Introducing Layla and Peyton! + celebration giveaway

August 13, 2014 2014, giveaway, news + updates, site annoucements, Wendy 138

The Midnight Garden Celebration Giveaway

Are you may have heard, I put out a call for applicants for Midnight Garden reviewers last month. Thank you so much to everyone who took the time to send us a note of interest!

We’re very excited to have two new writers starting soon, which means that hopefully the barren wasteland that you occasionally wandered into on the blog this summer won’t be happening again. There are so many books that deserve attention, and additional reviewers means that we’ll not only be able to review more books, but I will also have more time to devote to features, side projects, and tours.

Without further ado–please say hello to Layla and Peyton!

We’ve gotten to know Layla this year because she’s a frequent visitor to our blog, and it quickly became apparent that she’s definitely a kindred spirit. We’ve loved her thoughtful observations, open-mindedness, and eclectic reading tastes through many spirited conversations, and her reviews are always incredibly helpful. Peyton‘s a relatively new friend of ours, but over the past few months, I’ve really enjoyed her YouTube videos (yes, this means you’ll see more fun videos from us in the future!) and written reviews–she’s enthusiastic about what she likes, but she’s also a critical reviewer and chatty conversationalist.

I just know you’re going to enjoy these ladies as much as I do. Here’s a little more about both of our lovely new reviewers in their own words.

vine-divider-finalMeet Layla and Peyton!

Layla TMG photoLayla comes from a long line of bookworms and has loved reading for as long as she can remember (thanks, mom!). She devoured YA as a teen (and has particularly fond memories of reading Tamora Pierce and Robin McKinley like woah) but lost interest in the genre until a friend recommended The Hunger Games to her in 2009. She hasn’t looked back since then. She will read almost anything, YA or not, with some combination of the following elements: an interesting female protagonist, queer relationships, a post-apocalyptic setting, weird science, and/or early modern England. Her desert island book is probably The Faerie Queene but Mrs. Dalloway is a close second and she hopes to never have to choose, anyway.

Layla lives in Durham, NC, one of her favorite places in the world so far, where she teaches and writes. (If you are ever in Durham, you should let her know, and she will take you out to eat all the things, ever.) She wishes she had more time to read, swim, play with her cats, and finally finish all of the quilting and knitting projects she’s accumulated over the past few years, but she is trying to cultivate patience.

You can find her on Goodreads and Twitter.

peytonPeyton has been reading and writing fantastical stories for as long as she can remember. Her first love was for unicorns and the first story she wrote was about a talking polar bear, part of a series of one-page talking animal stories she sold to her classmates for a quarter. She still loves anything fantasy and is a self-proclaimed Harry Potter expert. She can and will tell you everything there is to know about the Wizarding World, whether you asked or not.

Peyton is a Florida native through and through. She is always at the beach, though never in the ocean, reading books far too big to be taking outside. When not reading, you can find her at the nearest comic convention, sometimes in costume, at home, alone, trying to make her cat sit still for the camera (he never does), or filming herself talking about books.
Connect with Peyton online through Twitter, GoodReads, and YouTube.

Celebration Giveaway!

Now it wouldn’t be a party without presents, right? To celebrate Layla and Peyton joining us, we’re giving away 3 YA bundles to our readers! We appreciate you all so much, and as the blog goes through highs and lows and changes and evolution, the thing that keeps us going is being able to share our love of books with readers who are so open to what we’re doing. Blogging is an ever-changing process, and we thank you for sticking with us as we adapt and grow.

Below, you’ll find 17 buzzworthy recent and upcoming releases, which are a mix of ARCs and pretty finished copies, plus links to GoodReads where you can learn more about each title.

firebug lish mcbride

Bundle #1: Paranormal/Science Fiction!

Evidence of Things Not Seen
The Islands at the End of the World
Welcome to the Dark House
The Fire Wish

alice bundle

Bundle #2: Contemporary YA!

