Thursday, September 30, 2010

Grace by Elizabeth Scott

Title: Grace
Author: Elizabeth Scott
Publisher: Dutton
Hardcover, 200 pages
Date Published: September 16, 2010

Description (Taken from Goodreads):
A fable of a terrifying near future by critically acclaimed author Elizabeth Scott.

Grace was raised to be an Angel, a herald of death by suicide bomb. But she refuses to die for the cause, and now Grace is on the run, daring to dream of freedom. In search of a border she may never reach, she travels among malevolent soldiers on a decrepit train crawling through the desert. Accompanied by the mysterious Kerr, Grace struggles to be invisible, but the fear of discovery looms large as she recalls the history and events that delivered her uncertain fate.

Told in spare, powerful prose, this tale of a dystopian near future will haunt readers long after they've reached the final page
.

Elizabeth Scott may be known for her ability to write lighthearted romantic books with these incredibly realistic characters, but she can certainly do dark just as well. Grace tells the story of a suicide bomber who decides that she doesn’t want to die. Defying the People and the beliefs that have been instilled in her mind her entire life is beyond anguishing for her.

Grace feels shame towards herself for not whole-heartedly believing in the life she was raised to have. A girl born to die. The world that she lives in may not be so unlike our own. It’s a terrifying fact, but our world is centered around power, as is Grace’s. The power that one man possesses can destroy the lives of many and Grace lives that everyday.

On her journey for freedom, Grace encounters a young man about her age. The things she learns from him are insurmountable compared to the things she has been taught in the past. A few days and a train ride give her the startling realization that the People that raised her and proclaimed she was born to die, may not be all that better than the Keran Berj, the man ruling the land ruthlessly, ordering death with the twitch of a hand.

Elizabeth Scott has surprised me once again with this shockingly and potentially, plausibly, maybe even probably, realistic take on suicide bombers and the pain they harbor inside of them. Grace is young and should be innocent, but that is all taken from her. Stolen. And after everything that she has gone through, all she wants is life. I don’t think that’s too much to ask for, but in her world, it’s unthinkable. Unforgivable. Shameful.

The writing style is so unique here because the sentences are clipped, succinct, and completely direct. The near lack of dialogue surprised me at first, but it feels right. To truly understand what Grace is going through, we need to be in her head, knowing her thoughts and feeling her emotions. Much of the book is introspective and it’s despairing to see how much Grace has gone through in such a short time. It’s unlikely that I’ll ever forget Grace and her struggle for life.

Grace is a haunting tale of a world filled with death and destruction; Sacrifice and pain. Nothing is quite as it seems and the Angels in this world are harbingers of death disguised as young girls. It’s a story of a girl struggling to survive, but also about a bigger picture. A picture that depicts a war that has no winners and no right and wrong, only the lives lost along the way. This story will make you open your eyes to both sides of war and make you see the innocent people caught in the middle.

Opening line: I’m afraid my hair is showing. ~ pg. 3

Favorite lines (I have two): 
Sometimes, I don’t think there is anything beyond what is here, what is now. I think that maybe beyond this world – this train, this desert we are passing through, this heat swelling all around – there is nothing. ~ pg. 28

And this one:

To be so young and so cruel – he was the end of the world made flesh. ~ pg. 114
 *This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it. 

Find Elizabeth Scott online:
Buy it online:

Fall Giveaway Winners!!


The Fall Giveaway has come to a conclusion and the winners have been drawn.

The winner of the MG Prize Pack is...
The winner of the YA Prize Pack is...
The winner of the Adult Prize Pack is...
I will be contacting all the winners shortly via the email. They have 72 hours to get back to me or alternate winners may be chosen.

