Sunday, September 25, 2011


Banned and Challenged Classics
Each year, the ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom records hundreds of attempts by individuals and groups to have books removed from libraries shelves and from classrooms. See Frequently Challenged Books for more details.
According to the Office for Intellectual Freedom, at least 46 of the Radcliffe Publishing Course Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century have been the target of ban attempts.
The titles below represent banned or challenged books on that list ( see the entire list here). For more information on why these books were challenged, visit challenged classics and the Banned Books Week Web site.
The titles not included may have been banned or challenged, but we have not received any reports on them. If you have information about the banning or challenging of these (or any) titles, please contact the Office for Intellectual Freedom.
1. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
2. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
3. The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
4. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
5. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
6. Ulysses, by James Joyce
7. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
8. The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
9. 1984, by George Orwell
For more information please visit the ALA Website. Get educated!

Friday, September 23, 2011


A GIANT thank you to I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and I Read Banned Books for hosting this AWESOME Giveaway and Hop. Take this opportunity to visit the other blogs participating. Everyone has something very interesting to say about Banned Books Week.
Mug of Moxie is giving away a copy of Fallout by Ellen Hopkins. She is an author that I admire and support. Her books have been banned in school and public libraries across America.  The subjects she writes about: drug abuse, prostitution and incest are not easy topics. Her stories are honest, raw and emotional. I believe that her stories can educate, inspire and have the power to change someone's life.
Do I want my 8 year old daughter to read this book? No, not yet. But in a few years-YES! I would encourage her to read it and then we can talk about it. This is what books are meant to do-educate so we can communicate.
If this book will help her see the ugly reality of drugs and the effect that it has on lives....if it stops her from experimenting with meth...if it keeps her safe... I will personally put it on her night stand and NO ONE better mess with our choice to make that decision. I support and celebrate the freedom to read.
To enter this giveaway simply leave your name and email address in the comment section. You are not required to follow-but would be happy if you decided to. This giveaway is open to US residents only.  A name will be drawn on October 2. You must be 13 years or older to enter. Good Luck!


dystopia-noun. a society characterized by human misery, as squalor, oppression, disease and overcrowding
A dystopia is the idea of a society in a repressive and controlled state, often under the guise of              being utopian.
Challenge Update!
Dystopian Challenge 2011-Read 30 Books
These are the books I have read and reviewed so far-
1. Bumped by Megan McCafferty
2. Tomorrow When the War Begans by James Marsden
3. Lockdown by Alexander Gordon Smith
4. Restoring Harmony by Joelle Anthony
5. House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
6. Gone by Michael Grant
7. XVI by Julia Karr
8. Rot & Ruin by Johnathan Maberry
9. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
10. The Line by Teri Hall
I need to read 20 more books by the end of the year to complete the challenge.
Let me know if you have some dystopian book recommendations!
If you would like to join the challenge click on the link at the right of the page.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Book Review- The House of the Scorpion

The House of the Scorpion
By Nancy Farmer
380 Pages
From Inside Cover:
At his coming-of-age party, Matteo Alacran asks El Patron's bodyguard, "How old am I?...I know I don't have a birthday like humans, but I was born."
"You were harvested," Tam Lin reminds him. "You were grown in that poor cow for nine months and then you were cut out of her."
To most people around him, Matt is not a boy, but a beast. A room full of chicken litter with roaches for friends and old chicken bones for toys is considered good enough for him. But for El Patron, lord of a country called Opium-a strip of poppy fields lying between the U.S. and what was once called Mexico-Matt is a guarantee of eternal life. El Patron loves Matt as he loves himself for Matt is himself. They share identical DNA.
As Matt struggles to understand his existence, he is threatened by a sinister, grasping cast of characters, including El Patron's power-hungry family. He is surrounded by a dangerous army of bodyguards and by the mindless slaves of Opium, brain-deadened eejits who toil in the poppy fields.
And escape from the Alacran Estate is no guarantee of freedom because Matt is marked by his difference in ways he doesn't even suspect. 
My thoughts:
Main character Matt is the clone of a powerful drug lord, El Patron. Matt is born into a time when rich and wealthy men harvest organs of clones to prolong their lives. El Patron has lived to be 140 years old with the help of transplants. It's perfectly legal and clones are considered no better than cattle. Usually clones have their intelligence destroyed at birth but El Patron decides to give Matt a normal upbringing and entrusts his care to a loyal servant named Celia. Matt submerges himself in music, excels in math and learns everything about the business he believes that he will eventually run. As Matt grows up he faces the hatred and prejudices people have of clones and eejits.Truths of why he exists are slowly revealed and the horror of his situation comes to light. Escape becomes his only option.
Matt is a character full of hope and courage as he tries to figure out who he is in spite of why he was created. A fast paced story that takes the reader on a journey with Matt from the moment of his conception and up into his teen years.
Because so much has happened with stem cell research, immigration and cloning in the last few years I think that this book would be an excellent one for a class discussion or a great book club choice. There are many moral choices the characters in the story face.
I chose this book as the kick off to the R.I.P. Challenge. It came highly recommended to me by teens when I worked at the public library. After finishing the book I struggled to categorize this novel- Is it science fiction or dystopian? Maybe it's a mystery? It also had the elements of suspense and horror throughout. I'm not really sure which category The House of the Scorpion falls into is my point. Maybe it's just one of those books that can't be put into one genre and should be enjoyed for what it is-a really good read.
I borrowed this book from the Salmon Public Library. I would recommend this to readers 12 and up.

