Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Top Ten Books on Daisy's TBR List for Winter

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

I had SO much fun making this list for fall that I immediately claimed the winter edition as well :)
Because I am already pining for some debuts and sequels and such, I am going to spotlight 10 books that have a release date between December 22nd and March 21st. Feel free to just list the books you intend to read during winter!

1. Hallowed by Cynthia Hand: Well OBVIOUSLY this one would be on the list! I LOVED Unearthly and have pre-ordered this one, I'm avoiding reviews until I've read it myself, but TEAM TUCKER!

2. Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi: 2012 debut author, I have heard many, many good things about this book and have also pre-ordered this one :) And it especially makes me happy to hear one blogger describe it as a 'dystopian meets high fantasy' because I LOVE dystopians AND fantasy!

3. Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver: I am betting this one will be on a lot of lists doing new releases ;) I thought Delirium was amazing and that ending killed me! So yes, I am insanely jealous of those lucky bloggers who got an ARC! I am so reading this one the second it gets out!

4. Fever by Lauren DeStefano: another one probably featured on more lists than just mine ;) I absolutely loved Wither and this have another jealous moment, the same as for Pandemonium. If you haven't read Wither, you should! It's amazing!

5. Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale: me and Jana are fans of Austenland, she reviewed it on this blog, so when I saw this one coming out I KNEW I had to read it! Fans of Jane Austen and P&P: Austenland was such a cute read and I'm betting this one will be as well!

6. Everneath by Brodi Ashton: another 2012 debut author! This book sounds insanely amazing and I can't wait to read it! Oh, and I have some serious cover love for this one!

7. Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen: this one sounds fabulous as well, with Scarlet (I'm thinking Will Scarlet in the original story) actually being a girl instead of a boy! I LOVE the tale of Robin Hood, so I think this will be just the book for me.

8. New Girl by Paige Harbison: a YA retelling of Rebecca, you better believe I'm gonna be reading this!!

9. Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood: I love witches! This book sounds like all kinds of awesome! It's described as A Great and Terrible Beauty meets Cassandra Clare, and while I haven't read any of Ms. Clare's books (I know, I suck), I loved the Gemma Doyle books, so I think this will be good :)

10. Incarnate by Jodi Meadows: you could read this book for the fabulous cover alone. Seriously, it's so pretty! Another 2012 debut author :)

10+1. Tempest by Julie Cross: Yes, I cheat, it's what I do ;) (but really, I will be reading a lot more than just 10 books, so I'm allowed) Time travel is hard to do well and I'm looking forward to see Ms. Cross' take on it! And can you say cover love? ;)

So, that's my list, there are a lot of 2012 debut authors on them and some sequels and such. Let me know if I missed any! And leave your link below so I can check yours out!

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Science of Single by Rachel Machacek

Title/Author:The Science of Single: One Woman's Grand Experiment in Modern Dating, Creating Chemistry, and Finding Love by Rachel Machacek
Publisher/Year Published: January 2011 by Riverhead Trade
How I got this book: I picked it up off at Borders' going out of business liquidation
Why I read this book: The cover grabbed my eye.
Rating: 3 stars

I was taking my last walk through a Borders two days before it closed, basket full of romance novels that were a dollar each, when I stumbled across this book in what used to be the biographies section. This is not biography, but the periodic table cover made me pick it up. There were quite a few left, but after some quick math in my head I decided that even if it was horrid, I may be able to pick up some tips could at least say I read it.

In the Science of Single, Rachel, our author, decides to make an experiment out of dating in the modern era. She takes different types, like online dating, blind dating, dating services etc. and dives into them headfirst while writing about her experiences. Most of her lucky suitors know nothing of the experiment.

Rachel goes into the pros and cons of each but not in an out and out list. You can tell the pros and cons through her experiences, of which she writes in detail. She gives the guys cute little nicknames based on something about them. I quite enjoyed that, and then seeing them pop up later.

To say one thing about the Science of Single, it does not lack entertainment. The way Rachel writes is very fluid and clear. It was easy to fall into each section and be absorbed by her journey. I would easily take a section and read it before bed time. The part that didn't quite capture me was Rachel. This bothers me to say, because she is a real person and it was sort of a memoir, but I just couldn't connect with her. We are very different people in the way we approach (or subconsciously avoid in my case) dating. The point being there were times where I just wrinkled my nose. Most of this was early on though, and what redeemed this for me was the fact that in the end she grows. And that is what I like to see, even in a story about dating, growth.

So did I pick up any tips? A little There are a lot of options out there and each one may suit one of us more. Her foray into online dating made me want to give it a try. It was an interesting read, entertaining and well written. It was definitely not a waste of time, just a little hard to connect to at times.

In summary, I would recommend it for the people who want to be entertained by one woman's attempt to decode the modern dating scene.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Announcing the Winner of Nightshade!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! We at The Broke and the Bookish hope you all have a lovely day with family and lots of yummy food. :) I received notification from the publicist who won the personalized copy of Nightshade! 

And the winner is...
Jessie Marie Boehret

Congratulations! Jessie, let me know when you see this, and I will figure out how you are supposed to claim your prize. My e-mail address is on the About page, at the end of the little blurb for Jana. :) 

Thanks to all who entered. :)

Jessi Reviews Love the One You're With

Title/Author: Love the One You're With by Emily Giffin
Publisher/Year: St. Martin's Press, 2008
Where I got it: Picked it up at a used bookstore
Why I read it: I'm a big fan of Emily Giffin, and this was one I hadn't read

Synopsis: The New York Times bestselling author of Something Borrowed, Something Blue, and Baby Proof delivers another captivating novel about women and the choices that define them. This is the story for anyone who has ever wondered: How can I truly love the one I'm with when I can't forget the one who got away? 

Ellen and Andy's first year of marriage doesn't just seem perfect, it is perfect. There is no question how deep their devotion is, and how naturally they bring out the best in each other. But one fateful afternoon, Ellen runs into Leo for the first time in eight years. Leo, the one who brought out the worst in her. Leo, the one who left her heartbroken with no explanation. Leo, the one she could never quite forget. When his reappearance ignites long-dormant emotions, Ellen begins to question whether the life she's living is the one she's meant to live. 

