Real-Life Brand Names in Books

Hello dear readers, I hope this post finds you well.

I came across the idea for this week’s post a few months ago when I was listening to/reading a book for a book tour I was participating in.

If you’re interested in the review for it, you can read it here: Crossing in Time by D.L Orton

If you like this discussion type post, make sure to follow me on social media for more!

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This post is nothing against the author or the book Crossing in Time. I thought it was decently written, but it just happened to be the first time I heard real-world brand names used in a book before.

Often mentioning brand names is much more subtle. In movies we rarely get any mention of them, but we see them subtly as part of the story. In books, at least in my experience, we almost never get them.

I don’t often read books set in our world. Many of the books I read are fantasy, so they are set in made up worlds.

When I was reading crossing in time, Walmart was brought up and I actually stopped for a second. On one hand I thought it was brilliant because you did a page’s worth of explanation just by using the word Walmart because everyone can imagine what a Walmart looks like.

You could debate whether or not it is a lazy storytelling device, but that is an argument for another day. Personally I think it’s a touch of brilliance if it is used in the proper type of story.

On the other hand though, I actually had to stop reading for a minute because I did not like my reality being used in this story.

It felt weird and made my skin crawl.

I had never experienced it before, but I knew right away that I wouldn’t like it.


What is your opinion on real-world brand names being used in books. Is it a lazy storytelling device? Does it make your skin crawl? Let’s talk about it in the comments, and make sure to follow me on social media!
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My Predictions for the Book World in the 2020s

Hello dear readers, I have a post that I’ve been wanting to write for a while for you today.

I was looking back at my childhood and remembering books and publishing from when I was a kid and how it has changed since then.

That got me thinking about what I think will happen in the next ~10 years in the publishing world.

These are just things that I think will happen. If I happen to be correct, then good for me, if I am not, then oh well.

What are your predictions for the book world? Do you agree or disagree with any of my predictions? Let’s talk about it in the comments, and make sure to follow me on social media!
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Physical Books

I don’t foresee any major change in this department. I think the printing of physical books has found a happy medium in terms of sales. There might be some spikes and some lows of people buying physical books, but it will more or less stay the same with maybe a small growth.

I find a lot of less serious readers prefer to have a physical book in their hands because they don’t see the need for an e-reader. A lot of book bloggers/tubers also seem to like getting their hands on physical books, though plenty like e-books too.


e-Books

I think the demand for e-books will continue to grow at a steady pace. It is becoming a much more affordable and portable way to read. If authors and publishers want to keep e-readers happy though, I think they will need to find ways to ensure more accessible files for their e-books, which brings me to my second point.

I think we will see more variety in types of e-readers. I think a few companies will develop their own version of a Kindle, with unique features specific to their brand, which will give readers cheaper options that might fit their needs/wants better. Two companies that I believe could pursue this path are Google and Microsoft, but also possibly an out of the blue small company that focuses solely on e-readers.


Audiobooks

Audiobooks will continue to grow and become more mainstream. Audiobook services will be easier to obtain for smaller authors, and audiobook narrators will be more sought after.

I think there will be more of a division between narrators though, with a small group of narrators being regularly sought after, and listeners will look for books by those specific narrators.

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Publishing

With the Black Lives Matter movement across the world, I expect to see better diversity in publishing. It’s not something that happens overnight, but I expect by 2025-7 we will see more equality between what peoples are being published. I expect there to be ups and downs, some being lower and higher based off of social upbringings, but for the most part we will see more equality.


Writing

I actually predict that writing will become less of a career path for many people. With the rise of technology and video games I think that young people won’t pursue writing as often since they won’t be reading as much.

What we will see a rise in is the number of non-white authors. I think as publishing better represents minorities, those minorities will see writing as a tangible career choice.


Adaptations

Already there are a lot of TV shows and movies that are based off of books and I think this will only continue to rise. The o only issue is that these companies too often re-make old content because they know it will make them money.

With more ideas coming from authors with a large variety of backgrounds, the entertainment industry will be forced to turn them into movies and TV shows.

