Friday, May 29, 2015

Kimberly wants to know, what are your go to comfort reads?

We all have them.

The books we turn to after a long day.

The ones we open up when we are down.

Just seeing the cover art makes us smile.

You MUST own a copy, because our home feels empty without it.

For me, it's Harry Potter. (Yes, I know, that answer is pretty much cliché. Totally don't care.) I have them on my bookshelves in my living room, my shelves are one of the first things you see when you walk into my house, I want them visible! Plus, I'm still trying to get the Mr. to read them...

When I've had a rough day, or I've been sick, or I'm in a reading slump and don't feel like starting something new, I turn to those books. Sometimes it's just a chapter... sometimes it's a couple of books. ;)

So tell me. What are your comfort books?? Please share in the comments!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Cocktail and Conversation--Reader Quirks

Every other Thursday here at the Broke & The Bookish is  A Cocktail Conversation time. One of the TB&TB members will pose a question to 2-3 of the other members of TB&TB crew about books, life, music, etc and then they'll answer and we can converse about it. So grab a cocktail & cozy up for some conversation. It's 5 o'clock somewhere, friends. 

What is one of your reader quirks?

Lauren says:  

My reader quirk is almost more of an annoyance than a quirk. Because I read so much and many of my FB and IRL friends don't, as soon as a bestseller or popular book comes out, they all automatically assume I've read it or am going to read it. Just because a book is on the NYT Bestsellers List does not mean I want to read it or that I should read it. When 50 Shades of Grey became popular, my friends were literally BAFFLED that I hadn't read it. I'd explain the normal reason why: it's Twilight fan fiction, it was first published with unspeakable grammatical errors, that I really don't care, etc.... but people that don't read as much as us still don't get it. So basically I tell all my non-frequent reader friends that I read what I want, when I want. BOOM.

Julia says:  

I have to read series books in order. It is really hard for me to jump around or start in the middle, even if people tell me "The first two are crap, just read the third." It pains me. I am getting a little better with this lately when it comes to romance novels where I don't want to get sucked into another mega-book series, or another regency sibling set of stories. But I just like to read things the way they were written. I like knowing all the jokes because I too was there for them instead of scratching my head in wonder. This is doubly true for me when it comes to TV series. I haven't gotten better with those :)

Jana says:  

Good quirk, Julia! I have the same one! I can't figure one out for myself... I'm quirky, but I think I've mentioned many of them on the blog already!

Tahleen says:  

My quirk is I've often got at least four books going: two audios (one for running, one for the car), one in print, and one on my nook. Not to mention the kids' books I read for book club at the library!

Lori says:  

I think I've got a lot of reader quirks, but they just seem normal to me, so I don't notice them.  However, my mom routinely comments on this one, so it must be a quirk.  I have two copies of my favorite books.  One is my nice, pristine, sits on my shelf of favorites copy and the other one is marked all over--notes in the margins, dog-eared pages, highlighter marks, scraps of paper sticking out at off angles.

What are some of your reader quirks?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Deborah Harkness's All Souls Trilogy Q&A + Giveaway

We are excited to announce the last book in Deborah Harkness's All Souls Trilogy, The Book of Life, was released in paperback on May 26th! The Book of Life is the long-awaited final chapter in the smart, sexy All Souls Trilogy, about historian and witch Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont. In this finale, Diana and Matthew continue their hunt for the magical alchemical manuscript, Ashmole 782, and reunite with beloved characters from the first two All Souls books to save their world from the powerful enemies who want to destroy it.

And if the release of The Book of Life not enough, this amazing boxset of the trilogy will also be on sale! I won't lie.. I've already pre-ordered this boxset and am foaming at the mouth to get it!

Also, I was lucky enough to get a Q&A from Deborah Harkness! Enjoy!

Q&A with Deborah Harkness

Q: In your day job, you are a professor of history and science at the University of Southern California and have focused on alchemy in your research.  What aspects of this intersection between science and magic do you hope readers will pick up on while reading THE BOOK OF LIFE? There’s quite a bit more lab work in this book!

A. There is. Welcome back to the present! What I hope readers come to appreciate is that science—past or present—is nothing more than a method for asking and answering questions about the world and our place in it. Once, some of those questions were answered alchemically. Today, they might be answered biochemically and genetically. In the future? Who knows. But Matthew is right in suggesting that there are really remarkably few scientific questions and we have been posing them for a very long time. Two of them are: who am I? why am I here?

