Top 5 Wednesday #15 | Banned Books I’ve Read

Hello everyone and welcome to another edition of Top 5 Wednesday!


As always, Top 5 Wednesday was created by Lainey at gingerreadslainey. For a complete list of Wednesday-ers and topics, please visit the Goodreads group!

This week is the American Library Association’s annual Banned Books Week. It is a week-long celebration held every year in the book community to celebrate our freedom to read whatever we please. Each year, many books are challenged or banned in schools and libraries across the world. Anything from a children’s book about penguins (Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson – depicts the true story of two male penguins raising a baby penguin) to a worldwide beloved fantasy series (Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling – enforces anti-Christian values through depiction of witchcraft and wizardry) is going to make someone mad somewhere.

In honor of Banned Books Week, today’s topic is all about the banned or challenged books that I have read. I have read a lot of frequently challenged or banned books. In fact, I’m constantly talking about most of the books on this list. I am lucky to have been able to have access to so many books, to have the freedom to think for myself. Some of the frequently challenged books do challenge what I personally believe, but that is what I love about them. They allow me to view multiple vantage points and make the decision for myself. Unfortunately, this is the exact choice that many want to restrict by banning these books.

Onto the countdown.

For this list, I will give a description of why the book was banned and/or challenged. See if you can figure out which book I am talking about. Then, click on the banned book image to be taken to the book’s Goodreads page.


This book was banned from a school district in Texas in 2012 for the use of the term “poo poo head.” Seriously. It was also challenged in 2004 in a California school district for its inappropriate story line involving excrement.

banned book


This book depicts acts of racism towards members of the African American community. It also contains explicit adult content such as sexual intercourse, rape, and incest. It also contains “foul language” such as “damn” and “whore lady.”

Fun fact!: I read this as required reading in one of my high school English classes. Not only that, but I was required to help teach it to a younger English class.

banned book


This banned or challenged book was written by an atheist author. Its characters depict actions and thoughts that are anti-God, anti-Catholic, and anti-religion. The main character frequently drinks wine and consumes poppy during meals. This book was later returned to the library, but bore a sticker stating, “representations of the church in this novel are purely fictional and are not reflective of the real Roman Catholic Church or the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

banned book


This book was banned and/or challenged for its many depictions of sexual activity and drug use. One school district claimed that students and minors could easily learn more about the depicted drug use “through a simple internet search.”

Fun fact!: I read this as required reading for one of my high school English classes.

banned book


This book is stored in a Missouri high school library’s secure section that only parents have access to. This book is not allowed to be read allowed by teachers or be a part of required reading. It teaches principles contrary to The Bible. It also depicts thoughts and actions that are anti-war. It’s also been challenged for strong sexual content. Some believe that distribution of this book to minors is similar to distribution of pornography to minors and should be illegal as such.

Fun fact!: Many of this author’s books are challenged and/or banned in high schools. As part of my senior English class, I and another student did an author study on this book’s author. We read many of his books and taught their (often banned) themes to our classmates.

banned book


This book was removed from a California school’s library because a student found the term “oral sex” within its pages.

banned book


How many of the above banned books were you able to guess? We still have a few days left of Banned Books Week. I encourage you to read a banned book that you’ve never read before. Talk to your librarian and ask about the reasons why a book has been banned. You’ll be quite surprised.

In the comment section, let me know what your favorite book is that has been challenged or banned.

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you soon!


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What I’m Watching | Fall 2015

I am in a reading slump and I do not like it. Part of it was the stress of taking care of my injured brother. Then, the stress of preparing for an interview.

But now, I’m feeling a little under the weather. Since I’m pretty much staying in bed, I’m hoping to get a lot of reading done today. We’ll see.

So what have I been doing whilst in this reading slump? Watching prime time television! I am so excited for my fall shows to come back. I’m a little bit excited for a few new shows, but not many.


8:00 pm – The Big Bang Theory

big bang

love this show so much. The chemistry the actors have with each other is fantastic, but my favorite thing about the show is how the characters interact with each other. I also love how it successfully incorporates aspects of pop culture into the show.

