Giveaway: War for the Oaks by Emma Bull

Shelf space is getting low in the Alyssa & Andrew household. After all of the ARCs we picked up at BEA, plus all of the wedding gifts, we’re really not sure what to do with our space anymore. So, throughout the course of a month or two, we’ll be hosting giveaways for some of our used books that we just can’t fit on our shelves anymore.

These giveaways are open to US only.

This one is called War for the Oaks by Emma Bull. It’s a former library book in decent shape. It’s not the prettiest looking, but it’s readable and its an a fantasy book written in the 80’s about faeries.

Summary from Goodreads:

 Eddi McCandry has just left her boyfriend and their band when she finds herself running through the Minneapolis night, pursued by a sinister man and a huge, terrifying dog. The two creatures are one and the same: a phouka, a faerie being who has chosen Eddi to be a mortal pawn in the age-old war between the Seelie and Unseelie Courts. Eddi isn’t interested–but she doesn’t have a choice. Now she struggles to build a new life and new band when she might not even survive till the first rehearsal.

Here’s what you’d be getting:




Interested? Help us out with clearing some space by entering to win below. Since WordPress does not let blog users embed the Rafflecopter Widget within their posts, simply click on the link, and it will bring you to the giveaway page. Thanks!

CLICK THIS LINK:  a Rafflecopter giveaway

#WeAreHuman Riveted Readathon

After the Pokemon Go Readathon, Andrew and I have discovered that we LOVE readathons. An excuse to sit around all day, curled up with book after book? Yes, please! Add in the social element that readathons give us, and we are so in.


Right now, Riveted is hosting a Readathon that:

  1. Is focused on giving money to the It Gets Better Project
  2. Gives you access to FREE FULL-LENGTH books that you can read during the readathon, given you have a Riveted account (which is also free).
  3. Rewards the charity for more people reading. If they hit 5,000 reads by 11/11, they’ll donate more money to It Gets Better

Readers, what more can you ask for? Let’s take advantage of this!

Right now, I’m burning through Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld, and am enjoying every minute of it. I’d love to hear how everyone else is doing with their books.

Join the Readathon!

Pokemon Indigo League Read-a-thon Progress Page

To participate and sign up for this read-a-thon, visit Read At Midnight to see the rules and sign up!

Pewter Gym – BOULDER BADGE EARNED for Andrew & Alyssa
Alyssa: Freedom’s Landing by Anne McCaffrey — COMPLETED — 342/342
Andrew: Hunter by Mercedes Lackey — COMPLETED — 394/394

Cerulean Gym
Alyssa: The Summer of Riley by Eve Bunting
Andrew: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Vermillion Gym
Alyssa: The Maze Runner by James Dashner — in progress — 66/373
Andrew: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Celadon Gym
Alyssa: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Andrew: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Fuschia Gym
Alyssa: Naamah’s Blessing by Jacqueline Carey – in progress — 26/610
Andrew: Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby – COMPLETED – 239/239

Saffron Gym
Alyssa: Naruto Vol 7: Orochimaru’s Curse by Kishimoto Masashi – COMPLETED – 192/192 pages
Andrew: Elite by Mercedes Lackey

Cinnabar Gym
Alyssa: White Teeth by Zadie Smith — in progress — 45/542
Andrew:  Shrill by Lindy West

Viridian Gym
Alyssa: Legend by Marie Lu
Andrew: World War Z by Max Brooks



Starting CP: 10

Total Pages Read: 633 (+63 CP)

Gym Badges Earned: 2 (+40 CP)

Reviews Posted: 2 (+40 CP)

Tweets: 5 (+10 CP)

Pokemon Photo w/ Book Posted: 1 (+5 CP)

Evolution Bonus: 50 CP

Current CP: 218



Starting CP: 10

Total Pages Read: 671 (+67 CP)

Gym Badges Earned: 2 (+40 CP)

Reviews Posted: 1 (+20 CP)

Tweets: 7 (+14 CP)

Pokemon Photo w/ Book Posted: 2 (+10 CP)

Evolution Bonus: 50 CP

Current CP: 211

Pokemon Indigo League Read-a-thon Sign Up

If you follow my Twitter, you might know that my husband and I are slowly becoming ever more obsessed with Pokemon Go, and Pokemon, so now that we’ve been setting aside more time for reading recently, we thought it’d be appropriate to join a Pokemon-inspired read-a-thon hosted by Read At Midnight. To sign up yourself, or see a more detailed list of the rules, please visit the main sign up page at Read At Midnight.

Here we go! To follow our progress, you can view our progress post by clicking here.

The Challenge/Gyms

There are 8 reading challenges within this read-a-thon, based on the 8 gyms that are in the Indigo League. Earn a badge every time you complete a book!


