Friday, September 30, 2016 | By: Taffy

Reading Banned Books 2016



Last election season in our town was ugly. Neighbors against neighbors, ugly words and voices bantered around social media, friends taking a swipe at each other turned our little town crazy and divided.
One person said, "It's only politics. When the elections are over, we will all be friends again." I was shocked at this sentiment from a certain group (I can do a whole other blog post on why it's okay for adults to be cyber bullies but we teach our children not to be). They had no idea how destructive and degrading their words and comments were. Words have a lasting effect, for good or bad.

Aren't books the same?


There are a few banned books I've read or even been assigned in school. Some I can't figure out why in the world they would be banned; some make sense. But I choose if I will read those books. I find it ironic how many of the banned books I was assigned to read in school.

I appreciate parents who are concerned with the books assigned to their children or that show up in the school libraries. To me it shows they are involved with their children. Just this week, a parent at one of my children's schools brought up a concern about MONSTER, the graphic book. Her child is black and adopted. She was concerned about what the book taught and wanted it banned from the library. A team was formed of parents, PTA, SCC and teachers to read the book and give their insight.

The only issue with these kind of teams is that we are all different people with different tastes in books and stories. Someone won't like it, someone will love it. At the same time, this is a good thing. I think the process is a good one and actually works.

 Last year during the election season a parent came in concerned about the R rated movies in the library and wanted them banned. Then she went down the slippery slope of asking for the librarians, or a group of concerned citizens, to read all the books in the library and getting rid of the "bad" ones. The director immediately said no. There wasn't enough time or people to handle such a request.

Is it censorship if we ask a library to take a certain book or movie out of the public library? Is it censorship if I ask an English teacher to assign a different book to my child because the one she's being graded on is offensive to me?

 I want my children to read. I want them to understand the world outside of our home and their skin. At the same time, I want to protect them. My non-reader devoured the entire TWILIGHT series in a week. I wasn't about to stop her.  Then she read the HUNGER GAMES series shortly after that. And guess what? We were able to talk about boyfriends, healthy relationships and violence. I'm not saying I want her to read FIFTY SHADES OF GRAY, but I'm willing to be there for her to talk to about tough subjects. My mom wasn't emotionally available to talk about the birds and the bees or really anything sensitive. I learned a lot from books. I don't want that for my children. I want to be the one they come to ask questions.

The review group hasn't got back together yet so I'm not sure what will happen. I think the book is okay to stay in the library. We will see what others say. I do understand the mom's concern though. I hope she was able to take the time to talk to her child about the book and the questions s/he had. In this world our children need us. They need an advocate. Someone in their corner, listening to them, encouraging them, cheering them on. I want my children to know they can count on me, their mom.



What do you think?

What banned books have you read?

Do you think it should be banned?

Are there any books you'd rather not have your children read?











Wednesday, September 7, 2016 | By: Taffy

How to title every book you ever write

I ran across this post last week and had to share it. It's hilarious! And actually might be a good idea. I tried out their ideas and came up with a few titles for my books.

Here's the link to the article:

How to title every book you ever write.

Here's the first example:

The Promising Debut Novel
Title: (Scent of your deodorant or shampoo) on (street you grew up on)
Example: Almonds on High Street

(If neither your deodorant or shampoo have a named scent, substitute the word “Mornings.”)
Now on to the second novel. Hailed as a new literary talent and tired of being asked if your first book’s main character was based on yourself, you’ll set your next book very slightly in the past (like the ’80s or ’90s, don’t get carried away) and it will center around a family secret. You have two title options, depending on whether your protagonist is male or female.


The Disappointing Sophomore Effort
Female
Title: The (your father’s profession)’s Daughter
Example: The Locksmith’s Daughter
 

Male
Title: Get out your favorite album. Rank the tracks in order of how much you like them. Take the fourth song. Print out the lyrics to that song and black out any that are well known. From the remaining lyrics, choose either the first or second half of a complete thought. Note: It must be meaningless and out of context.
Example: Funny How It Never Felt So Good


The Legacy-Building Important Literary Novel
Title: The (your first job title)s
Example: The Carhops
(If your first job title isn’t that evocative, like “event planner” or “clerk,” add the county in which you live. Example: The Event Planners of Cook County.)


Another Literary Novel to Prove the Last One Wasn’t a Fluke
Title: (your birth month)(third most populous city in the first foreign country you ever visited)
Example: December in Marseille


Your Agent Pointed Out That You Could Make Some Money Without Writing Anything New
Title: You’ll need a purse or briefcase or, if you don’t have either, open your messiest desk drawer. Close your eyes, reach in and grab whatever is in the very bottom or back. Add “The Wisdom of” before that item.
Example: The Wisdom of Eyeglasses


Here are my book titles taken from the above helps/examples:


Summerberries on California Street

Mornings on California Street

The Teacher's Daughter

And the Tables Turn

Santa's Helper

August in Taipei

The Wisdom of the Tiny Notebook

hahaha! These are great! Some sound a little racy. Maybe I'll write more romance. 

What about you? What were some of your titles?




Tuesday, September 6, 2016 | By: Taffy

What have you read this summer? 5 of my favorites

I can't believe the leaves are turning red, orange and yellow. I'm not ready! The air is cooler, the house is cooler and I threw on a cardigan today. I love layering in the fall but I'm still not ready!

So, I'm going to talk about the books I read over the summer.


First off, I didn't get as much reading done as I thought. And I was like:















Ok. Not really. I just liked the gif.


I started the Stormlight series by Brandon Sanderson. How is it possible that I want to be a strange and more courageous person because of some writer's characters? But I did.  That's impressive to me.
I choose to listen to the first book because I'm not sure my arms are strong enough to lug around his books. ;)

  THE WAY OF KINGS (Stormlight Archives #1)

Speak again the ancient oaths,
Life before death.
Strength before weakness.
Journey before Destination.

and return to men the Shards they once bore.
The Knights Radiant must stand again.

