Friday, September 30, 2011

Kelly Reviews "Escape" by Carolyn Jessop

Title: Escape
Author: Carolyn Jessup & Laura Palmer
Published: Broadway Books, 2007
Rating: 4 stars


Back in October 2009, I pulled this book at random off a shelf at the library, and boy, am I glad I did. It is the story of a woman, Carolyn Jessop, born into a polygamist community in Utah. She became the fourth wife of a man more than thirty years her senior when she was eighteen. (Over the course of his life, her husband had more than a hundred children by fifteen different wives.) Her husband mistreated all of his wives, to the point of slavery and extreme domestic violence, but these women still strived for his affection, even though they knew they didn't love him. They also challenged each other and did not stick together. Life was miserable for Carolyn in this religion; in extreme sects of FDLS (Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints), women have absolutely no rights or freedom.

The climax of the book is where she plans and executes her escape with her children from the FDLS sect and her husband. In order to properly be separated, she must cross the state lines into non-FDLS territory. Her children, particularly the older ones proved to be the hardest obstacle in her escape. Some felt torn loyalty between her and their father and were not eager to leave their community. 

The part that scares me the most is the fact that this is happening in modern day...not five hundred years ago like it sounds like it would. She went on to become one of the few women who ever challenged her husband and religion, and the first to successfully leave the community with all of her children. The compound was later raided by police in 2008.

This book is full of encouragement and knowledge for those like me who were completely ignorant about FLDS and polygamy. The writing style is not the best, but was very thought-provoking nonetheless.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Heather reviews Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky


Book/Author: Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky
Published: May 2011, Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Where I got it: received as an e-book from NetGalley
Why I read this: I liked the cover and thought it sounded interesting
Rating: 3.5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): Maddie lives in a world where everything is done on the computer. Whether it’s to go to school or on a date, people don’t venture out of their home. There’s really no need. For the most part, Maddie’s okay with the solitary, digital life—until she meets Justin. Justin likes being with people. He enjoys the physical closeness of face-to-face interactions. People aren’t meant to be alone, he tells her.
Suddenly, Maddie feels something awakening inside her—a feeling that maybe there is a different, better way to live. But with society and her parents telling her otherwise, Maddie is going to have to learn to stand up for herself if she wants to change the path her life is taking.
In this not-so-brave new world, two young people struggle to carve out their own space.


My thoughts: I began reading Awaken back in the early spring but because I'm a butthead sometimes, my NetGalley copy expired before I could finish. Then it took me a few months to get a copy to finish reading it. Once I was able to pick it back up, I was mad at myself for not getting my hands on it earlier. Maddie's world was so interesting! She is pretty much the first daughter of the new education system. In the year 2060, the world is almost entirely computerized. Want to hang out with your friends? Hop on the internet and virtual chat with everyone in a coffee shop setting. Even exercising is computerized. Having a father who is the head of digital school put a lot of pressure on Maddie to follow the rules. When we find out that she had something to do with a huge security breach years ago, it's easy to see that she doesn't necessarily believe in what her family is responsible for.

Awaken is about much more than just teenage rebellion. It's about standing up for what you believe in despite how much it might effect your life as you know it. Maddie chooses her beliefs over her family, which is something that only the strongest willed person would be able to do. However, the story was almost too unbelievable for me. I have been on this earth for almost 26 years now and I don't feel like the world has changed too drastically. It's very hard for me to believe that a world would be so different in my lifetime. I enjoy technology as much as the next nerd, but I could not wrap my head around how life could change so much in 50 years. The people in Maddie's world were so connected in the digital sense, but I couldn't help thinking it was more like they were disconnected. They were giving up real human interaction. It just seems so lonely to me and I was glad that Maddie was able to recognize that she was unhappy with that way of life.

Sadly, I was disappointed in Justin's character as her love interest. I felt that it was unfair of him to ask her to betray her family and expect her to do what she ultimately ended up doing by choosing his side. He seemed like a total toolbag and I just couldn't understand why Maddie was attracted to him, other than for his mysterious ways.

I don't usually talk about covers, but I will admit that I am one of those people that judges a book by its cover. This cover is what initially attracted me but I was glad to discover that the story was worthy of such an awesome cover. While there were certain things that I didn't like about Awaken, I enjoyed the concept and reading about a character who was able to fight for what she believed in despite being in such a tough situation.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday - Books I Want to Reread






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.


So...I (Jamie) realized that I did a POOR job scheduling this one and the other similar topic top ten books I want to read/experience for the first time...which is in two weeks! SORRY GUYS. I do see a difference between them which is why I had both of them but I meant to schedule them further apart.  Is everyone cool with this or shall I turn two weeks from now into a rewind week where everyone picks an old topic they wanted to do but didn't??  And then I'll schedule "books I want to read/experience for the first time for later. Check here for future topics.

Top Ten Books I want to Reread

1. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger - this was one of my immediate favorites when I read it about 6 years ago. As with any old favorite, I want to see how it holds up with time. Plus I could use a reread of such an epic love story.
2. The History of Love by Nicole Krauss - I remember this story being beautifully written and inspirational. I think it's one of those books I might like even more the second go round.
3. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer - I read this one more recently so I might not revisit it for a bit, but it's definitely on my to be reread list! Oskar is one of my favorite fictional characters ever.
4. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak - This book made me cry more than any book ever has and I think that's a great thing. I will probably reread The Book Thief over and over.
5. The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chobsky - I've reread this a few times already and I think some days are just days you have to sit and read this in one sitting.
6. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling - I'm already in progress with this (sort of). I began listening to the audiobooks but have only completed the first two. I'm not sure if I'll continue with the audio version or if I'll pick up the actual books instead. Either way, this is a series that I'm sure I will continue to reread over and over for a long time.
7. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith - I read this during a somewhat difficult time in my life and I remember relating so much to the main character. I'm not sure how it will be on a reread but I'd like to find out.
8.  Looking for Alaska by John Green - I love John Green and this was the first book by him that I read, before I realized that he has a formula for his characters. I thought it was such a good book and it's pretty perfect for a rainy day reread.
9. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath - I just really enjoy Ms. Plath's writing and I'm planning on reading her journals soon. I think after getting a little more insight into what went on in her head, it'd be good to reread The Bell Jar.
10. Catch 22 by Joseph Heller - I read this in college when I first started getting back into reading for pleasure again and I remember being a little overwhelmed with schoolwork at the time. I'd like to reread and see if it's more enjoyable to me now.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Tahleen reviews: "All These Things I've Done" by Gabrielle Zevin

TitleAll These Things I've Done
Author: Gabrielle Zevin
Publisher: Macmillan Young Listeners, 2011
Narrator: Ilyana Kadushin

Rating: ★★★★

In 2083, chocolate and coffee are illegal substances. Manhattan is rife with crime, and speakeasies and black market trade are rampant. Sixteen-year-old Anya Balanchine is caught up right in the middle of everything, not because she happens to be alive in this time, but because her family owns the famous Balanchine Chocolate company, and because her father, now dead, was one of the most notorious crime bosses in the city.

