Friday, August 30, 2013

Follow Friday: Your Local Librarian!

Hosted by: Parajunkee and Alison Can Read

So yesterday my book club and I trekked all the way up to Columbus, Ohio to meet Rae Carson and C.J. Redwine; more of this is to come, but one thing that I wanted to blog about super quick was a little bit of the Q&A that leads me into my point:

One of the questions yesterday was of the older generations and how they feel that young adult literature is 'too mature' or 'too influencing' for our young readers, and though both of the authors handled it like champs. (For real I got chills) I wanted to shout this so hard....

"You tell those assholes that they should be thankful their children
are reading books, period!"

I know reading keeps me out of trouble. 

There are not words enough in my mouth for how epic yesterday was, and so much more will come when I have more than five seconds to write...or two soccer games tomorrow...birthday parties...cookouts...and a photoshoot on my three day weekend. 

No matter what children are checking out in the library, don't think they can't find this shit on the internet too. Let them have free reign of their books, and have them build a relationship with their local librarians. I know for my friend KT, that she has one of the smallest libraries in our county, one of the poorest, trashy, high crime parts of our town, and for that I consider her our local hero. Because, she is putting books in the hands of children who would otherwise know only drugs, and yes reading to me is a drug; but the only people to die are on pages not on our local streets. 

I had a moment yesterday where all I could do was look over at Katie and Kayla and be so pleased, because while our firm might get their parents out of jail later--their children are being educated in the wonderful world of make belief where they can escape today by preparing for tomorrow. 

You can find KT here: Librarians Unexpected Discharge 
Twitter: @jusbeinkt

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Twerks, Tweets, and Teresa Medeiros

So this happened today.

The convo continued with "The Vampire Who Twerked Me" and "A Twerk To Remember."

Not my best photoshopping, but I couldn't help it; it just had to be done.

By the way, if you don't know who Teresa Medeiros is (and haven't read like every review I've ever had) She's the adult version of Rae Carson. Adult meaning she writes adult books, I think it's safe to say we are all still children. 

Check her out here, She is an amazing author who will leave you wanting more. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Tune In Tuesday

Tune In Tuesday is a weekly feature in which bloggers get to showcase another one of their loves, music! This feature was originally created by Ginger over at GReads! but you can now find it here at Kate’s Tales of Books and Bands. If you would like to participate in this weekly feature, make a blog post showcasing a song (or a few!) and link up at the bottom of this post by clicking the cute blue guy! While you’re here make sure to check out all the other awesome blogs that have decided to participate!

I don't have a lot of time today, but I wanted to throw this song out as it's one I'm sad the world is missing out on. 

David Guetta is known for his catchy dance hits and partnering with some of the best artists out there, but did you know that he and Sia did this little number together? And that she is naked in it? I am blown away, and it's become one of my favorite songs of the summer. Searching and searching for new music I found her while listening to another great song. 

Wake Me Up by Avicii first caught my attention by the amazing video and the beautiful girls all dressed in Ralph Lauren. It reminds me of the book that I just read, Wither by Lauren Defranco in that very 'we don't belong here and our world is dying' sort of way. 

Please check out these latest songs on my list, I think you will like them!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Review: Wither by Lauren DeStefano

By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. She can thank modern science for this genetic time bomb. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males with a lifespan of 25 years, and females with a lifespan of 20 years. Geneticists are seeking a miracle antidote to restore the human race, desperate orphans crowd the population, crime and poverty have skyrocketed, and young girls are being kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children. When Rhine is kidnapped and sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. Her husband, Linden, is hopelessly in love with her, and Rhine can’t bring herself to hate him as much as she’d like to. He opens her to a magical world of wealth and illusion she never thought existed, and it almost makes it possible to ignore the clock ticking away her short life. But Rhine quickly learns that not everything in her new husband’s strange world is what it seems. Her father-in-law, an eccentric doctor bent on finding the antidote, is hoarding corpses in the basement. Her fellow sister wives are to be trusted one day and feared the next, and Rhine is desperate to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive. Will Rhine be able to escape--before her time runs out?

Together with one of Linden's servants, Gabriel, Rhine attempts to escape just before her seventeenth birthday. But in a world that continues to spiral into anarchy, is there any hope for freedom?

