Naughty, Naughty!

Today’s category is one of my favorites: books others don’t want you to read. I love looking through the banned books list. For me, it’s like a list of things I should experience or know. Many of the books that end up on this list are accounts of things that others find hard to handle or that challenge their moral standing. I say bring it, I like a good challenge.

I ran across many lists during my search but the best site I came across was the American Library Association. They have lists upon lists. Challenged classics, most frequently challenged, a banned book list for each year. The lists go on.

They also put up a good fight for everyone’s right to read what they want, to stand up and say that they will not have their books censored for them. They even have an event called banned book week. They have media kits and information for anyone who wants it. Banned book week is coming up September 25 – October 1, 2016.

I believe it is important to know what others are trying to take away from you. So check out the lists below and choose at least one book to enrich your mind and see what others would have you not know.

Challenged Classics
Frequently Challenged Books
Top 100 Most Challenged Books by Decade
Banned Books that Shaped America
Government Banned Books

Lastly, a list of lists from Goodreads, all containing banned books. 😀

I ended up with a few books on my list that were from the banned/challenged book lists I’d found but for my actual banned book I chose The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros.

All the accounts I could find said it was banned because it was about and written by a Mexican American. There was even a court case involving the book because Arizona officials banned Mexican American Studies, claiming it promoted the overthrow of the government. This is the reason I read banned books, to counter act ignorance.

Fight the good fight people and may your brains be sponges.


If your friend group is anything like mine, you’re never at a loss for book recommendations. Even if you live in a sparsely populated area, there are many online groups for bookworms! But in case you don’t have access to your fellow nerds, Leeann and I have a few recommendations for you.

First, from the more culturally varied of the two of us, Leeann’s choices:


We Two: Victoria and Albert : Rulers, Partners, Rivals by Gillian Gill
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
The Wisdom of Whores by Elizabeth Pisani

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (series)
I Am Not A Serial Killer by Dan Wells (series)
Lisey’s Story by Stephen King

Don’t expect such variation from me. I read solely for a chance to escape. My mind is a cage full of rabid three year olds who what nothing more than to paint my every fancy on the walls of my mind. They need a constant influx of imagery to consume and I’ll be damned if I’m going to wait around to see what happens if the supply runs out.
Sabriel by Garth Nix (series)
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling (series)
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (series)
The Shack by Wm. Paul Young
Cathy’s Book by Jordan Weisman & Sean Stewart (interactive and series)

Not so happy tales
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (TW sexual violence)

Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison (TW sexual violence)
Many of the above listed titles will cross reference into other categories for those of you still looking for books to fill your list! My choice for this category is Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher (TW self harm) recommended to me by my friend Elisabeth.
Another fun one similar to this is the random selection category. When choosing mine, Elisabeth and I went into a book store together, chose an aisle and spun around with our fingers pointed. You could also go into a book store, especially if you have a small, local one, and ask the clerk for a totally random book. Often they are book lovers just like us and would delight in that fun with you.
Alternately, there is this website which lets you set up to four criteria then pops out a book for you to read. So, completely random? Probably not. Fun? YES.
My book for this category is Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card.
Happy Reading!

Don’t Wanna Grow Up

I’ve roped another guest blogger into taking part of my work load. >:D  Her name is Amy Leibowitz and she’s a fabulous author and friend! She’s here to talk about my favorite genre of books, Young Adult Fiction. Without further ado, Amy:

Because I’m a book reviewer and blogger, I thought this challenge would be fairly easy. In some ways, it has been. I’ve been able to cover several categories just from what I normally pick up. But some are less easy, and I’ve had to go out of my way to find good things to read. Fortunately, because I have kids, there’s no shortage of kid and young adult lit in my house.

Every year, there’s a children’s book festival at one of the local college campuses. This year, my middle schooler was excited to go because he was able to meet one of his new favorite authors—Linda Sue Park. She’s the award-winning author of A Long Walk to Water (which is on my reading list for true story and was the assigned book in my son’s classroom) and Newberry Award-winning A Single Shard. She is also a contributing author for The 39 Clues series.

My son was able to have Ms. Park sign his copy of A Long Walk to Water. Meanwhile, my daughter picked up her book Project Mulberry, which is what I chose as my YA fiction. It’s probably closer to a middle-grades (MG) novel, but those categories are closely related.

Project Mulberry is about a Korean-American girl, Julia, and her best friend, Patrick, both of whom are involved in a 4H-type group and working together on a project to enter in the state fair. They choose to raise silkworms, even though Julia wants to do something “more American.”