Still, Anya tries her best to keep a low profile, since she doesn't want to bring attention to the fact that her bedridden elderly grandmother is their sole guardian, and her brother Leo is a bit mentally handicapped due to an accident when he was a boy. Unfortunately, when her ex-boyfriend is poisoned by chocolate that she gave him, she's all over the news and in a lot of trouble. It doesn't help that she starts a relationship with the district attorney's son. And all the while, she needs to maintain some sort of control of her brother and younger sister, Nattie, and keep them away from the influence of her mafia family.

The feel of this book is a mixture of dystopia and old-school gangster, what with the prohibition on chocolate and coffee. I never really read anything about organized crime, but I found the way Anya handles things and the way her family operates fascinating. She is incredibly cool-headed, and mostly seems completely in control, even when she's going crazy inside. I truly admired her character, and I loved how she took all of her father's words to heart. She was always recounting some piece of wisdom her father imparted when he was alive, and I actually found them to be truthful and/or valuable.

All of the characters are well-written, and I found myself caring for even the most dangerous characters. Except Gable; he's a jerkface.

The dystopian society itself is not too far off from where we could be headed. There is a water problem, but one not large enough to have water rationed—yet. It's just very expensive, sort of like gasoline today. And the illegal substances of our time parallel very well with the illegal substances of this world. Organized crime developed around the chocolate and coffee industries because of their illegality, and people get a "high" off both of them, much like drugs and alcohol today. Interestingly, alcohol is widely available for all ages here.

Zevin's language is, for lack of a better word, delicious. Something I want to sip slowly. I loved the atmosphere of her world.

As far as the audio version goes, Ilyana Kadushin does an excellent job. She sounds spot-on for Anya, not too old or young. Her voice is soothing with no annoying quirks that I find happens often in audiobooks. And, she does a great Russian accent for Anya's older family members. It's very easy to tell the difference between each character's dialogue.

I highly recommend the audio version of All These Things I've Done, and certainly recommend the book itself. I fully plan on reading the rest of the Birthright series when they are released.

Disclosure: Macmillan sent me a copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Anna reviews 'The Pursuit of Happiness' by Douglas Kennedy


Summary from Goodreads: "Manhattan, Thanksgiving Eve, 1945. The war was over, and Eric Smythe's party was in full swing. All his clever Greenwich Village friends were there. So too was his sister Sara -- an independent, canny young woman, starting to make her way in the big city. And then in walked a gatecrasher, Jack Malone -- a U. S. Army journalist just back from a defeated Germany, and a man whose world-view did not tally with that of Eric and his friends. Set amidst the dynamic optimism of postwar New York and the subsequent nightmare of the McCarthy witch-hunts, The Pursuit of Happiness is a great tragic love story; a tale of divided loyalties, decisive moral choices, and the random workings of destiny."

I know I usually review non-fiction books but every once in a while I come across a fiction book that is so wonderful, I feel compelled to review it. This is certainly one of those. The book begins as a mystery- Kate is at her mothers funeral when she sees Sara, a woman she has never seen before. The two quickly establish contact and the story then flashes back to tell the story of Sara.

Sara is a witty, bright and highly independent woman. She's a talented writer and is devoted to her older brother Eric. During one fateful party on Thanksgiving Eve 1945, falls in love with Jack Malone. Jack Malone is conservative, Irish, and alas for poor Sara, only in town for the night. The two spend a passionate evening together and vow to stay in contact. I'm not going to spoil the plot of the book by revealing what happens next, but suffice it to say that this meeting between Sara and Jack has huge ramifications for her and those around her; it shapes the course of her entire life.

The characters in this book are excellently crafted. Sara is highly credible and likeable, she easily evokes sympathy from the reader. A credit to Kennedy's writing, early on in the book you begin to care about her and this remains true throughout the book. The relationship she has with her brother Eric is also very realistic- there is real tenderness and warmth between them. Eric is a funny and smart while Jack is incredibly human. All of the characters are complex, there are no good guy/bad guy distinctions. Every character in the book is vividly described. I felt that I really knew these people.

One of my favourite things about the book was its setting. Sara grew up in the McCarthy era, the time of the "red scare". Communists and other left-wing people were treated very harshly by the government. This is rather unfortunate for Sara's brother Eric, who was formerly a member of the Communist party. Throughout the book suspicion, deceit were rife; friends betrayed friends in order not to be branded as anything even vaguely left. I also found the effort they all made to define themselves as American and to conform to expectations of what what it was to be American facinating.

Overall, this is an incredible book. It's well-written, compelling and well worth a read. I think the cover of the book reveals a lot- Sara is walking a plank, trying to remain steady and reach the end. Each of the characters pursue happiness but though all have glimpses of it, none of them ever really achieve it. Overall, a well deserved four and a half stars.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Kimberly's Review of "The Eye of the Crystal Ball"


Book: The Eye of the Crystal Ball

Author: T. P. Boje

How I got it: From the author.

Summary:

"When Sara was newborn her parents left her at the doorstep at Mr. and Mrs. Schneider’s house. When Sara was ten she discovered she was telekinetic. She began to move stuff around when she got angry just by her will alone. When Sara was twelve her real parents came for her and took her with them to live like the Gypsy that she was – or Romani as they like to call themselves. They told her she was going to fulfill a prophesy. That it was once said that out of the Romani people the greatest sorceress who had ever lived would be born. When Sara was thirteen she had a baby brother and when she was fourteen he got very sick with a strange illness. To save her baby-brother Sara sets off on a quest to find his cure – well knowing that it will cost her dearly. Soon Sara finds herself going through the Singing Cave, crossing Wild Witches Valley, talking to a ten foot giant snail, rescuing the Beads of Souls from the Hell-hounds, escaping a spell in Vamila, the Forest of Vanity, visiting the king at the City of Lights before she finally reaches the Black Castle where she is told the Eye of the Crystal Ball can tell her how to cure her brother’s strange illness. But nothing is free in this world - and as Sara soon will know - everything has a price." (From Amazon)

What to say about this book… I feel very conflicted about how I will rate this, and how I feel about it over all.