Love the One You're With is a powerful story about one woman at the crossroads of true love and real life. 

Review: I don't know about the rest of you, but as for me, I love a good chick lit every now and then. And oh guuurrrl, does Emily Giffin write good chick lit. 

Her books are smart, first and foremost. Many people disregard chick lit as pure fluff, but I think Emily Giffin definitely breaks that mold. Whether it's a girl in love with her best friend's fiance (Something Borrowed) or a married woman given the chance between her fairy tale husband and the "one who got away," Emily Giffin tackles very interesting moral dilemmas. I swear, every time I read a synopsis of one of her books, I sit back and think, "Oh, that's easy--she should do this." But, just like life itself, Emily Giffin shows the answer is not always as easy as one may think. 

Another thing I adore about Emily Giffin is her writing style in general. Her books are so readable. I found myself reading huge chunks of this book at a time. And she writes dialog and people so well. Conversations between characters were never stilted or awkward. People spoke and acted like people actually speak and act. 

I felt so much towards each of the characters while reading, too, which is always a plus. I felt like these people were actually a part of my life. Even though I couldn't relate to everyone, I was able to at least understood them. I found Ellen's story the easiest to relate to, surprisingly, because I thought I would have the hardest time with her. 

As for the plot itself, it was definitely believable, never hokey. At one point towards the end (as I was flying through pages), I felt myself anxiously thinking, "No, no, no! Say it isn't so, Emily!" But never fear--this story ended how I felt it should, while keeping me guessing up until the end. Absolutely incredible. 

For those people who actively dismiss chick lit, or for those looking to try it out, I want to push Emily Giffin's boks into their hands and urge them to give them a try. In my personal opinion, she's one of the best chick lit authors out there. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Daisy's Review of Remembrance by Michelle Madow

Title/Author: Remembrance (Transcend Time Saga #1) by Michelle Madow
Publisher/Date published: Dreamscape Publishing, July 27th 2011
How I got this book: received it from the author for review

Goodreads summary: "New Hampshire high school junior Lizzie Davenport has been reincarnated from Regency Era, England... but she doesn't know it yet.
Then Drew Carmichael transfers into Lizzie's school at the beginning of the year, and she feels a connection to him, almost like she knows him. She can't stop thinking about him, but whenever she tries talking with him about the mysteries behind her feelings, he makes it clear that he wants nothing to do with her. Reaching him is even more difficult because she has a boyfriend, Jeremy, who has started to become full of himself after being elected co-captain of the varsity soccer team, and her flirtatious best friend Chelsea starts dating Drew soon after his arrival. So why can't she seem to get him out of her mind?
Even though Lizzie knows she should let go of her fascination with Drew, the pair of them soon find that fighting fate isn't going to be easy."

Okay, so I struggled a bit with this book. I really liked the whole idea of reincarnation and their love transcending time, but there were some things that bothered me.

I know that Lizzie was supposed to be meant for Drew and not Jeremy, but for all that she's been with him for a couple of years, they don't seem to really suit each other and the way they interacted I couldn't even picture them as friends.

Then there was the thing with Lizzie and Drew, and I'm sorry to say I didn't really get why Lizzie was so attracted to him. I mean, I know that with the reincarnation their feelings are somehow kept intact, but he was NOT nice to her! Really! And his reasoning of dating her best friend? Not cool. Seriously. I thought they both made some bad decisions and I blame Drew for this more than Lizzie, since he seemed to know a whole lot more about their past lives! I thought Lizzie was really naive when she thought Chelsea wouldn't have a problem with her and Drew. I mean, really?

I did really like the similarity of their situation now and how it all happened in their past lives and I thought the whole thing of their love transcending time was fascinating, I just wished the book had been a bit longer, so the storyline and characters could have been a bit more developed.

By all the things mentioned above, I don't want to give you the wrong impression: I DID like this book, it was a very enjoyable read, just not without flaws. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series and finding out how this story continues. Which should be fun, since it's from Chelsea's POV and is called Vengeance... Someone's angry!! Should be good :)
Oh, and one thing I forgot to mention: this story was inspired by the song Love Story by Taylor Swift! I really like that song and this is a sweet story that goes with it really well.

My rating: 3 stars

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Top Ten Authors I Want At My Thanksgiving Dinner

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

For future Top Ten Tuesday topics through January, can be found right here!

This week we're celebrating Turkey Day, Bookish style. Here are my (Tahleen's) top ten authors I would want to be at my table on Thanksgiving.

1. Bill Bryson. Duh. Number one, always. If you all know anything about me, you know that I want this man to be a member of my family/my best friend. I'm sure we would spend Thanksgiving listening to hilarious stories of Thanksgivings past, and learn a lot about the history of the holiday too, told in an entertaining manner of course.

2. Maureen Johnson. Another fun house guest I'd love to host. Things would not be boring, and my life would be richer for it.

3. John Green. If the Nerdfighter videos and his books are anything to go by, John Green would make another fun guest. Plus, he's already friends with Maureen Johnson, so they would know someone! :)

4. Libba Bray. Another one I've met in real life, and another lovely person who is also funny and a good conversationalist. Also, friends with John Green and Maureen Johnson. The banter would be never-ending and awesome. BTW, Libba, I would tell you if you had something in your teeth. ;)

5. Madeleine L'Engle. If she were still alive, I'd be honored to host her in my home. She and her books have made a huge impact on my life.

6. Jane Austen. Since I'm including authors who've passed on, what the hell. I love her books and she seemed like she'd be a real kick to have around, if her biographies are telling the truth. (I'm sensing a theme here—I like fun people.)

7. Sherman Alexie. I love his books, especially The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, and he seems like a really nice guy from what I've read of his personal writing and Twitter. (Have I mentioned how much I love Twitter? I love Twitter.)

8. Laurie Halse Anderson. I've actually met her before and can attest to her awesomeness first hand. She is a wonderful lady and I would love to have her at my table. Plus her books are pretty fantastic.

9. Veronica Roth. She is just so adorable.

10. Rebecca Rasmussen. Such a sweetheart. She always has the nicest things to say and would bring warmth to any gathering she attends.

