Sunday, 30 September 2012

Banned Books I Enjoyed #2

As part of Banned Books week, I will be doing a series of posts promoting books that I enjoyed but were challenged and/or banned. You may recognise them.

Title: Looking For Alaska
Author: John Green
Publisher: Dutton
Read In: December 2010

Miles Halter is fascinated by famous last words and tired of his safe life at home. He leaves for boarding school to seek what the dying poet Francois Rabelais called the "Great Perhaps." Much awaits Miles at Culver Creek, including Alaska Young. Clever, funny, screwed-up, and dead sexy, Alaska will pull Miles into her labyrinth and catapult him into the Great Perhaps.
Looking for Alaska has been banned/challenged on multiple occasions. This is usually because of the offencive language in the book. I understand that swearing is an issue in society and is not pleasant to be around someone who is swearing all time. Even I don't want to hear that. The swearing used in this book is to describe the character. They are not real. I understand it is inappropriate for young children to be surrounded my vulgar language. They are impressionable at that age. However this book was challenged in high schools. Teenagers of that age should be old enough to understand the differences and not go around copying what they read.

Looking for Alaska has a great message and, even though I read it a while ago now, I definitely enjoyed it. I think this is a great book and if more people get to study it as part of their English class, even better.


Saturday, 29 September 2012

Banned Books I Enjoyed #1

As part of Banned Books week, I will be doing a series of posts promoting books that I enjoyed but were challenged and/or banned. You may recognise them.

Title: The Hunger Games Series
Author: Suzanne Collins
Publisher: Scholastic
Read In: October 2009 - August 2010
Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with everyone out to make sure you don't live to see the morning? In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
If you have not heard of The Hunger Games series you must be living under a rock. This series is everywhere at the moment thanks to the success of the movie adaptation. However not everyone is praising The Hunger Games.

In 2011 a parent at challenged The Hunger Games to the Goffston school board in New Hampshire. She claimed that the book gave her child, who was eleven, nightmares and the book could numb children to the effects of violence.

I agree that this is a violent book but it does not present violence in a good light. The people that are causing the violence are forced to do so by the Capitol, the antagonists of the story.

I do not believe that one parent has the right to ban a book from everyone elses child in the school district. That is the other children's parents decision. This book was not appropriate for this particular child but there may be older children in the school district for which this book is aimed at.

I absolutely loved this book and I cannot highly recommend it enough.


Friday, 28 September 2012

Book Tour: At What Cost by J. Andersen - Review and Giveaway

Title: At What Cost
Author: J. Andersen
Publisher: Astraea Press
Pages: 225
Release Date: 13th June 2012
Read In: September 2012

Goodreads -

*I received this book in exchange for this review*
During her junior year, sixteen-year-old Maggie Reynolds expected to shop for prom dresses not maternity clothes. Now, instead of studying for the SATs, she’s reading, What to Expect When You’re Expecting. Maggie’s ‘Mother Dearest’ lives in fear that Maggie will somehow taint the family name, so Maggie can’t turn to her for help. Meanwhile, her father is oblivious to anything but his 9-9 job. And her boyfriend, Justin? She’s pretty sure he’ll stay by her side.
While Maggie wrestles with her options, Justin offers a solution: abortion. It would solve all her problems quickly, easily, and effectively. And her parents would never know, which means they won’t throw her out and cut her off like they’d always threatened if she got herself knocked up. Now Maggie must decide which choice she can live with: abortion or teenage motherhood. Either way, it’ll be a tough road to travel.
This book was a breeze to read. It wasn’t a shallow cutesy romance but on the other hand it wasn’t a heart wrenching tragic tale that was going to make you burst into tears. It was enjoyable.
‘Sobs shook her body, and Lauren rushed over.
“I’m so sorry,” she said, but Maggie didn’t hear it. The only word resonating in her head had already been said. Pregnant. She was sixteen and pregnant. What was she going to do now?’
This is a book about abortion and the challenging decision some teenage girls have to face. I love that all angles of the debate were covered; the pros and the cons. As someone who doesn’t have very strong opinions on the topic, it felt like a good balance. For someone who hasn’t thought about the issue closely, it is a good book to gain an introduction.
Maggie’s situation is not an easy one. I really felt a connection to her suffering and why it was harder, than others, to tell anyone about it. When I was sixteen, I felt like that my parents would be supportive if I fell pregnant. I am glad that I didn’t. Maggie couldn’t do that. I understood that.
Justin is a classic example of a guy I would not like to encounter. There are jerks but they are obviously jerks. Then there are the guys that act all gentlemanly and gracious until parts of the relationship stop going their way. They have to grow up. They start showing their true selves. These guys are the worst. Justin never seemed like a truly honest guy from the start. I didn’t like him
Fortunately there are people in Maggie’s life that are there for her. She needed Rachel and later on Evan. I would have liked a bit more from Evan. He had the potential there.
What I enjoyed about this story was the debate and discussion of the topic that is abortion. I also liked getting to know the people in Maggie’s life. However I felt the story was too short. When it came to the other aspects of the pregnancy it remained a little flat. Once Maggie made her ultimate decision, the book sort of trickled along with nothing happening much. I thought there were other issues that needed addressing in greater depth but, after the main decision of whether to abort or not, those other decisions didn’t seem important. I was a little disappointed there. The story also ended too quickly and abruptly; was that it?
Overall I did enjoy this book. It is a book about abortion and it covers the topic brilliantly. However I would have liked a bit more depth after the abortion side was finished.