Thanks for participating and welcome to all the new followers!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Teaser Tuesday - Never Let Me Go (9/28/10)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading

The Rules:
•Grab your current read
•Open to a random page
•Share two (2) or so “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
•BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
•Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers

This week's teaser comes from Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. Here's a scene between a group of children and the mysterious Madame:
As she came to a halt, I glanced quickly at her face - as did the others, I'm sure. And I can still see it now, the shudder she seemed to be suppressing, the real dread that one of us would accidentally brush against her. And though we just kept on walking, we all felt it; it was like we'd walked from the sun right into chilly shade. ~ pg. 35

From the Booker Prize-winning author of The Remains of the Day comes a devastating new novel of innocence, knowledge, and loss. As children Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy were students at Hailsham, an exclusive boarding school secluded in the English countryside. It was a place of mercurial cliques and mysterious rules where teachers were constantly reminding their charges of how special they were.
Now, years later, Kathy is a young woman. Ruth and Tommy have reentered her life. And for the first time she is beginning to look back at their shared past and understand just what it is that makes them special—and how that gift will shape the rest of their time together. Suspenseful, moving, beautifully atmospheric, Never Let Me Go is another classic by the author of The Remains of the Day.

*Description taken from Goodreads

Monday, September 27, 2010

Banned/Challenged Book: Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson

Title: Twisted
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Publisher: Viking
Hardcover, 250 pages
Date Published: March 20, 2007

Description (Taken from Goodreads): 
High school senior Tyler Miller used to be the kind of guy who faded into the background—average student, average looks, average dysfunctional family. But since he got busted for doing graffiti on the school, and spent the summer doing outdoor work to pay for it, he stands out like you wouldn’t believe. His new physique attracts the attention of queen bee Bethany Milbury, who just so happens to be his father’s boss’s daughter, the sister of his biggest enemy—and Tyler’s secret crush. And that sets off a string of events and changes that have Tyler questioning his place in the school, in his family, and in the world.

In
Twisted, the acclaimed Laurie Halse Anderson tackles a very controversial subject: what it means to be a man today. Fans and new readers alike will be captured by Tyler’s pitchperfect, funny voice, the surprising narrative arc, and the thoughtful moral dilemmas that are at the heart of all of the author’s award-winning, widely read work.
Withdrawn from classroom use in Kentucky, but still available in the library in 2009. Some parents felt that this book, along with four others, contained foul language and topics (sex, child abuse, suicide, drugs) deemed inappropriate for coed classes, as well as not being intellectually challenging for college prep courses.
Source
Twisted centers on Tyler, the used to be nerd, now somewhat bad boy who bloomed into a full grown, six foot hottie over the summer. With his newfound ripped physique, he may actually have a chance with the hottest girl in the school, the girl of his dreams, but his feelings have to contend with his dysfunctional family and his slowly crumbling world.

Character-wise, Tyler is fantastic. I couldn’t put the book down because I was just so attached to the guy. Anderson writes from the teenage male perspective and does it so wondrously. Tyler is the epitome of teenage boy. He’s moody and angry and lustful and beyond hormonal, but he’s also a real character.

Tyler's funny and cares about his mom and his sister and he tries so hard to be a good guy. The things that happen to him are a bit out of his control, but that’s where the book gets so good. The escalating tension builds so much throughout the story that I found myself just waiting for the explosion and Anderson does not disappoint.

Tyler’s inner thoughts are vividly raw with his emotions. His past mistake (just the one really) becomes the center of his world, the single factor that drives his senior year. Anderson probes Tyler’s family life so we see way past the pristine surface to a family that is falling apart bit by bit; from Tyler, a high school senior on parole, to Hannah, the freshman who wants to express herself and break free from her parents rules, to the mom who is fast becoming and alcoholic, and finally to the dad who is overworked, easily agitated, and constantly verbally abusive. Like I said, the family is twisted, but their imperfections are what make the entire story so easy to just get.

The book is stamped “THIS BOOK IS NOT FOR CHILDREN” but it isn’t really all that graphic, at least in my opinion. Sure, there’s talk of erections and cold showers and a scene alluding to masturbation, but Tyler is 18 years old. If people don’t think that teens know, think about, or have sex, then they’re fooling themselves. Tyler’s world doesn’t even revolve around the opposite sex. The plot focuses much more on him as a person and how much he has changed and how his family is a little twisted. This is definitely not for the younger crowd, but with the warning right there in the beginning, I don’t see how/why it needs to be challenged in high schools.

