Sunday, September 30, 2012

Banned Books Week Quote: The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

And the little screaming fact that sounds through all history: repression works only to strengthen and knit the repressed.
History: The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck

  • Burned by the East St. Louis, IL Public Library (1939) and barred from the Buffalo, NY Public Library (1939) on the grounds that "vulgar words" were used. Banned in Kansas City,  MO (1939).
  • Banned in Kern County CA, the scene of Steinbeck's novel (1939).
  • Banned in  Ireland (1953).
  • On Feb. 21, 1973, eleven Turkish book publishers went on trial before an  Istanbul martial law tribunal on charges of publishing, possessing and selling books in  violation of an order of the Istanbul martial law command. They faced possible sentences of  between one month's and six months' imprisonment "for spreading propaganda unfavorable to  the state" and the confiscation of their books. Eight booksellers were also on trial with  the publishers on the same charge involving The Grapes of Wrath.
  • Banned in Kanawha, IA High  School classes (1980).
  • Challenged in Vernon Verona Sherill, NY School District (1980). 
  • Challenged as required reading for Richford, VT (1981) High School English students due to  the book's language and portrayal of a former minister who recounts how he took advantage  of a young woman.
  • Banned in Morris, Manitoba, Canada (1982).
  • Removed from two Anniston,  Ala. high school libraries (1982), but later reinstated on a restrictive basis.
  • Challenged  at the Cummings High School in Burlington, NC (1986) as an optional reading assignment  because the "book is full of filth. My son is being raised in a Christian home and this book takes the Lord's name in vain and has all kinds of profanity in it." Although the  parent spoke to the press, a formal complaint with the school demanding the book's removal  was not filed.
  • Challenged at the Moore County school system in Carthage, NC (1986) because  the book contains the phase "God damn."
  • Challenged in the Greenville, SC schools (1991)  because the book uses the name of God and Jesus in a "vain and profane manner along with  inappropriate sexual references."
  • Challenged in the Union City, TN High School  classes (1993).

Tour: Fairyproof by Constance Phillips (Promo+Giveaway)

Tour Hosted by Bewitching Book Tours

By Constance Phillips 
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Crescent Moon Press
Date of Publication: September 4, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-937254-75-9
Number of pages: 262
Word Count: 85,000
Cover Artist: Taria Reed

When Monique finds out her brother, Kieran, is planning her future with the one fairy she wants nothing to do with, she seeks refuge in the human world. Now Kieran fears she will be the next victim in a string of murdered fairies and is determined to bring her home.

Hiding should be a breeze. She can control any human with a flirtatious smile and an attraction spell. Until she meets Daniel Elliot, the only human who's immune to both.

A year ago, Daniel's fiancée disappeared with the engagement ring, an Elliot family heirloom. He's ready to move forward with his life, but his mother's obsession with retrieving the ring makes that impossible. Then Monique walks into his office to apply for a job.

Daniel and Monique can't deny their attraction, but will the reason he's Fairyproof be too much to overcome?


(This is the scene in which the hero and heroine meet. Monique is interviewing for a job, and has given a false name – Naomi – because she is in hiding.)

Two large windows overlooked the park across the street, a tell-tale sign of his success in the business world. The park looming ten stories below, a bit of nature captured between the high-rise office buildings, reminded Moni    que of the world she ran from. It was a slice of serenity amidst a chaotic city, and a dynamic illustration of the two worlds she was caught between.

A large, cherry desk with no clutter sat near one window. Other than a tray full of files in the left corner, only a computer monitor sat on the polished surface. In front of it were three reddish-brown leather chairs with cherry end tables separating them.

Both her father and brother used to say “focus on your strengths and downplay your weaknesses,” and that’s what needed to be done. Her best assets were physical: long legs, a small waist, and breasts that would always turn a man’s head, especially when she unbuttoned the top two buttons and wore a push up bra. Five-nine before slipping on the three-inch black heels, she towered over most women. The shoes matched a very short skirt and sleek-fitting jacket.

She shifted her weight, started across the room and focused on Daniel. Sitting behind the desk, his head was buried in a file. All she could see was his jet-black hair. Bone straight, it framed his face and brushed his shoulders with just enough gray at the temples to raise her pulse.

Then he looked up.

Gray eyes met hers from behind black-rimmed glasses. Her heart lurched in her chest. Charming him would be a pleasure.

