That Time My Friend and I Were a Little…Peculiar #StayPeculiar

I’m sure most of you have heard of Ransom Rigg’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children series. The third book in the series, Library of Souls, comes out next month, and he’s going on tour to promote it. However, he’ll only be in five cities in the U.S., and because Ransom is smart and awesome, he’s hosting a super cool contest – you have to take a picture of yourself looking like a peculiar, and Ransom and three book tubers (Jesse the Reader, Xtinemay, and Katytastic) will be choosing a winner who (along with a friend) will be flown to one of the tour dates for a meet and greet with Ransom. How freaking cool is that?!

So my friend Anna and I decided we’d participate, because duh. I live on ten acres of land, so we had a lot of fun spending the day taking pictures in the woods and by the lake, and we drove down to a church for another shot. Anna edited them all in Photoshop (to add the wings and make us float and take chunks out of our body), so she’s got the credit for making them awesome. I LOVE all the pictures of us, so I wanted to share them with you!

Don’t forget to #staypeculiar, you guys.

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Summer Blogger Promo Tour: 2015 Wrap Up Post

This post marks the end of the 2015 Summer Blogger Promo Tour, and this makes me very sad. Like last year, I had a lot of fun getting to know everyone, though I wish there’d been a little more interaction in our Twitter DM! I featured guest posts from 8 wonderful bloggers over the course of July and August.

Summer Blogger Promo Tour 2015

In case you missed the posts, here they are!

Not only did I enjoy reading everyone’s posts for my blog, I LOVED doing the posts for blogs on which I was featured. My favorite has got to be the Book Guessing Game I did on Melissa’s blog. It was super challenging and a lot of fun to try to guess books based on a short description, quote, a few words, or a sample of their cover. I also enjoyed making a list of some of the bookish tattoos I’d like to get in the future on Sydney’s blog. I wrote about an object from books I’d recreate if I had unlimited resources for Mariah’s blog and my favorite TV and movie guys for Talina (featuring some gorgeous pictures of men like Dylan O’Brien and Donald Glover).

I had a few issues with the tour – mostly that I sometimes didn’t know who was hosting me or they wouldn’t tag me on Twitter, so I didn’t know my post was up, but I also had a few of the bloggers not email me until super late or want me to come up with ideas for the post they did on my blog AND what I would do for their blog, which I didn’t think was fair.

However, overall, I liked the tour and finding some new bloggers to follow! The Summer Blogger Promo Tour is a great way to get your name out but also to spread the love for some fellow book bloggers. Make sure you follow our lovely hosts The Book Bratz (on their blog or Twitter) and keep your eye for sign-ups for next year!

ARC Review: A Curious Tale of the In-Between by Lauren DeStefano

A Curious Tale of the In-Between by Lauren DeStefanoAuthor:  Lauren DeStefano
Genre: MG, fantasy
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Publication Date: September 1, 2015
240 pages, hardcover

Check out the full synopsis on Goodreads.

NOTE: I was provided with an e-ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Bloomsbury USA Childrens for letting me read this!

A Curious Tale of the In-Between is Lauren DeStefano’s first middle grade book, and I certainly hope it won’t be the last. This book is absolutely wonderful, enchanting, and full of life – despite the fact that Pram can see ghosts. I was drawn into Pram’s world from page one and read this one quickly over the course of two days (only because I had to work). It reads quickly and will keep you completely captivated the whole time.

Pram (short for Pragmatic – what a great name) is special – she can see ghosts. She was born dead and brought back to life so she hovers somewhere in that in-between place, which gives Pram her ability. She is anything but ordinary, which you can see as you read the book. She’s smart and curious but practical (hence the name). I want to follow her on more journeys – give me more Pram! Pram’s friends, Felix – a ghost – and Clarence – not a ghost, are just as wonderful. I wanted to reach into the book and hug Felix with everything I had. All of the friendships in this one were sweet and supportive.

Honestly, the best part of The Curious Tale of the In-Between is the fact that it’s…well, it’s dark. It’s not your average MG book. It has some really tough topics brought up (suicide, depression, death) and Pram and her friends are put into some harsh situations. But DeStefano realizes that kids can deal with these things and she doesn’t try to lighten it up or beat around the bush. It was refreshing to read, and I know a lot of kids reading this book will appreciate (and even need) that. The real world can be scary and sad, and DeStefano doesn’t shy away from those harsh realities.