There are some complex themes in this book, including racism, ethical farming, and cultural pride/sharing. Julia is a terrific narrator, relatable in so many ways. I loved her voice. I read this one out loud with the kids, so we all got to enjoy it together, and we were all excited to see what would happen next. I highly recommend this book, especially for anyone who is on the fence about whether they would enjoy YA or MG novels.

One of the big issues being discussed in YA lit right now is the rampant sexism. Not in the books themselves, per se, but in the community. Some issues which have come up are that male authors “understand” teenage girls better and that books are marketed in such a way that boys are universal (i.e., girls can read about them and relate to them) but girls are special (i.e., boys cannot relate to girls). Obviously, I think those are both terrible. I highly recommend that readers make the effort to read about people who are not exactly like themselves. Books such as Project Mulberry prove that gender and culture have very little to do with whether or not a main character or a plot is interesting or relatable.

If you want to know what else I’m reading (and writing!), you can find me on my blog at, on twitter @amyunchained, or on Facebook at You can read my reviews both on my blog and at Inked Rainbow Reads: If you’re an indie author, an author of LGBTQIA+ lit, or an avid reader looking to talk about books and want to do a guest post, you can drop me a line via my blog on the contact form.

Happy reading!

Stacy again, here’s a few links for you little beasties! And no Goodreads this time. 😮
Top 100 and NPR

Classic, Schmassic

I will be the first to admit that I am not a fan of the classics. No matter how refined I want to be and pretend like me and Shakespeare are home boys, I can’t. Though I am a book lover, that love did not sprout its wings on the runway of high school required reading. More like in spite of…

The other thing that gets me is those lists don’t change much. Which I works for me as a lazy researcher. 😛  There are quite a few comprehensive lists on Goodreads or there is this article that tries to convince you that reading some of these books isn’t the best way to lull yourself to sleep.

All jesting aside, I would love to be among the rank of authors that are forced upon children long after they are dead and I believe that some of them may be very good. As you can tell this category puts my commitment to the challenge to the test. I have chosen Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, even if for no other reason than my partner HATES this song.

One of my favorite trends though is the retelling of classics or fairy tales. I like sprucing up old things and re-purposing items made by others and this is similar. Goodreads comes though again with a long list of retellings and for those of us more predisposed toward YA there’s this one.

I chose Cinder by Mariss Meyer. The cover looks dark like I like and I’m hoping for the best.

Also, if you’re tired of reading lists to find your books, I found you a chart courtesy of Epic Reads!


Let me know your choices!

Give Me A Hard One!

We are just over a month into the year and I have to say I am loving this challenge! I missed reading. Curling up with some tea and ignoring my husband, that’s how I want to spend my nights.

Today’s topic of discussion is finding a book from an author with the same initials as you. I found a few sites that will help you do this rather easily.
This is the one I used but I also found this one.
Pretty easy, just go to the one first letter of your last name and find one that starts with your first. 😀

My choice for this category is Black Star, Bright Dawn by Scott O’Dell. I listened to this one on audio book and liked that it was easy to follow. It was about a girl and her running the Iditarod race with her dogs.

I am currently reading Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. Haven’t gotten far enough in to be able to tell whether or not I’m going to like it so you’ll have to wait for the results on that one. 😛

For those of you finding this on your own, there is a Facebook group for this challenge if you’d like a community of readers to share your journey with. Until next time!

Rouge Book Choices

Hi, I’m Leeann and I’ll be contributing a few posts to keep you motivated through this year’s reading challenge. You can blame me for this week’s category of choice: A book from a genre you wouldn’t normally read from. I suggested it because even though we are regular readers, or aspiring to be regular readers, it’s easy to get stuck reading the same genres. It’s comfortable, you know what to expect, and when most of us have so little free time, why spend it on genres we don’t normally read and aren’t sure if we’d like?

There’s nothing wrong with reading for pleasure and comfort, and you still reap the many benefits of reading if you choose to stick to what you like. I’m not suggesting you should put down whatever guilty pleasure you’re into right now, but think of this category as a way to challenge yourself.

You’ve probably heard some form of this advice since you were a kid. 1 & 2  So why should we challenge ourselves as adult readers? (Isn’t it enough that we’re still reading books at all?) Reading outside of your favoured genres pushes you outside of your comfort zone. Choosing something new will expose you to different authors, different styles of writing and use of language or vocabulary. Stepping outside of our own echo chambers expands our world view and exposes us to opinions and thoughts that we might not have otherwise encountered.  Author Mike Duran has a great list on the benefits of reading outside your genre if you still need convincing. If you can push out of your comfort zone and potentially broaden your horizons while chilling on the couch, why wouldn’t you give it a shot?

