September has been a crazy month for me! I turned 25 at the beginning of the month and went on a wonderful little weekend vaca! My boyfriend and I bought our first apartment!! So the month has been full of “adulting” and spending my life savings LOL.
Reading wise – I only managed to finish 3 books. Between all of the packing, planning, working, and stressing… reading didn’t get to happen as much as I wanted. However, the 3 books I read, I absolutely loved! So that was a major plus 🙂
A Study on Charlotte – Brittany Cavallaro
This book was great! I loved it.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Check out my review if you missed it!
The Turn of the Key – Ruth Ware
I loved this book and it was my first book by Ruth Ware! I will be checking out some of her other books!
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Check out my review here if you missed it!
The Last of August – Brittany Cavallaro
This book in the 2nd in the Charlotte Holmes series. I was happy to be able to read this one shortly after the first one as it was all fresh in my mind. Loving the series so far!! Review is to come!
As I’m sure most of you know – this week is “Banned Books Week.” I was debating if I wanted to do a blog post on this mostly because I was not fully educated on the subject. So, I did a little reading on it and found out that I have read and owned a handful of books on this banned and challenged list. The more I read about the books on the list and the reasons they have been banned or challenged, the more I was just totally confused and just speechless to be honest.
Banned Books Week (September 22-28, 2019) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools. It brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.
From the ALA website
I did not realize how many schools and libraries have actually taken books out of the curriculum or the libraries because people are offended in some way by them. I have always held the same belief and don’t think I’ll ever change – If you don’t like something…. don’t read it/use it/look at it! That may be harsh, but in reality, not everyone is going to like something and chances are, someone will always feel offended or uncomfortable, so it seems much easier for a select few to just ignore the material than to actually remove it from everyone (within reason of course- if something in very inappropriate or hurtful then it should be removed, but not just because the subject matter makes people uncomfortable).
Okay – my rant is over haha. I wanted to share with you all some of the books that are on the Banned Book List and the reason they are banned. And I also want to share the books I’ve read that are on the list (I was honestly shocked by all of them… I also had NO IDEA that they were banned/ challenged until I read the list lol).
Check out the ALA website for more info about this week, the banned books, and the movement for intellectual freedom!
Top 5 Banned/ Challenged Books of 2018:
George – Alex Gino
Reason: because it was believed to encourage children to clear browser history and change their bodies using hormones, and for mentioning “dirty magazines,” describing male anatomy, “creating confusion,” and including a transgender character
A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo – Jill Twiss
Reason: for including LGBTQIA+ content, and for political and religious viewpoints
Captain Underpants Series – Dav Pikey
Reason: challenged because it was perceived as encouraging disruptive behavior, while Captain Underpants and the Sensational Saga of Sir Stinks-A-Lot was challenged for including a same-sex couple
The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas
Reason: banned and challenged because it was deemed “anti-cop,” and for profanity, drug use, and sexual references
Drama – Raina Telgemeier
Reason: banned and challenged for including LGBTQIA+ characters and themes
Books I have Read & Owned on the List:
James and the Giant Peach – Ronald Dahl
Hop on Pop – Dr. Seuss
The Giver – Lois Lowry
Junie B Jones (series) – Barbara Park
Harry Potter (series) – JK Rowling
Goosebumps (series) – RL Stine
The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
Twilight (series) – Stephanie Meyer
The Diary of Anne Frank – Anne Frank
Charlottes Web – EB White
There are probably more books that have been challenged or banned that I have on my shelf or have read over the years. But that is all I can find as of right now.
How many banned books have you read? What are your thoughts on banning books at all?
I hope everyone is having a lovely week full of reading and relaxing (I know I haven’t had time to relax but maybe some of you have!!)
I wanted to share a review for A Body at the Tower by Y.S. Lee. This is the second book in the Agency series. I wrote a review for the first book of the series – you can check it out here.
Now nearly a full-fledged member of the Agency, the all-female detective unit operating out of Miss Scrimshaw’s Academy for Girls, Mary Quinn is back for another action-packed adventure. Disguised as a poor apprentice builder and a boy, she must brave the grimy underbelly of Victorian London – as well as childhood fear, hunger, and constant want – to unmask the identity of a murderer. Assigned to monitor a building site on the clock tower of the Houses of Parliament, Mary earns the confidence of the work crew, inching ever nearer her suspect. But if an irresistible desire to help the city’s needy doesn’t distract her and jeopardize her cover, unexpectedly meeting up with an old friend – or flame – just might.
I really enjoyed this book!! Just right off the bat – this was an easy read, fast read, and overall it was fun and exciting. I never felt bored or like I didn’t want to finish it. I was constantly saying “just one more chapter” and I finished the book VERY fast!
