Blogger Recognition Award! (eeek!!)

GUESS WHAT YOU GUYS?!

I’ve been nominated by Victoria from Victoria Reads for the Blogger Recognition Award! It’s my very first award nomination, and I am SUPER STOKED!! So HUGE THANK YOU to Victoria, and for everyone else out there who is following and enjoying my blog! Y’all are the best!!

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– Rules –
• Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
• Write a post to show your award.
• Give a brief story of how your blog started.
• Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
• Select 15 other bloggers you’d like to give this award to.
• Comment on each blog and let them know you’ve nominated them, providing a link to the post you’ve created. (Please make sure you do this step! Otherwise they won’t know you’ve tagged them until they check the referral portion of their stats.)

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How did my blog come to be?

I started blogging two years ago as a New Year’s resolution to read more and to start writing (and maintain!) a blog. I had started about six failed blogs before I thought about doing a book blog, which would be the perfect way to motivate myself to read and write. It took me a year and half to find my groove, and the past six months have been focusing on generating traffic, becoming a more involved blogger, and getting organized. It’s been such a fun venture, and I love being a part of the book blog community and chatting with other bloggers about their reads. Sometimes I still feel like a newbie, especially when I see so many amazing blogs out there, but that’s just another motivator for me to keep on blogging and putting my own thoughts out there.

Advice for aspiring bloggers/my fellow bloggers?

  1. Write for yourself and your own enjoyment- don’t put yourself in competition with others. It is sooo easy to look at all the great blogs out there and get down about what you’re putting into the blogosphere, but there is room out there for all of us to share our thoughts. 99.9% of the time, you’ll be welcomed with open arms, and that other .1% is not worth worrying about!
  2. Don’t be afraid to talk to other bloggers. I was so nervous about commenting on blog posts, because I didn’t want to pester the blogger with my trifle “great post!’s”. I’ve come to find out that bloggers like to know what you thought of their posts, and like to chat about things that interested you or stuff you have in common. It’s fun getting to know your readers! So please don’t think your constructive questions and comments aren’t wanted or won’t be acknowledged.

I nominate the following bloggers…

  1. Arrvee from Arrvee’s Book Diary
  2. Keith from Sink into the Ink
  3. Star and Fleur from WEBOOKINGLOVEIT
  4. Malanie from Malanie Fiction
  5. Darque Dreamer from Darque Dreamer Reads
  6. Sue from Sue’s Reading Corner
  7. Taiwo from Stuffed Shelves
  8. Vishaka from My Reading List 
  9. Kourtni from Kourtni Reads
  10. Alisha from IAMAGEEKINGGINGER
  11. Dee from deereadsthings
  12. Kristi from Confessions of a YA Reader
  13. Kerrie from comfy reading
  14. Kris from Boston Book Reader
  15. Evelina from Avalinah’s Books

…and I want you all to know I really enjoy following your blogs! You are all very creative and I enjoy reading reading your reviews, and I really admire the work you put into your sites and content!

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Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen

After my Divergent bender, I needed something a little fluffy to read after to cure my book hangover. Cue Dessen.

I’ve read a few of her books back in high school, and have started a small collection at my house for just this reason. Whenever you are in a reading slump, reaching for a cute book that isn’t too long or too overly complicated (really, anything short and fluffy) is the best fix. Sarah Dessen is my go-to for such an occation, so I pulled Someone Like You off my shelf.

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The story is about Halley and Scarlett, best friends and neighbors since they were little girls. They know everything about each other, and balance each other out. Where Halley is the quiet, shy, thoughtful type, Scarlett is the strong, loud, take charge type. During the summer of their Sophomore year of high school, the two pick up cashier jobs at the local grocery, tan by the pool, and start mixing with the in crowd, meeting up with boys and sneaking around. Halley and her mother, a therapist who is slightly overbearing, start to feel tension between them as Halley starts to conceal more of her private and social life, and her mother tries to control Halley’s behavior. Meanwhile, Scarlett and a boy named Michael Sherwood start dating, and just as Halley is trying to handle the new dynamic with Scarlett, her mother sends her off (unwillingly) to a summer camp.