I also think that books will start getting video game adaptations. I don’t see this becoming a regular habit until the late 2020s, but I think there is a lot of potential for really fun video-games that could become best-sellers if they are dated from books. Look at the Witcher Series for example.


Marketing

It’s tough to market books, there isn’t much you can do that would be new in my opinion. I think marketers will embrace certain styles of books, or books with certain voices and characters in them.


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Overall

I don’t see much of a change for the book world overall in the next 10 years except becoming more inclusive. We will see a change in stories and trends, but for the most part I don’t see things changing.

If I had to make one big guess, I would assume that the desire for YA content will be greater than ever. YA content is almost universally read so publishers will pursue it as a safe bet.


What are your predictions for the book world? Do you agree or disagree with any of my predictions? Let’s talk about it in the comments, and make sure to follow me on social media!
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Real Neat Blog Award

Hello dear readers, welcome to my take on the Real Neat Blog Award. I was tagged by the wonderful Lauren over at Lala’s Book Reviews. If you don’t follow her already please do. She is a terrific YA Blogger and reads some amazing books you’re going to want to add to your TBR.

  • Display the Award Logo.
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and post a link to their blog.
  • Answer the questions of the one who nominated you.
  • Nominate some bloggers.
  • Ask them seven questions.

Lauren’s Questions:

What was the thing that made you feel like an actual blogger?

Honestly, I am not sure if I have had this feeling yet. I always feel a little bit out of the blogging world because I don’t read 10+ books a month. I’m lucky if I have time to finish one or two, while others read these amazing series I know I never will. Plus, I don’t like Booktube at all and I feel like that leaves me out of a lot of conversations.

Do you have any particular reading habits?

I really like reading on the elevator. It’s a bit odd, but I take an elevator 6-12 times a day. If you account for stopping on one or two extra floors, plus the fact that I live on the 23rd floor of my building, you can imagine how much reading I get done on the elevator each day.


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Do you write about anything other than books on your blog? If so, what?

I review manga almost every month, but that’s pretty much a book. Other than that I review some anime, movies, and TV shows.

What is the sweetest book you’ve read this year?

I don’t really have an answer to this other than maybe Priory of the Orange tree. It had some nice romantic moments if that’s what “sweet” means.


Which author would you love to hang out with for a day?

Dr Seuss. I know nothing about him, but I think he would be a lot of fun to spend a day with. See how he reacts to the world and how he sees it.

What fictional world would you love to visit but not live in?

The world of Fullmetal Alchemist. I think it would be amazing to see alchemy happen around around me, and maybe even do a bit of it myself.

Who are some of your favorite blogger/booktubers?

Like I mentioned before, I don’t like booktube too much. I don’t know why, but I have a big thing about voices, and if someones voice annoys me I can’t watch their videos, plus I don’t care too much about what they read because I know I’ll never read them.

I do enjoy a lot of book bloggers though, which you can find a list of here: 5 Bloggers You’ll Want to Follow

My Questions:

  1. If you could only read one colored book for the rest of time what would it be?
  2. What is one book you wish you had never read?
  3. Dogs or cats?
  4. Which celebrity would you want to narrate your future (or make believe) book?
  5. What country’s authors do you want to read/read more of?
  6. What Shadowhunter family do you think you’d belong to?
  7. What is your favourite recipe that you use?

Tagging:

I’ve Almost Reached My 2020 Goals…and it’s only May. Also…a future giveaway!

ALLLL the way back in January, I set some goals for myself on what I wanted to achieve for my blog in 2020. Some were social media based, some were more content based.

I’ll sum them up quick below, but if you want a refresher, read my 2020 Goals here.

If you want to chat about all things book related, make sure to follow me on social media!
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Goals – SOcial Media/Reading

I keep track every Sunday of the progress of my social media channels, so here are the goals and the current standings of each of them.

