Month: August 2015

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children

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Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Ransom Riggs’ debut novel is surprisingly genius for a first novel. Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children is definitely not what I expected when I began reading it. I thought it was your typical Y.A. fiction novel: angsty teenager feels no one understands him and he meets these creepy ghost children who show him that yes, he CAN fit in! But boy was I wrong.

Although it does start out about a teenage boy feeling out of place in the world, the book takes an eerie turn from the beginning. Jacob Portman finds his grandfather fatally wounded in the woods after being attacked by a monster. Only Jacob is able to see these monsters; everyone else believes he was killed by a wild animal. Before he passes, his grandfather tells Jacob about a letter from long ago and gives him some vague hints and a date for Jacob to find his old orphanage where he grew up in 1940. Jacob is determined to discover the meaning of these clues. He figures it out, and his dad accompanies him to an island in Wales.

Jacob finds an abandoned mansion on the island, which is where the orphanage was, but it has been destroyed by WW2 bombs. Eventually, Jacobs stumbles into a bog which turns out to be the opening of a time loop. Emma, his grandfather’s long lost love, who remains a young-looking 16 year old girl, befriends Jacob and leads him to the home for peculiar children. These children are peculiar because they all have special powers or abilities. Jacob goes on some crazy adventures with them in the time loop.

The plot thickens when Jacob learns that the peculiars are being hunted down and their mother-figure, Miss Peregrine, is kidnapped. He must make a choice: stay and help the peculiars and possibly never leave the time loop, or leave his grandfather’s friends and Emma and go back to his dull and misfit life.

This book is just the first in a series of 3 novels. Even though the book was not what I expected at all, I still enjoyed it and it was a different change of pace from what I normally read. I thought the writing style was excellent, the plot was very well thought out, and the  medium of photographs throughout was intriguing. Riggs stated in the author interview in the back of the book that he found or purchased most of the photographs in the book and built the story around the characters in the photographs. Many are very peculiar indeed. Here are some of the images used:

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Pretty crazy kids, right?

I think if I would have read this as a pre-teen or 15 year old, I would be thoroughly creeped out by some of the characters and especially the wights and hollows (bad guys). Some of the time-loop stuff was hard to comprehend, just because it was hard for me to wrap my mind around which location Jacob was in at which moment. As for the writing and the photos, I applaud Riggs at his risky endeavor, especially for a debut novel.

I give this book a 3/5.

I do not own any of these photographs.

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Go Ask Alice

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“Go Ask Alice” is a book that I feel most teenagers should be exposed to, especially 8th grade level through early college. This book would never have passed the curriculum in my high school (private, Christian school) but I think it would have benefited many kids there.

The book was published in 1971, during the peak of sexual and drug exploration in America. The author is a young, 15 year old girl, writing in her diary. We never learn her name, but we learn about her battle with drugs through her personal thoughts in the diary.

The author goes to several more parties and tries every drug in the book, LSD, Heroin, Pot, Cocaine, you name it. Her favorite that she seems to keep coming back to is pot. It gets to the point where she cannot go a day without getting high.

I won’t give away much more of the book, because it is rather short, but the author gets herself deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole of drugs (an allusion made to Alice in Wonderland in the book which probably alludes to the title).

Even though this book, this life took place over 30 years ago, many of the elements and themes are extremely relevant today, which is why I think this would be a great book to teach (if I were going to become a teacher).

I give this book a rating of 4/5.

The Last Bookstore: Downtown L.A.

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I have not posted in quite awhile due to work and health issues, but I also just recently got back from an AMAZING trip to California!

We went to visit some friends (my friends since middle school) and we cram-packed everything we could into one week. They live about an hour from downtown L.A. so one of our stops was to The Last Bookstore. Now, I’m a born-and-bred Barnes and Noble freak myself but when it comes down to it, B&N can get boring, predictable, and expensive. And Half-Price Books is always a hit-or-miss on finding what you want. But this place, was a book-lover’s dream come true (and yes, we went to Disneyland 3 times!!)

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This bookstore gets it’s name from the idea that books, unfortunately, are fading out and iPads, e-readers, and Amazon are taking over the book industry. So, it is mainly a used bookstore, but they also sell new books. The prices are great!

I went in just mouth-agape staring from floor to ceiling at the artsy decor and angled rows of books. I walked down a couple of aisles aimlessly, trying to think of what books were on my Goodreads list. My friend and my husband both told me I had to buy something. I hit the YA section, and remembered I had been looking for the Oz books.

Frank L. Baum wrote several books before and after The Wizard of Oz, and I had read one about the Tinman when I was younger and it totally freaked me out. The tinman basically became made of tin because every time he missed a log and hacked off a body part, it was replaced with tin–even his head. Creepy for a 10 year old, right?

I had already purchased one of those enormous books from B&N back home that is the first 5 books in the Oz collection, but I needed to see if they had more. The organization of the store is a little sketchy, so I asked one of the salesmen if he knew where they were. Took him 30 seconds to find them. There they were. About 6 of them were on the shelf and I bought 4. I could NEVER find them at Half-Price Books, and they were only 5 bucks a pop, so I had a STEAL!

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The store is arranged kind of haphazardly but still has a definite pattern. This picture was taken from the 2nd floor looking down at the 1st floor. The bottom left corner is where the stage is located, probably for local bands. The shelves have small signs dividing the genres, but it was still kind of hard to distinguish what section you’re in.

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This is my husband and I inside this little room that used to be a vault (I believe the building used to be an old bank). My friend was trying to get Zach to smile so she said “Andrew Luck is naked!” It obviously worked 🙂iPhone 7_29_15 158

This picture is from the “Rare Books Collection”. Most of them were just books to me because I don’t know what is “rare” and what’s not. Some books were locked up in glass cases. Some where on shelves. But you had to pay for those books before you left the room. I found a ‘making of Star Wars‘ book I liked but it was $35. I like Star Wars, but not that much.

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This display reminded me of Harry Potter for some reason. I thought it was a good “introduction” to the second floor. Upstairs, the books are a lot less organized but still cool to look through. There is a small, overpriced knit shop, an art gallery, and the Labyrinth, which is a collection of used books all for $1. Most of those books are ones they are trying to get rid of, (Windows 99 manuals, Al Gore global warming, Shakespeare Cliff Notes).

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This was a piece of art in the hallway upstairs. There were several images of hearts, but this on stood out to me. As if California is a part of the artist’s very soul.

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This was a “book tunnel” upstairs. Everyone must take an obligatory tourist photo.

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I hope you all enjoyed this post, and keep an eye out for more in the near future! PS) If you’re ever in L.A., check this place out.