Holding his gaze, she set her shoulders back enough that his eyes would drop lower, and closed the distance between them. She offered her hand across the desk and tipped her head, letting her hair fall across her right shoulder. When his large hand enveloped hers, she smiled and cast an enchantment spell. “Mr. Elliot, I’m Naomi Sanders.”

She waited for the familiar haze to cloud his eyes, a sure sign he was under her control.

He accepted her hand, cradled it in his for a brief moment before turning his attention to his assistant who handed him her paperwork.

No haze. He didn’t move toward her with an infatuated grin, just went about his business. A sharp pain seized her heart, radiating through her chest. What could have gone wrong? Casting an enchantment spell was second nature. She’d been using them to get what she wanted since seeking refuge among the humans.

As she lowered herself into one of the chairs, her mind grappled with what had gone wrong, and her body slipped into the familiar: teasing the man in front of her. She crossed her long legs, and let her skirt slide up her thigh.

Unaffected, Daniel read her file as he walked around his desk and leaned back against it. After a moment, he looked up and asked, “Why did you leave your last job?”

She shifted her weight in the chair, uncrossing her long legs and crossing them again in the opposite direction. He didn’t appear moved at all by her physical appearance, but even with her worries Monique couldn’t ignore him or the way his dark, tailored suit accented his long, lean body.

A smile crossed his thin lips, but not for the reason she wanted. He hadn’t even noticed her legs. Contact hadn’t been broken by his crisp, clear eyes. The grin turned to a light chuckle. “If that question is too hard, Miss Sanders, maybe we’re both wasting our time.”

Her cheeks flushed and she knew they were reddening with embarrassment. Worried they clashed with her hair, she tried to swallow the blush. If winning this job the old-fashioned way wasn’t going to work, then she wasn’t going to get it. Still, she had to say something. Fear knotted her stomach as she stammered, “It’s not too hard, Mr. Elliot. I needed a new start, so I moved.”

“From the locations of your last three jobs — Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, and Boston — it seems like you’ve needed a few new starts. Now, it’s Elgin, Illinois. Some would say moving across country when you don’t have a job lined up is a very stupid thing to do.”

A glint in his eyes that told her he didn’t agree with that statement. She followed that instinct and moved forward, hoping to salvage things. “I’m not worried. If I don’t get this job, I’ll find another.”

If he was immune to her spells, was she also transparent to him? Did he know she was lying? Could he see just how desperate she was? Her fears raced through her head, breaking her concentration.

“I would say you’re brave and a go-getter.”

Wait. Those were positive attributes. Right?

He tapped the pen on the edge of his desk, studying her file. “On the other hand, I’m worried wanderlust might strike again. The reason there is an opening at all is because Renee’s new husband’s job is taking them both out of state. I don’t want to have to go through a search like this again in six months when you decide you need another change.”

She’d be lucky if she was still here in six weeks, but she couldn’t tell Daniel that. The fact she had to tell him anything at all annoyed her. Her prowess and powers should have had this job cinched by now. He should be sending the other girls home and inviting her to lunch.

But she couldn’t let her frustration derail her. This job was too important to her survival to let it slip away. She dug deep, reached out and touched his knee so she could cast the spell again. Smiling in his direction, she said, “If you give me the chance, I won’t disappoint you.”

He shifted to his right and let her hand slip away as his eyes returned to the file. His lower lip curled between his teeth as he studied her application, not dissuaded from the task at hand. He didn’t even seem to recognize the subtle inflection in her voice.

Instead, he was going on and on with legitimate questions about her employment history and her knowledge of the business world. Could she work weekends if asked? Was she familiar with the software their computers used? Did she have experience with multi-line phones? Did she consider herself a people person?

Some she answered honestly. Others she flubbed her way through, making up the best answers she could. Unfortunately, thinking on her feet was not what she considered a strong suit and she was having a hard time deciphering how Daniel was reacting to her. It just wasn’t happening the way she’d hoped.

Her toe tapped against the floor, but deep inside her heart quivered. His cool, detached attitude challenged her, but if she didn’t impress with this interview, she’d never get the chance to know if she’d overcome his immunity to her.

“Well, thank you for coming in, Naomi. I have a few other women to interview, but I need to make a decision soon. You’ll be hearing from me either way.”

It was over. For the first time since leaving her own world and stepping into the humans’, she’d failed. She hadn’t charmed Daniel and she wouldn’t be getting this desperately-needed job.

