Sunday, September 25, 2016

Banned Books Week 2016

September 25 - October 1

"Each year, the ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom compiles a list of the top ten most frequently challenged books in order to inform the public about censorship in libraries and schools. The ALA condemns censorship and works to ensure free access to information.
A challenge is defined as a formal, written complaint, filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness. The number of challenges reflects only incidents reported. We estimate that for every reported challenge, four or five remain unreported. Therefore, we do not claim comprehensiveness in recording challenges."

The top ten banned books of 2015 are:

1. Looking for Alaska by John Green
2. Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
3. I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings
4. Beyond Magenta by Susan Kuklin
5. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

6. The Holy Bible
7. Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
8. Habibi by Craig Thompson
9, Nasreen's Secret School by Jeanette Winter
10. Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan

These are only the top 10 of 2015. The list looks different when you look at the top 100 for the years 2001-2014 here on the American Library Association (ALA) website. The same page lists the reasons why these 10  books were frequently challenged.

Do you read banned books? What are some of your favorites? 

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Review: Destination: Chile by Katy Colins

Destination: Chile by Katy Colins is book 3 in the Lonely Hearts Travel Club series.

Spoiler Alert:

If you haven't read book one and two in the series, the reviews for book 3 contain at least one big spoiler. Just letting you  know so you can stop now if you want. The book can be read as a stand alone, but I've been informed that you can get a deeper understanding of the characters if you start with book one.


 Georgia Green and her beau Ben are invited to travel to Chile to participate in a television program called Wanderlust Warriors. The program is to follow several couples who work together as they face challenges. The winning couple receives a nice amount of money, 25,000 pounds, to spend as they see fit.

From the beginning, Georgia and Ben aren't quite on the same page although they seem to be getting along swimmingly. They work together days at their travel agency and spend their down time together as well.

The circumstances Georgia faces over the course of the story are reminiscent of things Bridget Jones might encounter from the scene in the airport bathroom to the camping scene and many in between. One reviewer has referred to Georgia as the "backpacking Bridget Jones."

It's not all laughs. Like any good story, it has its highs and lows. It has conflict, resolution, and character growth. There are elements that increase suspense and make you wonder what the ultimate ending of the book will be. Will Georgia and Ben's relationship survive the organized chaos of this competitive trip?

I know the review has been a little vague, but I didn't want to give out many spoilers.

I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars. It's well written and entertaining. If you enjoy romantic comedies, then this might be a good book for you.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday #156: The Sleepwalker by Chris Bohjalian

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly event hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine where we spotlight upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating. 

Synopsis from Goodreads:

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Guest Room comes a spine-tingling novel of lies, loss, and buried desire the mesmerizing story of a wife and mother who vanishes from her bed late one night. 
When Annalee Ahlberg goes missing, her children fear the worst. Annalee is a sleepwalker whose affliction manifests in ways both bizarre and devastating. Once, she merely destroyed the hydrangeas in front of her Vermont home. More terrifying was the night her older daughter, Lianna, pulled her back from the precipice of the Gale River bridge. The morning of Annalee's disappearance, a search party combs the nearby woods. Annalee's husband, Warren, flies home from a business trip. Lianna is questioned by a young, hazel-eyed detective. And her little sister, Paige, takes to swimming the Gale to look for clues. When the police discover a small swatch of fabric, a nightshirt, ripped and hanging from a tree branch, it seems certain Annalee is dead, but Gavin Rikert, the hazel-eyed detective, continues to call, continues to stop by the Ahlbergs' Victorian home. As Lianna peels back the layers of mystery surrounding Annalee's disappearance, she finds herself drawn to Gavin, but she must ask herself: Why does the detective know so much about her mother? Why did Annalee leave her bed only when her father was away? And if she really died while sleepwalking, where was the body? 

Conjuring the strange and mysterious world of parasomnia, a place somewhere between dreaming and wakefulness, The Sleepwalker is a masterful novel from one of our most treasured storytellers."

The Sleepwalker is due out January 10, 2017 from Doubleday Books.

Why am I waiting on this book? The whole sleepwalking angle is fascinating to me. And I find I would like to know what really happened to Annalee Ahlberg.

What book are you waiting on this week? Share it or a link in the comments so we can check it out and maybe add it to our ever-growing TBR lists. Thanks for coming by!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Teaser Tuesday: Destination: Chile by Katy Colins

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Books And A Beat.
Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
 Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
 BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title and author so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
Expected publication:
September 22nd 2016 by Carina
" I didn't even stop to think about what finding this hidden box would mean for our relationship, if I was even ready to get married to Ben, if I wanted to be someone's fiancee again after the disaster I'd made of it the last time. All that mattered was me and this ring, which was so obviously meant to be mine. I'd become blinded by its beauty, causing all rational thoughts to exit the building . It had left me curled up on the floor, Gollum-like, stroking my precious."
4% through on my Kindle
The Lonely Hearts Travel Club series by Katy Colins has been described as a backpacking Bridget  Jones. Destination: Chile is the third book in the series.
What's your teaser this week? Share it or a link in the comments. Are you enjoying your book? Let us know! Happy Reading!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Review: Darkest Journey (Krewe of Hunters #20) by Heather Graham

Expected publication:
September 27th 2016 by Mira
Charlene Moreau, aka Charlie, is back in her hometown acting in a film. One evening she finds a dead man somewhat buried on the land they are using as a set for filming. It's a recent murder. And the victim was one of the Civil War reenactors involved in the movie.