Ok, we’ll get the not as nice stuff out of the way.

What I didn’t care for: The writing felt choppy in places. The pacing was off at times and it felt like it was a bit of a challenge to follow it. The copy I read had numerous grammatical and spelling errors. (It was NOT the final version however. And upon talking with the author I found out that English is her second language, and that the book has since been handed over to a great editor.) I felt like some of the things that happened, just happened. There wasn’t really any build up to it, so it just felt like… Oh, this needs to happen so there.

What I liked: Sara is a great character, she’s strong and when she decides to do something, she does it. It’s always refreshing to read a novel with a strong female lead. Too often they are weak, whiny and constantly depending on the men to save them. (I won’t name titles…) The idea of the Romani life sounds fascinating. I loved the descriptions of how they traveled around, what Sara learned from them, and their various skills. There were bits and pieces of other literature, especially fantasy running rampant throughout the book. If you are as much of a fan of fantasy as I am, you’ll recognize it. It’s a bit like talking to someone new and hearing them say something that you know comes from one of your favorite books. It was a treat picking out the various references. You’ll find everything from The Neverending Story to Lord of the Rings to The Chronicles of Narnia.

I had to get used to the writing style. It was more of a… storytelling style. Instead of descriptions that showed me how everything looked, how people reacted, etc, I was told. It was a bit like sitting in a class with the Professor telling a story, or having Granny (My father’s mother) tell me stories when I was young. It was a bit to get used to, but once I did I found I kinda enjoyed it.

Overall, it was a pretty good read.

4 stars



Thursday, September 22, 2011

Natanya Reviews The Eyre Affair


Title/Author: The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde
Publisher/Year: Viking Penguin, 2001
Where I got it: Library
Why I read it: Who doesn’t love a book about books?

From Goodreads:
Welcome to a surreal version of Great Britain, circa 1985, where time travel is routine, cloning is a reality, (dodos are the resurrected pet of choice), and literature is taken very, very seriously. England is a virtual police state where an aunt can get lost (literally) in a Wordsworth poem, militant Baconians heckle performances of Hamlet, and forging Byronic verse is a punishable offense. All this is business as usual for Thursday Next, renowned Special Operative in literary detection, until someone begins kidnapping characters from works of literature. When Jane Eyre is plucked from the pages of Brontë's novel, Thursday must track down the villain and enter the novel herself to avert a heinous act of literary homicide.

When I finished The Eyre Affair, my first thought was, “This book is awesome.” Fforde wrote a fun, witty satire, taking place in a world in which literature is treated with such high regard that it’s hysterical. I loved all of the different lit references, and I loved how Fforde literally brought the novels to life. Of the classic literature mentioned in this novel, I’d only actually read Jane Eyre, but for the most part it doesn’t really matter if you’ve read the books referenced. While it was beneficial that I had read Jane Eyre because the version of that novel in this story is slightly different than the actual one, The Eyre Affair has so many different plot lines that it isn’t a huge deal if you haven’t read Jane Eyre. There is actually a short summary of Jane Eyre two-thirds of the way through the novel, though, so if you don’t want it spoiled for you, you may want to read it first.

As I said, this book has a lot going on. It really has it all—time travel, exotic animals, crazy cults, bizarre superhuman powers, et cetera. It’s over the top, both in quantity and the nature of the content. I read a couple reviews saying that it was too much, and in retrospect it was a bit excessive, but it didn’t really bother me while I was reading it (perhaps because I read it right after reading A Dirty Job, so I was in the mindset for over the top plots). I enjoyed keeping up with the different mysteries and storylines, and constantly wondered what was going to happen next, though it was a bit unfocused as a whole. While the multitude of storylines may have resulted in some not being explored to the extent they could have been, I still felt satisfied when I finished the book. Plus, it’s the first in a series, so I’m assuming Fforde further explores all of this stuff in the future novels.

One thing I didn’t really understand was the role that the Crimean War plays in this novel. In Fforde’s alternative universe, the Crimean War—which really ended in 1856 after lasting for 2.5 years—has been going on for about 130 years, and it’s the norm to have fought in it. I don’t know very much about this war, so I don’t really understand why Fforde opted to make this such a big part of the novel. If anyone would like to enlighten me, please do.

On the whole, I think The Eyre Affair has a great balance of humor and drama. It is very humorous and very satirical: every name in the novel is deliberately cheesy and reflective of the character, and before each chapter are quotes by the characters—generally from their biographies, journals, etc—which were a funny twist on the normal quotes before chapters or epigraphs at the beginning of books. While the novel didn’t really have much of a lasting effect on me (I’m writing this review about a week and a half after reading it and have had a difficult time remembering what I really thought about it), it was a fun read, and I definitely want to continue the series.

4 stars

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Julia Reviews Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern



Title/Author:Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern
Publisher/Year Published: May 4th 2010 by HarperCollins
How I got this book: I bought it for a Christmas exchange and somehow it came back to me
Why I read this book: I liked the Tweets and about 10 people recommended the book to me.
Rating: 4 stars

**Warning**
I am going to swear in this review. I don't think there is a page in this book that doesn't have some sort of profanity on it. If you are the type of person to be offended by access swearing, this book is NOT for you. Really. It’s a lot. You have been warned.
On My Attempt to Hide a Hangover
Coming down with something? Please. You reek of booze and bullshit. Don't lie to a Kentuckian about drinking or horses, son.
This book was really fun. I read it in one sitting on the brief airplane ride and probably was silently labeled by the passengers next to me as that crazy lady who randomly bursts into laughter.

About 80 people told me to read this book and that I would enjoy it. I was already familiar with the Shit My Dad SaysTwitter page and thought that it was funny one liners to enjoy in brief stints. But how would it hold up as a full-fledged book?

