Review & Giveaway: Historical Heartthrobs Blog Tour!


Historical Heartthrobs!
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Zest Books!
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It's no secret that I'm kind of a nerd. As such, I'm really into history. It was even my major in college (which has been super helpful in the real world, let me tell you)! So when I saw the opportunity to get involved with this book highlighting historical heartthrobs I pretty much dropped everything and said YES, YES, A THOUSAND TIMES YES.

I mean seriously, do you see that sexy smirk on Tesla's face? SWOON MUCH?

Here's the skinny:
From the poetic tenderness of Lord Byron to the alluring confidence of Bessie ColemanHistorical Heartthrobs: 50 Timeless Crushes – from Cleopatra to Camus, by Kelly Murphy with Hallie Fryd features fifty heartthrobs from the ages most likely to catch our eye and asks the question: Would you really want to date them? The book mines our shared cultural past for historys most swoon-worthy icons such as CleopatraMarie Antoinette, and Che Guevara, and ranks them according to their overall "crushability," based on their relative levels of heroism/villainy.

Each Heartthrob has a few pages dedicated to who they are, what made them history worthy and what makes them crush worthy. I was thrilled to discover that my number one historical squeeze Theodore Roosevelt made the cut! Holla at that Teddy, y'all!

So what I'm trying to tell you is this - this book is super fun! It's not one that you'd necessarily read front to back, but it makes a great gift for anyone who loves history or heartthrobs or books (surely you know someone who loves at least one of those things!) I've been keeping it on my nightstand and reading about a few people each night. Again, I am nerd. 

And guess what? You can be nerd too! Because Zest Books! is being super awesome and giving away this sweet prize pack to one of your lovely faces.
boom.
All you need to do is enter my little Rafflecopter giveaway form right here and you're entered. Wee! 


Thank you to Zest Books! for allowing me to get my geek on and be a part of this tour! If you want to see other cool kids on this tour (HEY APRIL AND ALLISON!), you can see the full on tour deets right here


all images are owned by Zest Books! and used with permission.




Review: Scarlet (an Epic Rec!)

epicrecslogo
image from PaperRiot
Since this feature is part of Epic Recs hosted by Judith and Amber, I'm going to format it a little differently. I know you won't mind.

Oh, and if you need a refresher on what exactly Epic Recs is, check it here.




Scarlet is in a band of thieves who steals from the rich and gives to the poor (sound familiar?) She pretends to be a boy, but when her feelings for the band leader Rob start to deepen, pretending she isn't a girl isn't so easy anymore. Oh and also the government is totally corrupt and she has a dark secret from her past to add to the dramarama. Basically she is a kick ass lady doing kick ass things while figuring out life.




Oh you guys. YOU GUYS. My heart was all over the place with SCARLET. I mean, I adore Rob as we are supposed to adore him. He's protecting his people! He's charming! He's smart! He's handsome! How can we NOT swoon for that? But then there's John Little who is also handsome and funny and boisterous and delightful and has a little thing for our leading lady. I texted Gaby more than once with screencaps of my kindle to be like MY FEELS and she was all I KNOW and it was the tops.



This is a historical fiction set in the 13th century. However, what you'll mostly care about for the setting is that our little band of thieves lives in the woods and frequents the little town and tavern. It's so quaint! Oh and then there's the big castle with the dungeons and torture chambers and what not. Not so quaint. But castles! Ladies! Theives! YES.






OH BELIEVE YOU ME. SCARLET had plenty of twists and turns and sneakiness abounding! Like what is Scarlet's dark secret? Why she be so standoffish sometimes? And will she or won't she with John Little? And/or Rob? How can Rob possibly help his people when the Sheriff is SO AWFUL all the time?
And in general this book is sneaky because THEY ARE THIEVES.



At the heart of this book, there is some serious corruption and oppression and down right horrible things happening to the people of Nottinghamshire. The government has gone all corrupt and our heroes are trying to do what they can to help people literally survive from day to day.
I also love how the book took a realistic view on women of that time period and made a non-preachy social statement about how much it sucked to be property. We are people, you know!


