All Things Raven

The Raven Cycle.png

I recently read the first book of The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater. The Raven Boys is a fresh breath in a sea of YA supernatural repetition. In wake of Twilight, The Hunger Games, and Divergent series everything I have read in the past few years seems to be attempting to ride on the coat tales of success. Some of them have been good, most have just been repeats with different characters and monsters.17675462

What makes The Raven Cycle so interesting?

  • A non-annoying budding love story going on.
  • Most of the main characters and POV that the story is written in are male.
  • Actual adults present in the lives of these teenagers.
  • Underlying mystery.
  • Original supernatural elements I’ve not seen before.

I am currently on book two, The Dream Thieves, and I’m 89% finished. 4 out of 5 stars is my current review, but only because I haven’t read to the final book, The Raven King, yet (which released in 2016 by the way).  This is due to the fact that every series, no matter how great, seems to have a lull in the middle somewhere. A book that isn’t as good as all the others. There are also two of those little in-between stories if you’re into them.

On a side note, I recommend taking a look at Maggie Steifvater’s website. It’s probably the best author’s site I’ve ever seen. You can just click the link to check it out.

Books at the Top

There are so so so many books that I have been keeping on my TBR (to-be-read) list for way too long, and I’m constantly adding new ones. Who isn’t a victim of this problem? This summer I made a plan to check off some of those titles, and while I haven’t quite made a dent in the list, I have put some of those books on the read list. Here are some that are next up on my summer reading list:

Origin, Opaland Opposition (the last three books of the Lux series),  The Last WerewolfThe Coldest Girl in ColdtownThe Witch’s Daughter

July 2015 reading list

Bout of Books!

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/72f/57517364/files/2014/12/img_2050.png
I am officially declaring my intention to participate in the upcoming Bout of Books read-a-thon! Here is a blurb from the people who run this amazing online event:

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 5th and runs through Sunday, January 11th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 12 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

For more information got to their website: http://boutofbooks.blogspot.com/

My goal is to read 2 books. Last go I didn’t get to participate as I had intended because life type things happened.
I strongly encourage all ye readers and book lovers to check out the site and sign up too!

Banned Books Week

 

banned books

Artwork courtesy of the American Library Association

The last week of September each year is  marked as Banned Book Week. Banning books continues to be a controversial subject among book lovers, book professionals, and those who support the bans. I do not agree with banning books entirely because they do not fit into someone’s ideal point of view. This kind of banning infringes on our First Amendment right to freedom of speech and freedom of press.

For instance: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie is one of the many books which have been banned from schools. I can maybe try to understand why parents would want it to not be a required book to read; maybe it could be more of an option and have an alternative choice. Really though, it isn’t as bad as everyone seems to think. I read the story about this book being banned from a school in Idaho in which a teenage student was able to get 350 signatures on a petition to keep on the curriculum. The book ended up being banned though, but a local book store bought enough of these books that it was able to hold an  event in which the store and the student passed out a book to every student who wished to have a copy. When the publisher found out about this happening they sent a free copy of the book for every one given away to the book store.

When I first read this article I had never heard of the book. I went to my local library and talked to one of the librarians and she said that there is some pretty bad language throughout the book and a reference to masturbation. I, being a parent, immediately though, “Oh my God! They had that as required reading in a school?” I should have picked up the book right then and read it for myself, but being a book blogger I keep a constant full reading schedule and didn’t have time to read it. So, naturally, I Googled it. Immediately all kinds of articles popped up about parents bringing scanned copies of certain pages to school boards and shocked adults talking about how crude and vulgar this book is. I looked for the excerpt about masturbation in particular as I thought this would be especially too explicit for young eyes to read. Here is the worst passages I found directly from the book:

“I spend hours in the bathroom with a magazine that has one thousand pictures of naked movie stars. Naked woman + right hand = happy happy joy joy Yep, that’s right, I admit that I masturbate 

I’m proud of it.

I’m good at it.

I’m ambidextrous.

If there were a Professional Masterbutors league, I’d get drafted number one and make millions of dollars.” 

 

“And if God hadn’t wanted us to masturbate, then God wouldn’t have given us thumbs.

So I thank God for my thumbs.” 