Twisted is an incredibly well-written book that’s easy to relate to and impossible to put down. Filled with lusty thoughts an uproarious humor, Anderson taps into the teenage male psyche in a way few female authors are able to do. Take the time to read this book, you won’t regret it.

Opening line: I spent the last Friday of summer vacation spreading hot, sticky tar across the roof of George Washington High. ~ pg. 1

Favorite line (I have two):
I scared myself, because once you've thought long and hard enough about doing something that is colossally stupid, you feel like you've actually done it, and then you're never quite sure what your limits are. ~ pg. 95

And this one:

The guy in the mirror looked like somebody had wrapped his heart in barbed wire and pulled. He wasn’t just a loser. He was lost, no-compass lost, don’t-speak-the-language lost.
    I have screwed up everything. ~ pg. 189
 *This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.

Music Mondays - Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes (9/27/10)

Music Mondays spotlights a band/artist that I particularly enjoy. I'm not sure who started it, but I know that Reverie Book Reviews does the same thing.

I love Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes all thanks to by younger brother."Home" is such a feel-good, happy song. I can't help but smile when I hear it.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

In My Mailbox - (9/26/10)

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It is a list of any of the books you may have received in the past week from bookstores, libraries, authors/publishers, trades, etc.

After 5 years, my HP laptop decided to die on me and me using my family's desktop has been a hassle because it had none of my stuff on it. After about 2 weeks without a laptop, I decided to just whip out the credit card and get a new one. I just got my Dell today and, while he's still nameless, I think we'll have a long friendship together. Oh, and he gets to hang out with all my cool new books as well.
Bought:
White Cat by Holly Black
Infinite Days by Rebecca Maizel
Crave by Melinda Metz & Laura J. Burns
Losing Faith by Denise Jaden
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Fat Vampire by Adam Rex

Title: Fat Vampire
Author: Adam Rex
Publisher: HarperTeen
Hardcover, 324 pages
Date Published: July 27, 2010

Description (Taken from Goodreads):
Doug Lee is undead quite by accident—attacked by a desperate vampire, he finds himself cursed with being fat and fifteen forever. When he has no luck finding some goth chick with a vampire fetish, he resorts to sucking the blood of cows under cover of the night. But it’s just not the same.

Then he meets the new Indian exchange student and falls for her—hard. Yeah, he wants to bite her, but he also wants to prove himself to her. But like the laws of life, love, and high school, the laws of vampire existence are complicated—it’s not as easy as studying Dracula. Especially when the star of Vampire Hunters is hot on your trail in an attempt to boost ratings.…

Leave it to Adam Rex to create a thought-provoking novel that takes on teen angst, sexuality, identity, love, and undeath in ways that break it out of the genre.

The YA market is inundated with vampire stories, but Fat Vampire really stuck out as something completely different. And it is. For the most part. Doug is vampire and he’s fat. He’s not the average dark, sexy vampire, but an overweight 15 year old with glasses and few friends. The other kids at school even call him Meatball. The premise sounds hilarious and fun, which it is, for a while. I’ve seen mixed reviews of the book and I get why. It was good, but not quite as good as I’d hoped.

The good stuff:
It opens with vampire Doug and his best friend Jay in San Diego to check out Comic-con. Vampires. Comic-con. What more could I ask for? Adam Rex kicks the comedy into high gear for the first third of the book. Doug’s vampire troubles, including the inability to attract girls even with his vampireness, are more than amusing. When most people think of vampires, they think sexy and powerful. Doug is neither and that’s what makes this story great. Rex’s writing is witty and had me cracking up laughing.

The not so good:

Doug is a teenager, so he’s bound to be attracted to girls, but I could not see the allure of Sejal, the foreign exchange student from India. She’s nice to him and most girls aren’t, so I get that, but her character was just so flat and dull. She even borders on annoying with her whiny ‘I have the Google’ and her boohooing about Doug liking her. BTW, the Google is a disease/disorder of using the internet and technology so much that your real life pretty much disappears.

