What I Love About Banned Books Week (September 22–28, 2013)

September 26, 2013 § Leave a comment

Last year I wrote about three books that I really want to read and only heard about because of a banned books list.

In keeping with that tradition, here are my three picks from Banned Books Week 2013.

When It Happens, by Susane Colasanti
Books Challenged or Banned 2012-2013
According to the ALA, challenged for explicit content.


From Goodreads:

At the start of her senior year in high school, Sara wants two things: to get into a top college and to find true love.

I never, ever get tired of a good young/first love story. Never, ever. Why is a subject so universal and timeless always challenged?

Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers
Books Challenged or Banned 2012-2013
According to the ALA, challenged for gruesome descriptions of combat and frequent foul language from soldiers. (Because heaven forbid we ever know about the horrors of combat.)


From Goodreads:

A coming-of-age tale for young adults set in the trenches of the Vietnam War in the late 1960s, this is the story of Perry, a Harlem teenager who volunteers for the service when his dream of attending college falls through.

This synopsis made my heart go pit-a-pat. It complements another book I’m slowly reading called Bloods: Black Veterans of the Vietnam War. One of my WIP’s main characters is a Vietnam War veteran so this subject really strums my heartstrings.

Intensely Alice, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Books Challenged or Banned 2012-2013
According to the ALA, challenged for a safe sex scene.


From Goodreads:

Wouldn’t it be great to go back to the time before Pam got pregnant, before Patrick left for the University of Chicago, before anyone was making any big decisions about sex or college or life in general? Wouldn’t it be great to get the whole gang together again, just once?

Alice does it again! I really am going to have to read this entire series.

Banned Books Week 2013 is September 22 through September 28 and celebrates our freedom to read. Click here to see ALA’s list of top ten challenged books by year.

What are your favorite books that show up on challenged lists?

Reading for the Weekend (September 20)

September 20, 2013 § Leave a comment

September 20, 2013

I took a break from the novel rewrites and indulged in some nonstop reading this past week. I finished Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham

A little sad it's over.

A little sad it’s over.

Afterburn by Sylvia Day


and, for some sexy bedtime reading, Double Shot by Christine D’Abo.


Continuing with the sexy times theme, I am now reading Vanilla on Top by C.J. Ellisson.


This weekend I’m heading to my local independent bookstore and picking up Covet, the new release by Tracey Garvis Graves. I LOVED her debut novel, On the Island, so I’m really looking forward to her latest.


What are you reading this weekend?

Burning Out on the Rewrites A Little

September 18, 2013 § 2 Comments

or, I rush into the heart of darkness and quickly retreat.

September 18, 2013

“Embrace the dark moment.”

That’s what I wrote in my planner.

I had to psyche myself up to delve back into the novel rewrites. Now that I am splitting my novel in two, I have to restructure the first break which means revisiting one of the most emotionally challenging sections of the book.

If only I felt this calm.

If only I felt this calm.

Here’s where I wail, “No! I don’t want to go back!”

But, propelled by those words of encouragement in my planner, and armed with a glass of wine, I spent thirty minutes reworking one of the difficult scenes.

The next day Neil Gaiman totally backed me up on this.

Then came the weekend. And the fist-pounding, heel-digging, wailing little girl reasserted her rights. I need a break from the novel. A week-long break, at least. And I will not feel guilty about it.

Nothing and no one backed me up on this.

But I got a lot of reading done and I went to the movies and the theater and met new people.

Saw one-woman play "Harriet's Return" at the KiMo on Sunday. Inspiring. I can do anything. I have a voice.

Saw one-woman play “Harriet’s Return” at the KiMo on Sunday. Inspiring. I can do anything! I have a voice!

Now I’m waiting for the moment when I wake up in the middle of the night with my heart pounding and my mind racing and my inner voice shrieking, “What are you doing? You’re wasting time! Get your ass back in the chair and finish those rewrites.”

Then I’ll get up, down a shot of Vodka, and face the fact that break time is over.

Fall is Coming, and So Is Fall TV

September 17, 2013 § 2 Comments

As much as I love to read books, I’m happy about the start of new fall TV. It takes the edge off the end of summer. Here are the new shows I’m excited to check out.

Sleepy Hollow. Source: Fox Network

Sleepy Hollow. Source: Fox Network

Sleepy Hollow
Premieres 9/16 on Fox, 9/8c

This looks like a fun, modern take on an old, old story. The star appeal for me is a Brit (Tom Mison)—I was raised on Masterpiece Theater, what can I say?— and two African-American leads (Nicole Beharie and Orlando Jones)—okay, that one should be  be fairly obvious. Besides, Nikita is coming to an end, so I need my next Dark Angel replacement.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Premieres 9/24 on ABC, 8/7c

Joss Whedon and Agent Coulson are back. Need I say more?

