Sunday, September 21, 2014

Banned Book Week - Fun Facts & Giveaways

For more information on Banned Book Week and banned books in general, see this site:

Cheesy is as Cheesy Does
(A ridiculous playwright by Kristin Aragon)

<Librarian (only doing her job)>STOP! You can't read that!

<Miffi>I can't read what? Thirty Steps from Red?

<Librarian>That's right ma'am. Our public library voted to ban that book. It shouldn't even be in the database anymore.

<Miffi>I'm Twenty. Four. Years old. This is a public library, right?

<Librarian>Yes ma'am.

<Miffi>And someone else made the decision to tell me what I was allowed to read?

<Librarian>Well, it's not that simple. What if a child had checked out that book?

<Miffi>We've carded people for tobacco, alcohol, lottery tickets, why not a book? Please don't give me a speech on all the reasons this book has been removed from this library. I'm sure I already know them equally as well as you, but when tax payers fund a building such as a library, the government cannot censor what we read. Parents can censor their children's reading and should be aware of it, but you ma'am, can't tell me I can check out Dante's Inferno but not some smexy love story because I just broke up with my boyfriend.

<Librarian>*Small smile on her face* No, I can't. Which is why I'm loaning you the copy I keep in my purse.

They walk to Librarian's desk where she pulls out her purse and several copies of the wanted book sit quietly awaiting someone to devour them. Librarian reaches in and pulls a brand new copy out. Handing it to the young lady in front of her, Librarian says, "I've left the single book in our system because I think censorship is wrong. I pass the books out for free hoping women like you will stand up to the Powers That Be and make a change. Good, Bad, or Indifferent... it is up to a grown individual or a guardian to censor what they read. Not me."

Obviously, I'm not a playwright and I'm sure you're all sighing in relief right now. I'm also not very clever when trying to disguise know what I mean. But the story is obvious.

Every year at this time, the book community comes together to post its stance on Book Banning. Technically, in the United States, there is truly not much Book Banning, but there is a big, ginormous amount of Book Challenging. There are places where such things get sticky, such as in school libraries. The important thing for you to take away from this event is as an adult, you always have the right to read what you want. I've heard examples of certain libraries banning the book I mentioned above, but having to reshelve it because they were having to order it from other libraries so much. THIS. IS. YOUR. RIGHT. Simple & True.

School libraries are different. How many of you want Fifty Shades of Grey stocked in any of your high school libraries? Not me. I don't want a lot of the books I read shelved in the libraries, but then again, I'm a forty year old adult. If it were only that simple. Then there's the line of when is it too young to read Are You There God: It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume? At what point do we shelve the Twilight Saga? Or are the Hunger Games too violent for school libraries to carry? Those are questions that have to be talked about between families, they should be made between school boards and parenting committees.

My oldest always read exactly what I did from the time she turned thirteen. I'll be honest, she read several of Ellen Hopkins's books which are always on the banned/challenged lists that I didn't read because I don't care for verse. We bonded over the books we read. I knew she wasn't taking any crazy immoral lessons from the books. BECAUSE we talked. Besides, she never really wanted to be a vampire anyway.

My youngest prefers tragic, life-altering books. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, she's read twice and seen the movie twice. I've read and seen it once. John Green can spin a story of heartache and destruction and make people laugh at the same time. How does that even work? I don't read many of these books, my heart's too fragile. But as long as she's reading in her age range and TALKING to me about the books, then I'm okay. She's had a few questions along the boy/girl line (she's nearly 14), so we talk those out. I often find when she comes to me with questions, the talks none of us really want to have becomes much easier because both sides are ready to listen.

I always like to give the past years most banned/challenged books. I usually look for the most banned/challenged current books. All the classics have been banned for something. (On a side note, children grow up and they go to college where parents have no say over the books their professors assign...what a trip!)

2014 Most Banned/Challenged Popular Titles

The Perks of Being a Wildflower by Stephen Chbosky
Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
The Middle School Survival Guide by Arlene Erlbach
Looking for Alaska by John Greene (My Favorite Author)
Elanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell (Um... Seriously?)
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (Amazing Book)
Betrayed (House of Nights Series) by Kristin and P.C. Cast

Again, I only named a few I thought you might recognize. Yes, there are many, many more and sometimes when you read the reasons they are challenged, all you can do is laugh. So, my friends, I encourage you to research. Use this link:

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Monday, August 11, 2014

{Book Review} Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

Title: Ugly Love
Author: Colleen Hoover
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: August 5, 2014
Genre: New Adult/Adult


When Tate Collins meets airline pilot Miles Archer, she knows it isn’t love at first sight. They wouldn’t even go so far as to consider themselves friends. The only thing Tate and Miles have in common is an undeniable mutual attraction. Once their desires are out in the open, they realize they have the perfect set-up. He doesn’t want love, she doesn’t have time for love, so that just leaves the sex. Their arrangement could be surprisingly seamless, as long as Tate can stick to the only two rules Miles has for her.