It's too bad that my authors either are dead or have families of their own to spend Thanksgiving with. I hope you all have a lovely holiday with your family and friends! Enjoy the time around the table and with your loved ones.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Natanya Reviews Candide, ou l'Optimisme

Title/Author: Candide, ou l'Optimisme by Voltaire
Year Published: 1759
Where I got it: Library
Why I read it: For my French class

From Amazon (slightly modified):
Penned by that Renaissance man of the Enlightenment, Voltaire, Candide is steeped in the political and philosophical controversies of the 1750s. But for the general reader, the novel's driving principle is clear enough: the idea (endemic in Voltaire's day) that we live in the best of all possible worlds, and apparent folly, misery and strife are actually harbingers of a greater good we cannot perceive, is hogwash.

Telling the tale of the good-natured but star-crossed Candide as he travels the world struggling to be reunited with his love, Lady Cunegonde, the novel smashes such ill-conceived optimism to splinters. Candide's tutor, Dr. Pangloss, is steadfast in his philosophical good cheer, in the face of more and more fantastic misfortune; Candide's other companions always supply good sense in the nick of time. Still, as he demolishes optimism, Voltaire pays tribute to human resilience, and in doing so gives the book a pleasant indomitability common to farce.

I haven’t read many reviewable books this semester. Educational? Sure. I-want-to-shred-this-up-and-throw-it-in-the-gorges difficult? Certainly. But reviewable? Not so much. This is due to the combination of early modern French literature and literary theory classes that have taken over most of my reading time this semester. While I’m sure the last thing you want to read in your free time is a summary (which I don’t even think I could write) of Derrida’s arguments in Of Grammatology, a few of my French lit books have been pretty good, among them Candide.

Candide is, certainly, filled with politics and philosophy, but don’t let that scare you away. It is quick-paced, funny, and often completely absurd, and I thoroughly enjoyed it—and actually read it in entirety, which says a lot given my poor track record this semester with my class readings. Most of what happens in the novel is completely illogical, but that’s the point, and it didn’t seem forced. Voltaire parodies practically everything, and while most people now (including myself) may not be familiar with the particulars, for some reason that didn’t seem to make much of a difference. I would say, however, that you should make sure to get an edition of the novel that has a good set of notes in the back that explain some of the background information; while I usually don’t read the notes in the backs of my school books, in this case reading them really did improve my understanding of and interest in the novel.

I loved the numerous different settings in the novel—unlike all of the 17th century theatrical tragedies that I’ve spent my semester reading, Voltaire was not afraid to have his characters jump from place to place (even when these places were not located on the characters’ route), and this kept me from getting bored and allowed Voltaire to convey and satirize many different cultures. I enjoyed watching Candide react to the different people he met and pick up people along his way, like Martin the pessimistic philosopher. Perhaps one of the most illogical aspects of the novel was the extent to which Candide found people from his past all over the world—Voltaire seemed to really want to make sure that Candide could both travel the world and still interact with the same characters, which was a bit bizarre, particularly when this involved supposedly dead people being found alive.

So if you’re looking for logic, look elsewhere, but if you’re looking for a highly sarcastic, humorous, and quick adventure, I’d definitely encourage you to check out this 18th century satire.

4 stars

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Kelly's Review of "The Autobiography of Henry VIII"

TitleThe Autobiography of Henry VIII: With Notes by His Fool, Will Somers
Author: Margaret George
Published: St. Martin's Griffin, 1986

*Please excuse me while I become a MAJOR nerd in this review*

I've read countless books about Tudor England, the majority focused on Henry VIII's wives. I've heard the same stories dozens of times, but they never, ever get old. In these countless books, Henry is almost always portrayed as a tyrannical, mad, lusty old fat guy. He is written to be evil and disliked, the antagonist of his own realm. In this book, Margaret George took on one of the biggest challenges ever: to write the life story of this infamous king - all from his point of view, actually giving him a chance to defend himself. My first impression was suspicion and doubt that that could ever be done, but boy, did she pull it off.

The book is written in memoir form. The actual diary is being sent from Henry's fool, Will Somers, to his illegitimate daughter, Catherine Knollys (the niece of Anne Boleyn). Will Somers throws in some quirky little thoughts now and then, which is quite enjoyable. Henry's memoir starts from his early childhood as the overlooked second son of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, and runs all the way to shortly before his death, when he is the ailing King of England and on his sixth wife.

My favorite aspect of this book was how it changed my view of Henry. Margaret George's Henry VIII is not obsessed with women or heirs, like we've seen before; this Henry is mostly focused on his struggles with religion. We find logical reasons for why Henry did some of the tyrannical things he did (though they may just be speculations). I actually sympathized with this man in some parts.

You might think that in order to read a detailed memoir of a famous king who ruled for many years you would need to previously know a lot about him or this time period. Well, you don't. His family history, wars, famous people of the day and customs are all explained to you by Henry (Why? I don't know.) As usual with a Margaret George book, The Autobiography of Henry VIII is HUGE! It may be 900-plus pages, but don't be daunted! The reading actually passed very quickly for me, as I was enjoying it so much. I wish I could give it more, but 5 stars will have to be sufficient for now!

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Book of Lies by Mary Horlock

Book: The Book of Lies by Mary Horlock
Published: July 19, 2011/ HarperCollins
Where I got it: received for review from NetGalley
Why I read this: I thought it sounded like a nice change of pace from what I've been reading. Plus I really like the cover.
My rating: 3 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): Life on the tiny island of Guernsey has just become a whole lot harder for fifteen-year-old Cat Rozier. She’s gone from model pupil to murderer, but she swears it’s not her fault. Apparently it’s all the fault of history.
A new arrival at Cat’s high school in 1984, the beautiful and instantly popular Nicolette inexplicably takes Cat under her wing. The two become inseparable—going to parties together, checking out boys, and drinking whatever liquor they can shoplift. But a perceived betrayal sends them spinning apart, and Nic responds with cruel, over-the-top retribution.
Cat’s recently deceased father, Emile, dedicated his adult life to uncovering the truth about the Nazi occupation of Guernsey—from Churchill’s abandonment of the island to the stories of those who resisted—in hopes of repairing the reputation of his older brother, Charlie. Through Emile’s letters and Charlie’s words—recorded on tapes before his own death— a “confession” takes shape, revealing the secrets deeply woven into the fabric of the island . . . and into the Rozier family story.

