Whimsical Wednesday

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R.I.P. Jessye Norman ~ 1945 – 2019

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Jessye Norman, one of the greatest Sopranos the world has ever known, sadly passed away on Monday. Jessye won four Grammy awards and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy in 2006. She was the youngest recipient, at age 52, in a two-decade history, of a Kennedy Center Honor in 1997. In 2009 she was presented with a National Medal of Arts by President Obama. Her voice was so pure and exquisite I get chills every time I listen to her perform. May you sing with the angels Jessye.

 

 

 

 

 

The Hadley Academy for the Improbably Gifted, by Conor Grennan ~ 4.5 Stars

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Thanks to NetGalley and Thomas Nelson for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Release Date: October 8th, 2019

368 Pages

Synopsis: Jack Carlson is dreading a class presentation, when he suddenly finds himself transported to the Hadley Academy, a secret institution that tracks teens with unlikely gifts and trains them to protect the world from an unseen squad of killers. But Jack isn’t the only one who doesn’t know what he’s doing at Hadley. Despite indications that he is the one prophesied to end the ancient Reaper War, Jack appears to have no extraordinary abilities.

So when dark, mysterious forces grow, Hadley is in a confused panic. Much to everyone’s dismay, humanity seems to depend on Jack and his new teammates. Can Hadley’s rawest recruits push past personal struggles and enormous doubts, develop their dormant powers and stop the spreading evil? And are they willing to commit to Hadley’s motto, “One Life for Many,” and make the ultimate sacrifice? The Hadley Academy for the Improbably Gifted might be just the place for Jack after all. 

The Hadley Academy for the Improbably Gifted is a thoroughly enjoyable story that gives the ubiquitous “chosen one” trope a refreshing new twist. 

I’m going to get the one negative I found, out of the way first, hopefully without giving away any spoilers. Jack and his team are newcomers to the Hadley Academy, and as such, don’t know anything about their dormant abilities. The other recruits have had years of training but suddenly about halfway through the book, Jack and his friends are thrust into these life and death situations that had me silently protesting “No! They’re not ready!” The whole thing had me a bit stressed at times.

But that leads me to one of the biggest pluses of this book—the characters. To say that I loved Jack and the other members of Team Thirteen is putting it mildly. While this is like a teen version of the X-Men, in addition to dealing with superpowers and saving the world, these kids are also grappling with difficult backstories, and all the trials and tribulations of being young teenagers. They’re likable, relatable and easy to root for.

The story itself is exciting and managed to surprise me more than once. The world building is very well done and has more than enough originality to make it stand out from other books in this genre. The ending while not a cliffhanger per se, still is clearly setting things up for subsequent stories.

Overall, The Hadley Academy for the Improbably Gifted is a fabulous book for kids ten and up who are fans of books like the Percy Jackson and The Maze Runner series. I am very much looking forward to the next book!

 

 

Banned Books Week 2019

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Well, another Banned Books Week has come to an end. I wish I could say it’s the last one, but undoubtedly I’ll be here this time next year talking about this. Just because it’s over doesn’t mean you can’t do anything the rest of the year. As I said in my first post, visit any library or bookstore and check out a banned or challenged book. Even if their displays have been taken down, talk to a librarian or bookseller and they’ll point you in the right direction.

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Attempts to ban books aren’t usually successful if people speak out or act to prevent it. If you see censorship taking place in your school or public library, here’s a few things you can do.

📚 Attend any school, PTA, or public library hearings where book challenges are being discussed and speak up for the First Amendment and the right to read.

📚 Write letters to local administrators, newspapers, and politicians and tell them that no one has the right to restrict access to books.

📚 Stand up for all books, even ones you don’t like. For example, I may have mentioned a few times that I don’t care for For Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James. As much as I personally dislike her writing however, I will always defend the right of others to read her books.

📚 Stay in touch with local librarians and teachers and keep informed about book challenges in your community.