 Author Info

Jessie Andersen lives in a small town in Western New York with her husband and three kids. A former English teacher, she now spends her time writing while the kids are at school and the baby is sleeping. She volunteers at the local library and sings in the church band. You can find information about her books at, and you can follow her blogs at (Personal blog) and (Book blog). You can also follow her on Twitter at and on Facebook at
Click the following link for a list of the other blogs on the book tour for At What Cost.

Do you want to read At What Cost for yourself? Well why don't you enter the Book Tour giveaway for a chance to win an e-book. This giveaway is open Internationally and will end 6th October.

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Good Luck!


Thursday, 27 September 2012

Banned Books Week Giveaway! (INT)

This week is Banned Books Week. This is when we talk about all the books that have been challenged or banned. For YA books this usually happens in schools.

This week I am going to be promoting books that have been challenged or banned that I enjoyed.

Unwind was banned from use in the classroom at Montgermy County High School back in 2010. While it was still available in the library, parents complained about their children studying the book due to foul language, sexual references, child abuse, drug abuse and suicide. I believe that Unwind raises some serious issues that society needs to address. It is based in a dystopic setting however the issues are very real today. I believe that children aged 15+ are old enough learn about these topics.

I am giving away a copy of Unwind by Neal Shusterman and, while the sequel hasn't been banned or challenged as far as I am aware, I am throwing in a copy of the Unwholly, the sequel, as well.

Unwind (Unwind #1) and Unwholly (Unwind #2) by Neal Shusterman

  • This giveaway will end 7th October (10/7/2012)
  • As much as I would love to give the book away to anyone, I'm afraid I cannot award the prize to anyone under the age of 13.
  • This giveaway is INT.(as long as the Book Depository ships to your country)
  • You will have 48 hours to respond to the email otherwise I will choose another winner.
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Check out the other great giveaways for Banned Books Week.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Reading Plan #18

I am moving back to university today. However I will be without Internet for a week. The only access I will have is via my phone and if I take a bus ride to campus. Why? My Internet hasn't been installed yet. The earliest they could do was the 2nd October so I have to wait until the then. I still plan to have posts written, scheduled and posted but meme's might not happen as those are usually written only a day in advance. We will see.

On the Blog Last Week
 I plan to watch and review The Perks of Being a Wallflower movie when it is released in the UK cinemas. I may then do a book/movie comparison post.

What I Have Just Finished 
At What Cost by J. Andersen

I enjoyed this book. My review is scheduled for the 20th September (this Thursday) as part of the blog tour.

Currently Reading
The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Steifvater

It got off to a little bit of a slow start but it is really starting to pick up now. Definitely has some magic concepts that I have not come across much before. I looking forward to seeing where this book takes me.

