Thursday, August 21, 2014

A Cocktail and Conversation

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.

Lori says:  So...I saw earlier this week that there is a new animated version of The Boxcar Children that just came out.  That was the first series I remember starting to read.  I loved how simply the children lived and how they were happy with so little, living in a boxcar.  Though I am an only child, I remember being surprised that the siblings mostly got along.  They were super resourceful--keeping drinks in the stream so they'd stay cool, stuff like that.  I was totally impressed.  I am not sure whether I ever actually finished reading that series--I think there are several books to it--but I own most of them and plan on passing them along if I ever have any children.  I still love reading about people having to be resourceful and making it outside of "normal" circumstances.

Anyway, that got me wondering what was the first series you remember reading?  Did you like it?  Why?

Tahleen says:  Boxcar Children was my first series too! I remember buying the first book for a friend's birthday party, and it sounded good so we got one for me too. I wasn't a huge reader up to that point, but I kept finding myself reading well past bedtime by the light in the hall, and it was usually one of these books. My dad said I shouldn't do that, and I would reply with pointing out how he always would say how he wished I would read more. I was just doing what he told me to, ha. I think I liked that they were mysteries, and I liked following the same characters. (Mysteries are still my favorites!)  I'm not surprised you didn't finish the series, Lori--there are over 100 I think! I'm not sure where Gertrude Chandler Warner stopped writing, as I think it was taken over by ghost writers like the Babysitters' Club books (another good one), but there are a ton of them.

Bridget says:  The first series I remember reading is Samantha's American Girl series. I remember liking it partially because there was a seven-year-old girl named Bridget in one of them, and at the time I was seven. I eventually moved onto Molly and Kirsten, and my sister had Josephina. When I was younger I had a much bigger interest in historical fiction, especially since the eras vaguely matched up with what I was learning in school, so I really enjoyed them. I wish I still had the books so I could pass them onto my little sister (she's six) and eventually to my own children, but I think we gave them away. I still have my Molly and Samantha dolls, though :D 

Jana says:  My first series was called Full House Michelle. I loved the TV show so much, and when they came out with a series of books about the youngest girl, Michelle, I was all over them. I'm pretty sure I owned all of them, actually. They read like an episode of Full House. They came out with a Stephanie series too, which I liked even better. Stephanie was my favorite Full House character. And her books had a little romance in them. Hehe.

Julia says:  The first series I remember reading and loving is The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis. I had always been a reader but at some point in my early grade school years, I fell off the reading bandwagon. I remember just guessing on books I had never read to pass my accelerated reading tests. Then I found The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and I fell in love with the Pevensie children. I devoured The Magician's Nephew and then didn't really enjoy The Horse and His Boy because the kids were gone. I stopped there, not knowing that the others in the series had Edmund and Lucy come back. But reading this series broke me into other books and I loved reading again. I think the next thing I moved to was the Choose Your Own Adventure novels. Those are amazing and would love to read an adult version sometime! I think they exist...

What about you?  What is the first series that you remember reading?  Did you like it?  Did you finish?  Why?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Julia Reviews The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

Title/Author: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
Publisher/Year Published: December 2008 by Walker
How I got this book: The Library
Why I read this book: This book was recommended to me by Hayley, Susan, Kritka and rrteenlibrarian on my reading slump post
Rating: 4 stars

Well guys, I did it! I finished a book from my View from Page Thirty series that was actually worth adding on to the review. A few weeks back I posted my initial reaction to The Knife of Never Letting Go. The general sentiment was that it was pretty darn good and I wanted to continue with it. Here was my overview reaction:
"I am really curious to see how the story unfolds and what the rules and limitations of this world are. It sounds like a different twist on the dystopian thing, rather than just the controlling government makes us do something strange that our main character is rebelling against. I want to know more and can't wait to continue on!"
Well it didn't completely fall into that general dystopian genre, but it didn't stay as unique as I wanted it to. A few chapters after my initial reaction, things started moving into normal dystopian YA territory. Our hero was becoming special, some of the things I really enjoyed fell apart when things were reveled, and I was not as entertained as I wanted to be. 

