Monthly Archives: September 2013

Banned Books Week Giveaway Hop

Welcome to my first blog hop! Also my first-ever giveaway! And for a great cause. This is Banned Books Week. There is a disturbing trend of parents, school board members and others challenging books in order to get them removed and banned from libraries and schools. Far too many books are banned or challenged every year and during this week we celebrate the freedom to read them! I’ve never been a fan of censorship. It’s harmful and ineffective.

Some of the best books I’ve ever read have been banned: To Kill a Mockingbird, The Hunger Games, Speak, Harry Potter. People need books that challenge them, and that speak to the real (even if it’s in a fantasy setting – it still mirrors our own reality) world around us, even the ugly parts. Teens especially need to read about the parts of life that parents are likely shielding them from, but that they’re still exposed to elsewhere. Fiction provides a safe space to address difficult issues and try to find truth and clarity. To write about something is not to endorse it. Speak doesn’t endorse child rape, even if it deals with the subject. The Hunger Games doesn’t promote sending children to fight to the death on live television. Harry Potter isn’t pro-Dark Wizard. 😉

It’s sad but fascinating to go through the lists of banned books and read the reasons why they’ve been banned or challenged. For example, The Hunger Games has been accused of promoting Satanism. What? There’s no religion period in those books! If you want to lose twenty minutes, check out the list here.

Some of the books on the list just baffle me: Bridge To TerabithiaThe GiverA Wrinkle In Time.

Others make me sad, because they are amazing books. Some of the others that I haven’t mentioned yet are: Lord of the Flies, 1984The OutsidersA Separate PeaceThe Great GatsbySlaughterhouse-Five

So what wondrous banned book am I offering up as a prize?

To check out the description and read my review click here. I absolutely love this book and hope that you will too. I do think it has something in it for everyone. This giveaway is US only unless the winner pays for shipping. Sorry!

To enter the giveaway, you must follow my blog. WordPress, Bloglovin’ or Networked Blogs is fine. Leave your email or username in the rafflecopter box. Please don’t follow me just to unfollow me when the giveaway is over. 🙂 If you really just want the book (for which I cannot fault you) you can buy it here for about $5. Good luck everyone! And feel free to leave me your thoughts about book banning and such in the comments.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Click here to see the full linky list and visit the other blogs on the hop!

Review: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

by Laurie Halse Anderson

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Source: Purchased

Book Summary:

Melinda Sordino busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops. Now her old friends won’t talk to her, and people she doesn’t even know hate her from a distance. The safest place to be is alone, inside her own head. But even that’s not safe. Because there’s something she’s trying not to think about, something about the night of the party that, if she let it in, would blow her carefully constructed disguise to smithereens. And then she would have to speak the truth. This extraordinary first novel has captured the imaginations of teenagers and adults across the country.

book thoughts

This is an amazing book. I feel like lots of people know that, even if they haven’t read it. I thought I knew that before I read it, but…wow. The story follows Melinda Sordino as she tries to come to terms with being raped, being an outcast, and the general insanity of high school. Everyone can relate to this book, but I think it’s especially important for teens (male and female) to read. I wish I’d read this book while I was in high school. I would have realized I wasn’t the only one thinking and feeling the things I did. Even those lucky enough not to have been victims of sexual assault will emphasize with the difficulty of finding your place in high school. Melinda suffers through deep depression and isolation, and yet the book manages to be really funny. Her acerbic wit and sarcastic observations  hit you squarely in the gut. She has so much to say, but lack of support in her life has rendered her almost mute. We follow Melinda as she struggles to find an outlet for her voice and to recapture the strength that was stolen from her.

It really angers me that ignorant individuals like these people in Florida think that this book is “child pornography” because it dares to deal with the very real and very important issue of teen rape. Teens NEED these kind of books, books that are honest and relevant to their lives. If you think stopping teens from reading books with naughty words and sexual references will somehow protect them you are dead wrong. They’re already being exposed, probably in much less healthy ways than in wonderful books like Speak.

Honestly, at this point I’m just going to give you quotes:

“I wonder how long it would take for anyone to notice if I just stopped talking.”


“I have survived. I am here. Confused, screwed up, but here. So, how can I find my way? Is there a chain saw of the soul, an ax I can take to my memories or fears?”


“When people don’t express themselves, they die one piece at a time.”


“Sometimes I think high school is one long hazing activity: if you are tough enough to survive this, they’ll let you become an adult. I hope it’s worth it.”


“I’m the only one sitting alone, under the glowing neon sign which reads, “Complete and Total Loser, Not Quite Sane. Stay Away. Do Not Feed.”


“I watch the Eruptions. Mount Dad, long dormant, now considered armed and dangerous. Mount Saint Mom, oozing lava, spitting flame. Warn the villagers to run into the sea.”