Gaby asked me three questions specific to my SCARLET experience! Here they be.

In three words, Scarlet is: Thrilling, Fist-Pump-Worthy, and Empowering.
Out of everyone in Rob's group, who would you most want by your side going into battle against the Sheriff and Gisbourne? Honestly, I'd take Scarlet. That girl is fierce and would absolutely never leave me behind! 
Not for Scarlet but for YOU: John or Robin? Why? You guys. When Gaby asked me this I was like NOOOOOOO because it's SO HARD. Do you know how rare it is that I can't pick a main squeeze from a book? Like super rare. Still cold in the middle rare. Seriously rare. Anyway, after much debate and hand-wringing and angsting, I choose John! Because he made me laugh, he treats girls like girls (which Scarlet hated, but I'm down with) and because he is absolutely and totally a charmer who wears his heart on his sleeve. ILU JOHN LITTLE. 


So overall, we can say that Gaby's Epic Rec of SCARLET to me was an absolute win! I can't WAIT to see what she's got for me in February! 

Be sure to head on over to Gaby's review of GRAVE MERCY to see what she thought of my Epic Rec! 


Review: The Strange Case of Origami Yoda

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda (Origami Yoda #1)



Title: The Strange Case of Origami Yoda (Origami Yoda #1)
Author: Tom Angleberger
Pub Deets: 2010 Amulet Books
Source: Purchased
Series/Stand Alone: Series
Challenges: Adventures Through Awkwardness, 2014 TBR Challenge


Amazon | Goodreads | Website | Twitter


In a sentence or so: Listen, pre-teen hearts are on the line and some people need to know that Origami Yoda is LEGIT before they take his advice! This is a case study on all of his work thus far to document the wisdom of Origami Yoda and the weirdness of his creator, Dwight.

Dwight is a weird kid. No one is denying that. He digs holes and sits in them in his backyard. He yells "purple" as a conversational response. But perhaps the most weird thing about him is what gains him the most social street cred - he has an origami Yoda on his index finger that gives advice. Good advice!

Essentially this book takes different kids from Dwight's middle school and gives them a chapter to describe their experience with Origami Yoda (and by association, Dwight). Some of the kids are more forgiving and understanding, while others outright judge and scoff at Dwight and Origami Yoda.

Where THE STRANGE CASE OF ORIGAMI YODA really soars as a novel is the underlying message to be yourself and let your freak flag fly. We're all weird in our own way. Some of us have paper Yoda on our finger, some of us only eat tofu and others of us blog about books. Really, being weird is accepting who you are and what you're about and having the confidence to show that each and every day. Easier said than done for middle school kids, I know.

THE STRANGE CASE OF ORIGAMI YODA is a fantastic example of Middle Grade at its finest because the narrators are silly, awesome, sincere, and trying to get through middle school without being supremely humiliated all while balancing finding out who they are and why they matter.

This book made my heart so happy. Not just because of the Star Wars references, or the doodles, or even the nerdiness of it all. THE STRANGE CASE OF ORIGAMI YODA takes the legit issue for Middle Grade kids of confidence and accepting ourselves and frames it in a way that is uplifting, hopeful, and absurdly silly.

Fave Quote: "Or maybe Dwight's not as weird as I thought. Or maybe it's a good kind of weird. I don't know."

Pairs Well With: The force, it does.

Unrelated: The first ever author event I went to was for Tom Angleberger and he is super rad. FYI.





Top Ten Tuesday: My Reading Wishlist


This week is all about what I want to read about. OH YES PLEASE. Let's roll.

  1. MORE SPACE OPERAS. I know that books like Avalon are hanging out there waiting for my precious attention. I know that and I love it and I want more of it happening.
  2. MORE GIRL NERDS. Where are you? You have to be somewhere besides John Green books. I know you are. 
  3. MORE DRAGONS. In general. Always. In all ways.
  4. MORE FUTURISTIC SETTINGS. Not dystopian. THEY ARE NOT THE SAME. 
  5. MORE SUPER POWERS. I'm looking at the end of the Shatter Me series and it is killing me to know that I don't have any back up series lined up that's contemporary with super powers in it like this one. How am I going to survive?! 