The reader follows Mary Quinn, the undercover female detective through Victorian London where she is back at solving a mystery. This time, the story takes an interesting turn when Mary goes undercover as a boy! She has to deal with a lot of horrible things such as hunger, poor living conditions, and hard work conditions. However, she is able to tap into her own childhood background which was mainly comprised of hunger, homelessness, and struggle. She fits the part as the poor apprentice boy and is able to blend in and gain the trust of the men she works with. She of course, meets up with her romantic interest from the first book and must work with him to solve the mystery.
Mary as a character is amazing. She’s strong, independent, smart, and feisty. She doesn’t take shit from anyone. She really is able to hold herself which is such an amazing quality, especially since this book is set in Victorian London where females are not normally like that (or allowed to be like that). Because she is so strong and independent her relationship with the male character (James) can be tricky at times. I really liked there back and forth and bickering. I felt it was playful and fun. It also really fit with Mary’s character since she had to stick up for herself and prove she doesn’t “need” James several times. James was quite interesting as well. He typically tried to put Mary into that normal female role but would realize quickly that Mary would not go into that role. He was challenged and overall quite accepting of her and her personality which was nice. He never just blew her off. However, he was realistic and would often tell her when she needed to go into that woman role for her own safety and for his reputation as well.
The overall poverty and struggle in the book is eye opening. I really enjoyed the history aspect and being opened up to gender roles and expectations of that time. Mary’s childhood history is brought up and in great detail. It created an overarching empathy for her. It also made me feel so confident in her abilities and how strong she is. It made me really think about how females must have felt growing up in this time (especially the females in poverty). It gave the story depth and was eye opening to say the least.
Plot wise – I felt it was very well written. I could not even guess who the “bad guy” was in this one. I was shocked by it to be honest! I loved that it felt like I was Mary piecing everything together and then also confused and unsure with her. I didn’t know what was happening until it was literally written right in front of me which I love in a story. I don’t really like figuring it out early on in the story and then just sitting on it. One other thing I loved was that the story was detailed but it wasn’t overwhelming detailed that I found myself confused or bored. It was actually perfect, I felt like I knew everything I needed to and whatever I didn’t know was brought up at the appropriate time in the right way.
I really can’t say anything super negative about this book. I think it was better than the first one for sure!! So if you enjoyed the first one (or didn’t enjoy it) I would suggest reading the second one because it really takes that next step and is quite fabulous.
This weekly meme is hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open to everyone to participate! Why not join in and let me know what’s on your reading list this week…
To join in, just answer the following three questions… • What are you currently reading? • What did you recently finish reading? • What do you think you’ll read next?
The Last of August – Brittany Cavallaro
LOVING it so far!!
Jamie Watson and Charlotte Holmes are looking for a winter-break reprieve after a fall semester that almost got them killed. But Charlotte isn’t the only Holmes with secrets, and the mood at her family’s Sussex estate is palpably tense. On top of everything else, Holmes and Watson could be becoming more than friends—but still, the darkness in Charlotte’s past is a wall between them.
A distraction arises soon enough, because Charlotte’s beloved uncle Leander goes missing from the estate—after being oddly private about his latest assignment in a German art forgery ring. The game is afoot once again, and Charlotte is single-minded in her pursuit.
Their first stop? Berlin. Their first contact? August Moriarty (formerly Charlotte’s obsession, currently believed by most to be dead), whose powerful family has been ripping off famous paintings for the last hundred years. But as they follow the gritty underground scene in Berlin to glittering art houses in Prague, Holmes and Watson begin to realize that this is a much more complicated case than a disappearance. Much more dangerous, too.
What they learn might change everything they know about their families, themselves, and each other.
When she stumbles across the ad, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss—a live-in nannying post, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan Caine arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten—by the luxurious “smart” home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family.
What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare—one that will end with a child dead and herself in prison awaiting trial for murder.
Writing to her lawyer from prison, she struggles to explain the unravelling events that led to her incarceration. It wasn’t just the constant surveillance from the cameras installed around the house, or the malfunctioning technology that woke the household with booming music, or turned the lights off at the worst possible time. It wasn’t just the girls, who turned out to be a far cry from the immaculately behaved model children she met at her interview. It wasn’t even the way she was left alone for weeks at a time, with no adults around apart from the enigmatic handyman, Jack Grant.
It was everything.
She knows she’s made mistakes. She admits that she lied to obtain the post, and that her behavior toward the children wasn’t always ideal. She’s not innocent, by any means. But, she maintains, she’s not guilty—at least not of murder. Which means someone else is.
What I’ll Read Next
Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel
One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time—from the actor’s early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as the Traveling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains—this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor’s first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet.
Well that’s all for today folks! Let me know what you are currently reading!
Today I am going to share with you my review on Boy Robot by Simon Curtis. I have to say this was an impulse buy/read. I saw the cover of the book and just read the back of it while at the store and felt it would be interesting enough! I was happy with my pick, however, it also wasn’t my all time favourite book either. Read my review below.
