Why read? Why listen? Why learn?

Seventh-grade Noelle, binge-watching “Crash Course: Psychology” videos on Youtube as she procrastinated her Macbeth paper, was very aware she was not being the most time-responsible student, but did not see how she was shaping a path that would become much more significant for her life than an English assignment.

Human behavior had always seemed inexplicable and unscientific; after all, my fundamentalist Christian education had taught me that science was a tool for understanding the world humans ruled, that humans were separate, unconstrained by the same laws that governed beasts. I craved even the most basic explanations for human self-concept, motivations, patterns, and dysfunctions.

But that couldn’t quite satiate my hunger for the knowledge I felt robbed of. The results of the brain’s functions were fascinating, but I around tenth grade I wondered more how an organ, just a bundle of cells, could create thoughts, solve problems, and grasp abstract concepts. Swayed by my friend’s year-long rave over Duke TIP’s Summer Studies program, I signed away three weeks of my summer to informally study neuroscience. I fell in love with my new friends, the subject, and even the rat whose brain we dissected.

Duke TIP had such a profound affect on my life that all I wanted was more of it. I signed up for AP Biology to hold me over as I searched for its replacement for the next summer, and I found NC Governor’s School, a five-week program that offered a natural science track featuring neuroscience.

I got in, and to my surprise, neuroscience was my least favorite of the four science mini courses. NCGS piqued my interest in many diverse areas of science I had never truly considered, especially biology, as it was the most emergent and the most plainly applicable to humanity’s well being.

Neuroscience was my first love, but it is one part of a network of complex, beautiful biological systems that make up the human experience. I’ve only just scratched the surface; I cannot wait to dig deeper, have my passions lead me places I don’t expect, and to contribute to this important and evolving field.

This pursuit of knowledge has easily characterized my education and my life for the past five years. It has grounded me in the midst of changing circumstances, guided my choices as different paths have become available, and substantiated my goals as I pursue my future. In a broader sense, a love of knowledge has deepened my relationships with my friends; asking questions and seeking answers has led me to more nuanced and trusting friendships, rooted in something deeper than shallow shared experiences. Learning has given me something to occupy my mind during classes that teach me nothing. When teachers insist I memorize and repeat, I teach myself how to poetically articulate my frustration with the education system in my notebook as I tune them out. Learning draws me to the things I ought to pay attention to and gives me an escape from the things I oughtn’t.

Learning is, I’ve decided, the one thing I’m sure I want to continue until I die, for what is life without growth, without evolution?

This post was inspired by the Activia Scholarship (https://www.activia.co.uk/scholarship-us), which provides financial aid to passionate college students.


Review: Paper Towns by John Green

I’m back to posting… check out this review, friends! 🙂

~ Alice

We're All Mad Here

PaperTowns2009_6APaper Towns by John Green

Pages: 305

Format: Book

Source: Barnes and Nobles

Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis: Who is the real Margo?

Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs into his life—dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows. After their all-nighter ends, and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew…

Review: Hello! So this will probably take awhile to write. After my absence, I decided to review a book that is quickly rising on my list of favorites. I spent a few minutes scrolling…

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Blog Tour Stop: The Polaris Uprising by Jennifer Ibarra

We are thrilled to be a part of The Polaris Uprising blog tour. This is an excerpt post and there is a rafflecopter link below.

The Polaris Uprising

About The Polaris Uprising:

In less than seven years, eighteen-year-old Ryla Jensen will succeed her father as the president of Neress, a nation where all citizens are cared for from the moment they’re born. Fed, sheltered, even educated—every need of theirs is met.

The only price they pay is their free will.

Groomed since childhood to take on a role she’s not even sure she wants, Ryla’s only escape from the pressures of duty is her sister, Alanna. But when her eyes are opened to the oppressive regime her father built, she begins to question everything she’s set to inherit—and finds herself at odds with her sister’s blind allegiance to their father.

Torn between loyalty to her family and the fight for freedom, Ryla must decide just how far she’s willing to go to make a stand and risk losing the person she loves most in the world: Alanna



“So what happens now?”

“I can’t let him take the fall for this,” Ryla said, looking up at her. “I have to get him out, and I need your help.”

Gates’s eyes widened, blinked back at her.

“That detention center has the highest level of security—even under ordinary circumstances. And now it’s guarding the country’s most notorious prisoner… Ryla, what you’re planning is sheer insanity.”

“So you won’t help me?”

Gates was quiet for a long time. She issued no denial but offered no confirmation, either. Finally, she turned back to Ryla.

“You want my help? Here’s how I’ll help: I’m going to give you some advice, and if I were you, I’d listen very carefully. Go back. Go back to your comfortable life, where you’re safe and you’re oblivious and you can pretend you never got involved with us. Too many things have already been set into motion, and this is bigger than any rescue mission you could possibly stage.”

“You mean there’s a war coming. A genuine uprising.”

Gates didn’t look at her this time. But Ryla knew the answer was yes. It had all led to this moment, even if no one had said it out loud until now.

“You’re asking me to sacrifice him, then. He’ll be a casualty while Polaris gears up for the real battle—is that it?”