Taken from Goodreads, more info and where to buy here: Wither

My Review:
I'm still trying to digest what just happened to me, but I can start with saying that though I am late to the game with this book, it certainly was something else. I've had it on my shelf now for a few years, having purchased it because it was beautiful and on the bargain shelf at the newly opened bookstore after my beloved Borders went out. I can remember seeing something about it on Ky's blog,  way back when and grabbing it for a few dollars. 

There on my shelf I saw a pretty girl in a pretty dress with what appeared to be some sort of crop field designs around her and a bird cage. Strange. Yes. But opening the book it all came together, and like a Florida hurricane--blew me away. 

Rhine is one of those characters who does have a much deeper inner monologue than you would expect. She is often asked a simple question, ponders a deep complex answer with memories flooding to the surface, but then turns and gives a quick two word answer that has that same sort of impact Han Solo did when the Princess confesses her love. 

[Leia and Han share a passionate kiss before Han is dragged towards the freezing chamber by the imperials
Princess Leia: I love you. 
Han Solo: I know.

However, you will need to insert more inner thoughts in between the two lines so it would read more like this.

[Leia and Han share a passionate kiss before Han is dragged towards the freezing chamber by the imperials
Princess Leia: I love you. 

The words left her lips long before the memory of their kiss had ended. He felt himself come to life beneath her touch, but with every single beat of his heart he could feel the ending of his life drawing closer. Han remembered a time when he was a child, long lost boy of the wilderness, where he too had known a kiss like this. His parents had told him stories of space princesses, long forgotten in a time where lasers ruled the world and big harry creatures were nothing better than helpless companions. He should have told her this, that perhaps it wasn't a memory that he recalled so fondly but more of a premonitions of the things to come. He had so much hope in her that he could have died a thousand times again just to see her smile, but while thinking about this gets lost at the thought of her lips one last time. He should confess to her of his love, but that would defeat the plan and spoil the plot. So instead he just parts his lips one last time to say...
Han Solo: I know.
So in this I had a few problems. I understand where the author was coming from, she wanted us to know Rhine's longing, but after a few thousand paragraphs of that I had about enough of it. I did want her to be with her brother again, and I wanted to know of the world she belonged to before she was stolen. However, the inner monologue stuff about did me in, couldn't she have just told Gabriel about it once and be done with it?

As the story went on, I found myself captivated by the different lives the wives all led before, how their stories were so tragically different yet flawlessly joined together for their common fate. Even as a few betrayals came up, I never hated any of the characters, because it was all they knew. I thought the darker undertones certainly didn't fit the genre, but in a good way! I would have loved to have read this for a more mature audience, though I certainly could fill in the blanks. It reminded me of what I loved so much about The Giver in ways you don't know what is going on behind those closed doors to those babies, but you know it can't be good!

I have to say I'm pretty impressed with the whole thing, read it in under 12 hours and am about to go force my husband out of bed to get the second one from the store, because I just can't wait for Amazon to deliver it.

Wither gets 5/5 stars in my opinion just for the pure pleasure it was to be captivated by a story so quickly and the desire to get my Gemini self up off the couch, and to the bookstore. Go check it out!


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Thursday Quotables: Hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies

Thursday Quotables is a weekly features hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies to share a quote from this week's reading! For more information check out Bookshelf Fantasies at the link above.

"In the darkness, two shadows, reaching through the hopeless, heavy dusk. Their hands meet, and light spills in a flood like a hundred golden urns pouring out of the sun.” ~Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles
So far I've not found too much about this book to be big and quotable. My review is to come later, but I for sure haven't hated what I've read--it's just not been very powerful or moving. Save for that line, and I haven't even gotten to it yet. Spoiler Alert: Achilles dies in the end. (History told us that) But in many ways I can already tell from that little line that Miller gives us a happy ending. That and it's just visually beautiful. I do love a good book that ends with shadows.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Wish-list Wednesday: Hosted by Pen to Paper

Wishlist Wednesday is a weekly Meme hosted at Pen to Paper

The Charioteer by Mary Renault

Summary from Goodreads:

After enduring an injury at Dunkirk during World War II, Laurie Odell is sent to a rural veterans’ hospital in England to convalesce. There he befriends the young, bright Andrew, a conscientious objector serving as an orderly. As they find solace and companionship together in the idyllic surroundings of the hospital, their friendship blooms into a discreet, chaste romance. Then one day, Ralph Lanyon, a mentor from Laurie’s schoolboy days, suddenly reappears in Laurie’s life, and draws him into a tight-knit social circle of world-weary gay men. Laurie is forced to choose between the sweet ideals of innocence and the distinct pleasures of experience. 

