The Happiness Project / Homeroom Diaries Giveaway!

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

HomeroomDiaries 187x300 The Happiness Project / Homeroom Diaries Giveaway! Homeroom Diaries by James Patterson, Lisa Papademetriou
IndieboundBook Depository • (Website, Twitter, Facebook)Published by Little Brown on July 21, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 272
Format: ARC
Source: the publisher
In James Patterson's first highly illustrated "diary fiction" story for teens, the mega-bestselling author's most endearing and original teen heroine ever proves that everyone can use a helping hand once in a while.

Margaret "Cuckoo" Clarke recently had a brief stay in a mental institution following an emotional breakdown, but she's turning over a new leaf with her "Happiness Project". She's determined to beat down the bad vibes of the Haters, the Terror Teachers, and all of the trials and tribulations of high school by writing and drawing in her diary. And when life gets really tough, she works through her own moments of uncertainty through imaginary conversations with her favorite literary characters.

Cuckoo's also got a nearly impossible mission: she, along with her misfit band of self-deprecating friends (who call themselves "the Freakshow") decide to bridge the gap between warring cliques and "bring the Nations together". Not everyone is so willing to join hands and get along, but Cuckoo never stops smiling...until one of her closest friends, pushed to desperation by a Hater prank, decides that enough is enough.

You know, I never thought my first James Patterson novel would be a quirky YA written as an illustrated diary. It’s fun, a little dark, with such wonderful characters and illustrations.

THE HAPPINESS PROJECT prize pack [Open to U.S. residents only]

HDPrize BookBundle The Happiness Project / Homeroom Diaries Giveaway!

Let great reads make you smile! Enter for your chance to win a James Patterson collection including copies of Homeroom Diaries, Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment, Confessions of a Murder Suspect, and First Love.

To enter, comment below telling me about one of your happiest moments in which you did something good for another person.

About James Patterson

JamesPatterson byDavidBurnett 120x120 The Happiness Project / Homeroom Diaries Giveaway!

In January, 2010, The New York Times Magazine featured James Patterson on its cover and hailed him as having “transformed book publishing.” Time magazine named him “The Man Who Can’t Miss,” and he is a two-time Children’s Choice Book Award “Author of the Year” nominee, a designation decided on by more than 15,000 children and teen readers.

In the past three years, James Patterson has sold more books than any other author (according to Bookscan), and in total, James’s books have sold an estimated 260 million copies worldwide. Since 2006, one out of every seventeen hardcover fiction books sold was a Patterson title. He is the first author to have #1 new titles simultaneously on The New York Times adult and children’s bestsellers lists and is the only author to have five new hardcover novels debut at #1 on the list in one year—a record-breaking feat he’s accomplished every year since 2005. To date, James Patterson has had nineteen consecutive #1 New York Times bestselling novels, and holds the New York Times record for most Hardcover Fiction bestselling titles by a single author (76 total), which is also a Guinness World Record.

From his James Patterson Pageturner Awards (which rewarded groups and individuals for creative and effective ways of spreading the joy of reading) to his website (which helps adults find books that kids are sure to love) to his regular donations of thousands of books to troops overseas, Patterson is a lifelong champion of books and reading. His critically acclaimed Maximum Ride series debuted on the New York Times bestsellers list at #1 and remained there for twelve straight weeks. The series has so far made ninety-four cumulative appearances on The New York Times bestsellers lists, proving that kids of all ages love page turners. He captured the attention of boy readers with Daniel X series, and his third series for readers of all ages debuted in December 2009 with Witch & Wizard, which spent five consecutive weeks atop the New York Times bestsellers list.

Patterson is the creator of the top-selling new detective series of the past dozen years, featuring Alex Cross and including the Hollywood-adapted “Along Came a Spider” and “Kiss the Girls,” starring Academy Award-winning actor Morgan Freeman. He is also the creator of the #1 new detective series of the past five years, featuring Lindsay Boxer and the Women’s Murder Club, from which the ABC television drama series was adapted. He has authored books behind six films on the Hollywood fast-track, including the upcoming Maximum Ride movie forthcoming from Avi Arad, the producer of X-Men and Spiderman.

He is the author of novels — from The Thomas Berryman Number (1976) to Honeymoon (2005) — that have won awards including the Edgar, the BCA Mystery Guild’s Thriller of the Year, the International Thriller of the Year award, and the Reader’s Digest Reader’s Choice Award. And, he has won a Children’s Choice Book Council’s Children’s Choice Awards “Author of the Year” award (2010).