My thoughts: The Book of Lies revolves around the Rozier family, past and present. The book begins with a confession from fifteen year old Cat that she has killed her "friend" Nicolette. The rest of the book explains the complicated relationship and events that led up to the accidental murder. We also learn about Cat's uncle, as told by her father on old tapes. He was held as a prisoner by the Nazi's during their occupation in Guernsey in WWII. Historical fiction based in WWII has always fascinated me but that part of the story actually fell flat for me in this case. I was more interested in Cat's slow reveal of how she became an accidental murderer.

Cat was kind of an annoying teenager but I found it very easy to read the sections she narrated. It was like she was telling her story directly to me. I also was never quite sure if the murder was actually an accident because of how often she seemed like she was okay with it. I don't really blame her since Nicolette was so awful to her but there were times where I thought Cat could have done with some medication to combat the crazy vibes wafting off her.

This was a difficult review to write, partly because I've just been in a blogging slump and partly because I felt like there wasn't too much that actually happened other than Cat's story behind her confession and that murder might run in the family. The Book of Lies was an interesting read with enough mystery to keep my attention but I wasn't wowed by the suspense level.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Julia’s Auto-Buy Romance Authors

The good thing about The Broke and the Bookish is that we have a wide variety of reviewers each with a wide array of reading tastes. Hopefully we show that through our reviews. The Top Ten Tuesday lists, though, we try to make broad enough so that people of any taste can take part and put their own spin on it. That’s why you never see “Top Non-Fiction Books” because not everyone reads that and can come up with 10.

That brings me to my point. I read romance, specifically historical romance. It is my go to genre when I am feeling, well anything. Since we are never going to have a top ten list featuring this, I thought I may list for you some of my favorites.

I decided to list my auto-buy authors and my favorite books by them instead of just the books. Choosing a favorite book from these authors was just not going to cut it.

Julia’s Auto-Buy Romance Authors

1. Eloisa James
I love reading her novels because you can tell how much she actually knos when reading them. Ms. James is actually a Shakespeare scholar in her day job so she has no aversion to getting down and dirty in history. The things that she slips in there seem so genuine. I also love that you can tell how much time and research she puts into something even just for the little things.
Books I Love: When Beauty Tamed the Beast, A Duke of her Own, The Taming of the Duke

2. Laura Lee Guhrke
Ms. Guhrke sets her books during the Victorian era. After bingeing on all the Regency romance there is out there, it is fun to read one of her books and see the heroine jump on a train or ride a motor car. Her characters usually have a uniqueness too them that make them stand apart from the countless that I have read.
Books I Love: Scandal of the Year, And Then He Kissed Her, Secret Desires of a Gentleman

3. Elizabeth Hoyt
Ms. Hoyt blows me away with her series. I gobble each new one up like a Thanksgiving turkey. So far I have completed two of the series and each was just brilliant. She always throws in something super sultry, too, but never in a way that is forcing it. She, too, has some unique time periods, but mostly 1700 England which again is something that I don't see too much of.
Books I Love: Notorious Pleasures, To Taste Temptation, The Serpent Prince

4. Julia Quinn
Her books are hilarious. They always make me burst out laughing in inappropriate places. Ms. Quinn’s characters are very timeless and stick with you. Though her most famous series is one of 8 children and spouses, I can remember each and their personality quite distinctly, like they were family.
Books I Love: On the Way to the Wedding, The Duke and I, What Happens in London

5. Teresa Medieros
Ms. Medieros runs the gamut on what she writes within romance. I’ve read vampire, Scottish highlands, fairy tales, time travels..so many different sub-genres of romance covered. Knowing that I love her writing, this broadens what I read in romance. I think it is how I got on a vampire kick.
Books I Love: The Vampire Who Loved Me, Yours Until Dawn, Shadows and Lace

Because of the recent Borders closings I stocked up on some new (super cheap) romances so maybe next year at this time I will have more to add to this list. There is one, Jennifer Ashley, who is quickly turning into an auto-buy, so we will see what happens.

So I am curious. Who are your favorite auto-buy romance authors? In fact, who in general are your auto-buy authors?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Top Ten Unread Books on Jana's Bookshelf

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

For future Top Ten Tuesday topics through January, can be found right here!

Hi all, Jana here! Again. Are you getting tired of me yet? I've posted three times in a row now! I just love you guys. 

If only I had more hours in the day. If only I had more money in my bank account. If only my only responsibility was to read books. Those three little things would make my to-read list much less ominous and overwhelming. Do you ever sit in front of your collection of books and want to read so many of them all at once that you just give up and do something else? I do. Or… I’ll look at all my books and decide I’m not feeling any of them, and hop on Amazon to buy something new! The following is a list of books I’ve been wanting to read for so long, but other books (or life) has continually gotten in the way.

1. Juliet by Anne Fortier – A great friend of mine on Goodreads posted her love of this book over a year ago. I’d had my eye on it for a while, but it was really expensive so I decided to wait for a few months until I found it cheaper. She loved it so much that she sent it to me! I was ecstatic! Why have I not read it yet? This is the story of modern-day ancestors of Romeo and Juliet, who believe they are victims of a curse that has plagued the families for 600 years, ever since Romeo and Juliet were not allowed to be together. Conspiracy… romance… Romeo and Juliet. I should have read this forever ago.

2. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell – Two words. Richard Armitage. I’ve been wanting to read this ever since I saw BBC’s mini-series. I’ve heard the book is just as amazing as the show. I wonder if Elizabeth’s Thornton will live up to sexy Richard.

