Curious Wren’s first birthday + a (virtual) costume party + a seriously epic giveaway // do alllllll the celebrating!


Guess what, cyberspacelings????


My baby is a year old.

One whole year.

HALP. Excuse me while I hyperventilate and hug my laptop (named Jarvis) because that’s the closest thing to hugging this small corner of the universe and all you precious Wrenlings who frequent it.

Thank you for caring to hang out here, for chatsing with me, for taking the time to interact and leave comments–I treasure every one of them and (confession) re-read my favorites when I need warm fuzzies or just because I want to.

Curious Wren would not be such a bright part of my life if it wasn’t for all of you and I want you to know that I am grateful, and so happy I know all of you. One of my favorite parts of life: how souls connect across miles, how paths cross and friendships are forged. It’s beautiful.

Thank you.

Great. Now I’m getting choked-up.



Now, methinks, a First Blog Birthday is call for some fantastical celebrations and lots of glitter and melty chocolate chip cookies and red balloon

There were so many ideas for this blog party percolating in the cranium. Clearly narrowing down options in life is not my strong point, but then:



(I know you’ve read about this in the title but, shhh, you have my permission to spazz anyway)


And not just any costume party, but a party where you get to pretend to be:

a) one of your favorite characters from book or film or whathaveyou.

b) one of your own characters–if you happen to be a writer/screenwriter/human-who-never-grew-out-of-LEGO-playing. (AKA: me.)

c) yourself. (but costumed-out in a glorious manner. if that is not already your normal state in life. unlike many of us mere mortals who are still learning to emulate the Elves.)

“Well, this all sounds lovely, Annie,” you say, “but moving on to important details… when does the party start? How does it work? Will there be chocolate. Do you have griffin rides? OR HOW ABOUT PRIZES?”

Since you asked.

• of course, there will be prizes. of a sort. basically it’s a sweet giveaway that I wish I could enter myself and, yes, participating in the party gets you extra points because the more people celebrating the merrier, right ho? obviously I’m giving away pet baby griffins as door prizes.

• alas, Willy Wonka’s famous invention has not yet come to fruition which means I can’t send chocolate straight to your screen, but feel free to bring your own. and ice cream because ice cream is the nectar of life.

• I will provide you all with a smallish list of questions to answer in whatever persona you choose for the party. said questions will begin when you “enter” through the door of Curious Wren and then proceed in a bit of a storylike way. but not. I am aware that is rather confusing. allll will be revealed in due time.

• griffin rides are a must. bring your dragons too.

Last, but not least, when does the party start?

*evil chuckling*

You know how on your birthday you get up and then you remember that you have to wait until evening and you get to cut the cake and eat the icecream and open the presents? And the anticipation just builds and builds until you feel like it has been about a thousand years before evening finally arrives?


I know.

I’m horrible.

In my defense, Curious Wren is my baby and it’s my baby’s first ever birthday so I want to draw out the enjoyment of that as long as I can.

The Curious Wren costume party will start tonight at 5:00 (roughly 7:00 a.m. for the Wrenlings down under.)

I will put up the party questions, the giveaway link, and the party playlist (yes, we get one of those!) at the end of this blog post at that time.

Aaand it’s 5 o’clock!

The party works as follows: I am going to be posting a question here every five-ish minutes. Feel free to answer them in the comments in real time or wait and collect them to answer on your own blog.

Who’s excited and ready to have a costume party?!


(check out the costume party playlist!)

The clock strikes. You see the front door of Curious Wren open and I stand on the threshold (smiling excitedly because PARTY + PEOPLE). You can just see over my shoulder into the hallway—there’s a ridiculous number of balloons, banners are strung all around, and twinkling lights twine up the railing of the spiral staircase at the end of the hall. I wave you on in and ask you to sign your name on the party attendance sheet. Who did you come as and why did you choose that character?

Each guest gets their own slow-mo entrance into the Curious Wren domicile, accompanied by an epic main theme: what is yours?

The front door shuts and a wonderful aroma of freshly-baked gingerbread wafts towards you from a three-step stairway on your right. You start to head in that direction and then remember that your shoes are still on: what are you wearing as your fabulous costume of the evening? Feel free to share pictures. (bonus question: did you bring a friend? Who?)

Up the stairs and into the main party room where other guests—resplendent in their own amazing costumes—are already milling about. There’s music and laughter and lots of Chinese lanterns hanging from the ceiling, and tables are piled high with trays of food that smells so delicious it should be outlawed—in fact, some of it isn’t even possible to find anywhere else on Earth—such as lembas bread. What are you going to decide to eat?

From out-of-doors the Curious Wren domicile looks like the usual size of a two-story house; but as you begin to explore all the tiny side staircases and take note of the many unexpected windows and hidden doors, you realize that Curious Wren House might just be bigger on the inside… and that each room changes depending on how you want it to look. What room(s) do you choose to spend most of your time in? (feel free to share photos)

It’s getting later in the evening and in some parts of Curious Wren House the activity starts to slow down. What entertainment would your character chose to enliven the birthday party? (if fireworks destroy my house, you pay for the damage. 😉

If your character was to get a call and you realize that you might have to leave the party abruptly, what would be a possible reason?

