Sunday, September 24, 2017

Banned Books Week, September 24-30

Source: @BannedBooksWeek on Twitter

I always love Banned Books Week. I still find it amazing in our day and age that we even need to celebrate such an event, but the sad fact remains that books are still banned to this day. I mean, I guess I can see why. Books promote ideas. And what could be worse than people having ideas? They might change their life-views, expand their horizons, question the status quo, think for themselves! Horror!

It's one of the things that has truly shocked and disappointed me about my family dynamic. I grew up in a pretty sheltered, small environment. To be sure, my parents freely encouraged me to read and never really monitored what I read. I guess they felt that if I wasn't ready for something, I just wouldn't get it, but I wouldn't be scarred by the experience. And I think they were right. I am so grateful for that kind of freedom growing up. Then I went to college. Not only was I reading things, but I was discussing these things. I was no longer in a vacuum. I participated in the free exchange of ideas. And I changed. I broke off the shackles that fettered me to my parents' modes of thinking; in a way, I outgrew them. Eventually, I even became more vocal about disagreeing with my parents and questioning them and the status quo.

And it's like they don't really believe me. Like they think I'm going through some phase, like a rebellious teenager. If they even acknowledge it (my dad usually turns a blind eye and a deaf ear). This turn of events has certainly put a strain on the relationship. Mostly we can get along, but sometimes I just have to walk away or call bull-shit. Or pour another extra large glass of wine.

I wouldn't change it for the world.

I wouldn't dare go back to living a small-minded, closed-minded existence for the sake of familial harmony.

This is why we're here--to question, to think big, to dream big, to move beyond.

I am so grateful to books for giving me this medium to expand my horizons. This is so important in the current political climate. Books have made me question, books have made me wary, and books have made be fight.

This week I celebrate the perpetual quest for knowledge and growth by promoting open access to books. I hope you will join me by picking up something controversial and thinking about it. Maybe it will change your view, maybe it will reaffirm your view, but it will definitely change you and make you grow.


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Top Ten Books On Our Fall TBR List

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Are you are excited for fall? I (Jana) am! I'm looking forward to cool weather, sweaters, changing leaves, and cozy blankets! I'm also excited about the books coming out this fall. Here are some of the ones we're looking forward to.

Jamie's Picks 

1. Forest of A Thousand Lanterns by Julie Dao: This YA fantasy sounds AWESOME! Definitely on my list for the fall!

2.  There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins: I'm sooo excited for Steph's newest! I mean, it's horror and it's quite a departure from her adorable contemporary series but I TRUST HER. She's a huge horror geek and knows her stuff plus I just tend to trust my favorite authors.  Jana seconds this pick!

3. Dear Martin by Nic Stone: I've been pining for this one since I heard about it (like when the deal was announced) and I follow the author on Twitter and she is wonderful so this one is very high on my priority list for Fall! 

Jana's Picks 

4. Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco: I really enjoyed Stalking Jack the Ripper, and am excited for another creepy read for Halloween time!

5. Renegades by Marissa Meyer: Another Marissa Meyer book! I'm not even totally remember what it's about right now, but I'm super excited!

6. This Darkness Mine by Mindy McGinnis: I love thrillers, and this one sounds awesome!

Lauren's Picks 

7. The Lying Game by Ruth Ware: I loved Ruth's first novel, In A Dark, Dark Wood, and I liked her second, The Woman in Cabin 10, as well. So of course I've got to read what ever is next!

8. Borne by Jeff VanderMeer: I enjoyed the first book & maybe half of the second book from Jeff's Southern Reach Trilogy, but I felt like the longer it went on, the less interested I became. This novel (so far) appears to be a standalone, so I figured I'd give him another chance. :)

9. Machine Learning by Hugh Howey: I think everyone knows by now how much I love everything by Hugh Howey, so yeah... I'm excited for this.

10. Artemis by Andy Weir: I absolutely loved The Martian, and this novel is set on the moon! Let's go, guys!

What are you hoping to read this fall?


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Ten Books We've Read and Loved Since We Started Blogging Together

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For today's throwback freebie we've decided to throw it ALL the way back to when we started blogging together back in June of 2010. Today we're highlighting the best books we've read over the last 10 years.

Julia's Picks
I can't believe that it has been seven years and some change since we have been blogging here at The Broke and the Bookish. These are my favorite discoveries since June 2010. 

1. The Darkest London Series by Kristen Callihan - I found Firelight through a blog tour I believe, and since that I have devoured the series (which sadly I just finished the last book of a few weeks ago). I remember fondly recounting the plot of Firelight to one of my coworks and forcing him to go to Barnes and Nobel while we were on the road to find the next in the series. I couldnt remember the title and while I was starting to google search, he randomly picked a book off the shelf that was the exact book I was looking for, Moonglow. I am so glad to have found this series. (Here is a link to all the reviews I have done for this series: Firelight, Moonglow, Winterblaze, Shadowdance, Evernight, and Soulbound)

2. The Maiden Lane Series by Elizabeth Hoyt - My first ever review here was for the first book in this series, and I have enjoyed it through the highs and lows. It is still going on and though I am a bit behind I do look forward to reading every book!

3. Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys - Does anyone else remember when I asked for recommendations during the Great Reading Slump of 2014? I took every recommendation from people and called it The Slumplist. And I just started reading. This was my favorite of the books I read based on your recommendations. I also did A View from Page Thirty review for this book - my impressions after just reading the beginning of the book. This was such a great read and find!

Jana's Picks

I'm fighting a nasty virus right now, so I'm going to link you to my reviews (if available) so you can see why I love these books so much! 

4. Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard really changed my life. (My review)

5. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne is the perfect office hate to love romance. So funny and swoony.

6. Till Death by Jennifer Armentrout is my absolute favorite romantic suspense. (My review)

7. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins was my very first YA contemporary love.

8. On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves is phenomenal. Period. (My review)

9. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas might be my favorite book ever.

10. Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae is adorable and Italy and such a comfort read. (My review)

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Ten Books We Struggled to Get Through (Or Didn't Get Through at All!)

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This week we're talking about the books we struggled with in some way. 

Jana's Picks

1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling - *dodges tomatoes* Wait! Listen! I tried so hard to read this as a kid the year it came out (I was 11 then) and I found it in my school's Scholastic book fair. The second book hadn't even been released yet, I had heard nothing about it, and I just thought the cover was cool. So I tried to read it, made it a few pages, and donated it to a local charity. Fast forward about 18 years. It was an assigned reading in my YA lit class during grad school, so I had to go re-buy it for way more than I paid at that book fair... and I LOVED it. So magical and sweet! So, a happy ending.

2. The Crown's Fate by Evelyn Skye - I loved The Crown's Game, so this breaks my heart more than it does anyone else's. It was almost a DNF for me. The story went in the worst possible direction, and the magic was gone for me. :(

3. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak - Don't get me wrong. I loved this book. But it took me two years to read it because I didn't want to get too attached and cry too much. Basically, I was Joey and put the book in the freezer. A lot. And for your viewing pleasure... 

Jamie's Picks

4. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender: SOO I tried to listen to this via audio on my commute and I just could not get into it AT ALL. I really struggled to stay engaged with it which normally I am really into audios on my commute to make me forget how horrible it is. Should I try this again with a physical book?? 

5.  Preacher by Garth Ennis: I had heard good things about this comic series and then I heard that AMC was making it a tv show so I tried to pick it up...once in 2015 and then again right before the show was premiering and I could NOT get into it. SAD. I still haven't watched the show yet. TOO MANY SHOWS TO WATCH.

Lauren's Picks
6. Feed by M.T. Anderson: I wanted to DNF this one so bad, but I just had to finish it. I am not a completist by any means, but I don't know... with this book, I just felt obligated. I was just plain bored. It had such a promising plot and I can't get enough of anything remotely dystopian, but this one just missed the mark for me. 

7. The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson: Unless you've read this book yourself, you're probably not going to believe me. BUT... damn it was awful. It was like a kid writing a horror book. I couldn't finish it. There's just no way. The writing was all over the place, there were was not a continuous flow of what was actually taking place in the house, and once again... I was bored. Oh well... there's plenty of other horror novels out there that are just waiting to scare the heck out of me!

8. Lucifer's Flood by Linda Rios Brook: This one only received one star from me, but it honestly might be my fault. I think I set my expectations way to high for this one. It could've been so much more, quite literally celestial, but it just fell flat.  

Julia's Picks

9.  A Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin: This book was painfully long to get through. After all of the excitement of Storm of Swords, then getting to a book where half of my favorite characters were not there? Brutal. It literally took me two years to read this book.

10. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett: I saw this book on so many lists when I was big into reading and doing challenges. It had a solid summary, but for some reason when I started reading I just couldn't connect. Like at all. I had to just give up and stop. 

Which books have you really struggled to get through or completely given up on?


Friday, September 1, 2017

August Faves and September TBR

Ahhhh...the end of the month.  It's the perfect stop to stop and reflect on our favorite reads and our hottest upcoming TBR.... :)

August Faves

Lauren says:  All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood - This is definitely a controversial book that I can see many people having different opinions on. My opinion is simple... this was very well written and I legit read in one sitting. While I don't in anyway condone situations that occurred in the book, it was completely engrossing and heartbreaking.

Lori says:  Run River by Joan Didion - I practically inhaled this novel!  It was Didion's first novel.  The subject matter (cheating spouse) kind of hit a nerve with me (I just don't like reading about infidelity), but I read the novel more for research on Didion and her craft and tried to shake off the infidelity.  She doesn't use many spare details or words.  Her style is very precise, which makes it very deeply felt.