3. Heat Wave by Richard Castle – I absolutely LOVE the TV show Castle. It’s one of my favorites, and I own all of the seasons so far. The main guy in the show, Richard Castle, is a writer who assists the NYPD with their cases so he can gather information for his latest crime fighter book series. This book was written by someone the studio hired to write under the pen name of Richard Castle. Every season, a new book is released. I love that the books he spends the different seasons writing can be purchased! It makes the show seem more real to me. I can only assume this is as wonderful as the show, and book 3 was just released! I have to get moving on this!

4. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – Ok, shoot me. I know, I know. I claim that Austenland is one of my favorite books, yet I have never read the INSPIRATION for it. I even bought the sexy Barnes and Noble leatherbound classic! I feel like I have sinned for not reading this yet.

5. Beauty by Robin McKinley – Magical. I love Beauty and the Beast retellings, and I feel bad that I read Alex Flinn’s (Beastly) first. This has been collecting dust on my shelf for years, and I don’t know why.

6. Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier – Gah. Not only does this book sound amazing, and have a reputation of being pure awesomeness, but it’s a historical romance/mystery! MY FAVORITE.

7. Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder – Ok, I read Poison Study forever ago and I swear I have forgotten the entire thing. I don’t even know the main girl’s name now. I should have read this sooner, because now I’m going to be really confused. This might never get read.

8. The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig – I’ve been hearing great things about this series for years now. Again, historical romance/mystery. MY FAVORITE!

9. Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares – Christmas and New York are my two favorite things. If you put them together, I’m basking in celestial glory. Why have I NOT read this romance that takes place in NYC at Christmastime? Ugh!

10. The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux – Other than the Beach Boys, this story provided some of the most beloved music of my childhood. I remember dancing to this in my living room as a wee thing. Why have I not read the book that inspired Andrew Lloyd Webber to be a genius and create one of the best soundtracks I’ve ever tuned my ears to? I love this show! 

So, what books are really desirable to you, yet you haven't picked them up yet? Do they intimidate you? Do you have too many other book-reading commitments that you have no time to read what you really, really want to read? Are they out of print, so you're attempting to find a used copy in some second-hand store? Link up your lists and share these awesome titles!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Jana reviews "Nightshade" (Poison Diaries #2) by Maryrose Wood + a Giveaway!

Title and Author: Nightshade (Poison Diaries #2), by Maryrose Wood and the Duchess of Northumberland.

Publishing Info: Harper Collins, October 25, 2011.

How I Got this Book: Harper US got together with a marketing team in the UK, who sent me books 1 and 2 so I could participate in their blog tour and help promote Nightshade around the time of its release in the USA.

Why I read this Book: The storyline sounded very interesting. I love plants!

Stars: 5

If you read my review of Illusions by Aprilynne Pike, you’ll remember me saying that it’s really hard to review a book that is not #1 in a series, especially if book #1 has not been reviewed on the blog already. I just don’t want to spoil things for anyone! So what I plan to do is post the blurb from the back cover of both books. If you have not read the first one and are interested in doing so, read this review at your own risk and I will do my best to not include any spoilers! 

Book #1 – Poison Diaries

In the right dose, everything is a poison. Even love . . . 

Jessamine Luxton has lived all her sixteen years in an isolated cottage near Alnwick Castle, with little company apart from the plants in her garden. Her father, Thomas, a feared and respected apothecary, has taught her much about the incredible powers of plants: that even the most innocent-looking weed can cure -- or kill. 

When Jessamine begins to fall in love with a mysterious boy [Weed] who claims to communicate with plants, she is drawn into the dangerous world of the poison garden in a way she never could have imagined . . . 

Ok, careful! The synopsis in book 2 spoils book 1. BEWARE.

Book #2 – Nightshade (Pictured at the top of the blog)
Our heroine, Jessamine, has lost her faith in the men she loved, and her innocence as well. She turns to the dark side and plots to kill her father, using his own poisons, before becoming an assassin, a poisoner for hire. Can she recover from her heartache and reunite with her true love, Weed? Find out in this thrilling story where poisons, darkness and horror are a part of everyday life, and love is the only cure.

The first thing I’d like to note is that these books were written with help from the Duchess of Northumberland! According to her Goodreads author profile, “Jane Percy, the current and 12th Duchess of Northumberland has long researched poison gardens. She is responsible for creating the Poison Garden at Alnwick Gardens, which is a complex of formal gardens adjacent to the 14th-century old Alnwick Castle in England. 

It opened in 2004 to worldwide acclaim. The Poison Garden is the culmination of her life's goal to teach children and adults alike the curative and lethal properties of poisonous plants. 

Alnwick Castle has been used as a setting in many films like Harry Potter (I,II, VI) and Robin Hood (2010).”

That’s so cool! I love that this work of fiction is instilled with some truth. It makes it more exciting—like this whole thing could really happen (more or less, haha).  I’d never thought of plants having the power to kill you. I mean, I know they can heal. I use a lot of essential oils and take a lot of herbs to stay healthy. But to think that the right combination of plants could kill you in a matter of seconds??? Ahhh! This could happen!

Wanna hear something crazy? Nightshade was better than The Poison Diaries! The sequel is usually never better than the first book, but this series seems to be getting better and better as it goes on. I loved the writing style. It was so descriptive and lovely. When Weed arrived, Jessamine was pretty excited to have someone around. Here’s a quote I really liked, “He may not answer me at first, but that is no matter. I have someone to talk to, at last! My words will be like sunshine and air. My voice will rain down on him, and then we shall see what glorious orchid may blossom from this shy, unwanted Weed.” See? It’s just pretty. All the passages describing the locations, or the plants, or feelings, or emotions were just so well done. The first book did not start out incredibly fast-paced. There was hardly any dialogue for the first 50 pages or so. But I didn’t care. The author took her time setting up the feel of the series, and I really enjoyed the images she painted in my mind.

Nightshade was definitely packed with more action and suspense than The Poison Diaries, and parts of it were downright creepy. Jessamine gets involved with someone she shouldn’t, and the handle he has on her… the power he enlists upon her… it’s terrifying, and kept me turning pages long into the wee hours of the morning. I could not stop until I finished.

