Category Archives: Personal

Language: cursing in YA books.

So, apparently earlier this week there was quite the debate on BBC Breakfast between authors GP Taylor and Patrick Ness over whether books should require ratings, much like movies. On one side of the debate was GP Taylor who is very much in favor of this and on the other side is Patrick Ness who adamantly opposes the idea.

I’m in full agreement with Patrick Ness, I don’t believe publishers should be required to label books with ratings (apparently over 800 authors agree as well, according to a petition signed on this website). I don’t think the ratings system works all that well for movies and I could see it being even worse for books. However, reading the debate triggered a thought I had while reading Miranda Kenneally’s debut novel, what about using cursing in YA books?

Her book, Catching Jordan, focuses on a female quarterback (you can read my review) and one thing that stood out for me while reading was an excessive use of foul language. It was jarring to me because it’s not often you find a teen book with multiple instances of the f-word and it took me out of the story for a moment when I came across it.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m pro-cursing in general. In fact, if you’ve ever met me in real life (or happened to play against me in an online video game) you’d know that I curse like a sailor, pretty much all the time. I like it, it’s fun and it usually gets my point across (I do keep my fouled language to myself around preachers, small children and grandmas). Yet, when I’m reading a YA book (or even an adult book for that matter) it’s not necessarily something that I want to see a lot of, even though I’m well aware that teenagers do curse. And some of them do it quite a lot.

After a lot of thinking about whether I was being overly sensitive or overreacting, I came to a conclusion. If the cursing has a direct impact on the story, I’m on board with it being included. A good example of this that I was able to come up with was Holden Caulfield in Catcher and the Rye, he cursed a lot, but it was a part of who he was as a character. If you took it out, his character would feel different and he would come across differently to the reader. Removing the foul language would have an impact on the overall story.

If the cursing doesn’t have a direct impact on the story or character, then I don’t really need to see it. For example, in Catching Jordan, if you’d taken out the curse words from the dialogue you still would’ve had Jordan. She would have acted the same, talked the same and responded to situations in the same manner. Removing them wouldn’t have had any impact on her character, or how the reader sees her character. And so the words simply felt superfluous to me.

Pretty much, my thoughts are if anything doesn’t move your plot along, or help develop your characters, you should cut it out. If that same something helps deepen the plot or display/develop certain trait your character has, then by all means leave it in. Regardless of what that something is.

And then let individuals decide what books they want to read without subjecting them to a reviews boards stuffy ratings. 🙂


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Never Surrender Blogfest: How I survived a year amongst the Geordies.

 Elana Johnson, author of the recently released Surrender, is hosting the “Never Surrender” blogfest event in honor of her book’s release. I just finished Surrender yesterday, so keep an eye out for my review sometime this weekend.  Today we aren’t actually going to talk about the book, we’re going to focus on an assignment given by Elana to the blogging community.

Here’s the assignment, directly from Elana’s Blog: “All you have to do is blog about a time you didn’t surrender. Trained for a marathon? Queried agents? Had to study for an entrance exam? I’m looking for inspirational stories that you have experienced. Hard things you’ve accomplished because you didn’t give up. I want to be inspired by you!”

So, I thought long and hard about the topic, never surrender, and you know what?This is a really difficult topic. Because, honestly, I feel like I’ve ben pretty lucky in life and I haven’t had any difficult battles to fight, not had any major obstacles to overcome. I’m also pretty bad at sticking to promises I make myself. I keep promising myself that I will work out every day, or not eat candy, give up soda; then I find myself heading home instead of stopping at the gym, sneaking some chocolate and grabbing a soda from the fountain at work.

Needless to say, not surrendering is definitely not my forte. Lack of willpower? That I’ve got down to a science. But, here is my story of one time when I fought against the desire to give up, and how much of an impact it had on my life.  Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on 13 June, 2012 in Personal


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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I’d Recommend As Good Beach Reads

It’s Tuesday again and over at The Broke and the Bookish that means it’s time for another Tuesday Top Ten! This week’s topic is the Top Ten Books I’d Recommend As Good Beach Reads.

There are few things better than heading to the peach or pool, with a good book and a cold drink in hand. Since it’s summer I tend to go for lighthearted or romance books, which is not my usual fare but it’s a fun distraction! So, here are my books for best books to read by the pool or at the beach!

1. Summer Sisters by Judy Blume. As a kid I could not get enough of Judy Blume’s books and turns out that’s true as an adult as well! Summer Sisters is made for reading at the beach, I mean just look at the title! This is one of my go-to reads when I’m headed for the beach or the pool.

2. The Beach House by Jane Green. I have a soft spot for Jane Green when it comes to chick-lit, usually because her books are set in England! This one, however is set in Nantucket and makes for a perfect beachy read!

3. Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close. This is my “poot pitiful me” read of the summer, as I identify all too well with Isabella, Mary, and Lauren who are navigating their late twenties as single women as all their friends get married and start to procreate. It helps me to know I’m not alone!

4. Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen (or Just Listen, or What Happened to Goodbye, or any of her novels!). I adore Sarah Dessen books for their simplicity and sweet romances. They bring a smile to my face as I lounge by the pool idly flipping pages and wishing that a handsome, sweet boy would appear as my next door neighbor (preferably one close to 30 than his teens though!)

5. Outer Banks by Anne Rivers Siddons. To be honest this book isn’t really all that great, but it’s got romance and friendship and betrayal, plus it reminds me of a summer vacation to Ocracoke Island in the Outer Banks over a decade ago. It’s worth reading if you’re looking for a beachy read that’s a bit more thrilling and heartbreaking than normal.

6. Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler. A great YA read for the beach, it feels like you’re right there alongside Anna and Frankie as they navigate their twenty by summer adventure!

7. Two-way Street by Lauren Barnholdt. Follow Jordan and Courtney on summer road trip that was planned before they couple broke up. From the comfort of your longue chair you can follow the couple as they make their way to college and maybe even back towards each other?

8. Paper Towns by John Green. Not your normal beach read, but the story of the end of high school for sort of friends Margot and Quentin is an engaging read that will have you reading long after the sun has set for the day.

9. Crush: 26 Real-lifeTales of First Love by Andrea N. Richesin. What better time than the lazy days of summer to reflect back upon your first love? Through  the stories of 26 different authors you’re able to experience that magic moment again and again.

10. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. I love this book so much and it’s light-hearted and warm fuzzy romance provide a fantastic companion for a day sipping drinks by the beach or pool.


What are your favorite summer/beach reads? I need to pick up a few new books for my summer reading and am looking for suggestions!


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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday Rewind – Ten Books That Broke My Heart A Little!

It’s Tuesday again and over at The Broke and the Bookish that means it’s time for another Tuesday Top Ten! This week’s topic is a Top Ten Tuesday Rewind! So, since I never got to do it I picked “Top Ten Books That Broke My Heart A Little” (originally done on Feburary 14, 2012).

I may need tissues for this list, as the books that break my heart a little usually tend to turn me into a weepy mess. Here we go!

1. The Amber Spyglass by Phillip Pullman. This book has me in tears at multiple points every single time I read it. You’d think it would get easier upon multipel readings, but nope no such luck. if anything it breaks my heart a little more each time.

2. If I Stay and Where She Went by Gayle Forman. These books are so beautifully written and capture the emotions of Adam and Mia more perfectly than anything else I’ve seen. There were times in both books where I simply wanted to shake both of them and try to talk some sense into them, even though I know they wouldn’t have listened.

3. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. I knew how this book was gonna end, but I kept reading anyway. I think that’s what hurt the most in reading it is that Claire knew too, yet she still opened her heart to this man. Yet, I think that’s what love is, we get involved even when we know we’ll be hurt, it’s worth it to feel that rush for as long as you can.

4. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch.This book is incredible and inspiring. I won’t give away the moment where it makes me dissolve into a teary mess, but it hurts. It’s worth it though.

5. The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank. This one is pretty self-explanatory I think. I can’t read any book about the Holocaust (and believe me I read quite a few) without weeping uncontrollably. I’ve pretty much learned to expect it and prepare with a box of kleenex at my side at all times when reading.

6. Catching Fire and Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. I know after reading the first book in the series that my heart was gonna break as I went on and it did. It hurt to watch Katniss make the choices that she did, it hurt to watch Peeta stand silently by as she made them, it hurt to watch characters I’d grown to love fade from the pages in death. And it hurt to know that all of it was necessary to achieve the freedom that they so desperately needed.

7. I Love You Forever by Robert Munsch. That song, the one that the mother sings to her son every night, it breaks my heart. I love this book and even though it’s a kids picture book I still get tears in my eyes when reading it as an adult.,

8. The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks. I know, I know. I actually strongly dislike Nicholas Sparks, but this book resonated with me long before I saw the movie. And as I got older it hurts me even more to read it because I mourn the loss of my first love and know that we will never have the reunion and the life-long love that Allie and Noah had. Even though many times when I was younger I wished that would be different.

9. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling. This book had me in tears almost from the very beginning. So many people died and I had become so attached to all of that, that each new death was another tiny pinprick in my heart. And Fred. Fred. He’s my favorite (no surprise there, right?) and I could barely stand it.

10,  Two Kisses for Maddy by Matt Logelin. I reviewed this book back when I first read it and I could barely write the review I was so emotional when I finished it. This is the only book on this list that’s a true stray as as a result it hurt more than any fiction book ever could. I’m not a parent yet, but I do think I can understand a bit of Matt’s grief and I can only hope I’ll never have to experience it for myself.