“I stand in the center aisle of the auditorium, a wounded zebra in a National Geographic special, looking for someone, anyone to sit next to. A predator approaches: gray jock buzz cut, whistle around a neck thicker than his head. Probably a social studies teacher, hired to coach a blood sport.”


“Mr. Freeman: This looks like a tree, but it is an average, ordinary, everyday, boring tree. Breathe life into it. Make it bend – trees are flexible, so they don’t snap. Scar it, give it a twisted branch – perfect trees don’t exist. Nothing is perfect. Flaws are interesting. Be the tree.”


Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books On My Fall 2013 TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Ten books in one season sounds like a decent goal for me. Here we go:

1) The House of Hades by Rick Riordan: The end of The Mark of Athena basically killed me so I need this book ASAP. Thank God I only finished Mark of Athena a few months ago. I don’t know how people who read it when it first came out have survived.




2) The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead: Adrian Ivashkov POV. Need. Now.





3) The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead: I’m going to read it again before The Fiery Heart. 🙂





4) Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo: Yes, this has been out for some time, I know, but my copy is currently waiting for me in California (I didn’t need any more books to pack! ) and I won’t get it until I arrive the first week of October. I’ve just been sending all the books I’ve won/ordered to my mom since she’s right next door to my new house. She’s kind of impressed by the pile I’ve amassed.




5.) Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo: I’ll be ordering this one when I order House of Hades so I’ll probably get it the second week of October, just in time to read after Shadow and Bone.





6) Plague in the Mirror by Deborah Noyes: This book looks amazing! Historical Paranormal is definitely my thing. It’s waiting for me in California.





7) The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau: Yay dystopian! This is currently sitting on my desk, taunting me.





8) Independent Study by Joelle Charbonneau: I won an ARC of this! I knew I’d won The Testing but I didn’t know I’d won Independent Study until I opened the package. I think the noise of surprise I made may have worried my cats.  I need to make sure I read it closer to its January release date so I can post a concurrent review. 🙂




9) Of Beast and Beauty By Stacey Jay: Beauty and the Beast is my favorite fairy tale so I have high hopes for this one.  It’s in the book pile in California.





10) If You Could Be Mine: Such a fascinating premise. I love that a book like this got published. It’s also awaiting me in the Great Book Pile.





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Good choices? Yes? No?

Wish me luck finishing them all!

Review: The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1)

The Lightning Thief

by Rick Riordan

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy

Series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1

Source: Purchased

Book Summary:

Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school… again. And that’s the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy’s Greek mythology textbook and into his life. And worse, he’s angered a few of them. Zeus’ master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect.

Now Percy and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus’ stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.

book thoughts

I saw the movie a few years ago and liked it, so I bought the box-set for my husband for Christmas. He plowed through them and then insisted I needed to read them soon too. Then one day he just plopped this one in my hand and said “read”, so I obliged.

I think I may have been resistant because I don’t go for “light” reads. I need high stakes and high emotions (which is why I mostly read YA). However, much like Harry Potter, the Percy Jackson series manages to be entertaining, fun, humorous and at the same time handle a very serious, high-stakes plot. I’m definitely not the first person to make the HP comparison, but it is relevant. Both are middle grade fantasy epics with sweeping world-building and absorbing narrative. It’s not a rip-off at all. Rowling sourced Harry Potter from a plethora or myth and lore, but Percy Jackson is firmly rooted in the Greek mythological tradition. This is just SO MUCH there. I’m a lifelong mythology buff and I was still researching Greek mythology every few chapters or so, not because it was necessary to understand the plot (it’s not – you can have zero knowledge of mythology and still understand and like the story), but because my interest was peaked and I wanted to know more. I assume this was the author’s intention and it certainly worked!

It’s rare to find a book that sucked me in as much as this one did. There are books I love to death, more than this one, but don’t have that rest-of-the-world-disappears factor to them. I was pleasantly surprised how much I lost track of time reading this book and the ones that came after.

Don’t be like me and assume you won’t like it as much because it’s not YA. So there’s no romance. Fair enough, but there are still strong bonds forged and great character interaction, and enough to make you realize what direction the plot is going in in terms of romance. It’s not a “kid’s book” just because the protagonist is twelve. After all, demigods have to fight hard to survive before they even reach their teens, so they’re more mature than most. The characters don’t feel like “little kids”, they feel like people, who happen to be twelve or so. You can relate to their struggles whether you’re 9, 19, 29 or 69. Doesn’t matter. Great story, great characters, great narrative. Read it.


Tackle Your TBR Read-a-thon Goals & Intro Post!

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So hello, big scary world of Book Blogging! I am new.  Please bear with me!

This is my blog. Here you will find my reviews and updates on the progress of my publication quest.

I am kicking off my Book Blogging adventure with:


Reading Goals:



Four Books in  2 weeks? I’ll be super-proud of myself if I manage, especially considering I’m moving across the country at the end of the month!

 Wish me luck!

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