A week before the end of summer, Halley gets a late night call from Scarlett- Michael died in an accident. Halley immediately figures out how to get home to support Scarlett in her time of need. After all, Scarlett has always supported Halley, and that’s what best friends are for. But as the start of the school year rolls around, Halley learns Scarlett is going to need more than consoling, and it’s Halley’s turn to take charge.

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It’s a quick read at 281 pages, and though it’s a little young and predictable, it’s the perfect reset read- the kind where you don’t have to think too hard and know there is going to be a happy ending. It may be a tad boring, but this was a much needed read for me.

 

 

 

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

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Oh. My. Heart.

For those of you who haven’t read Divergent and Insurgent, you know what to do…

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Read them? Good, because there is no way I can write about Allegiant without spoilers. I’ll try to leave out what I can, but there is just SO MUCH TO TALK ABOUT.

Let’s start with a quick summary. At the beginning of the book, the Factionless have taken control of the city, declaring that there will be no more faction system. Tris is under arrest for treason, for trying to help stop the attack on Janine- which was done only to help release information that has been hidden for years. Tobias and Tris were at odds, since he was working with his mother and not with Tris, until the very last minute, when Tobias helped release the hidden information behind his mother’s back. The information contained a message from one of the original settlers of the establishment, revealing that there was life outside the city limits and why the establishment was originated.

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Now, as the novel continues, the point of view switches between Tris and Tobias every chapter. This was a little tricky for me, because for the last two books, I’ve been completely inside Tris’ head, and then getting into Allegiant, I had to start thinking like Tobias as well. There were a couple of times where the pace got fast, and as chapters whipped by, I had to go back and double check who’s point of view I was reading from. I disliked having to do that as it slow my pace, but at the same time, it was interesting to get the multiple points of view. I believe it made sense for the story to split the views, and come the end of the book, it was definitely necessary.

As the novel goes on, the reader finds out what is beyond the city establishment, and the whole story of how the economic structure came to be and how the ongoing genetic reconstruction experiments occurred completely redefine the lives of the main characters. As layers of the truth are revealed, you can predict an uprising coming from Tris and Tobias, but how it played out completely astounded me. This revelation complicates the fierce relationship problems between Tris and Tobias. One minute, they are on the same team, ready to fight, absolutely absorbed by each other. The next, they’re racing against each other, throwing the harshest dagger-like comments at each other, and barely speaking. Add the additional character’s conflicts, and you can see why this novel packs a punch. Basically, your heart is the punching bag, and Roth knows how to hit it- and even if you saw it coming, it still hurts.

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I don’t want to give the ending away, but I have to talk about that ending. The minute that the rebel group decides to send in a certain someone to set off the “reset” serum, I knew Tris wouldn’t let that happen. When she makes it through the first set of doors, I was thrilled that once again her Divergence won out. But then I knew that when you-know-who showed up, it was over. And I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe that Roth would do that to her readers. And I fought back tears because I was both sad AND angry. It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book where this situation occurs, and I wasn’t expecting it. At least there is resolution, and I guess in retrospect, one of the themes running through the series is moving on despite the past.

So, with that in mind, I’m moving on from this series a little battered, but with no regrets. It was captivating and exhilarating, and I’m crushed that this is the end. Well, at least until I get my copy of Four, but even so. Despite the ending, I completely recommend the read.

Also, I’m gonna leave you with this, in hopes that you giggle.

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Insurgent by Veronica Roth

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I tried to read this in two days but the real world kept interrupting me. When I opened up Insurgent, I was just as absorbed as the first in the series. If you haven’t read Divergent, do that first… I’ll wait.

Done? Didn’t take you long, did it? Okay, good, because it’s hard to write a review of a second book in the series without spoilers of the first.

The book starts with Tris and Four seeking refuge at the Amity headquarters after the Dauntless, under a simulation transmitter serum, attacked the Abnegation sector and killed innocents. The faction system as they know it is shattering after Erudite and traitor Dauntless members have teamed up to hunt Divergents and they will sacrifice anyone that gets in their way of finding a serum that will control the Divergents. Leading the pack in Janine Matthews, creator of the control serums and mastermind behind the attacks.