Picking a book from this category can be as easy as choosing a genre you normally avoid, and searching for recommendations in that genre, or asking a friend who reads in that area ( a chance to double up on the recommended book category!). Don’t know what genre to pick, or are not specifically avoiding anything? Wiki has a list of literary genres pick one that you don’t think you’ve ever read from and go from there. You may stumble on a new favourite.

My choice for this category is Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson. It’s sitting directly at the crossroads of several paths I rarely choose: serious sci-fi, speculative fiction, techno-thriller, and World War II. It’s heavy on geek cred and page count, weighing in at 1139! I intend to spend the next year expanding my horizons by choosing more complex and difficult books than I’d normally indulge in, and camping outside of my comfort zone. I hope you’ll find at least one book this year that asks the same of you.

Find your anti-genre book yet? Comment below with your choice or join the Facebook group and let us know!

Reading Challenge Kick Off

Hello to everyone joining me on this adventure! Today is January first and I hope that you have all started the new year by cracking open a new novel. I know that some of the categories can be hard to find books for so I have blog posts planned to help ferret out a book for you to consume.

Also in case anyone needs it, here is a blank reading list for you to print and fill in your books on. Click me!

Today I am going to cover a book where the main character is a person of color. This is not necessarily something that you can simply google for, trust me, I tried. You get a lot of results for The Color Purple. Not a bad book by any means and certainly an option but after the movie, I’m going to save that tear-jerker for later.

There is one book that I have read that I can recommend then I have some links to list that you can peruse yourself. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot is an excellent book. It’s a true story written so well that it reads like fiction. (Cross references to: A book a friend recommended, A book based on a true story, A book by a female author, An award winning book.)

If that one does not suit your fancy then I have links galore:
16 Books About Race (courtesy of Leeann)
I read only non-white authors for 12 months. (I pulled several from this one to add to my to-read list)
Fiction about LGBT women of color (Great for cross reference with other reading criteria)
Goodreads List 1 & 2

Hopefully this will help all of you fill out this category on your list. My chosen book for this one is: Who Fears Death – Nnedi Okorafor

Comment below with your choice or join the Facebook group and let us know!

Currently reading: ICO: Castle in the Mist for Book originally written in a language other than your first. (Cross references to: A book set in a different country, A book by a female author, A book with magic, A book that is by or about someone from an indigenous culture (although the culture is a fake tribe I believe), A young adult book, A book that is a guilty pleasure)

2016 Reading Challenge

I have always wanted to do one of the reading challenges that are posted all over the internet. I follow people on youtube who shove their books in my face and sulk over my one unfinished book that I started three months earlier on January first.

I’ll admit it: I’m not a fast reader. I plug along dutifully and enjoy myself immensely but am not Speedy Gonzales. I also work a full-time job and have a needy husband and a messy house that requires keeping.

All of this complaining and excuse making is my long way of saying: I cannot read 52 books in a year. I literally cannot even. (bahahahahaha!)

So, for everyone who has kids or a full-time job, a not entirely self-sufficient partner or a goldfish who’s allergic to water, this is a list for you!

There are thirty books on my list, compiled from some of the lists I found online and from a friend. I also have two possible ways to play. The first is one book for each requirement on the list resulting in thirty books in the year. The second way, which I am adding for the poor souls with a small brood of children or a business to run, is to select books that fulfill more than one requirement and call it good (resulting in less than thirty).

So, without further ado and in no particular order, the list:

  • A book with nonhuman characters
  • A book with a one-word title
  • A book of short stories (either all by the same writer or an anthology of different writers)
  • A book set in a different country
  • A book a friend recommended
  • A book based on a true story
  • A book based entirely on its cover
  • A book by a female author
  • A book which is a popular author’s first book
  • A book you were supposed to read in school but didn’t (or a classic if you actually read what you were supposed to)
  • A book you can finish in one day
  • A book from your childhood
  • A book with magic
  • A book you own but haven’t read
  • A book originally written in a language other than your first or a book written in a language that isn’t your first
  • A book written by an author with the same initials as you
  • A banned book
  • A book published by an indie press
  • A book by or about someone that identifies as LGBTQA et al
  • A book that is by or about someone from an indigenous culture (Native American, Aborigines, ect)
  • A young adult book
  • An award winning book
  • A book that is a retelling of a classic story or fairytale
  • A book that is a guilty pleasure
  • A book based on or made into a movie or TV show
  • A book where the main character is a person of color
  • A book chosen completely at random or blind choice (you could use a friend)
  • A book from a genre you wouldn’t normally read from
  • A book from a famous or influential author in a culture other than your own
  • A book that you have been meaning to read but haven’t gotten around to yet

There you have it! I will be posting throughout the year about what I’m reading and the different requirements and if I’m lucky, have a guest or two.