After a solid introduction of how the whole Shit My Dad Says came to be, the book is laid out into small chapters, each highlighting a specific point in Justin’s relationship with his dad. It goes from the time he is six and they had an extended car trip culminating in sleeping with grandpa to getting his first apartment and job in LA. Some chapters are shorter than others but you can see the lessons learned in each one through his dad’s eloquent way of teaching.

After each chapter are three phrases of quotes like the one above. Those one liners really make the book for me. While each chapter is really interesting and the lessons learned are unique presented, reading the small ones just made me happy. It a good book. It’s a great Twitter feed. If you are looking for something hilarious and entertaining (and don’t mind a healthy dose of profanity) this book is for you.

Here. I will leave you with some more winning short quotes:
"Why would you throw a ball in someone's face?...Huh. That's a pretty good reason. Well, I can't do much about your teacher being pissed, but me and you are good."

"You're ten years old now, you have to take a shower every day...I don't give a shit if you hate it. People hate smelly fuckers. I will not have a smelly fucker for a son."

On Selling His Beloved 1967 Two-Door Mercury Cougar

“This is what happens when you have a family. You sacrifice. [Pause:] You sacrifice a lot. [Long pause:] It’s gonna be in your best interest to stay away from me for the next couple days.”

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Kelly's Top Ten Books I Feel As Though Everyone Has Read But Me

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.

Top Ten Books I Feel As Though
Everyone Has Read But Me

  1. Anna and the French Kiss: LIES. I can't technically can't put this on here as I just started reading it a few hours ago, but I did go quite a long time hearing everyone else gush about it. I felt left out! (I also now know why there was so much gushing).
  2. The Hunger Games: Nowadays, this is almost as bad as saying I've never read Harry Potter (which I have!). 
  3. The Catcher in the Rye: What's the only high school in the United States of America that never assigned this book to it's students? Mine.
  4. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close: Okay, I've truthfully never read this book because I can never find a synopsis that makes sense to me...I may need to just bite the bullet and go for it. I know Jamie loves it.
  5. The Great Gatsby: Again - what's the only high school in the United States of America that never assigned this book to it's students? Mine. I feel so intellectually deficient. 
  6. A Clockwork Orange: Ditto to the above. This is getting sad.
  7. Water for Elephants: This book has been out so long it even has a movie yet I still haven't read it. I've heard nothing but rave reviews for it...I blame the library for never having a copy when I want it.
  8. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo: I attempted to watch the movie in Swedish with no subtitles, but for some reason that didn't work out. I feel as if this would be a great series to get into.
  9. Lolita: I need to know how creepy it is.
  10. Twilight: Okayyyyyyy, I technically read most of the first book, but never continued after that. Even though I'm not at all motivated to read the rest of the books, I still feel weird with everyone talking about them and the new movies.

Check here for future topics!!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Daisy's Review of Witchlanders by Lena Coakley



Title/Author: Witchlanders by Lena Coakley
Publisher/Date published: Atheneum, August 30th 2011
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley

Goodreads summary: "High in their mountain covens, red witches pray to the Goddess, protecting the Witchlands by throwing the bones and foretelling the future. It’s all a fake. At least, that’s what Ryder thinks. He doubts the witches really deserve their tithes — one quarter of all the crops his village can produce. And even if they can predict the future, what danger is there to foretell, now that his people’s old enemy, the Baen, has been defeated?
But when a terrifying new magic threatens both his village and the coven, Ryder must confront the beautiful and silent witch who holds all the secrets. Everything he’s ever believed about witches, the Baen, magic and about himself will change, when he discovers that the prophecies he’s always scorned —
Are about him."

YAY for Witchlanders! I LOVED Witchlanders! WOOHOO!

So, I got that out of my system, now on to the slightly more coherent part of this review ;)

I could tell you that it's been a LOOOONG time since I last had male main characters capture my heart like Ryder and Falpian did. I could tell you there's an AWESOME dog in it called Bodread the Slayer, who is more like a lapdog with very sharp teeth. I could tell you the intrigue and magic system are beyond brilliant.

But I could also tell you to just go and read the book.

Because, seriously, it was THAT amazing. I absolutely loved it, I cared deeply for all the characters and they've created a little place for themselves in my heart. Especially Bodread, I think he'd guard it quite nicely as well. I want to be friends with these characters, hug them when they're sad, sing with them.

The only problem I have with this book is that the author told me she's not sure there willl be a sequel. I NEED a sequel! I'm not done having adventures with Falpian and Ryder and would love to see the Bitterlands for myself. This SHOULD be a series.

This book here is why I love fantasy. Go read it.

My rating: 5 stars

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Jamie Reviews The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan

The Lover's Dictionary: A NovelI was really ecstatic when I heard that that David Levithan was writing an adult novel because I love me some David and I read quite a bit of adult as well...and because it was about loooove. I wasn't quite sure what to expect but I knew if it was like most of David's novels I'd feel some sort of connection to it.

The Lover's Dictionary was SUCH an interestingly lovely read that I DEVOURED in a day. Each page contains a passage of prose that reflects a word from the dictionary and it is written as though it is a dictionary entry. The passages range in length, some being a sentence or two and some being half of a page long, and follow the love story between a nameless narrator and his lover. You feel kind of a distance at first because you are only seeing snippets (not chronologically) of their love story and because they ARE nameless but you find yourself reading these intensely intimate thoughts and raw emotions and this couple becomes so exposed as the book gives glimpses into some of the most joyful and exciting times in their relationship as well as some of the most difficult and trying times in their relationship.

This book was really such an honest portrayal of the many facets of love as it examines the joys, the doubts, the heartbreaks, the sacrifices and the different nuances and quirks in the love affair between two people. Some passages made me laugh, cry and reflect on my own relationship as certain feelings or situations would hit close to home. The writing was exquisite and I found myself bookmarking page after page thinking that each passage was my new favorite only for it to be dethroned by another.

Some I wanted to share:


ineffable, adj.
these words will ultimately end up being the barest of reflections, devoid of the sensations words cannot convoy. Trying to write about love is ultimately like trying to have a dictionary represent life. No matter how many words there are, there will never be enough."

autonomy, n.
"I want my books to have their own shelves," you said, and that's how I knew it would be okay to live together"

placid, adj.
Sometimes I love it when we just lie on our backs, gaze off, stay still.

