Breakdown, Thought Disorder, Alex’s mom (I can’t for the life of me remember if she actually has a name)
  9. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick: Depression, Leonard Peacock
  10. The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick: Bipolar Disorder, Pat

This is in no way an exhaustive list. Please feel free to leave more in the comments!

Book Review: The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma

The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren SumaAuthor:  Nova Ren Suma
Genre: Young adult, magical realism, fantasy
Publisher: Algonquin
Publication Date: March 24, 2015
319 pages, hardcover

Check out the full synopsis on Goodreads.

NOTE: I received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher, but couldn’t open the file (wrong format for Kindle), so I checked it out from the library. Despite that, thank you so much to Algonquin for granting me access!!

This entire book felt like a dream, which, I suppose, is part of the point. Magical realism is always fun, and The Walls Around Us was just so cool. It was trippy and strange and wonderful. You never quite know what is real and what is imagined, because none of the characters really know either. I was so confused most of the time and I loved it. Most of the time when I read a book this confusing during which I have absolutely no idea what’s happening, I’m not a big fan, especially if the book is doing it for the sole purpose of confusing you, but in the case of The Walls Around Us, I actually really liked it.

The prose was wonderful. When I started the first page, I was kind of worried. It’s…different. But after the first three pages, I was hooked. It flows easily and its use of repetition felt like a chant, a song. Again, it’s different and odd, but, for me, it was easy to read and very, very cool. The characters were all complex, especially the ones inside the detention center. Just like their crimes, their guilt wasn’t black and white, and this changed them from horrible thieves, murderers, and prisoners into real people.

I think the one thing I didn’t really like was that the book felt a little…meandering? I think that’s the right word. I wasn’t expecting action-packed or anything like that, but parts of it felt a little long-winded. On the other hand, I LOVED the bizarre, odd, confusing end so much. SO. MUCH. I think it fit perfectly with the strangeness of this magical story.

For me, the inscription before Part IV of the book perfectly sums this one up:

“No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream.”

Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House

The bottom line: The Walls Around Us is really different from what you’re expecting. A little Black Swan, but with a bunch of other things thrown in. It’s confusing and strange and absolutely wonderful. I don’t think this will be a book for everyone, though. Personally? I want to read more by Nova Ren Suma.

Rating: 7.5 – between pretty good and freaking fantastic

Guest Post | Simon and Becky Albertalli fill out a MySpace Survey and Buzzfeed Quizzes

You guys remember MySpace, right? Do you remember those super long, ridiculous MySpace quizzes and surveys from back in the day? I was taking a quiz on Buzzfeed (as you do), when I began thinking about Simon (as you do) from Becky Albertalli’s Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. I could just perfectly picture him sitting around with Blue being silly and taking some old MySpaces quizzes just because. So I asked Becky if she’d like to fill out a survey and take a few Buzzfeed quizzes as Simon to see what he’d say and what results he’d get. Because Becky is AWESOME, she said yes. What follows is Simon’s MySpace survey answers as well as the results of six Buzzfeed quizzes, including his reactions to those results. Enjoy! [She answered everything post-book, but there are NO spoilers!] After you read, go enter to win a signed copy of the book on my Twitter!

The MySpace Quiz

  1. Who is the last person you hugged? My weirdo dog.
  2. Last person you kissed? Erm. My boyfriend. (*blushes*)(*dies*)
  3. What color are your eyes? Gray
  4. Tea or coffee? Coffee
  5. What are you currently listening to? the new Sufjan Stevens album!
  6. Are you reading anything right now? Other than the quiz, of course. Tell us about your current read. I’m reading MORE HAPPY THAN NOT by Adam Silvera, and it’s so badass, and the author is so freaking cute.
  7. What is your favorite scent? Oreos. YES, THEY HAVE A SCENT.
  8. Who is your favorite person? See answer to question #2.
  9. When is your birthday? November 17th (a.k.a. the best day of the entire year) (a.k.a. buy me presents).
  10. Do you smoke? Or drink? No. Maybe.
  11. Do you have any hidden talents? I do an excellent Chris Harrison impression.
  12. What is your “type”? Soccer calves.
  13. What’s your dream job? Oreo tester? Is that a thing?
  14. Do you have any siblings? Do I ever.
  15. If you could meet anyone dead or alive, who would it be? Elliott Smith. Or J.K. Rowling.
  16. What are your pet peeves? People touching their eyeballs. THEIR FREAKING EYEBALLS.
  17. Do you have any regrets? Trying watermelon Oreos.
  18. Do you have a tattoo? Or would you like to get one? Nope. And maybe. (Do NOT tell my parents, please!)
  19. Favorite cartoon character? Tina from Bob’s Burgers!
  20. Favorite color? Blue J (YEAH, I SAID IT)
  21. Favorite place? The Shoreo
  22. Favorite food? I mean, come on. You know this.
  23. Favorite song? Waltz #2 by Elliott Smith
  24. Favorite book? Harry freaking Potter
  25. Favorite day of the week? Sunday. And Monday. ❤
  26. Favorite actor? Dan Radcliffe
  27. What color is the shirt you’re wearing? White with red and black swirls and a very handsome Elliott.
  28. Do you like to travel? I like to travel to the kitchen.
  29. Are you the life of the party? No, but my dad is. (ß OMFG, this is what happens when you leave the room for one second to pee and your dad has no boundaries. HILARIOUS, DAD.)
  30. Pick a lyric. Just…pick a lyric? Out of an entire universe of songs? I think I need some guidelines.
  31. What did you think of this survey? It was pure mega stuffed excellence.