I can’t wait to see what other rewind topics people picked! The rewind topics are always the most fun because everyone’s list is totally and completely different!

Also, don’t forget to leave a comment and let me know what books broke your heart, maybe it will give me something to add to my summer reading list!


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Kicking off Armchair BEA with “Meet the Blogger – All About Me”!

This is my first year participating in Armchair BEA and I’m totally excited! First up we’ve been asked to do a mini-interview with ourselves, to help us all get acquainted with each other better.I’ve been blogging for about a year and a half, but I’ve stayed at the fringes of the community up until now. Hopefully this will help me to meet new blogging buddies and get more involved with things.

So, without further ado here’s my super exclusive interview with myself!

Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging? 
*stands up* Hello my name is Sarah and I’m a book addict. *waits patiently for the return chorus of “hello Sarah”* I started blogging in January 2011 as a way to document all the books that I was reading for my Masters degree (I have a M.E. in Library Media and Technology from Georgia State University), at that point I was flying through two – three books a week just to keep up with the curriculum. Blogging about what I was reading made it more fun and less work for me (although I still had to write the papers and do the projects). I had a few months where I neglected my blog, but I’m picking it up with a renewed energy and can’t wait to make it even better going forward (all suggestions welcome!).

And yes, that is me with a monkey on my head. His name is Dr. Irving and he came to visit our office a few weeks back.

What are you currently reading, or what is your favorite book you have read so far in 2012?
Ooohhh right now I’m currently reading Cinda Williams Chima’s Seven Realms series. I’ve had The Demon King for a long time, but I tried to  hold off reading it until all three books were available. However, I caved and purchased the The Exiled Queen and The Gray Wolf Throne recently and started reading. So now I’m blowing through all of them and really enjoying the story so far. Although, come to think of it by the time this posts I’ll probably be finished.. oh well! Then it’s simply time to wait until October for the conclusion!

As far as my favorite book I’ve read so far in 2012? I think it has to be A Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I just, I alternated between sobbing and laughing through the entire book and I had ALL THE FEELINGS while reading it. I adore John Green and this book cemented him as one of my all time favorite YA authors. Seriously, if you haven’t read it yet what are you waiting for? GO!

Tell us one non-book-related thing that everyone reading your blog may not know about you.
I am super nerdy. For serious. I taught myself HTML, am working on CSS and I know the Mac OS backwards and forwards. I go to Dragon Con every year (that’s me to the right with my cousins, I was dressed as Mara Jade) and this year I plan on cosplaying as Batgirl. I can school pretty much anyone in Star Wars trivia (you doubt me? Let’s go right now!). I read comic books more now than I did as a kid. I drop quotes from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly into regular, everyday speech (also The West Wing). I have seriously tried to map out what the layout of the Battlestar Galactica universe looks like. And my best friend and I waste entirely too much time debating the ages of the eldest Weasley brothers, how many students attend Hogwarts and how bad was Professor Snape really (he let kids be tortured! Case closed).

What literary location would you most like to visit? Why?
I wanted to branch out and give a new, original answer, but I just can’t. So even though this is entirely predictable I want to go to Hogwarts damnit! I want t explore the entire castel from top to bottom, locate all the secret passages, visit the room of requirement and maybe take a nap in the Gryffindor common room (all that exploring is exhausting people, a nap is gonna have to happen). I bet I could spend an entire year there and still not feel like I’d seen everything that I wanted to.

(Okay so I’ve kinda sorta been to “Hogwarts” before. When I lived in England we toured Alnwick Castle which was used for filming the first and second movies).

Other places that would be worth a visit: The Swiss Family Robinson treehouse (c’mon, you know it’s amazing), The Dauntless compound from Divergent, Kashyyyk from The Heir to the Empire trilogy, and the log cabin where the Ingall’s lived in Kansas.

If you could eat dinner with any author or character, who would it be and why?
I’m gonna cheat here. I want to have dinner with the entire Hogwarts faculty because I can’t choose between McGonagall or Dumbledore and you can’t make me. Plus with the entire faculty I’d get to meet Hagrid, Flitwick and even Trelawney! It would be the best dinner in the entire history of dinners. No content

I mean, don’t you think it would be absolutely fascinating to sit down to dinner with all of the professors?  We can discuss their students (and what crazy pranks were pulled recently), classes, wizarding politics, their opinions on Muggles and what their favorite candies are. I’m sure it would be both entertaining and highly educational. Now the real question, how can I make this happen?

I can’t wait to read all the other interviews and get to know some of my fellow book bloggers better! Thanks for taking the time to get to know me 🙂 If you want to know more you can follow me on Twitter!