10:00 pm – Castle


Best selling author Richard Castle teams up with NYPD to research a novel based on Detective Kate Beckett. His research tends to get him more involved than everyone expects, leaving Castle and the detectives in some sticky situations.

I pretty much love anything that Nathan Fillion is in, so this show is a no-brainer for me. It’s also a really interesting take on crime television.


9:00 pm – Modern Family


This show is about patriarch Jay Pritchett, his children, and their families. Jay, in his sixties, marries a woman the same age as his children who has a child the same age as his grandchildren. His son is in a homosexual relationship and has an adopted daughter. Jay’s daughter is married to goofy man that can never live up to Jay’s standards. It’s definitely a modern family.

I like all the different types of families represented and how they interact with each other and the world. This is one of my favorite shows.


8:00 pm – Grey’s Anatomy


I’m excited for this season, if only to figure out how they are going to move forward from the intense event towards the end of last season. I’ve always liked medical dramas and I never thought I’d love this show as much as I do.

9:00 pm – Scandal


Along with Grey’s Anatomy, this show started as a guilty pleasure, but now I have no shame. I love this show. It’s about a woman who helps deal with scandals in Washington D.C., often surrounding the President of the United States.

10:00 pm – How to Get Away With Murder


I’m not so sure about this show any more. This show is guilty of withholding information from the viewers as well as the characters in the show for dramatic effect. This means there is a lot of information to remember. Who knows what about who? It can be very puzzling. I’m thinking of doing a re-watch of the first season because the second season premiere could have done a better job at reminding viewers of important facts.


9:00 pm – Doctor Who


That’s if I don’t find somehow to stream it before 9:00 pm my time. Sometimes I just cannot wait and have to watch it along with the UK.

I’m still catching up on last season, but I’m getting there. I’m excited for new Doctor Who episodes!

As for new shows, I’m watching The Muppets, Life in Pieces, and Blindspot.

What are you watching this fall?

Thanks for reading! I hope to be back with some bookish awesomeness!


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Book to Movie Comparisons | “If I Stay” by Gayle Forman

The book is always better than the movie, right? Every time I leave the theater after watching a film based on a book, I hear at least one person say, “The book was better.” I know I’m guilty of this, but is the book always better than the movie?

When I think about it, there are definitely some movies that I enjoyed more than the book for a variety of reasons. There are also movies that I believe did not do the book any justice.

I was recently watching a book-to-film adaptation and thought, “Why not write about this on the blog?”

Book To Movie

In February of this year, I read If I Stay by Gayle Forman over the span of a few hours. I inhaled the book and I could not put the book down, but I wasn’t all that impressed with it. I thought it was a good book, with a not-so-good ending.


17-year old Mia Hall is the daughter of a drummer to quit his band to be a better father. Mia has played the cello ever since she was a little girl and absolutely loves music. She has a lot of decisions to make about her future, whether she will follow her musical dreams or stay with the rocker love of her life.  On a snow day, Mia and her family take a drive that changes everything. Suddenly, there is only one decision Mia needs to make and it is the most important.

I thought the concept of the book was very interesting and even thought the writing style hooked me. The only thing that I did not like was the ending (I’m not going to talk about that because spoilers!).

I watched the film adaptation the other night, seven months after reading the book. From what I can remember, the movie did an excellent job. It made me feel the same emotions toward the same characters. It held my interest, but I didn’t like the ending.

Verdict: which was better?

The book and the movie adaptation were about the same for me. I give them both 3 stars.

3 stars

Has anyone read this book or watched the movie? Let’s discuss in more detail below!

Thanks for reading and as always, I’ll see you soon!


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TAG | The Harry Potter Tag

Hello, and welcome to Tag Friday!

To get back into the swing of things, I am going to complete a tag about one of my favorite book series, Harry Potter! I wasn’t officially tagged for this, but I saw the post by the lovely Kira at fieittyreads. Thanks for tagging everyone because everyone includes me!

#1 – Favorite book?