I enjoyed the characters of Weed and Jessamine. Weed was thoughtful, and made me think of nature in a completely different way. In this day and age, we’re so busy and everything is so loud, noisy, and industrial. Nature gets taken for granted and is very underappreciated. To Weed, though, plants are alive and have personalities. He has discussions with them (sometimes funny, sometimes ominous), he feels their emotions, and can always hear them singing or talking. He’s always aware of nature, to the point that it sometimes consumes his mind and he can’t think of or hear anything else. When I walk outside now, I almost find myself stop and listen for something I’ve never heard before. It’s definitely turned my walks to the car into a different experience.

Jessamine has gumption. She’s a little spitfire who won’t take any crap. Do not get on her bad side, or you will be extremely sorry. Her past is a tough one, and her future doesn’t look much brighter. Weed is the light in her otherwise dark and dismal life. The bond they share is quite sweet. They both look at the world with the innocence of young children even though they’ve been through things that no child should ever have to go through. Because of this, their love is believable. They think in such simple, clear thoughts without being overly dramatic. They go on long walks, and then lie in the grass and look at the clouds. Don’t they sound like little kids enjoying their lazy summer? They are just two people who complete each other so easily and seamlessly that their whirlwind feelings don’t come as a surprise. It feels natural.

Nightshade introduces us to some new characters that are not in The Poison Diaries, but I don’t want to get in to why for fear of spoiling something. All I will say is that it’s interesting to read how they both act and change around different influences and people. They are both very sheltered in Poison Diaries, but in Nightshade they are forced to branch out of their usual comfort zones. Because of their prior isolation, they are pretty impressionable, and these new experiences quickly change them.  The character development from the beginning of book 1 to the end of book 2 leaves you feeling like they’ve both aged and matured so much, even though it's not even a year later. I loved reading about it.

Overall, I really enjoyed both books and am so grateful to Harper Collins for sending me both of them to read in exchange for this one, honest review.  I like strong characters who fight for themselves and don’t crumble under pressure. I like detailed descriptions that enrich a story rather than weigh it down under a bunch of needless purple prose. I like a plot that keeps me guessing, which Nightshade definitely did. There were so many twists and turns, and OH, what a painful cliffhanger ending! I hate cliffhangers, but love them at the same time. I love it when a book leaves me so intrigued that I still wonder months later what’s going to happen next. I know I’m not going to forget this anytime soon. It’s kind of like when you go on a date with someone you know likes you, but plays it so cool that you end up questioning things. I hope book #3 comes quickly! I was spoiled with being able to read the first two books back to back, and am not too keen on the idea of having to be patient and wait for the next one!  

Ok, so… want to win a free personalized copy of book #2, Nightshade? Here’s how you do it! You can enter the following three ways:

1. Twitter – Send an @ reply to @poisondiaries mentioning the contest, and winning a signed copy of the book. Make sure you specify that The Broke and the Bookish sent you.
2. Facebook – Like the Poison Diaries Page and tell them you'd like to win a signed copy of Nightshade. Again, specify that The Broke and the Bookish sent you. 
3. Website – Head over to the Poison Diaries website and find the plant “Arum Maculstum” in the Poison Garden portion of the site. Add it to your Poison Diary and Tweet your findings again (like up above - @poisondiaries) mentioning The Broke and the Bookish.

Easy, right? Mentioning us doesn’t give us anything special, the company just wants to track where readers are coming from! You have one week to enter starting right now (which means the contest ends on Sunday, November 20th). Oh, and someone from TB&TB will win a copy. It might look like you’re competing with readers from a bunch of different blogs, but the company just wants to build a database of followers to contact about future books and events. Each blog will have a winner, and hopefully it will be you who wins TB&TB's copy! 

Anyway, happy reading, and good luck!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Jana Reviews "Me and Mr. Darcy" by Alexandra Potter

Title and Author: Me and Mr. Darcy, by Alexandra Potter

Publishing Info: June 12, 2007, by Ballantine Books

How I Got this Book: Birthday present.

Why I Read It: A dear friend of mine, who recommended Austenland to me, told me that if I loved Austenland, I'd love this one.

Stars: 3

Have you ever read a book that was cute and well written, but left you feeling “meh”? That’s kind of what happened to me with this book. Now, many of you know how much I loved Austenland, by Shannon Hale. It was actually my first review here at The Broke and the Bookish! You should go check it out, especially since the companion novel, Midnight in Austenland, is coming out in January! I’m so excited! Anyway, on to this book. I was looking for something along the same lines as Austenland. As per the recommendation of a friend, as well as a few Goodreads reviews, I figured I’d give it a shot!

“Dreams come true in this hilarious, feel-good fairy tale about life, love, and dating literature’s most eligible bachelor!

After a string of disastrous dates, Emily Albright decides she’s had it with modern-day love and would much rather curl up with Pride and Prejudice and spend her time with Mr. Darcy, the dashing, honorable, and passionate hero of Jane Austen’s classic. So when her best friend suggests a wild week of margaritas and men in Mexico with the girls, Emily abruptly flees to England on a guided tour of Jane Austen country instead. Far from inspiring romance, the company aboard the bus consists of a gaggle of little old ladies and one single man, Spike Hargreaves, a foul-tempered journalist writing an article on why the fictional Mr. Darcy has earned the title of Man Most Women Would Love to Date.

The last thing Emily expects to find on her excursion is a broodingly handsome man striding across a field, his damp shirt clinging to his chest. But that’s exactly what happens when she comes face-to-face with none other than Mr. Darcy himself. Suddenly, every woman’s fantasy becomes one woman’s reality. . . .”

Ok, so the writer of that back-of-the-book summary did an amazing job, and I really can’t come up with anything else to say about the plot.  It was a slow, basic, fluffy plot that was perfect for a leisurely day of summer reading. It was very easy to follow Emily and her gaggle of old lady friends through their little bouts of drama as they toured the English countryside.  Some of these women were cute and hilarious, and some of them bugged me. They formed a pretty strong bond with Emily in the short amount of time they had, though, so I got to really like them at about the same pace that Emily did. They were always concerned about her, and kind of took her under their wing as she discovered things about herself.

