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: 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!

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

 

Thursday Thoughts: How to Deal with Getting Overwhelmed – Open to Suggestions

Thursday Thoughts on Caught Read Handed

I’ve felt super overwhelmed lately. To the point of almost having a panic attack the other day. I have this problem where I take on way too many things for a few reasons – 1. I have a problem saying no. 2. I like to be busy. 3. I like having a lot of projects to distract me. 4. I really don’t know how to say no.

BUT it’s okay. I’ve got an awesome mini-road trip coming up this weekend with a friend (including some live music!) and I’ve decided to take a break from technology and the internet for the whole weekend – NO Twitter, NO Facebook, NO blog (sorry, guys!), NO Instagram (Okay, maybe one or two pictures), etc. I need the break for a lot of reasons and I’m really looking forward to it. I’m bringing at least two books with me, ones that I want to read FOR ME and not ARCs, no books I should read by a certain date, just ones I’ve been looking forward to for a while.

The whole point of telling you all this is to start a conversation with you. I know I’m not the only one who gets overwhelmed; this post isn’t a pity party. This point is meant to see what you do to deal with feelings of anxiety or your to do list that feels like it’s going to smother you and give you a few examples for how I deal. What do you do to calm yourself down, to focus on what you have to do and get it done?

Here are a few things that I like to do that (sometimes) help me stop overthinking, freaking out, panicking, giving up:

  1. Read. This is a given. But I mean read FOR ME. Like a lot of bloggers, I have a list of ARCs that I’ve requested/been given and sometimes I just want to NOT read them. So I pick up a book I want to read and read it. I try not to think about how I’m going to review it (which has become a problem for me recently – WHY do I do this??). I lose myself in this new world and take a mental road trip, if you will. Sorry that was cheesy.
  2. Listen to music. This is another given for me. However, I have to fit the music I’m listening to to the mood I’m in. Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of pop stuff because anything dark or with lyrics that hit too close to home (read: twenty one pilots – one of my two favorite bands but not something I’ve been able to listen to for about two weeks). I’ve been listening to Vinyl Theatre’s Electrogram a lot. I’ve also created a playlist on my computer called “Get out of your f*cking funk” that has some Eric Hutchinson, Fall Out Boy, Uptown Funk, One Direction (I don’t even care if you judge me), Bleachers, and a bunch of other peppy songs. Any recommendations?
  3. TRAVEL. I know a lot of wanderers will be able to get this: I feel a constant restlessness when I’m not going places. Traveling – driving, experiencing new places, seeing amazing sights, meeting fun new people, all of it – is something that settles me. It calms me on the inside and centers me. Some people won’t understand this at all and that’s okay. But for me, travel is a necessity. I’ve just downloaded and printed Sarah Shott’s Adventure Generator to take with me on my trip – a choose your own adventure type thing for the real world! I’m so excited to use it. I think I’ll probably share where the Adventure Generator takes me.
  4. Sleep. I tend to not sleep a lot when I have too many things going on. I stay up way too late working on whatever it is and then, because I’m a morning person/I’ve got an internal alarm clock that wakes me up around 6 a.m. every day, I wake up without being fully rested. Sometimes I just have to tell myself that I need sleep and the project will wait until tomorrow.

  5. Breathe some fresh air. I work inside at the library and since I have an online job, I spend most of my time inside. This is really horrible for me but I somehow forget that all the time. Then one day I’ll realize I can barely breathe because it feels so stuffy wherever I am, and I’ll do #1 outside. It’s amazing how much better I feel immediately when I go outside and breathe some fresh air. I’ll sit on my porch and read – even if it’s only for thirty minutes. I feel so much better.

So now I want to hear from you – How do you combat the stress? What do you do that helps you breathe better and not panic? Or if your one of the lucky ones who doesn’t freak out or knows how to say no when you have too many projects already, how do you keep track of what you have to do? Let’s talk for real in the comments!

Thursday Thoughts: Mood reading

Thursday Thoughts on Caught Read Handed

Let’s talk about mood reading, shall we? I’m a mood reader. Always have been, always will be. No matter how many times I make a list of the books I want to read next (even if it’s only like 3 or 4 books), I will deviate from that list time and time again. I’ll read an EPIC fantasy book and think I’m ready to read another one, but NOPE. I’ll pick up a contemporary romance instead and devour it in one sitting. It’s weird and unexplainable, and honestly, it kind of sucks sometimes. But I can’t help it or change.

You guys may or may not know how long I’ve been waiting to read Heather Demetrios’ I’ll Meet You There. I’ve posted about it a few times on Top Ten Tuesday lists and I’ve probably tweeted about it at least ten times. I ordered it for my library and when it came in, I immediately checked it out (sorry, patrons!). But I’ve had it for a little over a week now and I STILL haven’t read it. I’ve read like two and a half books since (one of which was also a contemporary just like I’ll Meet You There). What is wrong with me? I KNOW I want to read it and I’m like 90% sure I’m going to LOVE it, and yet, it continues to sit on my shelf unread.

I will say that sometimes mood reading is pretty great. In the past month, I’ve read an NA book (my first!), four contemporaries of varying focuses (foci?) – three YA and one adult, three fantasies – two YA and one MG, one non-fiction book, two trade paperbacks (comics in case you don’t know what that means), several single issue comics, and a sci-fi. That’s a pretty awesome mix of genres, age ranges, and comics vs. books, if I do say so myself. So sometimes, being a mood reader means I don’t get stuck in any one particular genre or type of book. It means I get to explore my shelves (or those of the library) and find exactly what I want to read at that particular time, the book that will resonate with me the most. It means I’m able to go into a book clear-headed and non-judgmental.

