Thursday Thoughts: Books to Read if You Like Orphan Black

ORPHAN BLACK RETURNS TONIGHT, YOU GUYS. OMG. I am so excited to head back into this world and see where the story goes next. And, by the way, if you haven’t watched this show yet, WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR LIFE? Seriously, this show is awesome.

I thought it’d be super fun to give you guys some book recs based on the show – books I think you’d enjoy if you like Orphan Black. They’ve been chosen because they have clones in them or they are sci-fi (some heavy on the science, which I think OB is), they are full of the awesome, dark atmosphere similar to OB or they are suspenseful and mysterious. I think these books – like Orphan Black – feel a bit scary because of how close they are to our society. They talk about the importance of human life and the choices we, as humans, have or should make.

6 Books to Read if You Like Orphan Black

A Thousand Pieces of You

A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU by Claudia Gray
While there are no clones present in this novel, I think the science and parallel universes will be of interest to Orphan Black fans.

The Handmaid's Tale

THE HANDMAID’S TALE by Margaret Atwood
This book is pretty much essential reading for not just OB fans but everyone. This one isn’t science fiction, but one of the best dystopian novels I’ve ever read. Like I mentioned earlier, this novel really makes you think about humanity and what it means to be human. Are clones (or Handmaids) worth less than others because of what they are?

Never Let Me Go

NEVER LET ME GO by Kazuo Ishiguro
Dark, sometimes confusing but always interesting sci-fi. Much like OB, it takes a bit to realize what’s happening, but once you do, WOAH. It’s intense, horrific, and so so good. Add in beautiful writing and you can’t go wrong.

Vitro

VITRO by Jessica Khoury
I think you can probably tell why I’m reccing this book just from the cover. Clones on the run for their lives. But on a remote island instead of Ontario, Canada. Yeah. Awesome.

Double Identity

DOUBLE IDENTITY by Margaret Peterson Haddix
You can’t really go wrong with Margaret Peterson Haddix. This is a great one for younger YA/MG-loving Orphan Black fans. Bethany’s family leaves her with an aunt she never knew in a town where everyone looks at her like they’ve seen a ghost.

The House of the Scorpion

THE HOUSE OF THE SCORPION by Nancy Farmer
A boy harvested from the DNA of the lord of a fictional country made to be a barrier between the US and Mexico. If that isn’t enough to intrigue you, this book has also won or been nominated for a ton of awards including the National Book Award (won), the Printz (nominated), and a Newbery Honor.

Have you guys read any of these? Do you have any other recommendations? ARE YOU EXCITED FOR SEASON FOUR OF ORPHAN BLACK?

Thursday Thoughts: What I’ve Been Listening To

Hey guys! So this week I’m at the Children’s Book Festival in Hattiesburg, MS (where I’ll be meeting Lois Lowry and Jacqueline Woodson ASDFJKL;), and I’m SUPER excited! I’m writing this the day before I leave (it’s Tuesday today) so I’m going to go ahead and say I’ll be talking about the festival on Twitter and posting pics on my Instagram, but if I don’t, I’m sorry!

Anyway! Because I’m getting ready for the festival, I wanted to share an easy post for you guys, and you seem to be enjoying the What I’ve Been Listening To posts I’ve done, so here’s another!

Sir Sly

I have gotten into a recent obsession with Sir Sly – a band that I’ve liked for a long time but I just can’t stop listening to them recently. Their somewhat quiet indie pop vibes have just fit really well with my mood the past couple of weeks. Here are two of my favorites.

Let me know what you think!

Thursday Thoughts: A Monster Calls Teaser Trailer

Okay, I know this teaser trailer has been out for like 5 months, but I just recently rewatched it and got all emotional and I just wanted to share it with you guys in case you hadn’t seen it.

A MONSTER CALLS by Patrick Ness and illustrated by Jim Kay (you HAVE to read the one with the illustrations; they completely make the book for me) is one of the most beautiful books I have ever read. The story is short and takes no time at all to read, but man, if it isn’t worth it. It’s heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time, and it’s one you’ll want to reread. At least for me. Let’s look at the teaser trailer, okay?

Okay, that’s freaking Liam Neeson as the monster/narrator and I’m so freaking excited with that casting. His voice is perfect. If you’ve read the book, you’ll also notice how similar the scene outside Connor’s window looks to the illustrations in the book. Beautiful.

I’m definitely nervous though. Like, I know book to movie adaptations are hardly ever done correctly, but I just want them to do this story justice. The teaser, while short, does look like it’s going to do a pretty good job. And, I mean, they’ve got Liam Neeson, Sigourney Weaver, Felicity Jones, and the director of The Orphanage, J.A. Bayona, so it’s got to be at least halfway decent. 😉

Find out more about the movie on IMDB. And check out the book on Goodreads.

