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Sunday, September 23, 2018

#BannedBookWeek2018


Hello Readers!!!!

This week starts one of my favorite, yet oh so controversial, weeks of the year... It's Banned Book Week! And why do I love this week so much? Simple, I love discussing, arguing, and debating people about why certain books should be banned. Spoiler alert, I don't think ANY book should be banned. I may not love every genre, I may not love every author, but I am HERE for the discussion around them. Let's also add this to the mix, we live in a ridiculously diversified world. There are so many stories out there not being told on a daily basis that when someone finally does tell a different story, people freak the fuck out. (Not even sorry for the language today.) 

Some of the top banned books this year have been requested to be, and actually removed from, classrooms, school libraries, public libraries, bookstores, YES they are coming for our capitalistic nature as a society because a book is THAT terrifying, groups have even requested books be removed from private homes and destroyed. 

I'm going to say this loudly and clearly, 

NO STORY IS WORTHY OF BEING DESTROYED!

No one is going to love and support everything that's out there, but none of these books deserves to be lit aflame or destroyed. 

The American Library Association (ALA) has comprised a list each year for the top most requested banned books. This year that list includes: 

  1. Thirteen Reasons Why written by Jay Asher
    Originally published in 2007, this New York Times bestseller has resurfaced as a controversial book after Netflix aired a TV series by the same name. This YA novel was challenged and banned in multiple school districts because it discusses suicide.
  2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian written by Sherman Alexie
    Consistently challenged since its publication in 2007 for acknowledging issues such as poverty, alcoholism, and sexuality, this National Book Award winner was challenged in school curriculums because of profanity and situations that were deemed sexually explicit.
  3. Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
    This Stonewall Honor Award-winning, 2012 graphic novel from an acclaimed cartoonist was challenged and banned in school libraries because it includes LGBT characters and was considered “confusing.”
  4. The Kite Runner written by Khaled Hosseini
    This critically acclaimed, multigenerational novel was challenged and banned because it includes sexual violence and was thought to “lead to terrorism” and “promote Islam.”
  5. George written by Alex Gino
    Written for elementary-age children, this Lambda Literary Award winner was challenged and banned because it includes a transgender child.
  6. Sex is a Funny Word written by Cory Silverberg and illustrated by Fiona Smyth
    This 2015 informational children’s book written by a certified sex educator was challenged because it addresses sex educationand is believed to lead children to “want to have sex or ask questions about sex.”
  7. To Kill a Mockingbird written by Harper Lee
    This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, considered an American classic, was challenged and banned because of violence and its use of the N-word.
  8. The Hate U Give written by Angie Thomas
    Despite winning multiple awards and being the most searched-for book on Goodreads during its debut year, this YA novel was challenged and banned in school libraries and curriculums because it was considered “pervasively vulgar” and because of drug useprofanity, and offensive language. (Police officers have also requested this book be removed from libraries due to the nature of the plot.)
  9. And Tango Makes Three written by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson and illustrated by Henry Cole
    Returning after a brief hiatus from the Top Ten Most Challenged list, this ALA Notable Children’s Book, published in 2005, was challenged and labeled because it features a same-sex relationship.
  10. I Am Jazz written by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings and illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas
    This autobiographical picture book co-written by the 13-year-old protagonist was challenged because it addresses gender identity.
Banning books, telling people what they can and cannot read, eliminates choice. It is a huge detriment to intelligence and education, and it implies that people cannot be held responsible for their own actions. As a kid growing up books had to be vetted for me, I had an over active imagination and some serious night terrors, but my parents didn't ban books; they either had to read them first or told me to wait if they didn't think I was ready. Eventually I was such a voracious reader they just let me use my own judgement. The books I read growing up, the ideas, values, stories, and experiences I was exposed to have helped to shape and mold me into the adult and reader I am today. I can't find a single reason to ban a book that doesn't have negative consequences or implications. 

Every story deserves to be out there, even the ones we don't agree with. 

Until next time readers, 

XoXo
BrainyHeroine


Sunday, September 2, 2018

"And it begins, as so many stories do, with a dead girl." Sadie: A Review

Hey Readers, 

I am so ridiculously excited that it is FINALLY September! We're talking pumpkin spice lattes, we're talking cooler weather, and today we're talking Sadie by Courtney Summers. 