  1. Pewter Gym:
    Alyssa’s Choice:
    Freedom’s Landing by Anne McCaffrey
    Andrew’s Choice:
    Hunter by Mercedes Lackey
  2. Cerulean Gym:
    Alyssa’s Choice:
    The Summer of Riley by Eve Bunting
    Andrew’s Choice:
    Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
  3. Vermillion Gym:
    Alyssa’s Choice:
    The Maze Runner by James Dashner
    Andrew’s Choice:
    Divergent by Veronica Roth
  4. Celadon Gym:
    Alyssa’s Choice:
    The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
    Andrew’s Choice:
    I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  5. Fuschia Gym:
    Alyssa’s Choice:
    Naamah’s Blessing by Jacqueline Carey
    Andrew’s Choice:
    Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby
  6. Saffron Gym:
    Alyssa’s Choice:
    Naruto, Vol 7: Orochimaru’s Curse by Kishimoto Masashi
    Andrew’s Choice:
    Elite by Mercedes Lackey
  7. Cinnabar Gym:
    Alyssa’s Choice:
    White Teeth by Zadie Smith
    Andrew’s Choice:
    Shrill by Lindy West
  8. Viridian Gym:
    Alyssa’s Choice:
    Legend by Marie Lu
    Andrew’s Choice:
    World War Z by Max Brooks


Andrew chooses…Gastly! gastly

Alyssa chooses…Poliwag! poliwag



Let me know if you’re joining, and if you’re interested in following our progress, you can do so here!

I Don’t Read New Releases

With the recent release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, I realized it was the first time in a while that I’ve actually been intrigued by a new release. “Maybe I should get it now,” I thought. That was, of course, before I looked at the price and decided against it. New releases really aren’t for people who’ve just been married and gone on a honeymoon trip to Europe.

But that made me realize that I haven’t actually read a new release probably since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out. I haven’t actually bought a book on the release day to read in about nine years, and I wondered why. It’s not because I don’t care enough about books or a certain series or author– I live and breathe books. It’s certainly not because I don’t have discretionary money, though I do have a habit of saving rather than spending. So, why? Why don’t I do that?

It’s also a trend in other entertainment areas — I don’t watch movies the first day they came out anymore (I used to love midnight showings), and I very rarely pick up a video game on its release day. And I think, really, it’s because of hype.

I am so over buying into the hype about something.

Being excited is one thing, and sometimes the first day excitement really is just that. But I’ve seen way too many mediocre things lauded as “amazing” because of the mob mentality hype that often comes along with midnight showings and release days. Recently, I’ve been waiting at least a few months, sometimes even a year before something comes out to see how it is. For video games, it’s purely a cost issue once reviews come out saying it’s good. But for books and movies, I just want to make sure that my opinions are my own and that I’m not raving about a book I would actually think is only okay if I weren’t immersed in a culture that was talking about how great it is.

I’m not trying to make a point or anything, this is just something that I’ve been thinking about now that The Cursed Child has come out. I’m so glad people get excited about books and I can’t wait to read the new Harry Potter book — in a few months or so.


Audiobook Sync is LIVE!

This is kind of a late announcement, and I’m so sorry for that. I’m usually all over the Audiobook Sync event.

For those of you who don’t know what Audiobook Sync is, every summer this program teams up with publishing partners and offers TWO free audiobook downloads every week for about a month or two. It’s one of my favorite parts of summer, and I have become the owner of a lot of great audiobooks from this program over the past years — titles like Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor and The Reluctant Assassin by Eoin Colfer have all been offered in past years. Here’s a look at what they’re offering this year:



If any of these look interesting to you, or if you just want to get your hands on some free audiobooks, check out Audiobook Sync and get downloading!

We Also Went to BookCon!

BEA being in Chicago was the best thing that’s happened in a long time book-wise, and I wanted to take advantage as much as possible. Unfortunately, with the wedding and honeymoon coming up this summer, Andrew and I didn’t really have the available time off that we would have liked to fully enjoy BEA, but we do work Mon-Fri jobs, so BookCon was the first thing we registered for.

Obviously, it’s not really like BEA. The lines are longer, the people are bit crazier, and there isn’t as much time to really connect with the authors, publishers, and other attendees. But, it’s about books, so we were in — especially once we found out that Hannah Hart would be making an appearance.

I went through a lot of emotional phases with BookCon. First, I was super excited, and then I read about people lining up at 3:30 AM just to get author wristbands at 8 AM or to get onto the floor at 10 AM, and I almost didn’t want to bother — seriously, guys? I already told Andrew that since we had such a good time at BEA Thursday, I just wanted to take it easy and not go too crazy, so we were already planning to go there a little bit later, but I was already psyching myself up for disappointment if it was too crazy busy. Luckily, I was happily surprised to find that it really wasn’t that bad, and we were still able to get free books! Andrew was a hero and mentioned that he wanted to stop by Hachette before we headed to our first panel, and the man was absolutely spot on. We both really liked Hachette’s way of dealing with galley drops and stopped by there often — like I said, we don’t like lines, and there wasn’t that much of a problem with lines at Hachette. Total win.