The Buzzfeed Quizzes

*All results screenshots are linked to the quiz on Buzzfeed*

Which Harry Potter Character Should You Actually Marry? Voldemort

Simon Says Voldemort

Which Harry Potter "Witch" Should be Your BFF? Ginny

Simon Says Ginny

Which Harry Potter Character is Your Drunk Alter Ego? Luna

Simon Says: What? I make perfect sense when I'm drunk, right? RIGHT?

What If Your Pizza Order Determined Your Hogwarts House? Hufflepuff

Simon Says Hufflepuff

What Kind of Flirt Are You? Playful Flirt

Simon Says Playful Flirt

What Musical Should You Star In? Cabaret

Simon Says Cabaret

I don’t know about you, but this is basically my new favorite thing. Ever. I LOVE Simon, and I’m amazed by just how real he feels to me (and a lot of people who’ve read this book). I would totally be friends with him IRL. I want everyone to read this debut, so I’m giving away a SIGNED copy on Twitter. If you haven’t already entered, you still have until April 30, so GO ENTER!

#ReadingMyLibrary Challenge | Week Four Update

#ReadingMyLibrary Challenge

This week I started the audiobook for I’ll Give You the Sun. After listening to it for about 35 minutes on my commute to work, I tweeted this:

It’s safe to say that I’m LOVING it. If you haven’t read it, the book is written from two perspectives – Noah at age 13 and then his twin at age 16. Noah’s narrator, Jesse Bernstein, is just incredible. He’s got me driving down the road cackling and probably looking like a complete idiot, but I don’t even care. I’m really enjoying this one, and I’m pretty sure this will be one of the books I reread again as a physical book so I can appreciate the story in more than one way.

I also read Nova Ren Suma’s The Walls Around Us this week. Magical realism is always fun, and this was just so cool. It’s trippy and strange and wonderful. I was so confused most of the time and I loved it. Usually I don’t like when I have absolutely no idea what’s happening, but I was a fan of it in this case.

This week, I saved a total of $47.94 – $29.99 (I’ll Give You the Sun Audiobook) + $17.95 (The Walls Around Us)

Overall in the challenge, I have saved a total of $242.24! Libraries are awesome!

Each week during the Challenge, we’ve chosen a topic to discuss during our weekly update. This week’s topic is:

Share how often you visit your library.

Again, I feel like I’m cheating a little. I work in a library so I technically “visit” it every day Monday-Friday. HOWEVER, let’s talk about how often I check stuff out from the library, shall we? We get our “runs” every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at the library. Since  my library is part of a 20 branch system, we can request books/movies/audiobooks/etc. from any of the other 20 branches for our patrons and they’ll be delivered to our branch (it usually takes a couple of days, unless it’s currently checked out). I pretty much get something in our run each time we get one. That’s how often I check out something from my library system. Almost three times a week. Yeah, you could say I love my library.

Also, while we’re here, I wanted to share some exciting news! I currently work part-time (well, this month, I’m full time since our Children’s Librarian left), so I work Wednesday – Friday. Starting May 1 (NEXT FRIDAY), I’ll be the FULL TIME Youth Services Assistant at a library that is roughly four times the size of my current branch. The children’s section at the new library is just about the size of the entire library where I currently work. So yeah, the new library is HUGE. It’s also about 15-20 minutes closer than my current branch. I’m really sad about leaving my current branch as I absolutely love working there; my boss is awesome, and I’ll miss working with him every day. I’ll also miss the wonderful patrons I’ve gotten to know over the last 10 months. (Of course, there are a few things I won’t miss, but we don’t have to go into that here). I’ve felt guilty and sad and elated and excited and stressed and a whole bunch of other things for the past several weeks since I found out, but I think I’ve finally settled on excited. I’m ready for a new adventure, a new library, and full-time pay.

So how often do you visit your library? Do you check out items with as much frequency as I do?

LINK YOUR WEEK THREE UPDATE BELOW!

And don’t forget to enter the #ReadingMyLibrary Challenge giveaway and participate in the Scavenger Hunt for another chance to win $15 to TBD and discover some new stuff about your library!

