Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Top Ten Books That Should Be In Your Beach Bag - Top Ten Tuesday

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.

Click here to see the upcoming topics! 
This week we are talking about the top ten books that should be in your beach bag. The beauty of a beach read is that it is different for every one. I personally like mine light and fluffy but with some substance....not too light and fluffy. It needs to have good movement and hold my attention pretty well or else I'll end up people watching.


1.  Moonglass - Jessi Kirby: The setting and feel of this novel is incredible. This isn't that light and fluffy with the subject matter but the characters and the beach setting make this a great summer read for teens. 

2. The Peach Keeper -  Sarah Addison Allen:  This one just came out within the past few months and I highly recommend it be put in your beach bag! Great writing, a tiny bit of magic and a powerful story of friendship makes this a must for the beach bag of lovers of adult fiction that is a little bit lighter. 

3.  Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen: I could read this book in the winter next to a fire or laying on the beach. While the language might be hard to get used to, it really is a light read.  You'll find yourself not sure if you are melting from the hot summer sun or Mr. Darcy's HOTNESS.

4. Ten Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn't Have) - Sarah  Mylnowski: This book comes out on June 7th and is a must for lovers of fun, contemporary YA! It's the perfect balance of light and "real life" and I could NOT put it down. It would certainly hold my attention on a beach...so put this one on your list of beach reads for 2011!

5.  Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson:  Two words... ROAD TRIP.  This makes for good beach reading for me along with a super sweet romance. 

6. Anything by Sarah Dessen -- Enough said.

7. The Bird Sisters by Rebecca Rasmussen: I looooved this book and it just seriously was a beautiful book that I could see myself being so entranced by the story that I end up frying and becoming a little lobster. It's not really a super light read but it's not uber heavy either but I find it the perfect blend to be a great read to take with you to the beach. 

8. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins:  PARIS! ROMANCE! LOVED this book and think it's a great beach read. Your attention will certainly be on the pages of the book so you won't have time to people watch and see things you don't want to see. I'm looking at YOU, man in a speedo and lady with your goodies showing. 

9. I Love Everybody (And Other Atrocious Lies) by Laurie Notaro: I love reading humor on the beach and THIS BOOK. OH GOSH. Made my sides hurt. Beware...people on the beach might think you've gone a little nutso.

10. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins: This one is for the people who want their beach read to be brimming with action. Killing and action aren't typically my ideal read for the beach but sometimes I just need something really intense that I can't put down. I think I'm going to try to put this in my boyfriend's hands this summer to see if it makes a good beach read for reluctant readers.  OK and I'm just really excited with all The Hunger Games casting news and want my boyfriend to have read it before the movie comes out because he WILL watch it with me :P

Friday, May 27, 2011

Tahleen reviews: "Divergent" by Veronica Roth

TitleDivergent
Author: Veronica Roth
Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books (imprint of HarperTeen), 2011

Rating: ★★★★

In a futuristic Chicago, people belong to factions and exhibit the trait most valued by the one they belong to. Beatrice has just turned 16 and therefore must make a choice that will affect her life forever. Should she stay in the faction of Abnegation, where selflessness is valued, and where she has grown up and lives with her parents and brother? Or does she dare to abandon everything she knows for what she most desires? Once her choice is made, she plunges into an adventure she never imagined, not even after all the thinking she has done. And she has one very dangerous secret she must keep... if she wants to survive.

In the influx of dystopian novels out recently, it's hard for one to stand out from the crowd. Surprise! Yep, this is another very positive review of this book. Divergent succeeds in being original, suspenseful and completely enjoyable. In the world Roth has created, people are put into strict groups, which is not a new concept. What is new (at least to me) is the concept that the people of each group have ONE trait or quality that they value above all others (selflessness, peacefulness, courage, intelligence and honesty) and live their lives accordingly.

What I loved about this so much was that the characters aren't on a grand mission to overthrow their government or society or whatever because they recognize it's a flawed society or that they want to be FREE, dammit. No. I'm pretty tired of that, honestly. These characters all completely accept their lives and do the best they can in the world their given, which is what I would expect. Sure, things happen that show these flaws, but it's not like a light bulb ever goes on about how awful their world is. Only hints here and there. (This might change in the other books of the series, I don't know, but I liked that part of this volume.)

And speaking of characters, I loved how flawed they all are. No one is perfect, ever. In fact, I hated Tris, our narrator, a few times during my reading. But I was glad for it. Tris is often something of an anti-hero, though she shows some cojones quite often. I admired her and despised her, which makes a pretty good case for Roth's writing. And another awesome thing: There is some diversity in this cast of characters, hallelujah. What's interesting is people's skin color is not noticed so much as their way of dress, which indicates their faction. There is still prejudice in this world, just a different kind than we're used to.

Oh, did I mention I could barely put the book down for all the action and layers of mystery within the plot? Yeah, that was pretty great. This book has nearly 500 pages but I flew through it.

I am very impressed with Roth's debut, and I will most definitely be picking up the next book when it comes out (whenever that may be—soon please?).