I bring out the cake and the ice cream and chocolate chip cookies, and you remember just in time that you brought a hostess gift. What is it? (unless, of course, your chosen character has the memory span of Dory the fish and you forgot a gift entirely).

It’s nearing on midnight and the time has come for everyone to take turns giving a grand farewell speech—still in character. What do you say? 

Alrighty, lovelies! Here is how the giveaway works: the winner is allowed to pick one of the following twelve books as their prize (because multiple choices are glorious) and depending on which one they chose, there may be an extra prize. *rubs hands together and cackles with excitement*

Giveaway is opened Internationally since all books are shipped from the Book Depository.


How can you enter?

1. Follow Curious Wren by email or WordPress account or on Bloglovin’ and then let me know about it in the comments. (this is mandatory and automatically gives you 5 entries in the giveaway. If you’re already following me, let me know in the comments.)

2. Participate in the Virtual Costume Party, either here in the comments or on your blog. (worth 2 entries.)

3. Share about the blog party on Facebook or Twitter or Google+ or what-have-you. (each mention is worth one entry–just let me know in the comments. Tweets only count if I am tagged by my handle: @annie_hawthorne).

4. Leave a comment letting me know what you already enjoy about Curious Wren and what you would like to see more of! (worth 3 entries.)

Go wild, Wrenlings!!!

(giveaway ends on September 23rd at midnight. One winner will be chosen.)

mysteries and death and steampunk creatures and British comedy // #JuneJulyReadTower


I read fifteen books in June and July. Cue happiness!

It’s been harder to fit in the time to devour books ever since I started working my day job back in March. Do any of you Wrenlings have a similar struggle? Listen up, bookworms. I have the perfect solution: read. on. your. lunch. break. I don’t know what I’d do without that precious half hour to eagerly drink in all the doings of good-natured Wodehouse characters and try to guess Whodunits.

(if I didn’t have that half hour I’d probably be smashed to dust by my toppling TBR tower. at least, this way I can keep it from tipping too far. danger is still imminent. protect your young.)


Might have mentioned this before, but I FOUND MY FAVORITE SERIES OF THE YEAR WOOT (why, yes, all-caps are completely necessary for this announcement). The Jackaby books make my heart sing because:

— Doctor Who-esque Sherlock Holmes.

— an amazing guy-girl friendship without a drop of romantic feeling.

— fantastical creatures, witty humor, chill-creeping-over-my-bones scenes, and more awesome that I can’t mention because spoilers.

I read Dreamtreaders. I liked it. I want to own it. I am going to start the Sequel this weekend. (take note, Youngest Sister. be pleased, Youngest Sister).

I honestly don’t know why it took me so long to read Behemoth except for the fact that it’s far too ginormous (in size, not number of pages) to stuff in a bag and read at work during lunch. Now that I’ve finally finished it, I like it more than the first book and also less. Which doesn’t make sense, I am aware. In a nutshell: more things I enjoyed (stronger steampunk vibe, new and fun characters, etc) and more things I didn’t like (the fabricated creatures continue to get on my nerves + a few squeamish moments when it comes to the romance. Barking spiders, they’re basically children still. Hold your horses.)

If you were wondering if it’s possible for me to be even more in love with Wodehouse’s books… yes, yes it is. Indiscretions of Archie is a book I actually had to stop reading at lunches since it made me laugh too hard. Archie’s well-meaning, lovable, irrepressible self is the best. I want to adopt him and take him everywhere with me. On second thought, that might be a bad idea. *carefully places all precious belongings in a seaworthy chest and anchors it in the ocean*

Give me all the Whodunits, please and thank you. Honorable mentions: Towards Zero I read in one day at the beach and the suspense was killing. Also pleasing to my mystery-loving self. The Secret of Chimneys  is aadventurous, fascinating book that i want to read again. Definitely recommended.


One word: phenomenal. 

I am reserving all my thoughts and excitement and love for this book for another blog post, methinks.

More Whodunits. All delicious. Wodehouse at his best again in The Mating Season. Bertie sneaking into Madeline’s house to retrieve that letter is a scene I will never weary of.

 And last, but not least my favorite Wodehouse read of July: Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit. It has Aunt Dahlia which accounts for half of my affection for it already, but toss in Bertie making hilarious hash of situations, missing necklaces, imminent danger of being knocked out and/or engaged and you have the perfect read for a summer afternoon.

“Love is a delicate plant that needs constant tending and nurturing, and this cannot be done by snorting at the adored object like a gas explosion and calling her friends lice.”

Great Expectations was my most recent Dickens read and, although I didn’t like it as much as his other works, I’m glad I read it–if only for Pip and Herbert’s friendship, sweet Joe, and the eerie atmosphere of Miss Havisham. I learned a goodish amount about writing character arcs and that makes up for all the irritation I felt for Pip during the first half of the book. The ending leaves a warm glow in your bones.

Now I’m in the mood for a delightful re-read of David Copperfield. #alwaysloveDickens

Tell me, Wrenlings: what did you read last month and what books did you fall in love with? What books do I need to make my TBR tower still taller and more dangerous?