Stepping into the small elevator, she watched the metal doors close and asked her mirrored reflection what’d gone wrong. Humans weren’t immune to her power — their power — it just didn’t happen.  Did it?

Keiran considered all humans the enemy and he knew his enemy well. He would know what was going on here, but, since they weren’t even on speaking terms, she couldn’t ask. He’d be more concerned with getting her far away from them and back home than teaching her more about their ways. She wasn’t willing to surrender to him. And she wasn’t going home.

Not yet.

Of all times for her powers to fail! And it wasn’t just about how much she needed the job. As important as it was, her desire to see Daniel again burned inside her and it went so much deeper than his grey eyes and lean frame. Deeper than his delightful smile.

For some reason, his immunity to her spells and wiles intrigued her. She hungered for what lingered just out for reach like some forbidden fruit.

Without the job, she’d never see him again and the fact he appeared to be spell-proof would no longer be significant.

But what if it was a failing with her instead of a resistance in him?

In some ways, the thought made sense. It also terrified her. She’d always survived here by keeping humans, especially the men, on puppet strings that she controlled. If she had to deal with them on a level playing field, she was doomed.

Without this job, she was more vulnerable to her brother and Eero. Would Daniel Elliot, with his charm and good looks, be the one to end her earthly romp and cause her to go home?

Damn it! Didn’t he know he was supposed to find her irresistible? After all, she was a fairy.

About this Author:

Constance Phillips lives in Ohio with her husband, two ready-to-leave-the-nest children, and four canine kids. Her perfect fantasy vacation would involve hunting Dracula across Europe with her daughter, who also digs that kind of stuff. When she's not writing about fairies, shifters, vamps, and guardian angels, she's working side-by-side with her husband in their hardwood flooring business.

Constance is actively involved in her local Romance Writers of America chapter (MVRWA) and the Southeast Michigan chapter of the United States Pony Club. When not writing or enjoying the outdoors, she loves reality television or can be found at a Rick Springfield concert (just look for the pink Converse high tops).

Constance blogs regularly at You can also follow her on Twitter or friend her on Facebook.

Author Links:

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Saturday, September 29, 2012

FBF Book Spotlight: Skinny by Donna Cooner

by Donna Cooner
Expected publication: October 1st 2012 by Scholastic

Hopeless. Freak. Elephant. Pitiful. These are the words of Skinny, the vicious voice that lives inside fifteen-year-old Ever Davies's head. Skinny tells Ever all the dark thoughts her classmates have about her. Ever knows she weighs over three hundred pounds, knows she'll probably never be loved, and Skinny makes sure she never forgets it.

But there is another voice: Ever's singing voice, which is beautiful but has been silenced by Skinny. Partly in the hopes of trying out for the school musical - and partly to try and save her own life - Ever decides to undergo a risky surgery that may help her lose weight and start over.

With the support of her best friend, Ever begins the uphill battle toward change. But demons, she finds, are not so easy to shake, not even as she sheds pounds. Because Skinny is still around. And Ever will have to confront that voice before she can truly find her own.

5 Signed Copies will be given away on Friday, October 5, 2012!

Click Here to Enter:

What is FBF?

It's simple. Every Friday, Free Book Friday gives away free books!

That's right. Each week, FBF features a new author with an exclusive author interview podcast or written Q&A and host a drawing to win free signed copies of his/her book.

All you have to do to enter to win each week is sign up using the entry form on the left sidebar. Winners are chosen at random and posted on the site every Friday morning. Hence the name, "Free Book Friday!"

Manga Review: End of the Chrysalis Age by Tite Kubo

Title: End of the Chrysalis Age
Series: BLEACH #47 
Manga-ka: Tite Kubo
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Graphic Novels, Teen Ages 13+
Publisher: Viz Media, Shonen Jump Manga, Shueisha Inc.
Format: Paperback, 189 Pages
ISBN-13: 978-1-4215-4300-0 
Release Date: September 4, 2012
Source: Borrowed from Wentworth Library
Rating: 4/5

Purchase Here: Paperback

If you became a snake tomorrow
                        And began devouring people,
                        If you roared your love for me
                        With that mouth you use to devour people
                        Could I still say that I love you
                                                                As I do today?

Summary: Aizen's new powers are too much for even the combined efforts of Ichigo, Isshin, Urahara, and Yoruichi. But as Aizen and Gin head for the real Karakura Town, Ichigo decides to undergo intense training under his father's tutelage.


