Tuesday, September 28, 2010

More Authors on Censorship

Thanks to a link tweeted by @RandomHouseKids I read what Judy Blume, Lois Lowry, and Robert Cormier had to say about writing and censorship, and there are tools on the site you can use. It's called First Amendment First Aid Kit and really good stuff so check it out! http://ow.ly/2IYk7  or you can click the button in the sidebar :)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Banned Books Breakthrough: I Know You Are, but What Am I?

An interesting interview with Lauren Myracle, author of ttyl series and Luv Ya Bunches
two frequently challenged books. (via Shelf Awareness!)
click the link to read!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

#SpeakLoudly : "If your library is not "unsafe,"

...it probably isn't doing its job." — John Berry

Today, September 25th 2010, marks day one of Banned Books Week to be celebrated through October 2nd 2010, which is sponsored by the American Library Association, American Booksellers Association and the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the Association of American Publishers, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, and the National Association of College Stores, and endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress

It is perhaps most timely that it is this week, because not but a week ago the book Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson was attacked as "material that should be classified as soft pornography" in a ridiculous op-ed piece by Wesley Scroggins. He also claims that Speak is one of several "filthy books demeaning to Republic [School District] education" and that all the adults in the book, including teachers, are "losers."  Not only is he wrong, but I highly doubt that Mr. Scroggins actually read the entire book. Because if he indeed had read Speak he would be well aware that Melinda's art teacher, Mr. Freedman, and his art class are pivotal in her journey AND critical to the plotline!

Reading level: Young Adult 
Paperback: 208 pages 
Publisher: Speak (April 1, 2001) 
ISBN-13: 978-0141310886
(product details via amazon.com)

Review: Speak is about a 14 year old girl named Melinda Sordino who is unable to express exactly what trauma has happened to her, when she attended a party just before her first year of high school began. Now in a haze, she attends classes and goes through the motions of her life feeling completely powerless. Her former best friends reject her, her parents are too busy with work to listen to her, another teacher is hard on her for refusing to speak, and ALL the while her rapist (who is a fellow student) continues to intimidate her. The book is about finding your voice again in the face of trauma and fear. It's about learning to trust yourself and not give up, even when you feel like you are completely alone in something so terrible as rape.

And this is exactly why books like Speak, books that discuss serious topics and themes like rape, dangers of drugs abuse, violence etc, are so important to get into the hands of people in general but especially teens. Young Adult literature focuses on issues critical to that age group and is a source of more than just reading for fun. So many teens write letters, email, and contact the authors of YA books just to tell them how their particular book "saved [their] life". In fact over the past 3 years when I've worked the reference desk at my public library, I've had 2 separate occasions when a teen wanted to know if I could find the address for an author so they could "write them a real letter". I didn't pry but it was plain that it was because the author and their books meant a lot to them. Isn't that just as important for our high school-ers' educations? Isn't that connection worth the extra effort to discuss books with our teens even if it's uncomfortable? Don't they deserve a voice and the freedom to read about issues relevant to their lives? I believe so. And if you do too, then please SPEAK

For more information and how to help support Speak & intellectual freedom, you can go here to see Laurie Halse Anderson's post on the issue.

“If this nation is to be wise as well as strong, if we are to achieve our destiny, then we need more new ideas for more wise men reading more good books in more public libraries. These libraries should be open to all—except the censor. We must know all the facts and hear all the alternatives and listen to all the criticisms. Let us welcome controversial books and controversial authors. For the Bill of Rights is the guardian of our security as well as our liberty.” ~John F. Kennedy, 35th US President

Friday, September 24, 2010

Review: Impossible by Nancy Werlin

Reading level/Genre: Young Adult - Paranormal

Hardcover: 384 pages

Publisher: Dial (September 18, 2008)

ISBN-13:  978-0803730021

(product details via amazon.com)
Are you going to Scarborough Faire?
I read this book back in May 2009 but it has stuck with me. Though initially this book started out slow, it picked up in the middle and turned out to have beautiful things to say about family, love, and friendship. It also has some magic and folklore mixed in, based off the old poem or song called "Scarborough Fair," which is an old song that I'd heard but honestly hadn't ever really paid attention to the lyrics. Werlin did a great job of stringing the eerie ballad into the plot.