And because I'm feeling snarky...

  1. LESS DYSTOPIANS. You guys, I love a good survival story as much as the next fantatic, but let's be real. We're starting to get dystopian fatigue just like we had vampire fatigue. Let's end on a high note, yeah? 
  2. LESS INSTALOVE. Let's get back to the tried and true slow burn. Or even better, the hate then love situation a la Lizzie and Darcy. How great is that? (the best)
  3. LESS UNNECESSARY SERIES. I swear, I read more and more books that suffer from middle book syndrome OR read the end of a series that is 300 pages too long. I don't know if this is an author thing or a publisher thing (I suspect the latter) but I would really love it if we could just keep the pages to where they should be and not bulk them with 300+ pages of angst and wondering around. 
  4. LESS HATERS. I mean, in general always but I'm thinking specifically to people being mean in the bookish community. If a book isn't for you, that's totally fine but you don't have to rage on about it, you know? There's a respectful way to deal with most situations. Find it. 
  5. LESS NOVELLAS. I mean come on. Put it in the book or don't. 
Do we share any of these? Please let me know!
I will happily check out your TTT as well if you link it. 
Thanks to The Broke and The Bookish for hosting this fabulous meme! 

Review and Giveaway: Burn by Julianna Baggott





Title: Burn (Pure #3)
Author: Julianna Baggott
Pub Deets: February 2014, Hachette Book Group
Source: Digital ARC from the publisher
Series/Stand Alone: Series

Amazon | Goodreads | Author Blog | Twitter



My review of PURE        My review of FUSE

FROM THE PUBLISHER AND AUTHOR

The fate of the world is more fragile than ever as Pures battle Wretches and former allies become potential enemies as bestselling author Julianna Baggott presents the exciting conclusion to her dystopian Pure trilogy: BURN (Grand Central Publishing Hardcover; February 4, 2014; 9781455502998; $26.00).

Inside the Dome, Partridge has taken his father's place as leader of the Pures. His intent had been to bring down the Dome from the inside with the help of the secret resistance force led by Partridge's former teacher Glassings. But from his new position of power, things don't seem quite as clear. Perhaps his father had been right. Perhaps if the world is to survive it needs the Dome--and Partridge--to rule it.

Outside the Dome Pressia and Bradwell continue piecing together the clues left to them by their parents from the time before the detonations. Soon they will be able to help heal the Wretches, freeing them from their monstrous fusings and the Dome's oppression once and for all. But their success also depends on Partridge. Can they still trust their friend and ally to see their plan through? Or will a new war begin?

For the last eight years, Julianna Baggott taught in the Creative Writing Program at Florida State University (FSU). She is now teaching screenwriting at FSU’s College of Motion Picture Arts. She and her husband co-founded a nonprofit in 2006 called Kids in Need – Books in Deed that gives free books to kids in the state of Florida. She is the mother of four children ranging in age from 5 to 17. Her work has appeared in dozens of publications, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Boston GlobeThe Southern ReviewTriQuarterlyVirginia Quarterly ReviewPoetryGlamourMs. Magazine, and read on NPR's Talk of the Nation. She lives in Massachusetts with her family. For more information visit www.juliannabaggott.com.

THE REVIEW

We all have those series we think are totally underrated, fly under the radar, and under-appreciated. For me, THIS IS THAT SERIES. I know you guys might be burned out on dystopian. I know that feel, I really do. But trust me when I tell you that The Pure Trilogy by Julianna Baggott is 100% worth your time. 

Obviously, reviewing the final book in a trilogy is a difficult task. So I'll just brush you up on the premise for the entire series. 