One of Forbes magazine’s Celebrity 100, James made a guest appearance on the popular FOX TV show “The Simpsons” in March, 2007.

CriticallYA Reading: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent 198x300 CriticallYA Reading: Divergent by Veronica RothDivergent by Veronica Roth
Book DepositorySeries: Divergent #1
Published by Harper Collins, Katherine Tegen on February 28, 2012
Genres: Dystopian
Pages: 487
Format: eBook
five stars CriticallYA Reading: Divergent by Veronica Roth
In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue--Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is--she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are--and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

I bought Divergent by Veronica Roth when it was on sale in the Nook store for $2.99 thinking, “Oh, I’ll read this soon!” Which turned into “I’ll read it before the movie.” Which turned into, “I’ll read it when the hype dies down… NEVER.” And before you dangle me over the pit, let me tell you something. I’m really sad that I waited so long to read this book. I’m sad that I judged a book by its hype.

So, what changed my mind? I decided I wanted to read Young Adult fiction with a more critical eye. Read between the lines. Use my film studies and bring it over to the book side of things. I took a class called Women in Film not too long ago. If you ever get a chance to take a film studies course, DO IT. It just really opens your brain. ANYWAY, Divergent was on the tippy top of my list. It was partly sparked by Veronica Roth’s keynote at YallFest last year in which the topic was the “strong female main character.” I saw her again just the other day at Agnes Scott College, and she harped on some of the same things. I think it really boils down to the fact that these fictional heroines being called “strong” is a misnomer. Yes, they do have points of strength. Of course. But while reading Divergent, we’re constantly reminded by Tris of how weak she is, how weak she thinks she is. She does show her strengths in her Capture the Flag tactics. I don’t think Four even points out her other strengths until that point, I think? He might have given her a tiny pointer on fighting before that, but I think it’s important to point that out. She’s not looking to him for validation at all. He’s just really damn good at knowing everyone’s strengths and weaknesses, which makes him an exceptional instructor. Basically, he views her as his equal.

Let’s be real, Tris was kind of whiney here and there, but wouldn’t you be, too, if you were training for Dauntless initiation and you had to prove your physical and emotional strength? I’d find it hard to get out of bed in the morning! Tris chose this path of most resistance. That is important. I really loved that she didn’t start off this totally meek little girl. She asked questions, she said how she felt… So it felt natural for her to change factions. Sure, she was still a stickler (Stiff, as she was often called), but that was also important to keep in her complexity. She even gets the tattoos of her two factions. We can’t forget our past. It’s always a part of who we are. We also change and grow as we move forward.

Veronica Roth is the queen of eye choreography, as she called it on Thursday. There’s a LOT that can be said in a look. In Divergent, I viewed (no pun intended) the look as gaining knowledge, as rebelling. That’s what Tris really lusts after: knowledge. That’s why it seems like her favorite word is “Why.” Okay, yes, Four is quite attractive to her, but I think a good part of that is because he’s also looking for knowledge in order to change the way their community is being run.

NOTE: This is a thing that I’m iffy about, but I thought I’d talk about anyway to see how y’all feel/think about it… We can’t talk about feminist theory without talking about the p-word. Patriarchy! Woo! Just kidding, we don’t cheer for patriarchy. I think I’m correct in saying that Abnegation is the one who really runs the government because they’re selfless. Each faction has their own representatives. Marcus Eaton and Andrew Prior are the representatives of Abnegation and are coming into question in the newspapers. Jeanine wants to shut them down, but she’s definitely got a twisted way of doing so. Jeanine is definitely the crazy person you don’t want supporting your cause because she wants to turn a whole faction into her version of the Cyber Men from Doctor Who. The patriarchal views of the citizens of Chicago are obvious with how women are treated. Specifically how Peter treats Tris. It’s the way he talks down to her and tries to kill her. In that scene when he and the other two are holding her over the pit, the novel gives some vague details about him grabbing her in a way, but basically, he sexually harassed her. He saw her as a threat to his strength and sought to demystify her. The author is in no way conveying that this is okay, hence the reason why Four beats the crap out of him.

Another awesome thing is the recurrence of Tris basically saying, “We’re all complex people!” No one truly fits in one faction, as no one truly fits into one stereotype, norm, etc.