Never ask about the past.
Don’t expect a future.

They think they can handle it, but realize almost immediately they can’t handle it at all.

Hearts get infiltrated.
Promises get broken.
Rules get shattered.
Love gets ugly.

*Tissue box warning*

Call me crazy, but this book left me breathless. Colleen is a brilliant wordsmith, winding and wrapping her characters' emotions into a lyrical rollercoaster. The highs brought a soft smile to my face, while the lows brought an onslaught of tears. She. Never. Fails.

Miles, the complicated male protagonist, ensnared me from the moment I met him, passed out drunk in front of his best friend's apartment door. Only later did we find out he rarely ever drank, which I appreciated since he was an airplane pilot after all. While I felt it took a little longer than necessary to reach the reason for Miles' behavior, I knew the author would bring the heartbreak on in a storm of raging emotions.

I'm going to speak from the heart here, hopefully without giving any spoilers. I've experienced the pain Miles did. It's an emotional nightmare in which no one should ever have to experience. Never being able to match words with my feelings, as I read Colleen's descriptions of his despair, I realized she captured the sentimentality with such perfection, my words will never be needed. I'll forever pull quotes from Ugly Love. 

Tate, the female protagonist, I noted is getting some hate. I respected her and the decisions she made. Were all of them the most brilliant? No, but she signed on the dotted line and managed to get what she wanted in the end. Tate's not some innocent child jumping into a world unbeknownst to her, and deep down, I figured she had a plan from the very beginning. Wouldn't you? She's a nurse, working on her master's degree while working weekends. He's a pilot gone for days at a time. The time for romance and relationships was lacking.

I wonder, how many people in this day and age have experienced such a situation. Two professionals who work long, hard hours—one ripped and disheartened—need to release some stress, so they sign on for a no strings attached relationship. One wants a little more than the other, but is willing to take what they can get. Made for an excellent story.

All of Hoover's books have a spellbinding, lyrical quality to them. Ugly Love more so than the rest. It took me a bit of time to adjust to the style of writing, particularly Miles' POV. To say I fell in love with those parts of the book would be an overstatement, as I felt they led to more telling than showing, but the words still rang out to me and sucked me right into the whirlpool of hot and spicy sex and tragedy.

Overall, my love for this book is endless. I would warn any readers looking to delve into the awesomeness that is Colleen Hoover, Ugly Love might not should be the first book of hers to read. While it is a pile of awesome covered with genuine genius, the lyrical writing may take a bit to get into. I recommend Slammed in the beginning, then work your way up to this novel.

Side Note: Colleen's ability to weave feelings into her descriptions is my favorite thing about her writing.

A few of my favorite lines:

And her eyes. There's no way her eyes aren't seeing a prettier, more peaceful world than all the other eyes. —Miles, location 283
He tightens his grip on my neck... and then he kills me.
Or he kisses me. I can't tell which, since I'm pretty sure they would feel the same. His lips against mine feel like everything. Like living and dying and being reborn, all at the some time. —Tate, location 971

And my all time favorite:

"I didn't fall in love with you... I flew."

Monday, July 7, 2014

{#Giveaway} Just Couldn't Put It Down #Giveaway Hop

I think the title of this hop describes it all, and I have too many to name, but I did run across a series that I HAD to read all 4 books that had been released back to back. They are a series, but each book, except the first two, are about a different couple.

The Reed Brother Series is about 5 brothers who have had to exist on their own for too long. They've done nothing but take care of one another since they found themselves without parents. The first two books are about Logan, the third book is about Peter, the fourth about Matthew, and the fifth about Paul. I assume the sixth book with be about Sam, but there's no blurb out yet. All are sexy and swoon-worthy, all a bit damaged, some greater than others.