Here's the gist. There was a detonation that destroyed almost the entire world. Those living inside of the dome remained pure, undamaged, but ridden with guilt they suppress every day. They're trying to create a utopian society, but it's not working out. Those living outside the dome were burned, scarred, damaged, and mutilated. Pressia is on the outside, uncovering the truth about what happened. Partridge is on the inside, trying to bring down the barriers. 

The cast of characters is unique, authentic, and completely resonate with my heart. Even though they could easily come off as absurd (the love interest has bird wings fused to his back), they are absolutely genuine. I cared about each and every one of these people AND their struggle AND their world. Baggott absolutely packs a serious punch with the conclusion of this series! 

THE GIVEAWAY

Because the people over at Hachette Book Group are super rad, they are giving away a copy of BURN to one of you lucky readers! So, even if you haven't read the first two, you have the opportunity to start your very own collection! Seriously, you will NOT regret it!




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In which I never want to leave the house, ever.



Because reading books all the time and playing games all the time isn't enough, apparently I need to watch TV all the time as well. I'm really living my best life, y'all.

Here's what I'm watching that is on TV currently...

Sherlock!
Because OBVIOUSLY.

Downton Abbey
Because I cannot get enough of the Dowager Countess. EVER.

Almost Human
Karl Urban? Robot Police? Future? YES YES YES.

Bob's Burgers
Because Tina Belcher makes me laugh and fist pump so much.

Helix
Because RONALD D MOORE, Y'ALL. 

Supernatural
I am forever addicted to this show and am not ashamed. 

And this is what I'm watching on Netflix aka the love of my life...

House of Cards
Because I am too scared of Frank Underwood NOT to watch this!
j/k it's amazing and intensity in ten cities.

The X-Files
Because Mulder and Scully are THE BEST EVER.

Friday Night Lights
Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. CAN'T LOSE.
Oh and Coach Taylor obvs.

How about you? Do you partake in any of these glorious shows? Tell me so we can fangirl! 

Review: Cress by Marissa Meyer





Title: Cress (The Lunar Chronicles #3)
Author: Marissa Meyer
Pub Deets: February 2014, Feiwel & Friends
Source: ARC was won from Tor.com!
Series/Stand Alone: Series

Amazon | Goodreads | Marissa's Blog | Marissa's Twitter

In a sentence or so: Cinder and crew are trying to figure out how to stop Queen Bitch Levana from destroying Earth. Along the way they discover an expert Lunar hacker from a satellite who may just give them the edge they need...if they can get her out of her guarded satellite. 

Yeah, okay, so I know you've already heard from everyone and their neighbor that this series is the best ever and you should read it. THEY ARE RIGHT.

It's hard for me to pinpoint what it is I adore about this series. Or even to form coherent (or complete) sentences about it. These are my attempts.

Mystery and Action: I love that we know where the gang is going but we're not sure how they're going to get there. This provides lots of suspense with purpose and I respect that a ton.

The World Keeps Growing: We get more Luna! We find out more about what the what is going down on the moon! (Hint: IT IS NOT GOOD, YOU GUYS) But the world of our characters grows as well as they have to figure out how to work together to accomplish something SO HUGE.

Strong Female Leads: Okay, I'll admit it. Cress wasn't my favorite. But after much internal debate, I figured out why! It's because to me Cress = Sansa Stark. Just like Sansa has her head filled with fairy tales and marrying a prince and that is her sole purpose in life, Cress fills her own head with this idea that she'll get swept up in an epic romance and that is her whole driving force in everything. I don't connect with that idea because I'm more of a Scarlet/Cinder/Arya person myself, but I UNDERSTAND Cress/Sansa. It's just fine that I'm not a super duper Cress fan because Iko more than fills that void in my heart with all of her android upbeat attitude and just loving everything to bits. I LOVE YOU, IKO. I look forward to us making each other friendship bracelets at our next best friend slumber party.

Meyer's Writing is Crack: This woman can write, y'all! Her characters are so authentic and genuine and awesome and unique from each other. This is a rare, completely unputdownable book. I woke up early today to finish it. YES. I WOKE UP EARLY TO READ. This is serious.
The plot is refreshing, passionately detailed and so all encompassing that long after I'm done reading I find myself thinking "I wonder what Cinder's going to do about ____". Seriously. I'd be embarrassed if I were ashamed of that in any way, but I'm not. I own it.