Disclosure: This book was sent to me by the (very awesome) publisher.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Heather reviews Made For You and Me: Going West, Going Broke, Finding Home by Caitlin Shetterly

Made for You and Me: Going West, Going Broke, Finding HomeTitle/Author: Made For You and Me: Going West, Going Broke, Finding Home by Caitlin Shetterly 
Publisher/Date Published: March 2011, Voice
How I Got This Book: received as a review copy from NetGalley
Why I Read This Book:
I'm a sucker for a good memoir or travelogue (this was both!)
Rating:
4 stars

Brief summary (from Goodreads):
Newlywed Caitlin Shetterly and her husband, Dan Davis, two hardworking freelancers, began their lives together in 2008 by pursuing a lifelong, shared dream of leaving Maine and going West. At first, California was the land of plenty. Quickly, though, the recession landed, and a surprise pregnancy that was also surprisingly rough made Caitlin too sick to work. By December, every job Dan had lined up had been canceled, and though he pounded the pavement, from shop to shop and from bar to bar, he could not find any work at all.
By March 2009, every cent of the couple's savings had been spent.
So, a year after they'd set out with big plans, Caitlin and Dan packed up again, this time with a baby on board, to make their way home to move in with Caitlin's mother. As they drove, Caitlin blogged about their situation and created audio diaries for NPR's Weekend Edition and received an astounding response. From all across the country, listeners offered help, opening their hearts and their homes.
And when the young family arrived back in rural Maine and squeezed into Caitlin's mother's small saltbox house, Caitlin learned that the bonds of family run deeper than any tug to roam, and that, with love, she and Dan could hold their dreams in sight, wherever they were.

My thoughts:
Caitlin Shetterly's Made For You and Me was a breath of fresh air for me. Everything about their struggle to survive as a family during the current recession is so relatable because we are all still living it today. For Caitlin and her husband, Dan, they have had a particularly hard time as freelancers in such uncertain times. This memoir follows the couple as they embark on a journey across America (twice) and learn just how important family is along the way.

Before I begin gushing, let me explain to you all that this book resounded with me more so because my boyfriend and I did the same thing that this couple did. Last summer, I quit my job and we moved across the country from New England to California for a change of scenery. Luckily in our case, my boyfriend was able to continue working his same job so we still had his income. It was difficult and exhausting looking for a job when I arrived here. The connections I had always seemed to fall through and even though I was getting called for interview after interview, I would find out I'd made it to the final few candidates, only to lose out to one of the others. I also passed up on a couple of opportunities along the way because I was holding out for that "perfect" job. It took me 5 months before I realized I needed to hunker down and take anything I could get and that's where I am now, almost a year later.

I've read reviews about this book from others who criticize Caitlin and Dan for not trying hard enough but I think it's pretty easy to say that when you aren't in that situation. It takes a lot to give up your home and move everything you own clear across the country to a foreign place, and I think their story is a great one to read about. In Made For You and Me, we follow them on their journey to LA and then back to Maine about a year later. Along the way, they gain a family member and lose another. There are so many emotional moments in this book and I really enjoyed Caitlin's style of writing. There's such an inspirational message about perseverance and family values. There were many moments where I thought if I was in her shoes, I would have had a complete meltdown or flipped out at Dan, but the two of them always pushed past their differences.

I loved the parallels she drew between her life and that of Laura Ingalls Wilder in the Little House series so much, I'm actually planning to reread them myself. Also, the way she wrote so fondly about motherhood had me all teary eyed and excited about having children of my own someday. Her outlook on family is so bright, despite their imperfections. This memoir came about from Caitlin's blog which I definitely plan to read through since I still felt a sense of wanting more at the end. I'm hoping her blog will pick up where this memoir left off. I highly recommend this if you enjoy well written, emotional memoirs or books about traveling.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Daisy's Review of The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter



Title/Author: The Goddess Test (Goddess Test #1) by Aimee Carter
Publisher/Date published: April 26th 2011 by Harlequin Teen
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "It's always been just Kate and her mom — and her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate's going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear her mother won't live past the fall.
Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld—and if she accepts his bargain, he'll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.
Kate is sure he's crazy — until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she'll become Henry's future bride, and a goddess."

YAY! I LOVED THIS BOOK!

So, now I got that out of my system, onto the review:
I have a thing for Greek and Roman mythology. But more for Greek mythology. I'm not even sure why, I just do. I was obsessed with it when I was younger and these stories are probably one of the first things I read in English, cause there wasn't enough translated to Dutch in my humble opinion.

And this book, gosh, it brought together everything I love about Greek mythology and everything I love about YA. I fell in love with the characters, they are amazing. Kate is a great heroine, she knows what she wants and isn't afraid to speak up and do something about it if she doesn't like what's going on. I also loved how close she was to her mother. I'm a bit tired of the whole absent-parents going on in YA, so this was really nice. I'd want to be friends with Kate, that's how real she felt to me.

And Henry, OMG, sweet, dark, tortured and broken Henry! How I love him! He really seems to care about Kate and I thought the chemistry was just wonderful. I don't get how anyone could ever leave him.

I was a bit annoyed by Ava now and then, but nothing too distracting from the storyline. Another thing which made me go a bit 'really?':
***SPOILER WARNING, light up to read***
I get the whole secretive thing with the test and everything, but really, did they have to keep it a secret from Kate that her mother was really a goddess and actually wasn't going to die for real?? It seemed a bit cruel.