There are SO many wonderful lines and passages in this book but I tried to pick some shorter ones that stood out in my mind.

My final thought: This book was a gem! Upon finishing it I just held it close to my chest because I was amazed at how raw it was and how much I connected with it. I thought of the moments that made my heart flutter in my relationship, I thought about the doubt and the act of learning how to trust in a relationship, the beauty in the mundane and the wonderful journey love really is despite how hard it can be to love and let yourself be loved in a relationship. The prose was something to be savored and I have no doubts that I will read this book again as it has a permanent place on my shelf. Levithan's delivery was creative and I found the his connection to each of the words to be genius. I'd recommend to lovers of adult fiction who don't mind something different and who don't need to be wooed by a fast moving plot.


Originally posted on my personal book blog -- The Perpetual Page-Turner

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Heather reviews The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson

The Family Fang: A NovelBook/Author: The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson
Publisher/Year: Ecco/ August 2011
Genre: Adult Fiction
Where I got this book: Received from the publisher for an honest review (thanks HarperCollins!)
Why I read this book: I thought it sounded really interesting
Rating: 3 stars

Brief Summary (from Goodreads): Mr. and Mrs. Fang called it art. Their children called it mischief.

Performance artists Caleb and Camille Fang dedicated themselves to making great art. But when an artist’s work lies in subverting normality, it can be difficult to raise well-adjusted children. Just ask Buster and Annie Fang. For as long as they can remember, they starred (unwillingly) in their parents’ madcap pieces. But now that they are grown up, the chaos of their childhood has made it difficult to cope with life outside the fishbowl of their parents’ strange world.

When the lives they’ve built come crashing down, brother and sister have nowhere to go but home, where they discover that Caleb and Camille are planning one last performance–their magnum opus–whether the kids agree to participate or not. Soon, ambition breeds conflict, bringing the Fangs to face the difficult decision about what’s ultimately more important: their family or their art.


My thoughts: The Family Fang is a story about a dysfunctional family of performance artists, the Fang's. Art has always been the most important thing to Caleb and Camille Fang, until they have children and suddenly have other responsibilities. The Fang's learned to incorporate the kids Annie and Buster, or Child A and Child B, into their "art" butas the kids grew up they weren't as willing to be a part of their parents mischief. This book was full to the brim with conflict and it reminded me of the family dysfunction in television and movies such as Arrested Development and The Royal Tenenbaums (in fact the blurb on the back of the book mentions this similarity to the Wes Anderson film). It was highly entertaining but often uncomfortable.

The Fang's artwork was always about the reaction of others and much of it was cruel or just plain wrong. I have to give props to Buster and Annie for both turning out relatively normal after having parents as bizarre as Caleb and Camille. I felt so bad for them because it was clear that their parents would always choose their artwork over them and that rejection is a pretty terrible thing to deal with for any kid. For the most part I enjoyed the wacky antics that went on in the novel, although the horrible parenting drove me nuts. I didn't particularly care for any of the characters, they were more of a love to hate bunch. The public displays that the Fang parents created were often at the expense of their children's privacy or innocence. A and B never got a choice whether or not they wanted to be a part of their parents creative process and now as adults they are finding out not only are they still a part of it but they have become victims of the Fang's craziest piece yet.

For much of the novel I was entertained but nothing was really making me want to drop everything to pick up the book. There was a bit of a twist ending that pulled me back in and caused me to blow through the last 50 or so pages. Overall, I thought The Family Fang was a fun read with a peculiar premise. I'd recommend this to anyone with an interest in reading books with a mix of flawed characters and comedic situations. It's not necessarily a laugh out loud book but it's one that will have you thinking on a much deeper level about society, families and what's important in life.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Julia's Top Ten Books I Read Because of Another Blogger



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.

Hello Blogosphere and Happy Book Blogger Appreciation Week! Julia here! Since I am pre-writing this way in advance (for once), I don't know of the outcome of any of the awards. Like the one we were nominated for with this meme.

Anyway, in honor of Book Blogger Appreciation week, we are going to do the...

Top Ten Books I Read Because of Another Blogger

1. Firelight
I found this out through the blog that Sophie Jordan writes with other paranormal authors. I can't for the life of me find the link to it, but I used to read it all the time. I read the post she had on her new book Firelight and wanted to read it ever since. I just read it recently, just in time for the release of her second book.

2. The Pun Also Rises
This book was actually found for me through TLC Book tours. But that is a blog that promotes books. And I doubt I would have found it otherwise.

3. Across the Universe
Man, I wish I had a list of all the blogs that promoted this book when it came out. Every time I saw the post, it would make me want to read it more. I got the book from the library and finally got my own copy just yesterday.

4. The Jewel of St. Petersburg
Again, I obviously dont keep track of WHERE I heard of these, but I know it was from another blogger. This one I read and loved. So mysterious person who happened to write a blog post on this book, thanks.

5. The Hunger Games
This, like Across the Universe, was recommended by quite a few blogs. Great series. I am so glad I read it.

6. Beastly
I don't remember how I found this one. I think it was through Goodreads (which is not technically a blog but more of a book forum?). Another book I would have never have found with out book interaction websites.

7. The Spymaster's Lady
This one I got from my favorite book blog, Smart Bitches Trashy Books. The first book blog I followed and probably the one I read most frequently. This was such a good book. I've read quite a few romance novels based upon these lovely bloggers.

8. To Taste Temptation
This one I found from a blog that another author that I love put together. I think the blog was on Barnes and Noble's website. I love it when bloggers/authors recommend other, similar books.

9. The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence
This one was recommended by blogger Cleolinda Jones. It was actually really good and eye opening. She has a great blog that is not just books, but her book posts (especially the Twilight parodies/recaps) are really great!

10. The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner's Semester at America's Holiest University
And finally this book, found through another one of those blogs that sort of bleed together in my Google reader. Great book.

We have a great community on here and I really would have never found some great books (and some not so great). So THANK YOU book bloggers for doing what you do and give us all these awesome shared experiences!


Future Top Ten Tuesday topics

Monday, September 12, 2011

Julia Reviews Retribution by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Title/Author:Retribution by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Publisher/Year Published: August 2011 by St. Martin's Press
How I got this book: The publisher sent me a review copy
Why I read this book: Second chances... read on
Rating: 2 stars

Have you ever been really into a series and then slowly watch it collapse beneath you as you move into the 10th, 15th, 20th book in the series? This has been my experience with Sherrilyn
Kenyon's Dark-Hunters.