Have you read A MONSTER CALLS? Are you excited about the movie?

Thursday Thoughts: Reaction to Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children Trailer

In the past, I would share book to movie adaptation news with you guys because I absolutely love those, but it’s been a while since I posted about any adaptations. You guys seemed to like when I did, so I’m going to try to get back into that, because I really love the discussions we’d have.

As you may or may not know, Ransom Rigg’s strange, creepy, and super cool book Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is being made into a movie directed by the amazing Tim Burton for release later this year (Christmas Day to be exact). And just last week the very first trailer was released, so I thought I’d share it with you and see what you guys thought.

I’m going to try to keep my reaction as un-spoilery as possible in case you guys haven’t read the book (but if you have, let me know so we can discuss!). As for the actors cast for each of the parts, I’m mostly satisfied. I think Eva Green as Miss Peregrine is absolutely perfect (and OH MY GOSH HER TRANSITION INTO A PEREGRINE IS INCREDIBLE). Asa Butterfield as Jacob is pretty great too. As for the rest of the cast, I’m…okay with them. None of them are exactly what I pictured (especially since Riggs includes pictures in the book of each character so that’s who I pictured for each character. But I’ll deal.

For those who have read the book, you probably noticed that Emma’s and Olive’s peculiarities have been swapped. (If you haven’t read the book, in it Emma – the main female character – controls fire, while Olive is actually the one who floats). I’m assuming they did this for romantic purposes (it’s much more romantic for Jacob to be keeping Emma grounded while she floats). But the whole inclusion of Emma being able to blow the water out of the ship is somewhat weird and irritating to me. Anyone else have that reaction?

One more thing and then I’ll leave it open for discussion in the comments: HOLY CRAP THAT HOLLOWGAST THO.

Find out more about the movie on IMDB.

Tell me what you think of the trailer below. If you’ve read the book, what do you think of the changes? If you haven’t, are you excited to watch the movie? 

Thursday Thoughts: What I’ve Been Listening To

Hey guys! So as you might’ve seen last week, I’ve been sick. And then you know what is super fun? Just a few days later, I got a stomach virus and was sick again for several days.

I don’t know about you guys, but when I’m sick, I listen to a lot of music. So I thought I’d share some of the stuff I’ve been listening to with you guys. 🙂 I’ll probably do a few of these posts in the next few weeks, but first up?

The 1975 I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it

The 1975

The 1975 recently came out with a new album titled ‘I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it’ (Yeah, I know this is a super weird title) and I’m kind of in love with it. I love that they are pop-y and upbeat and fun and dance-y, but the lyrics are also really smart and sometimes sad and thoughtful. They’re a lot of fun to listen to (and I would highly recommend seeing them live if you ever get the chance). They remind me of a lot of bands but they are mostly definitely their own sound, and I’ve been in love with them for a long time. I think all of the songs on the new album are great but here are the videos to two of my favorites “Love Me” and “The Sound” (which has such a sad freaking video).

What have you been listening to?

Thursday Thoughts: Andi’s ABCs Pocket Letter Exchange

Last month I signed up to participate in Andi’s (from Andi’s ABCs) Pocket Letter project. According to Andi’s post, “Pocket Letters are penpal letters in. pocket format. Basically, you fill all the pockets of a 9 Pocket Page Protector (or similar) and send. ~Pocket Letter Pals.” I love being crafty and making fun things for people, so I immediately jumped on this. I was paired with the super lovely Erica from Escape Under the Cover and she completely blew me away with her pocket letter. I had to share with you!

We had to fill out a little form with information about ourselves, so, of course, I included that I’m a big Potterhead – so Erica designed and created an entire pocket letter that was HP themed! Every single thing she included was Harry Potter related. SO COOL!

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This is what the overall letter looked like. It was obvious right away what the theme was and I got so excited as I started looking at all the pieces.

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One of the pocket had to be dedicated to an actual letter to your partner, so Erica addressed the letter to Mr. H. Potter – how cute is that?! If you look at the overall letter above, you’ll see that the pocket the letter was in was actually labelled Owl Post, which is adorable. The letter explained how each of the pockets fit into the theme.

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Erica also included a snake ring to represent Nagini. It was a perfect fit – in fact, I’ve pretty much worn it every day since I got the letter. I LOVE it! I’ve gotten several compliments on it as well.

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In the middle pockets, Erica put five bookmarks that she actually made herself! I got Harry, Hermioine, Ron, Luna, and Bellatrix! The last two are made from pages from the books, which is awesome (p.s. you should definitely check out Erica’s Etsy shop if you like these bookmarks because she sells them!).