Matsumoto caught a glimpse of Gin while he was fighting Ichigo and took off running. Her feelings toward Gin are going to get her killed eventually. She was only healed enough to stay alive, and yet she's running after Gin. Not smart.

With Ichigo's lost hope, his strength diminishes. Gin states that Ichigo was a lot scarier when they first crossed swords after Gin cut off Jidanbo's arm when Ichigo first arrived in the Soul Society. This is true. Ichigo looks kind of pathetic now.

Just as Ichigo's Getsuga Tensho wounded Aizen's, so does Isshin's. But Isshin can't read Aizen's spirit energy since his transformation. Only someone in the same state would be able to. Of course, Ichigo can sense is power. And it's made even more real when Aizen takes out Isshin, Yoruichi, and Urahara. This is when Aizen prepares to open the Senkaimon Gate and invade the real Karakura Town in the Soul Society. It's also when Aizen's creepy shell--chrysalis stage--breaks apart and his transformation is complete. I have to admit, the new Aizen does look kinda cool.

With Kototsu missing from the Dangai, Isshin can teach Ichigo the Final Getsuga Tensho. Ichigo meets Tensa Zangetsu--the Bankai form of his sword. For some reason Zangetsu--and Isshin's Engetsu--don't want to teach the Final Getsuga Tensho. We don't find out why in this volume, but I'm sure there's an interesting reason why.

"This towering world of yours that was filled to the heavens with hope has been reduced to your tiny little town! The rain that once poured down on this world may have stopped, but now it's been sunk to the bottom of the ocean! All because you lost hope and stopped moving forward. Ichigo, I will not let you stay like that. I will pull out the very roots of your despair."

This is when Ichigo meets the new form his Hollow power gained in his fight with Ulquiorra. Ichigo fears this form and that is the reason he can't Hollowfy properly. Tensa Zangetsu and the Hollow are one. They both are Ichigos power. And this--both of them merged together--is who Ichigo needs to battle to learnt he Final Getsuga Tensho. The two merged together look really awesome. I can't wait to see more of their fight against Ichigo.

As Aizen enters Karakura Town, Ichigo's friends begin waking up. They make a run for it as Aizen draws closer and closer, but will Ichigo make it in time to save them all?

About this Manga-ka:

The son of a town council member in Fuchu, Aki District, Hiroshima. He never took drawing seriously until he was 17; after reading Dragon Ball he knew he wanted to be a manga artist. At the age of 18 he submitted his first concept for the series Zombiepowder but it got rejected. Zombiepowder was rejected multiple times until Kubo was 22, when it finally was accepted by Shonen Jump. It did not last long; it was cancelled after four volumes in late 2000.

His next series, Bleach, about a high school student who becomes a shinigami and fights hollows, was not such a failure. Bleach began regular publication in 2001. It has been running in Weekly Shonen Jump ever since.

Tour: Forsaken by Kristen Day (Excerpt)

Tour Hosted by YA Novel Reader Book Tours


I registered the icy cold first – a slow, painstaking ache felt all the way down to my soul.  The realization that I was swimming at a dangerous depth came next, followed by an absolute and suffocating panic.  The pressure around my body had become utterly relentless, and my lungs screamed for oxygen.  Suspended in the darkness, I couldn’t see anything except for a thin ribbon of silver appearing in my line of sight.  Slithering side to side, twisting and turning, it taunted me.  I froze as it slowly wrapped around my neck, leaving a trail of icy pin pricks across my bare skin.  It continued down my body – encasing me in fear.  All of the sudden, it tightened with such force that the small amount of the air I did have in my lungs was forced out.  As I heard the sickening crack of bones and felt a paralyzing pain searing through my body, I knew no amount of struggling would help.

Unable to do anything but watch the last of my oxygen bubble up to the surface above, I tried to come to terms with what was about to happen.  I was going to die. Completely alone and scared, I was going to drown in this darkness.

Unbelievably, just as quickly as it had locked around me, I was released.  Looking around frantically, I braced myself for another attack, only to find a pair of piercing blue eyes watching me.  The same deep blue eyes I’d seen in so many other dreams glared back at me with something resembling rage.

“Why are you here?” I barely heard his next words as my lungs began burning and my vision blurred. “Your soul will never survive.”

He turned abruptly and my vision cleared just enough to catch a glimpse of the horrors lurking behind him.  Hundreds of silver ribbons quickly morphed and twisted into shadowy human forms.  They turned in my direction in unison and descended upon me.