My favorite book has always been The Chamber of Secrets. It was the first book that was really able to transport me into the book as if I were experiencing everything along with the characters. I was very impressed with the diary scene and was unable to predict the outcome of this one. Sure, I was nine or ten years old, but still. It’s one of my best book memories!

#2 – Favorite film?

I’m going to have to go with the first film. I was so excited when I found out my favorite books were being turned into movies. I went with my mother and sister to see the first film the weekend of its release in the US. It started a tradition. Every year that a new Harry Potter film was being released, the three of us went to see it in theaters together.

#3 – Least favorite book?

The Goblet of Fire. While I liked getting a sneak peak into the wizarding world as a whole instead of just Hogwarts, I didn’t like the teen angst that started to happen in this one. I wanted to smack Ron for how he was acting and how Harry was handling it. This one took the longest for me to read. I still like it, but it’s ranked at the bottom.

#4 – Parts of the books/movies that make you cry?

I’ll admit that I teared up at the end of Half-Blood Prince when a beloved character dies. If you read the book, you know what I’m talking about.

#5 – Favorite character?

Remus Lupin! I’ve always loved Lupin’s character, as a teacher, a mentor, a member of the Order. He had so much depth, especially later in the series.

#6 – What would your patronus be?

According to a Buzzfeed quiz, it would be an otter. It makes sense. An otter is Hermione’s and we are both smart, caring, book lovers, right? I’m going with that.

#7 – If you could have the resurrection stone, invisibility cloak, or the elder wand, which one would you choose?

Invisibility cloak, hands down. It has so many uses and doesn’t have the negative effects of the other two. Also, I grew up with Harry who grew up having one, so I want it too!

#8 – What house would you be in?

Hufflepuff! Some people say that Hufflepuffs are the dumb ones that don’t fit in anywhere. I’ve been made fun of for being a Hufflepuff, but I like the message that came with it in Pottermore. We don’t fit in anywhere because we have all the best traits from each of the other houses. Hufflepuffs all the way!

#9 – If you could meet any member of the cast, who would it be?

Oh gosh, I don’t know. I would be happy to meet any of them and shake their hands.

#10 – Were you happy with the ending?

The ending of the story, yes. The epilogue, no.

#11 – How much does Harry Potter mean to you?

I’ve always loved reading. I taught myself how to read before I started school! Harry Potter was the book series that really got me into reading chapter books and multi-book series. It was the first book series that got me excited about reading. While waiting for the next books to come out, my friends and I bonded over theories as to what was going to happen next. Harry Potter was my entire childhood. He is most important.

Like Kira, I tag everyone! If Harry means anything to you, I want you to complete this tag!

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you soon!


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Top 5 Wednesday #14 | Favorite Title Fonts


I have missed you. It’s been about a week since I’ve been here! I’ve checked my Reader a few times over the week since I’ve posted, but I haven’t really been present…but I am back.

I’ve moved out of my brother’s house and back home. My brother is doing so well. He’s much more mobile and independent. He’s even able to go camping with us this weekend! Thank you for all of your kind thoughts.

It’s Wednesday today and you know what that means!


As always, Top 5 Wednesday was created by Lainey at gingerreadslainey. For a complete list of Wednesday-ers and topics, please visit the Goodreads group!

Today’s topic is “Title Fonts on Covers.” I honestly didn’t know I had an opinion about this until I started looking at my bookshelf. I felt the same way about the “Chapter Titles” topic!

I like when book covers stand out to me, whether it be their color scheme, title, or font. I know I’m not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but if the cover looks boring, what does that say about the book?

Here are my favorites:

#5 – Armada by Ernest Cline


I just got this book and am excited to read it. I think the cover looks interesting and a large part of that is its title font. The popular font that has slanted capital A’s can get a little overdone, but I like how it’s mirrored on this cover.

#4 – Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo


I like the fluidity of this font, but would like it more if it had more of a Russian feel to it. I saw a picture of the ARC cover and I liked it a lot better!


