Thursday, September 25, 2014

(52) This is a Book for Parents of Gay Kids: A Question & Answer Guide to Everyday Life

Title: This is a Book for Parents of Gay Kids: A Question & Answer Guide to Everyday Life by Dannielle Owens-Reid (Author), Kristin Russo
Publisher: Chronicle Books LLC
Pages: 240
Genre: lgbt, parenting

Synopsis: Written in an accessible Q&A format, here, finally, is the go-to resource for parents hoping to understand and communicate with their gay child. Through their LGBTQ-oriented site, the authors are uniquely experienced to answer parents' many questions and share insight and guidance on both emotional and practical topics. Filled with real-life experiences from gay kids and parents, this is the book gay kids want their parents to read.

Review:This is a great book to help parents of lgbt kids and also for lgbt kids or adults to read.  While the questions are directed to parents the answers may help lgbt youth feel better about the reactions they may receive or questions that people ask.  This is all new to many people and while it may have taken a long time to come to the conclusion that you needed to come out as lgbt you need to give others the space to ask questions and come to terms with it as well.  Sometimes what sounds like a negative question is just that a question with no malice attached to it more of a information gathering to help the other person process the information.  Each chapter focuses on different aspect of coming out and at the end of each chapter there is a short summary of what was talked about. There are real life stories and scenarios scattered throughout the book that also help make this book more accessible and not just feel like a textbook.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

(51) The Summer of Dead Toys:

Title: The Summer of Dead Toys: A Thriller by Antonio Hill
Publisher: Broadway Books
Pages: 369
Genre: Thriller

I received an e-galley of this book through blogging for books in exchange for an honest review. 

Synopsis: Argentine native Inspector H├ęctor Salgado is one of Barcelona's leading criminal detectives. After a stint on probation—he assaulted a suspect from a human-trafficking case—Salgado is back in the office and eager for something major.

To his dismay, he's assigned to a routine accidental death instead: a college student fell from a balcony in one of Barcelona’s ritzier neighborhoods. But as Salgado pieces together details from the victim's the life, he realizes that his death was not all that simple: his teenage friends are clearly hiding something and drugs might be involved.  Salgado follows a trail that will lead him deep into the underbelly of Barcelona’s high society, where he’ll confront dangerous criminals, long-buried secrets, and, strangely, his own past. But Salgado thrives on pressure, and he lives for this kind of casedark, violent, and seemingly unsolvable.

Review: I love love loved this book.  I didn't have high hope after getting two books from Blogging For Books that I wasn't so thrilled with but this one didn't disappoint. From the very first page every motion was well crafted and thought out.  I can usually figure out who ultimately was responsible for things but this book totally kept me guessing, even during the final unraveling and reveal I found that I was off the mark.

Salgado is a broken man, his wife left him for another woman, and he is on probation from work for assaulting a voodoo doctor who was involved in a human trafficking. Upon returning he is given the assignment to unofficially look into what seems to be an accidental death or suicide of a young boy of privilege.  The further they investigate the more they uncover and this death is anything but routine. In the meantime the man who Salgado assaulted has gone missing.

There are many different story lines in this book but they all converge in the end to a mostly satisfying conclusion.  I found the characters to be realistic with all their flaws and insecurities, it left me wanting to know more about each of the main characters.  Even the descriptions of those involved in the cases were sympathetic in their own way.  Even when they were a bit despicable you could feel some type of compassion for them. If you like a well written thrill pick up something by Antonio Hill.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Banned Book Week September 21-27

In 2013, there were 307 reported requests for books to be removed from America’s libraries, potentially putting those volumes out of reach of students, readers, and learners of all types. While every corner of the map faces unique issues related to library censorship, these issues also catalyze passionate freedom-to-read advocates dedicated to getting the books back on library shelves. During Banned Book week challenge yourself to read a banned book and get the word out about the freedom to read whatever we choose.  When books are banned we all lose.

Book Burning in Berlin May 10, 1933

Over this recent past decade, 5,099* challenges were reported to the Office for Intellectual Freedom.
  • 1,577 challenges due to "sexually explicit" material;
  • 1,291 challenges due to "offensive language";
  • 989 challenges due to materials deemed "unsuited to age group";
  • 619 challenged due to "violence"' and
  • 361 challenges due to "homosexuality."
Further, 274 materials were challenged due to "occult" or "Satanic" themes, an additional 291 were challenged due to their "religious viewpoint," and 119 because they were "anti-family." Please note that the number of challenges and the number of reasons for those challenges do not match, because works are often challenged on more than one ground. 1,639 of these challenges were in school libraries; 1,811 were in classrooms; 1,217 took place in public libraries. There were 114 challenges to materials used in college classes; and 30 to academic libraries. There are isolated cases of challenges to library materials made available in or by prisons, special libraries, community groups, and students. The vast majority of challenges were initiated by parents (2,535), with patrons and administrators to follow (516 and 489 respectively).