A Blind Spot for Boys
The Prince of Venice Beach
We are the Goldens
The Truth About Alice
The Year of Chasing Dreams
The Secret Sky

body in woods

Bundle #3: Mysteries!

Far From You
The Body in the Woods
Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend
The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone

To enter the giveawayt, all you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form and leave a thoughtful comment below telling us which of the three bundles you’re interested in and why –and remember, the more bundles you’re open to receiving, the better your chances if randomly selected.

Open to U.S. residents aged 18 and up, or 13 and up with parental permission. See entry form for complete details. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Our thanks to Macmillan Teen, Random House, Disney*Hyperion, Penguin Teen, Little Brown, Simon and Schuster, and Soho Teen for providing the giveaway copies for this post.


Kim, Kate, Tonya and I are very excited to have Layla and Peyton joining us, so we hope you’ll give them a warm welcome! Look for their reviews starting next week.

Wendy signature teal






138 Responses to “Introducing Layla and Peyton! + celebration giveaway”

  1. maat

    I’m interested in bundle 3 since I love a good mystery, but I love contemporary as well!

  2. Daisha

    I’m very interested in reading each of the books in these bundles and also congratulations to Laura and Peyton.

  3. Jessica Gillan

    I use to blog a few years ago and then dropped off the planet since I was going through some major life changes. Ever since though, I have thought more and more about restarting a blog and a YouTube channel and getting back in the book world. I have kept up on the book world from this blog and have to same it has always been a big favorite of mine! I’m really excited for both Layla and Peyton to be part of your team!! :) Good luck to both of them and all their endeavors!

  4. Natalie

    Wow. All the books look so good. I’d probably lean towards bundle 3. Yup. Get your sleuth on XD Thanks for the giveaway and welcome to the new bloggers!

  5. Andrea

    I am most interested in the SciFi/Paranormal bundle (my current obsession), but they all sound great! I will most likely be adding some of these titles to my TBR pile very soon :)

  6. Brittany T

    Welcome new lovelies!! I’m sure you’ll be an amazing addition to an already fabulous garden. Now as for the givie I would LOVE Para/Sci-fi bundle #1 since once again I am dying for ALL those books. Especially Firebug, The Fire wish and Welcome to the Dark House!! **hugs for all** Love this blog so much!

  7. Chante Marie

    I’ve watched Peyton talk about books on her Youtube channel. So I thought I’d come check things out and show her a bit of support :) Congratulations to Layla also. I’m excited to keep up with all of Midnightgarden. This seems like a really fun and great blog so far! Not to mention I always see Wendy Darlings reviews on Goodreads. Definitely a good mix of reviewers here.

  8. Amber Chen

    Normally I’d go for bundle #1, but recently I’ve been a lot more open-minded and less selective about YA genres. I wouldn’t mind getting any of these bundles just for some more creative insightfulness!

  9. Shilpa Rajagopal

    Thanks for the giveaway! Contemporary is one of my favorite genres although I’d love to receive any of the three bundles.

  10. Leandra Wallace

    Bundle #3! I like mysteries, and those covers all together call to me. (very visual here!) =) Welcome to Layla & Peyton, looking forward to hearing from them!
    Leandra Wallace recently posted…A Book Party

  11. Michelle Lee

    Oh gosh. This is a toughy. I’m debating on Bundle #2 and #3. I just love reading contemporary YA but at the same time in Bundle #3 FAR FROM YOU by Tess Sharpe has caught my eye! Haha thank you for this amazing giveaway! :)

  12. Mara

    I guess I’m open to all bundles, books are books, but I love paranormal/sci-fi/ fantasy. Firebug seems interesting though I’m curious about The Truth About Alice

  13. Chelsea B.

    Bundle #1: Paranormal/Science Fiction! Because I’ve been really, really looking forward to Welcome to the Dark House!!!!