Oh, and another thing for those who've read it:
Did any of you guess about Demeter being Kate's mom? I figured something was going on, but for some reasons I thought she might be Persephone's daughter.

Anyway, I'm love, love, LOVING this book and I'm SOOO looking forward to the sequel!! That'll be a loooong wait...
My rating: 5 stars

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Guest TTT: Top Ten Books I Have Lied About

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.

This week we have Pam of Bookalicious here as a special Top Ten Tuesday guest! Here are her top ten books she's lied about. Oh, and don't forget to visit her at her blog and say hello! And click here to see future Top Ten Tuesday topics. And now without further ado!

We all have done it. Lied about reading a book in some way. I would love to tell the world I never read Twilight, or that I didn’t enjoy the first book in the Saga (LOL Saga) at all, however that is not the case. I kind of liked the first book, but don’t tell anyone. It’s kind of my little literary secret. 

So here are my Top Ten Books I have Lied About:

10: Crime and Punishment: There was a boy in the lit department at college, he talked about the work all the time. I read the Cliff’s Notes and faked it. 

9. Romance novels: yes all of them. I would never admit to reading Ten Ways to Be Adored When Landing a Lord. (You should totes read this)

8. Ranger’s Apprentice: I am a 31 year old woman, wth am I doing reading MG boy books? So yeah I lie.

7. Sookie Stackhouse: No one knows I am up to date on this series. NO ONE!

6. Cather in the Rye: yup I never read it. I didn’t do required reading and this book still sticks out in my head as DANGER DANGER YOU MIGHT LEARN SOMETHING. If you ask I read it and loved it though.

5. To Kill a Mockingbird: Same as Catcher, no teacher will make me learn something DAMNIT.

4. Matthew Shardlake Series. These are my dirty little secret. Sherlokian type mystery set in Tudor times with Cromwell pulling the strings. Oh yeah baby.

3.  The Sisters Grim: Again what am I doing at my age reading this?

2. Decision Points: Yes my fair weather friends I read former President George W. Bush’s work. I even preordered it to my Nook. Please don’t tell anyone.

1. Darcy Fiction: I know for sure none of you have ever heard of my latest obsession. Darcy literature. Please don’t tell anyone.

So that was my favorite books to lie about. What are yours?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Blog Tour: Kelly's Review of "Queen by Right" by Anne Easter Smith


Truth: my love of historical fiction is far out-weighed by my fear of 600+ page books. It is this reason alone that in the past I was scared to pick up a book by Anne Easter Smith. The covers are gorgeous and the plot lines intriguing, but they are all such chunksters! Looking back now, I am so glad I picked Queen by Right up. It was completely worth it!

Besides being exposed to the wonderful author Anne Easter Smith, I also was able to delve into the War of the Roses, a time period in England I wasn't all that familiar with (pretty ironic since I seem to have out-read the Tudors). In the War of the Roses, the York family and Lancaster family are battling it out to assert their claims to the throne of England. Since the two families were distantly related and greatly intermarried, people were fighting their own family, giving the war the alternate name The Cousin's War.

In the middle of this battle for power is Cecily Neville and her husband Richard Plantagenet. As the Duke of York and great grandson of Edward III, Richard had a strong right to the throne, some said even more so than the king, Henry VI. He fights for this right for the majority of the book, and Cecily is faithfully alongside him the entire time. Cecily is strong and willful, surprisingly so for the day and age and is nicknamed 'proud Cis.' She was such an interesting character to choose to base a novel upon. I liked her voice and point of view she saw all these events unfolding from. I also greatly enjoyed her relationship with her husband - they were one of the few love matches of their day. They were devoted to each other and respected their opinions and wishes.

I was fortunate enough to pick of Philippa Gregory's The White Queen immediately after I finished this book and was able to continue the story through the eyes of Elizabeth Woodville, Cecily's daughter-in-law. As nice as is was to have an almost seamless transition time-wise, it stung a little to have Cecily played out in such an unflattering light in Gregory's book. Why is the mother-in-law always mean and grumpy?

Overall, I'd give Queen by Right 4 stars. There is romance, history, war, and betrayal - enough to satisfy all! Though as I said before, you'd better be committed if you start this 500 page book. Now I'm off to pick up more books by Anne Easter Smith!


Saturday, May 21, 2011

BEA BOUND!!

AHHHH. Tomorrow! I, Jamie, will be the sole member of The Broke and the Bookish to be attending BEA!! I am so beyond stoked to meet all the bloggers I've formed great friendships with, meet authors I love and scope out the books for the coming seasons from some of my favorite publishing houses!

If you want to follow my BEA adventures, I'll be trying to post on my personal book blog during the week and will be tweeting as much as I can! You can take a looksie at my blog to see some pictures of me so if you see me at BEA you can say helloo!!!

Will any of you be going??

Friday, May 20, 2011

Jen Reviews 'Bumped' by Megan McCafferty



Title: Bumped
Author: Megan McCafferty
Published: Balzer + Bray, April 2011
Source: NetGalley
Rating: 5 stars

Review:

Can you imagine a world where birth control didn't exist?  A world where condoms are illegal? (and yes, you read that right).  In Megan McCafferty's world of Bumped that is the case.  Cause: A virus has made everyone over the age of eighteen infertile.  Effect:  Teenage girls are the most valuable members of this society.  They are paid to 'bump' with a teenage boy until they get pregnant.  Some girls even have agents and these girls are professional 'bumpers'.  It's expected that you will be pregnant at least once while in high school.  If not, hello outcast.