Q: Much of the conflict in the book seems to mirror issues of race and sexuality in our society, and there seems to be a definite moral conclusion to THE BOOK OF LIFE. Could you discuss this? Do you find that a strength of fantasy novels is their ability to not only to allow readers to escape, but to also challenge them to fact important moral issues?

A. Human beings like to sort and categorize. We have done this since the beginnings of recorded history, and probably well back beyond that point. One of the most common ways to do that is to group things that are “alike” and things that are “different.” Often, we fear what is not like us. Many of the world’s ills have stemmed from someone (or a group of someones) deciding what is different is also dangerous. Witches, women, people of color, people of different faiths, people of different sexual orientations—all have been targets of this process of singling others out and labeling them different and therefore undesirable. Like my interest in exploring what a family is, the issue of difference and respect for difference (rather than fear) informed every page of the All Souls Trilogy. And yes, I do think that dealing with fantastic creatures like daemons, vampires, and witches rather than confronting issues of race or sexuality directly can enable readers to think through these issues in a useful way and perhaps come to different conclusions about members of their own families and communities. As I often say when people ask me why supernatural creatures are so popular these days: witches and vampires are monsters to think with.

Q: From the moment Matthew and a pregnant Diana arrive back at Sept-Tours and reinstate themselves back into a sprawling family of witches and vampires, it becomes clear that the meaning of family will be an important idea for THE BOOK OF LIFE. How does this unify the whole series? Did you draw on your own life?

A. Since time immemorial the family has been an important way for people to organize themselves in the world. In the past, the “traditional” family was a sprawling and blended unit that embraced immediate relatives, in-laws and their immediate families, servants, orphaned children, the children your partner might bring into a family from a previous relationship, and other dependents. Marriage was an equally flexible and elastic concept in many places and times. Given how old my vampires are, and the fact that witches are the keepers of tradition, I wanted to explore from the very first page of the series the truly traditional basis of family:  unqualified love and mutual responsibility. That is certainly the meaning of family that my parents taught me.

Q: While there are entire genres devoted to stories of witches, vampires, and ghosts, the idea of a weaver – a witch who weaves original spells – feels very unique to THE BOOK OF LIFE. What resources helped you gain inspiration for Diana’s uniqueness?

A. Believe it or not, my inspiration for weaving came from a branch of mathematics called topology. I became intrigued by mathematical theories of mutability to go along with my alchemical theories of mutability and change. Topology is a mathematical study of shapes and spaces that theorizes how far something can be stretched or twisted without breaking. You could say it’s a mathematical theory of connectivity and continuity (two familiar themes to any reader of the All Souls Trilogy). I wondered if I could come up with a theory of magic that could be comfortably contained within mathematics, one in which magic could be seen to shape and twist reality without breaking it. I used fabric as a metaphor for this worldview with threads and colors shaping human perceptions. Weavers became the witches who were talented at seeing and manipulating the underlying fabric. In topology, mathematicians study knots—unbreakable knots with their ends fused together that can be twisted and shaped. Soon the mathematics and mechanics of Diana’s magic came into focus. 

Q: A Discovery of Witches debuted at # 2 on the New York Times bestseller list and Shadow of Night debuted at #1. What has been your reaction to the outpouring of love for the All Souls Trilogy? Was it surprising how taken fans were with Diana and Matthew’s story?

A. It has been amazing—and a bit overwhelming. I was surprised by how quickly readers embraced two central characters who have a considerable number of quirks and challenge our typical notion of what a heroine or hero should be. And I continue to be amazed whenever a new reader pops up, whether one in the US or somewhere like Finland or Japan—to tell me how much they enjoyed being caught up in the world of the Bishops and de Clemonts. Sometimes when I meet readers they ask me how their friends are doing—meaning Diana, or Matthew, or Miriam. That’s an extraordinary experience for a writer.

Q: Diana and Matthew, once again, move around to quite a number of locations in THE BOOK OF LIFE, including New Haven, New Orleans, and a few of our favorite old haunts like Oxford, Madison, and Sept-Tours. What inspired you to place your characters in these locations? Have you visited them yourself?

A. As a writer, I really need to experience the places I write about in my books. I want to know what it smells like, how the air feels when it changes direction, the way the sunlight strikes the windowsill in the morning, the sound of birds and insects. Not every writer may require this, but I do. So I spent time not only in New Haven but undertaking research at the Beinecke Library so that I could understand the rhythms of Diana’s day there. I visited New Orleans several times to imagine my vampires into them. All of the locations I pick are steeped in history and stories about past inhabitants—perfect fuel for any writer’s creative fire.

Q: Did you know back when you wrote A Discovery of Witches how the story would conclude in THE BOOK OF LIFE? Did the direction change once you began the writing process?

