Welcome to Bray and Books!

Welcome to my little slice of literary pie! I wish I could say I’m a scholar like the greats, but alas I am just a book enthusiast with quite a bit of passion about the books I read–good AND bad. So if what you’re looking for is intelligent reviews and discussions of books from an ordinary person, you’ve come to the right place. Enjoy!


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June 24, 2013 · 2:05 pm

A New Year, and a Book Challenge

Hello everybody! It’s been a long time, I know, and things have been a bit hectic and slow on my end, but I’m going to attempt to rectify that and actually update my blog. I’ve found myself missing my leisure reading as of late now that I’m starting to fall into a comfortable routine with my job, and although I’m too busy to stick to quite the regimented routine I had previously, I don’t think it means I have to have complete silence.

With that in mind, I’ve decided to journey with you all through my 2015 reading year. A friend of mine showed me a reading challenge for the year that challenges you to read 26 books that fit certain specifications, and while I’m doing it with a group of fellow readers, I also wanted to do the challenge by myself. Here’s the challenge, and here are the books I’m reading (though not in this particular order): Continue reading


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Crawling from the depths of inactivity

Hello my fellow bloggers, readers, and literary enthusiasts,

I’ve spent the past month staring at this blog with a waning ability and limited time to do anything with it while simultaneously feeling a pull from my gut that mimicked nostalgia. I really, truly loved reading and reviewing books in this blog and hearing feedback from others about what I wrote. At heart I am a reader and a writer, and I love that about myself. Along the way, however, I lost the fun from it because I focused too much on gaining followers through sponsored book reviews rather than why I truly loved what I was doing. I lost the heart of Bray and Books.

In light of this realization, I have decided that it is time to start writing here again. It’s going to be for me, for fun, and get back to the heart of what made Bray and Books so fun for me. I’m going to write about books I enjoy reading in my leisure time, the politics of books, and my own personal writing process as I embark once again on the NaNoWriMo journey as a first year ML.

I hope you’ll continue on this journey with me. I’ve loved speaking with each and every one of you.


And now, I rest.


September 28, 2014 · 11:25 am

The Official Bray and Books relaunch!

Hello my fellow bibliophiles! It’s been a while since I’ve updated, and for that I do apologize. To make up for it, I’m doing a Bray and Books relaunch starting March 1st! It’s going to include some pretty awesome tweaks!

-Movie Monday! Every Monday I’m going to focus on books with movie adaptations, getting movie adaptations, or SHOULD get movie adaptations.


-New reviews every Tuesday!


-Wednesday wrap-up! The last Wednesday of every month I’m going to update with a wrap-up in the month of literature!


-Throwback Thursday! A trip down nostalgia avenue for a look at some of our favorite classics and books from my past.


-Feminist Friday! A look at our favorite books through a feminist lens.


I’m very excited. Furthermore, if you guys like the images I use for rating books, you should send some love to Todd Backus! He’s a fantastic person for all of your graphic design needs, and he’s a good friend of mine to boot!

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February 5, 2014 · 11:57 pm

Thirty-Two Going on Spinster Blog Tour


By: Becky Monson


Julia Dorning is a spinster, or at least on the road to becoming one. She has no social life, hates her job, and lives in her parent’s basement with her cat, Charlie.

With the arrival of Jared Moody, the new hire at work, Julia’s mundane life is suddenly turned upside down. Her instant (and totally ridiculous) crush on the new guy causes Julia to finally make some long-overdue changes, in hopes to find a life that includes more than baking and hanging out with Charlie.

But when the biggest and most unexpected change comes, will the new and improved Julia be able to overcome it? Or will she go back to her spinster ways?

Continue reading

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Return from the Dust

Hello everybody!

This is a quick apology to all of my loyal followers (and readers) about my lack of posts. It was interview season for teaching, and I had several to prepare for and go on. I haven’t landed anything yet (sadly), but that just means I’m more available here! Starting within the next couple of weeks I’m aiming for a review a week, so be prepared!



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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is NOT 50 Shades for Kids

Check out the blog I did with Amanda! We were talking about the banning of The Absolute Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.

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Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson to be a graphic novel!

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson is to be a graphic novel! What do you think? Will it be good? Is it still appropriate to teach to students?


August 1, 2013 · 9:05 pm

Review of Insurgent by Veronica Roth


One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so. Continue reading

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New Poll: Upcoming YA movie adaptations! Which are you most excited for?


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Why Richard Swier’s Attack on Speak is Detrimental to Society

Parents at Laurel Nokomis Middle School in Sarasota, Florida became outraged when they learned their children were reading the child pornography book Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. Speak is about a 13-year old being raped. –Dr. Richard Swier

I made a vow to myself when I started this blog that no matter what the temptation might be, I will not stray from the purpose this blog was original set up for. I have personal blogs to discuss politics, movies, and education outside of the reading spectrum, and as such I wanted to keep Bray and Books strictly about fostering the love of reading through interviews, book reviews, and video blogs all centered around books. It’s a relatively simple task for somebody such as myself, as I am very passionate about my reading (and hope to one day invoke a passion for reading in my students once I have students). Unfortunately, that resilience has been tested today, and I’ve allowed myself a pass into the world of politics on this blog because, in this case, the world of literacy and politics have clashed horrifically. Continue reading


Filed under Miscellaneous, The Politics of Books