Seventeen-year-old Isaak discovers the truth about his origin and the underground forces that must come together to fight against a secret government organization formed to eradicate those like him in this high-octane science fiction debut.
There once was a boy who was made, not created.
In a single night, Isaak’s life changed forever.
His adoptive parents were killed, a mysterious girl saved him from a team of soldiers, and he learned of his own dark and destructive origin.
An origin he doesn’t want to believe, but one he cannot deny.
Isaak is a Robot: a government-made synthetic human, produced as a weapon and now hunted, marked for termination.
He and the Robots can only find asylum with the Underground—a secret network of Robots and humans working together to ensure a coexistent future.
To be protected by the Underground, Isaak will have to make it there first. But with a deadly military force tasked to find him at any cost, his odds are less than favorable.
Now Isaak must decide whether to hold on to his humanity and face possible death…or to embrace his true nature in order to survive, at the risk of becoming the weapon he was made to be.
In his debut, recording artist Simon Curtis has written a fast-paced, high-stakes novel that explores humanity, the ultimate power of empathy, and the greatest battle of all: love vs. fear.
Overall, I found the book to be a fun and interesting read. I did find some times the story dragged on and was definitely too long at times. However, the action was good and it kept me on my toes. The action parts were well done in my opinion. There was some hint of almost X-men like stuff going on with the robots. I’ve seen other reviews that have said that as well.
There were some DARK things that happen in the story and dark themes are mentioned in this book. At times it was quite upsetting. But it painted a really good picture of characters and their lives. I feel although the dark moments were “wow”ing, it was also very fitting and necessary!
** That being said, some people may struggle with some of the things that happen in the book, so be cautious and maybe read some more reviews that talk about exact things mentioned!
Issak, the main character, has a rough go right at the beginning of the book. His whole world is just flipped upside down when he finds out that he is not human…. Could you imagine? He finds out he is a ROBOT. I could not even imagine the feeling of finding out your whole life was just a lie.
But, not only did he find out he was a robot… his parents were killed and he was being HUNTED by some type of military task force sent out to find these robots. So, now his life is just totally changed and he has to cope with it all, but then he has to run for his life across the country to find some safe place where other robots are living called the “Underground.” Rough.
Issak is running for his life with another robot. She saved his life right from the start and was leading him and other robots to the Underground. Obviously there are some roadblocks along the way and Issak is really pushed to the edge to survive.
Overall the characters really grow throughout the book. It is interesting to follow them through and almost feel you are growing with them!
I liked that there were different perspectives throughout. There were like small chapters of other characters perspectives about finding out they were a robot. This was nice as it broke up the story but also gave the reader a better idea about certain characters.
Again, this book was interesting and for the most part it was captivating. However, some times it dragged on. I didn’t personally have any issues with the darkness and difficult themes, but that could be a downfall for some!!
The Turn of the Key was quite good!! First of all – can we just talk about the strange but awesome house. A secluded house, with a dark past, that was bought and renovated to be some crazy smart house by a strange family that seemed so perfect it had to be too good to be true. I have to say I felt something was off about the house right from the get go. I didn’t know WHAT it was… I cycled through many theories. Each time I thought I had figured it out, I was wrong!
I was impressed with the overall story line and the characters. I can tell you I was definitely CREEPED OUT at times reading this book. At one point I could feel my heart beating quickly and felt like my eyes were jumping ahead to find out what was happening faster haha!
I do have to say though, while I enjoyed the book – it wasn’t my most favorite. There were times where I felt descriptions were much too long. I actually lost interest at the beginning of the book a few times and found myself getting easily distracted. BUT, once I was half way through the book I couldn’t put it down.
As for the characters in the book – I liked most of them. I especially like Rowans character. I felt I could really relate to her and in all honestly many times during the story I was agreeing with Rowan and all of her thoughts on the children in the house and just the overall craziness she had to deal with. At first, I honestly HATED Maddie and Rhiannon’s characters. Maddie was just a little brat and she was mean and malicious – I have to say I never did change my opinion of her. However, once I found out more about Rhiannon I actually really liked her and was able to sympathize with her situation.
I think if you enjoy a creepy, mysterious, “I feel like I’m being watched” type story then you will like this book!!
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Some thoughts I had while reading:
** The writing seems very good. I can actually feel Rowans desperation while she writes her letter from prison.
** Love how the story jumps right in. Its neat how it is told almost backwards. Like we start at the end and explain how she got there!
** Felt annoyed with Rowan at times. It felt like a typical horror movie… cute girl ventures to the middle of nowhere, comes to a large fancy house with a rich family, misses all warning signs, and then finds herself in a bad situation haha 😂
** LOVED Rowans reactions to the smart home. They were very relatable and how probably anyone would react. Reminded me of a time I was in someones house while all these fancy light switches and was in the bathroom unable to figure out how to turn the light on!!