Let's go back in time for a beat yes? Yes. Back in May I was lucky to have gotten a copy of Sadie as an ARC. I had read the description and it sounded fun, and very much up my alley. I'd read Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber for the earlier this year and the mash up of podcast with novel was something I'd clearly been finding enjoyable. Y'all. I read this book in just about seven hours over the course of the weekend, with most of those hours being in one day. I couldn't stop. I tried to, I had things to take care of but damn it all this book demanded my attention. 




Sadie is the story of Sadie, West, and an entire small town. 

"Sadie hasn't had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she's been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water. 

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie's entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister's killer to justice and hits the road following a few meagre clues to find him.

When West McCray—a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America—overhears Sadie's story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie's journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it's too late."


As I said this is a story told as a mash up of podcast and novel, but I found that I could hear the subtle differences in each characters voice during the podcast sections. I felt my heart racing when the story followed Sadie. I cried when Sadie talked about Mattie. With every page, with every turn of this story my emotions were racing, my attention could be grabbed by nothing else, and I'm pretty sure there were times where I flat out wasn't breathing. To say that this is one of my favorite novels of 2018 is an understatement. While I love reading, not every book so completely grabs me. 

I did find the ending to be frustrating, but I think that was the point. In the era of #MeToo, with girls going missing, being found dead, being found worse than that, the ending was frustrating. I won't spoil it; a rarity for me, but the emotional caliber of the story would get ruined if I spoiled. This book has stuck with me for months now, and I'm sure it will continue to be in my mind. I've wanted to loan my ARC to a few people, but I spoke about it so fiercely that one of them pre-ordered it mid conversation. Even now I'm teary, I'm frustrated, I got so angry reading parts of this novel. West got on my damn nerves and I sympathized wholeheartedly with May Beth; and I maybe went a little crazy on Instagram begging Courtney Summers and Wednesday Books to actually make a podcast out of this. Actually, then ended up doing just that. A whole dramatized podcast that started a few weeks ago. The Girls: Find Sadie can be listened too through whatever platform you find your podcasts on, I personally use Podcast Addict. (Not saying that I made it happen, but I love that it did happen.) 

I cannot fully explain or express why I loved this book so much. Maybe because I recognized my own anger inside Sadie? Because I've wanted my own justice for so long that following a fictional journey was somehow cathartic? Courtney Summers wrote an evocative novel, a beautiful, sad, angry, breathtaking novel. I cannot thank her enough for that. 

Sadie comes out September 4, 2018, available where you buy books, and needs to be on your Goodreads TBR as soon as possible. Preferably now. 

"You owe it to yourself to dig a little deeper. Don’t decide what you don’t have before you know what you do."

Until next time, 

XoXo
BrainyHeroine

Saturday, September 1, 2018

September TBR!!

Good Morning Readers!!

It is officially September which means it is officially time for a new TBR!!

To begin with....

My Book of the Month Subscription Box picks:

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker (WINNER OF THE BOOKER PRIZE)

Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough

The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock

(I super love my BOTM Subscription and highly suggest y'all try it too! Click HERE for my referral link and we'll both get great things!)

More TBR's for September include...

To Kill a Kingdom
Jane Doe: A Novel
Always Watching
In My Own Words
The Watergate
Fruit of the Drunken Tree
Vox
Three Dark Crowns
One Dark Throne
Two Dark Reigns
The Thousandth Floor
The Dazzling Heights
The Towering Sky

And probably so many others!!!

XoXo

Until Next Time,
BrainyHeroine


Friday, August 31, 2018

August Book Round Up!!

Good Morning Readers!

August has FINALLY reached it's end, which means it's time for a book round up and then, later, a September TBR!!

So what did August look like bookishly? Like this...a whole lot of insomnia + lots of time off + lots of simultaneous reading + audiobooks

The Wildling Sisters
Still Lives
Social Creature
Black Rabbit Hall
Heart of Thorns
The Essex Serpent
The Dinner List
Ghosted
Sweet Little Lies
Dance of Thieves
Kiss of Deception
Heart of Betrayal
Beauty of Darkness
Every Single Secret
Under the Banner of Heaven
The Ghosts of the Orphanage
And I Darken
Now I Rise
Bright We Burn
Lies
The Death of Mrs. Westaway
Believe Me
With You Always
I Will Never Leave You
Ginsburg Rules: A Collection of Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Supreme Court Decisions
The Lullaby Girl
The Girl in the Moss
Conan Doyle for the Defense: The True Story of a Sensational British Murder, a Quest for Justice, and The World's Most Famous Detective Writer

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Contemporary Classics: The First Books

Good Morning Readers,

The other day I rolled out my Contemporary Classics Project, and today I'm excited to give you the first FIVE classics I'll be revisiting for you!