 

So yeah, that’s it. I would say that it may not be appropriate for middle school students, but high school students see, hear, and do worse things every day. I think they can handle it if they are allowed to watch South Park, Vampire Diaries, MTV’s Awkward, or almost any made for teen movie or television show. The real question is, how long are we as parents going to try to shield our kids from the world. Also, how long are we going to delude ourselves to think they are as innocent as we try to keep them. Is a realistic approach better than sheltering?

I remember being a teenager. My parents sheltered my to a certain extent, mainly my dad was just pretty strict about following his rules (which were a little overboard sometimes). Another thing I remember is the kids who were over sheltered coming into the world. They tended to be the ones to go crazy and jump head first into any new experience they could. This didn’t always go well for them and they tended to end up hurt or hurting others.

As a parent, what is that line for you? How long are you, as a parent, going to protect your kids from the world and to what end? Are books a part of that? Are they any different from television and movies?

 

Transitioning to New Books

large_4743554764

photo credit: h.koppdelaney via photopin cc

I don’t know about all of you lovely readers, but when I finish a book or finish binging on a series, I have a hard time getting into the world of a new book. For instance, I just finished reading the first two books of the Mara Dyer series (LOVE BTW) and now I am on the second chapter of Heir of Fire (FINALLY) but I am having transitioning problems.

The Mara Dyer series is set in a real world setting and there are lots of crazies running around and creepy ghosts/creepers/insanity flying all over the place. Heir of Fire on the other hand, it is set in a fairy tale kind of story set in a kingdom in turmoil with a cruel king, elves, a deadly assassin, and ancient magic.

See my problem? This is why I can only read two books at once if they are both in the same kind of setting. The only way I have found to get past it is just to push through and eventually I am able to immerse myself in the new book. Has anyone ever experienced this? What books did you seem to have a hard time switching between? How do you overcome it?

4 Reasons Why I Love #YA

One of the hottest topics among the world of books is adults reading YA. Some people (wrong people) think that YA is not for adults and that adults should be ashamed of reading books meant for kids. I can’t say enough how much I disagree with this. I LOVE to read YA books for many reasons, and I am not ashamed in any way and neither should anyone else be who reads YA. Here are the reasons why I love to read YA, illustrated with some gifs.

 

awkward kissThough some romance scenes in YA can be considered risque, there is a line that they tend to not cross. The awkward terminology, the embarrassing over sharing etc. is something not typically seen in YA novels. I admit that there are some exceptions, but generally I don’t like those over sexed up books that make me so embarrassed to read them that I try to keep my husband from seeing the pages when he walks by me.

 

adele swear The language! I don’t mind some cussing in the books I read, sometimes it makes the dialogue a bit more realistic. However, when an author of an adult tries to REALLY make the book ADULT the f-bombs and various other cuss words are annoying. I have read some books in which there was so much cussing it seemed to take away from the story. It’s just tacky and uncalled for.

 

adventrueThere are adventures and amazingly awesome characters in just about every single YA book I have ever read. Even if the book isn’t great, at least I know that there will be a decent plot. It’s like a bad tv drama. If you are bored, at least there is a somewhat decent plot to daze out watching. With adult books that isn’t always true, there is a lot of times when there doesn’t seem to be much of anything happening. This is generally when the awkward romantic scenes are at their worst.

 

giphy (2)

The fourth reason, while not the last, is my favorite part about reading YA most of the time. Why do we watch weekly television shows? To get lost in them. We want to be taken out of our own lives for a little while and not have to think to hard about what we are watching. For me, YA novels have the same effect. I can read an entire young adult fiction novel and not have to break out the dictionary or scratch my head over a word that isn’t something in the typical English speaker’s vocabulary. I’m not dumb, I promise. It just seems like sometimes adult novel writers use words to make them seem more sophisticated and adult. Just because you include words like indubitably and extemporaneous doesn’t make your book look smarter, it just makes me more bored and not want to read your book.

 

Bookish Fashion: Spellcaster

At the end of Spellcaster by Claudia Grey we find Elizabeth, Mateo, and Nadia attending a party on the beach the night before Halloween. After some fairly evil events unfold, the plot’s climax takes place on Halloween night in a large house. Nadia and Elizabeth are, in my opinion, dressed the opposite of what you would think. I would think Nadia would be wearing what Elizabeth has on, and Nadia would be wearing Elizabeth’s dress. Below is my interpretation of what what Nadia and Elizabeth are wearing in the final epic scene of this book.

Spellcaster