The bottom line: Lauren DeStefano’s first MG book, A Curious Tale of the In-Between, is a dark, lyrical, enchanting novel full of ghosts, mediums, life, death, and pragmatic girls. A wonderful coming-of-age story. Bring on book 2!

Rating: 8 – freaking fantastic

Thursday Thoughts: My New YA Library Book Club Read The Raven Boys and LOVED It

Monday night, I had my first young adult book club at the library. I chose The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater for our first read (duh). I was a little worried that my teens weren’t going to like it – not because it isn’t GREAT (because it is. Like, seriously), The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvaterbut because it is quite different from most of the books I’ve seen them read. I was so overwhelmed with happiness at their reactions to the book and our discussion, which, by the way, lasted an hour and a half! We talked about the characters and the setting (we loved everything about both), the magic and the journey that each of the characters are on, what all of the characters are looking for (like Adam is looking for a family and Ronan is looking for redemption) and which of the characters was everyone’s favorite (Ronan, obviously). We discussed the fact that the romance was more of an underlying theme in the book and that the friendships and bonds between the characters was the most important aspect. We chatted about Blue and how being the only non-psychic in her family makes her different from a group of people that are already different and how that shaped who she was as a person. We swooned over characters (mostly Ronan and Gansey) and were creeped out by others (Whelk and Noah – half of us loved Noah and half thought he was weird). It was a brilliant discussion and I was so impressed with my teens.

I promise this isn’t a whole post about me being excited and happy with the turnout (even though I TOTALLY AM). One thing I asked them to do was to come up with ONE word to describe each of the characters and the book overall. I adore this series, so I thought it’d be fun to share these descriptions with you guys.

ADAM
Relatable // Underdog // Brave // Emotionally strong (okay, two words. Whatever)

GANSEY
Irritating (she wanted me to point out she only felt this way at first) // The perfect guy // Smart // Huggable (she didn’t want me to share this one but it’s too cute)

BLUE
Spunky // Quirky // Sassy // Outsider // Relatable

NOAH
Creepy // Confusing // Weird // Wonderful // They liked his name

RONAN (aka my boo)
Dangerous // *heart eyes emoji* // Indescribable // Sweet AND salty // Bada$$ (she said bad a-word. Lolz.) // Everyone’s favorite

THE BOOK OVERALL
Sad // Intelligent // Mesmerizing // Complex // Smoldering (I said this one and they all agreed) // Enchanting // Perfect (I was over the moon when they said this)

——————–

As I’m sure you can all imagine, I was unbelievably happy about their reaction and the fact that it went so well. After our discussion, I told them I was going to let them make suggestions for our next read and then we’d draw it out of a hat if we couldn’t come to a consensus. This was when my little librarian heart grew three sizes: they said they’d actually rather I decide because they trust my judgment and they knew I’d get them to read something they wouldn’t usually pick. I could have CRIED, you guys. I gave them a few suggestions and told them what the books were about (and maybe got a little too passionate about a few of them), and they decided to go with…MOSQUITOLAND by David Arnold. YES YES YES. I cannot wait to discuss this book with them! We also decided on the two months following September: we’ll be reading I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson (asdfjkl) and The Young Elites by Marie Lu (ASDFJKL;). I’m just really glad that I’ve got teens who are willing to try new things and who want to read and who love TRB and…

I just have a lot feelings gif

My Villain Squad & a Giveaway for The Rose Society ARC

Brittany from Brittany’s Book Rambles tagged me to do this AWESOME post – I’m to make myself into a villain to help promote Marie Lu’s The Young Elites (which I LOVE) and The Rose Society (which almost killed me but I also love – review SOON). So, of course, I was going to help promote it, but I get to turn myself into a villain? YESSSSSS. Be sure to stick around for the giveaway at the bottom!

Before I tell you my super villain identity (which I’m really not supposed to be doing. I should really kill you just for knowing), I’m going to include the awesome covers for each books and where you can buy them. (I don’t have those affiliate links; I’m just sharing because I really think you should read these books).

The Young Elites by Marie Lu          The Rose Society by Marie Lu

THE YOUNG ELITES: Amazon | B&N | BAM | IndieBound | Goodreads
THE ROSE SOCIETY: Amazon | B&N | BAM | IndieBound | Goodreads

I AM…THE DIVINER

Smoke hand(Image found on this Tumblr – It is NOT mine)

I have the powers of anti-energy manipulation. Essentially, I have the ability to conjure energy capable of annihilating everything else that’s considered energy – your powers, your body, your soul. The energy I create is only able to be manipulated or transformed by me. I have the power to create energy that will destroy you.