But another downside to mood reading is ARCs. I don’t know if you guys know but books come out on a particular date (I know, it’s shocking!). When I have access to an ARC (electronic or otherwise) I have a NEED to read it before the publication date, which is obviously part of the point. But when I only have a fantasy, a contemporary, a mystery, and a horror, and they’re all being published in the next month, and ALL I want to read right then is a sci-fi, it sucks. I don’t want to force myself to read something I’m not in the mood for because I know I’ll think less of the book, and it isn’t the poor book’s fault, is it? No. So I have to quickly read a sci-fi and then hope to everything that I’m in the mood for one of the genres I have an ARC of.

I also tend to read books of a particular genre during certain seasons. I prefer contemporaries in the summer, sweeping fantasies in the winter. I like horror around Halloween and a sweet romance at Valentine’s Day. And this, again, makes ARCs difficult. First world problems here, you guys.

Alright, I’ll stop rambling about it now. What about all of you? I know some of you are mood readers too. How do you deal with it? Do you feel my pain?

Thursday Thoughts: Blogging Community Love (and Love-a-Thon)

Thursday Thoughts on Caught Read Handed

My favorite thing about book blogging is the community. I love being able to talk to people from all over the world who are just as passionate about books and reading as I am. We get to talk about the books we’ve read and loved (or…not loved) and no matter how excited we get over something, there are people in this community who get you. Almost everyone I’ve “met” through book blogging has been super supportive and nice and positive, and I love that.

Sometimes things get stressful or too much or you have a bad experience that gets you down. But those things are far outweighed by the times we get to connect over a shared experienced with a book or we get to interact with a favorite author on Twitter or we are shown generous amounts of support on those horrible days. I recently tweeted and said this:

And it’s true. But as much as I enjoy just being able to freely discuss what I felt about a book, it wouldn’t really be the same without all of you wonderful people. All of my followers and the people I follow. I appreciate all of you so much for supporting my blog and talking to me about books and reading and life.

This post was going to be about positivity and how a lot of the time people are really negative and create drama when it is not needed nor wanted, but then I wrote that first line and realized I didn’t want to be negative too. I don’t give in to that negativity on Twitter. You will probably never see me subtweet about something or fuel new drama about something that’s happened in the book blogging world. And I do that on purpose. There is no point to it. I would much rather push that negativity to the side and be positive, even when that negativity threatens to drown me.

This post is also a short little plug for the Book Blogger Love-a-Thon hosted by Alexa Loves Books that’s happening this weekend. Basically, it’s a weekend long event in which we all tell each other how much we love and support them. It’s dedicated to doing exactly what I said I like to do: spreading the love for blogs and bloggers. How awesome is that? It’s happening February 21 & 22, so you’ll be seeing a few posts and probably a lot of love from me this weekend. I might get a little mushy. Get over it. :p If you are interested, you can still sign up HERE on Alexa’s blog!

How do you feel about the book blogging community? Let’s try to stay positive in the comments, but I don’t mind if you want to discuss the things that get you down! I’m here for you. ❤

ALSO, while I’m spreading the love, I’m doing a giveaway for a copy of Jennifer E. Smith’s The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight over on Twitter if you want to enter!

Thursday Thoughts – Why don’t I like historical fiction?

Thursday Thoughts on Caught Read Handed

Let’s talk about historical fiction, okay? I don’t like it. BUT let me explain.

I can read fantasies from ALL the time periods – hundreds of years ago, the last couple of decades, contemporaries, and in the future. Fantasies set during a renaissance-type era (like in The Young Elites) or some made up land of beasts and monsters and all that (most recently, Beastkeeper). Fantasies set during our own era (Wolves of Mercy Falls, anyone) or at a school of magic (Harry Potter, obviously).

But I can’t stand historical fiction. If it’s set during World War II or a romance taking place during the turn of the century, take it awaaayyy! Sometimes I can’t even read a book set a couple of decades ago. I was scrolling through Goodreads the other day and saw an interesting cover. I clicked on it to read the summary and saw something along the lines of “Set during the blah blah blah in 1973…” and I immediately clicked off. That’s not even that long ago! I don’t really know why I do this. Maybe because I was reading a contemporary at the time, so it put me off?

I’m looking at my shelves right now and other than some fantasies, I honestly can’t find a book that has all human characters and is set more than ten years ago. I think it may in part have to do with the fact that I’m always thinking of the present or what I have to do next. Do I not like historical fiction because I don’t like thinking of the past? I want to keep moving forward? I wasn’t a big history class fan in high school. I LOVE going to see history (a trip to Washington D.C., Philadelphia, museums, etc.) but reading about it? No thanks.

Mostly I’m writing this because as I skipped reading that book’s summary on Goodreads, I sat here for a second wondering why? Why isn’t historical fiction something I like?

Do any of you avoid historical fiction? Do you know why? Or if you love historical fiction, tell me why! Maybe you’ll convince me to try one.

Thursday Thoughts: What I need to live [A Quote from The Humans by Matt Haig]

I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about today. I’ve got a few ideas for Thursday Thoughts posts, but as I was rereading the “Advice for a Human” chapter of The Humans by Matt Haig, I came across this quote. Went and whipped up an image to share it with you guys. If you’ve been to the blog before, you have probably seen me mention The Humans once or twice (or ten times). I love this book and I really think everyone should read it. Here’s the book’s Goodreads page in case you want to check it out. This book has so many paragraphs, lines, words, quotes, etc. that I love, but I wanted to share this one today because I think all of you can relate.

This isn’t a long post. I just wanted to say I hope you all have a wonderful Thursday and have those things you need to live. 

The Humans by Matt Haig