  14. Thomas

    Also, sorry for the double comment (can’t find the “edit” feature on my most recent one) but I’d like to win the Contemporary bundle because it looks like it contains a healthy mix of light-hearted romance and more serious reads.
    Thomas recently posted…Why Gender Roles Start in the Womb

  15. Thomas

    Welcome to Layla and Peyton! After following this blog for quite awhile, it’s wonderful to see it expand and take on new reviewers. It’s great that they both already possess online presences, and I cannot wait to see how they approach critiquing YA in the future.
    Thomas recently posted…Why Gender Roles Start in the Womb

  16. Antonia

    Welcome to the midnight garden Layla and Peyton! Can’t wait to hear more from the both of you. Layla, I’ve read almost all of Robin McKinley’s books, but not much of Tamora Pierce. I’ll have to give her a try. Any suggestions? Peyton, you sound exactly like one of my friends – she fancies herself a “potterhead” :)I’d absolutely love to win bundle #1. Thank you for the giveaway!

    • Layla

      Thanks for the welcome! And ooh, yay. What McKinley did / do you like, if any? Start with Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness quartet is my recommendation.
      Layla recently posted…The Giver: film review

  17. Samantha Jaramillo

    Hi Layla and Peyton! Thanks for this awesome giveaway! I’m most interested in Bundle #1 Paranormal Science Fiction. Those are always my favorite books to read. Recently I have started reading other books,but for the longest time it was only Paranormal and Science fiction books for me, and there’s where most of my love lies!

    • Layla

      Hahaha, thanks Shae! I’m really excited to be part of the blog, and am stoked at the possibility of being part of the coolest anything. :) It happens so rarely!
      Layla recently posted…The Giver: film review

  18. Jenn

    Hi I just found your blog so I’m excited to see what each of your reviewers bring. I’d love to win any, but can’t wait for Rumble by Hopkins and

  19. Amanda

    Welcome to the blog, Peyton and Layla! I am looking forward to reading your posts.

  20. Cait @ Notebook Sisters

    Ooh, yay for new reviewers! I didn’t even see that you have posted that but to be honest, I’ve slacked off reading blogs for a while since I was writing. My brain rejects soooo much typing and I end up crashing in front of TV instead of reading blogs. (I’ll be honest: chocolate is usually involved with the crashing.) BUT ANYWAY. I look forward to more reviews from everyone!
    Cait @ Notebook Sisters recently posted…Dangerous Boys blitz || Woah, this messed with my brain

  21. Melanie (YA Midnight Reads)

    ooh welcome Layla and Peyton! The Midnight Garden family is sure growing, I cannot wait to see your faces on the blogosphere :)

  22. Kendra

    Welcome Peyton and Layla! Look forward to your review! Also looking forward to checking out the books you guys included in the Paranormal/Sci-Fi and Mystery Bundles.

  23. Emma A

    Congratulations, you guys, on joining such an awesome blog!

    I would like Bundle #1! Thank you so much!

  24. Amanda P.

    YAY for new reviewers!! Thanks for keeping up this lovely blog and thanks for the awesome giveaway! You girls are fantastically fabulous! I would love to receive bundle #1 if I win.
    Amanda P. recently posted…Hello, Love: August Vol. 1

  25. Lia

    Can’t wait to read your reviews, congrats! All the prize packs are awesome!

  26. Julie

    I am interested in the paranormal/sci fi bundle….I have an eleven year old boy who reads a lot of that style of books. Something new would be nice!

  27. Shilpa Rajagopal

    Congratulations to Layla and Peyton! Looking forward to reading your reviews and hearing your thoughts :)

  28. Nikki Robinson

    I’ve heard of some of the books in the contemporary and mystery bundles, but none in the paranormal/sci-fi one. That being said, it would be cool to win any of the three!

  29. Nikki

    Congrats you two! Looking forward to seeing your first contributions to this awesome site :)

  30. Moira

    Welcome and I can’t wait to see more from you :) I am a big fan of Harry Potter myself and can probably credit the books as what made me want to read more.