Here is the list from 2013 of the 10 most challenged or banned books:

  1. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
    Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence
  2. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence
  3. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  4. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James
    Reasons: Nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  5. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
    Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group
  6. A Bad Boy Can Be Good for A Girl, by Tanya Lee Stone
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit
  7. Looking for Alaska, by John Green
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
    Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group>
  9. Bless Me Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
    Reasons: Occult/Satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit
  10. Bone (series), by Jeff Smith
    Reasons: Political viewpoint, racism, violence

Friday, September 19, 2014

(50) The Power of Six

Title:The Power of Six (Lorien Legacies) by Pittacus Lore
Publisher: Harper Collins
421 pages
Genre: Fantasy
Platform: Audio Book
Narrated by: Neil Kaplan, Marisol Ramirez
Length: 11 hrs and 13 mins

Synopsis: I've seen him on the news. Followed the stories about what happened in Ohio. John Smith, out there, on the run. To the world, he's a mystery. But to me . . . he's one of us.
Nine of us came here, but sometimes I wonder if time has changed us—if we all still believe in our mission. How can I know? There are six of us left. We're hiding, blending in, avoiding contact with one another . . . but our Legacies are developing, and soon we'll be equipped to fight. Is John Number Four, and is his appearance the sign I've been waiting for? And what about Number Five and Six? Could one of them be the raven-haired girl with the stormy eyes from my dreams? The girl with powers that are beyond anything I could ever imagine? The girl who may be strong enough to bring the six of us together?

They caught Number One in Malaysia.
Number Two in England.
And Number Three in Kenya.
They tried to catch Number Four in Ohio—and failed. I am Number Seven. One of six still alive. And I'm ready to fight.

Review: Only my second audio book that I've finished, I find that I am often distracted while trying to listen to audio books. I have this and one other book in this series in paperback but I find that I pick them up and then put them back down, not sure why. I think this audio book was great. The narrators change their voices to the different characters that really help move the story along. I really like this series.

This is a great sequel to I am Number Four although I feel like the title is a bit of a misrepresentation. The main stories of this book are about Marina (Number 7) and John Smith, Six, Sam and Johns Beagle, Bernie Kozar. I think I learned more about Seven than Six. John, Sam, and Six travel across America, which leads to more than one obvious and awkward love triangle. We do get to learn more about Six but she doesn't seem to be the main focus, it seems to be more focused on Seven. Marina, who has been hiding out all over Europe, but has been living in Spain in an orphanage with her protector. Unfortunately Marina's protector has slipped into denial, pretending that her past is all fantasy. Marina doesn't know who she can trust now torn between trying to get her protector to wake up and realize the danger, trusting the new girl who seems to be so helpful to her and fending for herself. She knows she has to leave as soon as possible but can she do it alone?

This would be a great book to listen to with kids in the car on a long trip. I think I'm gonna stick to the audio versions of these books.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

(49) Out of the Ashes

Title: Out Of The Ashes (The Ending Series, #3) by Lindsey Fairleigh & Lindsey Pogue
Publisher: L2 Books
423 pages
Genre: Dystopian,

I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. 

Synopsis: Hope brought them together, but it's now fear that drives them...and threatens to tear them apart.

Zoe and her companions succeeded in rescuing Dani from the Colony. But not without sacrifice. Beaten and broken, they head west, determined to leave behind the torment and horrors they experienced in Colorado.

As Dani and Zoe make the perilous trek home to Bodega Bay, they learn that danger can take many forms--other survivors, their friends, even themselves--and that things are rarely what they seem. Zoe is desperate to become the woman she sees in others' memories, while Dani struggles to conceal damaging secrets, risking losing herself--her humanity--completely. Together, they must rediscover the true meaning of friendship, love, and trust, and learn just how hard they're willing to fight for what remains of their shattered world.

Review:  Free from the Colony, Zoe, Dani and their crew of other lost souls continue to make their way across the country.  They are in search of a place to call home, a safe place where they don't have to sleep with one eye open anymore and be able to try to build a life.  Zoe is still struggling with the effects of whatever happened to her during her escape from Clara the psycho girl who keeps trying to kill her and Dani seems to be losing herself to her animal friends. In addition to the every day struggles to survive Dani struggles with the knowledge of what her mother had done and that she is still alive. This knowledge is dangerous, more dangerous than she can possibly imagine.

This series just keeps getting better as layers start to peel away to reveal what happened to create this world, and how those who survived can continue to live their lives. These characters aren't invincible either, you will see them bend to the breaking point or lose themselves all together, this is a touch and violent new world and they are lucky to have survived as long as they have but their struggles are far from over. Like the other books the action and the character building gets equal play and doesn't disappoint.  My only wish for these books is that I didn't have to wait for the next one but even still I am excited and gripping the edge of my seat to see what new challenge this motley crew will have to face in order to survive.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

(48) Stone Cold Lover (Gargoyle Series)

Title: Stone Cold Lover (Gargoyles Series) by Christine Warren
Publisher: St. Martins Paperbacks
336 pages
Genre: Paranormal Romance

Synopsis: Art restorer Felicity "Fil" Shaltis can read the magic in auras, but her fascination with a valuable statue her friend Ella Harrow asks her to locate is purely artistic. At least until the fierce stone gargoyle comes to life as a powerful, and powerfully hot, immortal warrior, who promptly saves her life from a cultist set on destroying them both. Suddenly "chiseled good looks" takes on a whole new meaning…

Review: This is the second book in this series and I thought it was better than the first.  Felicity like most people doesn't know that there is a war going on between good and evil in the world and Evil seems to be gaining ground.  Stone Guardians were created to protect the world from this evil but the Wardens that were supposed to wake them up are being hunted and killed.  It seems that now only certain women their Guardian's true mate can wake them.  In the first book Ella woke the first, in this book Ella convinced her friend Felicity to seek out a special statue which she winds up waking and being pulled into a mystical nightmare where there is danger around every turn and she has been branded by a crazy man wielding magic.

Christine Warren spins a tale that captivates you and keeps you reading.  I love this series.
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