Posted by on 4 June, 2012 in Personal


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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books Written In The Past 10 Years That I Hope People Are Still Reading In 30 Years

It’s Tuesday again and over at The Broke and the Bookish that means it’s time for another Tuesday Top Ten! This week’s topic is the Top Ten Books Written In The Past 10 Years That I Hope People Are Still Reading In 30 Years.

Ohhh, this is such a good topic! There are so many books that I hope stick around and continue to live their imprint on people for a good long time. So, here’s my list:

1. Harry Potter series by JK Rowling. I mean, did anyone out there really think that this wouldn’t be top on my list? I know that the first book was published 15 years ago, but I really do think that these books have earned their place in our literary canon and likely will not be going anywhere anytime soon.

2. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I really cannot get over how much I loved this book. And honestly it’s a good book for anyone who knows a friend who is suffering from cancer or any other such terminal illness. Yes, it’s sad at times. Yes, it’s depressing at times. However, the emotions are all so real and I really think help give you a better insight into what someone may be going through. I sincerely hope this book is still being read and shared in thirty years.

3. How the World Makes Love: . . . And What It Taught a Jilted Groom by Franz Wisner. This is a fantastic book that starts out with Franz being left at the altar and ends up taking his pre-paid honeymoon with his brother. it leads him on a trip around the world to learn more about love and life and what it means to be happy. It’s a fantastic read and has some great life lessons for everyone in it.

4. Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. To be honest I’m kinda terrified that this future could eventually happen. Maybe not to the same extent but I could see a “capital” running things and the “districts” being forced to obey. I think that this book should still be read as a cautionary tale as much as for it’s literary worth. Maybe if we keep the worst in mind we won’t ever let ourselves reach that point.

5. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak. This is another book that needs to stick around to help enlighten future generations of the horros of the Nazis and the Holocaust. I loved everything about this book, even as it was breaking my heart (as all Holocaust books tend to do) and I want to share that experience with everyone and anyone. The further we get from the events of WW2 and the Holocaust the more we need to ensure that our children understand what happened so it’s NEVER, EVER repeated.

6. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. This is my go-to book to re-read whenever I’m feeling down or lost or unsure about how my life is going. Randy Pausch was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in September 2006, and in August 2007 was given a terminal diagnosis. This book was his legacy, his life guide to leave behind mostly for his children, but I believe everyone can benefit from this now and in the future. Seriously, READ. THIS. BOOK.

7.  Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. Okayl, I’m cheating here as this book was published in 1999 so technically it’s outside of the ten year range. HOWEVER, I cannot stress how important the message in this book is. It’s something everyone needs to read and understand, boys and girls, men and women. Sexual assault is serious and it sadly seems to be happening more frequently. Maybe this can go a ways in helping to prevent the issue, or to encourage girls to speak up and get help.


Okay, so this week’s was hard and I really can’t think of any other books that I really, desperately hope will still be read in 2042 (damn that’s crazy). What books do you hope people will still be reading? I’m sure others managed to get to ten so I can’t wait to see what they have to say!


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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Authors I’d Like To See On A Reality Show

It’s Tuesday again and over at The Broke and the Bookish that means it’s time for another Tuesday Top Ten! This week’s topic is the Top Ten Authors I’d Like To See On A Reality Show (and which show they’d be on). Ohhh this was a fun topic, although I only managed 5! I hope ya’ll found my choices as entertaining as I did!

1. Maureen Johnson. I’m honestly not sure what show to put Maureen on, but I know it has to be something totally bizarre. Maybe “Big Brother” (is this still even on)? Or “Survivor” She’d absolutely win cause she’d do her best to creep out the other contests and make them give up 🙂 (NOTE I DO NOT THINK MAUREEN IS CREEPY. I think she’s AWESOME).

2. Victoria Schwab. She’d HAVE to be on a baking competition as she’s forgiving given away her homemade cookies to her fan. I’d love to see what else she can whip up in the kitchen, maybe cupcakes?

3. John Green (and his brother Hank, even though he’s not an author). I’d love to see John and Hank Green team up on “The Amazing Race” and we can see  their in person banter as they race to various destinations around the world. It would be hilarious and I’m betting pretty damn informative as well.

4. William Shakespeare. for some reason I just keep picturing him on “America’s Got Talent” (or whatever the british equivalent is) reciting his various monologues. Most specifically the balcony scene from Juliet’s point of view and he’s wearing a hilariously bad wig. You know you want to see that as much as I do.

5. Julia Child. I may be totally cheating on this one but I want to se Julia throw down on “Iron Chef America”. She’d school any Iron Chef they could throw at her and make us all adore her even more in the process.


Okay so this was a really tough list for some reason, I mean I only managed to get to 5! But I’d love to see who you’d put on a reality show, so let me know in the comments!


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