To Read Next
Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rache Cohn and David Levithan

I received this book for review as it is getting published in the UK by Mira Ink. It looks like a light hearted fun read. I am looking forward to this one.


Sunday, 23 September 2012

Book Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Title: The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Author: Stephen Chbosky
Publisher:Pocket Books
Release Date: 1st January 1999
Read In: September 2012

Goodreads - - Book Depository

*This is a review of the book I borrowed from my friend*
This is the story of what it's like to grow up in high school. More intimate than a diary, Charlie's letters are singular and unique, hilarious and devastating. We may not know where he lives. We may not know to whom he is writing. All we know is the world he shares. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it puts him on a strange course through uncharted territory. The world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends. The world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite.
Through Charlie, Stephen Chbosky has created a deeply affecting coming-of-age story, a powerful novel that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller coaster days known as growing up.
While this book didn’t make me think about my own life as it seems to have done for many others, I still enjoyed it.

‘Patrick then said something I don’t think I‘ll ever forget.
“He’s a wall flower.”
And Bob really nodded his head.
And the whole room nodded their heads. And I started to feel nervous in the Boy way, but Patrick didn’t let me get too nervous. He sat down next to me.
“You see things. You keep quiet about them. And you understand.”
I didn’t know that people thought about me. I didn’t know they looked.’

This book covers all topics in a ‘coming of age’ story. Most books would focus on one or two topics. The Perks of Being a Wallflower has everything; drugs, smoking, drinking, sex, college, homosexuality, pregnancy, first kiss, first crush, etcetera. However it felt like it was meant to be there. Nothing felt like it was being added for the sake of it. It was entertaining in that I didn’t know what was coming next.

Charlie was an interesting character to follow. He is naïve, very naïve. Definitely more naïve than your average character I would say. He asks about everything. If you are a young teen and are just discovering these things in life, then you will be able to relate (although I am not encouraging anyone to take up drugs.) There were many times Charlie would do something which I found adorable. I feel like I want to mother him. He is the baby of the group.

My favourite character has to be Patrick. He comes out with these one off witty lines. He brings the light relief. He has a shrug off the shoulder attitude to life which I loved. However he also has his own problems that he has deal with. Sometimes I wanted to find out more about Patrick than I did about any of the other characters.

Even though the book was written in letter format, I still got a good sense of the other characters. This is a story all about the characters. However, as far as the events of the story go, there wasn’t exactly a focus or goal. Not every story needs one but, for me, I would have liked one here. The disjointed style of the letters led the plot to be disjointed. I wanted something to focus on and combine them all together. There were a couple of times, especially in the middle, where Charlie’s train of thought wondered off to something which didn’t seem to have a whole lot of relevance. One minute I am thinking about Charlie’s friends and the next I am getting all the information about his family, which I didn’t care for. Maybe others will care but I didn’t at that moment. This slow patch in the middle didn’t help me get through.

Overall I did enjoy discovering about the lives of these characters and Charlie’s journey into high school. However I would have liked fewer tangents half way through the story and something more to focus on. 


Saturday, 22 September 2012

Stacking the Shelves #16

Meme Hosted by Tynga's Reviews

Oh God I am going back to university tomorrow and I still haven't finished packing. This should be interesting.

For Review

Death and the Girl Next Door (Darklight #1) by Darynda Jones

The synopsis is just full of mystery. This book looks interesting.

Thanks to St Martin's Press for the review copy.

Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days #1) by Susan Ee

I have heard nothing but good things about this book. 56 reviews on 53 of which are 5 stars. The other three reviews are 4 stars. Ok maybe it is not a good thing to have such high expectations but with ratings like that ...

Also it will probably not be long, if has not already happened, before a big main stream publisher snaps it up. This will be a good thing for the author and the series but not such a good thing for a poor student if the price for the Kindle edition rises. So I got it now.

The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater

I have again heard nothing but good things about this book as well. The synopsis also really intrigued me. I like to think that my gut is trustworthy and I have a good feeling about this book. I hope I am not wrong. I have read Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater before and wasn't enthralled. However I am willing to give authors another shot. I hope The Raven Boys will do better.