Originally published in the United States in 1959, The Charioteer is a bold, unapologetic portrayal of male homosexuality during World War II that stands with Gore Vidal’s The City and the Pillar and Christopher Isherwood’s Berlin Stories as a monumental work in gay literature.

Why It's On My List:

I recently discovered Mary Renault while skimming through Amazon and after finding the book I'm currently reading on a link that was posted to my bookclub wall. I read The Persian Boy and was blown away. The story of Alexander the Great as told through his lover Bagoas was eye opening on many levels. As you can probably tell I'm a super huge activist when it comes to LGBT rights, and have been my entire life. After watching one of my best friends in high school tormented and the entire Matthew Shepherd murder unfold on TV it's something I've always stood for. 

For an author in the 1970's Mary Renault told the story of Alexander and the Roman Empire without even flinching at the homosexual side of it all. To me that is such a great pioneer of her time, and I've been fascinated with her work. 

I have a few of her books coming my way and this is one of them, and there will be a much bigger post about her. I'm just doing my research. 

Also, I want this edition but am having a hard time finding it. 


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Tune In Tuesday: Book Blog

Tune In Tuesday is a weekly feature in which bloggers get to showcase another one of their loves, music! The feature was originally created and hosted by Ginger over at GReads! 

This summer has been a let down when it comes to great music. I've been searching high and low for new and exciting things. I listen to a little bit of everything, but when it comes to hot summer days all I want is something to roll my windows down and speed down the highway with! Well ladies and gentlemen, on my way to work I heard a familiar voice on the radio and praised the heavens above!

All hail, Mother Monster is back! After a bit of a medical emergency she's been taking it easy for a while, and if this song is anything to compare it to. Gaga has in fact returned, but here is to hoping that this album is better than the last. 

Must be a trend of mine right now to love on all things 80's, but Applause has a very 1980's feel--in a really great way. 

Check it out!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Review: Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

Synopsis: 1987. There’s only one person who has ever truly understood fourteen-year-old June Elbus, and that’s her uncle, the renowned painter Finn Weiss. Shy at school and distant from her older sister, June can only be herself in Finn’s company; he is her godfather, confidant, and best friend. So when he dies, far too young, of a mysterious illness her mother can barely speak about, June’s world is turned upside down. But Finn’s death brings a surprise acquaintance into June’s life—someone who will help her to heal, and to question what she thinks she knows about Finn, her family, and even her own heart.

At Finn’s funeral, June notices a strange man lingering just beyond the crowd. A few days later, she receives a package in the mail. Inside is a beautiful teapot she recognizes from Finn’s apartment, and a note from Toby, the stranger, asking for an opportunity to meet. As the two begin to spend time together, June realizes she’s not the only one who misses Finn, and if she can bring herself to trust this unexpected friend, he just might be the one she needs the most.

Review: There are not quite words that I can exactly put into this novel, at least not without setting it up. First of all, I was on a vacation, my first in nearly 5 years to be exact, and though I couldn't afford to truly go anywhere (not without major house savings being lost) I chose to read the entire length of it. 

I ended my vacation with this book, and a very big part of me wished I hadn't only because of the impact that it had. It felt good to cry, don't get me wrong, but I left this book simply wanting more. I wanted for Uncle Finn to magically come back to life and for Toby and he to live again. But as I sat there on the end of my couch, my book covering my face so that my husband couldn't see that I was quietly sobbing into it's pages I realized that this one was something special. 

The travel back in time through the 1980's I've realized is one of my absolute favorite things, and I cherish every book I can get on it. A product of the era myself I recall all of these little bits of style fondly, and this book much like Sidecar by Amy Lane really made me pine for the times. 

June was just like me in school, in ways that I can not even describe, but most of all she and I shared the same sense of life. Her outfits reminded me of everything that I wore, even her hair in it's long braid to match her flowing skirt--the only thing I was missing was her killer great boots. But do moccasins count?