I bolted upright, my heart relentlessly hammering against my chest.  Warm water surrounded me, but it was of the bubbly, lavender scented sort, not the cold, murky darkness I had just come from.  I was still in my bathtub.  No wonder I had dreamed I was drowning. Shaking my head, I tried to erase the vivid memory of it.  Unfortunately those eyes - his eyes - never fade.  They’ve haunted my dreams for years. 

I rolled my eyes at my own unruly imagination and slid down into the tub, so my head and shoulders were the only things above the thick layer of bubbles.  My heart rate eventually slowed and I began to think straight again.  I closed my eyes and tried to relax…

“Hannah Elizabeth Whitman!!!”  So much for the slow heart rate.  I rocketed back into a sitting position, covering myself with my hands.

“You scared the crap out of me, Dee!”  Doris Whitman stepped all the way into the steamy bathroom.  The smell of baby powder and freesia followed her in.  She shook her head at me, “You’ve been in there so long I swear I can hear your fingers and toes wrinklin’ up.  Now get washed up and get dressed – we’re gonna be late!”

“I’m hurrying, I’m hurrying.” I mumbled as she walked back downstairs, already giving out orders to the rest of the family. 

I decided I’d rather hide under the blanket of soapy bubbles and try really hard to disappear into an alternate universe, instead.  Submerging my body completely underwater, a smile crept across my face as the sound of the outside world instantly became muted.  All I could hear was the faint lapping of the water on the sides of the tub, my own beating heart, and a faint melody tickling at my ear drums.  It reminded me of wind chimes blowing in the wind….wait.  Wind chimes?  I listened harder and heard them again; this time louder and something else… like someone singing… 

With ninja-like speed, I jumped out of the claw foot tub in one swift movement and stared down at the water in shock.  I tried to convince myself I was just hearing things.  There were no wind chimes hiding in my bathtub.  I’d just add that to the long list of weird things that had been happening to me over the last couple of years.  That list was getting way too long for my taste.

Forsaken: A Daughters Of The Sea Novel
Kristen Day
Publisher: Self Published
Pages: 268

Once you’ve been touched by darkness, it never leaves you…

Abandoned by her parents as an infant; seventeen year old Hannah spent her childhood wading through countless foster families until being adopted by the Whitmans three years ago. Unfortunately, Atlanta’s high society wasn’t quite ready for Hannah…or the strange events that plague her.

Chilling visions of murder, unexplained hallucinations, and a dark, mysterious guy who haunts her nightmares all culminate to set in motion a journey of self-discovery that will challenge everything she’s ever believed; not to mention her sanity.

Sent to live at The House of Lorelei on Bald Head Island, NC for ‘kids like her’, Hannah quickly realizes things are not what they seem. Her fellow ‘disturbed’ teens are actually the descendents of mythical Sea Gods and Goddesses. And so is she.

But when Finn, the ghost from her dreams, appears in the flesh; her nightmares become reality and her dark visions begin coming true. Inexplicably drawn to him, she can’t deny the dangerous hold he has on her heart. The deadly secrets he harbors will ultimately test her courage and push the boundaries of her love.

She must decide if she is ready to embrace the ancient legend she is prophesized to be a part of. The fate of all the descendents will forever depend upon it.

About this Author: 

I am a southern belle at heart with a crazy streak that desperately tries to escape at every opportunity. I love all things nostalgic, rustic, and quirky. I've been told I see the world through rose-colored glasses, but I prefer to think of them as kaleidoscope glasses - swirling and morphing reality into something I can digest (who hasn't pretended those pasty lima beans were really kiwi strawberry jelly beans?).

I am the author of the DAUGHTERS OF THE SEA trilogy, which includes FORSAKEN, AWAKEN (Fall 2012), and CHOSEN (Fall 2012). I love all books, but really enjoy writing young adult, paranormal romances. I've loved to write for as long as I can remember. My first published work was my poem RED in second grade (you guessed it - it was a poem about the color red - life altering, I know) that won me 5 gold stars and a spot in my elementary school's poetry book. That's when my addiction to the written word officially began. I was the only kid in fifth grade that actually enjoyed diagramming sentences. Go ahead and laugh - its okay.

When I'm not writing I'm making jewelry, painting, drinking sweet tea, watching the discovery channel, or going on random adventures in the mountains of North Carolina with my amazing husband. I graduated from Appalachian State University and dream of becoming a full time novelist.

Author Links:

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