vampires

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Banned Books 2018 – FEBRUARY READ – Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Published February 26, 2018 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

About three things I was absolutely positive.

First, Edward was a vampire.

Second, there was a part of him—and I didn’t know how dominant that part might be—that thirsted for my blood.

And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him.

In the first book of the Twilight Saga, internationally bestselling author Stephenie Meyer introduces Bella Swan and Edward Cullen, a pair of star-crossed lovers whose forbidden relationship ripens against the backdrop of small-town suspicion and a mysterious coven of vampires. This is a love story with bite.

Logo designed by Luna’s Little Library

Welcome to the second banned book in our series for 2018! As always, we’ll be looking at why the book was challenged, how/if things have changed since the book was originally published and our own opinions on the book. Here’s what we’ll be reading for the rest of the year:

MARCH: Fallen Angels -Walter Dean Myers
APRIL: Saga Volume 3 -Brian K.Vaughan and Fiona Staples
MAY: Blood And Chocolate -Annette Curtis Klause
JUNE: Brave New World-Aldous Huxley
JULY: Julie Of The Wolves -Jean Craighead George
AUGUST: I Am Jazz– Jessica Herthel
SEPTEMBER: Taming The Star Runner– S.E. Hinton
OCTOBER: Beloved -Toni Morrison
NOVEMBER: King & King -Linda de Haan
DECEMBER: Flashcards Of My Life– Charise Mericle Harper
For now, back to this month:

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

First published: 2005

In the Top Ten most frequently challenged books in 2009  (source)

Reasons: religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group.

Do you understand or agree with any of the reasons for the book being challenged when it was originally published?

BETH: Ahhh, Twilight, what a blast from the past! I read it when it first came out to see what all the fuss was about but was interested to see what my thoughts would be over ten years afterwards. Now, I never look at the reasons why it was banned until I’m writing the post, I like to try and figure out the reasons for myself and once again, with this one I was completely wrong. Let’s start with religious viewpoint. Er, where was that exactly? Are they talking about the pagan practices of vampires or something else? Because seriously, I have a bit of an issue when religion is forced down my throat but I like to learn about other religions generally and I can’t recall a single incidence where religion is pushed. This certainly didn’t offend me. Let’s also remember that we were a fairly enlightened race in 2005 and there was no need (especially this reason!) for this book to be banned/challenged.

CHRISSI: Twilight! The book many bloggers hate to admit that they read. I’m not ashamed that I read it. When I did I was totally intrigued by the hype. I was in my teens. I don’t understand why it’s challenged on the sexually explicit and unsuited to age group reason. Huh? I mean, seriously! There’s nothing sexually explicit in Twilight. Attraction, sure, but no sexy times. Unless they mean later on in the series? But still… teenagers/young adults read and see worse in the media. As for religious viewpoint, I’ve been thinking about this one. Does it mean that it might offend some religions that don’t agree with the practice of vampires? I’m a bit flummoxed.

How about now?

BETH: It’s been over ten years and attitudes haven’t changed this much but again no, no, no. When I first thought about the reasons why someone might challenge this book, I immediately thought vampires in the same way that people are against Roald Dahl’s The Witches and Harry Potter for the whole witchy/wizardy aspect. If religious viewpoint DOES mean this, it’s still ridiculous in my opinion. For goodness sake, it’s just fantasy…it’s called “using your imagination,” and last time I checked on my childhood, that’s ALL I used to do! Also, sexually explicit and unsuited for age group? Don’t make me laugh! Okay, so Bella and Edward occasionally touch lips and brush faces (a lot!) and shock horror, sleep in the same bed where nothing sexual happens! This is saucy stuff, right?! Wrong. I read a hell of a lot worse as a teenager. I would actually say it’s perfect for the intended age group, which is probably teenage girls apart from the minor issues I have about Bella and Edward’s relationship.

CHRISSI: I honestly don’t see why this book is challenged when it’s really a supernatural love story. You don’t need to believe in anything to read this. You use your imagination. The only issue I have about it is Edward being a bit of a tool. I can’t believe that so many swoon over him. He’s possessive and controlling. No thank you!

What did you think of this book?:

BETH:  Okay, this book is in no way literary genius and as I mentioned, I do have a few issues with the main relationship as an adult. I believe he’s far too possessive and a bit controlling which isn’t the healthiest type of relationship to portray to a vulnerable teenager. However, for the target age market, I think it’s probably an exciting, romantic story that young girls would enjoy. I can remember being a teenager and would have adored a boy to be that in love with me like Edward is with Bella. Therefore, I think if they understand that it’s just fantasy and a good relationship is always two people on an equal footing, there’s no harm in it. It was a very interesting experience re-reading it and trying to see why some may have issues with it.