I thought this book was so creative and well thought out.  McCafferty creates her own futuristic language and slang, as well as some new technology gadgets.  At first, it's a little confusing but as the book progresses its like you use the terminology in your everyday life.  One of my favorite things about Bumped is the different pregnancy/bumping jingles.  Really, they're hilarious.  I'll give you two examples: "Do the deed.  Born to breed" and "Went forth and multiplied.  Fightin' the omnicide".  Imagine you're in your car listening to the radio and one of those jingles comes on.

Melody and Harmony are the two main characters.  They are identical twins who have recently found out about each other and have just met.  The two sisters are as different as night and day.  They grew up in two completely different communities with completely different values.

Melody was raised in Otherside.  This society has masSex parties and agents that scout out good talent for you to "bump" with.  Harmony grew up in Goodside, a place where arranged marriages still occur.  The book takes place in Otherside but when Harmony talks about Goodside it reminds me of an Amish community.

It did take me a few chapters to pick up the slang McCafferty uses but I thought it worked well with the setting.  For some reason I was reminded of Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century with all of the slang. Please tell me I'm not the only one who remembers 'Zetus lupetus!"

Overall I really enjoyed this book.  It's definitely a new spin on the influx of YA dystopian books that have been popping up lately.  I can only imagine what Jessica Darling would say about a society that promotes teenage sex and pregnancy.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Daisy's Review of A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini



Title/Author: A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Publisher/Date published: Bloomsbury, first published in 2007
How I got this book: bought it 3 years ago (it almost made the Top Ten Tuesday list of books collecting dust on my shelf)
Why I read this book: it fit nicely into a challenge from the College Students group and I always meant to read it anyway.

Goodreads summary: "Set like its predecessor in war-torn Afghanistan, A Thousand Splendid Suns uses that tumultuous backdrop to render the heroic plight of two women of different generations married to the same savagely abusive male. Born out of wedlock, Mariam was forced to marry 40-year-old Rasheed when she was only 15. Then, 18 years later, her still childless husband angrily takes an even younger wife. Hosseini renders the story of Mariam and her "sister/daughter," Laila, with persuasive detail and consummate humanity. Their abject situation leaves them no emotional space for idle philosophizing; their resistance is from the very core of their being."

I've heard people rave about Hosseini's books, both the Kite Runner and this one. And while I haven't read the Kite Runner, I can honestly say that this one deserves the praise. My copy had 387 pages and the story never once seemed to drag. I immediatley felt connected to Mariam.

From a young age, she hasn't had an easy life. And it doesn't really get better for her. I was SOO rooting for her to find happiness and someone to love who she wouldn't be taken away from. I felt she had such a big heart and so much love to give, but was never given the chance. Mariam is a really strong woman, she's faced every hardship coming her way and she really is someone to look up to.
***SPOILER ALERT, light up to read***
OMG, I cried when she was executed! She was so brave and such a beautiful person. I so wanted her and Laila's escape to work and for Mariam to finally get a break.
**END of spoiler***

I don't know very much about Afghanistan as a country. I know about the war and I know what's shown on television, but that's not what makes a country the way it is. This book has shown me its history and the daily life of someone who lives there and I really appreciate the view from this point.

The romance between Laila and Tariq was beautiful. I also really enjoyed the slowly developing friendship between Laila and Mariam, both brave women that find a way to make a life together, even with an abusive husband.

I loved the quote the book's title refers to:
"One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs, or the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls."
Beautiful.

I absolutely loved this book, for me it lived up to the hype and I immediately passed it on to my mother, who I'm sure will enjoy it as well.

My rating: 5 stars

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Top Ten Minor Characters




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.


Hello friends. Tahleen here. This week it is my turn (after a long TTT absence) to let you know what my very favorite minor characters in literature. We all know that, though the hero or heroine of each novel might be the main focus and the character we spend the most time with, the minor characters can really be the ones that get to us. Here are my (very heavily YA—sorry!) top ten.


Note: There might be spoilers for some of the books I mentioned. Be warned.


1. Al from Divergent by Veronica Roth. I loved Al from when we first met him, when he was sobbing in his bed. I was really hoping he would make it through to the final 10, and I'm not ashamed to admit I shed a few tears here and there when it came to him.


2. Janco from Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder. I love this guy. He's like the big brother I always wanted, plus he can really kick some ass.


3. The Weasley family from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. Do I really need to explain this one? I love the Weasleys and would REALLY love to be one of them. I'd even settle for being a distant cousin who only got to hang out with them on random holidays.


4. Boo Radley from To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. The ultimate "don't judge a book by its cover." Or judge a person by the stories you hear about them. Boo is awesome and a hero.


5. Raj from When the Stars Go Blue by Caridad Ferrer. Hilarious and completely lovable, plus he's a super friend. He also reminds me of a friend of mine from college, which makes him even more dear to me! Definitely the most fun character in the book.


6. The Mrs. Ws from A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle. I will always get goosebumps every time I read the line, "There is such a thing as a tesseract."