I'm going to give away all 5 novels that are out as of now. There are 3 novellas, but I'll let you decide whether you want to read those or not. (Right now the first novel is free on Amazon right now, and should it still be free when this hop is over, I'll throw in the novellas or a giftcard for $3.99 in place of the first book.)

1. Tall, Tatted, and Tempting
2. Smart, Sexy, and Secretive
3. Calmly, Carefully, Completely
4. Maybe Matt's Miracle
5. Proving Paul's Promise

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Sunday, June 22, 2014

New Things to Come!

Hey guys so I'm back for the holidays! I haven't done much on the blog this year but it's because I have been so busy with my Honours year at university. It's been really hectic. I have been reading though but I just didn't have any time to think up reviews because honestly? When I didn't have to do anything for uni I took great enjoyment in being very very lazy, but I miss the blog so I'm making an effort.

So I spoke to Kristin about making a few changes on my end with the reviews and she agreed which made me very happy. I'm not just going to review books anymore, but everything. Books, music/music videos, movies, TV shows and anime. I am a serious anime freak and I would like to get new people watching it and share my freakouts with more anime freaks like me. Kristin unfortunately doesn't like anime because the woman doesn't like ANY type of animation, which I have to say shocked my system for about a week, but she has legitimate reasons at least so I got over it! Most people have  misconceptions when it comes to anime and I'm here to set everyone straight. I'm also kind of an anime snob so if you do find yourself liking this medium and you go in search and you come across an anime I haven't talked about or that I didn't like, don't be put off, I only like a certain type of anime and you might like something completely different. I don't judge! Same goes with music, I like a great deal of different types of music but I don't care much for House, Country, RnB and Rap. All the other types I love, but if you want me to listen to a song or see a music video don't hesitate to suggest it to me. I'll listen to every song once!

I wanted to start off with a top 50 must watch, must read and must listen. Since this is originally a book blog, I will start with that. It should be up by tomorrow,  maybe after. I've read a lot of books so it might take some thinking, hehe. If you guys have suggestions,  I'm open to putting them into the list!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

{Book Review} Better When He's Bad by Jay Crownover

Author: Jay Crownover
Title: Better When He's Bad
Series: Welcome to the Point #1
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: June 17, 2014


Welcome to the Point

There’s a difference between a bad boy and a boy who’s bad . . . meet Shane Baxter.

Sexy, dark, and dangerous, Bax isn’t just from the wrong side of the tracks, he is the wrong side of the tracks. A criminal, a thug, and a brawler, he’s the master of bad choices, until one such choice landed him in prison for five years. Now Bax is out and looking for answers, and he doesn’t care what he has to do or who he has to hurt to get them. But there’s a new player in the game, and she’s much too innocent, much too soft…and standing directly in his way.

Dovie Pryce knows all about living a hard life and the tough choices that come with it. She’s always tried to be good, tried to help others, and tried not to let the darkness pull her down. But the streets are fighting back, things have gone from bad to worse, and the only person who can help her is the scariest, sexiest, most complicated ex-con The Point has ever produced.

Bax terrifies her, but it doesn’t take Dovie long to realize that some boys are just better when they’re bad.

***Mature readers only! Violence and sexual material.

There is something inherently sexy about a bad boy, be it the songs he rocks, the bike he straddles, or the horse he rides. Yet, what if the "bad" in the boy could not be tamed? What if it were more than his womanizing, egomaniac ways? What if he was criminally bad and had no remorse for his crimes, in fact, he never planned on going straight? Would he still be as insanely hot?

I can only testify to my opinion, and that would be... yes, because in the pages of a book, the worst of the worst can bring women to their knees. Also, loyalty is a trait to be admired in a world where selfishness seems to be put above selflessness. But that's not a rant for this blog... a reminder, maybe, but not a rant.

If you've read Rule, Jet, Rome, and/or Nash, also by Jay Crownover, you know these guys to be a bunch a misfits banded tighter than blood through tough lives and the love of ink. They're all out for a good time, including booze, women, and old fashioned boys games. They are fun. Fun to look at, fun to be around, and certainly they must be fun to sleep with... well, the women who tame them certainly think so, at least. Best I can say, they are fun to read about.

Better When He's Bad is not a fun book, nor is it about a man sowing his wild oats. It's gritty and raw, even cringe-worthy at times—but in the best of ways. I would say Jay Crownover stepped her writing up to phenomenal heights with Bax and his story. (I'm twitching to read Race's story next.) When I read the first paragraph, I had to wonder if the same woman who is still writing the Marked Men series could possibly be the same woman writing the Welcome to the Point series. And no, I don't mean that literally... of course she's the one writing both series, I just believe this shows the range she has as an author, as well as the growth of her writing along the way.