TL;DR - Meyer has created some of the strongest characters I've ever read within the most addictive "must save the world" plot I've ever read and I just cannot get enough of any of it.

Fave Quote: "Now, let's never talk about you being related to her again, because I'm technically still engaged to her, and that's really weird."

Pairs Well With: Love Lockdown by Kanye West (808s & Heartbreak). YOU GUYS. MY MIND BLEW UP when I made this connection. The electronic/autotune fits in perfectly with the computer heavy world so initially I was like yeah that makes sense. But then I really listened to it and I was like IT IS CRESS AND THORNE AND MY HEART CANNOT TAKE IT. Hell, you know what? That whole album is perfect for this series. Just listen to it and read the series and thank me for the rest of your life. Oh, and Marissa Meyer too for writing such a divine and addictive and badass series.


Review: Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols

Such a Rush

Title: Such a Rush
Author: Jennifer Echols
Pub Deets: July 2012 MTV Books
Genre: Romance, Relationships, Coming-of-Age
Series/Stand Alone: Stand Alone 

Amazon | Goodreads | Jennifer's Twitter | Jennifer's Blog


In a sentence or so: Leah's absent mother and dilapidated trailer inspire her to search for purpose in her life. She finds that drive and passion she's been searching for at the airport by her trailer park. So there just happen to be sexy boys there and, of course, there are secret plots and mysterious schemes and a whole lot of kissing (and more!) going down.

The reason I love Jennifer Echols is this - that woman writes AMAZING characters. Do I love the coming-of-age pieces? Friend, you KNOW I do. Echols writes relationships that are so authentic I'm completely absorbed in everything each person says, picking it apart, and analyzing all of it. Basically, I love to read Jennifer Echols because she is so damn readable.

Oh, okay yeah the story is really fun too! The whole airport situation was really interesting to read about as I had no clues about that walk of life. Leah's commitment and passion for flying stuck with me as a reader, as did her relationships with her friends, her boss, and obviously her love interest.

Is Such A Rush a life changing book? No. Not everything we read has to be life changing, okay?! But does this book still matter? Yeah, it totally does. It showcases a girl who pulls herself up by her bootstraps, does things because SHE wants to, and still has sexytimes with boys. Her romantic relationships are NOT a means to an end which makes me fist pump all the fist pumps for Jennifer Echols because to me that is what being an independent woman is all about! Live your life! Be strong and smart and awesome and THEN move on to boys!

You should read this book if...
You like sexytimes books with great characters, a beachy setting, and a healthy dose of drama all wrapped up in an addictive package. So basically if you have a heart beating in your chest.

Adventures Through Awkwardness: January!


Welcome to the first month of Adventures Through Awkwardness: 2014 MG Challenge!

The theme for January is: CONTEMPORARY
Yeah, I know. It's broad.
More variety!

You can choose any Contemporary/Realistic Fiction Middle Grade book for this month's challenge.

If you're looking for suggestions on what Middle Grade book to read for the challenge, here's a few solid recommendations:

Wonder by R. J. Palacio {Summary from Goodreads}

I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He's about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you've ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie's just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, despite appearances?

R. J. Palacio has written a spare, warm, uplifting story that will have readers laughing one minute and wiping away tears the next. With wonderfully realistic family interactions (flawed, but loving), lively school scenes, and short chapters, Wonder is accessible to readers of all levels.




The Humming Room by Ellen Potter {Summary from Goodreads}

Hiding is Roo Fanshaw's special skill. Living in a frighteningly unstable family, she often needs to disappear at a moment's notice. When her parents are murdered, it's her special hiding place under the trailer that saves her life.
As it turns out, Roo, much to her surprise, has a wealthy if eccentric uncle, who has agreed to take her into his home on Cough Rock Island. Once a tuberculosis sanitarium for children of the rich, the strange house is teeming with ghost stories and secrets. Roo doesn't believe in ghosts or fairy stories, but what are those eerie noises she keeps hearing? And who is that strange wild boy who lives on the river? People are lying to her, and Roo becomes determined to find the truth.