CHRISSI: Twilight is incredibly addictive and so easy to read. I can appreciate it’s not the best writing ever. I don’t think it needs to be though. There’s definitely room in the market for books like Twilight. So many enjoy it and why shouldn’t we enjoy what we read, even if it is a bit of fluff?

Would you recommend it?:

BETH: Probably!

CHRISSI: Yes!

 3 Star Rating Clip Art
Coming up on the last Monday of March on Banned Books: we review Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers.
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Mini Pin-It Reviews #17 – Four Books From Book Bridgr/other publishers

Published January 12, 2018 by bibliobeth

Hello everyone and welcome to another mini pin-it reviews post! I have a massive backlog of reviews and this is my way of trying to get on top of things a bit. This isn’t to say I didn’t like some of these books – my star rating is a more accurate reflection of this, but this is a great, snappy way of getting my thoughts across and decreasing my backlog a bit. This time I’ve got four books from Book Bridgr for you – please see my pin-it thoughts below!

1.) Shadow Of Night (All Souls Trilogy #2) – Deborah Harkness

What’s it all about?:

IT BEGAN WITH A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES.

Historian Diana Bishop, descended from a line of powerful witches, and long-lived vampire Matthew Clairmont have broken the laws dividing creatures. When Diana discovered a significant alchemical manuscript in the Bodleian Library, she sparked a struggle in which she became bound to Matthew. Now the fragile coexistence of witches, daemons, vampires and humans is dangerously threatened.

Seeking safety, Diana and Matthew travel back in time to London, 1590. But they soon realize that the past may not provide a haven. Reclaiming his former identity as poet and spy for Queen Elizabeth, the vampire falls back in with a group of radicals known as the School of Night. Many are unruly daemons, the creative minds of the age, including playwright Christopher Marlowe and mathematician Thomas Harriot.

Together Matthew and Diana scour Tudor London for the elusive manuscript Ashmole 782, and search for the witch who will teach Diana how to control her remarkable powers…

Would I recommend it?:

Probably!

Star rating (out of 5):

3-5-stars

2.) The Book Of Life (All Souls Trilogy #3) – Deborah Harkness

What’s it all about?:

After traveling through time in Shadow of Night, the second book in Deborah Harkness’ enchanting series, historian and witch Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont return to the present to face new crises and old enemies. At Matthew’s ancestral home at Sept-Tours, they reunite with the cast of characters from A Discovery of Witches—with one significant exception. But the real threat to their future has yet to be revealed, and when it is, the search for Ashmole 782 and its missing pages takes on even more urgency. In the trilogy’s final volume, Harkness deepens her themes of power and passion, family and caring, past deeds and their present consequences. In ancestral homes and university laboratories, using ancient knowledge and modern science, from the hills of the Auvergne to the palaces of Venice and beyond, the couple at last learn what the witches discovered so many centuries ago.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

3.) Hangman – Stephan Talty

What’s it all about?:

New York Times bestselling author Stephan Talty’s acclaimed fiction debut, Black Irish, won him comparisons to such thriller masters as Jo Nesbø, Karin Slaughter, and Tana French. Now, his chilling new novel brings back intrepid heroine Absalom Kearney, a driven police detective with a haunted past, trying to make a difference in a troubled town.
 
Hangman, Hangman, what do you see? Four little girls, as cute as can be. The eerie schoolyard chant still sends ripples of horror through North Buffalo. Not so long ago, serial killer Marcus Flynn preyed upon the community’s teenaged daughters—until he was cornered and shot in the head. But Flynn lived, carrying to prison the nickname “Hangman,” along with the secret of his last victim’s fate. Homicide cop Abbie Kearney wasn’t around during Hangman’s reign of terror. She hadn’t yet come home to wear her dad’s old badge in the tough Irish American stronghold known as “the County.” Abbie had never experienced firsthand the horror of Hangman. Until now.
 
Hangman, Hangman, where do they go? Down on the ground, where the daffodils grow. A corrections officer lies dead, a prison van stands empty . . . and somewhere out there, the monster who condemned innocents to death at the end of a rope watches and waits to strike again. Abbie leads a desperate manhunt through a city driven to its knees by fear, matching wits with a predator as brilliant as he is elusive. But as more victims are claimed, a rising tide of secrecy, paranoia, and politics forces her to realize that stepping beyond the law may be the only way to find justice. Because with each passing hour, the stakes grow higher—and Hangman’s noose gets tighter.

Would I recommend it?:

Maybe!

Star rating (out of 5):

3 Star Rating Clip Art

4.) In Search Of Solace – Emily Mackie

What’s it all about?:

Jacob Little is in trouble – existential trouble. Ten years ago, in pursuit of a philosophical theory, he ditched his girlfriend Solace and took to the road, adopting a series of personae and obsessions: he’s been Keith, the archaeologist, Otto, the purple-bearded pagan, Isaac, the gardener, and many more. Now, with no sense of who he is at all, he’s decided to find the one person who knows the real Jacob – Solace.