7. Mr. Todd from Judy Moody by Megan McDonald. He's an awesome teacher, plus (and I know this is kind of cheating) but Jaleel White is going to play his part in the movie. Yes, THAT Jaleel White.


8. Radar from Paper Towns by John Green. I think I love every single thing about Radar. I want him to be my friend. And to see his parents' world's largest collection of black Santas.


9. Leah from the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer. Okay, yes, I put a Twilight character on here. Sue me. But Leah is badass. She's the only female werewolf in the pack and has to deal with seeing her ex-boyfriend like every day, and be an underling to him. AND still be awesome. That girl has some attitude. I was seriously mad when Meyer kind of forgot about her toward the end. She doesn't get as much credit as she deserves.


10. Lester from Savvy by Ingrid Law. Really I love all the characters in this one; I think this book is a treasure. But Lester stands out because he drives a pink bus that sells pink Bibles. And lets four kids ride along with him to help them out.


Those are my top ten, though I'm sure I could think of many more if I had to. What are yours? Link up below!


Click here for future Top Ten Tuesday topics and be prepared (unlike me, who usually scrambles to think of 10 at the last minute).

Monday, May 16, 2011

Tahleen reviews: "Shine" by Lauren Myracle

Title: Shine
Author: Lauren Myracle
Publisher: Abrams, 2011

Rating: ★★★★

Cat hasn't spoken to her once best friend, Patrick, in years, ever since an incident that caused her to stop talking to pretty much everyone. But when Patrick, who has not made any efforts to hide his homosexuality in their small Appalachian town, is the victim of a brutal hate crime, Cat thinks she knows who did it. She also knows justice won't be served in Black Creek, and resolves to find the perpetrator at any cost. But as she digs, she's learning much more about her community and the people in it than she thought she would, in addition to having to revisit and start resolving what happened to her three years earlier.

Not for the faint of heart, Myracle gives us a true-to-life and bluntly honest look at life in rural Appalachia. Cat's town of Black Creek is a place of addiction, alcoholism, school drop-outs, and poverty. It's also a place of secrets, ones that most of the people in the small town want kept secret. The characters mostly want to sweep the unseemly parts of their lives swept under the proverbial rug, unless it's really juicy gossip they can share at church. But for those involved or affected, they usually just look the other way.

Cat has looked the other way for too long. After a sexual assault, which two members of her family witnessed and said nothing about, she has learned to block out the rest of the world. But as she tries to help a comatose Patrick, she begins to gain confidence and becomes what one character calls "fierce"—a term she is surprised to find she not only likes, but agrees with.

I loved how Myracle slowly reveals what happened in Cat's past and what is going on in Black Creek. Suspense is ever present, and once the momentum gets going, boy, does it really get going. Twists and turns are everywhere, and I was honestly surprised at how things progressed, though I did guess what happened a while before Cat did.

The foreshadowing is incredibly subtle, and I wondered at some points if it was too subtle, if certain character traits or plot points were so understated that they were underdeveloped. In the end I think they were realistic, making for a more believable story.

Myracle's writing is, as I said earlier, blunt. She does not shy away from domestic abuse, drug addiction, bullying, intolerance, or the results of a severe beating. Her vivid descriptions provide a clear setting and atmosphere for the story being told. She also writes in the vernacular, adding to the authenticity of the story.

The LGBTQ themes in the text are relevant and topical, providing readers with a look at how ugly intolerance and gay bashing can be, especially in a small town.

This is a great page-turner, full of suspense and mystery. Yet it is also a well-done portrait of a poor Appalachian town and community, burdened by deeply buried secrets and the fierce desire to keep them hidden.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this e-book from NetGalley.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Jamie's Review Of The Bird Sisters by Rebecca Rasmussen

The Bird Sisters: A NovelBook/Author: The Bird Sisters by Rebecca Rasmussen
Publisher/Year: Crown Publishing April 2011
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Spinster sisters, Milly and Twiss,  are known as "the bird sisters" and their home serves as a place where people bring injured birds to be nursed back to health. The "bird sisters" weren't always destined towards a path of seclusion and spinsterhood...until one summer that alters the direction of their lives.

The story gracefully moves between the present and haunting memories from their childhood. The bulk of the memories take place in the span of the summer of 1947 when Milly and Twiss are teenagers and becomes the turning point to paving the path that leads to where they are now as spinsters. Immediately I was invested in the lives of Milly and Twiss and had such a desire to know how they ended up so alone when it seemed like they had a lot going for them. I think that was the most heart-wrenching part-- knowing how they ended up and needing to find out why. The details of the events that summer were revealed ever so carefully and evenhandedly that it kept you reeling until you are given the answers to what had happened. And let me tell you-- it was shocking, heartbreaking and beautiful -- simultaneously. I had goosebumps as we finally learned what happened in the most pivotal moment that summer.

Milly and Twiss are two of the most quirky and unforgettable characters that I've encountered in a while. They were developed so finely and with great precision and I just fell completely in love with them. I found a lot of the other characters to be interesting as well. Cousin Bett was that character that you just wanted to slap silly yet I kept wondering what her story was. The characters personalities were so perfectly melded together with the plot that I just kept thinking of how perfect of a book this was. Milly and Tilly are definitely the shining stars but what I loved is that they aren't always brave, or always right or strong...they were so real and were perfect in their own ways.