Despite the best efforts of her uncle's assistants, Roo discovers the house's hidden room--a garden with a tragic secret. 

Inspired by The Secret Garden, this tale full of unusual characters and mysterious secrets is a story that only Ellen Potter could write.



The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger {Summary from Goodreads}

IT TAKES THE WISDOM OF YODA TO SURVIVE THE SIXTH GRADE

Meet Dwight, a sixth-grade oddball. Dwight does a lot of weird things, like wearing the same T-shirt for a month or telling people to call him "Captain Dwight." This is embarrassing, particularly for Tommy, who sits with him at lunch every day. 

But Dwight does one cool thing. He makes origami. One day he makes an origami finger puppet of Yoda. And that's when things get mysterious. Origami Yoda can predict the future and suggest the best way to deal with a tricky situation. His advice actually works, and soon most of the sixth grade is lining up with questions.

Tommy wants to know how Origami Yoda can be so smart when Dwight himself is so clueless. Is Yoda tapping into the Force? It's crucial that Tommy figure out the mystery before he takes Yoda's advice about something VERY IMPORTANT that has to do with a girl.

This is Tommy's case file of his investigation into "The Strange Case of Origami Yoda."




If you have other suggestions, please list them in the comments! 
After you're read and reviewed your book for the month, please enter to win the January prize!



Keep it awkward, y'all!

Top Ten Blogging Goals


I love list making. It's kinda my thing. Making lists on paper, online, on my phone - WHEREVER. I'm down with it.

This, of course, is no exception. 

Three Blogging Goals
1. To host a challenge! That's right, I am crazy. Well, actually Amy and I are crazy because we're hosting the Adventures Through Awkwardness Middle Grade Reading Challenge! You can peep all the details on my challenge page. We'd love to have you join us! DO ITTT.
2. Sprinkle in TV/Movie/Pop Culture reviews that aren't exclusively bookish. For variety's sake, you know?
3. Keep it honest and respectful. Ain't nobody got time for flame wars or passive aggressiveness on Twitter. 

Three Reading Challenges
The 2014 Historical Reading Challenge hosted by Historical Tapestry. I'll take it easy on myself and enter at the Victorian Reader level at 5 books.
Bookish
The 2014 TBR Pile Reading Challenge hosted by Bookish. I'm going bold with this one and doing "First Kiss" level of 21-30. My shelved books need love, y'all! PUCKER UP, TBR.
2014 Contemporary Romance Reading Challenge
The 2014 Contemporary Romance Reading Challenge hosted by The Book Vixen. There's not any levels for this one (that I can find, anyway) but it's a good idea for me to bust into this genre a bit. We all know that I am all about SFF all the time, so this is branching out for me. Plus, I have Lola and The Boy Next Door on my shelf! Holla!

Three Bookish Goals
1. Read what I want, when I want. I will not feel guilt about ARCs or pressure to read something I don't want to. If I don't like it, I'll stop reading. If I really want to read something, I will. No shame in my game!
2. Keep up my Epic Recs with Gaby! I'm so excited about this feature and I can't wait to read Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen and for her to read Grave Mercy by Robin LeFevers! Oh yeah, we basically have the same tastes so be prepared for massive fangirling. 
3. I must finish a book before I buy a new one. Meaning, my total to-read pile should stay the same or decrease ONLY. No book buying binges. I MEAN IT. (unless I do a reading binge. mwahahaha)

BONUS (to round it out to 10): Keep connected to the YA community via twitter, blog comments, Goodreads and BookBlogging.net. You guys are my people.

Let's do this, 2014!