If I had a real life villain squad (who am I kidding? I totally do),
these are the people who’d be in it:

LOKI, Marvel comics and movies

Tom-Hiddleston-is-Loki

ADELINA AMOUTERU, The Young Elites by Marie Lu

Adelina_Amouteru

THE JOKER, DC comics and movies

The Joker

BELLATRIX LESTRANGE, the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

HELENA BONHAM CARTER as Bellatrix Lestrange in Warner Bros. Pictures’ fantasy adventure “HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS – PART 1,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

THE DARKLING, the Grisha series by Leigh Bardugo
(I’ve only read the first book but can already tell I want him on my squad)

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Who would be in your villain squad?

And now, click the image below to be taken to the Rafflecopter giveaway for an ARC OF THE ROSE SOCIETY. Seriously, you guys, you DO NOT want to miss this book!

Giveaway Enter

Waiting on Wednesday: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

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

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers

Author:  Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Release date: October 13, 2015

Synopsis from Goodreads:

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

Why I’m excited: I’ve said it like a million times, but I LOVE books that use different types of media to tell stories and this one has EVERYTHING. Also, the only way you haven’t heard about this book is if you’ve been living under a rock. It seems like everyone is obsessed with it. I try to avoid the hype monster, but I mean, read the description. How can you NOT get excited about this one? It sounds seriously interesting and exciting. And I hardly ever pre-order books, but I pre-ordered this one two months ago. Can’t wait for it to come in!

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Would Be on My Modern Scottish Crime Fiction 101 Syllabus

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

Top Ten Books That Would Be On Your Syllabus If You Taught X 101 (examples: YA fantasy 101, feminist literature 101, magic in YA 101, classic YA lit 101, world-building 101)

MODERN SCOTTISH CRIME FICTION 101

In the last 30 years or so, Scottish crime fiction has become such a HUGE part of the Scottish literature scene. Crime fiction allows authors to explore their cities and countries through the eyes of people who are constantly involved in everything going on – the police. Crime fictions authors can talk politics, economy, people, and so much more. When living in Scotland, I was lucky enough to volunteer for the first ever Scottish crime writing festival, Bloody Scotland, in its first year and work as the volunteer coordinator in its second year, and through this experience I met and spoke to SO many amazing crime fiction authors. I’m not even a teacher, and I’m getting excited about what I could teach in this class. Let’s start with the syllabus.

Laidlaw by William McIlvanney     The Falls     44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith     The Crow Road by Iain Banks

The books around which most of the course would be centered:

Laidlaw by William McIlvanney – The novel that MANY crime fiction authors credit as the reason they began writing crime fiction. (GR)

The Falls by Ian Rankin – the book that got me into reading Scottish crime fiction. I could seriously do a whole class on Ian Rankin and his novels, but I’ve limited myself to one. (GR)

44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith – More of a mystery series than crime, but it offers a different take and the whole feel of the novel is different. (GR)

The Crow Road by Iain Banks (GR)

The books we’d also discuss:

Still Midnight by Denise Mina (GR)

The Skeleton Road by Val McDermid (GR)

Glasgow Kiss by Alex Gray (GR)

Raven Black by Ann Cleeves (GR)

The Blackhouse by Peter May (GR)

Shatter the Bones by Stuart MacBride (GR)

Quite Ugly One Morning by Christopher Brookmyre (GR)

———————————–

I could seriously keep going. There are so many amazing Scottish crime fiction authors. I don’t have Lin Anderson on here or Craig Robertson, Quintin Jardine, Caro Ramsay, Gordon Brown. Okay, I’m forcing myself to stop. If you like crime fiction, you’ve got to check out these amazing Scottish authors.

Audiobook Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Cinder by Marissa MeyerAuthor:  Marissa Meyer

Narrator: Rebecca Soler

Genre: Young adult, science fiction, retelling

Publisher: Macmillan Young Listeners (audiobook); Feiwel & Friends (physical book)

Audiobook length: 10 hours, 6 minutes

Check out the full synopsis on Goodreads.

The book:

Cinder is a retelling of Cinderella in a dystopian, Asian world in which Cinder is a freaking cyborg! How cool is that?! I was a little nervous for this one just because of the huge amount of hype surrounding this series, but I honestly wish I would have read it years ago! I feel like there isn’t much I can say about this book that hasn’t already been said, but let me point out a few of my favorite things:

– Queen Levana is exactly what a villain should be like – manipulative, creepy, horrible, and just deliciously evil.