September TBR

Lauren says:  The Wonder by Emma Donoghue - I picked this book up to get back to my historical fiction roots. I've neglected that genre for too long. If anyone can help me leap back in, it's mystery historical fiction book by Emma Donoghue.

Lori says:  A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving - Every now and then I get this itch to read a John Irving novel.  It's usually in the fall.  I don't know why I always associate his stuff with the cooler months, but I do.  Whatever.  I've been meaning to read this one for a while and am going for it.  Bonus Pick:  It by Stephen King - I want to read it before the movie comes out.  I actually snuck this into a textbook order, so please don't tell my mom...

What did you love in August?  What are you looking forward to in September?

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Cocktail and Conversation

It's time for another Cocktail and Conversation with the Broke and Bookish ladies!

This week we're talking about fall:

What are you most looking forward to as we head into fall?

Bridget says:  I am sooo looking forward to opening the windows, lighting candles (Yankee Candle Kitchen Spice or bust), wearing boots and sweaters and jeggings, offices being a reasonable temperature instead of feeling like a refrigerator, the leaves changing, finally having an excuse to wear tights with my dresses, less humidity aka less frizziness...I could go on!!

Jana says:  I love the cool, crisp weather that makes sweaters so cozy! Pumpkin bread from my favorite local bakery. Drives up the canyon to see the leaves change colors. I love the atmosphere of the excitement surrounding Halloween and the spooky novels I read around that time. And I loooove Thanksgiving! 

Lauren says:  I'm looking forward to the weather cooling down and not freaking out every other day. I'm ready to sit on the swing outside to read without sweating to death. Oh yeah... and new book releases of course. :)

Lori says:  I can't narrow it down!  I've started missing my boots and scarves.  I will always be a summer girl, but I do love those clothes.  College football, for sure.  I love waking up on a Saturday and knowing my entire day is already full of the games.  It doesn't even matter who is playing--it's just fun to watch.  Lastly, the endless supply of chili that goes with the endless supply of college football.  I have an awesome recipe.

What are you looking forward to with fall?

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Top Ten Hidden Gems in Historical Fiction

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This week we're talking about hidden gems in the genre of your choice. We here at TBTB decided to talk about historical fiction! We can't wait to see which genres you picked. Let us know if you have any historical fiction recs you think we'd enjoy based on our picks this week!

Jamie's Picks

1. Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys: Ruta's other two books get a lot more attention and I feel like this one is way underrated! The setting (New Orleans) is amazing and vivid and I loved the characters! 

2. Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee: This book came out last year and I don't know why it wasn't more popular! It was a great story and a great setting. 
3. Brazen by Katherine Longshore: This one was quite the addictive romp through King Henry VIII’s court! It's part of a series of companion novels and it's great and super underrated!
4. I Shall Be Near to You by Erin McCabe: The other picks I gave are all YA books but if you are looking for an underrated adult historical fiction, I recommend this book set during the Civil War featuring a woman who disguises herself as a man in order to be with her husband and fight in the war. 

Kimberly's Picks

I second I Shall Be Near To You! That book is beautiful. 

5. River Of Time Series by Lisa T. Bergen: Okay so this isn't strictly HF. It's time travel. But oh this story! Every book in the series is incredible. The setting is amazing, the romance is sweet and believable, and the character growth is PHENOMENAL. 

6. Red River Series by Chie Shinohara: Okay. Normally I don't recommend manga here, because it's not for everyone. But this is one heck of a story. There was obviously a great deal of research put into the writing. This is one of those reads where I feel like I'm learning something, and I'm constantly googling for even more information. It also has wonderful characters (with amazing character growth as well) an engrossing romance (watch out for tropes, there are many, but you'll love it despite / because of them). 

Lauren's Picks

7. Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick: This is a very realistic historical fiction book recounting a boy's survival through Cambodian genocide and Khmer Rouge. Fair warning... there will be ugly crying. 

8. The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent: I felt like I was a true insider when reading this gem. It depicts the life of the daughter of one of the first women accused and hanged during the Salem Witch Trials.

9. The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran: This is my go to author for all things historical fiction relating to Ancient Egypt. 

10. The Wet Nurse's Tale by Erica Eisdorfer: Y'all know how much I love Margaret Atwood... and The Handmaid's Tale is one of my favorite books. This book is very similar and pretty heartbreaking. I read this over five years ago and it still sits on my Goodreads favorites shelf. 

Jana's Pick

11. The Caged Graves by Dianne K. Salerni: This is gothic YA at its finest, in my opinion. I love the setting and the atmospheric writing. The story, which takes place in 1867,  surrounds the mystery of a real pair of caged graves in present-day Catawissa, Pennsylvania. 

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