What we really wanted to do was see the Diverse Books panel about Love and Loss with Sherman Alexie, Jenny Han, Gene Luen Yang, Francisco X Stork, Anna-Marie McLemore, and Leigh Bardugo. We got a pretty good seat and really enjoyed hearing these authors’ experiences with love and loss, how that relates to their culture, and how it’s reflected in their writing. So lovely.

So many cool authors!

We got all the books we could carry surprisingly quickly, and so spent the next couple of hours eating lunch and reading, which was wonderful. Then, it was off to the Hannah Hart panel.

Our happy faces! Waiting for Hannah Hart!

This was so exciting for us. Hannah Hart’s channel was a staple of mine when I was going through grad school and Andrew and I like to go through past My Drunk Kitchen episodes when we feel like watching something fun and silly. We really enjoy her and so much appreciated being able to hear her speak about her new book, Buffering, and her experiences with writing it.

Second row — there’s Hannah!

We were also lucky enough to go to a Meet and Greet with her and were actually able to hug her and take a picture with her! SO COOL! It really just made our week being able to see her in person, and it was the perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon.


We Went to BEA!

When I first started book blogging, I salivated over people’s stories of BEA — how cool it was to meet all the authors, talk to the publishers, and, of course, get books. In 2013, I was lucky enough to be a grad student and was able to take some time off studying to visit New York for a few days, and I went with my mom and godmother, who also blogged with me. It was exhausting, but everything I ever wanted it to be.

I know some people were upset at BEA being in Chicago this year, but it was a dream come true for me, because my fiancé is a high school English teacher, and I’ve told him of the wonders of BEA, and I just knew that he’d love it. To have it take place just a 10-minute drive away was too good to pass up, so we both took Thursday off (just Thursday, unfortunately) to talk to people and grab some books.

Our plan was basically for me to use the copies I got for us to read and review on the blog, and for the copies he got (of appropriate books) to be donated to his classroom library for students to read. We didn’t bring a rolling suitcase and we both got way more books than we expected (is it just me, or is it a really solid upcoming year for YA?!), so we were pretty tired by 2:30, what with walking around and carrying dozens of pounds of books along with us. Once we did our “musts” we headed out, happy with the day.

Andrew: My students aren’t at all interested in reading, but I brought back all of what I got for my classroom and I loaned at 13 books on Friday, because they’re so excited to read these brand new books that not everyone has access to. I told them they had to, at the very least, tell me what they think of them after finishing, and also am giving them extra credit for posting book reviews. They were just excited to read books and be able to give their opinions on these stories, which made taking the day off actually worthwhile and productive.

Waiting in line to enter the show floor — early morning, but not as early as work!
The first thing we did was get in line for Laurie Halse Anderson — signing Ashes
Andrew trying out a virtual reality game created  for Sunborn Rising — really cool stuff!

These guys were really awesome, so I want to give a shout out to Neoglyphic, who’s creating this multimedia story — Sunborn Rising by Aaron Safronoff. Along with a novel, they’re also creating a gaming app and virtual reality game to help students find a way in to the story, which is just the best.Check out their website and what they’re doing all right here.

Books! Can’t wait to review these and share them with you all!

We’re hoping that maybe we’ll be able to take the whole time off (or Thursday and Friday, at least) for next year and make the trip to New York to experience it again. We had so much fun and really enjoyed being able to connect to people over what we love. Next time, we’ll make sure to bring a rolling suitcase, though!

“Waiting on Wednesday: Quiet Power – The Secret Strengths of Introverts by Susain Cain “

New WoW

“Waiting on Wednesday” is an event that spotlights unpublished books we’re waiting for. It’s hosted by Breaking the Spine

Quiet PowerTitle: Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts
Authors: Susan Cain, Gregory Mone, Erica Moroz
Illustrator: Grant Snider
Publisher: Dial Books
Hardcover: 288 pages
Expected Publication Date: 3 May 2016
Summary: (taken from Goodreads)

Susan Cain sparked a worldwide conversation when she published Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. With her inspiring book, she permanently changed the way we see introverts and the way introverts see themselves.

The original book focused on the workplace, and Susan realized that a version for and about kids was also badly needed. This book is all about kids’ world—school, extracurriculars, family life, and friendship. You’ll read about actual kids who have tackled the challenges of not being extroverted and who have made a mark in their own quiet way. You’ll hear Susan Cain’s own story, and you’ll be able to make use of the tips at the end of each chapter. There’s even a guide at the end of the book for parents and teachers.

This insightful, accessible, and empowering book, illustrated with amusing comic-style art, will be eye-opening to extroverts and introverts alike.

I have yet to read Susan Cain’s original book, but I love the idea of making this information and insight available at a more readable level for young people. I think that a lot of kids and teens can benefit from learning about the difference between being an introvert and extrovert and the strengths that each personality trait can give you. I’m excited to see how this book can be worked into a classroom or lesson, with Andrew’s classroom or with others. I think just having it available to students in general is a good idea.