** Getting bored during the looooong descriptions.
** Not a fan of the ending. No spoilers obviously, but it just felt like everything was not dealt with and felt unfinished to me.
Has anyone else read this book yet? What are your thoughts?
Today I am going to talk about an Author that I really like, Madeline Roux.
I have seen many other bloggers do Author Spotlights and Author Interviews and whatnot. I love that idea, however, I don’t have any authors to interview (haha) and I honestly don’t think I need to interview an author in order to showcase them! I want to do this “Author Mention” when I have an author I really love and want to talk about them, or just when I come across someone new that I want to share with the world (even if others know them already – sometimes I can be late to the game haha)!
My goal is to open your eyes to some great reads and great authors! Maybe even add some new favorites to your TBR list!
So, Madeline Roux – I have been a fan of her since I read the Asylum series. If you haven’t read them you absolutely should, they were awesome! I found all of them to be easy reads that were captivating. I hardly put the books down. I enjoyed the plot and the characters. I tend to enjoy books, movies, TV shows that are scary or spooky. While I didn’t find the series scary, it did have times that were creepy which I liked. Anyways, read these books, they were great!
She has a few other series and some books that will be published later this year. I love her stories and am really looking forward to reading more of her books. I have many of them on my TBR
MADELEINE ROUX received her BA in Creative Writing and Acting from Beloit College in 2008. In the spring of 2009, Madeleine completed an Honors Term at Beloit College, proposing, writing and presenting a full-length historical fiction novel. Shortly after, she began the experimental fiction blog Allison Hewitt Is Trapped. Allison Hewitt Is Trapped quickly spread throughout the blogosphere, bringing a unique serial fiction experience to readers.
** From Goodreads
Asylum (Asylum Series #1)
For sixteen-year-old Dan Crawford, New Hampshire College Prep is more than a summer program—it’s a lifeline. An outcast at his high school, Dan is excited to finally make some friends in his last summer before college. But when he arrives at the program, Dan learns that his dorm for the summer used to be a sanatorium, more commonly known as an asylum. And not just any asylum—a last resort for the criminally insane.
As Dan and his new friends, Abby and Jordan, explore the hidden recesses of their creepy summer home, they soon discover it’s no coincidence that the three of them ended up here. Because the asylum holds the key to a terrifying past. And there are some secrets that refuse to stay buried
Allison Hewitt and her five colleagues at the Brooks and Peabody Bookstore are trapped together when the zombie outbreak hits. Allison reaches out for help through her blog, writing on her laptop and utilizing the military’s emergency wireless network (SNET). It may also be her only chance to reach her mother. But as the reality of their situation sinks in, Allison’s blog becomes a harrowing account of her edge-of-the-seat adventures (with some witty sarcasm thrown in) as she and her companions fight their way through ravenous zombies and sometimes even more dangerous humans.
After escaping a harsh school where punishment was the lesson of the day, seventeen-year-old Louisa Ditton is thrilled to find employment as a maid at a boarding house. But soon after her arrival at Coldthistle House, Louisa begins to realize that the house’s mysterious owner, Mr. Morningside, is providing much more than lodging for his guests. Far from a place of rest, the house is a place of judgment, and Mr. Morningside and his unusual staff are meant to execute their own justice on those who are past being saved.
Louisa begins to fear for a young man named Lee who is not like the other guests. He is charismatic and kind, and Louisa knows that it may be up to her to save him from an untimely judgment. But in this house of distortions and lies, how can Louisa be sure whom to trust?
A WOMAN ON THE RUN. A CAPTAIN ADRIFT IN SPACE. ONE OF THEM IS INFECTED WITH AN ALIEN PARASITE.
In this dark science fiction thriller, a young woman must confront her past so the human race will have a future.
Rosalyn Devar is on the run from her famous family, the bioengineering job she’s come to hate, and her messed-up life. She’s run all the way to outer space, where she’s taken a position as a “space janitor,” cleaning up ill-fated research expeditions. But no matter how far she goes, Rosalyn can’t escape herself. After too many mistakes on the job, she’s given one last chance: take care of salvaging the Brigantine, a research vessel that has gone dark, with all crew aboard thought dead.
But the Brigantine’s crew are very much alive–if not entirely human. Now Rosalyn is trapped on board, alone with a crew infected by a mysterious parasitic alien. The captain, Edison Aries, seems to still maintain some control over himself and the crew, but he won’t be able to keep fighting much longer. Rosalyn and Edison must find a way to stop the parasite’s onslaught…or it may take over the entire human race
So many of these books are on my TBR and honestly who knows how long it will be until I get to them hahaha!
I am looking forward to her book “Salvaged” so I will be keeping my eye on that!
Any books by Madeline Roux on your TBR? Let me know in the comments!!