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The bottom right pocket was labelled as Vault 713 and included a Gringotts Wizarding Bank Receipt – this was a gift card to Barnes & Noble. I mean, just SO ADORABLE and thoughtful. I love how everything she included was tied into this theme.

OTHER ELEMENTS

The other three pockets were some sticker flags that were almost the house color, some chocolate just in case I’m attacked by dementors, and three recipes – for Fizzing Whizbees, Elven Lembas Bread (from Lord of the Rings), and Merida Rebel’s Cherry Topped Drop Cake (from Brave). I haven’t been able to make any of these yet, but I can’t wait to try them! Plus, all of the backgrounds for the pockets were pages from books 3-5.

I just can’t believe how much thought Erica put into the project, and I LOVE every single element she included.

Make sure you check out Erica’s Etsy shop if you are as in love with those bookmarks as I am!

Thursday Thoughts: Mosquitoland Book Club at the Library

Last month was my very first YA book club at the library, and it was amazing and wonderful. My teens and I had an hour and a half long discussion about The Raven Boys, and at the end of it, they told me tMosquitoland by David Arnoldhey wanted me to pick out the next read. Well, I’m sure you guys know by now how much I love David Arnold’s debut novel, Mosquitoland, right? If not, just check out my 10/10 review of it, and/or check out my Twitter page because I talk about it like 3 times a week at least/my Twitter header image is my copy of the book. My teens decided they wanted to go with Mosquitoland aka I practically word-vomited my love of it and they liked that. 🙂 Either way, we read Mosquitoland for our September book club, and then discussed it this past Monday.

Last month I decided to ask them to describe each of the characters and the book overall in one word at the end of the discussion and they seemed to enjoy that, so we did it again, and here are the words they used for Mosquitoland.

MIM

Sassy // Witty // Spirit-animal // Adventurous // Relatable // Quirky // Smart // Well-done

BECK

Ahhhhh // Heart-Eyes emoji // Responsible // Moral clock // Compassionate // Nice // Charismatic

WALT

Awwwww // Innocent // Adorable // Huggable // Loveable // Wonderful

ARLENE

She smells like cookies // Pizzazz // Warm // #oldpersongoals // Inviting

KATHY (Potential spoilers)

Redeemed // Underestimated

SPOILERS – PONCHO MAN

Creepy // Pedo // Bigot // UGH // *insert bad words here* // Overgrown primate

MOSQUITOLAND

*Sighs contentedly* // Sassy // Indescribable // Realistic // Beautiful // We can’t just pick one word

——————————-

I’m really happy that 1. all of them loved the book (like, seriously, it was just an hour and half love fest), and 2. we actually had three new members!

So David, being the wonderful human he is, signed some bookmarks for my teens when I met him at the Decatur Book Festival last month, and my teens were SO EXCITED when I handed them out. Thank you again, David, for being so generous – and also answering some last minute questions via Twitter! My teens are as in love with the book as I am, and they are equally as enamored with you. I was somehow able to tone down my word-vomit love to lead a thoughtful, interesting, love-filled discussion for over an hour with a group of 8 teens about Mim, family, Mississippi, psychosis/medication/etc, romance, road trips, flaws, and so much more, and I’m pretty dang happy about it. All of the teens in the book club – except the one boy who had to leave early for Boy Scouts – are teenage girls, and we talked about how well-done Mim is and how they could relate to her so much because her voice is just like theirs. That, to me, is the mark of an amazing YA book.

Check out this picture of my teens with their bookmarks, my coworker (the super tall one) who I convinced to read the book and she also loved it, and me, looking happy af.

Mosquitoland Book Club

Next month’s read is I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson!

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

Thursday Thoughts: A reaction to the SLJ SummerTeen Transgender panel

Last Thursday, I “attended” the School Library Journal’s SummerTeen webinar/conference (attended is in quotations because I didn’t go anywhere and was comfortably seated in my children’s department workroom in front of a laptop), which featured so many amazing authors and panels packed with stimulating, challenging, and wonderful content. I really, really enjoyed it. The first panel I watched was called “THE TEEN TRANSGENDER EXPERIENCE” and featured Alex Gino (author of George), Susan Kuklin (author of a lot of books, including Beyond Magenta – which my coworker and I were so interested in, she went and pulled it off of our shelf while the connection went down for a minute), and Robin Talley (author of Lies We Tell Ourselves and the forthcoming What We Left Behind). The panel was inspiring and thought-provoking and I learned a lot while watching.