I had high hopes for this book, and I wasn't necessarily not entertained. It was a good book to read, just it feel into old tropes as the book went on that I thought it was breaking away from. It also ended on a cliff hanger which really bothered me. It's book one! Usually book two is the cliffhanger. I really like it when my books wrap up, even if only a little. Thinking more about the ending, I guess it could be considered wrapped up, but I know that it's not and it bothers me.

Surprisingly, the narration did not bother me like I thought it may. I didn't mind Todd's colloquial phrasing and spelling of certain things. His being 14 annoyed me a few times like when his pride got in the way of doing things that made the most freaking sense (like with the book). But whatever, he's 14 and it fits with his characterization. No points off. It just was a personal pet peeve.

I really liked the pace in the first 30 or so pages, and I am happy to say that this story did not drag. It clipped along pretty much the entire journey. The plot was always moving the characters forward and into new adventures on the way to their goal.

Overall, it wasn't bad but it wasn't as good as I was thinking it was going to be from my first 30 page visit. Am I glad I read it? Sure. Am I going to read on? Maybe? I haven't decided. It may be after a while but I haven't ruled out coming back to this series. Just not right now.

Thanks for the recommendation guys! I can't wait to take a look at another one off the slumplist! By the way, if anyone wanted to view the compiled slumplist, I put it into a google drive document here. It's all messy and just my compilation of the comments people left on the original post. But just in case you wanted to see it, there it is :)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Top Ten Books People Have Been Telling Daisy That She MUST Read

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

1. A Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin: and yes I KNOW! I'm trying to find the time, but I need a couple of days where I'm doing nothing but read this or I'll be stuck. So Kelly, I haven't forgotten ;)

2. Insurgent and Allegiant by Veronica Roth: I really enjoyed Divergent and now the boyfriend's sister is badgering me to read the other two books because she wants to talk about them and noone else around here has read them.

3. A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller: so Debby has been pushing this book because she loves it and it does sound really good!
Side note: I could have easily filled this list with books Debby's pushing ;)

4. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon: Sarah highly recommends this series. By which I obviously mean she raves about it and made me buy the first one.

5. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes: and basically all her other books. People keep telling me to read it and it's so hyped up that I'm scared.

6. Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson: and all her other books, but mostly this one. People keep telling me it's amazing. I should really just read it, but it's kinda scary and I'm putting it off because it deals with disease.

7. Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers: so Mel loves this series and has been pushing it and all of the blogging community seems to agree with her and how could they not because ASSASSIN NUNS?? How can that not be awesome?

8. Gone Girl by Gillian Flyn: EVERYONE seems to love it and says it's a must read. I'm a little scared of this one as well, mostly because I don't really read a lot of mystery/thrillers, so it has to be REALLY good to wow me.

9. The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan: both Daph and Debby keep telling me to read this. I will, obviously, cause I love Percy Jackson.

10. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer: so I could tell you who has been telling me I must read this, but it's basically EVERYONE. So, yeah...

What about you guys? What books are people telling you you MUST read? Any you want to second/third/millionth?

Monday, August 18, 2014

Tahleen's favorite audiobooks

I am a big audiobook fan. I am always listening to one in the car and one on my iPod, usually while running. As a result, I have found some excellent audiobooks with excellent narrators. Here are some of my favorites:

Carter Finally Gets It by Brent Crawford, narrated by Nick Podehl.

Those of you who listen to audiobooks avidly probably already know of Nick Podehl, who is one of the foremost narrators in the business. This book, about a freshman boy's life, is probably one of the funniest and well done YA audiobooks I've come across. Podehl's voices and the way he directs his voice away from the microphone for effect are spot on, and his timing is perfect.

The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex, narrated by Bahni Turpin.

Turpin won the Odyssey Award (best audiobook narration for youth) for her work on this book, and it's well deserved. Her voice for the aliens, especially J.Lo, is just too perfect. I have no idea how I would have read those voices, but now I can't even think about this book without hearing her. I'm super excited about the sequel coming out next year, and I hope hope hope she will narrate that audiobook too. Oh, and the book itself is very funny and I love it.