“There will always be casualties, Ryla. Remember that.”

“Maybe so. But if I have it in my power to save someone from becoming collateral damage, I’m not going to pass up the chance.”

“So you’re going through with this? Whether I help you or not?”

Up ahead, the camera ticked by.



Author Info:

The Polaris Uprising authorJennifer Ibarra grew up on a steady diet of books, Star Wars, and other fantastic feats of the imagination. Her debut novel, The Polaris Uprising, is the first book in a trilogy and mixes dystopia with family drama, romance, and political intrigue.She lives in Silicon Valley, where she does marketing for a tech company and spends her time running, cooking, baking, and keeping up with celebrity gossip.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Polaris Uprising Banner

Cover Release: Anomaly by Tonya Kuper

Hi again everyone! We are extremely excited to be part of the cover release for Tonya Kuper’s ANOMALY. Check out the cover and make sure to enter the giveaway (link is at the bottom).

Release Date: November 4, 2014

Publisher: Entangled Teen


What if the world isn’t what we think? What if reality is really only an illusion? What if you were one of the few who could control it?

Yeah, Josie Harper didn’t believe it, either, until strange things started happening. When this hot guy tried to kidnap her, shouting about ultimate observers and pushing and consortiums hell-bent on controlling the world… Well, that’s when things got real. Now Josie’s got it bad for a boy who weakens her every time he’s near and a world of enemies on her tail who want to control her gift, so yeah, she’s going to need more than just her wits if she hopes to survive much longer.

Einstein never saw this coming…

Tonya KuperAbout the Author:

YA scifi author of ANOMALY, out 11/14, Entangled Teen. Represented by Nicole Resciniti. Contributor at yastands.blogspot.com & allthewritenotes.com. Music freak. Chocolate addict.

Website   Twitter   Facebook   Goodreads

Giveaway Details:

1 eARC of ANOMALY International

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Lost Hero!

ImageJust thought I’d let you guys know, The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan is on sale on the Barnes and Nobles website for two dollars today. It’s the first book in the second Percy Jackson series, easily-read fantasy books about modern day children of Greek and Roman gods. All three of us strongly reccomend them for leisure reading.

~Cheshire Cat 

Book Blitz: Fallen by Laury Falter

FallenBlitzBanner1 copy

FallenFallen by Laury Falter

Publication date: April 1st 2009

Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult


Fallen – the first book in the bestselling Guardian Trilogy…

Maggie is unaware of the terrifying fate that awaits her. It isn’t until she lands in New Orleans for a full year at a private high school and her unknown enemies find her does she realize that her life is in danger.
As a mystifying stranger repeatedly intervenes and blocks the attempts on her life, she begins to learn that there is more to him than his need to protect her and that he may be the key to understanding why her enemies have just now arrived.

“You appear and then vanish like a ghost. You aren’t injured from venomous snake bites. You aren’t killed by wayward, incredibly sharp arrows.” Then, I reiterated, “I am the only one who can see you…how is any of this possible?”

“You do pay attention,” he said, sounding almost regretful, though I didn’t understand why.

“Yes, now will you tell me how you are capable of all that?”

He paused, still looking at me, as he collected his thoughts. The muscles throughout his body visibly flexed, tensing as he prepared his answer. “I have certain…gifts…that not many others can claim…gifts of speed, healing, and regeneration, to name a few.”

He paused, waiting for my reaction.

“Don’t worry so much,” I said, teasingly. “I’m not going to run screaming for the door.”

We quietly laughed together for a brief moment.  When I felt like he was comfortable again, I asked my next question.

“So, where did you get these gifts? Did your parents take some sort of special drug?”

“Not exactly. I can’t answer that, as much as I know you’d like me to. Just suffice, Magdalene, to know that without these gifts, you wouldn’t be here right now.”

Laury faulterAuthor Bio:
Laury Falter is a bestselling author of young adult romantic suspense and urban fantasy. She has three series out: the Guardian Trilogy, the Residue Series, and the Apocalypse Chronicles.
To learn more about Laury and her novels, visit her at:
Website: lauryfalter.com
Twitter page: twitter.com/LauryFalter
Facebook page: facebook.com/pages/Laury-Falter/196033543803745
Goodreads page: goodreads.com/author/show/4061922.Laury_Falter

Thursday Quotables #1

Thursday Quotables EditWhile browsing around the internet looking for interesting things to post that will keep you fantastic followers occupied while I am attempting to write a review, I came across this lovely meme hosted by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies.

Thursday Quotables is where you post a quote that you found this week from the book that you’re reading, so that the rest of the world can observe it’s AMAZINGNESS.

So, this week I was reading The Almost Girl by Amalie Howard (I’m trying to write a review right now and will most likely post it tomorrow if I can)

The Almost Girl

Here’s a quote that pretty much sums up both of the main characters.

“Just Riven.” He draws my name out slowly like he’s trying to taste it or something. “That’s a weird name. I mean, unique,” he says hastily. “Does it mean anything?”

“It means ripped apart.”


Yep, that’s Cade and Riven.

So, what quotes did you find this week? ~TRQ