I love stories that portray so-called non-traditional families and show how love and not necessarily blood is what makes a family. The protagonist Lucy Scarborough is a child of two loving parents, even if they are not her biological parents, and when she is faced with impossible situations like rape, teenage pregnancy, and mental illness, her family supports her through it all by never giving up on her. It was nice to see a family fight together to save Lucy from a curse that they didn't have to believe was real and easily could have dismissed. It made Lucy's voice seem important and her thoughts and wishes as valued as those of adults or mom & dad.

There is also a very sweet love story between Lucy and her best friend Zach. I won't expand on it because I don't want to give anything away, but I loved their story; especially at the end when Lucy needs him most and Zach is able to lend strength to her. It's a lovely book, though I'm not sure younger or less mature teens will be able to connect with it easily. But I personally love it.
Here's a favorite tidbit from the book:

p287- "He had read somewhere that, while men were generally stronger than women, women had an innate ability to endure more."

Thursday, September 23, 2010


This is an international game of tag and I've been tagged by YA Bookie Monster. I must answer some questions about myself so you can get to know me better and then I tag four other bloggers so we can learn about them.

4 Things in my Purse Pocketbook (as we say in the South, lol):
- cell
- Burt's Bee's lip balm
- pen
- wallet

4 Things in/on my Desk:
- my old dinosaur Mac G4   bah! I needz a new computer
- my "currently reading" pile of books
- a ihome which is a radio/ipod charger/alarm clock rolled into one
- bills *ugh*

4 Favorite Things in my Bedroom:
- my bookcases full of books!
- my comfy bed
- my jewelry box (cuz it was a gift from the bf)
- and my Frida Kahlo print of one of her paintings
4 Things I Always Wanted to Do (but haven't yet):
- live abroad
- work in an academic library (I work in public library)
- buy myself a beautiful, historic house to renovate & live in
- actually get my thoughts together enough to publish a book...
I have ideas but I'm awful at writing them down :-/

4 Things I Enjoy Very Much at the Moment:
- reading all the tons of great YA, paranormal, and romance books that have been
coming out recently
- Grey's Anatomy, Dexter, and Conan is coming back in Nov!
- book blogging!!
- Fall: it's my favorite season :)

4 Songs I Can't Get Out of My Head:
- December 1963 (Oh What a Night) by The Four Seasons
because the Broadway show "Jersey Boys" is touring and they keep showing the commercial on tv to promote it, lol
- Paper Planes by M.I.A. 
- Bixby Canyon Bridge by Death Cab for Cutie
- I Will Posess Your Heart by Death Cab for Cutie
they're one of my favorite bands and I often fall asleep to this album (Narrow Stairs) because I LOVE Ben's voice- it soothes me :)

4 Things you Don't Know About Me:
uhhhh....let me think.....
- well I can speak, read, and write basic Japanese because I went to a multilingual program in middle & high school
- I also sign (ASL) because I'm hard-of hearing and thought I should have a back-up plan in case I went completely deaf like my grandfather, lol
- Going Green is a priority for me since I was in 2nd grade but back then it wasn't yet named that
- My favorite authors currently are: Richelle Mead, Charlaine Harris, Patricia Briggs, and Nalini Singh

And the four people I am gonna tag are: Bookworming in the 21st Century, Geeky Blogger's Book Blog, Oh My Books!, My Love Affair With Books

Friday, September 17, 2010

Oprah's Latest Pick...

Oprah officially announced her latest Book Club selection today. It is Freedom by Jonathan Franzen. Of course the book world is abuzz and the selection actually leaked Thursday despite Book Club picks usually remaining so secret because as Oprah mentioned, she and the author have a little bit of a history. But Oprah's promised that all her picks for her last season are all going to be great ones, and her pick of Franzen's book seems in the spirit of moving forward. 

I've never read any of Jonathan Franzen's books before so I don't know if Freedom is something I'd like. So if you have read Freedom or any of his other books, let me know what ya think. I'd love to know :)

Grey's Anatomy : season 6 finale / season 7 premiere!

Ok, so last season I was stuck at work till we closed at night and so I totally missed the Grey's Anatomy finale. I had not recorded it because I figured I'd just wait to see it later on Hulu or ABC.com. When I checked my twitter account, I started seeing all these tweets about how great that finale was so I got excited and tried watching it on Hulu but it wasn't available :(
Somehow I guess they weren't making the finale (which is in 2 parts) available online till Sept. 17th! So I've had to wait this WHOLE summer for it!! But thank goodness today is finally the 17th and I finally got to see my episodes. And it was worth the wait :D

I admit, somewhere around season 4 I'd gotten a little bored, but then I started watching again because I like Dr. Avery, lol

Plus I love the besties relationship between Yang and Mere, too. Now I can't wait for Season 7's premiere on ABC Sept. 23rd, Thursday 9/8c.

