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2023 Bookish Books Reading Challenge

My Progress:

24 / 30 books. 80% done!

20 Books of Summer 2023

My Progress:

17 / 20 books. 85% done!

2023 Literary Escapes Challenge

- Alabama (2)
- Alaska (1)
- Arizona (1)
- Arkansas
- California (12)
- Colorado (1)
- Connecticut (3)
- Delaware (1)
- Florida (1)
- Georgia (1)
- Hawaii (1)
- Idaho (1)
- Illinois
- Indiana (1)
- Iowa (1)
- Kansas (1)
- Kentucky (1)
- Louisiana (1)
- Maine (3)
- Maryland (2)
- Massachusetts (3)
- Michigan (2)
- Minnesota (1)
- Mississippi (1)
- Missouri (1)
- Montana (1)
- Nebraska (1)
- Nevada
- New Hampshire (1)
- New Jersey (1)
- New Mexico (1)
- New York (12)
- North Carolina (4)
- North Dakota (1)
- Ohio (3)
- Oklahoma (1)
- Oregon (1)
- Pennsylvania (1)
- Rhode Island (1)
- South Carolina (1)
- South Dakota
- Tennessee (1)
- Texas (4)
- Utah (1)
- Vermont (3)
- Virginia
- Washington (6)
- West Virginia (1)
- Wisconsin (2)
- Wyoming
- Washington, D.C.* (1)


- Australia (3)
- Canada (7)
- Chile (1)
- England (21)
- France (2)
- Ireland (2)
-Italy (1)
- Scotland (2)
- South Korea (1)
- Sweden (1)
- The Netherlands (2)
-Vietnam (1)

My Progress:

45 / 51 states. 88% done!

2023 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

My Progress:

25 / 25 books. 100% done!

2023 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

48 / 50 books. 96% done!

Booklist Queen's 2023 Reading Challenge

My Progress:

51 / 52 books. 98% done!

2023 52 Club Reading Challenge

My Progress:

46 / 52 books. 88% done!

2023 Build Your Library Reading Challenge

My Progress:

35 / 40 books. 88% done!

2023 Pioneer Book Reading Challenge

29 / 40 books. 73% done!

2023 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

My Progress:

16 / 25 books. 64% done!

2023 Medical Examiner's Mystery Reading Challenge

Book Bingo Reading Challenge

20 / 25 books. 80% done!

2023 Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge

My Progress:

93 / 109 books. 85% done!

Children's Book Reading Challenge...For Adults!

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Paris Cravings Cover Reveal: Ooo La La

I'm feeling a bit under the weather today, but I can't crawl back into bed until I show you all something awesome.  Ready?

Pretty, isn't it?  

Paris Cravings is a new book from a lovely lady named Kimberley Griffiths Little.  You might recognize her name—she's written several middle grade novels, including Circle of Secrets, When the Butterflies Came, and The Healing Spell.  She's a gifted writer and a wonderful person.  Paris Cravings is her first book published under the pseudonym Kimberley Montpetit.  It's a YA romance about an American teen who gets stranded in Paris.  Given how turbulent her life is back home—not to mention her attraction to a very cute French boy—she's in no hurry to leave the The City of Light.  With the police trying to track her down and her mom having a nervous breakdown at home, she's got to figure things out.  And fast.   

Sounds like a fun, romantic story, right?  I know I can't wait to read it.  If you want to snag a copy for yourself, follow the links below.  If you want a chance to win one of five copies of the book, fill out the Rafflecopter form below.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Mormon Mention: Rainbow Rowell

If you're not sure what a Mormon is, let alone a Mormon Mention, allow me to explain:  My name is Susan and I'm a Mormon (you've seen the commercials, right?).  As a member of  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (commonly known as the Mormon or LDS Church), I'm naturally concerned with how my religion is portrayed in the media.  Because this blog is about books, every time I see a reference to Mormonism in a book written by someone who is not a member of my church, I highlight it here.  Then, I offer my opinion—my insider's view—of what the author is saying.  It's my chance to correct misconceptions, expound on principles of the Gospel, and even to laugh at my (sometimes) crazy Mormon culture. 


In Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, Cath Avery is a college freshman who spends most of her time in her dorm room studying, worrying and writing fanfiction.  She's introverted and nerdy, a complete puzzle to her new roommate, Reagan.  This conversation ensues:

"Wear whatever.  Wear something that doesn't have Simon Snow on it, so that people won't assume your brain stopped developing when you were seven."

Cath put on her read CARRY ON t-shirt with jeans, and redid her ponytail.

Reagan frowned at her.  "Do you have to wear your hair like that?  Is it some kind of Mormon thing?"

"I'm not Mormon."

"I said some kind."  There was a knock at the door, and Reagan opened it.

-- Quote from Fangirl, page 69

Like I said, Cath's a "good girl," a virgin who doesn't drink, smoke, party or throw herself at random guys.  Naturally, Reagan—who's her complete opposite— assumes she's a nun.  Or a Mormon.  