For the most part I can honestly say this book was flawless for me, but I must confess, there were a few parts where it took me a little bit to figure out if we were back in the past or in the present although I was able to deduce after a page or so. The parts in the present, in the heads of the older Milly and Twiss, were a little slower moving for me but it definitely balanced out the story well.

My Final Thought:
I would recommend this to anybody looking for the perfect combination of unforgettable characters, a carefully crafted and revealed plot with a layer of surprises and undeniably beautiful prose that you find yourself savoring with each page. Seriously, this book charmed the socks off of me, broke my heart and mentally shelving this book under "books that remind me why I love the written word." It wasn't overwrought in emotion or drama nor was it the type of book that was trying too hard to BE something profound. It felt real and was definitely a breath of fresh air for me.

Daisy's Review of The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss


Title/Author: The Wise Man's Fear (The Kingkiller Chronicle #2) by Patrick Rothfuss
Publisher/Date published: March 1st 2011, Orion Publishing Group
How I got this book: I did something I pretty much never do: I PRE-ordered this book and paid the full price for the hardcover (totally worth it, it's so PRETTY!!).

Goodreads summary: "Sequel to the extraordinary Name of the Wind, The Wise Man's Fear is the second installment of this superb fantasy trilogy from Patrick Rothfuss. Picking up the tale of Kvothe Kingkiller once again, we follow him into exile, into policital intrigue, courtship, adventure, love and magic... and further along the path that has turned Kvothe, the mightiest magician of his age, a legend in his own time, into Kote, the unassuming pub landlord. Packed with as much magic, adventure and home-grown drama as The Name of the Wind, this is a sequel in every way the equal to it's predecessor and a must-read for all fantasy fans. Readable, engaging and gripping The Wise Man's Fear is the biggest and the best new fantasy novel out there."

The first day of March really couldn't come soon enough for me, it was the day I'd been waiting for at least half a year, ever since it was announced as the publishing date for The Wise Man's Fear. I read and loved The Name of the Wind (Goodreads page) a year and a half ago and was eager to continue Kvothe's story. Then came the wait. And really, it nearly killed me. Tearing my hair out, screaming, stomping of feet kind of wait. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining it took so long, cause I know it's a better book for it, just trying to give you a vision of how much I anticipated this book.

And OMG, was it ever worth it! This book felt like hanging out with my friends, relaxing, fun, just doing something I love. This book is a good example of why I love reading. It completely took me into another world, in which magic exists, mysterious evil goes around plotting, young men can be heroes... I love the different cultures we're introduced to in this one, there's such amazing world-building going on that I can only bow to the genius that is Patrick Rothfuss.

Yes, I know I'm raving and gushing.

I absolutely love Kvothe, I cheer for him when he succeeds, I wince at the mistakes he makes (and some of them are pretty awful, while other are just a bit embarassing). I WANT him to do well and to finally win the girl of his dreams. He seems wise beyond his years in some things and then I'm made painfully aware of his true age when he does something foolish. And I love it. I love how he cares about his friends and is truly loyal to them.

And it's not just Kvothe, I've also really come to care for his friends at school, his moneylender Devi, his teacher Elodin and the girl he moons after: Denna. And Auri, can't forget about her, she's brilliant. I especially loved a scene with Elodin, Auri and Kvothe together. There's something special about that little girl. I hope we'll get to find out more about where she's from in the next book. And Elodin, I loved how he offered one of the other teachers he could cut of Kvothe's hands if he broke a rule in the Archives in exchange for giving Kvothe access to them again.

A lot of the time this isn't an edge-of-your-seat kind of story, but the storytelling is amazing and I loved seeing Kvothe grow up. I'm still left wondering how he could go from the adventurous boy to the mild-mannered innkeeper we meet in the interludes. I foresee dark times ahead in the last book. And yes, the wait will probably murder me three times over again.

If you couldn't tell already: I LOVED THIS BOOK! GO READ IT RIGHT NOW! Or The Name of the Wind if you haven't read that one yet, it's so amazing!

My rating: 5+ stars

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Top Ten Biggest Jerks In Literature

 Thanks to Lindsi from Books, Sweets and Other Treats for making our button!

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.


I've (Jamie) been too stressed out with life....we had to put down my dog and it was Mothers Day..which if you talk to me on Twitter or visit my personal blog, you know it was a hard couple of days for me. That being said, I have literally had no time to sit down and work on this week's topic. However, I put the call out to my bookish friends to help me out and I would feature them on the blog this week! You get by with a little help from your friends, I suppose. So, make sure you check out all their blogs/Twitter accounts because they are all wonderful!

Anyways, the other week we did top ten mean girls in lit..so now we're on to the biggest jerks..all those jerky guys in books..those who truly WERE asshats and those who just acted like one but could be quite loveable! Check HERE for future topics.