Adventures Through Awkwardness: 2014 Middle Grade Reading Challenge

Amy made this! Isn't it great? Don't answer. I already know it is.
So keeping in with the theme that I AM CRAZY, I've decided to co-host a Middle Grade Reading Challenge with one of my favorite ladies ever, Amy at Tripping Over Books!

This idea stemmed from any lack of 2014 MG challenge that I could find, combined with my drive to host a challenge for the first time ever, folded into my adoration for all things Middle Grade. Thankfully Amy shares my love for Adventures and Awkwardness and this challenge was born! What whaaaaat!

In case you don't know why I adore Middle Grade, it's because the characters are are usually silly, awesome, and trying to get through adolescence without being supremely humiliated. Most importantly, they are discovering who they are and why they matter. Those are questions and journeys that resonate with all readers. Also, MG can sometimes feature some slapstick or potty humor which I adore. 

Okay, so here's what makes this challenge extra special. We have monthly themes! So you don't have to read x number of books by the end of the year if you don't want to. You can read one a month or just one this year. We broke it down by genre so feel free to jump in wherever you want, whenever you want! 

Adventures Through Awkwardness: 2014 Middle Grade Challenge Rules:
- Middle Grade is defined as any book (audiobook, series or stand-alone) that features a main character between the ages of 8-12. However, if you start a series and the main character gets older (as in Harry Potter), we'll still totally count those because we're kind like that.
- There are no publication date restrictions. Go way back if you want, or pick up a 2014 debut. Whatever! Live your life!
- You don't have to have a blog to participate, but you do have to review at least one book a month in order to enter to win any fabulous prizes somewhere. If you just want to pick and choose the different months to participate, that's fine by us! 
- Amy and I will alternate who is hosting for the month. In order to enter for the monthly prize pack, you'll need to link up at the host's blog. Deadline for each month is the last day of the month. 
- Please create a sign up post (or link us as part of your blogging goals/challenge post) linking back to either Amy or myself as hosts of this challenge. Both would be best, but one or the other would work too. Even if you just plan on doing a month or two, you'll need to have a sign up post to win a prize pack. Wee!
- On the first Monday of each month, the host will have a link up for the reviews that fit in that genre as well as a few suggestions to get you pointed in the right direction if you need it.
- If you want to tweet your amazing adventures, please use the hashtag #AwkardAdventures because we think that will be neat.

Monthly Themes:
January - Contemporary: Lisa
February - Fantasy: Amy
March - Mythology: Lisa
April - Historical: Amy
May - Reader's Choice: Lisa
June - Male Main Character: Amy
July - Classic: Lisa
August - Graphic Novel: Amy
September - Magic: Lisa
October - Dystopian: Amy
November - Female Main Character: Lisa
December - 2014 Debut: Amy







Amy and I hope you join us for our amazing Adventures Through Awkwardness Middle Grade Reading Challenge! I'll have the January post up on Friday (since we missed this Monday). HOLLA!

Until next time, keep it awkward, y'all. 
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Epic Recs: January

epicrecslogo
image from www.paperiot.com
It's here! It's time! YAY FOR EPIC RECS!

What could possibly be better than signing up for a Book Pushing Book Club hosted by Judith and Amber? GETTING PAIRED UP WITH GABY. Oh y'all, 2014 is going to be such a good year.

Allow me to allow Gaby to tell you why she signed up for Epic Recs in the first place.

"I know. I KNOW. It's not like I need more things on my blogging plate, but Judith and Amber are the very best and I absolutely love the graphic. Not to mention I'm always looking for new blogging friends and I don't have a book club, so, really, this feature was kind of made for me. It's really astonishing that I waited so long to sign up. But it's really a good thing I waited, otherwise I wouldn't be paired with Lisa and I wouldn't be all geared up to read GRAVE MERCY this month!"

Isn't she great? Of course she is. I know you know but I wanted to reiterate it anyway. 

 

And as you can see, I recommended GRAVE MERCY by Robin LaFevers to her this month! But if you want to know why, you'll have to go and peep her blog. Booyah!

For me, Gaby recommended SCARLET by A.C. Gaughen. Here's why!