Roshar is a world of stone swept by tempests that shape ecology and civilization. Animals and plants retract; cities are built in shelter. In centuries since ten orders of Knights fell, their Shardblade swords and Shardplate armor still transform men into near-invincible warriors. Wars are fought for them, and won by them.
In one such war on ruined Shattered Plains, slave Kaladin struggles to save his men and fathom leaders who deem them expendable, in senseless wars where ten armies fight separately against one foe.
Brightlord Dalinar Kholin commands one of those other armies. Fascinated by ancient text The Way of Kings, troubled by visions of ancient times, he doubts his sanity.
Across the ocean, Shallan trains under eminent scholar and notorious heretic, Dalinar’s niece Jasnah. Though Shallan genuinely loves learning, she plans a daring theft. Her research hints at secrets of the Knights Radiant and the true cause of the war.



I got HAG-SEED from netgalley and wasn't sure about what I was getting myself into. Wow! I was surprised how much I liked it. It's a retelling of The Tempest by Shakespeare. I can't remember when  the last time was I read that play? This retelling actually helped me understand The Tempest better.
If you like Shakespeare, Margaret Atwood and literary readings, I think you'll like this book. One of my favorite parts? The swearing! It's not what you think...


HAG-SEED by Margaret Atwood

Hag-Seed is a re-visiting of Shakespeare’s play of magic and illusion, The Tempest, and will be the fourth novel in the Hogarth Shakespeare series.
The Tempest is set on a remote island full of strange noises and creatures. Here, Prospero, the deposed Duke of Milan, plots to restore the fortunes of his daughter Miranda by using magic and illusion -- starting with a storm that will bring Antonio, his treacherous brother, to him. All Prospero, the great sorcerer, needs to do is watch as the action he has set in train unfolds.
In Margaret Atwood’s ‘novel take’ on Shakespeare’s original, theatre director Felix has been unceremoniously ousted from his role as Artistic Director of the Makeshiweg Festival. When he lands a job teaching theatre in a prison, the possibility of revenge presents itself – and his cast find themselves taking part in an interactive and illusion-ridden version of The Tempest that will change their lives forever.
There’s a lot of Shakespearean swearing in this new Tempest adventure…but also a mischief, curiosity and vigour that’s entirely Atwood and is sure to delight her fans.




This is a debut author and I think she has a bright future in writing! This is a book about a pirate who is a girl and the captain of her ship. It's a great read. I'm just going to leave my favorite quote for you all to read.

He finally turns toward me at the contact. "How do you know so much? How are you...you?"

"I am me because I choose to be me. I am what I want. Some people say you have to find yourself. Not I. I believe we create ourselves to be what we want. Any aspect of ourselves that we don not like can be altered if we make an effort."


 DAUGHTER OF THE PIRATE KING by Tricia Levenseller

 A 17-year-old pirate captain intentionally allows herself to get captured by enemy pirates in this thrilling YA adventure.

If you want something done right . . .

When the ruthless pirate king learns of a legendary treasure map hidden on an enemy ship, his daughter, Alosa, knows there's only one pirate for the job—herself. Leaving behind her beloved ship and crew, Alosa deliberately facilitates her own kidnapping to ensure her passage on the ship, confident in her ability to overcome any obstacle. After all, who's going to suspect a seventeen-year-old girl locked in a cell? Then she meets the (surprisingly perceptive and unfairly attractive) first mate, Riden, who is charged with finding out all her secrets. Now it's down to a battle of wits and will . . . . Can Alosa find the map and escape before Riden figures out her plan?

Debut author Tricia Levenseller blends action, adventure, romance, and a little bit of magic into a thrilling YA pirate tale.



 I love a well-written book with multiple points of view that all have to converge, or crash, into one another. Finley Montgomery can see and hear ghosts and ghostly things. But this isn't necassarily a ghost story. It's more a psychological thriller with some paranormal. 

INK AND BONES by Lisa Unger

Twenty-year-old Finley Montgomery is rarely alone. Visited by people whom others can’t see and haunted by prophetic dreams, she has never been able to control or understand the things that happen to her. When Finley’s abilities start to become too strong for her to handle – and even the roar of her motorcycle or another dazzling tattoo can’t drown out the voices – she turns to the only person she knows who can help her: her grandmother Eloise Montgomery, a renowned psychic living in The Hollows, New York.

Merri Gleason is a woman at the end of her tether after a ten-month-long search for her missing daughter, Abbey. With almost every hope exhausted, she resorts to hiring Jones Cooper, a detective who sometimes works with psychic Eloise Montgomery. Merri’s not a believer, but she’s just desperate enough to go down that road, praying that she’s not too late. Time, she knows, is running out.

As a harsh white winter moves into The Hollows, Finley and Eloise are drawn into the investigation, which proves to have much more at stake than even the fate of a missing girl. As Finley digs deeper into the town and its endless layers, she is forced to examine the past, even as she tries to look into the future. Only one thing is clear: The Hollows gets what it wants, no matter what.



I really, really love anthologies. If you ever get a chance to read one from this group, do it!  



From the publisher of the #1 Amazon bestselling A Timeless Romance Anthology series in Clean Romance.

Join three bestselling Regency Romance authors, Regina Scott, Donna Hatch, and Sarah M. Eden, for three new novellas in SUMMER HOUSE PARTY.

Other books in the Timeless Regency Collections:
AUTUMN MASQUERADE
A MIDWINTER BALL
SPRING IN HYDE PARK
A COUNTRY CHRISTMAS (Coming October 2016)