1. Heathcliff from WUTHERING HEIGHTS- This man is jerkalicious. He's a jerk lollipop. He's on the good ship Jerk. He's all "CATHERINE! We are SOUL MATES because we were both BRATS as CHILDREN!" And she's all "Meh." And he's all "VENGEANCE!" And she's all "...whatevs." And then he proceeds to spend his entire life tormenting little children, beating women, and starving himself in the name of love. Except by love, he really means creepy, obsessive, someone-needs-a-hobby jerkitude. (Amanda from Dead White Guys)

2. Haymitch from The Hunger Games:
jerk: n. Slang A foolish, rude, or contemptible person.
Haymitch Abernathy is a jerk.  He is foolish when he has been drinking and he is rude and contemptible when drunk or sober.  At his best, Haymitch is sarcastic, self-indulgent and condescending.  He calls Katniss “sweetheart” on a regular basis because he knows she hates it. He doesn’t care what anyone thinks of him and he doesn’t hesitate to tell someone how he feels about them.  With that said, I love him.  He may be my favorite character from The Hunger Games trilogy.  It’s not Haymitch's fault that he is a jerk- it is President Snow’s.  You see, Haymitch was the victor of the 50th Hunger Games.  Because of Haymitch’s questionable play in the arena, Snow had his mother, brother and girlfriend killed.  Haymitch turned to the bottle to forget about his time in the arena and the losses it caused.  You can't blame the guy.  Haymitch is a jerk, but he is a jerk with a big heart and good intentions. (Kelly from The Lemme Library)

3. Stephen Clayworth from Clarity by Kim Harrington. He starts off as a jerk and then there are a few moments where you think he might redeem himself. Maybe he's just     misunderstood?.... nope.....total jerk. (Jen from Lost in The Library)

4. Wesley from The Duff by Jody Keplinger. He's a womanizer- thinks he's God's gift to women (I hate guys like that) He's the reason I stopped reading the book, though I'm told I should give it another try. Does he redeem himself? (Jen from Lost In The Library)

5. I'm going to group two characters together for this, because they're so similar. Even with all of their swoon-worthy moments, two of the leading men from Cassandra Clare's books - Jace from The Mortal Instruments and Will from The Infernal Devices - earn a spot on the top ten jerks in literature list. While it's easy to hate obviously evil characters, these two sarcastic, arrogant bad boys that toy with emotions and break hearts for no particular reason are infuriating in their own right. Will and Jace will insult you, lie to you, and crush your heart, even through the barrier of the pages of their respective books (@Chloesays)

6. Dave from Anna and the French Kiss. He's pretty much the Frat Boy From Hell. He's kind of like that guy at the bar who won't leave after you decline his offer to buy you a drink about ten times. He treats women like objects and lies to his friends about what went down with said women which I can't stand. But the CLINCHER is the scene where he says in what I assume is an appalled tone "You mean you actually wait in line for the bathroom?" Ew.  ( Jenn from Booksessed)

7. Henry McAllen from MUDBOUND (The Literate Housewife)

8. Prince Humperdinck from Princess Bride -- If you thought he was a douche in the movie, just wait until you meet the book version. (@OhEmGillie)

9.  Cole from Jennifer Brown's BITTER END (Nora from The Bookery )

10. And now for my own pick...August from Water for Elephants. I wanted to kill this guy. What a jerk...slapping his wife around, throwing people off trains and abusing animals? I couldn't like him even when he tried to act charming.


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Guest Review: "The Runner's World Complete Book of Women's Running" by Dagny Scott

Title: The Runner's World Complete Book of Women's Running
Author: Dagny Scott
Publisher: Rodale Books, 2007

Hi everyone! Tahleen here. Today, my friend Sara has agreed to do a guest review. People seem to be getting into running lately, at least in our neck of the woods, most likely because of the Boston Marathon on Patriot's Day. Thinking about taking up the pastime? Here's Sara's review of The Runner's World Complete Book of Women's Running, which she says is essential for all women who want to start running or who are runners but want to improve. She should know, she's training for a half marathon.

Review:

Perhaps you're already a runner. Maybe you're looking for a way to stay active and better your health. Perhaps last week, you stood along Boylston cheering and screaming for the Boston Marathon runners, and suddenly it occurred to you that running just might be something more than a huffy, painful, dreaded workout. Perhaps you're working up to one mile; perhaps you were one of those Boston marathoners placing one last victorious foot in front of the other after 26.2 miles. It doesn't really matter what stage you're at physically or mentally when it comes to running—The Complete Book of Women's Running can serve as a both mini-bible the marathoner and, most importantly, a place to start for the beginner.

I picked up this book years ago, during my initial curiosity with running. In my head, I wanted to run 3 miles, and I wanted to do so as soon as possible. From a beginner's standpoint, the book provided a thorough introduction to the world of running, from what to wear, to the importance of a good running shoe, to goal setting, to stretching, and the whys behind each. On top of offering a comprehensive look at the basic elements of running, the book touched upon the important mental principles that accompany running and attaining goals. I was able to step back from my inflated, 3-mile expectations and understand that each of our bodies are built in their own way, and that running is about slowly building endurance and strength, and not instant gratification. The book emphasized not only the physical but the mental challenge of running and how to overcome both, which I feel is essential for all beginner runners to understand before they lace up their sneakers.

The language in the book is especially useful for beginners —it is simple, sensible, and easy to follow, and broken up with women's personal stories in relation to the particular topic (racing, safety, balancing running with careers and family). The outline and overall flow of the book are effective in creating a friendly, quick read, while the chapters, divided by topic, help the book serve as a quick-reference for the more experienced runner.