    • Layla

      Thanks, Moira! I definitely hear you – Harry Potter was a huuuuuge part of my life in high school and college. (And, um, lots of Harry Potter fanfiction.) How wonderful that the books made you want to read more – I think that was true for a lot of folks, which is pretty much the greatest.
      Layla recently posted…Introducing Layla and Peyton! + celebration giveaway

    • Peyton

      Hi, Moira! Harry Potter was such a gateway series for so many people. I’m glad it got you into reading! Harry Potter was definitely the first series of books I fell in love with.
      Peyton recently posted…The Giver: film review

  31. Faye D'Social Potato (@kawaiileena)

    Hello, Layla and Peyton! I saw that Midnight Garden call when it was sent out a few weeks ago, and I’m super happy to see that they’ve found you guys to help them out. It would be interesting to see the contributions you guys will give to this ever-growing (and glowing! Heehee) blog. I’m especially excited for the Youtube videos! Videos are cool, yes :3
    Faye D’Social Potato (@kawaiileena) recently posted…ARC Review + PH Giveaway: Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas

  32. kathy

    Hi to the newest reviewers! And thanks for the giveaway. I would love to win the contemporary books. :)

  33. Ann

    Welcome Layla and Peyton!! =D So many great bundles! I would like the contemporary YA bundle, because it deals with many timely issues.

  34. Carina Olsen

    Yay :D Hi to Layla and Peyton. <3 Excited to read your upcoming reviews on this very awesome blog, hih :) And omg. This giveaway is the best. Jealous that I cannot enter for the first prize pack. <3 Ack. living in Norway sucks, lol. But you guys are awesome for doing these amazing giveways :) Thank you for sharing. <3
    Carina Olsen recently posted…Review: Beware the Wild by Natalie C. Parker

  35. Christine T

    Welcome/Congrats to the new reviewers!!

    I like the paranormal/scifi and mystery bundles because those are the two genres I read the most.

  36. Larissa

    Awww welcome Petyon and Layla :) You’re going love co-blogging, it’s such a fun and interactive experience. As I co-blog at YA Midnight Reads, I can say that it’s really brought such a joy to my life and it’s totally worth it. I’m sure both of you must be so excited and I just want to say that co-blogging will be such a fun journey for you two (: I can’t wait to see what quality content you’ll bring to The Midnight Garden, and I also can’t wait to get to know you both better :)
    Larissa recently posted…Discussing Through Midnight (42): Importance of YA

  37. fishgirl182 @ nite lite

    Welcome Layla and Peyton! It’ll be fun getting to know you both on the blog. And I totally don’t agree that it’s been a barren wasteland this summer on TMG. There’s been tons of fun posts and reviews but I am looking forward to seeing what you guys come up with, having 2 new reviewers. I also have friends in Raleigh/Durham so I may take Layla up on the offer to eat all the things the next time I visit!
    fishgirl182 @ nite lite recently posted…Comic-Con 2014 Spotlight: Television

    • Layla

      Thank you so much! I’m looking forward to getting to better know folks around here, too.

      You should absolutely come to Raleigh / Durham to see your friends – I love, love, love North Carolina (although like Peyton, I am a Florida native, so I miss the beach sometimes) and so I want everyone else to love it, too. And I will also happily take you out to eat things. Durham’s a good place for that.
      Layla recently posted…Introducing Layla and Peyton! + celebration giveaway

  38. Ami Allen-Vath

    Welcome Layla & Peyton! If I won, I’d love Bundle 2 bc my genre of choice is contemporary and a couple of those are already on my TBR. But I’m also interested in bundle three because I love a good mystery and these look REALLY great. (pretty covers too!) @amilouiseallen
    Ami Allen-Vath recently posted…Life By Corey: A Love Story

  39. Amanda

    Hello lovely ladies! I’m looking forward to reading your reviews!

    And huzzah, a giveaway! I’m excited about all of those bundles, but especially the contemporary one. You can never have too much contemporary YA!