The Crazy Ones
Premieres 9/26 on CBS, 9/8c

Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar as a father and daughter duo is just fresh and offbeat enough to work. I get to vicariously live the father-daughter relationship I never had. Plus, James Wolk co-stars, and Robin Williams himself said it: he’s SO handsome.

Almost Human
Premieres 11/4 on FOX, 8/7c

Karl Urban and Michael Ealy: double eye candy. Hello! Okay, and maybe the Picard/Data dynamic.

What new shows are you going to be checking out?

Reading for the Weekend (September 13)

September 13, 2013 § 2 Comments

September 13, 2013

I am almost done reading Someday, Someday, Maybe and I am getting a real kick out of it. Franny’s soap opera audition sequence made me throw my head back and laugh out loud, which is saying something, considering that I was suffering from a pounding headache at the time (something to do with stress at the day job and substituting food with liquor and my usual TMJ nonsense).


I started reading Afterburn by Sylvia Day, the first in the Cosmo Red-Hot Reads series by Harlequin.


Next I will probably start  Wait for You (Signed First Edition!) by Jennifer L. Armentrout. I put this on my Goodreads list a few months ago when it was on the NYT list, based on the synopsis alone. Then I went to the New Adult panel at RWA13 and this author was one of the panelists.  She said that Avery and Cam’s story came to her out of nowhere when she was taking a shower.


I love those kinds of stories. That’s really how it happens sometimes.

What are you reading this weekend?

Enlightened In Spite of Myself by “An Oversimplification of Her Beauty”

September 11, 2013 § Leave a comment

This weekend I got a little adventurous and met some peeps at the Guild to see the movie An Oversimplification of Her Beauty. It was a little art house-y. The confused looks on my companions’ faces after the lights came on was priceless.

“So, was he ever actually with that girl or not?”

“He did tell her that one time how he felt about her, right?”

“I wonder what their relationship is now, after he’s told the whole world with this movie how obsessed he was with her?”

In the theater lobby I ran into my dance instructor from my old gym, and a friend of hers, and the three of us stood outside on the sidewalk for thirty minutes talking about relationships and how they work (or don’t work) for us.

And that got me thinking about patterns and cycles and our non-ideal romance and love nonsense that we repeat over and over again.


Take the filmmaker himself. His pattern was so obvious to me I wanted to yell at the screen: “Stop falling for women who live in different municipalities and hemispheres. Stop pining over women who are in relationships with other people. Just tell her how you feel about her if you hate the friend zone so much.”

Wait. Do I do that? That or something like it? Something like falling for the same unavailable types over and over again.

And take the filmmaker’s love object, the subject of the entire film. Her life mantra was so infuriating I wanted to shake her and say, “Stop it with this ‘I want to be in control’ thing already. Love isn’t supposed to be practical. It’s supposed to be exciting and irrational and unpredictable. You’re not happy with the practical—why do you think you keep stringing this man along?”

Wait. Have I done that? That or something like it? Something like convincing myself I want to be with a particular guy because he doesn’t make me feel like I’m free-falling, and then wonder why it’s not working out.

Damn. Self-revelation’s a bitch.

Is it me, or is she giving me the judgmental look?

Is it me, or is she giving me the judgmental look?

So I decided on a new game plan inspired by this movie-as-diary-slash-unrequited-love-letter thing.

  • Stop it with the stupid pattern. Do something, anything, to change it up. (If only I could figure out what that something/anything is.)
  • Go for the gusto. Go for the out of control, all-consuming love thing. Life’s too short for anything less.

Starting now.

Well, maybe starting this weekend.

Reading for the Weekend (September 6)

September 6, 2013 § 4 Comments

September 6, 2013

I finished Fifth Grave Past the Light over the Labor Day weekend just like I’d planned. Whew! There is a lot of Reyes in this book. A lot of Charley and Reyes. Together. A lot of seriously sexy times. Holy mother of—

5th Grave

I also caught up a little on my comics stash. Not just Batman, but Smallville Season 11 as well. I finished the “Haunted” segment, the one with Impulse/Bart Allen. Then I wandered around in a daze for awhile.

I started reading Someday, Someday, Maybe, the debut novel by Lauren Graham–yes, that’s right, Lorelai Gilmore from Gilmore Girls. I’m really enjoying it so far. It is well-written, relatable, and funny. The year is 1995, and Franny is on a self-imposed schedule to get her first real acting gig, with just six months to go. As many of us goal-oriented souls know, six months can go by in a flash, leaving us on the ground, dazed, and looking around going “Wha happened?” Or maybe that’s just me. One tidbid of note-I just watched Before Sunrise for the first time over Labor Day. Then, on Tuesday, I’m reading the book on my lunch break and there is a reference to Franny going to the movies with her roommate to see Before Sunrise. I know, right? What a coinky-dink.


What are you reading this weekend?

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