See You at Harry's by Jo Knowles, narrated by Kate Rudd.

Time for something serious. This audiobook is not funny like the previous two picks, but it is still very affecting. Rudd does a masterful job giving voice to Fern, a 12-year-old middle child who feels invisible in her family. She and her brother are bullied, her family takes her for granted, not to mention her dad keeps trying new, embarrassing tactics to advertise for their restaurant. But this one becomes a tissue-box novel once a heart-wrenching tragedy is thrown in. I will never forget listening to Rudd's grief-stricken voice.

(Um, as of the time I wrote this post, it is THREE DOLLARS for an MP3-CD on Amazon.)

Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger, narrated by Moira Quirk.

Who doesn't love a good, amusing steampunk novel mixed with some paranormal happenings? Carriger's YA series set in her version of Victorian England (which has werewolves, vampires, and is powered by steam and innovation) is a rollicking good time, delivered with panache by Quirk in her narration. The sequel, Curtsies & Conspiracies, is just as good. Looking for an adult series instead of YA? Check out Carriger's Soulless series, though I'm not sure about the audio versions for that.

The Jacky Faber series by L.A. Meyer, narrated by Katherine Kellgren.

Katherine Kellgren is another audiobook heavyweight, winning awards left and right, and for good reason. She throws herself into her character, getting each and every accent down and nailing it. Jacky Faber, a young teen girl in the early 1800s, travels around the world on adventure after adventure, all trying to keep one step ahead of trouble, which always seems to find her.

Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy, narrated by Rupert Degas.

I honestly can't imagine reading this series over listening to it. I'm so sad the audio version are so difficult to find after #3. Degas deadpans the sarcastic and witty banter, as well as giving truly fantastic voices to each and every character. He does a perfect job, and bonus points for his Irish accent. Love it.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, narrated by Wil Wheaton.
Yes, that Wil Wheaton. Who is the best man for the job. I loved this audiobook, especially once the action really starts up. Basically we've got a future where people spend most of their time in the Oasis, a virtual online world, and the creator of this place has left clues throughout the game leading to his fortune. But he hid it so well that no one has found it in over a decade. Until Wade.

The Flavia de Luce mysteries by Alan Bradley, narrated by Jayne Entwhistle.

I love Jayne Entwhistle's voice, which is perfect for 11-year-old Flavia de Luce, lover of chemistry and poisons and amateur sleuth, whose stories take place in rural England in the 1950s.

Really, anything by any of these narrators is probably a good bet. If you are thinking about jumping on the audiobook bandwagon, this is a good starting point.

Happy listening!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Broke and Bookish Book Haul for 8/4 - 8/16

Daisy's Book Haul

So I usually post pictures of my haul, but today, there's really cute tiny kitten in my lap who does not approve of getting up, so there are no pictures. The tiny kitten is named Zoƫ and is actually the most exciting thing to enter our home over the past two weeks:

As for the books:

-A Good Debutante's Guide to Ruin by Sophie Jordan: already read and was SO good!
-The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger: this month's book club book, people seem to either hate this or love it. I'm a bit scared.
-Sisters' Fate by Jessica Spotswood: so I haven't actually started this series yet, but I hope it's full of witchy goodness.
-Cats for Dummies by Gina Spadafori: cause we've never actually had a cat before and I need more knowledge.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Kimberly Reviews the Fated Sky

Title: The Fated Sky
Author: Henrietta Branford
Why I Read It: Book Club Book
Rating: 1 Star

When her father and brothers are killed in battle, Ran, a young Viking woman, has no one to protect her. And as she travels with her unloving mother and a cruel stranger to take part in a winter sacrifice, Ran's safety and future are uncertain. Now sixteen-year-old Ran must learn to fend for herself -- and discover that she has the ability to control her own destiny. Henrietta Branford, Guardian award-winning author of Fire, Bed, and Bone, brilliantly recreates the mysticism and the harsh realities of the Viking world in this tale of strength, romance, and thwarted fates.

