2016 Banned Books Week

So it is Banned Books Week. Every year hundreds of complaints are filed against books for a variety of reasons. Concerns about racism, political views, nudity, or homosexuality etc. are used to challenge a books status on the shelf at the library. Once a complaint is filed, a committee reviews the book then decides if the book should be banned or removed from shelves. It is that simple.  

Per the ALA.org (American Library Association) website, Banned Books Weeks is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Highlighting the value of free and open access to information. This week brings together the entire book community in shared support of the freedom to seek, to publish, to read and to express ideas that some consider unorthodox or unpopular. 

Looking for Alaska by John Green was the number one banned book of 2015. This book was banned for offensive language, being sexually explicit, and unsuited for (YA) age group. Followed by Fifty Shades of Grey at #2. Even The Holy Bible is #6 on this list for religious views. 

This is my choice to read for banned books week this year. Are you participating? If so, what banned book did you choose? 


BOOK TOUR: Until Summer Ends by Elana Johnson

**I was given an advanced copy of this book to review**

Title: Until Summer Ends
Author: Elana Johnson
Publication Date: August 9, 2016
Print Length: 312 pages
Publisher: Cleis Press

Summary:Sophie Newton is determined to prove herself to her father, who insists she could never run a successful business. She opens a beachside taco stand called The Sandy Tortilla and plans to make her own way, one burrito at a time.

When she loses her summer help, Sophie rushes to find somebody to help take orders. She finds that somebody in Montgomery Winters, a struggling actor from LA. Mont takes the job; the money's useful, though he finds that his curvy boss is what really keeps him around.

As Sophie and Mont work together, they discover an intense attraction between them. But when Mont's agent calls him about a career-making audition, he decides he must pursue the opportunity, even though he can't get Sophie out of his head. Now, Sophie must choose between chasing after the man she's falling in love with and the business she's fought so hard to build.

My Review: Let me start by saying I have a love/hate relationship with romance novels. I'm way too impatient, in the background yelling, "Kiss her already!" That being said this was a very sweet book. I enjoyed every moment of it and the impatient reader in me couldn't put it down wanting to get to that moment where they finally do kiss and fall in love and live happily ever after. I was into the dramatic moments and conflicts begging the characters not to let it ruin their potential romance. To me, that makes for a great book. I was invested in their story from the beginning.

I really liked Sophie and I completely understood her, her motivations and her fears. She was coming from heartbreak and nervous about stepping in a new situation but feeling the attraction to Mont. I've been there. And Mont was lovable from the beginning. I thought something more was up with him and the whole name thing. I felt there could have been more just to give him a little more depth but he was all and all a good guy. The perfect guy to meet following a heart break. I like that the story wasn't just about romance and love but following your dreams and how much you are willing to give up for the one you love.

This book is a perfect summer read. It is set on the beach and all I could think about was how great it would be to be on the beach reading this book enjoying the sun and the surf like the characters. Not to mention, I couldn't stop thinking about tacos. 

I highly recommend this book for a light, feel good read. This is the first book I've read by Elana Johnson and I will definitely check out some of her other novels.

Buy Links:

Paperback comes out on May 9, 2017.

About Elana Johnson: Elana's work includes the young adult dystopian romance seriesPossession, Surrender, Abandon, and Regret, published by Simon Pulse (Simon & Schuster). Her popular ebook, From the Query to the Call, is also available, as well as a young adult dystopian short story in the Possession world, Resist.
Her newest release is the beginning of a new adult fantasy series. ECHOES OF SILENCE came out with Amazon Publishing on May 3, 2016. See all of her books here.
Elana also writes inspirational western romances under the pen name Liz Isaacson. Check out all 5 books in the Amazon #1 Bestselling Three Rivers Ranch Romance series, and get ready for the rest of the series by the end of 2016.

Her newest release is UNTIL SUMMER ENDS, a contemporary romance novel from Cleis Press/Start Media.

Find her online:
Join her romance-only newsletter: http://eepurl.com/b9f1vv (get a free novella when you do!)

Giveaway for the blog tour: Kindle Paperwhite. Direct people to this website: http://elanajohnson.com/giveaways/paperwhite (Enter yourself too!)