Drum roll please.....

In no particular order we have.....

1. The Great Gatsby
2. Lolita
3. Pride and Prejiduce
4. Frankenstein
5. Moby Dick

All requested by readers over Social Media the past few days. I'm excited to get started on this! If you'd like to be a continued part of this series there are two ways to do so:

1. You can contribute financially by buying me a Coffee on ko-fi.com/brainyheroine


or

2. You can sign up for my emailing list and stay connected with me!

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Until next time,

XoXo
BrainyHeroine

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Believe Me, J.P. Delaney's Latest Will Blow Your Mind

Good Morning Readers, 

Today we're talking about J.P. Delaney's newest book, Believe Me

I loved The Girl Before, and found Delaney's writing to be delightfully twisty then, this novel is so much more; and to be truthful, Delaney's writing style has hit a new high with Believe Me. (YAY for authors KILLING IT with their sophomore novels!!!) 

"In this twisty psychological thriller from the New York Timesbestselling author of The Girl Before, an actress plays both sides of a murder investigation.

A struggling actor, a Brit in America without a green card, Claire needs work and money to survive. Then she gets both. But nothing like she expected.

Claire agrees to become a decoy for a firm of divorce lawyers. Hired to entrap straying husbands, she must catch them on tape with their seductive propositions. The rules? Never hit on the mark directly. Make it clear you’re available, but he has to proposition you, not the other way around. The firm is after evidence, not coercion. The innocent have nothing to hide.

Then the game changes.

When the wife of one of Claire’s targets is violently murdered, the cops are sure the husband is to blame. Desperate to catch him before he kills again, they enlist Claire to lure him into a confession.

Claire can do this. She’s brilliant at assuming a voice and an identity. For a woman who’s mastered the art of manipulation, how difficult could it be to tempt a killer into a trap? But who is the decoy . . . and who is the prey?"


There is so much here I'm just going to dive in. 

For starters, I did this on Audio and I have to say it enhanced my experience. Yes, I do A LOT of books on audio, that's how I get away with reading at work, but because of the stylized writing of Believe Me there really is another level added. Written from Claire's perspective, much of the story is told like a scene from a play or a movie, "interior, Kathrine Latham's Office," etc. which certainly helps the reader get inside Claire's head and gives you major Hitchcockian vibes. 

WHICH CAN BE SUPER CONFUSING! As much as I loved how twisty and sexy this story is I had to re-listen to conversations between characters and even whole chapters because the story is constantly moving at a pace that makes you think you're caught up, but you're actually behind. Not the worst thing in the world, and I still loved the book, there were just a handful of times where it felt as though the plot had changed and I missed something. I wasn't missing anything, the plot just jumps, frequently, and Claire's scenes are the only way you get to stay on track. 

Hands down this was a great follow up to The Girl Before and hands down you'll enjoy this novel, you'll just feel confused until the end and maybe a little turned on by a few of the scenes, and for the vanilla types just lean into it. 

Until next time, 

XoXo
BrainyHeroine

Friday, August 24, 2018

The Contemporary Classics Project

Good Morning Readers!

Guess who's working on a new project? Yup. Me! And to be honest it's one I've been mulling over for a while now.

My favorite books are classics, Frankenstein, Don Quixote, The Count of Monte Cristo, and so many people find these books impossible to read, or hard to comprehend. This baffles me, but it has inspired my newest project:

The Contemporary Classics Project

So what exactly is it? To put it simply, I'm going to be re-reading classic novels and finding their contemporaries in newer works. I'm also going to be presenting them with some background, interesting tidbits of history or fun backstories. Plus I'll be posting three to five books that have similar themes or aspects of the classics to give y'all a reading list you might actually enjoy finishing a little bit more than the summer reading lists from school. 

Classics aren't dead or expired, they aren't impossible, though they can be infuriating (I have a rather complicated history with Ulysses myself); Classics inspired so many styles of literature, so many storylines that readers today love. 

Until Next Time, 

XoXo
BrainyHeroine