So... Apparently this style of book is NOT for me.

When we chose this book for July's read, I was interested. Vikings! That will be cool, right? I always enjoy a good historical romance too.

It was not what I expected at ALL.

I think the author was trying for a particular style... I really don't know. All I know is that I did not care for any of the characters in the slightest. Each death was just words on the page. I felt no emotional connection whatsoever to the story or the characters. I think that the author was trying to reflect a harsh world and the way people living in that time would have reacted. I think. As it is, they felt far too passive aggressive.

We're meeting today to discuss the book, I'm interested to hear what the others thought of it.

Unfortunately, this was not an enjoyable read. But you might like it! There are several 5 star reviews on goodreads.  (There are also a lot of 1 star ratings). Some readers even think it was very historically accurate. (I'm not too sure about that...)

Share some of your favorite historical fiction novels in the comments! 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Top Ten Books I'm Not Sure I Want To Read For Various Reasons


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


 Jamie's Picks

1. I'm not sure that I want to read....The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling: Most of you probably know I recently started to read the Harry Potter series (I've only finished book 1) so I don't really have the attachment to JK Rowling like most people do but I've heard such mixed things about the adult book that she wrote. I think the only reason it's on my radar is BECAUSE it's written by JK Rowling and I probably wouldn't even have looked at it if I passed it by in a store.
Seconded by Daisy

2.  I'm not sure that I want to read....the rest of the Eve trilogy by Anna Carey: I enjoyed book 1 despite problems with it but it's been a couple years and I forget what happened honestly and I heard not so great things about the rest of the trilogy.

3. I'm not sure that I want to read....the Lord of the Rings books: I love the movies and I'm semi-interested in the books but THEY ARE SO LONG and that's a huge commitment. Maybe I'd be better off to just stinking to the movies (SOMETHING THAT IS RARE FOR ME).

 Daisy's Picks

4. I'm not sure I want to read.... My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult: this book scares me cause it deals with a sick child and I just can't, I tend to avoid books like this. But I feel like I should because I want to watch the movie (maybe) and I can't without reading the book first.

5. I'm not sure I want to read.... John Green's other books: so I read The Fault in Our Stars recently and it was really good, but I've heard his other books are pretty similar or have pretty similar characters and I'm not sure that's going to work for me.

6. I'm not sure I want to read.... The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley: I love anything to do with King Arthur, but a while ago I read some really disturbing things about the author dealing with child abuse and I'm just not sure I can read one of her books and not be influenced by this knowledge.

7. I'm not sure I want to read.... So many of the last books in a series: like Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins, Inheritance by Christopher Paolini, Split Second by Kasie West, Rise by Anna Carey, Sacrifice by Cayla Kluver, Black Heart by Holly Black... I don't deal well with series ending, I've talked about this fear before, it's scary.

 Jana's Picks

8. I'm not sure I want to read... No One Else Can Have You by Kathleen Hale: I have read a ton of reviews from trusted friends that raise so many red flags: immature characters with LOTS of problems, too many swear words, explicit talk, failed satire... the list goes on. I'm pretty sure this will always be a no for me.

9. I'm not sure I want to read... The Fault in Our Stars by John Green: TEARS. I do not read books to cry or be sad. Why would I deliberately torture myself with an overflow of intensely depressing emotions when I can come up with plenty of reasons to feel those emotions as a result of my own life? I know people say it's beautiful and amazing, but I won't look beautiful or feel amazing while reading it, so I think I'll pass. Talk me out of it if you wish. :)

10. I'm not sure I want to read... Insurgent or Allegiant by Veronica Roth: I liked Divergent enough, but I've heard so many complaints about Insurgent and witnessed rage over Allegiant. And I accidentally saw a major spoiler for Allegiant which made me think, "Ok, what is even the point of this whole thing?" I'm over the hype of this trilogy, and just want to move on.

What about you guys? Have you read any of our picks?

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