BOOK TOUR: By The Stars by Lindsay B. Ferguson

**I was given an advanced copy of this book to review**

Title: By The Stars
Author: Lindsay B. Ferguson
Publication Date: March 8, 2016
Print Length: 320 pages
Publisher: Cedar Fort, Inc

Summary: When Cal finally gets a chance with Kate, the girl he's loved since grade school, their easy friendship quickly blossoms into a meaningful romance. Spirited and independent, Kate keeps a guarded heart due to a painful past, and Cal wants nothing more than to gain her trust. But World War II soon cuts their time far too short, and Cal prepares to part from her - possibly for good. After he's gone, what Kate does next changes everything. 
In the suffocating jungles of the Philippines Cal encounters the chilling life of a soldier and deadly battles of war. With Kate's memory willing him on, Cal must put his trust in God to survive if he hopes to ever return to her. 

My Review: This book totally surprised me. The fact that is was inspired by a true story made it that much more touching. Cal's story is interesting alone, his mission work, his family farm life, his fight to survive during World War II then you add the romantic aspect with his interest in Kate. Their story was amazing. It wasn't typical. Of course, you know they have to end up together from the first introduction but their journey wasn't easy. 

I was intrigued by all the detail of Cal's time in the Philippines and serving in the war. Lindsay did a great job transporting the reader to that time and the emotions a soldier feels during war. The comradery between him and the other soldiers, reading the letters that him and Kate write back and forth make you feel like you are really there with Cal. However, I love the fact that Kate was always on his mind. From the beginning to the end, even when they weren't together. 

This book had the feel of a Nicholas Sparks novel. All the feels. It is clean so any age could enjoy this book. Overall, it is a great coming of age story dealing with young romance, strength in faith, and overcoming hardships. 

About the Author
LINDSAY FERGUSON has been immersing herself in stories since her childhood days of sneaking a flashlight into her room and staying up reading The Babysitters Club series way past her bedtime, writing spinoffs of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, and imagining herself in fascinating, far-off places. She still dreams of traveling the world one day, and finds getting lost in a good book almost as absorbing as penning her own stories and experiencing them unfold. A Communication graduate from the University of Utah, she worked as a PR and marketing writer for a computer software company for several years before resigning to focus on raising her family. She has also contributed lifestyle articles to various media outlets. When she felt the itch to attempt novel writing a fascination with history created a natural inclination toward historical fiction, with a romantic flare, of course. She lives in a suburb of Salt Lake City with her husband and four children. By the Stars is her first novel.



BOOK REVIEW: The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

Title: The Darkest Minds
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Publication Date: October 22, 2013
Print Length: 488 pages
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Summary: When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something frightening enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that got her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that had killed most of America’s children, but she and the others emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they could not control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. She is on the run, desperate to find the only safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who have escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents. When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at having a life worth living.

My Review: I LOVED LOVED LOVED (did I say LOVED) this book! I almost didn't read it. All the reviews I read on Goodreads about this book were split down the middle. It either got 5 stars or 1 star. People either LOVED LOVED it (like me) or Hated it. Personally, I enjoyed this book immensely.

First, the way Alexandra writes is beautiful. She is so descriptive. I mean, down to every detail. I could see the whole scene and characters with such detail it was more like watching a movie then reading a book. She has a poetic flow to her writing that kept me interested from page one.

Second, the story and the characters were so interesting. Like I said before I was hooked from page one. And for the first time in a while I found myself really feeling for the characters. I love Ruby's strength and attitude. In the beginning, yes she is a little soft but who wouldn't be. Anyways, Ruby and Liam and Chubs and Zu. All of them. I wanted to reach in the book and make things good right for them so bad. BTW The idea of the powers that these kids had were amazing.

There were certain areas that moved a little slow for me (her first few interactions with the Slip Kid) but as I continued reading I understood why those moments were there and the picture she was painting. Although, it was a little slow it was necessary to understand his character and how everyone saw him.

Anyways, I couldn't stop reading this book. I wanted to do nothing but read, read, read all day. Once I got to the end I slowed down because I knew I didn't have the next book and I hate to wait. I ordered the next two books. If you like YA dystopian novels you will love this book! Promise. 


Are you a speed reader?

Image from karosu-maker.deviantart.com
I just realized that my book, The Darkest Mind, is due back to the library by tomorrow and I can't renew because there is a waiting list. I am current on page 90 of 488 pages. So I need to read about 400 pages in two days.

Can I do it?

I don't think I've ever read that much that fast. Other bloggers/vloggers list the number of books they read a week, a month and I'm like how. Am I a slow reader? How do you read 100 books a year? That's like two books a week? I don't get it. Is there a trick to it?

Anyways, I really want to finish this book. I could order it or go to the store and find it but right now I am planning to try to push through 400 pages in two days. Whew! My eyes are already tired but I accept the challenge!
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