Let's take a stroll down memory lane, shall we? Back in 2005 I was a freshman in college. Down the hall in our small dorm was a girl who had brought two large clear-plastic crates full of books with her despite the extra-small space we had to live. My kind of girl right? If I recall correctly, they were mostly filled with romance novels, too. Even better.

She gave me the first of the Dark-Hunter series to read. I was new to the paranormal romance genre, and I was enchanted. I devoured the books in the series, loving the mixture of the Greek pantheon of gods combined with vampire myth and modern humanity.

It was unique for the time (this was at the beginning of the vampire resurgence), and I was a goner. I joined the online fan-board, planned with my friend to go to the convention in New Orleans, and dutifully bought every book upon its release day.

After a while though I started noticing a pattern. Every hero was a wounded Goth tough guy and then meets that one right woman who can break him of his curse. But first they must kill some threat to humanity. There was little to no variation. This would have been fine because the over arching plot was REALLY interesting, but the problem was it was never wrapping anything up. Every new book instead of working with what was already there piled on more and more until it was impossible to read a new book with a glossary of what was happening next to you. Taking that away from the mix allowed me to focus on the not super-strong writing and the repetitious plots per book.

Which brings me to Retribution.

When I saw the email asking for this book to be reviewed, I fell back into my rose-colored fan-girl past. It was Jess! One of my favorite cowboy secondary characters from earlier books getting a story of his own at last! How bad could it be?

And that’s the thing. It is not horrible; it’s just not what I wanted it to be. More of the same. I’ve missed a few books along the way (this is 20 in the series), and I wanted to see if it could be read and enjoyed by someone who has no exposure to the Dark-Hunters.

Unfortunately, I just couldn’t get past remembering what the stories used to be for me. Her earlier books were good. I could actually write a pretty positive review (5 stars, a rarity for me) on the 4th book in the series where Jess first appears, Dance with the Devil. I’ve read it multiple times, even without the rose colored fan-girl glasses and I think it still holds up well.

As for Retribution, it just didn’t do it for me. It was very formulaic, the writing clunky and at some times confusing. There is a lot of tell not show. Could someone jump in and read this book without knowing the rest of the Dark-Hunter mythos? Sure. In fact on my quick browse of Goodreads, I noticed that a lot of the higher ratings were the ones who were new to the series.

So this is a romance about an undead vampire-like cowboy and the girl who inadvertently started an Apocalypse. If that sounds like it may be your cup of tea, give this book a try. But get it at the library*.

*I’d say buy it but it has a deckle edge, and I think those just look sloppy. Wait for the paperback. The cover, however, is gorgeous!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Jana Reviews "Learning to Swim: A Novel," by Sara J. Henry


Title and Author: Learning to Swim: A Novel, by Sara J. Henry
Publishing Info: Crown Publishers; February 22, 2011

How I Got this Book: Crown Publishers sent it to me in exchange for an honest review. My opinions in no way reflect their opinions, nor was I swayed in any direction. 

Why I Read this Book: I enjoy mysteries and trying to figure out how everything works out. 

Stars: 4.5




It’s been quite a while since I’ve been able to read a good mystery. The first author I ever loved was Mary Higgins-Clark. Her mysteries made me fall in love with the genre, and I’ve been seeking out good ones ever since. When this book popped up in an e-mail to TB&TB, I jumped at the chance to read it. It sounded so intriguing, and exciting. Picture this… you’re on a ferry, it’s crispy cold outside, and in the distance you see a bundle thrown off the back of another ferry at the exact moment you pass it. It could have been trash, right? Or a hoodie that blew off the deck. But no, you just can’t shake the feeling that it is so much worse than that. Without thinking you, not even a very good swimmer, jump into the frigid Lake Champlain and make a beeline for the diminishing ripples in the water where the mysterious bundle hit moments before. As you frantically search the murky waters around you, your eyes meet the eyes of a scared, drowning little boy. You grab him, swim a grueling one-mile swim, hoping to avoid the hypothermia creeping into your very bones, and pull him to the rocky shore. He’s not breathing, so you try to remember the CPR lesson you had a LONG time ago. You succeed. He’s breathing. As his eyes open, he looks at you, lets out a little sigh, rests his sleepy head on your arm, and murmurs, “Merci.”

This is what happens to small town newspaper journalist, Troy, on the way to visit her boyfriend. She scoops the little French-speaking guy up, runs to her car, warms him up, and tries to push away the fact that someone tried to murder this little boy. Using her very limited education in French, she learns from him that his name is Paul, he’s 6, he was kidnapped, and they killed his mom. Rather than turning him over to the police, she assumes the role of temporary mother and takes him home with her. As she learns more about him, she begins to search for his father, investigate the horrible kidnapping on her own, and finds a special place in her heart for him. The more searching she does, the more dangerous her simple life in Lake Placid becomes. She can’t let go, though. She has to know that Paul is safe, and she will do anything in her power to ensure he is.

OH MAN, right? I was hooked from the first line, “If I’d blinked, I would have missed it.” It totally sucked me in, and I read the entire thing on the way home from vacation. I really do love long car rides sometimes. No obligations but reading. The story was so unique. A six-year-old is not usually the most important character in a book, but Paul was definitely the star. He is incredibly sweet, impeccably well behaved, and cute as a button. I fell in love with this little guy, so I can totally understand why Troy did too. And yes, her name is Troy. It threw me for a while, but then I got used to it.

I really like Troy. She lives in Lake Placid with several men that rent rooms from her during high season. She’s one of the guys, but in a feminine way. They respect her, and she’s kind of like a mom to them even though they’re about her age. She has a brother who is a police officer in Florida, and she calls on him when she needs help. I loved reading about the process she went through to dig out information. She’s smart, brave, daring, fearless, and very likeable. I enjoyed reading her story (especially her bond with Paul, his dad, and their housekeeper), and she’s a great heroine who doesn’t whine when life gets tough.

The guys she lives with are hilarious. They act like stereotypical college athletes. Troy can’t keep food in the house, they have all kinds of funny things to say, and they really are just big softies. I really liked them. They were concerned about Troy, and were always willing to help her if she needed them.