I love the use of Cyrillic letters here! The A looks like Д, W like Щ, N like И, and E like (a backwards) З! I wish she kept this font! I also would LOVE to own this ARC.

#3 – Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon


I love the use of watercolor and negative space for this title font. This cover is gorgeous!

#2 – Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk


This book is one of my favorites. It’s a collection of interconnected short stories of the creepy variety. The font is appropriate for a creepy book, don’t you think? Bonus points to the cover for being GLOW IN THE DARK.


#1 – Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

doctor sleep

This cover is appropriately creepy for a sequel to The Shining! I love the use of smoke for this font. It draws the eye away from the creepy face in the background, just so it can jump out at you when you notice it.

That’s it for me this week. I hope to be back to a more usual blogging schedule now that I am home. I am going camping this weekend, but I plan on scheduling a few pre-written posts. Oh, I have missed blogging.

What are you favorite book title fonts?

See you soon!

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Top 5 Wednesday #13 | Books about Mental Health/Illness

I can’t believe this is my 13th T5W post. It feels like I only started this blog yesterday. Time flies.


As always, Top 5 Wednesday was created by Lainey at gingerreadslainey. For a complete list of Wednesday-ers and topics, please visit the Goodreads group!

This week’s topic is “Books with Mental Health/Illness,” which is a very important topic, especially in Young Adult fiction.  Not only does it add some diversity to the characters we read about, but it brings attention to some dark topics that the targeted demographic should be exposed to.

These dark topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Suicide
  • Physical Illness
  • Physical or Intellectual Disabilities
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

I am definitely taking physical illness into consideration while building this list because it is something that is mentally challenging for anyone to go through, especially young adults.

Without further adieu, here are my top five books dealing with mental health and/or illness:

#5 – Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon – physical illness (and a smidge of mental illness)

This book has been getting a lot of buzz since BEA and its release earlier this month. This YA novel is about a young girl named Madeline who has SCID, a disease that unfortunately causes Madeline to be allergic to everything.  She has lived in her own disinfected world for her entire sixteen year old life, and she is completely okay with it. When a cute and mysterious boy moves in next door, Madeline has a sudden desire to leave her safe home and risk her life for some adventure.

This book has obvious themes of physical illness, but there are also some slight themes of mental illness that you’ll have to read on your own!

Read my review HERE.

#4 – The Fault in Our Stars by John Green – physical illness

This one is a no-brainer for this list. The main characters of the novel deal with having cancer and building relationships with others when they have no idea how much time they have left.

It is a beautiful book, even though it is quite sad. It’s also extremely popular and the only reason I’m including it in the list is because I think that young adults, its targeted demographic, can learn a lot from reading this book.

#3 – Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern – physical and mental illness

This novel is about two high school seniors. One of them has cerebral palsy and requires technological tools to communicate. The other is dealing with the realization that he has OCD.

While I had some issues with how the teenagers dealt with the mental illness side of things, I understand that they were realistic teenagers. They were realistic even though they weren’t great role models to real teens.

Read my review HERE.

#2 – Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut – mental illness

The main character of this novel experiences intense PTSD due to fighting in World War II. As a result from this, he believes he has been transported to another planet for some of the novel and the rest of the novel is completely out of order. This book doesn’t explicitly state that the main character has a mental illness, but it’s definitely implied and the reader gets to infer the affect of his illness.

This is my all-time favorite book, by the way. It’s very short and I suggest you read it if you have not already.

#1 – A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving – physical illness

Oh man, I love this book. It follows two children, Johnny and Owen. Owen was born with a rare disease. His growth his stunted and he has deformities. Johnny is an orphaned boy who befriends Owen after a terrible accident. The novel follows the two boys through their adolescence and discusses many serious subjects.

This is a beautiful contemporary novel that was the basis for one of my favorite movies, Simon Birch.

I obviously recommend you read all of these books. Which books have you already read? Let me know what you think in the comment section below!

Thanks for reading and as always, I’ll see you soon!