A. I knew how the trilogy would end, but I didn’t know exactly how we would get there. The story was well thought out through the beginning of what became The Book of Life, but the chunk between that beginning and the ending (which is as I envisioned it) did change. In part that was because what I had sketched out was too ambitious and complicated—the perils of being not only a first-time trilogy writer but also a first time author. It was very important to me that I resolve and tie up all the threads already in the story so readers had a satisfying conclusion. Early in the writing of The Book of Life it became clear that this wasn’t going to give me much time to introduce new characters or plot twists. I now understand why so many trilogies have four, five, six—or more—books in them. Finishing the trilogy as a trilogy required a lot of determination and a very thick pair of blinders as I left behind characters and story lines that would take me too far from the central story of Diana, Matthew, and the Book of Life.

Q: A Discovery of Witches begins with Diana Bishop stumbling across a lost, enchanted manuscript called Ashmole 782 in Oxford’s Bodleian Library, and the secrets contained in the manuscript are at long last revealed in THE BOOK OF LIFE. You had a similar experience while you were completing your dissertation.  What was the story behind your discovery?  And how did it inspire the creation of these novels?

A. I did discover a manuscript—not an enchanted one, alas—in the Bodleian Library. It was a manuscript owned by Queen Elizabeth’s astrologer, the mathematician and alchemist John Dee. In the 1570s and 1580s he became interested in using a crystal ball to talk to angels. The angels gave him all kinds of instructions on how to manage his life at home, his work—they even told him to pack up his family and belongings and go to far-away Poland and Prague. In the conversations, Dee asked the angels about a mysterious book in his library called “the Book of Soyga” or “Aldaraia.” No one had ever been able to find it, even though many of Dee’s other books survive in libraries throughout the world. In the summer of 1994 I was spending time in Oxford between finishing my doctorate and starting my first job. It was a wonderfully creative time, since I had no deadlines to worry about and my dissertation on Dee’s angel conversations was complete. As with most discoveries, this discovery of a “lost” manuscript was entirely accidental. I was looking for something else in the Bodleian’s catalogue and in the upper corner of the page was a reference to a book called “Aldaraia.” I knew it couldn’t be Dee’s book, but I called it up anyway. And it turned out it WAS the book (or at least a copy of it). With the help of the Bodleian’s Keeper of Rare Books, I located another copy in the British Library.

Q: Are there other lost books like this in the world?

A. Absolutely! Entire books have been written about famous lost volumes—including works by Plato, Aristotle, and Shakespeare to name just a few. Libraries are full of such treasures, some of them unrecognized and others simply misfiled or mislabeled. And we find lost books outside of libraries, too. In January 2006, a completely unknown manuscript belonging to one of the 17th century’s most prominent scientists, Robert Hooke, was discovered when someone was having the contents of their house valued for auction. The manuscript included minutes of early Royal Society meetings that we presumed were lost forever. 

Q: Shadow of Night and A Discovery of Witches have often been compared to young adult fantasy like Twilight, with the caveat that this series is for adults interested in history, science, and academics. Unlike Bella and Edward, Matthew and Diana are card-carrying members of academia who meet in the library of one of the most prestigious universities in the world. Are these characters based on something you found missing in the fantasy genre?

A. There are a lot of adults reading young adult books, and for good reason. Authors who specialize in the young adult market are writing original, compelling stories that can make even the most cynical grownups believe in magic. In writing A Discovery of Witches, I wanted to give adult readers a world no less magical, no less surprising and delightful, but one that included grown-up concerns and activities. These are not your children’s vampires and witches.


We are happy to announce this AMAZING giveaway of the following items (all pictured below)...
A paperback copy of The Book of Life
A small The Book of Life mirror with ouroboros design
A signed copy of Diana's Commonplace Book
All Souls alchemical buttons


Giveaway open to US addresses only.
 Prizes provided by Viking/Penguin Book.
You must be 13 years or older to enter.
Winner will be contacted via email and has 72 hours to respond before a new winner is picked.
Please fill out the Rafflecopter below to enter.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Julia's Top Ten Books that I Plan to Have in my Beach Bag

For future Top Ten Tuesday topics & info on how to participate, click here!