The story was gripping, to say the least. The mystery was not a fast-paced as some I’ve read, but that actually made the story more believable to me. Troy ran into some snags, everyone was in some danger… but just enough to make it real. Some mysteries seem a bit too far-fetched to be taken seriously. This story could have happened.

I don’t want to give away too many details! I enjoyed the twists and turns of the story. It kept me hooked. There were a few typos, but I read the unedited proof, so I won’t hold that against the author. I’m sure they are all ironed out by now! Definitely read this. I was a little wary because of the cover. Yes, I’m a cover snob. There wasn’t a lot of thought or creativity put into the cover design, so I was worried the book itself would reflect that. Not true! I really liked this book, and have already lent it out to a family member.

Book Blogger Appreciation Week - VOTING ISSUE



We were informed by the lovely folks heading up BBAW that there was an issue with the Best Book Blog Meme category and all votes are gone and will need to be voted on again.

So, whether you are voting Top Ten Tuesday or another meme...please go vote again here! And if you haven't already voted on all the other categories, you have until the 10th I believe! All you need is a Twitter account or a Google account!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Tahleen reviews "Ashes, Ashes" by Jo Treggiari

Title: Ashes, Ashes
Author: Jo Treggiari
Publisher: Scholastic, 2011

Rating: ★★ ½

In a world that doesn't seem to be too far into the future, global warming has melted the ice caps and most of the coastal world is now underwater. This wasn't such a big deal for Lucy at first, since she was fine in her New Jersey town, but three years later an even deadlier enemy claimed 99% of the population of the planet: the plague. Lucy somehow managed to survive without contracting the disease at all, but her family was not so lucky. After a year of wilderness survival on her own in the Wilds of what used to be Central Park, Lucy finally finds a group of people who she might be able to live with. But she could spell the end for them all; there is something about her that makes her very valuable to those who are barely holding on to power.

While reading Ashes, Ashes, I often found myself thinking how awful the lives these people led sounded. I was very creeped out during the beginning of the book, when Lucy was still on her own, but I kept flipping the pages, eager to discover Lucy's past and what would happen next.

I didn't find out much as far as back story, unfortunately. We learn that Lucy is largely unremarkable, with no special talents other than survival. I can tell there is more to her, but I never found her history besides brief flashes of memory, which was disappointing for me. The same is true for the secondary characters in this book—we get clues, but no real stories.

What didn't disappoint was the action. There was a lot of it, and Lucy was nearly always at the center of it. I was compelled to find out the mysteries behind the Sweepers, what I'm assuming are government officials who kidnap survivors of the plague. Those kidnapped are never seen again. And when Lucy becomes their target, I wanted to know what made her special.

The next part might be a bit spoilery, just a warning. We never really get the answers to the burning questions in the book, kind of a letdown, especially when much of the book focuses on this aspect of Lucy and how the Sweepers are after her for some reason. I'm guessing there will be a sequel to answer some of these questions.

Overall, I don't feel strongly about this book one way or the other. It provided entertainment while I was reading and did give me something to think about as far as how the way we are treating our planet might turn out, but I don't think the story or the characters will stay with me too long afterward. If a sequel does come out, I will most likely pick it up to find out the secrets behind the characters and the government that were left unrevealed in Ashes, Ashes.

Disclosure: I received an ARC from the publisher at one of their events.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Kelly's Review of "Green Darkness" by Anya Seton

Title: Green Darkness
Author: Anya Seton
Published: Hodder Paperback, 2007 (originally 1972)
Rating: ★★★★½

A few weeks ago, I covered Underrated Books for Top Ten Tuesday and I listed Anya Seton's books as my number one pick. Her novels are historical and relatively old (written in the 40s and 50s), but they are so creative and fun to read. Green Darkness is one of my favorites.

Something that I have always been interested in, even though I don't believe in it, is reincarnation. The fact that there is an opportunity to live another life, so different yet similar to the others, is such a fascinating subject to read about!

In Book 1, we begin our journey in 1968, with Celia, an American now unhappily wed to an English man. Soon she starts getting strange visions and acting odd and deranged. Celia babbles about King Edward and dancing, then is frozen in an awkward and painful looking position. Fearing for her life and sanity, she is hospitalized. An Indian friend and doctor fears that she is subconsciously reliving one of her past lives, 400 years ago, a life that needed closure.

We get a glimpse into this life in Book 2, in the years 1552-1559. We follow a young poor, orphaned girl named Celia living her life under the reign of Henry VIII's children: Edward, Mary, and Elizabeth. We follow her these seven years through abandonment, love, marriage, and ultimately, a gruesome end. What I find the most interesting and engaging is the fact that Celia's family/friends/neighbors/enemies in 1968 play basically the same role in her life in the 16th century.

We are swept back to the 20th century for, in my opinion, a less than satisfactory, but sweet, ending. I found that by the time I had reached Book 3 (Conclusion, 1968), I had forgotten all of those characters, so I recommend that after finishing the book, you read Part 1 again. You can make connections and realizations that were missed the first time.

I think Anya Seton did a wonderful job at creating a truly originally and well-thought out book. The way pieces tie together throughout both of Celia's lives is so creative. It's an old and rather hefty book, but I promise you, WELL worth it.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Top Ten Sequels We're Dying To Read



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.


So this week, we here at The Broke and the Bookish, had a bit of a scheduling meltdown and nobody to do a Top Ten Tuesday list. However, have no fear, the people of Twitter totally were down for playing my game of "give me one sequel you are dying to read & I'll link you"...so here are some sequels from some lovely lovely people!

ON THE PLUS SIDE...in a rare occurrence (the cause of which is not known) I have the Top Ten Tuesday schedule up....through JANUARY. Yep, I'll allow you a moment to remove your jaws from the ground. 

ALSOOOO. We made it on the shortlist for BBAW. If you love Top Ten Tuesday and think it is worthy of winning Best Meme/Feature on a Book Blog...please go vote! :)

 And we are off....