Ethan and Charlie have a history together. He rescued her from a serial killer back when she was in high school and he was in college. Now, she calls upon the Krewe of Hunters, Ethan's new unit, to send him on down to Louisiana and help out. Ethan sees ghosts the same way she does. And she knows he won't think she is nuts for receiving information from the dead.

Two men have died with seemingly no link to their murders even though they were friends. It will take the investigational strengths of the Krewe to prove Charlie's father is innocent and catch the villain or villains.

This involves a trip on the Mississippi River on the boat, the Journey. The Journey is run by the same company that ran the ships that the last 2 cases the Krewe investigated were on. Charlie's father travels and lectures on the boat on a regular basis.

Since Charlie's father is a historian, there are bits of history here and there throughout the story. I'm not sure which parts were real and which parts were designed to help the plot along though. Still, if you enjoy reading about the Civil War era, it really adds to the story. There is also mention of several local landmarks at which Charlie's father leads tours, in particular, several plantations.The majority of the action though occurs on the film set or aboard the Journey.

The romance between Charlie and Ethan is sweet. It's like they are taking up where they left off years earlier, but better. There is sex, but not overwhelmingly so.

The pace of the book is good. The writing keeps you turning pages to find out what happens next. It's a good mystery. It does seem to wrap up a little quickly, but it works. It's like the story has come full circle.

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. If you enjoy your mysteries with a touch of romance, the paranormal and history then this would be a good book for you. This is #20 in the Krewe of Hunters series. It's written in such a way that you could pick it up and enjoy it on its own even if you haven't read any of the others in the series. The 2 books in the series immediately preceding this book do share some of the same characters.

Darkest Journey is due out September 27, 2016 from MIRA.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Review: Don't Think Twice by Barbara Schoichet

 "You know, marriage isn't all it's cracked up to be. You're going to have adventures your sisters never will never have," (p.23) Barbara's mother couldn't have spoken truer words.

Sometimes it seems like when it rains, it pours. The author lost her job, her girlfriend, and her mother all within a short time. She was in counseling, but it just didn't seem to quite be doing the trick. She signed up for a class on motorcycles and got her license to drive one. And that's where the real adventures begin.

Ms. Schoichet speaks of feeling as if she was 2 people when she dressed in her leathers and left home to fly to New York to get the motorcycle she had purchased via eBay from the 2 Daves. The journey she takes serves to reunite her halves and in essence, find herself again. Barbara is a fifty-year-old woman taking a cross country motorcycling trip on her own. This is something I would never do, but I did enjoy reading about her journey.

Barbara learns a lot on her trip, both about herself and others. It's fascinating to read. The book was hard to put down. I wanted her to heal and I didn't want to miss a minute of her story as she explored herself and followed her road whimsy.

I give this book 4 stars out of 5. It's a well-written memoir about a woman later in life healing and finding herself again.

I received a copy of this book via Penguin's First to Read program in exchange for my honest opinion. The book was published September 6, 2016 from G.P. Putnam's Sons.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday #155: Bright Midnight by Chris Formant

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly event hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine where we spotlight upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating. 

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Brian Jones, Jim Morrison, Ron “Pigpen” McKernan, Janis Joplin, Peter Ham—all of them iconic rock stars, all of them dead at age twenty-seven. How could a group of great musicians all die at the same age? All evidence points to the deaths being unrelated, but were they really?

Gantry Elliot is a relic of rock and roll era still writing for Rolling Stone magazine—covering “classic” rock and roll and struggling for relevance in the age of hip-hop and electronic dance music. Even though he’s an encyclopedia of music trivia, Gantry can’t compete with the new kids on the block and is now reduced to watching the clock tick down on his once dynamic career. But Gantry’s vast knowledge may be the only thing that can unravel the mystery of 27.

When anonymous packages start showing up at his office and then his home, Gantry initially shrugs them off as another Club of 27 conspiracy nerd trying to get attention. But as the clues became more intimate, more personal, more sinister, he realizes this is not a game: someone knows the truth, and the truth may put Gantry’s life in serious danger.

Aptly called, “'The Da Vinci Code' for rock and roll fans,” author Chris Formant has written a terrific debut novel that creatively and deftly takes readers on a dangerous cold case hunt to uncover the mystery behind these deaths. Truth or fiction, lies or conspiracy, 'Bright Midnight' will keep you guessing until its final chorus.

Bright Midnight is due out November 9th 2016 from Highline Editions.

 Why am I waiting on this book? I find the premise interesting - the exploration of the Club 27  conspiracy theory coupled with a mystery about the fictional writer's life. I like the comparison to The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. It is big shoes to fill, and I wonder if it can live up to its promise. And I like the cover. It reminds me of an album cover.

What book are you waiting on this week? Share it or a link in the comments so we can check it out and maybe add it to our ever-growing TBR lists. Thanks for coming by!