12 Books Read6 Finished (though I have two more that are halfway done and don’t expect this to be too difficult.)
325 Twitter Followers304 Followers (I expect I’ll hit 325 by the end of the month)
150 Instagram Followers131 Followers (This might take longer, but I should have it met soon!)
25 Facebook Followers16 Followers (I’m not totally sold on Facebook yet, but its slowly growing)
300 Blog Followers232 Followers (The furthest of my social media goals, but I am growing at a steady pace and don’t expect too much issue with this one.


I’m not trying to brag or anything, but I have been increasing my social media presence in different ways, and I have been seeing results.

I don’t imagine I will meet all the goals by the end of May, but I expect to have most of them reached by the end of June or July for sure.

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GOALS – Content

I wanted to explore more content for my blog, so I came up with some goals for myself for that as well. Again, here are the goals and their current status.

Host 2 giveaways (one for Christmas and one for hitting 300 followers)
Haven’t started, but I have plans for a Christmas one floating in the back of my head. Might hold off on the 300 follower one until I reach all social goals.
Host 1 contest for writers
Rough planning has commenced but nothing concrete.
Have 5 collaborations with authors or other bloggers this year
Already at 3 and have a few in mind to get started on soon.
Create a blogging award (not specifically for book bloggers)
Not done, but in the early stages.
Create new look for this blog
Done and I like the new look!
Create a blog mascot
Has changed slightly, but it is “done.”
Make significant progress on my bookHave done significant planning and writing has commenced.

Not as far along on the content goals, but I am making good progress seeing as its only the fifth month of the year.

Once I hit all of the social media goals, and one or two more of the content goals, that’s when I’ll host a giveaway. I have a few ideas in mind but nothing set in stone yet.

The Battle of the Wizards: Dumbledore vs. Gandalf

Hello dear readers, I have come back with another literary showdown between two old-ass characters. These two gentlemen are some of the best known characters in all of literature in my opinion.

They’re very similar in terms of appearance: wear grayish robes, long beards and long hair. Both of them are also much older than a normal human should be.

Obviously they are both strong in their own worlds, and it is probably impossible to determine just how strong they are, so their “power levels” against each other won’t be considered.

What I will consider are 5 different things:

  • Their importance to their respective stories
  • Their role as a teacher/guide
  • Their legacy after the story
  • Their power within their own stories
  • Their “badassery”

If you have any other ideas for a VS. battle between two authors, two books, two series, two characters, or two anything, let me know!

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Round 1: How important are they to the story?

It’s obvious that both Dumbledore and Gandalf are important to their respective stories. They both serve as a mentor to the main characters, and really help drive the story along. The question is, who is the more important character? Whose story would be so vastly different without them?

Dumbledore is the headmaster of Hogwarts, and arch enemy to Voldemort. He is believed to be the most powerful wizard when he was alive, and was the oldest character we knew of. BUT, if you strip away the layers, Dumbledore isn’t the only one driving the story forward. Sure, he is the main reason Harry is able to defeat Voldemort, but without the rest of the Order of the Phoenix, a lot of the story wouldn’t be possible. The events of the books could have gone on if Dumbledore wasn’t in the picture.

Gandalf is basically a god in Middle Earth. He is of some level of power where he is more powerful than pretty much anything we see in the Lord of the Rings world. He sets Bilbo off on his quest, and then guides Frodo and the rest of the fellowship on their journey to destroy the ring. Though there are plenty of events outside of his control, Gandalf is a key factor in the ring being destroyed.

The winner of this round: Gandalf

Though Dumbledore is crucial to defeating Voldemort, the rest of the Order of the Phoenix could have done some significant damage on their own. Even if they were unable to “kill” Voldemort, they could have at least detained him theoretically.

Gandalf on the other hand is the sole reason that the Lord of the Rings trilogy is able to happen. He puts Bilbo’s quest into action, which puts the Ring and Frodo into their paths. If the Ring hadn’t been found and destroyed, the entire world would have been overtaken by orcs.


Round 2: Who is the better “mentor”?

Obviously Dumbledore and Gandalf are the respective “mentors” in their stories. They influence the main characters and help shape them to be the people they are at the end of their stories.