1. Insurgent by Veronica Roth- "because Divergent WAS SO DAMN GOOD and holy cow, Four! And THE ENDING."  -- Tara from Hobbitsies

2. Dust and Decay by Jonathan Maberry- " because Rot and Ruin was so good and I want to find out more about The Lost Girl" -- Joli from Acting Up With Books

3. PURE by Jennifer L. Armentrout "because Half-Blood was an extremely awesome book and I can't wait for more!" -- Mickey From I'm A Book Shark

4. Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver - This one was said by three different people (Shannon & Bree ) in a matter of a minute!  "Lena is a spirited and clever character, Alex is true and devoted to what's right" -- Angel from Mermaid Visions Books 

5. Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare -  Mostly because Cassandra Clare is genius and I find steampunk to be really fascinating.  - Jayme from Horribly Bookish

6. THE LIES THAT BIND by Lisa and Laura Roecker "SUCH fantastic authors. Can't wait to see what happens next."  -- Jess from Cover to Cover

7. Pandemic by Scott Sigler - "It's the 3rd one, but still... So good, plenty of action & entertaining" - Bonnie from Bookish Ardour

8.  The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag by  Alan Bradley -- Dorothy from The  Kindred Scholar's pick

9. ENSHADOWED by Kelly Creag - "AHHHHHH!!!" -- Jen from Makeshift Bookmark

10. Breakdown by Sara Paretsky (new VI Warshawski novel "because it's my favorite mystery series and  because VI Warshawski has shaped me as a person. She's shaped my politics and my social conscience. Also, the mysteries are really, REALLY well-written and very smart page-turners. --Kelly from Kelly Vision

Special thanks to Anna from Anna Reads for letting us use this topic from her Freebie post!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday made the shortlist for BBAW!!

Thank you so much for anyone and everyone who voted for us!!

If you have enjoyed Top Ten Tuesday by either participating in it or just think it is fantastical bookish meme, please consider voting for us again so that maybe possibly we will win Best Meme/Feature!!?

You can vote here. You'll need either a Google or Twitter account to do so and we'd really appreciate it if you took the time to do so if you'd like to see Top Ten Tuesday win!

ALSO. I've updated the schedule through JANUARY. I'll allow you a few moments to get over the shock that I'm on top of things. 

Daisy's Review of The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab



Title/Author: The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab
Publisher/Date published: Hyperion, August 2nd 2011
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children.
If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company.
And there are no strangers in the town of Near.

These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life.
But when an actual stranger — a boy who seems to fade like smoke — appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.
The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. Still, he insists on helping Lexi search for them. Something tells her she can trust him.
As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know — about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy."

OMG! OMG! OMG! Seriously, I LOVED this book! And I'm so glad I did, because I've been pining for it for a year! Seriously, it was amazing.

And let me tell you why: this book read like a fairytale. Everything flowed and was beautifully worded and gosh, I just fell in love with the writing. I wanted to slow down reading because I was so loving the words. This almost never happens to me, usually when I'm this excited about a book I'm reading so fast because I want to know what happens next. And I did want to know what happened next with this one, but I also wanted to just savor the words.

And then there's the part of me who will always be a little girl loving fairytales, lying awake at night hoping the scary part won't come to life and wishing for the fairytale prince to save her if it does. And I got to indulge in that part of myself and it was wonderful.

I loved Lexi, she's a wonderful caring girl who feels a huge amount of responsibility and appears to be one of the only sensible persons in the town of Near. Gosh, the reactions to a stranger in Near were just medieval (I get that was sort of the point, but still). I loved her little sister as well, she was so CUTE!
And Cole, how could you not love Cole, all tortured amazing boy-ness of him! I just wanted to give him a hug.

I even liked The Near Witch, who was sort of the villain, but with a very good reason. Very nasty good reason. Very evil thing that happened to her. I loved how I could understand her being angry and wanting revenge.
The only persons I didn't like: the men. Seriously, all of them were just cavemen and hello, sexual harassment on one of the boys' part! Seriously! Not cool.

Anyway, the point is: I LOVED this book, it was amazing. You should read it. You should follow Victoria Schwab on her blog, cause she's totally nice and funny and there's a video there of her dressing up as a cupcake :) But most of all: YOU SHOULD READ THIS BOOK!!

My rating: 5+ stars

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Jessi Reviews "Beautiful Darkness"

Title/Author: Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Publisher/Year: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2010
How I Got This: Interlibrary loan
Why I Read It: I've been dying to read it since I read Beautiful Creatures and with the upcoming release of Beautiful Chaos
Rating: 4 Stars 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): 


Ethan Wate used to think of Gatlin, the small Southern town he had always called home, as a place where nothing ever changed. Then he met mysterious newcomer Lena Duchannes, who revealed a secret world that had been hidden in plain sight all along. A Gatlin that harbored ancient secrets beneath its moss-covered oaks and cracked sidewalks. A Gatlin where a curse has marked Lena's family of powerful Supernaturals for generations. A Gatlin where impossible, magical, life-altering events happen.
Sometimes life-ending.
Together they can face anything Gatlin throws at them, but after suffering a tragic loss, Lena starts to pull away, keeping secrets that test their relationship. And now that Ethan's eyes have been opened to the darker side of Gatlin, there's no going back. Haunted by strange visions only he can see, Ethan is pulled deeper into his town's tangled history and finds himself caught up in the dangerous network of underground passageways endlessly crisscrossing the South, where nothing is as it seems.


Review: 


Wow. Again, Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl have blown me away, and now I'm really counting down the days until Beautiful Chaos.

I had been waiting to read this since I finished Beautiful Creatures and I'm glad I finally got around to it. This time around, we get a deeper look into our favorite characters making this a more emotional read all around. Ethan and Lena have hit a bump in the road, so much of the time spent in this installment involves examining their relationship and what each of them are willing to do for each other. As someone who adores character development, I loved reading this one, and now I especially feel like I've known these characters forever.

I also really enjoyed how Kami and Margaret don't leave their readers hanging. It has been quite a while since I read Beautiful Creatures, so I was a little worried that this book would just jump into things and leave me behind in the dust. Never fear though--I never had that problem. At the same time, they did this so skillfully that I don't think it would be annoying to read this right after the first book. Sometimes, the beginnings of sequels are so mundane and repetitive that it takes like 50 pages to get into the actual story. Not in this case.

Above all, though, the writing is what takes the cake for me with this series. A lot of times, YA can come across as fluffy because of the writing style. Here we have a complex plot and stunning writing. Honestly, it reminds me of how everyone suggests the Harry Potter series for a well-written YA series. I adore the Gothic style. It's beautiful. Really, there's no other word for it.

And that ending?! Uh, hello, I need Beautiful Chaos like NOW!
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