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Book Review | The Martian by Andy Weir

martianTitle: The Martian
Author: Andy Weir
Genre: Real-Science Science-Fiction

The Martian by Andy Weir is about an astronaut named Mark Watney who was left behind during an evacuation of the planet Mars. With very limited food and supplies, he must find a way to survive on his own.

I read this book over the span of a weekend and I didn’t want to put it down. The only reason I had to set it down was to help take care of my injured brother.

I don’t have much to say about this book prior to the actual review, so let’s just get into it.

Premise: 5/5

A man is justly left on Mars during an evacuation, thus making him a resident of the planet. He is now a Martian. He also knows that it will be years until he could possibly be rescued and has only enough food for about a year. He must think extraordinarily outside of the box to make this work…to survive.

That is an amazing premise for a book. The back cover summary of the book alone had me hooked on this one.

Plot Development: 5/5

This novel was brilliantly paced from the beginning to the end of the book. It was fast and full of action, but had enough slower paced bits for balance. It was a rollercoaster of a read and I enjoyed every minute of it. Weir successfully makes us feel the isolation that Watney, the Martian, feels. Furthermore, I went through all of his emotions, along with everyone else’s, right there with him.

Even though the ending had been spoiled for me (by a librarian, no less), I still felt anxious for each of the characters and the risks they were taking.

The only issue I found with plot development was while it was fast paced, it was unevenly paced. I was so hooked into this book and I read it so fast that Watney’s adventure felt like it was much shorter than it actually was. Months had gone by in a short number of pages in some sections; a few days had gone by in the same number of pages in others. I had to really pay attention to the log titles and do some math in my head to figure out about how much time had lapsed between entries.

Characterization: 5/5

I love Mark Watney and I want to be his friend. He has a sense of humor that I absolutely find appealing. He turned some pretty dark situations into some pretty funny logs.

All of the other characters acted believably and even went through periods of growth. I had expected this only of Watney and was pleasantly surprised. Some of the major decisions made by teams of NASA scientists mirrored humanity very realistically.

Writing Style: 5/5

The novel is put together in a series of logs done by Watney, scenes back at NASA, scenes on the spacecraft of Watney’s crew, and some other settings as needed. For the most part, I liked this style. It was pretty easy to follow the change in point of view. My only issue that I’ll mention is that some of the points of view were typical third person perspectives, while others read like a narrator. They sounded like a deep, disembodied voice in my head. My other issue could potentially involve some spoilers. To put it vaguely, I wish some points of view lined up better or were held back according to certain situations.

Readability: 4/5

This book is not for everyone. The genre of the book is “real-science science-fiction.” It’s definitely science-fiction, involving lots of science and space and other planets. However, the most important piece of that genre title is “real-science.” Boy is there a lot of actual science in this one. Luckily for the reader, it’s done in such a way that makes the story very believable, but doesn’t distract with info-dumping science. I was able to grasp what was going on without fully understanding it. Part of it was Watney’s sense of humor and his understanding that his diary-like logs didn’t need to be over-explained because the only people reading it would be NASA people. Well done, Weir.

While I liked that he glossed over a lot of science, I didn’t like that some acronyms or names of materials weren’t fully explained. Like with all of the science stuff, the reader is able to “just go with it,” after a while, but I’d still like to know what some of those terms mean without looking them up.

Total Score: 24/25, avg. 4.8/5

Without a doubt, this was a five-star read for me. It’s one of my favorites for the year so far!

5 stars

SIDENOTE: I bought this tall mass-market paperback at the grocery store because I couldn’t find it anywhere else. I can get past the awkward hand cramps from holding the tall book open, but I was kind of upset with the printing of this book. Multiple pages were practically unreadable. The ink was so faded that I had to strain my eyes to read it.

It’s honestly easier to read in this unedited picture than the actual book.

Naturally, I grumbled about it on Twitter on Sunday evening. Monday morning, I received a response from the publishing company. They’re sending me a new copy! Hooray!

I love when companies are friendly and fix their mistakes.

Have you read The Martian? Tell me what you think!

I’ll see you soon!


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Want to purchase any of the books that I’ve talked about? Use this link to buy books from the Book Depository and help me out!