Dumbledore is literally a teacher, and shows Harry the ways to defeat Voldemort. He teaches him literal magic, and helps not only Harry, but everyone around him as well. Though he is absent at times, and neglectful at others, he ultimately knows how most scenarios will turn out. Whether this could be seen as abuse, or teachable moments, Dumbledore shapes the lives of the trio a lot more than they may realize.

Gandalf, though not technically a “teacher” is similar to Dumbledore in that he shapes those around him. He especially guides Frodo and the other Hobbits, but his teachings don’t stop with them. He influences the other members of the Fellowship as well. He doesn’t have any formal lessons that he teaches, but he does impart his vast knowledge onto those around him.

The winner of this round: Dumbledore

I think Dumbledore takes this round quite easily. He is a literal teacher and his “lessons” are much more obvious than Gandalf’s. Dumbledore literally teaches Harry about the Horcruxes and other magic as well. Not only that, because he knows what is going to happen in most of the books, he helps guide those around him and let them learn from what needs to be done. I think the lessons that Dumbledore teaches are more impactful than Gandalf’s.

Gandalf doesn’t so much as teach as he does provide a sense of security. He is seen as a guiding beacon to the Hobbits, which is what they need on their quest.

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Round 3: Their legacy

The actions that both Dumbledore and Gandalf take have long-lasting effects on the story. Even in death, their legacies can be seen after the stories are done.

Dumbledore dies before the story is over, but because of what he did, the Order of the Phoenix was able to defeat Voldemort and his army. Though he doesn’t do much after his death, Dumbledore inspired hundreds of students and was known to be one of the most powerful wizards. We don’t hear much of his legacy once the story is over, but we can only imagine the long-lasting effects of his actions. Who knows, maybe he will continue to help those at Hogwarts through his picture that is put up on the walls.

Gandalf does make it to the end of the story, after coming back from the dead once. He eventually leaves the realms of men, and takes a ship with Frodo to the west, with the elves and other ring-bearers. We also don’t get much of his legacy after the story, but even through the books we don’t see the long lasting effects of what he does. He has a pivotal role in destroying the ring, so I guess you could say he is much more important than Dumbledore is.

The winner of this round: Gandalf

Gandalf is just on a bigger scale, which gives him an advantage. He literally helps save the entire world, and for that he is definitely more important. His actions leave much longer-lasting results for his story than Dumbledore’s do. Whether he knew it or not, him choosing Bilbo meant that the Ring of Power would be found, and eventually destroyed.


Round 4: Who is the bigger badass?

When you’re an all-powerful wizard, chances are you’re also a bad ass. You’ve got spells to use that would knock the average person’s socks off. You’ve got a cool pet, or you make some pretty sweet fireworks. There are plenty of things that can make you a certified bad ass.

We see Dumbledore show this several times. Going toe to toe with Voldemort in the Ministry of Magic, stopping Grindewald, sacrificing his life to destroy a Horcrux, escaping with the flames of his pet phoenix, living till an ungodly age for a human, and just being Dumbledore. He often knew how things would play out before they came to be, and he did it all with plenty of flair.

Gandalf on the other hand, has some wicked fireworks at his disposal. I mean he made one that turned into a dragon. If that were possible I would definitely go to see that. He is friends with the lord of all horses, and is older than some of the other gods in the world. He goes toe to toe with a Balrog, is best friends with the Lord of all Horses, and saved the Mountain Eagle King a time or two.

The winner of this round: Dumbledore

This was a tough choice, but taking into account the two wizards in their respective worlds, I have to give it to Dumbledore, and only by a hair. It’s his attitude that is putting him over the edge. I’d say they are basically on the same level, but Dumbledore offers just a hint of style that Gandalf doesn’t really show. Plus, Gandalf is most often dealing with mortals, and it doesn’t give him a true chance to shine.


Round 5: How strong are they?

Head to head, Gandalf would win this round no issue. Nothing short of Avada Kadavra could stop him, and we aren’t even sure that would work. So, instead we will compare how strong they are in respect to their own worlds.