Tris and Four try to seek help from Amity, but they refuse to offer their aid, as they seek only peace in their faction. Knowing that conflict will have to occur, Tris and Four try to plan a way to take down Janine. When the Erudite seek them and other refugees out in Amity, a few select rebels are lead by Tris and Four into the city, to rendezvous with the Factionless. After this meeting, Tris learns more about Four’s past, and they have problems trusting each other. After some time and circumstances, Tris decides that the best way to save Four and aid in the revolt is to turn herself in to Janine- leaving her life as her parents did, as her origins taught her in Abnegation.

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It’s a complete roller coaster of action and emotions. Like before, Roth does an excellent job putting you inside Tris’ head, allowing the reader to see the action and process it as Tris does. I also don’t think I pointed it out on my last review, but Roth is very acute with her details, never letting them fall through the cracks. If someone was shot, she continually displays that ailment, for instance. I find that those details really impact the story, making it more realistic to the reader.

Being as that Insurgent is left on a bit of a cliffhanger, I’m going to keep this short and say, obviously, that this is an entertaining and absolute must read. Now, I’m going to go bury my nose in Allegiant… see you in a few days!

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Divergent by Veronica Roth

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I know, I know… another series that everyone had either read or heard of, and I’m yet again super late to the fanwagon. But guys… I GET IT NOW. I devoured Divergent in two days, and I’m just itching to start Insurgent, which is currently at home on my bookshelf, just calling my name…

For those of you who haven’t read the series (or seen the movies) like me, here’s a relatively short summary. Beatrice Prior (Tris) lives in dystopian Chicago. At sixteen, she is about to make the biggest choice of her life by decided what faction she is meant to live in. Growing up Abnegation, she has always felt a part of her doesn’t belong in the selfless  and reserved faction, and her curiosity has her admiring the Dauntless, who are brave and appear to fear nothing. On the day of her aptitude test, she learns that she doesn’t specifically fit into any of the factions- Abnegation, Dauntless, Candor, Amity, or Erudite- but has an aptitude for multiple factions… making her Divergent. Unsure of what this means, Beatrice chooses Dauntless, and through her guilt tries to convince herself of the saying, “Faction before Blood”. As she sheds her old identity and becomes just Tris, her initiation is nothing like what she expects. Determined to make it through initiation, Tris learns more than what it takes to become Dauntless- she learns what it takes to be Divergent.

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I’m not sure if it’s the dystopian setting, the strength of the main character, or the barrage of intense action scenes, but I am HOOKED. Like, I even did the “What faction are you?” quiz. (Divergent, with Amity as the highest score). But I’ll contain my fangirling and keep this professional. Roth’s writing had me completely absorbed. I could imagine the Chicago trains always in motion, the Dauntless leaping on and off. I could see Tris’ train of thought, not as if I was reading her mind, but as if I was doing the processing myself. I could barely breathe during the fight scenes, and felt the punch in my gut when Tris states, “The bullet hit him in the head. I know because that’s where I aimed it.”

I’m so glad that this book lived up to the hype…in my opinion, it’s actually better. Highly recommend that you read it if you haven’t, and stay tuned- I know it won’t take me long to finish the rest of the series!

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Book Tags Galore!

I have some tags to catch up on! I was tagged by Andy, aka @places_and_books on Instagram to do #allthebooksof2017 “Favorite book(s) of 2017”, and I was tagged by Keith, aka  @sinkintotheink, to do the #wonderlandishlytagged, #currentlyreadingtag, #mytoptenbooksfrom2017 book tags! So here they are, fashionably (haha okay, really just) late!


#wonderlandishlytagged

🌹Alice (a book you lost)- Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. I swear I owned a copy, but I have no idea where it is. I can’t remember if I decided to donate it, or if I loaned it to someone, or if it just up and grew legs and walked out of my house. No clue!

🌹White Rabbit (a book you haven’t had time to read)- The Tales of Beedle the Bard by JK Rowling. I have owned this book since last September when I decided I needed it to celebrate “19 years later…”, and just haven’t had time to read it. I will, someday, but I’m not in a hurry.

🌹Mad Hatter (a book that drove you insane)- The Circle by Dave Eggar. The boring, easily manipulated character. The mind control. The social media turned mandatory life necessity. I just couldn’t like this book, but I also had to read it and it’s creepily stuck in my brain now.

🌹Dormouse (a book that put you to sleep)- Beowulf. I had to read this in high school, and I know it’s full of action, but I just hated it with a passion and anytime we read it in class (first period English), I’d have to try hard not to nod off.