The book shocked me really, and coming from a life long LGBT activist I could see where my own thoughts were at such a young age. June wasn't as accepting as I was, but I think her bit of anti-Toby came more from a place of love for her uncle than of his lifestyle. 

I gave this book a 5/5 stars because I feel that the Author was very bold in making a Young Adult book with such a very forward approach to a subject that is very much on the rise (and has been for generations). It always pleases me to see that more and more LGBT topics are filtered into our society as the norm. This book wasn't a coming out story so much as a coming to age tale that really hasn't been told before. You follow June as she is exposed to Life, Love, and AIDS. 

Go check it out.

~Lillian Brittany


This was my first library book I borrowed in nearly my entire life. I normally don't like to check things out as I like to keep copies of books on my shelves like trophies. So when I returned this one it was with a heavy heart. However, it shall be on my shelf soon! 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Review: The Inventor's Companion by Ariel Tachna


Gabriel Blackstone’s world is divided quite clearly into castes: everyone knows their place and abides by it. As an inventor in the merchant caste, his life is predictable in its routine until the night his best friends and assistants, Caleb and Andrew, purchase the time—and body—of a companion for his birthday. As an activist in the Caste Equality movement, everything Gabriel believes in tells him to refuse the gift, but then he meets Lucio. The beautiful and alluring companion is far more than the vapid courtesan he'd expected, and he can’t get the man out of his mind.

After that night, Gabriel tells himself to forget about Lucio, but a chance meeting at a ball makes it clear neither of them is willing to ignore the compelling chemistry between them. It will take all their combined trust and cunning, plus the help of a wily aristocrat and a plucky political activist, to overcome the challenges of infidelity, abuse, and social stigma that lay along their road; however, Gabriel knows it will all be worth it if at the end of the day he can call Lucio his own..

My Review:
I’m so flipping over Steampunk it’s not even funny, and didn’t even realize this was a book about it until a few pages in when they were talking about steam powered chariots. However, as the setting started to unfold I didn’t seem to be bothered by the concept.

The world is built wonderfully, an amazement really at how fun and original it is. You fall in love with Gabriel right away, and become enchanted with Lucio from the very first meeting. I really enjoyed watching them fall in love, and really enjoyed their story as it came together. It kept me on my toes, and my heart wide open as if wanting (and secretly wanting) it to all fall apart. Besides, what sort of story is told without a few good bumps in the road (no pun intended). However, despite a few trials I was rather disappointed in that aspect.

The whole story built up to this huge arch in the storyline then just sort of…fizzled out, but I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it. The intimate scenes were written really well, and were not as redundant. And even though I rolled my eyes at Gabriel and his treatment to Lucio a few times, I still loved them as a couple as much as I did from the beginning.

I did read a few reviews saying how the story sort of dragged on in the end, and I do have to agree with that. I wanted it to end a lot faster only because I felt it really could have with the whole scene of (things I won’t spoil for you, but it’s story about a whore and an inventor, you do the math). But I can tell why the rest of the story went on. However, I think instead of just slapping together a quick little ending and trying to tie up loose ends in a few chapters—write a second one!! I would LOVE to read a story about Lucio and Gabriel with their children or what ever happened to the revolution. But I haven’t looked at the author’s profile to see if there is a second one yet, so maybe that will fix.

Let’s Get Technical:
Unfortunately, I did find a few mistakes in this one, and though I am not perfect at grammar at all (really I had to spell check to make sure I spelled grammar right, and I’m still not sure) I can excuse a few things. But man, have not one, not two, but twenty eyes read your story before you publish it. I will happily volunteer!

Two of the most notable are here and here, which overall didn’t bother me as much. I was able to speed on by them without too much trouble, but they did stick out enough I had to highlight. (I could even be wrong on the second one, but it just doesn't sound right.)

To Sum It All Up:
I would highly recommend this book, because despite few little flaws I found (mostly my own opinion) I really enjoyed it. I loved the world, the characters were drawn out very well, and it was written beautifully.  I loved the use of the fans, of the way the whole thing arched together, and most of all it's just a great summer read. 

Go check it out!

Momma Owl