Monday, September 12, 2011


By Joelle Anthony
From Inside Cover:
Sixteen year old Molly McClure has only ever known a life where she grow her own food, depends on solar panels for electricity, and relies on horse drawn wagons and bicycles for transportation. Since the Collapse of 2031, her family has fared better than most, thriving on their isolated farming island in Canada-but Molly knows worldwide devastation lurks just beyond the shores of her home. And when calamities strike all at once, Molly is forced to leave the comfort of the island for the very first time, embarking on an impossible rescue mission in the U.S.
The year is 2041. The oil as almost run out, poverty and crime are rampant, and food is in short supply. Armed with only her ingenuity and sheer farming know how, Molly braves a chaotic world where people are hungry and desperate, and no one is as they seem. But if she ever hopes to get home alive she'll have to make some tough, fast choices about whom to trust, especially after a crime organization sets their sights on Molly. Her only way out may be to beat them at their own game. Luckily, there's a handsome stranger who's willing to help. 

My Thoughts:
Author Joelle Anthony has created a different dystopian novel. Main character, Molly is not from a dark, bleak, and hopeless world. In fact, she lives a pretty good life on a tiny Canadian Island with her family that has created an independent, thriving community. The year is 2041 and unfortunately the rest of the world hasn't fared as well. Oil is almost a thing of the past and crime rules the streets. People have to fight for food, fuel and medicine.
Molly is forced to leave the security of the island and her family and travel to the United States to rescue her grandparents. Due to circumstances the responsibility falls on her young shoulders. This desolate, crime ridden world is new and frightening to Molly who to this point has lived a very sheltered life. Luckily she is a strong, determined girl set on finding her grandparents and returning home to the place she loves.
This book is part dystopian and adventure with a pinch of romance thrown in. Restoring Harmony is a great story that will have you rooting for Molly from start to finish. A very enjoyable read.
I will be donating this book to my local Middle School Library. 

Friday, September 9, 2011

R.I.P. Challenge-Peril the First

The annual R.I.P. Challenge is hosted by Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings. If you are up for a challenge he has a little something for everyone. You can choose anything from one book to four to read from now until the end of October. There will be group readings, or watch a movie to be part of the challenge. The point is too have fun! No stress! Head on over to get more info on the R.I.P. Challenge at Stainless Steel Droppings.
I-Mugs have decided to challenge myself and try to read four books by the end of October(Peril The First).
 My selections are:
1. The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
2. Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink
3. Bad Girls Don’t Die by Katie Alender
4. Whisper by Phoebe Kitanidis
All of the books are on my TBR shelf so the picks are easy.
Good luck to all participates and happy reading!


Every September 1st through October 31st for the last 5 years Carl from Stainless Steel Droppings has hosted the R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril Challenge, affectionately known as the R.I.P. Challenge.
The purpose of the R.I.P. Challenge is to enjoy books that could be classified as:
Dark Fantasy.
There are two simple goals for the R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril VI Challenge:
1. Have fun reading.
2. Share that fun with others.
There are multiple levels of participation (Perils) that allow you to be a part of R.I.P. VI without adding the burden of another commitment to your already busy lives.
R.I.P. VI officially runs from September 1st through October 31st.
Multiple perils await you. You can participate in just one, or participate in them all.
To find out more information and join the fun head over to Stainless Steel Droppings-close to 200 people are participating in this awesome event!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

WINNER-Back to the Books Giveaway Hop

Okay, so there's not really a chicken dinner-it's too messy to mail!
But there is an awesome book that I will be sending out in tomorrow's mail to the winner of the
Back To The Books Giveaway hop. KATHARYN choose The Dust of 100 Dogs which I'm sure she will enjoy. Thanks to all who participated in the hop, entered my giveaway, and followed Mug of Moxie. A giant thank you to I'm A Reader, Not A Writer and Buried In Books for hosting the event. Be sure to check back for the next giveaway I'll be participating in-Banned Books Week Giveaway Hop.