This love story aspect was boring and carried on for so long. Nothing seems to happen during the entire middle of the book. Doug likes Sejal, Sejal doesn’t really like Doug, Jay finds some new friends, Doug starts learning more about vampires, but nothing really happens. The comedy all but disappears and we’re left with Doug being quiet and broody (not in any sort of sexy way).

Fat Vampire fell into that slump right in the middle. It starts off really strong and funny, then drops into a lull that seems neverending, only to come back to life towards the end. I liked this book, but it wasn’t as good as I had hoped and expected from the first few chapters. It’s still worth the read though.

Opening line: Doug came to, lying on his back in what felt and smelled like a field. ~ pg. 1

Favorite line(s): “He thinks he’s a vampire maybe.” “I’ve taken blood from a stormtrooper and a Superman and at least three cartoon characters today,” said Kendra. “He can think he’s whatever he want, long as he TURNS HIS ASSFERATU AROUND AND PUTS BACK THAT BLOOD.” ~ pg. 37
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it. 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Bloggers Speak Out: List of Links

Bloggers Speak Out is a movement sparked by the recent article, "Filthy Books Demeaning to Republic Education" by Dr. Wesley Scroggins that was published in the Springfield, MO News-Leader on September 18th. In this article, Scroggins vehemently advocates the censorship of books in schools, and specifically requests that the following books be removed from the Republic school system: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler, and Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut. To show our support of these authors and to fight against book banning and censorship, we have decided to take action and speak out.



Below is a list of links of bloggers speaking out against book banning and censorship--in the form of giveaways, posts, and reviews. Some are "officially" participating in what we're calling Bloggers Speak Out, and others are posts that we've found around the blogosphere. If you get time, you should definitely check them out!

Giveaways of Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
**All giveaways will end on 10/3, unless otherwise noted**

Other Giveaways
**All giveaways will end on 10/3, unless otherwise noted**

Other Posts Against Book Banning and Censorship

Important Articles on the Subject
"Filthy Books Demeaning to Republic Education" (the article that started it all)
"Republic School Book Choices under Fire" (Springfield News-Leader)

Melinda Sordino...the Hero? (A Post About Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson)

I read Speak for the first time when I was in high school. I was sixteen years old and the book became a focal point to my junior English essay. I don’t exactly remember what I wrote in the essay, but I know it was about heroes. There were other books and other characters that I pointed out, but I distinctly remember having to justify to my teacher exactly why I would consider Melinda Sordino, a rape survivor who does not come forward and tell anyone that she is raped (at least for a while), a hero.

My justification may not have been the most eloquent then, but I think I can do a better job now:

Melinda Sordino is a hero because she is me, she is you, she’s your little sister, or your cousin. She’s that boy you used to know who would always smile, but now only frowns. She is everyone and no one at all. She is the person you are when you are vulnerable and terrified. She’s hurt and victimized, but somehow, she rises above it. She is solidarity when you are alone. She’s a survivor and she’s one person you can relate to if the same thing happens to you.

I know Melinda. And if you read Speak, you will know Melinda and you will always have her as a friend. As someone you can count on when you are at your lowest. Melinda’s story allows others to see that they are not alone, that their feelings are not uncommon.

Melinda is a hero because her story helps. It isn’t pornography and it isn’t vulgar. It’s real. Rape happens. It shouldn’t, but it does. And Speak is something that allows the survivors to know that they are not alone. That they are not to blame. That they are strong and can get through the toughest situations in their lives.

I had planned on reviewing Speak here on my blog, but there’s no real point. I don’t feel the need to dissect writing style or characters because the above says it all. This book is heartbreakingly honest and tragically realistic. Read it, treasure it, share it. You never know if this book could save a life.

Speak Loudly

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Her and Me and You by Lauren Strasnick

Title: Her and Me and You
Author: Lauren Strasnick
Publisher: Simon Pulse
ARC, 171 pages
Date Published: October 5, 2010

Description (Taken from Goodreads):
First love, broken friendships, and heartache all play a part in this evocative, voice-driven novel about Alex, a girl whose world is ripped apart when her father’s affair splits her family in two.