Mr. Darcy does make an appearance in the book a few times, but it was weird. I’m not sure if it was a cut in the fabric of time, Emily’s mindless daydreams, or visions from a higher power, but the two of them had innocent encounters throughout the course of the book. Nobody saw him but Emily, so she was viewed as being a bit crazy whenever she mentioned seeing him. Mr. Darcy bugged me. He was weird, and came off as selfish and cocky. I think that’s why this book left me feeling “meh”. I love Mr. Darcy, and I think the author of this book decided that people like Mr. Darcy too much. I don’t have skewed views about men because of Mr. Darcy, but I do appreciate him and enjoy thinking about finding someone similar (thank you, BBC).  I left this book not liking Mr. Darcy, and I was not happy about that.

The writing was done well, and the story idea was cute. I was just not extremely fond of the execution or the characterization. It’s taken me quite a few days to review this book, just because I’m not used to being so lost for words. I have reviewer’s block. Does this ever happen to anyone? Do any of you read a book that leaves you ready to be finished with it, and ready to move on to something else? Do you only review books you love or hate, and leave the “meh” books to be reviewed by someone else?

Book Tour: People Tell Me Things + giveaway

Title: People Tell Me Things
Author: David Finkle
Published: 4 October 2011

*This tour is hosted by TLC Book Tours*

Quite recently, I've been obsessively fascinated with New York City. It's gotten to the point that I've been watching the new live stream out of the Statue of Liberty and angsting about being able to go back one day. Needless to say, I jumped at the chance to read David Finkle's new book People Tell Me Things, short stories about people's daily adventures in New York.

Unfortunately, my excitement was soon lost. The stories are all told about 'the in crowd' people: artists, writers, musicians, etc - basically, everyone who is better, richer, and more interesting than you. The stories mainly consisted of what I call First World Problems: affairs, lovers, and cheating are abound! Not everything put our American society in a good light.

Each individual story is meant to have a different narrator, yet I didn't not realize this until much later. I thought the narrator was David Finkle himself in all ten stories. Sometimes the stories flowed oddly, and I thought a new chapter was just a continuation of the last chapter. I skimmed the last bits of the book, guilty as charged. I was also a bit disappointed that I wasn't completely immersed in Manhattan, as I thought I would be. Except for brief mentions of locations (Madison Square Garden, MoMA), this book could've taken place in any city!

Granted, Finkle does do a good job at examining the humanistic side of each scenario/story. The stories are not purely for humor, shock, or just to tell. Each person is almost viewed psychoanalytically. Other stories had interesting aspects, such as Rembrandt Paints Again - anything having to do with Rembrandt is okay with me!

So maybe this book didn't completely fly with me, but don't simply take my word for it! TLC Book Tours is gracious enough to offer up a copy of the book to one of you readers! Form your own opinions and enter to win here.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Julia's Top Ten Books I Read That Were Outside Of My Comfort Zone

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

For future Top Ten Tuesday topics through February, check them out here!

Good *insert time of day* everyone! Julia here. Now it is time for a foray into books that we read, for one reason or another, that were outside of our comfort zone in...

Top Ten Books I Read That Were Outside Of My Comfort Zone

Before I begin, I figure I should define my comfort zone, as they are going to be different for everyone. If I have a stack of books in front of me and am looking to snuggle up after a long day of work, I reach for romance. If not romance, I go historical fiction. I guess you can also throw in the odd non-fiction book about language in here, too. Oh, and I guess YA...

1. The Name of the Wind - Patrick Rothfuss
There is a reason I don't normally read Fantasy. I don't feel like I get that "I just completed a book" warm fuzzy, because they never wrap up nicely. Well, I was told to read this book over and over again. I finally did, and it was awesome.

2. Fatherland - Robert Harris
For high school Western Civ class, we had to read two fiction books about history. My teacher had a list, and this one was on it. School books are not usually something I read for "fun" This was my first foray into Alternate History as well. It was awesome.

3. The Golden Compass - Philip Pullman
This was recommended to me by a teacher that had recommended a horrid book to me previously. It sounded a little too fantasy for my taste, but after reading it, I realized it was awesome.

4. The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkein
Another fantasy novel. AND a classic at that. I think the "movie" got me through The Two Towers section, but Return of the King, awesome.

5. 12 Angry Men - Reginald Rose
I don't normally read plays, and thus I was not looking forward to this book (it was forced upon me). But it turned out to be really interesting and highly enjoyable. It also comes along with an awesome movie.

6. The Brothers Karamazov - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
I also read this for a class, but it was of my own choosing. I was going through a slight love affair with Russian romance novels... or romance novels set in Russia, and decided to actually try some Russian lit. Outside of approximately 30 pages of completely random that had nothing to do with the plot, it was awesome. :) (sick of that word yet? there is four more )

7. The Lords of Discipline - Pat Conroy
This is a military fiction book. I .. no not willingly. But it was forced upon me and it was pleasantly surprising. The story telling quality was especially awesome, especially tied in with the characterization.

8. Darkly Dreaming Dexter - Jeff Lindsay
I found this in the library WAY before the Showtime show. I don't normally read horror or mystery, and this was an awesome mix of both. Who can say that it is in the comfort zone for someone to read via that first person narrative of a serial killer?

9. Much Ado About Nothing - William Shakespeare
Hilarious! WS is not on my "Oh I must read that!" shelf. But this was such a fun read. Especially with the helpful guide of ol' timey words. This one also comes with an awesome movie with some surprise stars. I think this is the Shakespeare one should read if one finds Shakespeare too hard/cumbersome. At least out of the ones I read.

10. Tim Gunn: A Guide to Quality, Taste and Style - Tim Gunn
Yeah. I am not really a girly girl, but I love my Tim Gunn. So reading a book on style? Outside that comfort zone. This book was really good though. I am pretty sure there is a new one I need to read. Awesome tidbit? Every time that I walk up stairs in heels, I hear Tim Gunn's voice telling me to put the whole shoe on the stair and not hang off the heel. :)

BONUS: Book that I want to read that is out of my comfort zone: Paradise Lost

So what's yours?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Paula wonders how your 2011 reading goals are going

Alright everyone, as I write this it's the last day of October and I have something to admit. I've been avoiding my Goodreads lately. "Why?" you may ask. Because I knew I would sign in and see this:

AUGH! What how did this happen? I was 2 books ahead only a month ago... right? or maybe that was in July...All I know is that the farther I get behind the less motivation I have to catch up. Also all the books on my to-read shelf are either really long or serious literature or both (like Doctor Zhivago or The Historian) not too many quick reads that I can knock out and catch back up with. Also since I found a job (yay?) I have less time to read which makes this goal seem more daunting for the next 2 months.