What I loved: Bax and the people who surrounded him are mysteries in of themselves. The twists and turns, and the completely unexpected. I loved the way I sat on the edge of my seat wondering how Bax was going to get himself and Dovie out of an unfathomable mess. I loved Bax for having at least one person he would protect besides himself. Jay's ability to draw out the suspense where Bax is concerned speaks to my earlier argument about her ability as a writer.

My thoughts about the notorious Bax, in particular, are: While criminals are not my ideal choice in a companion, Bax made it appear possible. Or should I say, Jay made it appear possible. The trouble Bax jumped into wasn't nickle and dime crap. He walks out of 5 years in prison to find himself involved in something bigger and much scarier than before, primarily because he's found a female worth taking care of.

My thoughts about Dovie: She is Race's sister, and Race is Bax's best friend, but the three of them couldn't be more different. Honestly, I'm not completely sure how I feel about Dovie. To be so good, she certainly stepped up and handled Bax like a natural. The one thing I couldn't piece together in my head, was when exactly they fell in love with each other. One second he's her protector, the next he's unwilling to let her go. I'm not certain I ever completely bought their relationship, but at some point I forgot about how they became what they were and just went with the story.

What I could have lived without: There is one scene I could have lived without ever reading, and no, I'm not going to discuss it, I'm not going to tell you which scene it is, I'm just going to leave it on the wayside and pretend like it never crossed my eyes. So why bring it up at all? Because it is particularly violent and put an image in my head I can't erase. I'm a grown woman, and if it bothered me, I want people to be warned that there is graphic material associated with the book. Was it enough for me to not reread the book? No, I'll probably just skip over it. Would this book have gotten 5 stars without it? No. The lack of me buying the entire romance played into that. Was the scene pivotal? I honestly have to say yes. Perhaps there could have been a better way, though I can't think of a more shocking and captivating one.

Bravo, Jay Crownover! I'm going to admit to being more of a Marked Men girl myself, and I'm looking forward  to Rowdy in October, I believe. But don't you worry, with just the small snippet of Race's story, I'm excited for Better When He's Bold.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

{Book Review} Wallbanger by Alice Clayton

Title: Wallbanger
Series: Cocktail #1
Author: Alice Clayton
Publisher: Omnific Publishing
Publication Date: November 27, 2012


The first night after Caroline moves into her fantastic new San Francisco apartment, she realizes she's gaining an intimate knowledge of her new neighbor's nocturnal adventures. Thanks to paper-thin walls and the guy's athletic prowess, she can hear not just his bed banging against the wall but the ecstatic response of what seems (as loud night after loud night goes by) like an endless parade of women. And since Caroline is currently on a self-imposed dating hiatus, and her neighbor is clearly lethally attractive to women, she finds her fantasies keep her awake even longer than the noise. So when the wallbanging threatens to literally bounce her out of bed, Caroline, clad in sexual frustration and a pink baby-doll nightie, confronts Simon Parker, her heard-but-never-seen neighbor. The tension between them is as thick as the walls are thin, and the results just as mixed. Suddenly, Caroline is finding she may have discovered a whole new definition of neighborly...

In a delicious mix of silly and steamy, Alice Clayton dishes out a hot and hilarious tale of exasperation at first sight...

Oh, the countless times I've read reviews, had book group girls tell me "You must read Wallbangers!" or watched it pop up on Goodreads or Facebook is infinite. Infinite in that I lost count long ago, but when this beauty went on sale, I downloaded it and began a slow, leisurely devouring of this romantic comedy infused with wit, fun cocky arrogance, and eventually some steaming hot sex.

Since I read at night, I spent a lot of it attempting to suppress my laughter so not to wake up the man who sleeps to the left of me. I'm going to say this... I read a lot of really crappy books looking for this one. When I found it, I felt like I might have lost my will to read, but while Caroline set off on a venture to reclaim her "O" again, that O, I took to finding my will to read again also.

Caroline sublet her bosses apartment from her. The rent control made the place perfect for living, but there always has to be one bad thing thrown in, right? The walls, well, they are extra thin and Caroline awakes to a picture falling on her head one night, then to multiple other issues as the week progresses. The following week, Caroline finally confronts him, which leads to nicknames for both, and the wild ride of unconventional run-ins, evil matchmaking friends, and drunken vacations. All leading to some of the best laughter I've had in a very long time.