Alex moves with her mess of a mother to a new town, where she is befriended by hot, enigmatic Fred—and alternately flirted with and cold-shouldered by Fred’s twin sister, Adina. Others warn Alex to steer clear of the twins, whose sibling relationship is considered abnormal at best, but there’s just something about Fred—and something about Adina—that draws Alex to them and makes her want to be part of their crazy world…no matter the consequences.

I’m not quite sure how I feel about Her and Me and You. I enjoyed the overall storyline and the characters were intriguing, but, by the end, the book still felt incomplete.

After Alex’s dad has an affair and breaks her family apart, she moves with her mess of a mother to her deceased grandma’s house a few hours away. Without her best friend Evie and her favorite parent, Alex feels isolated and alone.

Strasnick’s characterization of a lonely, angry, and understandably frustrated girl are spot on. Alex is easy to relate to off the bat, but I found her to also be quite the pushover, which may or may not have been intended. Alex seems to let people walk all over her and let her down again and again with little to no protest. There are moments where she explodes and all her anger come out, but I wanted to see more of that.

As for the twins with the abnormal relationship, they were…different. I like Fred. He seems like an okay guy and he was developed well, as was Adina, but the hot and cold from both of them grated on me a bit. Their close relationship is viewed as more than a little strange to the outside world and when Alex gets thrown into the middle of it, she understands why.

I really enjoyed the ambiguity of Alex’s sexual orientation and her reaction to both of the twins. She’s young and not really sure who she is, so it worked really well. Strasnick’s writing is also gripping and pulled me in. The chapters are short and the story moves quickly, so it’s easy to get caught up in it. I finished the book in about an hour or so, not wanting to put it down. I have to say that I really wasn’t satisfied with the ending. Towards the end, things began to escalate and get more and more chaotic and I loved that, but then it just ends. And here I am, left wanting more.

Opening line: I met Fred first. ~ pg. 1

Favorite line(s): Three. Three used to fell right. Me, Mom, Dad – the perfect unit. Now three felt lopsided and odd. Me, Evie, Ben. Me, Adina, Fred. Someone was always, always getting pushed to the side. ~ pg. 123

*This is an ARC version and lines, page numbers, cover art, etc. are subject to change prior to publication
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it. 

Find Lauren Strasnick online:
Buy it online:
 

-CLOSED- The Fall Giveaway Is Here With a Banned/Challenged Books Giveaway!

The Fall Giveaway has arrived!! 58 different blogs are participating in this week-long event, so make sure you visit all of them for books, swag, and all sorts of book-themed goodies.

Rules are as follows:
Open to US ONLY
You DO NOT need to be a follower to enter
MG & YA Prize Packs are open to 13+
Adult Prize Pack is open to 16+

You can enter to win any or all the prize packs
No extra entries involved, but I appreciate it if you spread the word

Giveaway ends at 11:59 PM EST on September 29th. Winners will be notified by email and will have 72 hours to respond or alternate winner may be chosen.

Just fill out the forms located below the pictures of each prize pack to enter (all books are used unless otherwise stated)
MG Prize Pack includes:
How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo

To enter, fill out the form below or CLICK HERE to go the live form


YA Prize Pack includes:
Gossip Girl #1 by Cecily von Ziegesar
Gently used DVD of Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

To enter, fill out the form below or CLICK HERE to go to the live form
Adult Prize Pack includes:
My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult
1984 by George Orwell
Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson

To enter, fill out the form below or CLICK HERE to go to the live form


CONTEST HAS ENDED - WINNERS WILL BE POSTED SOON

I have some other giveaways going on right now as well. Click the links and enter away!



The Fall Giveaway will be going on all week. Below is a list of the other blogs participating, so make sure you check them all out!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Author Interview: Kate Kaynak

Kate Kaynak, author of Minder & Adversary of the Ganzfield series, was kind enough to do an interview with me and share some insight about the series, as well as what the future of the series holds.