For the most part I've completed my 2011 reading goals (there were about 10)
but these last 3 (Read 75 books, Read "Count of Monte Cristo", and Read a Charles Dickens book) are really intimidating. I hope I'll be able to knock them out. But all of a sudden 2012 looks really close....

So I thought I would just check in on you all and see how you all are fairing on your 2011 reading goals. I hope everyone is a lot closer to achieving them than I am. Let us know in the comments.

Sorry this post is so short, but I actually have free time today so my reading chair awaits me!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The 2nd Annual Broke and Bookish Secret Santa!

Hello everyone! We are planning a Secret Santa exchange again --broke and bookish style. We did it last year and it was a TON of fun and we got great feedback from everyone! We want this to be a low key and fun Secret Santa that doesn't put too much of a damper on your wallet.

Please only sign up if you are truly interested and are committed to sending off a package.

Some guidelines:

* Books can be new or used. Use your discretion as far as used books go but please be kind and don't send something you wouldn't want to receive. They should be in good condition. Please pick at least one other goody to put in the package.

*We would love to open this up internationally and will make an effort to pair up people from the same countries to keep costs down. However, if anyone would like to do an international exchange, you can fill out that box on the form. It was hard on some people who had to send internationally but using The Book Depository could be a good option.

*Sign-ups will be open until November 18th. You will be paired up and will receive your partner's info within that week.

* Myself and maybe another (very trusted!) member of The Broke and the Bookish will be the only ones with access to your info.

*Packages need to be sent out during the week of December 6th-10th. The earlier the better as the mail is always slow during the holiday season.

* If you can do delivery confirmation on your package, that would be greatly appreciated to make sure that the package was sent.

* Please email me at brokeandbookish (at) gmail (dot) com when you receive your package so I can keep track of which packages have been accounted for.

* Feel free to grab the button to put on your sidebar or make your own!

Think you are interested?

Fill out this form!

Also, be sure to keep an eye out for my 2nd annual End of Year Book Survey that will be happening again this year!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Jessi Reviews "Anya's Ghost" by Vera Brosgol

Title/Author: Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol
Publisher/Year: First Second, 2011
How I Got This: Library copy 
Why I Read It: Totally grabbed my attention while I was searching the YA section 
Rating: 5 Stars 

Synopsis: Of all the things Anya expected to find at the bottom of an old well, a new friend wasn't one of them. Especially not a new friend who's been dead for a century. 

Falling down a well is bad enough, but Anya's normal life might actually be worse. She's embarrassed by her family, self-conscious about her body, and she's pretty much given up on fitting in at school. A new friend--even a dead one--is just what she needs. 

But Anya's new B.F.F. isn't kidding about the "forever" part...

Review: Wow. Where to start with this...

This is the first graphic novel I've ever read. It caught my eye as I was browsing through the library the other day, and I thought it was about time for me to try a graphic novel, so I picked it up.

And let me just say this--I LOVED it. It was SO flipping good. I have to admit (even though this is going to make me sound ridiculous), I never really had too much desire to read graphic novels, only because they seemed like glorified comic books to me. Well, silly me, now I want to read every one I can get my hands on.

This one was so good for a number of reasons. First of all, I really enjoyed the illustrations. C'mon now, the graphics are probably the most important part of a graphic novel, and these were phenomenal. They were nice and smooth; there was just enough detail without it being overwhelming. Not only that, but the emotions of the characters were crystal clear without having to come out and state "So-and-so was feeling whatever." Also, I LOVED the fact that this was done entirely in shades of black and white. I honestly didn't even notice that lack of color until about 3/4 of the way through. It was just that vivid for me.

The story itself was great, too. Here we have a teenage girl who is struggling to fit in at high school and trying to figure out just who she is in a cultural sense, as well. Anyone who has ever been a teenager or dealt with teenagers will be able to sympathize with Anya, but at the same time, you can't help but laugh at some of the stuff that comes out of her mouth. And can we talk about that ghost story? Holy twist I didn't see coming! I actually got pretty nervous there for a bit--that Emily chick is pretty scary! I flew through the pages. This is definitely a novel capable of being read in one sitting. You'll WANT to read it all in one sitting, it's THAT good.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

How do you juggle blogging and life?

Hi everyone! This is Tahleen, one member of the very busy Broke and Bookish team. I don't know about any of you, but lately I'm finding it hard to find time and the energy to continue blogging at the rate I've been doing previously. I really love this community, and I love being a part of such an awesome team, but man, is it challenging!

The reasons I'm so busy are as follows: wedding planning (seven month countdown starting today), house hunting, school, part-time work, finding the time to spend with family and friends. It's a lot to deal with, and I'm trying my best to find time for everything.

Now don't get me wrong. I don't plan on quitting, but I do wonder how so many of us in the blogging world are able to fit in all the time to read and review and create discussions. How do you all do it?

I know that I fit in reading time by listening to audiobooks, which are a godsend, really. I love having a story to occupy my time on the road, and I do spend a lot of time on the road, what with visiting my fiance a half-hour away and commuting to Boston for school twice a week, plus all the little trips I take for errands, visits, activities, etc.

I also read e-books on my nook when I go to the gym. There is a handy little ledge on which it sits perfectly. I've read at least three books since I've rejoined my gym in August, which might not sound like a lot, but I'm only reading for 30-45 minutes at a time there after all.

As for the reviews, well, that's where I lose my steam. It's hard for me to sit down and write them now, since I feel like I'm always going somewhere or doing something else that is more pressing. I have read far more books this year than have written reviews. My problem is finding the motivation to write them, and taking the time to do it.

What are your tricks, tips or trials when it comes to finding a place for reading and blogging in your life?

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