Hey, I’ve gone this far in the review without talking about the people who are labeled as Divergents?! GASP. They’re the counter-culture. They have power, and because they’re seen as a threat to the way things have been running, they get killed.

I kind of wish we knew more about the world outside of the walls of Chicago, kind of like how we know about the different sections of the world in Legend, but it makes sense that the citizens only know this part of the world.

TL;DR – Divergent is hella feminist and super good. And hype doesn’t always mean a fluffy book. Also, I highlighted a BUNCH of passages from this book (on my ereader!), which definitely signifies how much I loved this book.

five stars CriticallYA Reading: Divergent by Veronica Roth

BookTube-a-Thon 2014 TBR!

It’s time for the BookTube-a-Thon and as tradition says, I have to tell you what I’m reading!


Book with Pictures
The Adventures of Superhero Girl by Faith Erin Hicks

Start and finish a series:
*William Shakespeare’s Star Wars by Ian Doescher
*William Shakespeare’s the Empire Striketh Back by Ian Doescher
*William Shakespeare’s the Jedi Doth Return by Ian Doescher

Genre you’ve read the least this year:
Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride by Ian Doescher

Book with Red and Book-to-movie:
Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers

Friend’s choice:
*Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins


* = books that were given to me by publisher in exchange for honest review.

I’m so excited to be participating for the 2nd annual BookTube-a-Thon! What will you be reading this week?

Science Fiction Double Feature: Earthbound and Earthquake by Aprilynne Pike

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

by Aprilynne Pike
Published by Penguin, Razorbill Genres: Science Fiction
Source: the publisher
four stars Science Fiction Double Feature: Earthbound and Earthquake by Aprilynne Pike

Earthbound lays the groundwork for the series and we get, bit by bit, Tavia’s story and how she’s connected to the glowing triangles and the mysterious Quinn.

OMG BENSON I have no idea what to call Tavia’s aunt and uncle since their names change halfway through the book for reasons, but I wish… THINGS. AGH. It’s so hard to talk about this book because it’s so action-packed in a way that would mean spoiling if I said too much about certain characters.

Loved the running, the cute (tiny bit of romance… don’t believe the front cover), and the Sci Fi and mythology. The Earthbounds are so neat because instead of just plain ol’ living forever at the age of 17 or some other excuse, they are reborn, but have similar faces. I thought that was pretty genius especially for the diligo idea. That’s the couples that are meant to be together forever. Which is a big part of the series story arc thing. Or at least one of Tavia’s big dilemmas.

I didn’t know how to feel about this one because so much stuff is going on and Tavia is getting kind of overloaded with all of the information. It’s a BIG story though with lots of things involved. It’s in a way that keeps the plot moving as we learn ALL THE THINGS!

Earthquake gets really science-y with Tavia helping find the vaccine for the virus that has been spreading throughout the Earthbounds.

I felt like we were never really given any reason to like Logan. There’s this undying admiration for Tavia, but other than that, he’s just a loyal lap dog. I felt like in Earthbound we really got to know Benson. I did LOVE Thomas and Alanna. Give ‘em a minute. I mean, really. GIVE THEM A FREAKING MINUTE. *closes the door*

Daniel was a mix of President Snow and Caesar Flickerman. I really don’t know how else to explain him other than… You know that uncle you have that can be kind of mean but sometimes he says nice things? That’s Daniel. But you always feel like he’s gonna kill you. Hopefully your uncle doesn’t think that about you. Also, his plans with the virus don’t really make sense until near the end of the book. So, there’s that.

Just as good as the first book. It’s edge-of-your-seat but in a slightly different way than the first because instead of running away from the scary people, Tavia and her friends have to work with people who are slightly scary.

This book definitely leaves you wanting more of this story and wanting to know how Tavia will save the world.

four stars Science Fiction Double Feature: Earthbound and Earthquake by Aprilynne Pike

Unboxing Books July 2014

You know those videos in which people unbox their monthly subscriptions (Nature Box, Julep, etc.)? Well, I knew I wanted to do something similar when I saw two packages on my front porch this afternoon. I knew I needed to capture my reaction when opening the second package, as you’ll see in my video. Necessary, I tell you!

FTC Disclaimer: I received both of these books for review in exchange for my honest review.

The Books:
Homeroom Diaries by James Patterson and Lisa Papademetriou, Illustrated by Keino [Goodreads | Pre-Order | Preview]
Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins [Goodreads | Pre-Order | Preview]