Where did the idea for Minder and the Ganzfield series come from? 
I've always had a fascination with the paranormal, but the core of the story developed as a thought experiment: could a telepath have a romantic relationship with someone who wasn't "the only person whose thoughts she couldn't read." Harris's Sookie Stackhouse and Meyer's Twilight series both played on that theme. But I wondered what kind of person could a telepath fall in love with--and what kind of guy would be comfortable being in a relationship with someone who knew his every thought?
 

If you were a student at Ganzfield, what power would you have? 
I'd probably be an RV (remote viewer). It'd be handy at this point in life, too. As a mom, it'd be great to know where my kids were and what they were doing--not to mention I'd be able to find out where they hid my husband's keys.
 

Project Star Gate is supposedly a real (or used to be) government psychic spy program. How did you hear about it and will we see more government conspiracies in the series? 
If I told you, I'd have to kill you.
Seriously, though, it was a real program that was declassified in the 1990s.
There's a book called Reading the Enemy's Mind that chronicles it. It was a bit annoying that the name had already been adopted for a sci-fi movie and series that had nothing to do with the program. The actual program focused primarily on remote viewing against the Soviets during the Cold War and may have started as the result of bad spy intel.
As for more government conspiracies in the series, I'll give you a hint. I'm writing book 5 now, and the working title is Operative.  :)

 

I read that the Ganzfield series is slated to be six books with a possible seventh from Seth's perspective, so do you already have the entire series all mapped out? 
I have the major arcs worked out so that most of the open plots get tied up in the six books.  However, the big picture is a skeletal outline--I flesh it out book-by-book. Since Seth and Maddie take different paths in the second half of the series, I'd love to tell his story, too.
 
How would you describe your writing process? Do you write for long periods or in short bursts? Are your characters in the driving seat or do you keep them on a certain path?  
I'm a plotter and I usually write in bursts. While I usually know where I want each scene to go, in Adversary (book 2), I had the climactic scene all set up in my mind, but the characters decided that they weren't going to do it that way. I had to scrap the original plan and come up with a new one--much the way the characters did in the book.
 

Is there anything you absolutely need when you're writing? (Certain beverage, snacks, maybe a blanket like Linus from Charlie Brown)
I have a playlist of music that sinks me back into the Ganzfield world. The song "Mad World" seems to unlock my ability to write the series when I get a bit stuck. I've listed the heart of my writing playlist on the background page at Ganzfield.com.
 
Do you have any ideas post-Ganzfield? 
I've got notes for Boola Boo, a book set at Yale (my alma mater) in which the main character sees ghosts. I may have to call the school "Hale" University though, so I don't get sued. 
 

And just for fun: The name of your blog is Disgruntled Bear...do you think a disgruntled bear could appear at some point in the Ganzfield series? NH has bears. I've never seen one in my neck of the woods, but I don't live around North Conway. I figure a bear could pop up around the Ganzfield campus looking for some food or maybe a game of Fireball. A bear decided to surprise a guy taking out his trash in August, so why not have a bear get all disgruntled when the Sparks tell him he's too flammable to play. I could see it happening... 
Yikes!  I'm glad the guy is okay, because black bears can be mean. I've never seen one in New Hampshire, though. One of the main characters in my first (and still unpublished) novel Bagastana was a grumpy, talking bear, and she inspired my nom-de-blog.
As for a bear at Ganzfield...hmmm.  Maddie would be able to hear bear-thoughts, and perhaps Trevor could wrestle it.  :) 


I'd like to see Trevor wrestling a bear :D

Thank you so much for the interview Kate! 

Make sure you check out my review of Minder as well.

Now for the giveaway:
Kate was kind enough to offer a copy of Minder to one lucky person.  