– The way Meyer took this well-known and sometimes overdone story of Cinderella and completely transformed it into her own story was amazing. Yes, sometimes you’d be able to predict what was going to happen, but for the most part, it just read as a quick nod to the original story and then she’d take it somewhere else. It was fascinating.

– The world that Meyer has created is incredible, original, and all around captivating. I just wanted to know EVERYTHING about it. The politics, science, technology – all of it was SO cool, and I was completely engaged with the story and world from the beginning.

– There were a few parts that felt a little long/drawn out, and the main reason I’m not giving this a TOP rating is because I figured out the big “twist” pretty early on, and while I definitely didn’t want to stop reading because of that, it made reading/listening a little less fun.

The audiobook/narrator:

I absolutely LOVED Rebecca Soler’s narration. There were a few times in the book that I think would have…bored me during the story but her narration kept me completely enthralled and I didn’t want to stop listening for a second. I wanted to start the next book right away.

The bottom line: I can’t believe I waited this long to read Cinder, but I’m glad I finally did. A fascinating world, wonderful retelling of Cinderella, perfect villain, and fantastic writing all mix together to create a book I didn’t want to stop reading for a second. I figured out the twist early on, but the book was so good I didn’t really care that much.

Rating: 8 – freaking fantastic

I’m participating in The Lunar Chronicles Read Along hosted by the lovely Brittany from The Book Addict’s Guide!

Bout of Books 14 Wrap Up

Bout of Books 14I can’t believe Bout of Books 14 is already over! My fourth time participating in the week-long readathon was a blast, as always, and I’m sad to see it go! BUT now I have a reason to look forward to January! I’m going to do a little wrap up of what I read and the challenges I participated in this week.

Total number of pages read: 1,354 (WOOOO!)

What I read this week:

  • The Curious Tale of the In-Between by Lauren DeStefano
  • The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich
  • The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
  • Wherever You Go by Pat Zietlow Miller
  • Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty
  • The Rose Society by Marie Lu
  • These single issue comics: Robin: Son of Batman #2, We Are Robin #2, Prez #2, Thor #8, Bat-Mite #1 and 2

My favorite read of the week: Hands down, The Rose Society. It’s almost not even fair to the other books.

Challenges participated in this week:

Other notes about the week: I’ve got to say, I’m pretty impressed with how much I read this week while working a full-time job, a part-time job, blogging, going to a book festival, and sleeping. I’m also really happy to say that I liked every single book I read, which is awesome. All of the challenges I participated in were super fun and different. I got to participate in the Twitter chat on Saturday, which was overwhelming and wonderful, as always. I can’t wait for the next round of Bout of Books.

If this is the first you’re hearing about Bout of Books or you want to learn more, make sure you go follow the Bout of Books blog because that’s where all the info is about the readathon and where they’ll update us on upcoming events.

Bout of Books: What to Read Next Challenge

Sarah from Sarah Reads Too Much is hosting the “What to Read Next Challenge” today as the last challenge for Bout of Books.

For this Challenge, you need to recommend 3 books (and only 3 books) that you have read this year that you think should be recognized as something great – something everyone should have on their TBR list for this fall.

I’m finding it SUPER difficult to narrow it down to only THREE books that I think everyone should have on their TBR for the fall, but here we go.

The Rose Society by Marie Lu   The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich   Mosquitoland by David Arnold

THE ROSE SOCIETY by Marie Lu: I JUST (as in, like, fifteen minutes ago) finished The Rose Society – the second book in The Young Elites. It was brilliant and dark and amazing, and I have so many feelings that I can’t possibly put into words. I would HIGHLY recommend this book (and the first book in the series, The Young Elites, if you haven’t read it). Check it out on Goodreads.

THE DEAD HOUSE by Dawn Kurtagich: This was another one of my Bout of Books reads. The Dead House is deliciously creepy and strange, and it would be a perfect one to read around Halloween. It will seriously freak you out. Check it out on Goodreads.

MOSQUITOLAND by David Arnold: I read this one last month. I’m rereading it as an audiobook this month because I needed to be with Mim again. I ADORE this book so so much. It’s best to just direct you to my review so you can see just how much I love Mosquitoland. Or you can check it out on Goodreads.

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I could seriously go on and on with recommendations – this has been THE BEST YEAR for books, especially debuts. But I’ll just link you to my Goodreads (you should totally friend me) so you can see all the books I’ve read and loved this year. I’d recommend them all. What books would you recommend I have on my fall TBR?