📚 Here are a few organizations where you can report censorship:

* American Library’s Office of Intellectual Freedom – http://www.ala.org/aboutala/offices/oif/

* Comic Book Legal Defense Fund – http://cbldf.org

* National Coalition Against Censorship – http://www.ncac.org

* National Council of Teachers of English – http://www2.ncte.org/

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I cannot stress this enough: the First Amendment and the freedom to read have to be protected year round. Whether you’re a librarian, bookseller, teacher, writer, student, or parent please, PLEASE don’t be silent if you see something happening in your community. So, I’m climbing off my soapbox now. I’d like to end with this short but awesome video from Bookmans Entertainment Exchange. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Literary Lines ~ Banned Books Week

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During Banned Books Week every year, there’s a lot of discussion about books and authors who have been banned and challenged. Back in 2017, freelance journalist Karina Kolodny had the wonderful idea of putting together powerful quotes from ten of the most commonly banned books in an article for The Huffington Post, and I’d like to share them. If you have a favorite quote from a banned or challenged book, please feel free share them in the comments.

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Veiled By Desire (Laith #2), by Candace Robinson ~ Cover Reveal

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Happy Friday everyone! Today is the official cover reveal for author and fellow blogger Candace Robinson’s second book in her Laith series. Thanks to The Parliament House Press for organizing this. So, without further ado I’d like to present Veiled By Desire!

 

Veiled By Desire is being released on November 19th, so mark your calendars, or you can preorder on Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/Veiled-Desire-Laith-Candace-Robinson-ebook/dp/B07Y6LDHKD/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=Veiled+by+Desire+Robinson&qid=1569440269&sr=8-2

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Author Bio: My name is Candace Robinson, obviously. I spend my days consumed by words. When I’m not writing stories, I maintain a book review blog—Literary Dust. My life consists of avoiding migraines, admiring Bonsai trees, and living with my husband and daughter in Texas—where it can be forty degrees one day and eighty the next.

Website –  https://authorcandacerobinson.wordpress.com

Facebook – https://m.facebook.com/literarydust

Twitter – https://mobile.twitter.com/literarydust

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/literarydust

Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41085174-veiled-by-desire

Candace’s Book Review Blog – https://literarydust.wordpress.com

Sign-up for Candace’s Newsletter – http://eepurl.com/dhV0yv

#veiledbydesire, #candacerobinson, #fantasyreads, #laithseries, #theparliamenthousepress, #coverreveal, #TPHTours

 

 

 

To Impeach, Or Not To Impeach?

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You all may have noticed that Washington D.C. since late last week, has been rocked by #Whistleblowergate. If you haven’t been following me long and wonder what my feelings are, the above graphic might provide a hint. You may be surprised that until now I actually have been resistant to calls for impeachment. Although I personally think the Mueller Report provided ample evidence of obstruction of justice, for me it wasn’t worth tearing this country further apart. Now however, things have changed. As evidenced from the summary of Mr. Trump’s phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, it’s obvious that he was dangling the release of foreign aid in return for reopening the investigation into Joe Biden and his son. This. Is. Not Normal. You do not extort a foreign government’s aid in digging up dirt on a potential presidential rival. And it’s obvious that officials who were privy to the conversation know this as well given how hard they’ve worked to cover it up. In my humble opinion, Nancy Pelosi had no option but to start an impeachment inquiry. But don’t take my word for it. If you haven’t already, please read the rough transcript and the whistleblower’s complaint.

Transcript:

https://www.cnn.com/2019/09/25/politics/donald-trump-ukraine-transcript-call/index.html

Whistleblower Complaint: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/09/26/us/politics/whistle-blower-complaint.html

 

Banned Book Week Tastes Forbidden “Candy!” “Wednesday’s Bookmobile” Has Fascinating “Candy Men” To Talk Obscenity And Literature!

This is a fascinating post by John about the controversial book Candy, published 61 years ago.

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“Candy” By Maxwell Kenton!

61 years ago, the sex farce known as “Candy” shocked the world when published in France and immediately became a worldwide scandal.

Since this is “banned book week”, my Wednesday Bookmobile travels overseas to show how two Writers, using the assumed name of Maxwell Kenton, created a pop culture masterpiece.

Here’s a look at the book, written by Terry Southern and Mason Hoffenberg, AND also a fascinating book all about the creation of “Candy.”

Here’s the plot:

“Candy” Christian, aged eighteen, is an extremely pretty and desirable but naïve young woman, who finds herself in a variety of farcical sexual situations as a result of her desire to help others. The men in her life, regardless of age or relationship, wish only to possess her.

Because of the language and sexual situations described in this farce, the book was written under the pen name “Maxwell Kenton”…

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