The Rules: 
Contest is open to followers, as well as non-followers
Must be 13+ 
Open to US ONLY
To enter, fill out THIS FORM

Extra entries are optional, but include:
+1 for commenting on this interview
+1 for commenting on my review of Minder


Contest closed. Winner will be posted soon

Bloggers Speak Out & a Filthy Books Giveaway

Bloggers Speak Out is a movement sparked by the recent article, "Filthy Books Demeaning to Republic Educationby Dr. Wesley Scroggins that was published in the Springfield, MO News-Leader on September 18th. In this article, Scroggins vehemently advocates the censorship of books in schools, and specifically requests that the following books be removed from the Republic school system: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler, and Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut. To show our support of these authors and to fight against book banning and censorship, we have decided to take action and speak out.
 
This event is being run from September 21st-October 3rd. It is being organized by Natalie of Mindful Musings and if you would like to participate then head over to her blog and either send her an email or leave her a comment.

In case you've missed what has been going on, you can read my post "Rape is Not Pornography" and visit THIS POST with a list of links from other blogger posts

Filthy Books Giveaway
One winner will get this Filthy Books pack including Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, and Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
 
This is open internationally (as long as The Book Depository ships to your country, you can enter)
Giveaway ends October 3rd @ 11:59 PM EST 
Fill out the form to enter
CONTEST HAS ENDED - Winner will be posted shortly


Monday, September 20, 2010

Minder by Kate Kaynak

Title: Minder
Author: Kate Kaynak
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Paperback, 249 pages
Date Published: June 18, 2010

Description (Taken from Goodreads):
Sixteen-year-old Maddie Dunn is special, but she needs to figure out how to use her new abilities before somebody else gets hurt. Ganzfield is a secret training facility full of people like her, but it's not exactly a nurturing place. Every social interaction carries the threat of mind-control. A stray thought can burn a building to the ground. And people's nightmares don't always stay in their own heads. But it's still better than New Jersey--especially once she meets the man of her dreams...
You know how that saying ‘never judge a book by its cover’ can also be used when talking about people? Well it certainly applies to nearly everyone in Minder. Each and every person appears to be perfectly normal human beings. And they are, aside from the fact that they have these extraordinary powers ala X-Men (which I love...Gambit was always my favorite).

Minder jumps off to an explosive start and rarely lets up. The world of Ganzfield is intriguing and laced with mystery and Maddie Dunn’s acclimation to this surprising world is perfectly paced. Maddie’s realization that she is a ‘minder’ or mind-reader comes with hearing the thoughts of everyone around her. Being bombarded with insecurities, mistrust, deviousness, and the more than occasional dirty thought should drive Maddie crazy, but once she meets Trevor, the only telekinetic at Ganzfield, she’s able to nearly block everything else out.

Trevor is sweet and gorgeous and not at all put off by Maddie’s mind-reading abilities. His thoughts are refreshingly of the not dirty teenage boy variety and he clearly cares about Maddie. The only negative thing about Minder was probably the pace of Maddie and Trevor’s relationship. They meet and then BOOM they are instantly in love. The whole hearing thoughts thing could certainly hasten the development of their relationship, but it happened a bit too quickly for my liking. Still, their relationship is passionate and honest. They make quite the pair.

Spiderman taught us that ‘with great power, comes great responsibility.’ The students at Ganzfield are young and can be reckless, but the powers that they have could do some serious damage. Kaynak shows us the good and the bad of it. Not all people with extreme power use it for good. The action-packed ending gives us both sides to that story.

Kaynak does and extraordinary job creating a vast, sprawling world filled with just enough science and psychology to make it believable. The explanation into the powers that the Ganzfield students have is plausible. Government conspiracies and secret spy programs kept me on my toes about what was really going on.

Minder is an engaging read with unique characters and a steamy romance that sizzles off the page. The inappropriately timed humor and sarcastic comments (See my favorite line below) also had me laughing my way through some of the more serious moments. The ending had me begging for more and, lucky me, Adversary is already out. I’ll be getting that very soon.

Opening line(s): I felt the eyes on the back of my head, like a too-warm itch within my skull. Someone was watching me. ~ pg. 1

Favorite line(s): Trevor’s concern flooded over me. Seizure?
No, thank you. Maybe I’ll have one later, though. ~ pg. 179
Great read - 4.5
*While I received this book from Kate Kaynak, this review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it. 
 
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