Eternal Sacrifice by Stacey O’Neale | Cover Reveal + Giveaway!

Today, I am super excited to be part of the Eternal Sacrifice cover reveal! If you’re new to the series, this is the BEST TIME to check it out! You might’ve seen my reviews of The Shadow Prince and Mortal Enchantment, both of which I really enjoyed. Eternal Sacrifice is the fourth book in the series by Stacey O’Neale.

From April 24 – 28, THE SHADOW PRINCE & MORTAL ENCHANTMENT will be available for FREE on Amazon. This is the ONE AND ONLY TIME Stacey is going to do this, so pick up your copies NOW! I mean, it’s FREE! Why wouldn’t you grab these?!

Click HERE to be taken to Stacey’s Amazon page aka FREE books

And now, here is the cover of the last book in the series, ETERNAL SACRIFICE!

Drum roll, please…

Eternal Sacrifice by Stacey O'Neale

 Add this book to your Goodreads TBR!

Stacey is absolutely amazing and is offering a $100 Gift Card from Amazon or Barnes & Noble (Winner’s choice)! WOW! You could buy SO MANY BOOKS for $100. Click the picture below to enter!

Giveaway Enter

Thursday Thoughts | Couples Appreciation Month – Favorite YA Couples

April is Couples Appreciation Month (I had no idea, but found out at the library), so I wanted to showcase some of my favorite couples in YA literature. Let me know your favorites in the comments!

Fair warning: There are a LOT OF CAPS LOCK in this post.

Lola and the Boy Next DoorLola and Cricket from Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

WHY I LOVE THEM: We all know this is my OTP. Cricket is basically my dream guy, and I’ve had several people tell me I’m a lot like Lola, so HELLO, Cricket is obviously my real boyfriend. 🙂 Cricket is sweet, smart, kind, funny, nerdy, and totally swoon-worthy and he’s the PERFECT match for Lola, spunky, independent, unique, colorful Lola.

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky AlbertalliSimon and Blue from Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

WHY I LOVE THEM: I know I’ve been very obvious in my love for this book recently, but you guys, it’s SO WORTH IT. The emails between Simon and Blue are so unbelievably adorable and you’ll totally melt. I was rooting for them SO HARD while reading this book. They both care about each other so much even before they’ve even met. So much so that Simon will let himself be blackmailed to protect Blue.

The Truth about Forever

 

Macy and Wes from The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

WHY I LOVE THEM: ASDFJKL; How can I even put it into words?

 

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

 

Finnick and Annie from the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins

WHY I LOVE THEM: “He never lets go of Annie’s hand. Not when they walk, not when they eat. I doubt he ever plans to.”

 

This Is What Happy Looks LikeGraham and Ellie from This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

WHY I LOVE THEM: Another book with emails between two characters who’ve never met and then have. I just really like adorable emails, OKAY? This relationship felt so real because Ellie was resistant to the two of them getting close when she finds out who Graham is. They struggle at first but then their romance and relationship are just TOO cute.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. RowlingHermione and Ron from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

WHY I LOVE THEM: I just love the idea of them together. Sweet, awkward, loyal Ron and nerdy, smart, brilliant Hermione always seemed like the best couple. Like a lot of people who read this series, I put myself in Hermione’s shoes. I related to her a lot, and Ron was the kind of guy I liked (except when he was such a jerk in GoF).

The Fault in Our StarsHazel Grace & Augustus from The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

WHY I LOVE THEM: *leaves to cry in the corner* I know a lot of people hate on John Green and his characters because they are too grown up or unrealistic or whatever, but I’m a fan. I think for two people who are going through what Hazel and Augustus are going through, they ARE realistic. Either way, they are smart, quirky, charming, devastating, and a great YA couple.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

 

Katniss & Peeta from the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins

WHY I LOVE THEM: Real or not real? REALLLLLL.

 

Who are you favorite couples in YA? 

The following couple is somewhat spoiler-y. This series hasn’t ended yet, and…oh, just read it if you’ve read the first three Raven Cycle books.

 

Blue Lily, Lily Blue

 

Ronan & Adam from the Raven Cycle books by Maggie Stiefvater

WHY I LOVE THEM: Okay, this isn’t actually a real couple. YET. But PYNCH, you guys – I WILL GO DOWN WITH THIS SHIP

 

Bloggers’ Book Club – MAY 2015 POLL!

Hey, lovelies! This is just a quick post to remind anyone who’s in the Bloggers’ Book Club to vote in the May 2015 poll over in our Goodreads group! We’ve got four choices as I didn’t get a lot of suggestions:

The Bloggers' Book ClubAristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets to the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

The Rook by Daniel O’Malley

Life in Outer Space by Melissa Keil

Inescapable by Amy A. Bartol

GO VOTE!

And if you aren’t part of the book club right now, but would like to join, we’d LOVE to have you! We’re over on Goodreads. 🙂