Dumbledore is immensely powerful, stopping two dark wizards; Grindewald and Voldemort, and surviving to be around 150 years old. There’s no power scale or anything that we can base him off of, but we don’t get to see any wizards that could stop him in his prime. Plus, he was the wielder of the elder wand, the most powerful wand in all of existence.

Gandalf on the other hand is an immortal spirit, older than almost anything we see in Middle Earth. He could destroy the ring and have defeated Smaug singlehandedly most likely, but knows it is not his job to do it. Instead, he knows he needs to be a guide along the path instead of the one paving the way. He defeats a Balrog and stops Sauruman, and wields one of the rings of power.

The winner of this round: Gandalf

Gandalf is just an anomaly in his story. There are so few that are near him in power that he could kill thousands in an instant.

Dumbledore is a great wizard in his own right, but he does not stand that far above the rest. One or two other wizards could probably take him down, while it would take something of equal power to stop Gandalf.

THE WINNER IS: GANDALF


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I think this was a close matchup overall. It’s tough to compare them considering their different stories, but I think Gandalf is the better wizard comparatively, because he is just so much above the rest of his world.

What do you think? Do you think Dumbledore or Gandalf is the better wizard? Let’s talk about it in the comments, or send me a message on social media.
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Literary Showcase: Canada Edition

Hello my dear readers, I have a new recurring post idea that I want to start today.

We all know how many books are out there. I mean every day there seems to be another book being released, from another brand new author.

With this recurring post, I want to highlight some books that are written in certain countries around the world, as well as some authors you should check out.

I want to give less well known and indie authors a chance for the spotlight, as well as highlight the fact that they were written in certain countries.

Since I am a maple syrup blooded Canadian, that seemed a good a place as any to start with some featured books.

I’ll likely only give you a few books and a few authors per post, but depending on the country there may be a few more or less.

If you think of any other authors or books that need to be featured, let me know in the comments, or shoot me a message on social media.
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Aubrey McKee is the the first in a series of five autobiographical novels by Alex Pugsley. Aubrey McKee tells the story of a boy growing up in 1970s and 1980s Halifax. The second novel, which follows the narrator’s arrival in Toronto as a young man, is forthcoming. 


In the novel How a Woman Becomes a Lake, it’s New Year’s Day, and in a small fishing town called Whale Bay a woman goes missing. Vera had set out on a walk with her dog, and her husband Leo took their boys on a boat to write their New Year’s resolutions. In the weeks that follow, Vera’s absence sets off a chain of suspicion within the town. After Leo moves south, the detective investigating the case becomes obsessed with the missing woman. 


In Mysterious Dreams of the Dead30-somethingMike Shintani decides to address the mysterious circumstances of his father’s death when he was 15 — after perishing in a plane crash, Mike’s father’s body was never found. Mike finds a diary written in Japanese, which sets him on a pathway to finding out the truth of his father’s mysterious life. 


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Samra Habib is a journalist and photographer. Her first book, We Have Always Been Hereis a memoir about her childhood in Pakistan, arriving in Canada as a refugee and coming out as a proud queer Muslim woman. Habib is also the creator of the photo documentary project Just Me and Allah, in which she travelled the world to document the diverse stories of LGBTQIA Muslims.


Teresa Wong’s first book Dear Scarlet is a moving graphic memoir about the author’s experience with postpartum depression. Written as a letter to her eldest daughter, Wong offers an honest and tender account of motherhood, family and mental health.


Do you know of any other Canadian authors or books in the making? Let myself and my readers know by leaving it in the comments, or share it with us on social media.
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The Hunger Games vs. Divergent

Hello dearest readers, today we have a matchup for the ages! Two very popular YA series pitted against each other.

On one hand, we have The Hunger Games series, the other the Divergent series.

Both series will go head to head in a battle of five different categories, but only one series can come out on top.