I’m personally a fan and advocate of ALL diverse books, particularly LGBTQIA+ books and books dealing with mental illnesses. I have many reasons for this, but they all boil down to the fact that we are all human and the more books about how wonderful and different the human race is the better. I think as humans we have an obligation to educate ourselves on the diversity of our fellow humans. I personally identify as cisgender and straight, but does that mean I shouldn’t read about people who identify differently? NO. For me, it means I should actually make time to read about and educate myself on the way other people identify themselves. I think you should always be learning with eyes and mind open to everything our world has to offer.

For example, I’ve been learning more about transgender and intersex youth in the past year, through reading about them in fiction (such as I.W. Gregorio’s None of the Above or Alex Gino’s George) but also through research online or in books from the library. But during the transgender youth panel during the SummerTeen conference, I learned something new. I didn’t know that some transgender or gender fluid people prefer to be referred to as “they/them” instead of “he/him” or “she/her”, which I found both fascinating and fitting.

I think this really plays into how our society must constantly place people into a certain category. In the panel, the authors discussed how it is comforting to have labels when you are discovering yourself and who you are, but it is also somewhat of a constraint because then you – or the author’s characters – must fit into that certain category. But what if that label doesn’t always fit for you?

This is why LGBTQIA+ literature (and diverse literature overall) is so important, especially for teens and younger kids. It lets these children know they are not alone, that it is OKAY to be different. I know this concept isn’t new and that a lot of people have been saying this, but I want to add my voice to that discussion. The more people who stand up and say “We want MORE”, the more publishers will see that these books are needed and supported.

I know there isn’t really a clear message in this post. I wasn’t really trying to say anything here (well, other than the fact that I think you should always be open-minded and constantly learning about the beautiful differences in the world around you). I really just wanted to talk about how wonderful this conference and this panel were. I’d love to start a discussion in the comments about what I’ve talked about. However, PLEASE try to be respectful and kind to other people. Ask questions, try to learn something new, but do not be purposefully mean or hurtful – I have no problem with deleting your comment. Like I said earlier, I try to constantly learn, so if you have something insightful to say, definitely comment. Also, if there are any books you’d recommend to me or anyone else trying to learn more about transgender, gender fluidity, or different sexualities, leave the title in the comments!

Thursday Thoughts: What I’ve Been Reading aka GIVE ME ALL THE DIVERSE CONTEMPORARY

I’ve been in a weird place recently. You might’ve read my post about changing jobs which kind of explains it. Transition is always weird, but because of the feelings surrounding this change and all of the other things I’ve been feeling recently, my head’s been in a strange place. I don’t know if it’s because of that or something else entirely, but for the past month or more I’ve been mostly craving a certain type of book and not much else.

I’ve been craving contemporary, especially diverse contemporary. And that’s it. Yes, I’ve read a few fantasies here and there, but I’ve wanted to read books set it our world, with realistic characters. I’ve just wanted to be in this world but with different people. I haven’t wanted to read about other worlds for some reason. Fantasy is my favorite genre, so this has been a little bizarre for me. But since it’s been going on for at least a month, I want to try to talk (type?) through it and figure out why:

I honestly think it’s because so much has been happening with me that, while I do want to escape (that’s always been what reading has done for me), I don’t want to escape to a completely different world. I want to read about people who could be real, who could be me. I want to read about something real but not what I’m going through. I know I’m a mood reader, so I know I get in these very specific moods because of what’s going on with me. It’s not new, but this is the first time in a long time, maybe ever, that I’ve exclusively wanted to read contemporary. Up until last year I wasn’t even a big fan of contemporary (other than a random Sarah Dessen here and there), but my love and appreciation of it has grown so much in the last year because of blogging – how can you be a book blogger and not see all the love for Stephanie Perkins, Morgan Matson, Jennifer E. Smith? You can’t, and it’s infected me too.

But this is more than that. I’m actively seeking out new contemporary, especially if its diverse – mental illnesses, physical disabilities, LGBTQIA, POC leads, anything. I’ve always been interested in and appreciated people who were different than me. I have never understood racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. It makes no sense to me, but it happens and people go through and experience life differently when they don’t look (on the outside or inside) the same as you or even when they do. I have always enjoyed learning about people who aren’t what I am or what I’m used to, and the books I’ve been reading are exactly that.

I still don’t know if I’ve fully explained this mood I’m in, but I’ve been enjoying it and I don’t think it’s one of those stints where I’m going to burn myself out on contemporary. At least not for now. Summer is PERFECT for contemporary, so bring it on.

A few wonderful contemporaries I’ve read recently:

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli (who’s shocked by this one?) | My review
Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer
Made You Up by Francesca Zappia (review soon, but this one is SO good)
None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio (READ IT) | My review
I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson (My current audiobook. I’m not even done with it and I already know I want to reread it in the future)

GIVE ME ALL THE RECOMMENDATIONS!