🌹Queen of Hearts (a book that destroyed your heart)- The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons. This is such a gorgeous love story with so many plot twists and turns.

🌹Knave of Hearts (book hangover)- Can I predict a hangover? Yes? Okay, the Divergent Series by Veronica Roth. I am so high on them right now, I don’t wanna come down… but I’m on Allegiant now, so it’s coming whether I’m ready or not.

🌹Mock Turtle (made you cry)- The Fault in our Stars by John Green… Of course. Do I really have to explain this one?


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#currentlyreadingtag

📖Currently Reading- Allegiant by Veronica Roth

📖Genre- Dystopian

📖Why did you pick it?- I’d heard so much about the Divergent series and decided that it was finally time for me to read them, and bought the trilogy (and will soon add Four to the collection). They’re amazing!! I’ll be posting their reviews soon, so stay tuned!


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#mytoptenbooksfrom2017

For more details on these books, and to look at any other reviews I’ve done, please check out the Bookie’s Bookshelf!

  1. South of Broad by Pat Conroy
  2. The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons
  3. Burn Town by Jennifer McMahon
  4. Wild by Cheryl Strayed
  5. Neither Wolf Nor Dog by Kent Nerburn
  6. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
  7. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
  8. The Hunger Games (series) by Suzanne Collins
  9. The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer
  10. The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah

 

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#allthebooksof2017

My favorite book that I read in 2017 was South of Broad by Pat Conroy. The writing was beautiful, full of details and laden with emotion. I adored the characters, especially Leo, for their vulnerability, their strengths, their pride, and their flaws. I bought my own copy so that I can visit South of Broad over and over again.


 

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

I thought I had struck gold when I saw this book on the Goodwill shelf, looking for a new home. It was in great condition, the cover is simply gorgeous, and a friend of mine (Hi Maggie!) had already recommended another Steifvater book to me (The Scorpio Races, for the curious minds out there). It skipped a lot of older books on my TBR pile, and I finally got around to reading it over the holidays.

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Shiver is part one of a trilogy about the wolves of Mercy Falls, that happen to actually be werewolves. The main focus is the Grace and Sam love story. As a child, Grace was attacked and bitten by the wolves, but never ‘changed’. Sam is the werewolf who saved Grace’s life, stopping the attack. Years later, the two finally meet when Grace helps save Sam’s life while he was in human form. About fifty pages in, I thought okay, this is going to be similar to Twilight, but with werewolves as the focus- and I admit it, I liked Twilight (check your judgement at the door…). So I kept reading.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t as exciting as I thought it would be. As the two get to know each other, Grace learns about the werewolves and Sam questions how Grace never became one. Then a few werewolves rebel and target Grace, thinking she has a cure to stop their “furry little problem” (Shout out to the Potterheads & Lupin fans, haha). The problem I had was how long it took to get to this action. There was a lot of redundant inner-debate from both Sam and Grace about how they love the other and don’t want their time together to end. There was a ton of melodrama about keeping Sam from changing in the cold. And then, there was a lot of random poetic bits- some of them were “lyrics” that Sam made up, and some of it was Stiefvater’s writing style. This really made it hard for me to keep focused on the fantasy of it all, and I admit, I rolled my eyes more than once.

Things picked up towards the end and kept my interest up enough to finish the book. I mostly just wanted to know where this story was going to go. Was it going to maintain the love story? Were the rebel werewolves going to do something shocking? Was there really a cure for being a werewolf? Would Grace figure out why she didn’t change? I was determined to figure out how the book would end, and though I’m glad I stuck with it, it was exhausting. But I do want to add that there were a couple of cute moments between Grace and Sam that did make me smile, and a quote that I totally agree with from Grace:

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When the action was happening, I couldn’t stop reading, so I don’t want to say that I didn’t like this book- it just fell flat compared to my expectations. I’m still going to give The Scorpio Races a chance, and hope that that book is a better example of Stiefvater’s writing, but Shiver just didn’t live up to the hype. Also, out of curiosity, I went on to Goodreads and checked to see what the summaries are of the other two books in the trilogy… and I won’t spoil it for you, but I’d prefer to leave the story as it lies.

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