"So Lisa likes fantasy, dragons, dystopian, sci-fi and all kinds of other awesomeness. As some of you might know, SCARLET's not really any of these things, but it does have a feel of each. There's the adventure and cross-dressing you might find in a fantasy novel, the messed up government structure from a dystopian trilogy, and the twists to rival any sci-fi. And then there's the fact that SCARLET takes a story everyone knows at least a little bit about and totally turns it on it's head. Which equals the pure awesomeness of dragons. 

Now, on a more selfish level: I really love SCARLET so, so, so much and LADY THIEF is even more fantastic and crazy, so when I saw this book on Lisa's TBR my gut reaction was to pick it. And so I did."

Yeah, I'm pretty stoked to read SCARLET and I'm super excited for Gaby to read GRAVE MERCY and it's just SO MUCH FUN ALREADY! 

Review: Allegiant

Allegiant (Divergent, #3)
Title: Allegient (Divergent #3)
Author: Veronica Roth
Pub Deets: October 2013, Harper Collins
Genre: Dystopian
Stand Alone/Series: Series
Source: Purchased on Kindle

Amazon | Goodreads | Veronica's Twitter | Veronica's Blog

Spoiler warning: This is the third book in a series. There will be many spoilers for the first two books. Hell, you know what? I'll be putting spoilers for everything because I figure most people have read this already and because I want to! Sorry not sorry.

In a sentence or so: Four and Tris go beyond the fence to a world that's probably more messed up than the one they left behind and have no idea what to do with their lives.

See my summary in a sentence or so? That's the first 75% of the book. SO MUCH TIME is spent asking Who, What, When, Where, and WHY that action is at an absolute snail's pace.

The last 25% was a mix of predictable and muddy for me. That could be because I was just SO done waiting for it to end that I skimmed, or because the whole "Tobias must choose who forgets" thing went on forever with his two sad ass parents, or possibly because I was so bitter this book wasn't MORE. I wasn't surprised that Tris died, and I can't even say I was all that disappointed in it so maybe that's a good thing? I will say that the way Veronica Roth weaved Tris' mother back in at her death was beautiful and incredibly moving.

I was a touch bummed that life on the other side of the fence was what I predicted it would be. I put that aside, however, in hopes that surely there was more to the big reveal than that. And there kind of was...but not really anything that shock and awed me. Yeah, they made the serums and yeah, some of the Chicagoans were in on it, but so what? SO WHAT! (So What became my refrain whilst reading and it wasn't pleasant, you guys.)

It's fitting that this is my first review of the new year because I'm overcoming a personal challenge to not just rage for 15 paragraphs about this book and summarize my thoughts and feelings coherently. You're welcome, internet.

Three things I liked about this series as a whole: Tris's love for her family and looking at their choices through her own perspective and struggling to see their choices through their own perspectives. Tris + Four's relationship was mature, built on mutual respect, and though lacked any sort of butterflies for me was totally authentic and legit. People with the best intentions can still be totally wrong and unintentionally destructive.

Three things I'd change about this series as a whole: Make Tris less like Bella Swan. YEAH I SAID IT. But I'd love for her to own her Divergence and not be like "Who, me? Are you sure? But why? I don't get it!". Girl can fight like no other but she lacked any self confidence. If book 3 had been set in the fringe and that's how we found out about the social experiments and all the things. How cool would that have been? And finally, take away that 2 years later epilogue. Please. I felt like nothing was added to the overall story by Tobias finally doing the zipline and Chicago kinda back on its feet again.

All that aside, will I still be seeing the movie? Oh hell yes. I adored Divergent and maybe, just maybe, seeing the series on the big screen will increase my love for the books. It happened with The Hunger Games, so I'm not ruling anything out.

This series is for: Those who are new to the dystopian genre, are interested in some light sci-fi elements and pondering the failings of our society as a whole. Mostly, for those who want to think about the connections Veronica Roth makes between the world she writes about and our current society's path.
My Review for Divergent
My Review for Insurgent