The awe of this book: Alice Clayton knows how to tell a story and how to steep her characters in humor without losing the story. I smiled my way through this book, front to back. Her characters are not stereotypical. Caroline is as comfortable in the kitchen as she is zip-lining the canopy of a rain forest, or hiking with the guys.

The negative of this book: It's too long to read in one sitting, at least if you want to sleep or are not Dr. Reed, from Criminal Minds, speed reader.

I also might mention that Rusty Nailed (Cocktails #2) is set to release on June 24, 2014. This will be the conclusion of Alice & Simon's story, though there will be more books in the Cocktails series, the next will have a little of Alice in it, from what I'm reading, but not dependent upon her. Also, Wallbanger ends so there's no cliffhanger. Plus... Wallbanger is on sale for $2.99 on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. (As of 6/17/14 at 8:28 pm CDT) This book never goes on sale and usually cost around $7.99. So buy, and enjoy.

Monday, May 12, 2014

{ARC Book Review & $100 Giveaway} Goddess Born by Kari Edgren

Title: Goddess Born
Author: Kari Edgren
Publisher: Carina Press (An ebook first imprint of Harlequin)
Publication Date: May 19, 2014


Pennsylvania, 1730

Selah Kilbrid keeps a dangerous secret: she has the power to heal.

A direct descendent of the Celtic goddess Brigid, it's Selah's sacred duty to help those in need. But as the last of the Goddess Born living in the New World, she learned from an early age to keep her supernatural abilities hidden. The Quaker community of Hopewell has always been welcoming, but there's no doubt they would see her hanged if her gift was revealed.

When a prominent minister threatens to try her with witchcraft unless she becomes his wife, Selah has only one hope--that her betrothed, a distant cousin from Ireland, arrives as planned. Marrying Samuel would keep her secret safe, preserve her sacred bloodline, and protect her from being charged as a witch.

But when news of Samuel's death reaches the Colonies, Selah is truly on her own. Terrified, she faces an impossible choice--forfeit her powers and marry the loathsome Nathan? Or find an imposter to pose as her husband and preserve her birthright?

*Though this book is NA, it is clean and can be read by any age reader.

This review makes me happy! I'd stopped taking review requests, but when the opportunity came giving me the opportunity to review Goddess Born, I jumped on it. As one of the only NA fantasy books I've read, I'm enthralled. Plus, there is the concept of Brigid, a Celtic goddess, and we all know how much I enjoy this type of mythology. And how long has it been since I've given any book 5 Stars... um, a long freaking time.

Selah's story takes place in 1730, when any woman who appeared a bit odd was considered a witch. Selah happens to be different, in many ways. Her refusal to marry one man sets off a chain of events, risking not only her reputation, but her life as well. Once her father dies, there's little to protect Selah from the rumors she is a witch, especially when her husband-to-be dies at sea. Luckily, this young woman is quick on her feet and stumbles upon a plan that may save her life.

Ms. Edgren serves a delicious helping of fantasy intermingled with a helping of endearing romance. The characters leap off the pages, becoming three dimensional people you'll either love or despise. Selah is a caring girl who is devoted to her community. Her gift in healing has earned her many loyal friends who will stand by her no matter what adversity she faces.

Nathan is a nasty, jealous man who's been fed lies enabling him the ability to blackmail Miss Kilbrid. His interest in the beautiful young lady becomes dangerous when she doesn't return his affections. The list of people who could be passing Nathan Selah's secrets appears to be small, yet becomes greater with every flip of the page.

And then there's Henry, who I loved with all my heart. He plays his part well, protecting a young woman he's known for only a few days. I don't want to discuss him too much because he's the heart of this story, even when you're not certain whether you like him or not. His character provides plenty of warm, fuzzy feelings as well as a bit of drama from time to time.

The twists and turns in Goddess Born are delightful. I never knew who to suspect and was adequately shocked when the true culprit is revealed. Ms. Edgren blended all the intricacies of suspense with those of fantasy and romance. The writing is flawless and creative, evolving into a perfect novel.

Author Kari Edgren has been kind enough to provide us with an amazing giveaway. $100 in the form of a giftcard to Amazon or Barnes & Noble, or $100 added to your PayPal account. 

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