If you have any ideas for a future vs. battle, let me know in the comments or on social media.
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The World Before the Books

The world of the Hunger Games is a small dystopian nation split into 12 different Districts, each responsible for producing a certain resource. Meanwhile, each of the 12 Districts needs to give a tribute each year for the Hunger Games – a battle royale mainly used for entertainment, but also to make the Districts submit to the government.

Divergent on the other hand is a relatively happy society. People are sorted into one of five different factions based on their personality. There are outliers called “Divergents” that present multiple characteristics for the factions. We find out later that they are in a sort of experiment and are being watched and their memories reset if needed.

This Round Goes To: Hunger Games.
Though I think Divergent has a better premise overall, it takes too long to learn they are being observed. We don’t get to find out till the final book. Hunger Game’s concept is going right from the start, so they take this round.


The Story

The Hunger Games focuses on Katniss surviving her hunger games, and another one, and then leading a revolution to overthrow the government. It has a nice progression to it, and there are only minor hints of the story being too ridiculous.

Divergent focuses on Tris as she trains to become a member of the Dauntless faction, her living with her Divergent nature, and then fighting in a civil war, before finally discovering she has been living in a social experiment.

This Round Goes To: Divergent
I loved the thrill that was the Hunger Games, but it didn’t explore the grittiness enough, and Katniss was more along for the ride than being a key player. Tris was a key player from the start, and though she had a lot of help along the way, she was never a background character in the story.


The Characters

The Hunger Games had a lot of interesting characters, some with some captivating backstories. We didn’t dive too deep into them, but when we did they were some of the best parts of the story. They were often damaged, hardened characters, and they played a key role in the story.

Katniss herself was a great protagonist in my opinion. She had a good depth to her, and I think she was a nice perspective for a YA Dystopian novel. She wasn’t the perfect protagonist that we too often get from YA novels. She had her flaws, she had her emotional struggles, but we got to see her get through them.

Divergent didn’t have a broad character list. Yes, we got to see a lot of different people while Tris did her thing, but they all felt like the same person. To me it felt like you could mold a few characters together and the story wouldn’t be lost at all.

Tris was Divergent, so we got to see her struggle with that reality, and her need to hide it from society. She had some depth to her, and she was a strong part of the entire story. She didn’t really take a back seat and let others tell her what to do.

This Round Goes To: Hunger Games
There was more diversity to the entire character list. Though both protagonists were a great part of both stories, the range of characters was what put Hunger Games through to win this round.

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The Ending

I’ll be honest. I hated the end of the Hunger Games. I felt like it was too rushed, and we didn’t get to flesh it out fully. I don’t think the characters got the justice that they deserved (Finn). I will admit that I am glad it wasn’t an entirely straightforward ending. With Prim’s death and Katniss killing the District 13 leader, I don’t think a lot of characters were expecting it to end that way, but it felt like the ending wasn’t true to the story, and the characters were just sort of left to deadlines and publisher’s demands.

Divergent wasn’t much better for me. Another series where I didn’t like the ending. I was fine with them all being a part of an experiment, and Tris dying in the end, but again the ending didn’t feel complete. Tris ends up dying, which isn’t common for YA novels in my experience, but she did have a change of perspective which is even more rare.

This Round Goes To: Divergent
The only reason Divergent wins this round (just barely) is because of Tris’ death and her change of heart. I liked that Katniss didn’t live happily ever after, Tris dies when she finally realizes she was in the wrong. I liked that a series wasn’t scared to kill its’ protagonist, so Divergent takes this round.


The Popularity

The Hunger Games was immensely popular with a lot of audiences, and the series seemed to take the world by storm for a few years.

Divergent, though seemingly popular with a younger audience, didn’t seem to get as much hype, though I think it was deserved.

This Round Goes To: Hunger Games


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The Winner: Hunger Games!!!

I think this was a close battle, despite Hunger Games taking the crown. They were both great YA series, and both had good and bad things about them, but Hunger Games pulled through because of the worldwide popularity it seemed to gain.


Do you think Divergent should have won, or is Hunger Games deserving of the crown? Let’s talk about it in the comments, or send me a message on social media.
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