Passages like this are actually compliments to us, I think, since they're commentaries on the LDS ideals of clean living.  Active church members adhere to the Word of Wisdom, which strongly cautions against the use of tobacco, strong drinks, even coffee and tea.  We are counseled to stay away from other potentially harmful behaviors as well, including taking illegal drugs, abusing prescription drugs, engaging in premarital sex, etc.  Thus, we've earned a reputation as people who strive to be as squeaky clean as possible.  Which isn't a bad thing.  Not at all.

A side note on Mormon college life:  Many LDS kids choose to attend church colleges (BYU-Provo, BYU-Idaho, BYU-Hawaii, etc.), not just because they're good schools, but also because students there are required to uphold the standards of the LDS Church.  Does this mean there isn't any drinking, smoking, drugs, partying, sleeping around, etc.?  Of course not.  If you're looking for that kind of thing, I'm sure you can find it at BYU just as easily as anywhere else.  However, it is definitely not the norm.  Most BYU-ers are at BYU because they've made a conscious choice to avoid those kinds of elements.  In fact, BYU-Provo's been named the nation's top "Stone Cold Sober" school for almost 20 years in a row by The Princeton Review.  It's a distinction of which Mormons, especially BYU alums (like Yours Truly), are extremely proud.    

College Coming-of-Age Story Funny, Authentic (With a Giveaway!)

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

There's one man who's always been there for Cather Avery:  Simon Snow.  Through her mother's desertion, through her father's bi-polar mood swings, through drama with her twin sister, he's been by her side.  Simon's steady and devoted, so much so that the 18-year-old can't stop thinking, dreaming and obsessing about him.  The problem?  Simon's not real.  He's a fictional character, the leading man (well, boy) in a wildly popular children's series (think Harry Potter).  Cath is not his only fan, of course, but she might just be his best.  Through her fanfiction, which thousands of people read online, Simon lives on.  Cath's greatest pleasure in life comes from thinking up new adventures for her favorite book hero.  

Now that Cath's a freshman in college, though, she's a little torn over her infatuation with Simon.  She wants to fit in with the university crowd, but she also needs her book crush—however juvenile it may be—to get through the new stresses in her life.  And she's got lots:  Cath's twin sister, Wren (get it?  Cather + Wren = Catherine), has declared her independence, moving into a completely different dorm and leaving Cath on her own; Cath's roommate leaves plenty to desire, as does her always-around boyfriend; her English professor isn't as wowed by fanfiction as Cath hoped she would be; and, to top it off, Cath's worried about her father, whose fragile psyche seems ready to shatter.  Since all Cath does is sit in her dorm room studying, worrying, and thinking up new Simon stories, she wonders why she ever left home in the first place.  She's clearly not cut out for living in the "real" world among live people whom she can't edit into perfection.

As Cath rides the ups and downs that college brings, she has to ask herself the big questions:  Can she live her own life, one that doesn't include Wren holding her hand through every hardship?  Does she even want to?  And can she give up Simon Snow in order to enjoy "real" life?  Even if it means opening herself up to the possible disasters that could come from a romance with a guy who lives outside the pages of her imagination?  Who would even want that?  Maybe, just maybe, Cath does.  

There are so many things I love about Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.  The well-rounded characters, the crackling dialogue, the bookish plot, the virtual world vs. real world dilemma, the sister conflict—all of it sucked me right in and kept me turning page after page after page.  I adored Cath in all her nerdy glory.  She's a girl after my own heart, the kind of character who, surprisingly, doesn't turn up in fiction all that much.  I admire Rowell for writing Cath in a way that makes her good girl tendencies (she cares more about grades than guys, more about papers than parties, etc.) admirable, even cool.  Cath just comes off as very authentic.  Geeky, but real.  Now, of course, there were parts of Fangirl I could have done without—the swearing, Simon's gay romance, etc.  The book's edgier than I thought it would be, definitely more new adult than young adult.  Overall, though, I enjoyed this unique, funny, well-written, coming-of-age novel.  

(Readalikes:  Hm, I can't really think of anything.  Can you?)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:  

for strong language, sexual innuendo/mild sexual content (including homosexuality), and depictions of underage drinking/partying

To the FTC, with love:  I bought a copy of Fangirl from Amazon with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger.  Ha ha.  

Interested in getting your hands on Fangirl?  You've come to the right place.  I'm giving away my gently-used (it's been read once and is in almost perfect condition), hardback copy of the book.  To win, all you have to do is comment on this post.  I won't even make you answer a silly question this time, so entering is about as easy peasy as it could possibly be!  Please do include an email address so that I have a way to contact you if you win.  I'll choose a winner (well, will do the picking) on February 15, so entries must be in by midnight on the 14th.  You need to have a U.S. or Canadian mailing address in order to be eligible for the giveaway.  Good luck!

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