Hello, all! Julia here. I just got back from a lovely trip to Hawai'i and surprisingly didn't have a lot of time to sit on the beach and read. I guess if you fly all the way to those islands, it's not a place where you can just sit around, but instead you must take in the sites! So I am planning at some point to head east this time for an actual "sit on the beach and read" vacation. Here are the books I am going to bring along (nook style). And if these don't interest you, we have done this topic three other times! So check out our combined list from 2013, Jen's list from 2012, and Jamie's list from 2011

Top Ten Books that I Plan to Have in my Beach Bags this Summer 

1. The Lotus Palace by Jeannie Lin - I've read a short story by Ms Lin and I have really wanted to visit a full length book. I picked this ebook up on sale a year or so ago and would love to check it out. Historical Romance not set in England? I'll take it!

2. Lady of the Forest by Jennifer Roberson - I am a sucker for a good fairy tale retelling. I don't know if Robin Hood is considered a fairy tale or not, but all the same this is right up my alley. I think revisiting some familiar characters with a twist is just what a beach trip needs!

3. Between the Devil and Ian Eversea by Julie Anne Long- Speaking of revisiting characters, I am woefully behind in the Pennyroyal Green Series! What better time to catch up than on the beach? Plus the book we have all been waiting for, Olivia and Lyon's story, comes out in the fall! 

4. The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley - Another book that has been on my TBR for years. Time travel love story? Sign me up! Plus the cover is gorgeous so I would look all cool reading this in the sand. 

5. The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson - This one hasn't just been sitting on my ereader forever, but was recommended to me as part of The Slumplist. Definitely something I'd want to take!

6. A Dangerous Liaison with Detective Lewis by Jillian Stone - I read the first in this series ages ago and would love to continue reading. A detective love story would be great with the waves as my background music. 

7. Spy's Honor by Amy Raby - For these next few you'll notice a theme. Usually romance, usually second or something in a series. I just adore romance novels and eat them up in a beach setting. This one was the second in a series about an assassin in a fantasy world. 

8. Heart of Steel by Meljean Brook - Remember the Iron Duke that I mentioned last week in my TTT? Well this is book two. I've been meaning to read it for literally two or three years now. I must make this happen! The first was so good!

9. Daughters of Rome by Kate Quinn - This one isn't romance but historical fiction. 69AD and the world is falling apart around them. How do these two women make a mark on history or just live their lives?

10. Crown of Midnight by Sarah Maas - Same story, different line. Second in a series, haven't read it yet, but I want to. Beach = free time. So let's do this.

What about you guys? What books are you looking forward or enjoy reading with the sand in between your toes? Link up below!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Broke and Bookish Book Haul for 5/10 - 5/23

Daisy's Book Haul

-Lion Heart by A.C. Gaughen: I LOVED Scarlet, haven't read the sequel yet, but needed to have this one in my life!
-Loki's Wolves by K.L. Armstrong: I get a bit of a Norse Percy Jackson vibe from the summary, so I'm in.
-Rook by Sharon Cameron: I've heard from our very own Kimberly that this is awesome, so I ordered it.
-The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh: a retelling of A Thousand and One Nights, OBVIOUSLY I'm in!
-The Isle of the Lost by Melissa de la Cruz: it's about the children of the villains from fairytales, I don't really need to know anything more than this to be excited for it!
-A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas: EEE! The precious is here!! I've heard SO many good things about this, I can't wait to read it and hopefully love it!
-The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West: it's Kasie West. And also fake relationship. It has all the theoretical elements I need.

Egalleys for review:
-A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston: another A Thousand and One Nights retelling! I like this fairytale retellings trend :)
-Manga Classics: Pride & Prejudice by Stacy King
-Manga Classics: Les Misérables by Lee SunNeko: I'm REALLY excited about both of these Manga Classics! I've been meaning to start branching out into reading manga and why not start with my favourite classic Pride and Prejudice in manga form?

Lauren's Book Haul

H2O by Virginia Bergin
172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad

Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley - Received in this month's OwlCrate box.
Since I have 2 copies of Magonia now, I am giving away a copy here.

eBooks for Review
The Escape by 
Insylum by 
From a Distant Star by 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Giveaway: Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

Happy Saturday everybody! We've got a giveaway for you today and it's one I personally (Jamie) am excited about as Every Last Word is one of my anticipated reads PLUS you also are going to get a chance to win Tamara's other novels as well.

If you're excited about Every Last Word already, scroll down to enter! But if you haven't heard of it, I'd suggest check out what it's about and see if it's your thing and then try your hand at winning below!

About the Book:

If you could read my mind, you wouldn't be smiling.

Samantha McAllister looks just like the rest of the popular girls in her junior class. But hidden beneath the straightened hair and expertly applied makeup is a secret that her friends would never understand: Sam has Purely-Obsessional OCD and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can't turn off.