So what about y'all? What Fall TV shows are you looking forward too?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Friday, September 10, 2010

BlogFest 2010 is here! Enter to win a KINDLE from Bitten by Books!!

If you've never been to the magnificent world of Bitten by Books, then you're in for a treat :)
BBB is a kick-ass site for all things paranormal, romance, and urban fantasy when it comes to books and authors. And if you over right now by clicking this link: http://bittenbybooks.com/?p=30336  and you can enter to win a KINDLE! How awesome is that?! And even if you don't win this time, don't despair because BBB is always having book release giveaways and author chats :D

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Winner of Crescendo ARC is.....

elizabeth aka swords-for-fighting!!

Congratz! I'll be emailing you soon :)

if I dont hear from the winner within 48 hours, I'll select another winner

Winner of Samantha Bee's book is....

Mrs. DeRaps!
Congratulations I will be emailing you soon:)

if I dont hear from the winner within 48 hours, I'll select another winner

Monday, September 6, 2010

Review: When Blood Calls by J.K. Beck

Reading level/Genre: Romance- Paranormal

Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages

Publisher: Bantam Books, an imprint of Random House Publishing
(August 31, 2010) 

ISBN-13:  978-0440245773

(product details via amazon.com)  
 Sara Constantine is a hard-nosed LA prosecutor who is used to seeing things in black and white, no gray areas. But when she is promoted to a high security position in the mysterious Division 6, Sara is forced to question all the boundaries she thought were steadfast. And Luke, the vampire defendant in her first big case in this strange new shadow-world, is the main reason for her new doubts on her rigid beliefs. Part urban fantasy, part steamy paranormal romance, When Blood Calls draws you in and keeps you guessing. Plus, side characters like Doyle and Nick have me excited to read the next books just to learn more about them :) Though beware there are also some darker crime elements that Sara deals with as an attorney for a murder case which involve girls being kidnapped and harmed. It sort of has a Law & Order meets Moonlight vibe to it.
If you're looking for a great new series with intricate world building and intriguing characters, then check out The Shadow Keepers. Especially since you won't have to wait long for books 2 and 3! Book 2 When Pleasure Calls comes out Sept 28th and book 3 When Wicked Craves comes out October 26th! 
When Blood Calls is book 1 in the new series, The Shadow Keepers.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Review: Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Reading level/Genre: Adult Nonfiction/ Memoir

Hardcover: 352 pages

Publisher: Viking (February 16, 2006) 

ISBN-13:  978-0670034710

(product details via amazon.com)  

Isn’t it funny how some of the people we connect with are people we feel close to out of shared experiences, but the way we’ve met is through a book? Someone has written down words for us to read, left us a message.... we read those words, we’ve gotten the message, and so we’ve connected. That’s what it felt like while reading this book.  It was like listening to a friend tell you about her harrowing journey through a breakup, insecurity, and a bout of depression and you listen intently because 1)it’s interesting and 2) because you want to see if her story holds any marbles of wisdom that can be translated into your own life; maybe learn something you can relate to.

Eat Pray Love is a memoir of one woman’s journey to find herself in this world and to seek the true meaning of divinity. I don’t know about you, but I can truly relate to that. The book is all about her worst days in a hard time in her life and how she worked to get through it all. For Liz, spirituality was her answer.
Spirituality is often confused with religion but the two are not one and the same. It can exist in and of itself, completely independent of religion and dogmas. You need only to want to be a seeker of truth to be spiritual. And so that's what Liz seeks and talks about in Eat Pray Love: finding the truth of herself, reflecting on her life and choices, and then putting it all together and trying to make sense of it enough to move forward. I know that this makes the book sound heavy handed and religious but it really isn't. Instead it's a personal record of one year in one woman's life while she travels to Italy to let herself once again know pleasure, to India in order to know prayer, and then to Bali to balance it all out. 
I definitely see why this book is great for a book club pick; it has so many facets for discussion and interesting tidbits to reflect on with others. Definitely looking forward to reading Liz Gilbert's next book, Committed.