Book Review- ROT and RUIN

By Jonathan Maberry
458 pages
From Inside Cover:
In the zombie-infested world Benny has grown up in, teenagers must work once they turn fifteen-or they'll lose their food rations. Benny isn't interested in taking on the family business, but he reluctantly agrees to train as a zombie killer with his boring big brother, Tom. He expects a dull job, whacking zombies for cash. What he discovers is a vocation that will teach him what it really means to be human.
As his worldview is challenged again and again by the lessons he learns from Tom, Benny is forced to confront another horrifying reality: Sometimes the most terrible monsters are human.
My thoughts:
I'm not going to lie. I'm a sucker for a good zombie book. I love them! Jonathan Maberry has created something new and fresh-a zombie tale with emotion. After a series of failed jobs Benny has no choice but to work as his brother's apprentice in the family business as a bounty hunter-killing zoms or lose his food rations. Brother relationships are never easy but throw an unforgotten First Night(the night the world changed and 6 billion people died and came back from the dead) memory- In which Benny remembers being pulled from his screaming mother's arms by his older brother Tom. He remembers Tom running away and leaving his mother to die at the hands of a zombie. Benny resents Tom and thinks him a coward.
From the beginning-it's a complex relationship. Tom is both older brother and main caregiver, he's also very aware of Benny's feelings toward him. Benny is a typical teenager, trying to figure out who and what he wants to be-growing up in a untypical situation. Both are stubborn and hard headed which keeps them alive while hunting zoms in The Rot and Ruin. Through main characters Benny and Tom we are given a completely new look at zombies and the people they once were.
I never thought that I would read a story that would make me boo hoo over a mindless, wandering, flesh eater but there I was. Unbelievable! There are so many layers to this story. Maberry tells a coming of age story with action, horror, violence and love.
I can hardly wait to get my hands on the sequel Dust and Decay. I need to know what happens to Benny and Tom-where does there story go from here? I know I won't be bored!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Book Review: The Dust of 100 Dogs

By A.S. King
320 Pages
From Back Cover:
In the late seventeenth century, famed teenage pirate Emer Morrisey was on the cusp of escaping the pirate life with her one true love and unfathomable riches when she was slain and cursed with the dust of one hundred dogs, dooming her to one hundred lives as a dog before returning to a human body-with her memories intact. Now she's a contemporary American teenager and all she needs is a shovel and a ride to Jamaica.

My thoughts:
I LOVE the cover!! It draws you in and begs to be picked up. It's absolutely perfect for the story.
The Dust of 100 Dogs was such an unusual tale to say the least. I admit that I struggled to write a review for lack of the right words. I love stories about pirates-Bloody Jack comes to mind. As well as stories about reincarnation-remember Audrey anyone?  A.S. King has put the two together and created an amazing story.
Main character Emer Morrisey is born during the 1600s in Ireland and lives an eventful life. After being reunited with her one and only true love she dies tragically, but not before burying a treasure chest full of jewels and gold in a secret location. Don't worry-I haven't disclosed details to ruin the story for you, this all happens in the first chapter of the book! As Emer is dying another pirate hell bent on revenge curses her to a life of 100 dogs. So A.S.King includes little snippets of Emer's different dog lives sprinkled through out the story. Genius! It helps the reader remember the curse. Eventually Emer completes the curse and lives the life of the 100th dog. She now is reincarnated as Saffron Adams during the 1970s in Pennsylvania. Saffron/Emer is born with all of her memories. She remembers her previous life as a pirate and her precious treasure buried along the coast of Jamaica. She is determined to get there and claim her riches. What she doesn't count on is the dysfunctional family she is born into and the trials of being an American teenager.
I loved this book and can't wait to get my hands on something else that A.S.King has written. Reader be warned there are parts of this book that are violent-after all Emer/Saffron is a pirate. Some scenes may affect a weak stomach.