Second-guessing every move, thought, and word makes daily life a struggle, and it doesn't help that her lifelong friends will turn toxic at the first sign of a wrong outfit, wrong lunch, or wrong crush. Yet Sam knows she'd be truly crazy to leave the protection of the most popular girls in school. So when Sam meets Caroline, she has to keep her new friend with a refreshing sense of humor and no style a secret, right up there with Sam's weekly visits to her psychiatrist.

Caroline introduces Sam to Poet's Corner, a hidden room and a tight-knit group of misfits who have been ignored by the school at large. Sam is drawn to them immediately, especially a guitar-playing guy with a talent for verse, and starts to discover a whole new side of herself. Slowly, she begins to feel more "normal" than she ever has as part of the popular crowd . . . until she finds a new reason to question her sanity and all she holds dear.

About the Author:

Tamara Ireland Stone ( is the author of Time After Time and Time Between Us, which Melissa Marr praised as a "beautifully written, unique love story," and has been published in over twenty countries. A former Silicon Valley marketing executive, Tamara enjoys skiing, hiking, and spending time with her husband and two children. She lives just outside of San Francisco.


Learn more on
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One (1) winner receives the complete Tamara Ireland Stone collection:
  A copy of Every Last Word;
Plus copies of Time Between Us and Time After Time.
Guidelines to enter

Giveaway open to US addresses only.
 Prizing and samples provided by Disney Hyperion.
You must be 13 years or older to enter.
Winner will be contacted via email and has 72 hours to respond before a new winner is picked.
Please fill out the Rafflecopter below to enter.

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Friday, May 22, 2015

Julia Reviews The Scoundrel and the Debutante by Julia London

Title/Author: The Scoundrel and the Debutant by Julia London
Publisher/Year Published: May 2015 by Harlequin Books
How I got this book: I was provided an ARC in exchange for an honest review
Why I read this book: I enjoyed the last book in this series, so of course I am going to read the third
Rating: 3.5 stars

The dust of the Cabot sisters' shocking plans to rescue their family from certain ruin may have settled, but Prudence Cabot is left standing in the rubble of scandal. Now regarded as an unsuitable bride, she's tainted among the ton. Yet this unwilling wallflower is ripe for her own adventure. And when an irresistibly sexy American stranger on a desperate mission enlists her help, she simply can't deny the temptation. 

The fate of Roan Matheson's family depends on how quickly he can find his runaway sister and persuade her to return to her betrothed. Scouring the rustic English countryside with the sensually wicked Prudence at his side—and in his bed—he's out of his element. But once Roan has a taste of the sizzling passion that can lead to forever, he must choose between his heart's obligations and its forbidden desires.


I read a lot of family trilogies or series books in the historical romance genre, and I have to say that Julia London's Cabot Series is a new book every time. Well, you may be asking, of course it is! What a silly thing to say? But I have seen too many times where you pretty much just get the same story again with a slight deviation to make it seem unique. This is not the case here.

Prudence is tired of her sister's scandalous behavior ruining her chances at a happy life. After being unmarried into her twenties, she is not quite sure what to do with herself and falls into a morose outlook of the world. Her sisters decide that just what she needs to be cheered up is to go see her friend who just had a baby. I see a flaw in their logic.

Out of sheer desperation just for a break, she agrees but while waiting for her family friend to pick her up in their carriage for the ride north she meets a stunningly gorgeous and cutely befuddled American gentleman, Roan. Throwing caution to the wind, she decides to purchase a ticket on the public coach to spend more time with this handsome foreigner until her stop where she can rejoin her party. Hi-jinks ensue.

Let me just say there is a lack of ball rooms and ton parties in this book that makes it a nice refresher. It's sort of far-fetched in its realism, but it was enough of an adventure that I was along for the ride. Roan and Prudence are quite interesting leads. They have a good chemistry between them but still hold their own as characters. Prudence, for what I know of her from the last books, seems to sort of morphed into her sisters along the way, but the fact that she is aware of it make it okay.

The story has a pretty fast pace until about the last third where it sort of grinds to a halt. It's still engaging but not as much as the first two thirds. So it was sort of the same problem I had with the last book. I will say that I did read it in one plane ride, so it was definitely something I didn't want to stop reading.

If you enjoy previous Julia London novels, or Regency Romance with a twist and a fun adventure, this is a good pick. I don't think it is necessary to read the other two in the series before this one. There are minor spoilers but nothing too big.

It's not my favorite, but not horrible either. So a solid middle of the road read that put a smile on my face.

Thanks to Harlequin for providing me the ARC for this review.

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