Of particular importance to the overeager beginner (myself, several years ago), the book offers a 6-week walking-to-running training plan that builds your body up to 30 minutes of continuous running. Short vignettes, anecdotes and tips written by women runners of all ages discuss the hurdles they faced in overcoming their own beginner's challenges, and I found myself gathering motivation and inspiration from these stories, especially when I felt the overwhelming urge to just quit. These personal stories, placed throughout each chapter and pertaining to various topics and issues, really helped break up the text and were effective in making the topics easy to relate to and accessible to a beginner. I was struck by not only the contagious motivation within each personal story, but also by the in-depth perspective it provided on running as a whole.

For the more experienced runner looking to increase their speed and distance, the book also offers training plans for 5k, 10k, half marathon and full marathon distances, all with thorough explanations and smart guidelines to help runners work toward goals and avoid injury.

Why the specific emphasis on women and running? This is where the book continues to go above and beyond the quick-reference-guide level. Not only does it provide the basics of running on topics such as stretching, speed workouts and nutrition, easily accessible by all (male or female) runners, it tackles larger issues that often sit closer to home with women. Pregnancy and running. Caring for your body. Body image issues. I felt these particular topics also highlighted a sense of camaraderie and wisdom among women and presented running as something to bond over and derive strength. The book covers all grounds in an informative, concise way, and I appreciated its particular focus on not only attaining physical health, but mental health as well, specifically as a female runner. As Scott writes in her eloquent, simple introduction, "my goal was to impart the breadth and depth of what running can mean to women: more than just fitness or friendship or sanity but rather all those things together."

I am currently using this book as I train for my very first half marathon. As I've increased my mileage, I've referred to the book for guidance in stretching properly, eating well to fuel my body, and the specifics of different types of workouts, including Fartlek runs, long runs, and tempo runs. I can see my own running story woven throughout the book in the voices of other women runners who have attained or are reaching for goals, and every time I use the book to look up that specific how-to, I am reminded that yes, there is something in running and that yes, I can do it, that anyone can.

If you're looking for a great place to start or want to tackle that marathon once and for all, The Complete Book of Women's Running is a solid place to find not only information and facts, but also a deeper look into why it is that so many love to run.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Jamie's Top Ten Books That Came Recommended

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.
Jamie here (you might also know me as Jamie from The Perpetual Page-Turner). This week I'm talking about all those books I probably wouldn't have read had it not been for the prodding of some other bookish people. So, here's my top ten books I'm glad people recommended to me because I would have for sure skipped over them/not have known they existed/judged based on the cover alone.

1. Anna and the French Kiss -- I refused to read this one based on the cover. I snubbed my nose despite all the rave reviews I saw. And then Steph Su and I were perusing my local indie and she told me how much I had to read it and that I would totally love it. And then the amazing Jen from Makeshift Bookmark and I traded books and she sent it to me!! So I finally read it...and OMG. I cannot believe I almost passed this one up. Turned out being one of my fave YA books of all time. So cute and awesome!

2. Raw Blue by Kirsty Eager -- This is YA book that was so unique and unfortunately hasn't been published in the US yet. I loved it because it was more mature than most YA and the MCs were older than your typical YA characters -- the female was 18 and the male was 26. It was just such a great book..I'm thankful that Linds started an informal blog tour for it!

3. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close -- This is one of my alllll time favorite books. Some random person recommended it to me in a bookstore and I wish I could find that person and bake them a cake and hug them. I love people (like me) who aren't afraid to recommend books to people. Haha.

4. Franny and Zooey -- I loved Catcher in the Rye in high school but that was the extent of my Salinger reading. I met a guy in college who ended up being a good friend of mine and he told me that I must read this when he found out we had similar reading tastes. I ended up loving it. It was one of those books I just needed to read at the moment. I think of this friend every time I see this on my shelf and miss our friendship!

5. Crank -- I had heard of this book but never had any desire to read it. My hairdresser was RAVING about it so I decided to pick it up...LOVE LOVE LOVED it. It was my first novel in verse as well. I recommend this to a lot of teens and readers of YA now.

6. The Hunger Games -- Somebody in the Goodreads College Students recommended this to me. They were all raving about it and picked it as a group read...so as the good moderator that I am...I read it. One of my favorites and I would have never picked it up.

7. Twilight --- Ok, ok, ok. Hear me out. I was recommended this by EVERYONE in the College Students group on Goodreads. Seriously. They were all yelling at me for not reading it. So I caved. And I liked it. I did. And it was my gateway into YA...I would have NEVER EVER even given YA a chance before that.

8. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society -- The gals over at the Chicks On Lit group on Goodreads recommended this one to me. It was FABULOUS. I would have never picked this up. I hadn't even heard of it and when I read the back of it I still wasn't convinced I would like it. I was so glad they pushed me to read it.

9. Just Listen -- I had never read Sarah Dessen until my sister recommended her books to me. I loooved this book and look forward to reading more of her books!

10. If I Stay -- I'm so glad that the whole blogosphere (or so it seems) raved about this one. I had seen it and saw the blurb on it that said "for fans of Twilight" and looked past it. This book is nothing like Twilight. There are no vampires or creatures lurking about. This book was AMAZING and I'm glad I gave it a chance once I realized what it was ACTUALLY about.



Check HERE for future Top Ten Tuesday topics!!

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