Jacob’s quest leads him to Solace’s Scottish hometown and into the lives of four people with their own issues: his self-deluding landlady; a teenager looking for a grand romance; an old watchmaker longing for a son; and a young girl who would rather be a boy. Each sees Jacob in a different light. For each, he is a catalyst. But where does that leave Jacob? And will he ever find Solace?

As deadly serious as it is funny, this is a novel about identity, love, religion, memory, self-perception, modern Britain and time. A novel to make you question yourself; a novel to obsess about.

Would I recommend it?:

Not sure.

Star rating (out of 5):

3 Star Rating Clip Art

COMING UP NEXT TIME ON MINI PIN-IT REVIEWS: Four Random Books.

Short Stories Challenge 2017 – Freaks: A Rizzoli & Isles Short Story by Tess Gerritsen (stand-alone).

Published December 18, 2017 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

In this Rizzoli & Isles short story from New York Times bestselling author Tess Gerritsen, author of The Silent Girl, a bizarre death comes with a supernatural twist. Homicide cop Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles have seen their fair share of mortal crimes, but the death of Kimberly Rayner may qualify as inhuman in more ways than one. When corpse of the emaciated seventeen-year-old girl is discovered next to an empty coffin in an abandoned church, mysterious bruises around the throat suggest foul play. Caught fleeing the scene is the victim’s closest friend, Lucas Henry, an equally skeletal, pale teenager who claims he’s guilty only of having a taste for blood—a craving he shared with Kimberly. But the victim’s distraught father doesn’t believe in vampires, only vengeance. And now, another life may be at risk unless Rizzoli and Isles can uncover the astonishing truth.

What did I think?:

Freaks was such an interesting reading experience for me but first I have to tell you a little story. I’m a huge fan of Tess Gerritsen and about ten years ago, I read everything she ever published up to that point. The author used to be a doctor and so she brought all her experience and first hand knowledge from her career and used it in an excellent way to tell some thrilling tales. In fact the first novel in her famous Rizzoli and Isles series, The Surgeon still remains one of my very favourite thrillers. I approached Freaks with slight trepidation – I haven’t read anything by her for a long time and I was a little concerned that due to the maturation in my reading tastes, I wouldn’t enjoy her writing as much. Now, I don’t know if it’s because it’s a short story and I’m used to reading her novels or that I’ve “grown out” of her work OR that this simply wasn’t one of her best stories but I have to admit, I was a little disappointed by this little tale. Sad face!

Freaks follows Gerritsen’s notorious female protagonists, Maura Isles (a medical examiner) and Jane Rizzoli (a police detective) as they come across an intriguing death that has some very strange hallmarks. The victim is a seventeen year old girl called Kimberley Rayner and she is found inside a church with marks of strangulation around her neck. She is emaciated, pale and filthy and looks to have been malnourished and sleeping rough prior to her death. Rizzoli manages to apprehend a young man of similar age to Kimberley who is still at the scene but he swears that the last time he saw his friend, she was still alive. He also mentions that the two teenagers are vampires and survive every day on just “air and blood,” which, of course causes them to be labelled as “freaks.” However, as with many of their cases there is more to this peculiar death than meets the eye and it takes a chance finding at the post-mortem to reveal what really happened to Kimberley.

So what was my problem? There was only one real nagging issue that I couldn’t get past with this short story and it happened at the end of every single chapter. It was just so sensationalist and every last sentence of the chapter had to be a frightening moment, strong statement or cliffhanger of some sort. Seriously, every single time I came to the close of each little section I had the inevitable “dun, dun, DUN!” noise going off in my head and I’m afraid to say, at some points it did get a little bit eye rolling. The vampire element put me off too, I have to say. It does connect to what happened to Kimberley a little bit I guess, but I think the author could have chosen another reason for why Kimberley’s body was in such a sorry state not just rest on the frankly unnecessary blood-sucker thing. Because of all of this, I was unfortunately bitterly disappointed with the entire experience and although I’ve got the next novel I’m due to read by Tess Gerritsen, Keeping The Dead high up on my TBR for next year, I’m a little put off now and worried that it’s going to be a let down. Perhaps it’s just her short stories I’m not going to be a fan of? Are there others out there that are better and this is just a bad apple in the proverbial fruit bowl? If anyone knows, I’d love to be reassured in the comments but for now, I’ll just have to wait and see.

Would I recommend it?:

Not sure.

Star rating (out of 5):

 

 

NEXT SHORT STORY: High House by Rosy Thornton from the collection Sandlands.